Song Of The Day: 4/23/12 (Black Ice)

Goodie Mob reunited tonight on The Voice after a 13 year hiatus!!! It was great to see them all back together again. The new song is called “Fight To Win” off of their upcoming new album “Age Against The Machine”. The Voice doesn’t seem like quite the right platform for Goodie Mob and it seemed a lot more like just a Cee-Lo song. None of the other guys, T-Mo, Khujo or Big Gipp really rapped in the performance. I hope the new album incorporates the rest of them much more. I wanted to post the new song, but it’s not available online yet, so I thought I’d share my favorite of their old songs “Black Ice” featuring OutKast. OutKast and Goodie Mob are a part of the legendary Southern Rap clique “The Dungeon Family” and now that Goodie Mob is back together, it is making me long all the more to see OutKast back together. In the mean time I can’t wait to hear the new Goodie Mob album. Now I’m sure many of you are a little unfamiliar with Goodie Mob, but I can tell you they were an awesome and important part of the Southern Rap movement in the 90s. So tell me, what you really know about the Dirty South?

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Song Of The Day: 3/26/12 (Trans DF Express)

So I’ve been meaning to share this song for a while now, since I did my top 5 Rappers of all time countdown, a few weeks back. If you don’t already know, The Dungeon Family is a supergroup that consists of OutKast, Goodie Mob, Sleepy Brown and many other awesome southern Rappers and Producers. This group of Rappers, Singers and Producers are all legends in their own right. They formed back in the early 90s and changed the face of southern Rap as well as music in general. The most notable members from The Dungeon Family are of course, Andre 3000 and Big Boi of OutKast and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob, who is now a coach of the hit TV show, The Voice. They have numerous awards between them, including many Grammys. I’m not sure how many, but I’m sure its at least a dozen, including one for Album of the Year in 2004 for OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”.  The song of the day, “Trans DF Express” is the single from their awesome collaborative album, “Even In Darkness” that came out just over 10 years ago, back in 2001. So grab your ticket and hop on the Trans DF Express!!!

 

Song Of The Day: 3/9/12 (#1. André 3000) (A Life in the Day of Benjamin André )

My number 1 favorite Rapper of all time is, Andre 3000!!! Well obviously!!! There is just no one who has ever been able touch his lyrical prowess and and extreme creativity. Grant it he hasn’t ever really rapped solo. The only times he has ever rapped without Big Boi, as the duo OutKast, is on a couple songs on “The Love Below”, which is technically his solo album. This was also still under the OutKast moniker and 95% of that album is him singing (not rapping), which don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy very much. Since 2006, after the release of “Idlewild”, which also featured him singing the majority of the time, Andre (3 Stacks) basically went into hiding, only emerging to be featured on other peoples tracks, here and there. This lack of solo raps made it very hard for me to find a song displaying his amazing lyrical skill. This feat was also made even more difficult paired with trying to also find a solo song with him just rapping, that also had a video for it. So I gave up on the hope of finding a solo video of his with him rapping and settled for the song “A Life in the Day of Benjamin Andre” from “The Love Below” for today’s song of the day, which is him just rapping for 5 minutes straight. No chorus. It’s SICK!!! And this is just the very tip of the iceberg on how awesome he is as a Rapper. Through his whole career with Outkast, from 1994’s “Southernplayalisticadillacmusik” to 1996’s “ATLiens” to 1998’s “Aquemini” to 2000’s “Stankonia” and beyond he has always spit the most perfect, creative, thought provoking, killer verses any Rapper could ever hope to spit. If you are not as familair with Andre 3000 or OutKast as you should be, I suggest (highly suggest) you get acquanted and FAST!!!

Song Of The Day: 3/8/12 (#2. Big Boi) (Shutterbugg)

So if you know anything about me, even just from what you’ve learned about me from this very blog, since I started it 2 months ago, it’s what 2 rappers were/are coming next. First, my #2 favorite Rapper of all time is Big Boi from OutKast. The song of his that I chose to share for song of the day is “Shutterbugg” from his only true solo album “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty”. Although “Chico Dusty” is his only true solo album, he has made 6 albums with OutKast one of which, the Grammy for Album of the Year winning “Speakerboxx” is technically a solo album. He has been rapping for about 20 years now and he has proven himself to be not only one of the most consistent, creative and experimental Rappers ever, but musical artist, in general, regardless of genre.  “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” is my most listened to album of the last 3 and a half years, according to the tracking of my music listens, last.fm has done in that time period. He is currently working on a follow up to “Chico Dusty” called “Daddy Fat Sax: Soul Funk Crusader”. The album is slated to come out this year, but keep your fingers crossed because Big Boi and his partner in rhyme Andre 3000 are notorious for pushing back or having their albums pushed back. “Chico Dusty” was slated to come out for about 3 years before it actually came out, due largely to alleged record label politics. I pray that this does not happen to “Daddy Fat Sax”. While we wait for the return of the Soul Funk Crusader enjoy “Shutterbugg”.


3000 Is Coming……

At least a guy can dream huh? I and every OutKast/Andre 3000 fan has been waiting for a new album from both OutKast and Andre 3000 (solo) for almost 6 years now. The has been a very draining experience for the Kast faithful. For about 4 of those 6 years we were dragged along in the belief that Big Boi would release a solo album just about every month until it was FINALLY released back in July 2010 and boy was it worth the wait!!! Big Boi’s album “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” was in my opinion the best, most sonically charged and different album of that year along with Janelle Monae’s “The ArchAndroid”. Both albums were highly praised by critics and fans alike, yet got snubbed at all award shows for the big awards. They were among the top 3 highest rated albums of the year on Metacritic, a website that aggregates a score based off of all reviews that have been submitted on the alum from all major sources.

Anyway, I digress. In 2010 we finally got Big Boi’s album, but now we are still waiting on Andre 3000’s solo album……and OutKast’s album, but if Dre can drop his solo album, I can wait a little longer on an OutKast joint. Over the past 6 years, Andre hasn’t been totally in hiding. He has been featured on 21 tracks to date, teasing us 1 song at a time.

Here is a complete list of every song that has attempted to hold me over till Andre’s grand return:

1. DJ Unk – Walk It Out (Remix) feat. Andre 3000 & Jim Jones
2. Devin The Dude – What A Job feat. Andre 3000 & Snoop Dogg
3. Jay-Z – 30 Something (Remix) feat. Andre 3000 & Ice Cube
4. Lloyd – I Want You (Remix) feat. Andre 3000 & NaS
5. Rich Boy – Throw Some D’s (Remix) feat. Andre 3000, Jim Jones, Nelly, Murphy Lee & The Game
6. UGK – International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You) feat. OutKast
7. Fonzworth Bentley – Everybody feat. Andre 3000, Kanye West & Sa-Ra
8. Big Boi – Royal Flush feat. Andre 3000 & Raekwon
9. John Legend – Green Light feat. Andre 3000
10. OutKast – Da Art Of Storytellin’ (Part 4) feat. Marsha Ambrosius
11. Andre 3000 – All Together Now
12. Big Boi – Lookin’ For Ya feat. Andre 3000 & Sleepy Brown
13. Chris Brown – Deuces (Remix) feat. Andre 3000, Drake, T.I., Kanye West & Fabolous
14. Ciara – Ride (Remix) feat. Andre 3000 & Bei Maejor
15. Ke$ha – Sleazy (Remix) feat. Andre 3000
16. Beyonce – Party feat. Andre 3000 & Kanye West
17. Lloyd – Dedication To My Ex feat. Andre 3000 & Lil’ Wayne
18. Lil Wayne – Interlude feat. Tech N9ne & Andre 3000
19. Drake – The Real Her feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayne
20. Young Jeezy – I Do feat. Andre 3000 & Jay-Z
21. B.o.B – Play The Guitar feat. Andre 3000

Now don’t get me wrong these songs……at least Andre’s verses on them have all been awesome, but it’s not the same as having just him and an album of his genius. Big Boi and other sources close to Dre have alluded to the release of this long awaited solo album for years now, always saying it will be out this year and then the year comes and goes……and nothing, but I think this year is FINALLY the year. Andre seems to be everywherwe lately!!! Aside from ramping up his featurings lately. He has been appearing in commercials for Gillette. The commercials are below:

 

 

 

 

It seems to me he’s using these commercials and the increase of featurings to get himself back into the spotlight after so many years of laying low. Also Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre himself have a song called “DaYaThing”, as part of a Converse “Three Artists. One Song.” campaign, being released on February 23rd!!! I REALLY think he’s coming back and SOON. I CAN’T WAIT ANYMORE!!! I have sat around SO many nights……and days imagining what his new album might be like, knowing that whatever I could think up would never touch the awesomeness that Andre 3000 has been cooking up and it seems that I will soon be able to feast my ears on the Dre Buffet!!! I just NEED some real music from one of my only living idols. Come on 3 Stax and hit us with what you got!!!

Song Of The Day: 2/12/12 (Roses)

The final Grammy winning Album of the Year, I would like to share with everyone is my very favorite album to ever win the award and quite possibly the best album ever made (in my humble opinion), OutKast’s “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”. It was a double album. One disc was Big Boi’s (“Speakerboxx”) and the other disc was Andre 3000’s (“The Love Below”). This album was HUGE when it came out, back in 2003. Huge enough and great enough to be the only true Hip-Hop album to ever win the Grammy for Album of the Year. I was a big fan of OutKast before this album, but this album cemented them as one of the greatest music acts of all time, for me. The album has sold somewhere around 18 million copies worldwide, making in one of only a handful of Hip-Hop albums to ever reach the Diamond mark and almost the double Diamond mark at that. Give it a few more years, I’m sure it will get there. The Song “Hey Ya!” from “The Love Below” was the first song to ever sell a million MP3 downloads and along with “The Way you Move” from “Speakerboxx”, made OutKast the only group/artist to ever replace itself at the number 1 billboard spot with another one of their own songs, other than The Beatles. I chose the song “Roses” as the song of the day because other than already having shared “Hey Ya” and “The Way You Move” for song of the day a few weeks back, I thought that this was a great example of the diversity that this album held, as well as being really, the only song on the album to utilize both Big Boi and Andre in the same track. Also with Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s perfect, what with the Valentine’s Day theme and the song “Happy Valentine’s Day” from “The Love Below” opening the video. Welcome to “Speakerboxx” and “The Love Below”, two albums, but the same old flow.

Song Of The Day: 1/18/12 (#4. Kate Bush) (Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God))

The #4 artist of my top 7 artists/groups, and the only woman on the list is Kate Bush. Kate Bush isn’t for everyone and I won’t pretend that she is, but she should be. She makes such moving, beautiful music. I’ve only been listening to her music for about 4 months, but I fell hard and fast for her. In that time, I’ve listened to her songs about 700 times according to last.fm (a website that tracks your music listens through Spotify, iTunes and your MP3 player/mobile device). I started listening to her because Big Boi from OutKast mentioned on many occasions how she was one of HIS very favorite artists and biggest influences. Back in 2006, shortly after her album “Ariel” came out, I tried listening to her because Big Boi, who is one of MY favorite artists and biggest influences, said she was so great and I took his reference seriously. I tried listening to her, but I wasn’t ready yet. Her music just didn’t click with me at that time. Five years passed and Big Boi started talking about her in interviews again and she also came out with 2 albums (Director’s Cut & 50 Words For Snow) in that year (2011). So I gave her another shot and boy am I glad I did because she is simply amazing. A genius!!! My fiance who didn’t like her at first and couldn’t stand when I played her, over the past few months, is even starting to kind of like her, which makes me happy because Kate Bush makes such GREAT music and it should be shared and enjoyed by all. She is bigger internationally than in America and even still, not as widely known as someone else of her musical stature, probably because of her complete uniqueness that a lot of people just don’t get. Real music lovers and artists understand her and love her. She is an artist’s, artist.  She has inspired many female artists as well as male artists in the last 30 years and will continue to as long as her music is listened to by open minds and refined ears. So share and enjoy one of her biggest hit songs, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” from her most popular and successful albums “Hounds Of Love”.

The Concept Of “The Love Below”

“Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by OutKast is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest albums of all time! It blended Rap, Rock, Pop, Funk and basically everything else. It is one of the most diverse albums ever recorded. It won Grammy for album of the year in 2004, making it the only Rap album to ever win that honor. It also went over 11 times Platinum! Not only that, but it has gone on to become one of the most important albums in Hip-Hop history and has inspired and shaped the more emotionally in-touch, experimental, singing Rappers of today, like Kanye West, Drake, Kid Cudi, etc. They simply would not be like they are today without OutKast’s career and “The Love Below” in particular.

“The Love Below” side of the double album is a concept album about Andre 3000’s fictional and not so fictional love life. In the following, you will read the over-arching story of “The Love Below” and how I interpreted it. The story is weaved throughout the album, through every song, track by track. Before I begin, I have to explain that the songs, “Millionaire” with Kelis and “Long Way To Go” with Gwen Stefani, while having appeared on both Kelis and Gwen Stefani’s albums, were initially intended for “The Love Below”, but the record company asked that Andre 3000 shorten the album, so they placed those two songs on Kelis’ and Gwen’s respective albums. After having purchased the “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” CD, importing it to iTunes and downloading Gwen and Kelis’ songs through iTunes, I burned my own version of “The Love Below” and put “Millionaire” after “Love Hater” and “Long Way To Go” after “Pink and Blue” as they work right in to the story of the album, in those places. Now with that said, on to the concept of “The Love Below”!

On the first two tracks of the album, “Intro” and “Love Hater”, Andre 3000 wakes up in the morning and feels dissatisfied with his life, lack of love and the world. “Millionaire” continues that line of thought about life and love and what it all means, but with the added complication his wealth and fame has brought him. He has all the riches, but he still feels empty and lonely. He needs LOVE! After that, he prays to God on the “God” interlude to send him a great woman.

He proceeds to go out for the night and becomes smitten with/falls in love on “Happy Valentine’s Day” (not meant to be taken as a literal Valentine’s day song). It’s about him finding the girl God had sent him. He brings her home and sleeps with her on “Spread”. You can even here him driving her back to his place and them getting out of the car and going through the front door and starting to get busy in the background, hence the title. He got her to “spread”. Then they wake up the next day on the “Where Are My Panties?” interlude.

He really likes this girl and starts to contemplate if she could be the one on “Prototype”. They start spending a lot of time together, fall in love and get engaged (“forever my fiancée”) on “She Lives In My Lap”. Even though they are in love, engaged and always together (in his lap) he can’t bring himself to fully commit through taking the big step (marriage). He ends up getting her pregnant on “Hey Ya!”. If you really listen to it, it’s really about dealing with a pregnancy out of wedlock and not wanting to make the same mistakes their parents made. He’s having a lot of trouble with the concept of settling down (“I don’t want to meet your daddy, I just want you in my Caddy” etc.). He doesn’t want it to be that serious, but now it looks as though they may have no other choice because she is pregnant. It would seem that this woman is representative of his real life baby-mama, Erykah Badu, who he had one child with by the name of Seven.

Then comes “Roses” where the relationship goes sour and he tells her (Caroline) off. This is followed by the “Good Day, Good Sir” interlude and “Behold A Lady” where he meets a new woman. On “Pink and Blue” you find out that this new woman is an older woman. Not only is she an older woman, but you discover she’s also a white woman on “Long Way to Go” They have a lot to tackle between the world’s perceptions of an interracial couple and a couple with such an age difference. They, like the last relationship he had in the album and any other relationship for that matter have its ups and downs on “Love in War”.

Caroline/Erykah from earlier in the album ends up having the previously mentioned baby on “She’s Alive”. He realizes he won’t be there for that baby, much like his Dad wasn’t there for him. The song tells the story of his mother persevering through her struggles as a single mother and his birth juxtapositioned  with the birth of his daughter in the album. He goes on to marry the new older woman on “Dracula’s Wedding”, despite their tumultuous, monster/vampire-like relationship. Then comes “The Letter” interlude, where Caroline writes to him about how she still loves him and misses him and the song “My Favorite Things” is symbolic of the reemergence of feelings for her and him realizing that he really does love her and maybe he picked the wrong girl to marry. “Take Off Your Cool” is the amicable falling apart of his marriage with the older woman and both of them agreeing it’s for the best, because they can’t really be themselves together and they put on this facade (“Cool”) around each other and end up thinking it’s best to go their separate ways.

But on “Vibrate” you find out that in the end he doesn’t go back to the original girl either and ends up alone and taking care of himself hence all the allusions to masturbation (VIBRATEor). This song is also where the albm gets it’s title from when he sings “the love below starts talking to you” (another reference to masturbation). This is juxtapositioned with the idea of him finding himself and spiritually vibrating at a higher frequency now that he is alone again and able to get in-touch with his inner-self. Finally “A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre” is just something extra at the end (over the movie’s credits if you will) and sums his whole, actual life up to that point up.

The whole story is very reflective of his real life in many ways. It’s incredible how he built this over-arching story through all of the songs and was able to mirror his real life and experiment musically, in so many awesome and groundbreaking ways. “The Love Below” was originally composed to be the songbook for a film musical that never came to fruition, in it’s original form at least. However, OutKast’s film “Idlewild” which came out a few years later, utilized many of the songs and themes in a completely new story that also worked in Big Boi and many of his songs from the other side of the coin “Speakertboxxx” as well as some songs from their final album “Idlewild” (the companion album). “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”is absolutely one of my favorite albums of all time. I hope you enjoyed reading the story of “The Love Below” the way Andre 3000, hopefully intended it to be interpreted. Now go and listen to the whole album and see if you pick up on this story. Maybe you will pick up on some stuff, I never did, even thought I’ve listened to this album hundreds and hundreds of times. Please share your thoughts, findings or any other comments for that matter. Also check out Big Boi’s side of the double album “Speakerboxx” (not a concept album, but great nonetheless). And “Idlewild” which is in many ways a sequel to “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” is also worth a listen. It is an incredibly overlooked and underrated album and film. In closing, don’t ever forget “OutKast is everlasting”!

Song(s) Of The Day: 1/17/12 (Tied for #1. OutKast) (The Way You Move/Hey Ya!)

My final #1 favorite music act, tied with The Beatles and Michael Jackson are OutKast. You may be wondering why I did a 3 way tie and how that could be. The Beatles, Michael Jackson and OutKast are all so different and equally great in their genre. They have all played very important parts in my life and in the molding of my musical taste. Being that one is Rock, one is Pop and one is Rap, I didn’t think it was fair to compare them and rate them 1, 2 & 3, so I tied them all for #1 because they are all my favorite. OutKast is without a shadow of a doubt, the best, most original and most talented Rap group to ever do it. My favorite for sure. They are also 2 of the best lyricists in the Rap game. They have even been called the Paul McCartney and John Lennon of Rap. They have made classic album after classic album and are still the only Rap group to ever win a Grammy for Album of the Year for “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”, one of my personal favorite albums of all time. “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” as well as all of their other albums, which are all so different, innovative and genre bending, opened me up to even more music than I was before. “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” was a double album. One disc “Speakerboxx” was technically a solo album by Big Boi and the other disc “The Love Below” was technically a solo album by Andre 3000, all under the moniker that is OutKast. It was a very successful album. One of the few Rap albums to ever go diamond. It swept the nation and world. Today I decided to do 2 songs of the day. “The Way You Move” (for some reason I couldn’t find the video for this) from “Speakerboxx” and “Hey Ya!” from “The Love Below”. Both of these videos are also available in one large video, that is connected by a segment in between, but I couldn’t find that version online either. Enjoy. Tomorrow we move on to #4.