If you’ve heard the following song, you already know Moodymann.
I didn’t recognize the voice and make the connection until tonight, when I decided I was going to write a blog post about Moodymann, someone I haven’t thought much about in years.
Moodymann is a DJ from Detroit. You can see interviews here and here. (I’m not much of a watching-videos-on-the-internet-and-for-everloving-fuck-I-don’t-want-to-watch-a-vlog-unless-I-have-a-huge-crush-on-you-which-if-you’re-making-a-vlog-I-probably-don’t-no-offense person, but these are kind of worth it, if you’re drinking or something. Also it was fun to watch part of the second video with Soren, who said “Uh oh!” every time Moodymann said “motherfuckers.” Oopsie!)
In the spring of 2002, when Ben and I had known each other for only a few months, we went to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (n/k/a Movement Electronic Music Festival). (Part of this trip involved stopping in Ann Arbor at a brewery/restaurant, where we had roasted garlic and some of the best vegetarian lasagna with fake meat I’ve ever had in my life and some really good beer.) I remember a few things from those alcohol-soaked days, including but not limited to: (1) dancing to DJ Sneak (holla!) at some warehouse party (this was one of my favorites and I distinctly remember drinking Red Bull and vodka, which, ugh, that shit makes your teeth furry); (2) getting late-night food at some crazy-ass hole in the wall; (3) walking around Detroit and kind of loving it for how barren and ugly it was because it didn’t pretend to be something else, like St. Louis, which, to be honest, just pisses me right off; and (4) seeing Moodymann.
Seeing Moodymann at that point in my life filled me with rage. Here’s what I remember about the show. It was at some place with a stage, so, like, kind of fancy, at least in terms of going out to see a DJ. I remember absolutely nothing about the music. All I remember is this motherfucker (sorry, he reinforces my terrible language tendencies) coming out on stage, where there was, like, a bed, and rolling around in the bed with a woman (women? he seems to always have three). It was all nondescript music that didn’t really seem to be the point and some asshole rolling around in bed with some bitches you didn’t know. I’m sure some 18-year-old on Rumspringa might be impressed by that, but I was just pissed off. You could almost say I was mortally offended, the way I get when people cut me off in traffic or walk when it says don’t walk and you miss your opportunity to turn because people still don’t get that “all-direction walk” thing, which I keep hearing they’re doing away with in downtown Denver but still it persists. I’m not sure I’d have the same reaction to that Moodymann show today, especially considering that I now understand how his point is to bring his environment to the show — which is kind of cool — rather than throwing down hot new tracks or whatever.
I kind of forgot about Moodymann until I had a kid. I mean, I didn’t totally forget about him. Every once in a while, Shades of Jae comes on the old iPod and I think, yeah, that’s the shit right there. Here, listen:
That’s kind of nice. But other than these brief encounters, Moodymann didn’t really hit my register, so to speak, these days.
Until I had a kid and my kid got to the age where he became a total grump-ass from time to time, either for a reason or as a result of some unknown and completely random motivation. At those times, I’d look at my child and say:
What up, Kenny Dixon, Jr.?
(Kenny Dixon, Jr. being Moodymann’s real name.)
Of course, Moodymann reappeared in Doin Ya Thang by Oliver $. Only I didn’t realize it was Moodymann at first. I didn’t realize it until tonight, when Soren was grumptastic and the only thing that could calm his rage against all that is evil and wrong in the universe was sitting on my lap watching videos of himself on the computer and eventually I had all I could take of watching him watch himself doing exciting things like walk around the house or terrorize dogs who, bless their hearts, are very good-natured animals, so I turned to Moodymann interviews, which the three of us watched together on my computer at the dining room table, which is how Soren ended up saying “Uh oh!” every time Moodymann said “motherfuckers,” as mentioned above, and also clapping, because apparently Moodymann strikes a chord in the heart of a young child trying to find his way in the world.
Anyway, the first time I heard Moodymann say “yeah” in one of the interviews I was like, wait, that’s totally him in that Oliver $ song and Ben was like yeah, it sounds like it. I flattered myself by thinking I was the first person on the internet to figure this out, but I’m not. These people beat me to it. I ended up feeling bad for including that Oliver $ song on a playlist and pimping it at least once or twice. I didn’t realize it was Moodymann. I mean, I suspected something was up when I found out that Oliver $ is a white dude from Germany, but whatever. Is this part of our current society, wherein people profit by ripping off people who had the idea first? Or is it part of the creative process, which, for house music, often involves sampling other people’s work, something Moodymann himself has done? And where do mashup artists like Girl Talk fit into this? Where do you draw the line between ripping off someone else’s work and changing or adding to it enough that you’re making it into something new?
Moodymann is really into roller disco. I think roller disco is just about the greatest idea anybody has ever had. Are all you uh ohs havin’ a good time?