Monthly Archives: May 2018

Kamasi Washington Debuts: Street Fighter Mas | Heaven and Earth out June 22 + Tour Dates

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KAMASI WASHINGTON’S HEAVEN AND EARTH OUT JUNE 22 
Groundbreaking artist Kamasi Washington debuts a new song, “Street Fighter Mas.” Listen here and watch the trailer for the track’s forthcoming video, directed by A.G. Rojas, here. Washington’s immensely anticipated sophomore album Heaven and Earth is out June 22 via Young Turks.

 

Of the song, Washington says:

“When I was younger, I was in between the end of the arcade generation and the beginning of the console generation. We used to go to this place called Rexall to play Street Fighter. At Rexall, there would be different people from different hoods there playing the game. It was the one place that was like an equalizer. It was just about how good you were at Street Fighter…for the most part. In other places, you were afraid of these dudes; there, you would just play the game and it was what it was, you know? I was really good at Street Fighter, so where the song really came from was me jokingly saying I was going to have my own theme song so that when I showed up to play Street Fighter they’d play my theme song before I came in, like a boxer. In the context of the album, it was the connection that we got with those guys in our neighborhood. We used to call them OGs, the older guys that we looked up to.

 

In a lot of ways, for me, video games was the way I connected with them because I was never affiliated with any gangs, but I knew them and I was cool with them and that was mainly through the video games. At an older age I thought how amazing would it be if the OGs could just play the game and solve their problems that way. The meaning within the scope of the record is a connection to the past and all of the many ways we can connect.”

 

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Photo credit: Durimel

Heaven and Earth, the long-awaited follow up to Washington’s debut The Epic, is comprised of two halves, which find Washington confronting quotidian realities with cosmic themes. A further investigation of Washington’s world building ideas, the new album explores his reckoning with current global chaos and his vision for the future.

 

Washington convened his band, The Next Step, as well as members of the long running collective The West Coast Get Down at Henson Studios in Los Angeles to record the 16 tracks on Heaven and Earth. The music was composed, written and arranged by Washington, with new arrangements of jazz and bebop legend Freddie Hubbard’s “Hubtones” and iconic kung fu film theme “Fists of Fury,” as well as one song by bandmate Ryan PorterThundercatTerrace Martin, Ronald Bruner, Jr., Cameron GravesBrandon ColemanMiles MosleyPatrice QuinnTony Austinand many more contribute to the album.

 

“Street Fighter Mas” follows “Fists of Fury” and “The Space Travelers Lullaby,” released in April alongside a pair of accompanying scenes created by acclaimed British artist and director Jenn Nkiru. The visual pieces are inspired by a more expansive collaborative Heaven and Earth film project that is due for release later in the year.

 

To celebrate the release of Heaven and Earth, Washington will tour globally with stops in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Tokyo and beyond. See full tour details below and visit kamasiwashington.com for more information.

 

Kamasi Washington is a multi-instrumentalist and producer born and raised in Los Angeles. He grew up playing jazz in the city’s storied Leimert Park neighborhood. Forming his first band, the Young Jazz Giants, with Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, Ronald Bruner, Jr. and Cameron Graves in high school, Washington went on to study ethnomusicology at UCLA and play with Snoop Dogg, Raphael Saadiq and more.

 

His debut album, The Epic, was released in 2015 to rapturous critical reception, universally embraced as one of the best of the year and awarded the inaugural American Music Prize. Heaven and Earth follows The Epic as well as Washington’s 2017 EP Harmony of Difference, an exploration of the musical concept of counterpoint that debuted as an original work for the 2017 Whitney Museum of Art Biennial.

 

Heaven and Earth, over two and a half hours of music, will be available on double deluxe CD and a four piece vinyl housed in bespoke double gatefold sleeve, in addition to all digital services. The album is available to pre-order via http://y-t-r.co/heavenandearth

 

KAMASI WASHINGTON—HEAVEN AND EARTH

“‘The world that my mind lives in, lives in my mind.’  This idea inspired me to make this album Heaven and Earth. The reality we experience is a mere creation of our consciousness, but our consciousness creates this reality based on those very same experiences. We are simultaneously the creators of our personal universe and creations of our personal universe. The Earth side of this album represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am a part of. The Heaven side of this album represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me.

 

Who I am and the choices I make lie somewhere in between.”—Kamasi Washington

 

I. EARTH

1. Fists of Fury
2. Can You Hear Him
3. Hubtones
4. Connections
5. Tiffakonkae
6. The Invincible Youth
7. Testify
8. One of One

 

II. HEAVEN

9. The Space Travelers Lullaby
10. Vi Lua Vi Sol
11. Street Fighter Mas
12. Song for the Fallen
13. Journey
14. The Psalmnist
15. Show Us the Way
16. Will You Sing

KAMASI WASHINGTON LIVE

North American Tour Dates

Overseas Tour Dates

New Music & Video: Regina Madre “(I Keep) Holding On”

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Regina Madre, a pseudonym meaning Queen Mother, is an enigmatic newcomer to the front lines of soul music. Her freshman foray captures a powerful range of emotions in this soulful collection filled with the vibes of life, love, and royal queendom and she beckons her listeners to join her in celebration of these themes within themselves. Sparking nostalgia and inspiration with each track, Regina’s sound is an enchanting combination of jazz, singer-songwriter and pop that melds with her unique vocals and poetic lyrics.

 

While invoking passion, strength, and individuality with her lyrics, Regina keeps her real identity hidden. In the words of EME Label Executive and super producer Carvin Haggins, “She wants the music to stand on its own. Her music is one of empowerment and enlightenment; and Regina doesn’t want to muddy the waters with provocative imagery that takes the focus off the message. So she’s anonymous (at least for now) and lets the music do the talking.”

 

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Regina explains music is part of her DNA: she hails from Gary, Indiana and was raised by musicians whose influence instilled a love for the arts within her from her earliest days. However, she kept her musical passions on hold as she pursued what her mother, a singer herself, would describe as more realistic dreams. Now, after accomplishing many of those other life goals, Regina demonstrates that dreams never cease to exist.

 

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For now, listeners will remain with one burning question:
“Who is Regina Madre”?

 

 

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George Clinton & Parliament “Medicaid Fraud Dogg” – 1st album since 1980

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George Clinton and Parliament – The Funk We Need Now: George Clinton & Parliament Release Medicaid Fraud Dogg

Parliament’s new album, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, is the paradigm-shifting funk group’s first in 38 years. (release: C Kunspyruhzy Records Inc.; digital only) Their May 26 live performance at the L.A. Greek Theater kicked off George Clinton’s final world tour.

 

George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic will circle the globe in the next twelve months until they tear the roof off the sucker for the last time in May 2019, after which the Parliament-Funkadelic legendary juggernaut will continue on its own without Clinton.

 

“I had to get this music out there,” says trailblazing founder and lead singer and songwriter for the group, George Clinton. “I felt real creative urgency to give the world this, right now.”

First Single: 

I’m Gon Make You Sick O’Me, feat. Scarface, Mudbone

 

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The press release could end right there: Parliament and Clinton are woven into America’s pop cultural fabric so tightly, it’s hard to miss their iconic anthems and sound, their wild imagination and pervasive influence. Watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2, listen to just about any hip hop track (Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” say) or recent R&B single, ride certain rides at Disneyland, and you’ll hear them. Head to the Smithsonian, and you’ll see their unforgettable Mothership on permanent exhibit.

 

Clinton and Parliament have been instrumental not only in founding an entire genre, but also in forging the sound of several generations of younger musicians, inspiring, mentoring, and collaborating with the likes of Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.

 

Though the band hasn’t had a fresh album since 1980’s Trombipulation, they recently sold out the 17,000-seat Hollywood Bowl and freed the minds and asses of packed festival crowds at Coachella. Clinton is consulting producer for Season 2 of Mike Judge’s Tales from the Tour Bus on HBO/Cinemax, and all episodes will feature funk legends. In fact, Clinton has been so busy doing everything from blockbuster European tours to curating vinyl subscriptions, it’s shocking he’s had time to lay down new tracks.

 

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Medicaid Fraud Dogg jumped out of the furious activity, as Clinton listened to “Flying Lotus, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z’s new album, Tra’Zae, and all that shit coming out of Atlanta. All that trap shit. I’m trapped in it,” as he explained to fans on Reddit in a recent AMA.

 

Yet while diving in and out of what’s hot in music, Clinton keeps his own radically singular perspective and his hallmark push for change through funk. Medicaid Fraud Dogg is a wild and funky musical excursion through the inner workings of the corrupt modern American medical machine, with tracks like “Medicated Creep”, “Pain Management”, “Psychotropic”, “Insurance Man”, and “I’m Gon Make You Sick O’Me.”

 

“Whenever political shit gets to like what’s going on now, you always find that music rises up to be a part of it. This reminds me so much of ’66 and ’67 when the Vietnam War was heating up and people started understanding together the civil rights concept that everyone was fighting for,” Clinton told Noisey in a recent interview. “The women’s march, all that needed was some funky music to it. They had different causes, but they all know positivity and felt that they had to be there together, and that’s what’s going to happen with this shit. You’re going to get so many people rising up that the whole country is going to come together. Funk will be around when that shit is needed. You have to dance your way out of your constrictions, and you need some funky music to do that.”

 

www.distrokid.com/parliament

 

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VIDEO: MANDIA “Pull Up (SKRRT)” feat. Eric Bellinger

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Some predictions require crystal balls. Others can be made using more tangible things, like ears, a heart, a rump, and a devotion to righteous grooves. That’s all anyone needs to know that “Pull Up (Skrrt),” the electrifying new single from fast-rising Ottawa R&B singer/songwriter Mandia, is poised to be the break-out smash of the summer, if not the year.

The slinky and decidedly after-dark “Pull Up (Skrrt)” juxtaposes superstar singer/producer Eric Bellinger’s soulful voice against Mandia’s, as expressive and gravity-defying an instrument as those of her spiritual sisters Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Seriously, girl could start fires with that thing! Mandia’s soaring counter-narrative to Bellinger’s lyrics in the single is positively dazzling.

Co-written by Mandia and Bellinger with Toronto’s own LUCA, Savannah Ré and Emerson Brooks, and produced by SLMN & LUCA, “Pull Up (Skrrt)” is out now on all streaming platforms. A stylish lyric video (“Which contains all the tools you’d need to pull up and skrrt,” Mandia howls)

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“We were all in one room writing, and then Eric ended up hopping on later and writing his own verse. It was so cool,” Mandia, just 21, recalls of the single’s creative process. “I had been looking for a feature to add to the song and when I came across Eric, I knew he would be perfect with the vibe I was looking for.”

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As for the song’s saucy lyrics, Mandia says, “To me, ‘skrrt’ means you’re in and out. This single began as a bit of a joke, something people would say, ‘We’re going to pull up and skrrt!’ But I insisted we stick with the line and melody we came up with because it flows and is so memorable. When I listened to the demo, I knew we had to follow that through.”

“Pull Up (Skrrt)” demands inclusion in the fiercely innovative R&B/hip-hop arena. “I am a vocalist first,” Mandia says. “I grew up listening to Beyoncé, JoJo, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera. What’s coolest for me about R&B and hip-hop is that the vocals are the main attraction. I’d like to explore other genres but R&B/hip-hop is where I see myself now.”

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While fans are grooving on “Pull Up (Skrrt),” Mandia will be hard at work crafting future singles to cement her status as Canada’s most exciting new voice. “I am working with some really dope producers and writers on an EP, Cocktails & Dreams, that I hope to release later this year. And performing live is one of my favourite things to do, so shows will be coming up as well.

“I think this single will let people get to know me as an artist, get to know my name,” says Mandia, already an Instagram sensation. “The reaction so far has been amazing; people have been loving it. Even DJ Khaled has backed the single. I couldn’t be happier.”

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Sam Spiegel (N.A.S.A.) returns with “20 Below” feat. Anderson .Paak & Doja Cat

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Sam Spiegel is] the kind of guy whom you meet at a Hollywood house party and are sort of confused about what exactly he does for a living but you want to work with him on something, anything, nonetheless.”—Los Angeles Times

 

“[Spiegel’s N.A.S.A. project’s] tracks are a three-dimensional, ever-shifting combination of Brazilian, American and even African funk…chirpy pop choruses punctuate raps, and the beat stays brisk and unpredictable.”—The New York Times

 

Grammy-nominated DJ, music producer, composer and music and film director Sam Spiegel’s “20 Below,” featuring Anderson .Paak and Doja Cat, which premiered on Complex, hails “20 Below” as “a chilled-out, soulful track with crisp percussion and warm synths that naturally incorporates smooth vocal performances from both Anderson .Paak and Doja Cat.”

 

 

“20 Below” is Spiegel’s first release since his 2016 single “Mutant Brain” featuring Assassin (out now via Interscope Records), which was recently featured as the soundtrack to the Spike Jonze-directed “Kenzo World” short film (hailed as “the greatest fragrance ad of all time” by Fast Company).

 

The track reached #2 on the Spotify Global Viral 50 playlist and won the AICP “Best Music” award as well as two Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions Film Festival. Listen and watch the short film at https://youtu.be/ABz2m0olmPg.

 

Since Spiegel’s landmark 2009 collaborative project N.A.S.A. (with Brazilian DJ Zegon), whose debut album The Spirit of Apollo featured appearances by Kanye West, Childish Gambino, M.I.A., Tom Waits, RZA, David Byrne and many others, he has gone on to establish himself as a critically acclaimed music and film director. Spiegel served as music director for Kanye West’s “Glow in the Dark” tour and Karen O’s Stop the Virgens theatrical project, the latter of which Spiegel co-wrote and produced with Karen.

 

In 2005 Spiegel founded his award-winning commercial music house, Squeak E. Clean, through which he has scored commercial campaigns for Nike, Adidas, Cadillac, Honda, Sonos and many more. Other highlights among Spiegel’s film credits are the scores to Spike Jonze’s Yeah Right!, the top-selling skate movie of all-time; HBO’s Pretty Things; Drew Barrymore’s Whip It and more.

 

Spiegel’s track “Hello Tomorrow” won the Gold Lion for Best Music at the 2005 Cannes International Advertising Festival and Silver for Original Music at the 2006 Clio Awards upon being featured in an Adidas commercial directed by Jones.

 

In 2015 Spiegel turned his attention to film direction with the video for the final track to be released by N.A.S.A., “Jihad Love Squad (feat. KRS-One).” He went on to direct a pair of short films for National Geographic and CNN’s first-ever live commercial, which aired at 11:35 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve 2017 during CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live” and received nearly 3.3 million live viewers.

 

AN OPEN LETTER FROM SAM SPIEGEL TO HIS FANS

 

Hello Family,

I know music has been quiet from me for a very long time, but there’s lots of new music on the way. Since giving up the N.A.S.A. name, I signed a deal with Interscope Records in 2016 and released my first ever Sam Spiegel song, “Mutant Brain which was featured in this Kenzo perfume ad. Since then, Interscope has held me from releasing any new music.

 

I’m finally free of my deal with them, and I have so much music that was sitting around waiting to be released. The music was made over such a long period of time—some of it even when I was still using the N.A.S.A. moniker—that it lacks a cohesive idea that threads the songs together to make it work as an album project. I tend to enjoy making very conceptual albums, and I feel that this collection of songs doesn’t really work as one.

 

I’ve decided to release all twenty or so songs one-by-one over the next two years as singles, which will all be packaged together at the end as a collection called Random Shit From the Internet Era.

 

We’ll be creating record release experiences around most of the single releases, so look out for those coming to a city near you.

 

And finally, my first single comes out May 18 and it’s called “20 Below” featuring the homies Anderson .Paak and Doja Cat. I hope you enjoy it.

New Release: What Should One Do from Sidibe

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Sidibe’s newest song “What Should One Do” highlights her signature voice and harmonies. Drawing from Michael Jackson, Nile Rodgers, Sting and Sade for inspiration, Sidibe finds herself standing at the relational fork in the road wondering, “What Should One Do”?

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Sidibe’s nuanced and layered vocals take center stage on her newest song “What Should One Do”. Here she draws inspiration from Michael Jackson, Nile Rodgers, Sting and Sade as she effortlessly blends classic and contemporary elements.

 

Along with her collaborators Nico Stadi and Warryn Campbell, she is truly cementing a signature sound that makes comparisons difficult. Part of that signature sound is undeniable musicality and an incredible line-up of musicians including Warryn Campbell, Jubu, Nate Mercereau, Rodney Jones Jr and Nico Stadi.

 

Sidibe’s musings dwell on the many aspects of love and romance. In her latest offering, she finds herself standing at the relational fork in the road wondering, “What Should One Do”.

 

Sidibe had this to say about the process “I write the lyrics to my songs, so I am thankful for the experiences in my life that provide me with inspiration. I like finding beauty in every aspect of relationship, even the heartbreaking moments”.

 

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R+R=NOW (Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Christian Scott & more) Release Debut Single

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R+R=NOW released their first single “Change of Tone” off of their upcoming album Collagically Speaking (out June 15 via Blue Note). R+R=NOW is the new supergroup assembled by Robert Glasper, featuring Glasper on keys, Terrace Martin on synthesizer and vocoder, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synth and beatbox, and newcomer Justin Tyson on drums. “Change of Tone” moves with ease between its various sections and styles, highlighting each of this remarkable collective’s members along with vocal contributions by Goapele.

 

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Other guest voices on the album include actors Omari Hardwick (Power) and Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Expendables); actress Amanda Seales (Insecure); MCs Stalley and yasiin bey (f.k.a. Mos Def); and singer Amber Navran (of Moonchild).

 

R+R=NOW will play U.S. album release shows in Atlanta (Variety Playhouse, June 15), Washington DC (DC Jazz Fest, June 16), and Brooklyn (Celebrate Brooklyn, June 22) before launching an extensive European summer tour.

 

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Drawn & Recorded MF DOOM Episode

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“Drawn & Recorded” – the animated series / collaboration between Gunpowder & Sky, Oscar and Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett, acclaimed animator Drew Christie and music television producer Bill Flanagan (“Storytellers”, “Crossroads”) on the AT&T AUDIENCE Network.

MF Doom was not always the music villain we now know him as. Once upon a time, he was Daniel Dumile, and his rise to villain-dom was a rough and painful journey.  Five stories will be rolled into one 30-minute episode every Friday at 10 p.m. PT/ET.

D&R_EP_02_DOOM_TRAILER from Drew Christie on Vimeo.

New Release: N’Dambi and All Cows Eat Grass ‘AIR CASTLE’ EP on Alpha Pup Records

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Imagine if you will, a time capsule aboard a deep spacecraft headed to eternity. The past informed by the present, and the present informed by the past. It’s an accurate description for the gravity defying EP Air Castle, a sonic journey through space and time launched by soul icon N’Dambi and All Cows Eat Grass front-man T.Brown.

 

Brown, former MD for Janelle Monáe, joined forces with the always musically adventurous N’Dambi for the cosmic soul outing which pairs the organic warmth of N’Dambi’s honeyed vocals and sophisticated songwriting with electronic synthesizer layers, 80′s sonic cues and retro-future compositions that in the end defy easy categorization.

 

“This project is an experience….a trip. Depending on where you come from determines how you hear it” declares N’Dambi. T. Brown characterizes it as an “Innocent exploration through different styles and concepts aiming to please and intrigue,” ultimately taking you back to your future.

AFROPUNK REVIEW

“N’Dambi and All Cows Eat Grass describe their Air Castle EP as “a time capsule aboard a deep spacecraft headed to eternity,” and it’s clear what they mean. N’Dambi’s 70’s soul vibe meets T. Brown and ACEG’s 80’s electro-funk, but somehow despite it’s retro trappings, it sounds new. Futuristic even.”

 

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The burbling synth bass in the intro to “Nowhere” draws the listener into a delicious retro-production informed by 80′s sonics complete with syndrum snare hits and layers of synth fills. The vocal effects which at first suggest the vast nowhere of outer space evolve into an impassioned plea “we ain’t got to go nowhere” – and as a listener we are invited to settle in.

 

Next on display is N’Dambi’s now legendary storytelling through song. “Just A Man” – an ode to an enduring love for an absent father, N’Dambi swoops around a nearly anthemic melody detailing a penchant for projecting her idealized love onto potential love interests – until in a moment of clarity declares “he’s just a man.”

 

“Air Castle” is the north Memphis born T.Brown’s electro-soul production on full display. With Bowie-esque shifts in movements, “Air Castle” deftly blends a futuristic sonic aesthetic with funk, soul, and gospel vocals, building beneath a jazz-rock electric guitar lead by Jeff Gitelman which earns the song a berth on the short list of “songs to trip to.” Literally and figuratively.

 

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“Show Me Your Smile” returns N’Dambi back to terra firma with the breezy warmth of a simple lyric extolling us to smile. Kellindo Parker, in his third appearance on the release, shines particularly for his syncopated guitar figure which invokes Convertion’s 1980 groover “Let’s Do It.” Paired with an easy melody, N’Dambi proves she can make grown men wistful for days gone by,  yet it is T. Brown’s counter melody that’s all about the science of mind.

 

Research proves that smiling changes brain chemistry by raising serotonin, the body’s feel good chemical. Once you smile, you’re bound to feel better. One smile leads to a thousand smiles and we all feel better. Now isn’t that mind-blowing?

 

With “Borrowed Time”, a song about being present in this moment, we find the Dallas native in a setting that would befit Oleta Adams in her “Tears For Fears” prime. N’Dambi, with her contralto on full glorious display, implores us to take her hand – which we are willing to do – for no matter where she takes us on her sonic journeys – we know we are enveloped by the essence of her soul.

 

So there you have it. N’Dambi and All Cows Eat Grass. The Air Castle EP, taking you through your mind’s eye on a cosmic journey through the sky. What’s in your time capsule?

 

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N’Dambi

https://www.ndambionline.com

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All Cows Eat Grass

https://www.instagram.com/aceg_music/

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