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Erykah Badu curates Fela Kuti vinyl box set

Fela Kuti photo by Rick McGinnis

Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti would have turned 79 this week. In commemoration, Knitting Factory Records has announced the latest in its series of curated box sets featuring selections by Erykah Badu. The collection arrives December 15th and is limited to 3,000 copies.

(Read: The 100 Greatest Debut Singles of All Time)

Badu picked out her “favorite Fela Piece of all times,” 1980’s Coffin For Head of State, alongside Yellow Fever (1976), No Agreement (1977), J.J.D. (1977), V.I.P. (1979), Army Arrangement (1984), and Underground System (1992).

The seven-album box set costs $120 and includes a 16-inch by 24-inch poster by Nigerian artist Lemi Ghariokwu, who designed 26 of Kuti’s album covers. There’s also a 20-page full-color booklet featuring seven personal essays written by Badu, as well as seven in-depth commentaries by veteran music journalist and Afrobeat historian, Chris May; song lyrics; and never before published photos of Kuti. Each album and vinyl label’s artwork has been meticulously recreated from original versions. Pre-order are ongoing here.

“Fela Kuti is a Fucking Genius,” Badu shared through a press statement. “Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn.”

Watch a video for the Coffin For Head of State title track with commentary by May below.

Fela Kuti Box Set #4 Artwork:

fela kuti box set artwork Erykah Badu curates Fela Kuti vinyl box set

Fela Kuti Box Set #4 Tracklist:
Yellow Fever
A. Yellow Fever
B. Na Poi ’75

No Agreement
A. No Agreement
B. og Eat Dog (Instrumental)

J.J.D.
A. Part 1
B. Part 2

V.I.P.
A. Part 1
B. Part 2

Coffin For Head of State
A. Part 1
B. Part 2

Army Arrangement
A. Part 1
B. Part 2

Underground System
A. Underground System
B. Pansa Pansa

Previously released vinyl box sets of Kuti’s music have been curated by The Roots drummer Questlove, Cream drummer Ginger Baker, and a 2014 collection by legendary producer Brian Eno.


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