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DD’s 2020 They-Got-up-and-Did-it Award Goes to Blaque Dynamite”

It is of course with tongue placed firmly within metaphysical cheek that I deliver this “year-end award,” seeing as I’ve been running this site for nine years now and never do such awards, and probably won’t next year. But Blaque Dynamite, the on-stage moniker of LA jazz drummer Mike Mitchell, just seemed to come like a thief in the night and commandeer the honors, with his album Time out, composed of music that’s both intimidating and also shirking of genre. This final aspect is important, at least to me, because of what for a long time I’ve perceived as an overarching malady in the minds of many that “music is dead”; or “hip-hop is dead”; or “everything’s been done”; or something of the sorts. BD comes around and annihilates such possibilities and it starts to play as an ethos where anytime an art form “dies,” as arguably hip-hop has with the onset of “trap” [1], anybody can come along at any time and revive it. What’s more, amusingly, what’s required probably even more than skill set or “perspective” is just the sort of MANIA with which BD seems to attack the wax, like a little-kid-at-heart who just picked up CD’s by Pete Rock, Nine Inch Nails and D’Angelo. He’s too naive to realize the foolishness of trying to fuse the styles of the three into one, he’s too urban and forthright to realize how offensive it is to on his first track utter the words “And I know the pu**y ain’t tight,” [2] and then let’s round things off with me being too dim-witted to realize that these drums aren’t programmed (like NIN), but rather that this is a dude playing all of them, a professional drummer named Mike Mitchell who started at the age of two. 

Matt Cameron once said of “Evacuation” by Pearl Jam, a song he’d written and which had taken all the band mates a long time to learn, “It’s a drummer tune!”, hence explaining everyone else’s complete ineptitude in repeating the parts in a timely fashion. These, my friends, are drummer tunes. These are not songs that will ever be covered. It’s music that’s staunchly, ribaldly stylistic, and again in this way pushes forward the envelope of music at large. If I seem like I myself even am having a hard time fully figuring it out it’s because I am and on this last listen it even sounds like something that should have made my year-end list, a list from which even the mighty Grimes was rejected on grounds of mountainous competition. But then, most stuffed, overly-academic professional drummers don’t use the word “hoes” in their songs, and sure as he** don’t modify the spelling into “Heauxs” for no apparent reason other than the simple sake of being different. 

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[1] Now, trap would be an example of music you HAVE to be on drugs in order to enjoy. It’s like the String Cheese Incident.

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[2] Granted, this is the type of thing they’d probably say in rap a lot to relative impunity but when it’s juxtaposed against music that’s actually cerebrally pliant and stylistically original it just seems so much more dangerous, or funnier, or more offensive, or all three, most likely. 

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