Friday, May 18, 2007

RJD2 - "Ghostwriter"

Okay I have to admit I have something of a hard-on for this song, and I can't pinpoint exactly why. I think it's the way it builds up from a kind of smooth, laid-back guitar vibe, then breaks out into a dramatic, triumphant horn solo.

The song came out around 2002 and I still have a rather unusual obsession with it. It's my ringtone so call me anytime.

This is a very cool live version that RJD2 did somewhere with some turntablism and some live instrumentation. It's only about 3 minutes long, but it gives you everything you need to know about how awesome this instrumental is. The sound is a little spotty, so you may have to turn it up.

This appears to be some kind of student film that someone made with "Ghostwriter" as the soundtrack. The video appears to be kind of pointless to me, and more a reason to show some cool camera angles. Real film student shit. But I could listen to this song with a video of a kitten taking a nap, and it's the album version, so I don't care. (Actually, I just finished watching the video and it ends up being kinda cool.)

It's such a great song, because at about the 5 minute mark, you think it's just about over and then it kicks into overdrive just one more time. Magnificent.

Lords of the Underground - "Chief Rocka"

I always had a strange soft spot in my heart for Lords of the Underground. I'm not quite sure why. A lot of their songs were kind of corny. Their names were Mr. Funky, Doitall (like "do it all") and Lord Jaz. And they had a somewhat publicized battle with one of my all time favorite MCs, Lord Finesse.

But this song is one of their greats. First of all, the song itself is beyond hot. The beat itself is vintage east coast funk. It's got an actual DJ doing actual scratching. The lyrics are actually kind of cool, not corny like they got once in a while.

The video itself is very much of its era, with a lot of rapping going on in very dark rooms. But the video is set apart by the slow motion breakdancing. For some reason that is just the perfect, graceful counterpoint to the chaotic and frenetic music. I can't hear the song without thinking of this video.

Also, Redman shows up at 3:38!!! Of course it's so dark you can barely see him.

Keep in mind, there are several versions of this song, all slightly different. The first version contains the chorus is simply Lord Jaz cutting up "The Lord Chief Rocka, Numba One Chief Rocka" on vinyl. The radio edit -- and in my opinion superior, but much harder-to-find version -- is the "Boomshakalaka yo here comes the Chief Rocka" chorus.

"Lord Chief Rocka version"

"Boomshakalaka version"

I'm the, Chief Rocka, so I guess I am in charge
I freak it with a twist so you'll boom it in your cars
I'm the, one with the flow and the grip like G.I. Joe
I snatch, I grab, and then I grab the dough, see if
I was an Indian I'd still be the Chief
Hittin' gangsters like Apache with the funk from beneath
To the hip, the hop, to the hibby to the hibbidy
hip-hop, oh no, I don't wanna go pop!
I got, too much soul, rhythm and blues
R&B ya see, all that's cool, but
hip-hop and rap yeah that's where my heart's at
Even back when I used to break on a box

Heavy D - "Don't Curse"

I'm back babies!

Before I begin, just a quick few words. The world has changed a lot since my last post in October. YouTube is not as valuable or reliable as it once was. I'm finding many of the previous videos I've posted are not working or have been removed. Why do record companies have their heads shoved so far up their own asses that they can't realize that YouTube (and similar sites) are the best advertisting they can get. Morons!

Okay let's get started

I was never a big fan of Heavy D, however this album -- Blue Funk -- had a bunch of genuine surprises. "A Buncha Niggaz" was one of them, this was another.

If you flash back to 1992, you may not have been able to assemble a better array of hip hop stars of that time period. Count 'em down: Heavy D, Kool G Rap, Grand Puba, CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane (wearing a Big Daddy Cast on his arm), Pete Rock and Q-Tip. That is a formidable lineup, and you could say that except for maybe CL Smooth, it's a Hip Hop Hall of Fame lineup.

I actually really really like the concept of this video where each rapper gets his own "room" which fits his rapping style. So Kool G. Rap gets a high-stakes roulette wheel, Kane gets a fancy room with a lot of girls, CL Smooth gets a room with a 6'6" basketball hoop? Okay. The problem, as was the problem with most rap videos of the era, was that it jumps around way too much. They could have made this so much cooler and more conceptual, but instead the camera has do bob and weave around like Katherine Hepburn holding a camera while running on a treadmill.

I really like that in the song, they pretend that they were just about to swear, but somehow covered it up. How hard do you think it was to get Kool G Rap to actually NOT swear?

You can't really hear it in this version of the video, but at the end, the chorus chants "Free Slick Rick." That's part of the problem with the hip hop community. If Slick Rick had attempted to murder you, would you want him let out?

You're telling me don't curse on a verse, they did it worse
First I put a curse on every verse
I kind of got outrageous
Check it, even made a record on how I'm doing on the B-I-T-C-Hes
Drop some verses for the bust
Every word that you heard is cause I didn't give a f-, aw shucks
Hey yo, I almost forgot
The curse is a plot but it's getting kinda hot
So I'ma let profanity retire, hey
But if worse comes to worse, I'll cut you out like Richard Pryor
So Grand Puba, kick a verse
But do your man a favor and don't curse