Here’s some more independent music from a young lady I started following a just a few years ago, along with the indie music collective she’s part of, The Clergy. Hailing from the DMV area of the country, Lena Chanel may be small on size, but is immense on talent! Check out some of her latest music on her SoundCloud page below. Gotta love the high quality album art courtesy of Clergy all-around go-to guy Jon Bap, as well! The latest singles are called “Weather” and “Waitin”.
Been a minute, but I’m back. Just wanted to give some shine to an artist that really needs to deserve more shine at the moment: Tarica June. She’s been making music for a minute now, but this cover of Jay Z and Rick Ross’s “FWMYKIGI” is, for lack of a better term, SICK! Tarica goes harder than, dare I say, both Jay and Rozay in her rendition of the song. Not only that, but she’s actually saying something in her bars, which come extremely hot and heavy! I can’t really do justice to the the lyricism, you just gotta listen for yourself. Peep.
Eddie links with Detroit's own Danny Brown to continue his Fresh of the Boat series. In this episode, Eddie visits some of Detroit's finest offerings, the local barber shop and Big Babys Burgers where they both share an authentic lunch. Watch the short and stay tune for part 2, as Eddie plans to visits the rest Michigan.
Just two days ago was the 11th Anniversary of the murder of one of the greatest and most respected figures in all of Hip Hop throughout all time: Jam Master Jay of the Legendary Run DMC. A recent video courtesy of Revolt TV got me to thinking about JMJ, as well as many other prominent figures throughout Hip Hop who we’ve lost senselessly. But more than reflecting on their lives and what they did for the music and the culture, the question for me that comes to mind is: Why are the murders, shootings and killings of so many of our Hip Hop heroes still unsolved to this day? There are tons of answers to this question: we all know the stigma attached to being an African American man in the United States, and the fact that Hip Hop, though it’s a globally dominant force, is still viewed by many as less than worthy of attention, praise or even respect. Does that have to do with why the killings of so many black men and women that have been part of Hip Hop music and culture still sit in the unsolved pile? Are their lives no less worthy than any one else that have gone on into the next lifetime at the hands of whatever gunman or assailant? The murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace are the two biggest unsolved mysteries in all of Hip Hop history, but there are so many more that don’t have the mainstream folklore attention attached to them, from Jam Master Jay and even Chris Lighty. And in Lighty’s case, there is yet even more uncertainty and confusion, because there are theories abound, and we’re not even truthfully sure if his was a homicide or a suicide. The honest truth is that we have to CONTINUE to ask these questions about these folks. And it goes beyond just the music…it’s about the fact that they were PEOPLE, and their families deserve at least some semblance of the truth. I’m reminded of the Bob Marley tune “Redemption Song” and one of the most poignant lines in it: “How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?”
In 1999, Hip Hop stood on the edge of a new millennium, just the same as the rest of us: full of promise, potential, growth and uncertainty. The music had become more fragmented and sub-cultured than it had been in recent memory, with mainstream coming to the end of an amazing run in the 90s, and underground Hip Hop gaining more and more steam as we headed towards the turn of the century. One of the record labels that stood at the forefront of the underground, backpacker movement was Rawkus Records, and one of its greatest and most charismatic artists was Pharoahe Monch. And on the ultimate underground Hip Hop compilation album from 1999, Soundbombing II, Pharoahe dropped a single that to this day is truly unforgettable with “Mayor”. One thing to understand is the climate of New York city at the time. Before he gained the pristine, patriotic image of “America’s Mayor”, Rudy Guiliani was arguably one of the most hated and polarizing figures in New York politics, mainly due to policies that he passed that pretty much waged war on poor people and people of color. And Hip Hop took notice, with lines from Nas like “Guiliani is the 6-6-6…”. Pharoahe’s fictional account of a man racked with desperation and nothing to lose killing the leader of a major city may not name Guiliani specifically, but one can look closely enough at the times and decipher that the mayor was at least somewhat of an inspiration behind this tune. At only two verses, Pharoahe vividly paints a harrowing tale of a man that knows what he’s about to do will ultimately lead to his own demise, but doesn’t give a crap, as evidence by the final bar: “A dead man walking, destination: Devil’s lair/ F*** it if I’m gonna die, at least I shot the Mayor.”
I never thought that I would say this, but music superstars seem to have it kinda hard these days. What with the ability of fans to be able to connect with them so intimately now through technology and social media and already constantly being under the guise of the 24-hour TMZ news cycle, everything that they do seems to be scrutinized and and dissected to the Nth degree. Take Chris Brown: besides Kanye West, C.B. seems to be Urban entertainment’s poster boy for not be able to get a moment’s rest these days, ever since his domestic abuse debacle with one Rihanna, which now seems like it was a decade ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t defend Breezy’s actions and I won’t attempt to. Being the youngest of three children with two older sisters and two nieces, I could NEVER condone putting my hands on a woman in a way that’s malicious or meant to do her harm. I don’t roll like that. But even with all of the messed up and at times just plain dumb things that Brown has done in the last few years, from Rihanna to trashing dressing rooms to the Frank Ocean spat to the war of words and fists (well, maybe not fists) with Drake in the club, he’s dug quite a hole for himself, and even reveled in the image of being the bad boy.
But the public eye can also be the eye of the storm for many a celebrity to deal with, and the latest incident involving Chris Brown has seemed to not only be blown out of proportion by music and entertainment media outlets, but also one where all of the facts haven’t come out. Then again, the facts aren’t always what matters when it comes to today’s media, especially when there’s a potential juicy story involving a major international music star. There are questions all around: who threw the first punch outside the hotel? Was it Brown or his bodyguard? Did he utter another slur against gay people? Has he or will he spend time in jail…again? Is he really going to rehab for anger management?
The whole point is this: it’s not really a matter of answering the questions truthfully. Instead, it’s a matter of presenting a certain version of what is deemed to be the truth to sway public opinion in a certain way. Like it or not, that’s the game. Personally, I think Brown does need to watch his actions, who he has around him and what those folks intentions are. But maybe the general population and the media itself need to start taking a closer look at the way stories and news items are presented, and if they are done in a way that actually IS fair and balanced, or if it’s all just about ratings, sweeps weeks and what the best story is, even if it’s not one that’s accurate.
Check out a story on the SPIN.com website that gives the latest on Chris Brown’s most recent ups and downs.
The news just came that Rock & Roll pioneer, legend, Velvet Underground front man and all around rebel Lou Reed has passed away today. Undoubtedly, there will be tons of tributes to a man that became an icon in the eyes of many fans for much of what he did for an to rock music throughout his life and career. I admit that I still am learning a lot about rock and some of it’s biggest figures, including Reed. One of the things that has always intrigued me about him is how he seemed to intentionally take the road less traveled throughout his career, from fronting a band that the basic antithesis of the Flower child generation in the late 60′s and early 70′s in The Velvet Underground, to all of his tongue-in-cheek, sometimes questionable and mysterious issues with sexuality that he touched on in his music, to releasing some of the most divisive pieces of music in history, from Transformer to Metal Machine Music. Even more interesting to me was how he was tapped earlier this year to review Kanye West’s album Yeezus, and the praise that he bestowed upon it. Here’s a piece of music by Reed that can be found on the Internet and will probably have at least 2 million views by tomorrow morning, but is still pretty amazing.