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What They Gown Do? NOTHING.

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Rod Lee “What They Gown Do”

When I talked to DJ Sega and DJ Tameil in Rod Lee’s record store Club Kingz, Rod Lee hung out upstairs eating chinese food and blasting Gospel music that was like, the most soulful shit I maybe ever heard. To a lot of people, it might’ve seemed weird for one of the biggest names in Baltimore Club music to be listening to Gospel but that’s incorrect. As I just told y’all, the truly avant-garde, the actually balls-out creative takes some sideways, inside-out approach to its influences.

When vet Club producers discuss the difference between their shit and the kids all over the world trying their hand at their city’s weird music, the word “soul” comes up a lot: How much soul they’re music has, how much soul they put into it, how little soul there is in any music right now, how little soul there is in breaking-down the music of poor-ass Baltimore kids into a bunch of signifiers (horns, “Think” drums, stuttered-samples) and slapping a tag of “Bmore” on it. You get the point.

On “What They Gown Do”, all those signifiers are there for sure, but there’s more going on too. It’s a big evil anthem for not giving a fuck, an indirect way of calling pretty much everybody out there a big fucking pussy and an edifying piece of dance music about really giving a fuck. Rod gets cartoon gutteral and tells you, “Don’t let nobody take your pride, stand tall, right!?” Simple but direct…and universally smart advice all the same.

This song, from 2006’s Volume 5: The Official, maybe the only Club release that if you looked hard enough, you just might find in the cut-out bin of your local record store is pretty much the only thing I’ve been listening to this week. On the way to work on a loop and on the way back, each and ev’ry day–as Rod says it here.

Written by Brandon

August 11th, 2009 at 4:07 am

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