The last album of newly recorded studio material to be released during Fela’s lifetime, 1992’s Underground System is a magnificent swansong, one more blazing masterpiece in a career full of them. Fela often cited an “underground spiritual game” as a weapon with which to fight oppressive regimes and reactionary ideas. He used “underground system” to describe its evil opposite - the network of secret conclaves through which military and political elites conspired together to silence emergent leaders who threatened the status quo. Fela wrote the first draft of the rocket-fuelled title track as a tribute to Burkina Faso’s revolutionary leader, Thomas Sankara. The two men knew and liked each other: Sankara admired Fela’s music as much as Fela admired Sankara’s espousal of African values and commitment to radical social change. There was evidence that the Nigerian regime had been involved in Sankara’s 1987 assassination: the underground system had been at work.
First re-issued as part of Fela Kuti Box Set #4 curated by Erykah Badu in 2018. Originally released by Kalakuta.