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.


Skilled in the Trade of the Ol BOOM BAP



A mix of 90’s Hip Hop for you to nod that head to. Everything on here Knocks hard!

I Make Sure Everything Remains Raw- Busta Rhymes

Ghetto Jam- Domino

Tonights the Night- Redman

Masquerade- David Porter

Who Shot Ya- Biggie

Shot Callin and Big Ballin- The Whoridas

U.N.I.T.Y- Queen Latifah

Do For Love- 2pac

The Movement- Common and Dilla

Buck em Down- Black Moon

Superman Lover- Johnny “Guitar” Watson

The Nod Factor- Skillz

What I’m After- Lords of the Underground

Crossover- EPMD

Tennessee- Arrested Development

Art of Story Telling pt I- Outkast

Just to Get a Rep- Gangstarr

E.V.A.- Jean -Jacques Perrey




Mardi Gras from Brooklyn

Had to put together this mix of traditional Mardi Gras songs today. New Orleans is the foundation of the music I love, and Mardi Gras is a huge part of New Orleans culture.  So for this FAT TUESDAY (since I don’t have the time or energy to make GUMBO)

This a Mardi Gras playlist from a New Yorker. All my New Orleans folk. Hit me with some more classics.


Go to the Mardi Gras- Professor Longhair

I Feel Like Funking it Up- Rebirth Brass Band

When The Saints Go Marching in- Sydney Bechet

Jambalaya- The Meters

Ooh Poo pah Doo- Jessie Hill

Big Chief II- Professor Longhair

Chocko Mo Feendo Hey- Baby Dodds Trio

Hey Pocky A-Way – The Meters

Iko Iko- Dr. John

All on a Mardi Gras Day- The Wild Magnolias

Street Parade- Earl King

Who Dat Call the Police- New Birth Brass Band

Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing- Baby Dodds Trio

Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing- Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Tipitina – Professor Longhair

Seranders Brass Band- Go See the Mardi Gras

Aaron McMickle


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Monday Morning MELLOWDIES

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.



Dance Through The Door : A Funky Family

In my family music is central. It is always on, we have records everywhere and dance parties pop off quickly.

My sister lives downstairs from us, since we have a funky family as I am walking out of the house, on many occasions a set of  old school party jams is bumping. I mean old school party jams that make you want to stop what you are doing just get on down. And that is precisely what I usually do.

Short solo dance sets can save your life.

This mix is inspired by the funk that comes through their door, so….


Thanks Sabrina, Shawn and Pablo. This goes out to you.



Monday Morning Mellowdies

Once a month for 2 hours and 45 min I have to work at a place called the Park Slope Food Coop. If you want to live a happy peaceful life with the women of the Ramos family. You have to shop at the coop, period.

I’ll say that it is a beneficial hassle. The food is great and cheap and you meet some interesting  people, however keeping up with the work schedule can be annoying.

To help with the annoyance, I make playlists. My shift starts at 8 am in the child care room. It’s kind of empty at first, and really mellow. So my playlist reflects that feeling.

This is how my last shift sounded. Well at least the first hour.

8 am Monday morning.


Enjoy the music!

Afro- Blue- Oscar Brown Jr.

Breathe in the Air- Pink Floyd

Free – Denice Williams

Cristo Rendentor- Donald Byrd

Sunday Morning- Grant Green

Mysteries of the World – M.F.S.B.

Moorage Daydream- David Bowie

Ziggy Stardust- David Bowie

Tom Drunk- U- Roy

Can I Kick it- A Tribe Called Quest

Ego Trippin II- De La Soul

Soul Drummers- Ray Barretto

Doug’s Room- Mauricio Smith

Web- Hampton Hawes

Second Line on Monday- Chuck Carbo




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.