Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mixtape Monday: Fresh Sonic Produce #13

Happy Monday! This week, i have the honor of providing some “Fresh Sonic Produce” via Haveplentymusic.com, a Namibian-based website that is dedicated to African music and culture. Haveplentymusic is also a sponsor of Sonic Diaspora, which goes down in Philly every 1st Thursday of the month, and in Chicago every 2nd Friday. If you happen to be in one of those cities when a Sonic Diaspora is happening, then you’ll definitely want to stop on through.

I hope that you enjoy this mix. It features Afrobeat and Afro-house music from some soon-to-be-famous producers and musicians, including Baoku, Jiff the General, Punchuashen (more from him soon!) featuring Oneil Abercrombie, Eddhi, Rotimi Hundeyin & D Afrophonik Rhythms Crew, and Terry P from Objektives Music. You’ll also find some classic Afrobeat by King Sunny Ade, as well as dope tracks from Black Coffee, Eltonnick, and (one of my faves) Zaki Ibrahim!

Special thanks to da.goto.guy (da.goto.guy@gmail.com) for providing the dope cover art!

Without further ado, check out the mix HERE

Ol’ Skool Sunday: We Want To Know

Last night i had the honor of spinning on Lion’s Den radio, a Caribbean music show that mainly features Reggae of roots & culture variety, as well as Dancehall. With the fun i had in the radio station fresh in my mind, i offer these great Ol’ Skool Reggae tracks for your listening pleasure!

Bless

The Gaylads, “Africa”

Willie Williams, “The Messenger Man”

Denise Darlington, “War No More”

After We had sufficiently chanted down Babylon, the host encouraged me to branch out and play some music from Africa. I mainly hit’im with some current tracks from Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia. But had i been thinking (or not deep into a dancehall set), i would have played a couple tracks like this:

Ofege, “It’s Not Easy”

Ol’ Skool Sunday: Celebrating Etta & Them

As you may have heard, rock n roll hall of famer, Etta James, passed away on Friday. To celebrate her life and music, this Ol’ Skool Sunday features a few tracks that i’m diggin’, and think you’ll like as well.

This post is also dedicated to all of the ancestors. Whether they be world famous or powerful in our individual lives, they left behind a legacy that We appreciate with critical consideration, even as We carry it forward.

Rest in Power, Etta James and ALL the beautiful people who came before us.

“A Sunday Kind of Love”

“I’d Rather Go Blind”

“Misty Blue” (this one is not so Ol’ Skool… i know)

Get Familiar Episode 7: RiC

RiC is an emcee, producer, and activist who refuses to let popular culture dictate who and what he should be.  The young suburbanite makes his music with a clear purpose without sacrificing the “cool” that has made hip hop culture one of the dominant forces in the evolving global culture.  And in a world where cultural borders are dissolving due to social media such as Youtube, Facebook, and Soundcloud, learning how to stay true to one’s tastes (no matter how over determined they may be by the world outside one’s self) while navigating through the rapidly morphing world of sound, is a true skill for which RiC must be commended for picking up!

RiC is from originally from La Grange, a small town in Southern Illinois.  As a child, his family moved to Chicago’s South Side, then a South Suburb. His home was a place where Alex Haley’s Roots and religion were given to him constantly. Also given to RiC were stories from elders about the “good ole days,” the music of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, as well as Southside hoop dreams.  However, this routine was soon interrupted by 2Pac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.”  RiC recalled that the song changed his life by demonstrating how powerful music could be, even when sampled from the songs on which he was raised.

As an adolescent, RiC began to pen his first songs and experiment with sampling and making his own tracks. At first he wrote only love songs, utilizing them to express his emotions as one would a personal journal. After letting one of his friends listen to some of his work, RiC began rapping and writing songs for other people.

Two older cousins became important in RiC’s confidence as a writer and producer.  One, J. Wells (Bonzi Records) gave RiC a keyboard and sampler and assured him that he was capable of becoming a talented artist.  The other became a mentor figure to RiC, teaching him about hip hop’s roots and introducing him to emcees like KRS-ONE and Lauryn Hill.  This cousin also encouraged RiC to make positive music, something that the 16-year-old keeps at the core of his work.

One example of RiC’s music is his song “UnconditionalLove,” which features vocalist, Nicole Eboni. The track is mainly built using the first two bars of Stevie Wonder’s “Rocket Love,” an original drum track, and lyrics that will cause the youth and adults who listen to seriously interrogate their romantic relationships. RiC challenges us to discard toxic relationships; “that stuff is dead and [RiC’s] tired of saving it.”  Instead, We should struggle to rise above possessiveness, lust, and superficial connections to create and maintain healthy interactions with the people whom We “love.” [update: the track is featured on “Radiant Souls Mixtape Vol. 2“]

Besides recording songs that make good use of critical thinking and musical talent, RiC is an activist who’s involved with the ChicagoFreedomSchool, a tough contender in cross-country, and a producer for other artists.  He’s a co-founder of the music collective, FRGEnt, and an artist on his mentor/friend’s label, URD Ent.

RiC is currently preparing to release a mixtape called, “Conversations With The Soul.” The project is self-reflective and imaginative.  It features RiC’s daily thoughts to himself as he evolves as an activists and liberatory thinker. So definitely stay connected with RiC, because he will be dropping new singles leading up to the full mixtape.

You can stay up on RiC’s progress via Twitter, Bandcamp, Facebook, and Tumbler.

[update: check out RiC’s latest video, “A Moving Star” on Youtube.

Mixtape Monday: King Day Liberation Mix

Today, people are celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From community gatherings to service projects, youth and adults are finding ways to pay tribute to a person whom they respect and credit as an important leader in the movement equal civil rights in the United States.

Musicians, including Doc Link of Liberate Recordings, are paying tribute to Dr. King. His twelve-track mix of deep and soulful house is reminder that music can be a great tool for expressing political messages, emotions, and respect for the people to whom We look up.

So, however you pay homage to Dr. King (or even if you abstain), set this as your background music and enjoy your day!

– Brotha O

(click on the picture to listen to this mix)

Ol’ Skool Sunday: Around the Way Days

Happy Birthday, Mr. Smith! The rapper/actor celebrated his 44th bornday on Jan. 14. This Ol’ Skool Sunday is a brief commemoration of his musical contributions to hip hop and pop culture.

One thing i’ve always admired about L.L. Cool J was that even though he was widely known as a battle rapper, he also made songs like “I Need Love,” which expresses emotion and affection for his muse. Along with his tracks “Radio” and “Rock The Bells,” Uncle L was able to develop a well-rounded persona, which he used to branch out into other art forms.

Of course, there are several other great L.L. Cool J tracks that are now hip hop classics. What are some of your favorites? These are some of mine:

“I Need Love”

“Radio”

“Rock the Bells”