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“100 Yard Dash” is a song by American recording artist Raphael Saadiq, released as a single on March 30, 2009, by Columbia Records. It was the second single from Saadiq’s 2008 album The Way I See It. “100 Yard Dash” is an upbeat soul song about love as a fast, impulsive race. Although it did not chart, the song was well received by music critics.
After returning from his vacation, Saadiq started writing and recording The Way I See It, which took four months. In an interview for Sound on Sound, he discussed his comfort level when returning to Blakeslee Recording Company, saying “the music for this album flowed organically, naturally, and since I have my own studio I was able to perfect it and take my time to make it right. I was able to live with it day after day, and I think that had a lot to do with how the album turned out.” He wrote the songs extemporaneously, often by playing guitar and improvising riffs. He subsequently sung them while playing each instrument one at a time, including guitar, bass, and basic piano parts that he planned to include on the recordings. He attributed this secluded approach to “the state of the industry” and idealized “bounc[ing] ideas off other people, do some writing with them, take the material to my band and say, ‘OK, let’s cut it,’ with the orchestra already there. That’s my dream. I’d crank records out weekly if I had staff writers like they did at Stax and Motown”.
Saadiq recorded the album primarily at Blakeslee Recording Company. Additional sessions took place at Harmonie Park Studios in Detroit and The Music Shed Studios in New Orleans. While recording the album, he immersed himself in a composite character of classic soul singers from videos he watched, including Al Green, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Four Tops, and the Temptations. He recorded his vocals with only Brungardt present in the studio, a preference he felt prevented him from “looking for answers from somebody who may not really know.” Saadiq said of the process, “I tend to record complete takes, and if something isn’t quite right but it’s got a feel that I know I can never ever capture again, I’ll leave it, even if it’s flat. I mean, there are flat parts on my record, because it’s not about perfection, it’s about the soul.” He recorded background vocals for all songs. Saadiq played most of the instruments for the album, including drums, guitar, piano, sitar, and bass guitar, his instrument of choice throughout his career. He viewed the bass playing of James Jamerson as an integral part of Motown’s recordings and cited it as the inspiration for his own bass sound on The Way I See It.
Saadiq worked with other musicians, including Joss Stone, percussionist Jack Ashford, string arranger Paul Riser, multi-instrumentalist Bobby Ozuna, singer CJ Hilton, and recording artist Stevie Wonder. Ashford and Riser were members of The Funk Brothers, a group of session musicians for Motown Records during the 1960s. Ashford played tambourine, vibraphone, bells, and shakers on songs such as “100 Yard Dash”, “Love That Girl”, and “Staying in Love”. Ozuna, one-half of Jake and the Phatman, co-produced and co-wrote three songs and played several instruments, including bongos, tambourine, and drums. Hilton co-wrote “Never Give You Up” and played its drum and keyboard parts. Wonder’s contribution of a harmonica solo on the song was impromptu, as Saadiq reached out to Wonder after recording the song’s vocal parts with the improvised line, “I’d like to invite Mr. Stevie Wonder to my album. Come on, Stevie!” After having the idea recommended to him by rapper Q-Tip, Saadiq also reached out to Jay-Z to record a featured rap for a remix of “Oh Girl”; it was included on the album as a bonus track.