Last week I was reading a GQ interview with Kacey Musgraves. In the discussion she mentioned that she has “California Love” on her phone — no shocker there, I remember seeing her rock a 2Pac t-shirt a few years back. What was surprising to me was her caveat that, “it’s not like I know a lot of deep cuts but he had some really catchy shit.” That got me thinking…
M. and I had previously been batting around the idea of working on some sort of pot-infused Musgraves remix, blending a lick from one of her tracks with Cypress Hill, or something. The idea drifted away from us, but after reading this interview, I cracked open my computer and started playing with some crudely cut samples, trying to blend the woman’s favorite 2Pac song with something of her own. I used “Blowin’ Smoke.” After a few hours of going nowhere with what seemed to be a failed idea, I gave up, and in a moment of frustrated weakness, I shot off a couple tweets and called it a night. “Making a California Love/Blowin’ Smoke mashup might not be the way to @KaceyMusgraves’ heart after all, he says… having just invested several hours into a failed California Love/Blowin’ Smoke mashup.” The thing is, by the time I woke up, Kacey had tweeted back… “Dooo it.”
The first time I saw Kacey live was right after I moved to Nashville in 2010. She was playing a round with Rodney Crowell at the Station Inn, and she owned the show. The highlight was “John Prine.”
“Grandma cried when I pierced my nose / Never liked doing what I was told / Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you / ‘Cause I ain’t walking in your shoes / ‘Cause I ain’t one to knock religion / Though it’s always knocking me / Always running with the wrong crowd / Right where I wanna be / I’m not good at being careful / I just say what’s on my mind / Like my idea of heaven / Is to burn one with John Prine.”
My god she keeps it real.
This thread has the potential to translate as seriously creep-balls, but in defense of myself, I gained a lot of respect for Kacey that night, and have since been amazed by all that she’s accomplished in the years that followed. She’s maintained the essence of who she is in an industry that seemingly requires extinguishing personality in favor of a flavorless status quo. So when she tweeted back, I felt simultaneously energized and sick to my stomach. I appreciate and respect her, and here I’d essentially gone out of my way to make a fool of myself for the sake of gaining a moment’s worth of attention.
That morning I showed M. the tweet and his response was predictable: Musically speaking, there wasn’t much common ground between the two songs, and I was probably out of luck. Being the champion that he is though, he started playing with the opening riff from “Blowin’ Smoke,” and before we realized it we had a song on our hands. Mike tweaked some “California Love” acapellas, added some synths, laid down some beats, and we threw in a sample of Craig and Smokey from Friday because… why not? And here’s the final product: “California Smoke,” punctuated by one final tweet. No word back yet from her, but maybe someday I’ll get to burn one with Kacey Musgraves.
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