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With Made Kuti on the cover, it only seems obvious that we pay homage to Fela, who was the pioneer of Afrobeat and a political activist that spoke out against social injustice. Those of us of Nigerian descent have had an encounter with Fela’s sound, lyrics and influence in one way or the other, as he emerged as an icon in modern day Nigerian culture.

Though Fela has a long list of music that we’ve heard, and quite a bit more that has never been released, here are three of our favorite songs from the icon, along with what they mean. Though it’s been nearly 25 years since his death, the messages and lessons in his songs are as lasting as his memory.

Beasts Of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation

Fela released Beasts of No Nation following his release from prison. The song was a criticism of the Nigerian military regime, who at the time, was in power and was also a response to the events surrounding his arrest. The song is filled with politically charged statements that question the systems and sometimes illogical reasoning of people in authority.

In this song, Fela shares with the listener, the pressure he is under to release new music and to sing about the hardship he faced while imprisoned for 20 months…

 

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