Tag 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

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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Filed under Music, Photography

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

So, you don’t want to cuddle?

“B, what type of man just wants to cuddle?”

The question startled the hell out of me.  Many of my friends have come to me for my thoughts on situations they were going through but what makes this friend think I’d know why her partner wanted to just cuddle with her?  I think I was initially thrown off because I was deeply engaged with a plate of buffalo wings inside one of DC’s most Republican bars on Capitol Hill.  So the irony of all things around me and the question being asked of me caused a raised brow.

I answered the question – after wiping my mouth and taking a swig of my drink – with a swift, “What in the hell are you talking about?”

Turns out, her male friend of 13 years – often noted as her “best friend” who sometimes doubles as the “asshole” but never the “boyfriend”, “significant other” or “husband” – decided that this time around, in the intimate hours of the night, that he just wanted to hold her.  At this point I’m becoming furious with this woman.  Not only is she keeping me from my 25 cent buffalo wings and the first of quite a few half priced Jack and Coke’s with this nonsense, but she’s choosing to do this by asking me what I thought HIS problem was.  His problem?

It’s funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I’m going to use another musical selection that chronologically breaks down how women have warped the brains of men causing us to burden the blame eventhough we were trying to please them.

For me and most other men my age, it all began with the songs from our parents past.  Our fathers’ admired this individual and tried their best to mirror all that they could that resembled his music.  He’s known as “The Godfather of Soul”, “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business”, and “Soul Brother Number One.”  He’s James Brown.

James Brown set the standard for what a man should be in the 60’s.  He sang lyrics that honored hardworking men who provided for their families.  James Brown also talked about “Living in America” and cultural issues while dancing like no one had ever seen before.  Back then, if you couldn’t sing or play an instrument, you better be a superb dancer and know how to fight.  Just being a smart man in a woman’s eyes wasn’t man enough.  But when the news hit the fan about Mr. Brown’s run in with police, women turned on him quicker than Judas did Jesus Christ.  So we cut the perms out, stopped processing our hair, and supported the Civil Rights Movement.  We would become smooth brothers with a purpose, a cause and waiting for a reason to fight.

Then the bras and panties started to be thrown on stage when the smooth, yet mean, Teddy Pendegrass yelled at his women to “Close the Door” and “Turn Off the Lights.”

Women would scream for him, cry for him, even take his hand and go on stage with him – leaving their dates behind who’d purchased the tickets to see the man perform.  Trying to be all James Brown got your women stolen by Teddy P.  But Mr. Pendergrass would never be the same after a near fatal car accident paralyzed him from the waist down.  Those demonstrative songs where he barked his sexual commands to his women were left limp.  The site of him in a wheelchair ruined the sexual fantasies of women wanting to be taken by such a macho man.  So we adapted – again – and changed things up.  This time – just like the last time and the time before that – we thought we had it all figured out.  Since the stand-up guy thing was long gone and the smooth, macho man had had it’s stay, we figured it was time to soften it up a little bit and fulfill the needs of women.  Instead of inflicting our wills upon them, let’s try listening to them and doing what they tell us to do.  Yes, that’s it!

Ralph Tresvant picked up on this new movement quickly and was praised by women for being a man with “Sensitivity.”

Men across the nation adopted the silky, but not too silky, vibe.  We embraced our sensitivities and opened up our hearts for all women to see.  We cleaned up our acts so that a “Tenderoni” or “PYT” would notice us.  A “Smooth Criminal” was a force to be reckoned with until March 3, 1991 when several LAPD oficers beat the living snot out of a man named Rodney King.

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Rodney King was a pioneer in this new transformation of men.  He embraced the decades before him.  The 60’s in him are evident from the plastic covered couches he had in his house.  The representation of the 70’s were shown through his flare and dancing in the streets while the cops had their guns drawn on him.  The 80’s – well, he was drinking 40 ounce malt liquor beverages and had a wave nouveau.  But when he opened his mouth, the 90’s began.

After the subsequent acquittal of the LAPD officers involved in the beating of Rodney king, riots from Los Angeles to Atlanta were the focus of the media’s attention.  Of course we were upset with the results of what should have been a simple traffic stop.  Of course we were appauled by the lack of common sense the jurors possessed who ruled over the case.   But what hurt us most of all was that we had to admit that the sensitive, smooth, I’m-a-lover-not-a-fighter attitude was our third and final strike against our women.  Especially when he said, “Can’t we all just get along?”

The love ballads were dead.  Any dude caught singing without a baritone voice or dancing like a Fly Girl from ‘In Living Color’ was banished from the new era of black men.  If you weren’t a gangster and going around telling everyone that you were then the ladies looked at you as soft and a doormat.  Even the kids caught on to this. 

Today, it’s even worse.  After all the changes we’ve endured in the past we now have men that sing sexually explicit songs and use women as their subjects but I’m not too convinced it’s their intended audience.  Catch my drift?

So in conclusion, this poor woman is torturing herself by trying to understand the complexities of our significant others.  But, how many heterosexual men have been told by their significant other, “Baby, can we just cuddle tonight?”  When I asked my friend how many times she’d denied his sexual wishes in the past she answered, “Several.”  When I asked her how many times he’d done the same she answered, “That’s not the point.”  I’m getting much better at convincing myself that everyone else in this world is crazy but me.  We have men telling women to think like men and women telling men how to be a man.  For Steve Harvey – a self proclaimed, born again player – to write a book about the lies men tell is perposterous to me.  Is Steve a little upset that his days of running the streets and being with multiple women are over, so therefore, he’s going to ruin it for every other man wanting those experiences?  If someone needs reforming then they should buy a Bible, not Mr. Harvey’s book on what he did when he played with women’s emotions.  And I’ve never been a woman – thank God – so I’ll never assume that I know what it’s like to be one.  So ladies, do yourselves a favor and cut it out with the “a real man is…” this and that.  If you’re so good at being a man then you be responsible for the manual labor around the house and let us take care of the domestic duties.  Boy, I wonder what kind of punks we’d be then?

A joke was told to me once that said a man’s wife walks up to him and says, “Why would God make you so handsome and so stupid at the same time?”  The man looks at his wife and says, “Well, He made me handsome so you’d be attracted to me.  But He made me stupid so I’d be attracted to you.”

The Laws of Attraction haven’t changed but the people sure have.  Pleasing someone has never been an easy thing to do but blaming it on the other person for it turning sour seems to be a typical course of action.  Call me crazy for saying no one is in a relationship alone.  Who am I to think that compromise, communication and respect for others is imperative for any relationship to succeed?  You may never believe this, but some of you have lost your damned minds!

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Filed under Music, Nostalgia, relationships

Melanie Fiona presents ‘The Bridge’

I’m a firm believer that we as humans are all artists. Some dance, some sing, some write. Those that don’t partake in the typical forms of artistry still have a sense of expressionism that makes them artists as well. We naturally find security in our ability to communicate with one another and often times find ourselves either seeking the approval or just the sheer satisfaction of being heard, seen, felt, or understood by others.

We all should know by know that I love film. We also should know that I’m very observant and opinionated. Like it or not, these are examples of my artistic abilities bestowed upon me without my approval or consent but simply characteristics that make me an expressionist. But there are other characteristics in me that mold the way I express; I’m compassionate, sensitive, and apathetic yet I am argumentative, strong-willed and often stubborn. But it makes me who I am and I choose to embrace these characteristics and use them to express my thoughts, feelings and concerns.

In this post I’m going to profile my first musical entry from an artist I stumbled upon online. It’s not hard to see why I became so intrigued by this woman either. One, she’s gorgeous and has a smile that could resurrect Giacomo Cassanova from his grave. Two, her voice made me thank God for the gift of hearing. But most of all, her personality is more embracing than any of her physical features and left me wanting to learn more about her, the person, and appreciate what has become of her, the artist.

Get to know Melanie Fiona.

I love the grittiness of this electronic press kit. The images are raw and real, the lyrics match and Melanie Fiona delivers stories of happiness and sorrow that’s pleasant to the ear. I won’t say she’s a “breath of fresh air” because being cliche would be disrespectful to her originality. But the newness of her sound, soulfulness and personality has me anticipating the release of ‘The Bridge.’

Go online to find out more:

http://www.youtube.com/user/melaniefionatv

http://www.myspace.com/melaniefiona

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Filed under Film, Music, Photography, The B2 Xpress