In a nutshell, the last few days provided yet another reminder of the frustratingly consistent duality of life. You know,
Ying Yang…wait, Yin vs. Yang. Or as The Dude so eloquently put it, “strikes and gutters.” If you prefer the more timely, yet equally brevity conscious, hip-hop version, Big K.R.I.T. calls it “Highs & Lows.”
On on hand, we had a beautiful, music filled weekend here in Seattle and on Sound Session. We kicked off things with the Capitol Hill Block Party, where I DJ’d for the homey Shad on Friday night, sharing the stage with good friends Sol, Brothers From Another, and Thee Satisfaction, three of the most talented acts in Seattle. Thee Sat took the occasion to officially announce their signing to the legendary Sub Pop label, putting a stamp on another historic moment in Seattle’s music scene.
Speaking of Sub Pop, J. Moore carried the festivities down to Dallas, Texas on Saturday, where he accompanied Shabazz Palaces for their performance at the Gorilla vs. Bear Festival. We closed the weekend off by inviting The Physics and Sonny Bonoho to our studio to debut new music from their forthcoming projects, and we even world premiered a record from Thurzday (formerly of U-N-I) and his LA Riot album.
All in all, a fine weekend celebrated in 80 degree, flawless weather, where our only concern should have been SPF levels.
On Saturday, music lovers everywhere reeled from the news we all feared would come someday, and deep down, we knew it would be sooner rather than later: Amy Winehouse passed away in her London apartment from an apparent overdose.
Since we’ve been on the air for the last six years, we’ve lost a lot of folks and I never know quite how to summarize these feelings and thoughts in text. However, that’s what great writers do and to that end, there have already been a few well constructed pieces on Amy’s passing (I particularly recommend Russell Brand’s heartfelt, poignant entry). Ultimately, when an artist passes, I (selfishly) always focus on what his/her work meant to me and how it affected my life. If I had a chance to meet or work with the person, that always adds an extra element as well.
In this case, I never met or spoke with Amy. My only story about her is a loose connection that’s happened to us a few times as we’ve watched superstars develop. We were early supporters of her Back To Black records in the NW region (essentially the equivalent of seeing LeBron as a high school senior and telling your friends he was pretty good…we didn’t exactly go out on a limb) and the label told me she was thankful for our airplay. I distinctly remember waiting in our studio one Friday afternoon, late in the summer of 2006, for the interview they scheduled with her, only to get a cancellation call from her management instead. They explained that they were sorry, but MTV and the New York Times decided at the last minute to do pieces on her first performance in NYC and they had to bump us to accommodate the larger outlets. I knew then that our underground hip-hop/alternative R&B show in Seattle likely wouldn’t have the chance to interview her again and sure enough, by the end of the year, she was one of the biggest musicians in the world.
Granted, it’s not as interesting a tale as the time Guru threatened to leap over the table and punch me, but at least it’s a more positive way to remember one of our musical heroes. I digress.
Amy’s voice, songwriting, and the resulting music she blessed us with was amazing. Throughout her rise to stardom, we continued to play it on the air, but even more on our own time. Back To Black provided the soundtrack for some of my favorite memories and any time I hear something like “Just Friends,” I’m instantly back in THAT moment. You know the feeling.
Both Back To Black and Frank are certified 5-mic classic albums to me (yes, I’m using the Source rating system…Amy was more hip-hop than a lot of these cats) and there are countless awe inspiring live/acoustic/demo versions for her songs. When I asked followers on Twitter for a few suggestions on what to select for our Throwback of the Week, I was flooded by replies and almost every song of hers was mentioned. In the end, I picked two of my personal favorites, but I had about a hundred alternate options ready to go.
While it’s devastating to finally accept that she won’t be adding to this catalog, it’s comforting to know that like all great artists, her work will live on forever. As much as I look forward to pulling out her records years from now and reminiscing about her talent, what I’m really excited about is for the next generation to randomly discover her through their own exploration. The same way I stumbled upon an artist like Shuggie Otis or Gil Scott-Heron (RIP), some 10 year old without a clue who Amy Winehouse is right now will hear the demo for “What It Is” and fall in love with music all over again.
That’s the power of art and why losing a great artist always presents such a conflicting dichotomy. We mourn the loss of a creative spark, but we also celebrate the contributions that were made.
As I write this, Amy has 4 of the Top 10 albums on iTunes (even her b-side collections are charting) and I know some of those purchases are from kids wondering what all the hype is about. They’ll soon find out and for those that truly love music…those that zone out and let these sounds impact their moods and ideas and redefine how they see the world and interact with others…her voice will hit them like few others have.
And for anyone out there struggling with addiction, she left you this message. There’s someone out there who cares. Take action and get help.
Show #321 (7-24-11)
- Pac Div – “Saved”
- Crooked I – “Mr. Porter Meets Mr. Pigface”
- Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Hood Gone Love It”
- Kardinal Offishall – “Ol’ Time Killin’, Pt. 2 (Anywhere)”
- Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse – “Valerie” (Throwback of the Week)
- Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis”
- Big K.R.I.T. – “Highs & Lows”
- Kendrick Lamar ft. Ashtro Bot – “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain)”
- Wu-Tang Clan ft. Ghostface Killah, Sean Price, & Trife – “Laced Cheeba”
- Pusha T ft. Tyler, The Creator – “Trouble On My Mind”
- **INTERVIEW WITH THE PHYSICS, PT. 1**
- The Physics – “Seward Park” (Local Music)
- Dom Kennedy ft. Polyester – “Mr. Champagne”
- **INTERVIEW WITH THE PHYSICS, PT. 2**
- Sol – “WTF” (Local Music)
- Rapsody ft. Tab One, Charlie Smarts, & Phonte – “One Time”
- Thad Reid – “Unholy War”
- **INTERVIEW WITH SONNY BONOHO, PT. 1**
- Sonny Bonoho – “We’ll Be Stronger” (Local Music)
- The Black Opera – “Timeline”
- **INTERVIEW WITH SONNY BONOHO, PT. 2**
- CyHi The Prynce – “Take You Back”
- Wordsmith – “Rhymesayer Revival”
- **Thurz – “Dope”** (WORLD PREMIERE)
- Shad – “Call Waiting”
- Purple HeArts – “ReMinder Smiles”
- Amy Winehouse – “Stronger Than Me” (Throwback of the Week)
Link to download the mp3 of the show – http://www.mediafire.com/?buwprapcd5pflcb
(back up / streaming link – http://hulkshare.com/xue54dm3im8f)
(2nd back up – http://www.zshare.net/audio/92995614e5676c7c/)
If there are any problems with the links or if you’d like to be added to our weekly email list to receive the playlist and download links after every show, just shoot me an email, DJHyphen@gmail.com.