Kamasi Washington’s got a little something for everyone. Like folk music? Dude’s worked with Ryan Adams. Jazz? How about Wayne Shorter, Horace Tapscott, and Herbie the fucking Hancock. Rap? Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Flying Lotus, Run the Jewels, Thundercat, and Kendrick La-fucking-mar. Washington isn’t just a saxophone player, though his sax gets blown into more than that CPR dummy down at the YMCA (trust me, there were so many other places I could have gone with that one). This dude is a composer, bandleader, and all around badass. He’s garnered major fucking cred in the music game. What does he do with it? He makes a 2-and-a-half-hour record extravaganza.
There’s this odd point in childhood when the line between reality and imagination isn’t just blurry, it just plain doesn’t exist. You might even remember it. It’s that time of imaginary friends, playhouses, and crazy fucking adventures. My sister and I used to lie on our backs while listening to a classical record on our Fisher-Price record player and, basically, wig the fuck out. I fought dragons, flew at breakneck speed through purple/blue/yellow/maroon/indigo skies, created whole planets and societies, and fought the embodiment of varying concepts all before naptime. At some point we’re supposed to grow old and lame and lose all this. Of course some motherfucker brings it back up in college by taking highly potent hallucinogenic drugs that no one really understands, puts on an album from someone like Miles Davis, Tool, or Pink Floyd, and relives this childhood moment all over again.
With or without drugs, taking a trip through a space and time is a good activity every once in a while. It saves a bundle on plane tickets. When it comes to this shit, this album should have a fucking warning label. You don’t just jump into this album. This shit is a combo of Pharoah Sanders, Hendrix, late ’60s Davis and Grateful dead, and a bunch of other really freaky shit. At times it can sound cheesy as fuck. But that’s all part of the style. Are soundtracks to adventure movies a bit cheesy and sappy? Fucking rights they are. Cause when you aim for childlike wonder you’re going to cross some sappy terrain. It’s beautiful. It’s warm. It’s uplifting. Optimism has this way of sounding cheesy to cynical adult-sized ears.
This album is huge. It’s brimming with tunes of all kinds. People will be pulling apart this album for a long fucking time. It’s easy to envision one stoned motherfucker turning to another stoned motherfucker, as this album comes to a close, and saying:
“Dude, I just totally met God.”
“Whoa, what does God look like?”
“Kinda like everyone else man, except for the horns”