Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lady Soul

I've got many Aretha Franklin favorites but these two treats have become the most endearing to me over the years.

"Oh No Not My Baby" is an uptempo groover. I'm digging all the elements here - the drum kicks are serious, the string arrangements, the rhythmic guitar strums, the horn jabs and Aretha's urging vocals and interplay with her background singers. A killer production all around.

The thing that strikes me the most about "Crazy He Calls Me" is the cozy intimacy of Aretha's performance. She sustains it from beginning to end. When she proclaims "I say I'll move the mountains, and I'll move the mountains, if he wants them out of the way", I'm certain she will.


"Oh No Not My Baby" (Spirit In The Dark, 1970)
"Crazy He Calls Me" (Aretha Franklin: Soul '69, 1969)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Return Of The Funk Doc

Word is Redman's Red Gone Wild will finally see a release date of March 27, 2007. That's right, this fuckin' year! Although I wouldn't necessarily put my pink slip on it (after all, this is Hip-Hop and he is still on Def Jam), I'm almost sure enough to hold my breath. While I'm not sure why this album has been pushed back for so long (remember, Malpractice dropped in 2001), it's been way too long between official releases and it's about time his elastic flows finally get a push into the radio airwaves. He hasn't remained idle as dedicated fans probably have his various Gilla House Mixtapes, including his latest pre-Red Gone Wild installment Live From The Bricks.

Truth be told, I can't wait.

I don't feel it necessary to break down his lyrical virtuosity and effortless delivery. I'm not even sure he has a technique that he's even aware of because his stream of words and syllables seem to take on a life of their own. His own description is best, "My words prac-tic-ly geronimo! off the disc!!".

Let it marinate. I guarantee you'll enjoy every unrestrained flurry...

"The Saga Continues" (J-Zone Remix)
"Lick A Shot"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dilla Day

I can't give you a favorite J-Dilla production cause there's just too many. These two Dilla creations are impeccable. "Love" is off of his second posthumous album The Shining released on BBE shortly after Donuts, Dilla's incredible instrumental record. It's a song that just takes off from jump and lifts you off your feet with it's soaring strings and soulful chorus, "We must be in loooovve". I think Monch should have stuck with what he does best but he chose to take a gospel route with the sing-songy hooks. But the track really isn't about his inclusion. It's all Dilla baby.

"Dollar" comes from Steve Spacek's Space Shift released in 2005. It's got similar characteristics as "Love" although it doesn't possess the same burst of energy. "Let the dollar circulate!" over that horn break is tremendous and I love how the track turns more subdued with the low-key bassline as Spacek's hollow vocals plays contrast. It's almost like Marvin Gaye kicking vintage vocals over a J-Dilla remix - Modern Contemporary Urban Hip-Hop Intergalactic Classic Soul if you will...

J-Dilla feat. Pharoah Monch: "Love"
Steve Spacek: "Dollar"

Monday, February 12, 2007


I slept and completely forgot that one of the best who ever did it had a birthday on February 7. Hold tight while I scramble for some J-Dilla goodies...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The N

OK, so no Primo collabo yet. But this video for "Can't Forget About You" is something to see. The best track from an otherwise underwhelming album. Hip-Hop videos aren't usually this good and they typically don't convey the artists vision very well. It's usually ice grills, rims, the entourage with screw faces and, the staple of all rap videos, tits and asses a-shakin'. But Nas' new video captures not only the sound and feel of the song, but the theme as well. Very tastefully made. The man behind the camera? Chris Robinson. You've probably seen something he's done as he's one of the go-to R&B/ Rap video directors artists call on to throw some visuals together. I only liked the one he did for her. "Can't Forget..." comes in second.

Anyhow, Nas almost redeems himself with this video.

And by the way, Will. I. Am kills it on this production. He doesn't really do anything all that innovative with the "Unforgettable" sample but he puts the thump in it and that's enough. R&B hooks and Hip-Hop tracks are a big no-no in my book but Chrissette Michele does it right. It fits in nicely with the melody of the song without sounding ridiculous like many R&B/Rap collabos tend to be. Will. I. Am = the new Neptunes???

But I still don't know about his Black Eyed Peas. They're just scary man.

Nas feat. Chrissette Michele: "Can't Forget About You"

Bonus: Nas & B.I.G. pass the mic cerca 199?.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Keith Knight is one of my favorite satirical cartoonists. KQED just re-aired this artist profile a couple of nights ago and he's got a new collection out titled Are We Feeling Safer Yet?.

Take a glance at his world...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Smooth And Jazzy

The first great song of 2007. Jazzy Jeff follows up 2002's The Magnificent with, you guessed it, The Return of the Magnificent (EP). I listened to the other tracks on the EP and they just don't measure up to this velvety groove with the Mecca Don himself, CL Smooth supplying the colloquials. There couldn't be a more perfect fit for the track. Jazzy Jeff should have produced CL's whole last album. You know, the mess that is American Me. Anyway, CL's flow on this cut is ridiculously good. Mecca & The Soul Brother and The Main Ingredient good.

DJ Jazzy Jeff feat. CL Smooth: "All I Know"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's About That Time

"The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax."
-Albert Einstein

In honor of the tax season I offer two excellent selections on complete opposite scales of presentation. The Beatles' "Taxman" comes from their Revolver album which many would argue to be the best album ever recorded. Song for song, I'd say Abbey Road is a stronger recording but I'm a late bloomer to the British invasion and didn't really begin diving into their albums until the mid 90's. But damn! Revolver's tracklist stacks hit after hit. The album boasts records like "Got To Get You Into My Life", "Good Day Sunshine", Eleanor Rigby" and "Yellow Submarine". But my favorite is "Taxman" simply because it has one of the slickest basslines I've heard. But moreover, for the sake of this posts theme, it's the taxpayer's lament.

"If you drive a car, I'll tax the street.
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat.
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet."

Walt Dickerson's "Death & Taxes" from This Is Walt Dickerson! is a completely different mood. Rather than sounding morose as one might expect given the title, Dickerson's work on the vibes is playful and upbeat. This tune is classy and pleasant, despite the somber title. Dickerson is a master on every shimmering track of this fantastic album.

Since April 15th falls on a Sunday this year, you've technically got an extra day...Celebrate.

The Beatles: "Taxman"
Walt Dickerson: "Death & Taxes"