Dickson scratched at his stubble and tried to think of something nice to say. “This ain’t exactly what I had in mind when you said you’d been workin’ on the electric blues, boy.”
“Not electric blues. Electronic blues.” His grandson was hunched over his iPad, fiddling with a bunch of dials and a keyboard that wasn’t really there. “You know, like how triphop remade hip-hop into something super modern. I want to do that to the blues. Introduce it to the digital generation.”
“Trip what now? Boy, I think you’re missin’ the point of the blues. It’s gotta be organic and natural, it’s somethin’ you feel. Ain’t something a computer can come up with. The blues comes up with itself.”
Putting the iPad down, his grandson frowned at him as series of distorted beeps and clicks, arranged like the 12-bar blues started to roll out of the speakers. “But didn’t you say that music, especially music in Memphis, was about combining things that no one had ever thought to combine before? Rock came from people combining blues and country into something new.”
Dickson nodded, the boy had a point. The music was terrible, but he had a point.
If America is a melting pot, Memphis is a blender. Things thrown into the mix have no choice but to be pureed into something new. It’s how we came up with rock and roll, it’s how we push the edges of rap, it is the cultural slurry that is at the heart of this city.