Fight the powers that be: Bill Nunn as Radio Raheem in "Do the Right Thing."
(40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks/Universal Pictures)
Fight the powers that be: Bill Nunn as Radio Raheem in "Do the Right Thing."
(40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks/Universal Pictures)
Do the Right Music, TikTok Roll Call Y'all, Spotify Powers That Be, Accidental Beatle, Stormzy at Glastonbury...
Matty Karas, curator June 28, 2019
quote of the day
We love roll call, y'all. Boogie Down Productions, Rob Base, Dana Dane, Marley Marl, Olatunji, Chuck D, Ray Charles, EPMD, EU, Alberta Hunter, Run-DMC, Stetsasonic, Sugar Bear, John Coltrane, Big Daddy Kane, Salt-n-Pepa, Luther Vandross, McCoy Tyner, Biz Markie, New Edition, Otis Redding, Anita Baker, Thelonious Monk, Marcus Miller, Branford Marsalis, James Brown, Wayne Shorter, Tracy Chapman, Miles Davis, Force MDs, Oliver Nelson, Fred Wesley, Maceo, Janet Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, George Clinton, Count Basie, Mtume, Stevie Wonder, Bobby McFerrin, Dexter Gordon, Sam Cooke, Parliament-Funkadelic, Al Jarreau, Teddy Pendergrass, Joe Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Phyllis Hyman, Sade, Sarah Vaughan, Roland Kirk, Keith Sweat, Kool Moe Dee, Prince, Ella Fitzgerald, Dianne Reeves, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Bessie Smith, Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Steel Pulse, Little Richard, Mahalia Jackson, Jackie Wilson, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye, Charles Mingus and Mary Lou Williams.
Samuel L. Jackson as Mister Señor Love Daddy, in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing"
rant n' rave

A programing note: MusicREDEF is going on holiday for a week of fireworks, old town roads and trying to calm down. We'll be back Monday, July 8. We'll continue to update our website and TWITTER feed in the meantime... And we'll be rewatching SPIKE LEE's DO THE RIGHT THING, back in theaters today for its 30th anniversary. Maybe my favorite movie of all time. Certainly one of the best movies ever made about New York. "Do the Right Thing" simultaneously romanticizes and deromanticizes the city while cutting through the clutter of a hot summer day in Brooklyn to get at some basic truths about racism, police brutality, our shared humanity, the allure of a good slice of pizza, the power of music, the power of dance. Thirty years later, it all rings just as true. Including the music. In one sense, "Do the Right Thing" is a two-hour music video for PUBLIC ENEMY's "FIGHT THE POWER"; it's certainly one of the reasons for the song's place in hip-hop, and pop, history. (Lee also directed two traditional videos for the song.) But the film also serves as an aesthetic argument for a broad swath of then-contemporary black music, from PE's sonic barrage to TEDDY RILEY's New Jack Swing to AL JARREAU's jazz pop. In Lee's hands, all of it registers as politics, as resistance, as community, as identity. No to FRANK SINATRA; yes to Jarreau. No to BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN; yes to CHUCK D. No to Chuck D; yes to RUBÉN BLADES. No to Rubén Blades; yes to Chuck D. Most of the music is queued up by two resident DJs—SAMUEL L. JACKSON's MISTER SEÑOR LOVE DADDY, who overlooks the city block where the entire film takes place from the open-windowed studio of a small radio station, and BILL NUNN's RADIO RAHEEM, who works at street level, walking around playing nothing but Public Enemy on a giant boombox powered by 20 D batteries. The former is soundtracking a sizzling urban day by gently queueing up tracks like TAKE 6's "DON'T SHOOT ME" and STEEL PULSE's "CAN'T STAND IT" on his turntables. The latter is blasting a nonstop one-note political speech at top volume. Both are evangelizing for the same thing. The roll call that Love Daddy recites halfway through the film (see quote of the day, above) is an all-black 20th century music canon, a rebuke to baby boomer classic-rock orthodoxies and one hell of a record collection. It's also, I like to believe, an argument that all music—love songs, heartbreak songs, dance songs, blues songs, civil rights songs—exists to speak truth to the powers that be, and to give hope to the powers that want to be. It's part of an ongoing battle, a battle that Lee made explicit, a battle that continues in pop music today... How Chinese Jamaicans made their mark on reggae... Why streaming services should, and do, care about older music... WEIRD AL drops MICHAEL JACKSON parodies from his set... It's FRIDAY and that means new music from BAD BUNNY & J BALVIN, the BLACK KEYS, RUNAWAY JUNE, FREDDIE GIBBS & MADLIB, MUSTARD, THOM YORKE (released on Thursday), KIM PETRAS, DANIEL CAESAR, JADE JACKSON, MICHAËL BRUN, JD ALLEN, ABDULLAH IBRAHIM, INGRID MICHAELSON, PEGGY GOU, the TALLEST MAN ON EARTH, RAHEEM DEVAUGHN, CHICK COREA, the APPLESEED CAST, SOFIA BOLT, JULIA MICHAELS, MINDI ABAIR & THE BONESHAKERS, CHRIS STAPLES, OUTER SPACES, SPIRITS HAVING FUN, CHRIS STAMEY, HORSE JUMPER OF LOVE, CHASE ATLANTIC, the ECHO IN THE CANYON soundtrack and, if you must, CHRIS BROWN... And CHANCE THE RAPPER's three mixtapes are on streaming services for the first time... RIP MICHAEL JAFFEE.

Matty Karas, curator

June 28, 2019