Saw them open a concert, and soon they’ll be headliners.
I’ve been noticing a personal posting trend lately. The recent posts of mine have either been produced by El-P, or are crazy inspiring to me.
This just so happens to fit nicely into both of those criteria.
This is just one of those times where I stumble into a song and can’t stop replaying it and then listening to its instrumental a few times. I feel that I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t share it.
The track is off of Common and No I.D.‘s album Resurrection, released when I was 2 years old.
Note: No I.D. is not a bad lyricist.
Here’s the instrumental if you’re interested:
Detroit MC Reek and Dobby Stones collaborate for this J Dilla-dedicated track “Feel the Rhythm”. As the first collaboration between the two artists, Reek seems at home on Stones’ tribute in the style of Dilla’s smoother side. If I had to guess, you’d like this song if you were a fan of “Hold Tight”, “Time: Donut of the Heart” or “The Look of Love”.
Dobby Stones chose this most appropriate day to release his Martin Luther King Jr-sampled instrumental using the recording of King’s 1963 speech.
Just recently moved to Queens from the Boston area, I figured it would be a great way to get into the music scene out here. I was just thankful that I had this opportunity to see the legend live. He performed everything that I was realistically hoped he might. Especially the Outkast collaborations. I was already mentally adding it to the list of coolest shows I’ve been to.
The two performed “Children’s Story”, much to the awe and appreciation of myself and the rest of the unsuspecting audience mortals. He made his entrance carrying out a cake in the likeness of a crown as a sign of respect in the form of baked, masterfully crafted birthday symbolism. I had unknowingly walked into a double bucket-list show that night.
Nas wasn’t the only important guest that night. Rick’s wife and parents were also in attendance:
This man in the orange jacket with the microphone (below) is a local politician whose name I can’t recall. Along with the man in the black jacket, he took this jovial opportunity to announce that from this point forward January 9th would officially be known as Slick Rick Day. I apologize for the lack of identities. It was a frenzied environment. Please fill me in if you recognize them. I do know that they were fine gentlemen and I respect the hell out of them.
So, up to this point, I saw Slick Rick the Ruler live, witnessed a guest appearance by Nas, saw the two individuals responsible for Rick’s existence, and was present for the proclamation of Slick Rick Day. Then things continued to get even more interesting.
Fortunately I had an opportunity to talk to him a bit before he went on on the behalf of WMUA 91.1FM UMass Amherst:
His set was excellent. The music/music video mix started off with soul tracks moving through the ’70s and ’80s until seamlessly becoming an awesome mix of golden era hip hop in honor of the birthday guest.
Next thing I know I’m having a conversation with Kyle Mooney from Saturday Night Live. Really decent guy. Very down to earth.
There I found myself after the show, standing in a circle with Peanut Butter Wolf, Kyle Mooney, and Kyle’s friend Rob, sharing a round on me. Certainly not what I had foreseen in the days leading up to my 22 1/2 birthday.
Another piece of the puzzle that was my interview with Masta Ace for WMUA 91.1FM (UMass)
I had a lot of trouble writing up this post. I could go on about how I think his content is deeply symbolic and his flow doesn’t mimic any predecessing artist that I’m familiar with. I could talk about what Fantastic, Vol 2 has meant to me over the past three years. I could try to articulate in well-read terms exactly what it is about his occupation of a song that draws and keeps my attention and why exactly that attention seemingly turns to fascination every time. But, much like the previous sentences, they would likely come across carrying just a fraction of the gravity that I intend them to. There are people who know Baatin‘s work much deeper than I do and people who knew the man personally, not just through the headphones and speakers that I’ve interpreted him with. So I’ll leave the in-depth analysis about the man himself alone. However, I will share my thoughts on how he’s influenced my views on death and spirituality and the optimism he’s brought me.
I want to preface this that I’ve never spoken to anyone who has known him. This is entirely based on a couple of stories I’ve read online and the impression his lyrics have left on me. To paraphrase to the ultimate degree, Baatin struggled with his mental health towards the end of his life. He was found dead in his apartment at 35. If there was truth to his thoughts on spirituality, which I wholly believe there was, then those final moments, however many of them there were, spent alone in his apartment moving towards death must have been cripplingly powerful. This is just my assumption, but in the shoes of a man facing the definition of mortality secured by a true belief in a paradise, Baatin may have felt degrees of acceptance and comfort far surpassing anything that I have ever felt in my life. But I hope to someday. Because whether you have spiritual conviction, doubt, or any combination of the two, I like to think we universally would like to make our exit consoled by the appreciation for what has happened and/or the hopes for what is about to happen. I think, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of optimism to convince myself of this, that Baatin was healthily considering both.
Emcee Logic and Backdraft have grown a lot since they collaborated on the The Power EP back in 2012. The first half of “Cheers To The Turn Up” is an attack on both parties involved in musical transactions. First, the mainstream artists letting themselves be a cog in an industry that promotes selfish, material, dumbed-down content. Second, the listeners that are “eatin’ up the whole thing…long as the beat good, and them hoes drink,” while the lyrics transparently degrade and simplify them. After Backdraft switches up the beat, Ecmee Logic claims that “all the black super-rich never speak a sound” when it comes to black oppression and blames society as a whole for only caring about an issue while it’s trending or fashionable.
Backdraft starts the track with his traditionally heavy vocal-sample-led production, lending a touch of eeriness to an otherwise elegant boom-bap beat. Roughly half-way through, he cuts it, offering a faster, more up-beat sound, allowing Logic to accelerate his flow and play with an already sarcastic verse, which the lively beat only accentuates.