presenting my two-part tribute to one of the most influential female artists of her generation, Aaliyah Dana Haughton. i have spent a decade wondering how i could show my love and appreciation for this lady being a part of my musical upbringing (by way of the massive talents of Da Bassment clique’s Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Static Major). and instead of just putting together a best of compilation as anyone else can, i scoured the Internets instead to find THE finest bootleg remixes and cover versions of babygirl classics. i believe this is the best collection as any you will find online.
MISTA VEE PRESENTS…THE BABYGIRL SUITE: PT. I
01. INTERLUDE (By XplosiveDJAntman) (Intro) 02. 4 PAGE LETTER (CFCF Remix) 03.pOSH – A MILLION(M) 04. WE NEED A RESOLUTION (MIṨTΔṾΞΞ RESOLVEITMIX) 05. ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY (SANGO Remix) (feat. TIMBALAND) 06.AALIYAH x DAM-FUNK x SHASH’U – ROCK DA BOAT 07. TRY AGAIN (DANIEL DARDEN Remix) 08. ONE IN A MILLION (EAR JERKER Remix) 09. ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY (TKo Remix) (feat. TIMBALAND) 10. ROCK THE BOAT (STRAM Remix) 11. COME BACK IN ONE PIECE (NICE GIRL, WRONG PLACE Remix) (feat. DMX) 12. TRY AGAIN (DJ SQ‘s Dancehall Remix) 13. ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY (GENTLEMEN THIEVES Remix) (feat. TIMBALAND) 14. ROCK THE BOAT (ELAQUENT Remix) 15. IF YOUR GIRL ONLY KNEW (SOULSPY Edit) 16. COME OVER (ROB MANGA‘S Goodsoul Edit) 17. DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YA (ALEX DATSUN‘S Edit) 18. ONE IN A MILLION (DJ BOOGIE Mash-Up) 19. 4 PAGE LETTER (KAYTRADAMUS 1986 Remix) 20. A PRAYER
01. KATERINA GEORGIO – ONE IN A MILLION (feat. JEM) (Intro)
02. MARK DE CLIVE-LOWE – MORE THAN A WOMAN (feat. NIA ANDREWS) (Live @ KCRW)
03. KYLA – AT YOUR BEST (YOU ARE LOVE)
04. THE ECHOCENTRICS – WE NEED A RESOLUTION (feat. TITA LIMA)
05. AMORIA & JOK’A’FACE – IF YOUR GIRL ONLY KNEW
06. SARAH HABASS – ARE YOU FEELING ME
07. BELL – ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY
08. CHYLL WILL – ONE IN A MILLION
09. ANNA MUTIA – MORE THAN A WOMAN
10. YO SMOKE – I CARE 4 U
11. SMOKE E. DIGGLERA – ONE IN A MILLION
12. ANHAYLA – 4 PAGE LETTER
13. JENNA ANDREWS – HOT LIKE FIRE
14. CAYLA – I MISS YOU
15. SOJIE – ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY
16. EPITHET MUSIC – ONE IN A MILLION (feat. FALLON DOUGLAS)
17. COLLATERAL – TRY AGAIN
18. KINOKONIJI – ROCK THE BOAT
19. THE XX – HOT LIKE FIRE
20. FOREST SWORDS – IF YOUR GIRL
21. JAKE “JUNNY” KIM – ONE MAN WOMAN (feat. CARMINA)
the excellent folks over @ YouKnowIGotSoul.Com recently got a chance to catch up with the one and only Mr. Dalvin DeGrate. he drops his thoughts on all things Jodeci and also gives up some tidbits from Da Bassment days. my favourite moment by far has to be his short but awesome story regarding how his standout track with Static, “True O.G.”, ended up getting selected for the Dangerous Minds Soundtrack (was a geek moment for me personally as that is one of the nastiest songs of all-time).
let’s take it back to the early/mid-90s for a second and lemme sum up what i’m about to offer up to you, anonymous tastemakers and music-lovers of the Internet:
Jodeci were blowing the fuck up off the strength of their now-classic debut album Forever My Lady in the early 90s (of which all the slow songs were written by mastermind DeVante Swing about a girl he was dating at the time who left & joined the army. random, right?). and amidst all the adulation came some form of power for Mr. Donald “DeVante” DeGrate, who then embarked on an ambitious project that was reminiscent of a bygone era in music. while on tour with Jodeci, he would routinely hear auditions from local groups. after carefully selecting which ones he thought showed real promise and real talent, he amassed them into a collective known as Da Bassment crew (aka Swing Mob) sometime around 1992, tho some people say the ball could’ve got started rolling even before that. this is a large pool of talent that included future legends like Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Tweet, Magoo, Ginuwine, Playa, Static/Major and quite a bit of input from DeVante and Dalvin as well. originally known as the 45.4 Q Clique, and then Swing Mob, the name Da Bassment eventually stuck due to the recording complex that all the artists either lived in or next to (this would be Dajhelon Studios in which the group primarily used the basement studios for their work).
however, the clique imploded sometime after The Show, The Afterparty, The Hotel (an album which had credited and uncredited contributions from various Bassment members, as did Diary Of A Mad Band, this group-mentality of creation being the status quo). while the majority of the goings on and the real reasons for the epic split of this epic crew remained a source of constant wonder and curiosity for nearly two decades (and a certain amount of sadness that it wasn’t fully realised), in the last few years we’ve seen ex-members like Susan Weems (of the group Sugah, of which Tweet and Rolita White were also a part) and emcee, Accion, give lengthy interviews about their experiences in Da Bassment. the former VP of the label, Shannon “Big Shann” Miller also recently recounted the experience with an interview via Skype that’s up on YouTube.
but above all else is this following important information: in 2010 the owner of the Static Major Is Music Blog anonymously recieved a package in the mail after posting a few Bassment-related things. turns out the tape, unmarked and unlabeled, is a full tape of snippets of songs produced and made in Da Bassment, by Da Bassment. since it’s in snippet form, i can only assume it was originally designed to be a mixtape or promo tape of sorts. only a few full-length songs are featured. oh yeah, let me say it again just in case i understated it: UNRELEASED, UNEARTHED TUNES BY YOUR FAVOURITE BASSMENT ARTISTS. this is stuff i, or the collective “we”, thought we’d NEVER EVER end up hearing. when i randomly discovered it in a lazy Google search over a month ago, i almost freaked out. it had become such an unreachable treasure that i didn’t bother to think about it anymore, but here it is y’all: 77MINS OF IT. lol. a sneak peek into the collective creative braintrust known as Da Bassment. and what i hear only confirms my long-held position that, were the ‘experiment’ to work out and the group not disbanded, they would be household names and changed the entire face of modern r&b and hip hop music (as a COLLECTIVE and on their own terms, which is what DeVante was ultimately working towards).
INSANELY, this gem has somehow managed to remain SO under the radar (even Internet’s radar) that i, a confirmed Bassment zealot, didn’t know of its existence til a YEAR after it hit the net. which is some shameful shit (to me). so i have taken it upon myself to help spread the good vibes like i did with the Jack Herrera post. i want this blog post to become the vocal focal point for some Bassment love. come share your adulation for this still-unheralded clique, read up on the day-to-day happenings of the group via eye-witness accounts of ex-members, and how it ultimately all went sour. but like i said, most importantly: DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE. listen to all the early weed-soaked creative nuggets that led to mega-stardom and music icons.
FYI: these are tunes that have been directly ripped from a rough cassette tape copy as just “Side 1” and “Side 2” (respectively by Static Major Is Music), i’ve spent a good month chopping em up and figuring out track names, and especially the artists involved in each tack. since some of the members were completely new to me, it took a while to get acclimated to their voice in order to suss out who is who. but i think you’ll find this to be the most complete (and probaly ONLY) functioning tracklist.
FYI (II): i’m designing this post to be sort of a central hub for any and all information regarding the history of Da Bassment throughout its entire run. that includes interviews with former members, rare pics and video glimpses into their world, an attempt at a complete list of Bassment members, unconfirmed rumours (some so crazy they might be true), and of course the songs themselves (incuding all the released material the group were involved with).
we begin the audio assault with THE demo tape that no one seems to know ANYthing about lol. typical Bassment style, even when we get to hear the MUSIC, we’re still left in the dark about the finer details. nevertheless, it’s die-hard fans/music nerds like me that desire to put the pieces together. here we go, courtesy of the afore-mentioned Static Major Is Music blog (wanna make sure they/Buddha get the much-deserved shout-outs on this page cos they broke the news/provided links in the first place).
DA BASSMENT DEMO TAPE
01. Timbaland – Da Funk (1:32) 02. Sista – Sweat You Down (Alternate Version) (feat. Craig Mack) (1:19) 03. Virginia – Slow Drag (3:41) 04. Sista – U Better Be Ready (2:02) 05. Ginuwine – Come Inside (2:03) 06. Ginuwine – I’m Going To Fall In Love (2:23) 07. Sugah – Fly Guy (1:18) 08. Timbaland & Magoo – Plenty Of Styles (feat. Missy Elliott) (3:34) 09. Dante Hawkins – Nobody’s Home (prod. DeVanté Swing & E-Bass) (3:50) 10. Da Boogie Man – Interlude (1:00) 11. Sugah – Sugah Thang (feat. Playa, Accion, Mr. Brendal, Timbaland & Reboc) (1:42) 12. Da Bassment – Ain’t Nuthin’ But A B-Party (4:07) 13. Jodeci – Get Back (6:03) 14. Ginuwine – Let’s Stop Effin’ Around (1:48) 15. Sugah – Expired (2:41) 16. Sista – Find My Love (Alternate Version) (0:58) 17. Playa – Come On, Girl (2:15) 18. Sista – Brand New (Mr. Dalvin’s Ferrari Mix) (Extra Raps) (feat. Mr. Dalvin & Static) (1:11) 19. Timbaland – Makes You Say (1:26) 20. Timbaland – We Can Do This (1:08) 21. Da Bassment – Ain’t Nuthin’ But A B-Party (Alternate Mix) (1:02) 22. Timbaland – Get Down (feat. Playa) (1:07) 23. Static – S-T-A-T-I-C (1:34) 24. Reboc – Untitled (feat. Timbaland) (0:56) 25. Timbaland – Peepin’ My Style (feat. Static & Missy Elliott) (2:37) 26. Timbaland – Do You Wanna (feat. Accion) (3:09) 27. Sugah – Sugah Sensation (feat. Timbaland) (1:44) 28. Sugah – Goin’ Down (feat. Timbaland) (2:11) 29. Virginia – Get Down (feat. Timbaland & Missy Elliott) (3:23) 30. Virginia – Let Me In Your Life (feat. Missy Elliott) (3:28) 31. LB – Baby I Know (0:54) 32. Missy Elliott – Red Lights (feat. Timbaland) (1:12) 33. Sugah – Smokin’ In The Dark (1:23) 34. Sugah – Smokin’ In The Dark (Alternate Mix) (0:34) 35. H-Town – Set It Off (4:12) 36. Sugah – Sugar & Spice (1:51)
as u might tell, it’s not yet a COMPLETE tracklist. so if anyone’s got info on tracks 31 & 35 please let me know.
and just to further add to this barrage of Bassment-related audio yumminess, i’ve compiled my own personal mix of more Bassment materials which includes: unreleased stuff, soundtrack cuts & work done for other artists (as you will see, many of the members of the crew participated on the production and writing tip for other artists). it’s slightly riskier for me to post these songs as some of them include some big-name artists that might wanna lay the smackdown on me and this blog, but it’s all for the love. if anyone DOES object to their tunes being present here in this particular mix, please give me a yell first. otherwise, please to be enjoying even more of my favourite Bassment-related goodies 🙂
(and a further note, i’ve tried to include only tracks that feature two or more Bassment members on the track, and also the songs which i think best exemplify Da Bassment sound. i’ve also tried to track down as many deets/credits regarding who did what on each track as possible, but even i can be wrong time to time so if y’all have any corrections to make, please don’t hesitate to tell me off).
Mista Vee Presents…Swing Mobbin’: Sounds From Da Bassment
01. DeVante – P.I.B 4Play produced by DeVante Swing.
02. Danny Boy – Slip N’ Slide produced by DeVante Swing & Reggie De’vell Moore. additional vocals by DeVante Swing & Ginuwine.
03. Aaron Hall – Curiosity (Misdemeanor) produced by Mr. Dalvin. written by Aaron Hall, Missy Elliott & Mr. Dalvin. additional vocals by Missy Elliott.
04. DeVante – Gin & Juice (Remix) produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional vocals by Da Boogie Man, Mr. Brendal, Magoo, Timbaland, Accion, Static & C-Dub.
05. Al Green – Could This Be The Love produced by DeVante Swing. additional vocals by DeVante Swing, Playa & Renee Anderson.
06. Mr. Dalvin & Static – True O.G. produced by Mr. Dalvin & Timbaland.
07. Jodeci – Can We Flo? written, produced and arranged by DeVante Swing. background vocals by Playa.
08. Jodeci – Zipper produced by DeVante Swing.
09. DeVante – Gin & Juice produced, written & arranged by DeVante Swing. additional vocals by Static.
10. B Rezell – Blowed Away produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional vocals by DeVante Swing.
11. Jodeci – Room 454: DeVante’s “Inhermission” produced by DeVante Swing.
12. Da Bassment – Love You Down produced by DeVante Swing. vocal arrangements by Playa. additional vocals by LB, Sugah & DeVante Swing.
13. Jodeci – What About Us (Swing Mob) produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional vocals by Magoo.
14. Ginuwine – I Want You produced by DeVante Swing.
15. Tony Thompson – Slave produced by DeVante Swing & Darryl Pearson. music by DeVante Swing, Darryl Pearson & Missy Elliott. all instruments by DeVante Swing & Darryl Pearson. background vocals by Static, Smokey, Darryl Pearson, Missy Elliott & DeVante Swing. mixed by Prince Charles Alexander.
16. Jodeci – Sweaty produced by DeVante Swing. additional vocals by Missy Elliott. scratches by Timbaland.
17. Sista – Find My Love produced by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. additional keys by DeVante Swing. written by Missy Elliott.
18. Renee Anderson – Gonna Be Your Night produced by DeVante Swing.
19. Usher – Can U Get Wit It produced by DeVante Swing. instruments by DeVante Swing & Timbaland. guitar by Darryl Pearson. mixed by Prince Charles Alexander. additional vocals by DeVante Swing.
20. H-Town – Part Time Lover produced by DeVante Swing & Darryl Pearson. additional vocals by DeVante Swing.
mix is also available for streaming only via Mixcloud.
there’s also a funky phat bonus track called “Ride Around” (dudes on the net are calling it “RidING Around” but i’ma call it “Ride Around”) that was also apparently featured on the tape, but for some reason was edited out of the final cassette rip by the blogger (i think, but again not sure why). as a result i’m not sure where it sits in the tracklist, therefore i’m callin it a “bonus track”. but far more than a loose end, this is one of THE dopest tracks to surface from the collective. it’s labeled as Da Bassment but it sounds mostly like a Timbo/Playa production. either way, tis some FONKY.SHIT.
***UPDATED JAN 2ND 2012***
did i mention i’m finding new old shit all the damn time now? just seems to be popping up all over the frign place (no complaints here lol, jussayin). so last night while i was messin around on YouTube (which is something i like to do each night before i sleep), i come across another Bassment joint (presumably from the demo tape as well) called “Another Level”. Timbo‘s and Static‘s verses are the same ones later re-used on “Smoke In Da Air”, and the chorus was re-used by Timbo maaaaany years later on his track “Hello” (feat. Keri Hilson). cool to know Tim didn’t mind reachin back to his Bassment days for his current shit (now if only the music could reflect that too).
lol @ that intro. Reboc is gangsta as fock. Static gamblin. DeVante being DeVante with his breathy-spoken ass lol. and once again, Static rippin his verse. and i need to add this cos it’s important: STOP SLEEPIN ON MAGANOO. from what little we’ve heard of him from Da Bassment days, he’s just as dope as anyone else in the collective. there’s a reason he was there, folks. Magoo got rhymes.
we now come to the interviews section of this weird and wonderful ride known as Da Bassment. it seems that 2009 was the year that got the ball rolling in terms of solid in-depth information coming out about the entire experience. i’ve tried my best to scour the Internetz for as many as i can find, hopefully it’ll give y’all a clearer picture of how it all went down. i think what’s led to constant confusion over the facts is that back in the 90s we would hear mostly negative things from the camp post-Bassment. and of course, the vicious and never-ending rumour-mill (which i also participated in back in the day, purely out of frustration of not knowing what.the.fuck.went.wrong). Sue Weems & Accion probably give the most in-depth peeks into the Bassment universe, but the short video chat with Bazaar Royale (aka Da Boogie Man/Boogie) seems to be the most honest one (that is, not tipping in an anti-DeVante or anti-Bassment direction but also not over-praising as there was some serious shit going on with De back then which also caused rifts).
anyway, i could waffle on, but these cats tell it much better than i ever could. cos they were, yknow, THERE.
Static/Major @ Murderdog.com (2004ish).
only available at Playa’s Myspace page.
in the midst of all this research (let me remind y’all, i’ve been heading toward this large-ass blog post for what seems like a lifetime: i GREW UP on Bassment music), i was able to piece together a decent list of known Bassment/Swing Mob members.
Donald DeGrate (aka DeVante Swing/Boss Playa) Dalvin DeGrate (aka Mr. Dalvin) Timothy Mosley (aka Timbaland) Melvin Barcliff (aka Magoo/Maganoo) Melissa Elliott (aka Missy/Misdemeanor) Elgin Lumpkin (aka Ginuwine) Radiah Scott Chonita Coleman LeShawn Shellman Charlene Keys (aka Tweet) Susan Weems (aka Susie/Sue) Rolita White Jawann Peacock (aka Smokey/Smoke E. Digglera) Benjamin Bush (aka Black/Digital Black) Stephen Garrett (aka Static/Major/Stacks) Renee Anderson (aka Renee) Bazaar Royale (aka Da Boogie Man/Boogie) Virginia Williams (aka Virginia/VA) Dante Hawkins Charles Wiley (aka C-Dub) Mr. Brendal Accion Reboc Darryl Pearson Steven Jordan (aka Stevie J) Chad Elliott (aka Dr. Seuss) Shannon Miller (aka Big Shann) (Vice President) Robert Reives (aka Robb/RR) D. Brooks (?) Da Deuce Special “K” Tay Big Mel Reggie De’vell Moore SMK LB
RUMOURS, HALF-TRUTHS, BULLSHIT & INNUENDO
welcome to the now-legendary pantheon of theories and assumptions regarding one DeVante Swing and Da Bassment crew. i collected these nuggets from various locales on the web, didn’t feel like crediting anyone as none of it can really be verified. then again, we barely know half the story, and as The Dude might say (in the parlance of our times), new shit is coming to light all the damn time. and like i said at the top of this post: some of this sounds so crazy that it might be true. so, brace yourselves
*the members in Jodeci was also sleeping with some of the girls in Da Bassment. K-Ci slept with Missy.
*Mary broke in to some girl’s appartment that K-Ci and DeVante was messing with. Mary “DON’T PLAY” when it comes to K-Ci.
*DeVante was raped and beaten with a bat in his home by Suge Knight and the homies, because he didn’t want to work with Suge anymore. Suge did alot of things to his own artists. Suge is ruthless.
*i live in Rochester & I remember the time period they were here. they also made the last Jodeci CD here. if i remember correctly DeVante‘s cars started getting reposessed here during that period. he also produced a local girl here, had a whole album done. she opened for Maze here & the local station was playing what was supposed to be her 1st single then she vanished. word is that before the album dropped, DeVante pressured her to sleep with him. she wouldn’t & overnight the master tapes to her album were destroyed.
*1.DeVante discovered Missy and some other folks. 2. he moved them up to Rochester to make a compilation album. 3.Missy started to shine and DeVante got salty. 4.DeVante started doing some devious shit because he was angry that Missy was getting her shine on. 5. after spending two years in Rochester, folks weren’t getting paid, there was no album, no food, and no sleep. 6.Missy, Ginuwine, Timbaland, and Magoo had the balls to leave. 7.Missy and Timbaland are now healthy and rolling in money while DeVante looks like the crackhead firefly from the Frog Princess.
*here’s DeVante‘s story in the music biz:
he was doing real good at one point and was making music for everyone, Suge reached out to him and asked that he worked on certain projects. at first he was alright with it but then realized Suge was abusing him and decided to let Suge know he was no longer interested in working on those projects. eventually, Suge had some dudes run up on him in his crib and rape him. after that incident he kept running from house to house, wherever he could stay because he was scared of being home. he started doing drugs heavy and was suicidal at one point… DeVante‘s never been the same since that incident.
*ALL of them were getting raped, Suge helped them get out of the situation at Uptown so their ass was on tap. Mary was also helped out of that situation.
one of them, either K-Ci or JoJo got the door locked on them in the studio for talking slick. The Roots wanted to sign with Suge but they didnt want to give up the ass since Questlove has a big juicy one.
*i heard he got blacklisted because Elektra gave him $1 million for his own label, but he couldn’t recoup it.
also burned bridges….he had Suge Knight force Andre Harrell to restructure their contracts, on some “Big Red” Five Heartbeats type ish…lol.
shortly after “All Eyez On Me” dropped, he caught on that Suge was skimming money too, and severed all ties. Suge wasn’t too pleased about that…
also Keyshia Cole….he has a studio out in SF Valley and develops artists out there.
alot of people say, since he’s blacklisted and can’t do anything under his own name, he ghosts for other people, i wouldn’t doubt that.
*i heard that most of the members started having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after two years of minimal food and water.
*Ginuwine is just cool with K-Ci and JoJo and they were always cool..they once had a writer from Vibe magazine who knew DeVante… she even said DeVante doesn’t talk to hardly any of the Da Bassment members besides Static (R.I.P). Timbaland has tried to reach out to DeVante but he aint messing with none of them.
*”the real GENIUS behind Jodeci was DeVante. that’s a real producer for you. those beats, melodies, and vocal arrangements truly caused goosebumps. look at “Feenin'”, case and point. the concept of being in lust over someone so much its painful you need a fix like a dope fiend. the chorus is so strong, i haven’t heard anything since. he was the one who mentored Timbaland, Missy, and Ginuwine. in 1994 they all came here to Rochester NY to record “Show, Afterparty, Hotel” to be low key. i knew Ginuwine as Elgin when he worked at the downtown Footlocker. they were managed by Suge who ran up 500K in recording costs at Dajhelon studios. when the bill came, Suge told them to fuck off and bankrupted them. i had a brief internship there a few years later, where I got to hear most of the amazing unreleased master tapes, particularly from a then unknown named Timbaland. lol, and K-Ci got my sloppy seconds (sorta). i was seeing this dope Rican mami, he scooped her at the mall and it was a done deal. she told me and i said peace.. ah the memories”, by Frank Mancuso (@FrankieEmz) via Twitter, posted April 2011.
FINAL THOUGHTS & MUSINGS
it becomes almost impossible to take sides in a situation like this. legions of us still worship at the altar of D. Swing, but it seems it was his ill-fated association with the human cancer known as Suge Knight that most-likely brought the whole thing down. the stories about DeVante being beaten AND raped in retaliation for severing ties with Suge sound pretty extreme, although the actual story itself WAS reported on quite a bit (however DeVante seemed to play it off as no big deal in an old interview i remember). the story of Suge bankrupting em instead sounds more believable (and less horrifying). even some of the interviews mention the Suge association as being quite a negative influence on DeVante and Da Bassment in general. what pains me is all the random comments some of the members have made about the experience and about DeVante in retrospect, most of em negative. but it seems like suddenly in the last few years everyone’s mellowed out a bit and are giving high praise to DeVante. even Timbo called him a “beast” in the still fresh E! True Hollywood Story episode he did. and from what Accion and Bazaar Royale have said, everyone was living, working and playing on DeVante‘s dime. he basically gave them the opportunity to find themselves as artists, which is why when everyone debuted to the world, they were already at the peak of their craft and basically took the music scene by storm.
in terms of the specific Bassment SOUND, it’s become evident that the sound associated with Da Bassment is actually the style Timbaland made famous and debuted with and basically took all the core members to the top with. it’s been my hunch for a while that Tim kinda hid the fact that it wasn’t he alone that came up with that signature Timbaland style. and now, hearing the demo recordings for the first time i can at least confirm for MYSELF, that it was a style that could’ve only blossomed in the studios of Da Bassment. that means that without the collective, Tim may have not been able to fully express and tap into his innate creativity. i just wished he’d acknowledged the beginnings of his career a lot more, but after he came clean about some of the darker bits from his life during that time, i guess i could understand distancing himself from it all.
at the end of it all, if you do take the time to read all the interviews, listen to the tunes and really absorb everything on offer, then you start to get a sense of the whole Bassment experience. it started off beautiful, simple and sweet. a family of talented individuals being brought together by a newly-established phenom with wealth and power. working, playing and living nothing but music and weed for a couple years and some change. and then having it all kinda turn dark like a stoner having a ‘crashed-back-down-to-earth’ moment and realising “holy shit, all this smokin’s gonna kill me quick”, and wanting to immediately do something about it. i can understand the awesome feelings it must’ve elicited when smoking up and being around nothing but heavy creative heads. it’s a mode of music-making that i myself grew into naturally, and i consider to be one of the purer methods of tapping into that unexplored channels of creativity.
seems to me now that everyone’s grown and had time to do their own thing and achieve greatness (majority of folks who went to De’s “musical boot camp” came out the better for it), there seems to be a largely positive outpouring of affection for the man and at least some solid recognition of the helping hand he gave them. it’s this fan’s hope that Mr. Donald DeGrate, wherever he may be right now, one day gets back in touch with the people he once considered a family. the only recent interview he’s done was from this year and it was about the death of Static mostly (De’s right-hand man and probably his personal favourite member of the supergroup), but he does touch on Da Bassment for the first time in a LONG time (tis in the interviews section). hopefully he’s had time to work through all that ails him, whether it be drug-related or not, and could find it somewhere in his heart to understand and forgive everyone he feels ditched or slighted him, the same way they all seem to be forgiving him (for things that we scantly know about and i’m sure a whole lot more we don’t).
i think Bazaar Royale said it best: imagine if y’all reunited NOW, having been through so much and learned so much. imagine the music Da Bassment crew could make TODAY. and by no means do i aim to shit on everything everyone’s accomplished since breaking from the original crew, but there’s a little extra magic in the music when all the magicians are involved. anyways, consider this a personal love-letter from me to Da Bassment. the sound they were known for and the sound that developed later on (aka Tim‘s signature style) have played such a huge part in my musical development that it’s nuts. all my notions of laid back swag-filled tunes come from them. my love of mid-tempo slap-bass jams come from them. and listening to the demo tape recordings, i can feel some sort of peace for knowing i was right all along: that these guys and girls coulda dominated. and not just the ones who went on and DID do exactly that, i mean ALL of Da Bassment members, forming like Voltron and proceeding to kick the ass of ANYone in their way.
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