Archive for August, 2012

Hopsin – The Messenger

I was going back and forth on who to feature in today’s Music Monday blog when the Facebook status of one of the potential artists made the decision for me.

Hopsin – a full-fledged artist with a mind full of positive messages (and a delivery method suitable for the most daft of audiences) was arrested this weekend as he demonstrated an act of peace.

His style reminds me of early Slim Shady lyricism, mixed with a dose of B.O.B. counter-culture, and the I-don’t-give-a-f*%# attitude of Tupac. If anyone has a message of light to bring to the cyber-generation of today, this is the man to do it.

Noted for his white-eyed gaze, blunt mentoring techniques and what appear to be, homemade music videos, this MC/Producer/Director/Actor/Editor has received MILLIONS of views on Youtube – to be exact, over 67 Million views. To top it off, in two years time he’s headlined over sixty shows world-wide, gained half a million fans on Facebook, and has been featured on Tech N9ne’s album.

Hopsin’s status update August 27, 2012:

“to all my fans who were let down at the orlando florida show 2 nights ago, i apologize and i will make it up in the future. i stepped outside of the venue to go to 7-11, then i saw a lil fight between 2 groups of people in the front, so i walked over and fixed the situation between the people so there was no more drama. everyone was cool after that. a fan came up and asked for a picture, and right after i took the pic i was arrested by a racist cop for NO REASON AT ALL! once he found out i was “hopsin” and saw that all those people were there to see me, he REALLY got the urge to ruin my night and take me away faster. theres nothing else to the story. thats why i got arrested and sent to county jail. those cruel fools handcuffed me, threw me in a small metal dog box in the back of a truck and drove me away, FOR NOTHING!!! Im a freakin human being who tries my best to walk in the foot steps of jesus and THEY ARREST ME FOR MAKING PEACE OUT OF A DANGEROUS SITUATION!?! this earth is a cruel place man. soo cruel. the system doesnt fight for justice, they fight for money and power so they can be looked upon as gods. this world is satan’s playground. its too late, we are already born into it so we have to witness and deal with the huge negative chain reaction hes creating in the hearts of billions. trust in God. hes the only way. those fools didnt break me.”

This doesn’t seem unusual since peacekeeping efforts seem to be punished these days, but the difference is that he has created a massive following within the diverse fan group of viral hip hop today. Appealing to a wide-range of races, economic classes, and viral video fans, Hopsin has just begun his journey as a legend-in-the-making.

Here is the latest video – Ill Mind of Hopsin 5 . Start discovering this angel in disguise now:


Tinariwen – Tuareg Desert Blues

On the long drive home after a bellydance gig this past weekend, just before 2:00 AM, I heard something unexpected coming from the radio. It was the sounds of North Africa mixed with blues, country, or something reminiscent of traditional American music. It was confusing yet hypnotizing, ancient yet modern, and above all it made me smile. Thanks to Undercurrents radio, I have discovered, Tinariwen.

The band, comprised of Tuareg musicians from Mali, Algeria, and Libya, have carried on the tradition of music-making in the desert, while introducing new elements of music from artists hailing from the likes of Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Brooklyn.

Throughout their career, they’ve caught the attention of famous artists such as Robert Plant, Thom Yorke, Trent Reznor, and Carlos Santana. Even the Red Hot Chili Peppers included them in a YouTube playlist. To top it off, they won the Best World Music Album at the 54th Grammy awards – not too shabby from a band of nomadic artists.

The bands originator had a tragic childhood but that didn’t stop him from his dream of music. After watching an old Western movie featuring a guitar, he decided to make his own out of a tin can, bicycle brake wires, and a stick. Eventually, he grew up, and in 1979 got a genuine gee-tar, met some like-minded musicians, and they traveled while sharing their innovative sounds with the world. Having all lost something as a displaced product of war – family, home, loved ones – they all have something to add to their version of the blues.

I wouldn’t normally be so quick to write about a band this new to my knowledge but I’m making an exception today.

Maybe it’s because of my fascination with the Tuareg people – the fact that their nomadic origin is still vague in its history, their cultural practices are unique to their region, and their dance rituals stand out among others.

Maybe it’s my love of blues and folk music, being born in Tennessee and growing up in rural Michigan I’ve been exposed to a wide range of down-home sounds.

Whatever it may be, I needed to share this band with as many people as I could, if anything, based solely off of their story of survival. They are currently touring and will most likely, be at a town near you. Without further ado, here is the song I heard on the radio and I hope it inspires you too.

Fingathing – “The Most Unique Band in the Universe”

The organic/electronic musical hybrid titled Fingathing is as much of a musical anomaly as its namesake suggests. They’ve been titled as Nu-Jazz or Electro-Hip-Hop by combining Peter Parker on the turntables, and classically-trained Sneaky on the double-bass to produce an electro-speak-easy soundtrack. Their live shows combine live musicians, electronic elements, and artwork/visuals by Chris Drury and have toured with the world-renowned DJ Shadow. One can infer from their sets that the imagination of the team is malleable, yet concrete in its intention and artistically limitless.

It is appalling that there Facebook fan page isn’t swamped with fans – we need to change this. They are talented and gracious – can’t ask for more in an artist, yea?

Here is a video with a brief explanation of how they came together and some clips of their live performances:

Here is their most popular video on Youtube – “Superhero Music” :

And just when you ask, “How can I get more Fingathing?” Here is a FREE DOWNLOAD of “Man Made Monster” they’re offering on their website.

They’re currently planning their next projects, shooting videos, and wetting the appetites of fans worldwide for what’s to come of Fingathing. So what are you waiting for? Go “like” their Fan Page to keep updated on their adventures in musicland.

Buy an album or share their work with other music-lovers.

Holdin’ true to my artist mantra: Build each other up so we’re harder to tear down!

New Weekly Post – “Music Mondays”

To be more disciplined on my blog updates, I am officially going to start a weekly post for “Music Mondays”. It will be bands, videos, and other music influences that come my way, both new and old. They will most likely be a soundtrack for dance possibilities, but ya may catch a song or two that I post “just because”. Stay tuned!

VIZA – a band for an American gypsy

To represent how awesome the people of the world are, here is a band from Los Angeles, CA that exemplifies “melting pot music” and more precisely, what I am as an artist.  
I describe it as Devotchka and Gogol Bordello with an influence of Serj Tankian, and maybe a touch of the short-lived Pinkly Smooth.

To top it off, as if they weren’t already pulling on my dance-heart strings, this video features LuCent doSsieR Experience which is equally as awesome in their own right.
This is why I love this country – cultural collaboration, yo! Take advantage of it!
I present: Viza and their song “Breakout the Violins”

Upcoming Project – Konquistador’s new album “Suada” – Industrial/Rock/Electronica/World Music 2.0

I’ve been brought onto a team of visionaries who are in the pre-production stages of combining visual projections and dance performance with live music. As if the idea wasn’t intriguing enough, they integrate musical genre’s and cultural influences ranging from goth industrial and electronica to cinematic rock and Middle-Eastern music.

Here is a sneak peek at what’s in store for the coming months as we bring this vision to a full stage experience.

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