Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Best 10+ Tracks of 2012 That I DIDN’T Get to Play

People tend to do “best of” lists at the end of each year. This year, i decided to do one of my own. I am happy to have so many opportunities to share the music i love with people on a regular basis. But truthfully, i only present a fraction of what i actually listen to. For that reason, i’m sharing my ten favorite songs of 2012 that didn’t make it to a mixtape or my party playlist. Some of these didn’t even make it to my Facebook wall (shame on me, i know).

I guess one point of this post is just to remind folks that i LOVE music. I appreciate ALL genres. So, even if you know me as a Hip Hop and African Diaspora DJ, please don’t think that i don’t get down with EDM, alternative rock, and more! So, here they are. I hope you enjoy my Top Ten (and then some) tracks of 2012.

Top TEN of Twenty Twelve

Add-2 – Cotton Fields

[i got acquainted with Add-2 as i was gathering tracks for Radiant Souls Mixtape Vol. 2. This brother is sick with the lyrics, and his beats — many produced by SLOT-A — are pure inspiration]

Sabo – Sigueme (Sabo & DJ Afro Mix)

[dope remake of one of the songs that made me a house head!]

MONOTONE – Invitation To Dance F. RubyGold

[(technically, this was released in 2011 according to youtube) i stumbled across this song quite by accident over the summer when it showed up in my record pool, which NEVER has African music! i listened and became instantly hooked by the music and the beautiful voice. when i looked the song up, i noticed the the voice belonged to RubyGold, the beauty from “Teka Munike.” This track is a staple in my headphones, but didn’t make it to any mixes or parties. i’ll correct that in 2013]

Cajmere & Gene Farris – Donna’s A Flower

[i never get enough of this song. there’s nothing more to it]

Swedish House Mafia – Save The World

[before the EDM-is-killing-dance-music folks launch an attack, please just listen to the song. It’s truly beautiful. The music is superb and the lyrics are nice. Give it a good listen, THEN critique it to your hearts’ content]

Stonebwoy Burniton – Climax F. Samini

[this one did get a little play time. Unfortunately, the sound quality is so horrible — yes, i PURCHASED this track — that i only played it once at Sonic Diaspora in DC. If i can get ahold of a better version, i’ll play it at every gig i can in the future.]

Erin Leah & N’Dinga Gaba – Rocker (N’Dinga’s Uptown Remix)

[I LOVE every version of this song]

Chromatics – These Streets Will Never Look the Same

This track is pure dope. The bass is hypnotic and the singer’s soft voice compliments it’s edginess.

Bahamas – Caught Me Thinking

It’s amazing how artists can make breakup songs sound so lighthearted and fun.

Passion Pit – Constant Conversation (St. Lucia Remix)

This track is synth heaven!

ONE BONUS TRACK

[so, this song technically came out late in 2011. that’s close enough, right?!? regardless, i’m obsessed with this track and absolutely love the video, even it if is a bit stalkerish]

… And Five Honorable Mentions:

Santigold, “Disparate Youth”

RubyGold, “Feeling Stealer”

Euphonik, “Lose Yourself” (Delaney Duvall Remix)

Mist Glider, “If Only”

Young Wonder, “To You” (Ambassador Remix)

Expect MUCH more RubyGold from me in the near future!!!

Expect MUCH more RubyGold from me in the near future!!!

Brotha Onaci’s Review of 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, i am re-thinking my goals and revising some plans. In order to help with that process, i reflected on this past year and realized that i had a pretty good year! Although i’m grateful for everything that i was able to achieve and experience (academically, health-wise, etc.), this post is focused on my musical aspirations, beginning with Sonic Diaspora.

Sonic Diaspora began as a party in Chicago in May 2011. Now it is a multi-city cultural force that We intend to make an institution in Chicago, DC, Philly, and elsewhere! Not only do We continue to host the Chicago and DC parties, but We now have a website, a radio program, and are helping sponsor artist performances, philanthropic & community building events, and more! We have big plans for 2013 that We can’t wait to share with you! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with our developments.

Doing my DJ Ed-O thing with Scratch Events!

Personally, i’ve been fortunate enough to get acquainted with the Philly music scene and to continue working with old friends. In the process, i’ve met some great people with whom i will be delivering the highest quality events you can imagine. Among them are DJ DuiJi 13, Juanderful and Gregzinho of Tropicalismo, Poet AF Black and Ra Nubi (Nu=Bein Tranzsynchon), WorldTown, Kate Bomz (My Africa Is), La Beautiful Mess (DC), Funk Sect, DJ Aura, R.i.C (Chicago) Tapedeck Tunn, DJ Niko, Punchuashen, DJ Champé, Reggae Surge, Supa Tang, and my fellow People’s DJs Collective member, DJ Vanessa Beck. If that wasn’t enough, i also DJ with Scratch Music Group, a company co-founded by the late Jam Master Jay. Scratch began as a DJ academy, but also dispatches DJs for weddings and corporate events. Because of these connections, i was able to DJ at several weddings and retail stores, including Ann Taylor at Rockefeller Center during Fashion’s Night Out. I joined forces with Mr. Femstar of WorldTown and Juanderful to co-host DJ Zhao at the Odunde Festival. Sonic Diaspora and Tropicalismo brought Sorie Kondi & Ibrahim, Chief Boima, and Explosión Negra to West Philly during our “After Africa” weekend. I spun at places like Walnut Room and Elena’s Soul in Philadelphia, Patty Boom Boom in DC, The Shrine in Chicago, and Bembe in Brooklyn. Further, i was able to donate my DJ services to ten charity causes, fundraisers, and community building events in DC, Philly, and New York. I am truly thankful for these opportunities. Taking the time to reflect on all of this causes me to realize how blessed i have been, and gives me a positive outlook on this coming year!

Naptime Bass Screenshot

Aaliyah, “Are You That Somebody” [Brotha O’s Grimey Bass Remix]

Finally, i have taken the time to begin learning the fundamentals of music production. I’ve been passionate about music ever since i can remember, and i developed the desire to make songs when i was in elementary school. I am now (finally) dedicating some time and resources to making that happen! In 2013, i plan to devote more time to producing music that reflects the ideals i live by. In other words, it will be positive and uplifting, the sound quality to be superb (eventually — i’m still learning how to master my tracks, which is no simple task), and i hope to  successfully combine the various sounds that i appreciate from all over the world as i attempt to create something unique and beautiful. Keep a close eye on my SoundcloudFacebook, and Instagram pages for updates on these aspects of my journey.

Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 brings blessings in abundance to you and yours!

The Beginning of A New Musical Adventure!

Ever since i was a child, i wanted to make music. I dabbled with the violin, attempted to learn drums (that dream was crushed by a narrow-minded teacher… no, i’m still not over it), swore up and down that i would create my own singing group, and tried to teach myself myself to play my favorite songs on my sister’s piano. In high school, i raised the funds to get my first DJ kit with hopes DJing and producing music for a hip hop group. Fast forward several years, and i’m FINALLY beginning to learn the fundamentals of music production!

“…Thinking” on Soundcloud

At the moment, i’m learning the ins and outs of Ableton, but am also somewhat in love with Maschine (which, i could use with Ableton if i choose). Regardless, i am beginning to understand how powerful music production is with regard to my DJing. Mainly, i am much more concerned with audio quality and believe that i am listening to each track differently than i used to (especially as i struggle to get the “perfect” sound out of my creations). Hopefully, learning production will make my DJing noticeably better.

As an educator, i am also flirting new ideas and approaches to pedagogy! Long a believer that one’s classroom experience should be taken back to the community, i think that creative projects using music, video, blogs, etc. are a great way for students to share their knowledge and critical analyses with their peers and communities. Besides,  how exciting would it be to enter your history class, see a keyboard and Maschine sitting there, and be assigned an audio (or another creative) project as part of the course grade?!?

With that said, my musical dreams have shifted just a little (i’m still hoping to one day tour the world with my fantasy band… which doesn’t have to be hip hop only), and i am embracing the possibilities of permanently wedding my passions for music, education, and community building into one single career!

As i work to bring that to fruition, please enjoy this track that i posted to Soundcloud. It’s the very first song i made using Ableton, so i hope that my future projects clearly demonstrate constant improvement in my skill and creativity!

– Much Love

R.i.C Presents Breaking Hoolig@n$ Mixtape

Breaking Hooligans

My lil homie, R.i.C, is back! This time, he’s put together his debut mixtape with 23 tracks of hip hop for your listening pleasure. Breaking Hoolig@n$ is R.i.C’s attempt to combine his love for hip hop and social justice. Overall, i think that he successfully demonstrates that. His opening track, “Awake” details his struggle to be a “good” suburban kid while still “keeping it real” enough to gain acceptance from the brothers on the block.

His struggle to appeal to people interested in social justice and the streets is evident throughout the rest of Breaking Hoolig@n$. On the one hand, he critiques racism, vows to free the imprisoned, and promises to treat women with respect. On the other hand, he and his guests are still learning the subtleties of patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, and many other forms of oppression that are deeply entrenched in American culture. For that reason, i would like to encourage R.i.C and his guests to think critically about the effect of rapping about taking someone else’s girl, referring to people and ideas as “gay” or “homo,” and freely using “nigga” and “bitch” throughout the album.  Also, i’m curious as to why it’s so important to people (especially those from the suburbs) to appeal to “the streets” (also read, “the block” or making it sound “hard”). I have already spoken with R.i.C about this, and am confident that he (much like me and many others who are dedicated to social justice) will continue to learn ways that he can continue to grow and better reflect the ideals that he believes will make the world better for everyone.

Overall, i LOVE this mixtape. In fact, i’ve listen to it just about every day since, R.i.C first sent it my way! During my first listen, i was simply trying to give each track a good listen so that i could provide R.i.C with some critical feedback. I listened to the album out of order and was greatly impressed with each track. Both the production and the message in each song let me know that R.i.C and his friends in Front Row Gang are some talented individuals. I have no doubt that he, Nicole Eboni, Hooligan, Cado, and the whole team will be a powerful force in hip hop culture in the very near future.

I encourage you to stream and download this mixtape (which is mixed by yours truly by the way), share it with your friends via social media, and post comments on R.i.C’s Facebook page. You can also hit him up on Twitter with critical feedback. As a Chicago Freedom School alum and self-reflective individual, he is open to loving critique and encouragement.

Breaking Hooligans Back Cover