Because sometimes you’re in the mood for beats, but not lyrics. And sometimes sound conveys something that words can’t. It takes most of us quite a few years before we start to grasp this possibility, that we can communicate without words. Our intuitive response in most situations is to say too much, when just a look or a touch would suffice. Often simply acknowledging that we really don’t know what to say is really the most honest and useful choice of words. I cringe when I think of all the things I’ll probably say to our daughter that would be better left unsaid. The brusque or hurtful things said in moments of anger or frustration, the times I’ll inevitably rush in to try to make things better, when all I really need to do is shut up and listen. The times I’ll interrupt, or run my mouth without listening first. As a psychologist I realize that words can be our most powerful tools, but being able to tolerate silence is just as important. So here’s to the artists who recognize that words can sometimes be unnecessary.
Producer/DJ/MC Madlib has been one of my favorite artists since first hearing Quasimoto on Peanut Butter Wolf’s My Vinyl Weighs A Ton. By the early 2000’s, current hip-hop’s fixation on materialism and misogyny had left a bad taste in my mouth, but once I figured out that independent labels like Stones Throw and Definitive Jux were releasing rap music that was every bit as fresh, dynamic and exciting as the material that I’d found so engaging in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I got pretty obsessed, tracking down every release I could find. Madlib was one of number of artists that was busy proving that underground hip hop artist were pushing musical boundaries in a way that was far more sophisticated than anyone in independent rock music. Madlib is most famous for his collaborations and various alter egos, but here he appears as himself. For this release, he was given access to the Blue Note back catalog, and produced an album full of remixes of Jazz classics. The record is nearly perfect, and I’m so grateful that he didn’t make the mistake of inviting various MC’s to rap over the tracks. That’s the mistake RZA made on the retail version of the Ghost Dog soundtrack, and it ruined a potentially incredible album.
Hot Track: “Andrew Hill Break”
Words To Live By: ……