On That Note

Single Artwork "I Wanna Sex You Up"
This week I've had more revelations concerning hip-hop.  She is so unique and eclectic, a collage of so many different influences - cultural, philosophical, etc.  There really isn't anyone else quite like her; her personality is unmatched.  It's just a beautiful thing to admire.  While other types of music obviously draw on inspiration others, none do it as hip-hop does.  What other genre fuses classic hits of those who have gone before with the lyrical brilliance of its own generation of artists?

The first, though by no means only song that came to mind as I recalled hip-hop this week was the track I had on repeat when I realized I had become involved with the genre: Color Me Badd's "I Wanna Sex You Up."  Rewind back to early December where you'd find me finishing up the fall semester at Old Dominion University.  Those of you who know anything know that this typically means that I had about 20 pages worth of research papers to pump out in a week.  Thank goodness for Spotify (it was still somewhat new to me at the time).  For whatever reason, this song was in heavy circulation.  Listening to it, I think heard into the past.

Please bare in mind that I don't pay much, if any, mind to lyrics - if I decide I like a song, after listening to it multiple times, only then will I actually look up the lyrics.  I'm in the "Why listen to lyrics exclusively?  I can get that with poetry.  The instrumental is what actually makes music music" camp.  Sure, melody coupled with lyrics makes the sensation all the more powerful, but to entirely ignore one for the other doesn't make much sense to me.  All that to say, don't think of me as some weird pervert because of the obvious content of this song.  (Yet, despite this, I'll say that this track is so much more innocent in its delivery compared to more contemporary hip-hop.)

Released in 1991, the inaugural single off of the group's album C.M.B. peaked in second on Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.  It attained the glory of first in the U.K. and New Zealand.  The bassline is sampled from Betty Wright's "Tonight is the Night" (one of my favorite features of the song).  The Brothers Johnson "Strawberry Letter 23" is also sampled.

Solid phrasing both melodically and rhythmically catch my attention.  With the perfect amount of bounce, notice how the rhythm continually drives to the next bar.  This keeps the track flowing and moving.  Dynamic melodic lines throughout the track that sound to be fairly demanding on the performers prove to be warm and flowing, offering (like the supporting rhythmic drive) constant movement and direction.  The numerous tutti "I wanna sex you up" swells heard throughout act as a build and release of dissonance and tension,  continuing the fueling of the direction of the song.  This successful coupling of rhythmic and melodic phrasing is dynamite.  Keep it in mind next time you listen!

Until next time


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