I've Moved! Clap For Her

Or, maybe not, if you're loyal to Blogger...


As many things have happened in my life - from new chapters beginning to old chapters ending - I have to adjust, and sadly that means something near and dear is left behind too. I put some serious thought into shutting down this blog and decided to not completely shut it down.

However, it has been paused - more like  the initial stop of a DVD, where folks still have the option to resume or hit stop again to completely end the run. Bubble Gum Pop Rap may return on Blogger but it has moved to Tumblr for the purpose of the site's efficiency, and well - with a full-time, part-time and now back to freelancing - I'm a lazy SOB. Eff yall.

I will miss the pocket change from advertising though!


*that means management, not MGMT the band

Saul Williams Speaks to Soul Train

One of the biggest things to happen to me this year was getting to interview one of the most brilliant minds of our time, Saul Williams. He had a show one night, and I pestered his publicist enough to chat with him earlier that day. The insight he gave was amazing!

The first thing I wanted to talk about was Don Cornelius's sudden passing. I still tremble at how he did it, and Saul seemed to feel the same way. I also noticed in the VH1 special on Soul Train how he was frustrated with the change in the music scene that Cornelius was a guy who liked everything to be the way it always is and life is easiest when things are concrete. Saul touches on ageism when I ask him about Don Cornelius, and while he's right, I feel like Cornelius had much deeper problems than just his age. I hope more is reported on Cornelius and he's not just a historic man we now place RIP in front of. Here's where Saul and I discuss the man of Soul Train:
Soul Train: What was your initial reaction to hearing about Don Cornelius’s passing? 
Saul Williams: It’s the way that he passed that was shocking. For one, it’s not something that is known to be prevalent in our community. And I can only imagine what it’s like to grow older and lose strength, and become frustrated with the times where things aren’t the way they were – that type of ageism that happens often in our country. I think it becomes really hard for old people who are frustrated with how things start to not work for them. It also brings you back to healthcare issues and how we need to get it straight to where everyone is treated fairly, and the people are taken care of, especially psychologically.

When I asked him about how he feels about the music biz now, he gave me quite an earful about how stuck we've become on the concept of celebrity. I always peeped that in how we direct one another's status to Twitter followers, Facebook friends, as well as our circle. Big city Atlanta is notorious for that! The socialite scene can be more about your following than what you actually do. Even beyond that scene - my niece said to me after I asked her what she wants to do when she grows up "I wanna be famous. I don't know what yet, but I'm gonna be famous." I gave the spiel on having and fulfilling a purpose but what 12-year-old wants to hear that? Anyway, off the soapbox I go. Here's an excerpt of what Saul had to say about that topic:
ST: So what about music now, especially in terms of urban alternative music? 
SW: I think we’re at a time now where I look at anyone from Odd Future to Lil’ Wayne to Kanye and Jay-Z, and for the most part people have become more open to new music. But America at-large has established an idea of celebrity. We need to find a way to give the rightful attention to real talent, to people who are exploring. Right now we’re running the risk of having a very formulaic approach to music, to sound, to popularity...
 Check out the rest of the interview over on Soul Train's website!!!

Saidah Baba Talibah's Toronto Sound Off

When I turned this in to soultrain.com, I knew what I was getting myself into. Saidah Baba Talibah and I conversed as if kids are unable to use the Internets. From talking about blues singer Lucille Bogans to screaming and(/or) creaming, Soul Train's Sound Check was never the same. Here's an excerpt of what actually ran:
SBT: Expression is borderless – I express myself one way, and another artist could express themselves another way. At the same time, when it comes to being a woman expressing these types of feelings and being – not aggressive – assertive, knowing what you want, strong and unafraid of vulnerability is not really out there. So I guess that could be raunchy, like just in explaining how I want to please a man or how I want him to please me. We feel like we have to hide that idea behind what it means to be a lady. There are ways to do all of that and still be classy. 
ST: I get it, and there’s even each one’s own interpretation of “classy” and what is a lady. 
SBT: This is why I love old blues artists like Betty Davis. She was raunchy, but she was real in stating her facts of life. Also, there was Lucille Bogan, a blues singer from 1935.  She was even raunchier than Betty Davis, raunchier than anyone I ever heard to this day and age! 
ST: So let me ask: how important is it for you to implement sensuality into your music, and music in general? 
SBT: I think sensuality – not necessarily sex – is very important in everything that I do. In the true form of sensuality – calling on touch, sight, sounds and all those things and bring all the senses together – that’s where I’m coming from. 
ST: How did you develop your music within calling on those senses from The Phone Demos to (S)Cream and so on? 
SBT: Continuing to remind myself to stay as free as possible and to be as real as possible. That’s always the emphasis of where I’m coming from. At least I try to because that can be a little scary. I’m still human. It’s not easy being an artist because everyone has their opinion and capability to judge. 
ST:Toronto music –Canada in general – is nothing to sneeze at. How much of the T-Dot inspires your music? 
SBT: There’s a lot of ridiculous talent, great musicians, great singers on the scene. There’s By Divine Right, Jully Black, Ayah, and a lot of them have branched out and moved but this city is a beast.Toronto can take over the world.
Now that she mentioned it, all those T-Dot artists are dope (including her, I mean, have you heard her music?!). Off the top, By Divine Right is like Toronto's own Radiohead (if only the US had there's - sigh) with their indie kick and their music being vet-like boss status. Jully Black is sassy as shit. No seriously, she has a bold R&B sound that's different than what's typical among other R&B divas, like an over-the-top image isn't necessary to accompany her music. Naturally, fashion is her forte. Ayah, a DJ Jazzy Jeff protege, is Philly soul stuck in Toronto mixed with house, hiphop and whatever else her mind is truly capable of - in fact, a song just dropped she did in collaboration with Slakah The Beatchild called "Keep Up." More heat is sure to follow, I mean, the summer is near!

I'm so glad Saidah hipped me to all these artists. My headphones been on repeat with these folks ever since!

After filling your ears with all that Van Glorious, check out the rest of the interview with Saidah here.

Point Out The Bounce!

When accentuating the positive equals accentuating some triflingness - that which really is what most folks like to call - there's a strong case in the Bounce culture.

I recently checked out Big Freedia's show at The EARL, and man, I had no clue what I decided to cover. Her joint "Ass Everywhere" is a proclamation, let her live performances tell it. Big booty broads on stage, in the audience (then on stage) - surprisingly without a machismo in sight.

While most stripper-ready music brings out as many guys as gals because of the gals, Big Freedia and the Bounce culture brought forth a type of subculture counter-intuitive to misogynous music. And doubting it has everything to do with its popularity in the LGBT community, it felt pretty darn good to see women flaunting what they have without feeling like they were being undressed by the eyes of patriarchy.

So there are more photos and a full recap of this crazy show on Frank151. Go there to see what I saw!

A Proper Doodle of The Late Etta James

This sketch was made by Katie Frasier, a friend of mine from college and the mind behind the new clothing line Feebee.

In my current freelancing days, I cover just about everything that has to do with the arts - from dance to paintings to music to film to theatre - but I usually keep this blog exclusive to music. However, when I spot something that connects to great ear candy - like this great eye candy - I feel it's my duty to post.

I looked at this and saw far more than a neatly drawn picture of the late, great Etta James. I saw just about everything that embodied that singer, from her extremely youthful personality to her from-the-ground-up vocals.

While this could be an ode to "At Last" (or a rant on how every other blog or media outlet dedicates her dedication to other artists who have been inspired by Etta James), she was so much more than that, musically. In certain aspects, mainly speaking when I listen to "Something's Got A Hold On Me" or "Hoochie Coochie Gal" or "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" her classy voice would clash with her raw and youthful personality. Here it is this singer you know from something as dramatic as "At Last" getting down with the rebellious-to-gospel swing sound, or blues rock, or sensual satisfaction (respectively speaking). It was like she rebelled against conserving her swag to big band tunes and dramatic songwriting. She didn't need big red curtains to do her thing. Etta James was that vibrant and bold how she spoke to me loudly like she was that homegirl from around the way.

Not that this picture is "hood" in any sense, but in most artwork that included Ms. James there was a glossy, spotlight-ish, 50s glow surrounding her - even when any true follower of her knew that's not really her. The thing about this photo is it speaks to her vibrant nature, from her booming voice to her various outrage in her portrayal by current R&B artists. The colors used, the fill-in's patterns, the background, her hair, they're all telling a tale that features the entire spectrum of Etta James.

Everyone will miss that. Trust!

Rest in Power Etta James.

Discussing Frankly with Sean Falyon

This guy is great. Sean Falyon did a Frank Discussion session with me, and his scatterbrain had me in tears! Here's an excerpt:
The best thing about where I live is it has a roof on it.
... and when you come here, you should check out my fridge I just bought.
You haven't lived until you went on a recon mission with Sean Falyon's beard!
To see the whole Frank Discussion on Frank151's Atlanta League website, and for the link to his latest Jackin 4 Beats mixtape, click here.

The Strike Against SOPA

"Maybe you'll love me when I fade to black"
 - Jay-Z

As this site is dressed in all black and some of you might wonder "hey, where did those annoying bubbles go?!?!" the Internets is fighting to protect what is there's - freedom. Congress seems to be on a roll with their idiocy of ending online piracy by completely ignoring everything that made the Internet great in the first place.

How can something so generic be so tightening on the lungs of the Web?

We featured the Free Justin Bieber campaign recently, but Congress doesn't seem to get it. I understand, though, as I've been part of the movement to help bring together the colliding worlds of entertainment blogging and bloodthirsty lawmakers. Seeing the various interaction, runarounds, and other slippery slopes of being a watchdog makes me realize that the term evolution (at least when it comes to harmonizing and balancing the two aforementioned worlds) is an understatement.

That's why this site is in its all-black-everything phase.

Basically, the government is enforcing that every website polices third party links from everywhere that includes anything regarding all forms of copyright infringment. That was not a sarcastic statement. Due to generic terms used in the bill, S. 968, that is the way it must be examined. Well, at least to avoid catching a flippin' felony!

Here's the Skippy on why SOPA has a dangerous capability of screwing over everything the Internet stands for:

1. Like mentioned about S. 978 (the Commercial Felony Streaming Act) earlier, the incidentals and accidentals will be entirely too vulnerable. If So And So wants to post her favorite song on Facebook because it explains the complex status she posted earlier about being "the baddest btich" (or however the misspelling goes), then she is liable to shut all of Facebook down. Yes, because the site allowed her to post content that enables pirate sharing, all of Facebook is liable to be shut down. Under SOPA's blanket-covering/suffocating definition, sites like YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox, Soundcloud, and a big ass etc are sites dedicated to "theft of U.S. property." The thing is that any site with a comment box or upload form of any sort - whether the site complies with the DCMA or not - has the potential to be punished for infringement.

2. Any countering on infringement becomes far more difficult than previous copyright laws. For example, if an artist sends me a direct song they want "leaked," and the attorney general finds out then my ass is grass. Alone. In the bill, there is no clear statement of how they go about notifying the artist or their label - let alone whether or not the government has to! The responsibility is placed in my hands to get in touch with an already nearly untouchable party to send a counter-notice stating that I am allowed to "leak" the track... or picture... or video (just to make sure you understand what all's at stake here). After five days of the site being shut down, if no counter-notice is issued, guess who's going to jail?!

3. Still this term "FELONY" puts an awful strain on an already economically struggling field(s). Here's an explanation from Mashable's Opinion page of how quickly casual whoopsies become three years in prison:

Section 201(b)(1) expands criminal copyright infringement to include:
"At least 10 copies or phonorecords, or of at least 10 public performances by means of digital transmission, of 1 or more copyrighted works, during any 180-day period, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500."Now, the way that the value of a work can be computed in court is the very crude (value of the work times number of views).
"Total retail value may be shown by evidence of the total retail price that persons receiving the reproductions, distributions, or public performances constituting the offense would have paid to receive such reproductions, distributions, or public performances lawfully."This means, for example, if you upload a video to YouTube of you singing a popular song, and that song might sell for $1, and your video gets 2,500 views, you are guilty of felony copyright infringement. Furthermore, you can tack on “willful infringement for commercial gain or valued at more than $1,000.”
This would make you a felon, and if a copyright holder were to bring a suit against you, would give you a criminal record that would make it virtually impossible to fain future employment, and may subject you to up to three years in prison for singing a song. You don’t have to receive any money. You don’t have to gain anything from your video. Simply receiving 2,500 views on a song you sung, which happens to have copyright held by someone else, makes you a felon.
 4. This isn't just happening to folks in the U.S., this is for EVERYONE. The power has been put in the attorney general's hands to fully censor - from shutting down the site to cutting the site off from AdSense to cutting the site off from Paypal - any site that isn't even in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Folks first think of WikiLeaks, but what about other sites? Let's not forget about entertainment sites like SoulCulture, Daily Mail, Every Day A Great Song, etc that could be shut down for good. Not only that it's just shut down in their country, but worldwide (they don't call it that for nothing)!

If SOPA passes, then we'll be out here looking like China. Flat out. Big Brother's monitoring will just grow more and more brolick, brolick to the point where any slight instance of opposition is silenced - whether it be opposition of government policy or opposition of society's choice of entertainment.