Legendary Afrobeat musician and artist Fela Kuti has had his legacy amplified by the release of curated box sets of his life’s work. Questlove curated the first box set six years ago in 2011, and subsequent box sets have been released, curated by Ginger Baker in 2012 and Brian Eno in 2014. The latest musician to tackle Fela’s collection of work? None other than Erykah Badu.
The “Tyrone” singer will be curating Fela Kuti Box Set #4 which will be released on a limited 3,000-copy run on December 15. The Dallas native picked through her favorite Fela pieces and the box set will include a booklet containing seven “personal essays” written by Badu along with never-before-published photos of Kuti as well as “in-depth commentaries by veteran music journalist and Afrobeat historian, Chris May.”
“Fela Kuti is a F-cking Genius,” Badu said in a statement of the Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer. “Please listen to these tracks, preferably with a nice blunt.. with a nice slow burn.” Badu’s selection of Fela stretches 25 years, beginning with 1976’s Yellow Fever then moving on to 1977’s No Agreement, 1977’s J.J.D (Johnny Just Drop), 1979’s V.I.P., 1980’s Coffin For Head of State, 1984’s Army Arrangement and concludes with 1992’s Underground System.
Kuti’s legacy stretches far and wide. In the Nigerian city of Lagos, a statue was recently unveiled to celebrate his life’s work and legacy. Declared the Liberation Statue, it was revealed on what would have been the late musician’s 79th birthday.
“This artwork was created as a form of respect and remembrance to this legend; what he stood for and fought for with his music; his mythology; struggle for freedom; fight for human dignity; social consciousness; courage and Pan-Africanism,” Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said.