• Reviews

    Star Wars Funk

    When George Lucas’ Star Wars hit America like a pop culture meteor in the summer of 1977, the R&B scene wasn’t immune from the impact. While Meco’s cheesy disco interpretation of John Williams’ score dominated the pop charts, disco-funk ensembles penned their own tributes to spaceships and light sabers. Kool & the Gang named an album after The Force,and Bunny Sigler’s Instant Funk crew described Darth Vader as a “tall black man” with the power to resist the traitorous rebels on the triumphant “Dark Vader.” Even Marvin Gaye’s “A Funky Space Reincarnation” gives a shout out to what was then the biggest-grossing movie of all time.

  • Reviews

    From 2006: An Interview with D4L

    This is a feature on D4L that I wrote for Creative Loafing. It was published in January 2006.

    When you hear it on the radio, D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” sounds like a silly novelty record. Most of the explicit version’s strip club references have been carefully edited out, leaving only the chorus — “Shake that laffy taffy/That laffy taffy” – to ring out over and over again. Meanwhile, the music is as bare as a Thelonious Monk piano solo, with producer K-Rab plunking down a simple keyboard fill. (Back in the day, they used to call beats like this “Casio beats.” It wasn’t a compliment.)

    “Laffy Taffy” currently sits at number one on the Billboard singles charts. D4L set a new sales record during the last week of 2005 when more than 175,000 digital downloads of the song were sold, which is nearly twice the previous record holder, Kanye West sold of his “Gold Digger” single. But if you’re one of the millions of dissenters who can’t stand “Laffy Taffy,” then you have to see D4L in concert to understand why it’s so popular.

  • Reviews

    Sunshine Rap

    “Let’s take it back to the concrete streets/ Original beats with real live MCs,” harmonized the Jurassic 5 MCs on their underground rap classic “Concrete Schoolyard.” Chanting in a collective voice inspired by the near-mythic old-school pioneers Cold Crush Brothers, the four MCs exuded goodwill amidst a sample of Ike Turner’s “Getting Nasty.” But their vision of primordial hip-hop authenticity was less convincing than the cheeriness with which they expressed it.