Two weeks ago Jeff Giles asked me to review Talk About, the new album from Mishka, the first — and so far only — artist signed to j.k. livin Records, the lowercase label run by movie star Matthew McConaughey. Since Matthew’s a good friend of Popdose, I asked him to say a few words about the record. In fact I asked him to review it for me, to which he responded, “Isn’t that a conflict of interest, Bobby Bobylon?” I told him I didn’t know what he meant, and after a few seconds of careful consideration he admitted he didn’t either. Take it away, Matty Mac!

What’s shakin’, y’all? I don’t need to tell y’all that summer’s on its way, but if you’ve ever looked at a list of the movies I’ve made over the last ten years, then you know I like filler, so you’ll understand why I feel the need to tell y’all that SUMMER IS ON ITS WAY.

So what’s gonna be on your Awesome Summer Mix Tape/CD/Playlist/Zip File? If you know what’s good for you, you’ll add a splash of the island riddims found on Mishka’s second j.k. livin long player. From reggae songs that talk about Jah (“Give Them Love”) to reggae songs that talk about weed (“Homegrown”), Talk About‘s got it all, brah.

The Mish-elin man even came up with a song called “just keep livin.” Now, maybe I’m wrong, but when I was in ninth grade and becomin’ an expert on the Doors and Zeppelin, I don’t remember runnin’ across any songs called “Elektra” or “Atlantic.” Does that make me the first record exec to have a song named after his label? Well, alright alright alright …

I’m also one of the producers of Talk About. I felt like Rick James in Eddie Murphy’s “Party All the Time” video, only with better hair. It was good to be “behind the boards,” as we say here in the industry. Very Zen. Very chill. At one point I even joined Mishka in the studio for a jam session on my bongos, but he said he was uncomfortable with my full-frontal nudity.

Hey, I can respect that — give your artist what he wants, and if what he wants doesn’t call for a perfect physique that men half your age would kill for, let him be. It still means the opposite with women, but when it comes to relationships with recording artists, no really does mean no.

I tried not to steer Mr. Mishter too much in one direction or the other when he was recordin’, but I did make one little request: “Whenever you find an empty space in a song, add in an ‘Irie!’ or a ‘Brrrop-op-op!’ or a ‘Skidadip-dip-dip!’ and don’t stray too far from that skanky ‘oom-pa, pa-pa oom-pa’ rhythm, and mention ‘redemption’ since that’ll make people think about my character in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, now available on DVD and Blu-ray, and make your guitar sound like Eric Clapton’s did in the Lethal Weapon movies ’cause that was the best stuff he ever did except for ‘I Shot the Sheriff.’ Did you know he wrote that song for Bob Marley? Cool.”

Not too much to ask, right? Well, as soon as my muscular back was turned, Mishka Impossible went and recorded “Bittersweet,” a song with no trace of a skank. It sounds like Motown, for Jah’s sake. Worst of all, it’s catchy!

Didn’t he remember me sayin’ that after I heard his first album (Mishka, Creation Records, 1999) I slept like a baby for five straight hours? Didn’t he appreciate my compliment that his music never fails to put me to sleep? Willie Nelson said the same thing. Hell, he didn’t even bother to wake up for his duet with Mishka on “Homegrown” — we just put a microphone up to ol’ Willie’s mouth during one of his pot naps and captured the Doritos-scented magic.

I was pretty mad at Mishtaken Identity for goin’ over my head with those melodic, up-tempo songs (“Can’t Get Enough,” “Music of the Moment”). I felt betrayed, brothers and sisters, and I was about to take off my shirt and challenge him to a fight when I realized I wasn’t wearin’ a shirt to begin with. That made me laugh. And laughin’ made me want to get high. Which made me want to listen to Mishka. Which made me want to pass out.

Circle of life, y’all. Circle of life. But as my Bermuda-bred brah says on the record, even if it is just a circle, “All jokes aside / We’ve been taken for a ride.”

Homegrown (with Willie Nelson)

Talk About is available at and iTunes.

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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