D-Lay, thanks for tagging me in on this one. Who stole the soul? That was an excellent question when Chuck D asked it way back when but I think is still more relevant now. Duane, who penned the first part of this blog and I were having a conversation a couple of weeks ago when he was stateside. We were headed to do some drinking (Imagine that: Duane and I drinking together. It never happens, honest.) and one of the things we always talk about is music. Duane made the comment that foreign artists still put soul into music. He continued to explain how “black “ music that comes from overseas still contains the raw emotions that American “black” music used to have. *No disrespect to American artists still doing their thing.*
D-Lay rests his head in the Netherlands so he knows what he’s talking about. I listen to the BBC’s “black” radio station, 1Xtra, at work from time to time and as far a straight R&B goes the Euro types seem to have figured it out. American artist whose careers faltered on this side of the Atlantic find new life in England and continental Europe. Honestly the music isn’t all great but it tends to be better than what the folks at Clear Channel are shoving down your throat every hour. Sure they listen to T-Pain in England but you don’t hear “Buy U a Drank” every three minutes.
The flag ship American artists continue to let me down every time. R-Kelly’s evil yet talented ass will mail in a song in a heartbeat. Come on man what is your problem? Kells, stop making music that your 12 year-old date would like and do some grown folks shit like we know you can! Paychecks withstanding don’t you have any pride? “I’m a Flirt” “Same Girl” are you serious negro? *How in the hell do two men as talented as Robert Kelly and Usher Raymond go into a studio and come out with a shitty track like that? That’s like Mike Jackson and Stevie Wonder do a collabo in 1983 and coming up with “Somebody’s Watching Me.”*
What kind of world do we live in when white folks are making better “black” music that black folks? *I meant that in a nice way. I have a lot of white friends, honest.* Amy Winehouse’s drunk ass and Jason Seaver’s baby boy are holding it down for the moment, but they didn’t steal the soul. They just found it laying in their neighbor’s trash and took inside to use it for themselves. Raphael Saadiq and Betty Wright let Joss Stone use some of their soul and guess what? It’s working. Black artists like Anthony Hamilton need your help to keep soul music ours. We threw away the blues and white folks took it. Let’s not do the same thing with R&B.
Fuck it. If T-Pain keeps recording I’m gonna start listening to Green Day!