Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday: Marley Marl

Birthday respects to another pioneer in Hip-Hop. Marley Marl (born Marlon Williams on September 30, 1962) is one of the most influential and important figures in Hip-Hop. He was the first to sample a breakbeat (Honey Drippers - "Impeach The President") and reprogram it, which he did for his cousin MC Shan's "The Bridge" in 1985. The founder of Cold Chillin' Records in 1986, Marl was the house producer for the Juice Crew which contained Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shanté, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, MC Shan, Craig G and Masta Ace.

He also produced for outside artists such as King Tee, LL Cool J, Lords of the Underground and also an important figure in the careers of Eric B. & Rakim, producing their first hits "My Melody" and "Eric B Is President", the latter being replayed in the same drum pattern as James Brown's "Funky President". Marl also was a key figure in helping to launch the career of legendary producer Pete Rock, after appearing several times as a guest DJ on his Private Radio show on WBLS radio station in New York City.

Marley Marl has played many key parts in the tradition of rap battles with one of the most memorable being the Queensbridge vs South Bronx battle where he and MC Shan took on Boogie Down Productions, where KRS-ONE started his recording career. Other challenges include the diss record by Roxanne Shante' ("Roxanne's Revenge) in response to UTFO's "Roxanne, Roxanne" in 1984. Marl produced LL Cool J's crossover hit "Mama Said Knock You Out" as part of the battle between LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee.

In 1988, Marl released his first full length album under his own name, In Control: Vol.1 that contained the infamous posse record "The Symphony". In Control: Vol.2 was released in 1990. Both albums featured mainly artists from his Cold Chillin' label to give them an opportunity to flex their skills. The 1990's also brought about Marl producing for TLC, Capone-N-Noreaga, Da Youngtas and Fat Joe.

In 2007, Marl and KRS-ONE collaborated on a project titled Hip-Hop Lives. In 2008 a collaborative effort was done with Craig G for Operation: Take Back Hip-Hop.

Follow Marley Marl on Twitter: @GoldenEraRadio

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Farewell: Sylvia Robinson

Sylvia Robinson
(March 6, 1936 – September 29, 2011)

We lose yet another pioneer in music. Sylvia Robinson, as a performer known to many simply billed as Sylvia, passed away earlier today in a New Jersey hospital. She's also know as the "mother of Hip-Hop", because she was the driving force behind Sugar Hill Records, both as co-founder and a producer. Sylvia helped to usher in two key records in the Hip-Hop genre, "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugar Hill Gang and "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five.

Sylvia aided in the production and releases through forming All Platinum Records in 1968. All Platinum would eventually purchase Chess Records in the early 1970's, a label that housed artists such as Etta James, The Moments, Shirley & Company, Candi Staton, Jean Carn and more. Eventually, All Platinum wasn't able to keep steady releasing material from the former Chess roster.

In 1973, Sylvia released "Pillow Talk" on Vibration. The single reached #1 on the R&B chart and is considered an early prototype of Disco music. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in May 1973. In 1976 she released her self titled album Sylvia that contained "Sweet Stuff", a tune sampled by Detroit producer J-Dilla for his "Crushin'" tune on his Ruff Draft album.

The mid-1970's brought the founding of Sugar Hill Records with Milton Malden. The label being named after the culturally rich Sugar Hill section of Harlem in New York City. "Rapper's Delight" was released in 1979 and put rap music on the commercial market. Later "The Message" would follow, although it was an abandoned demo. With the guidance of Sylvia and assistance from a session drummer, she persuaded Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five to record what would be the introduction of socially conscious lyrics into Hip-Hop. By commercializing the market for rap records, Robinson is credited as the mother of modern hip-hop. She introduced the idea of re-using existing compositions, a practice that later became known as "sampling".

"The Message" was the first Hip-Hop record ever added to the
United States National Archive of Historic Recordings.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Superstar Quamallah & Deqawn: Talkin' All That Jazz

Fresh is the word for Superstar Quamallah, who of course is no stranger in the Hip-Hop world and Deqawn. Both having their own version of Hip-Hop blended with Jazz and an old school vocal delivery. A couple of weeks ago they released Talkin' All That Jazz produced in its entirety by Izznyce on Brick Records, who also house the likes of MF Doom, Termanology, 7L & Esoteric, Mr. Lif and more. Below is the title track that's reminiscent of old school De La Soul tunes. Enjoy!

Jenova 7: Dusted Jazz Volume One

A couple of weeks ago, Los Angeles based Jenova 7 released Dusted Jazz Volume One, a downtempo Trip-Hop EP which is a precursor for his upcoming full length The Sounds of Sector 7 album which will drop on November 15th. This is the type of flavor that I would spin in my Sunflower Jazz sets. Visit Dusted Wax Kingdom for more info on upcoming releases, then get this free download at Jenova 7's Bandcamp page. Enjoy!

BMB aka SpaceKid: The Sound of Tomorrow

Just yesterday, St. Petersburg based Beat-Maker-Beat aka SpaceKid dropped his The Sound of Tomorrow full length album via Soulection. There are 19 soulful beats for an unbelievably low price. Help both BMB and Soulection for welcoming him into their family by purchasing this album. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Phonte: Charity Starts At Home

The Charity Starts At Home album is here! Today Phonte of The Foreign Exchange released his highly anticipated solo work via +FE Music. Guest vocals include Sy Smith, Elzhi, Carlitta Durand, Pharoahe Monch, Evidence, Eric Roberson, Big K.R.I.T. and Median. Production credits go to 9th wonder, Khrysis, Swiff D, S1 & Caleb, Zo! and Stro Elliot. Get your copy of this yummy goodness at The Foreign Exchange Music Website or on iTunes.

Get the FREE download of "Not Here Anymore" ft. Elzhi (prod. by 9th Wonder).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sly Stone Reported As Homeless In Los Angeles

According to an article published hours ago by International Business Times, pioneering Soul/Funk musician and singer Sly Stone of Sly & The Family Stone is homeless and living in a van on the streets of Los Angeles. Click the link below to read the full article.

Soul Music Legend Sly Stone is Now Homeless in LA

Sunday, September 25, 2011

ISHE + HEZEKIAH PROJECT: Hold On (Official Video)

The East meets West with the soulful duo of singer/songwriter Ishe' of San Diego and producer/emcee Hezekiah of Philly, as they have merged to present the ISHE + HEZEKIAH PROJECT. The full album dropped in early June and they have already linked up with Georgia Anne Muldrow to do this addicting remix of their latest single "Hold On". Not only is this a bangin' track, but the dance choreography for this video is on point. Peep the video below then head on over to their 3crates Bandcamp page and purchase this album. Enjoy!

KING: Supernatural (MdCL Remix)

It's been quite some time since i've posted anything on KING, this amazing trio of talented young women. Since that time, they have opened up for "his royal badness" Prince, recorded a single with The Foreign Exchange and i'm sure they are working on a full length debut. As for now, here's a clever remix done by the maestro on keys, Mark de Clive-Lowe. You can view the previous post here. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tracy Cruz: Love's Galaxy

There's a shining star amongst us who goes by the name of Tracy Cruz. In 2005, Tracy gained national recognition with an EP entitled Illuminate Love that featured Kanetic Source, formerly of Ozomatli. Her 2008 debut album Feel'osophy was awarded three Muse's Muse Awards for "Best R&B Project of 2008", "Best Lyrics Female" and "Best R&B Single Female".

She gives us another taste with her sophomore album Universoul Symphony and leads it off with the soulful space filled ballad "Love's Galaxy". I got a big kick out of "Happy" from its upbeat funky feel that was light helps put listeners in that mood. Also Tracy takes it back to basics with the adding of school nursery rhymes, which gave me a good laugh. "Electricity" is a great tune. This is one of those songs that's ideal for the upcoming fall weather or to listen to after a days work while sipping your favorite libation.

Treat yourself to what proves to be a good second album done by a very talented artist. Universoul Symphony is available on Amazon and iTunes.
Twitter: @tracycruzmusic

Friday, September 23, 2011

Farewell Vesta Williams

Vesta Williams
(December 1, 1957 – September 22, 2011)

Mary Vesta Williams was an R&B singer born in Coshocton, Ohio, known for her four-octave vocal range and often compared to Chaka Khan. Originally credited as Vesta Williams, she was sometimes simply billed as Vesta beginning in the 1990s. Although Williams never had any albums certified gold nor any Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, she scored six Top 10 hits on the US Billboard R&B chart from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. Williams was known for the hits "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," "Sweet Sweet Love," "Special", and her 1989 #1 Hit song, "Congratulations".

Williams portrayed a saloon singer in the 1993 film Posse, directed by Mario Van Peebles. During this time period she had a hit with the SWV song, "Rain", recorded alongside smooth jazz musician, Norman Brown. Williams had a recurring role as "Monica", Jackee Harry's best friend, in the television series Sister, Sister in the 1994-95 season. In 2000, Polygram released a compilation album, featuring songs from Williams and Polygram artist, CeCe Peniston. By 2002, Williams became a radio personality and was co-hosting a morning show on KRNB, a radio station based in Dallas/Fort Worth. In recent years, Williams lost 100 pounds, going from size 26 to a size 6. It was at this time that Williams became an advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes.

In 2007, Williams released an album of R&B songs on Shanachie Records entitled Distant Lover. Produced by Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Distant Lover was a cover album featuring songs originally recorded by Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Sade, and Deniece Williams. Her last recording was the song "Dedicated," released on December 7, 2010 on Stimuli Music. Her final performance was on September 17, 2011 in Portsmouth, Virginia, performing at the Autumn Jazz Explosion.

Our condolences reach out to the family of Vesta. We have lost another powerful and gifted voice. For her full bio, discography and more info, log on to

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sydnee Jane & The Jane-ettes: BAD (Video Shoot 9/23/11)

These very lovely ladies who go by the name Sydnee Jane & The Jane-ettes that i've blogged about before, who are very genuine, sent me this track called "BAD" to my inbox. I grabbed my headphones, pressed play and watched the goosebumps pop up on my skin. Pure unadulterated HOTNESS! The tracks has an old school feel, with modern freshness added and was produced by southern legend N.O. Joe, who you may remember from tracks he's done for Rap-A-Lot Records and Priority Records.

I've been informed that they will be doing a video shoot for the tune this Friday, September 23rd in Houston. For more info and location, click "LIKE" on their Sydnee Jane & The Jane-ettes Live Facebook page or log on to Sydnee Jane Official Website. Press play and turn up your speakers to get BAD with them. Enjoy!


Variety: Vinyl Presser Meets Growing Demand

This article on the Variety website was brought to my attention by my homie Buscrates, the Pittsburgh producer you're read about on here before. The article's focus is the rising sale of vinyl records here in the U.S. according to Soundscan ratings. Thanks to people like myself (yeah that's me in the pic digging in Detroit) and Buscrates, we're two of those who help in the continued growth of vinyl sales. Read the full article here: Vinyl Presser Meets Growing Demand.

Full Crate: Woofers & Dirt

To get your juices flowing, here's a nice little uptempo mix done by producer Full Crate of Amsterdam. Put on your dancing shoes, turn up the volume and release some steam. Enjoy!

The Dubber: Walk'em Down Tour 2011

Big respect to my man The Dubber, now based in Columbia, SC, originally from Washington D.C. I met this good brother a few years ago thru a good friend of mine while they were on tour together. A few strokes of the guitar and to hear his lyrics, I was hooked. He displays a clever mixture of reggae, funk, hip-hop and jazz all rolled into one to make a delicious gumbo.

For my Philly crew, you can catch him live tonight at World Cafe' Live at 3025 Walnut Street. For more info, log on to

Follow on Twitter: @thedubber

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Happy Birthday: Ma Dukes (Mareen Yancey)

Let's RAISE IT UP for Mrs. Maureen Yancey a.k.a. "Ma Dukes" and wish her a very happy birthday. Mrs. Yancey is a former opera singer and the mother of the late great Detroit producer James "J-Dilla" Yancey.

In 2006, Mrs. Yancey founded the J-Dilla Project with Uncle Herm to help keep the legacy of J-Dilla alive, display his passion for music and also to raise funds to continue lupus research and provide quality arts training through music for underprivileged children.

A word from Ma Dukes on the J-Dilla Project:

"I wanted to set it up to help others but also to be a nucleus for the fans who wanted to do tributes and honor Dilla. It would be a place for artists to be able to show their support. . It's a community, those artists coming out of the underground. You can see this when you travel around the world and see how large his fan base really was. People are still discovering the extent of Dilla's influence."

The J-Dilla Project Website

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

King Britt: Touch of Tech Mix

Here's a tasty new mix from Philly based producer and DJ, King Britt. Many DJ's, including myself have rocked his releases ranging from Ovum, to 550, Sony, Columbia, and now-a-days Saturn Never Sleeps. This weekend he'll be on the one's and two's again doing what he does best. Check the tour schedule below and make like scuba to dive into his recent podcast. Enjoy!

Upcoming Dates:
09/17/11: Tallahassee Florida -The Engine Room
09/23/11: San Francisco - Supper Club
09/24/11: Vancouver - Fortune Sound Club
09/25/11: Victoria - Lucky Bar
10/21/11: Tampa - The Hyde Park Cafe
10/28/11: New Orleans - Voodoo Festival

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday: Roy Ayers

Very, very happy birthday wishes to a legend in the music world, Mr. Roy Ayers, master of the vibes. In the 70's he was one of the pioneering forces for Jazz-Funk. Ayers has released more than 40 albums, including the soundtrack to the blaxploitation movie Coffy, which starred Pam Grier.

In 1980, Ayers collaborated with Afro-Beat pioneer Fela Kuti to release Music of Many Colors. The 2000's brought about him stepping into the realms of House music by releasing remixes of many of his classics. For more info on Roy Ayers, including his discography, log on to

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday: Gloria Gaynor & Eazy-E

Gloria Gaynor singer best known for the disco era hits; "I Will Survive" (Hot 100 number 1, 1979), "Never Can Say Goodbye" (Hot 100 number 9, 1974), "Let Me Know (I Have a Right)" (Hot 100 number 42, 1980) and "I Am What I Am" (R&B number 82, 1983).

Her first real success came in 1975 with the release of her album Never Can Say Goodbye, which established her as a disco artist. The first side of this album consisted of three disco songs ("Honey Bee", "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Reach Out, I'll Be There"), with no breaks in between the songs. This 19-minute dance marathon proved to be enormously popular, especially at dance clubs. All three songs were released as singles via radio edits, and all of them became hits. The album was instrumental in introducing disco music to the public, "Never Can Say Goodbye" becoming the first song to top Billboard magazine's dance chart.

In the next few years, Gloria Gaynor released the albums Glorious and Park Avenue Sound, but would only enjoy a few moderate hits. However, in late 1978, with the release of her album Love Tracks, she climbed the pop charts again because of her song "I Will Survive". The lyrics of this song are written from the point of view of a woman, recently dumped, telling her former lover that she can cope without him and does not want anything more to do with him. The song has become something of an anthem of female emancipation, and is still a staple of office parties and karaoke nights.

Interestingly, "I Will Survive" was originally the B-side when Polydor Records released it in late 1978. The A-side, a song called "Substitute", then a recent worldwide hit for South African girl-group Clout, was considered more "radio friendly". Boston Disco Radio DJ Jack King turned the record over and recalls being stunned by what he heard. "I couldn't believe they were burying this monster hit on the B-side", says King. "I played it and played it and my listeners went nuts." This audience response forced the record company to flip the songs, so that subsequent copies of the single listed the more popular song on the A-side. King was honored at New York's "Disco Masters Awards Show" for 3 consecutive years (1979–1981) in recognition of his relentless push of the song. The song was awarded the only Grammy Award ever for Best Disco Recording in 1980.


Eric Lynn Wright a.k.a. Eazy-E
(September 7, 1963 – March 26, 1995)

In 1987 Eazy-E used the profits from his drug sales (allegedly earning $250,000 USD) to co-found Ruthless Records with Jerry Heller, after he decided that he could make a better living in the Los Angeles hip-hop scene. When Ruthless signees Dr. Dre and Ice Cube wrote "Boyz-n-the-Hood", Eazy-E formed the group N.W.A with Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. DJ Yella, MC Ren, and Arabian Prince were later added to the group. The compilation album N.W.A. and the Posse was released on November 6, 1987, and would go on to be certified Gold in the United States. The album featured N.W.A collaborating with the Fila Fresh Crew, a West Coast rap group originally based in Dallas, Texas.

Eazy-E's debut album, Eazy-Duz-It, was released on September 16, 1988, and featured twelve tracks. It featured the musical genres West Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, and Golden age hip hop. It has sold over 2.5 million copies in the United States and reached number forty-one on the Billboard 200. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella and largely written by Ice Cube, with contributions from MC Ren and The D.O.C.. Eazy-Duz-It was said by several critics to have "paved the way" for N.W.A's debut album, Straight Outta Compton. Eazy-E's only solo recording was a remix of the song "8 Ball", which originally appeared on N.W.A and the Posse. The album featured Eazy-E's writing and performing; he performed on eight songs and helped write four songs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Birthday: Dana Dane & C.I.T.Y.

For a long time, Dana Dane (born Dana McLeese) has been a huge voice in the world of Hip-Hop having his debut album Dana Dane With Fame to peak at #46 on the Billboard album chart and was certified gold. His biggest hit was "Cindefella Dana Dane", which peaked at #11 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1987.

Dane's career began with the Kangol Crew with fellow MC, Slick Rick. He was also known for his sense of style in fashion and imitating a British accent while rapping. He opened a clothing store in the 1980's and also is a published author with a book titled Numbers, a tough, gritty fiction novel about life in the streets, which was released in 2009.

Dane still performs around the world and also on-air hosts Sirius/XM Satellite Radio on its old school hip-hop channel BackSpin. For more info, log on to Dana Dane's Official Website.


C.I.T.Y. (Creative Intelligent Talented YungMind) born David Baptiste Jr. is not just an average rapper caught up only in today's mainstream subjects about cars and women. He's always willing to expand in his craft by pushing the limits and genres. Having come from a rich history in music, be on continuous lookout for this Houston implant who's a native of New Orleans.

Keep your ears to the streets (or the web) on new releases, concerts and more by clicking "like" on his C.I.T.Y. Facebook page and to follow him on Twitter: @CITYChronicles.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday: Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury
(September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991)

Indian rock singer Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, East Africa, and spending most of his childhood in India and learned to play piano, starting at the age of seven, had the uncanny ability to listen to the radio and replay tunes which he heard.

Years later, at the age of 12 he formed a cover band with school mates called The Hectics, who replayed tunes from Little Richard and Cliff Richard. At age 17 his family fled from Zanzibar because of the Zanzibar Revolution and moved to London. In London he learned guitar and joined several bands that failed. In 1970, he met guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, who's band was named Smile. Bulsara would eventually convince them both to change the band's name to "Queen" and also changed his surname to Mercury.

Mercury became the frontman for Queen and also wrote several tunes for the band. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range. As a songwriter, Mercury composed many hits for Queen, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Killer Queen", "Somebody to Love", "Don't Stop Me Now", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "We Are the Champions". In addition to his work with Queen, he led a solo career, penning hits such as "Barcelona", "I Was Born to Love You" and "Living on My Own". Mercury also occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists.

In 2006, Time Asia named him as one of the most influential Asian heroes of the past 60 years, and he continues to be voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. In 2005, a poll organized by Blender and MTV2 saw Mercury voted the greatest male singer of all time. In 2008, Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 18 on their list of the 100 greatest singers of all time. In 2009, a Classic Rock poll saw him voted the greatest rock singer of all time. Allmusic has characterised Mercury as "one of rock's greatest all-time entertainers", who possessed "one of the greatest voices in all of music".

One of Mercury's most notable performances with Queen took place at Live Aid in 1985, during which the entire stadium audience of 72,000 people clapped, sang and swayed in unison. Queen's performance at the event has since been voted by a group of music executives as the greatest live performance in the history of rock music. Below is the video of that performance from Wembley Stadium.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Justice Allah: Justice Served

Many people think when it comes to the Houston Hip-Hop and Rap scene that it's mostly about debauchery, substance abuse and cars. Justice Allah proves to be different. With the helping hand of the lovely and talented Ashlei Mayadia, they both make up the 144 Elite, an impacting duo that follows in the paths of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Public Enemy, X-Clan and Poor Righteous Teachers with their own brand of conscious Hip-Hop.

Showing pride in self and heritage, the tradition of storytelling and is kept alive on Justice Served. This album also features pioneers in the Houston Hip-Hop and Rap scene, the South Park Coalition (SPC). Order your copy at The 144 Elite: Justice Served to hear voices that are helping to wake masses up on social and political issues.