During the early 70’s the Nigerian government and their cronies in the police department consistently raided Fela’s communal family compound “The Kalakuta Republic”, viewing it as both a social and political threat. In 1974, the police once again invaded Fela’s compound, this time planting a joint on the artist, who promptly swallowed it, destroying any evidence of illegal activity. Fela was arrested, and was held in jail until he could produce a “sample” in order for the evidence to be recovered.
Due to some miraculous help from other prisoners, Fela’s “sample” came back completely clean, and he was released without charges. The experience is recounted in the title track, “Expensive Shit”, in which Fela discusses the lengths the police went to in order to literally examine his shit. The second poetic, organ driven track, “Water Get No Enemy”, derives its name from a Yoruban proverb that instructs on the power of nature.
This song is Fela’s encouragement to his fellow Nigerians, saying, essentially, that if you’re working in tune with the universe, nothing can be done to stop you. Extending the point further: the world needs the black man, and therefore it needs Africa.
1. Expensive Shit
2. Water Get No Enemy