Presenting the one and only Cab Calloway...AKA, the absolute KING of swing!!!!!

If you opened up a dictionary and searched for the word "awesome", a picture of Cab Calloway would be right underneath it, for he is a fellow with real class and real panache, most known for his performances with his orchestra in the '30s and '40s. He kept right on performing and singing up until his death sometime in the '90s, but his legacy and music lives on eternally, and all of it is AMAZING. Some of his most famous hits include "Minnie The Moocher", "St.James' Infirmary", and "Reefer Man", the latter being one of the first songs to openly talk about people smoking the zaza, albeit in a deprecating way.

Cab Calloway seems to have had a fondness for two specific characters in his songs, evident by the sheer abundance of songs he wrote about the two: Minnie, a red-hot, big-hearted young lady with a penchant for 'kicking the gong' (smoking opium and other drugs), and Smokey Joe, the sleazy man-about-town who introduces her to the substances that lead to her eventual demise (though she supposedly manages to recover from the addictions, as mentioned in a lyric from the song "The Ghost of Smokey Joe" which states 'You mean to say that Minnie quit kickin' the gong around?'. These specific songs are written in a storybook-esque style which I really enjoy listening to, with Cab serving as an observer/narrator of sorts, and I can see how people loved hearing him perform live back in the day. It must've felt as though he was singing directly to you.

I first became aware of Cab Calloway back in October of 2017, through a video on the Internet of an old cartoon from the 1930s, which I first chose to watch as a result of my interest in the videogame "Cuphead" (which my friend from art school really likes, and is really good at!! Adrian if you see this, it's you!). As it turns out, Cab Calloway made a LOT of guest appearances in cartoons from that period, in both his music as well as his dancing skills, which were rotoscoped over for the characters he voiced over, a good example being the Old Man of the Mountain in the eponymous 1934 Betty Boop cartoon. From that point on, I started to listen to more of his music, particularly enjoying his earlier stuff like his 1930 version of the Scat Song, which I still dig to this day.