Music Revolution 2010: Aloe Blacc – On His Game, Off The Radio
Lots of people have beef with music these days – nobody can sing anymore; there’s too many samples; there’s not enough melody; all the songs are about sex; there’s no variety; the list goes on. This is because those of us in the 25-48 age group, like the generation before us, relied heavily on the radio, and later MTV, to hear music. As a result, we’ve become spoiled and believe that the music on the radio is the only source of music in the whole damn world. Bottomline, great music is out there, but we have to venture beyond the radio dial to find it.
For the last two years, I’ve made my pilgrimmage beyond the borders of WBLS, Kiss FM and Hot 97 to find some unearthed melodies and rhythms. One of the things I’ve found was a Good Thing: Aloe Blacc. Those of you who don’t recognize that name might recognize his song “I Need a Dollar,” theme of the HBO series “How To Make It in America.” The singer/MC/songwriter showcases his unique voice and sound through Stones Throw Records, home of equally unique and progressive ground-breakers like the late J Dilla, Madlib, Dam-Funk and Yesterdays New Quintet. His latest offering, Good Things, was supervised by Brooklyn-based miracle workers Truth & Soul Productions, the producers and musicians responsible for Lee Fields & the Expressions and El Michels Affair. Tracks like “Femme Fatale” and “Loving You is Killing Me” exude that strings/horn-laden “cinematic soul” sound that’s synonymous with Truth & Soul, yet tracks like “Politician,” and “I Need a Dollar” stands firmly in the streets, but without the cliches and preachiness. Not only is this CD essential front to back, but Blacc and his touring band, The Grand Scheme, are dynamic stage-mongers that command attention from their audience. Case in point, at SummerStage 2010 in NYC, Blacc got his audience to sing “My Cherie Amour” to him as he and his band huddled to choose their encore!
You won’t find him on the radio. You won’t find in on 106 & Park. Go to YouTube; go to stonesthrow.com; go to Amazon.com; go to your local mom & pop record store (if your town has one); and if all else fails, come here. Enjoy.