The Rob Gordon Shuffle, 7/16
Big Boi – “GhettoMusick”: mp3
OutKast has always been described to me as hip-hop’s answer to Radiohead, and in finally listening to Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, I’m beginning to see why. Obviously, I probably don’t need to explain to most of you why a record that sold millions and millions of copies is great, but I will anyway: Big Boi’s disc, Speakerboxxx, is a rap album that manages to both be old school (those horns!) and totally modern (those drums!). The production is great, and utterly unique – the soul sample in “GhettoMusick” is something J Dilla might’ve used, but throwing it in as a reprieve from the fast-driving rest of the song is something only OutKast would think of doing.
Andre 3000 – “Love Hater”: mp3
I’m not quite done with Andre’s disc yet, but I was immediately taken with this song. The rest of the tunes, even the segues (which I actually like, for once), are almost too clever for their own good. Almost. ‘Dre knows exactly what he’s doing, as demonstrated by this track’s note-perfect jazz nodding. Minus the noodling electric guitars and profanity, this could easily be a Kurt Elling song – but of course it’s not.
For Stars – “Brown Skin Saint”: mp3
Back on the indie tip, I’m not sure what happened to For Stars. They started off quietly enough with a morose but pretty self-titled album and the Airline People EP (the home of this track), and then became something more insular and grandiose. Amidst all that, they were virtually ignored – considering the strength of their early work, it’s hardly been a worthy career. The song is shy and quavering; if you like lonely boys and their guitars, this is for you.
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs without particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top 5.