*Artwork by Rodrigo Izolag
What's really good, soul babies? Peace and infinite blessings to all the good people in the place to be...
'Tis the season when most of you are tryin' to ho ho ho and pull your merry shit together, so it's probably not the best time to trouble you with an abundance of scholarly discourse...
Recently, I've been contemplating whether or not all the writing I've done has ultimately been to my detriment anyway. I mean, let's be real~ the blogs that attract millions of readers seem to have the whole economy of expression principle down to a disturbingly exact science. If only I'd had the foresight to draw cocaine sprinkles falling out of Lindsay Lohan's nose instead of...yawn...talking about music, maybe Will.I.Am and his manager would deem me worthy of an allegedly brutal assault. Sadly, I have yet to be given a simple nosebleed...and the implications of how utterly irrelevant this makes my life can occasionally be somewhat disconcerting. Like...yo...can I puhleez get my ass kicked up in here? Alas, the world evidently doesn't recognize that I should be strutting down the red carpet in a pimp suit instead of being the poor bastard who installs it...
The truth is, I'm well past suffering any delusions about becoming a blogger superstar. I'm cursed by these half-witted ideas about occasionally delivering meaningful content...and if you must know, I'm a colossal failure as it pertains to doodling. My revolution will not be televised or even broadcasted over the internet, but it will continue to spin steadily at 33 1/3. Through digging deeper, I've managed to find my own internal rhythm...and had the good fortune to synchronize with people all over the world who are tuned into the same frequency. We may be a quiet storm, children...but know this...together we comprise an entire symphony of beautiful noise.
Here's to vibing with each other well into the next decade. I'll be around if you still want to roll with me...
Sending out the very best to you and yours...
make revolution/make love...scholar
Sending out the very best to you and yours...
make revolution/make love...scholar
"Lil' Girl"---Shafiq Husayn ft. Fatima & Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner (LimeLinx)
"Lil' Girl"---Shafiq Husayn ft. Fatima & Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner (YSI)
*Husayn's Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka LP was nothing if not triumphant, and this track easily falls into my top 5 singles of the year. Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica are in the video, too~ whaaaaaaaat???
"Four Walls"---Blockhead (LimeLinx)
"Four Walls"---Blockhead (YSI)
*Blockhead is a one of the most ingenious producers alive...period. Discovering that he reads Souled On is still one of the highlights of my...ahem...career. The Music Scene is another ill front-to-back listen in his canon of works...but I've come to expect nothing less than consistency from this prodigious beatsmith. Even though I think you should buy this instead of Taylor Swift's record, I'm going to resist all urges to storm the stage. I think it's a far better look for me if I keep my ass seated...
"All Of Your Things"---The RAah Project (LimeLinx)
"All Of Your Things"---The RAah Project (YSI)
No matter what kind of what music you dig, I hope you'll be adventurous and give this joint a listen. It's a cross-section of so many styles that it would be problematic to faithfully paint a picture with words...just an insanely beautiful piece of music.
"Walking"---J. Period/Nneka ft. Jay Electronica (LimeLinx)
"Walking"---J. Period/Nneka ft. Jay Electronica (YSI)
Nigerian born singer/songwriter Nneka still hasn't garnered a significant following in the United States, but hopefully this oversight is on the verge of being corrected. A week ago, Nneka and J.Period dropped The Madness (Onye-Ala), a free mixtape aimed at generating some hype for the talented artist prior to the February 2010 release of her Concrete Jungle LP. "Walking" is the project's phenomenal second single, and I'm certain it'll inspire you to head over to J.'s site to secure the mixtape in it's entirety...
"Southern Fried Chicken Pts. 1 & 2"---Bill Thomas & The Fendells (LimeLinx)
"Southern Fried Chicken Pts. 1 & 2"---Bill Thomas & The Fendells (YSI)
This may seem like a bold statement, but I usually don't fuck with songs about chicken. That said, this song is so damn funky, even your grandmother will be like shit! goddamn! get off your ass and jam. With this joint on the turntable (or in your iPod), it should be all too easy to get...uhhhhh...greazy. Cheap!
"I'll Hate Myself Tomorrow"--O.V. Wright (LimeLinx)
"I'll Hate Myself Tomorrow"--O.V. Wright (YSI)
If you find yourself in a financial position to afford a pricey imported box set at any time in the near future, seriously consider copping O.V. Box- The Complete Backbeat and ABC Recordings. Wright is arguably one of the most passionate and ruggedly individual soul artists to have ever walked the earth, but his tragic life story reads something like a Donald Goines novel. This emotive collection fully illustrates the ways in which the music was an extension of the man~ a must-have for any soul fans who've been touched by his work.
"I Owe You Love"---Brighter Side Of Darkness (LimeLinx)
"I Owe You Love"---Brighter Side Of Darkness (YSI)
If I didn't know anything about the smooth soul harmonies rendered by Brighter Side Of Darkness, I ain't gonna lie...this silly ass cover would probably have stopped me dead in my tracks. I can't imagine the circumstances under which these outfits were fly, although I do believe that Moms owns a pajama set from Victoria's Secret that's along these same lines. She didn't get the hat, though...I have to tell her she got ripped.
Anyway, the Chicago-based BSOD was essentially a one-hit wonder. "Love Jones" earned the four young men a gold record, peaking at an impressive #3 on the R&B charts in 1972. "I Owe You Love" was their second single, but after it barely managed to crack the Top 50, the group disbanded in 1974. I truly dig this track, and I've never understood why listening audiences weren't more receptive. Their demise may have been due in part to the Jackson 5 effect; their lead singer Darryl Lamont was only 12 at the height of their popularity. Perhaps people weren't down because they saw the group as a less talented imitation of their rivals on Motown...or maybe it really was about those shiny ass pink suits...Notwithstanding their outfits, these guys were crazy dope.
BSOD performing "Love Jones" on Soul Train:
"Ambition"---K. Sparks & Pajozo (LimeLinx)
"Ambition"---K. Sparks & Pajozo (YSI)
K. Sparks is an MC hailing from Queens, while his compadre Pajozo is an ill Swedish beatsmith~ together they are the almighty duo known as Definition. "Ambition" is a jawn from their first proper release, a self-titled LP that sparked some noise in the underground sector last year and earned them comparisons to hip hop heavyweights such as Gang Starr and Pete Rock /CL Smooth. Recently, Definition dropped their sophomore full-length effort, Soul Food, which is now available for download via iTunes.
In the current climate of confusion, these guys obviously won't move units like Gucci Mane~ I mean Sparks is peddling rhymes about serious business like politics and abortion. The most insurmountable barrier to their success is that people wanna hear more fictitious realities about life in strip clubs and the trap house...right? Hmmmmm. I guess we'll never be certain until the silent majority starts demanding justice for quality hip hop. People are erroneously reporting that the genre's dying, and you can't blame them...things look pretty fuckin' bleak on the surface.
We can complain about the downward spiral continuously, but if we intend to flip the status quo, we have to start putting our money on artists who are doing their creative thing without airplay or major label support. Definition's stated intention is to globalize hip hop...steal it back for the people who understand this music as the collective voice of the disenfranchised, and an invaluable resource in building unity. If you share this vision, then be about it, kids. Definition did approximately 30,000 downloads...so let's be twice as engaged this time around and try to at least double those numbers.
P.S. It's true that there are MCs comin' even harder than Sparks...my rants are mad spontaneous and can lead to random what the fuck? moments...Don't. mind. me.
Dig deeper... (K.Sparks' MySpace page, complete with links to free mixtapes and singles. Show some love...)
I truly wanted to fall in love with Pac Div's album, but I... didn't. No worries, though~ as I said a second ago, it's probably me who's crazy. I dig "Whiplash" because it takes me back to the stark landscape of early Mobb Deep...but then I ultimately cast the album aside for bearing too many reruns and cliches. Doesn't really make sense, I know...how you can love and hate something for being a throwback, but it happens. No matter...."Whiplash" still took a turn rattlin' the windows on my Toyota...errr...Bentley.
Bonus mp3 (LimeLinx only): "Whiplash"---Pac Div
This video showcases an amazing collection of Chicago graffiti shot over the course of a decade by Mike Keas. This is the first in a three part series, focusing on expressions of life, community, and protest:
More revolutionary artwork by Rodrigo Izolag:
View an online gallery of Izolag 's phenomenal creations here.
Project Censored presents the Top 25 censored news stories for 2009/2010...lots of key information that is currently being suppressed, and is likely to escape public awareness in the future.
*Miles Davis redux by Chris Gallani
This is still on the music/art tip, but that's what life's about as far as I'm concerned~ Paint My Album is a website featuring album covers redone using Microsoft Paint. The collection comes from ambitious upstarts all over the world, and the results range from jaw dropping to the completely absurd. There's also a Facebook group if you really get into it (or are just really bored).
Word From Your Moms:
After loss of Identity, the most potent modern terror, is loss of sexuality, or, as Descartes didn’t say, "I fuck therefore I am".
The probability of separate worlds meeting is very small. The lure of it is immense. We send starships. We fall in love.
The Buddhists say there are 149 ways to God. I'm not looking for God, only for myself, and that is far more complicated. God has had a great deal written about Him; nothing has been written about me. God is bigger, like my mother, easier to find, even in the dark. I could be anywhere, and since I can't describe myself I can't ask for help.
*Above quotes by Jeanette Winterson