Fela Kuti - Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D.)
Johnny Just Drop (1977) Recorded in autumn 1976, six months before the army attack on Kalakuta Republic, the title track is a lampoon of “been-to”s, Nigerians who had been to Europe or the US and who came back with inferiority complexes about African culture. Ghariokwu Lemi’s front-cover portrays a suited-up been-to, dressed like a cartoon British toff, as he parachutes into a Lagos street to the bemusement of passers-by. The back cover shows a more funkily dressed been-to, wearing US-style ghetto-chic, but looking equally out of place. See how these JJD’s dress and talk, sings Fela, they are trying to be foreigners. In response, the chorus repeat the single word “original.” This is a reference to Fela’s closing line on 1973’s “Gentleman” – “I no be gentleman at all-o, I be Africa man, original.”
Originally released by Decca Afrodisia. Johnny Just Drop is talking about Africans who travel abroad only to return home with new values and mannerisms. Since the advent of colonialism in Africa, the education system left Black people with an inferior perception of their culture. Those who are Western educated, are in the habit of repeating untruths about African traditions and heritage, because the discipline to think and act big has not yet become a part of Africa’s present day academic and intellectual traditions. For example, those trained in the use of English, Spanish, German, French or Portuguese languages will argue forcefully that those are international languages in which alone science and technology can be intelligently studied. If this is true, one wonders how the ancient Black Egyptians built the pyramids or how the guild of craftsmen in Benin and other parts of the continent created the works of art produced over many centuries past. In JJD, Fela is reminding Africans travelling abroad in search of greener pastures to be proud of their original cultural values—those inherent values the JJD ‘educated’ elite have been brainwashed to despise.
J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) Part I
J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) Part II