Two’s Day: Two For Live Performances

The only thing better than good music is good live music. Whether it’s live from the stage of a sold out show, the studio, or from the sidewalk (re: Lake Street Dive), few things trump the feeling of seeing/hearing live instruments being played underneath real, non-computer-assisted vocals. It’s like watching a painter fill a canvas with a familiar masterpiece. Or seeing a sculptor recreate intricate features of a famous face down to the freckles that usually go unnoticed. As if music wasn’t powerful enough, a live performance can take an artist from likable to legendary. It exposes an artist – for better or for worse.

This Two’s Day, we salute live talent. Raw vocals. Instrumentation. Music.

Bilal – Is This Love (Bob Marley cover)

This is probably my third time posting this…yes, it’s that dope!

Hiatus Kaiyote – Shaolin Monk Motherfunk

If you don’t know them yet, please make yourself familiar

What have been some of your favorite live performances? Who would you like to see perform live?


Two’s Day: Two For The Originals

Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Sean Jean aka Take that, take that may be hailed as the King of the Remix, or maybe more appropriate, the Remake. But re-purposing beat breaks and bass lines had been almost standard in hip hop since its inception in the ‘70’s. DJs and producers would take classic and popular dance, funk, and jazz songs and create something fresh. Something for a newer generation to take and make their own. An interpolation of some of the greatest instrumentation and music created in overlapping eras of musical culture. And in our enthusiasm to embrace our own piece of culture and expand it and establish it among other respected genres, we tend to overlook, ignore, or just under-appreciate the origin of some of our favorite music.

It is important that we take time to understand the ingredients of what we consume. As lovers of music, we get a song on a platter, fall in love with the flavor, and just eat. We have no clue what pieces and parts came together to make the product we enjoy. Occasionally, we have to excuse ourselves from the table and journey into the kitchen. We have to look at the labels and see what master chefs contributed to our meal plan. The musicians who didn’t have machines and sound effects and auto-tune. Musicians who recorded masterpieces in one take on one track. So, let’s all put our knives and forks down and take a minute to appreciate the originals.

Quincy Jones – Summer in the City

— Used as a sample for The Pharcyde‘s “Passin’ Me By” and The Roots “Clones”

Ohio Players – Ecstacy

— Used as a sample for Jay-Z ft Notorious BIG “Brooklyn’s Finest”

I included this because the first 20 seconds of this song are probably the most sampled (most random) 20 seconds of music in hip hop…

Mountain – Long Red (Live)

What are some of your favorite originals? What would you add to the playlist?

Two’s Day: Two For Our History

February marks the start of historical celebration. A celebration of evolution and growth. Creation and invention. Birth and rebirth. Divergence and desegregation. A month-long tip-of-the-hat to the contributions Black people have made to the world. Of those many contributions, music is one of the most significant and consistent. From the Negro spirituals of the plantations to Mississippi down home Blues to Motown and hip hop, music has been connected to the heart of the Black experience. A heart that pumps through its veins pain, love, courage, strength, victory, oppression, consciousness. Life. A heart that pushes all of these experiences to every part of the global body.

The beautiful thing about music is regardless of the language, place of origin, or era of creation, its universal. It has crossed lines that journalists and commentators and great debaters have, at times, not been able to cross. It has opened doors and established relationships that otherwise would have been virtually unthinkable. It has created the soundtrack (and fuel) for movements of liberation and love. It speaks directly to the soul. And we’ve been communicating with the world through song for thousands of years. From our cues, artists have constructed entire genres of music that have changed lives. And although we haven’t always gotten the recognition that’s due, our influence is undeniable and irrevocable.

Common – I Am Music

“…you can feel me all over, I’m live. I help cultures survive, I’ve opened the eyes of many…”

Duke Ellington and John Coltrane – In a Sentimental Mood

What would you add to the playlist? What songs represent our impact on the culture?