Monday, August 11, 2008
Ain't Rappin' No Jive...
Hello World...how we feelin' out there? I know your meters must be runnin' dangerously low since it's been a long minute between posts, but no worries. I'm comin' through like Supafly with some high voltage soul power to rejuvenate that ass.
Okay then...enough grandiose superhero nonsense. Let's get easy and take it back to the essence...
"Mister Boogie"---Brother Soul (zShare)
"Mister Boogie"---Brother Soul (savefile)
I'm startin' this session off properly with a seriously infectious funk groove that will make you want to shake and break joints and body parts you never knew existed. Mister Boogie is a fly-ass dude, posturing himself with unabashed confidence and bragadaccio: cats out there tryin' to use my name, but the way I get down puts all y'all to shame/cuz I'm Mr. Boogie...Mr Boogie's my name. Furthermore, if you want to get done, baby...he'll do you. Ummm...guess you can't argue with that.
*From When This Is Over
"I Don't Like To"---Shad (zShare)
"I Don't Like To"---Shad (savefile)
*From The Old Prince
American hip hop enthusiasts are still snoozin' on Shad (aka Shadrach Kabango) for the most part, an oversight which ultimately seems to our detriment. Many of us are bored to death with stereotypical crap rappers, having finally gotten our fill of the bling and bang that the recording industry keeps trying to cram down our collective throat.
Shad's name is scrawled in bold letters on my list of reasons why it's myopic and misguided to proclaim the death of hip hop. The Canadian rhymesayer seems just as concerned as many of us are that the genre is becoming a parody of its former self, and his artistic struggle against this disheartening trend is truly evident in his work. Shad is unafraid to explore the depths of serious social issues such as genocide in Rwanda, but unlike most of the so-called political MCs you can name, his tracks don't sound like a speech with music playing incidentally in the background. Always lyrical, with an iceberg flow, Shad carries his listeners through the shadows of his mindstate and imagination with the greatest of ease.
I chose a couple of more accessible joints from his two LPs so that you snitches can get your feet wet at the shallow end of the pool. Check for all things Shad via his MySpace page.
"If You Don't Want My Love (Give It Back)"---Bobby Womack (zShare)
"If You Don't Want My Love (Give It Back)"---Bobby Womack (savefile)
Although it was overshadowed by the immense popularity of the title track on the Across 110th Street soundtrack, I still have the utmost admiration for the understated beauty of this particular track. If you love soul music, it's nearly impossible to front on the song's profound vulnerability...although your inner thug might wonder why Bobby didn't just man up and steal his shit back, instead of asking for it so...politely. Whatever. The next time you make a mixtape for an unrequited love, this joint right here should easily make the tracklist.
"I Want Everyone To Know"---Fontella Bass (zShare)
"I Want Everyone To Know"---Fontella Bass (savefile)
One of the many reasons why I prefer to post tracks instead of full albums is because there are very few albums that I enjoy listening to from beginning to end. Even on records that I truly love, there are usually one or two songs that resonate with me more than the rest of the material on the LP.
Fontella Bass' Free album (1972) is one of those rare gems that I often play from front to back. That said, when the needle hits "I Want Everyone To Know", the world stops spinning on its axis for precisely 3 minutes and 4 seconds. Need I say more?
"Hope (Taka Remix)"---Nas (zShare)
"Hope (Taka Remix)"---Nas (savefile)
"Elevators (Taka Remix)"---Outkast (zShare)
"Elevators (Taka Remix)"---Outkast (savefile)
After hearing no less than a hundred mixes of "Hope" since Nas dropped Hip Hop Is Dead, I would have bet my auntie's gold-plated front tooth that I wouldn't have the heart to listen to another one anytime soon. Well...damn if I wasn't dead wrong. Taka asked me to check out his take on the joint and as it turns out, he crafted one of the dopest remixes of the track I've heard yet...and that's sayin' somethin'.
If you're feelin' these mixes like I do, stop by Beats by Taka 4 Heads to Rock 2 and show some love and support for the man's hustle. He's got quite a few remixes up for free download and y'all been warned...this kid's one to keep an eye on for the future.
"Can I Dedicate"---The Loading Zone (zShare)
"Can I Dedicate"---The Loading Zone (savefile)
The Loading Zone was formed in Oakland, CA in 1967 by singer/keyboardist Paul Fauerso, shortly after his jazz outfit (the Tom Paul Trio) had dissolved. He enlisted an ensemble of musicians to create an R&B combo that would fuse elements of psychedelia, funk, jazz, rock, and the blues into their mystical brew of cosmic noise.
The group managed to garner a somewhat cultish regional following on the strength of their live performances, which led them to seek out a lead singer (Linda Tillery) and record their self-titled debut album. From what I've read, their live sets (opening for Janis Joplin, Cream, and The Grateful Dead) were far more enthralling than their recorded material, and most critics of the day felt that their sound didn't translate all that well on wax. The album's integrity was undoubtedly compromised by a few borderline crappy Motown covers, and some listeners thought that Tillery's histrionic vocal style was more grating than great. The group disbanded shortly after the record failed to gain popularity, although Tillery and Fauerso tried to revive the group in 1970 with new members, releasing their One For All LP. The following year, they permanently went their separate ways.
I can personally get down with Tillery's vocals if I'm in the right mood, but understanding that they're problematic for many, I chose to salvage their instrumental groove "Can I Dedicate" from the dustbin for your listening pleasure. If nothin' else, ya gotta have love for those horns, kids...
"If Somebody Told You"---Anna King (zShare)
"If Somebody Told You"---Anna King (savefile)
Along with the likes of Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Vicki Anderson and Yvonne Fair, Anna King was just one of many female vocalists featured in the James Brown Revue. While the Godfather of Soul often included these women on his live albums and/or offered them solo contracts on his label, the only one he produced an entire LP for was Anna King. The result was a deeply soulful album that, despite its moderate sales, is in keeping with the quality and mindblowing style of JB's early '60s recordings. Originally released in 1964, the Back To Soul LP was relatively difficult to find until it was reissued on Shout in 2006. Doesn't matter how you get it...just get it if you can.
"The Corner (Soul Children Remix)"---Common (zShare)
"The Corner (Soul Children Remix)"---Common (savefile)
A'ight...so you might reasonably argue that Kanye blessed this track lovely in the first place, so why would someone even attempt to switch up his beat? I don't think this mix trumps the original by any means, but I definitely appreciate the laidback jazz groove that the Soul Children put behind these rhymes. Besides, how could they possibly have laid claim to an iller name? This joint can be found on their Start A Fresh LP, released in 2006.
"If I Can't Have You"---Labelle (zShare)
"If I Can't Have You"---Labelle (savefile)
You know why I have so much reverence for Labelle? When they're fully in their element, they not only take you to church...they become the church.
I mean...whoa...can I get a witness?
I'm sure that quite a few of you are already familiar with "Caldonia", but these two videos are a must if you've never had the opportunity to see them. First off, Louis Jordan's classic performance of the tune, showcasing what a phenomenal musician and entertainer he was:
Nextly, Frank "Sugar Chile" Robinson's rendition of the song from the 1946 film "No Leave, No Love". This infant boogie virtuoso was nothing short of amazing (no puns):
Finally, my man Wrekonize recently sent me a link to the video for "The Right", his new track with DJ I-Dee and Jean Grae. No bias whatsoever, kids...this joint is ill. Be sure to check out I-Dee's Solitude LP, set to drop later this month:
From Shirin Neshat's Women Of Allah
Stencil by asboluv
Chuck D painting created live in Montreal by Gene Pendon and DSTRBO for HVW8
*I'm Voting Republican: a satirical take on the potentially catastrophic consequences of four more years...
*My friend Sa'id has been talkin' about starting a culture blog for quite some time, and I'm happy to announce that Blame The Critic is finally here. Let me preface this introduction by saying that everything this man touches is sheer brilliance, which is precisely how he earned my respect in the first place. Some of the topics he's tackled so far are geek revisionism (a term he coined himself), foxes of the '70s (pics only, but who else pays homage to the beauty of Tamara Dobson?), and movies going the way of Shakespeare (probably not what you think).
I'm planning to honor his request that I do some writing over there as well, so make sure you tune in and turn on, children...
*In the blazing summer heat we all scream for ice cream, right? If you couldn't make it to Japan for the Yokohama Ice Cream Expo, here's the scoop (no puns this time either) on what you missed. Despite the inclusion of beloved taste sensations such as eel, potato, crab, and raw horse, apparently beef tongue flavor was the hands down favorite. Hmmm...I just threw up a little.
While I was working on this post yesterday afternoon, I received word that Isaac Hayes had left the earth. I can't begin to articulate how greatly his work impacted my life and contributed to my passion for soul music, especially because the loss is so unexpected and profound. Not to mention, I hadn't even wrapped my head around the death of Bernie Mac yet...
My personal tribute and retrospective on Hayes' rich legacy will surely follow at some point, but for now I'll just share the first song I spun on my turntable after hearing the news.
Rest in peace, soul brother.
"Going In Circles"---Isaac Hayes (zShare)
"Going In Circles"---Isaac Hayes (savefile)
Word From Your Moms:
"Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time."
"I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
"Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within."
"No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time."
"You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself."
*All wisdom above courtesy of James A. Baldwin