Happy Freaky Birthday and Valentine's Day, Blowfly, an American Original
With his dirty superhero alter-ego in place, Clarence began putting in elements of "Soul Talking" in his records, much to the chagrin of Stone. While "Rap Dirty" is Blowfly's standard, and his greatest contribution to rap music, Reid rapped on records as early as 1976 on Blowfly Disco's lead track "Shake Your Ass." This absolutely murders NY-centric hip-hop historical biases that insist that the direct lineage of hip hop is Jamaican Sound Systems-Bronx parks. Also murdering this assertion, is the Furious 5's acknowledgement of Blowfly's influence.
Despite the rise of Rap music in the '80s, a genre he helped bring about, Reid's fortune was tied to TK/Disco -- and they went belly up in 1982. With no support system in place, Reid wound up on booty label Pandisc and recorded 11 albums of wildly different production values, occasionally working in the warehouse stacking records to make ends meet, a return to his first job at Tone, 20 years previous.
It was at the tail end of this stage of his career, in 2003 -- 12 years removed from his last "comeback" - that I interviewed Clarence at a recording studio in Hialeah for this publication. He remembered me from a show in Chicago two years previous when I shouted a bunch of tunes Fishbone couldn't be bothered to learn/he was too lazy to teach them. Two hours later, I asked him why he hadn't played a show in Miami in 20 years.
"I don't have a band down here," he lamented
"Want one?" I asked.
Six months later, we played my bachelor party. Eighteen months later, we had an album in the can, Fahrenheit 69, the first Blowfly record containing new material in 17 years. Six months after that, we were on the road. Now we're 4 albums, 300 North American dates, 3 European tours, 2 Australian tours, and a movie (2010's The Weird World Of Blowfly) into our partnership.
Yesterday, I booked the first Blowfly show ever in Latin America and Blowfly made his debut on the Fusion network, giving Valentine's Day advice. It's been a very wild ride with more ups and downs than a broken roller coaster - and I wouldn't trade my time in Blowfly's Weird World for anything. He is an American original and one of the true greats of both the 20th and the 21st centuries.
Next Tuesday, Blowfly's 75th birthday will be celebrated at Blackbird Ordinary. Admission is free, as are drinks for ladies. A cake will be presented. Do the right thing, and show up to help him blow out the candles.
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