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Best of the Black President

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No single compilation can contain the force of nature that was Fela Kuti, but Best of the Black President does a darn good job trying. This set traces the Nigerian firebrand’s evolution from Afrobeat progenitor in the ‘60s to world music icon by the ‘90s. Fela’s fiercest political screeds, like “Zombie” and “ITT, Pt. 2,” are here alongside more languid grooves like “Water No Get Enemy” and “Shuffering and Shmiling, Pt. 2.” Fela’s formidable talents as both bandleader and political megaphone are evident throughout, but this set also doubles as a kinetic dance party.


Born: October 15, 1938 in Abeokuta, Nigeria

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

It's almost impossible to overstate the impact and importance of Fela Anikulapo (Ransome) Kuti (or just Fela as he's more commonly known) to the global musical village: producer, arranger, musician, political radical, outlaw. He was all that, as well as showman par excellence, inventor of Afro-beat, an unredeemable sexist, and a moody megalomaniac. His death on August 3, 1997 of complications from AIDS deeply affected musicians and fans internationally, as a musical and sociopolitical voice on a...
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