Monthly Archives: November 2016

88 Steps To Eternity: Oakland Producer/Musician Kev Choice Releases His Latest Gallery of Jazz-Infused Instrumentals


As an accomplished pianist, Kev Choice felt it was time to fully express himself as a musician. Kev Choice latest project, “88 Steps To Eternity” is a journey through his musical influence from the past to present. Having listened heavily to jazz from the 70’s as a young Hip-Hop producer looking for samples, Choice grew an affinity for that style and era of music. 

“I loved the heavy synths, improvisation based compositions, and more complex harmonies and arrangements than most music of the time I had heard. It was a combination of all current styles, jazz, rock, funk, and soul, even some classical music. I wanted to take that musicality and composition style and combine it with the rhythms and styles of todays music from hip-hop or trap, soul or R&B. I want to connect jazz to a new generation with something they can relate to and feel. “


Kev’s composition’s were embellished by his band, Kev Choice Ensemble, which consists of keys, drums, bass, guitar, and horn section.  A good portion of the album sounds like a high caliber late night jam session with some of the Bay Area’s best musicians. From funked out synths to grand piano flourishes, warm electronic keyboard pads to sultry keytar riffs, Kev Choice shows his versatility as a keyboardist on this project.  

 The titles of the songs on the album reflect Kev’s conscious message and self-reflective nature. Songs like “Dance Of The Displaced”, “Hero’s Theme”, “Perserverance”, “Oh Why”, and “Eternal Light”, attempt to make a statement without saying a word.  Kev attempts to solidify a new styled called “Trap Jazz” with songs like “Love Trap”, “Rock With Me Still,” and “Spirals,” taking rhythms and melodies you might here on the latest trap songs and playing them in an instrumental context. Songs like “Perseverance”, “Eternal Light”, “Perspective” come from a more jazzy-soulful space.


“The album as a whole was composed to be a journey in time, to space, and beyond. I still wanted to keep it grounded by familiar elements to help people relate and connect to it”. Choice says. “The 88 represents the number of keys on the piano and to eternity means that the goal is to make music that is timeless.”


As a pianist, artist, producer, composer, and a sideman, Kev Choice wears many hats. Needless to say, all of them fit very well. Blessed with prodigious talent, as well as the skill and dedication towards his craft, the Oakland-based artist is redefining what it means to be a musician in this day and age. Not too many classically-trained pianists who hold Master’s degrees in music can rock microphones with blazing-hot 16s and tour the world with Grammy award winning artists. Through his unyielding drive and ambition, Kev Choice has earned the right to refer to himself as “that dude” .

Choice began playing piano at age 11. As a teenager, he played in classical and jazz ensembles throughout Oakland while also recording and performing his own music–particularly, rap music. He continued his musical jounrey after graduating high school, receiving a scholarship to study piano at Xavier University–where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music– and Southern Illinois University –where he graduated with a Master’s in Music.

After college, Choice became an on-demand sideman, recording and touring with the likes of Bay Area artist Michael Franti and Spearhead, Too $hort, and Goapele. He had the opportunity to meet Lauryn Hill early in his career and because of his many talents, she asked him to put together a band for her.  This gig took him to Japan, Brazil, and all across Europe, leading to his working on the single “Lose Myself,” which Miss. Lauryn Hill recorded for a soundtrack. Lauryn Hill, he says, “was very influential in my musical development as an artist.” Working with Lauryn Hill, Choice reflects, “showed me that I was capable of anything and that I should always be pushing myself musically, never get comfortable in your abilities, and always speak and say what you feel in your music without compromise.” He’s since lengthened his resume by performing with the likes of The Coup, Zion I, Terrace Martin, Dwele, Martin Luther, Amel Larrieux, Omar, and Souls of Mischief.

Kev Choice is known for his impressive live shows that seamlessly cross boundaries between genres and connect to people with his high level of musicianship, social commentary, and inspirational messages. As a solo artist, he has released mixtapes, EP’s and 4 full lengths albums: “ThePower of Choice” (2011), “Oakland Riviera” (2014), “Love andRevolution” (2015), and the upcoming release “88 Steps To Eternity” (2016)–All which were primarily produced and composed by himself. The latest project, “88 Steps” is the first full instrumental album and showcases Kev’s heavy jazz-fusion influence, piano improvisation chops, and compositional abilities. Choice states, “The new project is me channeling influences from jazz greats and approaching it from today’s perspective. I try to keep it classic but current.”

Kev has stayed relevant by working with many up and coming artist in the Bay Area scene such as Elujay, Netta Brielle, 1-O.A.K., Erk Tha Jerk, HBK CJ, and Azure. 

“I’m a vet, but I approach the game like it’s my first time on the court every time. Trying to stay fresh and pushing towards what’s next.”


BILAL: Exclusive Interview & New Video


FUSICOLOGY: You’ve had a big year touring and a packed schedule across the US all fall and all over the world – how has it been touring so much again for you?

BILAL: It’s been good, I really love to travel and perform whenever I can do that I feel like I am living out the dream, ya dig? It’s cool. I miss my family sometimes and my kids are getting big but I love it.

FUSICOLOGY: Being a Grammy Award winner and having such a massive year following the win with Kendrick Lamar, how do you feel about where you are at in your career right now?

BILAL: I feel optimistic about the future and the things that I can accomplish – having a Grammy, no matter how you get it, brings about a whole new level of success. It’s been pretty good, inspiring and I have been able to do certain things – like this past fall, being able to play with full orchestra in Miami which a conductor doing classical arrangements of 5 of my songs. Incredible.

FUSICOLOGY: Which other artists do you want to work with?

BILAL: Stevie Wonder (last grace that is still here), Flying Lotus – and I just want to work with everybody that I worked with again (chuckles) I have worked with so many damn people, shucks! This past year I worked with Karriem Riggins on the new Common album and sang on a few of the joints and did some writing – just like old times.

FUSICOLOGY: What are your plans for your next album?

BILAL: Right now I am in the infancy stages of recording – I am doing a lot of meditating, fasting and detoxing in preparation. With any record I challenge myself to be as truthful and as honest as I can with myself – not only do stuff that is just going just to bring about a loving feeling in the people but I gotta be provocative and bring about and talk about certain things people don’t want to think / talk about – I can’t wait to get in there.

In the beginning I write down all the ideas that I want to say, just little shapes and stuff – once I get into the studio for a long period of time then I can officially say that I started. I travel with my guitar, got LOGIC on my computer like I always do and I put my little ideas down until that time that I can get into the studio.

FUSICOLOGY: There is a lot going on obviously in the world, a lot of things are being unveiled and some of the truths are being shown to us – as a conscious artist how do you feel about the cross-section of music, art and politics yourself?

BILAL: We’re in a cool place to change things, people want change but I think it will be a dark day before we get there – we got a long way to go. I think right now, the way things are going, it’s forcing everyone to talk about it – a lot of things that is going on with the police, things that are going on in the world with America trying to police to police shit, the economy of London going down – there is a change of the guard.

I feel that right now a lot of the secrets that people have been trying to keep secret are all going to start coming out and I feel like it is up to the artists of today to really speak about it it and make sure that everyone is aware. It is a good time for artists, whenever the world is in some time of challenge and change, it is good time for artists that see themselves as the reporters for the underdogs if you will. A good time for creativity.
- good time for creativity

FUSICOLOGY: The State of the Music Industry – we’re long overdue in making changes in the recording aspect of it – how do you feel about the present state of things?

BILAL: Right now the music industry in the middle of such a big change. Labels aren’t as powerful as they used to be. When I first came into the industry labels used to be King, now cats are really taking the power out of the labels, going to battle with the labels. Sponsors are taking over the old role and concept of the labels and hiring outside promotion. teams.

I am sitting back and watching, navigating so that know what the next steps are from me – you wake up and another game changer happens. I am really just trying to study what is going on while I am in the process of starting something new. There is not a process or one way to do anything anymore.


Bilal Interviewed by: Asya Shein of Fusicology

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Rafael Casal & David Diggs: Bridging Hip Hop & Broadway | The Museum of Light


THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: What inspired you to create #BARS workshop, and what do you hope this unique platform will provide to other performers?

RAFAEL CASAL: #BARS is a workshop I founded with my long-time collaborator Daveed Diggs as a place for artists to explore the intersection between contemporary verse/rap and theater. It came about as a joke suggestion from a friend, and turned into a force all it’s own through the excitement and genius of the artists who have been a part of it.

It has three components: a masterclass series with seven different guest speakers, a workshop period where we write, stage and create new work together, and a culminating video medley that we create for YouTube. The medley and the masterclass talks are all documented and put online, so we can spread the conversation and creation to others who are invested in this kind of art.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: You also hold the Monday conversations at #BARS with artists from both the Hip Hop world and from Broadway, such as Black Thought of The Roots/Jimmy Fallon, Hamilton director Tommy Kail. What have been the highlights from these conversations so far?

RAFAEL CASAL: Because this conversation feels so new still, it has all been a highlight. But there were exciting themes that continued to prevail in each conversation; points about authenticity, about methodology as an artist, the importance of verse throughout the history of the arts, what it means for new voices to continue pushing into the Broadway realm, and things like what vegetable would be the best playwright if vegetables wrote plays.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Are people surprised by how much the Hip Hop artists know about Broadway?

RAFAEL CASAL: I am not of the impression that an overwhelming amount Hip Hop artists are super savvy on Broadway and it’s goings-on, but who knows… maybe Young Thug was super into Shuffle Along. I think it’s fantastic that Hamilton summoned some of the rap elite into a Broadway seat, and that The Hamilton Mixtape features a crazy list of Hip Hop and pop artists that Lin-Manuel Miranda picked out to do some next level shit yet again.

But Hamilton isn’t all of Broadway. It can only do so much as one show, and it’s important that the creation of new work continues so it doesn’t become THE Hip Hop show; an exception to a rule of a continued tradition of a separateness between the highest levels of Hip Hop and theater. It still feels like Hip Hop is in the early ‘80s on Broadway, and Hamilton just proved it’s financially viable in the mainstream marketplace. It’s an exciting time, but a time to start asking a lot of questions, like now there is a one rap song in the new The SpongeBob Musical, performed by the villain… what does that say about rap music? Are we about to re-experience the real VS fake dialogue that the early 90s Hip Hop scene, but with Broadway shows? What is the relationship between Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Chance the Rapper’s “Sunday Candy,” Hamilton, and the Lyricist’s Lounge Show? That is what I’m interested in asking Hip Hop artists about.


THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: You mentioned that #BARS could be a kind of portal (portal being defined as a doorway, gateway, opening etc.). How would you define a portal in this context as it relates to #BARS?

RAFAEL CASAL: I think it’s a place for us to peer into the future of our individual and collective art through games and exercises. We just bring our skill sets like ingredients. Some people can rap, some can sing, some can write, some can do all of the above. The mutual ground is the love for pushing the boundaries of the forms, of using verse to tell heightened stories, and to see what new configurations of language can emerge when dope people get together to do dope shit.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Portals are often connected to light (how light gets in, how light shines through, etc.). How does #BARS provide a portal to performers and in what ways have you seen performers find new openings from this experience?

RAFAEL CASAL: It’s really too early to tell, but everyone seems to be excited by the possibility of it. I had a cohort member tell me that the workshop changed the way she approached art, and that she felt a whole new world of possibilities had opened up to her. Sometimes we just need a space that gives us permission to be the best, most full version of our artistic selves, and we flourish.


THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: #BARS is shining a spotlight on the stage for both Hip Hop and Theater, creating a bridge between Broadway and spoken word. What is it that allows these two worlds to so naturally shine their light together?

RAFAEL CASAL: I mean… they are both about beautiful language. They are both inherently theatrical, they are both musical. I don’t know that #BARS is the bridge by any means. I think that bridge has existed for a long time within the duality of people who love and exercise themselves in both worlds. #BARS is just a space for those people to improvise and create. #BARS is just a place that “Yes, and”’s the creators own forwarding plot line.

Learn more about #BARS here.

You can also find this story at RESPECT Magazine.

Photo Credit: Lavell Wells, Vincent Morris. V Matt Smith.

The Museum of Light is curated by:

Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.



New Release: Jermaine Hardsoul “LANE”


These days many question, “What’s the state of R&B?” Although “RnB Back” is a jam from Jermaine Hardsoul’s album LANE, he knows R&B isn’t going anywhere. Jermaine’s mission is to preserve it through his “Hardsoul” sound – soulful, melodic instrumentals with hard drums and slick lyrics.  LANE also showcases JHardsoul’s love for the 80′s and 90′s era, as evident in his latest single “Feel the Same”.


This S-Curl, rayon slow jam takes you to a time where talking about “doing the nasty” could still make you feel warm with butterflies.The video features international visual artist Fahamu Pecou with his signature 90′s Gumby fade. It also features rising star dancer Deborah Hughes with the sexiest 90′s movie love scenes projected as her backdrop.Jermaine Hardsoul is giving you everything from Jodeci to Guy in the “Feel the Same” video. And he’s giving even more on the full album “LANE”.


“LANE” is the first album release from Jermaine Hardsoul.As an accomplished singer, producer, songwriter and guitarist he seamlessly implements his affinities for 90s R&B into the album alongside current culture club bangers. After producing multiple hit records over the years for his peers such as Musiq Soulchild, Eric Roberson, and Carl Thomas the timing couldn’t have been better for him to carve out his own lane. The project features masterful artists such as Carmen Rodgers (The Foreign Exchange), Gwen Bunn (producer of Schoolboy Q‘s “Collard Greens” ft Kendrick Lamar), and Darius Scott (NBC’s The Voice finalist). | @JHardsoul | LANE the album online | “Feel the Same” video

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Jeezy Discusses Homophobia in Hip-Hop with Larry King, #BlackLivesMatter, POTUS Obama & Police Brutality


Grammy nominated rapper and entrepreneur Jeezy sits down with Larry King on the Emmy-nominated series, “Larry King Now”for an in-depth and wide-ranging interview about his new album ‘Trap or Die 3’, homophobia in hip-hop, and the recent spate of Black men killed by police. Plus, he opens up about his own run-ins with the law, Obama’s presidency and the controversy surrounding Black Lives Matter.

Jeezy opens up about the recent spate of excessive use of force by police, saying he’s most concerned about his teenaged son. But, he also acknowledges that while police brutality has most likely gone on for long, the popularity of social media has given it much more awareness. He tells Larry,I think it’s been going on, I really think that social media has made it – or given it – more awareness lately because social media’s so fast, you see these things.” 

The multi-platinum rapper also discussed President Obama, race relations in America, and the Black Lives Matter movement. He explains that while Obama did as much as possible during his presidency, race relations have taken several steps backwards. He also dishes on the need for the Black Lives Matter movement, saying “It’s almost like nobody cares for no Black men or Black lives, and it’s just like you’ve gotta put that statement in the air because we have to believe that ourselves.

Since hip-hop is sometimes known for it’s misogynist and homophobic comments, Jeezy discusses whether a gay rapper could make it in the industry. After acknowledging that there are a lack of gay rappers, he talks about the possible reasons, saying, I guess culture-wise it just doesn’t match with it, what hip-hop represents. You know, hip-hop is about being tough and just really being dominant and just being individual with it. But, he points to the recent success of openly gay rapper Young M.A. as a potential sign of progress.

Plus Jeezy reveals the rapper he’d most love to collaborate with, his love for Sade (and Bon Jovi!), and why he’d trade places with Dr. Dre for a day in our game of ‘If You Only Knew.’ 


“No Half Steppin’” Book Release – Oral/Pictorial History of NYC Club Latin Quarter


In the mid-1980s, Latin Quarter in NYC was the musical incubator of hip-hop’s Golden era while playing a pivotal role in the creation of the Stop The Violence Movement.  Legends were born in the bustling Times Square club – from A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One, Eric B. & Rakin, Queen Latifah, Public Enemy and many more.  One could walk into the club a nobody and come out a star.

Today marks the release of the book entitled “No Half Steppin’” which is an oral and pictorial history of Latin Quarter from Wax Poetics Books.  The book was written by Claude “Paradise” Gray and Giuseppe “” Pipitone and features 212 pages with over 175 color photographs and flyers from the greatest period of hip-hop history.  Oral history is provided by participants KRS-One, MC Shan, Eric B., Daddy-O, Fab 5 Freddy, DJ Clark Kent, Kurtis Blow, Grand Puba, Big Daddy Kane, Queen Latifah, Kool G Rap and many more.

The book is available now for purchase via Wax Poetic’s website and a digital version will be available for sale soon.

“This book gives another great shot in the arm to hip-hop culture with an enjoyable reminder of what we had and our entertainment was also birthed from. Paradise and his group have done an extraordinary job inspiring smiles and memories like our family photo books use to do.” – Christopher “Play” Martin  (Kid & Play)



ROLI launches BLOCKS, an affordable LEGO-like music creation system for everyone, at Apple Stores around the world

ROLI, the music technology innovator, today launches BLOCKS, the most accessible and scalable music creation system ever made.

ROLI BLOCKS is a modular music studio that opens up the world of music-making to everyone. Each individual Block offers unique capabilities that enable people to create music in simple but far-reaching ways. The Blocks connect together to create customizable kits that suit any budget, skill level, and musical style. With a click of magnetic connectors, music-makers can now build their own instruments as they go.

Renowned artists including GrimesSteve Aoki, and RZA are already making music on BLOCKS and creating signature soundpacks for BLOCKS musicians. Grimes — a composer, producer, and global superstar whose sound is redefining pop music — said, “ROLI BLOCKS will democratize music production. It’s so intuitive and versatile. I’m always on the go, and BLOCKS is the most powerful mobile production tool I’ve ever used.”

Three Blocks launch today. The Lightpad Block features a tactile, glowing surface that lets people shape music through presses, glides, and other natural gestures. The Live Block and Loop Block have controls that make it even easier to perform and produce in real time. BLOCKS is powered by NOISE, a free music app for iPhone and iPad that is now available at the App Store. NOISE connects to BLOCKS wirelessly over Bluetooth, becoming the system’s sound engine as well as a standalone app.

Roland Lamb, founder and CEO of ROLI, and inventor of BLOCKS, said, “Many areas of life have been transformed by the digital. Music, though, remains a universal language that everyone understands, but only a few can speak. BLOCKS will change that, and enable people around the world to experience the joy of music-making for the first time.”

The Lightpad Block, Live Block, and Loop Block are exclusively available at,, and Apple Stores around the world. With a Lightpad Block retailing at $179 and the Live Block and Loop Block at $79, BLOCKS is extraordinarily affordable as well as powerful.

ROLI celebrates today with an event at the Steel Yard in London. Roland Lamb’s keynote address and the world’s first BLOCKS performance will be live-streamed on ROLI’s Facebook page.

The launch caps an important year for ROLI, which has emerged as a leader in music technology innovation. The award-winning Seaboard RISE, a reinvention of the piano that has redefined the expressive capability of electronic instruments, has been adopted by a range of artists from Stevie Wonder to Meghan Trainor. ROLI acquired FXpansion, a London-based maker of audio software and virtual instruments, in September 2016.

Visit and watch the BLOCKS video to see and hear how this modular music studio will give everyone a musical voice.



About ROLI

ROLI is a leading music technology startup whose mission is to extend the joy of music creation to everyone. Its multi-award-winning Seaboard RISE and Seaboard GRAND — adopted by world-renowned artists including Stevie Wonder, Meghan Trainor, and A.R. Rahman — have redefined the expressive potential of keyboard instruments. NOISE, ROLI’s free iOS app, turns iPhones and iPads into powerful and fun music-making devices. ROLI has raised over $50 million from leading investors including Foundry Group, Balderton Capital, and Founders Fund as well as Universal Music Group. “The most important company in music technology right now” (Music Tech magazine) is building a Connected Music ecosystem of hardware and software products that will change the way people create and enjoy music.     


Tambor Party + Tribe Records Cruise 2017, Bahamas | Almost 80% of the cabins are sold


TRIBE RECORDS & TAMBOR PARTY are two brands in the dance music scene that usually come together for the legendary Ocean’s 10 Party at Miami’s WMC. 

Now they join forces for 4 days of Music in paradise, May 5-8 2017.  A 4 day cruise leaving Miami to the Bahamas.  All inclusive pricing for accommodation, food, and parties

Early bird pricing is over and 80% of the cabins are sold – you don’t want to miss out on this, secure your your cabin NOW!



ZEPHERIN SAINT – Tribe Records
STAN ZEFF – Tambor Party
JOE CLAUSSELL – Sacred Rhythm 
DJEFF – Kazakuta Records
DJ ANGELO – Global Fantasy
ALAN KING - Chosen Few
JOSE MARQUEZ – Tribe Records
DJ YOGI - Solid Garage
HELEN TING - Kazakuta Records


May 5 Depart Miami – Registration Meet & Greet Party and Night party
May 6 Cococay Bahamas Party – Day Party and night party
May 7 Nassau Bahamas Day Trip – Day Party and night party FINALE!
May 8 Return to Miami AM


- Total package cost per person starts from $530.00. This includes Cabin, entrance to ALL parties, and unlimited food.
- Maximum of two people per cabin
- Cost does not include flight to Miami or transport from airport to the port

- 50% MUST BE PAID BY November 30 2016
- Initial deposit is non refundable./span>
-For additional information please contact out cruise hotline:
Full details and prices:


CABIN COST IS $932 FOR MAXIMUM OF 2 PEOPLE + ENTRY TO ALL PARTIES Interior Stateroom (Q) (136 sq. ft.) Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King size bed. vanity area, and private bathroom. Note: A Royal King measures 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long.
CABIN COST IS $1,078.00 FOR MAXIMUM OF 2 PEOPLE. Large Ocean View Stateroom (151 sq. ft.) Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King size bed, sitting area with sofa, vanity area and a private bathroom. Please note: Staterooms 3000-3014, 3500-3514, 2008-2014, & 2508-2514 have two portholes instead of a window. Stateroom 7008 has a partially obstructed view. Note: A Royal King measures 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long.
CABIN COST IS $1,078.00 FOR MAXIMUM OF 2 PEOPLE. Large Ocean View Stateroom (151 sq. ft.) Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King size bed, sitting area with sofa, vanity area and a private bathroom. Please note: Staterooms 3000-3014, 3500-3514, 2008-2014, & 2508-2514 have two portholes instead of a window. Stateroom 7008 has a partially obstructed view. Note: A Royal King measures 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long.
PAYMENT PLAN IS AVAILABLE $100.00 DEPOSIT, FIRST 50% MUST BE PAID BY OCTOBER 17 2016, BALANCE BY JANUARY 31 2017.FOR DEPOSITS, PAYMENT PLANS, OR FOR ANY MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT OUR CRUISE HOTLINE: BARBARA GINEBRA  (B)786.504.3078 IMPORTANT INFORMATION Total package cost per person starts from $466.00. This includes Cabin, entrance to ALL parties, and unlimited food. Maximum of two people per cabin Cabin cost starts from $932.00 for 2 people
The ‘Selecta Vol 1′ Compilation
Release date Friday May 6
This is a compilation compiled by Tambor’s own Stan Zeff of his favorite Afro tracks played in the Tambor party, from some of the best South African producers to date.
Get ready for the release out exclusively on Traxsource
T-shirts are NOW available from the Tambor website!