The ALT: Feeling Those White Boys in Those Skinny Jeans

walking by myself
down avenues that reek of time to kill
if you see me keep going
be a pass by waver
build me up, bring me down
just leave me out you name dropper
stop trying to catch my eye
i see you good you forced faker
just make it easy
you’re my enemy you fast talker

-Santigold, L.E.S. Artistes


At my 35th bday party I almost experienced my first bar fight brawl. A mob scene gathered around me. My own friends turned on me when I confessed I was not a Mary J Blige fan and actually not feeling the recent R&B all together. My views on R&B are not popular. Anyone remember the Erykah Badu incident? You wont see me at a Maxwell concert or a Musiq Soul Child concert and you will never see me enjoying anything Keyshia Cole puts out. Sans Maxwell, who is a genuine talent, I feel most artists are ho-hum. And though Maxwell, Chrissette, Alicia and others rise above the crop of johnny-come-lately r&B singers, I just dont feel it. The outcome is “I’ve heard this all before.”

What I have been excited about are white boys. The musicians of alternative, electronic, rock, 80s, alt hop… whatever you want to call it. It’s a vein of music mostly dominated by white boys in skinny jeans, white girls in all their rad glory and a few sisters doing it up (Santigold, Mapei, M.I.A.). Perhaps I walk alone in this alternative love jones? There isn’t much discussion among A-A’s on music that is not hip-hop, r&b and jazz. Admittedly, I am not much of a writer or a music critic. But in this first issue of THE ALT, I am trying my hand at sharing some of the songs that have made me stop and listen to each note and lyric. Made me change my mind and inspire a story, a goal, an ambition, a hope in life. As I am finding out more and more that life is about being able to change your mind and find a path outside of the slippery slope that is predetermined before birth. If you too, have a non-mainstream artist you’d like to share (doesn’t have to be just a musician), please post it here.

Below is a quick list of ARTIST/SONG that have had a memorable impact on my creativity and life:

  • Does It Offend You? Yeah / Epic Last Song (80s reminiscent sound that completely turned me out)
  • Mapei / Bebe’s Kids, this track got me pulling out my 4-finger rings, dooky gold necklace and door knocker earrings!
  • Of Montreal / For Our Elegante Caste
    the lyrics got me “We can do it soft core if you want but you should know I take it both ways” I can see Kanye doing something with that opening verse and beat
  • Santigold / Hold the Line (feat. Mr. Lex & Santigold) Viscious!
  • Phoenix / Love Like a Sunset, Part 1
  • Miike Snow / Burial
  • War Paint / Elephants
  • Spinnerrette / Ghetto Love
  • Cross / TTHHEE PPAARRTTYY
  • Kudu / Playing House, the singular antithesis to Beyonce’s Single Ladies
  • Kudu / Vines
  • Turbo Fruits / Mamas mad cos I fried my brain
  • N.E.R.D. / Spaz, a bit obvious to put NERD on here, but they are a commercial and artistic success in all the music genres they touch without sounding like the current music slipshod slop that currently passes for hits

Check them out. Tell me what you think. Share your music discovery.

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8 Comments

  • Matthew Play

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    CircleSquare

  • The Nortorious DJP

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    I have always been a HUGE HUGE fan of JOHN MAYER, it seems now since the “Human Nature” Performance he is getting more and more attention from African-Americans who weren’t privy to his genius before..

    Another slept on artist that i truly love is ADELE.

  • mike

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    Just a few Songs that influenced me musically

    Sly and the Family Stone “thank you for helping be myself..” 1968-69 (I think)
    Larry Graham’s slap & pluck bass playing started funk music. (funk was not started by James Brown)

    Chic’s “Dance Dance Dance” This song fused the Philadelphia sound and Disco. It later laid the blue print for the modern R & B era and launch Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards as the most influential R & B producers and writers.

    Soul to Soul “Keep on Moving. “ When this track dropped it changed R & B in the late 80’s throughout the 90s.

    Various Artist “Sleng Teng rhythm” Prior to its releases in the mid 80’s, Most dance hall tracks were recorded using authentic instruments like Bass guitars real, drums When Sleng Teng Dropped it was one the first dancehall tracks produced exclusively by digital computerized instruments.

    Kraft Werk “Numbers” The late 1970’s track was the first 100% digitally produced trak I ever heard. Its influence is still felt today

    Def leppard “Pour Some Sugar On Me” Some good funk drumming fused with Rock guitar.

    Fatback Band “King Tim the III” (prior to Rapper’s Delight) This was the 1st song I’ve heard that featured someone rapping. It included original music, played on authentic instruments, vocals, and of course a rap.

  • djstrategy

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    You should check out chester french….

  • Billy Ocean

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    Y’all are putting it on me. I’ll have to check these folks out. I forgot to post how much I love LOVE I said Amazing Baby’s “Headdress”

  • Nebraska Blaque

    Reply Reply October 21, 2009

    Sweeter Love by Blue Six
    Summer Sun and Island Blues by Koop
    Astrud Gilberto is Amazing in most anything she has done
    DITTO on SANTOGOLD!! hit up Creator
    Gossip has some hot ones
    Try Sia Playground
    Just Paradise by Clara Hill

  • Tiiz

    Reply Reply October 23, 2009

    It’s like “the thing” now for Black folk to embrace white musicians. The TRUTH is white musicians ARE playing OUR music that we have either gotten away from or turned over all together. Rock…ours. Blues…ours..and the list goes on. The best all time guitar player is arguably Jimi Hendrix. He was mimicking others before him…chubby checkers and some old skool blues players like Robert Johnson all different genres but speak to our diversity. For whatever reason a portion of our music was turned over and embraced by others…but really we’ve been secretly enjoying it from afar. How many of us can pull out the Cranberries, Sting, Phil Collins, U2 and for me I LOVE country…(Gretchen Wilson is my girl!). Don’t get it twisted…when there is a good song I can embrace by a BLACK musician, I’m there (some Leela James, Vivienne Green, Whitney (I’m trying to stay on her team…I am). But alot of the songs have become borrowed, recycled, and reused like a broken record. The sad part is…they have the talent. Hopefully, R&B can fix itself. Good article…except…this is NOT a new phenomenon, we’ve just been hiding it or not talking about it and now taunting it…like it’s the thing!! As we get older (grow up) we learn that celebrating our differences is a GOOD thing and we don’t have to apologize for them. [Disclaimer: I rarely listen to anybody’s WHOLE album, we’re talkin’ choice songs okaay!] I’ll wallk the line for my sistahs and my bros that deserve it…that doesn’t mean I don’t love me some Simple Plan (Perfect) or Taylor Swift….I ain’t goin’to no concert though ya’ll. lol!

  • Billy Ocean

    Reply Reply October 26, 2009

    Tilz is it really the new thing? Where was it said that liking alternative music is NEW. These are new/ up and coming musicians who are not the popular HipHop/R&B stereotype. I agree this genre and the unlikely audience (“minorities”) have been feeling this genre for a while. I do not think, however, it is sad they have the talent. I’m glad they have the talent and that more people are considering talented music over the crank crapped out on the radio and tv.

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