General Jimmy

Writer / DJ / PR Manager / Fat Bastard

Archive for the tag “Chaka Khan”

Five for the Funk – De La Soul

fbmaseo

This week’s instalment of Five for the Funk comes in the shape of a De la Soul themed ensemble, down in no part to Madnice Maruaders bringing their DJ Maseo back to the city for a silly showcase in the hold of the Shipping Forecast Even though they’re not my favourite group of all time and ‘3 feet High…’ is overrated (more on that below), you cannot front on De la’s input on hip-hop and their DJ is someone who rocks hard.

Maseo’s world renown as a jock centres on being able to do most things adeptly (technique, musical knowledge etc), and one thing extremely well; bring the party. Hip-hop may be littered with light fingered assassins, beat diggin maestros and DJs who have showcased the turntable as a weapon far capable of outweighing the sonic possibilities of mere musical instruments, but hip-hop began out of one carnal desire. Make. People. Move.

Maseo does just that. His No Fakin appearances in the Zanzibar are the stuff of legend, and I can remember him playing a Chibuku party at Nation, 2005 I think, and the reaction afterwards ranged from those doffing their cap at a master to those scoffing because he played Beyonce. This was the DJ from a group that came to prominence in part from obvious pop samples, rocking a crowd, and there was chin-strokers kicking off about a great R&B record. It seems that certain hip-hop fans have no grasp of irony.

Anyway, big ups again to Madnice for bringing Maseo to the unfathomably intimate surroundings of the Hold for what will be an swaggering block party affair. Here’s my five favourite de la based party joints on this Friday in March. Party people, your dreams have now been fulfilled…

‘Oooh’ ft Redman

That paragraph’s closing line is the opening gambit for this absolute riot of a record. The video is a classic, a genius play on hip-hop’s bling culture which goes for out there weirdness rather than straight up parody. They transform the Wizard of Oz into the land of ‘Oooh’ complete with Brick City nightspot, a doff of the cap to the looting ringmaster at the centre of the track, Redman. There’s cameos from fellow new jersey emcee Rah-Digga and comedian Dave Chappelle, and it’s proof that this era of hip-hop could do big budget twists on what was aesthetically en vogue at the time without being formulaic – see also Hype Williams’ piece de resistance.

On the actual track, it’s one of the best meetings of minds of the era as hip-hop came out of the diametrically opposed factions of bling and backpack to realise they could work together. Redman steals the show, gifting a glorious party beat from Prince Paul even more crunk with some ridiculous hype man histrionics. Littered with humour drenched asides and pure charisma, he outshines Plugs One and Two with asides about fat chicks getting their fuck on tonight. Absolute party rocking gold.


‘All Good’ ft Chaka Khan

Coming straight off the same AOI opus as ‘Oooh’, again De la are outshone by their sparring partner but when said guest is Chaka Khan doing one of her greatest vocal performances, you can’t front. I realise that is one lofty statement but this record is nigh on perfect, a proper bumping beat with Chaka exuding class, heart and panache with every single syllable that echoes from her throat.

Pos and Trugoy come nice and correct on the lyrical tip as well, proving their class as hip-hop’s elder statesman with an intelligent grasp of disagreement (aimed at those that slept on them during the Buhloone and Stakes is High eras of the band) rather than hip-hop’s usual profanity littered ripostes.



‘B Side to Hollywood’

Not strictly a de la joint as only Trugoy appears, but this track off Camp Lo’s ‘Uptown Saturday Night’ is a gem, a real gem. The Eddie Bo loop announces the track before the three emcees share hook duties, and then each getting a verse.

Flipping the script from ‘Ooh and ‘All Good, this time it is Trugoy who steals the limelight, dumbing down effortlessly for an awesome combination of laid back braggadocio and off kilter silliness (cartoons, cereals and that all important ‘big spoon’ make an appearance) that affirms Dove as the Number one Tycoon. A record for real hip-hop heads to completely lose their shit too.

‘Say No Go’

The de la debut is one of those mythical records that critics value as era defining, a stone cold classic and elevated to the upper echelons of hip-hop’s critical canon. Although I can’t argue on the influence of it, it’s an assessment I don’t particularly agree with. It’s very good, but the skits skewer the feel of the album rather than add to it (and inflicting that particular thing on hip-hop isn’t something to be celebrated), and I’d argue the follow up was much better.

That said however, there truly are some brilliant songs side by side with all the game show shitness, real pop masterclasses rather than just straight up hip-hop bangers. This is maybe the pick of the bunch, that Hall & Oates loop combines with the storytelling genius of De la (they are at times worthy of comparison to Slick Rick) warning you not to take drugs. Awesome.

‘A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’ ft Q-Tip & Vinia Mojica

When De la dropped second album ‘De la Soul is dead‘ with the dead daisy artwork, they were making a clear statement. You’d be stretching the truth somewhat though if you said that they made a complete musical departure from ‘3 Feet High’. Not only does ‘Say No Go’ proves they didn’t shirk issues, they also lambasted the hippes charge on ‘Me Myself and I’ and not everything on ‘De la…’ is darkness. Case in point this monster.

This record was extremely ‘3 Feet High’ in style, and to my ears is THE quintessential Native Tongues tune, either as an original or with this remix. The samples are great and plucked from the obvious rather than the obscure, Chicago’s ‘Saturday in the Park’, the Larry Levan bolstered ‘Got My Mind Made Up’ by Instant Funk at the beginning and then the immortal riff from Frankie Valli’s ‘Grease‘ later on. Every emcee is brilliant, particularly Q-Tip with the boy meets girl playfulness. And Vinia delivers one of the greatest hooks ever…

‘Now is the time, to act a fool tonight, forget about your worries and we gon be alright. It’s Saturday, It’s Saturday!’

Five minutes of relentless, grin inducing escapism. On the early hours of Saturday March 9th, you’ll be able to catch the man himself dropping it.

One Night in Berlin – feature on DT

This was originally up on Data Transmission but it got lost in the ether when they hooked in their new site, which is a shame. Here it is in unabridged glory…

Budget airlines. As well as lost luggage, cancelled flights and a mish-mash of other travelling problems that they have contributed towards, their one undeniable quality is how they’ve shrunk the world. 20 years ago hop-footing across the continent at ready ease was almost unheard of, but the advent of the cheap flights has gifted us the weekend away at a marginal expense, in some cases actually a saving when compared to the rates shelled out on equivalent partying in this country.

Fancy boshing it in the Balkans; no problem, Mediterranean mischief; easily reached. And as the borders on rave’s international frontiers shrink ever further people get more and more excited about the electronic pulse beating across the planet. There’s one destination though that excitedly reaches out as the avant-garde of modern dance music, arguably even wrestling the grip of Ibiza’s Balearic rule. And it’s from here that Data Transmission brings you this rave report; fully seduced by the Teutonic clutch of Berlin after a monstrous partying induction.

We’d heard all the stories before we were sent over there, advice thrust on us by rave weary veterans of the city’s scene and battle scarred tourists who fell afoul of certain door policies. Don’t allow your English accent to come out in a door queue, don’t associate in large groups of males; going to Berlin feels a little bit like a first day of school or university rather than one big huge party. Heeding these sanguine voices, we built a quick itinerary to experience as much of the city’s clubs in one evening (with a backup option; the advice didn’t fall on wholly deaf ears) and set ourselves up for a marathon of Germanic groove gluttony.

Frist up is Tape, where London disco impresarios Horsemeat Disco are starting a new residency. Jim Stanton heads up the Vauxhall massive and is part of a rather fitting beginning to our evening of Deutsch debauchery. Doubled up with what looks like a large ornamental tree within the middle of the dancefloor, Tape’s appeal is its size. There’s space for maybe 500 hedonists inside, more if the as of yet unopened balcony swings its doors outwards, but it’s the perfect environ of intimacy for the music policy that informs HMD’s remit.

Funk licks, synth driven disco and hip shaking groove rip through the soundsystem, two notable highlights being Rene and Angela’s ‘I need You’ and Chaka Khan’s ‘I know you I live you’. The lyrical content isn’t lost on the crowd; both are heartfelt paeans to love which seeps into the activity of the patrons. We’ll just leave it that they’re rather gleefully getting to know one another that little bit better, contributing to a brilliantly open atmosphere which enhances the music. Time sadly is at a massive premium, and as we rush outwards to our next destination the promoters insist things are yet to get going. They’re 100% right, ensuring that already there’s unfinished business in the city that demands a return…

Next up is Weekend. Famed for a lighting rig as much as its soundsystem, the club has been eulogised as the archetypal hi-tech club and it’s a depiction that fits perfectly. Encased on the top floor of a skyscraper office block, once getting in you’re whisked to a lift which climbs ten flights in less than 30 seconds. Inside it’s a neon paradise; darkly lit aside from various junctures around the perimeter and the bar at the back of the club. Marc Houle is playing, just before his ties were cut with Minus, and his soundtrack of bass heavy techno is certainly giving the crowd plenty of food for thought. And then come the lights.

Whilst Watergate’s LED system is widely heralded, Weekend takes the same concept and simplifies it to devastating effect. A panel of time controlled light bulbs is all that it consists of, but results in brilliant bursts of lights at intermittent periods. And it works phenomenally well, Houle utilising it with devastating results when, with just a mere kick drum pumping out of the speakers with the dancefloor in total darkness, it suddenly erupts alongside a ferocious synth line revealing a cascade of clubbers completely enraptured by the moment.

It’s jaw dropping stuff, a visceral delight that tandems perfectly with the music. There’s even a glorious rooftop terrace as well to catch your breath (or turn it onto nicotine), but with time not on our side the dancefloor and its mindfuck lights are heaven for pretty much the entirety of our stay, Houle’s set a gloriously pounding ensemble of sheer hedonism. Finally dragged away, we leave the club safe in the knowledge that things are hopefully going to get a lot better. Next up is Berghain.

The queues are almost as legendary as the club itself, such to the extent that doubled up with the 50% fail rate of getting in (heightened apparently if you betray your British roots) the tales of people that don’t make it in are as mythologised to the extent the club is itself. Unassuming from the outside, what looks like an old and battered eastern bloc building is actually a gateway to a world of techno salvation, with its twin club Panoramabar adding a deep house alternative which is widely held as the best environ in the world to Jack’s groove. And the hype has obviously built; when we arrive the queue stretches back an incomprehensible distance and we’re left with the daunting prospect of missing out on the Promised Land.

Fortunately, luck is on our side and we manage to get in, at which point we are greeted by probably the best news we can imagine: the hype is wholly deserved. If you wanted to create a scene for a film of a nightclub that eschewed gimmicks and useless components, this is exactly what you would come up with. A huge expansive space, it’s full of monstrous iron staircases, massive ceilings and a dancefloor that is as primal as you’d expect from techno’s premier clubspace. It’s also completely shorn of negative attitude; whilst we’ve seen more hedonistic crowds in the past there’s an overwhelming sense of freedom about everything and everyone, and the effect this has on you whilst you are there is tangible.

berghain

The variety of people mingling only further emphasises this; hipsters, unassuming clubbers and an assortment of more colourful characters populating the club, all adding to an experience that is, for want of a less clichéd term, overwhelming. Panoramabar is much the same, smaller and more intimate but equally as no nonsense in approach and a sea of writhing flesh drifting in and out of the musical manoeuvres. We’re running from room to grinning like a child in a sweet shop, wide eyed in awe, completely blown away by everything we find. And that’s not even getting onto the subject of the music.

Berghain’s techno is uncompromising and relentless. Norman Nodge and Len Faki are the residents we get treated to, both delivering tremendous bass heavy assaults, but we also manage to catch the end of Andre Galluzzi’s set and a masterclass from Chris Liebing. Panoramabar is much more suited to our rave weary bones, the funk fuelled excursions put on offer from the High Grade collective’s brilliantly deft excursions through house music’s more expansive elements. Despite the fact we’ve spent the previous five hours of the evening criss-crossing over the huge city and diving in and out of Tape and Weekender, there’s enough gorgeous grooves and mellifluous melodies to keep us going well into the late hours of the morning, with the sunlight peeping through the huge windows that adorn the side.

It’s also here, away from the relentless surge of Berghain, that we manage to experience the friendlier side of this awe-inspiring club. There’s no evidence of any crowd snobbery or over bearing trainspotter vibes; just a collection of minds all buzzing off the stunning music that greets them at every corner of the venue. If we return to the earlier stages of our evening, by the time we finally stumble out, daytime in full swing, DT feels as giddily in love as Chaka Khan and Rene and Angela did during their HMD sound-tracking songs. It really is that good.

We even catch a glimpse of legendary doorman ‘The Web’ on our way out, the casual exponent of the ‘Nein’ which brings a hope crushing end to the dreams of many each and every Saturday. It’s then we spare a thought for those who don’t make it in, and whilst Berlin is awash with alternatives (second option Watergate remains, like a longer dalliance with Tape, on our to-do list) we doubt there’s anywhere quite on the planet that comes close. Which goes to say for the city as a whole; quite simply dance music in its purest form doesn’t come any better.

Jazzbo – Lego Mix


Mixnot Jazzbo proves the paradox in the title he gains from his part in six piece DJ troupe CMWMSMDM by serving up this selection of erstwhile funk to promote his new party Lego in Manchester, which launches next Saturday night (the 22nd). Head over here for full details of the event and hit the skip below to get in on the rave.

TL

01. Lack of Afro – Touch My Soul
02. Slynk – You’re the Fool
03. Smoove & Turrell – I Can’t Give You Up
04. Kings Go Forth – One Day
05. Amy Winehouse – Rehab (Reflex Edit)
06. Chaka Khan – Clouds (Blackjoy Edit)
07. Candi Staton – When You Wake Up Tomorrow
08. Jimmy Ross – First True Love Affair (Larry Levan Mix)
09. Newcleus – Jam On It (Martin Brodin Remix)
10. Johnny Dynell – Jam Hot (Tensnake Remix)
11. Nightriders – Hey! (Chris Lake & Marco Lys Re-Edit)
12. Scuba – Ne1butu

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