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The Crate: The Seed (2.0)

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The Seed (2.0)
The Roots (2003)

THE funkiest metaphor for impregnation ever. Cody Chesnutt, a soulful guitarist and singer from Atlanta, sings verses; the rapper Black Thought from Philadelphia’s the Roots does verses, too. Chesnutt plays guitar as well, so raw and demanding and relentless. The Roots are a live hip-hop group – they have the best drummer on the planet in Ahmir ”Questlove” Thompson – but this is a rock song. Chesnutt did it in a kind of demo form a year before on his own record, The Headphone Masterpiece, in which he positioned himself as a hip-hop Woody Guthrie of the street – a guitar slinger. The newer version of the song is curious because it’s not about the art of sex, or the mystique, or desire, or the quest for it – as is, for example, the entire canon of rock’n’roll itself, the genre that got its name from slang for the act of having sex – but it’s about a group of people’s journeys, or narratives, around pregnancy. Pregnancy here is the whole mission of life itself, a kind of holy thing. Chesnutt and Black Thought name-check a ”Mary”, an unmarried mother-to-be. At that it becomes bigger than a mere story. ”Little Mary” is ”bad”; she wants everything. She’s into neo-soul. She’s Erykah Badu or Jill Scott, she’s as totemic as that, whereas the men around her are ignorant to the innate power of a woman and also ignorant to the meaning of babies, the meaning of procreation, the meaning of ”the seed”. The best line is ”… if Mary drop my baby girl tonight I would name her rock’n’roll”. So glib and futile, but what a great line. In the end, it’s a song about men and women and how it’s impossible between us most of the time.

The Roots use funkiest metaphor for impregnation ever.