Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Decoders: Walk On By

Thank goodness music never has an expiration date. I came across this clever remake of Dionne Warwick's "Walk On By" by The Decoders when it dropped a few months back, but somehow dropped the ball on posting. The feel on this particular rendition is a Isaac Hayes meets Bob Marley & The Wailers, blending soul laced funk with a heavy "steppers" rhythm. Let's not forget the fabulous vocals of singer-songwriter Noelle Scaggs, who was the front-woman for The Rebirth, now on the vocal front end with Michael Fitzpatrick for Fitz & The Tantrums. Scaggs also does background vocals and the vocal arrangements for this tune.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mixtape Mondays: DJ Nimbus

DJ Nimbus is a name people are starting to become more aware of locally and on the national House music scene. He digs in to do what he does best with one of his latest Deep House masterpieces titled Still Waters Run Deep. The Record Realm kicks off this new segment dedicated to all the dope DJs that have caught my ear.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kerfala Kanté: Soriba (Boddhi Satva Ancestral Soul Remix)

It's always inspiring and refreshing to read about great artists who stand the test of time by continuing their craft in spite of hardships. Guinean born Kerfala Kanté has proven to be one of those artists. Born into a griot family in the Faranah region of central Guinea, Kanté joined the federally funded orchestra by the name of the Tropical Djoli Band in 1980.

In 1984, after being invited to join Balla et ses Balladins, the president of Guinea at that time, Sékou Toure, suddenly died and the new president that came into power no longer funded orchestras. Kanté held on to his art with the help of local radio and soon began to release his own cassette tapes, gradually building a reputation as one of Guinea's top vocalists.

We now visit the single "Soriba" off his 2001 release titled Senekela, which has been remixed and re-imagined by acclaimed Ancestroul Soul producer Boddhi Satva. Satva quickly rose as number two on my list of top House producers. Time to press play and turn up the sound to fully enjoy this remix that will touch your soul.

Friday Flashback: The Spinners

For this episode of Friday Flashback, we take you back to the classic sounds of one of my all-time favorite singing groups, The Spinners [also known as The Detroit Spinners]. After a stint with both Tri-Phi Records and Motown, The Spinners would later sign to Atlantic Records at the suggestion of Aretha Franklin. Having not scored Top 10 hits with the previous labels, The Spinners began working with Philadelphia based producer and songwriter Thom Bell. Under the helm of Bell, The Spinners charted five top 100 singles (two of them top tens) from their first post-Motown album, Spinners (1972). "I'll Be Around", their first top ten hit and first million-selling record, was actually the B-side of their first Atlantic single, "How Could I Let You Get Away". "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love", "One of a Kind (Love Affair)" and "Ghetto Child" made their reputation concrete as one of the well respected vocal groups of the 1970's, along with Bell as a producer and songwriter.

Bobby Smith
(April 10, 1936 – March 16, 2013)

Unfortunately, in the last few days, The Spinners lost their long time lead vocalist Bobby Smith, who fronted the majority of their music. On March 16th, he lost his battle with cancer while residing in Orlando, Florida. He will be laid to rest in his native Detroit, Michigan. I, personally am going to miss his smooth vocals. May he rest in peace!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday: Lee 'Scratch' Perry

We pay massive RAS-pect to the one and only Lee 'Scratch' Perry a.k.a. The Upsetter, born on this day in 1936 in Kendal, Jamaica. Perry was a pioneer of Dub music, yet set himself apart from others by his using effects and remixing to create instrumental versions of existing Reggae tracks. In the late 1960's, nearly 20 years before sampling became a staple in Hip-Hop music, Perry was already using the technique in his records. His first single on his own Upsetter label "People Funny Boy" (1968), samples the sound of a baby crying and is an insult record directed at Joe Gibbs. The sounds in this tune was identified as what is now known as "reggae".

Perry gained recording experience by working with label heads Clement Coxsone Dodd [Studio One] and Joe Gibbs [Amalgamated Records] before leaving them both due to pay disputes, which resulted in him building his own studio in his back yard that he called The Black Ark, in order to have more control over his productions. The music recorded at Black Ark was done using only basic recording equipment. However, his style and techniques made his music unique and key points of reference in Reggae history. With the help of his studio band The Upsetters, Perry produced notable musicians such as Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, The Heptones, The Congos, Max Romeo and a list of other artists.

Due to overwhelming stress and unwanted outside influences taking their toll, both Perry and The Black Ark went into a state of disrepair. By 1978, the studio burned down and he insisted that he had done it himself from a fit of rage. Not long after, Perry started spending time in England and the United States. His career took a new direction after meeting and producing albums with British producers Marcus Downbeat (Battle Of Armagideon, 1986), Adrian Sherwood and Mad Professor, all who helped to get his career back on track again.

As of 2003, and a few years after, Perry won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album with the album Jamaican E.T.. Between 2007 and 2010, Perry recorded three albums with British producer, Steve Marshall. Steve had been Lee's friend and apprentice since 1984, and the albums featured performances by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic. Two of these albums, End Of An American Dream (2008) and Revelation (2010), received Grammy nominations in the category Best Reggae Album.

In honor of this legendary pioneer, I put together this mix titled 21 Dub Salute: Tribute to Lee 'Scratch' Perry as a free download for you all to enjoy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

DJ Kool Emdee: Bashment Bass

Here's a little something I put together a couple of days ago that features some Dancehall, Dubstep, Jungle, Ragga-Trap and badman bass from dope cats like MC ZULU, Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, Baby Cham, Daddy Mory, Doctor, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill, Ding Dong and more. If I get enough hits, i'll make it available as a free download. Help spread the word!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jamiroquai: Too Young To Die (Soulpersona Raregroove Remix)

How well versed can I say Soulpersona is? Hard work, study, practice and patience surely pays off and SoulP proves it continuously by releasing classic remixes that sometimes sound better than the original. This should be the standard of how to maintain the integrity of an original artist's work by putting your own twist on it, yet not going overboard to take away from it. For a limited time, this is available as a free download due to overwhelming requests. Better get on it while you have the chance. Stay tuned for more as he has a new album on the way. Big respect to the incredible PRINCESS FREESIA, as we want her return to the UK, so this album can drop! <---[click to show your support]

Bibio: Jealous of Roses [DJ Kool Emdee Extended Edit]

Here's an extended edit I did of my favorite track by multi-instrumentalist Bibio (Stephen Wilkinson) called "Jealous of Roses", off his first Warp Records release titled Ambivalence Avenue (2009). This is another tune I felt was so dope, yet too short. Pay a visit to Warp Records: Bibio to purchase the album and grab some other kool stuff.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Flashback: Graffiti Rock

It was 1984, one of the best years of my life. After already having so many years under my belt as a DJ, this marked one year of turning into a mix machine by having learned how to blend and well practiced with my scratching. To match, I had years of drawing experience, which made me a good artist to do my own "burners" and designed my own custom t-shirts and jackets. To top it all off, I was a "beat-boxer" [known as the 'Beat Box Kid'] and an excellent breaker who could hold my own along with my crew of friends. We called ourselves the 5th Avenue Breakers, because we wanted a name associated with class and to show we were higher level. Our anthem at the time was Ollie & Jerry's "There's No Stopping Us" from the Breakin' OST. Many ground-breaking Hip-Hop artists were dominating the airwaves and select DJ sets in nightclubs and park jams. Like any other year, it had it's ups and downs, but overall, it was just a fun year.

Michael Holman & GQ DJ Jimmie Jazz

The summer of 1984 kicks in and the Hip-Hop community was abuzz, waiting eagerly for the premier of a show strictly dedicated to the culture and art of Hip-Hop. That show was called GRAFFITI ROCK. It was like a dream come true. To grow up with Soul Train, giving up the funk by featuring many artists over the years who did music that fueled the "breaks" for Hip-Hop. Now we had another show that represented the rising street culture to help broaden its horizon. Especially after riding close behind Beat Street, which already helped stretch the culture a bit farther.

Just imagine, instead of turning on your TV set to see Michael Jackson, Prince, or some other pop artist, there were a few of our local home-town heroes getting their moment in the spotlight to a nation-wide audience. The host of the show was Michael Holman, manager of the b-boy crew known as the New York City Breakers, who is also a visual artist, writer and filmmaker. Representing for the foundation, on the wheels of steel was GQ DJ Jimmie Jazz going back and forth, cutting and scratching the fresh tunes of the day. Special guest co-hosts who rapped throughout the show were Kool Moe Dee and Special K of the Treacherous Three. The icing on the cake was the spectacular live performance of "Sucker MC's" by Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay (R.I.P.). Shannon, the pioneer of the "freestyle" sound performing her second dance classic, "Give Me Tonight", added more fuel to the already blazing fire.

For 30 minutes, I was in Hip-Hop heaven. Dancing along to the beats, seeing the terms "FRESH", "CHILL" and other definitions written in graffiti [along with the set design] by artist BRIM, to help give viewers a better understanding of what it was all about. For that moment in time, seems almost like our living room turned into a mini disco. My face hurt from smiling so hard and getting hyped up at witnessing what I loved being performed on TV. Not to mention falling in love after seeing a lovely young lady with long flowing hair who went by the name of "Josephine", that was one of the dancers. This was also a day that I thought I never hated commercial breaks so much.

As eagerly as I waited for the premier, I was more anxious to see the next show. Sadly, that would never happen as only one episode was taped. I was crushed. No more welcoming invasions into our living room by Mike and Jimmie. No more Josephine. Years passed and memories of the show sort of slipped away. Til one day I hit up a record store while DJing out of town and couldn't believe my eyes. "GRAFFITI ROCK?!" MY friend who was a few years younger asked me what it was and I gave a brief breakdown. Still, I had to actually SHOW them what time it was and quickly purchased it. Got back to their place and popped it in. Amazement kicks in as they witnessed a piece of Hip-Hop history as I remembered when I was a kid. After watching, to hear them ask; "What?! Only ONE show???!!!" With a deep sigh, I answered; "Yup". Then told them that I didn't know what happened as to why it never aired again.

Just I was able to buy a copy of the DVD, you can grab yourself one too, to enjoy it as much as you please. Visit Michael Holman: GRAFFITI ROCK to order your piece of Hip-Hop history and get the inside story on what happened with the show.