Photos: 2011 Little Five Fest (taken by Dave Batterman)

Last year, when this was The Other Sound festival, I didn't know about the event until the middle of the day it began. I promised myself I would not miss this year's, and, fortunately, I am a person of my word!

I covered Little Five Fest for Examiner this year, despite some camera issues, but was taken care of by the Little Five Fest crew. The photos you'll see below are taken by Dave Batterman, a well-known concert photographer, a man who knows his stuff.

WTF? Funk Has Slyly Slipped Away

After reading New York Post's story on Sly Stone, and listening to Dam-Funk's newest EP InnaFocusedDaze, everyone should be convinced by now that funk is the most unsung genre in the history of music. Yes, even more than the different layers of folk.

By now, everyone has heard one of Sly& The Family Stone's uplifting records on a cheesy commercial or a self-help flick. From "Thank You (For Letting Me Be Myself)" to "I Want to Take You Higher," people have not only felt Sly & The Family Stone created quality music but transgenerational messages of empowerment. The fact that the group's ring leader is broke - which some credit is due to his abusive drug habits - due to a bad case of mishandling his finances is ridiculous.

Aside from the management in the money and the messages in the music, the art of funk only remains a conversation piece among a small few - let alone expressing it within the music. After hearing "Don't You Know (This Funk Is Real)" by Dam-Funk, it's become apparent that the use of the bass slap is rarely heard in today's music, despite the oodles of enjoyment from listening to similar sounding records from the 60's and 70's. While we try to keep our music, fashion and pop culture vintage and original - even to the extent of overly sampling funk records - we've left some of the most innovative pieces of the genre behind. Same could be said for the use of hi-hat and synthesized snare - no one uses it anymore yet everyone loves to hear it. It's crazy how Dam is the only one that is out right now carrying on the tradition of funk music properly.
Scion A/V Presents: Dam Funk - InnaFocusedDaze by ScionAV
As innovative as funk was when it first came on the scene and as influential as it has become for genres like house, hiphop, jazz, pop, rock, R&B and reggae, why is it that the funk musicians - especially the greatest funk musicians like George Clinton and Sly Stone - currently sit in the worst financial situations as multiplatinum-selling artists? Why is it the hardest for them to fight back for their royalties and properly manage their funds? Why has it seemed like the following generations have raped these cats for all they're worth?!

This rant has come after tiring stories of Sly Stone: living out of his van while fighting in court for millions in royalties, George Clinton: check-to-check from retrospective tours and TV appearances, not to mention Zapp's family, the Sylver's family, and countless others in the mentally-straining struggle to get what they so rightfully earned. I'm just as tired of watching it as they are fighting it.

My Blogging Efforts for Troy Davis on Frank151

All posts associated with Troy Davis bear thoughts that build tears. The fact that a Black man was executed for something that he might've done should let everyone know that this justice system is flawed. This isn't the blog to speak directly on those matters, unless musically-related.
This has been my connection to the case professionally, and please believe I worked it to the bone! On Frank151, I helped spread the word about the real-time eblast and mixtape campaign for Troy Davis' clemency. Though clemency wasn't granted, the effort - and definitely Troy Davis - will not go unnoticed.

Listen below to the countless number of political and hiphop icons who tried to help Troy Davis. You can check out my scoop on the matter, which covers up until Wednesday evening, by clicking on the link below the bandcamp player.

Curio Museum In Exmainer Reveal Honesty and Emotions

Every week in Little Five Points are at least five shows that are worth going to, regardless of what type of music folks actually listen to - because it'll all be there one way or another. Whether it's rock or rap, in some way, shape or form there's something from all genres for someone from all walks of life.

That's what Curio Museum helped me realize when I a) saw them perform one Thursday night and b) interviewed them for Examiner.

In this excerpt, Nadia (the band's lead singer) talks about her crazy vocals and how expressing their emotions can make one feel dirty after:
With your performances, as innocent and laid back as you guys are, it gets really tense up there with all the yelling. Where does that come from and why do you do that?

I’m gonna be 100% honest, the band wanted me to just stand there and sing with my cute voice. One day, I got really upset while I was singing during a live performance, and I screamed one line. It stayed with me, so now I continue to do it every now and then. It was totally an accident, but I stuck with it because it sounds great. Plus, all the songs are really emotional, and I love to try and capture that. I put a lot of myself into these songs so that it’s very real and very a part of me. It overcomes me a lot because most of the time it’s the deepest darkest secrets I’m telling. Encoded, but still telling.

Wow, so how should I listen to it?

You should feel dirty afterwards.

Oh, like I should go wash after this show then, huh?

No, maybe, but it’s a very serious thing I do. I hope the emotion shines through even beyond the meaning, and I hope people feel it. People can take and mold their own meaning to our stuff, I just would really like it to mean something to someone else.
Continue reading on Get to know: Curio Museum - Atlanta Local Music |

He Couldn't Help Himself: An Interview with Jéan P

If you've seen the buzzing viral video about the stereotypes of the 50 states, then you know Ohio only matters during elections. With that said, because it's absolutely true, finding musical gems within the state can be tough. Being from Ohio, I know too many talented cats "sitting on a dream." Luckily, there are emcees like Jean P who let me know hope is not far-fetch for Ohioans, especially the musicians.

We talked to Jean about his slightly gloomy documentary - with his extreme emphasis on why he, well, couldn't help himself.

You have an extremely old-school style, even down to the rhyme. Who are your influences? Is old school hiphop your direct influence?

I listen to new artists, watching hiphop films and digging in the crates to listen to samples – even early hiphop songs – the culture is forever my influence. I got a few emcees I’m influenced by: Gangstarr, Jeru the Damaja, Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest. Forreal-forreal, it’s the culture as a whole because I’m just amazed with it, and it’s something that’s part of me. It makes me happy to do what I’m doing because I feel that I’m contributing to it.

So have you seen the Tribe documentary?

Yeah, I seen it. I loved it. That blew my mind! I felt like a little kid at the candy store, but then at one point I was so shocked. It was perfect though because they showed you the whole story and answered all the questions that you wanted to know. I always wanted to know about the samples – I always wanted to know about the music-making process.

I never really try to emulate people, but if I had to, I would wanna be like Q-Tip. The documentary got me to buy a record player. I got my music equipment down in the basement, and I started to buy records for the player just because Q-Tip’s interest in vinyl. With his knowledge of records, especially in the mp3 age, he stands out, so I wanna accumulate that same type of knowledge so I stand out too.

How have you developed as a musician, beyond emceeing?

I had the same set-up at OU as I do now in Canton, but I now own my own set. There were times I couldn’t record with iShine because I been out of school due to my grades, but I’ll be returning back to OU in January hopefully.

I got all that stuff because I wasn’t sure that I would be able to come back, but I looked into my papers and realized I had a chance to go back since it was only a suspension. It helped me a lot though because it made me do it on my own, and it gave me the feel to do everything on my own. I’ve got my website on my own, got my logo on my own and everything I got it was just me. It’s been like experimenting the same way a kid would do with toys. Like, I’ll play on my Akai for a really long time and find myself making a beat. My free time isn’t partying and all that, it’s being on my equipment.

Is it because you’re in Canton now? How have you been adapting to the Canton scene as opposed to OU/Athens?

The music scene here is buzzing. There’s a few artists here, but not like “oh my God! Canton’s the place for hiphop.” Being here has made me realize the importance of being in school. It was a real wake-up call. While all my friends were in class I was going to work at Goodwill, or just sitting at home in my room. I really sat and thought about it, and I love my city to death, but I don’t wanna be here sitting on a dream. I know I can rhyme. I know I can be a musician. But I know I worked hard to get to OU, so I need to work hard to get a degree. Being at home helped me realize that if you gotta sit in a classroom and study, I’d rather do that than be working a 9-5. When I was slacking off at OU, it wasn’t like I was doing it on purpose. It was just that I got so caught up in being Jean P, the rapper, that I wasn’t focused on being Jean P, the student. When I go back in January, I’ll be way more focused. I’ll still be performing, don’t get me wrong, but I’m gonna form a balance. I think I’ve built enough of a buzz for the past two years, so I can buckle down and focus on getting my degree.

Being here in Canton has caused me to wake up because there’s not a lot of success stories here – just negative things going on like crime, poverty and it’s just a small place. I don’t wanna be a product of my environment.

Seeing the video Can’t Help Myself, I see a lot of emptiness and abandoned buildings and whatnot in Canton. Same deal for your album cover. Is there an underlying theme behind this video that is parallel to what I’m seeing in this documentary?

That was exactly what I was trying to say through all of these projects. If you’ve noticed my music before, you’ll think Will Rap 4 Food is very depressing! It was honest, it was one of my most successful projects I’ve done and got me a lot of buzz, but it’s really depressing. I had to let it all off my chest – the birth of my son, not being out with my friends, my life – I was being real on Will Rap 4 Food. I put a lot into and pulled a lot out because I felt like I was done since I wasn’t in school anymore, plus the birth of my son. I really wanted to give up, I’m not gonna lie. But when I got the attention from the album, I wanted to keep going. I’m glad I didn’t give up because you wouldn’t have seen me on KevinNottingham, ThisIs50 and DJBooth.

You said it took a lot outta you to do Will Rap 4 Food, and the content has changed since the last time you were on this blog. Tell me about how the writing and lyrical content has developed since then.

I’ve matured. I listened to my other projects and saw what I wasn’t doing to step it up for Will Rap 4 Food. Like, I can’t even listen to Thought Process anymore because I sounded so juvenile, so different. I love doing more projects because I know it’ll be nothing but growth.

Tell me about your upcoming project with Lakim Opposites Attract.

Lakim is a producer out of Virginia. He’s a hybrid of all the great producers I’ve wanted – like 9th Wonder and J Dilla – rolled up into one person. When he sent me those beats, I was like “damn, man. You make all these beats for free?!” The title comes from, one, I’m from Ohio and he’s from Virginia. Two, I’m an emcee and he’s a producer. We attract together because we want to bring some real hiphop and give yall a dope album. He was originally gonna be on Will Rap 4 Food, but when he sent me those beats I wanted to do a whole album with him. I’ve always wanted to do an album like that too – like Pete Rock & CL Smooth or Guru and DJ Premier. While I’ve sort-of done it with iShine, Lakim has that boom bap-style I need. iShine is his own man because he has that DC sound that’s kind of R&B and pop, so when he was making hiphop beats for me it wasn’t a style he was used to. At the end of the day though, we’re still family and part of one team.

Covering One Music Festival 2011

It brings about a whole unique feeling when you can sit through a daylong concert with three generations sliding through the lineup, especially when the genres are as diverse as displayed within One Music Festival.

I had the privilege of covering One MusicFest with Carolyn Grady for BlackVibes, assisting her with the writing as she let her Nikon express her vocabulary. 'twas a beautiful site, all these people together under one cause - loving music - and seeing everyone let the music please them. What an orgasmic experience as a concert goer, let alone the vibes from the artists, up close and personal, in the press room via the interviews.

Though I was limited on word count for the website I wrote for, I posted as much as I had on the site via Twitter and Tumblr, including an interview with Phife Dawg of ATCQ on Tumblr. Here's a twitpic of me interviewing The Cool Kids from @willedmond:

You can check out the twitpics I sent to Twitter right here!

I have some video I'll post soon of the concert footage on my YouTube page. Seeing Kyron Leslie, Anoop Desai, Tortured Soul, Anthony David, The Foreign Exchange, The Cool Kids, Pharcyde and Chrisette Michelle all hit the stage was the most refreshing moment I had in music in a long time! You can check out the photos and my official recap of One MusicFest on!