Gin and Juice – The Gourds
The Gourds perform "Gin and Juice" at Bumbershoot in Seattle, September 2007.
A little Late Afternoon OTB: The Gourds perform “Gin and Juice” at Bumbershoot in Seattle, September 2007.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
It’s not the best recording quality and it actually cuts off after 10 minutes but it’s a decent taste. (Here’s a complete, clean version of the audio.)
I first heard this song eight or nine years ago in the heyday of the Napster and Audio Galaxy music “sharing” services. Among the quirks of that period was that songs would go viral but be mis-attributed to a more famous artist. In this case, people to this day believe Phish recorded it.
For those not familiar with the tune itself, it’s a cover of the 1994 breakout song for Calvin Broadus, Jr. — better known to the world as Snoop Dogg. Oddly, I’d never heard the original until yesterday. Here it is:
The Gourds managed to make the song totally their own, providing an alt-bluegrass beat and making it amusing with the exaggerated drawl and enunciation of gansta lingo and yet somehow simultaneously poignant. The young Snoop’s observations about the difficulties of coming up with a constant stream of new material, hangers on who want to participate in the party but never seem to chip in, and the closing contrast in lifestyles with the more established Dr. Dre are particularly noteworthy.
Interestingly, the audiences of the two songs are almost completely separate. While I truly appreciate Snoop’s talents as a lyricist and entrepreneur, the beat and language of the hip-hop genre just don’t appeal to me. (Except, of course, when done ironically by white people.) And, certainly, gansta rap fans don’t listen to a lot of bluegrass.
There’s probably a lesson about intellectual property rights in here somewhere, too. I don’t know how much money, if any, the Gourds made from this. Snoop should get some cut, or at least a writing credit. But artists ought to be encouraged to build something new from the creation of others, too.