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There's a line out there, "Good writers borrow, great writers steal."
T.S. Eliot had something there, but in order for someone to commandeer someone's creation and not be a plagaristic chump, they've gotta make it their own. Their own work must not only follow the blueprint, but while being inspired by what came before, that work should pay it forward and inspire those that may come across it down the line.
This is what I've come across, by scroll or suggestion, that motivates me to forego sleep in order to do something cool.
See something awesome, take the stuff you like from it and put your own twist on it...
Or just enjoy it and let it be. I think some other guy said that.
BLACK FRIDAY MUSIC
There's a theme here. Let's see if anyone else gets it.
Had to start this off with a banger...
Blackstreet - No Diggity
Still, and always will be, one of my top 5 songs I go to when nobody else knows/cares what they wanna hear at a party but wanna keep the party going.
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Miss her and her voice dearly. This album, Back to Black, is something I return to quite often. Whether it’s for clarity with a female perspective because what she sang came through so vividly and sincere or whether it’s to hear a voice that’s simultaneously timeless, old school and current, I go back to it.
Big L - All Black
I got down with this guy later on as I delved deeper into hip hop. It’s interesting how people discover music because there’s no “right” way: you come across it however you can as long as you keep your ears open. I’m sure most people my age heard of him through Eminem referencing him in songs or through grainy youtube freestyle videos. I saw an album cover of his in a cd store - The Big Picture - and saw this dude with glasses looking back at me like he was trying to burn a hole through my head.
Also, this hook is so gangster. It’s weird to hear lyrics like this guy’s and not cringe a little. As Kanye says, “Last year Chicago had over 600 caskets…man, killin’s some wack shit.” But this was the era. This song was what it was to be a Harlem rapper: come at the mic like it talked about you behind your back. One of those “gotta wonder what else he could’ve done” guys, for sure.
There was this movement, sparked by Mitsubishi and Nissan, where car commercials yanked little-known but well-produced songs and fit them to commercials like a tailored suit. This company, Black Iris Music, was a company that was a tonal haberdashery for these kind of striking visuals. Like I’ve always done, I dove in and did my Youtube comment research and found it. Hell of a beat.
Thom Yorke - Black Swan
I’m listening to this song while I write down all of these. I chose this one to carry me through transcribing my thoughts. I think that says enough.
Soundgarden - Fell On Black Days
There are probably 20 songs that were on rotation back in the early-to-mid 90’s that I knew by heart, phonetically, but might not have caught the meaning or even known the band name. Sponge’s “Plowed.” Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three… these songs blended in and out and I loved it. Something about Soundgarden made me listen a little more intently. They, along with others, I’m sure, made me give a shit about what I was hearing.
EDIT - Add in Pearl Jam’s “Black” as a song that I didn’t know (title or lyrics) but could hum right now, end to end, if you asked me.
Black Star - Respiration
I have a hip-hop scholar of a friend named Pat. We’ve bonded on music so much so that, even though we haven’t seen each other in a while and miss out on opportunities to hang and all of that stuff, anytime we hang, it’s all smiles because we almost always end up bringing it back to music. We’ll bust out our microscopes and get down to the DNA of songs and subsequently expand those notions to galactic perspectives and man, it’s always a good time. We differ on a lot, as intelligent people with opinions do, but this is one of the songs he and I vibed with on a level of sameness and congruence that it was weird. Amongst the many other thoughts that it brought up, there’s one image that stands out with this tune: Chicago.
Death Cab For Cutie - Black Sun
Great tune from their newest album. One of those bands I’ll always follow.
Dan Black feat. Kid Cudi - Symphonies
A friend of mine, Dan, had just bought these new padded, legit looking headphones. I hungoverly stumbled into his new apartment with a few friends and I noticed them and wondered if I could try them out.
This isn’t about the headphones, but about the first time I heard this song and how I don’t remember one detail of the headphones but I remember this song making my skin hot and having to hide the reaction. That’s what music does, right there.
Guerilla Black - Hearts of Fire
Like most 80’s/90’s kids, you knew you were making an investment in an artist when you bought an album on CD. Boom or bust, once you bought it, you were committed and if you bought it for one song and knew nothing else about the artist, it was quite a gamble, especially if you had already crushed your allowance on a Playstation game or new sneakers. Not to say that this guy’s stuff wasn’t great, but I just didn’t vibe with it. Never got past track 4.
But this was the introductory track and it still goes in workout playlists.
Pitch Black - It’s All Real
I think I heard this around the same time And 1 had a grip on ESPN’s schedule like Gary Sheffield gripped a baseball bat. Maybe I heard it in a video for that show…? Regardless, I hear this song and can’t stop thinking of crossovers and huge slams and people losing their minds.
Black Balloon - Goo Goo Dolls
Black Balloon - The Kills
Not classic... yet.
Johnny Cash - Man In Black
Gotta finish strong with a guy that proves you can still be cool and intimidating and blaze a trail when you're old.
All songs that have been used in prominent spots so much that they almost got worn out…but they’re too good.
***Won "Trailer Of The Year" last year.
Yes, that was a BLACK FRIDAY commercial. My mind is boggled.
Albums that, while writing this, can’t wait to listen to, entirely.
I sometimes feel apprehensive about proclaiming that I love this album… ‘cuz I’m a white guy. Like, really white... So white that I regret writing “‘cuz” back there. And this album is so NOT white. But every single note that comes up in this album is something I’ve admired and I vibe with it on every level. Every lyric is something I’ve studied and it's influenced me in ways and thoughts that still come up. Saying “Race relations is an issue” is like saying “the Earth has water in some parts of it,” so I won’t even try to craft a thought on that right now, but this album has made me more intelligent on the “issue” by miles and miles and I’m glad I know this album so well.
I can name probably 20 albums that are so engrained in my brain that I know the order of the tracks (Encore = 4, Threat = 7, Justify My Thug = 11, Allure = 13). Succinct but verbose, upbeat and dramatic, genuine and cavalier. A guy who deserves to be mentioned as one of the greatest to have ever spoken into a microphone.
Simply put, bands have albums that push them into “headliner” status. This is that album for Muse.
Bands that are as good as Thanksgiving leftovers
I feel cooler listening to their music. Eons cooler than I actually am.
It’s them, The Beatles and The Strokes. No order, no favorite. There are obviously hundreds of others, but those are the 3 for me.
A marvel with the elemental aspects, a catalog demonstrating fantastic versatility and longevity, respect amongst his peers and a crew that are killers. The Roots are the San Antonio Spurs of music and Black Thought is an obviously more charismatic Tim Duncan.
This was one of the few posts that I hope others catch. Hope y'all dig it.
I get all the more amped when an artist that I'm all about comes out with something immersive. When they come up with something that's bursting with goodies.
Hidden links to random websites
Phone numbers that lead to eerie voicemails
Pages and pages of forum posts with speculations and bad screennames
Multiple meanings and coy thoughts revealed in subsequent interviews