I know I don’t usually start blog posts like this, but this time I can’t help it because this song is everything! Chad Valley is a UK-based solo artist whose real name is apparently Hugo Manuel. This song appears on the EP Equatorial Ultravox. The music is truthfully hard to describe but also amazing. It’s all kinds of electro pop and R&B, but also has a new age EDM feel to it, while at the same time, Valley’s voice is high-pitched and so soulful. I came across this song just listening to a local radio show called “The Limelight Live” just this past week, and ever since then I literally cannot stop playing it. I’m pretty sure that it will have the same effect on whoever decides to take a listen. It’s infectious, romantic, breezy, atmospheric and humble. And I almost forgot to mention that I can’t decipher the lyrics worth a damn, but I don’t really care. Definitely wants me want to delve more into Valley/Manuel’s other music. Much love to WPRK and “The Limelight Live” for putting me onto this one!
Detroit Hip Hop is on the rise again, with a bountiful plethora of solo artists and groups paving a way and staking a claim in the 21st Century Hip Hop marketplace. And among them is The Regiment, the lyrically inclined take-no-prisoners Boom Bap Hip Hop-centric duo of Osi and IseQold that are helping to paint a more positive yet still unrelentingly uplifting vision of Hip Hop from Detroit that not only entertains, but also educates, motivates and encourages. I had the chance to listen to their latest album, Live From The Coney Island (a reference to the many independently owned mom and pop restaurants that are scattered all over the Motor City for those that don’t know), and I can say without hesitation that I was thoroughly impressed. The Regiment’s latest project has to be one of the most solid, engaging and cohesive albums I’ve heard in a while from the Hip Hop genre: not littered with a bunch of songs that don’t fit together, and not necessarily an over intellectual concept album, either. Just straight up raw Hip Hop that’s not interested in fleeting stardom. It harkens back to 90′s era East Coast Hip Hop but doesn’t sound dated or preachy in the least, even with the positive swagger and spin. Definitely not the standard, run-or-the-mill Hip Hop music that we’re so conditioned to these days. The entire album is available for streaming and downloading on DJBooth.net, with production primarily from the Legendary Nick Speed. Peep the included link and check out just a few of the songs below. I’m definitely hoping to hear more music from The Regiment in the near future and beyond.
In a continuing effort to expand on my musical palette, I’ve come across this group of talented young women that originated in the city of Angels a decade ago. It’s funny how you come across groups that you think are new, but they’ve actually been putting in years of work on the road and in the studio, but are just now getting their due when you find out about them. Anyway, Warpaint’s “Love Is To Die” is a pretty amazing song. It’s very flowy and flowery yet simultaneously depressing and dark. The lead vocals and lyrics are haunting and piercing, giving the listener the feeling of the lump you get in your throat after your significant other gives you the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. You can tell that Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa have been through a few things from this song from their self-titled album released earlier this year. An interesting factoid: former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusicante actually mixed this bands debut EP Exquisite Corpse in 2008. Given the recent press love given to them from the likes of BBC and NPR, it seems that a decade of the indie grind is paying off for Warpaint. Have a listen to “Love Is To Die” below.
Berkeley, CA-based Bay Area native Coco Peila is more than just your standard, run-of-the-mill emcee. And as an indie artist, she has to be. The grind for independent artists is a real as it’s ever been. But Peila, a graduate twice over of Full Sail University, an educator, a world traveler, an event curator, emcee, poet, singer and feminist that embodies the long tradition of creativity, activism, inclusion and the progressive spirit of California’s Bay Area in her music, seems to take it all in stride. Recently featured as part of Hip Hop Historian Davey D’s “Three Dope Songs” series on his Hip Hop and Politics blog, and having dropped her independently-released freshman album last year entitled I Still Love Him Part 1: Misses Shoot ‘em Down, and I Still Love Him Part 2: Bad B!+@#es 101 tentatively set to drop next month, Coco Peila is poised to take an even greater stance in helping move the art and culture of Hip Hop and black music continuously forward. And judging from her latest single and video, “Misses Shoot ‘em Down”, she’s taking no prisoners in doing so. Check out the video below and visit http://www.cocopeila.com/ for more information, see videos and purchase her album!
Today is the birthday of one of the most gifted, successful and still conflicted artists to ever walk the face of the earth: Sylvester Stewart, better known to us as Sly Stone. An iconic figure in rock, pop, soul, funk and even Hip Hop to a certain extent (being that much of his music helped to shape lots of funk that would come after it, which would subsequently influence Hip Hop), we would be remiss to not give credit where credit is due.
I mean, think about it: what if Sly Stone had never been born? What if we had not been exposed to the rowdy, soulful and psychedelic music that he created in the 60s that would lead to darker and yet just as brilliant material later on? What it there wasn’t a Sly Stone that found his way to California all those years ago and had the courage to combine the elements of so many different kinds of music, as well as to front mixed race and gender band during the height of unrest and social change in America? I personally would like to perish the thought all together. So today, March 15, while there’s still some time, let’s take time out to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY and thank you to Sly and all he did to influence, push and change music as we know it. Peep some of his greatest tracks below.
So the trailer of the biopic on the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, just recently hit the web. Personally I really like the choice of Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather: he’s got a look and a sound that is actually pretty convincing. The main problem with many of these movies is that they never really seem to go as in depth as they can. Example: “Ray” starring Jamie Foxx was a pretty good movie and Jamie actually did a hell of a job as the legendary Ray Charles, but it still fell just a little bit short. I guess that’s mainly because so many of these pictures try really hard to capture the entire life AND career of their subjects in 2-3 hours, and with musical figures as towering as James Brown, Ray Charles and many others, it’s a feat that’s already putting the movie at a disadvantage. Still I don’t wanna jump the gun, because Boseman and many others that are part of this movie could very well break the mold. Only time, and the theaters, will be able to tell for sure. Now, between this and Andre 3000 playing Jimi Hendrix, if we could only get Don Cheadle to finally play Miles Davis in that biography, I’d personally be set for at least a while!
Yesterday we remembered the tragic murder of Christopher Wallace, better know to many of us 90s-era teenagers as The Notorious B.I.G. Biggie left a lyrical and musical legacy that’s still matched by few and quoted by many, and having only release two albums during his short 24 years. There are far too many classic songs by B.I.G. to include in this post alone: “Party & Bullsh*t”, “Everyday Struggle”, “The What”, “Unbelieveable”, “Warning”, “Mo Money Mo Problems”, “Kick In The Door”, the list goes on and on. And sadly, that voice was taken away from us inching closer to 20 years now. Not only that, we’ll soon be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the release of Ready To Die, the seminal and essential debut album from Big. But one of the things I’ve always found so cool is that a song that Big was featured on sampled some very progressive, avant garde jazz from Herbie Hancock, hence the reason for this post! The 1993 song “Dolly My Baby” by Dancehall artist Supercat, featuring a young Biggie and Puffy rhyming over the track int he infancy of the Bad Boy era, samples Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” from the 1973 jazz fusion album Headhunters. And while the former is a gritty pounding early 90s Hip Hop classic kissed with just enough Reggae flavor to appeal to the two different genres, the latter is a classic funk-jazz hybrid that opened up a whole new world for Herbie Hancock after he had been part of Miles Davis’ ensemble for so long. Biggie’s verse on “Dolly My Baby” is playful, rugged and unkempt, but also would give a glimpse into the harsh yet clever and intricate lyrics that would make Ready To Die one of the signature albums of 1990s Hip Hop. Check out both songs below!