Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mixtape Monday (Sorta): Africa In Your Earbuds # 7

To say that i am excited about this week’s featured mixtape on Okayafrica may just be a bit of an understatement. In fact, i’m ecstatic!!!

In case you’re not familiar with Okayafrica, it is a sister website to Okayplayer. They have a lot of the same focus on great music and innovative culture, but Okayafrica is specifically dedicated to promoting African music and culture.

Every month they release a couple of mixtapes called “Africa In Your Earbuds,” which so far has featured big-named DJs, like Chief Boima and The Very Best. For mixtape number SEVEN (which just so happens to be my number), yours truly is bringing some of that fresh “sonic produce” from Africa that inspires me to boogie on the dance floor, think about the cultural diversity of Africans all over the globe, and (of course) chant down Babylon!

To stream and/or download the mix, just click the album art! Please let me know what you think of the mix here or on my facebook page.

Special thanks to DJ AfroQbano and Baoku Moses whose songs are featured in this mix. Big BIG thanks and love to David Nallah who freshed up the cover art.

– Much Love

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Ol’ Skool Sunday: Funkin the Diaspora

Barbara Acklin

Is it really Sunday? It is, which means i’ve got some ol’ skool songs that are likely to have you rehearsing your latest dance moves as you listen at your computer!

This week i decided to take a quick journey across the Sonic Diaspora. Featured here is a lil afrobeat, funk, and high life from Nigeria, DRC, U.S., and Ghana/UK.

I hope you enjoy these tunes as much as i do! Much Love.

– Brotha Onaci

Tony Allen, “Asiko” (Pop quiz for the hip hop heads: who re-interpreted this in a most fantastic way?)

James Brown & the J.B.’s, “Doin’ It To the Death”

Barbara Acklin, “I Can’t Do My Thing”

Orchestra Lissanga, “Okuzua”

Lijadu Sisters, “Orere Elejigbo”

Tru Skool Tuesday: Fitness Beyond Verbal Dexterity

Simple question: why are so many emcees & deejays dying and being hospitalized for food-related illness?

In 2010, one of the people who first “taught” me to DJ, Kool DJ Law, died of a heart attack at the “old” age of 40. I was blown. Earlier this year, Nate Dogg died after multiple strokes — and this wasn’t his first time being hospitalized for that. Most recently, We lost Heavy D. That same week Erick Sermon survived a heart attack. At some point, folks have GOT to make some lifestyle changes. I know of too many dope emcees, deejays, and music & culture enthusiasts who are heading down the same path as those who We’ve recently lost, or who — like Erick Sermon — may be headed for the hospital. I personally know many more men and women who are afflicted with similar health problems.

I’m NOT trying to convert folks into my way of living. I think that there are a variety of methods for being healthy, and they do not require folks to completely give up animal products and junk food. But there is plenty of medical research out there that has me convinced that over-consuming processed foods, meats (esp. beef, pork, and poultry), processed sugar, alcohol, and using various other drugs (including many prescription ones that should be as illegal as cocaine) — these will have a dire effect on one’s health, especially when people don’t exercise.

Ask yourself: Who pay$/lose$ when We die (very sloooowly and painfully) of poor health? Who benefit$/profit$ when WE die (very sloooowly and painfully) from poor health. It’s not an accident that so many people are suffering from dis-ease, and that out of those dis-eased people, Black, Brown, and economically oppressed folks are overrepresented.

Okay, i’m soapboxing again… On to Tru Skool Tuesday! The videos below are catchy and informative, so def give them a look-see then pass them on. Shout out to the Vegan Hip Hop Movement!

Much Love & health

Mixtape Monday: Essentials of Afro Deep

So, i’ve been on a lot of House mixes recently. I’ve been searching for some good Reggae, hip hop, and (nu/neo) soul mixes, and hope to have some in the near future. But for now, more House!

This week’s selection is some deep & soulful goodness mixed by DJ V-King who’s holding it down in Ireland. Give his mix a listen and show his some love if you’re feeling this mix!

Bless

Ol’ Skool Sunday: 1988

So the first question you may have — and this is something that i’m wondering too — is, how did 1988 become today’s theme? I don’t know. What i do know is that 1988 was a great year for R&B and Soul! Bobby Brown released Don’t Be Cruel, a record i still play! Anita Baker‘s, “Giving You the Best” became an instant classic. And several other songs that YOU probably still listen to were all over the radio stations and video channels. So, there it is… 1988 all day on this Ol’ Skool Sunday! Enjoy.

– Brotha Onaci

The Boys, “Dial My Heart”

Karyn White, “The Way You Love Me”

Anita Baker, “Giving You The Best”

Bobby Brown, “Every Little Step”

Get Familiar Episode 5: Emcee Nemesis

There’s been a rumor circulating claiming that hip hop is dead.  Regardless of where one stands on that one, there are people who embrace the culture and use it as a vehicle to express themselves and the potential for humane being.  They force me, personally, to re-check hip hop’s pulse before i say definitively whether it still lives.  And even if the pulse is sometimes difficult to find, Emcee Nemesis (among others) keep heart beat of hip hop culture strong.

Coming of age during the “Golden Era” of rap music, Nemesis recalled being inspired to write his first rhymes by his older stepbrother who rapped and constantly watched Yo! MTV Raps.  Between that, his simultaneous love for heavy metal, listening to audio stories, and reading books, the nascent emcee was nurturing his imagination and developing an extensive vocabulary.  When in 5th grade, Nemesis decided to write his first lyrics. It was then that the emcee was born.

I met Emcee Nemesis in 1997, several years after his first rhyme.  During that time, he was part of the Underground Nation with two of our mutual friends.  Nemesis always impressed me with his ability to bring raw and thoughtful lyrics (whether freestyle or written) without cursing, which was forbidden in my parents’ home!  Since high school, he got into radio, first co-hosting a college radio show for two years, then doing his own show for another two years.  Emcee Nemesis has also been a professional athlete.  He played football for a living in France, Switzerland, and Germany, holding down quarterback and linebacker positions.  And he was a Program Director at a Boys and Girls Club in North Carolina.  Working with children, he stated, provides him with the most opportunity to do what he feels is really changing the world.

But Nemesis is still an emcee through and through.  “Honestly, it’s just in me at this point. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. I love it. I am constantly in Rap mode.”  Being in continuous rap mode means that a roommate in college used to wake him up because he was rhyming in his sleep!  Now married, quality time with his wife is sometimes interrupted when Nemesis needs to write his lines on napkins with hopes of using them later.  “Most of my songs are really just about what’s going on in my mind or my life. Honest music. Life has really shaped and molded me as an artist and I truly believe that.”

Christianity has also helped make the “No Chain Emcee” into an artist that stands out amongst his peers.  Although Emcee Nemesis does not consider himself a gospel rapper, he does use his craft to proudly profess his faith and use it as a vehicle to share with those who are willing to listen.  And some people may be more likely to listen if the message comes through a dope song than through other formats.

His recently released banger, “Better Days,” captures these various themes.  Accompanied by a track produced by Iceland’s Fonetik Simbol, Nemesis speaks “through the drums to free” listeners’ “brainses/ as if i was speaking in tongues ’cause He ordained this.”  In the song, he discusses being a truth seeker struggling to walk righteously according to his beliefs so that he can help the youth in whom he’s so invested realize “that we can win.”  On the other hand, much of the world seems to direct him toward acquiring material goods that will only last as long as consumers’ drug-supported attention spans.  It’s in the contradiction between those two aspects of life where Emcee Nemesis shines.

You can keep up with Emcee Nemesis on his website.  Make sure to check in regularly, because his new EP will be dropping soon.  Until it’s available, you can cop some of his other tracks, which are available for download, and check out his videos on his youtube channel.  If you just so happen to be in Europe, he may be performing near you.  Check his website for all updated info.  Finally, you can reach out to Emcee Nemesis for booking, potential collaboration, or just to let him know what you think about his music via email: emceenemesis757@gmail.com.

– Brotha Onaci

Tru Skool Tuesday: Blessed by Some Women in Hip Hop

I recently heard this term “femcee” used in conversation and saw it written in a few articles. At first (like for the 1st ten seconds), i liked the sound of it. Then my critical self asserted that the term “femcee” upholds the notion that “emcee” is inherently male or masculine. That’s a problem.

I find that problematic partially because ever since i became a hip hop head (i believe i was 8-years-old), i heard powerful women bless the mic. And more than just reminding me that women are as important in hip hop as men, they taught me some of my earliest lessons in fighting against sexism. They made me aware that the very fact that there were (and are) way more men than women on the radio, in videos, etc. is a product of patriarchy.  Patriarchy’s impact is felt throughout U.S. society, but has a particularly vicious bite within the entertainment industry because of its absolute hatred of women (aka misogyny), especially Black women who are independent and critical thinkers, and who don’t want their lives and art to solely service men.

Anyway, off my soapbox (for now) and onward to Tru Skool Tuesday. This week’s selections come from Akua Naru, Sa-Roc, and KrisDeLa Rash, three DOPE emcees whom, i believe, deserve the respect that We give KRS-ONE, Black Thought, Lauryn Hill, Talib, Bahamadia, and many others who typically come up in folks’ “Top #” emcee lists.

As always, check out these bangers and share them with your peoples. And if you agree at all with my claim that there are some problematic forces keeping positive, intelligent women such as these at the margins of our cultural “playing field,” then please share their music with a sense of purpose.

– Brotha Onaci