Aloe Blacc began his music career as part of an Indie Rap duo called Emanon. (No name, backwards.) In 2003 Aloe, went solo and released two albums on the independent Hip Hop label, Stones Throw. His track 'I Need A Dollar' was getting a lot of attention, because of its exposure on TV, so it was released as a single.
It was a time when the world was in recession and the song became a kind of anthem for the period. People everywhere could relate to it.
All over the world, people were struggling to make ends meet and this song felt personal to them. However, Aloe says that, the retro soul song goes further than being about just needing a dollar. The sentiment of the song is more about looking for a helping hand. Not necessarily a financial hand but a social hand.
He states, "I think that capitalism really created this huge disparity, psychologically, between the haves and the have nots. Even the people who have a lot, are in dire straits. They need support as well. They say that in America, about 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce and a lot of it is because of money issues." The idea for 'I Need a Dollar' was inspired by unemployment.
After being made redundant from his job by Ernst & Young (a global accounting firm) Aloe found himself scratching a living on the Hip Hop circuit. After listening to old recordings of Sam Cook's 'Chain Gang', he wanted to write his own 'Chain Gang' style song. A song about someone down on his luck, just a desperate voice making a plea for help.
At the time when Aloe recorded 'I Need a Dollar', music was still more or less, just a hobby for him and he never seriously considered a lasting career in music. Things are looking promising for him now and his recent single 'The Man', which samples Elton John's 'Your Song', has shown the world that we can expect more great things from Aloe Blacc.