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From Africa with Fury: Seun Kuti

The youngest son of Fela Kuti discussesd with Banning Eyre his new album “From Africa with Fury: Rise,” Brian Eno, politics, women and more.

Banning Eyre: Welcome back to New York. Well you’ve been hanging with Blitz the Ambassador. Tell me about that.  Have you known him a while?

Seun Kuti: No, I just met him yesterday. But I knew of him and he sent me his music. It was part of my plan. I wanted to hookup. And we hooked up yesterday. We listened to music and discussed politics. He’s a very bright man, very cool. It’s refreshing to me to know an African young brother with a positive message with some enlightenment behind him. It’s weird because he was telling me his dad works for the UN and he’s one of the judges in Rwanda in the genocide tribunal. I think we’re lucky cause he said that we are these Africans with special fathers who believe in Africa and are trying to fight the cause.

B: That’s interesting. I did a good long interview with him a couple months ago. Very thoughtful guy.  He’s really got a head on his shoulders. And his music is really interesting too. So the last time we talked we were talking about “Fela On Broadway” which is now on its way to Lagos, what’s your impression of that? How’s that going to go down when they actually bring the show to Lagos?

SK: I’ve been working on that extensively. It’s not been easy but it’s going to happen. Probably in 2 months or so we should be in Nigeria.

B: What have been some of the challenges?

SK: Getting funding for the show and organizing the show cause were both challenges. I feel the funding was really major and getting everything sorted as well has been difficult.

B: Have you got any cooperation at from the government or industry?

SK: Yeah the Lagos government has been one of our major sponsors. The state government has really been pushing it.

B: The state government?

SK: There’s no way the federal government would be involved.

B: Now which state?

SK: The Lagos state, where I live. The state government and everybody there has been supporting us.

B: Now just for everybody that doesn’t understand the politics, why is it that the State government would get behind this and not the national government?

SK: For the national government, Fela is still a no-go because if the national government endorses Fela it would basically be like shooting themselves in the foot.  It would be like saying, “Ok you have been right about us.”  For them to endorse him would be to admit he was right. He’s been speaking about the federal government of Nigeria for so long, and they don’t want him to be right. So there is no way they would support him. And even as we are working on this show there are these tiny little sabotages here and there.

B: Yeah I was wondering about that. There was fear that they might be trying to undermine it in some way. What kind of things are they doing?

SK: That is why we moved the show. I don’t think they can succeed in undermining the show because the Lagos government is basically autonomous to the government of Nigeria in some way. They don’t have a lot of influence in Lagos. They don’t have a lot of opportunity to sabotage the show, but I’m sure they would if they could.

B: Amazing.  Well that’s really going to be something. Congratulation on getting that to happen. That’s really going to be great. So let’s talk about this new album. What’s the title of the album?

SK: From Africa With Fury: Rise.

B: Beautiful. I haven’t really got any information about it. I’ve just got the tracks, I’ve been listening to it a couple times through. Really beautiful, energetic stuff. Tell me about the process of making the record. Where’d you make it? Who’d you work with?

SK: I was really inspired writing this album. When people begin to listen to the album, they will see that the album is talking about what’s going on in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya right now in Africa. It is telling the people that we have to take it ourselves. This is Africa for Africa.

The songs I had written about 18 months before. I was talking to my friends and we were talking about Africa and were saying that we Africans need to realize that we don’t want to waste time influencing change in Africa. The change that is going to benefit Africans is the change that Africans are going to bring themselves and demand for themselves – not the change negotiated by the West, or compromised by our rulers in Africa today.

Basically I was really inspired with this album and I was really pushed. I had such a good first album and I wanted to do something fresh.  But I did not want to lose the heart of my music. I wanted to keep my music real, stay true to the traditions and philosophy of my music but at the same time still do something fresh and new. I really worked on making a new sound. And it came to me every time. Every time I went to write a new track something came to me every time. So it was good. I recorded it in Brazil, in Rio.

B: In Brazil? Interesting. Why Rio?

SK: The band is 14 people apart from me. Including me it is 15. And we can’t record in Nigeria because there are no facilities you know. So we have to plan the timing, in a good city. Where live music recordings are. We planned to do it in Paris or London earlier in the year. But I broke up with my old record label and management.

B: So you didn’t do this one with Martin Meissonnier? Who were you working with production-wise?

SK: Brian Eno produced this album.

B: Ah I had heard that. So it’s true about Brian Eno. How’d that happen?

SK: It’s amazing. It still comes back to me. I still tell people when they ask, “Why Brian Eno?” I say, “He’s all I could afford.” It’s true! It’s true because he did it almost for nothing I must say. He wanted to do it almost as much as I did. He was really cooperative. He really assisted me. I didn’t have to ask him twice.

B: Had you met him?

SK: Oh yeah I had met him two years before in 2009. We met in Sydney, Australia. He called me out for a gig there. So this is how we met. His agent called my agent and said, “You have to bring Seun. He is the first name on the list. Brian said he has to be there first.” I also found out in an interview with him from 10 years ago he said, “One of my only regrets is I never got to work with my Fela Kuti.” So we met. We had a semi-relationship then. He called us out for a gig again last May in Brighton, at the Brighton Dome, which was at his birthday party after the gig.  We went there and we got talking.  After that we were friends so I told him I wanted him to work on my next album. And he said yes. I was with Martin then, so I told him to come in.  And he did.  But when I broke up with Martin and the record label, there was no money to work on the album. I was still trying to make it happen though because in Brazil I played a big festival called Back to Black.

B: Oh so you went to Brazil to play a festival? That was when you checked out the possibility of recording there?

SK: No I knew already, as we booked the festival I was like “OK, take that money and get a studio and a hotel. We’ll stay a week more.” We ended up only staying three days. We were in the studio for 50 hours in 3 days.

B: So a lot of it’s live?

SK: Yeah everything’s live.

B: The brass work is just so tight and so inventive and really beautifully mixed.  Things are coming from different sides. It’s really great.

SK: Yeah Brian Eno’s work just adds like 50% more to the music.  It’s really interesting what happened. After I finished recording I called him. After I broke up with my record label because of terms and basically we were no longer in the same place in music. I still have a lot of respect for Martin. We still talk. We’re just not in the same place. I was on my own, so I called Brian and said, not knowing how big he really was, because in Africa we don’t really listen to a lot of rock music.  But I knew him, you know. I had Googled him. I knew him. So, not being star struck, talking to him like a friend, I said, “I want you to produce my album.” And he said, before I could finish the word ‘album,’ he said, “Yeah I’d be glad to! For sure, bring it over, let’s do it.” So I was really happy.

B: So you brought him the tracks that you had already recorded in Brazil and he worked on shaping it?

SK: No not a lot of shaping was done.  We just edited it, made the tracks shorter. And then he did his thing. You know, Brian is a man of musical ideas. He listens to a track and he gives you good ideas. That’s what I appreciate about him. My mind is really active too, when I listen to my music. There are not a lot of things I haven’t thought about. If it’s not in there it’s because at the last minute I was like, “Nah. I don’t really need that” And so when people come to me and give me ideas about what I can do in my music, they are mostly things I’ve thought of on my own. I’m not impressed. I say, “I’ve thought of that. I didn’t want to do that, but thank you, I will think about it.” But the things Brian said were things I had never thought about, things that had never crossed my mind.

B: What’s an example?

SK: Like the song “Mr. Big Thief.”  If you listen to “Mr. Big Thief” on the album, the body of the horns are playing and then I play this melody on top. It’s a guitarist and me together at the same time. We are playing at the same time, the same notes, over this ensemble already playing. It takes the music to a different place you know.  You can listen to us, or you can listen to the horns, or you can listen to us together. So things like that are really radical.

B: The guitar is really prominent. The funky, scratchy guitar. It’s stronger in the mix than I remember it in other records. It has a brightness.

SK: Yeah that album is very bright.

B: And fast. The tempos…

SK: Yeah we really wanted to kick ass with this album. And I think the tempos aren’t really that fast but the music is just exciting.

B: Yeah the way everybody plays is so energetic.

SK: Yeah it’s really exciting. I don’t have any song that is faster than this: CLAPS HANDS. Nothing like this: CLAPS HANDS FASTER.  But it’s just exciting. It makes you feel like the tempo is faster. I’m really happy. I’m really impressed. Every time I talk about this album I smile. I just want to lay back all egotistical and just say “Yeah it’s a great album. You should listen to it. It’s the best.”

B: Yeah it’s really exciting. I want to go through the songs now.

B: OK, so let’s just talk about the tracks a bit. Give me a sense of what you’re trying to convey, or anything special you want to draw attention to. Start with the opener, “African Soldier.”

SK: Basically as I said this album is almost like prophecy. The song is about all the military rulers we have in Africa. Even most of the civilian governments we have in Africa are retired military men who have ruled for a long time as military men and then created a military kind of democracy where they can elect themselves over and over and over again. So basically “African Soldiers” is a song saying that we have the same rulers for so long, they are just soldiers in civilian uniforms. A soldier is always a soldier. They have military thinking. In the United States and some other places they have some people that serve in the military and then go on to become president. I don’t mind that. But military was never their career. They did a tour. It was a way to do something. Get something on their resume. When they are back they quit the military and went on to something else like a private industry.  The military was never their career. But in Africa we have career military men who have gone all the way to general, wanting to be president, with that military thinking. A military man gives orders. He doesn’t want a dialogue with anybody. If he says this, it has to happen. That’s how they are trained to think. They’ve been in the military for 40 years giving orders. So now it’s hard for them to change that sort of thinking and listen to the people. So basically I am saying in this song, what have we forgotten? For twenty years you’ve ruled. What did you forget to do in twenty years that you want to come and do again basically? It’s time to go. And now look what’s happening. They are trying to kick out all the incumbents.

B: Yeah it’s incredible. That’s great. I thought about that right away when I heard those lyrics. I thought, yeah this is right in tune with the times.  You can’t run. Or you can run, but you cannot hide? Tell me about that.

SK: A friend and I wrote “You Can Run.” I’m looking for the best way to explain it. It’s a proverb, you know. You can run but you can’t hide. Because in Nigeria all these politicians are very brave and gung ho when they are in power and looting and killing people. But as soon as they lose power and are prosecuted they begin to run all over the world. They don’t want to be extradited so they run here and there. So I say,  “Man you’ve already corrupted the minds of Africans, now don’t teach them how to be cowards. Stop running around. Stay and face the crime or just shut the fuck up. You don’t go running around.” In Nigeria we have a lot of politicians in exile because they are wanted men trying to run away from the bad things they’ve done.  So I’m basically saying in that song that you can’t run away from the bad things you’ve done. Even if we don’t get you today, your background will definitely catch up with you tomorrow.

B: Nice. And then “Mr. Big Thief”?

SK: Oh “Mr. Big Thief” is a song about Keta Toubab Obasanjo. You know I love you so much, I cannot write this album without having a song for you. So I explain the mentality of the big thief, and what makes you a big thief, and I explain what’s the difference between a big thief and a small thief. It’s really interesting for me how the track is put together.

B: You know I have to listen to the track closer. I haven’t had a chance to really listen to the lyrics.

SK: You should listen to them and I’m sure you’ll form your own opinions as well. Lyrically, most of the tracks are pretty straightforward.

B: You get the message when you listen, absolutely. Now “Rise,” when I heard that I thought right away of current events because you are invoking people to take their fate in their hands.

SK: Well it’s a shame this album is coming out after this revolution all over Africa. I hope it spreads everywhere.

B: Is this making Nigerian leaders nervous? What’s happening?

SK: It’s going to be more difficult for Nigeria to carry out such a revolution because in the tropical regions of Africa where the British experimented, it was basically a base for them to come into Africa. So the control is different. They have put a lot of people together who cannot unite for a common cause. Uniting for a common cause is very difficult if you don’t share a common interest. In Nigeria we have 270 different tribes with 270 different interests. So in that part of Africa the revolution is going to be different, it’s going to be internal in terms of tribes.  People tell me I’m tribalistic when I say this but I tell them I’m futuristic. The tribes are the real nations. When the Europeans first made contact in Africa those people were a nation, separate from each other, separate entities. They shared common culture, common traditions, and common ancestry. Legalizing their national status, the west systematically broke them up into nations.  The European nations, for example, from Lagos in Nigeria to Western parts of Nigeria, to Togo, even to bits of Ghana – these people are divided into different countries and places.

B: This goes back to the Berlin conference.

SK: Yes these crazy lines. But they knew what they were doing. It was like chemistry, where you put volatile chemicals in a bottle and then you seal it and it begins to bubble. And it’s never stable. That’s how they’ve planned the Africa that they wanted to steal from, where the resources were. That’s why I believe that all tribes have to begin to rediscover themselves in Africa. Discover what makes their identity. Drop the name that the White man has given you. Drop “Nigeria.” What is Nigeria? What is Ghana? What is Gold Coast? What is Ivory Coast? What is that? You know what I’m saying?

B: I do. I do.

SK: What are these names? Who are these people? You go somewhere and you hear one place is Zaire. Who gave you the rights? What is Kenya?

B: I don’t know where that one comes from.

SK: We are not these people.  I’m not a Nigerian. I’m a Yurobaman. You understand what I’m saying?

B: I do.

SK: We must begin to understand and begin to empower ourselves individually enough to develop our minds. In Africa we don’t have the education to develop people’s minds. The education is very minimal. The history we learn is that  Mungo Park discovered Niger. It’s the White Man’s history that they still teach us as our own history because we are unable to trace ourselves back further than when we were discovered by the White Man.  If we are going to stay in that system, Nigeria was created in 1914, meaning everyone who is in that geographical location has a history less than 100 years old.

B: Yeah, crazy.

SK: If you say, “I am Nigerian,” you are less than 100. Your whole history is one lifetime, two generations.

B: And all the history, all the culture before that, never mind.

SK: They don’t mind, exactly. So now all the people don’t know who they are. It’s difficult because in Northern Africa the tribes, although there are not as many, there are a lot.

B: It’s different. There’s a lot more migration

SK: Yeah there’s a lot more people who are the same living together.

B: Yeah and the whole Arab invasion changed everything.

SK: Yeah because they became almost one. Everyone intermarried. They became a common culture.  But we don’t have Islam like that in Nigeria. It’s not a culture; it’s a religion. Just the way Christianity is a religion, too; it’s not a culture. So it’s difficult to find that unifying theme in the tropical areas of Africa.

B: For people to find who they are, they have to go back to their tribal traditions that takes them back.

SK: They have to go back, yes.  And then they become proud, like me, because they see all the things they have accomplished before the White Man got there in 1450. We were way advanced, But it was manipulation of trade. They tricked our leaders to become more advanced than Africans, but when they came here we were way more advanced than them. We had nations already. Most people world were in the early stages of feudalism, like European people. You could see that we were migrating to the next level, forming nations, like Ethiopia becoming a nation. And then other African kings knew Ethiopia and were trying to form nations.  Nations were built and controlled and security before everything was mucked up.

B: You know I was interested in this big thing that just happened in December in Senegal that Wade put together with the celebration of Black arts. He made a speech there where he made some predictions and he said something like in 10 years there won’t be any more countries there will just be one African government. He was trying to suggest, kind of along the lines of what you were saying, that all these lines don’ t really make any sense.  You can’t have actual government based on tribal politics so you’ve got to go even bigger and just have one African government. What do you think about that?

SK: No I think you can have government based on tribal lines. Yoruba is about 20 million strong. Yawusa is about 50 million strong.

B: What happens to the small ones?

SK: There are small nations in Europe, too. There are small nations everywhere.

B: So you would go the other way. You would have many smaller countries?

SK: Yes. But united in economics. We can be united in many social ways. Look at the EU. Look at the United States. These are independent states, almost like autonomous countries that do things for their own people to benefit them in their own way, because everybody’s different.  You can’t have one government that understands everybody.  So there is a certain autonomy to every state in the United States from the federal government. You can have state laws and federal laws. We have that in Africa but in Africa we don’t have state police.  We only have federal police control. So for me I don’t believe that Africa is going to be one united African government.  We can’t even decide African judicial positions, because who is going to be the president of Africa? And how many tribes is he going to represent? You have to let people speak for themselves. Then we can unite like the EU.

B: So you can have an alliance but not a government?

SK: Yes, that’s what it is.  It can be a union. African Unity has been an idea that came even before the EU. The idea of a united Africa, but there cannot be a united government of Africa. That is a delusion. Like when people say Jesus is black. Trying to trick Africans into some kind of camaraderie with Jesus. He’s not black. There’s nobody in this world that can tell me he’s black. He is a white man. A Jewish, white man. I don’t have any new ideas for you. I’m just saying he’s not black. Nobody’s saying there’s a black Jesus. That’s propaganda. They are trying to muck this up. To make people feel at ease, like the illusion of having one African government. It sounds nice, but what is the practicality of it? In Nigeria, the President is building new roads in the western part of Nigeria, in the Yoruba part of Nigeria. He’s doing it because he’s a Yoruba. If he weren’t, he wouldn’t build it there. He’d build it in the North. But if he built roads in the North now, people would say, “Oh look he’s building it there and forgetting his own brothers here.” And that’s just one country.  So when people are ruling themselves, in a way where if a president does any thing he is part of his own tribe and his own people, there will be more trust. There will be more affection. There will be more empathy. People will be your people, not just some people. In every country in Africa, the president on top, all the politicians, they see the citizens as the masses, as just people. They make sure to take care of their own, their family. Cause they know these geographical locations are not even constitutional. They assist the corruption and the evil behavior of the African rulers because it is easy to divide people.  In Nigeria, for example, everybody is doing their own thing. So in this case of everybody doing their own thing, it is easy for a central government to do whatever they want as well. They can divide the people and oppress them one at a time. Ok squash this rebellion here. You go to a town like Obote and commit genocide. The whole nation should stand up. But people say, “I’m not from Odi, that’s not my business.” So we need nationalistic ideas in Africa. That’s what was killed in the 1950’s. All nationalistic rulers of Africa from Idi Amin, Lamumba, Bambelela, everybody was destroyed. The CIA used propaganda and money to give them bad names and call them killers and cannibals because they were preaching Africa for Africa. They chased out the White Man.  They said, “Leave my country. We are going to build industries that will be run by African people. We are going to make goods that will be for African people.” What the west wants from Africa is that we keep buying from them. They come and take the raw materials at a cheap price. They try to get the oil. You buy a kilo of oil for one dollar, you take the one kilo, one small pinch, put it in a little box with a sticker on it, a little chemical, and come back and sell it for $300. That’s what is happening in Africa. Even Africans’ street clothes are not made in Africa anymore. It’s all made in the Netherlands.

B: Yeah a guy told me recently, he was in Indonesia, and he went into a factory where they were making perfect replicas of African masks and all this stuff to sell all over the world.

SK: Yes because we can’t manufacture them in Africa. In my country, how many manufacturers do we have? What are we making? There are no African cars. There’re Australian cars, American cars, Chinese, Japanese, Singapore even. Everybody has cars, but Africa: no cars.  Because that thinking has been removed from the people’s mind, the inspiration. The environment that makes you want to, it’s only when you have unity that you are inspired to create things that will not benefit you but will benefit everybody. Right now everybody in Africa is trying to create something that will benefit ‘me.’ I want to come up with a business plan.  I want to come up with something that everybody will buy and consume and I’ll get more money. Nobody’s coming up with things like, “I want to innovate. I want to help my people. I want to create something.” That atmosphere that inspires you to want to create the telephone, to create the camera, to want to invent, to build, it’s not there.  The environment to encourage – that is not there. Because you will see, we had a lot of it in the 60’s, 70’s, up to the 80’s in Nigeria, we had a lot of local manufacturers making batteries. Batteries were cheap. They made cement. We even import cement in Nigeria. Most of the cement used in Nigeria we import. There are only two cement manufacturing plants in all of Nigeria, in a country of 160 million people! So you see it is impossible for any nation in Africa, especially in the tropical nations, where we don’t have Islam that can run through us as a culture to unify us, to do anything to find our culture, to do anything that unifies us. What makes me the same as you? I say someone is my brother, is Nigerian, but the guy who shares my language, my pain, my ancestry, that person is in another borderline, in another country. It’s like having English people in France.

B: I’m sure it’s a continuous subject.  It all fits together [with the album].

SK: Yeah because if you listen to the songs closely you hear what I’m trying to say there. What they are trying to achieve in Africa today in the way they govern is basically a slave-master to slave relationship. I say in the song that only a slave will not talk in the land where he is walking. He’s not allowed to talk. When he’s a slave he’s not allowed to eat where he walks. When he’s a slave he’s beaten without any remorse or repercussion. Only a slave can be sold the way they sell us in Africa. Maybe they’re not selling us anymore but they’re selling our essence. All our resources, all our land, everything is being sold to Chinese people and Western people. So it is still the same slave mentality that is going on in Africa. You think that this is over. It’s only over in terms of human trade. Economically, and socially the way Africa is run is a slave system where the government is the slave master, the Uncle Toms, put in charge of the people by the White master. So they don’t give a fuck about nobody. They give away what they like, to the West. Because everything they take from Africa they give to the West.

B: Who is it that’s doing this now?

SK: The Encle Toms, the rulers of Africa, the “house niggers.” These are the government officials and politicians of Africa. The white slave-master is still there: Europe and America, controlling them, telling them how to treat their people. They beat, kill, maim.

B: You think they are being told to do that?

SK: Of course, and allow it. Of course that’s the system.

B: Allow, I definitely agree with that.

SK: Yes and they are being told.  Maybe they don’t say, “Kill ten people,” but they say, “You need these things from these people in this place. We don’t care what is happening. If the people don’t want you to take it, you take it by force.”

B: And the Chinese are now big in this? They seem to be the new insurgent force.

SK: Because they’ve got the money to buy, and so Africa is where they’re coming. They own America as well. The Chinese are everywhere.

B: That’s right, they own us as well.

SK: So we are in the same boat. And so in Africa our social system, or economic system is a slavery system to me. They still sell us; they still beat us, and kill us indiscriminately. We’re not allowed freedom of speech to speak our minds. We are the ones suffering while our leaders our enjoying. So this is a slavery system where big amounts of people are working to feed a few families. You have 1000 people working the farm for three people to eat in their house. That’s what is still happening in Africa. That’s why I wrote Slave Masters. I’m tired of the slavery system of Africa. Even up to now it’s going on and it’s even more severe now because we are given the illusion of freedom when we are not really free. Nothing is worse than the illusion of freedom, when you think you are free but you’re not.

SK: Well the song I wrote, how do I put it? In pigeon English…”for the eye you are nothing.” In the eyes of these people, this is how they see the people. There is a famous statement that was made by the wife of President Abacha about the richest man in Africa. He was Nigerian.  The richest man in West Africa is Nigerian, a man called Aliko Dangote, one of the richest men in Africa, worth billions of dollars. So after they realest Abacha’s son from prison, he returns home and they ask her how she feels having her son back. She says, oh she’s very happy to have her son back. Apparently they had donated $1.5 billion to the federal government. Has that affected the fortunes of their family? Do you know what she says? She says, no matter how much my family gives back to the government, we can never be as wretched as Dangote.

B: As wretched?

SK: Yes.

B: So that’s her standard, right?

SK: Basically what I am saying is we are not important to them, in their eye. The people are not important. Because if someone like Dangote, who is also a part of Them, you know, it is the establishment that created him. They give him his funding; they give him his opportunities. But to them, he is wretched. So imagine me? I could probably walk right past her and she wouldn’t even see me. She wouldn’t even see something go by.  Like, did anybody just walk by? This is a billionaire, in dollars, being called wretched. Maybe he has $3 billion; well she has that much under her bed. That’s why I wrote that song. How do they see us? How do they look at us? Do they look at us with pride? Do they look at us with joy? How do they see us? No, they don’t see us, at all.

B: Deep man, that’s beautiful. And then you end up with something very different. The Good Leaf…?

SK: Yeah you know on every album I have one song that is just social, a social thing for everybody to enjoy.  But this time I also wanted my social song to have a message. Not like Fire Dance where I wrote about women’s buttocks. I like the song, it’s a great song. And I like the subject. Female  Buttocks is my forte.

B: So this is your second forte?

SK: Yeah. So this time I wanted to write The Good Leaf, which is about the legal status of marijuana, because I had an epiphany.  Was there any research, extensive research that was carried out about marijuana before it was banned? I Googled and I did everything and the answer was no.  They just said oh this thing is bad.  Ban it! But now they have cigarettes. Extensive research has been done and nothing positive has been discovered. It will give you heart disease; it will give you lung cancer; it will kill children if you’re pregnant; it will kill children if their mothers smoke it around them; it’s so bad that if you are allergic and someone were to smoke in here it would kill you. So the hypocrisy now is, why not ban it? Why package it in a box that says, “It will Kill You,” and try to be grotesque, and ban it in the park, and ban it in the clubs, but you can still buy it in the stores? Put weed in a fucking box. Say this shit will make you high, hungry, and happy! It’s working for cigarettes. Why not for marijuana? It’s just the hypocrisy. I wrote that song for the hypocrisy of the illegality of marijuana.

B: It’s beautiful. I approve. And it’s so interesting because it seems at times that we are heading that way. That it’s going to get there with medical marijuana. But then there are these setbacks. Did you know that in NYC,in the last five years, the amount of people getting arrested on the street for smoking ganja, when a cop smells it or searches them or whatever, that number is up 70 percent in five years?! What is that?

SK: Yeah because it is numbers you know? All the cops want to ensure that they’re doing some work. You have to realize that marijuana is a big competition for cigarettes.  And these cigarette people have billions of dollars.  So if you have billions of dollars, and you see a little farmer in Nigeria or wherever, from Brazil or Mexico, trying to come and remove your billions of dollars, then use your billions of dollars to put him down. That’s why the government can continue to fund this wasteful drug war. You know if they seize a million tons of cocaine or marijuana or heroine, five million tons are produced the next day. And even the million tons that is seized, the fucking police send it back to the dealers. So it’s just the hypocrisy of everything. I’m not really into cocaine. I’ve never done coke. I’ve never done heroine.  I don’t do drugs. I like natural things. And as far as I know, it is very disrespectful of any government, of any man, to say that something that grows from the ground is illegal.  Who are you? To me it is an insult to nature for some man, because of the little power that he has that he would die and enter that same ground to say that something coming out of the ground is illegal. This is the beginning of the end of human reasoning and civilization.  I believe 5000 years ago people were more civilized than they are today, because what was most important was honor. Honor. And we’ve lost it today. It’s been replaced by money. Nobody has any balls anymore.  And I feel that is really uncivilized.

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