Rebellious Jukebox XIII: This Is The Dope vs 13th Floor

IMG_20150605_154814Originally published October 2013

Hip hop’s home is traditionally the 12″ single (or, nowadays, the download “mixtape”), so it was a bit of a surprise when veteran intelligent/conscious/whatever you wanna call it St Louis hip hop mainstay Black Spade dropped his latest project, This Is The Dope, on a 45. I’m glad he did, though, because it’s a concise introduction to a sprawling concept. A “Space Trap Oddysey Through Afro-Futurism” is apparently what they’re shooting for, & on 3013 they spell it out. Well, kinda. See, they’re 1000 years ahead of us, though Teresajenee’s vocals are solidly in the 70’s, or at least in the neo-soul version of how awesome the 70’s were. Her strong voice carries the first half of the track, leaving Black Spade & Indiana Rome to rap the rest. The track, as a whole, would have fit nicely in the late 90’s Lyricist Lounge scene. The other featured track on the 45 (there are a few more out on the internets, but that’s got nothin’ to do with the Rebellious Jukebox) is the appropriately named Theme Music, where the project’s name is occasionally mumbled in the background under some sweet Herbie Hancock-style 70’s future-fusion-lounge-jazz-funk. There are no credits, so I have no idea if this is straight beat-creation, live instruments, or some combination. Whichever it is, it’s pretty cool.

Gina Lako Nani (What’s Your Name), by North St Louis early 70’s funkateers 13th Floor, could have been Theme Music’s father. The few vocals are phased to the point of being barely decipherable, leaving the fuzzed guitars & spacey keyboards to do all the talking. How this track hasn’t caught the ear of some 70’s funk reissue label yet is beyond me. The other side’s Leanin’ is a moody guitar workout penned by the late great Oliver Sain, who also recorded the session & released it on his Vanessa label. If any of the 13th Floor dudes are still around, somebody should introduce them to This Is The Dope, and they can create yesterday’s future together today!

This Is The Dope-Theme Music

13th Floor-Gina Loko Nani (What’s Your Name)

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