This is for all of you American Idol fans. The next time you watch, pay attention to the background singers. There’s one you should aware of (probably all of them are better than most of the clowns in front. I don’t watch the show though.) Her name is Sy Smith. She’s pretty much been everywhere. You can hear her song, “Welcome to Syberspace” can be heard on the beginning of the Neo Soul Cafe audio podcasts. She on Myspace, so you junkies might have run across her music or her video, “Fa Sho”. She sung the title song for the show Soul Food with Al green. She’s also sung on the shows Ally Mcbeal and the aforementioned American Idol. She’s touring all over the place and has even performed in a recent Eric Jerome Dickey book (of which I cannot remember the name of). She’s done backup for a bunch of people including Me’shell N’degeocello (“Bitter” top 10 album easily, personally). Kinda busy, she is.
She’s been around for a few years now so you might have run across her work one way or another. If you haven’t get to know her a little better. She’s had two albums and you can probably find them around one way or another (check below or her website). She did an interview on Honeysoul.com in the middle of last year. Check that out (audio) here:
I must be slippin’ in my old age. I can’t believe I missed this. Last night, I was listening to and catching up on “On The Real” w/ Chuck D when I heard that he was talking to Brother J from the X-Clan. Come to find out that not only that X-clan and Public Enemy are now on tour, but X-clan has a new album coming out in January (the 30th from what I see).
If you don’t know X-Clan is a Hip Hop group from the 90’s and the “face” of the Blackwatch Movement (which is still active) started by group member and Activist Lumumba “Professor X the Overseer” Carson, son of civil rights activist Sonny Carson. Their first album, “To the East, Blackwards”, is classic material and their second album, “Xodus”, was more of the same. They spoke a message of pro black radicalism not totally unlike aforementioned Public Enemy. Brother J, the lead and pretty much only, MC was and still is regarded as one of the nicest on the mic. Ok, I don’t remember if he made the list, but I think he should have if he hasn’t. X-Clan helped popularize the beads and black medalions (the “afrocentric look” as would be said nowadays) that were widely worn (I hate to say fashionable, but that’s what it seemed to be) when they came out. They didn’t seem to be doing it for fashion sake, but because of what they believed in and that’s part of why they are one of my favorite groups.
The group consisted of the before mentioned Brother J and Professor X (points if you can tell what that was in reference to), DJ Sugar Shaft, Paradise (not sure what he did), and Lady MC’s Queen Mother Rage (not to be confused with Lady of Rage) and Isis, AKA Lin Que. Professor X died earlier this year, and Sugar Shaft died some years ago. Of that group, Brother J and Paradise are what’s left. I have now idea what Queen Mother Rage is doing and Lin Que was, at one pint down with the Wu Tang offshoot crew, the Deadly Venoms.
Anyway, you can read all of that elsewhere. Right now, you should check out the new video, “Weapon X” below. It’s hot, personally. I’m a little biased, granted, but it is good and Brother J proves he’s still nice with his.
And if you want to check out X-Clan, here is their website:
Because I couldn’t find “Paragraph President” and “Alphabet Aerobics’ was done here.
Third: Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice baby”
I really didn’t look for this one because I don’t know why it popped up. Do have a funny story though. I was in Best buy a couple of weeks back where the satellite radio stuff was when this song came on. Now, I had already been hearing it in my head the last couple of days prior, so I left the area. Turning the corner from the display, I see these 3 young caucasians (two of which in hoodies no doubt) striking a B Boy stance and trippin’ on said song. Needless to say, I found this quite amusing, yet sad at the same time. Anyway, in lieu of the actual song, here is a clip from “In Living Color” that is just as funny. And last but not least this clip from the show “Scrubs” because thanks to my cousin showing me the clip, i’m singing the damn song.
Twas the week five days before Christmas and all through the town. People are scrambling for gifts, and knocking others down.
Ok, so that wasn’t my best rendition, but you get the point. It’s crunch time, and i’m here to help. If you’ve gotten your shopping done, Hoorah! If not, join the club. Anyway, when I first started blogging last year, I put out a similar post on the different Holiday gift guides on the web, so this could be an annual event. And since I know time’s precious (and I have to go to work in a few), let’s get it going.
First up: For the tech inclined (like me)
CNET does a gift guide every year. It’s broken down all nice and neat into categories. There’s even video and podcasts to go all with it. Some of he videos were from their recent Holiday Helpdesk that was streamed a couple of weeks back. Should have told you about it then.
Admittedly, I didn’t spend much time on this one as I should have.
Author, columnist, geek, machinist, (audio, video, and text) blogger Violet Blue has some suggestions on what to put under the tree… or anywhere else you want to stick something. Hopefully, I hope to add more to this section later.
Music site where I link to quite often when I do music related posts (which I’m past due on). Guide done by genre, of course. I think MP3.com borrowed reviews and such from Allmusic.com. A lot of places do.
If it’s not painfully obvious what this site is about, then allow me to redirect you to another site. Anyway, it’s another CNET property. Usually hit them up for show recaps and whatnot.
And (for now), there you have it. I may stick in one or two others should I come across anything in the next day or two. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas to go off from. If not, you are on your own.
The holiday season is upon us and you know what that means….
Ok, yea, you’ll wish you hadn’t had that last mound of stuffing, but besides that it’s one week away from the busiest shopping day of the year. The time of year stores LOVE because they will be giving thanks to you for giving them all of your money for the sake of Christmas. You know, when you CLAIM to be Christmas shopping for the family when you are really just getting stuff for yourself (selfish ass). For those of you crazy enough to want to go out and shop during that day, I know you will want a leg up on all of the sales going on for Black Friday. Wait a minute, who came UP with that stupid name anyway and why is it BLACK Friday……..oh!!
Anyway, how will you get a heads up on the sales when the paper with those sales won’t come out until Thanksgiving (sometimes they start advertising the Sunday before)? You are in luck, there are a couple of site that will help you in this time of greed need.
Now Blackfriday.info covers just that day. It usually has all of the sales that are going to be had on Black Friday at least a week in advance. Which is why i’m telling you about it now. Usually when a store puts it out, they post it. Well, Except this year for Best Buy, who made them take theirs down this year. I don’t know how long they have been doing this, but I found out about them a couple of years ago.
Fat Wallet, I believe, works all year round. They have been around for a while and they pretty much sniff out all of the deals and coupons around the web from places and posts them up on their site. I haven’t used it much, but I have heard of it. It might ask you to sign up, but it appears that you don’t have to in order to take advantage of what is posted.
And there you go. consume until your hearts content. Oh, I want to give up a bonus site that also works all year. It’s called Woot.com. Their thing is: “One day one deal”. Every day they have a new or refurbished item, mostly of a tech related nature, on sale. Once the day is over, the deal is over. Sometimes (like right now when i’m writing this), the will have what is called a Woot-off! That is a day or two when they put something up on the site until it sells out and then put up another item. As I said, that goes on for a day of two and sometimes there is some good stuff that comes up. They even have a nice little funny podcast to go along with the item. The write ups on the items are amusing, too.
Anyway, go check that stuff out if you are so inclined. I just want my 10% commission of front. Leave it at the door on your way out. And no plug nickels either, ya cheapskates!
Outside of lyrics and flow, what I love about Hip Hop (and some Rap) is the music. Hip Hop was pretty much built on the foundation of sampled music. It has grown (somewhat) from that, but it still holds on to that foundation quite closely. Hell, some people have made their so called “fame” from “sampling” popular songs and calling it theirs. All they did was take a popular song, loop it and call it production, which is totally BULLSHIT and yet people praise their stupid asses for it. YEA, PUFFY, I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU!
(*Ahem*) As I said, sampling is a Hip Hop staple. Now, what I really love is that every now and then, I would come across the original song that was sampled. I still look for them so that I can add them to my collection. I love it because if you think about it, if you like the beat of a song that has a sample of another song, why would you not like the original? Ok, I could probably answer that myself, but I choose not to. It’s a flimsy reason anyway. Right, so about a year or two ago, I came across a huge list of songs that had been sampled and for them most part, I have found most of them. Some are still hard to find because either whoever used them chopped them up to unrecognizable lengths, the liner notes of the album aren’t clear or even mention it (Madonna – “Justify my Love” for example), or it came out before the Biz Markie incident.
So, when after I started blogging (which reminds me of something*), I figure I could do a little something something to spread the word on the original sampled material. That is where the Sample Moment posts came from. I would LOVE to do it in audio form, but I would also love NOT to get sued for doing so. But who knows, I may be able to cobble something together one day and put it out. We’ll see. For the time being, check out this post from the Soulcrates blog ran by GrantLove (no relation):
The post is from earlier this year and If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that he’d found the same list or been in my hard drive. 🙂 Make sure you click the link at the bottom of the post to listen to the songs. I guarantee that you will recognize more than half the list off the bat. LOVE IT!
* – This reminded me of the fact that as of this past October, I have been blogging for a year now. It totally slipped my mind. It’s a bit late to do something about that, but maybe for my 100th post. What is it with 100 being a milestone for blogging anyway? What is this, TV?
You know, I think what I originally wrote might have be nicer than what i’m posting now, but what can you do (see bottom). Anyway, a while ago, I mentioned a nice music blog that I said I would check out and write about. Actually, it was two sites, NetInfoWeb 2.0 “Tracking the sites, Tracking the Soul ” and RIBS: Rhythms in Black Satin, an MP3blog, ran by the MAN TGrundy. I can’t seem to find the post that I mentioned them in, but go with me on this. Maybe if I would get off of my ass, I would finish the post properly (and I will. it’s a great site). I will say right now that RIBS has some great audio mixes (and the playlists for them) and that you should go check them out. Anyway, i’ve been checking the site out and commenting on a couple posts here and there. I went there earlier tonight and saw that I got a nice post written about me. Well, it’s not really about me, but a post I did fairly recently. How about this, you go check his post and you’ll see what i’m talking about.
Now, I thought it was nice and and I quite possibly blushed when I saw it… well, you know, being brown and a man, it doesn’t happen often. Actually, this reminded me of something that i’ve had on the back burner for a while now. I may try to dig some stuff out and post them. Oh, and don’t get me wrong, i’ve been mentioned in other’s post before (not that i’m anybody), but this took it to another level for me. So once again, I will say thanks to tgrundy for the post and I can’t wait for the mix!
Performancing Tip(s): 1) Save early, save often. Pretend you are in Microsoft Word and fear a crash. It does happen. 2) Unless you are 200% confident in it’s delivery, don’t clear the post until after it’s published. Performancing is pretty good about letting you know if it wen through or not, but why risk it (unless you did #1). Firefox could possibly crash and not recover you post (don’t know if the new version works for running extensions). The last tip is mainly for Blogger users because I can’t tell you how many times i’ve posted something only and it not be there or worse. Oh wait, yes I can, it’s about 5.
Now, i’ve talked about Pandora enough in the past and I probably won’t stop talking about it any time soon. This post, outside of having some other good links, clicks through to this post on the Lifehacker site:
As the title says, there are some useful tips for handing Pandora. Some of them I have heard of and/or used before. An issue in one of these tips, I hadn’t encountered. The only one I didn’t see is the one on how to rewind a track and I know there was a way out there. I’m not so much concerned with saving tracks (which is mentioned in one or two or the tips), but it is handy, I guess. At any rate, if you use Pandora, check it out. If you are curious about it, check out my stations to the left of this post.
And now back to the previously scheduled rant or whatnot.
Well, I least I think it’s number 3. I can’t remember the last one I did that counted as one. I have one I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months, but haven’t put it up yet. Forget that, this one has priority.
So I was talking music with my dear friend Baby Jaguar last week (Hi Daneita) and she asked a question that I totally could not answer, until NOW. The question was…
Where the HELL is Maxwell!
And I thought to myself, yea, where the hell is he? He hadn’t had an album since 2001’s Now. Hell, Sade’s done something since then and you KNOW she can space out her albums like nobody else. And Maxwell was on a pretty good run when he came out. The voice, the timing, the blowed out hair, it was all there. However, I didn’t go snooping around for it right off the bat. It wasn’t until I was listening to a NeoSoul Cafe podcast last night at work when I heard “Each Hour Each Second Each Minute Each Day: Of My Life”(I love his song) from his second album, Embrya. This is what sent me to finding out what’s the deal is. So let’s back up a bit.
Maxwell hit the ground running with his 1996 debut album, “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite”. I knew the album was going to be something when I saw the video for “‘Til the Cops come Knockin'”. And I only saw it once on B.E.T. The whole album was a hit and it played out like a story, or a suite, if you will. Notable songs* were, “Ascension (don’t ever wonder)”, ‘Reunion’, “Sumthin’ Sumthin'” (of course), and my personal favorite, “Suitelady (The Proposal Jam)”. He followed this album a year later with an MTV unplugged album. Let me go ahead and say that I don’t usually count “live” albums as full albums because they usually they are usually concerts centered around whatever album was out at the time and not full of any real new material. This one was no exception, but it did spawn a single from it and it was popular. He remade Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”, it took off, and he rode it until the wheels came off.
The video that started it all (for me)
1998 saw the release of the aforementioned album, “Embrya”. This also brought the release of some quite long and strange ass song titles. Nonetheless, the album was about as good as the first. Some would argue better. It worked the way it worked for me. Notable songs, “Everwanting: To Want You to Want”, the single “Luxury: Cococure”, “I’m You: You are Me and We are You”, “Submerge: Til We become the Sun”, and my personal favorites “Matrimony: Maybe You” and the aforementioned “Each Hour Each Second Each Minute Each Day: Of My Life” Which, by the way, is exactly what was being taken typing all of this out. Jeez! Pretentious, much? Anyway, good album, terribly long titles.
Now that my hands are tired, i’m breezing through the res of this. Maxwell rode Embrya until 2001 (not really, but go with it) when he released “Now” where he re-ran “This Woman’s Work” as the jump off. This album was as good as the other albums, in my opinion, which is good. I happen to like consistency in an artist. Call me crazy. I guess now I should take the time to say that through out all of the albums laid the consistent production of Stuart Matthewman. The name may not sound familliar but the his sound does. He is part of the group Sweetback who also doubled at one point as Sade’s backing band (okay, do you see the connection?). So if you know the sound, then you know what this album sounded like. In fact, I forgot that Sweetback’s album and Maxwell’s first album came out the same year, so they had the connection even then. Maxwell also sung the song “Softly Soflty”, which is a nice song, on their album (go pick it up. It’s sexy).
Back on track. Notable songs… really, f like the first two albums, you probably liked this one. But since you insist on having notable songs here they are: “Get to know ya”, “W/as my girl”, and the hit single, “Lifetime”. After that, he dropped off the face of the earth. Or so I thought.
I just so happened to do a Myspace check and sure enough, he’s there. Not only that but it appears that he is working on a new album that looks to be out around Valentine’s day? This is great news, personally. There is one thing that has me worried. If you go to his Myspace page, you will notice something quite wild. No, not the fact that there are 3 tracks presumably from the upcoming album. The brother done cut his blow out! Oh wait, I think he just has it dreaded up and pulled back. his hair was kind of signature for him, so I got worried. Actually, I still am. Is this going to be the Maxwell of yesterday with some new material, or is this a new Maxwell that feels the need to flow with the mediorcrity of today’s R & B? Who know? Well, I guess I would if I had checked out the tracks on Myspace and I will later on. Right now, I’m kinda glad to see the brother is coming back out. Maybe lifting up the underground (Neo)soul genre, perhaps? We’ll see. Hopefully, he’ll still do a little Sumthin’ Sumthin’ (yuck, yuck yuck).