Monday, May 19, 2008


Listen to HUNG UP ON MY BABY by El Michels Affair.

I've been wondering how to transition away from newish music, hip hop, and old soul music that we've been doing the last couple of weeks. Then it hit me--why not share with people new music that sounds like old soul music that's heavily influenced by hip hop? Genius!

Let's start with the specific in hopes we can work back to the general. Today's selection is Hung Up On My Baby by El Michels Affair. Hung Up is a cover of an old Isaac Hayes number, but most people (including, I'd assume, the guys who recorded this version) know it as the song sampled by the Geto Boys in My Mind Playin' Tricks On Me. One way you can tell the band is working off the hip hop version is that this version is leaner, more stripped down, more open breakbeats than the original, as if they're covering a loop more than a song.

So who are these guys? El Michels Affair is Leon Michels and friends. Michels runs a label called Truth & Soul Records, which is a kind of successor to Soul Fire Records. Both of these labels are big names in a scene that doesn't really have a name. It's the retro soul-funk scene, the nuevo funk scene, the neo-soul, the neo-funk... I've seen every variety of label. Basically it's a bunch of young (but not always young) guys (and gals) recreating (though that's not always an acceptable term) an older, rawer funk-soul sound. Simple!

Actually not, but let's not get bogged down. We'll try to talk about it more as we go, but for now, have a listen to this excellent track. And go back to some of these other posts for further reference. My only request is that as you listen to it, don't think of it as aping the "good" music from the early 70s, take it as adapting some good music, with some other good music, and making their own thing.

Photo: Local churches (1).



Michelle said...

Hi there, I'm the publicist for Truth & Soul and I wanted to reach out and thank you for your recent posting that highlights their El Michels Affair song "Hung up on my Baby." If you'd like to receive more music from the label in the future, email me back and I'll add you to their service list.

Thanks again for the support,
michelle [at] AudibleTreats [dot] com

bill said...

Thanks Michelle! I'll definitely email you off blog.