Gentleman (1973)

by Fela Kuti

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1.
14:41
2.
08:12
3.
08:06

about

The title track of this excellent album has often been hailed as Fela’s masterpiece. Musically innovative, melodically addictive, Fela got it all right in this politically scathing song in which he opposes Westernization and those who imitate Western ways. “I no be gentleman at all,” Fela sings, and then goes on to detail the ways in which he’s a “true African original”, and therefore superior to those who wear three-piece suits and hold tight to their colonial mentality.

Fela follows this track with Fefe Na Efe, which derives its name from an Ashanti proverb describing the beauty of a woman holding her breasts as she runs. Fela, who had many Ghanaian fans (and more than a few Ghanaian wives and girlfriends), sings this lush track as a tribute to Ghana, a country he loved.

Finally, “Igbe” again shows the artist breaking cultural taboos by singing literally and figuratively about “shit”, as the word translates to, describing those friends who may betray you.

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released February 2, 2010

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Fela Kuti Lagos, Nigeria

Over a decade after his death, vindication has come to Fela Kuti, Africa’s musical genius. AfroBeat, his gift to the world, is now an international staple on his own uncompromising terms, social content intact.

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