Thursday, May 20, 2004

Gil explains it all to you.

Short Hut today, which means you only get music.
Howsabout some funky stuff? Here's some RnB oriented action for you: one track by a living legend, two by young men who are shaping up to leave their fingerprints on the face of modern music.


Raphael Saadiq - "What's Life Like"

Saadiq is one hustlin' cat. These days he's back in the producer's booth, but this ex-member of two supergroups (Toni, Tony, Tone and Lucy Pearl) tossed out a fascinating mishmash of a solo album in '02. There's strange filler, excessively short AND long tracks, lots of talky sections and several pure classics mixed in.

"What's Life Like" is of the latter category; a pleasant little confection, a three-minute backrub while you're waiting for the pizza to get here. Soothing, endearing and simple, "Life" is as gentle as a clarion call for a life well considered can get.

Buy Instant Vintage from Amazon
Pookie Records, Saadiq's label.
Hey, remember I was all like, "whatever happened to Joi" a few posts back?
New album dropping late June.mind the .pdf
Interview, pics, audio
Courtesy of Chevy Trailblazer? WTF?


Gil Scott-Heron - "It's Your World"

Very few artists can get away with saying that they created rap without inspiring a wave of "bullshit" in their wake; I would allow Heron that luxury, but he's cool enough not to front, y'heard?

Though his street rhyming is always on point, I'm generally more taken with his more musical endeavors. Case in point, "It's Your World" is half SesameStreetJazz, half P-Funk and all badass tight.

I love Gil and hope his shit is in order these days or at least that he's happy.

Buy It's Your World from Amazon
"Possum Slim" and "17th Street" alone are worth the price of admission.
Gil's also got a happenin' Greatest Hits collection or two and no record collection is complete without a dogeared copy of Small Talk at 125th+Lenox.

Listen, if you guys are unfamiliar with his work, tell me and I'll post more. I'm afeared that Heron's influence and backlog is getting ignored by a music industry that would rather not credit a clearly troubled man with genius and that's a egregious error.
Plenty of good Heron sites on the web.
One more: a stylish Heron website, in French


Bilal - "Sometimes" (Live)

"The Best Prince Album He Never Released" is a cliche that gets trotted out at least twice a year; Bilal's "First Born Second" begs the comparison. Leaping into the void of a D'Angelo-less marketplace, Bilal had a remarkably fertile period of production; guesting with Badu, Jill Scott and Common and producing as impressive a freshman album as I can remember. Then, as is getting all too common for the whole "neo-soul" crew, he ghosts. What are we to make of that?

I'm just hoping they're all holed up someplace, forming a superhero group or something. Bilal strikes me as the Green Lantern type.

"Sometimes" was one of my favorite cuts on the album; an enigmatic, head-bobbin' showcase for Bilal's vocal acrobatics. Here's an obscure live version for your delectation.

Buy First Born Second (with the non-live version of "Sometimes" from Amazon
One of my favorite albums of 2001; Amazon's too.
Bilal fansite
More than a little out of date, but some nice audio/video (tho' the video is really more audio... Down in front!)
Not to be confused with French comic book/movie wunderkinder Enki Bilal, but don't sleep on Enki.
"Immortel" looks HOT.


I'll have a big Friday edition hot for you come breakfast time.