Category Archives: Music

Remixes and Remakes

I love a good remix, especially when the original was good but not quite the best it could be. I also love it when an artist who’s perceived to be on top of the world releases a hit and another up and coming artist takes a leap of faith and remixes that hit and succeeds.

Remember this song? Of course you do…

Yes, New Edition was at the pinnacle of R&B back in the day but if this wasn’t evidence that these brothers were performers/entertainers – not singers – then maybe this will help.

Boyz II Men even remixed their ad-libs and those sounded better.

But the reason for this blog is to actually plug an artist I’d love to hear more from by the name of Novel. One of my favorites from Novel is actually a remake of Gary Jules’ Mad World.

Here’s the original (which is actually very very good):

And here’s Novel’s version:

It’s a very bold statement to open up a door using someone else’s salutation but if you can pull it off and sound good doing it – like Novel did with his version – then more power to you. By the way, no one – and I mean NO ONE – will ever succeed at doing this when it comes to Stevie Wonder.

What say you? Do you have any?

Well if you’re into old school music and how it has influenced some of the new stuff we enjoy today take a listen to “Sample Junkies” mixed by DJ Matt Cali, beats and breaks compiled by Russel Fong.


Download the link here.

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Filed under Music, The B2 Xpress

Artomatic

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Artomatic celebrates its 10th Anniversary at the soon-to-be Half Street Hotel in Southeast DC.

55 M Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

May 29 – July 5, 2009

Fri-Sat: Noon-1 am
Sun, Wed, Thu: Noon-10 pm

Take Metro! Located directly above the Green Line Navy Yard Metro Stop, West Entrance

info@artomatic.org

The event features artists that paint, photograph, film, sculpt, draw, dance, sing, rap, graf (graffiti artists…you know, spray painters), and more. I thought I’d stop by today and take a look and already have plans to return tonight and tomorrow as well as special dates with guest features throughout the month.

Here’s some of what I captured today.

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Jeff Nyveen, a USC graduate who moved to the DC Metropolitan area several years ago, features several photographs of visual memories of his travel.  But don’t let me bore you with my interpretation.  After viewing his website and photographs I’m sure you’re going to schedule a few flights to exotic lands and purchase a nice camera to capture the evidence like he has done for years.

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Jared Davis‘ piece, Hurdi Gurdi. This guys scene design and staging is phenomenal.

Check back later for more updates from my sitings at Artomatic!

[socializethis]

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Filed under Film, Music, Photography, The B2 Xpress

Flashmobbing

If you haven’t heard or witnessed these groups, well, here’s your chance. There’s a popular group called ImprovEverywhere that causes scenes all over New York City and have been doing so for years. I love them. Here are a few of my favorites:

High Five Escalator

No Pants Subway Ride

Frozen Grand Central Station

Well, there seems to be some competition stirring up on the West Coast now. I’m not sure if this is an organized group like ImprovEverywhere or if this is just a skit put on by A&E TV but it’s funny.

Hammer Pants

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Amerie – Why R U

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Well, she’s back!

I love her personality, her pleasant sounding voice and subject matter. Her fourth album, “In Love & War” is set to be released this August under new label Def Jam.

Thanks to TrackLeaker a link to one of her newest songs can be heard online.

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Drake in the UK spilling the beans

A friend of mine came through a few months back (shout out to Polo) and pointed me in the direction of several YouTube posts of a rapper who was unknown to me but was steadily making a name for himself online for quite some time when I first heard him.  Dude’s delivery and wordplay caught my ear and I anxiously wanted to hear more.  But I must admit that upon first glimpse of him I laughed.  I knew the guys face but could not put a finger on it. There was something about him didn’t ring “hip hop” to me.  Nevertheless, I think it’s a good thing and it’s something that should work in his favor more than against. He’s rapper Drake a.k.a. Drizzy, formerly Jimmy on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

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At the moment, my favorite song Drake has released is “Successful” with Trey Songs.

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He embodies what I’d prefer to hear today in hip hop, especially with the younger acts.  No gangster talk, he does make mention to his successes with the ladies but what else would you expect?  He’s a youngin’ with an exceptional talent and a mature snese of what’s right.  I tend to be cautious to give too much credit to these freshmen and will be the first to admit that I need to be a little more forgiving when it comes to giving entertainers a chance when they arrive on the scene.

But if there were one thing Drake needs to work on it’s his personality.

Remember the Wu-Tang Clan when they first appeared on Yo MTV Raps and had Fab 5 Freddy shook?  Remember when we first met Redman and he was high as a kite, smiling from ear to ear? And the Notorious B.I.G.? Their personalities were a part of their rap persona. Tupac Shakur also reflected his personality in music.

I remember when freestyles were real freestyles. And when they weren’t truly rhymes instantaneously spoken on request the artist was witty enough to at least make it seem as if it were. Drake – as well as most new schoolers – don’t care to do this.

Semtex TV caught up with Drake in the UK and recorded a very candid interview with the artist where a few beans were spilled.

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A New Era

While growing up in DC, I got a chance to hear music from all walks of life. My parents mostly rocked the oldies…James Brown, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Marvin Gaye, Lena Horne, and many others. DC has its own musical culture too where Go-Go reigned supreme. I liked what my parents listened to and embraced my city’s own but I loved the music that had that techno break with heavy percussion, a lot of mixing and scratching, and was always heard blaring from car stereo speakers or huge boom boxes. Hip Hop.

I knew of the Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and DJ Red Alert but I had no idea what they looked like because we didn’t have cable television back then. But every now and then I’d get a visual taste of what hip hop had to offer.

My first glance was ‘Beat Street’ in the mid-80’s and after watching it I knew of two things. One, I had to learn how to break and two, I was in love with Rae Dawn Chong.

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Within the same year I saw another cult flick that was a hip hop classic. This movie was more intense with its dancing but looking back on it now, it is rather corny. Oh, and another love of mine was in this movie too, Lela Rochon.

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Today, break dancing is still around but has taken on a new spin and to be honest with you, I like it. The funny thing about it is the kids you see embracing the old art form of break dancing now weren’t even walking, let alone even born, when these two movies were in theaters. Here are a few videos I like.

First up, from Washington, DC…The Beat Your Feet Kings

Next up, from Atlanta, GA…Kenneth ‘Xclusive’ Paryo

And last but not least, from.Santa Ana, CA…David ‘Elsewhere’ Bernal (oh, I did my research and he’s 29 years old)

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Filed under Film, Movies, Music, Nostalgia, The B2 Xpress

The Secret Is Out

I may not be afraid of lions, tigers or bears but thanks to Swine Flu, Bird Flu and Mad Cow Disease I sure am scared of BLT’s, the 4 wings with fries special and Double Whoppers with cheese.

But, I gotta special treat for you this evening. A young man that you all know as Slim the Hustler from the ‘I Ain’t Snitchin’ episode of “Hood Figgas.” I want you to put your hands together and welcome him to the blog. A big round of applause, for Paradise Missionary Baptist Church’s own, Mr. Crash Cut. Yes! Give it up for Mr. Crash Cut y’all.

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Man!  Did you see the choir trying to hold back their laughter?  People in the pews were giving each other high fives and whispering sweet nothings in their neighbors ears.  Even the Pastor came in with the, “Okay brotha.  Sit yo’ ass down!” attitude, wiped his tears of laughter away and started singing another song that everyone knew and said, “Maybe y’all know this one.”

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Hallelujah!  Hashabalah!

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Filed under Film, Music, Nostalgia