Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feed the Hope

Kaidi Tatham (Bugz in the Attic, DKD, 2000 Black, Silhouette Brown) just released a Japanese import, In Search of Hope, which is performed and produced entirely by him. Please cop this, regardless of the hefty pricetag: 24.99 for CD & 34.99 for album. It’s worth it.

In 2002, under the alias of Agent K, the multi instrumentalist released Feed the Cat. Kaidi, known as the Herbie Hancock and George Duke of our generation, dropped numerous gems on this album all while championing the broken beat scene. Today, while my Ipod was on shuffle, as it usually is, Hands comes on with some ridiculous percussion which gets enveloped in some melodious chords and is topped off by some heavenly vocalizing, cuts into spacy spoken word and finally ends with a Jamiroquai sounding break down. Yeah, it's a mouthful, but its complete pleasure to the ears.

Agent K; Vanessa Freeman; Joy Jones - Hands

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Ipod Chronicles 001

The Gravediggaz – Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
When I first saw this video, I was a huge Wu fan and of The Rza in particular. I immediately went and got the cassette (right, cassette). I think before I actually bought it I found out that it was a collection of artists who were previously signed to major labels, most notably Prince Paul and Frukwan from Stetsasonic. This album was good but the second one stayed on repeat in the ride
BONUS: EuGene McDaniels – Jagger the Dagger
I initially heard this song on Tribe Vibes Vol.1 (samples that ATCQ used). I bought the album from Dusty Grooves. When I Heard The Gravediggaz joint, it reminded me of this.
Lou Donaldson – Whoa Making Love?
The dude on the organ is killing it and they sure make it fun to ask if your woman is sleeping around, don’t they?
Ashford & Simpson – Any Street Corner
I ran up on this one in a FUNK compilation. It immediately makes me move
Large Professor – Ijuswannachill
Undeniable! I remember this one from back in the day. I was listening to a DJ Jazzy Jeff mixed CD and heard it and it brought back the memories. This was actually on a project (simply titled The LP) that never saw the light of day. I was able to get my hands on the 12”. Yes!
The Notorious B.I.G. – Dead Wrong
I was in college at this point and really on some music snob isht at this point. I was still an East Coast head and loved Biggie, but don’t know why I couldn’t get into this song. The lyrics were dope. I guess I felt they were dogging Biggie by releasing his lyrics posthumously. I still don’t own the third Biggie album (or any subsequent manifestation).
D’Nell – The Best Way
I bought this one in Chicago from Dusty Groove while I and my wife were there because I was in my friend’s wedding. We drove there from Birmingham so you know it was a long drive. I remember when this one came on because it commanded the head nod, but I was thinking, “This is slow”. 70 BPM, yet this is what they’re dancing to now, though, and slower
Norman Connors – You Are My Starship
I had probably heard this song a million times before (I don’t recall though). I had a friend that worked at Starship Music in Fairfield and she used to hook me up with music. At this point I was heavily into samples and saw this on a Double Album CD that contained Saturday Night Special/You Are My Starship.
Maysa – Never Really Ever
I got the latest album from former Incognito songstress and never listened to it. Don’t know why, probably the bulk of incoming music. When this one came on, I was impressed and have made notes to listen to this album. This is nice, eh, eh?
Marley Marl – Big Faces
This one hit when the BBE producer albums were the ISHT! Marl’s contribution wasn’t anywhere as good as Pete’s or Dilla’s but it had some gems such as this one on it.
Rebirth – This Journey In
This one reminds me of the old Digital-Djs days. DJ Melodic was really into this one. What’s up guys? I still see y’all in Cyberspace. Anybody talked to Saskwatch?
Freddie Hubbard – For Spee’s Sake
Wow, Freddie died today. RIP, all the giants are just dropping. This was from when I first got into jazz and was ordering mad CDs from BMG and Columbia House in bulk, Lol. Freddie Hubbard is the man but I prefer his CTI stuff, which is funkier than his Blue Note offerings.
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Blacknuss

Im still learning more about RRK, who was a great pioneer and musician. This song was sampled by Digable on their first album.
Bah Samba – Have You Got Your Bootz On?
I cant recall how I found out about Bah Samba, probably from D-Nice at Moods (Atl.) or from following Phil Asher remixes. This is a funky get your boogie on number with a disco feel, reminiscent of Salsoul Orchestra.
Gil Scott Heron/Brian Jackson featuring The Midnight BandOffering
“First Minute of a New Day” is another one that I own but have never listened to. I like the recurring bell. A bluesy, sexy number that makes me want to check out the rest of it. Putting the album on my ipod now.
Jazz Addix – Say Jazzy
I found out about Jazz Addix from someone else’s playlist. I thought it was a cool name, and hunted down their album Oxygen. This is one of my favorites for the intricate sampling. Can you name where the vocal samples come from?
The Roots – I Remain Calm
When this album first hit, I couldn’t tell which emcee was Malik B and which was Black Thought. I woulda never thought that Malik B would leave. I purchased this album after I heard a girl in my Marketing class in high school get excited about the bonus track with Ursula Rucker. Proceed was released as a single shortly thereafter and 9 albums later I’m still a fan (barely).

The Ipod Chronicles Vol 001
Download/Get Podcast

Sunday, December 28, 2008

DSXXX Interview with Waajeed (2006)

1. Jill Scott - Slowly Surely
2. Erykah Badu - Bump It
3. PPP; Eleuud - Try Me
4. PPP - Fever(DJ Spinna BK Banger Remix)

...::Waajeed Interview Pt 1::...
5. Waajeed & The Jazz Katz - I Want U

...::Waajeed Interview Pt 2::...
6. PPP; Tiombe Lockhart - I Got You
7. Slum Village - Star
8. Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band - Cherchez la Femme
9. Greyboy - To Know You (PPP Remix)
10. Brand New Heavies - Dream Come True
11. Eric Roberson - She Couldnt Hear Me
12. Nas - These Are Our Heroes
13. Chic - Good Times
14. Ahmaad Jamal - Superstition
15. Little Brother - Whatever You say (The Maxwell Mix)
16. Peven Everett - One More Time
17. Remy Shand - Looking Back on Vanity
18. Bilal - Something To Hold On To

DSXXX Interview with Waajeed (2006)
Download Here

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Vinyl? Check! 12: Needs Not Wants

Enter The Elgins Temptation's last album to be written and produced by Norman Whitfield(R.I.P.), 1990 (recorded in 1973). This album caused more of a stir behind the scenes than it did in sales (there was only one Top 40 Hit, Let Your Hair Down). The Temptations were unhappy with Whitfield's socio-political songwriting, personality and production (which at times focused more on instrumentation and less on their vocals). 1990's Zoom clocks in at 13:18 with a little less than half being instrumental and vocalizing. Motown was also involved in a disc jockey boycott (can you imagine that nowadays?), which caused DJs to refuse to play Heavenly, which is a shame because it sounds just like its namesake.

Norman Whitfield was eventually replaced as The Temptation's producer and subsequently left Motown with Rose Royce (who backed The Temptations on this album) in tow, but not before creating an album filled with gems, I Need You being one of which contains that classic Temptaions' sound. I Need You benefits from the Temps golden voices, primarily Damon Harris' tenor/falsetto (Damon grew up admiring Eddie Hendricks, who he replaced in the Temptations), Henry Garner Jr's (of Rose Royce) drum breaks and Norman Whitfield's stellar production which sounds like Superfly era Curtis Mayfield.

The Temptations - I Need You

Monday, December 22, 2008

Early Holidays from BLS

Karma Stewart - The Karma EP
Today PPP & release the new EP from PPP's starlet Karma Stewart, The Karma EP. For those who don’t know, Karma is an up-and-coming singer from Austin, Texas now living in L.A., whose best known (so far) as the voice of PPP’s latest single, “On A Cloud.” After the success of “On A Cloud,” some people tried to pigeon hole Karma as a “throwback singer.” While Ms. Stewart definitely has some classic Motown grace and gospel-tinged strength behind her voice, with this EP she presents a few alternative sides to the story with a sound that she describes as “experimental with an edge of funky soul.” And according to her, even this is “just a taste of what I’ll be bringing to the table.” Produced by group founders, Waajeed & Saadiq, and mostly written by Karma’s fellow cast member, Coultrain, The Karma EP is definitely a PPP family affair. The 4-track CD was originally sold at PPP shows all across Europe this fall - but now Karma & PPP have decided to give the EP away for free as a preview of both Karma’s upcoming album, and more immediately, PPP’s second album, Abundance. Click on the EP Cover to get the tracks and if that's not enough, visit Kenny Fresh's liner notes interview with Karma as well as three bonus tracks - including a live cover song, a collaboration with St. Louis rapper Wafeek, and a selection from the PPP “On A Cloud” Remix Contest from Tayreeb.

MeLo-X - Mustafa's Renaissance
DJ/MC/Producer MeLo-X has released a mixtape, Mustafa's Renaissance. Most of the tracks off the tape were produced by MeLo, and it also features appearances from Nikki Ntu, Theophilus London, Jesse Boykins III, Mickey Factz and more. Click on the cover to download. Tracklist in the comments.

Now can I get that Vinyl Killer?

DSXXX Interview with Peter Hadar

1. Jermaine Jackson - Where Are You Now
2. Coultrain - Green
3. Stateless - Falling Into (swell Session's Mix)
4. Donnie - Rocketship
5. Jazzanova; Vikter Duplaix - Soon (DJ Jazzy Jeff Mix)
6. Peter Hadar - Need Love
7. Lenny Kravitz - What Goes Around Comes Around
8. Big Brooklyn Red - Sexual Healing
9. Olivierdaysoul - Spaceship
10. Tortured Soul - Home to You (Chuck Love Mix)
11. Jazztronik - Warp
12. Peter Hadar - Planets

...::Peter Hadar Interview Pt 1::...
13. Peter Hadar - Too Fresh
14. Yarah Bravo - Cum Shots
15. Omar - Natural Mystic

...::Peter Hadar Interview Pt 2::...
16. Kanye West - Say You Will
17. Peter Hadar - Xplosive
18. Soulpersona; Replife - Memory Lane (SoulP's Original Mix)

...::Peter Hadar Interview Pt 3::...
19. Peter Hadar - Laugh Together
20. Sly & The Family Stone - Mother Beautiful
21. "88 Keys"; Bilal - M.I.L.F.
22. Dela; Kev Brown - The City at Nightfall(D'Sxxxd Up Mix)
23. Brittany Bosco - 8-Trak
24. Tony Ozier; 14 Kt - Do u Agree
25. John Robinson; Peter Hadar - Mascot
26. Shin-Ski; Erykah Badu - Savanna Soldier (D' Sxxxd Up Bump This Mix)
27. Jazzanova - L.O.V.E. and You & I
28. India.Arie - Get it Together
29. Ras G - J.....B......

DSXXX Interview with Peter Hadar
Download Here
Get the Podcast

MORE: Here's the Alternate Version of Peter Hadar's Watermelon. We posted the original version with production by Nicolay HERE. Let us know what you think!

Peter Hadar - Watermelon (Alternate Version)

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is It Real, Is It Really Real?!?

The Realest? I'm not sure, but is it good, innovative & sincere? A resounding YES!
Brittany Bosco is quickly gaining listeners and comparisons to some of your favorite artists. This is not an easy task, of course, and Brittany deserves these comparisons AND carves her on lane as well. The Spectrum EP flirts with many genres and never chooses a suitor. Brittany's choral and orchestral training are apparent as her voice ranges from soft and soothing to rough and bluesy. To describe this album, I would have to mention her current major at Savannah College of art & Design:Fashion. Brittany Bosco's The Spectrum Ep has mad style to spare so make sure you check it out!

I was able to speak with Branden M. Collins (graphic designer) and OferReal? (producer) about their contributions to The Spectrum EP. These two, along with Brittany Bosco, Alex Goose, Kid Syc and Danny! make up TheBigUp! Collective. Check them out now because you'll definitely be hearing more from them in the future.

The Big Ups on The Spectrum EP & Brittany Bosco's Black & White

Click on The Image Below to get The Spectrum EP, so that you can virtually look like this
Check out DJ Rahdu's Interview with Brittany Bosco on Soulinterviews.Com Coming Soon

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

If You Enjoyed The SWAC Soul Lounge...

Click on the cover above to get this mixtape featuring all new songs from 1/2 of Floetry

01. Intro
02. Sunshine (feat. Little Brother)
03. Dat Shit (feat. Busta Rhymes)
04. R.I.P. (It’s Over)
05. Murdah (feat. The Game)
06. Forget About You
07. Get You Right
08. Impossible
09. Cloud 9
10. I Lost You
11. Interlude (Some Type Of Way)
12. Co-Star
13. Start…Finish
14. Take Care

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reader Submission: Go2-Girl (Birmingham, Alabama)

SWAC Soul Lounge 12-13-2008

Hey hey hey BamaLoveSoul family! So you ask me:"Go2-Girl, how was the SWAC NeoSoul concert?" Well let me tell you in three words: WON-DER-FUL!!! Yes, people, with a line-up like Carl Thomas, Dwele, and Marsha Ambrosius (1 half of Floetry) you just can't lose and if you missed out....shame on you and give me back your neosoul card! Alrighty, the show starts off with Joe Clair (you remember him from RapCity in the 90's right??) actually being quite humorous. He held it down with some jokes here and there in the beginning, between musical acts, and the end. Now to the meat of this whole review.

Carl Thomas was up first...he didn't hesitate to get started and deep into his set. I'll tell you, for a 45min set he puts on a very intense show! You could really tell that he's in this music thing for the love of his fans. Some of the tunes he performed were: Make It Alright, The Baby Maker, Emotional, Summer Rain, and (the household favorite) I Wish. Now one thing that had us all baffled during his set was this robust woman kept coming out on stage playing the butler role by handing Carl a towel, picking up his towel if and when he dropped it, handing him another towel, picking up his towel if and when he dropped it, get my drift! Come to find out, that was his sister...awwww! Employing family members can be a cool thing but at least let them know to NOT come onstage every other second! Other than that, Carl's set was good.

Second up was Dwele (my main reason for even showing up!!) Let me say this: I've been down with Dwele since I heard his vocals on Bahamadia's BB Queen, a great ep I might add. Anyway, Dwele's set was phenomenal...people told me after the show that they enjoyed his set very much! They came there to see Carl Thomas and left Dwele fans which made me smile so much inside because that dude deserves some shine! The songs he did: Flapjacks, Find a Way, A Pimp's Dream, Cheatin, and ended his set with Feels So Good. Dwele interacted with the crowd by getting off the stage and dancing with a few ladies...and yes I was one of them! Dwele's show was intimate and groovy; a great show. I'm only sad that his set wasn't longer, but that's just my biased opinion. ;)

Last, but certainly not least, Ms. Marsha Ambrosius aka the songbird from the group Floetry. She's doing her own thing now and doing it sexy! Her voice makes you think of making love no matter what song she sings. Super talented songstress and songwriter, she brought a certain flair to the concert that couldn't have been attained by anyone else. She sang Butterflies, Say Yes, Sunshine, Getting Late, and (one of her own songs) CoStar. Her set was jam-packed with love, old school hip hop, and just all around good times! She's standing alone, yet standing strong! She's now signed to the Aftermath label so be on the lookout for her! All in all, I enjoyed myself immensely and would definitely pay to see them all again. Also, check out these artists' myspace pages and support them...if we don't support then who will?? Go2-Girl ( out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


the crew has been good, so can we get this for the holidays?

The name of this nicknack is Sound Wagon or Vinyl Killer. It's a cool little Hot Wheels-type van that actually drives around your record and plays music out of a self-contained speaker! It's got big rubber wheels, an internal motor, and a stylus on the bottom that holds the van in the groove and tracks the music. Watch the van drive to the middle of the record in slowly descending curves, and hear it play the record while it makes the trip!

Just so you know, this isn't a hi-tech item that's going to replace your stereo. It's got a tiny little toy speaker on the top -- and it sounds like a toy speaker -- but it's plenty cool. You can find it here!

The Export Series Podcast #1 - Alma Elétrica

I'm happy to share this series of mixes and compilations with the BamaLoveSoul massive. I'll be posting these once a month, with the first mix, Alma Elétrica, an Afro-Latin house joint that has some classics on here that you may be familiar with. I dropped these mixes a while back and now I'm posting them on BLS to get everyone "up to speed" lol.
Play this one with a couple of glasses of wine..

Junior Star

Alma Elétrica - Export Series Podcast #1
1. Raoul Walton - Heaven
2. Banda Favela - Samba de ile (waiwan_broken_remix)
3. St. Germain - Latin Note
4. Beanfield - Catalpa [Beanfield's Sub Sect Remix]
5. Le Groove Eclectique - Awa Band - Timba
6. Teddy Rok Seven - Askaa! / Feel (feat. Okou)
7. Cesaria Evora - Bondade E Maldade (Yoruba Soul Mix By Osunlade)
8. Osunlade - Carib's Leap [West End Blue Mix] [Instrumental]
9. Troubleman--Toda Hora (feat Nina Miranda)
10. Tom & Joyce - Queixume (masters at work mix)
11. Willie Bobo - La descarga del Bobo (MAW remix) -
12. Truby Trio - Galicia_(Zero dB Remix)
13. Hanna Hais - Rosa Nova
14. Suba - Samba Do Gringo Paulista (Zero_dB_Remix)

808's and Radio Raheem (?)

Raheem Devaughn returns with another 808 laced joint, Bring it Back. Are we witnessing the beginning of another follow the leader fad (i.e. autotune)? I'm not mad at the 808; I grew up on it. But, can we bring back the orginality? or, maybe Radio Raheem just loves the 808... Nevertheless, here are 2 new joints from the R&BHippieNeoSoulRockStar. Like the rings above do you Love or Hate them?

Raheem Devaughn; T Pain - Club Hop

Raheem Devaughn - Bring It Back


Sunday, December 14, 2008

DSXXX Interview with N'Dambi

1. Outkast - Crumblin' Erb
2. Anthony David - Smoke One
3. Algebra - U Do it For Me
4. N'dambi - I Think For Sure
5. Tiombe Lockhart & Army of Love - Riding High (remix)
6. DJ Jazzy Jeff; Chinah Blac - Touch Me Wit Ur Handz w/ The Pharcyde - Passin' Me By Acapella
7. Musiq Soulchild - Special
8. Djinji Brown - Red Lights & Cognac
9. Q-Tip - Shaka
10. Iman Williams - Funky 4 Dilla

...::N'Dambi Interview pt 1::...
11. T Pain; Ludacris - Chopped & Screwed
12. N'Dambi - Cant Change Me (DL Disco Remix)
13. Jesse Boykins III - Tabloids (MeLo-X Dance Mix)
14. Rogiers - My Gift

...::N'Dambi Interview pt 2::...
15. The Dramatics - Hot Pants in the Summertime
16. 14 KT; Karla Crawford - ICU Smile
17. The Foreign Exchange - I Wanna Know
18. Bahamadia - Biggest Part of Me
19. N'Dambi - Deep

...::N'Dambi Interview pt 3::...
20. The Sylvers - Misdemeanor
21. The D.O.C. - It's Funky Enough
22. 8thW1 - Life23. Jake One; Vitamin D; C Note; Maine & Ish - Home
24. N'Dambi - Insecurity
25. Rahsaan Patterson - Feels Good
26. Soulpersona; Darien - Can't Hide
27. N'Dambi - Day Dreamer
28. Rance Allen - Peace of Mind
29. Atlantic Star - When Love Calls
30. Michael Wycoff - Looking Up to You
31. Vikter Duplaix - The Way That I Feel
32. The Rurals - Organic Life

DSXXX Interview with N'Dambi
Download Here
Get Podcast Here

N'Dambi speaks briefly on why she likes T Pain


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Exclusive Bama Love Soul Mix

FMJ Introlude
N'Dea Davenport - Bring It On
Dom Kennedy - Still Lookin'
Reggie B - I Was Wrong
Jessie Boykins III - Connected featuring Theophilus London and Keys
88 Keys - Dirty Peaches featuring J*DaVeY
Naledge - Do What I Do featuring VerBS and Rapper Big Pooh
Now On - The Willows
Miles Bonny - What Is It I See
Res - Ice King (Remix)
Muhsinah - Once Again
Peter Hadar - Watermelon
Lorett Fleur - POA (Piece or Art)

Download Here (Right Click/Save As)


Check out my other mixes at

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Jr. Star Shows Thed the Light

When's the last time you had an epiphany?  I had  one this past Tuesday night.  I went to Sharrif Simmon's taping of his TV show @ Mathew's Bar & Grill/[Birmingham, AL] and I walked over to politic with Junior Star for a minute.  I'm standing there looking at his set up.  I notice two CD Turntables and two Technic Turntables.  My initial thought was that the Technics' were for "show".  I thought they were mere urban musical ornaments, (i.e. decoration).  Then I noticed the crate of albums behind him and I realized that the Technics were there to be used and not just for show.
I've always looked at record players as just a way to play music.  Like an 8-track or a cassette tape.  I figured that if you're not scratching and doing multiple DJ tricks all the time, there's no need to have a REAL Turntable set up.  I have seen DJ's set up real turntables recently but most of the time they are linked to a laptop and the DJ is actually spinning mp3's or .wav files, and not multiple records.  Junior Star was spinning records & CDs.  It didn't really hit me until I started talking to him and I noticed that Sharrif had brought a live band to perform with.  I'm looking at a saxophonist, trumpeter, bass player, guitar player and a drummer.  Even Sharrif had a guitar around his neck for most of his set.  This is when I asked myself, "when do musical instruments go out of style?"  The answer is obvious...they don't.
For the first time I realized that knowing how to play music for others to enjoy with a record player is an art or at worst a skill.  Knowing how to purchase and replace a needle is analogous to knowing how to purchase and replace strings on a guitar.  Knowing how to find the song you want by reading the grooves on a black wax disc is analogous to knowing which combination of valves to press on a trumpet and how you should blow to make the desirable sound.  If hip hop is music, then Technic Turntables are instruments...are they not?
So the next time you see a DJ bring out two REAL Turntables, know that you're watching a skilled performer whether he's scratching or just finding the right songs between wax grooves* on a black disc.  He's displaying a knowledge base just as a pianist plays simple chords to harmonize with a singer.   Thanks Junior Star.  Keep spinning.

*[I just realized that the "grooves" on a record/album are probably the origin of us calling songs "grooves". ]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Check Out Mindz Open & DJ Rahdu Tonight!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Musiq - OnMyRadio Review

What do you do when your first two albums (Aijuswanaseing, Juslisen) go Platinum and your next two (Soulstar, LuvanMusiq) only go gold? If you’re Musiq Soulchild you keep it moving and create a new album on Atlantic Records, Onmyradio. This is actually an appropriate title for the album because he knows that it’s the radio listener that will purchase (hopefully not from the CD man) his album and grant him the Platinum status that he’s chasing. To achieve this goal, he leads the charge with Radio. This is the essential club track most albums have nowadays. Although it may bring affright to the most loyal Musiq fan, conjuring thoughts of Musiq growing locks, sporting a pimp chalice and renaming himself Lil or Young Musiq; it’s not a bad club track. Radio was quickly followed by Ifuleave which sounds eerily alot like Teachme. Teachme was the single from Luvanmusiq that reached #2 on the US charts. If Teachme was one of his most successful radio singles, then Ifuleave is a radio single on steroids. It’s like Kool-Aid. Hey, everyone already likes water (Teachme), so let’s add sugar, artificial flavoring and dye (Mary J. Blige) and VOILA, radio gold (hopefully Platinum)!

There are few standout tracks on the album but more songs that seem formulaic. Specifically, Deserveumore and Loveofmylife, which leave me wondering if I’ve heard them before on previous Musiq albums. Others, such as Iwannabe and Moneyright, make me believe he’s trying too hard. The effort is appreciated but the songs are lackluster versions of reggae and current rap/dance/soul hybrids (read: Green Light). Others left me scratching my head... Until; it’s actually not a bad song but the vocals in the background are distracting and ultimately aggravating. It reminds me of drawing before Photoshop was released. You'll have a good picture and you keep adding to it and then suddenly, YOU’VE DONE TOO MUCH. Those haunting vocals in the background are TOO MUCH. Can we get a version sans irritating background vocals Musiq? Come on man, It’s me Rahdu…(lol).

I feel Musiq excels when he remains in his comfort zone. The songs that are a return to his hip hop & soul sensibilities are where Onmyradio shines. Musiq, if you didn't know, honed his chops beatboxing for MCs and singing on the streets of Philadelphia while practically homeless. Special and Sobeautiful are epitomes of these sensibilities and are my favorites for opposing reasons. I’ll begin with Sobeautiful. He stays true to form and creates the best song on the album. Sobeautiful contains all the elements that we look forward to from Musiq. He sings this one in a range higher than he usually does, but to great effect. I had this one on repeat. Secondly, Special; this is where he gambles and wins with the most progressive (for Musiq) track on the album. Quirky production and great harmonies pervade and commands the immediate headnod that’s a prerequisite for great music. Back Again is one of the few songs that are truly reminiscent of his debut project, containing a hip hop backbeat, sparse keys and passionate vocals. It’s a great opening track, as it immediately grabs the attention and gets you in the mood for Onmyradio.
Overall I give this album 5 out of 7 headnods. Musiq delivers but you can tell that he’s struggling to find his place in today’s musical landscape. He does just enough to entertain current fans while largely trying to recruit new ones. Unfortunately, the chasm is deep and wide and if he continues to try to play both sides against the middle his career may end up inside of it.

*Head Nod Scale
1=Don't waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there's "two and a possible".
5=It's a "good" album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the "Rewind Factor" more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Universal Mind Control/Commom ~ Review

Remember how some kids stopped being so cute when they realized that many people thought they were so cute? It's like them being cute became pretentious. "Hey, look at me! I'm a cute kid!" Well, this album feels like Common just discovered that he's a sex symbol and now, he's milking his new found symbolism for all it's least on the first 3 out of 4 tracks...Especially [track 4] Sugar 4 Sex. There are only two producers on this project and Kanye West isn't one of them. The Neptunes and Mr. DJ are the beatsmith tandem on this one. Kanye does make a vocal cameo on the hook for [track 2] Punch Drunk Love.
While listening to this album, I didn't hear what the over all point was. Whereas some albums have some sort of theme running all through them, this one sounds more like he had 10 songs done and the album due date was swiftly approaching. Many of Common's punch-lines leave much to be desired. Exhibit A: "...see them rappers, they be ducking /when Comm be bucking / in the kitchen --cking on the sink, got my mama a mink..." ~ Common on [track 5]. Exhibit B: "Some call me Comm / some call me the bread / you can call me daddy I'm a put you to bed / An appetite for seduction and it gotta be fed / your sexual eruption got you hitting your head on the board &..." ~ Common on [track 2]... any objections?
This album does have a few really nice cuts on it. And even some of the more explicit songs got good beats and you can dance to them. If you're a Common fan, you're probably use to him being more politically aware than you'll find he is on this project. Overall I'd give Universal Mind Control 5 out of 7 Head-Nods. Below you'll find a list of the tracks I think have the "rewind factor".

I'm Thed Weller and I approve this review.

[track 1] The Intro Universal Mind Control is Africa Bambata-ish.

[track 3] Make My Day is a fun song with Cee-Lo Green singing the hook. Sounds a little "Andre 3000-ish" as far as the music is concerned.

[track 4] Sex 4 Sugar is so off-the-wall & seemingly out of character for Common, you might just like it...I did...a little.

[track 6] Gladiator Hard beats and Hard rhymes...are you not entertained? Favorite line from this one, "My words is the sword / My skill is the shield / My life is a style I stay dressed to kill...skinny George Foreman / all in your grill / my rhyme style is blind / it's all in the feel...your guys got you gassed / my flow's a hybrid..." ~ Common

[track 8] Inhale
This one is classic Common. Tight beat with a flow that's saying something.

*Head Nod Scale
1=Don't waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there's "two and a possible".
5=It's a "good" album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the "Rewind Factor" more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.

The Big "A" Common Post (cuz y'all still like him)

Before you get your fix of Universal Mind Control, here's a lil sumthin to whet your appetite. A remix project by Beatnick & K Salaam, a mix by DJ Kid Cut Up, and last but not least a mix I did for the radio station when Common came to town. Click on the pic to get the projects. Enjoy!

DJ Rahdu - Common Isht
Download Here

MORE: Punch Drunk Love Remix featuring Pharrell

Sunday, December 7, 2008

DSXXX Big Brooklyn Red Interview

1. Mike Bean - One 4 Dilla
2. Common vs Commmon Sense - The Resurrection Announcement
3. Crown City Rockers - Restless (Headnodic Recipe Mix)
4. The Brand New Heavies - Sex God
5. Freddie Cruger - Jazz Flow
6. J-Live - Get The Third
7. Loose Ends - Don't You Ever(Try to Change Me)
8. DJ Spinna; Phonte - Dillagence
9. DJ Spinna; Dwele - Hold On Dilla Dawg!
10. De La Soul; Yummy - Much More
11. Muneshine - Believe Me
12. Wes Felton; Big Brooklyn Red - Most Beauty Full of Things Ever
13. Mike Bean - Box of Wine

...::Big Brooklyn Red Interview Pt1::...
14. Big Brookly Red - Taking It Too Far

...::Big Brooklyn Red Interview Pt2::...
15. Grover Washington Jr - Mr. Magic

...::Big Brooklyn Red Interview Pt3::...
16. Big Brooklyn Red - Answer the Call
17. Ino Hidefumi - Loving Message
18. Djinji Brown - Marta's House
19. Peter Hadar - First Sight
20. Jazzanova; Paul Randolph - Let Me Show Ya
21. Big Brooklyn Red - He Moves (The Deep Haven Mix)

DSXXX Interview with Big Brooklyn Red
Download Here

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kanye West - 808's & Heartbreak Review

When I first heard about Kanye West’s new album I was skeptical and somewhat disappointed and also a little concerned. Skeptical because one of my favorite artists, one who I attributed to genius status has chosen to follow the newest and tired cliché trend in hip-hop to forgo innovative wordplay for a robot machine and become another rapper turn sanger. Disappointed because we were promised a collection of albums in a series... the next being Good Ass Job. And concerned because I thought that he may have finally lost his mind or was finding it hard to work while still grieving the tragic loss of his mother. But then I realized that, this is Kanye West I was talking about. And hate it or love it Kanye is a genius and in his grief and insanity he delivered a great album that as he calls it is not hip-hop but a work of pop art. Well almost…

Say You Will: Kanye croons over a haunting but inviting melody that just screams REMIX. And while he contends that this album is not hip-hop but pop art, I could hear a rapper going in on this beat. Check out Drake's more than dope rendition here. The song in itself is tells the story of love and loss but the lyrics also convey a deeper frustration that being in love can cause. When I grab your neck/I touch your soul.

Welcome To Heartbreak: One of my favorites and a standout track on the album. The production on this is solid, a very complex beat, with the keys and the drums coming in at exactly the right moments. And while Kanye’s lyrics about the things that are missing from life, and that all the money and the fame can’t compensate for it, ‘my friend showed my pictures of his kids/and all I could show him was pictures of my cribs.’ Adding to this piece is a powerful hook by Kid CuDi adding something extra special that brings the track to life.

Heartless: This is one for the clubs even if he didn’t mean it to be. But while listening to it I can’t help but imagine a line of sorority girls with their pinky’s in the air doing synchronized dances around the floor. The track is good in that it’s catchy and has a steady melody but in my opinion can be overlooked in the rotation.

Amazing: This is the closest that Kanye has to rapping on this album also ironically the track where the auto tune effect is most pronounced. It’s the standard Kanye braggadocio I’m the best, I’m a genius and so forth. But moreover it’s the man telling his audience that even though some of you don’t like me, I know that I’m great. And no matter what you’ll never take that from me… The additional verse from Jeezy doesn’t really add anything to the track but it is a nice departure from the auto tune enhanced singing.

Love Lockdown: The track that started the love/hate controversy, and made people look at Ye sideways. I actually loved it when I first heard it live on the VMA’s mainly because at that particular time I was actually going through the same situation he’s describes in the song. The lyrics are powerful and delivered with great intensity made more better by the steady and continuous thumping of the simulated heart beat and tribal drums making this track standout.

Paranoid: Another favorite on the album, partly because it’s so fun. Everyone can relate to the lyrics about the paranoid partner that is constantly worried about something being wrong instead of what’s right. It’s very catchy and you may find yourself unconsciously singing along to it. Hopefully alone in the car.

Robocop: Well they can’t all be winners. This in my opinion is the dud of the album. The one that I find myself skipping to get on to the next track. The Coldplayesque beat and dead lyrics don’t do anything for me and I don’t see how it really fits into the overall theme of the album. It sounds like it should have just been left on the cutting room floor.

Streetlights: By far my favorite track on the album but it’s so solemn that it kind of hard to listen too. Sort of like when I was younger and listening to REM but couldn’t do it in excess because it was just so damn depressing. Yeah that’s what it reminds me of. The emotion that is expressed in this song is so powerful and the feeling that it evokes and gets amplified by the background choir. The images that come to mind when listening are beautiful, and again I can see why Ye calls this pop art.

Bad News: I don’t really know how to describe this one. It begins very suddenly and feels more like an interlude than an actual feature. Lyrically Kanye is very solemn in his delivery and sounds as if it was sang with a lot of hurt. The production is beautiful and plays out like a symphony concert rising in tempo and then it slowly going down until it fades away.

See You In My Nightmares: The obligatory featuring Lil’ Wayne track that appears on almost every album that has been released this year. Of course he too makes use of the auto tune enhancement. And you would think that the two together would be overkill but they both blend very well together on the track. The flow and the delivery is spot on and Weezy and Jeezy made a surprisingly good ballad together.

Coldest Winter: Another favorite but a very sad piece in which Kanye pays tribute and eulogizes his mother. Again a song that is delivered with an understandable feeling of pain, it’s a very heartfelt song and the highlight of the album. The melody is poignant and hypnotic and the ups and down in tempo draws the listener deeper into the song. I wish more artists were as this passionate about their music.

I give this album 6 out of 7 headnods. 808’s and Heartbreaks may not end up being the master work of art that Kanye wanted it to be it is still a very solid and beautiful album. It show’s his progression as an artist and that he’s not afraid of stepping outside and perhaps compromising himself at expense of his fan base. Those that appreciate good art and good music will love this and with the exception of a couple missteps one that will definitely get repeat listens. This is one to place in your collection.

*Head Nod Scale

1=Don't waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there's "two and a possible".
5=It's a "good" album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the "Rewind Factor" more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vinyl? Check! 11: can you drive...STICK?

I closed my eyes and selected an album from my shelves for this Vinyl? Check! and picked out this album I got from Charlemagne Records (Southside Birmingham). My standout track is this funky number, the 1st track on the flip side, Put Me in Gear. Sounding like the lovechild of Kool & the Gang, Cameo, and The Mary Jane Girls, it's an uptempo number that helps me get my boogie on. Enjoy!

Crown Heights Affair - Put Me In Gear

The rest of the album is as funny as the back of the album: GROWN men with super thick mustaches, jheri curls, and more taco meat than Moes & Taco Bell combined all rolled up in gold outfits. Why? Because the album's name is Struck Gold of course!

More: Crown Heights Affair and Kool & The Gang were once label mates on De-Lite Rcords

Pharoah Sanders - Thembi 1971

This 1971 classic, named after his wife at the time, taps again into the spiritual, avant-garde jazz which has made him one of the most famous tenor saxophone players in the world. Named Pharoah by intergalactic Birmingham, Alabama native Sun Ra, Sanders is also recognized as one of the major influences on John Coltrane's later dissonant style of playing after their collaborations on both the Ascension and Meditations albums recorded in June and November of 1965.

With Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Michael White on violin, Clifford Jarvis on drums, Chief Bey (of Babatunde Olatunji fame) on percussion and Cecil Mcbee on bass, you can feel the magic and otherworldliness of this beautiful, but yet edgy album. If you get your hands on this one, listen closely to Cecil McBee's bass solo on "Love", an intricate take on the music scale as we know it, but the violin segue into "Morning Prayer" has me wanting to post the whole album(!). Needless to say, Pharoah lays it down in his fresh yet familiar way, so grab this one up if you can find it, play it on a Sunday morning and you'll be flying high for the rest of the day.

Junior Star

Title track - Thembi

Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It

Touring with Prince, working with a gold and platinum selling band (Tony!,Toni!,Tone!), three solo albums, collaborating with Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, Raphael Saadiq has accomplished more in his 20 year recording career than what most artists dream of. On his latest release, The Way I See It, we discover him looking to the past, to the classic soul sounds of the 1960's. I've been hearing tracks from this cd floating around for some time, but I had to figure out...why did he choose to go to the 60's era of Amy Winehouse, oops, I mean the Motown era...?

Aside from being a true product of the classic soul sound himself, he also stated, via, that while spending time travelling across the world, nearly everyone he came across was listening to the sounds of Motown and northern soul, thus influencing this album. So, I figured, hey, if he can better reach the world by going this route then more power to the brother...he also did a great job doing it.

On this release, Saadiq effortlessly jumps into character on each and every track, channeling the likes of the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, even Al Green, while cross-pollinating Stax, Motown, Hot Wax and Invictus record labels all in one 13 track nostalgic medley of vintage numbers, complete with the tight instrumentation and songwriting Raphael has been known for.

From the swinging Temps vibe of Keep Marchin', to another one of my favorites, Big Easy featuring New Orleans supergroup, The Rebirth Brass Band, Raphael manages to capture the vibe without sounding cheesy or overproduced. Oh Girl opens with sprinkled keys, guitar strums, and bells, but the snapping drums will definitely be a favorite for the producers and beat makers out there..I'm sure this track is being chopped up as we speak...there is also a "take 2" version featuring Jay-Z (I prefer the take 1 version myself). I would have to say that my favorite track is Never Give You Up featuring guest vocalist Charles "CJ" Hilton with none other than Stevie Wonder on harmonica, both coupled with the string arrangements and harp instrumentation that make this track come alive with a Marvin Gaye feel that you just can't front on.

I give this album a 6 out of 7 head nods, only losing one nod/point for timing. I feel that this release, post Winehouse may (or may not) catch a deaf ear to many fans and would-be fans, but that's just my opinion. I've had to check myself on a few occasions and remember that classic soul is and will remain an integral part of black music culture no matter how often it may be duplicated and imitated. The "anti-bandwagon" in me is like a defense mechanism at times (lol).

At the end of the day, this is a great album done by one of the absolute best producers of our time who is simply paying tribute to the mavericks of music and entertainment that paved the way for him and us: the musicians, singers, producers, deejays of today...a dedication for our parents and grandparents who also passed it on to us...I do know that I'll be passing this album on to my folks...360°.

Please excuse my wordiness on this one,
Junior Star

*Head Nod Scale
1=Don't waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there's "two and a possible".
5=It's a "good" album. Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project. Has the "Rewind Factor" more than once.
7=The number of completion. Great Album. Instant Classic.