Here’s a clip by new-school by way of old-school soul singer, and sometime hip-hop DJ in another life, Mayer Hawthorne. It’s “Maybe So, Maybe No”, a single from his debut 2009 record A Strange Arrangement, put out on indie label Stone’s Throw records.
The head of that label, one Peanut Butter Wolf, signed Hawthorne after hearing two songs from Hawthorne’s selection of demos, both songs sounding like tracks from the classic soul period immortalized between 1964 to 1974. This era is a common hunting ground for hip hop DJs looking for obscure samples to use in their work.
His efforts were fueled by his genuine love of music from this classic period, and aided by his Detroit-born parents who bought him 45 RPM soul records as gifts from the time he was a kid growing up in nearby Ann Arbor. This amassed library of soul singles enabled a love for the sound of vinyl records in general. As a result, his career as a DJ was ignited.
But, how did this guy also become a straight up soul singer, and one of this calibre, as well as a hip hop DJ? Well, this is where thinking of musical evolution in a linear way can trip you up. Here’s what I mean. Read more