A Homage: Marley Marl, Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records Legacy

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During the ‘Golden Era of Hip-Hop’, innovative producer/DJ Marley Marl and DJ Mr. Magic (1956-2009) formed the legendary Juice Crew. Groundbreaking artists that were a part of the Juice Crew created music with Marley Marl on the Cold Chillin’ Records label, which includes Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Roxanne Shante, and MC Shan. The collaborative music team helped usher in a new era in music, and of course…there was the well-known ‘beefs’ with the Boogie Down Productions. The famous ”Bridge Wars”, which partly started when lyrics were misinterpreted in MC Shan’s ”The Bridge” and then KRS-One/Boogie Down responded with ”The Bridge is Over” and ”South Bronx”. Not to mention the ”Roxanne Wars” series started by a then 14 year old Roxanne Shante (which influenced at least 100 response songs about the ”real Roxanne” created by different artists). The Juice Crew created a distinct collection of songs that are timeless and a great reference to the ”Golden Era”. Some of my personal favorites includes Biz Markie’s ”Vapors” and Big Daddy Kane’s ‘Long Live the Kane’ album. Marley Marl produced a variety of classic projects, which includes L.L Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ album, and Marley Marl’s first album ‘In Control Volume 1’ introduced one of the most influential and recognized songs in classic rap…”The Symphony”. Some of the legendary artists who consider Marley Marl an influence are Biggie Smalls, RZA, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock. When paying homage to those who helped create the ”Golden Era of Hip Hop”, it is important to always remember innovator Marley Marl and the Juice Crew. Their music still sounds amazing and refreshing.

 

The Decision to Remain a Virgin: Others Who Are Abstinent After Teen Years

Of course, it is normal and common for people to have already engaged in sexual activity before they are well into their twenties. However, deciding to be abstinent and remain a virgin after adolescent/teen years is a choice that can often have an awkward phase/stage at certain points & times in life. Personally speaking, although I still do not regret my decision to not engage in sexual activity now, there was a time when I did feel awkward & from the ”outside looking in” in relation to some of my peers’ experiences. Now, in the present I am comfortable and at peace with my decision and here are a few encouraging words for people who are abstinent/waiting for whatever reason & who may feel awkward, uncomfortable, or aberrant. Not an overcritical perspective, just positivity, encouraging confidence, and inner peace from a personal point of view.

  • Deciding to remain a virgin should not feel like a burden. Just like the decision to have sex, it should be an embraced choice that feels like the best option for oneself. Letting people who are not you validate your choice/reasoning will only cause internal conflict and over thinking because everyone will have their own opinion/beliefs in relation to your decision. So many voices belonging to others in one head is not healthy and can delete our own unique voice/intuition. At the end of the day and reflecting, we are the ones who have to be comfortable and think , ”yeah, it is/was worth it.”
  • There is this false rationale accepted by some that implies a person needs to be with someone intimately/romantically  to feel & be whole and truly happy. Many people often correlate being single for a very long period of time with something negative or as if the person has a flaw that keeps them ”alone”. I know sex is probably amazing and positive romantic love is beautiful, but focusing on what we’re passionate about and what makes us happy can help immensely while being abstinent. There are a variety of experiences and memories, beautiful ones, that you can create and partake in while being abstinent, which will contribute to inner happiness.
  • Not everyone is abstinent for religious reasons, but spirituality certainly helps in the process of waiting for whatever reasons. If someone truly feels in their spirit that what they are doing is the best choice for them, then it will create peace and assurance which grows. When I decided that I wanted to wait and remain a virgin when I graduated high school, I asked God to help me with my choice because this was a decision that I really wanted for myself. I am only in my early 20’s, but I am no longer in the ”awkward phase” where I felt weird for refraining from sex and often contemplated how realistic it was. I hope who ever is still a virgin long after teen years, or even those who may be celibate, to keep your faith in why you’ve made your choice, create peace within yourself with your decision, and don’t let those who are on the outside looking in dictate or influence the choice YOU have to live with.

 

Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins: ”There Will Never Be Another You” Live in Denmark 

Saying that Sonny Rollins had a ”great” seven decade long career is an understatement. Rollins is not only one of the most significant jazz musicians in music, but he is a living inspiration and amazing composer who has received accolades such as the National Medal of Arts , Polar Music Prize, multiple Honorary Doctor of Music awards, and elected to the American Academy of Arts of Sciences. Yet, it is not just the awards that represent just how astonishing Rollins’ career has been. Even if Rollins was not as recognized or given so many awards, his music’s quality is momentous and exceptional. Whether he was a saxophonist creating music for Blue Notes Records, Okeh Records, Prestige, RCA, or any other recording company…his compositions will forever be rich jazz standards that are a part of music history since the late 1940’s. Thank you Mr. Sonny Rollins.  Here is one of my favorite performances/song from live in Denmark, 1965, ” There Will Never Be Another You.”

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Image result for sonny rollins

The Art of Funk Classics Sampled in Rap: Some of My Favorite Original Versions

Here are some of my favorite legendary songs that have been sampled and redone by rappers, who then recreated hits or classics all over again. These songs were already brilliant when first created, equally innovative/unique, and will always sound refreshing. The four videos I chose, in order are: ”Walk on By” Isaac Hayes Version, which was sampled by many including Notorious B.I.G in ”Warning”; Parliament Funkadelic’s ”Swing Down, Sweet Chariot (Let Me Ride), which was sampled by many including Dr.Dre & Snoop Dogg in ”Let Me Ride”; ”Funky Worm” by the Ohio Players, which was sampled by many including M.C Breed in ”Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin” & N.W.A ”Dopeman”, and Taana Gardner’s ”Heartbeat”, which was sampled by many including De La Soul in ”Buddy”.  The words of Parliament Funkadelic from Swing Down Sweet Chariot (Let Me Ride) explains it all, ”….Light Years in time…ahead of our time….”

Underground to Pop Music: The Art of the Evolution of Music

Manipulating the sound of a record while someone spoke on a microphone was not widely accepted less than 40 years ago. Before the musical art form we call Hip Hop and the method we know as rapping was an internationally recognized fixture in popular music culture, it was a underground innovative movement. It is always exciting and refreshing when a new form of musical style (which eventually is often considered a subgenre) has been introduced & created. Whether it was the origins of punk music with bands like The Kinks and The Ramones  or the “college rock radio” era of alternative music with musicians such as R.E.M & The Smiths, they all have one thing in common. Rebellion. They all rebelled against what was popular and mainstream. Yet, often times in history an underground musical art form became a part of the mainstream popular music culture if it was accepted on a massive level. Case in point: Kurt Cobain was not comfortable with Nirvana’s music being a part of pop music culture (In Bloom song speaks about this). However, that is what “Grunge” music became…chart topping hits that was played continuously on heavily viewed channels such as MTV. Nevertheless, it was their decision to  sign with a major record label, and “bandwagoners” naturally came with this. In fact, there is often a repeated pattern in music with this, which will probably always be. There are many factors such as generation, society/cultural events, technology, and demographics that correlate with an underground “alternative” sound being popularized. The problem is when a new musical style/sound starts off as fresh and different… then is transformed into something that has lost its “edge” and individuality due to exploitation in the music industry. The art of “underground”music becoming popular mainstream music has its pros and cons, all how we perceive it. Either way, music has & always will be an ever progressing art with many different colors. Hundreds of years from now what we listen to today, what we call “rebellious”, “alternative” or “innovative” in comparision to a “pop music” sound will be so interesting to compare with what sounds/styles may be introduced in the future. The evolution of all music is inevitable. 

Boogie Down Bronx:Classic Photography

1520 Sedgwick Avenue and D.J Kool Herc are names forever synonymous with a part of the origins of rap music. In 1973 on August 11th, Kool Herc hosted a back to school party for his sister at the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue apartment building. At the community house party, he introduced a technique that involved two turntables, a mixer, two copies of the same record, and playing another song at the beginning or middle of the record while focusing on ”the break” in each one. With D.J Kool Herc presenting his technique, his friend Coke La Rock began to rap and many legendary rappers like Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Master Flash all claimed to have witnessed this historic significant event in music history. In honor of The Boogie Down Bronx, here are some truly amazing and influential photos that shows why  The Boogie Down Bronx will always be considered a birthplace of the rhythmic poetic art we call Hip Hop.

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On A Ragga Tip Classic: The Art of 90s Electronic/Dance Culture

Here is a perfect example of the vibe/style of classic 90s electronic/dance music that was popular years ago. However, for those of us who love 90s electronic music, then music like this will always be current. Whether they called it big beat, breakbeat, hardcore, rave, triphop, dance or whatever….the 90s had some of the best electronic music that has ever been created.

The Art Of Sarcasm In Songs: Two Examples of Songs With Thought Provoking Lyrics To Analyze

   

Both of these songs have a good message, but the way they say it is in a sarcastic way to mock and make you think. Here are the lyrics, which, is the best way to further understand the art and inspiration behind sarcastic/irony filled songs that are actually positive songs.

Christion Full of Smoke

But let us leave these two young men
To sit and reflect on the fate of the world
For life as we know it my brotha, must go on
And so the hustlers continue to hustle
And the playa’s continue to play

I’m the man today
Can’t nobody tell me nothin’
Got a hold on life
I’m takin’ each day by day being strong
Know just where I’m going to

As I get higher and higher
Dreams grow, visions flow by
This is as good as it gets
As I take another hit, suga
I can’t stop, I won’t stop

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

And all the day time just passes by me slowly
But I’m alright, you’ll see
Faces and places catching different cases
True runners it’s glorified

Same situation, nothin’ ever changes
Just being a bona fide hustler
Hustler, baby, from day to night
Business is as good as it gets
As I take another hit, honey
I won’t stop, I won’t stop

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

I’m the man today
Can’t tell me ‘cuz I’m feeling

‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke
‘Cuz I’m too cool
And what they say is true
Ooh, I’m full of smoke

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down
Watching my life go down

Local H Bound To The Floor
Born to be down
I’ve learned all my lessons before now
Born to be down
I think you’ll get used to it

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

Born to be down
I think that I’ve said this before now
Born to be down
What good is confidence?

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t
And you don’t

And you don’t
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you don’t
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you don’t
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you don’t
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic
And you just don’t get it, you keep it copacetic
And you learn to accept it, you know it’s so pathetic

And you don’t

My Guitar Inspiration: Jack White from The White Stripes

 

Besides Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix,  and Tom Morello, I remember when I was 13 years old & first heard ”Icky Thump” on a radio station that was called Project 96.1. I immediately was like ” How did he do that?” lol. I mean, of course I knew he was playing a guitar…but it was the way that he was playing which moved me. After that, I started listening to guitar music more & decided to learn how to play myself. Jack White, despite what some people have to say about his guitar techniques, is one of my top favorite guitar players of all time. The White Stripes is one of those bands that just comes around & quickly elevate themselves into ”legendary” status.  Future Rock n Roll Hall of Famers, of course.