Funk and Soul: Digging in New Orleans

An assortment funky joints made to make that neck snap. I made this mix after digging in New Orleans, and spending a week taking in all of the city’s magnificent culture.


The Meters, Brass Construction, Brothers Johnson, Wilson Pickett, The Soul Searchers, Maceo and the Macks

That was a truly funky honeymoon! Thanks Pilar.


A Stormy Monday with an Emotional Rescue: For Parents



When you have kids ages 2 and 4 regular adult human activities are no longer your prerogative. Want to eat breakfast….. no. Want to do the dishes……no Want to take a shower……NO!

A shower. Billions of humans world wide take part in this ritual daily. Bathing, it’s essential for human health, but the repercussions for parents could be disastrous.

Let’s just say the bathroom was flooded and all the Easter candy is gone.  I needed an Emotional Rescue.

T-Bone Walker wrote a blues called Stormy Monday. It is a certified classic and a blues standard. He laments about the struggles of the days of the week, each day being worse than the next. “They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad”

As this morning unfolded into a cloudy, rainy, Stormy Monday I had to play T-Bone, and  let THE BLUES heal my Blues. Hasn’t taken full effect yet, but I’ll just keep listening.

If this Monday had a few storms for you, here is a playlist to make you reflect and hopefully feel better.

Unknown Stormy Monday by T-Bone Walker

51H8tGhuOkL When you are furious drying up water in your underwear with a 2 year old on your back you need

Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones


Unknown-1 Stormy by The Meters

This was the first record that started to soothe the chaos.



Ease Back by The Meters. You should really listen to the Meters.


 Can’t Stand it! Even though it is also essential to our existence. It’s just today…..jeeeeez



Be Thankful For What You GotWilliam DeVaughn.

Always try to keep this in mind.


Thanks for listening. I think I feel a little better now. This was a Stormy Monday but I’m about to let it go and pray that Tuesday is not just as bad. Thanks T-bone.


All the time Phife


A question I was asked was once.

If a life form from another planet came earth having never heard Hip Hop music before what would you play them.

My answer is the THE LOW END THEORY the album and the group A Tribe Called Quest are quintessential Hip Hop, and the foundation of my Hip Hop formative years.

Perfect and imaginative sampling, the boomiest and bapiest drums ever. I still ask myself when I listen to “Footprints” “How did they get the kick so phat?”

Phife, an energetic storyteller, witty and hilarious. i.e. Seamans furniture. Often the lead off hitter that set the tone for the song. Extremity in Rhythm was a mark of his flow. He could flip a verse in many styles with ease, and shut down a Phoney Rapper in a battle by getting loose off of orange juice.

A true legend gone to soon. So this mix goes out to the life and music of Phife Dawg. and A Tribe Called Quest


Thank You!


Rhyme Til Infinity



What up, What up!

Rhyme til Infinity

Another blend! This is a four song blend.

  1. 93 Til Infinity by the Souls of Mischief – Instrumental
  2. Beats to the Rhyme  by RUN DMC- Instrumental
  3. Sixth Sense by Common – Acapella
  4. Protect your neck by Wu- Tang Clan- Acappella

This is how I cook up my original flavors, hope you enjoy.


Formation: Double Edged Banger


Formation (Audio)

Beyonce has got our hashtags going crazy once again. In 2013 she dropped the self titled “Beyonce” album. It blew up the internet. Garnering praise for its artistic vision, and criticism for its sexuality and frankness. A Duality that Beyonce has embraced fully. She is a creative visionary,  in touch with her blackness and sexuality. Not to mention the “guts”.  She pushes the envelope with reckless abandon, letting work ethic and creativity blaze her trail in music history.

Yesterday Beyonce hit us with a new video and song. A full  explosion of body vibrations,  as well as imagery that was meant to shock. The movement and expression of black bodies have always created waves of controversy. From Little Richard to James Brown, to Cam Newton.

I am torn by this video.

Formation is by all means a great video, and the track is a banger. I just do not understand the connection between the imagery and the lyrical content.

The video begins with an old computer giving a warning that says “Explicit Lyrics” followed by images of post Katrina New Orleans.  This immediately made me think “protest song” until she began singing. I’m going to catch back lash for this but.

I feel that she is using post Katrina New Orleans, Black Indians and the culture of a great city as a prop. A prop to show how much she swags. There are moments of pride and protest. But unless you are doing deep research, or googling the lyrics I do not think the message is explicitly clear at all. I would say the overall message I get from the song is that Beyonce has hella swag, and is rich and famous. Note ( I am a huge Beyonce fan)

Topics addressed

  1. People saying she is in the Illuminati
  2. Wearing Jay-z’s chain
  3. The clothes she wears
  4. Taking her man out to Red Lobster after good sex (QUE!)
  5. Her Swag
  6. Likes her baby in Afros, and men with Jackson 5 Nostrils. (Blue Ivy, and Hova)
  7. Her Alabama and Louisiana heritage.

None of these topics seem to match the intense visual that is being presented. You see N.O Police cars succumbing to floods, black boys getting the police to put THEIR  hands  up.

There are images of  old creoles from New Orleans dressed in antebellum style clothing. A nice nod to Black History. Another scene where she is dressed up like a voodoo queen ( a la Angela Bassett in American Horror Story)  these are dope images. Produced with a lot of creativity and skill.  However, when I see the imagery and listen at the same time I am conflicted.

I am aware of how she and Jay donated to bail out protestors, and that she is representing and shining for black culture in this video.  I am also aware that she does not have to conform to any standards that I set for her music. She is no joke, and performs at a high level which I respect. It’s just….

I thought that this could be everything I wanted in a song. Old New Orleans, thumping hip hop and a cultural relevance that speaks to me. The video has all these things. The lyrics to ME could have had more clarity. You see odes to black lives matter in passing, and police brutality, but no words on those matters.

There is a bridge section where she sings “I see it, I want it, I stunt yeah, little hornet. I dream it I work hard, I grind till I own it”. Now that is something to make you say “Yaaaas” to.

This was really the only uplifting portion for black people I could find within the body of the song itself. Maybe upliftment and unity were not the point of this record. But the visual tells me otherwise. On the other hand

The video is exquisitely done. It drew me in emotionally right away, and I want to see it again, again.  It created a visceral raw reaction in my gut, which is my meter for deciding if something is good.

Is it an ode blackness? Certainly. Is it a banger?  YES! Is she going to blow up the Super bowl stage tonight? , most likely YES! I just think that we should take the song for what it is. A dope track that has some stunning imagery, I do not think it is “The Blackest thing ever” or stunningly revolutionary.

You want to talk about a revolutionary new album that discusses  systemic racism, and the perils of slavery, that uplifts black people, and makes a brazen statement. While at the same time ripping flows that connect to black people today, with production that beats through your chest.

INDIE 500 by Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder.


Every Ghetto- Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder

Although I have critical thoughts on this song. It is my job to have them, and I do not want to take anything away from Beyonce, or from black people expressing themselves fully. Because that is what I strive to do and what we all deserve. Take the time to listen to this. Your brain will thank you.

I spoke of “duality” and black culture at the start of this piece. Navigating the lanes between being yourself as a black person and still having to live in a white world. This duality makes it extremely difficult to really be your full creative self.  Beyonce is navigating those curves with precision. Expressing her blackness, and all her ideas while still having commercial success. Very difficult to do.

Tonight you will see two extraordinary Black people on the biggest stage in the world. Cam Newton and Beyonce.

Cam Newton, is an outstanding quarterback and NFL MVP who has recently been in the news for is “blackness” I mean for his dancing. Cam has to deal with this duality each time he steps on the field, and he is doing it and doing it well.  I can almost guarantee Cam will make a huge statement with his football plays and celebrations tonight. Also

Beyonce will be performing and an entrancing our eyes and ears with her “blackness”   tonight.  If she gets up on the Super Bowl stage with those images and makes a statement. That will be something to stand up about. She has the biggest stage in the world tonight. Will she use it?

In the end I love Black people and Black culture, and I just want it to be represented with pride and understood with clarity.  It will take work, but everything worth having takes sacrifice and effort.

“Ain’t Gonna Let nobody turn me around”

I tried posting the video with this several times, but it kept getting taken down for copyright issues. Check it out on YOU TUBE.



Marvin Gaye, Maxinquaye (Thanks Pilar)

Music by Eric Sermon (Featuring Marvin Gaye)

Once again my marriage choice has proven correct.  Here’s how I know. As Pilar was getting ready to leave for a work conference in Houston. We were preparing lunch, and listening to a Marvin Gaye Anthology record.


We played side 1 and 2, you know Stubborn kind of fellow, Pride and Joy, Heard It Through The Grapevine, Mercy Mercy Me, What’s Going On, the hits are endless. Then I skipped to side 5, a song I am not to familiar with came on.

“That’s The Way Love Is”  a song originally by the Isley Brothers released in 1967 by Tamla Motown.

In 1970 Marvin Gaye recorded an album entitled

“That’s The Way Love Is” 


This album not only covers this great Isley Brothers tune, but also

The Temptations- I Wish It Would Rain and Cloud Nine

The Beatles- Yesterday 

The Young Rascalz- Groovin 

Dion- Abraham, Martin and John

How does Tricky’s album Maxinquaye get involved in this story? Like I said, I married the right person.

As we were listening to Marvin, Pilar stopped in mid conversation to say. “UH, You hear that sample!”  Tricky! yeah Tricky!”

Then we pulled up the Maxinquaye  album and sure enough, the track AFTERMATH has a direct sample of That’s The Way Love Is

Check out how he flipped it.


Marvin Gaye- That’s The Way Love Is


Tricky- Aftermath (Sample present from the first measure, and throughout)

Lovely right?

Tricky slowed it down and added the drums from


Eat em up L Chill  by LL Cool J. (Produced by Marley Marl)

If you want to go deeper- The drums from Eat em up L Chill are from


Don’t Change your love by The Five Stairsteps. (Produced by Curtis Mayfield)

The fact that she heard the sample,  stopped, got super excited and then had to find out the song and play it. Whooooooo!  I couldn’t ask for more in a wife. That’s not sarcasm, I’m serious. As the Tricky track was playing, we were just vibing out. Pilar looks at me and says

“Man, that was really satisfying, hearing the sample and putting it together like that.”   It was great for me to baby. I live for those moments.

Another issue that arose out of this find was, what happened to this kind of music? Not Marvin Gaye, there will only be one. But Tricky, Portishead, Thievery Corporation, Morcheeba and Massive Attack. What happened to that style “Trip Hop.”  (Which is a term they probably hate, but it helps the discussion here)

Is there anyone today making similar music?

If you know of any artists who are getting down in a similar funky fashion, post a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Listen close and you never know what you may hear.


Handmade Vol. I an introductory lesson.

Handmade art vol I

A new mix for your listening pleasure



“Listen close you’ll hear what I’m about”


Track list-

Hermitude-  Through the Roof/ Erykah Badu- On and On

Lee Dorsey- Oocapella

Missy Elliot- Sock it 2 me (Kayatranada rmx)

Camp Lo- Luchini- (Daniel Crawford Rmx)

Kendrick Lamar- Genocide

Outkast- Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

J. Cole- Wet Dreams

Eric Sermon- Bombdigi

Little Dragon-  Green Dollar Bills- (KutKorners dmx)

Raphael Saadiq – Good Man

Pointer Sisters- Yes we can

Hank Ballard and the Midnight’s- From the Love side

James Brown- Blues and Pants

Detroit Emeralds- Getting a little to smart

O’Donel Levy- People Make the World go round

Eric b. and Rakim/Young Holt Unlimited- Don’t Sweat the Technique – DJ 7L

Illa J- Universe

Tuxedo- Number One

Toni Tony Tone- If I had no loot

L.L. Cool J- It gets no rougher

Johnny Pate- Theme from Shaft in Africa

Dennis Coffey- Theme from Black Belt Jones

Art Blakey- Streching (Full version)


Colombian Summer:Faux Brooklyn Winter


Last days of summer
Last days of summer 2015 (This was  September by the way)


Sounds of Summer by Lenu ft. Rob Swift

These  temps have been crazy. I’m not going to discuss the global warming aspect of this record setting week. I just want to revel in it, enjoy it. Realizing how nice it is not to have to get two kids into boots, hats, scarves, coats, and GLOVES THAT NEVER STAY ON! You get it.

Lola and I have been bike riding consistently since the summer. Our summer bike route usually included a Prospect park loop, then a stop at the Lefrak Center on the second time around.

This time our ride included a style of music I have really been into lately, and that is Cumbia.

Cumbia is a traditional dance music from Colombia. It also has African and Spanish roots. We were listening to a compilation album entitled  Afrosound of Colombia. It is full of dope breaks, tough bass lines, swinging horns, and rhythms to make you wanna dance.

In Cumbia as in all music of the African Diaspora. The rhythm section is the foundation. Claves, Congas, shakers, sticks, bells, bass drums and bass guitars. Toms, cymbals, and rhythm sticks weave in and out of one another. On top of that lay some vocal call and response. All of these meld together with what Jelly Roll Morton called “The Spanish Tinge”

“Then we had Spanish people there. I heard a lot of Spanish tunes. I tried to play them in correct tempo, but I personally didn’t believe they were perfected in the tempos. Now take the habanera “La Paloma“, which I transformed in New Orleans style. You leave the left hand just the same. The difference comes in the right hand — in the syncopation, which gives it an entirely different color that really changes the color from red to blue

Now in one of my earliest tunes, “New Orleans Blues”, you can notice the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can’t manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz.”- Jelly Roll Morton

What Jelly Roll is saying is that there are certain inflections, rhythms and patterns that are specific to music of Spanish decent.  And this music makes you want to dance because it has a specific feel and color.

A good example of how using the “Spanish Tinge” can add musical color to a tune not specifically Spanish  is the following.


The Rolling Stones- Sympathy for the Devil-  This song based on a TUMBAO Afro- cuban rhythm. A tumbao is a basic conga pattern prevalent in Cuban dance music. It is extremely clear to hear the  Spanish influence in the opening percussion.

Cumbia falls right in line with Jelly Roll Morton’s theory.  The musical characteristics of Cumbia are similar to lots of styles. It is way those characteristics are performed that make the difference. The syncopation used, where the rests take place, and the intonation is what separates Cumbia, and almost any other style of music.

Take a Listen to some the tracks from our bike ride.


The Latin Brothers- Dale al Bombo – Within the first 10 seconds three distinctive rhythm patterns are introduced and played together to create the texture of the song


Cumbia de Luna- I hear a lot of similarity to Ska music as I listen closely. The use of the upbeat (The 2 and the 4) . In ska and reggae it is called a skank and it is a guitar accenting the second and fourth beats. On this song, it is a hi hat



Chico Cervantes- El Soncito- I love the trumpet intro!




In the summer Lefrak is a roller skating rink is a really cool fountain/splash pad. However in the winter it is an ice skating rink.

When we pulled up to Lefrak the look of confusion on Lola’s face was intense.

“I know this place, but now people are sliding around on ice?”

The transformation of the center from summer fun to winter activities is pretty amazing, and I am thankful to have such a resource.

I was really happy to be reliving a summer day in December. No water sprayers, no beach balls, but the sun was shining bright on the ice, and summer vibe was there.  It was 55, fleece jackets on but unzipped.

Cumbia and bike rides with your kids. I highly recommend it.


Morning Music on Sunday Afternoon


IMG_6641 IMG_8129


Aria- Heard Em Say- Kanye West ( Aaliyah’s Scratch practice record)

I was doing some practice on the bass and a little scratching.  Aaliyah was watching a movie while I got this work in. When the movie ended she asked if she could come play records with me. Of course you can I replied, and we started up a session.

I asked her what she wanted to hear. She said “Music for the Morning” . Since he loves to pick out her own records I asked, which record do you think is good for the morning.

She picks Joni Mitchell Ladies of the Canyon. We drop the needle on it, and  realize the first track is called Morning Morgantown. She wanted mellow music for the morning, dug in the crates and found a song specifically about the morning. I Couldn’t be prouder. She is gaining a value for music, and using it to add to the experiences of her life.

Thanks to Caryn Davidson. She and her family blessed us with six really nice crates of Classic rock, folk, and jazz records. The Joni Mitchell Aaliyah picked was from their collection. Thanks for passing on the love.



Joni Mitchell- Morning Morgantown (Ladies of the Canyon album)


Something for the weekend.



My physical body is riding on the BQE, my head is on Harlem River Drive destined for Atlanta. Sun bursting through the back window warming my neck up a bit. 45 and windy, but the brisk air is nice.

Unknown  Harlem River Drive- Bobbi Humphrey


Denice Williams, Dorothy Ashby, Thundercat and Common were on my flight! We all talked, listened to each other, did some reading, then took a nap. As we Touched down in the “A” Some rapper by the name of Sean P came to the microphone accompanied by Nasir Jones.

I guess Serendipity is real. I planned this trip to Atlanta months ago. A few weeks before the trip I found out that my Grandmother Louise Noble would be having a 90th birthday party on the day I arrive. The timing was perfect. I do not get to see my relatives in Georgia very often. They are amazingly loving, and make you feel truly at home. Plus 90 years old! I had to be there. My man Ricardo picked me up from the airport and we set out to Athens.

The surprise party was a gathering filled with love, and laughs. My grandmother was blown away by the outpouring. It felt good to hear so many people from all generations of the family paying homage to the Matriarch.

FullSizeRender-3 Me and my grandmother Louise Noble. 90 years old.

Within the next 4 hours I hung out with my parents, gave hugs to some wonderful relatives. Made a short toast at the birthday party, ate lasagna, and went back to my Aunt Martha and Jimmy’s house for some family kick it time.

I made the trip originally to come chill with my man Ricardo Spicer. We have been friends since first grade and grew up listening to every thing music had to offer together, usually on a yellow sony walkman with dual headphone jacks. My KRU from Shaker Heights are my brothers with out a doubt. We kick it very rarely now, but when we do we “never miss a beat”. Not just because we all have excellent timing, but mostly because we are family.

On the ride back Ric put me on to some nice funky soul and a true ATl banger.

images Wipe me Down -Lil Boosie


Unknown-1 Drive you Crazy- The Pointer Sisters

Ricardo and I went back to Atlanta met up with the crew, got burgers and headed to one of Atlanta’s finest establishments for a memorable night out. Actually the most memorable part was when Ric forgot I was staying at his house in the middle of the night.

I went to the bathroom, peeing, minding my own. Then the face of pure rage, half my boy Ric and half Jack Nicholson in the Shining busts the door open.  I hear “Yo dawg, what you doing!” then look over and see only Ricardo’s head looking around the corner of the door, giving a really low growl at me. This dude forgot I was there, thought I was a burglar who decided to use the bathroom, and basically tried to jump me. This kind of moment is exactly the reason I made the trip. To create another memory with my friend.  I will never forget that, and I will  bring up each time we get together from now on.


Sunday morning I worked on re-organizing my playlists, taking music off Ric’s computer and spent some quality time just relaxing and doing nothing. Mid afternoon my other homie Kuzi came to pick me up and we went to his spot. I met his girlfriend Gretchen and daughter Kaia. The four us went through Apple music and picked a few things to play to for one another.

Me- Christine and the Queens- Tilted

Kuzi- Sub Motion Orchestra- Intro

erykah-badu-phone-downGretchen-  Erykah Badu Phone Down (She would want it to be known that she has mixed feelings about this track)

Even though it was Ricardo’s Birthday he was at work most of the day. When he finally got to Kuzi’s house we watched a ridiculous Outkast concert. It was a Lallapalooza performance in Chicago.  They killed it, filling all of us with nostalgia while rhyming every lyric, filling in every ad-lib, and letting it VIBRATE HIGHER!

So in honor of this weekend check out Outkast an Odyssey  My tribute to this amazing duo. (The mix style is inspired by Soundbombing II)

Unknown-4images-2   Outkast and Odyssey Link.


Next came Fried Chicken, greens, mashed potatoes, crab cakes, biscuits and fried green tomatoes. A southern feast that gave me a nice fix. I was craving that meal, and it was super on point. Southern City kitchen, Big up! Big up!

We forgot to sing happy birthday in the restaurant so we did a barber shop quartet thing on the corner outside for Ric.

Monday chill day. Music trading, errands and such. The highlight was the impromptu beat session we put down. It started off with Kuzi playing some tracks he had been working on. I turned on the new Serato Dj controller Ric had, cued up some scratch sounds and just cut and cut and cut.


Used some nice effects, and we recorded scratch patterns on top of tough tough beats by Kuzi Nash. Next Ric wanted to use the pads on the DDjsx to chop up some Dramatics. So we set cues, found the sections we wanted, and went to work.

Unknown-5 The Dramatics- In the Raind

Even though we did not get a chance to finish the beat, just being in the room with them. Ideas flowing, crazy laughs, lots of beats looping over and over again felt good. I played some of the blends I have been working on, and we bounced things off one another, all while putting in some good work.

For the most part my Kru  and I only see each other at weddings and other big events like that. It was really great to just be able to spend time just chilling, watching games, pumping beats.

Live action Outro-

Flight delayed 30 min, then an hour, then two hours, now four hours. Ok, Ok, you dddd

Flight Delayed Playlist.

Unknown-6  Kuro to Shiro- James Fauntleroy feat. Common


Unknown Ego tripping out – Marvin Gaye


Unknown-1 Untitled/Fantastic- Slum Village