I had an interesting comment already on this week's lesson...
I'll paraphrase, since I'm waaaay too lazy to ask permission to use the quotation;)
"All this Dilla stuff that's taking over music today is just the 'latest fad'. When are we going to get back to what made music good back 'in the day'?"
I mostly feel the opposite way.
I think most contemporary beats are wack...
...and that the resurgence of interest in Dilla's canon is one of the bright spots.
For context, this all began with my Spotify library.
I don't like to brag, but there are only two things I feel I'm truly great at. (Drumming, though I'm aspiring to it, isn't even one of them.)
The first is parallel parking - I'm like Parallel Park Rain Man. Most people will look at a small spot on a crowded street with a line of cars behind them and panic. I think "meh, no hill, no inclement weather, no kids playing - that's only a 4.5."
To paraphrase Tom Cruise as Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men, "unfortunately for Dawson and Downey, I don't do anything better than I parallel park."
The second is culling a walled-garden-of-awesomeness from the general mediocrity and palaver that populates Spotify.
Everybody thinks his playlist is the best, and, with a single exception, they're all wrong. That single exception is me. ("Is I"?)
What I started noticing in my tune library was that the "intentionally-off-kilter" beats we've come to shorthand as "Dilla beats" (unless Dilla's estate starts sending cease-and-desist letters - nothing would surprise me anymore;) - were well represented.
It's gone beyond the classics like Slum Village, The Pharcyde, and Tribe.
It's Hiatus Kaiyote, and a bunch of people I'd never even heard of.
Here's the thing, though - this is a highly curated playlist. Of all (objectively, of course) great contemporary music. (If you don't believe me, you'll have a sampling from the clips in the lesson).
There's definitely some "selection bias".
Which is why I say Dilla's taking over my playlist. Where's it's less-widely-represented is in contemporary music in general.
I have to wonder about the influence of Robert Glasper in putting Dilla back on the map, but I tend to think it's huge.
Black Radio wasn't an accident, either. In several places on the record, Glasper drops conversations with his bandmates in which he's expressing essentially the same sentiment as my YouTube commenter: "most contemporary music is wack. We have to change that."
The artists using the "off kilter" beats in their music are the very folks likely to be either listening to Glasper's work, and/or the original Dilla catalogue.
But I digress. Today, I bring you a "tasting flight" of four such tunes, selected from my playlist.