“Talent”

by

Dudley Perkins can’t sing.

With that being said, the fact that he even endeavored to make an R&B album I think is worthy of some discussion discussion here.

It’s my view that singing talent isn’t a prerequisite to making great music. Disclaimer: the farther we get from my genre of choice–hip hop–my expertise dwindles. But nevertheless, I suspect that like most people of my generation, I listen to many different types of music.

That brings me to Bob Dylan. Dylan was an artist of many talents, but clearly, he did not possess what is traditionally considered a great singing voice. His talents were elsewhere. He had an amazing ability to convey a mood through the timbre of his voice and content of his lyrics, and the capacity to use that voice achieve these unorthodox, compelling melodies. Maybe this isn’t a perfect example, because Dylan could hold a note, but nevertheless, my point is simply that Dylan was able to make great music without what is the popular conception of a great singing voice.

Enter Dudley Perkins. Clearly, A Lil’ Light is not trying to be the next What’s Going On. DP and Madlib appear to intend their work together as a light-hearted musical experiment, one where Madlib can showcase his beats. DP is definitely able to achieve some unorthodox things with his falsetto, crackling, junkie voice.

If that characterization reminds you of another Madlib project–Quasimoto–you’re not alone. What the DP and Quas projects have in common with Dylan is that they are all trying to achieve some alternate musical goals; goals that are more aesthetic, and more tangential to the traditional goals of their respective genres.

The purposefully provocative question I pose to Pete is whether this approach by Madlib could be called arrogant. That is, I ask do these projects suggest that Mablib thinks his shit is so dope that he can make even the worst singer sound good?

Or does Mablib just not take his music seriously enough to think about these kinds of things? You get the impression that he genuinely does it for the fun of it; and if DP comes into the studio on some clownin’ shit, and Mablib’s feeling it, they’ll throw it on wax. Is there something wrong with that?

While I find this aspect of Madlib’s approach very interesting, I know that this lack of seriousness can turn off more traditional hip-hop heads.

Moreover, at one time or another, all of us express a wish that a favorite artist would do something differently or stop doing something else. So for my second question, I ask whether any fan is justified in asking why Madlib would waste his time and some crazy-ass beats with the Dudley Perkins projects?

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One Response to ““Talent””

  1. Djeske Says:

    Your completely right, declaime may not be able to sing. But with mablibs help they can sure set a mood. Now you may say why is madlib wasting “Good beats” on declaime, instead of using them on someone who would emcee over them someone with more recognition ect. I say hes tires of the old and is exploring new things. In my opinion A Lil Light is one of the best things ive seen by him!

    Keep up the blog son
    Big ups
    Takee care

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