Monthly Archives: October 2013


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J.Rocc, A Million Billion Dying Suns, League Of Extraordinary Gz,
SMR, Chinx ft. French Montana, ThundaGround Army, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Soundwaves Radio, Ill Camille ft. Preston Harris, Thundercat, Zack Hill, Stewart Villian ft. Tope, Sean-Toure, Audible Treats, SMKA, DJ Spintelect, Cut Chemist & more!

STREAM: J.Rocc, “Syndromes (Remix)”

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Million Billion Dying Suns, “Strawberry Letter 23 (Shuggie Otis cover)”

STREAM: League Of Extraordinary Gz, “Grind”

PODCAST: SMR Fusicology Quickie Mix 2

STREAM: Chinx ft. French Montana, “Feelings”

FREE DOWNLOAD: ThundaGround Army, “Angry Gods”

STREAM: Mark de Clive-Lowe Live on Soundwaves Radio

FREE DOWNLOAD: Ill Camille ft. Preston Harris, “Touche”

STREAM: Thundercat, “For Love I Come (Tree Bootleg)”

MIX: Zack Hill, “Summer Sampler 2013 (Mi Casa Edition)”

STREAM: Stewart Villian ft. Tope, “Beautiful Struggle”


FREE DOWNLOAD: The Sean-Toure Remix Video Project, “Volume 2″


PODCAST: Audible Treats, “Hip Hop Podcast #146″


MIX: SMKA, “The Hang Out: A3C Edition”


MIX: DJ Spintelect, “Vibrate Higher”


STREAM: Cut Chemist ft. Vox Populi! & Pacific 231, “Funk Off”


SMR Fusicology Quickie Mix 2


1. Ladybird- A Lullaby (Andy Compton’s Broken Jazz Mix)
2. Cajmere & Russoul ft. Ari Lourdes- Love is You
3. Karizma- Good Morning (Dj Spen Gary Hudgin’s Beautiful Morning Mix)
4. Groove Cartel & Meropa Park- Reminisce (Dj Spen & Ndinga Remix)
5. Erik Riko- No Rules to Love (Kai Alce Vocal Mix)
6. Johnny Montana, Craig Stewart, Christa- Slow, Steady (The Rurals Remix)
7. Zulu Mafia ft. Zethu- Falling In Your Arms (Zulu Down to Earth Mix)
8. Jihad Muhammad ft. Tamara Wellons- Right Now (Dub Mix)
9. Lizz Wright- My Heart (B Movement Remix)
10. Dj Maspila ft. Lady B.- African Salsa (Black Motion Remix)
11. Llorca- I Cry
12. Sivuca- Ain’t No Sunshine
13. R. Lewis- Serene Funk

Out Now! Yancey Boys Open A Fresh Chapter In J Dilla’s Legacy With New Album Sunset Blvd.


Available Now, the full-length collection (LP / CD / digital) from Delicious Vinyl features Grammy winner Common on the single “Quicksand.”

J Dilla’s Sunset Blvd. instrumental beats to be included with the CD release, also available digitally and on vinyl LP.

On October 29th, Delicious Vinyl proudly releases Sunset Blvd, the new album from Yancey Boys, the group piloted by John “illa J” Yancey and Frank Nitt. The dynamic new collection is built around previously unheard tracks created by illa J’s brother: the late, great J Dilla (James Yancey). With Frank Nitt’s standing as J Dilla Music Catalog Curator and the official approval of Yancey Media Group, all productions on Sunset Blvd originate from The Lost Scrolls — the stunning cache of beats Dilla left behind.

With its rapturous single “Quicksand” featuring Common, Sunset Blvd also teams Yancey Boys with De La Soul’s Posdnuos (“Beautiful”), The Pharcyde’s SlimKid3 (“Rock My World”), and T3 of Slum Village (“Jeep Volume”), making it clear that the Dilla legacy is being represented by those who knew and collaborated with Dilla in his lifetime. Additional guests on Sunset Blvd include DJs Rhettmatic, C-Minus, and JRocc (Beat Junkies) as well as rap roughneck Guilty Simpson and R&B strongman Eric Roberson. “We’ve created an album that would make Dilla proud,” says Frank Nitt, who grew up with Dilla in Detroit. “But this isn’t a nostalgia trip: Dilla’s beats were so future-forward that they’re right on time in 2013, and we’ve assembled the best artists possible to represent that.”

The road to Sunset Blvd. has been paved with hard work and sweet inspiration. In 2008, illa J began making music under the Yancey Boys banner, with the guidance of Delicious Vinyl co-founder Michael Ross and utilizing beats his elder brother left behind. Ross explains: “Putting together the first Yancey Boys album was a unique opportunity to keep it all in the family by giving young Illa J a jump off with unreleased beats of his late great brother. In addition, the record was a unique way to satiate Dilla’s rabid fan base with a batch of undiscovered gems. On Sunset Blvd, Illa and Frank dive deep into to a new batch of stunning unreleased Dilla beats to take what we did on the first album to the next level.”

Steady touring, recording, and the success of the annual Dilla Day Detroit Festival all contribute to the versatile sensibilities of Sunset Blvd. The album’s standout joints include “Go And Ask The DJ” (a storming rap jam featuring Guilty Simpson with cuts by J Rocc) and the sensual “Lovin U” featuring R&B stylist Eric Roberson with cuts by Chily T. The release of Sunset Blvd is preceded by the release of the single “Quicksand” featuring Common and Dezi Paige. Rooted in history and realized in the present, this is a new chapter in the Yancey legacy.

Order Sunset Blvd via Delicious Vinyl and directly via iTunes

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1st Annual OFFERING GOTSOUL WEEKENDER in Dakar Senegal | Nov 15 – 17, 2013

OGW 2013

OFFERING GOTSOUL WEEKENDER by Offering Recordings, TchoubTchoub Senegalize & Grande Ourse

(Powered by Accor Hotels, Mixcloud, Fusicology, Radio Nostalgie)

This event, the first of its kind in Dakar (Senegal) and more widely in West Africa, will be the first step of a long-term project.

The idea was born from the random meeting of people who emerge from different cultures (Central African Republic, Senegal, etc.) and fields (music Industry and gastronomy) but share the same passion for music and belief in cultural exchange.

The main objective is to promote the existence of and rediscover electronic music in West Africa, and highlights the potential of the region as a marketplace for this kind of music and more specifically Afro House Music.

Facebook Event Page

To make this initiative a success, acclaimed international names from the House & Afro House music scene will headline the event:

jojoflores (Montreal, CA)
Boddhi Satva Official (Bangui, CAR)
Tchoub Tchoub (Dakar, SN)
Dj Leuz (Dakar, SN)

This is not to be missed and Senegal offers direct flight from/to anywhere in the world.

Book Now your Hotel with our partner ACCOR:

Ibis Hotel

Or your flights with our travel agent:


For additonal questions:

New Release: Black Radio 2, Robert Glasper Experiment



Builds On Its Success By Featuring Collaborations With Common, Brandy, Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Emeli Sandé and more

On their 2012 breakout Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment laid out a new paradigm for creative music, reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. Black Radio drew unanimous praise from critics across the board and earned Glasper the highest chart positions of his career when the album debuted at #10 on Billboard’s Top Current Albums chart, also claiming the #1 spot on both the Billboard Jazz chart and the iTunes R&B chart. The album kept earning accolades all the way to the 2013 GRAMMY Awards where Black Radio was awarded Best R&B Album.

Now, RGX ups the ante with the release of Black Radio 2 (Blue Note), another genre-defying effort that takes the Black Radio blueprint and builds to even greater heights. The core remains the Experiment, as astoundingly versatile a band as has ever existed, featuring Robert Glasper on keyboards, Derrick Hodge on bass, Mark Colenburg on drums, and Casey Benjamin on vocoder and saxophone. Providing the vocals throughout is another jaw-dropping roll call of vocalists including Common, Patrick Stump, Brandy, Jill Scott, Dwele, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Luke James, Emeli Sandé, Lalah Hathaway, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. A deluxe version of the album contains four bonus tracks featuring Macy Gray, Jean Grae, Bilal, Jazmine Sullivan, and Eric Roberson, as well as a cover of the Bill Withers classic “Lovely Day” that includes a spoken intro from Mr. Withers himself. Black Radio 2 is available at Amazon and iTunes.

n Black Radio 2, the emphasis is on songwriting with 11 of the 12 tracks new originals, from the soaring lead track “I Stand Alone” featuring rapper Common and vocalist Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy through Jill Scott’s sensual ode to connection “Calls” to the reinvention fantasy “Somebody Else” featuring BRIT Award winner Emeli Sandé. The lone cover is the album closer, a spine-tingling version of Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children of America” by vocalist Lalah Hathaway that also features a poignant spoken word tribute to the 20 young victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting by poet Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The album was produced by Glasper along with executive producers Nicole Hegeman and Eli Wolf.

The track listing for Black Radio 2 is as follows:


Baby Tonight (Black Radio 2 Theme) / Mic Check 2

I Stand Alone featuring Common and Patrick Stump

What Are We Doing featuring Brandy

Calls featuring Jill Scott

Worries featuring Dwele

Trust featuring Marsha Ambrosius

Yet To Find featuring Anthony Hamilton

You Own Me featuring Faith Evans

Let It Ride featuring Norah Jones

ersevere featuring Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco and Luke James

Somebody Else featuring Emeli Sandé

Jesus Children of America featuring Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner


Big Girl Body featuring Eric Roberson

You’re My Everything featuring Bilal and Jazmine Sullivan

I Don’t Even Care featuring  Jean Grae and Macy Gray

Lovely Day (Intro by Bill Withers)

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10/29 – Best Buy Theater – New York, NY with Common & Marsha Ambrosius

11/1 – Meyerhoff Symphony Hall – Baltimore, MD with Common & Marsha Ambrosius

11/3 – Birchmere – Alexandria, VA

11/4 – World Café Live Wilmington – Wilmington, DE

11/6 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA

11/7 – The Civic Theatre – New Orleans

11/9 – H Town Arena – Houston, TX with Common & Marsha Ambrosius

11/14 – El Rey Theater – Los Angeles, CA – plus Special Guests

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Robert Glasper had a strong musical influence in his mother, who played piano and sang gospel music in church as well as in jazz and blues clubs in Houston. By the age of twelve, he was playing piano in church and often accompanied his mother in clubs. Raised on gospel, Motown, and R&B, by his teens he was listening to jazz, rock, pop and hip hop. He attended the Houston High School for the Performing Arts and moved to New York City to study at New School University. While still in school he was already playing with Christian McBride and Kenny Garrett, and went on to play with Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, and Roy Hargrove.


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After releasing his debut album Mood on the Fresh Sound label in 2003 followed by two buzzed about Blue Note albums with his acoustic Trio—Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007)—Glasper perfectly captured his unique duality with Double-Booked (2009), an album that juxtaposed his Trio and Experiment bands, and earned the keyboardist his first GRAMMY nomination.


The 2012 release of Black Radio was met with wide acclaim, with Jay-Z’s Life+Times calling it a “a genre-bending album finding a perfect medium between jazz, R&B and hip-hop,” while Rolling Stone declared “Glasper heads down the fraught path of hip-hop jazz and gets it right,” adding that “with music this smart and inviting, the implied diss of mainstream doesn’t feel like sour grapes; it feels like a blueprint forward.” USA Today proclaimed it “an exhilarating experience,” adding that “Glasper succeeds in making accessible, authentic music that is far removed from the disposable music that dominates black radio today.”


Black Radio featured collaborations with vocalists including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, and yasiin bey, and Glasper followed the album release with TV appearances on CBS Late Show With David Letterman, NBC Tonight Show With Jay Leno and NBC Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Black Radio was awarded Best R&B Album at the 2013 GRAMMY Awards.



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DaM-FunK & Snoopzilla are 7 Days of Funk, Tortured Soul ft. N’Dea Davenport, The Twilite Tone, Anoushka Shankar ft. Norah Jones, ForteBowie ft. Denzel Curry & Jus Nice, Chromeo, Latyrx ft. Busdriver, Jonwayne ft. Scoop DeVille, The Decoders ft. Noelle Scaggs, Hezekiah x Supastition x Dave Ghet, Foreign Exchange, J-Live, LeFtO, Quelle Chris & more!

STREAM: DaM-FunK & Snoopzilla are 7 Days of Funk, “Faden Away”

STREAM: Tortured Soul ft. N’Dea Davenport, “I Might Do Something Wrong”

MIX: The Twilite Tone, “Moment By Moment [Enjoy The Journey]“

STREAM: Anoushka Shankar ft. Norah Jones, “Unsaid”

STREAM: ForteBowie ft. Denzel Curry & Jus Nice, “Decatur Booty”

STREAM: Chromeo, “Sexy Socialite”

STREAM: Latyrx ft. Busdriver, “Close Your Eyes”

STREAM: Jonwayne ft. Scoop DeVille, “The Come Up Pt. 1″

STREAM: The Decoders ft. Noelle Scaggs, “Walk On By”


STREAM: Hezekiah x Supastition x Dave Ghet, “Go People!!”


PODCAST: A Conversation With Foreign Exchange

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MIX: J-Live, “HotVsDope Fall Mixtape”


MIX: LeFtO, “Show #559 with Boddhi Satva, DaM-FunK & others”


FREE DOWNLOAD: Quelle Chris, “Loop Dreams”


New Jimi Hendrix Documentary – new videos, screenings & interviews

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Experience Hendrix LLC & Legacy Recordings Releasing Home Edition of Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’ Documentary on DVD and Blu-ray

Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival Available for First Time Ever on CD and Double 12″ Vinyl Album


Jimi Hendrix American Masters Documentary Premiering Nationwide on PBS Tuesday, November 5, 2013


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Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release, on DVD and Blu-ray , the expanded home video edition of the American Masters documentary Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’, combined with a host of never-before-released special performance features, on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.


Also coming November 5, Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival, the first-ever release of one of the guitar virtuoso’s most sought-after performances, as originally recorded on site by Hendrix’s long term sound engineer, Eddie Kramer. Never available in any form,Miami Pop Festival is being released as a single CD and a limited edition numbered double 12″ audiophile vinyl set (all analog cut by Bernie Grundman, pressed at QRP on 200 gram vinyl).


Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival introduces the first recorded stage performances of “Hear My Train A Comin’” and “Tax Free” while showcasing definitive live takes on such classics as “Fire,” “Hey Joe,” “I Don’t Live Today” and “Purple Haze.” The package includes never before published photos taken at the festival and an essay by award-winning music journalist and Grammy Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli.


The first ever major rock festival staged on the East Coast, the May 1968 Miami Pop Festival was the first event promoted by Michael Lang-who would organize Woodstock, the biggest pop culture event of the decade, fifteen months later-and Ric O’Barry, who had been the dolphin trainer for the popular television program Flipper. Lang and O’Barry had been inspired by the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the groundbreaking gathering where Jimi Hendrix, making his US debut, famously set fire to his guitar at the conclusion of his performance.   Lang staged the festival at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida, securing the Jimi Hendrix Experience as the headline act for the two-day festival.


Jimi Hendrix Experience

Miami Pop Festival

1. Introduction

2. Hey Joe

3. Foxey Lady

4. Tax Free

5. Fire

6. Hear My Train A Comin’

7. I Don’t Live Today

8. Red House

9. Purple Haze


10. Fire (Afternoon Show)

11. Foxey Lady (Afternoon Show)


Miami Pop Festival, May 18, 1968

Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Florida


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Recently uncovered film footage of Hendrix at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival is among the previously unseen treasures featured in American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’, premiering nationwide Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 9-11 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings or


Hear My Train A Comin unveils previously unseen performance footage and home movies taken by Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell while sourcing an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, family letters and more to provide new insight into the musician’s personality and genius.


A pioneering electric guitarist, Hendrix had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy.Hear My Train A Comin’ traces the guitarist’s remarkable journey from his hardscrabble beginnings in Seattle, through his stint as a US Army paratrooper, unknown sideman to R&B stars such as Little Richard, Joey Dee and the Isley Brothers and his discovery and ultimate international stardom.


Presented as part of a year-long celebration around his 70th birthday year–the guitarist was born November 27, 1942–the two-hour Hear My Train A Comin’ tells the definitive story, illustrated by interviews with Hendrix and illuminated with commentary from family, well-known friends and musicians including Paul McCartney, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, Steve Winwood, Vernon Reid, Billy Gibbons, Dweezil Zappa and Dave Mason as well as revealing glimpses into Jimi and his era from the three women closest to him Linda Keith (the girlfriend who introduced Jimi to future manager Chas Chandler), Fayne Pridgon (who befriended Hendrix in Harlem in the early 1960s) and Colette Mimram (one of the era’s most influential fashion trendsetters who provided inspiration for Hendrix’s signature look and created such memorable stage costumes as the beaded jacket Hendrix famously wore at Woodstock). The film details the meteoric rise of the Experience, the creation of his groundbreaking music, the building of Electric Lady Studios, his state-of-the-art recording facility in Greenwich Village, and concludes with poignant footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his death at age 27.


Janie Hendrix, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix LLC and the sister of Jimi Hendrix commented, “Hear my Train a Comin’ is an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Jimi with his own words as well as the words and memories of those that knew him well and were close to him. His impression on the world through his genius, music and talent continue to magically touch the lives of ensuing generations.”


American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’ is directed by the award winning director Bob Smeaton (Festival ExpressThe Beatles AnthologyJimi Hendrix: Voodoo ChildHendrix 70: Live at Woodstock). Susan Lacy is series creator and executive producer of American Masters. The expanded DVD features an array of special features highlighted by never before released film footage featuring performances filmed at Miami Pop, the July 1970 New York Pop Festival and the September 6, 1970 Love & Peace Festival at the Isle Of Fehmarn in Germany-the final performance by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The high definition DVD features new stereo and 5.1 surround mixing by Hendrix’s engineer Eddie Kramer. The documentary is a production of Fuse Films and THIRTEEN’s American Masters in association with WNET.

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About Legacy Recordings

The multiple Grammy-winning Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog division, produces and maintains the world’s foremost catalog of historic reissues, an unparalleled compendium of thousands of digitally re-mastered archival titles representing virtually every musical genre including popular, rock, jazz, blues, R&B, folk, country, gospel, Broadway musicals, movie soundtracks, ethnic, world music, classical, comedy and more.


About Experience Hendrix L.L.C.

Founded by James ‘Al’ Hendrix, Jimi’s father, in 1995, Experience Hendrix, has been managed since its inception by the family members handpicked by Al during his tenure as Chairman.   It is the official family company charged with managing the music, name, image and likeness of Jimi Hendrix. As a part of their daily operations, Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix oversee Jimi’s timeless legacy on a worldwide basis.


About WNET

In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator ofNJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour WeekendCharlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the MathOh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTSReel 13NJ Today andMetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.





Collaborative Project Set for Release on December 10th by Stones Throw Records

We are pleased to share the cover art for 7 Days of Funk, drawn by Lawrence Hubbard of Real Deal Comix. Real Deal is a title Hubbard started drawing in the late 80’s when Los Angeles was in the wake of the L.A. Riots. Real Deal was the only Black, independently self-published and distributed magazine of the time, with only 6 issues from 1989 to 2001. It was as underground as it gets: crudely drawn, extremely violent, hysterically funny and completely free of super heroes and political correctness.

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Album Artwork by Lawrence Hubbard (Real Deal Comix)

Get The First Single “Faden Away” here

An early demo of 7 Days of Funk’s “Hit Da Pavement” provided the soundtrack for a short video about Lawrence Hubbard and Real Deal, created last year by clothing brand Stussy.

Dam-Funk and Snoopzilla debuted their live performance as 7 Days of Funk on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday, October 21st on ABC with “Faden Away” and “Do My Thang.”

7 Days of Funk is a collaboration between Dam-Funk and Snoopzilla (the legendary Snoop Dogg). The album is set for release December 10, 2013 on Stones Throw Records. The new group, 7 Days of Funk, is a result of the two artists bonding over the love of Funk.

The King of Modern Funk meets the smoked-out Scion of G-Funk on the 7 Days of Funk album, where Snoop performs under the name Snoopzilla, the homage to the legendary funk master, Bootsy Collins, who often went by the moniker Bootzilla. After an initial chance meeting two years ago, Dam and Snoop began to collaborate when Snoop invited Dam to perform with him at a 2011 SXSW show – the musical connection was inherent.

Aside from a guest spot from Daz and Kurupt and Steve Arrington, it’s just Snoopzilla and Dam jamming – melding loose toasts, vicious rhymes, Macadamia smooth singing and gorgeous chord progressions. As Snoopzilla says on “Faden Away,” “Me and Dam-Funk captured the funk.”


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Madlib, E Reece, PHZ-Sicks, Black Milk, Anacron, ScribeCash, Marco Polo, Warpaint, Oddisee, L’Orange & Stik Figa ft. Open Mike Eagle & MindsOne, Omar Souleyman & more!

STREAM: Madlib, “Black Widow”

FREE DOWNLOAD: E Reece, “Pound Cake Written”

STREAM: PHZ-Sicks, “Black Women”

STREAM: Black Milk, “Poison”

STREAM: Anacron, “They Reminisce Over Drew (T.R.O.D.)”

STREAM: ScribeCash, “Money”

STREAM: Marco Polo, “PA2: The Director’s Cut”


STREAM: Warpaint, “Love Is To Die”


FREE DOWNLOAD: Oddisee, “Yeezus Was A Mortal Man”


FREE DOWNLOAD: L’Orange & Stik Figa ft. Open Mike Eagle & MindsOne, “Decorated Silence”


STREAM: Omar Souleyman, “Wenu Wenu”


Roger Guenveur Smith Tackles Rodney King


Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City – LA

9/18-10/6 2013

words/photos by: Ani Yapundzhyan

Roger Guenveur Smith has spent a career going after intense characters-complex personalities that perhaps ease his own complexities. In theatre and on film he portrayed Huey P. Newton-capturing Newton’s nuances, quirks and neuroticism in chillingly accurate form. His other credits include plays on Jean-Michel Basquiat and Frederick Douglass, among others.


This week, I saw him tackle Rodney King- and more accurately, the fears, attitudes and feelings of the world as they understood Rodney King.


With the sound of a police radio preceding  “Can’t we all get along?” on loop,  Smith steps on the small stage and begins his one-man monologue with a powerful quote from Geto Boys’ Willie D:


“Fuck Rodney King in his ass

When I see the motherfucka, I’mma blast

Boom in his head, boom, boom, in his back, just like that…”


The actual song itself sounds like a Public Enemy-style track-the beat, the intense rhythm, the style of rap. But Smith is vocalizing it theatrically. The words are clear, loud, and hit home.


A couple of people walk in late and take their seats in the front row, Smith stares at them and improvises, “Fuck y’all, too.”


Afterward, in a discussion proceeding the monologue, an older white lady in the crowd will say that she was repulsed by the hostility of those words yet attracted to them at the same time.


“Thank you for your repulsion,” Smith will respond.


Back to the monologue that transports Smith through the many layers of Rodney Glen King’s persona.


A major, ironic point that surfaces again and again is King’s love of the water-Rodney-”Glen” as he was known as a youngster-had an affection for the water-his father taught him how to swim up above the Altadena reservoir. His father, whom King found drowned in a bathtub, taught him how to swim in an Altadena reservoir.


Smith weaves in and out of the seemingly conflicting parts of King’s existence.


He touched on King’s prior criminal history before the LAPD beating. Referring to a 1989 convenience store robbery in which King knocked over a pie rack, he says, “Assault with a deadly apple pie, you know that’s an All-American offense.”


As he begins to speak of the night of King’s beating, he mentions what King and his two friends were listening to as they drove around that night: “NWA, that would be cliche. You were playing De La Soul, from the soul.”


“They said that you lose more blood than any man had ever lost and lived on.”


In a Gil-Scott Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”-eque manner, Smith exclaims:


“Your’e spitting blood like that great white whale in that great white novel by that great white novelist.”


11 skull fractures.


Then he speaks the obvious truth:


“You went viral before viral was viral…before you know it, Rodney King, you’re the first reality star.”


Focusing on the social implications that went beyond the actual beating, the events afterward that fucked up the entire country, he goes down the list of the victims of the LA Riots that followed:


-15 year old Latasha Harlins, who was shot in the head by a Korean liquor store owner while attempting to buy orange juice.


-Edward Song Lee, 18, who was mistaken for a looter and shot and killed by other Korean-Americans.


-A 68-year old man who was strangled to death.


“Rodrigo Rivas, such a beautiful Shakespearean name. Rodrigo Rivas, shot down by the national guard.”


“John Doe #50, burned to a crisp in the back of a Pep Boys. They don’t know if his name was Manny, Moe or Jack.”


After poignantly telling the stories of these victims of murder during the riots, Smith says,


“Let it go, Glen…let it go…”


Is he speaking of the guilt that King probably carried with him in the aftermath and after so many people lost their lives?



Two dates are inscribed along the pool wall in which King drowned: 3/3/91, the day King was beaten, and 4/29/92, the day a jury acquitted three of the four officers who beat him.


“Let it go, Glen…let it go…”


In the discussion following his monologue, Smith says to the audience: “This is not so much a performance as it is a prayer. Thanks, Rodney King for providing the scripture….and there’s things that he meant to say that he never got to say, things that he wanted to say that he couldn’t get to, his brain wouldn’t make the connect, but his heart was there. And isn’t it ironic that he had an abnormally enlarged heart? And he shared it with us.”


At his death, King’s heart weighed 480 grams, normal person of his stature’s heart weight is 360 grams.


“I think that Rodney King’s speech on May Day 1992 was one of the great American speeches. It’s right up there with the other King…I think that what he left us was a fundamental guide for survival…what a magnanimous statement coming from a man who had the shit beat out of him.”


Rodney King was born in 1965, same year that Malcolm X died, same year as the Watts Riots, and year that Bill Cosby became the first black man to win an Emmy.


King died on “Father’s Day night”


“I knew that he had an affinity for water,” Smith continues in the discussion,  “there was a cover story on him in the LA Times Magazine some years ago, that was a beautiful picture of him with a surfboard on the beach, and it was all about him surfing. and I knew that his father taught him how to swim, I didn’t know that he skied, he was a skier, but yes, to have met his fate in tragically the same way that his father met his fate as well, his father drowned in a bathtub, and he found him. And he drowned in a swimming pool, on Father’s Day.


It’s a tremendously tragic circumstance. I hope that there’s a lesson there somewhere, I don’t know what that lesson might be, but I know that again, he’s left us with a tremendous legacy of Wisdom and I also think that the beating that began on March 3rd, 1991, was not complete until Father’s Day 2012, that was the final blow. It may have been self-inflicted, but it was part of the same process.”


Ronald King, Rodney’s father, drank himself to death in a bathtub at the family home. Rodney struggled with alcohol his whole life, most of his troubles with the law stemming from it.


Roger Smith finishes his monologue with movements that are as powerful as the words he has now ceased to speak:


He is standing in silence on a white mat. He begins making surfing motions, a smile on his face, as if riding the waves. After a few moments, he is drowning, his face becoming scared and haggard.


As he takes his leave, Kendrick Lamar‘s “Swimming Pools” booms from the speakers:


“Pour up (drank, drank), head shot (drank, drank)

Sit down (drank, drank), stand up (drank, drank)

Pass out (drank, drank), wake up (drank, drank)

Faded (drank, drank), faded (drank, drank)


Now I done grew up

Round some people living their life in bottles

Granddaddy had the golden flask

Back stroke every day in Chicago…


I got a swimming pool full of liquor and they dive in it

Pool full of liquor I’ma dive in it”


As I walked back to my car after the show, shook, I felt it appropriate to put my Gil-Scott playlist on shuffle.


What do you suppose was the first song that came on?


“The bottle.”


“See that black boy over there runnin’ scared

His old man in a bottle

He done quit his 9 to 5

He drink full time and now he’s livin’ in a bottle.”


Rodney King loved the water. He felt alive in the water and lost his life in the water. The drowning in his swimming pool was maybe his final release from a lifetime of drowning in a bottle.