Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sitar grooves: US3 - "You can't hold me down"

How many rap tracks feature not one but 2 sitar solos? Although US3 were never a straight-ahead rap group by any means, with a major acid jazz bent to them. Since I'm a sucker for funky sitars, I absolutely love this, from way back in 2001. But even without the Indian-ness, its a phat track, easily their best since their debut single Cantaloop.

In case you care about such things, the horn parts are from the old jazz standard "Jive Samba." Below is Cannonball Adderley's version of it.

So for all the folks who deride hip-hop's art of sampling as uncreative theft, ask yourself this - who would have envisioned that Cannonball's  recording would sound awesome with a slammin' breakbeat underneath it, and a rapper and a sitar solo on top of it? Or, who for that matter, creates rap music and decides "it's great, but it just doesn't sound Indian enough - let's get some sitars!"
To take something old and imagine it in a new and interesting context - surely a worthy artistic expression.

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