The Best Best of Fela Kuti

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The Best Best of Fela Kuti
The Best Best of Fela Kuti.jpg
Compilation album by Fela Kuti
Released 1999
Recorded 1972–89
Genre Afrobeat
Length 157:43
Label Barclay, Universal
Producer Femi Kuti
Alternate covers
Barclay reissue, 2002
Knitting Factory Records, 2009

The Best Best of Fela Kuti is a compilation album by Nigerian Afrobeat artist Fela Kuti, released in 1999 by MCA Records.[1] It was released in the United States in 2000 as part of a reissue series of Kuti's albums.[2] The album was reissued as The Best of the Black President in 2009 by Knitting Factory Records and received universal acclaim from music critics.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
Detroit Metro Times 5/5 stars[5]
Down Beat 4/5 stars[6]
Mojo 5/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork 8.1/10[8]
PopMatters 9/10[9]
Rolling Stone (2000) 4.5/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone (2009) 4/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[1]
The Village Voice A[12]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau said that The Best Best of Fela Kuti is the essential album from Kuti and "a masterful piece of compilation for an artist who deserves the best." Christgau felt that, "because long can wear out fast", it is "great" that more than half of the songs are "edited or cut unceremoniously in half", and wrote that, "Long though they still are, all are marked by top-notch tirades, explosive horn blasts, [and] riffs he'll never improve no matter how often he tries."[12] Christgau named it the fifth best album of 2000 in his list for the Pazz & Jop critics' poll.[13] Vibe magazine's Harry Allen said that it has Kuti's "finest work".[14] In 2005, Spin magazine ranked The Best Best of Fela Kuti the fourth best world music album of all time.[15]

The album's 2009 reissue by Knitting Factory Records received universal acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 93, based on 5 reviews.[3] Allmusic's Thom Jurek recommended the album even for listeners who own all of Kuti's previous music: "this is a killer mix and needs to be in the collection anyway."[4] Michaelangelo Matos of The A.V. Club credited it for doing "the impossible by summing up a singular performer who liked his songs to jam on out to a half-hour or more.[16]

Pitchfork critic Mike Powell wrote that, although it does not have "all of Fela's best material", the album "isn't just a good place for someone starting out, it's probably the only Fela album many will need to own."[8] In a less enthusiastic review, Will Hermes of Rolling Stone magazine said that the music is "killer", but criticized the lack of recording info in the liner notes: "The music speaks for itself, but presidential history deserves better."[11]

Track listing[edit]

Disc one[edit]

  1. "Lady" – 13:49
  2. "Shakara" – 13:26
  3. "Gentleman" (Edit Version) – 11:02
  4. "Water No Get Enemy" (Edit Version) – 9:50
  5. "Zombie" – 12:25
  6. "Sorrow, Tears, & Blood" – 10:15
  7. "No Agreement (Part 2)" – 7:54

Disc two[edit]

  1. "Roforofo Fight" – 15:41
  2. "Shuffering and Shmiling (Part 2)" – 12:25
  3. "Coffin for Head of State (Part 2)" – 13:22
  4. "ITT (Part 2)" – 13:42
  5. "Army Arrangement (Part 2)" – 17:02
  6. "ODOO" overtake don overtake(Edit Version)6:54


Credits for the album are adapted from Allmusic.[17]

  • Fela Kuti – composer, primary artist
  • Adrian Morgan – remastering


  1. ^ a b Hull, Tom; et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 472. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  2. ^ Pareles, Jon (23 February 2001). "Critic's Notebook; A Universe of Music". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "The Best of the Black President Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "The Best of the Black President – Fela Kuti". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Gabriel, Larry (29 March 2000). "Father and son get it done". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Review: The Best Best of Fela Kuti". Down Beat. Chicago: 76. April 2001. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Best Of The Black President CD". Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Powell, Mike (12 January 2010). "Fela Kut: Fela: The Best of the Black President". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Miller, Michael (6 January 2010). "Fela Kuti: Fela: The Best of the Black President". PopMatters. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Review: The Best Best of Fela Kuti". Rolling Stone. New York: 95. 2 March 2000. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Hermes, Will (9 November 2009). "The Best of the Black President : Fela Kuti : Review". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (20 June 2000). "Shuffering and Shmiling". The Village Voice. New York. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (February 2001). "Pazz & Jop 2000: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  14. ^ Allen, Harry (May 2000). "Revolutions". Vibe. New York: 176. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Top Ten World Music Albums". Spin. New York: 86. July 2005. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (20 August 2009). "Vintage Afro-pop". The A.V. Club. Chicago. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Best of the Black President – Fela Kuti : Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]