Listening to Lucas McFadden’s (aka Cut Chemist) latest mixtape release Sound of the Police, makes me wish he had taught my high school and college world history classes. Because, honestly, the dude knows exactly how to teach the kids and students of hip hop where our historical and musical roots came from. And it would be just plain awesome to learn the history of the world via two turntables and sonic syllabus that wouldn’t put me to sleep.
The name of the mixtape might conjure memories of the classic Boogie Down production track of the same name, but McFadden says he choose the title to go further back, and more importantly, reference Ethiopia’s military bands which were his primary influence to make this mix.
The recording back story of Sound Of The Police is that it was originally intended to be only performed once during Mochilla's “Timeless” concert series opening up for Ethiopia’s own Mulatu Astatke in 2009.
That said, listening to the live mix you’d expect to hear a crowd cheering or feel that live vibe and energy but you don’t. That’s because it was recorded as practice session as McFadden ready himself for Mochilla gig. And after the success of that performance he says he wanted the show to be heard and seen by as many people as possible, and that “the live performance attempts to be a reenactment of the CD, but with cameras on the turntable and loop pedal so the audience understands exactly how the records are being manipulated.”
As one of the founding members of seminal Los Angeles groups Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli, McFadden explains that it was important to play the CD live in the way he did because “It’s like walking a sonic tight rope and the audience gets to see me fall if something goes wrong. The interesting parts are when I mess up and fix it. The audience goes crazy and appreciates what a difficult balancing act this actually is."