I want this space to be about everything that inspires me, as well as the celebration of women - how we feel, what we want, what we think, what we do, what we love, but Madlib is the exception. Madlib is always the exception.
Madlib, whose real name is Otis Jackson Jr., has a certain mystique that makes you want to know more about him. He's a quiet guy (unless he's drunk - his words, not mine), and so enigmatic and elusive that it's almost frustrating. He isn't very social on social media, and rarely does interviews. Yet, his presence is everywhere. He has a deep affinity for Sun Ra and jazz music in general, and it is displayed throughout his art.
I think I first discovered Madlib back in the very early 2000's when he and J. Dilla released the joint album Champion Sound, and performed as the duo Jaylib. It wasn’t long after that I began to dig much deeper into his music catalog, and it didn’t take long for him to become one of my favorite producers / beat makers. When J. Dilla passed away in 2006, there was this void, one that I wasn't expecting anyone else to fill because Dilla was like the hip hop Messiah, but Madlib sort of became that person for me. Never to compare him to Dilla, because they were both great at their craft, but if Dilla is considered the John Coltrane of beats, then Madlib is easily Thelonious Monk.
Happy 43rd birthday, you brilliant, mad scientist. Here's to 43+ more.
Image credit: Rappcats