Prelude 2 Procrastination… A Review and Interview in 3 parts

Prelude 2 Procrastination, the debut EP by Black Root, is a breath of fresh air.  From beatboxing to emceeing, to singing, go-go to blues to hip-hop, the album is replete with hotness.  We were blessed to sit down with Black Root and Wendel Patrick, who produced the album, for a conversation about being artists, how this project happened, what stereotypical is, and integrity among artists.

This article is written in 3 parts.  The first is simple- an album review.  In parts 2 and 3, we will dissect the interview, and some of the issues that came out of it.  So, without further procrastination, the album…..

It starts with an introduction that surprises me because I was not expecting so much- so MUCH.  Prelude 2 Procrastination is that funny commentary on the project itself.  Wendel Patrick’s production, starting with the ridiculous beatbox and harmonies that create the track to the title piece- I won’t even START with the inclusion of a didgeridoo.

Let me back up to…. the album artwork itself.  Between Tya Anthony ‘s photography and Stan Robinson’s graphic design, it is clear that Black Root is very concerned with the quality of his presentation- no wonder he procrastinated; sometimes quality takes time, lol!  Yeah, I had to make that quick note- now back to the album.

Rock 2 It takes you UP!  The intricate lyrics, coupled with a RIDICULOUS track that reminds me of Jimmy Hendrix and Prince shedding with some bad ass musicians in a basement just because they feel like making music.  Why?  Because Quinton Randall, one of my FAVORITE guitarists EVER (he doesn’t know it though) is SLAYING the riff.  The lyrics are distributed to the populous and make you rock 2 it, like he says.  Black Root throws in wisdom, like knowing where your money is going, working out, disagreeing peaceably, and recognizing that the sky is the limit.  There’s more- being an emcee versus “rapping” and- nah, I’ll let you listen to it to get all of the magic.  The boom bap is unmistakably hip hop, but the musicianship and talent is beyond genres.

PG Representative actually reminds me of Substantial, for two reasons- one, the obvious, these emcees truly represent for Prince George’s County (that’s what the PG is, for New Yorkers, and pretty much everybody not from the DMV).  Next, the hop skip and jumping that happens over the beat while giving you something to move to and think about.  And… let me not forget the list of almost all things PG (Parasuco’s, go-go, and more)!  Make sure you listen until the end to hear a virtual who’s who of the arts scene in Baltimore…

And then he sings.  My Mom’s Hands, a blues tinged ode to the lessons and methods Black Root’s mom imparted,reveals a surprise- Black Root can sing!  His voice is smooth and deep, extremely masculine yet filled with the emotion of a heart filled with adoration and respect.  His mom’s hands clearly helped to mold this brother, who identifies as a father, husband, cousin, brother, grandson, nephew, friend, rapper/emcee, teaching artist, musician, and personal trainer.  She urged him to police himself, which he does- you can always seek council from him from a man’s perspective and know that the response is well thought out, unbiased, and honest.

The final track of this EP- I Be is a return to the Black Root that I initially heard of- the spoken word artist.  He runs through the gammut of non-cliche metaphors that will kill your entire paragraph with his thesis statement.  It’s a one-way ticket to a dictionary if you are not well-read, and it might take you a few months to realize how intricate and well-thought out the verses are- his turns a computer keyboard and social media hotspots into nouns, verbs, and direct objects, and gives punctuation lessons in the same rhyme!  I do wish the tongue twister led to an entire song- I rocked that much 2 it!

The five-track EP makes you wish he wasn’t procrastinating the full release- but you can play it on repeat until he does.  Give thanks to Black Root for making good music!

Make sure to return for parts 2 and 3!

Click here to listen to and buy Prelude 2 Procrastination

Greenspan Should Be On Your Playlist!

Greenspan has taken over my car. From the moment OOH of Brown F.I.S.H. told me “Yo! You GOTTA check out my man Greenspan. Go down to Sound Garden and get his cd, I promise you, you’ll love it.” I was hooked. So began the adventure that led to the takeover. There I was that Sunday, walking down to Fells Point, stopping in stores, reminding myself not to forget my mission. Then, I get down there, and the young lady tells me there is only one copy left in the store and she can’t find it. Now, can’t is not in my vocabulary, except when I am saying that I can’t use the word can’t. But, I digress. There I was, instagramming about how I wanted my cd, when BAM! She found it. So, I literally skip to my car, which was a mile away by the way, and slow down, like real slow, when I realize that I am listening to music. Like, good music. Real. Good. Music. #StairwaytoHeaven is a must listen. Greenspan takes you on a listen that will make your head bopping from side to side for *almost* every track.

This is one of my favorite videos by Greenspan. Make sure you do what you know how to do: Be Good to Good People. Support Greenspan. You are being good to yourself in the process.

Follow Greenspan on Instagram @greenspan410
Like him on Facebook at Greenspan Inreallife
Go to his website http://greenspan410.com

Love,
Dream

Loving Gods’illa Right Now

As i have been coming out of hibernation, I have been listening to artists that I have distantly admired for a long time, and writing as I do so.  Most recently, I was getting deeper into my love for Gods’illa, a well-respected trio of brothers out of the DMV.  What I think I love about them the most is that they support artists through their weekly platform, the UpandUp Open Mic at Club Liv in DC.Being the person I am, I decided to play the CPR BlendTape hosted by DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown aka Erykah Badu.  I know the album is almost 3 years old- I STILL like it!  So, I listened, and let my fingers work.  What follows is what I came up with.  Check it out, then make sure you support Gods’illa!

 

funny how i run away from the meditation right after,

pondering on how to not feel, feeling numb, disconnected from my self.  Or do I mean my SELF.  My emotions feel like they happen to me, independent beings taking over my spirit at various times.  I wonder if my chakras need exorcising

no, they need exercising

so that they may spin and turn freely, not get stuck like the washer when overloaded

that is what i have felt

overloaded

too much good stuff undone or nothing to do>

lies, she says, lies

 

who the heck is this she I refer to sometimes?  my way of running away again

i’ve been good at that in my life

time ticking while i click away at keys typing phased out attempts at alliteration like that is what i am supposed to

another opportunity to acknowledge that i am so much bigger than me

that i am big enough to label myself than strip that same label the next verse if i so choose

these are my musings

i can vow during this solitary listen to the CPR Blendtape to only speak my truth

to stop holding it in

i can sit in gratitude, for loving God is illa than hurting the Earth

which i have been doing for so long

let me acknowledge

that i am a star

and i have been falling in the wrong direction

my cosmos have been feeling like more of a black hole

deeply hidden in plain sight so tight yet not feelings blocked hugs kisses you don’t know i ain’t your misses just a mistress of healing

let me acnolewdlge

that i am Dream, and it is ok to be me

okay to realize that i am the culmination of your fantasies

and that those who stop at the first definition of me

that I am a state of sleep

don’t realize that they are speaking their own truth

and when you wake up, and delve deep into the original meaning of me

i am that which satisfies your ideal, you will acknowledge, and yes I am Dream

and let me acknowledge

the Gods that show me who i am when they show me the greatness they become

for many who have laid at my bosom know they are my sons

a healer of men drifting in and out of the shadows and the skies,

taking breaks from fulfilling my other goddess self’s purpose- teaching

to spread love peace and manifesting your vision to inner city communities

all the while never limiting the overarching reach of what a dream is

i can look at myself and acknowledge

that my heart and not really been broken because i never truly invested myself into a relationship

so how i can say i failed in it when i was never in it in the first place

my highest self was busy hiding from the pain that she just needs to acknowledge one time

and i acknowledge, that even these musings have been a long time coming

yet here i am spending a long time filling up with so much power, when i haven’t taken the time to unpack the pain

truthfully afraid that if opened, they would outrun all the Pandora stations put together

and that’s a long ass time to cry

a long ass time to feel for real

and i must acknowledge

that when i am actually able to acknowledge all of that pain, and then leave it where the tears pour, then I will be able to manifest all that is mine to do

yet, somehow in the recess of my mind, I know that putting this piece to the universe is a step toward that healing.

and i must acknowledge that spirit bless me with this gift so that it can heal the listeners too

give you something to ponder on

a dream to hold onto when you forget how amazing transformation is

when you forget that, like you, like I, am alive to hear this healing

and to acknowledge your Dream.

India Arie and the Grammys

India Arie recently wrote an open letter about the Grammys on facebook. She had a lot to say about the lack of diversity in the award show both in performances as well as in nominations/winners. I’ve always thought that the Grammys got the categories I care most about for this show wrong–hip hop and R&B. She suggests having groups who make music in each genre nominate for that genre. I think this sounds like a good idea. What do you think? Do you agree with her thoughts about diversity? Nominations? See her thoughts below.

The 2014 Grammy’s: Open Letter from @IndiaArie

@Kendricklamar WAS robbed, BUT he was not the only one who was robbed. Personally, I was pleased he was able to perform and they KILLED! IT! One of the FEW moving moments of the night for ME.

Though it’s called “Music industries biggest night” the #Grammys are NOT about the music, it’s a popularity contest. The voting process allows people, to vote on name recognition alone – the music industry politics is a whole NUTHER conversation. Too much to go into here.

The American Music Awards is a show that awards sales and popularity – the #Grammys are SAID to be about the music.

If the hip hop community voted on hip hop – r&b COMMUNITY the same – same for each category – we’d see winners that reflect the MUSIC ITSELF. We all know that’s just not the way it goes.

NOW the BIGGER losers, are ALL of black music. Where was the black music community represented in last nights #Grammy show? Performers and Winners (or not) … Where were the black artists?

And this isn’t the first time the #Grammy’s has had a show all but excluding young black America and black artists in general, although we set the worlds musical trends. Why NOT televise the lifetime achievement awards of the Isley Brothers? SURELY they deserved to be on televised stage LAST NIGHT! While other artists were on stage TWICE?

The truth is in a perfect world diversity would matter, and respect would be rampant, but the TRUTH is, The #Grammys is a television show, and in THAT world ratings reign supreme. So, in general, bigger names take the stage, and sadly the biggest names often times ARE BIGGER drawn along racial lines from the release of an album. i.e. marketing dollars, and just general support. It’s unfortunate.

I don’t even get surprised any more, but, it still hits my sense of fairness, because I KNOW many of the artists who are overlooked. I LIVE in that world. We keep showing up and subjecting ourselves to the game, hoping MAYBE we’ll win. I was so HAPPY to see @Kendricklamar take that stage – because it is a FORM of winning, at LEAST, he was SEEN.

Speaking of diversity, congratulations to my PERSONAL favorite albums of the year – @I_GregoryPorter #LiquidSpirit @Realsnarkypuppy and @lalahhathaway on your win and THANK YOU! @pharrell for acting RIGHT in the presence of the greatness that is @Nilerodgers and #StevieWonder

Love to all #SoulBirdsWorldWide

@IndiaArie

P.S. No mention of Nelson Mandela at ALL? … and THIS is why we NEED the Image Awards AND the BET awards.

(MC) x (MC) Vex DaVortex and Wombatt55

Vex DaVortex of Boogie Monsters fame joined us in the lab Saturday. This emcee, visual artists, graphic designer, producer, game designer, app designer–man of many talents–blessed us with some exclusives from his yet to be released The Muddy Contender. Wombatt55–emcee, drummer and new father–was also in the lab. We played joints from his last project Lord Baltimore with a few exclusives from his newest project Ignorance or Indifference which drops on 12/12/12 to be shared next Saturday. Make sure you tune in. Of course the emcees as is our must, dropped freestyles as well as their thoughts about making music in the industry today. Grown Up Hip Hop was definitely fully represented by the work of the two emcees as those who didn’t know became converts of Vex and Wombatt.

Check out the show here:

New Vex DaVortex


New Wombatt55