Fela Kuti meets De La Soul

What do you get when you put together afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and rap pioneers De La Soul?

The late Fela Kuti in 1983

What can happens An 8-track remix compiled from “… dozens of  hand-picked samples from the Nigerian instrumentalist and political figure Fela Kuti, and 8 carefully-chosen a capella from the Native Tongue rap trio De La Soul.” The result: Fela Soul.

The remix is the work of America Gazaway for  Gummy Soul.

It is worth embedding here a description of one of Fela’s songs “Coffin for Head of State,” by a Fader writer who categorized it as “… surprisingly upbeat for a song about state violence killing your mom.”

Kuti’s saxophone solo is not a dirge, and Afrika 70’s groove is more menacing than sorrowful. The original 12-inch vinyl release (Kalakuta, 1981) split the 23-minute song across a vocal side and an instrumental side, but on contemporary digital releases that restore the original performance to a single track, Fela’s vocal comes in after about 10 minutes. He describes the corrupting influence of monotheistic religions that he sees as he walks “anywhere in Africa,” interrupting himself now and then to mock Christian and Muslim prayers. A brief discourse on the corrupting influences of both Christianity and Islam on African traditions leads the singer to the “bad bad bad” deeds of General Obasanjo, a Christian, and his vice president, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, a Muslim. “Them steal all the money / Them kill many students / Them burn many houses / Them burn my house too / Them kill my mama / So I carry the coffin.”

Here’s a link to the download.

Further Reading