First Spin: Black Spade


It's interesting how in the discourse that's taken place for decades over the word "nigger," i.e. who can say it, what it represents, why some feel it can be a term of endearment, etc., no other negative words that were used to describe African-Americans have been held up to such scrutiny. Take, for example, the words "coon," "spook," or "spade." Pretty hateful words, yet in the right hands, these words can take on a completely different meaning, even a positive one. The discourse over the word nigger in all of its forms has almost been exclusively spoken about within the context of hip hop music, yet in its early days, this word wasn't used as prevalently within the music as it is today.  

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As we may collectively cry for the return of "real" hip hop, that day may never come. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Hip hop is one of the most fluid mediums that exists. By its very nature, hip hop is like a sponge. Whichever voice is using it to fulfill his/her own purpose, whether it be about politics, booty-shaking, bragging and boasting, my Adidas, or whatever is, therefore, as fluid as hip hop has always been. As more and more of "us" become exposed to different types of music that are not played on "Urban" radio, this, too, serves to our benefit. Namely, those of us who have been with hip hop from the very beginning. It is for all the reasons explained above, that Black Spade is someone you should listen to, bump for days, and tell and friend or two about. 

Black Spade hails from St. Louis, itself a diverse town musically as Black folks headed on up from New Orleans by way of the Mississippi River, and deposited jazz and blues along its banks. While many artists claim that they have "diverse musical influences," let's face it, listening to their music, you can instantly tell that Hall & Oates may be as diverse as their record collection gets. But when this cat says his influences are rock, electronica, funk, soul, and psychedelia, you can hear them all simultaneously in his music. Two choice cuts from his new album, To Serve With Love, demonstrate this fact. "The Ship Has Sailed" and "Enjoy The Experience" are both heavy on the funk/soul/psychedelic tip, almost sounding as though Georgia Anne Muldrow contributed to the beat-making process. 

Black Spade: "The Ship Has Sailed"

Black Spade: "Enjoy The Experience"

Run, don't walk to your local/online retailer and get yours before someone else tells you they told you so. 

Black Milk [MySpace]/[iTunes]


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