Dave Chappelle turned 43 today and I am using it as an excuse to post this clip from Chappelle’s Show.
First, let me say that it is a travesty that this clip had to be dug up on some video site called mojvideo. (Thank you YouTube for finally adding it years later). This clip — that in my opinion is top 10 from the entire show’s history — isn’t readily available on YouTube. That’s a real shame.
Common‘s Be album is one of my top 10 favorite hip-hop albums of all-time. That it came after the let-down that was Electric Circus makes it an even greater achievement. It’s like the Chili Peppers’ Californication response to One Hot Minute for comparison. It’s in my opinion the real coming out party for Kanye West as he produced the record along with the legendary J. Dilla. That the live version of this song from Chappelle’s Show was featured on the record rather than a studio recording is phenomenal.
Sometimes you just can’t match how hard the bars hit to how they sound live. Kanye murders it right out of the gate and shows some of that swagger we’d come love him for. Kanye referred to Common as “the Marvin Gaye of rap” around the time of this record.
Another thing I love about this clip and the Chappelle’s Show in general was putting their performances in these non-traditional spots. The song is called” The Food” and they’re doing it in the kitchen. During the first Common verse, Kanye is in the kitchen throwing open microwave doors. Chappelle is just sitting at the table relaxed.
“You could tell that he was going to be a star,” the comedian said on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2014 (full video below). “I didn’t know him until he did the show.”
Chappelle said Kanye took a phone call during the editing process of the episode. “Hello? No, I can’t. Because I’m at the edit for the Dave Chappelle Show, watching sketches that no one’s seen before,” Chappelle said, as Kanye. “‘Cause my life is dope and I do dope s–t,” before hanging up the phone.
This has to be a high point for Chappelle himself looking back on his show’s legacy.