Dear Culture

What Is the Blackest Song?

Episode 4
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Dear Culture, what’s the Blackest song you know? This week, I’m sitting down with my family from the 80z Babies podcast to decide once and for all the Blackest song there is!

Panama Jackson [00:00:00] This song was so Black when I remember seeing the video. I looked down and I had a dashiki on out of nowhere. 

Panama Jackson [00:00:06] Any song I can force you to a dashiki out of nowhere. That’s a super Black song what’s going on, everybody? And welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast for, by and about Black Culture. June is Black Music Month. We’ve been having conversations all month about music. Some of this content is going to be controversial. Some of it’s going to be interesting and intriguing. Today’s is no different. Today is the Juneteenth episode. Juneteenth is upon us, and I decided the best way to honor Juneteenth is to talk about some of the Blackest songs that we have at our disposal. And to do so, I brought in two of my homies from the 80z Babies podcast Outlaw and Yinka Diz. What’s up folks. How are you?

Yinka Diz [00:00:50] Like a good man. We appreciate you. 

Outlaw [00:00:55] Yeah, man. Listen, it’s good to be here. 

Panama Jackson [00:00:59] When I thought about people to talk music songs with the first the first thought I had was the It’s All I’ve had the pleasure of being on your podcast a million times, talking about any and everything from protest music to our favorite albums, arguing about everything in between and some of my hot takes. Like Cam’ron should be one of the greatest of all time. I know that’s one of Yinka’s favorite of my takes. First off, issue you both an apology. So what we’re going to do today is each of us is going to bring to the table five really like five songs that we deemed some of the Blackest songs we could think of. And when I had this idea, it seemed brilliant. 

Panama Jackson [00:01:44] I’m going to holler at the homies, we’re going to show up. Everybody’s going to have like a like one of the Blackest songs and we’ll have a list. And people would just, would just drop these songs. And I was like, this is I’m amazing. This is how I feel about the culture. I’m an amazing, brilliant person. And you know what I realized? This is a terrible idea. Horrible idea, especially for people like. Like us who are music kids. 

Panama Jackson [00:02:11] Like. So for one I want to apologize, but how hard was this for you all to come up with five songs that, by the way, we’re going to get into this, too. There’s no rubric for I basically said Black ish songs. How difficult was this for you? 

Outlaw [00:02:26] So I think the it came down to first what your criteria was. But in terms of like what was allowed, what wasn’t allowed. But I think for me, the biggest challenge I had was just figuring out what my criteria was going to be was I knew the general outline and then once I had that, my song was actually kind of came together relatively easily. Yinka, what about you? 

Yinka Diz [00:02:49] Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I graduated from engineering school, so. 

Outlaw [00:02:54] Yeah, real talk. Panama Jackson [00:02:59] Okay. So what I have to say is that I appreciate the effort, right? So part of the reason why I wanted you all to be one, was because you all had your 

podcast 80z Babies, right? It’s a podcast about hip hop and music and pop culture. And one of the things I enjoy the most is how into the weeds we tend to get when we’re talking about these things. Like everybody brings, like you all bring such different skill sets to the table, but like no stone unturned, the indulgences, the indulgences are all present. And I’m like, this is exactly I know when I reached out to y’all, y’all will indulge this. And I knew I texted, I texted both y’all. I was like, Yo, I apologize. This is ridiculous. So I just want to say thank you. I appreciate you all for being willing to go down this road with me. 

Yinka Diz [00:03:44] Hey, it’s love. And I almost feel like. I almost feel like you could have you could have, like, given us all an assignment. Like, you know, Yinka, you take Caribbean music and Outlaw you take African music or jazz or I mean, there’s just so many directions you can go in with this. So it should be an interesting conversation. 

Panama Jackson [00:04:02] Well, that actually brings up a very good point. What did you use to come up with your own list? Like when? What is your. Because when I tell you a mine is you going to be like this dude is ridiculous. But Yinka, what did you use to come up with like your rubric? What was your metric for Black songs? 

Yinka Diz [00:04:18]  So I struggled with this, right. And I even like, tried to phone a friend, right? Because I came up with my list and then. And then I hit. I hit this wall where I was like, wait, what is Black? Right. And by what is Black, I mean, right?

Panama Jackson [00:04:35] I question too. 

Yinka Diz [00:04:36] I’m half Black American and half African. Right. But in my understanding of what Black is, right, the term Black is kind of a part of Black American culture. Right. And like once like it became a term from Black American culture, then we all kind of adopted it. We as Africans were like, Yeah, we’re Black people. You know, Cuban people was like, Yo, we Black like like everybody’s Black. It’s an identity now, right? So does does this does this assignment mean that I need to see what is Black from a Black American identity perspective or a post Black American? Now we as a universal Black collective, what does Black mean to us? Right. And I struggled with just even that, like the concept. 

Panama Jackson [00:05:23] Nelson George would appreciate how much thought you just put into that like that. But that probably made it. I understand that what you said, this is one of the hardest things you’ve had to do. First. 

Outlaw [00:05:33] Look, I had the same question. I had the same question because Panama you and I have actually had conversations about like what is what is Black, right? Because, you know, you and I are both mixed brothers. But I happen to be very passable. And we’ve had that conversation sometimes about like, you know, in certain context, I’m not always Black. Like, what does that mean? And I don’t we don’t need to get into the weeds on that. But the point is, is that I feel what you guys are saying, how are we defining Black? I ended up just saying, you know what, I have a general idea like what it is, so I’m just going to go ahead and go with that. But for me, I ended up just making this. Very personal to what my perspective on what Black is and I’d actually like to it’s a I’d actually like to issue my own apology for all of the people watching this, because I know that the three of us are going to miss some very, very specific categories. Right. And I’ll talk about that when I get to my list of our categories. Genres of Black music that I just did not include. And I’ll say Why, but I just want to apologize to folks out there that will we don’t have your song. I get it. 

Yinka Diz [00:06:41]  It’s five songs. And another thing another thing that I love about this, right. Is like some of this is like is like spades, right? Like some of this is like, I know Panama, right? I know Outlaw. Like, I know what’s in their hand, right? So, like, so how do I move around their hand so that, like, we have like an engaging piece of conversation here because if we all say, before I let go right, then it’s like, okay, all right, cool. We agree. But that’s not interesting, right? So it’s like also, how do I move around you guys identities as a friend of yours? 

Panama Jackson [00:07:12] And it’s interesting you say that and I actually want your take on this, but before I do that, I do want to point out, so once this is all done, we are going to put all these songs like a Spotify playlist or playlist of some sort so that people can have a list. And I’ll probably start building on there, like over time, start adding just songs that I think like belong in this conversation. 

Yinka Diz [00:07:32] I would love to help with that, bro. 

Panama Jackson [00:07:33] Love it. Yeah. Listen, I’m going to need all the help. And so my own rubric, let me tell you how how difficult this was for me too. So I started out with the existential question, like, what is Black? Like what constitutes a Black song? Because I’m like, for instance, I’m a huge fan, like Fela Kuti, right? Like Black as large as you could possibly get their political. They get all this other stuff. But I was like. Is that where I want to go with it? Because then, you know, then it’s just a straight list like that. So I’m with you. On the diasporic nature of what constitutes Black and what constitutes Black music. This could be anything. And I’m like, We only got five songs and I’m trying to have fun with this at the same time. So I got it. I got to, I got to pull it back in. So then I was like, you know. I am trying to have fun with this. That is my goal is to be entertained by this at the same time. Like I know you are. Yeah, it does get into these things. I’m like, so somebody is going to pull it back. Somebody’s going to have to be the one that those in this long that everybody’s going to want to throw a tomato at me. 

Panama Jackson [00:08:31] Before this even started, I said I sent you and  Outlaw like a like the meme of Alonzo Mourning, the famous one where he’s just. 

Panama Jackson [00:08:39] Sitting there like. 

Panama Jackson [00:08:40] He’s mad at first. Then he has that moment of realization, like, well, I guess so. I was like, This is going to be my list for you guys in some places. And that’s what I hope to bring, as was you mentioned something that I want to point out. So I also made sure early on that we were going to take the obvious songs off the board. So here’s my list of quick and dirty obvious songs, and I’m going to be curious, which you guys have as obvious songs. So for one, lift every voice and sing off the list automatically. Probably the quintessential Black song at this point Black nationals playing in an NFL games for Blackness purposes. So right before I let go, both the Beyonce and the Frankie Beverly amazed version. Sounds of Blackness, optimistic. It’s out of there. 

Yinka Diz [00:09:23] I would have definitely made my list, too. Panama Jackson [00:09:25] Yeah, listen, it was it started my list, and then I was like, this is too easy. Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday. Yeah. Out of there. Okay, I’ve got it immediately out of there. Got to go. So those are for immediate, like Mount Rushmore Black songs that I could think of. What other songs would you immediately strike off a list 

as obvious, like do you having, like, Outlaw? Do you have any obvious Black songs that I don’t have here? 

Outlaw [00:09:49] I mean, if we’re going to say “Before I Let Go”, we also have to say maybe “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross and, um, uh Candy by Cameo.

Yinka Diz [00:10:09] I was gonna say the same thing. 

Panama Jackson [00:10:11] That’s. That’s right. Because we all do the electric slide of that song, does the whole electric light song. But if candy comes out on everybody bus an electric slide. Well. I do think The Best Man put it on blast as the right song to do that to. 

Outlaw [00:10:35]  So then is “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Is that also off the table because of Love Jones?

Panama Jackson [00:10:43] I don’t think you know people I don’t think enough people saw Love Jones to take that off the table. 

Outlaw [00:10:48] It didn’t make my list. But, you know, I’m just curious. 

Yinka Diz [00:10:51] So like. So does that mean then since we did this for for Cameo and Candy and all these. Does that mean that all the Black people dance songs are off like cha cha slide and percolator and whatever else? 

Panama Jackson [00:11:04] Those songs are never going to make my list to begin with. I got to be honest, I hate all of them joints. Like I genuinely can’t stand the Cupid Shuffle if that’s why it comes on at all. When I go stand with my arms folded in protest. 

Panama Jackson [00:11:27] You’re not playing that at my wedding dog. 

Yinka Diz [00:11:29] Oh, okay. Well, you know, I’m glad you said I’m glad you told me, cause. No, because the thing about the thing about deejaying weddings and I don’t want to take us on a tangent, but like, the most important thing is to get people up. And those songs are sure shots like, you know, it’s not to apply to them. Joints will get everybody up. Then you go into that you want to actually play. 

Outlaw [00:11:46] But we don’t need to talk about that. But it’s not a tangent what you play at the Black wedding matters its relevant to this conversation? 

Yinka Diz [00:11:53] Absolutely.

Outlaw [00:11:54] It is  you know. 

Outlaw [00:11:55] International players anthem. 

Panama Jackson [00:12:01] I’m not going to toss it in here. But there is one song that I decided to leave off my list is going to be a surprise to you all that I also think is played at every Black wedding, especially at this point that would factor in here. Oh, so. Oh, let me let me break that. So here’s my here’s what I came up is my raison d’etre for what a Black song is here. Okay. So songs that white people couldn’t make. That is how I landed on a Black song like, all right. So I like that songs that white people could make. And I’m going to perhaps controversially throw like Hall and Oates in here because I feel like they probably got out of that line of being able to do anything they make Black and white. Yeah. I mean, but. Well, yeah. So no hall and notes type song. I don’t have anything in here. The Bee Gees,  KC in the Sunshine Band. 

Yinka Diz [00:12:52] Carpenters.

Panama Jackson [00:12:55] Bobby Caldwell. You know what I mean? Like every year I dropped. I dropped, like, an article every year. Like, when did you find out Bobby Caldwell was white? Because I’m always amazed at how many people are just now learning that like 40 years after, what you won’t do for love is drop.  

Panama Jackson [00:13:23] I am always amazed by that. It always. It’s always like a brand new realization. I guess realizations are brand new for a ton of people and I’m always surprised by that. And but it’s always entertaining. 

Yinka Diz [00:13:34] It’s not like a Rick Astley thing where it’s like, Yo, this dude sounds like a brother.

Panama Jackson [00:13:45] So when I found out that was a

Panama Jackson [00:13:49] British kid when he made this song, I’m like, Yo, I think I wrote an article about that too, because I was so dumbfounded by it. So. All right. So what we’re going to do is we’re gonna take a real quick break here. And when we come back here on Dear Culture, we’re going to get into each individual list of Black ish songs based on a metric we all decided upon, which, as you can see, goes in many different directions. And we’re going to see who potentially has the Blackest list here, whether we can come to any agreement? Probably not. But at the end of the day, we’re all going to have fun. So stay tuned here on Dear Culture. All right. We are back here in the Dear Culture podcast, having this Juneteenth discussion about Black ish songs with my homies, the 80z Babies, Outlaw, Yinka Diz And listen, I’m excited to get into this because I’m very curious about what songs that you all came up with. We’ve been talking about this for weeks at this point. So, Yinka, your first up to bat, let’s hear your list. Let’s go. 

Yinka Diz [00:14:52] All right. So I took the diasporic, you know, kind of kind of angle, like like you said. Right. And and I felt like I had to touch at least like most of the extremities of like what Black is. Right? So, so, you know, I’ll kind of start from like the four and five when I put my list together, right? So, so I had to put Fela, you know what to know. Get enemy on there. That’s that’s, you know, fellas, our Bob Marley in Nigeria. And, you know, that’s the like Revolutionary Battlecry song. But then at the same time, it slaps and everybody knows it. You know what I’m saying? 

Panama Jackson [00:15:37] It slaps hard. 

Panama Jackson [00:15:39] So that was a that was my probably number five. My number four— realized when I put my list together, there were no Black women on my list. I had all men on my list and I was like, That’s impossible, can’t do it. So my number four. 

Panama Jackson [00:15:53] Patriarchy wins again. 

Yinka Diz [00:15:55] . So growing up, my my mother my mother lived in in Bolivia for four, five years. And she was she was a high school teacher. So she’s a fluent Spanish speakers. She teaches Spanish. She she bumped a lot of Celia Cruz around the house. And there was one specific record, you know, by Celia Cruz, “La Negra Tiene Tumbao”, which basically means like the Black girl got swag.

Yinka Diz [00:16:26] Like, my mom loved that record. She likes to play it around the crib.So Celia Cruz had to make the list. So those are my four or five. And so to get to to my to my top three, my number one, I’ll start from the top and go go down. Had to be the new Black national anthem, which is Kendrick Lamar. 

Yinka Diz [00:16:58]  Go ahead, Panama. I know you got. 

Panama [00:17:01] I was wondering if.  this song was going to make it. So I had it on my list, and I struck it off just because I like I said, I’m sure somebody else is going to put this on their list. 

Yinka Diz [00:17:09] Yo, I, you know, I was like, if Panama makes me go first, then is going to make my list. And if not, either Panama or Outlaws are going to have this in. And I have to put I, I got a backup list in case y’all got to list. It’s my list. 

Yinka Diz [00:17:22] So I figured GQ was going to have this one. So, you know, I’m glad you have it. 

Yinka Diz [00:17:26] It’s a must. 

Panama [00:17:27] It’s a solid pick.  

[00:17:27]  It’s the new Black national anthem. You know, when when you know, when the Ferguson moment happened, it just like sometimes timing is just perfect for a record. It’s already an amazing record. But the timing of when it was released just happened at a moment where we needed it and it became our song. And that’s why I had it. It was so great. All right. 

Panama [00:17:51]  I respect that you are you already strong in the game. I hear, bro. 

Panama [00:17:57] So two more, you know, the second one is the Kendrick Lamar. Is we going to be all right of of the previous generation which is Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On?” They had to make the list to. 

Panama [00:18:08] So struck off my list for that very same reason to I was like. 

Yinka Diz [00:18:13]  It’s obvious, but it’s necessary. And you know, I think one of the things that was important to me, right, while I wanted to cover the whole diaspora, my joint, I also got a slap, too. You know what I’m saying? Like like I can’t I can’t have a list where it’s just a bunch of records that only I’ve ever heard of and you know that I don’t slap. So all of these records so far slap in my personal opinion. And Marvin Gaye is no different. It’s, it’s, it’s revolution, it’s culture and it slaps. 

Panama Jackson [00:18:43] Agree. I agree also on one of the greatest albums of all time, arguably the greatest album of all time, depending on if you I mean, that’s not a debate we can have right now. But I see you as the Outlaw. Like, wait a minute, wait a minute. 

Panama Jackson [00:18:55] It’s definitely one of the greatest albums of all time and one of the greatest artists of all time. So. 

Panama Jackson [00:19:00] Absolutely. 

Yinka Diz [00:19:01] And last but not least, again, I say my list got a slap and it got a slap like universally and regionally. And so, you know, I had a few other situations that I had to move down just off the list, which, like I said, I got a backup list, but since I went first, Outkast “Spottieottiedopalicious”

[00:19:32] . 

Yinka Diz [00:19:32] It’s like it has to be on the list and it’s it’s wild. It’s like it’s not. I don’t like the Black experience is not just revolution, it’s not just pain. It’s not just overcoming something. It’s also like we just have a good ass time, bro, like that. Like being Black is is beautiful and and and living as Black people is and celebrating in and of itself is is revolution. And so I just feel like Spoto owed dope license just like embodies, like what Blackness is to me. And I ain’t even from the South, you know what I’m saying? So, yeah, I felt like I had to make the list. So that’s my fight. 

Panama Jackson [00:20:08] Bro. Let me let me say that is one of the Blackest songs, and I’m glad you have it on here so I can cross it off mine. So I could slide in one of these ridiculous ones.

Panama Jackson [00:20:18] One, it’s got the horns and you know, Black people love us cause it’s got spoken word. It’s got people saying Hollywood Coal for decades, even though it’s Hollywood court, which is the projects in Atlanta, it’s got a dope bass line and can’t nobody figure out if it’s actually a sample or not. 

Yinka Diz [00:20:36] Right.

Panama Jackson [00:20:36] Because I’ve been trying to find out if that’s a sample for ever. 

Yinka Diz [00:20:45] It’s even got it even got a fight, a party, a fight. I mean, it’s just it’s literally like my childhood experience. I wasn’t at that party, but I feel like I was there, you know, I’m saying. 

Yinka Diz [00:20:56] All blends perfectly. 

Panama Jackson [00:20:57] Oh, and the and one of the Blackest parts of it, a not too good times with the “damn damn damn” is in there.

Outlaw [00:21:10] I thought I’m. I’m really glad. Look, you can knows how much I love that song, so I’m really glad that you included it on your on your list. I’m glad this guy has an inclusion on this five Blackest of songs of all time. 

Panama Jackson [00:21:21] A Yeah, that’s a perfect song, bro. It’s part of my morning. I have like a morning list of songs  which includes like Beyonce is like Countdown and stuff like that. And I got all these songs. Spottieottie is one when I’m getting ready to get going to just turn it on so I get the the drums. 

Yinka Diz [00:21:39] That’s the amazing thing about it too. Sorry to before we cut to spottieottiedopalicious and how amazing it is is it’s a hype song that’s a chill song, right? Like the tempo and the swing is actually really slow, but at the same time, because of them, horns is, I guess, high. Like, it could be a fight song too, you know? Love it. 

Panama Jackson [00:21:59] All right. So can you recap your list? Go back and give us the recap of what’s on your list. 

Yinka Diz [00:22:03] So I’ve got Fela Kuti, “Water No Get Enemy,” Celia Cruz, “La Negra Tiene Tumbao”Kendrick Lamar. “We Gon Be All Right” Marvin Gaye. :What’s going on?” And Outkast’s Spottieottiedopalicious. 

Panama Jackson [00:22:19] This is a solid list this. You coming out the gate swinging. I respect it, I appreciate it. You already made me. I got to cross off a couple of songs of my own this week. I slot in some some tomfoolery, so. All right, Outlaw. You ready? You ready to go? 

Outlaw [00:22:36] Yeah, I’m ready. 

Outlaw [00:22:37] All right, let’s see what you got. 

Outlaw [00:22:39] So kind of piggyback on your criteria. One of the things I also wanted to make sure was that these were songs that white people weren’t overly familiar with. Right. So now there is one exception to that. But there’s I’ll tell you why it makes the list. So just right off the bat, I think one of the predictable ones for me would be for one of my one of my favorite, favorite albums. A you already knows this. Panama knows this as well is most of whom he says, right, you got you got Mos Def. Not only is he is he is he kind of like singing on it? He’s also performing a lot of instrumentation. 

Outlaw [00:23:26] I’ve talked before about like, you know, not everything about Blackness has to be about pain. And I think that while he’s talking about the struggle, it doesn’t necessarily come from like we’re victims or like you’re to blame. He’s just like, look, people, Black people, this is what we have to do, right? You know what I mean? And it’s just like it’s a beautiful song. Like, you know, I could have an entire album full of just like, most of whom he says, And I be good, you know what I mean? So for me, well, Blackness well, Blackness feels like to me one of the Blackest albums of all time. I have to go. Oh, he says. 

Yinka Diz [00:23:58]  I knew Outlaw was going to pick this. 

Panama [00:24:00] Yeah, I knew Mos Def was gonna be on there  somewhere. Yeah. Okay. 

Outlaw [00:24:06] So,  the next one we talked before we said Black and I’m Proud by James Brown couldn’t make the list. Right. That was too obvious. Yes. But I did have to have something from from the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. And I went it was something that was potentially ignorant, but also just great. And that is the big payback. 

Outlaw [00:24:33] And I’ll go with the big payback for for for it. The main reason is because this line right here I. 

[00:24:42]  

Outlaw [00:24:47]  if that’s not Blackest line, then I don’t know what else is right. That whole song is basically talking about like how he’s got to get back at his haters, if you will. You know what I mean? If you got if you have an idea account, then you have at least ten Black friends that have all the haters in the world. You don’t know where these haters come from. But but the haters are there and that energy is there. And big, big payback encapsulates all of that. So there you go, James Brown. Big payback. All right. All right. All right. So the next one, Yinka, I feel you about us. Needed to have some women on here and so I’ve got another none other than Erykha Badu’s Blackest  song ever. And that is Tyrone. . 

Outlaw [00:25:44] It’s like that song does not work if it’s a studio version, that’s only works because it is a live recording. You go back and you listen to the song. It’s essentially it’s call and response as a certainly not not just a spoken word, but that’s essentially a comedic performance in song form. So, yeah, the stand up comedy routine, you know what I mean? With, with her saying a joke and the, and the audience is like laughing at it and they’re all all about it. Right. And everybody knows it’s like, well, you better call Tyrone. Like, that’s just become Black vernacular. So Tyrone has got to make the list, period. 

Yinka Diz [00:26:20] And also, yo, Tyrone wasn’t the deadbeat dude.  Can we just clarify that for brothers and sisters that do not know we made we made Tyrone the villain for so long. And he was not the villain. He was just a helpful friend. All right. 

Outlaw [00:26:38] Exactly. All right. So this next one is the deepest cut. And I doubt many I doubt either of you you all have heard this or any of our listeners have heard this. Right. But I think that one of the things about what makes a Black song or what Panama talked about is like a Black person or a white person can make this. We also have to give credit to, like a lot of the genres that Black people created that often don’t get credit for it. Right. So for me, you know, I got started deejaying by deejaying house music, specifically when I went to South Africa and I got into South African house. Right. And, you know, a lot of a lot of African artists get a lot of credit on the on the international stage, especially from folks from the West. But I feel like we have to give a shout out to some folks from the South. And so I’m going to give a shout out to not the most popular artists in South Africa, but my favorite, which is Black Motion, my favorite house blues. This song represents. Like for me, like when I put it on, I feel like I’m just all ready to go to war with my people for for whatever, right? Like I feel. I just feel very, very Black. I put it on when I go to the gym. It just gives me all the energy that I need. It’s got it’s got everything about house music that I love. It’s got, like, the township kind of sense to it. It’s got kind of like this goth chant going on. The drums are crazy. The instrumentation is crazy. The way it builds is crazy. So if you get a chance to check it out, please. For me, that’s just that’s just something that whenever I hear this, like, that’s my that’s like my Black theme music. That’s like, yo, we’re it’s just it’s everything for me. So there’s a very personal choice. It’s a deep cut. People may not know it, but for me. Yeah, that’s. That’s my list. That’s my. 

Panama Jackson [00:28:27] Listen. Never heard of it, but I will check it out. 

Outlaw [00:28:29] Yeah, that is dope. And the last one. The last one for me is I feel like we have to give a shout out to his genre of music to his. There has not been taken over by white people. Right. And I’m from the DMV area. Right. I live in D.C.. Okay. And we got to we had to have a Go Go song. So you cannot have a list about Black hit songs of all time without having a go go song. And there are so many different Go-Go songs I could choose. I thought about going Sardines by a by junkyard band. But I thought, You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to do something that the white people always do. The Black music, they always appropriate our shit. So the said, I’m a go with with the song that we appropriated. So I let’s take the song. White people made that had no business. Terrible song by an artist that no one cares about. This is a song that had no business being any good. 

Outlaw [00:29:36] Everybody knows this  song, and that’s why it’s going on my Black list. This all had no business being any good, and they said, You know what? I’m going to take this dirt song and I’m going to make it just butter. This song is awesome. Rob Black is Black. That’s got to get on my list. Bravo. 

Yinka Diz [00:29:52] So I love the, like, the colonization and, like the reverse cultural appropriation. That’s a great thing. 

Outlaw [00:30:00] Here’s the thing, too. White people don’t even know that Black people made this all great. They forgot all about the song. But that’s. That’s right. That’s our joint now. 

Panama Jackson [00:30:14] That’s a really good pick, man. 

Panama Jackson [00:30:14] Pick. 

Panama Jackson [00:30:15] That one I appreciate. You have no idea how much I appreciate that as a pick for this like that. Yes. 

Yinka Diz [00:30:21] And I like the explanation, too. 

Yinka Diz [00:30:23] Yes.

Panama Jackson [00:30:23] I love it. I love I love the thought. I love the thought. So. Okay, I’m all in. So go back one more time. Can you, like, run down your songs again? 

Outlaw [00:30:32] Yeah. So we got Mos Def, Umi Says. James Brown. Big Payback. Erykah Badu. Tyrone Black. Motion. Moya Wa Taola. 

Panama Jackson [00:30:46] I appreciate the D.C. shout out. Of course. Oh, yes. I love that. Oh, cool. 

Panama Jackson [00:30:52] All right. 

Panama Jackson [00:30:54] There you go. Got the this got the district on your back. All right. So now it is my turn to share my list. And I said my my personal rubric was songs that white people couldn’t make. Okay, so here, are you going to be the first two songs that I had that, you know, they’re they should probably be obvious, but I’m gonna give you a slight reason for why I picked them, too. The first one is going to be Donny Hathaway. Roberta Flack’s Be Real Black for me. 

Panama Jackson [00:31:32] First, it’s in the title.  You’re not asking a white person to be real Black for you unless it’s Rachel Dolezal. In which case that’s probably still controversial. But she might try. But I love this song. Some of the most beautiful singing. There’s like a point. The first chorus, like Roberta, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s voices hit like, the most perfect crest of unison I’ve ever heard in my life. Scarface sampled the song from My Block. You know, it’s just like, it’s a perfect song. It’s me. I’m Donny Hathaway. Stand. Yeah. To know me it’s you know I love Donny Hathaway. So the man can literally do no wrong. As far as I’m concerned, every record he’s ever made has been perfect, including this one. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:14] Right. All right. Next. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:17] I’m going to go. Rick James and Smokey Robinson. Ebony Eyes. 

[00:32:22]  

Panama Jackson [00:32:22] So I love this song. I still remember the first time I heard because Rick James hit that. And I laughed so. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:32] Hard, but I was like, man. Rick James really. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:34] Went for it on this. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:36] Really appreciate it. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:37] But the video is so ridiculous and I know this is not like this video, but. Oh, my goodness. The video for Ebony. 

Panama Jackson [00:32:44] A

Panama Jackson [00:32:45] Yo, Rick James, the Smokey Robinson get shipwrecked on an island and they’re trying to fight like they’re waiting for the loves of their lives to come save them. So they’re walking along an island by themselves, singing about Ebony Eyes, basically to each other. But it’s it’s really fascinating. Like, if you never watch this video, I can’t recommend enough. To go watch a video in that ridiculous. Not good, but Ebony Eyes is the perfect song like I mean, I love this song so much. Like since since I first heard it elevated up the list for me for like favorite favorite songs. All right. So so far we got Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack Bureau Black for me. Smokey and Smokey and Rick James A Rick James and Smokey because every James album, Ebony Eyes. Now we got to get to the fun stuff. 

Panama Jackson [00:33:32] All right. 

Panama Jackson [00:33:35] This is in no particular order. But we’re going to do this anyway.  

Panama Jackson [00:33:37] Mm hmm. Digable Planets. 

Panama Jackson [00:33:42] Blackitolism/Ninth Wonder So. Everybody knows this song because of. Butterfly,  doodlebug, the ladybug mecca. Her verse in that song where she says she’s. 

Panama Jackson [00:34:01] Outlaw, you don’t remember this song? 

Outlaw [00:34:02] I’m not even sure if I’d have to hear it.

Panama Jackson [00:34:04] Oh, you have heard this song. I guarantee it. Okay. It was all Rap City. Yeah. Any order? Like a like be like a like a. 

Panama Jackson [00:34:16] This was one of them songs. This comes right off the heels of Digable Planets making refutation of time. I came over the name and it was a very pretentious title, but it had. 

Panama Jackson [00:34:26] Like, All right. 

Panama Jackson [00:34:27] Digable Planets turned right back around. It got so super Black that this album is called Blowout Comb, right? The album itself is called Blowout Comb. Yeah. This song, part of the reason I picked the song is one because the word Devil’s gets mentioned several times. And this song was so Black. When I remember seeing the video, I looked down and I had a dashiki on out of. 

Panama Jackson [00:34:46] Nowhere, and I was like. 

Panama Jackson [00:34:48] Any song I can force me into a dashiki out of nowhere. That’s Super Black. And they had Afros and Afro picks like this. It was, yeah, this dug so heavily into their, like, African diasporic bag that I was like, there’s no way I can put a list. Like, this is like one of the first songs I thought of when I did this list. 

Panama Jackson [00:35:08] Mm hmm. 

Panama Jackson [00:35:09] All right, so that’s the one. That’s my warm up when I got to explain. It’s going to fill me on this next one. Okay. Breathe in. You go. As soon as I say the artist, you’re going to do exactly where I’m going with this. Juvenile, Back that Ass Up. 

Yinka Diz [00:35:35] I was wondering if somebody was gonna put this on the list. 

Panama Jackson [00:35:39] It’s such a lay up to me, for one, the reaction that Black people have as soon as the intro strings come in. Right. It literally it literally outside. I’m trying to figure out what other songs people would dance for as quickly as a song. Maybe candy. 

Outlaw [00:35:54] Not even. 

Panama Jackson [00:35:56] BBD  poison? 

Yinka Diz [00:35:58] Maybe. That might be. 

Panama Jackson [00:36:00] Which was one of my it was one of the songs I struck off my list. 

Yinka Diz [00:36:03] Me, too. 

Panama Jackson [00:36:06] So I put so Juvenile back that ass for white people came, it couldn’t make this all right. It just wouldn’t it wouldn’t hit the same way. Like, this song is a staple Black community song. You can play it anytime, anywhere. Everybody loves it, everybody knows it. And people just respect it. Understand the point and the purpose of this Black. Everybody understands the assignment when this song is on. So that’s why I picked Juvenile’s Back That Ass Up. Now you already are what you got? You’re going to know where this is going as soon as I get started. Ray J’s One Wish one. 

Panama Jackson [00:36:50] This song is Black because it’s so ridiculous. And it’s the kind of song if somebody were to say this stuff out loud, you’d be like, Yo, this, this is so Black. This is so ridiculous. For what? It’s called one wish. There are at least 14 wishes made, at least 14 wishes made and made in the song. Ray J does a video dancing in the Ray for no good reason, which is some very Black stuff to do. Adding atmosphere and ambiance where it is unnecessary. My point here is it’s Black in nature that Ray J. My main point is Ray J has a song called One Wish that has at least 14 wishes. 

Panama Jackson [00:37:24] All of them, which are all of them, which are more like just asks, like, you know, could we just do this thing? Like we could just kind of hang out their wishes. It doesn’t make any sense. So I picked Ray J’s one wish just because of the sheer ridiculousness of it as a song, which I think is very Black and is sung by a man named Willie Ray Norwood. Willie Ray is one of the Blackest combinations of names in the history of Blackness. So I went. Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack, real Black for me. I think we can all agree on that one. Rick James and Smokey Robinson. Ebony Eyes. It’s in the title. Digable Planets, Black and Lizard. Ninth Wonder. Also the place where neither one of the producer took his name from. Yeah, Juvenile backed it ass up because I mean, it’s the most understand the assignment song of all time and controversially Ray J’s one wish because of this is ridiculous love it and because of the super Black ask of it. But you know, I hear you. So yeah that is. I like that is that is a list. 

Yinka Diz [00:38:19] I like the list. I like that. I like that you put a Ray J record on there because it wouldn’t be it wouldn’t be a Panama list without. 

Yinka Diz [00:38:24] Exactly.

Yinka Diz [00:38:25] Ray J on on there. And the funny thing about the record that you chose, your reasoning for choosing it is actually the reason why I almost put Lauryn Hill’s doo wop on my list instead of Celia Cruz, because I just feel like like her just condescending to all of us Black people was just so Black. Like, it was just like you girls out there, make sure you don’t do this is what you guys do to make sure you don’t do that. And I’m like, Yo, this is some really Black stuff right here, so I feel you. 

Yinka Diz [00:38:54] Are so low key. 

Outlaw [00:38:56] There’s not going to be anything for Sam Cooke? A Change Gonna Come.None of that? That’s just too obvious? 

Panama Jackson [00:39:00] It was on my list. That’s probably one of the obvious picks, too. It was like it was on my list. But I think I think it’s more of an obvious pick. So we’re going to I’m going to have a list of all the obvious picks, too. All right. So we’re going to take a real quick break here. And when we come back, we’re going to discuss who of the three of ours probably had the Blackest list, who won? I mean, it wasn’t a competition necessarily, but who who who had the Blackest list so far? I got my pick in my head already. It’s not me. So we’ll be right back after this break here on Dear Culture. All right. We’re back here on Dear Culture, and we just had a discussion about the Black Keys songs. The three of us, myself, Yinka and Outlaw, brought our list of five Blackest songs, and it went places I didn’t expect it to go, but it was awesome. And I, of course, had to bring rage into the discussion because rage belongs in every discussion as far as I’m concerned. But. We need to figure out. So of the of the songs we brought of the lists, who had the Black horses? I’m going to go first because I did not win. I did not have the Black list. I know that because I included Ray J. And I got to say I got to say and I wrote I wrote these lists down because I was I wanted to make sure. This is hard because you know what? Like you both, you both had says it wasn’t me. You both had songs that I genuinely put on my heart. I’m gonna go Outlaw in this, and I’m. I’m gonna give it to you by here because poderiam. You know, the 80 you know, some of us are, you know, come out like I’m so, so, so, so Outlaw and I’m giving it to you. Who do you who had the Black is to you? I think include yourself if you need to, by the way. Okay. This is look. 

Outlaw [00:40:36] I do I do legitimately think the. Go, go. Is the Black is musical genre that there is only because it’s the only one that no other culture has co-opted it at all. Right. Like, you know, Afrobeat, all the modern Afrobeat bands. And I’m not talking about like the modern, like Naija Afrobeats, I’m talking about all the ones like when Afrobeat resurfaced, all those bands, they all have like a lot of white members, right? Dancehall, soca, blues, jazz. Like all these Black art forms, house music, rock, hip hop, they’ve all been co-opted by white people. Go-Go music has not been co-opted by anyone. It’s just a Black art form. Um, so I, that is a strong choice. But Yinks has spottieottiedopalicious.  Yinka has Kendrick Lamar’s We Gon Be Alright.  Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On? He does it’s a good list. Oh shows. 

Outlaw [00:41:29]  I mean I’ll take it in about. 

Outlaw [00:41:30] Take it but his his list is very strong very strong. 

Yinka Diz [00:41:35] I got to I got to agree with both of y’all. Like I, you know, in my in my vanity, I’ll say that I like my list the best, but I think Outlaw has the best individual pick of anybody with that with the athlete. 

Yinka Diz [00:41:47] I was very I was very confident with that. 

Panama Jackson [00:41:49] That was solid. 

Panama Jackson [00:41:50] No, that was it was one I didn’t see coming at all. It was like I completely didn’t see it coming at all. So when you said it like the wind up was perfect, like, I’m feeling it. The more you talking about, oh, he’s going to do it. 

Outlaw [00:42:03] Well, because I was just going to say the thing that’s hard, is it like, look, I do think that Go-Go is a necessary inclusion regardless, right? But it’s like, which song do you pick? Right. Do you pick something by Chuck Brown? Do you pick you know. 

Outlaw [00:42:21] Do you pick do you pick junkyard band? . But I was like, nah, I want to do what white people do to all of our music. But we going to take this song that no one likes it. We’re going to make it good. So that’s why I had to do that work. 

Panama Jackson [00:42:36] And real talk. I first I thought you were going with hello. I thought you were going to say. I thought you were going. Oh, hello, route. No, I did. Yeah. Then it dawned on me was like, wait a minute, pieces of me. And it was you kept going. I was like, here we go. If you were. 

Yinka Diz [00:42:48] Outside when when we were playing pieces of mi yo, yo, yo, yo, you could just cut it in the whole crowd going to sing it like they really did it. Exactly how Outlaw said. Like it’s a song that nobody cares about and you know they Black and Nas that joint that’s ours now we got that. 

Outlaw [00:43:05] It’s it’s funny too because Go-Go oftentimes gets flack gets criticism in music, criticism for covering songs and doing a very poor job. And and everybody who’s been who’s a DC trans player, most of the times, they come to the city and they’re like, what is this like? What is this music? Right. But the one song, well, there’s two sexy ladies. Everybody likes sexy ladies, right? But the other song that they all get down to is Pieces of Me. So I mean, you know, I own it. You know, I own it. 

Panama Jackson [00:43:34] All right. Well, that was a great pick, though. Those are great choices in like say yo let you got you hit me in the heart was bowtie you got yeah we like you everybody yours this was a great y’all lists list is Tom Black songs now I’m getting a V out here yeah y’all this were amazing. I love that stuff. I think. I think it’s really strong. You know, it’s actually stronger than I expected it to be. So that’s saying some it actually like the choices ended up being even better than I expected. 

Yinka Diz [00:44:00] If your if your song is missing, we apologize and we’re going to try to accommodate that, hopefully in this little Spotify playlist that Panama is working on. So don’t don’t even try it. We got it. 

Panama Jackson [00:44:11] Yeah. Don’t trip homie. I was that was going to be a game. I was going to go the whole game route. But that’s probably also like you said, it’s too deep cut. All right. So, you know, I want to I want to thank you all for putting this list together. And, you know, I, I generally appreciate I know y’all and y’all would indulge this and I just love it. So before we get out of here, there’s one thing I like to do before at the end of every podcast and that’s ask for the guest to give us a Blackameditation. A Blackameditation would be a recommendation of something by, for and about Black culture, Black people, whatever. So I asked you all both to bring a Black meditation to the table before we got here. So, Outlaw, what is your Black commendation? 

Outlaw [00:44:52] So my homegirl, she’s a Yvonne Nigerian and she has two kids, and she put these books together with some friends of hers about how to teach because she doesn’t want her language lost. And so she put, like, learning materials together for for, for, for for African children or for Black children or for anyone who wants to learn these languages. And so there’s learning materials for evil Yoruba, Ebo, Hausa, Swahili, Twe and Amharic. And then not only that, but she also took some some African folklore, some stories. They see her when she were when she was a kid, some fables and then turn those into so some turn those into books for children. So but from an African you know from an African perspective so that they can hear some of these fables you know, from passed on from. Incest is. So you can go check out this website.  Go check her out, support her stuff. Black owned business and yeah you know go get you learning on. 

Outlaw [00:46:03] All right. Don’t appreciate that Black commendation. Yinka, what you got? 

Yinka Diz [00:46:07] Mine is a shameless, shameless plug. But, you know, I do make music. I released my album on vinyl at the end of last year. I’m pretty proud of it. It’s a translucent, blue vinyl. The album’s called. Actually, it’s not the parts that I saw. That was my previous one. But. But my album is, is, is available on vinyl. And 25% of the proceeds go to a victory lap five K, which is a5k nonprofit that basically creates opportunities for for STEM programs for for high schoolers in North Carolina. So definitely check that out. 

Panama Jackson [00:46:44] Well, this is the is it the discovery? 

Yinka Diz [00:46:47] Yeah, discovery. Exactly. Discover. 

Yinka Diz [00:46:49] Yeah.

Panama Jackson [00:46:50] Dope. All right. Well, Yinka and Outlaw tell people where they can find where they can listen to the eighties babys where they can find you guys that you know, where can they keep up with the AIDS babies? 

Yinka Diz [00:47:01] It’s it’s @the80zbabies on all of our socials where we’re trying to expand into into doing the whole Instagram thing. Tik Tok thing. Our stuff’s on YouTube now. And, you know, anywhere where you listen to podcasts, it should be available @the80zbabies 

Panama Jackson [00:47:23] All right. Well, look, thanks, everybody, for checking us here at Dear Culture. This podcast, we had a lot of this is great conversation, perfect Juneteenth episode is part of our Black Music Month suite of podcast episode. Soca Music. Please email all questions, suggestions, compliments, whatever to [email protected] Dear Culture is an original production brought to you by theGrio Podcast Network. The show’s produced by myself, Crystal Grant, edited produced by Richard White and Regina Griffin is our managing editor, a podcast who was also one of our guests, our guest producers here on this episode. So thanks for listening. Have a Black one. Peace.