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Erykah Badu Selects Her Favorite Fela Kuti Songs

Fela.net's on-going artist playlist series recruits Erykah Badu to share her favorite Fela Kuti tracks in a Spotify mix.


""Beasts of No Nation" is maybe one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard," writes Erykah Badu about one of her selections for Fela.net’s on-going artist playlist series. For her favorite Fela Kuti picks, Erykah mixed classics with rarer cuts from the afrobeat pioneer.

Erykah also provides detailed descriptions for her selections to Fela.net: “Coffin For Head of State” (“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“), “No Agreement” (“No matter how many baths I take, after this song the funk remains”) and “Beasts of No Nation” (“The album cover had 3 of the former presidents depicted as blood sucking demons. Now that was brave for Africa in the 80s, to say the least”).

Like we previously mentioned in The Roots Of… Erykah Badu, the singer has had a career-long relationship with Afrocentric references, from lyrical allusions to her personal iconography of ankhs. Even her adopted surname ‘Badu’ is a suffix used for the 10th-born child among Ghana’s Akan people.

Stream Erykah Badu’s Fela Kuti playlist below and read her complete track descriptions underneath. For more, check out playlists from QuestloveBlack ThoughtTalib KweliBrian Eno, Rich Medina, and Ziggy Marley.

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)” —

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.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

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