Friday, July 15, 2011

Murs Cut His Dreads!?

Underground legend Murs has been on the East coast for a while reportedly working with Ski Beatz on his next project, 'The Transformation'. The project is set to release on Dame Dash's new DD172 label. I guess Murs is totally immersing himself in that theme! Change is good, but this change is GREAT. He finally cut off his dreads in favor of an Afro.

Nivla - "Retribution" Audio and "Life I Bleed" Music Video

I've been trying to tell y'all that we get it in in Westchester! Nivla was born in White Plains and sharpened his writing in the Bronx. Now tearing it down worldwide as an artist of Universal/Interscope Records he's proving that it doesn't matter where you're from or what your background is in Hip-Hop. You just have to be NICE! Nivla is definitely on the level and a quick run through his accolades and accomplishments proves that.

These new tracks hit the public today and, of course, is putting you on. Don't be the last to know! This double feature inlcludes audio and a free download for "Retribution" featuring Shady Records' own Joell Ortiz and Preme MIB. You also get a music video for "Life I Bleed". Check it out and share your thoughts in the comments.

Skyzoo - "Test Drive" Music Video

Skyzoo and !llmind are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together. This new video for "Test Drive" is yet another fine example of their musical chemistry. This track, from the long awaited 'The Great Debater' mixtape is a must listen. Watch the video and then click the link above to download the mixtape. You won't regret it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

West Coastin' pt. II

 Shy Maria (l.) and Fred (r.)

After two very full days of ripping and running, it was down to my last few hours to take in a few more sights and then pack my things up to head back to New York. I woke up at 10am, which was a miracle considering I was at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles until 4am. I got ready for my day quickly and called my fellow Team L.A.R.K. member Fred to come pick me up. Fred has been down with me for many years now but this was our first face to face meeting. He brought his lovely girlfriend along too and we took off to Santa Monica to see how much we could squeeze in before my 3:35pm flight.

On the boulevard.

We hit the 3rd Street Promenade and there were people everywhere! Street performers were doing their respective things and the cool ocean breeze was perfect. I popped in and out of a few stores looking for a gifts to bring back to NY, but I didn't find anything of interest. With shopping not working out we set our sights on the pier to take some pictures.

Give the drummer some.

 African drumming and dance. No Africans included.

Santa Monica Pier

At this point, we had just enough time to grab some food before I had to head to LAX to catch my ride home. We climbed back into Fred's car and went to nearby Santa Monica Place Shopping Center. We opted for semi-Chinese food. Yes, "semi". It surely was not real Chinese food, but it was close enough. After half a plate of food and 2 orange juices, I was....umm....40 minutes away from boarding time!

We took off for LAX with speed and thank goodness there was no traffic on the way. I grabbed my bag from Fred's trunk and quick stepped my way to the self check-in counter. I swiped my credit card and zipped through the prompts. When I hit the menu for checked bags I got a pop-up message:

"You're too late, Biaaaatch! The baggage check is closed. Hahahahaha! #FAIL"

Well, it didn't really say that but it might as well have. This is the part where MTV speeds up the cargo loading, boarding, taxi and takeoff.....

I knew this picture would be good for something!

I immediately called up Fred and told him, "Yo. I missed it." The good thing is that all I had to do was hop on the next flight 6 hours later. No charge. We chuckled at my stupidity and he offered to swing back around and pick me up if I didn't want to sit in the airport for 6 hours. Of course, I did not and so it was; a bonus 6 hours in Cali with Fred.

We went to a really cool graffiti art exhibition at MOCA. The exhibition is called "Art in the Streets" and is a look at graffiti art from it's roots in the '70s to present day. I had an amazing time looking at early work from artists like Lee, Dondi, Blade, Basquiat and other huge names in graffiti.

Andre has to pee.

Spray everything but the doors!

After our fill of styles, colors and photos we went over to Little Tokyo and had some snacks. Then it was that time again. I was on my way back to LAX. This time with PLENTY of time to spare. I sat and reflected on my time in LA and I just smiled. I'm so thankful for life and all of it's blessings. Major props and respect to Fred and Maria for taking care of me. You two are awesome!

Here are a couple more pics from MOCA that I like. Thanks for reading!

Rammellzee, Baby!

What the....?

Who's going to have the first graffiti fleet plane?

The legendary Mr. Cartoon.

Thurz - "Molotov Cocktail"

Thurz of the group U-N-I is working on a solo project set to release August 9th titled "LA Riot". The album is a collection of songs inspired by Rodney King, the '92 LA Riots and recent uprisings in North Africa. This short video clip just released along side a free download.

This is powerful music. Music with purpose.

THURZ - Molotov Cocktail by #92CREW

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lira is Coming To America

"She's your queeeeeeen toooohooooo beeeeeee...."

South African superstar Lira has hooked up with OkayPlayer and is bringing her soulful sound to the United States. She'll be on a brief tour this month from the 24th - 29th. To mark the occasion, OkayPlayer released this live recording of "Rise Again" for free download. The singer will be releasing a self-titled EP on the 26th, which is also the same day that she will be performing at S.O.B.'s in New York. I will definitely be in the building for this show as this woman's music is awesome. Click the link above to download and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

West Coastin' pt. I

 Signature California

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out in California for 3 days. I went in hopes of snagging a 2011 Black Weblog Award for my work here on Unfortunately, I was bested in all 4 categories that I was nominated in.  It's all good though!  It was a fantastic experience full of exploration, new people and laughter. That was enough for me......this time.

I landed in LA at 10am on Friday. After flying to and from Japan so many times at 13-16 hours a clip, this 5 hour flight was a breeze. As soon as I touched down, everything was super smooth sailing. I grabbed my checked bag quickly, hopped on the hotel shuttle and checked in 5 hours early at no charge. Sweet. I stayed at the Renaissance LAX and it was a very enjoyable stay. Nice room, lame view though, great staff and convenient location.

I'm good in the 'hood.

I dropped my bags off and immediately took off to do some exploring. My first order of business was to find a barber shop and get my noggin in order. I walked over to Inglewood and got myself situated properly at Sport Cuts. My next stop was Culver City Mall (Fox Hills Mall for the OGs) to do some light shopping. I grabbed a few things after mulling around for a bit and then headed back to the hotel for some food and a much needed brief rest.

I kicked back in my room for a short while and then it was back up to shower and change for a private screening of the film "Attack the Block", courtesy of Screen Gems and the BWAs. We took a bus from the Marriott LAX to Arclight Theaters in El Segundo. We were quickly escorted and in and taken to our reserved seats in the theater. "Attack the Block" won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival and it's easy to see why. The film is a tale of some tough kids from inner city London who thwart an alien invasion. If you're a fan of films like Grindhouse, Shaun of the Dead and/or the Scary Movie series, you'll like this film a lot. It's very funny, vulgar, gory in parts and wildly enjoyable if you're into this style.

Some other Hollywood sign.
On Saturday, after a solid nights rest, I got up early and took off to Hollywood before the awards show. It was very interesting to see the subtle differences between California living and New York living. Little things like bike racks on the city buses and parking cameras with open/closed space indicators or electric vehicle charging stations and parking meters that take credit card were very cool to see. I walked around the area, took a few shots and gazed on a few sections of the Walk of Fame.

Of all the stars that I could have happened upon, I was most excited about finding the star of Stepin Fetchit. That joy quickly turned to slight anger at the state of disrepair his star was in. While I didn't see all of the stars, I saw more than a few and none but Stepin's was defaced, broken or as unpolished. His controversial career in movies is still a source for debate but I'm of the mind that he was a pioneer.
Fix it!

I grabbed a few drinks at a local bar and then it was back to the hotel to shower and prep for the awards show. I was super excited as the reality set in that I was nominated for 4 2011 Black Weblog Awards. It was great to say while I was promoting and campaigning for votes but as the moments drew nearer, I became a bit nervous.  This was the first live presentation of the awards, so it was even more unnerving knowing that people would be watching everything in real time.

The awards were a blast. Hosts Rene Syler and Kim Coles were hilarious and despite several miscues (Not all their faults.), they kept us engaged in the show. The winners were announced sequentially with brief interludes in between groups of about 8 announcements and I came up short in all 4 of my categories. I was only slightly stung by my loss in the Best Photography Blog category. The winner of this category does NOT do photography. They shouldn't have even been nominated in this category. The site owner himself said so. However, I knew going in that I was likely by far the smallest of all the blogs nominated and that winning by popular vote was nigh impossible. In previous years, there was always a popular vote winner and a judges vote selection. Judges vote was apparently axed this year and despite attempts to find out why, I wasn't given a response.

It's all good though! I had a great time and met some really nice and interesting people. I have to again thank Britni of Clutch Magazine and Maya for their time and energy. I also want to thank the cool guy from London representing "Brothers With No Game" who needs to remain anonymous.  We hung out after the show and went to Roscoes Chicken and Waffles to chat and build. It was a ton of fun! There are so many quotables from the day that kept me in stitches however, hands down, the keyword of the day was "ratchet" courtesy of OluLuvvie AdeRatchet.

Check out a couple more photos from Friday/Saturday and check back for West Coastin' pt. II soon!
Cliche, but still cool.

Even Cali is on their NY $#!t.

Cali Valley Swag.


This would be plastered in NY!