For this week of Comprehensive Beatdown, Bloggy Bonilla and Silent G listen to the newest offering from Young Fathers, “White Men are Black Men Too,” which was released on April 7 on Big Dada Recordings. Young Fathers continues pushing boundaries and challenging listeners, not only with their unorthodox approach to production but also with provocative topics covered in the lyrics. The group has found itself at the center of a little bit of controversy over the title of the album, and the guys will discuss that a little bit this week.
In this week’s episode, you’ll also hear music from J-Live, Potatohead People, Hoffman, and Theory Hazit. “Shitty Tracks From Our Friends” returns this week, as well as a local track from Tira D, which was submitted by the Hood Hippie Blog.
Bloggy Bonilla and Silent G bring you a special edition of Comprehensive Beatdown this week. The guys listen to the new Kendrick Lamar album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” for the first time and offer their comments and discussion without any pre-work or notes. “To Pimp a Butterfly” was scheduled for a March 23 release, but a snafu with Lamar’s label, Interscope, led to the album being released for a short period of time on March 16. The album was pulled once the mistake was discovered, but the guys got their hands on an early copy and vowed not to listen until they could sit down and record the podcast. So, sit back and listen as Bloggy Bonilla and Silent G go through one of the most hotly anticipated albums of the year. The guys are left a little speechless on several occasions.
Comprehensive Beatdown will be back next week with a very special “Ladies Edition” of the podcast with the return of the regular segments. You won’t want to miss it.
Jose James has been making a name for himself for the past few years. From last years No Beginning No End to his stirring rendition of “Everybody (Loves Sunshine)” on Takuya Kuroda’s Rising Son album, which James also produced. The man just does not stop either, this summer he will release his second Blue Note offering, While You Were Sleeping. With the previous release being more soulful and jazz inspired, he promises this one will be more reflective of some of his other musical influences such as Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Those two influences couldn’t be any more apparent than on the first single from the project, “EveryLittleThing”. Keep June 10th marked on your calendar, you’ll want to pick this album up and check it out.
Today marks what would have been the 65th birthday of Mr. Gil Scott-Heron. Few artists have had the social impact that Gil had through out his career as an activist, a poet, an author, and a vocalist. Always honest with himself and with his audience, his music defined a generation. I could go on for hours talking about Gil, but there are people far better than I to put his life into words. So I’ll speak about his music and the difference it made in my life. I was introduced to Gil in my teenage years because I heard Chuck D talk about him during an interview. I was a huge Public Enemy fan, growing up, which could explain a lot about me, I suppose. Of course, I was unable to jump on my computer and go to Youtube and listen to him. No, I had to find his music, it came in the form of a tape I bought at my local Disc Jockey store. The only thing they had available was a sort of compilation of his early 70s stuff called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. I bought it on CD a few years later, which I still have in my possession. The cassette is long gone though. I remember listening to it and being in awe. His voice had so much power, yet humility. He was outspoken, yet there was this timid quality to him. Of course, I was a few years away from discovering things about his drug addictions and personal troubles. However, I think that I knew all along. Because it’s there in his music. I was immediately immersed in the music and the emotions it stirred up in me. It was similar to the feeling I got when Public Enemy sang “Shut Em Down” or “By The Time I Get To Arizona”, but it was deeper and touched my essence in a way I had not experienced before. To This day, very few artists evoke this same feeling to me. I’m thankful for the presence of Gil Scott-Heron in my life, I’m thankful that he expressed himself to the fullest in his music. Sadly, he passed away on May 27th, 2011, which was my 34th birthday. A particularly dark period in my own life, if I can be forthcoming. His music helped get me through this time. I have been listening to Gil for only 20 years or so and his music is as pure and meaningful to me now as it was then, if not more so. Sir, thank you and I hope your soul is at rest now, with no pain and no addiction. I can only imagine how bright your star shines now, as it shone with brilliance while you were here. I learned life lessons while listening to your music. You exposed problems within the black community, the white community, the American community, and within the world community. You did so with dignity and you gave us all food for thought. We owe you a immeasurable debt, and I have vowed to celebrate your life every day. I hope others do the same.
Gil Scott-Heron – Me And The Devil
Taken from his last official release I’m New Here. An updating of his track “The Bottle”, it offers a deep introspective glimpse into the tormented psyche of one of the last century’s greatest artists.
GIl Scott-Heron – Home Is Where The Hatred Is
Pieces Of A Man was a beautiful album, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” shows Gil’s ability to draw on his own personal life for inspiration. Gil dives deep into waters of drug addiction and the human side of it from an addicts point of view. Cast off by his entire family because of his addictions, who only pays lip service in offering help.
Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Peace Go With You, Brother
It wasn’t all about inner demons and the troubles that come with them, even more prevalent in Gil’s music was his social consciousness. Gil always seemed to tell it like it was, is, and will always be. His honesty in dealing with himself and with the world around him made him a invaluable.
Gil Scott-Heron – Message To The Messengers
Long considered one of the godfathers of rap music, Gil came back in ’94 in order to respond to all the rappers claiming to be influenced by him. Always aware of what was going on, this song is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago. He takes to teaching on the message behind his music and the use of the word rap music has long used to describe women on song.
Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces Of A Man (Live at NYC Central Park Summerstage)
One of my absolute favorite tracks of all-time, here it was performed live 11 months before the passing of the legend. Originally written from various influences in his life, the song seemed to take on a an even more personal vibe performed live in the twilight of his life.
Gil Scott-Heron – Alien (Hold On To Your Dreams)
A stripped down version of Gil and Brian Jackson’s track from the album 1980. This version will be featured on a new album released via XL Recordings. Nothing New will be available on Record Store Day (April 19th) on 12″ only, and limited to 3000 copies. The project was recorded while Gil was making his last album I’m New Here and will feature songs from various points in Gil’s career performed with just Gil and a piano.
In the rap industry, getting signed to a label used to mean something. Now it only means……well it doesn’t mean anything usually since Rap labels are dying left and right (See Bad Boy Records). That being said, when a rapper such as Rapper Big Pooh (Little Brother) gets signed to a label like Mello Music Group, the real MMG, it’s best to take notice. MMG has been doing some brilliant things in the world of Hip-Hop and putting out some very solid efforts from incredibly talents artists. Adding Pooh to the label is strong move which should pay off for both parties in a very short amount of time. Rapper Big Pooh, is known for a tireless work ethic and this is something I believe most MMG artists all share in common with the North Carolina emcee. I’m looking forward to him working with Gensu Dean, 7even:Thirty, Oddisee, and…well the entire camp really. He’s collaborated with several of them through out his career and the results have been received well. Below check out his effort with Duke Westlake and Stik Figa from Mandela Vol. 2: Today’s Mathematics. Word is that this summer we can expect a project between Pooh and Nottz that will be made available for free dollars and zero cents. Then an official MMG album will follow that with assistance from the Mello Music camp. Congratulations to everyone involved, looking forward to hearing some great music in the future.
I wanted Kendrick Lamar to win the Grammy for best rap album for obvious and probably selfish reasons. I know Macklemore probably had the bigger mainstream year with “Thrift Shop” and his politically charged track “Same Love”. I also knew that Kendrick did not stand a chance. If anyone would have told me back in ’09 that Macklemore would have beat out Kendrick Lamar, then K-Dot, for a Grammy in literally every rap category, I would have laughed you out the building. Kendrick has been crowned the Prince of hip-hop and King of the West Coast for the last several years. He has released 2 critically acclaimed projects before Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. Macklemore had released an album and a few EPs over the years, with little recognition, leading up to The Heist. Of the two, I believe that Kendrick had the better album, though I don’t get a Grammy vote. There has been a ton of backlash towards Macklemore because he beat out Kendrick. I mean most of you were dancing to “Thift Shop” before it got big and you know it. I really don’t care for dudes music and I never have, that song was catchy though. So what makes you “discount” his music now that he beat out Kendrick? Discount, get it?, ha, anyway would it be different if Kendrick would have won at least one award last night? Macklemore himself knows that Kendrick deserved to win. What if he would have said so during his acceptance speech. Would the hate still have been so much?
A lot can be learned when comparing the two acts last night, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performed a mash-up of their smash hits “Maad City” & “Radioactive”. A spectacular performance that was executed flawlessly. Regarded by many as the not just the best performance of the night but the best Grammy live act in a years. Macklemore performed his “controversial” track “Same Love” with Mary Lambert (who co-wrote the song), Trombone Shorty, Queen Latifah who married 33 couples (although the television cameras still wouldn’t show anyone kissing), and Madonna’s sorry, Boss Hogg, calling her son a *****, looking self. It seemed more like a publicity stunt using Macklemore, sans Ryan Lewis, as the main attraction. This is where I believe the line is drawn. Kendrick Lamar is an artist, he lives his art, he is Hip-Hop. He will continue to make great records and we will continue to support him. Macklemore is a nice story, he almost gave up on making music. Then teamed up with Ryan Lewis and started making music again and then a few years down the road they strike gold or platinum rather. The mainstream has continually looked for it’s great white hope in the Rap industry. Vanilla Ice couldn’t do it, Eminem wouldn’t do it, so what will Macklemore be? I don’t know if Macklemore has the ability to be it. Maybe he does. Time will tell. That is what was at work last night, Kendrick Lamar had a great album and in most any other year would have won numerous awards. Unfortunately he went up against the machine, a machine who wants to create stars but prefers those stars to be on the lighter end of the color prism.
Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, you would have been 85 years old today had you not been called home too soon. There are far better dedications and odes written to Dr. Martin Luther King than I am capable of writing, so I’ll spare you. If you know me then you know that I believe wholeheartedly in this man and his vision. I try to live his words out in my daily life. If I fall short in any aspect I ask for forgiveness and pray God will correct my weaknesses.
^^^watch for the cameo from Red and Andy from Shawshank Redemption…….
Reach Out World Wide is an organization which was started by Paul Walker back in 2010 as an organization to deliver volunteers to areas affected by disastrous events. They have provided aid to places like Haiti, Alabama, The Philippines, and Chile just to name a few. Regardless of the movies he’s made and the career he’s had, this will be his lasting memory. I’m glad he found Christ and I’m thankful he was able to establish this organization while here.
You can tell so much about a person by the way they smile. There is nothing I can add to this and nothing I can say that is worthy of all that Mr. Mandela accomplished in his lifetime. Nor can I properly put in to perspective the amount of gratitude that the world owes the man for his sacrifices. We should all be so lucky to accomplish so much. Rest in eternal peace sir…
When I moved back to Mississippi, one of the first people I met was DJ Young Venom. While talking about the music scene in Jackson, he was schooling me on the local emcee talent pool. He kept championing a few people, 7even:thirty, who had relocated to Dallas, was one of them. I missed a couple shows that he had in the area, but I had the chance to sample some music and I definitely dug it. It was fresh, it was spacy, it was bugged out, and it was REALLY good. Then Venom shot me a new remix, a version of Bilal’s “Robots”, WHOA!!!! Okay, this cat has something special. That was about a year or so ago, fast forward to 2012, and Gensu Dean’s Lo-Fi Fingahz, on Mello Music Group. A banger and my sleeper pick of 2012, as hip hop album of the year, features 7even:Thirty on a stand out track, “There You Have It” and a couple other loose tracks from the pair. Then news of a collaborative project between Dean and 7Even started to get passed around. Then this morning, as I woke up at my usual 4am, not really usual. I receive this email, “MMG Signs 7even:Thirty”. Mello Music Group, in my opinion has the best Underground Hip Hop model running right now. I couldn’t think of a better fit for 7Even’s music, they are not only going to release the collaborative effort between him and Dean, but they will also be releasing Heaven’s Computer, 7even’s much anticipated album. Before that though, they get peoples pallet ready by releasing Late Night Sessions, a collection of loose tracks from 7even:Thirty and his Vintage Noize crew, see below. Congratulations to both Mello Music Group and 7even:Thirty