No Agreement (1977) / Shuffering & Shmiling (1978)
Fela used the phrase “no agreement” in the same way that Malcolm X used “no flim flam, no compromise, no sell-out.” Fela’s lyric says that he will never make peace with Nigeria’s corrupt and brutal military regime. “I no go agree make my brother hungry make I no talk, I no go agree make my brother jobless make I no talk, I no go agree make my brother homeless make I no talk…no agreement today, no agreement tomorrow, no agreement now, later, never and ever.” Side two, the instrumental “Dog Eat Dog,” includes a post-Bitches Brew, Miles Davis-ish trumpet solo which was probably played by the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s Lester Bowie. Bowie was in Lagos for a few months round about the time the album was recorded (during 1977’s Festac) and participated in Afrika 70 recording sessions. Originally released by Decca Afrodisia.
Shuffering & Shmiling
On the title track, Fela sings about the toxic impact of invader-imposed Islam and Christianity on Nigeria. Having helped enslave Nigerians during the colonial era, Kuti observes, in the post-colonial era the two religions are equally guilty of undermining respect for African social and spiritual values, encouraging a national cultural-inferiority complex, fomenting regional strife and facilitating the state-sponsored theft of the country’s natural resources. “Put your minds into any goddam church or any goddam mosque,” sings Fela, and you’ll be told to “suffer suffer for earth, enjoy for heaven.” Meanwhile, observes Fela, the bishops and imams look the other way while their brothers-in-religion exploit the country, and grow fat on kickbacks. Originally released by Coconut.