Fela Kuti

I.T.T.

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AllMusic Review by

Fela Kuti's records in the early and middle 1980s contain some of the most directly scathing remarks ever put to disc (notably, Original Suffer Head, Coffin for Head of State, and Authority Stealing). Sure, Ice-T, N.W.A., and Eminem have since been more pointedly offensive, but Fela deploys a smarter, slyer, and wittier approach to satire than anyone else. In I.T.T. (a play on the telecommunications company, International Telephone and Telegraph), he attacks two central characters that Fela calls out as thieves by name: President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo and Chairman of ITT and President of Decca Records, M.K.O. Abiola. Fela gets the jabbing started by describing how the British used to employ their African subjects to carry trailers full of excrement throughout the cities for disposal, then transposes the attack to Obasanjo and Abiola as they have forced their African subjects to carry their metaphorical sh*t of oppression, inflation, and corruption. He says, "We don't tire to carry anymore of them sh*t," while a rousing, call-to-arms chorus backs him up; Fela continues, "We go fight them well now." His methods were very dangerous, as his enemies were extremely powerful and his audience very receptive. For his actions, Fela would continue to be beaten and jailed throughout his life. Musically, I.T.T. is an average instrumental attack; however, average for Fela and Africa 70 is still quite above the watermark. [In 2000, MCA released I.T.T. as a two-fer with Original Suffer Head.]

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