Monthly Archives: January 2017

Conversations In Light Jamel Shabazz: The Light That Guides Me



THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Just as an alchemist transforms lead into gold, do you feel that being an artist relates to that of being an alchemist? Do you view the artist journey and your creative expression, as alchemy?

JAMEL SHABAZZ: As a practitioner of the craft of photography, it affords me the ability to transform a chemically based roll of unexposed film that has been placed in a camera, measuring light and adjusting speed towards a particular subject, conceptualizing and composing by the third eye through a glass lens, before applying pressure on the camera shutter release button, freezing a moment in time, thus preserving history. So yes, I would say that there is a direct correlation between being an artist and an alchemist. Any creative artist, whether they are a painter, musician, sculptor or photographer, who uses their innate ability to create something from nothing, is in fact dealing with the science of Alchemy. The various schools of artistry all use science in their creative process and it may consist of the mixing of chemicals, arranging sound, or creating shapes, but when these practices are applied, the results are magical manifestations of a high form of alchemy.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: Artists are often labeled as “stars.” Just as a star radiates light and the planets then reflect this light, do you see your work as an artist like that of a star? Is this “light” that stars radiate merely the evidence of this journey of becoming a star/learning to radiate light?

JAMEL SHABAZZ: As a young man coming of age, I was told by a very wise man that I was the equivalent to the sun which was a giant star in the center of the universe, and that through studying the nature of the sun along with the solar system, I would better understand my purpose in life. It was that wisdom that placed me on the path of enlightenment and provided me with light, guidance and purpose. Like the sun, I would learn that my primary purpose in this universe was to use my kinetic energy to stimulate life and matter through my creative process in hopes that I would create other forms of light and energy in a world that was slowly becoming cold and gloomy.

THE MUSEUM OF LIGHT: When an artist is not “creating” it is often labeled a “creative block.” How do you navigate this space, how do you find the creative spark in the dark, and does it require courage to create from this unknown space? Describe this process.

JAMEL SHABAZZ: With all honesty, I have never been confronted with a “creative block.” My creative energy is in constant motion and the light that guides me seems to always be illuminated. During the course of my many expeditions, I have accumulated such an abundance of photographs, negatives, and other forms of research, that are readily available to me. This keeps me in a constant creative mode to the point that I no longer travel outside my space to take images like I once did. At this stage in my journey, it took courage for me to realize that I needed to reevaluate my assignment in life, and I have been blessed to create a space where I can meditate, reflect and process what I have been blessed to document. In this undertaking, I continue to seek ways to share what I have with the universe and young visionaries who are fresh on the path of self-discovery.

You can find this story at THE MUSEUM OF LIGHTRESPECT Magazine and Fusicology.

Photo Credit: Jamel Shabazz

The Museum of Light is curated by: Billy Johnson Jr., Adell Henderson, Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Matt Smith, Malik Buie.

Mark de Clive-Lowe “Live at The Blue Whale” EP out on 2/17 via Mashibeats/Ropeadope


Mark de Clive-Lowe delivers an outstanding 4 track EP recorded live at Los Angeles’ Blue Whale jazz club. The EP finds MdCL revisiting the grand piano, putting his first instrument front and center with his technological world of keyboards and electronics. It’s his signature amalgamation of acoustic sound sparring with new technology, joined by a world-class crew: Josh Johnson (Miguel Atwood-Ferguson/Wayne Shorter) on sax and flute, Brandon Eugene Owens (Robert Glasper/Terrace Martin) on bass and Gene Coye (Thundercat/Flying Lotus) on drums.

The instrumental EP opens with an original composition, ‘Evergreen’. Solo piano sets the mood as the composition evolves into a head-nodding, beat- driven journey of improvisational conversation. As the music progresses, we hear MdCL programming beats and electronics live and on the spot – manipulating and sampling his own piano, keyboards and Johnson’s sax – creating a musical palimpsest inspired by hip hop’s sampling aesthetic. Only here, the samples are all organic – performed, captured and manipulated completely on the fly.

The following tracks pay homage to three of MdCL’s heroes – Yusef Lateef firstly on the loping ‘L+H’ – inspired by Yusef’s ‘Love + Humor’ with Owens and Coye underpinning the groove while MdCL and Johnson play and become live samples themselves. Sun Ra gets honored on the EP’s centrepiece – an 11 minute exploration of his composition ‘The Golden Lady’ – once again, MdCL’s piano is the central focus here, leading the way through a mystically evocative soundscape that reimagines the great master. Johnson switches to flute here bringing his playfulness and musical guile to the mix with the piece culminating in an intoxicating blend of beats, live samples and acoustic band. We close out with an interlude of Ahmad Jamal’s ‘Swahililand’ – most famously sampled for De La Soul’s ‘Stakes is High’ by iconic producer J Dilla.

It’s a real treat to hear MdCL and band in full-flight live show mode with none of the safety nets of studio production. Live at the Blue Whale hints at what’s more to come from a truly individual musician.

“a musical force unlike any other -

“(the) avant-garde soulful Pianist/DJ/Producer delivers his lifetime of journeys to different musical ports in a concise package, seamlessly… transporting not just in genre but in emotion and spirit.” - Huffington Post 

RELEASE SHOWS: February 17 + 18 @ The Blue Whale, Los Angeles: TICKETS



Thundercat Announces “DRUNK” new Album ft. Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins & more


Thundercat will release his third full-length studio album Drunk on February 24 via Brainfeeder. The album is a 23-track epic journey into the often hilarious, sometimes dark mind of the Grammy-winning singer/bassist and finds a few of his friends joining him along the way including: Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Wiz Khalifa, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder mastermind Flying LotusDrunk is the follow up to his widely praised 2015 mini album The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam, and features fan favorite tracks “Bus In These Streets” and “Them Changes.”


“Show You The Way” is the first single from Drunk, and the ballad features two of Thundercat’s heroes: iconic musicians Kenny Logginsand Michael McDonald. And how did this collaboration come to be? Thundercat mentioned his love of Loggins several times during his press tour for The Beyond (Dinner Party DownloadBillboard), leading to an introduction via his keyboard player Dennis Hamm. He tells Red Bull Music Academy Daily, “These are guys that I’ve listened to and where I felt that I’ve learned that honesty in the music. Kenny Logginsis one of my favorite songwriters.” Loggins was the one that suggested bringing McDonald in on the track and, Thundercat adds, “I think one of the most beautiful moments of it was realizing how amazing Michael McDonald was. He would go through so many ideas and have so much to offer.”


Thundercat also notes, “That song to me is about going down the rabbit hole, taking you to another place… On the edge of dark, there’s the brightest light. It means a lot to me in the sense of… the experience that I’ve had growing up with friends and people that I’ve been around where it’s inviting them into where I come from emotionally. Sometimes it’s a pretty intense thing. The point is how weird things can get. I feel like it’s very funny that, in a way, of course Michael McDonald and Kenny would be there.” “Show You The Way” is available to stream / purchase. Listen Now


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The album title, like the rest of the album, is meant to be both humorous and serious. “I’ve always tried to hold true to what Erykah Badu and Flying Lotus told me: It has to come from an honest place. I feel like it’s a place that I’ve been in different ways, seen different angles of and it’s been a bit inspirational, the drinking,” he tells RBMA Daily. “It has its ups and downs and everything, but I felt like it showed the human side of what goes on behind things, something that I see with all of my friends… I felt like it was kind of interweaved in the music culture. And it’s something that’s never talked about.”


For more on the album and “Show You The Way,” read an excerpt of Thundercat’s upcoming Red Bull Music Academy Daily feature here




Drunk is available February 24 via digital / CD on Brainfeeder, with the vinyl format—comprising four red 10”s housed in a lift-off box featuring photography by Eddie Alcazar and artwork by Zack Fox—following on March 10. All formats are available to preorder now via Thundercat is also set to tour internationally in support of the album, including a return performance at Coachella Music & Arts Festival.



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Sounds of Light: Fern of Social Club Misfits Pens ‘A Song for Cami’


The Museum of Light launches a new weekly blog, Sounds of Light, where music journalist Billy Johnson Jr. reviews introspective songs that inspire, exploring the likes of family, the arts and politics. First up is a spotlight on Miami hip hop duo Social Club Misfits who just released their new album The Misadventures of Fern & Marty that includes the featured track, “A Song for Cami,” a record Fern penned about his children.

If we only listened to the songs on the radio, we would think that artists have nothing more to sing or rap about than partying and having sex. So, I’ve tasked myself with finding the music, mainly album cuts, that are more introspective and enlightening. Welcome to Sounds of Light, a new weekly feature on the Museum of Light.

I’m kicking off Sounds of Light with a track from the Miami-based hip hop duo Social Club Misfit’s new album The Misadventures of Fern & Marty on Capitol CMG Music. “A Song for Cami,” is a solo offering from Fern, who has a tradition of making records for his kids, Camila Bella, 5, and Santino, 2.

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Over a comforting jazzy, piano and snare-driven music bed reminiscent of early 1990s hip hop, Fern reflects on everything from the joys of putting his son to bed at night to instilling a strong work ethic in his children. During an exclusive interview with Sounds of Light, Fern explains that emphasizing hard work was the song’s main inspiration.

In one lyric, Fern is critical of using crowdfunding to raise money for projects as opposed to generating startup expenses from working: “Why don’t y’all start making money and stop raising funds / Cause all that GoFundMe is a bit much / Told my daughter hard work only is the way to stay up.”

Fern explains the motivation for the song. “I encourage my son and daughter to work hard,” he tells Sounds of Light. “I see a lot of GoFundMe pages. Regardless of the situation, some people need it. But I encourage hard work, and I put that on that song. I want to make sure when [my daughter] hears this song in 20 years from now that she hears me encouraging hard work. ”Fern says Cami remembers the days he had a regular job, pursued his music at night, and had to drive his wife to work. “I literally did not have time to be with them,” he recalls.

Marty, who got married last year and does not have any children yet, gives Fern props for how he’s managed to balance family and music. “The fact that [Fern] travels while raising children, that’s a huge deal,” Marty says. Marty also rhymes about family life — his new bride — on the album’s song “Love 4 Real.”

Fern, who has been married for seven years, says to expect more personal songs from him in the future. “Don’t be surprised if you hear more family songs from me,” he says. “I’ve been blessed. I want to promote the family unit, my kids, my wife. I want people to know there are so many other things to talk about.”

Fern and Marty cover a lot of bases on The Misadventures of Fern & Marty and it’s appreciated.

You can also find this story on THE MUSUEM OF LIGHT and RESPECT Magazine.

The Museum of Light is curated by Billy Johnson Jr., Joslyn Rose Lyons, Rafael Casal, Malik Buie, Matt Smith, and Adell Henderson.

Ronald Bruner Jr. Announces Debut Album ‘Triumph’ + Listen To “Take The Time” ft. Thundercat

Out March 3rd via World Galaxy
Triumph features Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Mac Miller, George Duke, Danielle Withers and many more
On March 3, 2017, Grammy Award winning composer, producer, singer and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. will present the megalithic debut album Triumph. Eleven cuts of deep fusion, soul, R&B, jazz and pop, Triumph was put together with Ronald’s brothers Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and Jameel Bruner of The Internet. It was captured during the infamous KSL Sessions that produced Kamasi Washington’s The Epicand many other West Coast Get Down recordings.
Features are drawn out from an impressive list of musicians across Triumph, including the late and great George DukeWarner Bros. recording artist Mac Miller and many of the core members of the West Coast Get Down. Thundercat laces bass guitar on a majority of the LP, building on the rhythm section with the highest degrees of finesse and technicality.
Triumph’s trajectory in fusion is, in one way, a direct result of working with century defining artists such as Stanley ClarkeKendrick LamarFlying LotusWayne ShorterPrinceChaka KhanQ-TipKenny Garrett and Stevie Wonder. In another way, it’s the expression of a soul that’s independently seasoned, rich in unique experiences and unashamedly unrestrained. The musical manifestation of a man that’s evolved into the role of a father, musical anchor and community leader.

The roads leading to Triumph are vast and intertwining, beginning with the culture that his father Ronald Bruner Sr. brought to his life under stints with Diana RossThe TemptationsRandy Crawford and Gladys Knight. Musically, Triumph is an expression of many styles and modes Ronald’s absorbed through his professional career as a drummer, singer and producer, mixed down into the flavor that he’s dubbed “progressive soul.” The technicality of the album explodes in every seam and the passion, soul and craftsmanship of the songwriting is at an equally high level.
Lyrically, Triumph touches on the deepest extensions of the heart, the restraints of human connection and the dynamic free for all of growing through this world. Every cadence and form of Ronald’s singing is pulled from the bottom of his heart because of this. Family, friendships, love, turmoil, happiness, social issues, politics, musical heritage and many other topics find a seat at the table on Triumph.
One of the most important roads leading to Triumph has seeds planted with bass extraordinaire Stanley Clarke and keyboard maestro George Duke. While working with the legends in the mid-2000s, they pushed Ronald to unleash his own masterwork and join a legacy only a handful of drummers have entered. The influence that Stanley Clarke, George Duke and many others had on the birthing process of Triumph is a magnificent story that will continue to present new chapters through time. Stepping back from the influences and Triumph stands firmly as a pure amalgamation of fusion, reaching the highest plateaus of creativity, songwriting and technicality in this era.

Triumph launches with World Galaxy / Alpha Pup Records on March 3, 2017 and will see pressings across a variety of formats. 
Pre-order Triumph here:


VRTIFY and Digital Mind State Announce The Launch of UrbanWorld Music


The first of its kind AV/AR music channel for Hip Hop and Urban entertainment artists: “VR MEETS SOUL” 


Digital Mind State and VRTIFY are proud to announce the partnership and launch of UrbanWorld Music. Powered by VRTIFY, this is the first of its kind AV/AR music channel to focus on Hip Hop and Urban Entertainment content.


Music ranks amongst the most popular content type in VR, which is consistent both creatively and technically as VR is perfect for quick viewing periods, enduring about the length of your average song.  Hip Hop and Urban music generate more than $10 billion per year and according to SLMG’s research, its customer base is over 45 million Hip Hop consumers between the ages of 13 and 34. This group has $1 trillion in spending power and will play a key role in the adoption and consumption of VR content.


Together, the companies will leverage their respective strengths – including VRTIFY’s patented technology and Digital Mind State’s deep music expertise with both music labels and indie artists to drive innovation in VR/AR and Urban music. In advance of the upcoming launch of UrbanWorld Music, the companies are empowering musicians to create experiences, connections and immersions with immersive technologies and make this content available to consumers nationwide.


Unique to this partnership, UrbanWorld Music will invite consumer brands to partner using an integrated approach to connect their brands and products to both artists and consumers. “We are pleased to partner with VRITFY and its superior VR technology, which will empower artists to connect with fans in ways that has never been done before,” said CEO of Digital Mind State, Mike Johns. “Urban entertainment has always been trendsetting, and now we are excited to develop the most compelling content in VR that the world has ever witnessed.”




About UrbanWorld Music

Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, UrbanWorld Music is the first label dedicated to serving the Urban Youth market. Formally UrbanWorld Wireless, the company previously developed, promoted and distributed mobile content as well mobile marketing. The company’s roster included Grammy Award Winners Three Six Mafia, David Banner, comedian Katt Williams, Mike Epps, and DJ Clue. Clients included Jay-Z, Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, Ja Rule, and many others. UrbanWorld Music is at the forefront of integrating VR technology and the Hip Hop Lifestyle. More information is available at



VRTIFY® is the world’s first virtual and mixed reality music service provider. Through its unique technology, VRTIFY provides the right tools to produce, manage and distribute music content across immersive platforms:


  • 360 degrees: Web from every browser, Mobile phones, Smart TV’s.
  • Virtual Reality: Mobile VR platforms (iOS, Android), VR HMDs (Oculus, HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR, others)
  • Augmented Reality: Mobile phones
  • Mixed Reality: Mixed Reality devices (Microsoft Hololens, Meta, others)


VRTIFY is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. For more information, please visit

TOKiMONSTA’s ‘Young Art Sound’ Comp. ft Anderson. Paak, Jesse Boykins III, Two Fresh & more + tour dates


03. TOKiMONSTA (feat. Anderson .Paak & KRANE) – “Put It Down [Exile Remix]”

04. Jesse Boykins III x Two Fresh – “Live Love”

05. GITCHII x Soslo - “Lazers”

06. Mono/Poly – “Intergalactic”

07. TOKiMONSTA (feat. KRANE) – “Put It Down [Instrumental]”

08. Wear Patterns (feat. Rush Midnight) – “Undone [Beat Ventriloquists Remix]”

09. Mike Gao - “Ivory”

10. CRi – “Why I Love You (feat. Ouri & Odile M.) [Rosewater Ctz Remix]”

11. Gavin Turek - “Surrender [Stranger Remix]”

12. Josh One – “Further (feat. Eighty) [MRR - Drumetrics Remix]”



February 02 Brooklyn, NY – Output

February 03 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall

February 04 Chicago, IL – Chop Shop & 1st Ward

February 08 Seattle, WA – Q Nightclub

February 09 Vancouver, BC – Fortune Sound Club

February 10 West Hollywood, CA – The Roxy Theatre *sold out

February 11 San Francisco, CA – Audio



Hear the Roses Podcast: Photographer Mel D. Cole (Legendary Roots Crew & Trey Songz)

Film and television producers Joslyn Rose and Noris Rose launch the second episode of their HEAR THE ROSES podcast on Wednesday, January 18, on

The weekly series about passion, perseverance and the pursuit of dreams, features photographer Mel D. Cole who shares his journey from picking up a disposable camera to becoming one of the most influential photographers in the music scene.

“The creative journey inspires me … that process where we turn lead into gold … those are the moments I want to explore.”
– Joslyn Rose

“When I breathe and take a moment, I realign with my purpose … to shine light … through my energy, through my laughter and through the stories I tell.”
– Noris Rose

Joslyn and Noris, who share the same middle name Rose (hence the podcast title HEAR THE ROSES), each bring to the project more than 10 years experience behind the camera.



HEAR THE ROSES is also available on partner sites The Museum of LightFusicology, and RESPECT. Magazine.


Louie Vega Nominated For Grammy Award 2017


Louie Vega’s emblematic 2016 album Starring… XXVIII has been nominated for a Grammy in under the award for Best Dance / Electronic Album. With a career that spans over 30 years, including heavyweight projects including Masters At Work, Elements Of Life and Nuyorican Soul, Vega’s Starring… is unbelievably his first solo album and features over twenty-five artists on twenty-eight different songs.

The esteemed group of collaborators on the album include Kendrick Lamar, Funkadelic & George Clinton, Jocelyn Brown, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul, Byron Stingily, Tony Mumrelle and Nick Monaco & Soul Clap and the collection spans the genres of afro, house, funk, latin, jazz, soul and gospel. Vega previously was awarded a Grammy in 2006 for his remix of Curtis Mayfield Superfly and he was sampled by Kanye West this year in Fade.

He explains of Starring…, “My inspirations came from various visits around the world and experiences in life. The album came together naturally, it was like planting a tree, each branch represented an artist, a sound, a groove. The entire process happened within a few years. The experience with the artists on the album was magical; they are all so talented and very unique and have their own special quality.

“This body of work is a masterpiece that will be party of my legacy.”

Billboard: “Another opportunity to impact the dancefloors of the future”

i-D Magazine: “A testament to Louie’s knowledge, ability and friendships in the world of music”

Resident Advisor: “One of dance music’s most important figures”

Mixmag: “Few people in this game can truly be called a master, but Louie Vega is certainly one of them”

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Hear the Roses Podcast: Interview with Award-Winning Director, One9


Time is Illmatic director talks working on Nas documentary, plus upcoming projects.

Film and television producers Joslyn Rose Lyons and Noris Rose Bentivegna debuted their new HEAR THE ROSES podcast on Wednesday, January 11, on

The weekly series about passion, perseverance and the pursuit of dreams kicks off with a candid interview with One9, director of the award-winning Time is Illmatic feature documentary film on hip-hop luminary Nas, and will feature a new guest each week.


One9 opens up about the 10 year road to completing Time is Illmatic and offers insight on his current ventures in film and television, directing a project on police violence that airs on PBS in February and a new project for Academy Award-winning director John Singleton called “LA Burning” that will air on A&E Network in April 2017.


Joslyn and Noris, who share the same middle name Rose (hence the podcast title HEAR THE ROSES) each bring to the project more than 10 years experience behind the camera.

“The creative journey inspires me.. that process where we turn lead into gold…those are the moments I want to explore.” – Joslyn Rose

“When I breathe and take a moment, I realign with my purpose… to shine light .. through my energy, through my laughter and through the stories I tell. “ – Noris Rose

HEAR THE ROSES will also be available on partner sites The Museum of LightFusicology, and RESPECT. Magazine.

Follow Hear the Roses: