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!

News Brief
Getty Images

Six Things History Will Remember Kenneth Kaunda For

News of Kenneth David Kaunda's passing, at age 97, has reverberated across the globe. Kaunda, affectionately known as KK, was Zambia's first President from 1964 to 1991.

Following Nelson Mandela's passing in December 2013, Kenneth Kaunda became Africa's last standing hero. Now with his passing on Thursday, June 17 — after being admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka earlier in the week — this signals the end of Africa's liberation history chapter.

It is tempting to make saints out of the departed. The former Zambian struggle hero did many great things. He was, after all, one of the giants of the continent's struggle against colonialism. Ultimately however, he was a human being. And as with all humans, he lived a complicated and colourful life.

Here are six facts you might not have known about him.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 7 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Olamide, Black Motion, Blxckie x Nasty C and more