Moodymann – I Need You So Much (Runaway)
Moodymann, also known as Kenny Dixon Jr., is a prophet of Detroit. Motor City has long produced a line of father-figures for a music scene that craves substance. The Electrifying Mojo, Chez Damier & Theo Parrish, are just some of the names on the list. The spirit of Detroit combines spiritual essence with the stark contrast of the often harsh living conditions experienced by its people. Few have come close to infusing such soul through sampling in a majestic way as Kenny Dixon Jr. has. If you need proof just listen to ‘Ya Blessin’ Me‘ or ‘Sunday Morning‘. He’s graced stages worldwide from Rex Club to Dhërmi Beach in Albania, yet claims East Side of Detroit as his favourite place to visit. Moodymann’s ‘I Need You So Much (Runaway)’ came part of his acclaimed Black Mahogani album released back in 2004 on Peacefrog Records. A gentle reminder that the DJ behind the project is a guru of Deep House.
The track begins with crowd talking sampled from Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got to Give It Up‘. Dixon Jr. is well know to be a fan of the Soul singer, releasing a tribute track “The Day We Lost The Soul” in 1995. However, there’s also a connection to be made with Motown’s Detroit roots. After all, the genre takes its name after the Motor City. Moodymann is an ambassador for his city through and through. In fact in ’Forgotten Places’, he calls out the geographically local areas where he likes to hang out. The piano keys, saxophone and the bass guitar combine for what appears to be a Jazz improvisation at first. This a recurring feature of the producer’s releases, seen in his other tracks like ‘People‘. The DJ’s performances back home often integrate a live local band. However, a crisp kick here provides the rhythm that partners with what sounds like a man clapping in a bar to the beat. Roberta Sweed’s vocals are like honey running into your ears, melting into the wholesome atmosphere created. Finally, the producer stamps his mark as his own vocals give a shoutout to the lead vocalist. Extravagant yet soulful, the track is a gift from a talent blessed by the heavens above.
In a Couch Wisdom chat with Red Bull Radio, Moodymann defended his refusal to play his own tracks in live mixes. He claimed it to be a platform to showcase sounds yet to be heard. It may also be the case that the often free-form structure of his tracks makes mixing a challenge. Though Moodymann’s recorded mixes are revered by many, Pitchfork gave his 2016 DJ-Kicks compilation a Best New Music recognition. Dixon Jr. is a representative of an independent hustle spirit of Detroit that has refused to sell its soul to the majors. Owning his own label KDJ Records, he’s facilitated releases from artists such as Andrés & Alton Miller. The new generation of producers have inherited such work ethic. Rising DJs such as Kyle Hall prefer to own their labels, Wild Oats Records in Hall’s case. Moodymann’s hermetism remains to be alluring. His refusal to speak with the press for ten years only strengthened his enigma, which has in turn attracted a worldwide following.