Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finale - A Pipe Dream And A Promise prod. by Oddisee

With somber horns, courtesy of the legendary Allan Barnes of the Blackbyrds, and sentimental keys, Oddisee's production sets the perfect backdrop for Finale on "A Pipe Dream And A Promise" as he provides listeners a mirror into his mind and an explanation into the meaning behind the title of his album. Finale raps, "My mother, my grandma, my grandfather, my brother/ My sister, my girl, my landlord/ The fans, and my compadres/ I promise the world to y'all and come up short/ Every time; my chase ain't over." By the time you get to the chorus, with Monica Blaire singing "Thank you, for believing in me," it becomes clear Finale is holding nothing back as he details his struggles and motivation for success. As Finale himself says, "What's realer than that?"A Pipe Dream And A Promise is now available everywhere.

Finale - A Pipe Dream and A Promise

Soulstice - Unfold featuring Oddisse

After releasing North By Northwest (2005) and Dead Letter Perfect in 2007 (which have earned SoulStice features XXL Magazine, The Source, The Tavis Smiley Show, Urb and many key urban publications and websites), SoulStice returns with Beyond Borders, which SoulStice dubs an “international concept album.” As SoulStice explains “the project is a collaboration between myself and Belgian beatmaker, SBe, who provides all of the instrumental music for the album. As far as the vocals, the songs are collaborations between myself and many of my favorite artists from around the world. These songs and the ideas they contain were the result of studio sessions in Maryland, Belgium, Chicago, Paris, New York and many other places, late nights at SBe's house in Ghent, photo sessions, international phone calls and text messages, and long flights overseas to perform in Europe, Japan and Mexico.” Beyond Borders will be released in June 2009 and will feature appearances from G.L.C., Oddisee, Kev Brown, Supastition, Wordsmith and Zap Mama and is entirely produced by SBe.

Soulstice - Unfold featuring Oddisse

Talib Kweli - Keep It In The Pocket (Kero One Remix)

With Kero One's recently released sophomore LP Early Believers receiving high acclaim and great reviews, the Bay Area-based rapper and producer is staying busy. Already back at work in the studio, Kero, whose production skills are featured throughout Early Believers, was hit up by DJ Deckstream to remix Talib Kweli's "Keep It In The Pocket" for Soundtracks 1.5, a compilation project also featuring remix production from the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. Up until now this remix was only available exclusively in Japan. For fans of Kero living stateside, this remix will serve as an extra-special treat.

Talib Kweli - Keep It In The Pocket (Kero One Remix)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foreign Exchange: TAWIAH

Over the years, Europe has produced some of the most talented artists. When you think of Europe soul, you think instantly of Soul II Soul,Heatwave,and Amy Winehouse; to name a few. However, when I think of an inspiring act from the soul genre to follow from Europe, I think of Beverly Tawiah. She goes by the moniker TAWIAH and she is a dope singer hailing from London,UK. Tawiah is a very corky and interesting soul singer. She possesses so much soul yet her lyrics and music are fun. Although she is not well known in the States,Tawiah is no stranger to exposure and notoriety. She has worked and performed with big names in the UK such as producer Mark Ronson and Mark De Clive-Lowe. Tawiah gives praises to her inspirations such Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, D'Angelo, and Erykah Badu. The 20 something year old singer/songwriter released her Ep In Jodi's Bedroom and has turned heads in the underground and is a must have. With comical and Cameo sounding songs like "Another One" and the electro-soul sounding "Broken Hearted", you'd wish this six song EP wouldn't leave you hanging. I'm sure there is an album in the making. For now, we'll just have to chill and enjoy the rhythm's and sounds of what's offered.

Listen to TAWIAH music here


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Del the Funky Homosapien - Funk Man (Free Album Download)

Funk Man: The Stimulus Package marks Del the Funky Homosapien's 14th project as he has been in this hip-hop game for almost two decades. Starting at the tender age of 17 as protégé to his cousin, Ice Cube, Del quickly rose to the top of the underground hip hop scene with his albums, I Wish My Brother George Was Here (1991) and No Need for Alarm (1993), both released through Elektra Records. Soon after parting ways with the label, Del joined the Hieroglyphics family, comprised of notable emcees Pep Love, the Souls of Mischief, Casual, and Domino. In 1998 the critically acclaimed album 3rd Eye Vision was the first to be released under the Hieroglyphics Imperium label and since then Del has had consistent success with his solo and joint efforts, including Deltron 3030 (2000), Gorillaz (2001), Full Circle (2003), and Eleventh Hour (2008) to name a few.

As a witness to the destructive technology, i.e. video games, that replaced the comic book industry thirty years ago and seeing the same trends within the music industry today, Del has taken a proactive approach with Funk Man, in his reluctance to rely on standard distribution models. Funk Man: The Stimulus Package is Del's journey back to basics and the timely message coupled with the LP's FREE RELEASE displays his acute awareness of his fan's needs and the music industry at large.
Download HERE

Del the Funky Homosapien - Get It Right Now

Fede Keeps it Funky For You!

My man, Fede dropped some gems on me. The funky Millie and Due which I've somehow neglected to listen to. Millie is a string heavy banger that will have you nodding your head and Due sounds like a Cut Chemist creation with the multitude of sounds used to create this beat. Check 'em out below.

Fede - Millie

Fede - Due

"It's Mostly the Voice..."

Ex Jurassic 5 member, Chali 2na prepares us for his upcoming album, Fish Outta Water. Kweli joins him on Lock Isht Down instead of his 4 former band mates to great results. I can't wait for this album to drop on Cinco de Mayo!

Chali 2na - Lock Isht Down featuring Talib Kweli

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jay Dee x Three

Interview with Ma Dukes
I came across this piece on Okayplayer (originally posted on April 17), and decided to pass it on, as a few other blogs/sites have. This is a beautiful interview with Mrs. Yancey aka Ma Dukes, speaking of her son, her health, and the soon to be released Jay Stay Paid on the Nature Sounds label. (You can pick up the tshirt at Stones Throw.)

Jay Stay Paid
The album, in case you haven't heard is not only executive produced by Mrs. Yancey, but mixed and arranged by Pete Rock. To have a legend and his idol on one album is worth buying in itself. Mark your calendar for its June 2nd, 2009 release. Proceeds go to Mrs. Yancey and the Estate of James Yancey.

Reality Check feat Black Thought from Jay Stay Paid

Suite For Ma Dukes
When the vinyl was released on Mochilla in early March, I immediately jumped on it as a collector and most importantly to help support the legacy of Jay Dilla. Produced by Carlos Niño and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Suite For Ma Dukes is an impressive orchestral (as in orchestra) interpretation of some of Dilla's greatest work. This one definitely deserves a space in your collection if its not in there already. Proceeds go to Dilla's heirs.

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Late Pass #5: Fleur Earth Experiment - Skurreal

The label describes Skurreal as "Minnie meets Madlib in Cologne" which is what grabbed my attention. I'm certain this is because they use Riperton's Les Fleur as an interlude (En Bouton). I erred to caution and checked them out further online; I wouldn't describe their music that way, but can definitely see the influence. Released in 2008, Skurreal is a 12 track journey into German, yes German soul. The amazing thing, which many of us already know, is that soul sounds the same all over the world. I've always loved foreign soul tracks because it goes to show just how much the words are pointless overall. The vocalist, Fleur Earth, sings and at times brings a hip hop flow. The band consisting of bass, keys, guitar and drums are great in bringing great soundscapes to this album that is a steal at just 14.99 on CD and 15.99 on LP at Dusty Groove.

MORE: Their new album, 2009's Soul de Cabot, is also available at Dusty Groove on LP. The CDs have currently sold out. There is definitely more growth on this album and you can find the band doing shows with bands the like of J*Davey overseas. Muse Bist from Skurreal is currently playing on the frontpage of BamaLoveSoul.Com towards the end of the compilation.
Check them out on their website and on myspace

BLS Podcast: A Brief History of Amel

This is just a quick compilation I threw together to bring attention to the interview I did with Amel Larrieux that you can check out HERE. It's a great overview of the many MANY tracks she's created and had a part in over the last 14 years. Check it out and if you dig it or not leave us a LOVE NOTE. BTW make sure you got to iTunes, if you haven't already, and pick up her 2 latest straight to download releases Orange Glow and Don't Let Me Down!

BLS Podcast - A Brief History of Amel
Download / Get Podcast

BTW, what are your favorite Amel Larrieux (and Amel affiliated tunes)? Also, you get props if you know which book and author inspired the title and artwork for this post.

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Jesse Boykins - Sun Star (video)

This new video from Jesse Boykins III will be premiering on BETJ on May1. Sneak Peek. Enjoy!

De La Soul - Are You In (iTunes Exclusive)

There haven't been many hip-hop groups as influential and innovative over the past two decades as De la Soul. Now the trio from Long Island continues to push artistic boundaries with a 45-minute groove written specifically to power your run. Are You In?:Nike + Original Run is the group's first original material released in three years, and it's a musical journey that will really get you moving.
Available at Nike Sport Music on iTunes. Album purchase includes the continuous-mix track and a digital booklet.

[Travel Light] by Jaafar/Album Review

So, it's me, Constantine the Emcee and S. Fly heading back from the studio in Atlanta with Vic the Truth. S. Fly asked, "ya'll heard Jaafar's CD yet?" We popped it in and...
First of all, let me apologize to Jaafar. I was "surprised" at how good it was. I must admit, I'm a product of my environment and in my environment, we've been conditioned to think that "if it's from here (i.e. B'ham, Alabama), it can only be [so] can't be great." This project is one of the best I've ever listened to...period. From the over-all production quality, to the musical prowess, to the lyrical content & concepts, to the vocal performances...[Travel Light] is a testament of what is possible... and that is great music from your backyard.
Even though you can just put this one in and let it play, I do have some favorites. Can You Make Time/track 2 is a classic song about the working man making time for his lady. The melody will have you singing along with the hook by the end of the first time you hear it. At times it has the same feel of New Edition's "Can You Stand the Rain" to me...but it's in no way a knock off. How I Feel/track 3 really shows off Jaafar's vocal range as an artists. How do you get up so high dude? Definite classic groove. Now on to my personal favorite, Hard to Say Goodbye/track 7. It starts off as an unassuming groove, "'s so easy to say hello, it's just as easy to spend some time but it's so hard to say goodbye, it's so hard to say goodbye." Then @ 2:20 in the song, it transforms into an entirely different song for like a minute, "it's better to have loved and lost than to never love at all." Then, in true autobot fashion, he gets back to your regularly scheduled program...classic. Now, if there's a joint that surprised me even more than the initial over-all sound is Ms. Mary Mac/track 9. Great song, cool concept, and is that Jaafar beatboxing in the background? Well, who ever it is, they're holding it in the road on this one. And it's SO refreshing to hear a brother get his "Prince" on in 2009! Struggle/track 11 shows that Jaafar can "scream and scat" with the best of 'em.
[Travel Light] by Jaafar is a classic musical entry that I think is ushering in a new era of music for musicians and fans from not only Birmingham but the south in general.
I give it 7 out of 7 Head Nods*.

I'm Thed Weller and I approve this review.

*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, April 27, 2009

Michelle Amador - Higher Album Review

I was introduced to Michelle Amador’s voice on the 2006 Rainbow Soul compilation and became reacquainted on Phuturistix’ 2007 album Breathe Some Light. Her voice and control over its intonations really made an impression on me then, and I was highly determined to hear new music from her. Two years later I get my wish with the release of her new album, Higher. Her bio describes her as an electronic/acoustic singer, and those styles are presented on Higher, but what stands out to me is the jazzy way she sings. This comes from an extensive jazz background; she learned to play piano at the age of 6 and went on to study with critically acclaimed jazz musicians. Michelle’s voice is truly the stand out on this album; even when singing in another language (Madrina) and placed against some great musicians that could easily overshadow a novice, her voice excels.

In addition to her great voice, Michelle has some really great producers and live musicians on Higher. They take many genres and merge them together to create a sound that sounds great around its vocalist. There are some songs that bear a resemblance to jazz and electronic tunes, but it’s the others that are a merging of those 2 genres and more that prevent this album from becoming monotonous. Take for example, In and Out, with its hip hop feel and Dilla-esque hand clap snares (reminiscent of Bahamadia’s One4teen) or the bouncy feel of Because of You. It’s these tracks that create a contrast between more traditional tracks like the jazzy R&B soul of Prayer For the Confused or the broken beat of Eager For the Years.

Of the 11 tracks on Higher, 3 were on previous releases. However, this in no way detracts from the work as a whole. Higher, with Michelle’s insightful lyrics will definitely take you there; higher. Pop this one in and get prepared for the journey...

DJ Rahdu gives Higher 6.5 out of 7 Headnods

Release Date: May 25, 2009 Exclusive advance through iTunes: May 11, 2009

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.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

In My Headphones: 'Magic Man'

Ever just "hear" a song before? Not listen, but hear? You may the artist, or the beat but you're really not paying attention to what they are saying for whatever reason. Your brain just doesn't connect the lyrics to the rhythm. But the left catches up with the right eventually, and when that happens it's like an epiphany. I had that tonight.

While messing around with my new mixer scrolling through my recent downloads for new music to mix I came across a new song by the Rapper turn sanger turn back rapper and obscenely expensive shoe designer Martin Louis The King Jr. 'Magic Man' is from the upcoming compilation 'G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night.' When I first heard it I was just glad Kanye was rapping again and good, so I cued it up. But when I actually listened to it, I was amazed. No its not a great song, but its a cool one and worth a listen. Kanye along with Malik Yusef, and Common, tell the story of domestic violence in a creative and intersing way that I haven't heard since 'Love Is Blind.'

Just focusing on Kanye, I think this is him at his best; really going in and dropping knowledge on the track, something that has been lacking in his flow since 'The College Dropout' he's definitely the standout. And if he continues down this path, I can't wait to listen to more.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Oddisee - Mental Liberation 5-5-2009

DC Producer/Emcee Oddisee will be dropping his new album Mental Liberation on May 5 2009. The album features everyone from J-Live and Phonte to Invincible and Georgia Anne Muldrow. With such a diverse array of artists, Oddisee creates beats that compliment his artists styles/flows. Take for example The Don't Sleep Remix featuring Invincible and Finale, who are both from Detroit, which sounds as if Detroit beatsmith Black Milk was behind the boards. It features only one instrumental, the incredibly dope, When Everything Changed which makes you wish he had included more instrumentals for your listening pleasure. He more than makes up for it, though, with the beats selected for the plethora of great emcees that grace this project, so make sure you go support on May 5 2009.

Oddisee - Don't Sleep Remix featuring Invincible & Finale

Vinyl? Check! #27: I AM feeling this!

Smokey Robinson is one of the greatest singer/songwriter/producers of the 20th Century! Take for example this 1974 album, Pure Smokey, which was released on Motown. The whole album will have you yearning for the days when you would hear REAL music on the radio, or as Tracy from OTV put it, "music...for tomorrow and not just for today." I AM I AM is one such great tune from this album. It's as sweet as Smokey's voice and makes you want to go sit on the porch on a beautiful day and sip some fresh squeezed lemonade! In addition to Smokey Robinson, Pure Smokey also features production from Gene Page and Willie Hutch, so if you see this one in CD form or in the record bins, scoop it up!

Smokey Robinson - I AM I AM

Leela vs Womack & Womack

First Angie Stone sampled Baby, I'm Scared of You for I Wasn't Kidding and now Ms. James has redone it on her latest album, Let's Do It Again. One of my good friends moved to Chicago from Birmingham a few years ago and told me that the Womack & Womack version was a staple in the clubs there. Is Leela's version capable of doing the same? Leave us a Love Note and let us know what you think.

Womack & Womack - Baby, I'm Scared of You

Leela James - Baby, I'm Scared of You

KRS-One & Buckshot - Robot

KRS-ONE & BUCKSHOT unveil the first song off their highly anticipated album "SURVIVAL SKILLS" in stores August 25th on Duck Down Records.
ROBOT, produced by Havoc of Mobb Deep, is a hard-hitting track that showcases KRS-ONE & BUCKSHOT in true form, highlighting the current auto-tune trend in Hip-Hop and exposing the copy-cat mentality that has rappers hiding behind "the program." Stepping outside the factory that Hip Hop has become, the duo lead the charge in the battle for originality

KRS-One & Buckshot - Robot

Rhonda Thomas - Best Intentions

Rhonda Thomas returns with her first single, Best Intentions, from her upcoming album, Listen. Best Intentions isnt a monotonous track AT ALL, beginning with some strings which are followed by drums and rock guitar which all funnel into a dancefloor ready tune that's gonna make you move whether you intend to or not! If this is a precursor of Listen, my ears are perked!

Rhonda Thomas - Best Intentions

DJ Spinna - Summer Madness

DJ Spinna is easily in my Top 5 DJ/Producers list. Here's another reason why: his remake of Kool & The Gang's Summer Madness featuring Fresh Daily and Daniel Joseph. They peaked our interest by releasing 2 videos of the making of the song(PT1. and PT2.) and the track was released on Tuesday. Peep it and let us know what you think by leaving us a Love Note!

DJ Spinna - Summer Madness featuring Fresh Daily and Daniel Joseph

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live @ The Latte Lounge

Good Music, Good Drinks, and Good People!!!

Latte Lounge: "SpeakYoSoul Live"!!! 2009 kicked off extra lovely at Java & Jams on April 22nd in the Magic City. DJ Rahdu was in the mix keeping the mood extra chill and everyone was vibin' and enjoying the fellowship.

The lovely Miss Catina hosted the festivities while The Queen Sheba kept the place live with her sharp wordplay.

The soulful Laura Luke warmed up the crowd with her beautiful jazzy voice and sensual lyrics setting the mood. The spoken word artists were on point, spreading that knowledge and positive vibes.

And last but not least, the beautiful Julie Dexter all the way from Birmingham, UK accompanied by the talented Brandon A. Thomas blessed us with her spirit and her song.

It was a beautiful thing...

Purchase Dexterity, Peace of Mind and more from Julie Dexter, in stores now!!!


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May 16, 2009 @ Malcolm's Reading Room - Common Ground Trio, The Sharrif Simmons Experiment, with DJ Junior Star - Birmingham, AL

Malcolm’s Reading Room and The Sofa Sessions are proud to present a Taurean Celebration with special guests: The Common Ground Trio, featuring Mausiki Scales (Atl), Dashill Smith (Atl), and Birmingham's very own David Johnson for a big night of funk, hip hop, afrobeat, soul, and all things in between. PLUS a special added performance by The Sharrif Simmons Experiment with Sharrif Simmons, Carlos Pino, and Jesse Suttle, and on the wheels, DJ Junior Star.

May 16, 2009 - Doors 7pm-12am - Admission $10
Advanced tickets are available at Malcolm’s Reading Room.

Malcolm's Reading Room is located at: 404 17th Street North Birmingham, AL 35203

Stay tuned to for more info and updates.

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Sound Track of My Day - Darren Laws::A Few of My Favorite Things

Twas a groovy day, I was in a groovy mood so I decided to mosey on over to Groovement to see what theyhad cooking. As I browsed I found some awesome mix tapes and whatnot to download, but then I came across This Darren Laws post and I fell in love. Here's the reason why...

John Coltrane: My Favourite Things
Lee Oscar : Haunted House
Myriam Makeba: Quit It
Minnie Ripperton: Baby This Love I Have
Merry Clayton: Emotion
Noel Pointer: All The Real Reasons Why
Bob James: Theme For Angela
Archie Whitewater: Cross Country
Betty Wright: Ain’t No Sunshine
Clarence Smith: Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
Tony Esposito: L’eroe Di Plastica
Anthony King: Filligree Funk
Astro Nova Orchestra: Soul Sleeper
Dancer : Dancer (Maria 45 Edit)
Donald Byrd: Wind Parade
Bobbi Humphrey: Harlem River Drive
Kenny Rankin: In the Name of Love

Need I say more? And that's just the 1st half. So for that reason and the feelings it brought forth in my soul and my bod-ay...I share A Few of My Favorite Things. Chillax w/ a glass of wine... or w/ someone who you can groove with...You won't regret it!

Because I know you're now addicted and yearning for more, HERE's the 2nd part!

Much Love, Peace & Thanks to Groovement for bigging us up the other day. Clearly we're feeeeeeling you too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Julie Dexter Tonight in Bham, Al.!

"SpeakYOSoul" LIVE! April 22, 2009 8 PM Julie Dexter!! w/Brandon Thomas!! DJ Rahdu and special guest Laura Luke(ABC 33/40 top Original Artist contestant!) Hosted by International Spoken Word artist Queen Sheba!!!! 10.00 Cover includes FREE DRINK! OPEN MIC- FREE! Must Sign Up .Slots are limited!! Slide thru EARLY!! It IS a coffee house fam and it's gonna be blazin on April, 22nd!!!

Read DJ Rahdu's interview with Julie Dexter HERE

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vinyl? Check! #26: Don't Give Up the Fight!

Mainstream radio does a great job of keeping you abreast of the Ohio Player's funkier tunes, but they have many great ballads as well. The title song, Angel, being one of many and Don't Fight My Love being another. They had me from the keys on this one; Billy Beck really goes to work on this track. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this was also used as a sample for one of my favorite tunes. Can you guess which one? Lsten below

Ohio PLayers - Don't Fight My Love

Temptations - Take A Stroll (Circle Research Remix)

Here's one more, as promised, from Circle Research. This time they're remixing The Temptations. I'll be honest I've never heard Take A Stroll before, but I do enjoy what they've done with it. Circle Research gives this one a 2006 PPP feel with the nice bouncy keys. Get ya steppin' on!

Temptations - Take A Stroll (Circle Research Remix)

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Concert: Dwele & Algebra Live at Platinum of Birmingham

It was Friday night and I was standing in line outside of Platinum of Birmingham waiting with everyone else to get inside. Just to hang out, listen to some music, drink a little bit, and take in the sights. I didn't know what to expect but it was Friday night in Birmingham and there's not much else to do on a Friday night in Birmingham. Upon my arrival at the door I was disappointed to learn that what I had spent what seemed like an eternity in line for was a concert from some so called rap artist that I didn't care to see in any setting and that they were also charging three times normal admission for the show! I promptly left and went off to discover something else to entertain me. I once wrote about wanting to leave Birmingham because of the city's lack of investment in the arts. I was frustrated with radio stations and the unwillingness of management to play or promote the kind of music/artists that I wanted to hear and that I couldn't turn on a station without hearing a 'Put Yo Hood Up' or 'Tear The Club Up.' I also stopped going out because I was getting bored with DJ's playing the same songs over and over like they were hitting repeat on a compilation called 'Ignant Rap Tracks.' I was done and resigned myself to believe that the Magic City would never catch on with the movement that had been gaining momentum around the world.

It was Friday night and I was standing in line outside the Platinum of Birmingham waiting with everyone else to get inside. Just to hang out, listen to some music, drink a little bit, and take in the sights. I didn't know what to expect but I knew this Friday night was different, there was an obvious change in the air. No one was waiting to swing elbows and represent hoods with finger puppetry. No one was there with the intentions of tearing up the club or acting a fool. We were there to celebrate the movement, the new soul movement that has slowly been spreading into the city, and this past Friday after 10 years, I finally reentered the Platinum of Birmingham to see Algebra and Dwele in concert.

I'm going to admit up front that I wasn't familiar with Algebra's music prior to the show, but once I witnessed her act on stage I became a big fan. Her music is beautiful and it was clear to me that she was the main attraction and not the opening act of this show. Starting off high energy with'U Do It For Me' the crowd erupted in overwhelming applause and fanfare, singing along and vibin' with her. Maybe it's her southern roots by way of ATL or her lyrics which are undeniably soul without being boxed into Neo. Whatever it was, it was obvious to that the crowd was definitely connected to her, even demanding her to sing personally to them and I can't blame them. During a heartfelt rendition of 'What Happened' we were mesmerized; intently focused and entranced by her words. With an amazing voice and songs that don't require deep analysis to understand, she is definitely a one of a kind talent. Algebra's stage presence is amazing; don't let her small frame fool you because this girl is a powerhouse, she completely owned the stage and the crowd as well. I especially enjoyed the segment where she introduced her band which allowed the DJ to showcase some dope mixing skill that got the place even more pumped up. I feel bad for sleeping for so long, but I'm glad that I woke up, and I must admit that just like the slogan on the shirt says. 'I Love Algebra,' too!!!

Next it was time for Dwele to get down and I was mildly disappointed at how much the crowd on the floor had thinned down. But being a big Dwele fan since the days of Dilla I was excited to finally get to see him live, even more because I didn't have to travel to see it. His set was a shorter than his female counterpart but he managed to get in a good amount of songs. Singing some old favorites like 'Find A Way' and 'The Truth' it was me that was singing along this time, not that there's anything wrong with that, HA! Accompanied by backup singers and a full band Dwele was right at home here. Adding some local talent to the mix, hometown favorite Kerry "2 Smooth" Marshall on guitar, was a big hit. Dwele also showcased his skill on the keys, hopping on the boards and playing a tune for the house while his band grooved with him. Dwele's performance style and stage presence is a little laid back. You could really hear and feel the lyrics which added to their depth. I especially liked his performance of his new joint 'How Do I Deal' (Waiting For Obama) which from my understanding came about from just messing around at the crib. The man just accidentally makes good music! He was definitely a hit, and I would love to see what he can do with a larger venue and more time to perform.

Overall the concert was a success and I was impressed with how much has changed with the POB and the overwhelming amount of people that were there to enjoy the show. It had been almost 10 years since I been at the Platinum of Birmingham and after 10 years they finally brought me back. Better late than never I suppose, Happy Anniversary! My homegirl Dionne posted on Facebook that night “I hope Birmingham realizes that after tonight, they can no longer cater to the Knuck If You Buck crowd.” Well I second that, and I think that after that show and the energy in the building that the Magic City finally has. We still have a long way to go but we're going; It's a beautiful thing. The soul movement is going strong and it can't be stopped. Welcome to Birmingham.

- JayTeeDee

Purchase Algebra 'Purpose' and Dwele 'Sketches of a Man' in stores now!!!

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yU (of Diamond District) - Before Taxes

If you enjoyed the album from Diamond District that we dropped last week, check out this album from DMV area MC/producer, yU, of the Diamond District (w/ Oddisee & XO) the album, Before Taxes, features production from Slimkat78, yU, Kev Brown, Oddisee & Bilal Salaam as well as appearances from Finale, Grap Luva, OP Swamp 81, the Remainz crew and more. Check out for more info and the download.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stones Throw Loves You!

To prove it they are releasing the digi version of 2 great projects due for physical release in May RIGHT NOW! Mayer Hawthorne has a unique sound that brings to mind The Delfonics with a slightly modern twist. Here's a really dope video for I Wish it Would Rain to entice you to pick up this digi-single which also contains Maybe So, Maybe No plus the instrumentals of both for just 3.96

I was first introduced to Dam-Funk when he remixed Baron Zen's reworking of Burn Rubber and have been a fan ever since. He returns with to drop some equally funky bombs with his Let's Take Off 12". Whereas he usually sounds most like Zapp to me (Hood Pass Intact), he brings some Prince pop to LAtrifying which was surprising to say the least. Dam-Funk also delivers 4 tracks for just 3.96. Check him out in the studio below:

I Heard it Today - Mr.Lif :: Album Review

Interested in taking it back to the days of albums laced with political undertones alongside rhyming that'll make u rewind a track thrice to hear what the hell they just said? If yes, you may wanna scoop up I Heard It Today; Mr.Lif's third studio album from Bloodbot Tactical Enterprises. Due to hit the scene on the 21st of April... 8 days before Obama's 100th day in office; Mr.Lif grabs the opportunity to pose his questions. Will things change now that there's a black president, should we now trust the government? He addresses the health care system, (or lack there of), speaks on the housing crisis, and commented on the Jeremiah Wright incidents.

Lyrically, aside from all the political undertones, the album doesn't disappoint. His rhyme skills sit on the beat and he rides them perfectly w/ no worry of falling off. Each song has a strong and consistent flow that will have you hanging on to the edge of his tongue. With beat makers like Edan who specialize in 60's rock samples, echoey sounds, and foreign language choruses... Headnodic, bassist and producer of the Crown City Rockers... J. Zone who's worked w/ the likes of Pete Rock, Gnarls Barkley, Devin The Dude, (the list goes on)... Batsauce, Therapy, and Willie Evans Jr.; there's no wonder why the beats on this album are so innovative and sick! Percussions, loops, scratches, star trek type sounds... let's just say I'd listen to the instrumentals of this album all day, ayyy day.

Mr. Lif chose less than a handful of people to add flavor to the album. Bahamadia w/ her sexy "let me make sweet love to this beat" type flow, seduces the track Breathe. Folklore, one of the best tracks in terms of word flow, features Dumbtron and Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks. Gun Fight features the gritty rhymes of Metro as they flow over news reports, sirens, drum machines and exploding bombs before a climactic ending.

My faves from the album... Hatred opens w/ a drum line reminiscent of an HBCU's that makes me want to drop a freestyle, uhmmm if I could. ;p. It has a perfect build up to the content of the song *think Black Panther march*, it speaks on the self hatred that is still running rampant in our black community; "a people w/ no foundation stand naked, look in the mirror and sever the hatred". Head High has a mid tempo groove perfect for Mr.Lif's flow that he raps; "I could rhyme for days on this beat, let me retreat, smoke a little sticky green leaf!". The Sun is beautifully accentuated by the choir in the background and the synthesizers lacing the track. This track speaks of hope in our future... "he's the hope that'll gleam when things seem useless".

Where as I think this album was lyrically strong; it had mad flowing skills, beats were off the heezy...I think the political content was overbearing. It is interesting, and I'm happy to hear his views, but after a while it feels like you're reading the editorial section of a paper. It would've been nice to hear about non-political issues in the country or about the positive things that are going on as well.

PinkBubbleGum gives I Heard It Today 5.5 out of 7 Nods

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.

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Dirty Drummer - Dirty’s Mobile Dub Sack (Free Album)

It’s time to step up the free MP3s with TEN fresh dub drops from Dirty Drummer! Exclusive to Wax Poetics for a limited time, Dirty’s Mobile Dub Sack rocks some chopped and screwed roots dub reggae beats that straight-up bang! The first in a mini-series of dub sacks, this release coincides with the rerelease of Dirty’s 2005 album Dirty’s Mobile Beat Shack, out 4/20/09 on Ropeadope Records. Don’t pass this one up; dig Dirty’s dub for free by hitting the link!

[Early Believers]-Kero One/Album Review

I was on myspace last week and came across a blog posted by Bomani (of read a book, read a book, read a mutha-fu%#ing book fame) that posed the question, "Can hip hop grow up?" I subscribe to the theory that it can. And if you'd like proof, I'd like submit exhibit A... [Early Believers] by Kero One. A mature hip hop album. I know, it's almost oxymoron-ish to say but that's what it is. From the production, to the themes, to the actual lyrical content. Hoo-ray for hip hop!
The two tracks with Ben Westbeech (When the Sunshine Comes/track 1 & Goodbye Forever/track 10) got flavor for days and both have "something to say" if you actually listen to the words. And even the songs without words are worth a listen. Remember when songs with no words could become hits? Check out "A Song for Sabrina"/track 7 & "On and On"/track still may be possible. "Let's Just Be Friends" feat. Tuomo/track 3 has a "euro-feel" to it that reminded me of "80's music" (in a good way;-). And the other Tuomo collabo "Love and Happiness"/track 5 is a classic groove. It's about what you think it would be about but it's a nice modern day take on the theme.
The only draw back (which is more of a personal bias than a draw back) is his "flow". Although it is very intelligent, it's also very predictable. You might not know what he's about to say next but you do get a feeling of how & where the rhyme will fall. Not many "verbal gymnastics" on this one. It's a personal bias, I know but compared to Andre 3000, Mos Def, or Talib Kweli, his flow is "good" at best.
To end on a high note, the production quality and sound of this project is top shelf. Musically original and grooving. Put this one in and ride to it, work out, walk the dog, etc. You can definitely let this one play through and not look for the "skip" button.
Over all I give Early Believers by Kero One 6 out of 7 Head Nods*.
I'm Thed Weller and I approve this review.

*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.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vinyl Junkie!

After the Record Show and 123 albums purchased. Im feeling good. I didnt know any of the dealers this time but I made some new friends, made some new connects. I saw Don Johnson and Jr Star up in the building getting the choice joints as well.

I was talking to one dealer and I asked him if he owned a store or were the albums from his personal collection. His reply was that he had been collecting and planned on opening a store but just never got around to actually doing it. The pain in his face when he said it brought to mind those lines from Langston Hughes' A Dream Deferred. He was selling joints for a dollar apiece too and as an Early Bird Customer I made it my duty to make sure noone else got any of his goodies and he had a ton. In additon to my vinyl acquisitions, I also got a new name. Check ME out!

Whatcha Doin Saturday?

Tomorrow is Record Store Day! In Birmingham there are only three record stores Charlemagne, Renaissance and the newbie Frigid. Make sure you stop by AT LEAST one of these tomorrow and make a purchase.

"But I dont have a record player?" Each of these stores have diversified their holdings (lol) and offer more than just vinyl. You can purchase stickers, CDS, books and even cassettes! If you feel that you MUST purchase vinyl, you can buy it and give it to me as a gift :) or another deserving individual.

There were once many record stores in Bham, but big business drove them away with more stock and competitive prices. So don't let this be your only time visiting these treasures of your city, let's keep the record store alive. In addition, there is a record show Fri and Sat 4-17 & 18, 2009 so you can get your vinyl game up there as well ANNNNND DJ Rahdu, JTD and Jr Star will be spinning at Charlemagne on Sunday 4-19-2009.

Also, shouts out to Oz Music in Tuscaloosa. If you know of any other record stores in Bham or your city please leave a comment with its name and/or location for other treasure hunters to visit. Thanks in advance!

Charlemagne Records
1924 1/2 11th Ave S/Bham 35205

Renaissance Records
2020 11th Ave S/Bham 35205

Frigid Records
1305 2nd Ave N inside Magic City Scooters
Saturdays ONLY 11-5PM