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1998 – Gimme Some More

March 11th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

This was the year I really clicked with Busta Rhymes. I got the Turn It Up remix single and was totally smitten by the Knight Rider bassline in it. On the back of that I bought his Extinction Level Event album and although it was a bit frustrating with so many short tracks I found plenty to enjoy especially Gimme Some More. His fast rapping technique on that is just outstanding and stopped me in my tracks.

Busta Rhymes is still my favourite rapper and the only one I have ever seen live. I have always avoided rap concerts because of their reputation for starting hours late and being a bit of a shambles, but a couple of years ago I took our son up to London to see Busta at the O2 and it was amazing. And he only started about 30 minutes late! That was fine for all the Londoners there, but a bit of a pain for those of us having to catch the train back to Sussex. Just like the albums, the songs were too short.  As soon as you get into one it ends. Just for once you want something that lasts more than 3 minutes, even if they are three brilliant minutes.

For all those reasons and for the memory of first hearing it through headphones on the way to work, I have slipped Busta Rhymes onto my playlist for 1998.

Not that I was so impressed with all the rap I heard in this year…This was the year that I first noticed Jay-Z and it was because of his single Hard Knock Life. It just sounded like a novelty record to me and so I tuned Jay-Z out for a couple of years and really missed out. I think he is the only other rapper I would want to see live in concert.

Otherwise it wasn’t great year, except for some decent dance music in the form of Propellorheads album Decksanddrumsandrockandroll, Fatboy Slim with Rockafeller Skank and the album You’ve Come a Long Way Baby, Faithless with Sunday 8pm, Madonna’s Ray of Light, and the Run DMC/Jason Nevins single It’s Like That.

This was also the year George Michael showed his sense of humour by releasing Outside, with its video that referenced his arrest in America and when I started paying attention to Robbie Williams on the strength of Millennium – another song with a superb video.

I should just mention the Cher song Believe and its innovative use of AutoTune, before the software took over the world and ruined music for several years. Time for a little confession. I find Cher’s voice really sexy. Whether it is the old stuff like Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves or the Shoop, Shoop Song I feel a bit turned on by the sound of her voice. Is that unusual or wrong?  A little sub-confession: Stevie Nicks’ voice has the same effect on me.

Moving on: there were some notable foreign releases this year as well. Angelique Kidjo released Oremi, which was getting further from being African music but still shows off her amazing and powerful voice. Baaba Maal released Nomad Soul which starts with the hypnotic Souka Nayo; a mixture of Senegalese and Celtic sounds, no doubt influenced by Simon Emmerson’s involvement in the album. The whole thing was so obviously made with one eye on the French market and the wider world, rather than just the Senegalese audience, but is still lush.

Probably the most important release of the year, for me anyway, was Manu Chao’s Clandestino album. I had been wary of it because I liked his old band Mano Negra so much and had read about him spending years travelling around Central and South America recording ambient sounds and local music. That didn’t sound like what I was used to, and I get disturned by change sometimes. The end result was like a kaleidoscope of sound, with little themes re-emerging throughout the album, one song merging into the next, and strange bleeps cropping up all over the place. It was also a very acoustic album, so different from Mano Negra’s style, but hypnotic, relaxing and interesting.

Fortunately the songs were strong, especially the title track. There was also the version of Mano Negra’s Bongo Bong, segueing into Je ne t’aime plus – a combination that Robbie Williams did a respectable cover of on his Rudebox album some years later. When Manu Chao came to play in London I went to see him and was pleasantly surprised to find that his concerts were more like Mano Negra and a lot less sedate than the solo album.

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