Sing Bass

SING BASS

 

I.

 Listen in:

can you hear it?

The rumble of the ba-ba-ba-BASS!

Resonatin’, record-crate shakin’,

with Chuck D narratin’

                  I’m talking bout bass!

The bass notes bottoming the work,

history from below

flowin’ on lower frequencies

between tones

beyond phono-graphic zones

As bass clef jumps in

plucks the soul

                                    sings bass.

II.

The DJ—

spinnin’ free-play,

dub the duppy, relay the record,

                                 —sings bass.

The needle slips in the groove,

breaks the pattern, new patterns emerge,

Kurtis Blow’s refrain, These are the Breaks

fader slide, Flavor Flav replies,

                                    Bass for your face.

Takes us to a space

where new language resonates

deep underground—

Listen to:

Monk’s Underground,

flip the script

hear Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground,

then read Ellison who was reading Dostoevsky

they all sing bass.

 III.

Forge your own sound

fashion it or copy it counterfeit

rap discrepant, rattle the creaking word,

play, pluck, prick, affront the dominant

culture with a honking jazz solo, a cacerolazo

& sing bass.

Like Esu at the crossroads,

like a hierophant editing a sound text

like Ifa rewriting history,

let go a jazz riff the bass can dance with.

Move the body in pendular thirds,

hum, moan, grunt, & improvise

with an open hyphen—

& live bass.

Listen in:

can you hear it?

the sound of the ba-ba-ba-BASS!

Ph.D. Professor. Writer. Musician. A space for riffings on film, literature, and music.

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