Tuesday, May 27, 2014

23 Skidoo: He's Quick With a Quirk

I'm a guy who went to the same college (if not at the same time) as Jam Master Jay during the early heyday of rap. Down at the college radio station, I DJ'd a show that led into Jimmy Jim and his reggae/funk hour. Yet I tended to fade away whenever the heavy beats started. When Grandmaster Melle Mel released "White Lines," I lumped it in with Dickie Goodman's stuff as a novelty tune. The social impact was lost on me.

So why am I listening to rap and hip hop nowadays? Have I become more multi-cultural? Has my social consciousness evolved? Or is the pervasive influence of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and his band of kid hop entrepreneurs?

My older son Ben makes his morning playlists with nary a thought to race or restrictions. His selections are the ultimate democracy – after a cursory listen, if he's not jazzed, they don't get selected again. And after six months, it's into the discard bin. But Skidoo perseveres. Just a look back at the past few months demonstrate his continuing interest and affection for the sweet beats and zingy wordplay of Skidoo and his daughter/sidekick MC Fireworks.

Skidoo returns next month with his fourth major release, THE PERFECT QUIRK. The feelgood mantra is set in (dance) motion – Everyone has quirks and they should be embraced. You don't want to get dressed? "PJs All Day" has your back. Confide in a companion nobody else sees? "Imaginary Friend" understands. Lament the passage of time? Listen to MC Fireworks on "Time Machine":

Yo dad, stop being crazy, I'll always be your baby girl.
An oyster has to keep growing to make a pearl.
I think this world's got some big plans for me.
And pretty soon I'll go and write some chapters to the story.

While Skidoo has concentrated primarily on music for the past half-decade, he is diversifying into publishing. "Weird Calhoun and the Odd Men Out" (with an accompanying CD with karaoke tracks), his debut book, drops on June 24. Delving into the old English, "weird" comes from "wyrd," which translates into "destiny" or "fate." These are larger themes that have played into Skidoo's works over the years, from "Gotta Be Me" on EASY through "Make the Future" on MAKE BELIEVERS to "Never Stop Asking" on UNDERGROUND PLAYGROUND.

Moving along at a brisk 37 minutes, THE PERFECT QUIRK leaves you no down time to ask, "Where's the guitar solo?" There's a lot of rhythm and messages of affirmation, to keep your head bobbing as you "Unwind." In that aspect, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is the Original G – as in Rated G, for kids of all ages. Word.

THE PERFECT QUICK is available June 24 from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for Skidoo's song, "Pillow Fort Pillow Fight":

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