Sunday, February 17, 2008
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Every once in a while, I actually venture into the stratosphere beyond Souled On to check out what's happening in other realms of the worldwide interweb. Here's an overview of what's been goin' down elsewhere in the universe at large...
This may not require much of a stretch of your imagination, but I used to be a pretty big Star Wars fanatic when I was a short shit. My family still ridicules me because I used to have major problems sleeping without my Chewbacca pillowcase. I realize that's pretty twisted, but now that I've encountered these people, the burden of my shame has lifted tremendously. It's always refreshing to discover that there are people way crazier than you could ever hope to be. Amen and hallelujah for that...
Before I set childish things completely aside, I also have to mention this illuminating article about the secrets behind some of the best-loved toys ever created. The inventor of the Slinky was a total nutjob and Captain Kangaroo single-handedly saved Play-Doh from extinction. Huh. Who knew?
Speaking of nutjobs, am I the last person on Earth to find out about The Church Of Google ? Although they may not have enough converts to justify placement on the Big Religion Comparison Chart, they have generated nine indisputable proofs to justify their bizarre contention that Google is God. Sorry, Googlists. I'm all for religious freedom, but worshipping a search engine is just...ummm...unforgivably wacko.
Also falling into the category of absurdity is Natalie Cole trippin' out about Amy Winehouse winning big at the Grammy's this year. The "Unforgettable" songstress was evidently irritated that the troubled artist was seemingly rewarded despite her highly publicized bad behavior. Winehouse has undoubtedly gone overboard with her substance abuse, but seriously, Nat...where the hell would popular music be without illicit drug use? Geezuz...I shudder to think...
While we're on the subject of drugs, I had to chuckle at how pissed off this cop was about being served marijuana in his Whopper. Damn...you should have really been a lot more mellow about the whole thing, dude. You must have gotten some crappy dirt weed mixed in your beef or somethin'...Besides, the slap-on-the-wrist sentences handed down to the culprits were somewhat predictable in light of the fact that the presiding judge looks as if he's been eating potburgers every day since Vietnam. Duh, homie.
Also in the news, 50 Cent verbalized his support for Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. I haven't given a damn about Fiddy's political opinions since...well...the beginning of time (or at least since he expressed his inexplicable affection for George Bush). However, I still resent Bill O'Reilly calling the rapper a pinhead. Apparently it really does take one to know one. Don't worry though, soul kids...50 made sure he fired the last round of shots in this great meeting of the minds.
I haven't really featured a favorite visual artist in quite some time, so allow me to put the spotlight on someone who's very worthy of your attention. My man Gabriel Romo contacted me several months ago to express his appreciation for Souled On. Out of curiousity and respect, I checked out hERMANO, Romo's revolutionary labor of love. Needless to say, I was completely blown away by the man's talent and phenomenal vision. Hopefully you'll find a way to support his hustle (at least buy a shirt or sumthin', cheap-o)...this guy is the undisputed TRUTH.
Music, art, and politics may sometimes make strange bedfellows, but in certain instances they blend together seamlessly. Head over to los amigos de durutti to check out how Barack Obama has inspired Shepard Fairey to create some new Obey posters (proceeds benefit Obama's campaign). You can also download "Yes We Can (Obama) For America", a rallying cry from famous Barackians (Obamites?) such as will.i.am, Common, John Legend, Tatyana Ali and Herbie Hancock.
Which leads us directly to the place you really want to be...wherever there's good music. Here are just a few of the places where I fell into the groove:
My homie Vincent from Fufu Stew has been dropping some killer mixes lately. He recently did a dope hip-hop mix that was posted at The Stew, in addition to doing a guest drop over at The Hook And Sling. Funk and soul fans will definitely want to check out his mix at The Hook, especially because it features some of his very favorite 45s. That's saying a lot when you have as many crates as Vincent does, so don't sleep.
"(I Want To Be) What Ever It Takes To Please You" is a great song by Ruby Andrews that was also recently featured at The Hook And Sling. Included in the same post is a link to my homie DJ Prestige's Ease Back Guest Mix.
Also, for the funktionally-inclined peoples in the place to be, Pres recently dug out a dusty gem that he posted over at Flea Market Funk. I've been playing the hell out of this track for the past few days..."Detroit" by Paul Humphrey and His Cool Aid Chemists. I'm convinced I have ADHD as it pertains to music, so listening to something for this long without interruption is actually quite a feat for me.
Yet another outstanding mix comes by way of my friend Colin from In Dangerous Rhythm. He compiled a selection of deep soul tunes that is phenomenal from beginning to end. As always, Colin pulled out quite a few records I'd never heard of in my life...
While I'm braggin' about my internet fam, let me just say that the most recent material I've heard from my man Zilla Rocca has made him an even greater force to be reckoned with in the hip hop community. Hit up From Da Bricks to download "Pages Of The Past" so you can hear his skilled delivery for yourselves.
Speaking of FDB, Dan Love has been turning up in many different corners of the internets lately. At Oh Word he recently featured an insightful megapost deconstructing the samples used on Nas' legendary Illmatic LP. Dan's gift for writing is worth the price of admission alone, but he was also generous enough to share a motherlode of the original songs that were sampled on the album.
Additionally, Mr. Love was one of several bloggers who participated in a massive beat drop over at Metal Lungies, paying homage to the work of J Dilla. I was invited to participate, but I don't even deserve a late pass since I realized later that I had accidentally forgotten to reply (I owe you one, buhizzle). My memory lapse certainly didn't jeopardize the quality of the post in the slightest, as this turned out to be an amazing journey through some of JD's finest material. If you are interested in learning more about Dilla or collecting tracks from various phases of his career, you definitely won't want to miss out on what this post has to offer.
Also on the Dilla tip, stop by Audiversity to d/l Flying Lotus' remix of "Game Over" (Dabrye feat. JD and Phat Kat).
This week I participated in the happenings over at I Hook A Beat Up by donating a track for heads to sample. After agonizing over my decision more than I really needed to, I finally settled on a personal favorite of mine---"I Get My Groove From You" by Bobby Patterson. The results should be posted by later tonight, so make sure you at least pass through to vote for the best flip that's submitted.
Larry at Funky 16 Corners recently featured a track by Denise LaSalle called "Keep It Coming". LaSalle is one of the many underappreciated divas of classic soul, so it was a welcome change of pace to see her getting some recognition.
Pete Rock's new joint with Redman ("Best Believe") is available via Nah Right. As much as I've been anticipating Pete's NY's Finest LP, the tracks I've heard so far haven't exactly blown me away. I'd probably be less disappointed if I was merely looking for consistency, but I guess I keep waiting for somebody to put out an album that significantly raises the bar...something that really makes me wanna get up and slap yo' mama, ya know? Errr...okay...so maybe you don't.
That said, I concur with Jeff Weiss that eMC's The Show is probably the best hip hop record to drop so far in '08 (I have another contender in mind as well, but more about that later). Stop by Passion Of The Weiss to read an insightful and razor-sharp review of the album, and cop a couple of standout joints from the LP as well.
For those who are still hopelessly fiendin' for the golden years of hip hop, be sure to keep your eye on Wake Your Daughter Up and When They Reminisce. Travis and Eric are collaborating on a dope "I Love The '90s" series that will take you waaay back and make you feel old as fuck at the same time.
Something else I'd momentarily forgotten...how freakin' fantastic Moistworks is. There is such an overabundance of music blogs on the scene at this point that I rarely get around to visiting my old favorites anymore. For the most part, I'm not missing much...the shelf life for blogger creativity is generally relatively short-lived (hey...we're underpaid, underappreciated, and always under pressure). Moistworks, however, has remained surprisingly consistent in both quality and content. No matter what your personal taste in music is, it's worth passing through there at least once a week to clean up on the cornucopia of fine mp3s they offer...a truly remarkable triumph after a few solid years of gettin' bloggy wit' it.
My pal DJ Blueprint shared a fine piece of wax this week at this is tomorrow... a tight lil' B-side groove called "Sophisticated Funk" by John Roberts.
HHG recently featured an illuminating interview with one of my favorite commercial beat wizards, the almighty Just Blaze.
Visit The Stepfather Of Soul to download "Lay It On Me", a stunning slice of Chicago soul served up by the duo Maurice & Mac.
HeavySoulBrutha Dave B. has been sharing some exceptional material over at Put The Needle On The Record, including the tracks by Willie Hutch and Chico Hamilton that he featured in this particular post. You should definitely do some further exploring while you're there...there's some wonderful music available in honor of his blog's first anniversary.
Last but never least, check out this mini-retrospective by cousin Fresh @ 33 Jones about the importance of "The Name Game" and "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis to the evolution of hip hop.
After all was said and done, I realized that I sincerely need to make cleaning up my blogroll a top priority. If you're not there and you should be, please drop me a comment or an e-mail. If you're new to the blogging business, I'll be happy to check out your spot for you...but you probably won't get linked for the first few months. It takes most people about that long to determine what a pain in the ass this is...namsayin?
Because the soul children deserve to be spoiled beyond belief, I wouldn't even think of ending this post without droppin' a few gems. So here's what my homeboy Chewbacca and I are pimpin'...
Chewie's Choice Cuts From The Crates:
"Sit Down And Hurt For A While"---Denise LaSalle (zShare)
"Sit Down And Hurt For A While"---Denise LaSalle (savefile)
Larry got me reminiscin' about how much I love Denise's voice. Another soulful masterpiece from her collection.
"Blow Your Own Mind Pt. 1"---Aaron Jerome w/ Kathrin deBoer (zShare)
"Blow Your Own Mind Pt. 1"---Aaron Jerome w/ Kathrin deBoer (savefile)
BBE Records has some outstanding upcoming releases, not the least of which is Aaron Jerome's exemplary and pleasantly eclectic debut, Time To Rearrange. Citing quite a few classic jazz and soul artists as inspiration, Jerome makes music that's as much of an honorary ode to the past as it is a hopeful nod towards the future.
"Where I'm Going (instrumental)"---Scribbling Idiots (zShare)
"Where I'm Going (instrumental)"---Scribbling Idiots (savefile)
The Have Nots is a pretty strong album, but lately I've been listening to the instrumentals a lot more than the vocal versions. This beat by Supreme Keys is a definite "mood piece" for me, but when I'm in the right mental frame, it's verges on perfection.
"Soul Glo"---Akrobatik (zShare)
"Soul Glo"---Akrobatik (savefile)
This is the aforementioned contender for my favorite hip hop album so far this year. For the most part, it's dope that Ak is back, with the exception of a few minor flaws. My greatest source of irritation is this: where in the hell did he find American Idol reject Brenna Gethers, and what evil entity possessed him to put her on the mic? That...just...wasn't...very...gangsta.
On the real though, Absolute Value is a great album. Buy dat shit.
"The Wobble"---Dyke & the Blazers (zShare)
"The Wobble"---Dyke & the Blazers (savefile)
If you think this has something to do with a lesbian and some suit jackets, you need to get your learn on, kid...
"Got The Feelin"--Dave Pike (zShare)
"Got The Feelin"---Dave Pike (savefile)
I'm on a tireless mission to find every record with Dave Pike on it that I possibly can. I'd never heard of him until several months ago, which is the sort of thing that explains why I keep my head buried in the crates ...always.
Word From Your Moms:
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."---Douglas Adams (from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy)