“Mellow My Man”–The Roots

At the Sonar Pub, Barcelona, 2012.

This is a seminal track from another great Philly crew. I remember hosting them at the Black Banana night club in 1992 when they were still the Square Roots. The rumor was that they had been signed by Geffen. I was bummed at first because they were supposed to open for The Goats, another great Philly band of the time, who never showed. This feeling quickly changed. They were so young and already brilliant. They played a jazzy hip hop I instantly loved and like The Goats they were musicians.  Tariq (Black Thought) was as much poet as MC, reading poems/raps at times straight out of his packed journal.

After a couple of records, we in Philly wondered when the rest of the world would catch up.  After their time on Jimmy Fallon there is little doubt about the unique genius of The Roots crew.

I picked this song off the first Geffen record, Do You Want More?!!!??! because it gives you a taste of their original sound.

Another Absolutely Amazing Live Version.

[Black Thought]
One two
Yes, The Roots layin back, rela-xin
Coolin out with my man Malik B
we call him Sla-xon
YaknowhatI’msayin? We in effect
Mo like Al B. Sure, for your plea-sure
Aiyyo bust it
We about to flip it on some ol’ laid back, mellow my man tip
We gon’ set it like this
Yo check it

Bust it, La Di Da Di, who likes to party
like Slick Rick the Ruler I’m cooler than a ice brick
Got soul like those afro picks, with the black fist
And leave a crowd drippin like John the Baptist, it’s
the cause of that “Oh shit!”
The skits I kick, flows like catfish
and got many emcees on the blacklist
I’m sharp as a cactus plus, quick to bust gymnastic tactics
Us, Roots is really true to that rap shit
Now holla to the scholarly, street skats that follow me
Back to the Soul Shack with packs of rap colonies
Max that, Foreign Objects is mad abstract, make Shadrach
offender wanna go like Meshach, Black
Thought the nappy cat a bookworm shoe styles like sperm
Cool as Malcolm Little with conch a la perm burn
The herb sticks like wicks, and flips when I slaps the hand
of my mellow my man, Malik B

[Malik B]
Here I goes, negroes best to know the flower
The pro-fessional, best in those skills that kills so uhh..
WHOA, slow down before you go down (sissy)
Trixie this is Agatha Christie your slain and know now
Next contender, Malik’s the axe offender
Critique me so uniquely with mystique that’s so deep within the
microphones I grip, psych with poems so’s I slits throats
Put him in a quote, when he croaks
They sayin — isn’t it, is it the negro that did it?
Cause wreck with the tech, make you jump and say ‘ribbit’
I exhibit many forms, prohibit the corny forms
(And we’re in, your neighborhood) on the norms
Capture, was to, whack ya
Manu-facture, you can even ask Anita about the, rap-ture
I figured, perhaps ya, a say it SLAM
for my mellow my man

[Chorus: Black Thought]

The way we do it like this
That, for my mellow my man
It’s like that for my mellow my man
No no we do it like that
This, for my mellow my man
It’s like this for my mellow my man
No no we do it like this
That, for my mellow my man
It’s like that for my mellow man
No no we do it like that
This, for my mellow my man
It’s like this for my mellow my man

[Black Thought]
Yo, I got spunk, plus funk
and Jump Like Punks, to Get Beat Down
turn that heat down, I’m crazy cool
Deeper than the pool than Wilt the Stilt
damn near drowned in clowns bounce to sound
when Thoughts pound
and brown’s, my complexion section Southern
my brother-in is Jex, I
sweats no sex, cause this kid gets
grits n shit, it’s flex to drains that was crazed
when your heart spit up, dip dup damn
Yo I lost it but —
— back is the Black Boogey Man
Manic mad musician, maker of noise
that’s jocked, by your homeboys
I rocks my flocks of sheep, it’s the slickest shepherd around
I was lost but was found, now I gets down
from Philly to the Apple I, stop and holla tunes and then hit
Up-town, Diggin Planets when they get Earthbound
I kick the groovy tunes for you and yours, when I pass the can
to my mellow my man, Malik B

[Malik B]
WHOAHHHHH, shucks, my nuc snuff ducks (uh-huh)
Abruptly I erupt, to destruct, deducts
In wax I like to smack em, stroke em as I cap em
Change my name to Saran or Reynolds then I Wrap em
Negroes know we be furrow to my borough
cause my ass is so thorough, like Levert Gerald
Too strong to be sterile
So I impregnates the greats (say what?)
Bust the Pacino’s, I won’t trust them
even though I lust them shapes — females for retail prices
Twice this nice, this witch sure does her spices
I won’t smirk, cause my name’s not Urkel
The voice with the multiple choice, she does a circle
You wanna turn and page your eyes, and try to plagerize
but I degrade ya, slaughtered ya and slayed ya
Microphones I grip equipped to flip the hyp-ocrites
and nit-wits, with tidbit skits, them ain’t *shhh*
That was a curse, but I divide it in half
Gets the airplay, no fair play, you’re feelin the wrath
of Malik, aiyyo get tragic, negroes that get dramatic
Because I have the habit to smoke rabbits like a addict
So if you can not rap I will just slap YOU
If you wants to pick up on your nose be shows the chrome
and then we cap, YOU
It’s too bad, dem cyan’t understand de true check
for my mellow my man

[Chorus: Black Thought]

The way we do it like this
That, for my mellow my man
It’s like that for my mellow my man
No no we do it like that
This, for my mellow my man
It’s like this for my mellow my man
No no we do it like this
That, for my mellow my man
It’s like that for my mellow man
No no we do it like that
This, for my mellow my man
It’s like this for my mellow my man

I think it’s for my mellow my man, uhh
My mellow my man, right
My mellow my man, uhh
My mellow my man, right
My mellow my man, uhh
My mellow my man, right
My mellow my man my mellow my man my mellow my man my mellow my man
For Scott Storch, my mellow my man
Leonard Hubbard on the bass, my mellow my man
B.R.O.T.H.E.R. ? on the drums, my mellow my man
Gotta end it on the one, my mellow my man
Check it

“Spontaneity”–Bahamadia

No one has a flow like Bahamadia. This great record comes from the eccentric debut album entitled Kollage, which dropped in 1996. That summer this was nonstop repeat on my CD player.

I was sure she would blow up bigger than god or any other MC; the Roots got her and Guru really understood.

In the time of Lauren Hill and The Fugees, The Score showed that same year, it seems Bahamadia fell between the cracks for awhile.

Her MC style has carved a huge influence on true Hip Hop and her impact is deeply felt today on MCs male and female alike. This track exemplifies the cool smooth mood of her soulful style.

Peep my credentials involving instruments rhymes massage the cells in
Your mental relieves you of the babblin’ that you use to every since
The departing days of the juice crew my style been milk like a bottle
Of YooHoo was neva mc monkey see monkey do I move through baby real
Natural pose for “illadel” when I gets lyrical ou-ou like Cool Cee use
To do I make the kids wanna Rah like Afu shouts to Mecca cause the
Planets mad digable allow me to pause and hit the Mork nanu – nanu-wordplay

My aura is psychedelic flow non-prehistoric metamorphic boric like
Acid no hat tricks a classic so park that ass like Jurassic and check
The matrix completed like 7 (seven) to overshadow the triple 6 (six)
Complimenting zig-a-zicks with wisdom like the 5 percenters when doing
Mathematics flips scripts like acrobatics intrinsic in rapping like
Insulin to diabetics text is didactic with nutrience like muslix on
Wax flex facts like hydraulics when vexed to catch flicks by Miramax
Or Kodak I looks beyond the door like 100x for Wordplay…

Breaks out analogies like pollen do allergies got the vocab like the
Fugees to collect gees top Bill like Bellamy shocking hardcore headz
Like electricity cuts come complimentary of jockey Sean-Ski yo vocally
BAHAMA-D be easy like Moe-Bee raps react radio act like DJ Ran and
Colby to the Roots like Malik B. flows pose as noise reduction on MCs
Like dolby down by law like felonies catchy like T-B Essential to the
Elements like Ceceley with Wordplay …

If you doubt my word check out this live freestyle:

“Hallelujah”–Leonard Cohen

Gets better with age: Cohen performing Hallelujah 2009.

An Early Cohen Version

The fact is my heart still aches that Jeff Buckley is dead. Yes, Leonard Cohen wrote this song but for me Jeff Buckley owns it.

Cohen’s career was in a dark period and when he released Various Positions in 1984, people did not even connect much at the time to the song. Fact is it was not until John Cale and Jeff Buckley each covered Hallelujah nearly ten years later did peoples’ eyes open to this masterful prayer.

Here is a great article that will tell you all you need to know about possibly the greatest song of all time:  The Holy or the Broken Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

John Cale

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Jeff Buckley 2007 Sony Music Video

Jeff Buckley Live 1996 France

K.D. Lang

Bon Jovi

Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris

“Ain’t No Sunshine”–Bill Withers

Great Live Bill Withers

This is another one of those staples among great soulful vocalists. Many are called but few are chosen comes to mind. Bill Withers wrote it and sang the hell out of it on his 1971 release Just as I Am. It is a pure blues wailing over the loss of a woman. The lyrics are sparse and direct. The emotion is real, especially in the Withers and Bland version. King’s rendition sounds like a preacher testifying to the flock. Mayer, well you be the judge.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away

And I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know,
Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

Bobby Blue Bland

Freddie King

John Mayer with a unique Reggae approach.

Selah Sue feat. Ronny Mosuse

Octavius Womack

Matt Andersen