Friday, July 30, 2010

New Music: "Ebony Essence"- Mykel

So people are always asking me about what new music I'm listening to. I'm sure I usually turn out to be a disappointment when I tell them, not much, then randomly mention Radiohead's Ok Computer.

But I have found a few artists here and there that capture my attention, one being singer/songwriter/guitarist, Mykel.

I first heard him on "Miss Atlanta" by Bobby Creekwater and was impressed. Then, I heard him live at the A3C Festival and was more impressed because he can actually sing. I ran into him at Sunset Lounge a couple of days later, yada-yada-yada...months later, I heard some new music and was super impressed. Dude is really dope.

Anyways, he's currently pushing his new single "Ebony Essence" (and this isn't even the dopest song that he sent me) so I thought I would post it for your listening pleasure. Be on the lookout for dude, he's really talented.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The 6 Fashion Choices of Black Men in Atlanta

I was hanging out at Pal's Lounge the other night, having a great time at their karaoke event, when it dawned on me that there are exactly 6 ways that black man likes to look in Atlanta. I think I got a glimpse of all 6 while there. Lucky me.

1- Like Pill. This is the certified trap look, reserved for actual dope boys. No posers accepted.

2. Like the New Boyz. Reserved for all the hipsters or hipsters who don't want to be called hipsters or weekend hipsters or...whatever. If you're over 24 and you still look like this, you are probably single.

3. Like the 2010 version of Kanye West. This is what most business professionals/corporate yes-men/industry guys with a title have decided they enjoy looking like on the weekends or during after-hours. These guys are sorta gay, but possibly not. But...yeah. Mostly gay.

4. Like Saul Williams. This is the almost hipster, but not quite hipster look reserved for those who enjoy chewing on bamboo sticks and lecturing folks about the ills of hormone-infested, cloned beef, chicken and all other forms of meat.

5. Like Gucci Mane. The flashy dopeboy, "you may find me locked up in Fulton County on any given Sunday" look.

6. Like Killer Mike. This look is pretty much reserved for people who were actually raised in Atlanta. Folks from Adamsville (the westside) and Decatur (the eastside) are usually spotted in this uniform--Wrangler or Levi Jeans, Polo Shirt, Nikes or Adidas and an Atlanta cap (of any team as long as it's crispy and fashionable).

And that good folks, is the entire gambit of your blackness. The end.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dude, I'm Stuck in a Really Bad Episode of The Hills

Sometimes, living in this reality television driven, pop culture worshipping society, I really feel as though I'm stuck in a really bad episode of The Hills. An episode that I simply can't escape. It's one of the reasons why I deleted my Twitter page and rarely get on Facebook. As jacked up as it sometimes is, I tend to enjoy living in reality more than immersing myself in a perpetual state of self-congratulating fantasy.

Last night was a prime example of what I mean.

While America was going ape, literally, over Lebron James' major Knots Landing-esque decision about what team he was going to sign with, protesters in Oakland were rioting over the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, the cop who murdered Oscar Grant (who was handcuffed) execution style, at a busy public transit station.

It's disheartening to say the least. I didn't see one major news station cover what was going down in Oakland, or have any relevant commentary about what the verdict (he received involuntary manslaughter) meant for the current state of the country, the community at large or the police's relationship with the everyday citizens they are supposedly serving and protecting. Maybe some station did, but if so I missed it.

What I did see, was Larry King, who chose to use his talk show to join the Desperate House Wives-like phenomenon and dramatically discuss where Lebron was going to go after leaving Cleveland. Nevermind the fact that the NBA has turned into the City-- starring deluded, frilly athletes, owners and commentators, with ESPN serving as a wack version of MTV----the incessant coverage of Lebron instead of actual news just goes to show how far we as a society have slipped down the rabbit hole.

It's pretty disgusting.

I saw Obama giving his perspective on the Lebron James deal, but not addressing the never-ending cycle of police brutality and terrorism in the black community.

I don't know. It's time for us to collectively get back to reality. We're like a society of 12 year-olds at this point, and it's past time to grow up.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Irony of Rick Ross: Conscious Rappers, Step Yo Game Up

Oh, the irony.

The album that I have been anticipating the most this summer is from a guy who regularly says head-scratching shit like, "Larry Hoover dove off the mountaintop and turned into a golden eagle!" --the hell does that even mean? This is also the same guy whose goons damn near stomped me out a few years ago.

Nevertheless, Rick Ross' Teflon Don is undoubtedly the album I've been looking forward to the most this year-- more than Big Boi's, more than the Roots, more than Em, and more than my Sensitive Ass Love, Drake.

Why do I look forward to an album from a rapper who talks incessantly about cocaine, money and dead Italian gangsters who would probably refer to him as a spook if they ever crossed paths with his obviously confused ass? Simple. 

J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League production.

...And all of the other producers who copy them. I'm not even mad about that because it makes them step their game up. (The Inkredibles also had some dope production on the last album too).

It's amazing what some live instrumentation can do. If these guys could hook up with a dope as singer and songwriter like maybe Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, Jahiem (with a writer of course), Tweet, Chrisette Michelle, Jasmine Sullivan, or the like they'd be on some Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes-ish shit for real with their story-telling production. Hell, even if they hooked up for an entire album with a really good rapper--Big Krit, Bobby Creekwater, J. Cole, Blu...

I can't lie though, just because you have a dope beat doesn't mean you know what to do with it, and for that I will give Rick Ross' misguided ass some props. Dude knows how to ride a beat and his presence on the mic is notable. He knows what to do on a track, thereby making his cocaine-dream lyrics secondary to everything else that's going on with the song.

Then again, Killer Mike pointed out, he's one of the only rappers who was talking about Haiti before the earthquake, and still continues to...:

"...Look at Haiti people dying 'round the clock, I send $100,000 but that's another watch..." -Live Fast, Dy Young feat. Kanye West

No, he's not Stic.Man, but damned if that shit ain't jamming.

And that, in a nutshell, is the irony of Rosei (or however the hell he spells his new silly ass moniker). As unbelievable as it is, dude makes music for grown folks. That's why people like Chrisette Michelle, Erykah Badu and John Legend will hop on tracks with him, even though the features are odd as hell. Jamming music is jamming music--and it works. It's just ironic that the most jamming shit these days is coming from a guy named after a renowned crack dealer. I'm gonna need these so-called conscious rappers to step their game up.

"Maybach Music 3" feat. TI, Jadakiss and Erykah Badu