Archive for April, 2010

The Black Odd Couple Radio Show Featuring Me: Thoughts About Guru

April 28, 2010

Each Monday evening at 10 PM EST, Inkognegro and Wise Math host The Black Odd Couple Show. Two brothers from different walks of life who come together to exchange thoughts about issues affecting them as black men as well as the world at large. Last evening I was the special guest of honor as we discussed Guru’s significance and the effects of his passing. It was a good time and listening back I conveyed most of my points pretty well.

Be sure to tune in Monday May 3rd as we cover the legacies of Biggie & 2Pac.

P.S. I was never heavily on the Fuck Solar bandwagon as I like to be well informed on matters before assessing them.

But if this is true…

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Little Brother Tribute Podcast By Yours Truly

April 27, 2010

I’m not a fucking blogger, but I am a podcaster if you’re unaware.

I’m about to be 110 weeks consecutively deep, here is my homage to 9th Wonder, Big Pooh and Phonte as they’re all about to travel down separate roads with their music careers.

Musical Selections:

D’angelo – Ex To The Next

Nighttime Maneuvers

Nobody Like Me (feat. Darien Brockington)

Shake It

Speed

After The Party (S1 & Caleb’s Who Shot JR Ewing Remix feat. Carlitta Durand)

When Everything Is New

Still Lives Through

Light It Up

Tigallo For Dolo

Altitudes

For You

ExtraHard

So Fabulous

Nobody But You

Hate

Shorty On The Lookout (feat. Median)

What You Do

On The Way

Dreams

Enjoy.

Donwill Interview

April 15, 2010

I’m being lazy and unprofessional right now, but fuck it here goes:

– Me and Donwill go back on some same internet circles shit since things graduated from chatrooms to forum usage

– We finally met at Tanya Morgan’s first show ever in 2004.

– He was just aight to me at the time, better than average though, like how I feel about Rhymefest or Big Pooh in 2010.

– He got on his shit though, you should know the name Tanya Morgan if you’re reading this blog, even if you never heard Moonlighting (I had the red promo cassette, purchased one of the 61 CDs ABB put out and was in the liner notes)

– He got on his shit and proceeded to stay on it: Guest appearances everywhere, side project after side project after side project, live show after live show, Brooklynati’s verbal murder, the whole kit and kaboodle.

– His first official solo album Don Cusack In High Fidelity dropped last month and is on sale at Itunes and retailers in various cities.

– I recently asked him some questions, he dropped gems and “kept it 100” or whatever it is the kids like to say nowadays.

Enjoy.

I haven’t seen the film High Fidelity and I’m sure I’m not alone in this amongst your fans who will be checking for the album. What inspired you to do a whole project around this film and what can people expect from your take on it?

The movie is as much a music snob film as it is a romantic comedy. They reference obscure bands and play great music and just kinda act like assholes about their taste in music, and to put it pretty bluntly that’s me. I’m the guy in the group who loves what he loves and hates what he hates, and I’m extremely knowledgeable about it all. My hate isn’t baseless and i don’t love aimlessly, I research the facts. The character that music played was what made this movie ultimately very easy to relate to.

The other part was the quest for answers about love/life. It’s a film about self discovery and post mid-life crisis. Its just about settling into whatever your life has become or realizing you have to change your life before it changes you, and in effect thats what my album is about. It addresses a lot of the aspects of love.

Coming from most of your grind being dedicated to Tanya Morgan, what were the challenges and joys in making your first solo album as opposed to working in a group?

People may or may not know this (I’m assuming most don’t) but we started out as soloists. We always have had projects that were all our own. From Suburban Sprawl to Grand Vonye to The Prelude to The Beat Thieves, we have always made music away from each other. This is just the first time it was done on this type of scale.

With that said this album was probably the most challenging and rewarding for me. The challenge was built around not only following through on the concept but just simply following through. From sequencing to vocal production to assembling the artwork and campaign, this was all my brainchild for the most part and while I did have input from the team there was no one to to blame but me for anything that went right or wrong. As for the reward, it’s always cool to see something you have done well received and this album feels like it could very much become a cult classic alongside all of our other projects. It just feels good to know that I can carry the team’s name.

Speaking of TM, your group is still largely considered an underdog act despite massive critical acclaim which doesn’t keep the lights on. Speaking for 1/3 of the group, how do you feel about the acceptance the crew has received from a fickle music industry and audience?

This question deserves a full interview on its own. I’ll try to be succinct but honestly it’s a conundrum wrapped in an enigma that I can barely understand let alone comprehensively explain.

In general, at the end of the day it’s about status. It has nothing to do with quality of music or acclaim from purists or media outlets. To be honest, even cosigns are kinda the equivalent of white noise, because if the artist biggin you up aint actively trying to introduce you to their audience then it’s all talk [and just] something for the onlookers to ooh and aah about. But dollars make sense so not seeing collaborations that are obvious happen just boils down to one party having alot more to gain than another.

But on a more specific note Tanya Morgan has some of the most ardent supporters in the world. Our fans are amazing and not only they have allowed us to make it this far, but they are willing to help us go farther. I have some of the craziest interactions with people who consume our music, and while I’d be lying to say that I don’t want more fans than I can possibly stay in touch with, I wouldn’t trade the ones we have for the world.

Despite whatever frustrations you may feel, you’re to be commended for working on music far more than you complain about it. What pushes you to keep going?

My frustrations/problems are great problems to have. How can we sell a few thousand more records? How can we get in front of larger crowds? Trimming the list of potential collaborators for the next record down to make sense with the concept? In the quest for more a lot of times you dont really assess how far you have made it because the journey is always just beginning and there are so many levels to it, but five years ago I was just trying to find quality beats and a place to record to them at. I’ve worked with, garnered respect from and became friends with so many of my personal idols that you can’t really scoff at  it. It would require more energy for me to quit making music than it would for me to continue on at this point and thats a hell of a realization. Not only did we come into the industry on our own two feet, we stood strong and made it pretty far virtually alone. What keeps me going is the fact that not only am I self made but I’m self making, growing and getting smarter daily.

You’re originally from the Midwest, now residing in New York but you also have a well documented love for west coast Hip-Hop. How have all of these various influences impacted your personal style of rapping?

It’s made me pretty well rounded but more importantly it made me original. When you admire Chuck D, Andre 3000, Scarface, Black Thought, Kurupt and De La Soul all at once and study them, it’s hard to come across sounding like anything other than yourself. There is no cross section and the space where they do intersect is just about originality. It’s the intangibles that you end up taking away.

The concept of balance within Hip-Hop has become somewhat of a mythical utopia at this point. Do you think it’s possible for true balance to be achieved, and if so what will it take for authenticity to share the spotlight with mindless music?

The only real balance in mainstream hip hop is balancing the budget. With that said, it’s kind of in the hands of the independent artist to put more value into making a product that the companies who are causing the imbalance are investing in. You look at Santigold (signed to Downtown Records) and how her album was licensed or The Foreign Exchange and how self-sufficiency gave way to a Grammy nod and you sorta see that balance is not on Hot 97 or MTV’s shoulders, but on your own. There are some amazing indie acts causing a great stir in the industry, and while it is a bit harder to get a real record deal or sell once you get one, imagine how successful an independent solo artist would be if they could harness a tenth of the resources/opportunities available to these artists. Chances are that a sliver of the major’s power is right under your nose as an indie, it’s just about finding it.

Quietly you’ve built many working relationships with your up and coming peers, often times long before they’re known throughout the blogosphere. With so much music vying for everyone’s attention, how are you able to keep up with it all?

I’m just interested in what there is out there. I’m part of the contingent of people who seek their music out instead of picking from the lineup. This leads me down alot of dark internet alleyways and sometimes into some really bad music. But I also come from the school of record buyers who spent hours in record stores reading liner notes and researching labels i liked, or the people who the artists i liked worked with. It’s a habit that didn’t die when the mom and pop shop closed, but simply morphed into a series of well aimed mouse clicks. I don’t listen to everything out there as much as I simply just remain abreast of everything and only deal with what actively interests me. On the flip. I couldn’t tell you what was on the radio or television, so there is definitely a disconnect involved. But as we all know, if you spend an hour a week with mainstream radio/tv you can figure out whats ‘hot’.

Your album is based around a movie, the video for “Laura’s Song” found you talking, you do the DJ Jurx character on Tanya Morgan albums, and you live in Brooklyn which is an artistic melting pot. Have you ever given any serious consideration towards acting?

Yeah I’ve been on a handful of auditions and got headshots done and all that. It’s definitely a world I want to actively pursue in the near future. I just have my hands so full with music right now that it’s a little out of reach. At this point the project would have to fall in my lap and I’m not that many degrees away from that sort of situation happening. I’ll probably chase that dream a little harder soon though.

You recently had a busy week at SXSW 2010. Who did you perform alongside, and being that you’re forever networking can we expect any collabs to result from that trip?

SXSW was crazy. It was all a blur but I remember sharing the stage with UNI, Tiron, Dom Kennedy, Tabi Bonney and Nneka to name a few. One of the crazier moments was bumping into the homie Lil B, simply because I had no idea he dug our music. This may shock some people but I’d wanna do something with him, maybe a Based freestyle or some shit.

What do you want people to take from your music concerning who you are as an artist and as a person at this stage in your career?

I’d say the one thing they should take from my career as of now is to do what you believe in and don’t be afraid to be looked at as crazy. Also, if you are gonna have a voice then use it. I don’t do music to mesh in and blend nicely with the other people making music, I do music to stand out and be seen as an innovator. Also I’d want people to know that I don’t take myself too seriously but that goes for life in general, you can’t take yourself so seriously. Look forward to failure and try to learn whatever you can from it, because it’s only supposed to teach you that lesson once. Most importantly, what me and my team do is nothing short of amazing, that may sound cocky but its the God’s honest truth.