Monday, January 31, 2011

Saul Williams - Black Stacey

Saul Stacey Williams takes hip hop/MC/spoken word abilities to levels they have never been taken to before. He is to Hip Hop what one of the X-Men is to the Marvel Universe. I would venture to guess he has inspired more talented people to express themselves than most MCs in the game. Sure, he is not the most well known but those who do know him have been touched by him in profound ways. They have also passed his influence on to others who appreciate/need to hear what he has to say. Interpersonal marketing is always way more profound than the average marketing machine. The quantity is vastly different but so is the quality of the effect. Dig? Familiarize yourself with the man and his work and you will know what I mean. He is a profound soul pushing mad change right under our noses, it's just underground so most of us can't see it and don't care to dig. Here is a list to familiarize yourself with Saul's work:

One of my favorite "tracks" ever, I got chills the first time I heard this: Twice The First Time

A clip from the brilliant movie he starred in. Check the full length out if you've never seen it: Slam

And finally a quick interview he did in a record store. I really, really like what he says about Alan Lomax & Cultural Anthropology. I completely resonate with that. Early American Folk and The Library Of Congress recordings have increased my appreciation for music to the nth degree. I am obsessed with early American folk and am excited to start writing about it along with information about Alan Lomax, Harry Smith, ect. on this blog. Soon!

Gang Starr - Moment Of Truth (Rest In Peace Guru 1966-2010)

G.U.R.U. is one of the best ever. He will be appreciated more and more as time goes on. In fact, I would guess it has always been that way.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Free mix from yours truly, download available

My last live set of 2010. Part 1 of 2 (The file was too big for a 1 part mix, you'll find the 2nd part near the 1st on mixcrate). Part 1 starts a bit into my set with dubstep, then into some new school & old school hip hop. Part 2 starts with cumbia, then some dancehall into old school hip hop, rock and more hip hop. Live at Natt Spil lounge 12/30/10. Click the link above to check it out and feel free to download it if you dig it. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kashmere Stage Band : Super Bad

The Kashmere Stage Band was a Houston high school band from 1968-1978. They were led my a legendary band leader, teacher and all around hero named Conrad Johnson. From 1969 to 1977, Johnson's stage bands won 42 of 46 local, regional and national competitions. All the more impressive is the fact that the high school itself is in a really rough area of Houston and also had to fight through discrimination to even get into band competitions. The footage above is some reunited members of KSB performing in Dallas April, 2010. The first time you hear recordings of them from over 35 years ago you will find it unbelievable that the sound you are hearing could be coming from teenage kids.

There were three records released in the 1970s under the Kashmere Stage Band name. Though the records are near impossible to find some tracks have been re-released and they are all funky as a mother. Some of the old band members got together for a reunion in 2008 and played for their old teacher on his 92nd birthday to honor him. He enjoyed the concert and went home and died. People say he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. There is an amazing documentary that is coming out about Johnson and the Kashmere Stage Band in 2011. It's called Thunder Soul and it's already been shown in select cities. Here is the man behind the documentary speaking about the film and how it came to be: Mark Landsman. Here is an article called The Thunder Rolls about the documentary KSB's history. Here is where you can buy their best album by the same name as the film: Thunder Soul. My personal favorite off that album is the cover they do of Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers. I just mixed it into my Ain't No Sunshine Medley I just posted on mixcrate, it's the second song on the medley.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


This video to “Dub Revolution Ina China.” is classic. It's Jiang Liang Sound vs. Chinese propaganda footage “party is boundless.”

Jiang Liang is upholding a long and honored tradition that goes all the way back to when Leslie Kong left China in the late 1950s and opened a record store in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1962 he produced Bob Marley’s first two singles. Randy Chin, Byron Lee, The Chung Brothers, Herman Chin-Loy were Jamaican-based Chinese ex-patriots who were all involved with the production of seminal reggae tracks in the 1960s and 70s. Roots music is indeed multi-cultural. Those are arguably the two things that have influenced modern music the most, roots music and multi-culturalism.

Revolutions and change come out of the strangest places, like the barrels of subwoofers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mr Lif - Because They Made It That Way

Jeffrey Haynes, aka Mr. Lif is an underground hip hop monster. His first solo LP I Phantom and his second EP Emergency Rations are two of my favorite underground hip hop albums from the new millennium era. This track is off an unreleased and virtually impossible to find album of his called Sleepyheads. He is not well known because he is independent but when you hear him you don't forget him. His emcee skills cut like a knife through butter and his lyrics are packed full of sharp, conscious rhymes. Too bad the choir is most of who listens to this preacher, but at least they are listening.

Monday, January 17, 2011

E-Pocalypse from Madison, WI

I had to post this along with the Yak Films posts in order to help this kid get seen and to represent some home town pride. E-Pocalypse (<---more vids here) is only 17, from Madison, WI and here he's body rockin to some dubstep at a high school. A lot of schools/cities the size of Madison would not embrace/allow a performance like this but as you can see it goes over well. My hope is for schools from all over the country/world to start incorporating new relevant arts into their activities more. As far as viewing the arts goes, the human, analog experience for kids is massively important in these days of digital.

TURF FEINZ "RIP Oscar Grant" | YAK FILMS | Fruitvale BART shooting in Oa...

I just posted this on the Madcoins blog but had to post it here too because I think they are doing some really amazing work/art...

This Yak Films I just found on Youtube is pushing mad change on a massive level. Based out of Oakland, and moving onto Paris, Tokyo and beyond, Yak Films is going to make some serious noise. Their films feature some of the best modern dance you will find anywhere. Here is one of their videos they did as a tribute to Oscar Grant/protest to the police murdering him. Respect to Yak Films for doing what they are doing. I couldn't describe it any better then they do on their channel:

"Since its inception, YAK has been dedicated to emerging multimedia production as a voice of resistance and an alternative to the mainstream. At its core, YAK is a visual wrecking crew that uses multimedia to share the talents of young people around the world - and elevate and inspire the masses."

Here is a 5 minute clip about their origination in East Oakland and their purpose/ideas. Brilliant.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Watching this makes my heart beat a bit stronger. This was put together the day after the brother of the guy in the white shirt died in a car accident on the same corner. A memorial dance. I can't imagine a better memorial service.

Lunice x MIKE SLOTT - Soul Investigators

Pushing mad change in dance culture, these cats that do interpretive bboy ish to these new school beats are fresh, fresh, fresh. Some call it flexing, some call it turfing (TURF = Taking Up Room on the Floor), some call it popping.

Comfort Fit - Bit by Bit (Polyshufflez LP)

Track and nice creative video from the same album as below, Polyshufflez LP by Comfort Fit. More about Comfort Fit here.

J Dante Poppin to Comfort Fit's "SuperPosition"

Poppin' to a crunchy beat by Comfort Fit.

Quetzal - Fig Pulp

Quetzal is an ill man. This is off his 2009 album titled Vision. I cannot identify that guitar sample he is using here though I've heard the track 1000 times. It's a track that I have heard while being put under at the dentist or something so now it's all hazy. It is kind of driving me crazy at the moment and I tend to dream about samples I can't figure out so I'll probably sit up in the middle of the night and scream out whatever song he is sampling here eventually. Regardless it's a sick beat from an ill man. 

1/29/11 Update: A friend just pointed out to me that the rhythm is from "I'll be around" by the Spinners. Thanks NLK.

4/7/11 Update: A strange internet shaman just pointed out that the sample Quetzal is using here is actually Johnny Osbourne - We Need Love .

1/18/12 Update: Ok, so it took me over a year but someone on youtube finally pointed out that this track by Quetzal is most definitely sampled from Otis Gayle's version of the Spinner's I'll Be Around. I'll Be Around by The Spinners was done first and then I think Otis Gayle's reggae version and finally Johnny Osbourne's We Need Love used Gayle's beat. Whoa, I finally got to the bottom of this beat's origin. I love you internets.

Oh and if you still haven't had enough here is Rappin 4 Tay's hip hop version of this great song: I'll Be Around.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bonobo - Sugar Rhyme

I have been on this trip hop/neo soul/neo jazz/chillwave vibe lately that I get on from time to time. I think this time around one of the things that sparked it was when I was going through old mixtapes recently I found a mixtape I had done of all Bonobo's music about 7 years ago. It reminded me how music becomes more and more magical the more you listen to different kinds. You can find an old record in your collection or at a thrift store or hear a track on the street or on youtube and all of a sudden your mind accesses a flood of music in the same vein as said find. It's like storage sheds of music are in your mind and sometimes you will find a rusty key to that allows you back inside certain doors. This track from one of those storage sheds brings the past alive by sampling Billy Holiday saying, "Rhythm captivates me, hot rhythm stimulates me." from her swing track "Swing! Brother, Swing!" recorded in 1939. By the way, Bonobo released a new album in 2010 called Black Sands. It's gotten some great reviews so if you like it support the man with some rupees.

St Germain - Sure Thing

I recently featured Esperanza Spalding and also had a post about Chillwave. Here is something with the elements of both by St. Germain off his 2000 album Tourist. Both chill and jazzy this track ends up sounding like the definition of cool. He uses samples from Miles Davis & John Lee Hooker from 'Harry's Philosophy', from The Hot Spot soundtrack as well as the beginning of the rad funk track by Windy C track 100% Pure Poison. The Tourist album reminds me of my days traveling in Europe every time I hear it. It got heavy rotation on my discman back around 2000. Remember discmans? They've already went the way of the 8 track player. Are Ipods going to be $5 a piece at thrift stores in 2016?

Onra & Quetzal - On a sunny day

Onra is a French hip hop producer and is one of my favorite leaders of the "Chillwave" genre that has been bubbling up for a few years now (hugely inspired by the best producer in the history of all things living ever: J Dilla). Like J Dilla, I am also in love with this genre. To put a genre name on it is ridiculous but so is life and I don't know what else to call it (maybe just instrumental soul/hip hop). The album that Onra did a few years back with another of my favorite producers Al Quetz a.k.a. Quetzal called Tribute (their tribute to soul music) went right under the radar and I am ecstatic it did because for some reason it always makes my head nod harder when I know I caught something that most missed. Tribute is a gorgeous album full of baby making/head nodding tracks backed with soulful chill beats and samples from some classic and underground soul tracks from past eras. They chop up a Dion Warwick track here: Walk On By but my personal favorites off the album are Don't and Caramel Dream. Both have such great production but Caramel Dream is nothing short of genius as it samples the legendary Smokey Robinson from the track Baby Baby Don't Cry. If you are gonna sample Smokey you best do it right. I don't think it could be done better in this case. Between utilizing the past for present tracks and changing the game while giving it new roots, Onra & Quetzal are perfect for MadChange.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cat Power - Maybe Not

Chan Marshall a.k.a. Cat Power has the voice of an angel that has spent half her life rejoicing and half her life sobbing. Rejoicing like multiple orgasm rejoicing. Sobbing like snot flowing onto your mouth without the care to wipe it away sobbing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goodie Mob ft. Outkast - Black Ice (Sky High)

Here is my favorite southern Hip Hop track ever. Black Ice featuring OutKast by the drastically underrated Goodie Mob formed almost 20 years before former member Cee Lo Green was singing "F*@& You". This is off my favorite Goodie album, Still Standing .

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bomba Estéreo - Feelin' (Live on KEXP)

The Columbian band Bomba Estéreo is one of my favorite bands going right now. They Columbian and have been making funky ass reggae/cumbia/hip hop music for almost 10 years. In 2010 they made a big impact on American audiences by playing live shows all over the place. I was really happy to see their live performances on Seattle radio station KEXP posted on youtube. There are 9 videos posted from KEXP some recorded in studio and some on a stage. The recordings from the studio are recorded perfectly. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Los Mirlos - Sonido Amazonico - The Roots of Chicha

This blog is mostly about how music is constantly evolving, no matter how far we look back into history or how present the time frame. Music, like all things, is constantly changing to something new, something strange. Peruvian Chicha music is a good example of the beautiful strangeness to which everything evolves to. Chicha is a particular brand of Peruvian pop music that educated Peruvians usually look down on. The music is often labeled tropical, which means that it uses rhythmic elements of Afro-Cuban music noticeable in other mixed musical traditions like Cumbia. Chicha is also known simply as Cumbia Peruana. According to Wikipedia, Chicha is “a lower version of the Cumbia, which is more popular with the lower social class.” And so it is: very much like Forro, Musette, Tango, or Son (not to mention jazz), Chicha is popular music played by, you know, the common man… 

The rhythms don’t vary much: they are either mid-tempo Cumbias or fast Cumbias called Cumbión. The music, however, has retained a strong regional flavor in part by relying heavily on the pentatonic scales associated with Andean folklore. Chicha started out in the late 60’s, in the oil-boom cities of the Peruvian Amazon.Cumbias Amazonicas, as they were first known, were loosely inspired by Colombian cumbias but incorporated the distinctive pentatonic scales of Andean melodies, some Cuban guajiras, and the psychedelic sounds of surf guitars, wah-wah pedals, farfisa organs and moog synthesizers. Chicha, which is named after a corn-based liquor favored by the Incas, quickly spread to Lima. It became the music of choice of the mostly indigenous new migrant population – mixing even further with rock, Andean folklore and Peruvian creole music. Very much like Jamaican Ska or Congolese Soukous, Chicha is western-influenced indigenous music geared toward the new urban masses who wholly identified with the new hybrid . Chicha is at once raw and sophisticated, familiar and exotic, traditional and modern - and until recently, it had never been released outside of Peru.

There are two quintessential Chicha albums for those looking to familiarize themselves: Released in 2007, The Roots of Chicha volume 1 and (released a few years later) The Roots of Chicha volume 2 are on Barbes records. You can buy them and learn much more about the history of Chicha here . There is also an interview with Oliver Conan, the man responsible for putting these releases out here.

Esperanza Spalding "I Know You Know" on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Esperanza Spalding is an the definition of a beautiful. She normally plays upright bass (which she murders every time she touches) and has the voice of an angel. In addition to being a phenomenal musician she also has mad musical knowledge. So much so that she was teaching as a professor at the Berklee College of Music at the age of 20. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform live at the University of Wisconsin Memorial Theatre a few years ago. She reminds you what jazz is, and that is alive. I'm almost glad that (enter overrated female pop star here) gets all the media attention because when you see a (mostly unknown) woman like this dripping in talent, class, music history and music theory the experience leaves you all the more jaw dropped due to the distorted media conditioning of what (especially female) talent consists of. Here is a short documentary on Esperanza: Making of (legendado) .