Sunday, March 02, 2008

THE COMMODORES "THE ASSEMBLY LINE" APPRECIATION

If you're any sort of hip hop head, you know the break. It's that one that you just can't help but whylin' out to because it's just a full-on neck-breaking assault of drums. On 1974's Machine Gun, the Commodores recorded what would be probably their greatest contribution to popular music asside from, of course, "Brick House" (some would debate "Easy" and "Three Times a Lady"). What starts out as a slow burn, climaxes at the four-minute mark and then, at 4:10, the break.

From what has been described as a "scattershot arrangement," the song basically is broken into four different segments ranging from soft intro, to a blast of horns and cymbals, to swell again to the ending break. While portions of the song's intro have been used by the likes of the Jungle Brothers and Outkast, it would be the drums of the song's last minute that would become the framework for countless hip hop songs from Eric B and Rakim's "Let the Rhythm Hit 'Em" and Last Emperor's b-boy classic "Rap Tyranny" to Stetsasonic's "In Full Gear" and 3rd Bass's "Wordz of Wizdom."

Out of respect for Lionel Richie which I unfairly clowned two days ago, I'd like to commend him on his contributions to hip hop and breakdance circles across the globe with "The Assembly Line." Don't fake the funk.

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