This post, believe it or not, doesn’t stem from any bitterness or anger (although possibly on a subconscious level), neither is it because I have just been cheated on. It just so happens that I’ve been listening to a series of banging tunes that all give reference to infidelity. Don’t worry – this is not in any way a self-righteous, self-pitying rant!
In case you were wondering what had happened to all the roots reggae material, I offer you this. ‘Cheating’ by Earl 16 has some of the most beautiful, soothing and frank vocals I think I’ve ever heard. Combined with the intense percussive crashing and banging of the Upsetters (Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s house band), this track is one of those tunes that seem to work perfectly late at night when you’re in a reflective mood; meditation music..
(I got it on 7” recently, hence the pops n cracks!)
The version is a component piece, stripped bare, screws and all exposed. Starting with everything cutting out except for the vocals and Wurlitzer/Hammond Organ, the percussion creeps in part by part, the piano also stepping in with additional guitar chords. With this method, you can really get a sense of the tune’s structure, especially when big drum rolls are wacked in with prominence (01:25 being one).
Putting in Sami Jo (a 70’s American country singer) is a bit bizarre I agree, and I have to admit, this recording is not the exact same one sampled in Madlib’s production on MED’s ‘Cheaters’. BUT, the melodic shapes Sami creates especially towards the end of phrases such as ‘..wants another man’s woman’ and ever so slightly delaying select words are perfect. For once, I’m really glad I got the wrong record!
If anyone, however, does know who Madlib samples (it’s not the Dee Dee Bridgewater, that’s too jazzy) hit me up!
‘Cheaters’ by MED (short for Medaphor, he’s Madlib’s homeboy) has gota be one of the finest examples of soulful mixed with raw no bullshit hip hop. I could honestly listen to this on repeat for hours.
The first word ‘Eh!’ grabs your attention, his spitting sits nicely above the synths and sampling. Granted, the lyrics are crude: ‘She loves my swagger, love[s] the way I throw the dick at her’ (out to Flobare for decoding this, I’m lyrically retarded) but man, come on, this is hip hop not Puccini!!
Taken from ‘Low Budget Hi-Fi’ (2011)
Buy it, it’s such a strong release, as with the whole Medicine Show collection in fact. You may be too late (unless of course you fancy forking out an extra 40-odd quid) for the limited edition vinylwhich comes complete with Hennessy-infused paintfor the silk screen print on the front cover (I personally couldn’t smell it), but you just have to cop it - standard CD or LP or whatever you can get your hands on, cos there is some simply magical stuff hidden in this album. Golden nuggets.
That said, it’s a little bit frustrating sometimes because he’ll be on an absolute roll with a blinding beat and then it fades out or suddenly cuts to a totally new, unrelated tempo - you just wish he’d keep it going for a decent amount of time, like at least 2 or 3 mins. I’m greedy.
This is Madlib, you gota be grateful for what you receive.
The format is very similar to all the other odd numbered collections in the series (even numbers are mixes, the rest such as this are DJ-friendly, whole tracks unmixed and mostly instrumentals), crossing so many genres and styles with such ease.
You have plenty of soulful infused beats, groovy and funky (which I generally avoid), straight unadulterated raw hip hop, trippy moments with sharp cuts of comical Blaxploitationsamples and jazz deviations (if you’re into that kind of thing, check out Medicine Show #7 ‘High Jazz’).
This short article gives an amazing insight into Madlib’s creative process. It’s not just about jackin’ beats..