Ed Garnes Raphael Saadiq Tboz On Sept 11 And Why Soul Music Will Never Die
The following joint is an exclusive excerpt from award winning writer Edward M. Garnes, Jr.’s long awaited collection Other Side of The Game: Rare Testimonials On Music & Black Cultural Production to be published by Home Grown .
Ed Garnes , Raphael Saadiq, & Tboz Talk, Going Solo, September 11, Tony! Toni! Tone!, And Why Soul Music Will Never Die
By Edward M. Garnes, Jr.
When news broke that Raphael Saadiq’s first solo album, post Tony! Toni! Tone! , was droppin’, I was at the record store coppin’ Instant Vintage, which would later be nominated for five Grammy awards, like dope fiend Pookie in the movie New Jack City. Saadiq has always embodied the honest funk and feel good lyrics reminiscent of the jams that filled my Aunt Bobbie’s Vicksburg, Mississippi juke joint; in all of it’s gut bucket soul splendor. Immediately after hearing Saadiq’s tear jerking collaboration with TLC member T-Boz, on the negro spiritual “Different Times”, I was working the phones for a group dialogue. For well over an hour, I moderated a very candid discussion ( like old friends sippin’sweet tea) tracing the evolution of Saadiq, breakup of supergroup Lucy Pearl, and why soul music will never die. Tell a friend and dust off your record player!!!!
TBOZ: Coming from Oakland and playing in gospel groups, talk about how your style has developed over the years
SAADIQ: I think my style developed not only playing church music but more less mixing it with talent shows in high school. Over the years, my music fell into both genres gospel and more secular music mixing hip-hop and different flavors of R&B. After a while, it just sorta came together and that is what kinda makes it commercial.
ED: You have always been an unconventional artist across the board. Explain the process of not really sticking to the formula that everyone else is stuck on in contemporary R& B.
SAADIQ: I never look at my material or music as me being different. It is really the only thing that I know. I just really didn’t follow any trend. I just followed what I really liked, and I am just glad that people like you and TBOZ like it. When I saw people digging it, it gave me the courage to stick to my guns and do what I wanna do. When New Jack Swing was out, it was hot and I loved it and Teddy Riley. I bought it and listened to it, but I just kept doing what I was doing. Whoever came out, I just held on to my guns. And I guess that is against the rules, but it’s how I did it.
TBOZ: You stick with whatever works. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. Going more into your musical background, how did you learn to play instruments?
SAADIQ: My father always had an instrument in the house like the Jacksons except he didn’t whoop us. He would sit the guitar in the corner and he was a working man so he didn’t really play much in front of us. My brother picked up the guitar first and then I was second. I have a ton of brothers and sistas and some of us played piano and some guitar. And one day I started playing and everybody started looking at me like I could play. I just got excited from people making me feel like I was doing something at an early age. I kept playing after that.
TBOZ: You have a natural God given talent.
ED: I know that Larry Graham was a big influence on you and that a baseline from a Marvin Gaye song made you gravitate towards the bass. Describe the process of knowing that the bass would be the instrument you would focus on.
SADDIQ: We were going fishing one day and I was listening to this tape of a song by Marvin Gaye, “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”, and the baseline was all over the place. I didn’t know then what instrument it was, but once I touched the bass guitar and figured out it was the instrument I gravitated toward it. Larry Graham is like one of my idol bass players. He was like the corner stone for Sly and the Family Stone and allot of people don’t know that. Sly was the hot thing but without Graham…. he made Sly.
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