African Man

Album: New Values (1979)
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Iggy Pop takes on the persona of an "African Man" who is proud of his heritage. He recorded the track in less enlightened times for his 1979 album, New Values. Some lyrics haven't aged well.

    I eat a monkey for breakfast
    I eat a skunk for lunch
    I live in the bush
    I eat with my fingers
    I don't use no knife and fork 'cuz I live in the jungle


    Pop stole the lyric from an African singer. "I couldn't think up anything else to go with that music, and I had seen an African artist play in a tiny club in Berlin, and it was totally different music," he told the New York Times in 2023. "But he had that lyric, and I thought, Boy, that's fun, and why can't I sing that too?"

    Pop added he wouldn't have a problem if streaming services removed the track. "I would put it this way," he said. "It's the weakest song on the album. If the record company wanted to knock that off the album, I'd be all for that."
  • New Values was Pop's first album with Arista. It features a mix of punk, rock, and New Wave influences. Some songs on the record, such as "I'm Bored" and "Don't Look Down," have become fan favorites and Pop has performed them live on many occasions.
  • Pop reunited with former Stooges bandmates James Williamson and Scott Thurston on New Values. Williamson produced the album and Thurston co-wrote five of the tracks, including "African Man."

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