Most of the time, I don’t like “DJ tracks” that are just beats with a few random vocal snippets thrown on top. For instance, I know that Avicii’s “Levels” came first, sampling a little bit of Etta James and putting it on top of a rhythm. But I prefer Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling,” which basically recreates the Avicii track, but adds Flo’s rap verses. To me, the lyrics make the song a meatier experience, especially since the track is so repetitive. It’s not like listening to the music alone takes me on a journey, you know? The beat just keeps cycling back on itself, and since I’m not in a club, drinking myself to distraction, I get bored.
However, Watch the Duck’s new track “Poppin’ Off” is an exception to my rule. It follows the basic formula—there’s a guy with an old-school R&B sound singing a few phrases over a beat—but somehow, it’s bigger than that. For one thing, the track keeps changing, slowing down and speeding up and dropping in random keyboard sounds and adding what sounds like Cee-Lo singing “Here come the weed fros.” It’s a dynamic listening experience that keeps my attention, and if I were to dance around my house to this song (ahem), I’d have fun changing up my moves for the various tempos.
I also love the track’s low, rumbling vibe. There’s a little menace in the mix, a little low-rider swagger, and it oozes with coolness. I can imagine this song playing while a group of bad-asses walk in slo-mo through a restaurant they just won in a poker game.
And the video is filled with badasses, too, including the dance squad Dragon House Crew. (One of the guys, Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, was a runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance.) Even better, the video was filmed in Atlanta—where the three DJs in Watch the Duck are based—and I went to college in Atlanta. So we’re probably all related. And Cee-Lo’s from Atlanta, too, so maybe that IS him singing about weed fros!
Mark Blankenship wonders if weed fros are legal in Washington now. He tweets as @IAmBlankenship.