Today there’s been a reprieve in the weather so I prep for a ride down to the e-bloc Cineplex to see Notorious because my life has gone in the gutter so naturally I look for escape. The snow is melting a little and the dirt and grime of a world gone mad gives it the look of the pain and agony of a gray Guernica.
I mount up and ride rolling north toward downtown Minneapolis. As I ride the memories flood back uncontrollably. Yes, I see you from beyond and for a moment time stands still. I remember your young body and how it felt when I touched you and the world fell to its knees.
The album’s first cut Intro starts with a sound byte that is the declaration of corruption. When Buggin says, “cuz we’re lost in a world of corruption/the movement flows through my pen and my productions” he’s talking to us about how art and music will carry the struggle for resistance from here on now. I love the current event historical references, broken down like a pro.
Say Goodnight 2 Da Bad Guy opens with some excruciatingly beautiful romantic classical guitar. Spanish in tone, this song is autobiographical poetry that paints a picture of life on the urban rez in Milwaukee and how Buggin got his start.
Say Goodnight slips smoothly into some heavy melodramatic acoustic piano chords that set the tone for Ain’t No Love Loss. Buggin is runnin’ down the flow to tell people not only where he’s comin’ from but also where’s he standin’ now and where he’s headed. He’s sayin’ that when you love someone even when they’re gone, you don’t lose the feelings you’ve got for them. With emphasis, Buggin states, “and yes I’ll keep it hot like a sweat lodge rock” which is very clever and very Indiannish.
This leads to an electric guitar acapella segue into Lord Have Mercy, an amazing step in the evolution of this man’s music. And better be listened to by those brothers out there that don’t understand that change comes from inside, not externally. It’s about fulfillment. “I can rap about 24s and 26s/I can be a gangsta and call the ladies bitches/I can write about all my diamonds and my gold/bein’ up in the club but that shit’s gettin’ old.”
My favorite song I Am Universoul starts with a hot electronica intro that moves to something of a beautiful funk groove with poetry over top. This is my favorite trac because of its relationship to the R-n-B genre and because if you can’t dance, you ain’t shit. “Live for today like it’s your last because you never know when it’s your time to blast.” Buggin breaks it down to a smooth easy male vocal.
The beautiful piano intro to That Road features female vocals over top. Reminds me of the Beatles ending Sgt. Pepper’s with A Day in the Life. “There’s gotta be a better way/I’m thinkin’ as I meditate/behind every dark cloud/there’s gotta be a better day/so I keep my faith in myself and my soul /this is the life I chose as I walk that road.” A lot of these songs are not just about Buggin but about the results that come of collaboration.
People that don’t understand that anapestic free verse with internal rhyme simplifies poetry so that all of us can understand, are doomed to not understand the significance of that. This is no effete snob Robert Creeley poet laureate boring coppin’ a nod in the front row. No this is way ahead of that. Do you have to play it so loud? Well, yeah.
We lost Biggie and Tupac over some stupid internecine inner tribal conflict that made no sense. It is the tragedy of the music business. The biz is a meat grinder and I should know because I used to be steak but now I’m just a meatball. I’ll say this to you Mr. Malone. Biggie and Tupac are proud. I’m proud. I love intelligent music. This is intelligent music.
It begins to snow big huge fluffy ivory flakes like the creator heard my pain and answered by turning this dirty filthy Midwestern city into a below zero paradise. After a quick shower I sit down by a window to watch in amazed wonderment at the beauty of it all.
For more info on Buggin Melone, see: www.Myspace.com/bugginmalone.
Jamison Mahto: Reporter/Indigenous In The News, Indigenous In Music CD Review
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