Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Generally, I'm mildly suspicious and dismissive of hip hop cover songs. And by hip hop cover songs, I mean to include hip hop remakes of hip hop songs (e.g. Snoop Dogg's cover of Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's, "La Di Da Di"), hip hop covers of songs from other genres (such as The Fugees', "Killing Me Softly"), and musicians of other genres reworking rap songs (Tori Amos' version of Eminem's "Bonnie and Clyde '97," for example). I've only appreciated less than a handful of these covers. Only one, for instance, immediately comes to mind: Tricky's cover of Public Enemy's, "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," which is kind of dope. Then again, I lightweight fuck with Tricky. I should briefly shout out that I have a rather mercurial and tepid love for the above mentioned Fugees joint. Despite my unending appreciation for Lauryn Hill, Wyclef's "One time!" irks me only slightly less than that "911" duet with MJB. (Feel my body gettin' colllld!!). Besides, the original track is haunting, and more appropriate to the lyrical content; Roberta Flack's voice is like warm milk. (At least, I'm assuming it's like warm milk. I've never had warm milk, but it seems hella soothing...) My dismissive shoulder shrug towards such music aside, I succombed to a paroxysm of musical delight when I heard Marco Polo's, "Relax" featuring J*Davey. It's sex on vinyl (or cd, or mp3). A cover of A Tribe Called Quest's, "Electric Relaxation," the track appears as bonus material on Marco Polo's 2007 debut, Port Authority (Rawkus), and I wanted to smoke a cigarette after hearing a 30 second sample.

I should note here that I find "ER" to be a near-perfect hip hop song. Part of my argument for its flawlessness is based on the incredible sampling of Ronnie Foster's, "Mystic Brew." It compelled me to seek out the original tracks groups like Tribe were using in their songs. As a result, I discovered and fell in love with artists such as Bill Withers, Roy Ayers, and Steely Dan. I suppose at one time hip hop could inspire a genuine appreciation for music, but I digress.

Anyway, after the Tribe sampled Foster, several other artists used it, including Freeway and Allen Anthony ("Alright"), Madlib ("Mystic Bounce"), and Rell and Kanye West ("Real Love"). But outside of West's "Electric Relaxation '03"--whose wackness I refuse to discuss here--most of my re-encounters with the Foster have been copies of the Tribe track under a different set of lyrics. Except, of course, until a few days ago when Ms. Rhodes referred me to the Marco Polo. She'd heard it previously, and was trying to track it down to play on her show, Playground. (Really, folks, if you're not fucking with KCRW on a regular basis you have way less cool points than you think you do.) She forwarded me a preview of the track, and a coital-like bliss commenced as soon as I heard Miss Jack Davey's voice.

A word about J*Davey. They will not be following "Get Me Bodied" in the set of any radio show--not even my imaginary one. (Don't get it twisted. I pat my weave and Naomi Campbell walk with the best of 'em.) I have only heard them, again, on KCRW. Aptly self-described as the black Eurythmics, their sound is so ill, not only because that's exactly what it is--ill--but, more broadly, because they show that black music (if we want to call it that), is so much more than what Viacom, Clear Channel, the BET Awards, or rent-a-car commercials imply it is. That said, if it wasn't for J*Davey, I would have probably ignored this joint. It's MJD's voice that gets your knickers moist. It's sexy. And I don't mean sexy in the Frito Lay Barry White (RIP) backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra way, or even in the let me talk to you while I stroke my bass 'cause all daggers love me Meshell Ndegeocello manner. MJD's voice isn't even raspy, smoky, sultry, or deep. But there's sex in it. And because of that, "ER" evolves from some Queens young men grabbin' crotch and hollerin' via shit talkin' (in a really incredible way), to a grown ass woman coming for what she wants. Essentially, she got the goods--like Madeline Woods.

Admittedly, I may just be caught the fuck up on J*Davey, and hearing them over one of my favorite tracks might have simply made me temporarily lose what's left of my fragile mind. In fact, I'm still contemplating making copies of a mixtape I made, and passing it out to people because I think they should have it. It features the Foster, ATCQ, Marco Polo f/ J*Davey, the above-mentioned Madlib, and a "Mystic Brew" interlude I found. Excuse me while I go put that playlist on repeat.

Get some cool points:
Playgound (disguised as Pangea)

PS: If you dig any of this shit, let the powers that be know you do.


language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. language alone is meditation. ~toni morrison


Blogger a. said...

I've been anxiously awaiting a major release from J'Davey for over a year now. Hopefully it'll be soon!

4/7/07 15:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am placing my order for a copy of that mix tape. You can bring it to the shower along with whatever politically incorrect (I hope) baby gift you have found. Thanks.


6/7/07 23:30  

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