In today’s age, technology has flooded our lives with content. Caught in the mire are modern musicians who champion an art form that’s more widely distributed than any other throughout human history. And we, more often than not, overlook the music created by unfamiliar faces because it’s challenging. We’d rather have an easy listen, a known quantity to skim through while we think about something else.
Hearing is easy, but listening is difficult. Welcome to “Why We Like It”, where we rebuke the trends in favor of thoughtful analysis and underknown sounds.
“Connection (Remix)” Ft. Brittney Carter — Paul Grant
How We Found It
“Connection” was originally an instrumental track from guitarist and producer Paul Grant’s 2020 solo album, Waves. This particular remix found its way to our SubmitHub inbox with the addition of a featured verse from Chicago’s Brittney Carter — an emcee we know and love here at CentralSauce. I previously wrote about Carter in the featured interview for her debut album: “Brittney Carter’s As I Am: The Evolving Introspection of an Artist.” Grant’s into the sunset lo-fi production makes a memorable backdrop for Carter’s sweetly familiar cadence and poetic reflections.
Why We Like It
The instrumental is a suggestion. “Connection” is a landscape painted with synth and string — a vibrant canvas with an abstract allure from across the room. The colors tell you there’s warmth, the tones hint at security, but it’s security earned from trials looked back upon. Through narrowed eyes, the picture in your head becomes sharper than the canvas. This is how we hear instrumentals — through suggestion. The shapes are painted by the artist’s association with their edges, but filled by associations of our own. It’s a game of telephone with feelings where the end result is beautiful by its interpretation. By way of the remix, we see the landscape layered with someone else’s story.
The lone verse on the remix is a stream of thought freestyle that sees Carter spitting with her staple wisdom and inspiring confidence. She raps: “this for every underdog and every amatuer, little bit of talent but no manager / I do this for y’all, makin’ songs in your closet never hearin’ from blogs.” It’s a reflection on a younger rendition of the emcee’s drive that venerates those moments gone but not forgotten.
Carter’s bars are nestled between two layers of Grant’s string production. There’s a low plucky bass progression that underpins the melody with funk, but the higher tune washes the track in the gently muted orange and yellow of a sunset in a lo-fi beats compilation video. It’s the type of sentimental beat that wouldn’t feel out of place outring an episode of Samurai Champloo.
Though Grant tells me he loves Nujabes but hasn’t seen Champloo, that’s the beauty of the abstract landscape — I get to fill my own canvas. When Carter raps “Made it through some trials, I been chosen I been destined / tell me why you think this message so potent / never was a poet, my potential prolific,” my mental brush paints her and Grant like Mugen and Jin — two gifted samurai who’s unexpected partnership draws its strength from a complementary polarity. That’s the beauty of the remix. The picture you get isn’t the thing itself, but the way it imprinted on another.
From Paul Grant
I think her [Carter’s] verse fits perfectly with the various moods of the beat, and she also made it new/better. I think anytime you’re collaborating, the other person is gonna take the song somewhere new and that’s the great thing about it. When you have a vocalist on there, the listener can get much more specific images and/or narrative from the words than from an instrumental, and I really like that.” – Paul Grant for CentralSauce
More From Paul Grant
Grant and Carter both have some excellent discographies to dive into if you’re digging “Connection (Remix).” Grant’s 2020 album, Waves, is full of more relaxing lo-fi instrumentals and Carter’s 2020 album As I Am is one of my favorite indie projects of last year. Follow Paul Grant on Twitter or Instagram and Brittney Carter on Twitter or Instagram to keep up with future releases.
More to Discover
Subscribe to the CentralSauce mailing list so you never miss out on the freshest sauce. Check out this continuously updated playlist of songs Brandon has added to our Discovery section! Each track or artist has been featured in our “Why We Like It” section, so be sure to check out the page here on the site.