Friday, May 1, 2009
graffiti . . . and
black ego . . . and
jettin' by digable planets
i dn't expect her to see me
jettin is fuckin awewsome. i love sharing the music i was dumb-crazy-in-love for the same music i was in dumb crazy in love with when i was 16-23.... .. .. . . . .. .
uh, i was drunk when i wrote all that. i figured i'd leave it in for fun.
anyway. i first heard digable planets when i was 17 or so, on vacation in northern michigan, in the basement of my friend matt's grandparents. digable was on mtv, with their "nickel bags of funk" video. i had extremely limited exposure to mtv while growing up, but that limited exposure actually did me good. i don't have positive associations in general when it comes to mtv, but i got hip early on, to de la soul and digable planets because of it.
so, i got digable planets' first cd. it and their second record still stand up today. they are pretty much great from beginning to end. they still tour here and there, but they only ever released those two records.
digable planets (and de la soul) are one of the bands i think would change opinions of those people who say ignorant shit like "rap sucks", or "rap is not music". there may not be the playing of traditional musical instruments in much rap and hip hop, but goddamn if it doesn't take a true artist to produce new, quality music from samples of other records, and, as with hip hop, just as in any form of music, it takes great talent to write memorable lyrics and melodies. a lot of hip hop has this [besides, many hip hop acts are groups with actual, musical instruments anyway, especially when touring (i.e. digable planets), but i'll save that for a separate post]. in the case of digable planets, they mainly use samples of jazz records as the basis of their songs. lots of upright bass.
back to the song. "jettin'" is pure fun. it's starts of with a sprightly vibraphone which continues throughout, and then the awesome fucking bass line kicks in. the bass sounds like its underwater, but its still busy, powerful and infectious. this is a song for a sunny day in the city.
i remember playing "jettin'" on "the reacharound", the college radio show i had for years, and getting a call from a guy asking who did the song. the only people who usually called me in the studio were my friends. i probably had less than 5 people call me in 4 years that weren't my friends. so it was nice to hear from someone else. what gave me even more pleasure in this instance, was that this guy was black. and he's asking about the hip hop i'm playing on my show. now, i get a lot of joy from turning other people on to music. its one of my favorite things. based off of the few times it has happened, i apparently get particular joy when my black friends ask me for tips on whats good in hip hop. not that i'm anything close to a connoisseur of hip hop, nor that i get that question much at all, but, i have to admit that i like when it has happened and it makes me a bit proud or something. yes, i'm a fucking dork.
enough blathering. enjoy the song.
you can buy buy buy digable planets records at your favorite, local, independent record store.
whoa, thanks to heidi who pointed out that i kept talkin 'bout "jettin'" when i had posted the "graffiti" mp3. for that entire post i was describing "jettin'" except for the part about they guy calling me at the radio show. he was definitely calling about "graffiti". to make up for my mistake i've posted both of those songs.
and, i've posted "black ego", which was my favorite song of this record, and is probably my favorite from this band. especially. damn. this album is really meant to be listened to from beginning to end. the transition from the first song off of 'blowout comb', "the may 4th movement", in to "black ego" is perfect. the last few seconds of of the first song is busy with horns and as it ends it bleeds nicely in to a nice collage of opiated bass, underwater guitar riff loops, and socio-commentary clips into the sublime next six minutes. the bass line and strings really carry this gorgeous song. i was in my first year of potting smoke still. this song really enveloped me and this album was one of my three fave soundtracks to my freshman year of college.
the other, main soundtracks to my freshman year of college was: 'chocolate and cheese' by ween (the winner by far) and 'bee thousand' by guided by voices. i should get to those next.