I don’t know about you, but I love to argue. I’ll argue about anything. I can’t help it, I was born a Leo, and God help us, we’re usually right. I haven’t experienced an awkward silence since I learned how to talk. I cover it all. Politics? I got Obama’s back against the haters. Sports? The ridiculous TV special aside, Bron is somehow a villain for wanting better teammates, yet Kobe trashed his teammates and management until Pau Gasol came. Hell, Magic Johnson said he’d return to college rather than play for the lowly Bulls and said he only went pro because he got to play with Kareem and the Lakers.
Music arguments are a different breed, mainly because there are no stats to back up an argument outside of music sales, and we all know that sales don’t mean jack. All we know is how the music makes us feel. Sure, you can break the music down analytically and give a band their props on syncopation or something, but where’s the fun in that? The same thing goes for when you try to place an artist in a specific genre. For example, Big L is obviously hip-hop, but many cases aren’t that clear.
Enter my fellow San Diego-area residents Eric Poline and Gabe Lehner, collectively known as Inspired Flight, and their debut album We All Want to Fly. Is it trip-hop? Yes. Is it indie? Sure. How about electronic? Go for it. But while people struggle to pick which genre to list it under in iTunes, I fill in my own genre: DOPE. They’ve managed to combine elements from a number of genres, and yet still find perfect places to incorporate a few of my favorite rappers, including Scarub and Eligh from Living Legends as well as Inspectah Deck. Scarub and Eligh sound right at home, given their experience in rhyming over experimental beats as part of the Living Legends. And it’s not that I didn’t expect Inspectah Deck to excel, which he does, it’s just that I didn’t expect to hear Wu-Tang on an album like this. It’s a 180-degree about-face from the sound we’ve come to associate with Wu emcees, but times change, tastes change, and I love how Deck adapted.
I’ve always believed trip-hop was more accessible than the name gives it credit for, because “trip” will automatically conjure images of people on acid imagining things like flying gorillas and T. Rexes in tweed suits giving macroeconomics lectures. You don’t have to be on drugs to get the full effect of a Inspired Flight or Thievery Corporation album (but it doesn’t hurt); We All Want to Fly gives you that feel-good high without the legal implications (as long as you don’t steal the album). A wise man named Hemz once said that you can judge an album by asking yourself if you felt like you were coming down from a high once the album ended. When We All Want to Fly ended, I came back from my music trip unable to describe WHY I liked this album, but positive of one thing: it’s an instant personal favorite, and it should be a favorite of yours, too.