This year has been an exciting and challenging year. Full of unexpected surprises, losses, and growth. Here are some of the amazing projects that kept me busy this year. I had the pressure connecting with some of the Sun Valley’s most talented natives and professionals. In combination with the ups and downs in my personal life, 2018 was definitely one for the record books. Take a look at some of these highlights. Photography by Tyrone Z. McCants
Jazzy Nights Magazine presents Yanelle Dugar. Inspired by her mother’s love of Hip-Hop and 80′s Pop music. She is a singer/songwriter in Traditional Jazz, R&B, Soul, Electronica & Dance.
TWIHHP had an interview with Bronx NYC artist - David Bars at the famous D.I.T.C (Diggin In The Crates) Studios. David Bars talks about his view on the state of hip-hop, his roots to the culture, and his new upcoming project.
Have you ever took a ride in a yellow taxi through New York City and the cab driver happened to have it at the right station? Most times I'd ask the driver to put it on 88.3 FM - Jazz. If you've caught a cab in Philadelphia, you might have been riding with a royal prince of jazz and blues by the name of T.C. III. This crooning Philadelphian is the son and heir of the Legendary Jazz greats, Dr. Trudy Pitts and Mr. C. I recently learned about this brother from an interview on my "What Is Hip-Hop?" radio show where I featured an artist out of Los Angeles by the name of Robert D Bassett Jr aka M.C. Class. We discussed his music project entitled, Hip Hop's Damage Control. The emcee, the crooner and along with another emcee named Black Joe collaborated on a project called "The Soul Repair Kit, Hip Hop's Damage Control. The album created a growing buzz in the Los Angeles' underground music scene.
"In our modern age, music has moved to a whole new level" says Class (Lead Rapper and producer ). "But the question is, has the depth and content of today's music evolved at the same pace? For many of our conscious listeners, the answer is a resounding... NO!
Delanor Baychester Productions in association with Infusion Music Group put together a positive message to the music industry and the world. "The Soul Repair Kit" is Hip Hop grown up. This new CD speaks to the hearts and ears of every early Hip Hop fan with Jazz and Be-bop fused together to create the beats and sounds that we come to expect from Hip Hop in its 40's. Along with positive messages that uplift the mind body and spirit.
T.C. III was unavailable on the day of our phone interview, but I was fortunate enough to meet him in Brooklyn for a night of Jazz. Since finding his musical roots, he now lives in New York performing regularly with some of yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows leading blues and jazz artists. His recent album release - "Mega Jazz Explosion", TC III co-produced with Norman Connors while adding his Jazz Vocals to a 14-Piece Band including Gary Bartz, Joey DeFrancesco, Trudy Pitts & "MR.C.", Don Braden, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Orrin Evans, Elmer Gibson, Byran Landham, Clifford Adams, Daryl Hall, and David Ephross.
"I sang in the mirror but I never thought I would be a Jazz singer" says William T. Carney the Third. He spent many of his young years sitting in sound booths as his parents performed in the most renowned music venues around the world. Settling in Philadelphia, his connection to Jazz and Blues reached another level while driving in his car listening to WRTI 90.1 radio and Eddie Jefferson's remake of Miles Davis's instrumental - "So What" came on. "There Are Words to So What?!?! I didn't know!" TC III amazed at the thought of adding a verbal melody to Jazz instruments can sound so good. That is when he decided to follow in his parent’s footsteps but in his own unique way. I got to watch him do his magic live, not in one but two shows that night.
First stop was a smooth artsy venue named the Williamsburg Music Center were T.C. sat in with guitarist extraordinaire Jerry Eastonand and T. Alexander, son of the late and great Saxophonist, Roland Alexander. After that performance, we breezed over the Williamsburg Bridge and across midtown Manhattan to the Westside highway up to the Smoke Jazz and Supper Club up in Harlem. There T.C. shared the stage with the Sugar Hill Quartet - Patience Higgins, Big Dave Gibson, Marcus Persiani and Alex Hernandez. It was a night to remember.
Music can soothe the soul. So the next time you're feeling, go out and hear some live music, take a ride and pop in your Mega Jazz Explosive cd and mellow out.
I recently sat in on a studio session with Mickey Factz as he knocked out track after track for his upcoming Y3 Mixtape. Moving around the studio like a worker bee in production. From the booth to the boards to his cell to communicating with his fans via social media then to his playlist and back to the booth. He took a few minutes to talk about his Y3 Mixtape – G.A.T.M. (Gospel According To Me). This is the third installment to his “Y” Trilogy. Mickey talks about his growth as an artist and why he feels it’s important to produce music that can reach the everyday person by making music that takes the listener into his world.
Mickey via his Facebook page “this is really special. Art, Lyricism, Video Games, Love, Heartbreak, Politics, Religion, Honesty, Style and History. Couldn’t ask for a more well rounded body of work from myself…”
The mixtape comes with a collection of amazing beats from producers like 100 Bulletz to Just Blaze. It is also expected to feature some of today top lyrical emcees such as Cyhi Da Prynce, Elzhi, Charles Hamilton and few more surprised guests.
What does it take to be a HipHopeuner? It takes commitment to do the work to drive your brand and music, it takes focus and consistency, one must have a deep appreciation for the art and culture of hip-hop while being true to your expression of the art that you contribute to it.
“… I’m hoping that people are appreciating this, man, that’s pretty much it for me man. I want people to love what I’m doing…. I just like to rap, and I like showing people I can rap…” says Mickey
Brooklyn got a strong dose of Soul during the amazing live performance by music artist, Bilal, al the BAM Rhythm and Blues Concert Series.
What do you get when you combined the melodies of two harps, a piano and the musical brilliance of harpist and composer Brandee Younger with a touch of Jazz and Brooklyn flavor? You get pure harmony. On March 12th, Brandee Younger held a performance piece at the Greenwich House Music School, part of the Uncharted Concert Series. The magical performance included newly-composed music featuring second harpist Mia Theodoratus and pianist Courtney Bryan. Ms. Young also performed her special musical tribute to Travon Martin and his entitled "He Has A Name."
Performance at the Town Hall theater featuring Mexican-American conductor Alondra De La Parra and her Philharmonic Orchestra of the American. The concert was an repertoire honoring late Mexican composers, as featured on the Orchestra's platinum albums Alma Mexicana and Travieso Carmesi. De la Parra's skillful execution embraced a warmth of ranchero music with hints of bolero. Mexican classics such as "Amaneci otra Vez," "Cielito Lindo," and "Solamente una Vez" were vernacular songs performed with both elegance and seduction under de la Parra's direction. De la Parra was joined onstage by latin pop sensation Natalia Lafourcade.
1977 seems like ages ago. 37 years of relevancy in Hip Hop culture is definitely something to celebrate. This past Sunday, New York City’s Summer Stage presented Rock Steady Crew’s 37th Anniversary concert in Central Park. The Rock Steady Crew is a household name in Hip Hop. Culture connoisseurs of varying generations came together this past Sunday to pay homage and witness “Real Hip Hop.” While many debate what “real” Hip Hop is, every guest that hit the stage proudly boasted, “This is Real Hip Hop.”
For the sake of the culture, let us not forget the four elements. The b-boy has been a staple since the culture came into fruition. B-boys, Crazy Leg and Lenny Len, were put onto Rock Steady through Jimmy D as a way to preserve the art form of breakdance. Their mission was to take it to the next level while keeping the culture alive. By the early 1980s, the Rock Steady Crew was making a lot of noise in the Manhattan scene. Battling their rivals, the Dynamic Rockers, was a crucial point in the history of breakdancing and Hip Hop. Today, Rock Steady Crew has expanded and become a fusion of the old and new school.
On Sunday, July 27th, Rock Steady Crew added another chapter to its legacy.
As the show began, I looked out into the sea of faces and noticed the blend of races, genders and ages in the crowd. The crowd was proof of how far Hip Hop has come in truly reaching the masses while breaking through racial barriers, age gaps and gender roles. Hosting the anniversary event was the End of the Weak emcees. EOW, as many know it as, is NYC’s longest running Hip Hop open mic showcase and it was only fitting to let them host the monumental event. Being in the photo pit, I was able to witness not just the levels of greatness that touched the stage, but also see so many people still supporting “real Hip Hop.” It was a reassuring sign that Hip Hop will be well preserved throughout the years to come.
The first half of the event was led by notable pioneers of the culture. Large Professor, Cormega and Das EFX all touched the stage and the crowd loved every minute of it. Considering that the majority of the crowd was made up of people in their 30′s, they grew up to these artists’ music and they were rapping along to every word to every song. Cormega took some time out in his set to address the crowd and see which age group was reaping the heaviest. “If you’re over 30 years old, make some noise,” he shouted and the crowd went berserk. There were kids looking at their parents with surprised faces, not being able to fathom at the fact that their parents grew up on Hip Hop as well.
I ran into Onyx before they got on stage to perform, as well as Spliff Star, who was there to support his fellow Hip Hop veterans. The energy backstage was great as well. I saw the old school mingling with the new school and artists mingling with the people as they talked about “back in the day Hip Hop” and took photos. When Onyx came out, it felt like we were teleported back into the 90s. The grit and rawness that embodies both Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz was beyond apparent. Onyx never lost their street edge and their age never showed as the duo sustained a high-energy performance that was all a Hip Hop fan could ask for.
The show was full of surprise guests as well. Beatbox legend Rahzel came out and proved to us, once again, why he is so great at what he does. Keith Murray also took it back with “Fatty Girl” and brought a big surprise guest of his own, the Ruler himself, Slick Rick. Decked out in chains, of course, Slick Rick had the crowd mesmerized.
As the day winded down, DJ Tony Touch made an appearance before the final performance of the night took place. Rightfully introducing the crew, Rock Steady Crew originator Crazy Legs took to the mic and said a few words. Crazy Legs first thanked the crowd for the many years of support for the culture and keeping the Rock Steady name relevant after so many years. He also made a special announcement by presenting the newest Vice President of RSC: Y-Not. Adding to his own legacy, Crazy Legs also shared the news about his contribution to Cornell University. The prestigious school will be keeping all of Crazy Legs’ Hip Hop archives in their Hip Hop Collection. “We’re here to preserve Hip Hop and I’m glad to be able to donate everything I’ve collected over the years to Cornell University,” said Crazy Legs.
After bearing the good news to the packed out Summer Stage audience, the newest members of Rock Steady Crew literally swept the floor clean with their mind-blowing foot work, leg swipes, flare kicks, chair freezes, pop locking and more. Y-NOT, Bonita, Bail Rok and more all took turns wowing the crowd with their skills. It was a refreshing sight to see, to be able to witness a new generation of b-boys and b-girls who will continue to carry the torch that Rock Steady Crew initially carried over 30 years ago.
Hip Hop isn’t dead. And this year’s Rock Steady Crew Anniversary was a friendly reminder of why it isn’t.
*** Article credited to @Maria "My-My" F. Yap of KevinNottingham.com - The Underground Hip Hop Authority
For the Hip-Hop Heads who missed the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2014 - Check the Photo Recap Here
I couldn't pass up on the chance to meet one of my idols - Mr. Melvin Van Peebles. I heard he and his son, Mario Van Peebles were both visiting JustFilms at AtriumFlix, Lincoln Center. They opened the event with a live musical performance by Melvin Van Peebles wid Laxative band, featuring Burnt Sugar Arkestra members. After the performance there was Q & A with Melvin and Mario Van Peebles by moderator Greg Tate. The evening was topped off with a Free screening of Mario Van Peebles' film and tribute to his father - Baadasssss! A revealing documentary about the making of his father’s groundbreaking 1971 independent film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. It was a honor to shake your hand, Mr. Peebles.
If you haven't seen this Baadasssss movie yet, go get it!