Fela Kuti – Original Sufferhead


Let’s sing a nice song together…

“Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was James Brown, Huey Newton, Rick James, Bob Marley, Duke Ellington and ODB all rolled up in one black African fist…” – Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def)

Map of African imperialism from 1914

Map of African imperialism from 1914

Fela Kuti – The Black President

This dude was a superhero in disguise. Who else could turn a politically motivated song about water scarcity in Nigeria due to imperialism into such a feel good party jam? Word to Yasiin Bey on the serious range Fela Kuti had. How I see it – there is none higher. As you’re reading this, they’re still trying to figure out the right way to tell his story (it was so badass and powerful).

Lyrics to “Original Sufferhead”:

Water Light
Food House
Ye paripa O** **(exclaimation of despair)
Wetin** do them **(what)
You mean you don`t know
Wetin do them
I go tell you
Wetin do them
You go hear am
Wetin do them

That means to say you no dey
For Nigeria be that
You see yourself
You no dey for Africa at all
You must dey come from London
New York, from Germany, from Italy…

Fela  Kuti ‎- Original Sufferhead

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti & Egypt 80 – Original Sufferhead (1981)

That means to say you no
dey Nigeria be that
You see yourself you no de for
Afrika at all
If you dey for Africa where we dey
you go know
I go know wetin

Plenty, about water, light, food, house
I go know wetin
Plenty plenty water for Africa
Na so-so water in Africa
Water underground, water in the air
Na so-so water in Africa
Water for man to drink nko** O **(so what)

*(CHORUS) E-NO DEY
E-no dey e dey
*(CHORUS) E-NO DEY
Water for town
*(CHORUS) E-NO DEY
Government sef e dey?
*(CHORUS) E-NO DEY

Plenty, plenty light for Afrika
Na so-so energy for Africa
Na the big-big men dey get electrica
If them no get electric dem go
If they don`t get electricity
Get plant O
Ordinary light for man nko O

*(CHORUS) E-NO DEY
E-no dey e dey?

*(CHORUS) E-NO DEY

Plenty, plenty food for Africa
Food under-ground,
Food on the ground
Na so-so plenty food for Africa
Ordinary food for man for chop* nko O **(eat)

E-no dey
Government sef e dey?
E no dey
Dodo nko?
Ten kobo for one

Akara nko? twenty kobo for one (2x)
Bread nko? fourty kobo for one
E no dey
Government sef e dey?
E no dey

House matter na different matter
Those wey dey for London dem
Those wey dey New York dem
They leave dey like kings

We wey ele for Afrika
We dey leave like servants
United Nations dem come
Get name for us
Dem go call us under developed nation
We must be underdeveloped
To dey stay ten-ten in one room O
First and second dey

Dem go call us Third World
We must dey craze for head
To dey sleep inside dust-bin
Dem go call us none-aligned nations
We must dey craze for head
To dey sleep under bridge O

Ordinary house for man

To leave nko O?
*(CHORUS) E NO DEY
Trouble
E yen dey** **(it is there)
Water?
E no dey** **(it is not there)
Wahala** **(affliction/trouble)
E yen dey
Food
E no dey
Trouble
E yen dey
House
E no dey
Wahala

E yen dey
Dem come turn-us to suffer-head* to *(suffer-man)
Original Suffer-head
It’ s time for Jefa**-Head O **(lucky man)
Original Jefa-Head O
Dem turn us to Suffer-head O

*(CHORUS) ORIGINAL SUFFERHEAD

It’ s time for Jefa-Head O

I want to tell you my brother
One bitter truth
Before we all are to Jefa-head O
We must be ready to fight for am now

Me I say sufferhead must go O O
Original Sufferhead
Jefa-Head must come

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