If you are trying to guess what song that lyric is pulled from, just stop. Today’s song doesn’t have any lyrics. But what it does have is scratching, the DJ technique where the record is moved back and forth to create a “scratch” effect. It’s also the song that brought the hip-hop sound to the pop audience, even if the performer himself was as far removed from hip-hop as the east is from the west.
Today’s song is “Rockit” by Herbie Hancock.
Not going to even try to explain what that video is about, but it was, and still is creepy.
By the time Hancock got around to creating this song, he had been making music for over twenty years. In his twenties, he played with Miles Davis in his great mid-60’s quintet. That group, which featured Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams helped expand the jazz vocabulary. When the group went their separate ways in the late 60’s, Hancock became a fusion pioneer. The album Head Hunters from 1973 and its song “Chameleon” not only became one of fusion’s great songs, it turned out to be an R&B hit as well. Throughout the rest of the 70s, Hancock dabbled in all kinds of music: straight-up jazz, funk, and fusion.
Working with Grandmixer D. ST. and producer Bill Laswell, Hancock created this hip-hop influenced song that managed to make the R&B top 10. With rap and hip-hop music beginning to make inroads in popular culture then, no one would have ever guessed that this jazz great would bring the sound to the mainstream. That it was him speaks to his willingness to explore genres and sounds outside his supposed comfort zone, and to his amazing creativity.
Now can anyone tell me what in the world that video is about? Seriously, I never understood it back then, and I still don’t understand it now.
Anyway, that’s today’s 80s Mania Mondays song. Hope you enjoy it. As always, thanks for reading and listening.