Monthly Archives: May 2010

Fusicology Radio #6 – Fiestacology 101 w/DJ Jay Rags

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! We wanted to leave you with something deep and soulful as the soundtrack to your extended weekend. Thanks to DJ Jay Rags from Baltimore/DC for Fiestacology 101.

Jay Rags is a dj, poet, and promoter from the Baltimore/DC area. He is the co-creator of Baltimore’s Collective Minds picnic, Poetry4People 2006 “Walkit-Talkit Integrity” award winner, single promoter and creator of the nearly 4yr run of the Soul Fiesta party, creator of Studio Sessions Live, author/poet of Tribe Called Soul Fiesta, prolific dj that rocks underground House & soul music, and is a flag bearer for the talented/overlooked.


www.soulfiestaexperience.podomatic.com

www.facebook.com/jayrags

Zano/Black Coffee – Someday – 2010 South Africa
Dennis Ferrer – Jero(extended mix) – Ibadan
Adam Rios & Ruben Toro – Song 33 – Temple Movement
Peven Everett – Tonight – Tribe Records
Yaaba Funk – Omanfoa – Here And Now Recordings
Marvin Gaye – I Want You(djDM Rev) – whitelabel/Motown
Gladys Knight – 1st To Say Goodbye(dj Mick remix) – whitelabel/Motown
Melanie Fiona – It Kills Me((Neter Supreme edit) – whitelabel/Universal Motown
Nicole Henry/D’Moov – For The Love of You(reprise) – Foliage Records
It’s What’s Happening – Bauri – Makossa International
Jungle Wonz – The Jungle – Trax Records
Blaze – Lovelee Dae – Playhouse

Efficacy Series Episode 30: General Steele

Efficacy Series continues with Episode 30: General Steele.

As one half of Smif-N-Wessun, General Steele is no stranger to the Rap Game. His solo project Amerikkkas Nightmare, Pt 2: Children of War is out now! Steele is on a personal manifesto to wake America up! Not only does he perform, record and write but he also works with youth to empower them, he’s working on film projects with his partner in Bucktown USA and a couple books lined up- One called Boot Camp.

We also hear that the next Smif-N-Wessun album- their 5th called Monumental has some amazing features but thats under wraps for now! In meantime- see what Steele’s motivated by, what makes him tick and how he got into the game! Mad respect!

c/o Fiona Bloom for The Bloom Effect | Follow her on Twitter @fionabloom

Leela James Debuts On Stax Records – My Soul Out Now!

Album Cover
LEELA JAMES DIGS THE ROOTS OF SOUL
ON HER STAX DEBUT

From the very first track on her 2005 debut album Leela James has captured the gritty, emotion-drenched essence of artists like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Mavis Staples, Marvin Gaye and has made it her mission to bring it all back – pushing the music forward with a fresh, contemporary perspective that remains faithful to the music’s deep and powerful roots.

My Soul, set for release on May 25, 2010, marks Leela James’ debut on Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group. The move to Stax – the legendary home of some of the greatest soul and R&B artists of the past half-century – is a fitting destination for a vocalist who has committed herself to preserving the soul tradition.

The new album comes on the heels of high praise from soultracks.com, the online source for all things soul and R&B, who recently bestowed a 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards to James in the category of Female Vocalist of the Year. Indeed, James has come to own the music that has inspired her since her teenage years. Her commanding live performances have become can’t-miss thrillers, placing her among today’s most electrifying international concert draws.

“The title of the album pretty much says it all,” she explains. “I just wanted to go into the studio and do what moved me at the time, and not think about it too much or not allow it to be something that was too planned. That’s what great soul music has always been about from the very beginning – something very raw, very authentic and very true.”

The first single off My Soul is “Tell Me You Love Me,” a track that James co-wrote with Andrea Martin and Gordon Williams. The track was produced by rap and hip-hop producer Gerrard Baker (Toni Braxton, Billy Crawford, Masta Ace), who deftly inserts a sample of James riffing on a line from “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” the classic ballad made popular among soul audiences by the Manhattans in 1978.

“This is one of my favorite tracks on the record,” says James. “It’s a song about someone who’s really trying to make love work, which is the same message you hear in ‘Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.’ Great songs are great songs, no matter when they’re recorded, or by whom. And sometimes two great songs blend together well, like they do here.”

Other noteworthy tracks on My Soul include the churning opener, “Ain’t New To This” (also produced by Baker), a proud and defiant declaration of survival in the minefield known as the music business; and the bouncy “Party All Night,” penned by James and produced by Carl “Chucky” Thompson, who previously worked with Leela on 2005’s Change Is Gonna Come. Other notable producers on that debut record were Kanye West and Commissioner Gordon among others.

Thompson also handled the production of “Mr. Incredible, Ms. Unforgettable,” a sultry duet between James and vocalist Raheem DeVaughn. “Raheem and I are good friends, and we’d been talking for some time about doing something together,” says James. “We finally happened to be in the same place at the same time, and we just made it happen. It really wasn’t something that we planned. It was just something spontaneous that took its own course.”

Aside from Baker and Thompson, James enlists the services of a number of other producers on My Soul, including Kadis & Sean (“So Cold”), Carvin & Ivan (“It’s Over,” “If It’s Wrong”), Steven “Supe” White (“The Fact Is”), Ray Murray (“I Want It All”) and Butter (“Supa Luva”).

While James may have been surrounded by talent in the making of My Soul, the record is ultimately her personal statement – not just about the music’s rich past but about its present and its future as well. Her arrival at Stax may position her among legends, but she’s well aware that she still has much to do and say.

“To be on the premier soul label is a validation of what I’ve accomplished with my music and what I stand for,” she says. “I’ve always been a champion for this music. This album is my version of soul. It’s my experience of soul. It’s what soul means to me, and I want to share it with you.”

THE TRACK LISTING FOR MY SOUL IS AS FOLLOWS:

01. I Ain’t New To This (2:30)

02. So Cold (3:43)

03. The Fact Is (4:08)

04. I Want It All (3:33)

05. Party All Night (4:03)

06. Mr. Incredible – Ms. Unforgettable (3:52) – featuring Raheem DeVaughn

07. Tell Me You Love Me (3:30)

08. Let It Roll (2:44)

09. Supa Luva (4:52)

10. If It’s Wrong (3:21)

11. It’s Over (3:27)

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Tell Me You Love Me

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Guerilla Union Announces the Return of the Rock The Bells 2010 Festival Series

GUERILLA UNION ANNOUNCES THE RETURN OF THE ROCK THE BELLS 2010 FESTIVAL SERIES

THE ONLY TOURING WORLD-CLASS HIP-HOP FESTIVAL WILL VISIT FOUR MAJOR NORTH AMERICAN CITIES THIS SUMMER

HIP-HOP’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS, INCLUDING: WU-TANG CLAN, RAKIM, KRS-ONE, SLICK RICK AND MORE, WILL BE PERFORMING THEIR GROUNDBREAKING ALBUMS IN THEIR ENTIRETY

WITH ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES BY STREET SWEEPER SOCIAL CLUB, MURS AND 9TH WONDER, WIZ KHALIFA, CLIPSE AND MANY MORE!

ROCK THE BELLS TO SUPPORT HAITI RELIEF EFFORTS BY CONTRIBUTING PORTION OF TICKET PROCEEDS TO HIP HOP AND HOPE FOR HAITI

Guerilla Union, the live events company behind world-class platforms such as Cypress Hill SmokeOut Festival and Paid Dues Independent Hip Hop Festival, has announced the return of the 7th annual ROCK THE BELLS 2010 FESTIVAL SERIES. This year’s ROCK THE BELLS will feature performances from headliners Wu-Tang Clan, Rakim, KRS-One, and Slick Rick, plus an array of seminal hip-hop artists.

The ROCK THE BELLS trek will stop at four major North American markets this summer, kicking off on August 21 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. The tour will continue on to Shoreline Amphitheater in San Francisco on August 22, Governer’s Island in New York on August 28, and will wrap up at Merriweather Pavilion in Washington D.C. on August 29. Visit www.rockthebells.net for ticketing information and the exact lineup per city. Fans are also advised to sign up for the Guerilla Union newsletter for important announcements, pre-sale details and up-to-date information regarding the tour.

For the first time in the history of hip-hop entertainment, ROCK THE BELLS is slated to have headliners perform their most influential albums in their entirety. East-coast legends Wu-Tang Clan will perform Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers from beginning to end. Released in 1993, the group’s debut album revived the New York rap scene and is widely-regarded as one of the greatest albums in hip-hop history. Considered one of the greatest MC’s of all time, Rakim is set to perform 1987’s, Paid In Full, his first full-length album with Eric B. Fellow Golden age, east coast rapper, Slick Rick will conquer The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Released in 1989, this debut album became a certified-platinum classic topping the Billboard’s Top R&B/ Hip Hop Albums charts. Highly regarded as the “THE TEACHER”, KRS-One is a hip hop culture advocate, music producer, MC and published author. Hailed as one of the best live performers, KRS-One will perform Criminal Minded. The 1987 trend-setting album sampled music from various genres including rock, reggae and funk.
Anticipated performance highlights of this year’s festival series include Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. He will take the stage with his own critically acclaimed musical project. Morello and Boots Riley, front-man emcee of The Coup, comprise the Street Sweeper Social Club. The complete list of participating artists for the tour follows below.

Aside from musical performances, Freestyle Session will be bringing out BBoys and BGirls to showcase their talents. The top international breakdancing platform will be incorporated into ROCK THE BELLS to bring a world-class lifestyle atmosphere and to support all forms of hip-hop arts. ROCK THE BELLS has also teamed up with non-profit organization Hip Hop and Hope for Haiti. Although the bright lights of mainstream media attention have dimmed as it relates to the disaster relief efforts in Haiti, Rock the Bells and Hip Hop and Hope for Haiti are committed to long term fundraising efforts.

“This time of year is always filled with anxiety, excitement, and even relief,” states Rock the Bells founder Chang Weisberg. “Rock the Bells fans have the craziest expectations and the days and nights leading up to our initial announcement are surreal. Ultimately, our goal is to always present something that is historic. This year’s show is the epitome of that tradition. Some things new and fresh, some things classic and legendary, and something that you’ve never seen or may never see and hear again. That’s the formula. I am excited for this year’s festivals and hope everyone is as hyped up as I am. As always, we will announce a few surprises and keep our fans on their toes all the way up to the day of the show.”

Venues, dates, and the complete lineup for the ROCK THE BELLS tour were announced at the Official Rock the Bells 2010 Launch Party on May 24 at the Key Club in Hollywood, CA. For the 3rd year in a row, freestyle champion MC Supernatural freestyled the lineup to a room full of eager press. Monster Energy Drink joined the efforts as the official energy drink sponsor of the ROCK THE BELLS 2010 LAUNCH PARTY.
Artists confirmed for the ROCK THE BELLS 2010 FESTIVAL SERIES include:

Wu-Tang Clan

Rakim

KRS-One

Slick Rick

Street Sweeper Social Club

Murs and 9th Wonder

Wiz Khalifa

Clipse

Immortal Technique

Jedi Mind Tricks

Brother Ali

DJ Muggs and Ill Bill

Big Sean

Yelawolf
Hosted by
Supernatural

DJ Rocky Rock

—————————-

About Rock the Bells:
Rock The Bells, presented by Guerilla Union since 2003, has established itself as a world-class hip-hop platform by hosting legendary performances by Rage Against the Machine, NAS, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Lauryn Hill, Blackstar (Talib Kweli and Mos Def), Hieroglyphics, Living Legends, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Cypress Hill and Jurassic 5 as well as reuniting Wu-Tang for their last performance with ODB in 2004. Rock the Bells has also set the stage for monumental surprise performances by Jay-Z, Slick Rick, BEP and Black Sheep. In 2008, Rock the Bells toured internationally for the first time in Prague, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Helsinki, Paris and London.

www.guerillaunion.com

www.guerillaunion.com/rockthebells

www.facebook.com/rockthebellsfestival

www.twitter.com/rockthebells

www.myspace.com/rockthebells

Song Contest for Kevin Powell

Help Kevin Powell who is currently running as Democratic for Congress in New York City by recording your own version of his song lyrics “I Want a World” Enter at kevinpowell.net

The TOP THREE versions of the song will be voted on by members of Kevin Powell for Congress face book fan page (you have to be a member of the fan page to vote for contestants) The music industry experts below will then pick the winning version.

Enter the KP4C Song Contest Now!

Prizes:

The winner of the KP4C Song Contest will get to:

  • Professionally record the song
  • Shoot a music video
  • Perform the song at one of Kevin’s New York events
  • Judges:

  • Anne Kristoff - CEO of AKPR a boutique PR firm (client list includes Missy Elliott)
  • Celebrity Deejay DJ Beverly Bond
  • Jeff Rabhan - Arts Professor and Chair of Clive Davis Department of Recording Music, New York University
  • World renowned composer, Multimedia artist and writer Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky
  • MSNBC Contributor, FUSE host, and writer Toure
  • Rules:

    Contestants must be 18 or older (with proof), an American Citizen (with proof), and a registered voter (with proof) to participate. Contestants are limited to one song entry IN ANY GENRE. The song MUST be a clear and quality recording. NO AUTO-TUNES. NO SAMPLES. Only original music. And you CANNOT change the lyrics. To enter and download the song lyrics, go to Kevin Powell for Congress Facebook fan page NOW.

    The deadline for the KP4C Song Contest submission is Monday, May 31, 2010. The winner will be announced in early June 2010.

    CONTACT: Aaron Burrison, Managing Director, KP4C Song Contest: ab@kevinpowell.net

    Efficacy Series continues with Episode 29: Choklate

    By Fiona Bloom for The Bloom Effect

    I’m excited about Choklate – a new album soon – ‘To Whom it may concern’ received with massive praise in the soul world! 206 represent!

    I hear she’s coming to SOB’s in July- so Chinah Blac tells me.

    In meantime – I asked her to rock an Efficacy and guess what!

    Fusicology Radio – Spasmotic Movements #5

    DJ Doc & Jodine Dorce team up to bring part one of a two part series of deep soulful house the Spasmotic way.

    1. Ron Trent- Space Ship
    2. Black Coffee – Gareden of Eden
    3. Culoe De Song – Afroday
    4. Timmy Regisford & Quinten Harris – Astral Project
    5. Dennis Ferrer – Sinfonia Della Notte (Gel Abril Remix)
    6. Black Coffee ft. Zakes – Juju
    7. Kerri Chandler – You Can’t Lie (Spinna Mix)
    8. Yacoub – Dajabari (Ian Friday Libation Vox)
    9. Benji Caldelaria – Tumaini Drums of Ayala
    10. Dennis Ferrer ft. Jerome Sydeman – Jero
    11. Jill Scott – Crown Royal (Shelter Mix)
    12. Abicah Soul – Dreams

    Nas & Damian “Jr Gong” Marley are Distant Relatives

    Distant Relatives Out Now
    Album CoverNas & Damian “Jr Gong” Marley are Distant Relatives – Album in
    Stores Today!

    Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley are proud to announce the release of their highly-anticipated collaborative studio album, Distant Relatives (Universal Republic) on Tuesday, May 18, 2010. Featuring the signature instrumentation and musicianship of Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley with the hard-hitting beats and lyrics of Nas, the album title refers not only to the bond between the artists, but the connection to their African ancestry, which inspired the album both musically and lyrically.

    Throughout the course of their musical careers, the duo has always admired each other’s style. Since first meeting in 1996 the two artists have shared a mutual respect and camaraderie that was most recently showcased on the track “Road to Zion,” from Damian’s critically acclaimed album, Welcome to Jamrock. After having such a positive experience working together, they have now joined forces again for Distant Relatives. In their latest collaboration, Nas and Damian trace hip-hop’s roots to Africa, where the genre originated as a vital form of cultural expression and was then transported by the slave trade to the Caribbean and the American colonies. It blossomed a half century ago in the dance halls of Kingston, Jamaica, and soon migrated to the park jams and recreational centers of New York City, where the culture became known as hip-hop. This evolution forms the basis of the Distant Relatives project which, in addition to the album, also includes a documentary film, performances and a series of public discussions, the first of which took place in conjunction with National Geographic Live in Washington, DC last December.

    “Damian and Nas have made a groundbreaking album that combines the depth and vision of these two artists with a seminal musical and cultural thread of multiple generations,” stated Monte Lipman, President and CEO of Universal Republic Records.  “We’re thrilled to play a role on what’s certain to be another pivotal album for both artists and one of the more unique collaborative efforts in recent years.”

    The partnership between the two artists is sure to amaze with an album encompassing 14 tracks including the first singles “As We Enter” and “Strong Will Continue,” which the duo premiered on the SOS Haiti Telethon benefit last month. The album was produced by Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and also features several guest appearances from Joss Stone and Lil Wayne, who appear on the track “Generation,” K’NAAN on “Africa Must Wake Up” and Tribal War,” and Stephen Marley on “Leaders” and “In His Own Words.”

    Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley plan to hit the road following the release of their album, including stops at Bonnaroo and the Heineken Opener Festival in Poland. Prelude to the tour begins at SXSW on March 17th and is followed by two performances in South Florida at ULTRA on March 27th and SUNFEST on May 2nd. Official tour dates will be announced with complete list of cities and venues on Monday, March 22nd.

    THE TRACK LISTING FOR DISTANT RELATIVES IS AS FOLLOWS:

    1. As We Enter

    2. Tribes At War (f Knaan)

    3. Strong Will Continue

    4. Leaders (f Stephen Marley)

    5. Friends

    6. Count Your Blessings

    7. Dispear

    8. Land Of Promise (f dennis brown)

    9. In His Own Words (f Stephen Marley)

    10. Nah Mean

    11. Patience

    12. My Generation (f Lil Wayne and Joss Stone)

    13. Africa Must Wake Up (f Knaan)

    Order Album on iTunes

    Order Album on Amazon

    Making of As We Enter videoVideo

    As We Enter Video

    Video

    Distant Relatives Album TrailerVideo

    A hip-hop icon since the early 1990s, Nas emerged from the Queensbridge neighborhood of Long Island City, a hotbed of rap artists since the ’80s.  The son of jazz trumpeter Olu Dara, Nas has since gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide over the span of his legendary career, and has acted as an ambassador for hip-hop culture throughout the globe. Nas first reached an international audience when his track “Halftime” was tapped by producer MC Serch as the opening cut on 1992’s Zebrahead movie soundtrack.  The first full-length album by poet and rhyme-master Nas arrived in 1994, the RIAA platinum Illmatic. Since then he has released 8 solo albums and 3 compilation albums that have garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and certified either double-platinum, platinum and gold.

    The youngest son of Reggae legend Bob Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley garnered his own place in music history when he became the first ever Reggae artist to win a  GRAMMY outside of the Reggae category, taking home an award for Best Urban/Alternative performance for his title single, “Welcome To Jamrock.” The acclaimed 2005 breakthrough disc Welcome To Jamrock, also won a GRAMMY for Best Reggae Album. Most recently, Marley has been touring non-stop shaking up stages all over the world.

    For performance dates and more information please go to www.distantrelatives.com.

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    Reflection Eternal For Revolutions Per Minute – Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek

    Reflection Eternal
    Reflection Eternal Album Cover

    TALIB KWELI AND HI-TEK REUNITE AS REFLECTION ETERNAL FOR REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE OUT TODAY

    Buy it now on iTunes in the iTunes LP format!

    After 10-years since their classic contribution Train of Thought sealed their fates in hip-hop lore, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are releasing their follow-up venture Revolutions Per Minute May 18 on Blacksmith/Warner Bros. Records. With their first collaboration praised for its uplifting messages and nostalgic soundscape, Kweli’s command of the mic and Hi-Tek’s versatile production skills have made this album one of the most anticipated hip-hop albums of 2010.

    Exclusively produced by Hi-Tek, features on the album include appearances by Estelle, Bilal, Bun B, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, J. Cole, Res and Chester French. The album covers an array of topics that discuss the shortcomings of America (“Strangers”), society’s obsession with fame (“Got Work”), an honest discussion of drug use (“Lift’in Off”), the pining for a lover returning home (“Midnight Hour”), a music history lesson (“In the Red”), and even a track about Nigeria’s corruption-riddled oil business (“Black Gold”).

    Be sure to pick up Reflection Eternal’s highly anticipated, critically acclaimed LP “Revolutions Per Minute”, in stores today!

    Complete tracklisting of Revolutions Per Minute listed below:

    Revolutions Per Minute (Tracklisting)

    1. RPM’s

    2. Back Again feat. Res *iTunes*

    3. City Playgrounds

    4. Strangers feat. Bun B

    5. In This World *iTunes*

    6. Got Work (Fame)

    7. Midnight Hour feat. Estelle

    8. In the Red

    9. Lift’in Off

    10. Black Gold Intro (The Black Gold Countdown)

    11. Ballad of the Black Gold

    12. Just Begun feat. Jay Electronica, J. Cole and Mos Def

    13. Long Hot Summer

    14. Get Loose feat. Chester French

    15. So Good

    16. Ends feat. Bilal

    17. Outro

    “Midnight Hour” featuring Estelle

    “In This World”

    “Strangers (Paranoid)” featuring Bun B

    J. Cole, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek speak on “Just Begun”

    Offical Website

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    Talib Kweli’s Twitter

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    Reflection Eternal Bio

    Revolutions Per Minute

    Reunions of music groups can be tricky propositions. Some are clearly money grabs, while others are genuine. Classify Reflection Eternal’s as the latter.

    Reflection Eternal, the groundbreaking duo of rapper Talib Kweli and producer Hi-Tek, collaborated on late 1990s singles and on the 1998 Black Star album with Mos Def before releasing their eponymous landmark album in 2000. Since then, Talib Kweli has established himself as one of rap’s premier acts, delivering stunning, uplifting singles like “Get By” and acclaimed, well-rounded and thought-provoking albums like 2007’s Eardrum. 50 Cent has named Kweli as one of his favorite rappers and he’s also been famously name-dropped in Jay-Z’s rhymes. At the same time, Hi-Tek has become one of rap’s go-to producers, working extensively with Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, G-Unit, The Game and Ghostface Killah, among others.

    Now, after working with one another on each other’s solo material, Reflection Eternal has reunited for its second stellar sonic offering, Revolutions Per Minute. The album’s title has a double meaning, the obvious one being the number of times a record can go around on a record player. The other has a meatier objective. “It’s the idea of revolution through music,” Talib Kweli explains. “It’s the idea that people in today’s culture take things in YouTube-sized bites and clips and if it’s not in a clip or a soundbite or something that you can fit in under a minute, people don’t pay attention to it. The idea is: How many revolutions can you get accomplished in under a minute in a quick culture?”

    Reflection Eternal’s signature blend of edutainment shines brightly on “In This World.” Backed by Hi-Tek’s throbbing bassline and stirring soul sample, Kweli outlines his recipe for success while realizing that we tend to live by the following troublesome axioms: “Slave to our possession/Greed the Devil favorite weapon.” “I get a chance to brag and boast a little bit on that song, but it’s really about the hustle,” Kweli says. “A lot of hip-hop artists make songs about the hustle, the grind. Those are key words, tag words that are really overused in our culture, but they’re not overused for the sake of people trying to sell records. They’re overused because people really relate to a song that talks about really grinding and hustling.”

    The pair then recognizes the hustle and grind of longtime collaborator Mos Def and up-and-comers Jay Electronica and J. Cole on the horn-backed “Just Begun.” It’s a magnificent marriage of supreme lyricism and dizzying flows accented by clever turns of phrase. Kweli sustains this heightened level of artistry on the pulsating “Got Work,” where he delivers a powerful meditation on our culture’s infatuation with fame.

    “We don’t have any kings or queens and religion is being exposed for being fraudulent in a lot of ways,” Kweli says. “People have a lot more access to information and people always want to worship something, and the next thing they turn to is the celebrities and the fame. That is our royalty, our God, what we worship and what we pay attention to. Instead of a society being drawn together from a cultural identity or drawn together because of an idea of God, we’re drawn together by our fascination with people’s lives, like a high school thing.”

    This realization informs much of Reflection Eternal’s most insightful material. “Strangers” with Bun B explores the shortcomings of the United States’ medical system and some of our country’s governmental shortcomings, while “Black Gold” features Kweli focusing on Nigeria’s oil business. The latter was inspired by Kweli’s own trip to the African country, which left him both inspired and enraged. “It was tragic and beautiful at the same time,” he reveals. “It was beautiful to see such a proud people, to see people who were just able to survive, even with the corruption. It’s so bad. It’s just one example of how Africa has been decimated and controlled and compromised.”

    These are the types of insightful and entertaining songs that have earned Kweli fans around the world. Count Hi-Tek among them. “Lyrically, he’s just a beast,” he says. “Seriously. Jay-Z didn’t say that line for nothing. He said it for a reason.”

    Elsewhere, “In The Red” gives an informed music history lesson and “Liftin Off” delves into an honest discussion regarding the effects of drug use, while the lively, soulful “Midnight Hour” celebrates an anticipated reunion with a lover.

    Kweli’s disparate song concepts and wide emotional range are all seamlessly tied together by Hi-Tek’s exquisite production. His deft command of the sonic spectrum allows Hi-Tek to be in sync with any of Kweli’s moods or topics. “With producing a whole album, you have to sound like you’re three producers, at least,” Hi-Tek says. “When I produce an album, I’m Kanye, Dre, Timbaland and Primo, all in one. You’ve got to try to not be monotonous and at the same time keep the same vibe for the album.”

    It’s a vibe that Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek have been developing since they met mid-1990s. Kweli was drawn to the musicality, tone and muscularity of Hi-Tek’s beats, while Hi-Tek was impressed by the quality of Talib Kweli’s material.

    Though they came from two different worlds — Kweli the fast-paced world of Brooklyn and Hi-Tek the streets of Cincinnati — they were able to form an instant connection because of their love and passion for music, listening to it, studying it and making it. They started recording songs and would take turns in each other’s city. Kweli benefited from being in Cincinnati because he always had a studio in which to record. Hi-Tek’s trips to New York paid off for other reasons.

    “If it wasn’t for Kweli dragging me around New York and bigging me up on every song he did, people really wouldn’t know who I was,” Hi-Tek says today. “He made it a point to say my name on the tracks and that really helped out a lot. Being that the tracks were coming hard and for him to say who did them, it really helped me out.”

    More than a decade after their first collaborations, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are each among the most respected in their respective crafts. Kweli is a torchbearer for those craving commercially viable music that matters, while Hi-Tek has been able to deliver impeccable work that ranges from bombastic beats for the most progressive backpack rappers to bone-crushing soundbeds for the gruffest gangster rappers.

    But it’s their work together as Reflection Eternal that may ultimately define the legacies of both Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek. And that’s a great thing given the exemplary work both of these masters display on Revolutions Per Minute, a continuation of Grade A musicality.

    “My music is music that is often categorized as conscious or revolutionary or political,” Kweli says. “But at the same the time, I strive for — and I think Hi-Tek does as well — entertainment value and musicality, to make you feel good when you hear the music. I think it was important for us to convey that energy, which is a revolutionary energy, and to keep it in musical terms.”

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    Fusicology’s Detroit Movement Festival Afterparty Guide + Weekly Updates


    Fusicology is pleased to announce its support of the the 11th Annual Detroit Movement Festival as an official media partner of the electronic music festival that takes place Memorial Day Weekend at Detroit’s Hart Plaza – celebrating Techno music in the city where it was born. Saturday, May 29 through Monday, May 31, from noon til midnight, the beats don’t stop. Experience electronic music being performed by top artists from around the world and join nearly 100,000 revelers for one of biggest parties of 2010!

    Fusicology will be on the ground at Movement Festival bringing you live coverage from the highlights we are looking forward to, including performances from Model 500 (live), Inner City (live), Richie Hawtin as Plastikman (live), Anthony “Shake” Shakir, A-Trak, DJ Godfather, DJ Sneak, Ghostland Observatory (live), Jennifer Xerri, Jimmy Edgar + John Ryan + Ian Clark (live), Jenny LaFemme, John Acquaviva, John Johr, K-Hand, Kenny Larkin (live), Kid Sister (live), Kirk Degiorgio, Kyle Hall, Larry Heard, Magda, Minx, Mr. Scruff, Niko Marks (live), Patrice Scott, Pretty Lights (live), Phat Kat & Guilty Simpson w/Will Sessions Band (live), Recloose, Rick Wilhite, Stacey Pullen, Starski & Clutch, Theo Parrish and more.

    Pre-sale tickets are now available online + at select metro Detroit retailers.

    Detroit Travel & Lodging deals and resources here.


    + Fusicology
    also brings you our annual Detroit Movement Festival Afterparty Guide, hand-picking the hottest dancefloors to check about the Motor City over the long weekend – stay tuned to our weekly Detroit Newsletter for updates!

    Article & Events Compiled by Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology – Follow her on Twitter @JMoneyRed