Who exactly is Chief Xcel? Okay, he’s one half of some Californian hip-hop act, Blackalicious. But can someone please explain how he came to be ordained as the rightful mixer of the late Fela Kuti’s archive, when more credible producer/DJ’s do exist?
Be that as it may, “The Underground Spiritual Game” is enjoyable, mainly because it’s an unbroken set of Fela favourites. And to his credit, Xcel has left the original sounds relatively untouched; though some of his mixes are quite abrupt.
The music is interestingly interspersed with extracts of Fela’s voice, taken from interviews, I’d have to assume – because these details are unavailable; and yet the sleeve notes describing the songs are informative, and properly credited.
A project of this enormity should provide information and insight – and show honour on all levels. However, it has grown on me, and I suppose I’d recommend this CD to anyone who wants to taste Fela, but can’t afford a box set.