Essentially creating a lane for successful hip-hop acts in Pittsburg, PA, Rostrum Records has cultivated the lucrative careers of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. Next up to bat is Boaz Bey, or simply Boaz. Describing himself as a “fly brother, all around hustler and extraordinary musician,” the MC says growing up in the area of Larimer and watching hip-hop’s growth during the ‘90s gave him music aspirations. Helps that he came from a musically inclined family as well. “Music is something I’ve always been inspired by, and hip-hop was something I just gravitated to,” he adds. Boaz remembers his early fascination with Will Smith’s turn in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and House Party’s Kid & Play as forming his approach to relateability. “ I thought that was cool because it made me feel that regular people could have this ability,” says Boaz. “The raps they were giving off were that they were just everyday cats from the hood.”
Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7, Chali 2na, DJ Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist are back. Seven years has passed since the release of Jurassic 5’s fourth and “final” album, Feedback,sans Cut Chemist. As this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the group’s first project, the Los Angeles-based collective have decided to go on a twenty-date tour in celebration which kicked off early this month. Alongside the tour and upcoming full-length documentary, the group, known for their hit single “Quality Control,” recently dropped “The Way We Do It.” Produced by the iconic Heavy D, the track is the first time all original six members of Jurassic 5 have recorded together in over a decade.
Chali 2na, smooth baritone spitter of Jurassic 5, speaks with SoulTrain.com about the reunion, Heavy D and whether or not to expect new material in the future.
Snoop Dogg – UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival 2014
Stephany Lopez – 6th Street Bridge
Jason Blake – Few and Far 2014 Collection
A. Mannor – Downtown LA
2013 saw the untimely deaths of two very influential people in my life; my biological mother Mary Ann Holmes and legendary film critic Roger Ebert. Both losing their battle with cancer, similar fighting spirits and graceful acceptance of the end showed fearlessness in character. Those similar attributes have shaped me personally and creatively over the years. Besides sharing my mom’s DNA, her ability to see the world outside of her own lens forced me to double-check preconceived notions of the world I lived in. The same could be said for Ebert who thoroughly understood the language of cinema like no-other yet, could translate its tongue to the common man effortlessly. Makes total sense how he essentially became one of cinema’s most respected film reviewer of all time; something that Hoop Dreams director Steve James details in the documentary companion to Ebert’s 2011 memoir Life Itself. James properly creates a portrait of a man whose ballsy approach to film criticism shaped the industry.
For a woman brought up in the church, St. Louis born and Chicago raised singer Aida didn’t take her Christian background seriously after traversing down south to Huntsville, Alabama around her sophomore year of high school. “I turned into the Tasmanian Devil because I didn’t want to be here at all,” she says. “I went to church a little bit but I felt like it wasn’t for me, and watching my parents go in and out of different churches had me feeling that church was fake.” Before then, the 22-year-old describes a time where she was in church five to six times a week as her mother and father focused on their various work as ministers of music. Growing up in the church, she found music to be a passion of hers. When Aida wasn’t enjoying the spiritual stylings of The Clark Sisters and Kim Burrell, she began to appreciate more secular artists ranging from Destiny’s Child to Brandy.
There wasn’t a sound that represented black music and its crossover marketability more than 1960′s Motown. Detroit’s crowned jewel of course gave birth to The Jacksons, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross & The Supremes among others who went on to break various racial and commercial boundaries individually. As its era highpoint ended, the label had cemented its legacy as one of pop’s biggest influences from then on. Of course, the time period also brought forth the world domination of The Beatles. Finding inspiration from both sounds would be punk rock’s best kept secret; not discovered until several decades later.
That band would simply be named Death.
It’s pretty interesting how exactly Freddie Ross, a.k.a. Big Freedia, became the face of New Orleans-based bounce music. Beginning his career as a backup dancer and singer for then mentor Katey Red, the “Queen Diva” is now the star of Fuse TV’s biggest reality show, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. As the show marks its second season this month, Big Freedia is also set to drop her first full length album Just Be Free. Featuring the single “Explode,” the project comes as his professional profile grows larger and personal life changes.
In this SoulTrain interview, Big Freedia discusses the recent death of his mother, season two of Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, Just Be Free, if his collaboration with Diplo will see the light of day and more.
Prince, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Mint Condition all have one central city instrumental to their career beginnings: Minneapolis. “I think Minneapolis is one of the best cities to get started in,” says Blue Note Records jazz hybrid vocalist José James. Growing up in Minnesota’s biggest city was quite the experience for anyone interested in music, says the artist. “There’s a lot of clubs and great musicians there, especially for alternative rock, hip-hop and jazz,” he explains. It helps that James grew up around music, making him a fan of the art form early on. Having a musician for a father, he remembers attending countless rehearsals and sessions. Calling himself a “sponge,” James gravitated toward numerous forms of music from the Seattle grunge movement spearheaded by Nirvana, jazz aligned swag of A Tribe Called Quest and soulful vocal pipes of Al Green to rock icons The Beatles. Lets not forget Minneapolis’ greatest. “Prince was just a massive inspiration to all of us,” says James, who simply refers to the Purple One as a legend.
Ten or fifteen years down the line, it’s highly probable William Eubank’s surrealist science fiction thrillerThe Signal will enjoy a following similar to the Jake Gyllenhaal vehicle Donnie Darko. Both feature plots that can be described in one very simple yet crude word; mind fuck. Like Richard Kelly’s cult classic, The Signal is visually stunning throughout its short 95 minute runtime and on a relatively low budget. More significantly, performances from the small central cast of unknowns cohesively hold everything together.
“We just happen to be a group that’s married and puts out entertainment; one of the reasons why we haven’t had any issues on that level is because we treat it that way,” says Xanthe who, along with husband K-Tabbs, form Atlanta-based R&B duo Epic 92. Originally a trio before a reduction, the two met while K-Tabbs was out promoting a show in Xanthe’s home state of North Carolina. The two eventually decided to form a group and romantic relationship after K-Tabbs invited Xanthe to record in Washington, D.C. “This friendship just lasted over the years and we became more than that,” Xanthe added. Describing themselves as an Urban Adult Contemporary cross between the Eurythmics and Loose Ends, Epic 92 have been through personal and professional trials since their 1992 start.