Saturday, I was forced to write about the passing of the Ohio Players frontman, Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, how funky he was and how he and his band mates were a topnotch ensemble of progressive musicians with deep roots in the church.. I emailed the blog to several friends, including a former label mate who has signed hit records, and artists and writes as well. Via return e-mail, she lamented how infrequently I blog, and I let her know that the muse might get me in cyber-print more often.
Had I given it more thought before I wrote back, it would have dawned on me that what was really missing is the general absence of funk, that bluesy, greasy, wayward child of soul that I was reared on.
I spoke with the Epicurean on Sunday morning. Early adopters of this blog will recall that because I went out on the Rock The Bells of skool hip hop tour of ‘08 as his guest, I came back from a month on the road filled with inspiration that I dared to share with my readers.
We got caught up; what the Knicks are shaping up to be, the merits of the new Cinemax series, Banshee, the honeys and Kendrick Lamar’s appearance the previous night on Saturday Night Live were all topics of conversation. The Ep congratulated me on tipping him and several others to how hot the young MC from Compton, USA was going to be and commented that, “It must feel good to know that you can still pick ‘em, huh?” Pickin’ ‘em early ain’t hard when they’re funky, and Kendrick Lamar most definitely is that.
Last fall, I intended to write something insightful about his major label debut “good kid, M.a.a.D. city”, something meaningful about his sense of place and time, his use of art as a weapon to fight his way out of the ghetto and share his vision with the world. I wanted to write about his poetic story telling ability that allowed listeners to “see” the small, rhythmic and cinematic gems that made his album the best record that I heard last year. I wanted to write about his sense of family, community and humor that permeates the project. And the sense of loss that gives the young MC the gravity to see it all so clearly.
But I didn’t because I didn’t think my writing would do the music justice, after all, I’m an entertainment exec, not a critic, and then it occurred to me that all I really wanted to write was this: Kendrick Lamar has been what I’ve been missing in music. I’m glad he decided to bless us with his skills.