As part of our ongoing playlist series giving tribute to Fela Kuti, Erykah Badu shares with us her top Fela Kuti songs. Grammy award winning musician, activist, and actress, she has been a voice for social concerns and struggles within the African-American community.
Erykah took her time creating this list, carefully listening in order to “try and get the frequency right.” At one point switching her initial selections of “Just Like That” for “Beasts of No Nation” and “ROFOROFO Fight” to “Je’Nwi Temi (Don’t Gag Me).” We’re proud to share her playlist with you!
And for some more insight into her selections…
1. “Coffin For Head of State” because the message is so clear and profound. I feel like I’m walking with them. It’s a funeral processional that ends on the steps of the police station. Ha. I played this song on blast from my balcony on repeat when I moved into this house to let the neighbors know what type of party it was. I had no furniture.
2. “No Agreement” because the groove is a HESI. A chant. A prayer. Locked on the 1. No matter how many baths I take, after this song the funk re mains. Yes RE & MAINS is two words.
3. “Army Arrangement” is a classic . Nice obscure piano solo. I appreciate it’s imperfections. Hypnotic.
4. “Je’Nwi Temi (Don’t Gag Me)” — that’s what she said.
5. “Beasts of No Nation” is an epic piece. Maybe one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It was strong and very very social politically forward. Lol. The album cover had 3 of the former presidents depicted as blood sucking demons. Now that was brave for Africa in the 80’s, to say the least. Ironically the chord progressions are very beautiful. It’s an emotional piece.