Monthly Archives: September 2011

Tru Skool Tuesday: J-Live’s Newest Gem Part 1

I am a music junky who has gotten many of my best highs from hits of raw, uncut hip hop. From KRS-ONE, ATCQ, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince (don’t front, you know you liked them too), to Bahamadia and Black Star, i’ve gained many favorite emcees.

In 2002, i added J-Live to my list of favorites after hearing “One for the Griot.” Actually, i had heard “Braggin’ Writes” some time before that, but didn’t come to recognize and respect the god-emcee until All of the Above. Since then, his ability to deliver socially relevant messages and funny stories in some of the most clever lyrics i’ve ever heard has launched J-Live to the top of my “dope emcee” list (it doesn’t hurt that he’s also a DJ — see him perform “Braggin’ Writes” live! — and producer) whose music i anxiously PURCHASE whenever it’s released.

Today i purchased J-Live’s newest full-length album, S.P.T.A. (Said Person of That Ability). I’m listening to it now and will write an album review for next week’s installment of Tru Skool Tuesday. Only a few tracks in, i can see that it’s going to be worth writing about in two blog posts! If you get this, let me know what you think.

– Brotha Onaci

Mixtape Monday: The Very Best

Let me begin by admitting that i’ve been sleeping. I heard a track or two from The Very Best (“Warm Heart of Africa” and “Julia”) a while back, and i liked them. But i never did much digging to learn more about the group and what they have to offer. However, in late-August/early-September I listened to their Super Mom Mixtape and was blown away. A couple days later i checked out their prior mixtape,

The Very Best Mixtape. These two mixtapes have dominated by headphones lately. I suggest you check them both out, then go cop The Very Best’s Warm Heart of Africa album!

You can find The Very Best Mixtape here and their Super Mom Mixtape on their website.

Happy listening!

Brotha Onaci

Ol’ Skool Sunday: Reggae/Dancehall Edition

For many years of my life, Sunday afternoons were peppered with great sounds from the Caribbean thanks to Badjoe, a DJ who has hosted a mix show called Caribbean Shakedown (formerly Caribbean Sunset) on 103Jamz in Norfolk, Viriginia. That mixshow became my first lesson in mixing Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Dub, etc., even before i began DJing. Badjoe’s thoroughly awesome show introduced me to “riddims,” taught me about “one-drops,” and became my first substantial lessons in the political/anti-Babylon aspects of the Rastafarian religion.

This Sunday, i’m listening to some great songs that i remember hearing in my childhood. I hope you enjoy them as much as i do!

Brotha Onaci

Bob Marley – War/No More Trouble Medley

Barrington Levy – Black Roses/Broader Than Broadway Medley

Maybe next time i’ll post Steel Pulse’s “Revolution,” which has the same riddim!!!

Foxy Brown – Baby Can I Hold You Tonight

This was one written and first sung by Tracy Chapman

Gregory Isaacs – Rumours

If this riddim sounds familiar, but you don’t recognize the lyrics, it’s probably because you’ve heard J.C. Lodge’s or Shabba Ranks’ versions of “Telephone Love.”

Cocoa Tea – 18 & Over (Movie Star Riddim)

Recently, dancehall artist Delus did a version for the G-Shock Riddim.

Sister Nancy – Bam Bam (Stalag 17-18-19 Riddim)

CLASSIC material right here. This is one of the first reggae songs that i remember hearing and LOVING. Tenor Saw and Yami Bolo also have great tracks in this riddim.

Get Familiar Episode 1: Baoku Moses

Who wants to know the reason rich people flourish even as poor folks continue struggling for the most basic necessities in life?  That is a question Baoku Moses, the front man for The Image Afro-beat Band, asks melodically in his song “Oro Sunukun (Deep Issue).”  Born in Ilesa, a city in the Osun state of Nigeria, Baoku knew nothing but extreme poverty for the first twenty-one years of his life. His only objective was to work enough so that he could survive from one day to the next.  That struggle for survival led Baoku to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. It was in Lagos that Baoku developed the only ambition he ever had, to become an artist and a Yoruba cultural ambassador.

In Lagos, the rhythm of a drum led Baoku to his life’s destiny… literally.  It was 1994, and at the time Baoku worked manual labor jobs that he would not wish on his worst enemy.  However, it was in Lagos that Baoku discovered his love for theatre and eventually music.  One day he followed the sound of drums and gong to Ajumobi Theater Group’s rehearsal.  Baoku met the director and became involved, first as an actor.  Within two months of participating in the theater group, he claimed that his “creative mind opened up.”  Baoku began writing scripts and songs, and within a year he moved up and became an apprentice with a bigger company, Odunfa Theatre Institute, an internationally renowned company whose actors star in major Nigerian films.  Finally, he became a student with the Ivory Ambassadors, one of the highest rated private cultural troupes in Nigeria.  As an apprentice, he refined his acting skills and danced.  His dance career didn’t last long, because at 6’4” it was difficult for choreographers to match him with a partner.  Frustrated, he decided to learn the drums.  All the while the singer and songwriter penned songs that were critical of the world, and which sought to spread messages of hope, unity, and power.

In 1997, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – the father of Afrobeat – died.  Upon his death, the Nigerian government lifted a ban on Fela’s music.  As it played freely on the radio, it was like the spirit of Fela found a new home in Baoku, who quickly decided that he would play Afrobeat from that point forward.

Baoku released his first demo in 1998, which showed people that he was more than just a drummer.  After proving that he was a talented composer, he began helping people arrange and compose their own material.  He would even help them in studio sessions, sometimes singing backup and playing drums on their tracks.  One of those people was Becky Umeh.  She invited him to join her band Alejo (which means visitor) on a trip to the United States where they were to play in a world music festival. At the time, Baoku was already involved with two other tours.  In one tour he was a music director, and he was the lead drummer with an opportunity to promote his own music in the other.  However, he decided to tour with Alejo Band in 2002, which proved to be a great opportunity, because it provided Baoku with a two year visa.  That was enough time for Baoku to establish himself and set new roots in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Baoku is still in Cincinnati where he is married and teaching drum and dance classes full time.  He considers himself a Yoruba culture and Afrobeat ambassador.  Essentially, that means that he strives to maintain a strong connection with his national and cultural roots as he teaches others through drumming, dancing, and Afrobeat music.  Baoku stated,

When people listen to my song[s], I want them to think about the world and the situations we are all facing. As they dance to my groove, I want people to feel the vibe of struggle, suffering, hope, peace, love, and begin to accept that unity is one of the best cures for all our sicknesses (the world is ill and unity is one of the pills to heal the world). United we will stand forever, divided we will continue to fall.

Baoku, whose name means “hope,” has committed his life to this mission of curing the world of its ills and making the world a more peaceful and respectful place to live.

Baoku and the Image Afro-beat Band are playing at several festivals in Ohio and elsewhere, and they are working on their first studio album together.  Much of the album features the Afrobeat sounds that many people have come to know and love.  But the band is also working on some experimental tracks that combine spoken word, rap, and even heavy metal that will surely highlight Baoku’s creativity and his band’s innovation.

They are hoping to collaborate with artists from any genre of music in their attempts to make their music a universal language with which to spread their message.  Also, Baoku and the Image Afro-beat Band are interested in playing events of all variety, including concerts and festivals all over the world.

If you’re interested in collaborating with, booking, or following Baoku and The Image Afro-beat Band, visit their Reverb Nation Page.  Or contact Baoku directly by email (baoku@baokutcr.com).  You can also get new music via his Soundcloud and Baoku’s personal website.

– Brotha Onaci

Check out Baoku’s powerful Drumming on Youtube!

Anikulapo: A Rough Intro to Fela

Peace & Power! Fela Anikulapo-Kut’s born day is 15 October 1938. In celebration of the influential musician, i’ve put together a short mix (FREE DOWNLOAD). If you’re not familiar with Fela, this should serve as a nice introduction. If you’re already a Fela fan, i hope this mix reminds you of some of the dope tracks he created over the years. Either way, i hope you enjoy it!

Much Love,

Brotha Onaci

Prince’s Erotic Revolution & The People’s DJ Collective Birfday

Prince’s Erotic Revolution is a mix i made in celebration of the People’s DJ Collective’s 2nd Birfday!

The Collective will celebrate on Saturday, September 3 by playing Prince inspired, produced, and/or performed music every half hour.

But wait, we aren’t stopping there. We want you to come dressed as your favorite era Prince and enter a prince look-alike contest or just come as your best Prince inspired costume and garner some votes for a cash prize.

The People’s DJs Collective will be rotating throughout the night. Unfortunately, i will not be there physically. However, the party will include my Prince’s Erotic Revolution Mix!

Much Love all my Chicago peoples and to the People’s DJ Collective (Chicago branch)!!!