Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jam Behind the Jam #2: Labi Siffre-My Song

In the second of our ongoing "Jam behind the Jam" series, we bring you Labi Siffre's epic jam, "My Song," a tale of being confident in oneself no matter what the circumstances. Labi, an openly gay British singer, songwriter, and poet, was born in England to a Barbadian/Belgian mother and a Nigerian father. Throughout his life, he performed across the world and worked with a host of musicians ranging from Ike and Tina to the Supremes, released 10 solo albums, and was an activist for a whole host of social causes and issues including the apartheid, gay's rights, and civil rights. Labi was not only covered by Jay-Z in his song Streets Iz Watching, but Eminem used part of his song "I Got The" to create his breakthrough single, "My Name Is."

Wait, wait, wait. What? An openly gay singer/songwriter was covered by Eminem? The same Eminem equally likely to drop a fire freestyle and diss gays? Yea. That Eminem. This Labi. Labi's music is timeless and despite a soft piano melody and smooth vocals, "My Song" is about the hardest thing that someone can probably ever do, stand up for who they are despite haters telling them that they're wrong.  I first heard Labi's song hidden behind Kanye West's song "I Wonder" and immediately I wondered (hehe) where Kanye dug his sample up. Luckily, "My Song" surpassed all expectations. A true Jam Behind the Jam, Labi's spits incredible knowledge and strength over the easiest of grooves. Take it to heart when he says:
"I may not always sing in tune
And sometime you don't hear me
But you don't have to be near me
To know that I'm singing."
And keep singing. We sure do.

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