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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Corporate Public Control Department’ By Seun Kuti

From Nigerian musician Seun Kuti, the youngest son of Fela Kuti, comes this protest anthem aimed at Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as corrupt governments throughout the world. 

“Corporate Public Control Department (C.P.C.D.)” features a classic afrobeat rhythm, with punctuating horn riffs from the Egypt 80. They were Fela’s backing band.

Kuti sings, “I give them my vote, and dem abuse it,” and, “Promise to give me peace and you give me war.”

“You promise me justice, and then you jail the poor. You promise jobs, and you close the factory. But there’s always work in the penitentiary,” he adds.

The corrupt politicians he sings of come every few years from the left and the right. They come with the same lies and empty promises. They come with their politics of hate. They come with their politics of war. And they come to divide poor and working class people by turning them against each other.

Backup vocalists sing, “Corporate Public Control Department,” and he responds, “Now the new name for government.” He lists off the public positions that have become corporate ones (e.g. the President is now the Director).

“C.P.C.D.” is one of several songs on his latest album, “Black Times,” which is aimed at building solidarity with those engaged in struggles for social justice. But it actually was released in 2016 as “Gimme My Vote Back (C.P.C.D.).”

“We are all capable of change, us iron people, us workers. ‘Black Times’ is the sound of the people, and a weapon of the future. The big picture needs more color,” according to Kuti.

Buhari was in power when Fela Kuti was still alive making rebel music. Seun Kuti said in an interview for the Intercept’s podcast, “[Nigerians] need to organize and energize. You know, the indoctrination we have so far, to the motherland people, here on the continent.” He highlighted the “psychological damage” that has occurred during periods of “subjugation and oppression” in his home country.

His music challenges the narratives of elites, which so much of the global population is willing to regurgitate.

“You know, as if they care about the people, as if they care about the Earth, as if they care about our social constructs. They only care about the dollar,” Kuti asserted. “Last year, the elites took 85 percent of the money that was generated in this world.”

“One percent of the population of this world took 85 percent of the money that we generated last year. And it’s only going to rise, every other year, and that is the new outrage in the world, and that is what is causing so much pain, and that is what I want people to see.”

Listen to “Corporate Public Control Department (C.P.C.D.)”:

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."