Visionaires: "All We Need" Video
In today's news, Rafe is offended by the lazy criminals who just use Facebook to find out when people aren't home. Also, Nokia gets a new CEO who's apparently a "fine steward;" but is he a visionary? Especially with Android coming up fast? Also, Adobe brings back its Flash-to-iPhone app development tool.
The Future in African Urban Music...WAWESH is a hip-hop artist and producer heavily exhaling a breath of freshness into international hip-hop whilst truly representing his country of birth, Kenya. The Sweden based MC has been creating a swirling buzz in Swahili speaking communities in Africa and the Diaspora via his debut hit single, video and his website. Despite being an unfamiliar name to some, his production credits go way back and he is already a renowned name in production circles throughout Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. Under his alter-alias, Kiboy, he also co-owns BlaO Entertainment, a production company that has been involved in many projects including work for the likes of international names like CNN, Samantha Mumba, Talib Kweli, Floetry, NAS and many more. Having had experience in developing artists and creating hits for others, Kiboy decided to step forward to deliver something he believed the Swahili speaking community and fans of quality international hip-hop worldwide wanted. Thus, WAWESH was born.
This is a sincere and honest tribute to the people of India. The essence and magic of this great country is captured in a soul-stirring combination of pictures and music.
Fable III is the third installment in the series from visionary creator Peter Molyneux.
As youngsters, Akim and Dumi's exposure to hip-hop came via their oldest brother. Nicknamed Fu Man Chu, he was the leader of a pioneering DJ crew and his extensive record collection of early rap and classic funk provided a window into the realm of Hip Hop music. Many of his records were acquired through friends that traveled out of the country and picked up wax that wasn't available locally. Getting access to Hip Hop in Zimbabwe was extremely difficult and the only chance to hear rap on the radio was a weekly 30-minute show that played a few hits. Akim and Dumi soon began popping and breaking. After a while they got into rhyming, using instrumentals by the likes of Eric B and Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, Mantronix and UTFO. They used two radios, one to play the instrumental and the other to make low-quality recordings. Eventually, they connected with friends who had more advanced equipment, and at one point Akim even got the opportunity to rhyme on the weekly Hip Hop radio show. As Hip Hop entered its Afrocentric era, the two identified with it more than ever. They got serious about pursuing their dream to become like artists they were listening to and reading about in magazines such as Hip-Hop Connection, Word Up and The Source. The Source Magazine featured a monthly column called Gangsta Limpin' written by Dave Funkenklein. At the time, he was also working at Red Alert Productions, which was closely affiliated with the Native Tongues. Dumi wrote Funkenklein a letter, letting him know that in an era when it was so popular to rap about Africa and rock dashikis, medallions, beads and Kente cloth, there were some emcees in Zimbabwe that were making Hip Hop music of their own. Funkenklein wrote back and said he thought it was cool to hear that there were heads in Africa rapping, and casually mentioned that if Dumi was ever to come to the U.S. to give him a call. Dumi was actually about to move to America to join Akim at college. Shortly after Dumi arrived in New York in the summer of 1990, the brothers began working on a demo to send to Funkenklein. They aimed to stand out by highlighting their unique perspective as emcees coming out of Africa. Funkenklein was initially uncertain of how rappers from Africa might sound, but upon hearing the demo, he was impressed and set up a meeting with Dumi and Akim at the sparse 29th street offices of Red Alert Productions. When they met, Funkenklein said that he was feeling the rhymes, but wanted to hear what they could do with some dope American producers. He had one such producer in mind for the job, Mr. Lawnge from the group Black Sheep, newly signed to Mercury Records. They met up with Mr. Lawnge and Dres, as well as some Mercury execs, and Akim and Dumi kicked some impromptu rhymes that had everyone buggin'. Fast forward some months later and Funkenklein was out in Hollywood, heading up a newly established rap label. He pitched the idea of a record from the Brothers from Africa, and the label was down to cut studio demos and see what kind of response they got. Akim and Dumi took on the name Zimbabwe Legit and hopped into the studio to record a 4-track demo. The label liked the demo enough to sign the duo to a contract, and before long, the group was laying down tracks at the renowned Calliope studios where artists like the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul also recorded. Once the project was completed, the 4-song Zimbabwe Legit EP dropped to a flurry of press, mostly glowing and positive. Despite all the attention, several missteps hampered the success of the project and caused the dream to be derailed, or at least deferred. People reported not being able to find the record in stores, and some radio DJs said that they never received promo service. There was a severe lack of budget for marketing and promotion, and the label even balked at doing a video. Eventually, thanks to some of Funkenklein's connections, the group was able to do a no budget video using a camera crew that worked for free. The dilemma of Zimbabwe Legit was this: even though the group was signed to a subsidiary of a major entertainment conglomerate and the man at the forefront was a Hip Hop visionary, the suits in the back setting the budgets and cutting the checks were straight clueless. Funkenklein even said that they kept asking him to bring them a group like Kris Kross. Zimbabwe Legit was not your typical run-of-the-mill rap group and they required careful marketing and promotion that the label was not 100% willing to supply. On Organized Konfusion?s "Stress", Prince Po raps "I'm spreading like leprosy throughout the record labels, cause mines put me and Monch's career in jeopardy." Organized Konfusion was signed to the same label, and experienced some of the same frustrations. Meanwhile, Dave Funkenklein was enduring a battle with Cancer. Once his health declined, other people were assigned to run the label. Things worsened, and after a while, Zimbabwe Legit ceased to be a priority. It was not long before it all unraveled and eventually the label that had also been home to Organized Konfusion, The Lifers Group, Raw Fusion, Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf, and The Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E. closed its doors. Sadly, Funkenklein, a true Hip Hop purist and visionary, passed away in 1994. Undaunted, Zimbabwe Legit never stopped recording. This album is from that era, when talent and promise never got their due shine. Nowadays rappers are everywhere, from St. Louis to New Orleans to France and Japan. Enjoy listening to a ground-breaking group that helped open the door for international Hip Hop.
A Lively Mind is Paul Oakenfold's second artist album and his second for Perfecto Records. Of course, every single one of his mix albums and projects have involved a high level of artistry, so perhaps a little explanation is in order... Paul Oakenfold has long been one of the most important--if not the most important--name in modern club culture. People who don't know that much about DJ culture or the music itself are familiar with Oakenfold's name and what he represents. Of course, many people who think they're unfamiliar with Oakenfolds music actually may have heard it often, thanks to appearances globally on the radio and TV featured in commercials supports mega brands such as Coca-Cola, Toyota, Motorola and Saab all which ran throughout 2005, not to mention his contributions to hit films such as Swordfish (which Oakenfold scored), The Matrix Reloaded and Michael Manns Collateral. In fact, when the superstar DJ sold out the Hollywood Bowl a couple of years ago, many pundits viewed the events as definitive proof that dance culture had finally arrived in America--a force as powerful as any other in modern pop music. Still, when he works as a DJ and/or as a remixer and releases mix CDs it's not a total expression of this Grammy Nominated artists musical creativity. Thus, A Lively Mind features 12 new songs composed and created by Paul Oakenfold. A work of love and passion, its been three years in the making. Bunkka, his debut artist album featuring the hits Ready Steady Go and Starry Eyed Surprise, was released in 2002, sold over a million copies worldwide and went Gold. "I'm an infant in the 'artist' world, weaned and ready to blossom," jokes the composer. "I still primarily believe that songs are the way to move forward in my musical world, which has always been very instrumentally-based. So coming up with great songs takes time. And, naturally, I'd jump from making the record to working on cues for films or doing a couple of remixes and then I'd get inspired and jump back into it. Some of the tracks have been reworked many times over to find a comfortable arena for me. "Plus, even though there are 12 tracks on the CD, I've recorded quite a few more. It wasn't a process of seeing what I could come up with and that's what's ended up on the album. There was a lot of tooing and froing until I was happy with the record". By his own admission, however, Oakenfold is not a singer. Bunkka featured such guest vocalists as Perry Farrell, Ice Cube, Tricky, Nelly Furtado, and--in what would turn out to be his final recorded appearance--Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. A Lively Mind continues the tradition of employing unique vocalists. "Faster Kill Pussycat," the kickoff track and first single, is perhaps the most unique and somewhat shocking of the album when it comes to guest singers. The song--which started life as a rock tune but now might best be described as reminiscent of a young Madonna at her very best--features the astounding singing talents of... Brittany Murphy. Yes, that Brittany MurphyEminems girlfriend in 8 Mile. The femme fatale in Sin City. The actress-turned-diva was recommended to Oakenfold by a mutual friend Oakenfold claims, by the way, to be totally unfamiliar with Russ Meyer's cult classic film, Faster, Pussycat, Kill Kill. "I was looking for a different genre and a different feel and something just original for me," explains Oakenfold. "I knew I wanted a girl vocalist but also someone who's not known as a singer. It had to be someone from a completely different world than mine. It ultimately seemed that film was the right place to look because I was venturing more and more into that world. But even more importantly, I needed someone who could sing--who could really, really sing--and Brittany Murphy fit the bill." The world of film--or at least of Hollywood--influenced another of the albums stand out tracks, this one featuring vocals by modern hip-hop great Pharrell Williams. Inspired by the four years the London-Raised Oakenfold has called L.A. "home," the track is titled "Sex 'N Money." "It was actually an idea I came up for my last record that didn't make it because it was to hip-hop back then and I already had enough hip-hop songs on that album," says the writer. "So I shelved it and then later came across it while hunting for some old stuff. I liked the lyrical connotations of sex and money, thinking if anything, it's more relevant to today. "It's a song about how soulless the Hollywood party scene can be. Ive been in situations where people are introduced to me and then they spot a celebrity, standing nearby, and they disappear, literally mid sentence. So the track is really Hollywood in a nutshell for me--it's all sex and money. We deconstructed our original track and rewrote it for Pharrell, in a way that's melodic and hypnotic and just keeps coming back at you in waves." Other vocalists include two artists signed to Oakenfold's long-running Perfecto custom label--Spitfire (who performs on "No Compromise" and "Feed Your Mind") and Ashley of the rock band Bad Apples (who adds his vocal talents to "Vulnerable"). And then theres one who can only be described as a true living legend. Grandmaster Flash, the man who gave birth to the whole hip-hop movement in the early '80s with his classic "The Message," joins Oakenfold on "Set It Off." "Flash and I have long talked about making a track together hes the godfather! So it was truly an honor to work with him. I don't think there's another DJ I would actually make a record with but I really liked the idea of the guy who arguably started the whole DJ thing being on my record. And I liked the idea of our worlds colliding and our sounds clashing. That's why the track is a little more electronic than some of the others. It's a perfect blend of both our elements." A perfect blend could also be the perfect phrase to describe the cohesiveness of A Lively Mind a title which means an active person, says its creator. Balance was the key on this one, and the artist believes that this album may strike with a larger audience than Bunkka, an album that tended to alienate a small portion of his large audience. "What I set out to do on my last record was probably one step ahead of the game," he says in retrospect. "The dance world or electronic world was expecting more of a DJ record and I wanted to make a record that was more out there. Direction is hugely important to me--to have a balance. And I felt like maybe I'd lost a bit of balance on Bunkka. So this record is a lot more up-tempo, a lot more focused, and a lot more comfortable in the electronic world than the last record was and yet it still has a variety of flavors." In fact, some of the titles and themes on the album have a direct correlation to that electronic and dance world, both lyrically and title-wise. "Save The Last Trance For Me" is, of course, a play on words from the Drifters' classic "Save The Last Dance For Me." His critics get their comeuppance in "No Compromise." And the instrumental "Amsterdam" pays tribute to a city that plays host to the biggest dance scene in Europe. Of course, on some levels, it seems almost absurd to think of Paul Oakenfold needing to get "more comfortable" in anything involving the electronic world. After all, the guy helped invent that world. His mark can be seen and heard in everything from the early rise of hip-hop to the birth of the "Madchester" scene. Oakenfolds career began in London, when he began DJing in small clubs around the West End. His rising reputation led to a job as an A&R rep at the UK-based Champion label, where his first signing was Will Smith (still part of Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince). His second? Salt N' Peppa. Not bad for a novice record exec. After stints at Profile and Def Jam (where he perfected the talent scouting skills that would eventually lead him to start his own Perfecto label in 1991), he returned to DJing. Oakenfold changed European youth culture throughout the late '80s and early '90s. He was one of the first DJ's to have a residency on the Island of Ibiza, leading to both a new sound and a yearly festival. He also started regular "Balearic" club nights in London, attracting a crossover audience and remixed legendary bands such as The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays (whose Pills 'N' Thrills and Bellyaches album was produced by Oakenfold and his production partner Steve Osborne, becoming the biggest album of the band's career). His pivotal role in the Manchester scene was Oakenfold's visa into the rock world. Over the next several years, he, along with Osborne, remixed tracks by legendary bands New Order, The Cure and Massive Attack. In 1991, he first worked with U2 remixing "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways" from their Achtung Baby album. It was the start of a long partnership with that band. He was the DJ on their historic ZOO TV tour and later remixed the band's "Beautiful Day," a number one hit for U2 on the U.S. and U.K. dance charts. Over the years, he's remixed tracks for everyone from Madonna to Elvis Presley to Justin Timberlake to Moby to Snoop Doggy Dog. He's the first electronic artist ever to be in the Guinness Book of World Records--for being the biggest DJ in the world. He's the only DJ to have a display case in the Hard Rock Cafe's Rock & Roll Museum. 2003 also saw Paul perform a concert on the Great Wall of China. That same year, not only was he honored with the UK's "Pioneer of Dance Music" award, which was presented by Queen Elizabeth herself at the "Pioneers of the Nation" celebration," shortly after Oakenfold had played the Nelson Mandela-organized South African AIDS benefit concert alongside Bono, Peter Gabriel and Beyonce Knowles. Oakenfolds mix compilation Another World (Perfecto) sold over 500,000 in the U.S. alone making it the biggest selling DJ compilation. He's also one helluva cook, having graduated from culinary school before beginning his journey in the music world. Now comes A Lively Mind, a totally new and fresh venture and perspective, musically speaking, for the artist. The album is just the beginning of an amazing 2006 that will find Oakenfold working on the scores of at least three new films--as well as remixing a number of singles including Madonnas new record Confessions of a Dance Floor and a track from the legendary Burning Spear. At the same time, the Perfecto label is releasing debut albums by the aforementioned Spitfire (who Oakenfold compares to a young Anthony Kiedis) and the London-by-way-of-Los Angeles Bad Apples. Then there's the U.S. and European tour that will follow the new albums release.
The huge and crazy video was directed by R. Vincent, in association with Picture Perfect/1st Ave Productions. "Who I am", the debut video from Gemstar, is sure to bring back the essence of true hip-hop, showing the grind and realism of the game. Gemstar and Dubplanet are already making a lot of strides in the music industry and with this video release and the grand re-opening of the Dubplanet Records website, they are sure to gain some new inhabitants on the planet of Dubplanet.
dead prez co-founder M-1 will release his debut solo album entitled "Confidential" on March 21st on KOCH Records and Sotti Records. The album features guest appearances from artists Styles P, Q-Tip, K'naan and Cassandra Wilson. M-1, who makes up half of the highly respected hip-hop group dead prez, is excited about his solo release. He wants to make clear that he's not leaving dead prez but that this album represents a new platform, making it appealing to current dead prez fans and new M-1 fans. "Confidential" showcases another dimension of M-1's ingenuity and talent while encompassing the same empowering culture fans have come to know and respect. "Confidential" is the next chapter in the dead prez book," explains M-1.
Chicago's disco visionary FELIX DA HOUSECAT is creates vocal pop, soulful synth-funk and pulsing electronic disco.
Steve Jobs, co-founder and technology industry visionary, has passed away at the age of 56.