13 November 2010

It was bigger than hip-hop: Review of Dead Prez performance 11/12/10

The one and only, revolutionary, conscious hip-hop group Dead Prez took the stage last night at Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine and rocked the mic for a crowd of hundreds.  The event was part of a fundraiser by the Harvest of Hope Foundation, which provides assistance to local area migrant workers. 

The theme of local food and supporting low wage earners fit right in with Dead Prez's hardhitting messages about revolution, taking power back from the establishment and giving it back to the people, self-enlightenment, and the uplifting of black people. M1 and mixed new songs in with classic joints, taking it all the way back to "Let's Get Free".  They performed "Malcolm, Garvey, Huey" from their latest album, Revolutionary but Gangsta Grillz, as well as oldie-but-goodies "We Don't Eat No Meat", an ode to vegan/vegetarian living, and "It's More than Hip-hop", among others.  A new sample that I really enjoyed was their take on Gucci Mane's "Wasted", called "Don't Waste It" in which they changed the hook to say, "Rockstar lifestyle ain't gone make it/too many black men locked in cages/if I stay wasted and you stay wasted/what's gonna happen to the next generation?"....Real talk....

The group interspered music with tidbits on conscious living, and eating locally grown and healthy food.  If I could point out any criticism of the performance, it would be that there should've been thousands there, and not simply hundreds.  If we gonna take back hip-hop from the trash and Illuminati agenda, then we have to go back to the roots and support artists like this. 

I have to give a shoutout to fellow sister blogger Tiffany Nakia Duhart of Nokturnal Escape, who caught a great video of "Don't Waste It", which you can watch here: Nokturnal Escape Dead Prez Performance.

The Dead Prez performance was on point and on time.  If you're thirsty for real conscious music like me, and you're not finding it in this desert wasteland of mainstream hihp-hop, then check out Dead Prez and other groups like them.  Healthy food isn't just for the body, its for the mind and soul as well.

07 October 2010

Trackz on Demand-Trailblazin in the hip-hop nation

Every form of music has a history.  Hip-hop is no exception. People have tried to dismiss the genre as irrelevant from its beginning.  Some said it wouldn't last; well here it is 30 years later, still going hard. Sure, it may seem difficult to look past the sad state of affairs today, but if you do, the history is there.  If you are like me, you remember when the deejay, scratching records and making beats, was the heart and soul that drove everything.

If you turn off BET and tune into the underground, then you'll realize that you're not alone.  There are still producers and deejays out there turning out quality product, hustling away in the background.  That's why I write this blog, to bring them out of the background and into the forefront, to shine a light on the underground hustlers carrying hip-hop on their shoulders and trying to bring it back to its glory days.

I'm going to talk about two of those hustlers right now. Look carefully at the right-side column of this page and you will see a widget for Trackz on Demand.  If you don't know the names behind the sound, then I'm here  to educate you.  I don't make any secret of the fact that I rep hard for The Prolegend Movement, and today I'm reppin for two of the members of the group who make up Trackz on Demand, Mass Pro and Laf Legend.

Trackz on Demand showcases the beatmaking skills of this half of Prolegend.  In addition to rapping, Pro and Laf play the keyboard and bass.  Their instrumental skills are self-taught, "like the old blues cats" as Laf Legend put it, and make up a big part of their beats.  The two have worked together since high school, starting out with a Korg Trinity keyboard and a bunch of inspiration.  They formed Prolegend Productions, which went on to become The Prolegend Movement and expanded to a foursome with Laf's younger brother Lankdizzim, and Lank's friend J.Co.

The idea for Trackz on Demand came from Pro, who worked as a Comcast service technician.  Everyone in Jacksonville who has Comcast knows how iffy their service is sometimes, and Pro said that he was always getting calls for people whose OnDemand service wasn't working.  So the running joke became, " I'm gonna make a company, and my stuff is gonna work".  And Trackz on Demand was born.

Although the name may have come from a joke, the talent that these two guys have is no laughing matter.  They use software like Reason and Garage band, to produce their original sounds.  Pro said, "I like to start off with drums, put a bass to it, add some piano chords.  Build a foundation, sprinkle some other sounds in.  Once you have a sound, start arranging it into a song.  Intro, Outro, breakdown.  Make a dope beat, and all you need is some vocals."  Of course, The Prolegend Movement is definitely not lacking in the vocals department, so when you put it all together, you have the unique sound that has driven them to number 1 on the local hip-hop charts according to Reverbnation.  

I asked Pro what his favorite beat was so far, and he said that he really likes the sample that he did for Erry Time.  That song came out with a 70's funk sound that makes it one of my favorites, and the Internet audience seems to agree, because it became a favorite on underground radio shows.  But, he added, "I don’t know if I’ve made my best beat yet. It’s a continuous thing, I’m still trying to get better.  Still trying to outdo the last beat, as they say".  

That drive for excellence is what makes Trackz on Demand and The Prolegend Movement heavy hitters in my book.  They never settle for mediocre, but instead always try to give listeners their best sound.  In addition to the music on their original release, Revolution Revalationz, as well as the Black Diamonds mixtape and EP, they have a virtual library of tracks that they haven't officially released yet.  When I ask the guys why not, they all say something like, "its something missing" or  "its just not ready yet", or something along those lines.  They are their own toughest critics and it shows in the work that they put out.

So artists, if you need some fresh, original beats, then Trackz on Demand is where its at.  You can lease beats for $19.99 or buy them exclusively.  If you sign up on the website using your Facebook account, then you also get a free beat. They aren't just for hip-hop, either.  They have some great beats that would sound good with some R&B vocals, or even with some spoken word.  Independent artists, let's support each other and our community, because God knows it needs help.  I think Mass Pro summed it up perfectly when he said, "We need more beats.  We don’t need more violence, we need more beats so rappers can stop killing each other and just get on the microphone."

Enough said.

29 September 2010

Things to do in Duval Wednesday 9/29/10

It's Hump Day!  Two more days until the weekend! 

Interestingly, out of the 1 million event invites that I received on Facebook (I'm only slightly exaggerating, lol), I could find only one local music event, so enjoy!

Winedown Wednesdays-Cityhall Pub looks like the place to be tonight.  From 3-7, take advantage of their happy hour specials, including $5 appetizers, 2-4-1 Martinis, Long Islands, and Sex on the Beach, and $2.25 drafts.  At 6 p.m., settle in for some of the best jazz music that Jacksonville has to offer as Elisha "Atlas" Parris and A'JaZE take the stage.  I've heard them perform at a couple of venues in town, and they are awesome. Ladies get free wine from 7-9 and guys can take advantage of $5 Crown, Ciroc, and Hennessey from 7-10.  Come hungry so you can sample some of the 50 cent wings or the $7.50 fish baskets, and finish it off with a slice of key lime pie.  The kitchen is open all night and there is free parking.  Cityhall Pub is located at 234 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd.

28 September 2010

Things to do in Duval Tuesday 9/28/10

If you’re reading this then that means that you survived Monday! Hooray! Pat yourself on the back.

Here’s the scoop on what to do in Jacksonville today:

Miller on Sports Live for Lunch-Every Monday and Tuesday, spend lunch hour at Cityhall Pub from 1-2 p.m. Watch Richard Miller broadcast his sports talk radio show live inside the restaurant while sampling the menu, which includes Mahi Mahi sandwiches, sweet potato fries, tropical salad, and key lime pie. Check out the news on Cityhall Pub’s 20’ HD TV’s. Cityhall Pub is located at 2134 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd. across from the baseball grounds, and they have free parking in the garage.

Tipsy Tuesdays “The Ultimate Happy Hour Experience”-Point Blank Entertainment presents a new Happy Hour spot in Jacksonville at Oasis Bar starting at 5 p.m. You must be 21 and up to enter and if you’re lucky enough to be on the VIP list, then you need to get there by 7:30 p.m. Enjoy specials including 3 for 1 wells, 2 for 1 premiums, 50 cent wings and oysters, and crab legs for $9.99 a pound. Oasis is located at 9551 Baymeadows Rd. Suite 14.

Ladies Night-If you’re looking for a great party atmosphere, then go bananas with Ced Famous at Banana’s Bar and Grille on the Northside. Every Tuesday features Happy Hour for mature folks starting at 5 p.m. There are plenty of food and drink specials onboard, including 50 cent wings, $11.99 Garlic Shrimp Boil, $8 shrimp baskets, $7 fish baskets, $5 Hennessey, Grey Goose, Crown, Ciroc, Tanqueray, and Malibu, $1 Moscatos, and 2 for 1 Margaritas, just to name a few. Ced Famous also offers free birthday parties every Tuesday. Bananas is located at 13141 City Station Drive in the River City Marketplace near the airport.

Take off Tuesdays-Calling all hip-hop heads! Brewster’s Pub is the place to be at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays to watch the best local artists do their thing on stage. While you’re hearing the best in underground hip-hop from artists like The Prolegend Movement, you can play pool, and enjoy drink specials, and vibe to DJ Nothin Nice on the 1’s and 2’s. Brewster’s Pub is located at 14003 Beach Blvd.

Enjoy your Tuesday, and remember that if you can’t be good, always be safe!

27 September 2010

Things to do in Duval Monday 9/27/10

Who said there’s nothing to do/no talent in Duval? Many times, we just don’t hear about it. That’s the goal of 904 Underground-to promote local talent and events. You know what I always say: “Support Duval artists.”

Here’s a roundup of some of the things going on locally today 9/27/10:

Miller on Sports Live for Lunch-Every Monday and Tuesday, spend lunch hour at Cityhall Pub from 1-2 p.m. Watch Richard Miller broadcast his sports talk radio show live inside the restaurant while sampling the menu, which includes Mahi Mahi sandwiches, sweet potato fries, tropical salad, and key lime pie. Check out the news on Cityhall Pub’s 20’ HD TV’s. Cityhall Pub is located at 2134 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd. across from the baseball grounds, and they have free parking in the garage.

Monday Night Affair-If you’re really feeling Cityhall Pub, then you can head back down there after work and enjoy 2-4-1 drink specials and $5 appetizers while jamming to DJ Q45 as he spins on the 1’s and 2’s. Doors open at 5 p.m. and ladies and members of the service industry get in free until midnight.

Moscato Mondays at Soho’s/ ESPN Monday Night Football Party-Kick back and relax and check out some Monday Night Football from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. Soho’s has 2-4-1 drinks during Happy Hour and $3 Moscatos all night long. Everyone is free until 9 p.m., and ladies are free until 10. Soho’s is located at 923 University Blvd. in the Town and Country Plaza (near Plush and Rain).

Metropolitan Monday’s at Aroma’s-Get free admission to Aroma’s Cigar and Wine Bar and enjoy a laidback, sophisticated atmosphere complete with $2 martinis’ and live music from The Experience Band from 7-10 p.m. Then, from 10-2 a.m. let DJ 151 work it out for you on the 1’s and 2’s and get 2-4-1 drinks while you’re at it. Guest artists featured once a month, including Keke Wyatt, Algebra Blessett, and Urban Mystic.

Monday Night Game on Mixer-If you love to talk trash, smack cards/dominoes on the table, and run Boston’s on folks, then head on down to AMG Uptown Salon starting at 7:30 p.m. Put your money where your mouth is and show everyone your skills in spades, pool, checkers, and several other games. Check out Monday Night Football on four big screen TV’s, and get a shot at winning the Monday Football Pool. Admission is $10 and includes wine. AMG Uptown Salon is located at 525 W. Bay St. downtown.

The Poetry Spot featuring Taalam Acey-Okay, all my fellow poets/spoken word artists: can I get a “whoot whoot”? Get down to Arielle’s in Arlington at 9 p.m. for open mic and poetry slam featuring some of Jacksonville’s best spoken word artists, including Moses, Seven, Odd Rodd, Cuban, and Shattered Thought. Featured artists are Taalam Acey and Jakqui Sol. CD’s, DVD’s, and books will be available for sale also. I hadn’t gotten information on the admission price at the time I wrote this, but usually spoken word events around here run about $10, but don’t quote me on that. Arielle’s is located at 7707 Arlington Expressway (if you’ve really been in Duval for awhile, then you remember that as Red Lobster’s!).

Happy Monday!

24 September 2010

What to do in Duval this weekend 9/24-9/26

Friday 9/24/10

It's going down downtown at Poppy Love Smoke as Parriscope Entertainment presents Elisha Atlas Parris and A'Jaze with Avery Sunshine.  If urban soul and jazz is your thing, then this is the place to be.  The event starts at 10 p.m. so if you're reading this today, it's still not too late to get down there.  Admission is $10 all night.  Poppy Love Smoke is located at 112 E. Adams St. Jax., 32202.

If a live deejay and dancing are more your thing, then check out CED Famous Event's Famous Friday's at the Zodiac Grille down the street.  A lounge type event for the 25 and up crowd, Famous Friday's features Rush Hour Happy Hour starting at 5 p.m., live jazz from 7-9 p.m., and line dancing from 9-11 p.m. D.J. Al Pete is on the 1's and 2's from 9 p.m. until spinning old school, new school, neo soul, and R&B.  There are plenty of food and drink specials, too, so come with an appetite.  Dress is casual, but no white or black tees. Zodia Grille is inside the Schultz Building at 120 W. Adams St.

Ready to learn the latest steps?  Then step on down to Cityhall Pub for Final Fridays-"Get Your Step On".  With a live deejay inside and outside, and the chance to learn the latest steps out on the patio from 9-11 p.m., comfortable shoes are a must.  This is another event for the 25 and up crowd, and adult casual attire is enforced.  Food and drink specials are on deck, too.  Cityhall Pub is located at 234 A. Phillip Randolph Blvd. near the stadium.

Saturday 9/25/10

Ready to talk politics?  Then come out to Cuba Libre from 4-8 p.m. for the Down with Brown Campaign Mixer.  This is the opportunity to meet and talk to Alvin Brown, one of the candidates running for mayor of Jacksonville and to learn more about his platform. Cuba Libre is located at 2578 Atlantic Blvd. on Jacksonville's Southside.

After mixing it up with Alvin Brown, head on back to Cityhall Pub for Sexy Smooth Saturdays, with three parties in one, featuring DJ Plo, DJstylez, a reggae DJ on the roof, and special guest DJQ45.  Ladies get in free before 11 and drink specials for all include $5 Ciroc, Crown, and Hennessey, as well as 2-4-1 Sex on the Beach and Long Islands.  The dress code is strictly enforced, and the kitchen will be open all night.

If you want to watch college football in high-def, or rub elbows with the who's who in Jville, then check out Sho Nuff Saturdays at Oasis Bar and Grill.  Tailored to the 30 and up crowd, ladies get in free until 10 p.m. and everyone can enjoy 50 cent wings, shrimp, and oysters all night and 2-4-1 Hennessey and Grey Goose until midnight. Live DJ's and Southernlistic Radio will be in the building.  Oasis Bar and Grill is located at 9551 Baymeadows Rd.

As a Scorpio, maybe I shouldn't be reppin for Libras, but I'm going to give them a shout out anyway and tell you about the Libra Birthday Party at Fat Kats at 9 p.m.  Ladies get in free, drink specials will be flowing, and live deejays will be in the building.  Fat Kats is located at 1187 S. Edgewood Ave. between FSCJ Kent Campus and Jones College on the Westside.

Sunday 9/26/10

It's that time again.  Every 2nd and 4th Sunday, look out for Joy Dennis and Black Thought Sundays at Poppy Love Smoke.  The soulful, homegrown singer hosts this open mic/open stage event featuring a live band and plenty of opportunities for local singers, musicians, and spoken word artists to bless the mic with their talents.  Remember the two rules"  1)Crowd participation, and 2)Tell a friend, bring a friend.  If you come by, you may get to see yours truly bringing some spoken word to the mic.

After you get through cheering for the Jags as they take on Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, swing on by Cityhall Pub for the after party, which will take place after every home game.A live DJ will be spinning and if you bring your ticket stub from the game you get a free drink.

Interested in checking out a fantasy hair competition?  Then stop by Endo Exo in San Marco where DLA Design Company presents The Hair Competition at 8:30 p.m. Cash prizes will be given for short, long, and fantasy hair competitions, and there will be fashion and entertainment as well.  There will also be a $100 cash prize given to the best dressed person in leopard.  Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and if you have a ticket stub from Lenicola's Makeup Dinner party, then you get $5 off.  Endo Exo is located at 1224 King St.

Check out my blog every weekend for the latest on what to do around town, and look for a weekly version as well, starting on Monday.

12 September 2010

Rightway Entertainment presents Vol. II Unplugged-The Daytime Edition

Hey, Duval! I’m baaack! (in my best T.I. voice). Sorry I’ve been neglecting the blog, but I’ve been dealing with life. Or should I say, life’s been dealing with me! But hey, it gets like that sometimes.

Well, the good news is, I came out of hibernation just in time to spread the word about my homeboy, Rod G. He’s doing it the Right Way again and this time he’s flippin the script and doing a daytime concert. That’s right, you read correctly. It’s time to say farewell to summer on September 18 at Endo Exo with Rightway Entertainment Unplugged Vol. II-The Daytime Edition. A mix of hip-hop and spoken word, the event features DJ Al Pete on the 1’s and 2’s, Seven and Moe as the MC’s, and performances by Odd Rod, Monica Monet, Lefty Gunz and Al Kida, and more- all topped off with a live band. I was at Rod’s Unplugged Vol. I at Café 331 a couple of months ago, so I know that this brother can put on a quality show. The place was full, the drink specials were flowin, and the vibe was just right. Expect more of the same with Vol. II and make sure you come in lookin extra fly as we used to say in the 90’s, because photographers will be onsite.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Call 904-651-9832 or 904-233-6897 for more info. Endo Exo is located at 1224 King St. in San Marco.

Stay tuned to my blog.  Now that I'm back, I'm ready to go and I've got lots to write about.  I have a link to Thrill Da Playa's new album,  some real conscious hip-hop tracks from The Prolegend Movement, and I'm gonna talk about women in hip-hop.  The moment I've been waiting for since 1999 has arrived:  Lauryn Hill is back.  She's got a new single with Ron Isley that I'm really feelin, and I will have a link to the video up soon.  In the meantime, see you this Saturday at Endo Exo!  Peace.