288: S&M Groove

Internet download (2001) / The Slaughterhouse (2004)
With a tinny beat and vocals that sound literally phoned in, it’s disconcerting just how quickly you’re pulled into S&M Groove‘s tractor beam. Where does that power come from? It’s geodesic in its simplicity. I know you don’t want to succumb: it’s a Newpower Soul cast-off that sounds like something your little brother made his bedroom. Lo-fi and hi-ego. Prince even finds time to rap about faint praise he read about himself in the newspaper. But the lyrics don’t lie: “freaks gonna bob 2 this”. And by the time the wahwah pedal comes out you’re a slave to all of this sadomasochistic groove’s demands.

352: 2045: Radical Man

Bamboozled OST (2000) / The Slaughterhouse (2004)
There’s plenty to delve into with the lyrics on this laidback funk sermon and on internet forums I’ve seen them become a catalyst for discussions on everything from Spinoza to pyramid conspiracy theories. At its core though 2045: Radical Man is a lash out at the music industry and a call for an uprising against its non-musician gatekeepers and corporate venality. An impassioned, rallying cry at odds with the easy listening, lounge-band backing. The only time it receives a rocket and moves out of cruise (ship) control is during the alien interference that descends after the “oh my god, it’s the Green Mile!” shout and even then the keyboard noodling carries on in the background unfazed by the cacophony. It’s a calm, steady undertow pulling along a bizarre assortment of radio tuning, milkshake slurps and pitched-up Camille vocals. A gallimaufry that fascinates me much more than the soapbox word salad. The revolution will not be televised but it will sound like it was soundtracked by Money Mark.

376: Silicon

The Slaughterhouse (2004)
Silicon (n): a hard and brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre. A description that seems to sum up this song’s flavour well. Who knows what the lyrics are about; whether its tech, Hollywood, veganism, blood transfusions or all of the above, but in the words of the maestro himself “never mind the rhyme just relax and wax the song”. Not that you can relax much in its company though. Jagged and exposed, it’s machine funk without a protective safety guard. Don’t get too close or you may lose a hand.

383: Y Should I Do That When I Can Do This?

The Slaughterhouse (2004)
I think it was Machiavelli who once said that the best fortress a prince can possess is a Camille-voiced smackdown over a James Brown break and this is exactly what we have here. A percussive stickleback with Prince playing the elder statesman of funk, wearing his credentials as a peacock tail and belittling newcomers about their “little” grooves and over-reliance on music software. Y Should I Do That When I Can Do This? also doubled as a retort to any concert goer expecting him to just churn out the hits and was probably written in Latin on his family crest, being an apt summary of his modus operandi and echoed in lines such as The Max’s “when they tell me 2 walk a straight line, I put on crooked shoes”. The six minute lesson in paying dues ends with a Hide the Bone style scat of the horn riff and the feeling that you’ve just been schooled by a sensai motherfucker.

448: The Daisy Chain

The Slaughterhouse (2004)
Cut Prince in 2001 and this is the funk that would bleed out. Viscous and effortless sounding, it has a Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head feel about it which is certainly helped by the accompanying video featuring a b-ball playing Prince. DVS’s marooned rap in the middle doesn’t light any fires but he has written about the experience and it’s well worth the read. Please note: he’s not to be confused with the New York rapper of the same name who is genuinely the funniest person on Twitter. Follow.

475: Hypnoparadise

The Slaughterhouse (2004)
A dizzying ensemble of piano and synths that swirl around like hyper-real confetti in a technicolor dream sequence. Fade in. Eddies of cherry blossom get thrown up by a car speeding down an empty Parisian boulevard. Dissolve to love interest. Heart wipe. Scenes of whirlpool attraction. Cloud time-lapse. Rose petals raining down on a bridal bed. Fade to white. Fin. It’s tooth-achingly rich and I couldn’t eat a whole bag but listening to this track on headphones makes me feel like Karen in Goodfellas on her wedding day, meeting an endless parade of Maries, Peters and Pauls before passing out due to a heady cocktail of pink icing and vertigo.