Filed under: Genre Columns, Throwbacks, Uncategorized, Urban | Tags: Bahama Bay Club, DJ Kool, hip-hop, Let Me Clear My Throat
I remember sitting in the car, driving home from some sports’ practice in 1996 hearing it, and thinking, “Hmm I like this.” I was 7 and it struck a chord in me.
To this day, “Let Me Clear My Throat” is a throwback that knocks ‘em dead at parties and is guaranteed to be sung along to anywhere it’s played. Maybe it’s those brassy horns, or the ridiculous rapping of a guy named DJ Kool, but it made its mark in ’96 in Philadelphia and it still stands as one of the best hip-hop songs of all time.
One guy I met said he was the there the night DJ Kool performed “Let Me Clear My Throat” for the first time at the Bahama Bay Club in Philly. Now, everytime he hears it, he’s reminded of celebrating his birthday surrounded by friends hearing that crazy rap performed for the first time, making its mark on hip-hop history.
So why does this song make listeners flashback to the first time they heard it? First off, almost everyone knows it. And if you don’t, get acquainted. Then there’s the call back where the audience gets to join in to the “clear my throat” rap. But best of all, it’s the shout out “now all the ladies in the place, if you got real hair, real fingernails, if you got a job, you going to school and ya’ll need nobody to help you handle your business make some noise.”
It’s strong, it’s real, it’s simple, it’s funky, and it gets in your head. It’s original. You remember it. You want to sing along, you want to make some noise and you want to keep hearing it. It’s a basic hip-hop song that has everything right going on. And 13 years later, that’s what makes it a welcomed throwback.
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Filed under: Throwbacks | Tags: 80's, 90's, alternative rock, Democrat, Found Out About You, Gin, Gin Blossoms, grunge, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, R.E.M.
PREVIEW: Gin Blossoms “Found Out About You” MP3
The ’90s were just as self-absorbed as the ’80s were, but at least we had a Democrat in office — and we had bands like Gin Blossoms. These guys were just one of many alternative rock bands from the 1990s that were never distinct enough to make their mark, but still qualify as legitimate musical comfort food. In “Found Out About You,” Gin Blossoms sound like a poor man’s R.E.M. with the melodic-yet-simple bass line, the chiming Buck-ish guitar licks and the double-tracked Stipe-esque vocal harmonies.
They never played music regarded as genius. However, there is something charmingly ordinary about this song as their words piece together innocent imagery and settings of “last summer” and “nights out in the school yards” all leading to the recurring title line about what is presumably infidelity — not exactly the most original lyrics or themes.
In the pile of repetitive knock-offs that have permeated music throughout the decades, Gin Blossoms find a perfect balance. They’re listenable and not even a guilty pleasure.
— Charlie Weeks
Filed under: Throwbacks | Tags: Dance, French, In Rainbows, iTunes, La Ritournelle, Politics, Radiohead, Reckoner, Sebastien Tellier, Thom Yorke, trance
PREVIEW: Sébastien Tellier “La Ritournelle” MP3
French singer-songwriter Sébastien Tellier’s “La Ritournelle” is the only reason one would buy his 2004 album, Politics. Fortunately in the age of iTunes you can spend 99 cents for this gem of a track instead wasting money and drive space on an entire album.
Its name taken from the old school French dance, “La Ritournelle” begins with a hypnotic, repetitive piano chord progression that plays throughout the track with an epic and beautiful string section that soon follows, which glides in and out of the song. When you think this lovely instrumental can’t get any better, about halfway through, the man behind the curtain comes out and sings. The sappy lyrics (“Oh nothing’s gonna change my love for you/ I wanna spend my life with you”) are more than made up for by the beauty of the music and the sweetness of the melody — not to mention the funky-ass bass line that suddenly accompanies the vocals.
The general feel of the song is reminiscent of the title track from Thom Yorke‘s debut solo album The Eraser. It plays as if that song were combined with the string section from the end of Radiohead‘s “Reckoner” (on In Rainbows), with a nice dance beat to boot.
Chill out and play on repeat.
— Charlie Weeks
Filed under: Editor Picks, Throwbacks | Tags: Dr. Dre, Editor's Picks, gangsta rap, Kanye West, NWA, Snoop Dogg, The Chronic
Whenever I feel discontented with today’s excuse for “rap” music, or whenever Kanye’s neon shutter-shaded ego bores me, I pop in Dre’s The Chronic, and all is right with the world again. There is something strangely freeing about taking the advice at the beginning of “Lyrical Gangbang” which says,“This should be played at high volume/Preferably in a residential area,” and blasting it as I drive through suburbia.
I wouldn’t trade those looks from my principal as I used to pull into the high school parking lot, bass bumping with Dre, for anything. This album is free of vapid, meaningless rhymes about yachts, Ferraris, and designer B.S. With The Chronic, it’s back to the basics of g’s and l’s.
Snoop’s calm, nothing-phases-me-because-I’m-high-flow matches Dre’s smooth, G-funk beats, creating an album so original, it revolutionized the gangsta rap genre. Well over fifteen years after its release, this is still my favorite rap album. And regardless of the fact that I’m supporting the wrong coast, maybe we should take the genre back to the days of east/west coast rivalries when rappers sounded like this.
Peep this old school video for “Nuthing But a G Thang.” ’68 Impala, hydraulics, Snoop with short hair, house parties … so ’90s and so great.
— Carly Wolkoff
Does anyone even remember Dishwalla? Well, I had an epiphany.
I rediscovered the band when my iTunes playlist was on shuffle.
Dishwalla’s “Home” popped up, said hello, and reminded me how awesome they are.
Dishwalla has been around for a while. The band got together in the early 90s and went on to produce 14 studio albums. They’ve had some revolving members, but you can always count on J.R. Richards for the lead vocals. He has the best belting voice known to 90s alt-rock, and he brought that strong sound into the millennium, a feat not many other bands in the genre manage to do.
Dishwalla has slowed down in the past few years as far as albums go (their last studio album was the self-titled Dishwalla in 2005). It explains why many people have forgotten about the band.
Here’s your little reminder. “Home” came out on the band’s 2002 CD, Opaline. The song progresses from a somber melody to Richard’s powerful refrain. Wait for the second “come and take me home,” and get the chills when he hits the high note with grace and power.
With a song like “Home,” how can we ever forgot them?