Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Am I Be


De La Soul

This lands in my "top 5 best hip hop songs ever" category. Let's see, what else would go there..."By The Time I Get To Arizona" by Public Enemy for sure, hmmm..."Iron Galaxy" by Cannibal Ox (go Cat People!)... Something from U-God, but of course...ehmm...Ooh! And "Syntax Era" by Leaders of the New School! Okay, for those few who read this, if you have beef with my taste, feel free to diss (that means you, Liam.)
What I love about "I Am I Be" is it's sense of poignant sadness and resignation. For De La Soul, a happy-go-lucky, hippy-hop group, to pull off something so mature was a feat in itself; but the track went beyond all expectations and set a new landmark in the world of hiphop.
As you can probably tell by the sound, this song came out in the early nineties, back when hiphop was in its adolescence and the genre was still taking baby steps. This came long before the advent of underground, and g-funk and gangsta were still in their germinal period. I mean, it had only been a short while since Ice-T and the 2 Live Crew had made their marks by being infatuated with penis humor and swear words. And De La came out with THIS. Just listen to the lyrics. Posdnous raps about a number of sobering topics, from the personal struggle of unplanned fatherhood, to the public tragedy of the disolusionment of the Native Tongues click. Prince Paul as always sets the perfect sonic backdrop, and a host of guest voices float in and out of the mix(Listen for Q-Tip's bitter remark "I Am Q-Tip and I Be friction"). I will never tire of this one, and I hope you enjoy it....I'm thinking now I should switch U-God with "Ghetto Bastard" by Naughty By Nature...Nah.

I Am I Be

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Miracles of Sant'iago

Here's a pretty little ditty. I don't know anything about this kind of music, except that I think it sounds nice. This track is an ancient choral piece traditionally sung by a boys choir, but sung by women (the Anonymous 4) in this recording. I listened to this song a lot last winter when I'd drive to work in the dark, then home in the dark, blasting over the sound of the defogger. It was cold and wet, and I'd shiver; feverishly slurping coffee and and chewing stale Pop Tarts as I drove. Praise the Lord.

Vox nostra resonet

Friday, October 3, 2008

More wu...sorry

John Spencer

I promise I'll eventually get over the Wu-Tang obsession soon...but not quite yet. This is off the Experimental Remixes album that the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion put out in '95. It featured reworkings of Blues Explosion material by people as diverse as Calvin Johnson, Moby, UNKLE, and Beck. I was into some of these artists at the time, so I picked it up. I tried hard to like it, but I really wasn't into the cd and wound up selling it back to Easy Street Records after a few listens. The record was noisy and uneven, except for the last track, "Greyhound Part 2 (Genius Remix)", which I think marked the recording debut of Wu-family member Killah Priest. This is dark and desolate music, and Killah Priest's imagery-filled lyrics are poetic and impressive. It definitely stood out on the record. Check out his groaning that closes the song. Classic old-school Wu.

Greyhound Part 2