Sunday Spin: “Lose Myself” Lauryn Hill
02/28/2010, 2:24 pm
Filed under: inspiration archives, shero, subvHERsive

Hadn’t heard this song.  In the days of NEW MUSIC NEW MUSIC and the accessibility to hear THAT NEW MUSIC, it’s nice to hear a song I had not heard from an artist I love so much.

Maybe I was under a rock, but I guess this track was from the soundtrack for Surfs Up (aka Shia Lebouf does the voz of an animated surfer penguin).  Looks like Incubus, Forro in the Dark, 311, and Pearl Jam are also on the soundtrack (and the movie was nominated for some Oscars). Which KCRW’s Liza Richardson did the music supervision for.  As you can see, I could go on for days so, check out my Sunday Spin from Ms. Lauryn Hill.

‘Had to lose myself, so I could make it better.
Had to lose myself…to love.  That was just the way it is.’

[Thanks Relax]

I swerve into you on purpose
02/25/2010, 11:41 pm
Filed under: inspiration archives, shero, subvHERsive

I conrazón Jean Grae.

Ok, so I first heard Jean Grae’s music when I was working at Fat Beats in NYC arouuuuund 2003 (I believe?)  Instantly captivated.  She was strong.  Said what she wanted.  Didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought (or at least it appeared that way). She referenced the X-Files.  She was my nerd-companion in this weird music I loved called HIP-HOP who could knock a sucker out if he stepped at you wrong.  Just what I related to at that point!

Randomly went to Philly for a Roots show that summer + somehow ended up in a hotel room w/ her bonding, talking – she was so nerdy + open.  Luckily, after a cheese steak, her DJ gave me a ride back to New York City that night, and all worked out well.  But she made such an impression.

I’ve been a fan + supported since.  Her album ‘Jeanius‘ (co-starring production by Little Brother’s producer/Jay-Z Black Album approved, 9th wonder) was leaked in 2004 and properly released in 2008 (just about the time when NO ONE bought CDs…) on Talib Kweli’s imprint on Warner, Blacksmith.  The production was cleaner + there’s live instrumentation on the album that was different from the original.

She was also on Talib Kweli song ‘Black Girl Pain‘ that always touched my heart.

“Jean Grae can never fully hide the fact that she’s a subversive artist that not only likes to challenge adversaries but also her audience.”Rap Reviews

“Grae stands out from the crowd for how well words flow from her mouth. She stands near the best MCs of all time in that regard. She also stands out for the sheer darkness of her vision—at least, when a dark vision is what she wants to explore.”Pop Matters

She can tell a story like nobody’s business.  She’s honest about the complexities of love, pain, sex, being a woman in the game…but mostly, she just spits HARD, which is the whole point, right?

Jean…BLOW UP ALREADY!  We’ll be watching.

Ooooh – it’s cool to see LA’s finest, 2Mex, in her top friends on Myspace.  He absolutely ripped a performance last week at IMIX Bookstore’s fundraiser…similar CRAZY wordplay.  A bit twisted. He was in a trance.  Inspiring.

I don’t remember seeing this video at any point for “My Story”…so I thought I’d shed light on it here.  It’s really beautiful, and while it’s not the most hard hitting song on the album [My favorites are “This World” and “Billy Killer“], it’s a winner.

I don’t wanna grow up…
02/24/2010, 3:59 pm
Filed under: inspiration archives, la raza cosmica, subvHERsive

Soooo…I’ve been working as publicist, digital media and business development partner for a gem of a bookstore in North East LA, called IMIX BOOKS.

While here, I’ve not only been exposed to some amazing books and the indie publishing world, but also some vibrant children’s books.  Who says they are only for children?  I’ve reflected on my own childhood reads; I’ve laughed, cried and have been lost in the wonder of many of the illustrations.

FLASHBACK: I was a finalist for a city-wide pop-up book contest in New York City.  I wish I had the book still, but the story was about a cunning chameleon who could blend into his surroundings.  Have been thinking about resurrecting the concept…vamos a ver!

Mis favoritos:

“Dear Primo” – by Mexico City-born, Parson’s educated Duncan Tonatiuh, beautifully illustrates the transnational relationship between two cousins; one in rural Mexico and the other in urban New York City.  Can’t get enough of this book!

“The Night Eater” by Ana Juan (she did the popular children’s book “Frida” which I love too!)

Here’s the sum of the book from the Publisher, Arthur A Levine Books – “Every morning the Night Eater runs through the sky, gobbling up the darkness. He eats cloudy nights as light as cotton candy, and deep dark nights that taste of bitter chocolate. His favorites are bright clear nights, with stars that tickle his nose as he swallows.”

The illustrations are bright, vivid and dream-like – simply unlike any book I’ve seen.

Melanie Watt‘s ‘Scaredy Squirrel’ series has me laughing in stiches on several occasions.  Scaredy is such a metaphor for all our fears, but it’s once he leaps into the unknown, he discovers something really uplifting…

Damn!  Seems Melanie has written a book called “Leon the Chameleon”...thankfully, it’s not a pop-up – so there’s still hope!

Bling – a Planet Rock
02/22/2010, 9:17 pm
Filed under: inspiration archives, shero, subvHERsive

Came across this documentary, “Bling – A Planet Rock” – a look at the gross materialism in hip-hop (mainly the proliferation of “bling” in the late 90s) in the context of civil war in Sierra Leone.  It came out in 2007 but I really want to see the full film, which I saw you can get on Amazon.  Cool to see Raekwon, Tego Calderon, Kanye West in there…can’t judge till I see it, but from the trailer…looks like I’ll learn something.

The doc’s director, Raquel Cepeda, is a sister whose name I’ve seen around for a minute.  I noticed she is a committee member of the Pop Conference from the Experience Music Project in Seattle this year.  Her blog is choc-full of interesting things too for folks into music, travel, politics, latinidad, etce.

Check out this portion of the doc.

Sunday Spin: ‘Bobo Meets Rhettmatic’ – The Mixtape
02/21/2010, 4:23 pm
Filed under: inspiration archives, la raza cosmica

Peeped this mixtape this morning from the homie, Eric Bobo and his project with DJ Rhettmatic from the Beat Junkies crew – Bobo Meets Rhettmatic.

Bobo is a current member of Cypress Hill and has played with the Beastie Boys throughout the 90s (remember ‘Bobo on the Corner’ from “Ill Communication?)  He even released his solo album, “Meeting of the Minds” on Nacional Records in 2008.  If you’ve seen Cypress Hill live, you know that Bobo IS the live show, in my personal opinion – his percussive touch adds some Latin flavor to mix and sets the band apart from other hip hop groups live.  His dad, Willie Bobo, is much-lauded Latin jazz legend; Eric took over his dad’s Latin Jazz orchestra at 15 when Willie passed.

So this is my Sunday Spin – LISTEN HERE.  Listen to Bobo jam out on congas, tambores, timbales and all of that with Rhettmatic masterfully freakin’ the scratches & beat juggling over some tight tracks (my personal favorite, Gypsy Woman by Crystal Waters.)

Watch Bobo in action:

I want to be like Bobbito Garcia, too!
02/18/2010, 5:26 pm
Filed under: familia, inspiration archives, la raza cosmica

Check out this amazing post called ‘I want to be like Bobbito Garcia‘ from my friend, Rolando Brown aka Grow (pictured below).

Bobbito has been an inspiration + mentor of mine for over 5 years now.  Constant support, inspiration, encouragement + guidance.  We all need guardian angels, right?  If you don’t know of Bob’s contributions to HIP HOP culture…then you should CATCH UP HERE.

The joy and hate-free-ness with which he lives his life + supports art and his passions inspire me in the face of a cold world that often throws everything BUT that in your face.  I know that personal-success and fulfillment  (and yes, CHANGE) can be had in a hate-free, non-egomaniacal, way – and that’s because of my friendship with Bob.  Truly a renaissance man.

Rolando puts it well:

Bob has fun. Bob loves music. Bob travels. Bob understands the importance of strong local and global culture.  Bob dances. Bob contributes. Bob knows how to fights, and Bob spreads love. Period.”

Oh, I know when the coconut’s about to fall!
02/16/2010, 2:59 pm
Filed under: shero, subvHERsive

Watch Eve Ensler‘s talk @ TED 2009 ‘Embrace Your Inner Girl.’  We all are emotional creatures!

I watched the movie ‘Power & Passion‘ the other night, and became familiar w/ artist, author, and PhD sexologist who has been one of the principal voices for women’s sexual pleasure and health for over three decades, Betty Dodson.

After reading up on her, I came across her response to Eve Ensler’s VDay initiative + the Vagina Monologues.  I  think what Eve does is shedding awareness through theater/arts/celebrity on the violence that persists in the world still, but Betty’s view of reclaiming sex is a powerful one.  She has a book out called ‘Sex For One’ if you want to read more.

“It’s much easier to look at other countries and gasp at their cruel and inhuman sexual practices. It keeps us from having to face our own sexual problems.” – Betty Dodson