10/14/10

THE GREATEST SONG IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE


IT MUST SUCK TO NOT BE HIP-HOP. Everyone's a hostage of their upbringing: where you are and who you hang out with in your early teens, when your ears are wide open and you're looking for anything that helps you make some sense of yourself. By the time you leave high school, the die is cast. I was a heavy metal fanatic when I discovered hip-hop at age 14, the year I moved to America. If I had moved even two years later, I would probably still be rocking a ponytail with the sides shaved, my girlfriends would all smell like cigarettes and black makeup, and my neighbors would hear Winger's second album in their nightmares. I would have had no choice in the matter. Instead, I get to hang out with ladies who should be models, my neighbors dance when my stereo plays, and I'm a conscious, participating member of this hip-hop world we all live in. But if you lived somewhere weird during ninth grade, or had an older sibling with something metal hanging off his or her lip, you probably don't even understand hip-hop music. You don't even know how to begin. A goddamn shame.

A good place to start is DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat", the greatest song in the history of the universe. DJ Kool is a Washington D.C.-based DJ.  D.C. is in the heartland of America, where black people invented all Western music that people actually like that isn't classical music. A good hip-hop DJ knows everything about all kinds of music, since hip-hop is made of every kind of music in the world. So I'm not surprised that a D.C. DJ created the greatest song in the history of the universe, or that the greatest song in the universe is a combination of a James Brown loop, some horns lifted off another of the greatest songs in the universe and a bunch of people going completely apeshit while a guy shouts about how he needs to clear his throat.

Many of the greatest songs make people cry. Some make people mosh. I know one that makes people leap ten feet in the air and land dancing like today is twenty birthdays rolled into one within six seconds of dropping the record. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter how many of you there are, no matter how often you've heard it. And I'm nominating it for the title of The Greatest Song In The History Of The Universe.

Cincy Brass Jazz Band cover "Let Me Clear My Throat"
DJ Kool clears his throat during an interview



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