Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black?

SYL JOHNSON IS IT BECAUSE IM BLACK

Howdy, it has been a while since my last post, but I promise you I am back with some funky fireworks. It has been a busy month for me, but I got reminded of my blogging duties by a befriended DJ of mine. And yesterday I got a weird surprise by watching an item on eBay and seeing for what price it went for. It was last post’s Warm Excursion 45 which traded hands for 137 US dollars. Sick!

Well, today’s tune of choice is something every Cypress Hill fan would instantly recognize by the instrumental. Featuring as a skit on the Hill’s Black Sunday album called Lock Down, this garnered my attention when I was a 15 year old kid giving the Hill serious playtime on my dad’s stereo (he even bought the CD a while ago because even the old man can appreciate some blunted hiphop). The original however, is much more impressive, and makes clear why DJ Muggs used especially this piece of music (he apparently got sued by Syl Johnson in 2008 for 29 million dollars for the use of this tiny sample. Seems a bit harsh to me.)

Syl Johnson is a guitarplayer from Mississippi, and scored hits in the 60s with, among others, “Different Strokes” which is a breakbeat classic record. When I can cop that one on vinyl I will surely feature it on the blog. Syl got another hit in 1969 called “Is It Because I’m Black”. It is a socially conscious song, the message being that he feels discriminated over the colour of his skin. The intro alone gives me goosebumps, and Syl crooning his words even so. Give it a listen!