Sunday, September 30, 2007

Paris - Assata's Song (remix)

Here's another song for one of those rap critics who say that all rap music degrades woman. Today's offering is a classic song from the Bay Area underground legend Paris. Paris is like an underground version of Chuck D. He has intelligent heart felt lyrics that are delivered in a straightforward way where anyone can understand.

On top of being a beast on the mic, he's even a bigger beast behind the boards. Anyone who's heard his production on his first two albums can vouch for that. (I put his 1st album "Devil Made Me Do It" right up there with "the Chronic" as one of the best west coast produced albums ever) Paris is a one man band cause he does all of his own beats. He also produced the Conscious Daughter's first album that included the hit "Something To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)."

"And sista you don't need a man
who cheats and mistreats and beats you bad
It's better to have
somethin then nuttin at all
And end up like a case being worse than a close call
So listen to the message in the song
It ain't nuttin but a way to make us strong
being so quick to chase the juice
And diss us tryin to taste another's fruit..."

This song is to uplift black woman, but a lot of the lyrics apply to the uplifting of all women in general. This classic remix was originally only available to DJ's on 12" vinyl, but has since been made available on Paris' collection that collects remixes, rare cuts, and b-side songs called "the Devil Made Me Remix."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kelly Sweet - A redheaded norah jones?

A couple of songs came up on my iPod the other day and I almost forgot how much I enjoyed them. People that know me know that I'm a big fan of the singer/songwriter. People that really know me know that I also a fan of a pretty readhead. It's because good ones are so rare. I'm talking about singer and songwriters, of course... But it could also apply to... Back to the lecture at hand...

The first video is for "Raincoat." It's a relaxing song reminiscent of Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" in feeling.

The second clip is a live performance of my other favorite song from the album "How 'bout you" It's a catchy mellow pop song.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Golden Era classic: Mad Lion "Take it Easy"

Here's a classic that I was listening to on my iPod the other day and was thinking that this is a song that everyone needs to hear. This is a classic from 1994 that most of you have probably heard one way or another. They've probably played it in a club or mixshow and you wanted to track it down but never knew the name of it.

This came out in a time when Nervous records was still a credible record label for urban music (after the success of Black Moon and right before the Smif-n-Wessun album).

KRS-One handled the production and he gave Mad Lion a banger. Krs' production did for Mad Lion what it did for Chanel Live, it gave them a hip-hop classic as a debut single...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stephen Lynch cracks me up!

I first saw this guy on Comedy Central Presents several years ago and he cracked me up. Since then I've made sure to give everything by him a listen. Here's two of my favorite songs of his. (warning there's colorful language in these performances)

1) Special - From his 2000 cd "A Little Bit Special"

This song is about his friend "Special Ed who got dropped on his head."

2) Talk to Me - From his 2002 cd "Superhero"

Here's a song of him getting caught in a compromising position. There's no better way to describe it than to just give the lyrics to the chorus:

"Well it seemed last night you caught me spankin' it
There's no denying it I was really crankin' it
Well dry your eyes don't be so sad
if you could just forgive me.... and talk to me dad."


If you just want to hear the songs (for those of you that have youtube blocked at work) I got you covered too.

Special - From his 2000 cd "A Little Bit Special"

Talk to Me - From his 2002 cd "Superhero"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Deep Cut Conversations: Cormega "The Saga (Remix)

Here's a great Cormega interview where he also discuses his "Who Am I ?" dvd and the writing process of his classic track "The Saga."

Here's a portion of the interview:

I’ll never forget writing “The Saga;” I was in Brooklyn, at my sister’s house, with no heat in the house. I went to sleep with a f**kin’ winter coat on. I was feeling that pain, that struggle. Damn. We had to heat up the house with a stove; this is how it is for n***as that’s poor. There’s people that live like that everyday. It’s probably March. My man KL from Screwball was there too, writing. We’re sitting there freezin’. So I said, “The saga begins, I’m a reflection of the drama within, in the ghetto I live in,” so I started just writing about the s**t I see.

I wrote the following about the song when I listed it in my "6 pack of underrated hip-hop songs"

It was hard to decide if this or (my personal favorite Mega song) "R U My N*gga" would make this list. I figured that this would be a better fit because the beat is incredible on this track where the lyrics are the biggest strength on the other track (the track is good too, just not incredible like this one).

There are other rappers who describe what goes on in the hood, but I don't think that anyone does it better than Cormega (Mega for short) because he can explain it in vivid detail without glorifying it.

"some of my friends first bids are two to fours
others are on the run with huge rewards
Mothers watch son's walk through the door
for the last time 'till they go view at the morgue
life is deep, we all just tryin' to eat
rap's a mental narcotic, I supply the streets"

What separates Mega from almost every other street thug turned rapper is that he tells you the side of their mentality that you rarely get to hear.

"when I go to make a sale
at times I wonder, are we goin' straight to Hell?
or does God realize we're tryin' to make it as well
my sleep is interrupted by food on the stove
not gun shots, we're immune to those..."

In these lines Mega speaks on his mind frame when he was selling drugs. He knew he was doing wrong and he didn't want to have to do it but he was just trying to "make it." How often do you get to hear the mind frame of a street legend so candid and vividly described?

The answer... Only every time a new Cormega album is released.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Best rap endorsement commercials ever

Here are two of the greatest rap endorsement commercials ever. Reebok must have came out of pocket for the promotion of Iverson's shoes this year cause they hired The Trackmasters to put together a banging beat out of basketball sounds and Jadakiss to drop some lines about the most popular player at the time (Iverson). Though the St. Ides radio spots and the Nas & AZ commercial were dope, I feel that these take the cake. Let me know (by adding a comment) if you can think of a commercial that could give this one a run for their money and I'll add it in a future posting and see if people agree.

Jadakiss - Answer 5

Jadakiss & Allen Iverson - Answer 6

In this installment Jewels (AKA Allen Iverson) surprisingly holds his own with Kiss.

"Tryin' to build a team, I'm the playa ya need
hard like Willis Reed, top thief & scorer in the league"

This very commercial might have been what made AI think that he could do a whole album cause he came off kind of nice here. He didn't really get run over like many others do when they're on a track with Jada.

If you just want to hear the songs (for those of you that have youtube blocked at work) I got you covered too.

Jadakiss - Answer 5

Jadakiss & Allen Iverson - Answer 6

Monday, September 17, 2007

The World's Worst Burglar

This clip isn't new. I remember forwarding it to my friends about a year ago, but I did have an urge to watch it again. Here's a clip of a guy that robs a liquer store after hours. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, I guess it's more complicated then it looks. At least, he makes it look more complicated. I've got to hand it to the guy though, cause he can sure take some punishment.

Hopefully, the guy will land on his feet after he serves his time. Cause he sure wasn't landing on his feet while he was robbing the place. Bwahaha. I kid, I kid...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Natalie Imbruglia - "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007"

Here's a post about my favorite pop star Natalie Imbruglia. Like almost everyone else in this country I couldn't get her hit "Torn" out of my head in 1998. The song was everywhere. I, like most others in this country, wrote her off as a one hit wonder since I didn't hear anything else from her.

Sometime later when I joined the BMG music club I had to pick some cds selections. I picked the cd's that I really wanted (though I can't think of them now) and I was getting to the final selection and I didn't know what to get. I remember thinking that I loved "Torn" and she sure was beautiful in that video so I'll check it out. I'm glad I did.

Songs like "Left of the Middle," "One More Addiction," and "Wishing I Was There" struck me instantly. I liked the feeling in Natalie's songs so in no time her cd was in heavy rotation. Once I read the credits and found that she wrote her own songs I became a big fan because I really respected her musically. By that time I tried to track down every Natalie Imbruglia song I could cause I found that I liked everything I'd heard from her up to that point (IE: every song on the album). I bought the limited edition 2cd version of "Left of the Middle" that has 5 bonus tracks and every cd single that had a bonus song (that I didn't already have). I was very happy with the quality of her b-side songs cause some of them ended up becoming favorites of mine like "Tomorrow Morning" and "Frightened Child." (I know it sounds like a drug addict.) When I have an artist that I really like I support them and will get everything that they put out (I have at least one copy of everything Cormega's ever put out).

(Here's "Wishing I Was There" from her 1998 cd "Left of the Middle")

After her second album "White Lilies Island" came out in 2001 she became my favorite non-rap artist. It wasn't necessarily because of the music (though I feel that this album is a masterpiece), it was because what I read in an interview. Natalie wanted to be respected as a songwriter and it didn't sit well with her that her biggest hit was a remake (translation: not written by her). I liked that this didn't sit well with her but it was what she said next that really got my attention. She said something like "I will never have another hit song written by someone else." I remember thinking that's a pretty bold statement, but after she delivered with a masterpiece I officially became a believer. This album has my favorite long-distance relationship song ever "Satellite" which was perfect timing cause I was in a semi-long distance relationship at the time.

Natalie must have been in the zone during these sessions (or she just recorded a lot of great songs since her debut album was released) cause there were great b-side songs that were released with the singles to this album (Shikaiya, Just Another Day, Always Never, and Standing There).

(Here's "Wrong Impression" from her 2001 cd "White Lilies Island")

natalie imbruglia - wrong impression from max tampax on Vimeo.

(Here's a AOL sessions performance of "Satellite." The album version is from her 2001 cd "White Lilies Island")

The purpose of this post is to celebrate the release of her "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007" cd coming out this month (Amazon says 9/17 while Best Buy says 9/25). I know that I'm going to get the special edition with the DVD of all of her videos. For some of you this may be a great way to be introduced to (and support) a respectable & talented pop star.

(Here's "Shiver" from her 2005 cd "Counting Down the Days")

If I were to recommend any of her cd's to a first time listener of one of her entire albums it'd be "Counting Down the Days" cause I feel that it's her most brilliant album. However, since it didn't get a US release I know that it's a lot to ask to fork out over $20 for an import cd, so "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007" might be a great alternative. Either way, there's great music out there if you're willing to dig a little deeper than what you hear on US top 40 radio.

(Here's "Glory" from her 2007 "singles + 5 new songs" cd "Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007")

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ed O.G. & the Bulldogs - Be A Father to your Child

Today I'm going to share with you one of my favorite hip hop songs ever. This is a song that every hip hop fan, everyone hip hop basher, and every man should listen to.

This song illustrates why many hip hop fans that were fans during the "golden era" can't stand to listen to rap radio or watch rap video shows today. Not due to any thing against many of the mainstream rappers of today because I like a number of them (Jay-Z, Kanye West, TI, Andre 3000). Most of us don't like that there's not much variety. For every 50 Cent (negative thug) getting radio play there should be a Saigon (reformed thug trying to lead his people in the right direction). For every Rich Boy (rapper getting carried by his beats) there should be a Crooked I (rapper who has incredible lyrics). And so on...

I couldn't imagine a song like this getting radio play today because unless the song is negative, is about a dance, or has singing on the chorus it's not going to get any love. That's why we should all be thankful that this came out in the "golden era" and not today, or this hip hop classic may have gone unnoticed.

This track is from Ed O.G. & the Bulldog's 1991 LP "Life of a Kid in the Ghetto" (which also contains his classic "Gotta Have It" that puffy jacked for Mary J. Blige's 2003 hit "Ohh!")

Monday, September 3, 2007

Jena Six

This is pretty sad that racism is still such a reality in some places

If you haven't heard the un-bias facts about the Jena Six story watch this:

(I saw this pic recently of Mos Def & Bun B showing their support)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cee-Lo Green the Soul Machine

Though many might be familiar with Cee-Lo's work with Outkast, Goodie Mob, or most recently Gnarles Barkley (he's the singer) the majority of music fans aren't aware of this man's talent.

Cee-Lo reminds me of Canibus (the rapper, not the drug) cause when he's at his peak not many can mess with him. I believe that the only thing holding these artists back is that they're not at their peak as often as they could be.

The thing that has kept Cee-Lo from being my favorite R&B singer is that I haven't liked any of his entire albums (including the Gnarles Barkley album w/ Danger Mouse). But what's kept me a big fan of his is that each of his albums have shown enough flashes of brilliance to keep me anticipating his next release. Here's three tracks that best exemplify why I feel that Cee-Lo is a star that not many in R&B or poetry can mess with (maybe I'll have another post dedicated to his raps w/ Outkast & Goodie mob).

1) All Day Love Affair (from his 2004 CD "Cee-Lo Green Is The Soul Machine")

This song shows if Cee-Lo sings about a topic that anyone can easily digest his voice will shine and he can create a timeless soulful love song.

2) Gettin' Grown (from his 2002 CD "Cee Lo and His Perfect Imperfections")

This is a song that you'd only hear from Cee-Lo. The uptempo backdrop is perfect for Cee-Lo to just break down some of his struggles growing up (or "gettin grown"). This video is a little odd, but it's entertaining and doesn't take (much) away from this great song.

3) Wake up show spoken word poetry freestyle

He drops some knowledge in this poem. I was pretty speechless when I first heard this...

He's collaborated with everyone from Lauryn Hill, Carlos Santana, Common, Diddy, Macy Gray, and Everlast to writing for the Pussycat Dolls (he penned their hit "Don't 'Cha") & Brandy. Hopefully after you listen to these tracks you'll see why Cee-Lo is probably one of your favorite singer's favorite singer...