This Is BlakRoc
When the Wu-Tang mastermind came into the studio, he took a different approach to the BlakRoc concept. “He said, ‘I want to make a beat with you guys,’” Auerbach says, still visibly gleeful. “He hung out for a while with everybody and listened to music and then he just made an announcement—‘We’re gonna start recording here, don’t anybody talk to me’—and boom, he’s in it.” The web video shows him strumming a rapid-fire guitar line and shaping it into a beat before spitting a venomous verse that he reads off of his BlackBerry.
“I won’t lie,” says Dash. “When RZA started playing guitar, that fucked me up. I didn’t know he could play guitar, and I didn’t know he would take it so seriously.”
The project “helped me to remember before there was this monster called the music business,” remarks the RZA on the site. “We all had one common denominator—the love of music.”
The most surprising BlakRoc track of them all, however, came from somewhere beyond the grave. Dash signed the incomparable Wu-Tang trickster Ol’ Dirty Bastard to a contract prior to ODB’s death in 2004. A final album’s worth of material still hasn’t seen light of day, so Carney and Auerbach listened through the tapes to see if there was anything that might match the tracks that they still hadn’t filled. They found a raucous duet by ODB and Ludacris. “We figured we’d try to go with this really weird, half-time beat we had,” says Carney. “So they loaded the vocals onto ProTools, synched it with the first beat…”
“And it fit, exactly, over this instrumental,” continues Auerbach. “It was like we had the vocal before we did the instrumental. The verses change right when the music changed. We all looked at each other like, ‘What just happened?’ This whole project was kinda like that. It just happened so fast. It was just nuts, and before we knew it, it was over.”
Unfortunately, however, the fate of the delightfully raunchy “Coochie” is in the hands of Ludacris, who apparently has reservations about putting the song out. Dash can’t contain his anger about the situation. “I’m aggravated that I have to fight for this with somebody who doesn’t understand the spirit of the project,” he says, before promising that “the song will be heard, it just might not be sold.”
Over the course of the summer, The Black Keys made four trips to New York, working thirteen- or fourteen-hour days in Studio G. Since they were paying for everything themselves, says Carney, “we were trying to get as much done as fast as possible.” In eleven days, they completed eleven tracks.
“It felt like something special happened,” says Auerbach, “something that hadn’t been done before.”
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
Crystal Bowersox stops by Relix to perform a song from her new album, All That For This.
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