by Jason Reynolds
The business of music has to be the most phenomenal, magnificent, poisonous and disastrous machine in history. From its earlier, more talent driven time, to the Berry Gordy paradigm where he molded and formed talent into superstardom, to what we now have, which most would agree is the equivalent to music’s microwave dinner. Convenient, looks great on the box, but tastes like shit. There’s no point in me delving into the details of today’s music only because we [...]
It’s a popular belief that slavery, migration and destruction has caused a scattering of the things that our ancestors once held so precious. Because of these very things, many Black Americans have no idea of their history and culture. That’s why people like Shantrelle P. Lewis are relevant and heaven sent. Raised in New Orleans, Ms. Lewis has demonstrated a commitment to researching, documenting and preserving the African Diaspora’s culture. A graduate of Howard University, Shantrelle chose to take her [...]
Life spins people, bouncing them here and there, back and forth, knocking them up against the cold and the hunger, over and over again. And all we can hope is that, while in its grip, while being spun, we somehow smash into our purpose. 25 year-old, Zimbabwean-English musician, Tinashe seemed to collide with his, heart first.
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Tinashe’s mother left him in Highfield with relatives, while she fled to England to try to provide some sort of refuge [...]
The media encourages fashion, beauty, life and more media. This hasn’t just begun and it won’t end any time soon. I remember when TLC (the girl group) first hit the scene and my clothes became a little more colorful and a lot more baggy. Before that I wore my baseball jerseys backwards. Why? Because that’swhat Kris Kross did. With the emergence of Lil Kim, my lipgloss became glittery and my friends started rocking red and green wigs. Wu-Tang made it [...]
February 18, 1978 Fela Kuti married the entire female entourage of his band in a ceremony conducted by a Yoruba priest. The group marriage lasted until Fela’s release from prison in 1985 when he decided he no longer believed in marriage and divorced the twelve wives that were still with him. A few remained part of the band and the music went on – business as usual.
Photos by Dexter Jones
Re: Rebuttal to Kanye West comparison
Dear Mr. Jones:
First, let me say that I, though a child of the hip-hop generation, also grew up on a lot of the music you produced. My family was big into music, and my father was what some would consider a maven, chocked full of facts about all genres and sounds, from yours, to the Motown sound, to Bob Dylan, and even the early makings of hip-hop, Kurtis Blow. He gave me lesson after lesson [...]
It’s Friday. Thursday wasn’t kind to me. I’m laying on my girlfriend’s futon, exhausted after three hours of sleep. My head is pounding. My mouth is dry. But it’s 2:20pm, and I can’t catch a nap because I have to conduct a short interview with Bobby Creekwater in ten minutes. The phone rings. Then stops. Then it starts to ring again, this time from a different number. I answer. The voice coming from the other side of the [...]
Ten young men spill into a Brooklyn bound A train late one evening. It’s a normal night in Bed-Stuy and train passengers do “normal” things when they see a mob of rowdy teenagers board - yank their children to their bosoms, hold their bags like they possess gold, and look everywhere that’s not in the direction of the noise. Normal. After all, those kids could be gang members. I mean, some are wearing red, and some blue. Don’t want anyone [...]
American music, before hip-hop, and even before jazz, has always, somehow been painted white. And that which has not been, like hip-hop and jazz, is often times not even seen as American, but rather seen as black. But the forgotten truth is, black music is American music. It’s the very crux of American music. So when three young, black kids in North Carolina decided to reach deep down into the black experience to revitalize, and evolve a fleeting musical style [...]
Baltimore Club music is an underground blend of hip hop and house music with repetitive vocals, often samples of popular songs and TV shows, turned into music for my Friday nights as a teenager. The songs and mixes that came from the speakers were definitely not for the weak and lazy. It required the energy of a west coast dude getting crunk or a Miami chick dancing to Miami Bass. The music came straight out of the clubs of Baltimore, [...]