Brooks, is transforming both modern music and the Blues. “So much of what’s out there sounds the same,’’ says Brooks. “I wanted to create something different and something undeniable with my music.” The result is a unique fusion of heavy Chicago Blues, Blues Rock, Soul and Rap/Hip-Hop that could be dubbed its own cultural movement.
Brooks knew that there was no better place to start that movement than in his hometown of Chicago, the birthplace of the Blues. Using only Chicago natives, he put together some of the biggest talent in the business to create a song that showcases the many different sounds of the iconic musical city.
Brooks says he’s been working on the concept behind the song for at least 10 years, dating back to when he recorded the song, “Nu Kinda Blues,’’ on the album Mystery, which featured Blues, Hip-Hop and House music. “I first experimented with the concept back in 2001 while I was in the studio during the recording sessions for Mystery.’’ The concept of fusing real Chicago Blues with Rap/Hip-Hop had been brewing in his head for a few years. He met Eve on the set of the movie, “Barber Shop.’’ She offered to get involved in the project, but a fateful meeting with Aerosmith, Kid Rock and Run-DMC in 2003 changed everything. “Jam Master Jay took the idea seriously,” says Brooks. “He liked the idea so much he wanted me to come to New York to work on it. That’s when I knew I was onto something big.”
But three weeks before the two planned to hook up, Jam Master Jay was shot and killed. “I couldn't believe someone would do that to the nicest guy in the world. It really killed my spirit at that moment. He really understood what I was trying to do -- and then he was gone.’’
It wasn’t until 2007 at an All-Star Blues Bash at Chicago’s House of Blues – a concert Brooks put together featuring some of the biggest names in the business -- where he discovered just the right people to make it happen. During an impromptu jam session, the then up-and-coming rapper GLC took the microphone and began to put lyrics over Brooks’ guitar riffs. The two musicians jamming on stage was nothing short of serendipitous and created just the sound Brooks had been searching for all those years.
The lyrics to “Something's Going Down’’ came just as suddenly. While watching Barack Obama campaign for president, Brooks suddenly felt overcome with pride and enthusiasm. “Obama would just get so worked up, you could feel it. I remember just blurting out the lyrics, and I knew I had to write them down,” Brooks says.
The chorus was born: “Something’s going down in the city/Something’s going down in this town/Better get ready for the real nitty gritty/This is how the Chi gets down.” (This last line is an ode to all the greatest of the greatest who hailed from Chicago, Brooks says.)
Brooks sees the song as the start of something radically different in the music business, something that expands the range of Rap/Hip Hop and gives a jolt of fresh air to the Blues, which needs to appeal to younger audiences if it’s going to survive.
Brooks is also reaching out to other well-known rappers to get them involved in the ground-breaking project. "I have a song for Lil' Wayne, Akon, Mos' Def, Common, & Snoop Dog" says, Brooks. "I am also hoping they will hear this song and want to contact me themselves."
“Something's Going Down” will be released Feb. 15th, 2011
Brooks is in the early stages of booking a tour, and he is in talks to create a movie about the movement.
For more information, or to purchase a copy, go to www.BluesIslandRecords.com, www.waynebakerbrooks.com