Miguelito couldn’t catch an L in a Lexus.
Donny Hathaway is considered soul royalty though he never experienced enough of that love while alive. His grandmother taught him to play gospel music on the piano and he funneled that into cosmic but deeply heartfelt compositions like “The Ghetto” in adulthood. D’angelo claims Hathaway beget his career and producer Jerry Wexler says “he’s one of the most brilliant musical theorists I ever encountered.” Donny was also a schizophrenic who didn’t get the benefit of a full life to share his talent, killing himself by jumping fifteen stories from the Essex House in 1979. He was barely in his thirties. Most remember him for a Christmas song.
By contrast, Hathaway’s “This Christmas” is jubilous [ed. note: ‘jubilous’ is now a word] and inviting, praised as one of the first black Christmas songs made for a black audience, and has been flipped a thousand times. Los Angeles producer and Hit Mob affiliate LowTheGreat is on a streak of converting familiar sounds into slappers for L.A. shit-talkers. First it was 1TakeJay’s “Hello”, which bases its melody off the default iPhone ringer, and today POW is premiering he and Kayoe’s treatment of Hathaway’s yuletide legacy featuring Jay and fellow member of Compton’s new vanguard, Kalan.frfr.
1Take claims he’s celebrating and getting money this holiday instead of crying over the two thousand dollar shoes he couldn’t buy last year. Kalan asks an unnamed woman to hang from the mistletoe, similar to the way listeners hang on the warbled flexes of his music. The only way to have a Christmas more in touch with New L.A. rap is to end the gospel readings about stars and mangers with ‘bop!’