My love of A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders starts, like most stories, with a girl.
I was a junior in high school and was on campus late one Saturday evening for an anti-drug rally. There were some girls from a neighboring town in attendance and I had taken a liking to one of them. The rally ended at 10PM, but their ride was late… so I chivalrously (and maybe selfishly) volunteered to wait with them. It was cold, but that’s ok: I let lil’ shorty wear my Starter jacket (and didn’t wash it for a month afterward because it smelled like her) while we passed the time by trying guess the hard-to-decipher lyrics to the chorus of “Electric Relaxation”.
“Electric Relaxation” was to 1993 as “I Need Love” was to 1987. Q-Tip was the smooth operator; Phife Dawg was the realist (I love the line: ‘I like ‘em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican, or Haitian’). The beat (a masterfully reworked sample of Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew”) was an instant classic.
Continue reading “My Favorite Albums: Midnight Marauders”
I’m a big fan of the original compositions that color movies. Of the thirty-plus score albums I own, none is as special to me as Bill Conti’s Rocky Original Motion Picture Score.
I listened to this album non-stop during the summer of 1998. I was living in Columbus, OH, working as a college intern at a technology company. Though a series of mistakes and mis-steps, I was facing cross-roads in my college career. Nothing as serious as dropping out (never that)… but I was struggling with my grades (too much Alpha and not enough studying).
So I took 7 months off (the summer, plus the fall 1998 semester) and I worked as an engineering intern. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I got focused and afterwards, went back to school and pulled my GPA up to respectable numbers.
Thank you for your love of music.
[Note: Why am I thanking Questlove (drummer with the Roots and overall musical Renaissance man)? And what does he have to do with Ask Rufus? Give me a moment to explain.]
In 2006, I came across your rare groves compilation Babies Makin’ Babies. I appreciate your desire to share lesser-known musical nuggets with the masses. All of the tracks are great; however, two in particular really caught my attention: Bill Withers’ “Can We Pretend” and Rufus’ “Magic In Your Eyes”. Continue reading “My Favorite Albums: Rufus’ Ask Rufus”
Sketches of Spain isn’t overly sentimental to me (that honor belongs to the first straight-ahead jazz album I purchased – Terence Blanchard’s Billie Holiday Songbook). Sketches isn’t Miles Davis’ best work (that would be Kind of Blue). Heck, it’s not even my favorite Miles Davis album (Porgy and Bess).
So why is Sketches of Spain on my list of favorite albums? I’ll answer that in a minute. First, let me take you back to the summer of 1994.
I was 17 when I first heard Sketches of Spain. It was the summer before my senior year in high school, and I was a just discovering straight-ahead jazz. I knew of Miles Davis and other jazz greats because of Quincy Jones’ Back On The Block. I wanted to explore Davis’ recordings, but I couldn’t – there were just too many to choose from. I had no idea where to start. Fortunately, a very cool professor pointed me in the right direction.
Continue reading “My Favorite Albums: Sketches of Spain”