Sunday, October 31, 2010

Literary Tattoos

I've never been one for tattoos (surprisingly it's the only rebellious thing I haven't done), but this trend of literary tattoos has me intrigued. This astounding book, The World Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide was born from a call Justin Taylor (Everything here is the best thing ever, The Gospel of Anarchy) and Eva Talmadge (Co-editor of HTML Giant) put out the summer of 2009 to those with literary ink on their skins so to speak. Flipping through this book was a re-acquaintance with what inspires bookworms. Tattoos ranged from references to Harry Potter and Twilight to lines from T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson back to scenes from Shel Silverstein and Harriet the Spy. I think mine will be a quote from James Baldwin or something. Check out some of the images from the book.

Michael Jackson is Forbe's Top Earning Dead Celebrity

According to Forbes, Michael Jackson made more money than any other deceased celebrity in 2009. The late pop singer topped a list of twelve dead earners with $275 million dollars grossed--more than the other eleven combined. Jackson also posted a higher income last year than any living superstar largely due to increased records sales, money from his estate, investments in music from Sony/ATV, and proceeds from last year's movie This Is It. Here's how the other dead celebrities stacked up to Mike:
Forbes Top Earning Dead Celebrities:

1. Michael Jackson - $275 million
2. Elvis Presley - $60 million
3. J. R. R. Tolkein - $50 million
4. Charles Schulz - $33 million
5. John Lennon - $17 million
6. Stieg Larsson - $15 million
7. Dr. Seuss - $11 million
8. Albert Einstein - $10 million
9. George Steinbrenner - $8 million
10. Richard Rogers - $7 million
11. Jimi Hendrix and Steve McQueen - $6 million each
12. Aaron Spelling - $5 million

Common, Lupe Fiasco, Jennifer Hudson and No I.D "We Can Do It Now"

Chicago stand up! The windy city's finest have come up with an anthem that gives Alicia Keys and Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" a run for its money. The track is for Season three of Gatorade Replay and No I.D. is behind the boards providing some steamy blues riffs. The Verdict: They hit this one out of Comiskey Park (White Sox reference)

Lupe Fiasco, Common, Jennifer Hudson & No I.D. - We Can Do It Now - by Rhyme That

Friday, October 29, 2010

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

The young ladies in Danielle Evans' bedazzling collection of short stories may not always respond valiantly to racism or their own insecurity for that matter, but they do have the courage to stare at both dead in the face. Equal parts humor and personal revelation, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self takes us into the minds of protagonists whom society has left out and has not bothered to observe their struggle to fit back in.

Dwele Live!

Check out this short music video by Dwele. A few taps here and there and, voila! The singer/songwriter spins a hot beat spins in thin air. The song, "Watch Me", is a dash of Soul and Hip-Hop melded into a cool love child. Dwele's newest album Wants. Women. World. in stores now.

Jamiroquai's "All Good in the Hood"
The funk just oozes off Jamiroquai's brand new single "All Good in the Hood". Freaky guitars and a groovy bass give the track that night-at-the disco appeal that Soul has been void of lately. This jam is off the forthcoming album Rock Dust Light Star, so take this song as blissful anticipation or torturous teasing. The golden age is back!

Jamiroquai – All Good In The Hood by isaidahip

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cee-Lo's "Bright Lights Bigger City"

Cee-Lo Green is like a mad scientist always coming up with concoctions. Except these concoctions aren't evil, but funky. His newest single, "Bright Lights, Bigger City," just might be that new slick nightlife anthem we've been waiting for. "Friday's cool but there's something about Saturday night/ You can't say what you won't do because you know that you just might," he sings over a synthy chord progression. We dig. What say you?

Cee-Lo Green - Bright Lights Bigger City (CDQ) by Newmusic132
Dont forger to cop the album The Lady Killer on November 9th.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty
by Sidik Fofana

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall 
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty back together again

WHY? 'cause he had NO health care
Living in the slums, mom on welfare
While he's drinking quarter waters on a project stare
Trying to overcome the man and his own despair.

He quit school, got a job at the yard
With a hard hat on, moving dozens of logs
It was only part time, but he was supporting his mom
Even though he was worked like a warthog.

One day, they had him paving bricks on a building wall
He had a slip, took a trip, and had a little fall
He cracked his skull, his spine is misaligned,
He's having migraines and his vision's off.

What transpired next was a series of events
Humpty had a huge bill of which he couldn't pay a cent
He couldn't go to work, so he couldn't pay the rent
All because the man got sick.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty back together again.

"But I'm only part time!
I got a migraine plus a misaligned spine"
His boy said, "Yo, you better take the M5
And go down to the clinic and wait in line."

So Humpty planned a visit to go down to the clinic
But when he got in it, it was less than exquisite
Everybody was in pain, everybody needed stitches
They waited several hours, but only seen a couple minutes.

The doc finally called Humpty to the back
But before he touched a thing, he had him filling out an app
Had him writing all these things about his medical past
Explaining the pre-existing hump that he had on his back.

The doc said, "If you're hurt and you need an anesthetic
You're gonna have to tell us if your old or diabetic
Plus, if you want a good medic, you're gonna need good credit
Especially for prosthetics because those are cosmetic."

Before the doc could say, "So Mr. Dumpty--"
Humpty grabbed all his things and got up to leave
Now he's in his room in apartment 1B
Like, "Damn, I lost faith in my whole country."

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall 
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty back together again

Wyclef Jean Releases "Election Time" and "Death Threats"

The ballot or the bullet? ‘Clef chooses both for his upcoming album If I Were President: The Haitian Experience. The former Haiti presidential candidate dishes out “Election Time” and “Death Threats”, just in time for the November polls. The latter, comes off a bit ominous as Wyclef sings, “All I wanted to be was commander-in-chief/ But it seems like they wanna see me six deep.” Hope the Haiti saga is behind him. If not, “Election Time” could at least galvanize us Americans for the midterm races.

In Case You Missed N.E.R.D.'s "Nothing On You"

Is that N.E.R.D.? Of Course it is. The signature guitar patterns. The funky transitions. Pharrell’s charming falsetto. This new sneak peek, “Nothing On You” comes from the group’s forthcoming LP Nothing. The marching band drums keep the pulse rapid throughout. This rousing tune here sounds like the soundtrack to an intense after party.

N.E.R.D - Nothing On You by URBAN EMPIRE ENT

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yale Anthology of Rap

So I burst in the room mad excited and say to my girlfriend, "Pick any popular Hip Hop verse or song you know and start rapping the first couple of lines." She takes a second. Then she goes, "I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one." I take out the book and flip through a couple of pages. Once she catches on to what I'm trying to do, she immediately recants. "Oh that's a newer rap, it probably won't be in--" I turn to page 436 and go, "I got the rap patrol on the gat patrol/ Foes that wanna make sure my casket's close.."

That's The Anthology of Rap for you. Edited by Adam Bradley and Andrew Dubois, both professors of English, this collection is all encompassing resource for Hip Hop's most canonical lyrics. Everybody's in there from Lauryn Hill to Biggie to KRS One to Jay Electronica. Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote the foreword and Chuck D, the afterword. Look out for the book to be released on November 9 through Yale University Press. Cheers to Hip Hop becoming more firmly entrenched in academia.

Prince's "Rich Friends"

While you’re clicking refresh button on until those Welcome 2 America tour go on sale, here’s a little something to nibble on. The song is “Rich Friends”, a brand new gem from Prince’s deluxe version of 20Ten to be released via his NPG imprint.  Enjoy.

Rich Friends by nutteeee

Track List for Cee-Lo Green's The Lady Killer Album

So far there hasn't been a song released from  Cee-Lo Green's The Lady Killer that wasn't a pure audio treat. If the rest of the CD is anything like those innovative singles,"F*ck You" and "Old Fashioned" we're in for quite a special album. Here's the tracklist for the album which is due November 9th.

1. The Lady Killer Theme (Intro)
2. Bright Lights Bigger City
3. Forget You
4. Wildflower
5. Bodies
6. Please (Feat. Selah Sue)
7. Satisfied
8. I Want You
9. Cry Baby
10. Fool For You (Feat. Phillip Bailey)
11. It’s OK
12. Old Fashioned
13. The Lady Killer Theme (Outro)
14. F**k You

Ne-Yo Teams up with Stan Lee for Comic Strip

Spider Man. The Hulk. Ne-Yo? Yes, the R&B balladeer is going the superhero route. With the help of Stan Lee, legendary writer for Marvel Comics, Ne-Yo will transform into Jerome, a man who obtains superpowers in exchange for an inability to fall in love. The first three singles from his new album Libra Scale (“Beautiful Monster”, “Champagne Life”, and “One in a Million”) will be adapted into animated episodes starring the young hero. So look out for Jerome leaping tall buildings in one full note.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Love My Hair

Next time your baby girl stares too long at that blond-haired, blue-eye Barbie doll, show her this...

Sade on Tour

The last time Sade did a tour that included UK venues, college freshmen were just being born. This Spring, the iconic singer has three British gigs on the itinerary in addition to a whole leg of stops in the United States and Canada. Expect classic Sade melodies and new hits from last year's Soldier of Love. Check out the tour dates below:
Tour Dates
Friday 27 May: M.E.N. Arena, Manchester
Sunday 29 May: LG Arena, Birmingham
Tuesday 31 May: O2 Arena, London
Tickets will go on general sale at 9am on Monday 18th October.
Sade will also be doing a US tour, check out the US tour dates after the jump…

REVIEW: Michael Franti & Spearhead's The Sound of Sunshine

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Perhaps alternative music’s most renowned foster child, Michael Franti brings nothing but warm tidings on his seventh studio album The Sound of Sunshine. The eleven-song LP has a little bit of everything—hip-Hop, reggae, folky ballads and other arrangements that sound like they come straight out of a tye dye covered kombi. The feel good platitudes reflect the outlook of a Caucasian barefoot dread-head who has taken life’s lemons and made sweet lemonade.

Backed by a mostly acoustic foundation, the songs on The Sound of Sunshine beam with an enviable optimism. “No matter how life is today…I wouldn’t let another moment slip away,” he sings on “Hey Hey Hey” as we wonder how someone, who isn’t a resident of Sesame Street, be that content. The good cheer continues on “Anytime You Need Me,” where friendly whistles back up Franti’s rosy chorus about the benefits of having a good buddy.

Franti shines best, however, when other singers support him, as in the case on the highly energetic “Love Don’t Wait.” It’s a simple case of the more tonal variety, the better. When Franti takes responsibility for this diversity on his own—like his contrived Reggae accent on “Shake It”—the album loses authenticity.

All in all, The Sound of Sunshine packs all the joy of a Partridge Family b-side minus the cornball factor. We’ve always been able to see a sunny day, but thanks to Franti, we can now also hear it.

-Sidik Fofana

El Debarge's "Lay With You" feat. Faith Evans

Call us overzealous El Debarge fans, but on “Lay With You” from his album Second Chance, the legendary singer says all the right things, "I would love you to stay with me a little while longer, I could look at you all day long, Can’t get enough of you." Pair up his falsetto with the angelic voice of Faith Evans, and you have musical magic. Check out the track below

01 Lay With You by MarisaMendez

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Fourth of the World

Quadron: One Fourth of the World

Here’s the million dollar question. How did good ol’ American Soul music get to Denmark? If the answer to this were really worth a million dollars, most would play it safe and cite the international name recognition of artists like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson.


But what about those who say screw the money and go for creativity? They might make up something ambitious and helplessly romantic. Maybe something that involved an African-American World War II soldier from Detroit, Michigan, a Danish beauty, and a grand child who inherited blood that flowed with Rhythm & Blues. Their story may not account for all of that niche audience of Copenhagen natives who can’t live without Motown, but it does tell the story of Robin Hannibal and his grandfather.

“My grandmother was pregnant and he moved back and forth in his childhood, but later migrated to Denmark,” says the music producer in the backstage of the Liv Nightclub in Washington, DC. By earnest calculations, this would make the R&B soundsman and his music partner, Coco (who has an African grandfather) each one-fourth African-American. Thus the name Quadron.

In a Scandinavian part of the world where rock and electronica hold dominion, the Danish perceive classic R&B differently from most. When they hear R&B, they think of beloved jingles and not necessarily relevant music. The youth have not really embrace it. To them, an R&B song is like a Christmas carol, cherished but more likely to play in the background of a romantic comedy than on top 40 radio.

Quadron has defied this sentiment with their global success. Originally members of the Boom Clap Bachelors, an indie collective of Copenhagen soul/electronica artists, Robin and Coco met six years old ago through a mutual friend. Coco was a sixteen year old vocalist who sang at local venues over DJ instrumentals and Robin was an innovative producer in need of a front man--or woman--for his daring compositions.

“She was really instrumental because she had a much bigger voice and sound than the guys singing on the records,” Robin says. “Here was a performer, like a real natural performer. She made it a whole new dimension.”

Coco’s voice booms. She does not just grace a stage, she commands it, magnetizing any given set with her crystal clear pitch and comfortable confidence. She’s not some lead singer for a High School reunion cover band. Robin and Coco are contributors, not imitators.

Take the duo’s hit song “Pressure,” for example. Its jingly piano and soul clap percussion sound like they escaped from a Best of The Supremes 12 inch, but the urgent lyrics and Coco’s cerulean-sky voice, are original. To call Quadron a group that performs Black music would be disrespectful. They’re not trying to howl like Otis Redding or preach like Aretha Franklin. They’re simply revamping an old aesthetic with a modern touch.

“The use of reverb and space is a little 60’s and there’s that whole electronic element,” Robin says of group’s blended styles. “We both listen to a lot of old music and new music. I don’t think anything’s interesting if it’s only old or only new. It’s interesting when you mix it.”

The industry has responded positively to that formula. After a local DJ starting spinning their demo on the radio, Robin and Coco were pleasantly shocked to find that Andrew Hill, A&R at Plug Research was not only tuning in as well, but also ready to ink Quadron to an album deal. Hill flew them on a few occasions to Plug Research’s Headquarters in Manhattan, courting the duo to sign with the alternative indie label. Robin and Coco pined over the decision, but ultimately sharing label space with highly creative artists like Sa-Ra, Bilal, Exile, Daedelus, and Flying Lotus nudged them in the right direction.

With the release of Quadron’s self-titled album earlier this spring, Robin is sitting pretty. When the duo is not touring the world, he teaches music at the Red Bull Music Academy, which changes location around the world each year. He stays busy, but not busy enough to forget his good fortune.

“It’s been a fairy tale, us coming from little Denmark, five million citizens, half the size of LA,” Robin says. “Now we’re coming here and people think we’re a breath of fresh air.”

Amy Winehouse to Release New Studio Album

The rumor mill has Amy Winehouse working on a third studio album. Reportedly, the UK singer has been showcasing new material at a couple of notable London venues including Hawley Arms in Camden and a set at the opening of City Burlesque accompanying her father. This is coming off the success of her 2006 album, Back to Black, which won five Grammy Awards. Winehouse confirmed that the album would come out no later than January 2011. Fingers crossed.

Raheem Devaughn's "Greatness" and "Bedroom"
Raheem Devaughn and music video Director Tabi Bonney (of Cool Kids Forever ) have managed to form a great working relationship. The singer has been releasing singles seemingly back-to-back from his latest album The Love & War MasterPeace and things haven't slowed down. The idea for the video behind Raheem Devaughn’s fourth single “Bedroom” is quite simple but aesthetically on point. Try an abstract shower head, a long-legged vixen, and a zoom-in of Raheem’s fleshy lips spotlighted by a sepia tone and intimate close-ups. Perfection. "Greatness" featuring rapper Wale, is almost a kin to LL Cool J's "Around the Way Girl" and finds the singer on the streets following women around with a video camera. Check out the videos and SOUND OFF below.

Natalie Stewart Releases Floetic Soul Album

The anticipation for Natalie “The Floacist” Stewart’s solo album The Floacist Presents Floetic Soul is starting to create some steam---in more ways the one. The new album drops November 9th on Shanachie Records (peep the cover) and features the lead single “Forever” with Musiq Soulchild. This effort marks Stewart’s first solo album and features heavyweight collabos with MC Lyte, Raheem Devaughn, and Lalah Hathaway. And oh yeah, the album is available for pre-order on

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Random Obey Art

You know, gotta represent...

N.E.R.D.'s "Hynoptize U"

Call it cosmic, call it futuristic, but also call it soulful. N.E.R.D.’s newest single “Hynoptize U” produced by Daft Punk carries a Motown meets space shuttle feel. Pharrell sounds like a Sly Stone android as he sings, “Let me get close, let me hypnotize you/ I can make your storm feel sky blue.” N.E.R.D.’s fourth album Nothing is slated for a November 2nd release.

Hypnotize U by PopMusicUniverse

Toni Braxton Declares Bankruptcy Again

Toni, Toni, Toni. Toni Braxton has declared bankruptcy...again. According to TMZ, the six-time Grammy winning singer owes the government $10 to $50 million dollars in unpaid debts. Braxton had already filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy once in 1998 when the IRS placed a $396,000 lien against her. So who does she owe? Well beside owing money to the DMV and the City of L.A. Parking Violations Bureau, Braxton confessed that she owes funds to several companies including Tiffany & Co, AT&T, and the Four Seasons Hotel.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Lit Mag Coon Bidness

 Cover Image: 'GOLDLICKS (Wangechi Mutu)" By Marilyn Minter
And there it is, the literary magazine I've been waiting for. Edited by Greg Tate and LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs plus featuring essays from two my favorite writers Miles Marshall Lewis and Michael Gonzales, Coon Bidness' inaugural issue drops this October 14th. Educate yo' self...

Bobby Brown and Macy Gray Create Music Magic...Together?

Just before his cameo in Wayne Brady’s “Every Little Step” spoof, Bobby Brown delivered a beautiful duet with veteran singer Macy Gray (the pair pictured above with Brown's wife Alicia Etheredge-Brown) . The song, “Real Love”, has an understated harmony plus a squeeze of humor (peep how the two singers introduce themselves). Dare we say, there’s an odd bit of chemistry between the two? Gray shared with Essence Magazine, "We're friends and his one-year-old son is my godson. His fiance [at the time], is one of my best friends in the whole world. I met Bobby a long time ago, but we really got to know each other through her." Check out the track below and Macy’s first independent album The Sellout out now.

Macy Gray - Real love (feat. Bobby Brown) by clandestinul

Nelly Furtado's "What You Want to Do (The Night is Young)"

It's hard to believe that ten years has passed since Nelly Furtado surfaced on the music scene with her debut album Whoa, Nelly. Four albums and 25 million sold, the Canadian born singer is releasing her first greatest hits album, The Best of Nelly Furtado, which drops November 16th. The cd will feature a new single called “What You Want to Do (The Night is Young)” , a pulsating electro-cosmic blast of the pop. Hot off her 2009 all-espanol Mi Plan album, Nelly has been in the booth with The Neptunes as of late, working on her next studio album.

What You Want to Do (The Night Is Young) - Nelly Furtado by MAC2011

Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock"

In Keri Hilson's new single, “Pretty Girl Rock”, the 27 year-old singer flexes her feistiness and even drops the French word for "rear end" in fell swoop. “My name is Keri, I’m so very/ Fly, oh my, it’s a little bit scary/ Boys wanna marry, looking at my derrière/ You could stare, but if you touch it, I’mma bury” she rattles off on the uptempo banger. Look for the single on the sophomore album No Boys Allowed.

Keri Hilson, "Pretty Girls Rock" by billboard

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bilal Interview for Okayplayer TV

My interview with Bilal for Okayplayer TV. Once again, I'm heard a little, but not seen...

For the latest edition of OKPTV we bring you a one on one with Bilal, backstage at his recent show at B.B. Kings in NYC. In the sit-down, he talks about the origins of the name Airtight's Revenge, his goal to "confuse the computer" with this new LP, his disdain for the title "neo-soul," the story behind his song "Flying," and more. FYI, the song playing in the background is "All Matter," and I don't think a day has passed since the LP release that I haven't played it. Airtight's Revenge is in stores now. Props to Yahya (director & editor) and Sidik for putting this together.

The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude

Some people's midlife crisis leads them to a red Porsche or a spring break in South Beach. Neal Pollack's brink-of-40 revelation brought him to a yoga studio. In the emergent "life experiment" genre of which A.J. Jacobs' The Year of Living of Biblically serves as companion, Pollack's Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude tells the story of the middle-aged author's dive into the world of half-moons and downward facing dogs. In this lively memoir, Pollack goes from a cynical neophyte to a dedicate spokesman who attends a 24 hour yogathon and pens regular articles for Yoga Journal. It's quite hilarious all the way through.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jesse Boykin's "Runaway" feat. Smoke DZA

Jesse Boykins III’s profile has been rising like yeast. He’s been patiently dominating the underground soul scene and now he’s getting major press. He recently popped up on BET’s 106 & Park where he talked about shooting the video for his single “Amorous” in London. Check out this track of Jesse doing his own thing over Kanye West’s “Runaway” beat. —Sidik Fofana

Jesse Boykins III -Runaway Ft. Smoke DZA by Thirteen Itches

Faith Evan's "Can't Stay Away" feat. Keyshia Cole

Between Faith Evans and Keyshia Cole, there certainly is enough spunk, which only makes the magnetic single “Can’t Stay Away”, from Evans’ upcoming album Something About Faith jam-packed with sistatude. with its nimble Biggie twist (“Baby, baby, baby, can’t you see? Somehow your love just hypnotize me…”), speaks on addictive love like no other. Take this joint for a spin.

Check out the full album streaming exclusively on

Faith Evans Ft. Keyshia Cole - Can't Stay Away by DJ Decko