A Tale of Two Samples: Fela Kuti's "Mr. Grammarticalogylisationalism Is the Boss" and The Roots' "I Will Not Apologize"
I'll leave the thorough sample de-constructions to Dan Love or O-Dub, but couldn't help but feel compelled to share a discovery I made the other day in my on-going quest to listen to every known bit of music ever recorded by Fela Kuti. Namely, the afro-beat derived sample for "I Will Not Apologize," one of the best cuts from the new Roots album Rising Down.
Originally released in 1975 as the B-side on "Excuse O" "Mr.Grammarticalogylisationalism Is the Boss" attacks Nigeria's weak educational system, a theme that I readily empathize with, because though my knowledge is spotty on the ins and outs of Lagos pedagogues, I can get down with anybody who sings "school sucks/not ready for bread." If only I hadn't spent the entirety of my high school experience listening to Tribe, Jay-Z, Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang, this probably would've made a lot of sense.
Re-released on the DJ Excel (Blacklicious)-curated 2004 comp, "The Underground Spiritual Game," I'm surprised no one tried to flip this sooner as the sound's claustrophobic organ line and convulsing bass licks made it an ideal beat to spit over. Aided by Kweli, Dice Raw and the unfortunately named, P.O.R.N,* Black Thought and co. do what they do best: power-to-the-people type, slightly strident political raps, but y'know, "they won't apologize." That's fine, they don't need to. They do the flip justice even if their version never approaches Fela's god-like genius.
* Sadly, this was way better than his first name. S.L.U.T.
MP3: Fela Kuti-"Mr. Grammarticalogylisationalism Is the Boss" (Left-Click)
MP3: The Roots ft. Talib Kweli, Dice Raw, P.O.R.N.-"I Will Not Apologize"