REAL QUICK: I thought yesterday was going to include an amazing moment. I found out there was a “Paper Planes” remix on The Smoking Section. And then I found out it had Bun B and Rich Boy as the featured artists. What? I listened to it anyway and it’s actually more terrible than I imagined it was going to be. Ouch. Wrong move, M.I.A.
Paper Planes [remix] – M.I.A., Bun B, Rich Boy
The Ghetto – Donny Hathaway
Sugar Lee – Donny Hathaway
Later that night, however, I was sitting in my friend’s room waiting for him to get home from work. He was pretty late, work had obviously ran longer than either one of us had predicted. I was sitting at the computer when he came in the door and the first thing he did before even taking off his shoes was put on Donny Hathaway’s Everything Is Everything. We spent the rest of the album talking about our day.
I’ve always really liked Donny Hathaway. This album in particular rings in me like Curtis Mayfield album usually does. The production isn’t subpar or muddled but it does lack some of the crispness that I think has become heralded in hip hop recently. The kind of open space that lets the percussion almost crack. I might be exaggerating, but it sounds like everything was covered in honey. The way the bass starts on the opening track is more than the fuzz of dated recording equipment.
I know everyone remembers Nate Dogg groaning over the sampled intro of “I Believe To My Soul.” I think everyone’s probably heard at least chorus of “The Ghetto” at least once somewhere. A commercial, television show, a movie soundtrack, in passing. My favorite part of the song is close to four minutes in when the handclaps start. I’m a sucker for handclaps. I love it when the percussion gets more animated. The baby crying is cool, too. Life sounds. “Sugar Lee” is a bluesy song. It has handclaps, too. It’s more of a groove than a song as it has no lyrics but it’s still lively. It’s mostly the sounds you would imagine you’d hear in some dim, smoky room while the band is playing a song to only their friends right before the place closes for the night.