5/19/17 – Skull Snaps “Skull Snaps” (1973)

As much as I listen to Hip-Hop, I’m almost ashamed I’ve never heard of this album before. To be fair to myself, Funk isn’t a genre that I listen to at all, even if this is legendary in that category. It’s connection to Hip-Hop is that it’s been sampled so many times that I’ve seen people call this the birth of Hip-Hop. I recognize samples I’ve heard on so many songs all over this album, but especially on It’s a New Day. The experience is a bit like seeing the solution to a puzzle after looking at so many clues for years. On the actual music though, this album is fantastic and makes me want to dig into Funk more.

The anxious stop and start intro of My Hang Up is You is a great attention grabber to start the album off. It builds to an awesome, funky, righteous track about dumping a dope-addicted girl. This album is just so smooth, and it flows so well between Soul and Funk. Having You Around is a dream-like ballad but doesn’t feel out of place at all with the more pure Funk songs like All of a Sudden. It’s all just pure enjoyment from start to finish, I can’t find anything that feels too long, too basic, or anything. I stopped writing this review so many times to replay the album, and I had to stop myself to get my thoughts down.

It’s a New Day is instantly recognizable even if you’ve never heard the song before. That first “naked” drum line has been used so many times by Hip-Hop artists, Whosampled.com links it with 454 other songs, and I’m sure there are much more than that. The song itself is just as funky as the rest of the album, with an awesome call and response chorus that is impossible not to sing along to. Even better is the chorus of I’m Your Pimp with it’s “I’m your pimp! I wear my hat to the siiiiiiide.. and walk with a limp”. I Turn My Back on Love is a beautifully blue Funk song, and I especially love the trumpets and the subtle keyboards.

There are two bonus songs commonly put in with Skull Snaps, but I’m Falling Out of Love closes out the album originally. It’s a heart-melting Soul piece that caps off the album perfectly. The drums, horns, vocals, guitar, bass.. everyone just plays out of their minds. The bonus tracks Al’s Razor Blade and Ain’t That Loving You feel like random B sides, but I understand how labels would want to throw them in. This is unfortunately the only LP from Skull Snaps, so fans would want everything they could possibly get. This album is just so easy to love, and I really can’t wait to get to work on Monday and thank the co-worker who turned me on to this.

 

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