Music

Have a Safe Halloween

Today, marks the first day in my life, where I will actually be dressing up for Halloween. Growing up, it was forbidden in my household because we were devout Christians and this day wasn’t one that we really acknowledge.

Tonight, I’ll be dressing as one of my favorite legends, Rick James.  I’ve decided to don his attire as a symbol of recognition for his unwavering contributions to music, daring fashion style, and that fact that Rick James was unfuckwitable. He had a touch of confidence that would not relent, even under the scrupulous headlines and lack of true recognition that he deserved for his artistic contributions.

I’ve always gravitated toward the counter culturists, because deep down, I’m one. We don’t defy the standards set by society just for the sake of doing so, but from my perspective, we do it because we don’t feel liberated by following the crowd. The beat of our drum, just sounds too good to ignore.

Cheers to new memories, good friendships, and new experiences.

Be safe and enjoy your Halloween.

Effervescent Sensuality

The lyrics to Floetry “Say Yes” are simply, effervescent and sensual. I’ve been fond of this song for over a decade, because it speaks about the imaginative thoughts that we have whenever we see someone that we like. It describes the uncertainty about if we will or won’t actually indulge our senses and give in to primal urges.

I’ve often thought that this would be a perfect song for a guy to remake, as men are socialized to be more open to one night stands or casual sex, and needing to prod a woman out of her head and into his bed. Nonetheless, Andre Harris and Marsha Ambrosius wrote a stunning piece of work. Enjoy the simplistic, yet very vivid lyrics below.

 “Say Yes”

[Intro:]
See I’ve been watching you for a while your smile and stuff
and I don’t know if I can be with you for tonight alright,
is that alright baby, baby

[Verse 1:]
There is only one for me
You have made that a possibility
We could take that step to see, ohh
If this is really gonna be
All you gotta do is say yes

[Chorus:]
All you gotta do is say yes
Don’t deny what you feel let me undress you baby
Open up your mind and just rest
I’m about to let you know you make me so
All you gotta do is say yes
Don’t deny what you feel let me undress you baby
Open up your mind and just rest
I’m about to let you know you make me so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so,
You make me so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so

[Verse 2:]
Loving you has taken time, taken time
But I always knew you could be mine
I recognize the butterflies inside me
Sense is gonna be made tonight, tonight
All you gotta do is say yes

[Repeat Chorus]

[Ad lib to end]

A Seat at the Table: Album Review

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This Cancerian woman known by the name of Solange, just released one of the most provocative albums of the year today. If not, in the last decade. Much like To Pimp a Butterfly, Solange cuts open her soul in A Seat at the Table, and drizzles it all over a bunch of melodious tunes. Songs that are somber and gut wrenching. Melodies that haunt you, and cause you to face the things, that you wish you could forget.

But let’s thank Solange, for reminding us how effective music can be at moving people to action. We dance and we sing all the time. But how often do we listen to music, and think? When listening to this album, there is no room for escapism. You as the listener, experience a kaleidoscope of emotions that cause your soul to rise up inside of you, and tear.

As she coos, the listener can’t help but to feel like a character in her novel. Whether that be the grandfather talking with his chirin’ about his experiences with racism, the mother sobbing over the state of the world her infant has been born into, or the young adult proud of their blackness and rocking their natural. You feel so alive while taking in each song, and the interludes that accompany. It’s a plethora of inviting vocals that harmonize real world problems, and crescendo toward enlightenment.

From the intro track, it is evident that Solange, unlike many of her contemporaries is unafraid of tackling issues regarding systemic racism and classism. She’s reminiscent of the artist of yesteryear. The ones who were more concerned about sending messages of hope and love to their listeners, rather than sugaring down songs that placate emotions, out of fear of losing endorsements.

Much like her star sign, Lange’ approaches the revolution in a subtle manner. She’s gentle in her message, though it is never lost. This is alkaline music for the soul. Each song is nourishment, and mama makes sure you eat all of your vegetables, before she allows you to get up from the table. The lyrical content boasts about the pride she, and other black people have in their unique features. She is unashamedly black, and recognizes the beauty that exists within the struggle.

A Seat at the Table, is more than a collection of songs. The underlying messages speak about our vast history that transcends beyond Transatlantic slavery. We created the table that we were denied access to sit. The irony of it, is that the materials used for building, came from our home land. The motherland. Mother Africa. That each table that is sold for thousands of dollars, has the labor of our ancestors all within their legs.

Today, we are reminding our souls about the innumerable power that resides inside of the melanin. The hope is not in being able sitting at the table, and feel a false reprieve about assimilating into another culture. It’s about choosing to stand in solidarity with your brothas and sistas, instead of sitting and being docile.  The message is clear, the afterlife is no longer the only place we will reach peace. Together, through unity, our collective strength will bring a new heaven to earth.

For years, I’ve been a fan of Solange. She’s breathtakingly beautiful, with legs that resemble that of a Goddess. But not even her physical features are able to overshadow her intelligence and distinct sense of self. It is her pride in her individuality, that makes her standout in a crowd.

I respect your pen game and your take on life, love, and sadness. Thank you, for utilizing your platform in this manner. Creating more spaces for dialogue, about the topics that are far too often avoided.
Rise!
With love + respect,
Von

 

Nostalgic

Aaliyah,

Today marks 15 years since your passing. Since then, so many thoughts have crossed my mind and even more feelings have been felt, than I could ever count. There were things that made me smile, and others that have cause me sorrow. Not only did you depart from the Earth at a very young age, but you also left behind a family. One that knew you, and cared for you in ways, that we could only ever imagine. I send love their way, and also to the family of the other passengers who lost their lives on that fateful day.

To commemorate your legacy, I’d like to jam to a throwback. Let’s take it back to ’94 when you first hit the scene, and released the infectious and effervescent track, “Back + Forth.”

This song reminds me of summer. Friday evening rides home from work. And, of a young and happy, you.

Rest in power, Baby girl.

Love,

Von

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New Music: Mariah Carey “You’re Mine (Eternal)” Feat. Trey Songz

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Mariah is back with new music just in time for Valentine’s Day. For her new song “You’re Mine (Eternal)” she is partnered with the R&b youngin’ Trey Songz. This is a nice song to cruise the streets to with your Valentine. I appreciate how she makes music that supports where she is in life now.  She’s married, she’s a mother, and she’s more mature. Nick is her homie, lover, and her friend. Together, they are holding down the Cannon household. Notice I wrote Cannon household and not Carey household. All the haters of their union out there should have more respect.She’s married for goodness sake and it’s to Nick, not you! Like MC said, “Last man on earth still couldn’t hit this… you’re delusional.”

I support them because I think they balance each other. Besides, Nick has to be a pretty confident guy to not only marry Mariah, but a woman who’s older than he is, has more experiences, and is a worldwide superstar. Kudos to the big homie for holding the diva down.

Every Woman Needs An Accessory

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Concert Review: Lauryn Hill in a league of her own

Lauryn HillLauryn hill is back on the musical scene and touring the country to give fans a new taste on some old favorites. If you buy tickets to her new show, you are in for a special treat. You’ll hear some elements of Reggae, Rock, and of course Soul. Her live show is phenomenal. However, come with an open mind for the music that you will hear L Boogie perform. Her show is all about refreshing some classic songs from her repertoire with new instrumentation, so it won’t sound exactly how it does on her infamous 1998 album “The Mis-Education of Lauryn Hill.” Depending on how you may view it, that change could either be good or bad. But as we all know, change is inevitable so just be grateful that she’s opening up her music to up to fans again.

Last night, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing one of my favorite artist perform in the Queen City. Not sure if she felt some sort of new-found energy being in Charlotte, but she often identifies herself with being a Queen, and man did she carry herself with grace. When you arrive at her shows expect to wait for a while. My guest and I waited around in the standing room only venue for about an hour and some change before she took the stage. However, we were treated to a really cool deejay who made sure to play songs that kept the crowd engaged. As I looked around the room I noticed a bevy of people in attendance. To be more frank, a Lauryn Hill fan doesn’t have an identifiable look. Unless you can look at someone upon first glance and tell that they are lovers of great music. There were people in the crowd who were college students, a few folks who might have been professors, and a myriad of ethnicities singing along to her beautiful songs. The best part about the show for me besides the performance was how well-behaved her audience was. We all formed some sort of temporary bond with her music being the common denominator. No one in the audience was void of emotion either. At a given moment you could point in the crowd and find a fan crying, overjoyed, and basking in psychedelic funk.

I would recommend music fans alike to go out and hear her perform live. Aside from her first album, listening to her new performances on YouTube does not do her songs any justice. It  is an experience to watch and hear her show from a crowd. I was impressed at how she orchestrated her bass players, electric guitarist, keyboardist, and back ground singers. No one could deny her and say that being on stage was not her true passion or desire at that moment. She stood there confidently and gave us a taste of her early 90’s rap style that I had forgotten she had. We have become so inundated with female MC’s raping about their sexuality that we rarely hear or appreciate a woman giving bars that spark social and political commentary. I have always been a fan of Kim and Foxy, and some of Nicki’s songs, but Lauryn is in a whole other class for me. She is one of those women who demands respect because she believes in herself and the people she allows around her have no choice but to agree. In fact, many would probably feel honored to learn from her experiences. Below is a list of the rest of her tour dates. Check her out in concert if you are able and let me know what you think.

Thursday 13 February 2014
Ms. Lauryn Hill live
The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA, US

Saturday 15 February 2014
9 Mile Music Festival 2014 Sean Paul, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Stephen Marley, Mavado, Julian Marley, Damien Marley, and Alika & Nueva Alianza
Miami Dade County Fair & Expo Center Miami, FL, US

Monday 17 February 2014
Ms. Lauryn Hill live
Ms. Lauryn Hill
The Tabernacle Atlanta, GA, US

Wednesday 23 July 2014 – Sunday 27 July 2014
Floydfest 2014
Floyd, VA, US