Giant Step’s Resident 41: Soulwax, Jesse Boykins III, Dr. Dre


Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe

I’ve always said that getting involved with friends is a no-no but recently I thrust my hand in the fire – and got burnt the hell up. There were red flags from jump: Brooklyn-based artist/actor/ “creative entity” (whatever), vegan (which to an African woman means starvation) attractive, tight-pants-wearing Black man (so he’s already hooked up with half of Fort Greene). As friends, we would giggle at parties and talk shit about people. With that kind of spiritual connection how could we lose? Well, now I’m out of a partner in bitchiness and I’ve added a name to my “please God don’t let me run into this yokel” list.

Thankfully, there are the gleefully unsentimental sounds of Soulwax to pull me through. Bless those dance floor ruffians for bringing the debauchery to the ear drum. Their latest release, Part Of The Weekend Never Dies is like getting a hangover from an MP3. It’s loud, trashy, disorienting, unrepentant and totally worth it. It was apparently inspired by the band’s misadventures on tour in Europe and lordy, it shows. Alarms wheeze, snares pop and BPMs ramp up while the band shouts-out everyone from AC/DC to The Clash on “Teachers.” On “E-Talking,” a flurry of hand claps crackle over grinding synths as some soulless broad intimates, “it’s not you, it’s the ‘e’ talking.” The whole album is a jumpy, feverish collection of flashy rock ensnared in insistent, techy dance beats made for rowdy nights at some cavernous dance den. I damn near expect to wake half-naked with my head in the toilet and my underwear in some blonde’s face at the end of the album.

I betcha the dude driving the other half of Fort Greene crazy is Jesse Boykins III. He performed for his birthday at Rehab and golly gee, were the chicks gone over that fella. He hit the stage with a couple covers (J. Dilla’s version of “Think Twice,” Andre 3000 “Prototype”) and a few songs like “Pantyhose” and “Tabloids” from his albums The Beauty Created and Dopamine. I’ve never seen such a ridiculous cross-section of grown ass women lose their minds over a guy standing on a raised platform with a mic. There were suited-up corporate women, downtown girls with side ponytails and bamboo earrings, Midtown fashionista people all raising their voices in lust for Jesse. Like the second-coming of Maxwell, D’Angelo and Bobby Brown, girls would jump on stage, jiggle body parts and thank Jesse for the experience. He’s like the neo-soul version of Superman with the ability to drop panties with a single note. One thing I did hear from several audience members, many of them newcomers to his sound, was that it was a quality show. His trumpeter was especially nasty. However, I would suggest all ladies attending a Jesse show to come armed with smelling salts.

And for kicks, let’s end on a bitchy note. Dre Day at Santos Party House sounded like a time: hours of Dr. Dre records, g-funk devotees and Diplo co-hort DJ Egg Foo Young. Instead it was Wiggerpalooza with mussy-haired boys cradling 40′s and wearing too much plaid. And Dre’s repertoire gets little wonky after four hours. With only so many classics to go around, the DJ started mixing “Nuthin’ But A G Thing” into tracks like Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl.” Now see, if I had only played by the rules, the night would have been saved with flippant commentary from my erstwhile snark companion. Instead I split a cab bitching with my girl about Brooklyn artists who are ruining our lives. We’re winners.