High Maintenance @hmwebseries #comedy

If I can ever spell "maintenance" right, I know I'll be having a good day.  Until then, here is the full first season of the hilarious web series called High Maintenance.

The premise is that the main character deals and delivers weed, marijuana, kush, fyah, pot or whatever else kids are calling it these days.  The potential crazy stories are endless for a weed delivery person in Brooklyn.  The New York (specifically Brooklyn) based web series is perfect for that cloudy day binge watch you've been waiting for......you're welcome!

Ronin

 

Ronin

The Good Fight @oddisee #hiphop

The Good Fight, Oddisee 2015

If this is the first time you hear the name Oddisee, you have some homework to do.  My introduction to Oddisee's music happened back in 2008 via his Mental Liberation project.  From the beginning, I could tell there was something unique/different about his music.  Maybe it's the fact that he is equally an mc and a producer with a very high overall quality of music.  Maybe it's the work ethic and soul from his Sudanese roots filtering through Oddisee's lyrics.  Or maybe it's a unique mc coming from an under represented hip hop scene (Washington DC) that offers a glimpse into a new city.  Maybe it's the creative photography and the traveling artist lifestyle presented on social media.  Or maybe it's all of the above......

The Good Fight is a diary of an entrepreneurial independent hip hop artist in 2015.  This includes resisting the impulse to assimilate your identity to the small minded mainstream in order to succeed, while maintaining s creative edge and staying motivated.  This includes balancing his potential to help those close to them, while keeping his best interests in mind.  It also subliminally includes the humility of an artist that launched Mello Music Group.  Mello Music Group is a place to find extremely talented artists, so if you don't know, now you know.  These are just a few of the ideas presented in The Good Fight, so check it out for the rest.  In addition to having an intelligent, creative and musically talented artist sharing their life through art, it's all positive.  At no point of The Good Fight do you feel negativity.  No sob stories.  No club songs.  No heartbreak stories of ex's cheating........just real life music.

 

Ronin

Shake The Dust @looseluggage @saturdavejake @nas #hiphop

I came across this documentary about breakdancing because Nas was somehow involved with it and it caught my eye.  It turns out that Nas executive produced the film, but I can see why someone like Nas would pay to get a film like this out there for people to see.  Shake The Dust is an international documentary that highlights b-boys and b-girls from across the world.  This film was so inspiring because it tells real stories of people in Colombia, Cambodia, Yemen and Uganda, but not in a light where they were victims.  Hip hop started out in the park, but it was created by people that were focusing their attention, passion and creativity on creating a new culture.  The same can be said for each person interviewed in this doc.  All of the interviewees had a common thread where hip hop/breakdancing was their outlet that pointed them in the right direction.  It's much more real than I was expecting because first it highlights how much hip hop means to these people who have very little.  Then, it proceeds to tell the story of several unique and special human beings.  Then, at the end, it focuses on how hip hop gave these b-boys and girls the confidence, how it has shaped their lives and what they've learned from it.  The most poignant part of the film, in my opinion, is how mature, level headed and humble these amazing people were.  They haven't become rich from dancing, but they know that they have been connected to something larger than themselves and you can see how grateful they are.

In the United States, it's so easy to lose sight of what's import because there are so many distractions.  But the young people in this film give a good reality check and reminder of how lucky we all are.  Every thing in our lives can be an opportunity to do something spectacular and every trauma is an opportunity to have an excuse to give up hope.  One of the young men in the film quoted Ghandi and it's so appropriate to this point:

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" 

 

Now live it

shakethedust.org

looseluggagemedia.com

 

Ronin

Black Messiah @thedangelo #music

black messiah.jpg

Black Messiah, D'Angelo 2015


Contrast Black Messiah with To Pimp A Butterfly and I think it's clear that the racial bias, structural racism and police brutality have a heightened sense of importance in our country right now.  Who you speak to will determine if they think it's long overdue or that it's an over sensationalized trend of bad apple police officers.  Regardless, it's impossible to ignore what's currently going on within the United States.  If you're familiar with the blog, my tweets, etc, you know where I stand on this, but that's not what this post is about.

Black Messiah is what I was hoping for from To Pimp A ButterflyBlack Messiah is musically forward, diverse, representative of the times and it emphasizes issues similar to To Pimp A Butterfly.  The transitions are so smooth that you will be abruptly disappointed when the last track ends.  D'Angelo's rightfully renown career has been resurrected after setbacks which nearly prevented his art to continue.  I fully expected D'Angelo to make it to the level he is now back in the 00's, but it wasn't in the cards.  Brown Sugar changed my life and Voodoo was a great album too.  I was hoping for more projects and collaborations from D'Angelo over the past 15 years, but my interest in R&B faded after D'Angelo and Maxwell faded from the scene.  To this date, my interest has only piqued when Maxwell dropped BlackSummersNight and now Black Messiah brings me back to the genre temporarily.  The whole trap soul era has me seeking soul music in other places.

D' Angelo's style is still defiantly analog and fresh as if he never left.  It's an album I wouldn't hesitate to let my kids listen to when they're young, but I would probably skip past the "cracker Christ" clip from Farrakhan.  Other than the Farrakhan clip, there isn't much else that's overtly racially aggressive on the project.  It's not militant or angry, which I can appreciate when it comes to artists that address racial issues, because that's where the majority of artists go.  For the most part, D'Angelo gets his message across without being literal or forced.  Also, Black Messiah achieves all of this while remaining uplifting.

Black Messiah is a perfect summer album for lounging.  It's a project that lends itself to be heard from beginning to end.  The genre mash-up is welcomed because creativity and experimentation is few and far between.  D'Angelo's influences like funk, Prince, soul, R&B, rock, Spanish music and hip hop all make their way onto the project.  The record plays like a contemporary historic interpretation of music over the past 75 years.

Ronin

Las Vegas Bvld EP @itsxmusic #hiphop #kidswithgunz

Man.  The video X dropped today hit me by surprise.  Since I first heard MyFwenz, I knew I like X's voice and lyrics, but this little EP and video impressed me.  If you want a few tracks for free, make sure to click the album artwork and follow the links.

I'm a couple weeks late on the project, but it's dope from beginning to end.  His voice and storytelling reminds me of Dotropolis (Chicago), but that's a compliment because I listen to Native  all the time.  I'm listening to the EP now and I suggest you do too.

Ronin @ra_nyc