[…] “I met Philip Glass as I was walking
down the street,” she explains over the phone from, of course,
Manhattan. “I run into him fairly often. And he said, ‘How’s it going?’
I said that I was without a record deal, and he looked really happy and
said, ‘Congratulations. That means you can do what you really want and
finally have freedom.’
“I wasn’t clear how I felt about it at the time.
I wasn’t seeing it from that point of view. Two weeks after 9/11, I
found out my deal with A&M was up and asked them for another year
on the label, and they didn’t pick up the option, so I quietly went
But she began thinking about Glass’s reaction.
“I decided to hire an engineer to work with, Brit Myers, and we just
played music into the computer. I riffed around and made loops and
things, without lyrics. It was a new way for me to work, and part of
the sleekness of these songs may be that I was working on a computer,
which compresses everything and allows you to edit and alter your work
in really interesting ways. It becomes like a collage." […]
That's from Ted Drozdowski's "Village Folk" in The Phoenix
What are your personal memories of September 11th?
I remember feeling 'housed. Shook. Got.
I remember not so much wanting to turn someplace into a glassy expanse as feeling frightened of others whose grief spurred them to invoke nuclear parking-lot dreams.
I remember thinking that everything that had gone to hell in a handbasket the previous November and December, by comparison, was going to make me look like an cockeyed optimist in the years to come.
[…] In The Games Black Girls Play, Gaunt argues that cheers —
songs and seemingly nonsensical chants performed in conjunction with
handclaps and foot stomps — offer entertainment for black girls across
the country, but they also play a more important role. They teach young
girls aspects of "musical blackness," placing them socially in step
with black tradition. The book examines black girls' forays into
popular culture — whether unconscious or deliberate — and what their
invisibility says about hip hop, musicality in the black community, and
when and where girls enter the annals of music history.
it seems like a stretch to claim that the way girls play has influenced
a commercial behemoth like hip hop. But have you heard Nelly's "Country
Grammar"? Its sing-song chorus was sampled from black girls' games, and
Gaunt suggests that the song gained popularity in part because it was
immediately recognizable to black audiences. Gaunt emphasizes that male
rappers like Nelly use such games as material, but female rappers do
not — an assessment that's blurry and not as convincing as her other
arguments; it doesn't help that the aspiring female rappers Gaunt
interviews about why this might be don't offer illuminating
And lest anyone think girls have been passive
creators of sampling fodder for boys, over time girls have appropriated
snippets of New Edition's "Candy Girl" and the Jackson 5's version of
"Rockin' Robin" for their own rhythmic use in games, which underscores
the reciprocal and often unexamined relationship between black girls
and popular music. When Gaunt traces the origins of traditional games
like "Miss Mary Mack" by fusing academic prose with vividly rendered
memories, her journey is refreshing, if sometimes daunting in its
That's the middle of "Playing for Keeps," a Joshunda Saunders review that C. shot my way a day or two after I saw this Yahoo Buzz Log post last week.