Blu DeTiger’s five favourite basslines of all time
15.03.2021

Blu DeTiger’s five favourite basslines of all time

Words by Will Brewster

The emerging bass prodigy picks out her top funk grooves.

Blu DeTiger might just be one of the most exciting young musicians to cut through the noise in recent years.

Hailing from New York, the 21 year old bass prodigy has taken over TikTok by storm with her bass-infused DJ sets and an uncanny knack for funky slap grooves, leading to her landing a gig playing with Caroline Polacheck and winning the praises of legends like Flea, Janet Jackson and Questlove along the way.

With the recent release of her debut EP How Did We Get Here?, however, DeTiger shows that she’s much more than just another viral algorithmic sensation. Over seven sun-kissed tracks, she balances her bass chops with clever pop songwriting and a distinctive sonic sheen to make for an effervescent introduction into her own universe.

Tracks like the yacht-tinged ‘Figure It Out’ and ‘Toast with the Butter’ are dripping with vintage charm and swagger, while the cleverly-constructed ‘Night Shade’ and ‘Cotton Candy Lemonade’ show off her modern production sensibilities in abundance.

There’s no denying the monster bass grooves that are packed into these tracks, and every single moment just proves testament to Blu’s rising profile as a new great of the instrument.

To get to know Blu better, we sat down with the young New Yorker to find out about her five favourite basslines, dissecting her formative influences and receiving a first-hand masterclass in the funk along the way.

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1. Patrice Rushen – ‘Forget Me Nots’ 

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. The bassline perfectly sits in the groove and is at the forefront of the track while also complimenting the vocal. Pops, slaps, movement – the bass line has its own narrative. A lot of that is the rhythmic phrasing.

2. Luther Vandross – ‘Never Too Much’

It’s hard to NOT move when this song comes on. Marcus Miller utilises few notes in this bassline but where he places them holds so much importance. It grounds the track and holds it down for the call and response with the guitar tracks. I also love the intro high note slide. It kicks off the track perfectly. What an unbelievable song.

There’s a lot that goes into making a song great and nothing can be taken for granted here: the musicianship, the parts, the production, the vocals… Not to mention the songwriting. Feeling this song through the bass gives you that other perspective. But there’s so much to be appreciated in this song. 

3. Chic – ‘Good Times’

Bernard Edwards is one of my favorite bassists. When I was first getting into funk music I learned all of his basslines!

The ‘Good Times’ bassline is a hook itself. Super iconic. It’s music history at this point. It’s immediately grooving with the drums and totally locked in with Nile Rodger’s guitar playing.

You’ll also recognise this bass line in Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’. Three big down beats, then eighth notes climbing up to the next bar to repeat the phrase. Simple, musical, emotional, and instantly memorable.

4. Pleasure – ‘Glide’

This bassline is so unique — the A section slap riff is incredible. I don’t know how to not make what many call “the bass face” while listening to this (and playing it).

I love the use of tenth bass chords and the call and response between the vocal and the bass part in the verses. Also, the breakdown solo section is ridiculous. I still practice this groove for hours. 

5. Stevie Wonder – ‘Do I Do’

Nathan Watts’ pocket on ‘Do I Do’ is perfect and I love the fills he adds every four bars. I would also practice this song for hours to get that groove perfectly sitting with the drums and guitar. It’s the kind of touch and feel that you can never replicate EXACTLY, but you can try to come close. That’s true for all the greats.

Blu DeTiger’s How Did We Get Here? EP is out now.