News

Kendrick Lamar Samples Fela Kuti In 'To Pimp A Butterfly'

"Mortal Man," the closing on Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly,' uses a sample from Fela Kuti's 1975 "I No Get Eye For Back."


As you've now heard, Kendrick Lamar surprise released his highly-anticipated follow-up to 2012's Good Kid, M.A.A.D City late on Sunday night. The 16-track To Pimp A Butterfly is a jazz and retro funk-indebted excursion that features production work from Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Pharrell, and Boi-1da alongside live instrumentation in the form of Robert Glasper's keys and Terrace Martin and Kamasi Washington's saxophone & horns, among many others.

The full length's sprawling closing track "Mortal Man" initially sparked our interest because of its several Nelson Mandela mentions throughout its hook ("The ghost of Mandela, hope my flows they propel it") and verses ("You wanna love like Nelson, you wanna be like Nelson. You wanna walk in in his shoes but you peace-making seldom"). As a Rolling Stone article points out, "A 2014 trip to South Africa inspired Lamar to pen "Mortal Man," a song that finds the rapper name-checking Moses, Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr... [and] weav[ing] in samples from a 1994 Tupac interview with Swedish journalist Mats Nileskär on the show P3 Soul."

To Pimp A Butterfly's liner notes reveal that "Mortal Man" also samples Fela Kuti's 1975 "I No Get Eye for Back" off Alagbon Close. Kendrick's track uses a pitched-down drum pattern from Fela's original, as performed in a 1977 cover by South Carolina tenor saxophonist Houston Person. Stream Kendrick Lamar's "Mortal Man" on Spotify and check out both Fela Kuti and Houston Person's versions of "I No Get Eye For Back" below to spot the drum sample.

https://play.spotify.com/track/1WT11QmhZutciEv1NsHt1R

Visit Fela.net and the Regular Trademark store. Use discount code OKAYFELA for 15% off all orders!

Interview

Interview: TOBi Is Making Unapologetic Soul Music

We talk to the Nigerian-Canadian artist about his latest project ELEMENTS, his creative process, mental health and more.

It's a big year for music, and in the midst of many good drops from the motherland and beyond, we caught up with Nigerian-Canadian singer/songwriter TOBi to discuss his recently released 10-track project ELEMENTS.

ELEMENTS is a fusion of old-school soul, contemporary rap sequences, clever lyrical symbols & metaphors. and melancholic vibes which reference TOBi's Nigerian heritage through afrobeats, the reality of his life and the state of the world today. The compilation features production from Nigerian producer Juls on "Dollas and Cents" and "Made Me Everything and Shine."

Below, we also discuss his creative process and passion for mental health with the announcement of an exciting collaboration. "I'm attracted and curious about so many things in life that I can't help but bring [them] into my world and craft," the multi-genre artist says.

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