Thursday, September 18, 2014

Yelawolf Channels Johnny Cash "Till It's Gone"

It's been over a month since I last posted to Blood Is One and, no, music has neither dried up nor have I lost interest in posting here. In fact, quite the opposite - some really good music has been coming out. Let's look at some of it!

Yelawolf is a big, big fan of Johnny Cash. He even has a tattoo of Johnny Cash's wedding photo on the side of his head. As an iconoclastic mixed Native American/white rapper from the heart of Alabama, it certainly makes sense. Johnny Cash isn't the only country singer of significance but he is arguably the most significant country singer of all time. Cash's talent was so raw that he could take damn near any song of any genre and make the best version of it anyone ever heard.

Johnny played around with sound on his last album, Ain't No Grave. There's plenty of sound effects going on there - the dragging of chains and funeral organs. Johnny had one hell of a producer on board with him, Rick Rubin, but Rubin's work was so simple and played perfectly with Johnny's vocals. Check it out:

Yelawolf's fondness for Johnny Cash has yet to be fully realized until now - he has alot more creative freedom than he did when he was starting out. "Til It's Gone" utilizes sounds right out of the Johnny Cash handbook with handclaps that are almost reminiscent of Santa Esmerelda.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Music To Check Out And What To Do With Blood Is One

When I started this blog, I figured that I'd make a site dedicated to the music I grew up on - hip-hop. I love rap and have for a very long time. The DangerDoom record, a collaboration between MF Doom and Danger Mouse, is probably one of my favorite records of all time.

Needless to say, it was hard to keep up. If you look at the history of this site, you'll see that I haven't posted since back in December and the posts were sporadic even before that. I love rap, I really do, but I have been having one hell of a hard time getting back in to it these last few years. Maybe I'm getting older and the reality of life has made me grow up from the nonsensical foolishness of backpack rap to the nihilism of gangsta rap. Maybe what's coming out now just isn't inspiring.

Anyways, I'm still listening to music nonetheless and do feel the need to write about it. So here goes.

I found the Sunshine Reggae Podcast on iTunes. I will be honest - besides Bob Marley, his son Damian Marley and Elephant Man, I haven't listened to a whole lot of reggae. Sunshine Reggae is really impressive. I didn't expect a lot of the songs in there, especially Inner Circle's "Bad Boys," which you would probably know as the theme from "Cops."

I can see why Snoop Dogg felt the compulsion to change his name from Dogg to Lion - reggae provides the rhythm and lyricism of hip-hop without many of the overtones of nihilism and hopelessness that permeate out of the American ghetto. Snoop actually had something to do with my exploring reggae - I found his duet with Eddie Murphy very enjoyable, as did I Nas' brilliant collaboration with Damian Marley. Here's the best song from that one:

One of my friends said that Damian Marley > Nas on that album and I don't disagree. However, Damian did challenge Nas to rise above his normal gangsta rap persona. He actually became a poet on "Patience" and the verse "I've held real dead bodies in my arm, felt their body grow cold, why are we born in the first place if this is how we gotta go" has stuck with me since the first time I heard it, especially in the aftermath of my own fiancé passing away. I've listened to a lot of Nas and that sounded a whole lot more grown up than the Nas in "Thief's Theme."