download TOBACCO, 1 & 2
like many college students, i too had taken an interest in the armchair approach to studying the struggle of working people around the world. eventually i stumbled upon a book called Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell that tells a story of a family of poor white farmers in rural Georgia. it’s gotta dood named Dude in it.
the story is set during the worst years of the Great Depression when the business of many southern independent agriculturalists was pretty much destroyed. Jeeter, one of the main characters in the book, is deeply attached the land he grew up on and can’t seem to understand why he’s unable to get the resources he needs grow crops. despite the fact that he was poor, a little slow in the head, and everybody around him was comically ignorant, i didn’t see it simply as his lack of outward opportunity that kept him stuck in that rut. Jeeter’s failure had more to do with his unawareness (or unwillingness to see) that greater forces further than his locale—economic and cultural forces beyond his control—had shifted thereby making that craft he had to offer, or at least the way he had to offer it, no longer relevant.
there’s a striking parallel between this story and the tales of woe sung by so many artists that claim the “real hip-hop,” wink wink.
my buddy Ryan, the MC in Common Market, had grown up in Kentucky and would occasionally tell me stories about the various labor intensive jobs he’d worked in the South. coincidentally one of these was a brief stint in the tobacco fields. during one of our discussions i suggested the name of Caldwell’s book as the title of our next album and he said “heo yea.”
tobacco, the South, existential dilemmas, labor, the struggle for clean living, touring, debates about hip-hop, poor white people, a couple of pre-96 Dilla beat tapes i had on rotation in the Sentra hooptie—and the hilarious irony of naming a boom bappy record after a book about your boy Jeeter—all turned out to be the rather unique gamut of inspiration for this era of instrumentals.
TOBACCO, 1 is a sort of evolved, neo-‘96 era, minimalist sample based boom bappery. Good music for driving, studying, freestyling, thinking, chillin(g) and alladat.
TOBACCO, 2 is the more experimental, banger-arm of the this beat era that took a brief detour when i heard the Neutral Milk Hotel album in a coffee shop one afternoon featuring a minor in synthesizers.
(#2 comes out tomorrow)