Monthly Archives: January 2015


I always wondered if rap would develop along the same path jazz did when free jazz came along.

Ornette Coleman – Free

All the gestures are clearly still jazz gestures, but the theoretical harmonic glue that usually holds those gestures together in unfree jazz is dissolved.  The gestures take on a life of their own outside of their usual boundaries and seem to float chaotically like released balloons.

Rap has different restrictions to break from since harmony and melody have consistently (thankfully) taken a back seat to rhythm and texture.  Deviations in texture have been common for decades, but a true break from clear rhythmic structure is far less common.  Some spoken word and some Lil’ B experiments remove pulse altogether, but this isn’t quite the same as what free jazz did.  It’s not like Ornette removed notes from his music, he just freed them from their usual restrictions.  I think this Tree/Chris Crack song is the best example I’ve heard of a rap version of this.

Tree + Chris Crack – Marv

As with free jazz, all the gestures are still rap gestures, but the drum programming is confusing enough that it’s easy to lose the bar and both rappers seem to pay no attention to the pulse and rap at their own chosen writhing pace, it has that same refreshing chaos that I hear in the free jazz that I love.

I’d welcome any other examples if anybody knows some (and if this post makes sense to anybody but me).

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Flying Lotus – Coronus, The Terminator

Previously – YOU’RE DEAD!



Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs, & A$AP Ferg – Old English

I didn’t realize that this should have been a series when I first wrote this post, so I’m going back through now and adding tags to all the posts that have videos like this so you can see them all in one place.  There are a bunch and they’re all good.  Just click “Watch What I Say” in the sidebar or in the “SERIES” section at the top of the page and check out all the others, and I’ll keep adding more as I find ’em.

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Rap is talking with music.

– Lil’ B

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire just released this pretty unsettling rap song today, and it got me thinkin’.

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – One for Sophie

About a month ago, Wills sent me a link to this beautiful Darondo song, and like most music Wills passes on to me, it’s extremely solid.

Darondo – Didn’t I

I’d actually heard this song before though, but as the context for “Remember the Time” by Grip Grand.  What’s interesting about this song as opposed to all the other sample digging I talk about on here is that, like “One for Sophie” above, this song isn’t used as a brief snippet or loop for the rap, it’s just the full, unaltered track with the verses overdubbed on top.  No editing, no added drums, no cuts, completely unaltered.  Pretty rare, but not unheard of.  In fact, this isn’t the first time eXquire has used this technique.

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – Vanilla Rainbows

Of course if you keep up with this blog, then you know I recently mentioned the ultimate incarnation of this technique in relation to Raekwon’s newest mixtape that starts to do what I’m talking about here but doesn’t quite go all the way.

Ghostface Killah – Holla

Anybody know of any others?  It’d be cool to have a full mix of songs like this but four songs by three artists is kind of a weak mix.  Help me out!

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