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okayplayer
Member since Jun 21st 2002
905 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 09:04 AM

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"?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"


          

from myspace.com/questlove

Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus
Current mood: accomplished

Common should be enjoying the fruits of his labor with his newest release Finding Forever. i think this will be his first number one pop album. its been a long time coming from him.

i decided to focus on an album that reflected a dark time for him.....

Electirc Circus

the newest issue of XXL magazine states that perhaps the publication was a lil too hasty in awarding Common's Be a "classic" rating. Not that i agree with a "classic rating" or not (i personally prefer that "close but no cigar" almost perfect and a 1/2 rating, that way your work wont be scrutinized in a jealous manner by your peers, but it still indicates that it is indeed a cut above the rest)....being as though that was the first review in many reviews ive read on post Electric Circus Common---i pretty much knew what i was in for: because the expectations were so low for him at the time, the fact that he managed to make an album that wouldn't alienate his contemporaries was seen a a damn miracle. not to mention the fact that the stupid notion that his then girlfriend Erykah was run/ruining his life through his music was damn near a laughable riot for if ANY runs Common's world....its Common.

a very shrewd smart businessman when it comes to decisions and the direction of where his career is going to go this week. don't get it twisted.

i came to his hometown in chicago for the weekend (lollipolooza) and a friend of mine slid me some long forgotten outtakes from the much dreaded/praised Electric Circus period.

besides Dangelo's Voodoo, i'll say that my second favorite project from the 1996-2003 Electric Lady Studio period was the Electric Circus album. i decided to share 4 of the outtakes with you.

The reasoning behind the albums experimental nature was simple: most saw the inhabitants of the Electric Lady period (Voodoo, Things Fall Apart, Mama's Gun, First Born Second, Black On Both Sides, REflection Eternal, Quality, Phrenology, Like Water For Chocolate, Worldwide Underground, Everybody's Got Their Something, Aijuswannasing, and many many others were created, nurtured, born, recorded, mixed, edited here during the 96-03 season) as the leaders of the left to center world. it took a good 4 years for the world to take notice, but once they took notice it was like "what are we going to do with it?"--the turning point started after the 2000 release of Dangleo's Voodoo and its encore album LWFC from our subject matter. The atmosphere was "we are going to try and push each other". all 3 studios had some sorta vibe to it: Dangleo/Common/Erykah took the master bedroom of studio A ;Com (for vocals)/Mos/and one time Soulquarian production cats would take studio B (Nikka, Bilal, Musiq); and Kweli and Mos loved the C room upstairs.

If Fela was the spirit over Like Water For Chocolate....then i would say Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information was the spirit over Electric Circus---despite the rock overtones.

The 4 SONGS on my front Page

number one (working title: The Selma Hyjak)

ill say the main players for the entire album are James Poyser (keys and synths), J Dilla (drums, keys, synth, programming, bass), Pino Pallidino (bass, guitar) and Me on drums and percussion occasionally jeff lee johnson would come and bless us with his guitar playing.

James Poyser (a diehard Thrust and Sunlight student---go brush up on your Herbie 70s material youngins) was DYING for a reason to break out his dust filled Vocoder. i remember the day we did this we also had just cut EC's "Between You And Me And Liberation", and "Heaven Somewhere". i think a magazine was lying around cause all James was saying in his microphone was "hey dont you wanna? hey salma heyek?"---we were all cracking up while recording this one. Dilla was on Sleigh Bells, and Pino was on bass. i remember Com telling me we needed some fast energetic shit that would make him jump around onstage. So the "Selma" song was born.


number two (working title: The Dark)

this was called "the Dark" for obvious reasons: we were trying to find the happy medium of a single and experimentation (this was months before we threw our hands in the air and asked the neptunes for assistance) the rhythm machine you hear on this track was a 70s staple in the work of Sly Stone, Norman Whitfield, and Shuggie Otis. I believe its owner was my engineer (then the assistant engineer) Crazy Steve. Dilla had sampled its nosies and programmed this rhythm. I drummed along to this afterwards and then James and Pino added their instruments. i remember Com frowning on the use of the piano for he felt it didn't feel "cutting edge" enough. Our good friend, Director Nzingah Stewert would dub Com "the king of "NO!!!!!!" for he would shoot an idea down way before you got to develop it.---the same way i shot down "The Light" before i heard the entire song some 2 years back. at least now he'd give us a half hour of effing around before he barked "go to something else". i think in my head i was going for Primo---i tuned my drums low and the piano line took me to the piano demos Primo did for LWFC's "6th Sense"---we almost had Com hooked for we processed and filtered and even strummed the open piano strings like a guitar (strrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum!!!!!!") but alas he dismissed it as "too normal"

number three (working title: Show For Ro (Step Into The Ro)

ahhh women. without em there would be no muse. there is nothing like a beautiful woman in a studio to show off your gifts. the greatest story ive ever heard was Marvin Gaye freestyling his political anthem "(Come On People) Let's Get It On" into the version we now know and love (about sex) once he laid eyes on his then 17 year old future wife Jan (legend has it that after struggling with the vocals for days he was about to give up when producer Ed Townsend's lady friend and her daughter (jan) came by to visit Ed....Marv was so taken aback by Jan's beauty he started showing off --much to the shock and chagrin of Ed who was seconds away from "the hell are you doing?" button stopping--but of course all the struggle Marv had with the political version of "Lets Get It On" went out the window once he had inspiration to sing to....and the very version we know now is said to be a one take freestyle.---well sometimes this method could work and or backfire---dangleo would freeze up the music if a girl came by the studio, for him the final product was a better presentation than "the getting there" part. it takes a confident person to let you see all the flaws the recording process takes. Com on the other hand thrived on female energy to get our juices flowing. So it was often encouraged for me to always invite my friends down to hang just to get some new energy. one said friend at the time was rosario dawson. she was at the screening and afterparty for her josie and the pussycats project and i told her to come by since she was already in the area. this of course was visual comedy for everyone involved---suddenly mofos are tucking in shirts, and throwing away 10 day old food on the counter, cleaning dirty fingernails (jokes)---but most importantly we were playing.

of all the songs in our arsenal....this is the jam that can describe a great day at the lady. just the swirl intro of the keys as the music creeps in was the soundtrack to our going home after a long night of work: usually we'd leave round 7am ---sun is out, and this is what is playing on the car stereo.

of course the king of "no!!" was singing me (in a quiet manner as to not embarrass us in front of mz dawson) my own creation from the roots "things fall apart" ("step into the realm you bound to get caught....." which was basically his nice guy way of saying "no sloppy seconds mofo....gimme my own shit!"---i still love this song.


song 4 (working title: The Electric Circus

prince took a liking to common in mid 2000, and let com use his studio while he was away on tour. he also agreeed to play some music as well. we took this opportunity to fulfill a lifetime fantasy: recording at paisley park. by this point P had pretty much shipped all his vintage gear from his classic period to the basement.---the same gear i begged engineer femi jiya to dust off and let me have a go at. we made this song shortly before "star 69" on EC--but because it sounded too much like a prince song....we thought it would deter him from contributing to the album so we passed.---but come interlude time i couldn't hold back and still put it on the album.


so there it is. 4 cuts from a long long time ago. im still holding my breath in which someone will properly place the EC project in the light it deserves. of course a hip hop publication run by middle class blacks (which is suspect enough) will scoff at such a notion as an art record---for the myth of "the streets" (when is the last time "the streets" brought shit?) would prove to be too risky in cosigning an album in which said mc confronts his homophobia, drug use, and marriage in less than an hour. not to mention mca going belly up 3 months after the album release halted all promotion on the project. which provides a very good alley oops shot for future common projects.

of course as executive producer of both Chocolate and Circus im too close to these projects and anyone's half ass dismissal of this work gets my ire---but more than that i want people to see the entire scope from where we were coming from in 2001:

a bunch of cats looking to push the limits of music as we saw it fit.

enjoy.


bring them kudos back.....aint like i be blogging for my health and shit.....

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 06th 2007
1
they're on his myspace page n/m
Aug 06th 2007
2
thanks for the insight ?uest...nice read
Aug 06th 2007
3
i couldnt get any of em to play for me...they work for anyone?
Aug 06th 2007
4
Didn't work for me
Aug 06th 2007
5
couldnt get one to play
Aug 06th 2007
6
RE: couldnt get one to play
Aug 06th 2007
8
RE: i couldnt get any of em to play for me...they work for anyone?
Aug 06th 2007
9
nope.
Aug 06th 2007
10
i think its too many people trying to play it. ?uest shoudl zshare it
Aug 06th 2007
11
didn't work for me either,
Aug 06th 2007
7
RE: didn't work for me either,
Aug 06th 2007
12
Someone save us!!!
Aug 06th 2007
13
That's real dope. Can't wait until the songs start functioning n/m.
Aug 06th 2007
14
its coming my bad (but to the gods of okayplayer....)
Aug 06th 2007
15
Well Den Nigga Here Goez 2 Kudos For Each Track Den
Aug 11th 2007
25
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 06th 2007
16
Hand me down or not
Aug 06th 2007
17
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 07th 2007
18
So Ahead of Its Time...its Parents haven't Met Yet
Aug 07th 2007
19
Sho For Ro...
Aug 07th 2007
20
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 07th 2007
21
'preciate it
Aug 07th 2007
22
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 07th 2007
23
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 07th 2007
24
RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)
Aug 15th 2007
26

jesustrauss
Member since Jul 20th 2006
1838 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 11:04 AM

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1. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

links to songs?

  

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reuser
Member since Oct 25th 2006
689 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 11:07 AM

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2. "they're on his myspace page n/m"
In response to Reply # 1


          

  

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soulsupreme
Member since Dec 14th 2004
8536 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 11:07 AM

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3. "thanks for the insight ?uest...nice read"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


______________________________________________________________
That same amount of energy taken to condemn could've been used to put some good in this world. (c)johnbook




www.last.fm/user/soulsupreme/
www.last.fm/group/OKP+inToronto

  

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Von Pea
Member since Jul 07th 2002
23521 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 11:48 AM

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4. "i couldnt get any of em to play for me...they work for anyone?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


download "Median's relief in the making" @ djlowkey.com or rappersiknow.com now

PLAY THIS AT YOUR COOKOUT DAMNIT.
http://www.zshare.net/audio/21712273b2ff5d/

  

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gaa700
Member since Feb 05th 2007
1512 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 11:49 AM

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5. "Didn't work for me"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

  

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Mr Church Hill
Member since Dec 10th 2003
21091 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 11:56 AM

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6. "couldnt get one to play"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

so iono?


Drokayplayer ™


>you're like the most known unknown poster
- Mr. Buildingblock

  

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agentzero
Member since Apr 12th 2007
1742 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 12:19 PM

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8. "RE: couldnt get one to play"
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

  

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DaKidFromHaiti
Member since Feb 19th 2006
1143 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 01:43 PM

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9. "RE: i couldnt get any of em to play for me...they work for anyone?"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

They don't work for me either.

  

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Xtra Omnipotent
Member since Feb 14th 2004
3630 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 02:58 PM

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10. "nope."
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

tryinto hear it tho
------
XOM
------

  

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58impala
Member since Nov 08th 2004
16633 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 04:07 PM

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11. "i think its too many people trying to play it. ?uest shoudl zshare it"
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

  

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Black N Proud
Member since May 06th 2006
2510 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 12:19 PM

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7. "didn't work for me either,"
In response to Reply # 0


          

and i wanted to hear these joints soooo bad!

  

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nicknice
Member since May 06th 2005
1132 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 04:23 PM

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12. "RE: didn't work for me either,"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

bahhh I read all that and wanted to go back n listen while reading descriptions...
boooo

Xbox Live gamertag: ILLPOOFLINGER

  

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thankgod4soul
Member since Oct 09th 2002
508 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 05:03 PM

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13. "Someone save us!!!"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon Aug-06-07 05:04 PM by thankgod4soul

  

          

Someone call Afro-man to save us!

The daily ritual seems immersed, in the perverse
Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts
-Mos

  

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ActWon
Member since May 01st 2007
3290 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 05:46 PM

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14. "That's real dope. Can't wait until the songs start functioning n/m."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

  

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qoolquest
Charter member
10235 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 05:59 PM

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15. "its coming my bad (but to the gods of okayplayer....)"
In response to Reply # 0


          

this post sorta takes away from the reason why i put this post on the OTHER site.....can't get my tv show if the kudo button is over there.....

check the resume

organix-93
(from the ground up)-94
do you want more?!!???!-95
illadelph halflife-96
things fall apart-99
(the legendary)-99
the roots come alive-99
phrenology-2002
the tipping point-2004
(the roots present...) 2004
homegrown: the beginne

  

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Grand_Styles
Charter member
11706 posts
Sat Aug-11-07 04:07 AM

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25. "Well Den Nigga Here Goez 2 Kudos For Each Track Den"
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

I've been heard theze jointz on your spacemy a few dayz ago but finally comin' acrozz thiz re-pozt of ya blog; anyway I didn't say anythang but gave my regular 2K.

I still feel dat "F.F." iz borin' az hell, he could've went thru outtakez aka da once turned down E.C. beatz & made a bangin' album.

Peace & Pizza Greaze!

Anotha Keyztylebonic Vizion Prezentation!

http://myspace.com/GrandStyleDecypher
http://soundclick.com/GrandStylezlistenstation
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/halftimewnyu The Halftime Show (Wednesdays 10:30pm-1:00am)

  

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DaKidFromHaiti
Member since Feb 19th 2006
1143 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 06:16 PM

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16. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

2 of the songs are now up on ?uest's myspace, they sound dope.

http://www.myspace.com/questlove

  

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Aztec Blues
Member since Jul 13th 2005
425 posts
Mon Aug-06-07 09:12 PM

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17. "Hand me down or not"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

"sho for ro" is introspective and just plain gorgeous.

  

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DJ SOUL
Member since Feb 07th 2007
101 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 12:06 AM

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18. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Fire....

www.djsoulnyc.blogspot.com
www.myspace.com/djsoulnyc
www.djsoul.net

  

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SmalleyeriZ
Member since Jun 17th 2002
3592 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 12:26 AM

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19. "So Ahead of Its Time...its Parents haven't Met Yet"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

appreciate this quest.

"Sling Shots To Ya Soul, Im Dennis The Menance Man"
http://www.SMALLEYEZ.BANDCAMP.COM <-- From The Sol FREE DOWNLOAD!
http://www.CheSingTheCool.com <- The Blog

  

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FortifiedLive
Member since Dec 26th 2006
9984 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 01:22 AM

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20. "Sho For Ro..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

is just screaming "Dilla!"

love it.

_______________________________________

<<progressions.

  

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boyd
Member since May 15th 2006
7654 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 01:49 AM

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21. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


personally when i first heard the album, i feel in love with it, because it is different than what was out at the time. everyone else was going with what the publication saying, but i was going with the vibration i was feeling when i first heard it. i was always told 'question everything'

i think EC is far more a classic than Be will ever be for the basic fact of the sounds (the rhythm) that was coming through that album, and there has not been a hip hop album of sort up to that point (well, still...) in my humble opinion


i think before ? gets old and insane. he should write book...

  

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monk hughes
Member since Jul 25th 2006
1384 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 09:12 AM

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22. "'preciate it"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Thanks a lot ?uest. This is the kind of stuff lots of us pray for.

  

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Heata_K
Member since Sep 04th 2006
11 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 05:21 PM

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23. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Thanks ?uest. Lovin the tracks and the stories behind'em. Electric Circus and Sho For Ro my favourites. EC is slept on 4real.

  

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Power In Numbers
Member since Jul 19th 2002
408 posts
Tue Aug-07-07 10:41 PM

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24. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

i wonder if this stuff was on ?uest's ipod.

  

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DarkMeat
Member since Nov 14th 2004
180 posts
Wed Aug-15-07 10:26 AM

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26. "RE: ?uestlove MySpace Blog 104: The History Behind The Circus (swipe)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Thanks for sharing that!!! We really don't get the kinda insight for artist.

Thanks!!!!

  

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