Another Afro Punk artist that I’ve instant grown to love is the president of Team Bad Ass, On-Air personality and Artist...Nikki Lynette. Thought I’d share with you here hit song “The Strong Survive” since she’s about to go on tour and all. Not only are her natural locs on fire she is DOPE lyricist from Chicago has creatively accomplished her talent as a well rounded artist. Her sound is very punk, electric, pop-rock and it keeps you movin’ and groovin’. You can instantly download her latest mixtape Guns N Roses which is pretty Bad Ass I must say so myself. For more info on her music visit her bandcamp link below and support her as an aspiring artist!
This Sunday afternoon, I had a chance to sit down with New Orleans Emcee Slangston Hughes and engage in a rich conversation that was not just about music, but the culture and drive that continues to flow through his veins as an artist and into the New Orleans Community. Born Renard Bridgewater in the uptown New Orleans area, Hughes has evolved as an artist in many dynamic parallels that he shares with me so descriptively. As a recent graduate from University of New Orleans, Hughes is currently working on his latest mixtape “Nu Growth” which is set to drop this September to your digital screens worldwide.
Reesa: What is your inspiration behind your music?
SH: I used to always tell people that in this day in age you deal with a lot of single parent households, but for me I was dependant upon three women, my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother. Without them sculpting me there would be no Slangston Hughes, so that’s the main three inspirations behind my music.
Reesa: So where did you get the name “Slangston Hughes”?
SH: I started out as “Super Nova” which was my first name. I started back in high school MC Battling and things of that nature. Three years ago I went with “Slangston Hughes” because I was looking for something catchy but I also wanted it to reflect my content. I have always been the MC that likes to uplift, with that behind said, knowing a little bit about Langston Hughes and his poetry I wanted to keep that idea like the term Curious Jones (Curious George).
Reesa: I read about your perspective of New Orleans rap, because I know that most of my readers do not know what’s going in with the Hip Hop Culture in New Orleans, How can you describe your position within the new era of New Orleans Hip Hop?
SH: In comparison to pre-Katrina, I mean a lot of people, when you hear New Orleans Music, From a Hip Hop Perspective only know Cash Money, No Limit Records “Bling Bling Era” which is cool and we would’ve never had that spotlight if it wasn’t for those entrepreneurial record labels that started out before us. Post-K, the new era, it’s taking it to the next level because you are seeing a big utopia of MC’s that are working together down here that are putting on our own events and product. We are not waiting to be put on. We are sharing the spotlight that is brighter then it’s ever been. I would say I have more lyrical content. Some even say I sound like I’m from New York. (laughs)
Reesa: I agree. It’s not what I’m used to hearing coming out of New Orleans. I saw that you are working within the community of New Orleans. You are founder and co-host of a monthly showcase called “Uniquity”. How did you get started with that?
SH: I got started with that April of last year, I have been working with a 4-piece band for a majorities of my shows. It was more or less the next evolutionary step for me. We have a hip hop artist showcase that already goes on but I wanted to give artists into Hip Hop and poetry a chance to work with a live band.
Reesa: I really liked your latest post on your blog, entitled “What Kind of rapper are you?” where you compared coffee to Hip Hop. One of the descriptions was Raspberry Hibiscus (a symphony of color, aroma and rich character sure to leave an impression) why do u think you are that instead of what I think Mocha Java?
SH: (laughs) It’s funny because I was randomly at my day job one day looking at a random coffee brochure and I found the correlation of those words in the descriptions work together well to be represented as an MC. The way that it was phrased was something I could use for a bio or twitter profile. It was very sync with what I felt on stage or audio wise.
Reesa: Gotcha. I actually thought you were more Mocha Java (laughs) (earthy and very full bodied, with hints of spice and gentle sweetness) but I have never met you so maybe your stage presence would tell me different. Which brings me to my next question. I noticed your facial expressions on some of the sites you sent me. It seemed like you were really into it, How would you describe your stage presence?
SH: Audience participation is needed because you feed off their energy and its then reflected into your performance so I make sure that I have my wireless mic with me because to come over correctly when announcing your words I want it to be clear as possible to the audience. Down in new Orleans you have certain people that come to shows just to look pretty (not really interested) so I make sure that when I leave the stage they will embrace the show. By the time I’m done with you. You are going to have a good time.
Ok I heard that!
Slangston Hughes was highly affected by Hurricane Katrina that shows in his music. I feel that his songs show reflection and emotion that anyone listening can relate to. With issues pertaining to post-Katrina, Hughes continues to go hard in the community with his showcase and music.
I was so syked to come across this international clothing line designed specifically for the trendy plus size. I couldn’t help but share it with my fellow curvy divas because I know that although designers are trying, we are still limited. Not to mention, Tocarra Jones, who is one of my favorite models apart of their new campaign. So this is another reason for us not to have to squeeze into barely there junior sections! HA! Need I say more, visit the website Here and indulge into some back to school shopping.
Here are a few pieces I picked out but there is so much more to choose from; accessories, shoes, dresses, tops, tunics, pants etc.
Check out Keon Supreme’s video to “God Sent” filmed by Genetics Productions; who happens to be HU alumni, Asa Bernastine who is also co-founder of PartySpill.com (A college social network for well…parties). Keon is currently working on his next project this fall with a new mixtape entitled Just Cause which will be a conceptual album inspired by A Tribe Called Quest. So Look out for it February of 2011.
You can learn more about Genetic Production by visiting http://www.youtube.com/user/GeneticsProductions
For all you book nerds out there, there is a new young adult book series entitled “Perfect Shot” which features the lead protagonist with natural hair. The author Debbie Rigaud is the first of Simon & Schuster Pulse Romantic Series to feature a African American woman with natural hair as the protagonist. I think that it’s so dope that were getting spotlight in the books as well so I will definitely be supporting this author. You can check out the interview HERE with bglhonline.com where Debbie Rigaud shares her thoughts on why a natural heroine is important.
Recently released track by Choklate entitled “Overdose” I love it and it’s not because Drake was on it but because her voice so smooth and it’s lyrically fitting for the perfect love atmosphere. Choklate is Seattle based singer/songwriter that has been in the game since 2006 where she released two albums and obviously in the works for another masterpiece. Look out for here!
Oh and I love her earliest single, “Grown Folks” check out here video with a suprising lead face! Ow!
In remembrance of Michael Jackson, Bay Area’s hottest DJ’s himelf, DJ D Sharp produced a bomb mix for Michael Jackson’s Birthday weekend. Missing Michael is great compilation of remixes and samples of the King himself. Make sure you download it because I promise if not today, it will be in your rotation for that monday morning.
Go to http://www.therealdjdsharp.com for download instructions!
Last night I watched the HBO Spike Lee documentary “If God is willing and da Creek Don’t Rise” which is the The LeveesSequel about the devastating natural disaster called Hurricane Katrina. The news did somewhat of a good job at highlights the aftermath but Spike Lee took it into his own hands to get the voice out that New Orleans is still going through a struggle and the aftermath is nothing short of a progression. Through interviews with local and former residents I was able to capture the anger and disappointment that has affected them since Katrina.
I find Spike Lee to be phenomenal at projecting a message through spoken word, psychological analysis, and different angles of the camera. I was able to see footage of happiness, disperse, regret and even darkness from the New Orleans communities. I’ve studied his films so I know that when he does a documentary he makes sure to leave you pondering your thoughts and rebirthing your revolutionary mind.
Two years after the hurricane hit, I was able to travel with my school in helping to rebuild and bring life back to New Orleans. Never in my life did I find myself in such devastation when they were demolishing the projects and building housing that was not fit for the community. Spike Lee covers many issues in this two-part sequel, which airs again tonight at 9pm (PST) on HBO. There are many issues that have been brushed under the rug or are still ongoing and I feel that he does a great job at giving you visuals of the aftermath of this disaster. We are vastly approaching the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and progress is being made but not enough. I am currently working with Bay Localize on ways to uplift this issue and I’m sure that you can do your part too. So check out the second part if you haven’t already and educate yourself with the cold facts and the effects on Hurricane Katrina.
Check out up and coming memphis sensation, Jazmin Akea’s latest song “In Your Dreams”. She’s been doing big things since the previous post done in the beginning of the summer; she’s opened for Memphis Summer Jam and performing at local venues. Tell me what you think about this track!
If I were to describe Rock the Bells 2010 in the bay area this year in less then 10 sentences I would fail. Why? Because there aren’t enough words in the English Dictionary that would describe this Hip-Hop Phenomenon that took place this weekend. The International festival series, promoted by Guerrilla Union, teamed up with exclusive artists to bring a successful show to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View this past Sunday. I can only speak for myself that legends Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, and A Tribe Called Quest were the highlights of my evening. There were 17 artists on the lineup and about a few sets that I could tell you rocked the crowd of over 50,000 spectators sprawled out on the grass, in the bleachers, and between the two stages. I will tell you this; Hip Hop was definitely alive and kicking this weekend.
The Bay Area is known for its melting pot, but I didn’t realize the effect Hip Hop had on its fans because there were all different shades, cultures, and textures that were showing love. The Paid Dues Stage gave mad respect to the up and coming artists like Wiz Khalifa and Big Sean where they shared the stage with well known Immortal Technique, Murs and 9th Wonder and Yelawolf (who surprisingly bounced back after chocking on a bug mid-performance).
The Main Stage was in constant rotation with Rakim, Slick Rick, KRS-One, and a Tribe Called Quest where they performed hit songs “Bonita Applebum”, “Electric Relaxation”, “Award Tour”, and “Can I Kick it”. Not to mention Wu-Tang Clan brought out Busta Rhymes that brought we right back into 1994.
Although Lauryn Hill’s music will always be timeless, I felt her set was rushed and off tune and it made it hard for us to sing-a-long and for her to hit her notes to the legendary songs. Mind you it was 75-degree weather and she wore a trench coat ensemble with a glittery hat just to highlight her randomness. She did managed to bring out her L-Boogie with an etchy acapella of “Fugee-la-la” but overall I was happy to have the experience of a lifetime to be in the presence of such a legendary woman.
I’ll show you her in San Bernadino cause I feel she sounded better.
The suspense was killing me but I managed to keep my eyes open and bundle up for Snoop Dogg’s set where he performed hits from the Doghouse with Lady Rage and he semi-afro puffs. As always he brought out his character and made sure to have us entertained between songs. With the greenery flowing, Skits, an actual Dog mascot, and his low rider bike Snoop claimed his fame as headliner going overtime just to please his fans.
From the artists bloopers, to the diversity of Hip Hop, Rock the Bells Festivals always manage to leave every Hip Hop lover satisfied that they spent 12 hours of their time, over seventy dollars of their hard earned money, to enjoy a priceless experience of exclusive legends in today’s Hip Hop Culture.