How did you spend your 4/20? Some of you probably can’t remember.That’s ok. How about this for a trip: walking through Harlem for 70+ blocks due to lack of trains. But it it’s cool, and kind of surreal to see places in daylight that you usually only see at night. The United Palace Theatre. for example – how refreshing to see that landmark hasn’t been demolished for yet another plastic-and-glass “luxury” condo.
Meanwhile, the folks over at VP Records – who’ve been putting out the Strictly the Best compilations since time forgot – sent over an aromatic promo called “Various Artists Celebrate 420.” Which is funny for all the obvious reasons, various being a relative word. The first artist they’re pitching is New Zealand Maori roots reggae band Katchafire, who have a new album due out – the track they sent over is Collie Herb Man, and although it’s a total rip of the Steel Pulse classic Sound System, it’s also got refreshingly organic production values – a digital production, obviously, but with real guitar, real bass and spare percussion which could be samples, or not. It draws you in – when this stuff hits you, you feel no pain.
The second one is No Cocaine, a collaboration between Slightly Stoopid (don’t laugh), Capleton and Inner Circle doing the riddims – once again, oldschool organic style. When Capleton steps all over the smooth harmonies and rasps “It’s the healing of the nation,” you just have to laugh.
A massive Yellowman career retrospective, Young Gifted & Yellow has been out for awhile (the file the label offered is too big to download, which explains why it hasn’t been covered here) – the track on the promo turned out to be the early 80s sleng teng hit Burn the Kutchie.
The 90s were represented by Sanchez and his track Chronic, a dancehall-flavored nod to west coast rap. To wrap it up, here’s the late great Sugar Minott doing Herb Man Hustling. All these links are youtube clips: as always, get your fingers ready to mute the ads in case one pops up (they didn’t the first time around, but with youtube, who knows).