My writer friend, Susan, introduced me to the Carolina Chocolate Drops (or CCD), when she invited me to go to a concert of theirs last year. CCD puts a modern twist to a traditional folk sound. Starting with the Carolinas, founding members of CCD, Dom Flemons and Rhiannon Giddens thoroughly researched old-time fiddle and banjo music in order to highlight the central role African-Americans played in shaping this country’s popular music from over a century ago. Their ensemble now includes fiddle and banjo music integrated at times with sounds of jazz guitar, cello and human beat box.
I truly enjoyed the concert, but always being one to go for the familiar, R & B, hip-hop sound, the CCD’s version of Blu Cantrell’s, Hit ‘Em Up Style, stood out for me that night. It was CCD singer, multi-instrumentalist, Rhiannon Gidden’s explanation of how this in-your-face, heartfelt song of one woman’s sweet revenge when her husband cheats on her, made her feel compelled to sing the song–to try and express the pain of being a victim of infidelity in what was thought to be a solid, loving relationship, and how one turns herself from victim to triumphant.
I am going to post the CCD’s version first, because this is the order in which I heard the two songs. I like the intensity of the string instruments here, coupled with Rhiannon’s emotion-packed rendition of the lyrics.
Next, I’ll post, Blu Cantrell’s version. Blu is from my current hometown, Providence, RI, and is of Cape Verdean and Native American descent. She’s collaborated on songs with Usher, Babyface, will.i.am and Herbie Hancock among others. I like the mix of sassiness and hurt Blu effortlessly expresses, and especially love the shopping spree in Neiman Marcus and car singing scenes with her two female confidants. We all need friends like that in dire times.:)
Which version do you like better? And, why?
www.wikipedia.com, Blu Cantrell