Five '60s Soul Stars Jay-Z & Kanye West Should Hit Next
Say what you will about Watch the Throne - and people, including several members of Team Rocks Off, have said a lot - but it's all anyone in music seems to be talking about these days. Which makes sense; it's not every day that two megastars (the very biggest) are able to shove their egos aside and drop an album that not only does not leak to the Internet, but sells more than half a million copies in its first week.
thelocal478.com Welcome back to Billboard, Otis.
Not too shabby. Rocks Off is a little tardy in
downloading the album for free buying Watch the Throne on iTunes, but we have given its lead single "Otis" a few spins. Besides becoming the Internet's leading audio meme over about the past week and a half - Houston rappers Propain, Eskabel and J-Willamahn have each released their own version - "Otis" reaffirms something fans of Mr. Redding (Jay and 'Ye chief among them) have always known: "Try a Little Tenderness" is a hit song in any decade.
Kanye and Hova have raised Redding's Q rating to an all-time high nearly 45 years after the singer's death. In fact, since Redding receives featured billing on "Otis" (as he should), he just set a new record for the longest span between appearances on Billboard's R&B chart. ("Otis" debuts this week at No. 15.) But it doesn't stop there.
Soul is gold on the pop charts all over again. Bruno Mars is like a one-man Motown revue, Beyonce's 4 is a decided shift toward old-school R&B, and Adele is introducing a whole new generation to the wonders of Dusty Springfield (or she should be). Questlove produced Booker T's brand-new album The Road From Memphis after the "Green Onions" legend sat in with the Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Those in the know swear Raphael Saadiq and Janelle Monae can take 'em all.
Watch the Throne's success will no doubt have both fans and Def Jam shareholders clamoring for a sequel as soon as humanly possible. Luckily, there are plenty of other worthy '60s soul artists out there ripe for the pickin'. Rocks Off picked out five of our favorites as possible starting points for the inevitable Watch the Throne Part II.
5. Junior Walker & the All-Stars: To the best of Rocks Off's knowledge - which we admit is far from encyclopedic - no rap artist has ever lifted the iconic saxophone introduction to Walker's 1965 hit "Shotgun." What a crime. (Weekly Ghostbusters reference: Check.) If Hova and Kanye get their hands on it, it could be bigger than the tenor solo that teases Wrecks-N-Effect's "Rump Shaker."
4. Bobby "Blue" Bland: Unlike Redding and the other artists on this list (save Sam Moore), Bland has the advantage of still being alive, and could probably be talked into coming into the studio for some guest vocals. As a couple of our more astute readers have pointed out, Hova and Kanye have already dipped into Bland's catalog, sampling "Ain't No Love In the Heart of the City" on the West-produced "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)" from 2001's The Blueprint. This time Rocks Offs suggests The Throne leave ballads like Texas Johnny Brown's "Two Steps From the Blues" alone and focus on uptempo songs such as "Further On Up the Road" and (especially) "Turn On Your Love Light." Hey, it worked well enough for Eric Clapton - who, come to think of it, would make a suitably A-list classic rocker for a demo-busting cameo.