who remembers all the little interludes on stankonia, at the end of which there goes up a shout of “BREAK”? sometimes i shout them out in my head. i know it’s probably the most-blogged thing this side of janelle monáe (incidentally, this man’s protegé) but i can’t get enough of big boi‘s latest effort, sir lucious left foot: the son of chico dusty. the beats are great, the rapping is wild, it’s funny and it’s not just full of self-aggrandising nonsense (though, being honest, it’s a rap album so there is some of that). in my opinion, and i know the year is barely half over, it’s the best album to come out in 2010. that i’ve listened to. as i’ve had this one on repeat this past week, i realise that it’s been a very long time since i’ve had one album that has bumped everything out of the equation.
i was going to write a little gripe about this album not getting any attention in the major irish newspapers, but hey, isn’t that what blogs are for? to focus attention on that ignored by the popular press? let them review the afore-mentioned monáe and m.i.a. (an artist so keen to capitalise on the moment that she’s got youtube time bars across her album cover) – i’ll talk about this guy.
there are a few tracks that haunt me with decade-old resonances. shine blockas may be a life-affirming put-down to all the haters, but it uses the same sample as jay-z‘s mournful this can’t be life from 2000’s dynasty album. that bizarre collection was far from jay’s best work, but this particular track certainly stood out. i’ll never forget listening to scarface‘s verse on the day i learned a guy in my school had taken his life.
So I called mine, and saddened my wife with the bad news
Now we both depressed, countin our blessings cause Brad’s two
Prayin for young souls to laugh atlife through the stars
Lovin your kids just like you was ours
And I’m hurtin for you dog; but ain’t nobody pain is like yours
I just know that heaven’ll open these doors
And ain’t no bright side to losin life; but you can view it like this
God’s got open hands homey, he in the midst.. of good company
Who loves all and hates not one
And one day you gon’ be wit your son
lord knows those lyrics resonated on a day like that. “i come back in the afterlife, like fuck it i done touched hell twice,” barks beanie sigel. it’s all a world removed from the celebratory, world-at-my-feet effervescence of shine blockas. it just goes to show that samples can be flipped any way imaginable, in this case i miss you by harold melvin and the blue notes.
another track that’s been niggling away at my brain is tangerine. andy gill, writing in the independent (uk), asked “does a girl called “Tangerine” really have to shake it like a tambourine?” but that same track features the line “that means i hit the head like greg louganis then i’m splashing”, as well as a nod to the unreleased royal flush, so i can’t see how he can be mad. this electric guitar and tribal drum-led piece calls to mind xplosion, from 2000’s stankonia. funnily enough, that track featured cypress hill‘s b-real, whose opening line is sampled on album opener daddy fat sax. how’s that for circular motion.
so i’ve mentioned what, three tracks… hustle blood utilises a slow jamz-turned-peemp vocal from jamie foxx over the most laidback yet sinister beat i’ve ever heard from lil jon; fo yo sorrows makes room for legends too $hort AND george clinton; the silky turns me on sounds like a natural successor to the way you move, while opening with the line “who gives a damn about the past”, thereby negating my very observation; look, general patton samples aida. how can you top that?
what more can i say? this release is ESSENTIAL. there’s even some ads in the inlay card, one for the stankonia recording studio, and one for pitfall kennels (if you ever saw big boi on cribs you’ll know what this is about.)
i guess by now you get the point. so go watch the road to sir lucious leftfoot: