Aloe Blacc’s ‘The Man’: From Dr. Dre reject to iTunes chart-topper.
Those glued to either this week’s “American Idol” auditions or Sunday’s NFL playoffs have probably been humming Aloe Blacc’s new aspirational jam, “The Man.” The song has been blanketing the TV airwaves through a prominent Beats by Dre commercial featuring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Pop & Hiss caught up with Blacc to talk about the success of “The Man.”
By the end of the day, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Can you talk about how “The Man” was born?
“I was working with a producer named DJ Khalil on some music, because I had been working on my album all through 2012, and different producers at the record label were suggesting here and there. I ended up having a meeting with Dr. Dre. Larry Jackson at Interscope suggested that I should meet with Dr. Dre. He said Dre was interested in working with me. He liked “I Need a Dollar,” and he wanted to see what else we could do. I had Larry send him some of the work that I was doing.
When I met with Dre, we had a really good talk about music and our interests and how we could potentially work together, but the long and the short of it was, he basically said that from the music he heard, he didn’t really feel like I was offering my best and that I could do better. So I took that advice. It was motivation to go back to the lab and make something that was a bigger, stronger theme, something that would at least make one of my heroes in music feel like I had accomplished something worthy of his attention.
I went back to the lab, and a couple of weeks I just spent trying to come up with different ideas and different concepts. I come from a hip-hop background, and I’m always coming up with songs. And this idea for a hip-hop song called “The Man” was running through my head, and had been running through for a couple years already.
And the Elton John/Bernie Taupin lyric of “You can tell everybody” has repetitively been running through my head for a couple of years. I figured this might be the time to engage this idea — but for a hip-hop artist, not for me. I’m just making a beat for somebody. So I made a beat and started singing it. And then I thought, “You know what? I am an MC. I’ve been rapping forever. Even though I’m singing now and that’s what people know me for, maybe I should just try writing for this and making a song out of it.”
I took it to Khalil, and he produced a fantastic beat around this concept. Next thing you know, Larry Jackson’s playing it for Jimmy Iovine, Jimmy Iovine’s saying, “I’ve got a great idea for a TV commercial for Beats by Dre,” and then it just takes off from there. I mean, it couldn’t have been a better process.
And Dre ultimately did like the track, so everything worked out.”
Visit LATimes.com to read the full story and watch the Beats by Dre commercial below.