So I went to my first big baller event through BizBash. It was for Black Enterprise and their Top 50 Hollywood Power Brokers. So basically all of Black Hollywood came out to party. The number of celebs was staggering. I counted Eddie Murphy, Vivica Fox, Magic Johnson, Anika Noni Rose, Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee, Eva Pigford, Chris Tucker, and too many others to remember.
I was really nervous going in but the event itself was fun. The host Marilyn was a sweetheart and I actually ran into a few people I knew. It is still pretty strange that I am beginning to penetrate these elite Hollywood parties. But don't worry. I will always rep for the underground. Here are some pics.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Thursday, February 15, 2007
7.0 out of 10
By Norman Mayers
The once cutting edge sounds of drum and bass are now beginning to become overshadowed by its offspring dubstep, yet there remains a few innovators continuing to push the sound into new directions. Ror-Shak (a play on those creepy Rorschach illustrations in which everyone sees something different) is a drum and bass project created by DB of renowned New York record shop Breakbeat Science and Stakka of DJ/production duo Stakka and Skynet. Pulling from influences such as Zero 7, Royksopp and even Massive Attack, DB and Stakka have infused their Ror-Shak project with a unique edge that is not seen in drum and bass music. Eclectic vocal performances, chilled out beats, and dramatic orchestral backdrops make Ror-Shak’s debut Deep an album with exceptional crossover potential that truly elevates the entire state of drum and bass out of its current doldrums.
The interesting thing about Deep is that it plays like an electronica or down-tempo album with strong elements of drum and bass throughout. There is no denying the double time rhythms on tracks like “Fate Or Faith”, the soulful “Be There”, and the orgasmic “Lisa’s Song” featuring Lisa Shaw. The albums strongest cut, “Rescue Me”, featuring the fierce vocals of Wendy Starland, is an underground anthem in waiting, recalling the days of massive Roni Size tunes. A simmering breakbeat intro builds to a pounding bass assault, yet the track is grounded by the gritty voice of Wendy, assuring its potential to appeal to a wider audience. Yet despite the obvious drum and bass pedigree, Ror-Shak is determined to stretch beyond those confines and does so with relative ease and grace. They float back and forth between vocal tracks featuring the likes of David Lynch muse Julee Cruise (“Golden Cage”), Chantal Claret (“A Forest”) and Pedro Yanowitz, and instrumental tracks that aim to expand the consciousness (“Heist”). Tracks like “Love & Pride” and “Window Pain” may not appeal to fans of jungle but they are delightful ear candy that will undoubtedly appeal to those seeking a more chill experience.
Ror-Shak has made a project aimed both at representing the tastes of aging drum and bass lovers that also hopes to display the more subtle charms of a genre associated with heavy bass drops and aggression. Well over a decade into the creation of drum & bass, Ror-Shak is looking to diversify and mature the music they love, and luckily they have succeeded.
Ror-Shak on Myspace
Monday, February 12, 2007
I scored my first major event cross promotion with the Future Sound of Breaks. Nu-Soul Magazine's logo is on the flyer for this huge event at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. I will be offering promotional support through my website and newsletter. This is two years in the making so I am very excited to be helping these guys out! Check out the flyer.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The Brand New Heavies
Get Used To It
Label: Delicious Vinyl
7.5 out of 10
By Norman Mayers
The Brand New Heavies emerged in the early 90s as a part of the acid jazz movement that was a pre-cursor to the late 90s neo-soul sound. The Heavies had an infectious sound that was equal parts soul, jazz, and funk that was centered by the irrepressible presence of lead vocalist N’Dea Davenport. This sassy diva was all perfect pipes and funky attitude; the perfect complement to the funky jazzy hip-hop grooves of the band. But as all great singers do, Davenport embarked on a solo career. Now many years later, N’Dea has returned to the band that launched her career, and the music world can rejoice. Get Used To It is the Brand New Heavies exactly as you remember them: fun, funky, nostalgic, and modern all at once. And with Davenport back in front everything seems right in the world.
The Brand New Heavies are masters at throwing down a funky groove and Get Used To It is full of them. The album shines when the tracks are laced with the sounds of classic funk and disco as on the joyful “Let’s Do It Again” and the slinky “Sex God” both of which can stand alongside some of the group’s most memorable cuts. The beauty of the band is the symmetry between the music and vocals. The instrumentation is pure perfection, with every hi-hat, bass kick, and guitar riff in complete sync. N’Dea’s vocals are as strong as they were in 1992 soaring on the uptempo groove “Right On” like a fierce lioness or with heartache on the album centerpiece “I Don’t Know Why (I Love You)”. Like previous albums, the Heavies switch up their grooves proving skillful in everything from vintage soul to reggae to James Brown style funk. After such a long separation it is almost unbelievable that the magic is still here. While a few cuts may not live up to the highs of some of the standouts, the album remains consistent in quality and tone. Longtime fans of the Brand New Heavies will be pleasantly satisfied. For those who have no idea who they are, be prepared for some truly accessible modern funk and soul.
The Brand New Heavies on Myspace
The Brand New Heavies Official Site