Gone but Not Forgotten: Do Ya Thing and Converse’s 3 Artists, 1 Song

 

Earlier this year, Gorillaz released their first project in 6 years, Humanz. This post-Trump album had a tracklist lined with stars including Anthony Hamilton, Popcaan, De La Soul, Vince Staples, Kali Uchis and many, many more. Damon Albarn, co-creator of Gorillaz, is known for his unlikely collaborations that always bring out the best in everyone. However, there is one collab that’s often overlooked, one so unbelievable that when I mentioned it to Jamaal, he thought it was on Humanz. Let’s look at Do Ya Thing featuring Andre 3000 of Outkast and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.

Do Ya Thing was conceived as part of Converse’s 3 Artists, 1 Song series. As the name suggests, Converse commissioned 3 artists to come up with an original song. Although most information on the series is wiped clean off Converse websites, it will always be remembered through its music. Fan favourites include: My Drive Thru (Santogold, Julian Casablancas & Pharrell), Hero (Frank Ocean, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon & Diplo), and All Summer (Kid Cudi, Rostam Batmanglij & Best Coast).

BUT IT GETS BETTER!

While researching Do Ya Thing and the circumstances around its release, I learned that there are two versions of this song: the original release for Converse and an extended version.

I got two versions. I got twooo versions… (Frank voice)

This 13-minute masterpiece builds on the original. Lead to charge by a trumpet loop and hi-hat, the song is a groovy crescendo set to roaring guitars reminiscent of a rock concert solo. 3 Stacks demonstrates his signature, tongue-twisting lyricism before the beat-switch, where he then rides the energy of the song. After encouraging everyone to “Do Ya Thing”, Andre 3000 chants “I’m the shit”, a crude yet self-empowering proclamation that encapsulates the optimistic message of the song. It’s the kind of performance that only warrants one take and that’s exactly how it went down. One of my favourite things about the song is how many moving parts go into the entire composition. Each section of the song feels self-contained, from the opening verse to the outro, and yet they mesh together perfectly to get the gears turning.

When asked about Do Ya Thing, Albarn noted how naturally the collaboration came about in the studio, claiming that, “If we’d have had two weeks, we could have made a whole record”. While the thirst for new Gorillaz has been quenched and fans are still fiending an Andre solo album, I would very much prefer an album from the Do Ya Thing team. I’m not optimistic about the likelihood of this happening, but we got the T-Wayne album in 2017. Anything is possible.

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