Dave Chappelle's Block Party
Geffen Records (B0006366-02)
Release Date: 2006
|1.||"Hip-Hop" - Dead Prez||5:00|
|2.||"Definition" - Black Star||3:42|
|3.||"Golden" - Jill Scott||5:20|
|4.||"Universal Magnetic" - Mos Def||2:49|
|5.||"The Blast" - Talib Kweli||3:44|
|6.||"The Light" - Common (featuring Erykah Badu)||7:02|
|7.||"Boom" - The Roots (featuring Big Daddy Kane & Kool G Rap)||3:18|
|8.||"Back In The Day" - Erykah Badu||4:06|
|9.||"The Way" - Jill Scott||7:14|
|10.||"Umi Says" - Mos Def||9:15|
|11.||"You Got Me" - The Roots (featuring Erykah Badu & Jill Scott)||9:57|
|12.||"Born & Raised" - Black Star||5:53|
|Total Album Time:||67:20|
|by Matt Millstein
on July 15th, 2006
Dave Chappelle, the uber-popular actor/comedian, is also a purveyor of fine hip-hop and soul. In September of 2004 he created a one of a kind live musical happening in Brooklyn New York: the ultimate Brooklyn block party. The event was a magical pairing of the best of the East Coast hip-hop and neo soul movement, and the comical antics of Dave Chappelle. It was filmed by esteemed filmmaker Michel Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, thus becoming the critically acclaimed music documentary, Dave Chappelle's Block Party.
I have not seen the film, but from what I understand some of the film's concept was taken from the iconic Wattstax concert film of 1973 featuring the comic antics of Richard Pryor, one of Chappelle's greatest idols. Musically Wattstax presented the best of the Stax Records Soul/R&B roster from the early Seventies. Artists like Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, The Staple Sisters and Albert King were among the many talents to grace the stage at that legendary LA concert.
Wattstax showcased the best of its era musically as does Dave Chappelle's Block Party. The selection of music and artists is absolutely impeccable. Only someone like Dave Chappelle, with all of his industry clout and connections, could gather a roster so robust. Ahmir-Khalib Thompson better known as ?uestlove the gifted drummer of the Grammy Award winning live hip-hop group The Roots, served as musical director of the concert and also as the executive producer of the soundtrack. Thompson's touch is all over the music and the production of the soundtrack. Thompson's and his top-notch group, featuring members of the Roots, served as the backing band. They added an electric live sound to all of the songs. There is a spirit of joy, abandon and experimentation in the music and many of the collaborations.
Two of the most amazing musical performances were unfortunately cut from the soundtrack: TheFugees performing their classics; "Killing Me Softly"and "Nappy Heads" and Kanye West's performance of the riveting "Jesus Walks" accompanied by the Ohio State Marching Band. However, the soundtrack stands on its own without the Fugess and Kanye West tracks. Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Black Star, Common and Big Daddy Kane among others make up a multi-talented bill representing the best of east coast hip-hop and neo-soul. Each track has an organic, live sound. This is live hip-hop and soul without focus on the DJ. Highlights of the show include a jazzy version of Jill Scott's "Golden", The Root's "Boom" featuring Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap, and a funky, stretched out version of "The Light" with Common and Erykah Badu.
The music is great, the only issues that I have with this soundtrack are the vocal interludes that were inserted at the beginning and end of tracks throughout the soundtrack. While some of the dialogue between Chappelle, musicians, crew members and Michel Gondry is amusing, it is unnecessary. The voices in the interludes are sometimes hard to understand, occasionally sounding as if they were recorded off an answering machine. These vocals are backed by nondescript instrumental beats composed by ?uestlove and his longtime writing partner James Poysner. The interludes are distracting from what's really integral to this soundtrack, the live performances.
The Dave Chappelle's Block Party soundtrack is a fine historical document. Listening to the soundtrack I marvel at the quality of the performances featured, however the experience can only be more enjoyable in movie form. I will see the movie, for the soundtrack has certainly whet my appetite for what must be one great concert film.
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