Song of the Day: Prince “Crazy You (Vibe Conductor Crank Jont)”
Happy birthday, Prince Rogers Nelson. Today you would have been 60 years old. Things have been weird on the earthly plane since you departed but we are soldiering on.
I wanted to make a thing because I miss Prince. I was asked to spin for the kickoff of Big Ugly Truck season and that’s when the Purple One planted the idea that I dropped today. That evening was the two year anniversary of Prince‘s passing and we were going full Paisley for the purple soldiers who needed to assemble for catharsis.
We were rocking for the community at the corner of 14th and U St NW, which before the facelift it currently wears was once a place where you could see live go-go shows multiple nights of the week. For the uninitiated, go-go music is the homegrown, indigenous music of Washington, DC. Created by Chuck Brown, it’s a genre that means to DC what reggae means to Jamaica, or what brass bands mean to New Orleans. It’s the heartbeat of those of us who were born and raised here.
So the night of that 14th and U gig I had the idea to mash up some Prince cuts with some of my favorite sockets and pockets, which are the extended percussion grooves that define the style. And now on his birthday I’ve polished up a few of them to share. I think “Crazy You” came out the best, or maybe I’m biased because it’s in my all time Prince top five.
Back in 1978, a 19 year old prodigy dropped his debut album For You. The addictive disco jams were omens of a massive wave of creativity to follow, but nestled in all those boogie synths was a delicate ballad driven only by Prince‘s falsetto and an acoustic guitar. I had to put in the pocket and make it a crank jont. The chassis for this edit comes from Northeast Groovers, my favorite go-go band of all time. They perfected the balance between funkiness and rawness.
Four of these “crank jonts” are available on my Bandcamp page. Crank is to go-go what swing is to jazz, it’s the rhythmic essence that propels the groove. And a “jont” is a word in DC slang that can be assigned to practically any noun. So take these jonts and go forth and crank for all that is purple in the world.