It’s with heavy hearts that music fans bring in this long weekend - we just lost one of the most unique and influential voices of the last 40 years: Gil Scott-Heron. The poet, R & B artist, and hip-hop godfather was 62. In the 70’s, his blend of spoken-word soul covered issues of race, city life, politics. His wasn’t just a topical style though - his voice was nuanced and insightful. His classics include “We Almost Lost Detroit,” which dealt with the partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor in Detroit and “Home is Where the Hatred is,” a impassioned cry from within the depths oppressive inner-city. While he wasn’t always fond of hip-hop’s direction, his influence - implicit or explicit - is undeniable, most notably with his prototypical socially critical rap. Younger fans of contemporary hip-hop might recognize some of his music too, sampled by the likes of Kanye West, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Blackalicious, and many more.
In 2010, he released the critically lauded I’m New Here, his first album of new material since 1994. Unfortunately, the resurgence in Scott-Heron’s career and, most importantly, his life, has come to a premature end. As summer season dawns, we remember one of the best who ever did it. Rest in Power.
“You Are Invited” – The Dismemberment Plan (Words/music: The Dismemberment Plan, available on Emergency & I, DeSoto 1999 / Barsuk 2011)
Part 2 of 2: “No date, no place, no time, no RSVP”
I usually think about the contrasting sections in this song. Specifically, I think of the way the live band ambushes the programmed beat during the second chorus, only to recede back to the sequencer for the next verse. Recently, I started paying closer attention to the strange sounds that creep in during the end of the second verse. They happen right around the point the narrator goes to the party held by his “ex-thing,” and they’re mixed beneath the fast clicking that runs throughout the entire second beat. Maybe it’s from knowing that the full band waits ready to bust through the chorus, or maybe it’s from the type of tension I’d feel if I went to a party at my ex’s house, but these sounds made the rest of the verse feel nervous. This leads into the cathartic blast of guitar and drums in the verse, but also the relief in the narrative when Ex-Thing repeats the welcoming advice inscribed in the invitation.
It’s this combination of social awkwardness followed by an immediate, almost superhuman transformation that made me think of Scott Pilgrim, the comics (and movie) about a twenty-something slacker who simultaneously fights video game-style villains and the inner conflicts that plague people in their teens and early twenties. It started with this image of a party combined with an anime-like “power up” triggered by this music, but then the message of optimism and proactivity in the song’s invitation struck me as the kind of thing Scott Pilgrim needed to hear. If nothing else, it was the kind of thing I needed to hear, whether from another human being or even just a random piece of mail, when I went through the mix of heartbreak and uncertainty and parylyzing indecision that Scott Pilgrim encountered in the comics. It’s still nice to hear and even better, as the song’s narrator learns in the final verse, to pass on to those who need it more than you do.
The Sugarhill Gang - “8th Wonder”. After allegedly (ok, actually) stealing “Rapper’s Delight” lyrics from the Cold Crush Brothers, SHG came back with a beat to made them go “woo-ha … I got you all in check!”
i've been enjoying the app so far. i find that i'm discovering more new music/artists through the app than the actual site. can you please add R&B genre to the list? and maybe a way to make our favourites/subscriptions a radio station? thanks.
My Mix is that radio station. I will check why that’s missing from the genres.
What is the reason that some song links change change from playing the actual song to playing strange songs like 'Never Going to Give You Up'? Is someone trying to stop you or is it on our system? Love hypem.
If that happens to you, that means you are using a browser extension that enables you to download media from The Hype Machine. This is against our Terms of Service.
If you remove the extensions and clear your cookies, this will stop.
Baltimore beatmangler Co La is Matt Papich of Ecstatic Sunshine. Released free on the Watercolor label, ‘Rest in Peace’ is 26 minutes of delayed sampledelic mellowness, a postmodern pastiche that takes inspiration from a whole world of nostalgia and an album for/from the tumblr generation. Even the cover is lifted off The Section’s Fork it Over.
The first time my good friend Abel Johnson heard this song, he was certain they were singing ‘we are sinful, you are sinful…’ etc. I corrected him, but the sinister quality of the tune definitely doesn’t resist interpretations like Abel’s. Maybe he was right all along…
Mr. Johnson & I loved the song so much we made a video, which turns four years old in a manner of weeks.