this journey we call life
Dec. 2nd, 2010
12:05 pm - a rare musical musing
I knew it would happen this way. The grammy noms are out. So now I get to say i was right.
Earlier this year, John Legend and the Roots colaborated on an album called "Wake Up." The album is comprised of cover tunes of message and/or politically driven songs from the 60s and 70s, (don't quote me on exactness of years). It contains only 1 original song.
Before I make it seem negative let me point out something. Musically, I knew the album would be awesome, and I was not disappointed. The Roots are awesome musicians, both for their own works and for playing with others, be it for telethons, on the Fallon show, or any other random place they're asked to be guests. And many of the songs are obscure, meaning many would not know they were covers and they would seem brand new to a lot of people, admittedly myself included on some of them.
Having said that however, when the album was mentioned I have to admit, while I respect any artist's right to explore ideas, I wasn't terribly excited. I would've prefered original material. And then when it came out and/or as I started hearing tracks go up for it I had one thought only. "Watch this album get grammy nominations, while the previous 2 albums of John's original work get, well, nothing, except for a song or 2 here and there." I was right. 5 nominations later... my theory was founded.
Don't get me wrong, I am happy that John Legend and the Roots are nominated, (the album is a great musical collection), but I'm just frustrated that it took covers to get it done. The only redeaming part in all this, for me anyway, is that at least the loan original song, "Shine," did get nominated. And yes, John Legend did get grammys and such for his first album, and I believe he scored a few others along the way, but there was no reason that his previous albums, "Evolver, and "Once Again" got no nominations at all. It makes no sense to me how albums of original work get overlooked while covers are recognized. I guess this time out it was for the selections of the covers and the musicianship on the album, which is commendable, but I sure would like to think an album of original material from John Legend will get nominated when it surfaces.
In other news that is grammy related, I'm also dumbfounded that will.i.am didn't get nominated for producer of the year. It's amazing to me how he was nominated a few years back and barely on the charts, and now he's everywhere and didn't even get in as one of the 5 nominees. Interesting. It just goes to show that the grammys have a whole different system for selecting things than other award shows, and clearly the powers that be in the industry who placed the votes weren't amused by Will's latest stylings. It's all right. It is what it is.
Oh and did anyone else know Musiq had a new album out? Anyone? Good, neither did I until I was looking through the nominations and saw he got nominated for a song. How did that get past me? Hello random grammy spikes in sales and how are you? I guess I'll be contributing to that. The bigger one happens after the awards though and people buy up the artists and/or albums that have won.
Jun. 10th, 2010
12:17 am - Rhymefest "El Che" album review
July 12, 2006, I was introduced to the underrated and highly talented rapper known as Rhymefest. July 12, 2006, was the day "Blue Collar" came out. It was the best $7.99 I'd spent in a long time on a Hip-Hop album that was well balanced and touched on a bit of everything. It included songs with a message as well as the fun party songs to play in the clubs. I played the hell out of that album and could hardly wait for the next one!
It took damn near 4 years, a few mixtapes, and a change in record label. The question is, was it worth the wait?
Yes, it was! June 8, 2010, "El Che" was officially released! And yet again it's a balanced album with a bit of everything, perhaps covering even more topics than "Blue Collar."
"El Che" starts with an intro where we find Rhymefest trying to head off on a trip somewhere but being stopped by random people seemingly out of nowhere who somehow know his name and claim to know where he's headed. The stage is set when he ditches the seeming spies and drops an accapella verse about revolution. From there the song "Talk my Shit" blasts from the speakers, grabbing the listener's attention.
And once your attention is grabbed you're not leaving! Anyone who follows Rhymefest on twitter knows he talks of balance needed in Hip-Hop. True to what he says, he provides it on El Che." The songs range from "Say Wassup," a song where Rhymefest is trying to get at a lady he's interested in, to inspirational songs such as "How High", to a song that's fun yet hits on a real issue with televangelists "Prosperity, to a song featuring twone Gabbz where he and Twone ultimately trade bars about rumors about the two of them "Truth on you," to a sexy groove song "Agony," and capping off with "Celebration," a song highlighting the good times in life.
Rhymefest's delivery on each song keeps them fresh and interesting. Unlike some rappers out right now he uses inflection and in some cases passion and emotion to convey his message or to simply engage the listener if it's a fun song. And the instrumentation on most of the songs is some of the best sounding I've heard in Hip-Hop in a long time. Gone are the constant 808s and/or electronic instruments everywhere. Instead many songs have real drums, (if they're not someone sure fooled me), and some songs even have horns, real piano, etc. It's truly refreshing to hear a project of any kind, let alone Hip-Hop, with excellent production and sound such as this. Rhymefest's delivery and the refreshing sounds make this a winning combination!
If you're someone out there who's listening to the radio thinking there's no good Hip-Hop out there, do yourself a favor. Turn your radio off and give "El Che" a listen. You'll find that there is decent sounding Hip-Hop out there, and no not all of it is focused on the BS you're used to hearing in the mainstream. Almost 4 years ago I said it was the best $7.99 I spent. I payed $11.99 for my CD at Best Buy, and I still stand by my same words. It's some of the best money I've spent on music in quite a while! I believe in supporting artists who deserve it, and I'm proud to say I've supported Rhymefest's latest album "El Che!"
Mar. 8th, 2010
12:35 pm - Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. tour!
I'm supposed to be writing a post up right about now counting days until I'm seeing this tour in Chicago. However, due to circumstances that I won't get into here, (mostly being told one thing and then when it was supposed to happen being told another), that's not the post I'm writing. I am still a little upset about it, as I was looking forward to not only the show but the trip too, but it is what it is.
Having said all that however, I'm not completely up a creek! Unless something else goes tremendously wrong I will be seeing this tour on March 30 1 way or the other! I've entered a contest to try to actually score a free trip to LA to see it. I'm not holding my breath on that panning out, but I also knew I couldn't have any hope at all if I didn't try. But even if that doesn't happen I'm still seeing the show! Wanna know why?
I've never heard of this being done before, but perhaps it has and I just missed it. The show on March 30 from LA is being broadcast live to movie theaters across the country. Guess what folks? One of those theaters for once is in my area! Hell yeah! I'm told the tickets have been purchased. Heaven help me if I find out differently!
This should be an interesting experience. I of course would rather be at the show itself, but being afraid this could be the last tour the Peas do, I'm just happy I get to experience it at all. And it's kinda cool to know that I'll be seeing the same show at the same time that thousands or maybe even millions of others are seeing it. As a side note, how cool would it be to actually be in the arena and knowing the show you're seeing is the one people across the nation are seeing too? At any rate, I really had wanted to go to the Black Eyed Peas concert, possibly more than anything else on deck for this year since I've not yet seen them, and although I'm still not *going* at least I get the next best thing. And since it's in a movie theater, (an IMax no less), it should be quality sound. Finally, a little something to look forward to! My day to day is making me crazy! I just need a carefree night! I'm finally about to get it.
Feb. 8th, 2010
Typically when the Colts are gearing up for a game we have Blue Friday. And of course a Super Bowl win last night would've made for a Blue Monday. Hell, it might've made for a Blue week. It's a Blue Monday, but not that kind of blue. Nope, it's not for us to wear blue. It's that we're blue.
I don't know what happened to the team last night, but clearly they didn't bring their A Game. The Saints simply came in and played better, played like they wanted it, and they got the job done. I extend my congratulations to the Saints and their fans.
I have to get this off my chest though. I congratulate those who were truly rooting for the Saints. I'm happy that the true fans are happy. I however am not going to let the ban wagon jumpers and/or the shit talkers bask in the glory. Additionally, I was disappointed in some people who rooted for the Saints simply to see the Colts lose, and then after the fact they came on various places saying, "Oh, it was good to see them get beat!" Are you serious?
I love my Colts as much as any fan... have supported them all season. And yes, I would root for anyone and anything to beat the New England Patriots as part of that rivalry. And I admit that in 2008 when the Giants took them out I did bask in it a little, but to be honest, the only reason I did it was because I was glad that cheating hadn't payed off. Had I felt like they got a perfect season fair and square, I sure wouldn't have said anything. It's truly sad that some individuals choose to disrespect a team that has done nothing all season but play their role, handle themselves with class, and despite the trash talk given to them by damn near every team in the playoffs, to my knowledge they have not retaliated. So my point is... it's great if you're happy for the other team, but was it really necessary to be gleeful that the other got beat? I personally don't see a need for that. It's one thing to congratulate the winners, but it's another to be joyful and happy for someone's loss. I think that's a bit unnecessary.
Just my 2 cents for the day. Again, congrats to the Saints, and to the true Saints fans, enjoy the victory and all that comes with it.
Nov. 3rd, 2009
09:35 pm - what's really going on...
I had no intentions of really ever speaking out on this, but a quote on twitter by
RevRunWisdom brought this to the forefront of my mind, and I decided I should speak on it. The following is the tweet that inspired this.
Protect ur passion with all ur might!! STAY FASCINATED!! THE saddest tragedy is a heart that has lost fire!
I sat on it for a second before I pressed the RT button in my client. But it hit me. And I retweeted it with my own response to follow.
Sadly, I think that tragedy has happened to me to some degree. Not enough space to elaborate on that though.
I'm sure RevRunWisdom meant this on a deeper level, but to me my first thought was this.
Everyone might be asking where the music reviews have gone. Everyone might be asking where the sharing of blog entries has gone. The blog entries, those just are gone due to me hardly having time or energy to read them, let alone share them. But as for the reviews?
I think it's happened. Somewhere and somehow the passion has been lost. It's truly a shame.
I can remember the days when I would bring an album home, and as I listened I was taking mental notes of what I was going to say about it. I'd almost have the review written before I ever sat down at the computer and just need to have the time to put it on paper. Nowadays, album reviewing thoughts rarely cross my mind as I listen to new albums, when I even sit down and give them a full listen in the first place.
The same happened to concert reviews. I did good keeping these fresh and new until this summer. The John Legend, India.Arie, and Vaughn Anthony shows I attended in July were nothing short of amazing! Having said that however, I could never find it in me to sit down and express that through writing. Again, I used to litterally think of things either during the shows or on the way home so the review was ready to go when I sat down to write it. The words never really formed this time out.
I'll still talk music with anyone who will listen, and I'll still occasionally share a song or two that I'm feelin', but the desire to really share in why I like it seems to have vanished.
I ask myself, is the passion gone? I have no idea, but the passion to review things sure seems to be. It's too bad.
And I don't know what happened to make it disappear. Maybe it was being so disheartened by watching artists I'm into seemingly get no recognition. Maybe watching the crap of the mainstream prevail while quality music seems to struggle has jaded me to the point where I no longer wish to share, knowing more than likely nobody's listening or cares.
If I could get a soundcard and get myself back on the air at least part of the passion might return. I'd be able to share what I'm into by simply playing it or sometimes speaking on it. Perhaps if I could get back to that my passion to share through writing might return. Who knows, but whatever's going to happen won't in fact happen until after Christmas. I don't have the funds to put toward a soundcard at this time.
The above text is a shame. I want the days back when I posted music entries and couldn't wait to review the next thing I bought. What it'll take to bring that back I don't even know, but it is a tragedy that the fire has been lost. My passion for music isn't gone, as evidenced by the excitement I feel when friends play songs I love on their radio shows and/or when I sit at work counting minutes until I can come home to check out songs artists have posted, but it seems to stop there. The passion to continue to spread the music and/or share seems to be gone. I can't muster up the energy any more to put into words what it is that makes me so excited about these things. It's really sad.
I also think it could have to do with the fact that I can admit I'm not completely satisfied with where my life is going. I'd hoped by now I'd be in a big city like Chicago or New York, where I could attend shows and surround myself with the things that keeps me sane and the thing I'm passionate about... music. I seem to be getting nowhere closer to it, and perhaps the bitterness at how that situation is playing out contributes to the mood that keeps me from being passionate enough to come to these pages to share. Or perhaps it's the fact that I can admit I'm not exactly happy with life's direction at the moment. And I know it's me and only me who can change that, but the sad truth is I know what I don't want but am confused about what I do. I thought writing about music was what I wanted, but if the passion for it is gone I'm not sure where that leaves me. There's nothing worse than feeling lost and really having no idea how to get out of how lost you seem to have gotten. That's kinda how I feel right now.
Jun. 27th, 2009
05:07 pm - confession time
I'm considering changing my username everywhere. As things have unfolded with the death of Michael Jackson, RIP, I'm realizing something.
How can I claim to be the rnb_capricorn, or in other places luv4randb when my MJ collection is, well, nonexistent?
The truth is this... I find his music listenable, in fact I've liked more and more of it as I've heard it over the years, but I've never gone back to collect his music. Shame on me! Shame on me for going back and catching up on other artist's works and not this man's. Shame on me for claiming luv4randb all over the web and not owning the works of the man that iinspired damn near every artist who's music I have bought.
It's crossed my mind more than once to hit up the amazon page and collect his discography, but I know I can't plop down that kind of money. I don't even know exactly how many albums he has out and thus can't guess how much it would cost, but at probably $10 an album I know it would at least be a cool $100.
Instead I'm listening to a Michael Jackson marathon on a local radio station, but I shouldn't have to be doing this. I thought I at had his "Bad" CD here at the house, I kinda borrowed and never returned it to my parents, and I did get one disc of his "History Vol I" at one time. However, beyond that, I am ashamed to admit his music is not on the computer. I did get ahold of the 25th anniversary edition of "Thriller" today, but again, for shame that I had to take it there.
And worse still is that it's not until his death that I'm realizing my lackluster tendencies.
I apologize that my username claims a love for a genre and I am seriously lacking in supporting it. I love R&B music, always will, but if y'all are in agreement with me that I should change the usernames right about now I don't blame you. I'll get over it, but these are my thoughts for now.
Again, RIP Michael Jackson. Thanks for your unique music that has inspired everyone under the sun and affected so many others. You will truly be missed.
Apr. 13th, 2009
10:24 pm - more John Legend tour dates?
Yep, there's more of them! Just when I thought I'd have to go to Cincinnatti...
Click Here to check them out!
Some of those dates are ones we already knew, but the one in southern IN? That one's new! And better still? On a link that I read from I'm not sure where but perhaps
John Legend's twitter it said that his "special guest" for he IN show... India.Arie. Now you talk about an amazing show! I had to reread that to make sure I wasn't in fact dreaming that one up. Yes, I have got to get to this! Luckily, the roommate is on board. I shall let everyone know the progress of this on Wednesday as that's when the presale is and of course I'm a fanclub member and will gain access to all that!
*tries not to get too hopeful on the off chance something goes wrong...*
No, I refuse to think that way! I'm going someway somehow!
Apr. 8th, 2009
We shall see but
this article gives me hope. Tour date in Cincinnatti? Hello, that's closer than IL was! I'm thinking/hoping I can pull this off! We shall see but I'll keep y'all posted!
Of course if I *really* had my way I'd just go attend the Essence Fest, but since I don't have funds like that... I'll think more realistically. Back to the Cinci concept...
Apr. 5th, 2009
10:54 pm - Lupe Fiasco concert review
Lupe Fiasco songs on random courtesy of ITunes. Let's get this thing started.
( Lupe Fiasco concert recapCollapse )
And if anyone is wondering I did attempt to meet Lupe again, but it didn't work. So there's no need to put that behind a cut because there's nothing to say about it. All I'm going to say is security was no joke and was ready to get rid of us with a quickness!
That'll do it for the Lupe Fiasco review from the concert at Eastern Illinois University.
05:45 pm - ugh, it's not been my weekend!
I won't go into it all but now I'm not sure one of my promised reviews is going up. I came home, pulled up my E-mail, found the message that I *think* is supposed to have El Che's "The Mannual" link in it... think my damn E-mail client might've stripped the link. Unless I can beg someone for a resend I guess that review isn't happening. :( Whatever... just add it to the list of frustrations on the weekend. Maybe it was a hint from a higher power that I'm supposed to continue to steer clear of album reviews.
As for the Lupe Fiasco concert review... I'll get to that before the night is out I hope. I need to get my mind right or I'll end up putting something up here that I'm not happy with. I'm not trying to do that! Let me settle in, (I've only been home maybe 30 to 45 minutes), and we'll reconvene this conversation.
Navigate: (Previous 10 Entries)