In Your Ear: Bill Duke Gets Funky

From funk to hip-hop, filmmaker Bill Duke opens his music file and shares the tunes that keep him grooving.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

And finally, every now and again, we explore new music through the ears of some of our guests. It's a segment we call In Your Ear. Today, we hear from acclaimed actor, filmmaker and a recent guest on our program, Bill Duke. Here's what's playing in his ear.

(Soundbite of song, "Superstar")

Mr. BILL DUKE (Actor, Filmmaker): Okay I'm Bill Duke, and I'm a new old head or old new head in terms of music.

(Soundbite of song, "Superstar")

Mr. LUPE FIASCO (Singer): (Singing) If you are what you say you are, a superstar, then have no fear, the camera's here.

Mr. DUKE: Right now, I can't get out of my head Lupe Fiasco's "Superstar," which I play when I'm on my treadmill.

(Soundbite of song, "Superstar")

Mr. FIASCO: (Singing) And you better wear your shades. The spotlights here can burn a holes through the stage, down through the base…

Mr. DUKE: I think it's great beats, but the content, the lyrics, are really wonderful, and they speaks really clearly of our time, you know?

(Soundbite of song, "Superstar")

Mr. FIASCO: (Singing) And that's (unintelligible). Most of us don't want…

If you are what you say you are, a superstar, then have no fear, the crowd is here, and the lights are on, and the (unintelligible), if you are…

Mr. DUKE: So that's one song.

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. DUKE: Also, George Clinton, "(Not Just) Knee Deep."

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. DUKE: I cannot stop playing it. I think it's the most funky-dunky song, one of the greatest ever made in terms of real funk.

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. GEORGE CLINTON (Singer, Songwriter, Musician): (Singing) Never missing a beat, yeah. Boy, was it neat, yeah.

Mr. DUKE: With Felipe Wynne on it singing, just it's an incredible, incredible piece of music.

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. CLINTON: (Singing) Missing a beat, yeah. Boy was it neat, yeah.

Mr. DUKE: Music just keeps me alive and keeps me going, and I just love a lot of the great music that's out there now.

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. CLINTON: (Singing) It's getting (unintelligible) now.

Mr. DUKE: I wish there were much more music with real instruments and real singers singing, but I think that we're kind of moving back to that on some level. So there are a lot of groups that I've missed, but those are some of my heartfelt kind of things that keep me going every day.

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. CLINTON: (Singing) She's the freak of my desire, and what she does is set the world on fire.

MARTIN: That was filmmaker Bill Duke. His recent project, "Prince Among Slaves," debuted this month on PBS. He's telling us what's playing in his ear.

(Soundbite of song, "(Not Just) Knee Deep")

Mr. CLINTON: (Singing) She's the freak of my desire, and what she does is set the world on fire. Give me a happy beat.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Let's talk more tomorrow.

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