For The Culture

Summer Jams 4 Drops June 30th, 2017

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That’s right, yall.

I’m dropping the 4th installment of the Summer Jams series on my golden birthday.

Let the excitement overwhelm you. Haha.

I really am hype to share this music with yall. I’m going to take this as an opportunity to go as far as possible with this music thing.

Shout out to Paige T. She illustrated the album cover. Follow her on IG @kookeybird

It’ll be available on all of the online outlets.

I hope yall really enjoy it. That is my wish for Summer Jams 4.

See yall a luh later…

For The Culture

#LaLaLost…But I’m Still Giving the Side Eye To The Academy

So…I wasn’t gawn say nuffin. But I feel compelled. I usually talk primarily about music, but this is an art moment that really, really matters.

I’m a start off by saying that I haven’t seen La La Land. I intend to, because I love movies and I heard from a few friends that it looks gorgeous. But, that is the best of what I heard about it. It’s tied with All About Eve and Titanic for most nominations ever in an Oscars (14). I think it did so because it made white folks feel good.

“Why just white folks, huh? That’s discriminatory.”

First off, shut up, it’s not discriminatory. Literally no one I know who is not white heard about this movie until awards season rolled around. Shoot, even some white folks didn’t hear about it. With all this fuss, all these record-breaking nominations, all these awards…most people who aren’t white didn’t know what it was. This makes so much sense for so many reasons, but I’m only gonna mention 3 of those reasons:

Hidden Figures, Fences & Moonlight. All multiple Oscar nominees. All great flicks. All Black leads. All captured everyone’s attention in 2016, black or white or otherwise.

This past year was one of the best in recent memory for black films and music. No movies were more critically acclaimed than these three films. EVERYONE was talking about these movies leading up to, during and after their releases.

Moonlight STILL set itself apart. It told a story that had never been told on the big screen and did so with great passion and precision. It reflected identities and experiences we have rarely if ever seen in a Hollywood movie. It was absolutely gorgeous to look at and listen to. It created space for needed conversations. It was cathartic, infuriating, reminiscent, rich and black. as. fuck. Even if you don’t share any identities with anyone that appeared on-screen, you felt that shit because every single performance was stellar.

It was and is entirely litty. One of the best films I have ever seen, personally, if not the very best. It accomplished all of this with a fully black cast, a black writer and a black director, and that proves something that black folk have long believed and exercised: if we’re given the opportunity, we will do something excellent. You can bet on us.

Yet, Moonlight still had to contend with something that made white people feel good. Even though only white people knew about it.

It doesn’t help that La La Land is a musical love story that leans in heavy to the relationship between white folk and jazz. For those of you who don’t realize this, jazz is also black as fuck. Improvisation is a hallmark of blackness, be it jazz, soul food, freestyle battle raps, b-boyin’/girlin’, makin’ a dolla outta fit-teen cent, et cetera. Over the same span of existence that we have improvised in order to live well, we have seen white folks rewarded and lauded and PAID for appreciating and often times appropriating this improvisational quality. I suppose I could write a different post about that later, though.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (the company responsible for the Oscars ballot count) employs Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz to count every vote for every category at the Oscars. These are the only two people who know who the winners are before the show announces them live. There are over 6,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture & Sciences (AMPAS) and every vote is counted by hand, several time by ONLY these two people. There are always two copies of the results on either side of the stage, two separate routes taken to the theatre and two separate briefcases that even make an appearance on the red carpet. This system has been in place for 83 years with PwC and there has NEVER been a mistake like this.

Yet, in the moment that for the first time an all black erythang movie wins Best Picture….oops!

No. NO. Get the fuck outta here.

That is why this Oscars “mistake” is so irky. Do you realize that this historic, black ass win for Moonlight will forever be associated with La La Land  because of this bullshit? We are gonna have to be wayyyyyy too intentional to dissociate La La Land from Moonlight’s Best Picture win now, when we didn’t even know what La La Land was 60 days ago, and that’s a generous number.

Among my friends and foes, I am known to be a conspiracy theorist. I stand by it, too, because I rarely theorize over absurd and outlandish stuff (I think). I usually theorize around racial stuff. I do this because white folk have been tryna ruin black folk for ages and have gone to great lengths to do so. Surely, fucking up a moment like this is not beyond them, especially after purposefully running disease experiments on black serviceman. I digress.

My point is, this is not a likely mistake. Yes, mistakes happen, but there is a certain level of performance and production where you just don’t come by many mistakes, especially not the type of mistakes that permanently taint historic moments. As gracious as Jordan Horowitz was, he should have never had the opportunity to be so gracious. My first thought as I watched last night’s fuckery unfold was, “Breh…BREH…they did this shit on purpose. This is the fuckin Oscars, ain’t no room for these kind of errors!”

Maybe that’s where I went wrong though. Maybe I was giving to much credit to an academy that year in and year out awards mediocrity and ignores sheer brilliance. Shout out to Viola, but she shoulda won an Oscar in 2008 for her role in Doubt. I have never seen her not be incredible. I’m not even gon touch on the Denzel snub. Sike! Denzel’s role in Fences was probably his best performance ever, yet he lost to a white New Englander playing a white New Englander. The Oscars Rihanna’d the fuck outta Hidden Figures, too (see the fact that “Work” lost the Best Pop Duo Grammy to a song I can’t think of the name of).

It’s cool though. Black folks will be forever winning. Black culture influences anything and anyone it comes into contact with. It is rich and colorful and flavorful and it belongs to us.

At the end of it all, La La Lost and late in the Moonlight hour, Gawd turned it around.

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First Thoughts On The First Listen

First Thought On The First Listen: Thundercat – “Drunk”

So I take it this album is about getting and being drunk. Lovely idea for an album, in my opinion. The themed approach worked VERY well for him on The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam, which was about dying and being dead. Let’s hop in! Listen along track by track if you wish.

01. Rabbot Ho

Sounds like it’s picking up right where his last EP left off. He really has found a sweet spot with singing falsetto over his melodic bass lines. I love “Rabbot Ho” as a phrase and his choice to even write it this way brings me joy, because AAVE is the best.

02. Captain Stupido

HA!

“I think I left my wallet at the club” = been there, bro. This joint is so groovy. Reminds me of MonoNeon. Perfect background music for being drunk and not knowing what the fuck is going on (a lil bit).

03. Uh Uh

Ahh yes. This feels like the way your uncle who plays bass and was in a band tells stories about how poppin they used to be. These chord movements…YEESH!

04. Bus in These Streets

First single, was released a few months ago. Feels like 70s era Sesame Street, when every song was a hit. I love stream of consciousness songs and Cat is like…the king of that. Sonically this album already feels drunk. Wow, I’m really enjoying this.

05. A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)

Head knocker. Why is he meowing lmao. Greaaatttt pocket here. “Everybody wants to be a cat. It’s cool to be a cat.” Dope writing style. He’s drawing parallels between his stage name and the Lion King, yall. The meows make so much sense now. This will prolly be one of my faves off this LP.

06. Lava Lamp

Immediately sounds like what a Lava Lamp looks like. This one feels more like high than drunk to me. Yall, his sound selection somehow got better. Deep groove, mid tempo. Body roll worthy.

07. Jethro

Hip-hop feel. Make sure you get into the bass solo stuff he is doing in the right ear early on, gaht damb he killin. I love how short the songs are. 

08. Day & Night.

This is giving me a little bit of a vaporwave feel. Sample fodder.

09. Show You The Way [f. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins]

The term “Yacht Rock” cracks me up, but it is really fitting. This man really got Michael “Subwoofer Virtuoso” McDonald and Kenny “Midrange Falsetto King” Loggins on a song together again. Wow. The stuff music nerd dreams are made of. And not only that, this song sounds like it dropped the summer of ’75 and it still doesn’t feel out of place on this record, at all. Random Sonic The Hedgehog High Score sound fx for the win.

10. Walk on By [f. Kendrick Lamar]

Ohhh some slow burn 808 groove. Interested to see how K.dot attacks this. Thundercat really be singing yall, haha. Drunk reminiscing about a love lost, who can’t relate? Kendrick delivers as always. Perfect song for a kickback.

11. Blackkk

Got some mixed meter happening. Reminds me of Weather Report. Great harmonies. “I want to experience all the (light? life?) has to offer meeee.” Nice lil morsel of a song. 

12. Tokyo

Chippy synths have my heart. This will be a fave in Tokyo for sure, lots of cultural references. And I think he has a few performance dates there on his tour. WHOA DUDE…second verse gets weird asf, be warned.

13. Jameel’s Space Ride

Now we’re in the 80s. Now we’re in a video game. This could easily be a Sonic level. Afrofuturistic lyrical content. Self conscious Sonic the Hedgehog reference at the end.

14. Friend Zone

This song makes me so mad. Because it is so dope musically, but I can’t buy into the whole Friend Zone shit. That’s a toxic concept, because it assumes that you are owed something because you are a nice guy to someone. Nah b. If you can manage to ignore the fuckboiness of this song, you will enjoy the sonic presentation. Feels like it coulda been on TPAB. The arpeggiated synth here is magical. Shout out to black reclamation of electronic music.

15. Them Changes

So, this song was definitely on The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam. It totally makes sense to put it on this album if you’re drunk, though, so I think I get why it’s on here. One of my favorite Thundercat songs all time.

16. Where I’m Going

Darker feel. Drum work is dope asf. The filter he is singing through is perfect for the track. Great walking music. Fades out for like 30 seconds, nice touch.

17. Drink Dat [f. Wiz Khalifa]

Ayyyyeee! This is like a club love song. Wiz was a good choice for this track. Great chant “drink dat, drink dat”. 17 tracks in and I haven’t been unimpressed yet. We might have a classic in our hands, yall.

18. Inferno

A more typical Thundercat feel: straight bass, sprinkle of synth and vocals. His compositions move like classical music and I love that. Great build up. Another well placed extended fade out. Wow. Everything feels right.

19. I Am Crazy

Narraration of the foggiest part of drunkenness.

20. 3AM

Reminds me of Prototype a luh bit.

21. Drunk

“Drowning away all of the pain, ’til I’m totally numb.” Real asf. This is why a lot of us get drunk. Cool vocoder work.

22. The Turn Down [f. Pharrell]

The most psychedelic sounding track so far. I’m loving the subtle musical movements here. Pharrell sits snugly in this one. #BlackLivesMatter.

23. DUI

Revisiting Rabbot Ho here. A beautiful ending to a great musical work. Feels very cautionary. Synth work is stellar here.

I’m really impressed with this one! Will be in heavy rotation for me.

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Lemme Putchu On

Lemme Putchu On: SiR – “New LA” feat. Anderson.Paak & King Mez

Earlier this month, SiR became the newest signee to TDE and released a gem of an EP, Her TooHe really shows off his harmonic abilities throughout the EP, but the first track, New LA, sets the tone for the whole project. The combination of stellar production, the presence of two of this generations better lyricist in Anderson.Paak and King Mez, and the sheer brilliance of SiR‘s skill and tone make this and early contender for 2017’s favorite summer jam. Lemme putchu on:

Follow SiR on IG and Twitter @inglewoodSiR 

Lemme Putchu On

Lemme Putchu On: MonoNeon – “Thoughts In The Morning Time”

MonoNeon is a bass virtuoso. Last bassist that Prince ever hired. Has been on the scene as a Youtuber and a live performer for some time now and is also sits in with the eclectic band Ghost Note. He released his first music video Thoughts In The Morning Time  and it is just as psychedelic and groovy as he is. Lemme putchu on:

Check out more of his stuff here.

Interviews

Self-Love on Repeat: Jacqueline Constance Loops In Originality

Jacqueline Constance is a singer-songwriter out of Philadelphia, PA with a unique vibe powered by a unique personality. She’s garnered some well deserved attention on the innanets with her live looper performances. She’s a one-woman show that has captivated some of 2017’s Grammy nominated artists with her loop covers and certainly has a bright future. I had the great pleasure of talking with her about her experiences:

The Vince Anthony Show: So, tell me your story.

Jacqueline Constance: I’ve been singing since I was 9. My mom entered me into a talent show that I had no intentions of doing (I was like, “Mom…forreal? That’s how you feel?”). But, that was my first time performing and I’ve been performing ever since. I just love music. I’ve gone to school for music, starting with Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School in Philly, then I went to Wilberforce University for music.

I’m just trying to figure my life out as a musician, as a woman, as a black woman and as a black queer woman. Trying to find my identity not only in those things, but in also in art. As an artist, you have to reconcile who you are with how much you are willing to share with the world. So, yeah, I’ve been in that space lately. 

My story is really similar to a lot of folks. I’m the second oldest of 4 girls. We grew up in an affluent neighborhood, but we were poor. Both parents were addicted to drugs. Statistically, I shouldn’t be where I am, but my coming up has still taken a toll on me in terms of trying to grasp who I am while having bouts with depression. All of this factors into who I am as an artist and who I am as a storyteller. My story is mine, but it’s similar to a lot of other stories, too. I’m the kid that went through hell and survived.

TVAS: Solid solid. What parts of your identity would you say come through the most in your creative process?

Jacqueline Constance: That’s a real good question…

If you ever see me perform or are ever around anything JacqCon related, you’ll know that I am terribly goofy. I’ve been goofy my whole life, but I’ve only been comfortable enough to share that with the world for like 5 years. I like to have fun and be free on stage and I feel like I don’t get a chance to be that free in other aspects of my life. When I’m on stage, I’m literally just having fun. Milly rockin’ during set up and what not. I’m just goofy!

I think a part of that is me finally being comfortable in my own skin. I’m now able to be silly and have a good time with the audience. This has definitely filtered into my creative process as well. Always crackin’ jokes in the studio, being funny, turnin’ up and just having a good time. My mentality is very “have fun and be free” and this is new for me. I used to be so uptight, all about structure. Now I just go with the flow, which is dope because it eliminates rigid expectations. I’m a super goofball. I’m a Goof Troop forreal, haha.

TVAS: Ha! I see. So, let’s talk about this #LoopLife you livin’. What sparked the idea for you to use a looper as a part of you music making?

Jacqueline Constance: I think it was 2013. I was living with a homie of mine. She was watching YouTube videos and stumbled across one of Kimbra performing at that year’s SXSW. So she was like, “Yo, Jacq, you gotta check this out!”

Kimbra was using a VoiceLive Touch, an iPad and some other stuff. I was just like, “Yo…that’s dope.” So I started researching loopers and loop pedals. I didn’t have any money at this point and was staying with a friend, so getting this equipment wasn’t feasible. But my homie believed in me so much that she bought the equipment for me! We ended up going to guitar center that night and she got it for me.2017-02-071
I don’t remember sleeping that night. I think I was up for 24 hours just playing with the looper and learning how to work it how I wanted to. That’s how it became a part of my life, but at the time I had no intention on using it to perform. Homie told me I should try it live, so I tried it at a few gigs and people were like, “Whoa….what is this shit!?” So after that I decided to keep it.

Over the years, I’ve been able to perfect it. I can now take my wildest dreams and transmit them through the looper. Since learning how to work it, I’ve incorporated an iPad, a synth, a beat machine and a Macbook. It allows me to super involved with the music I make. I can do what the hell I want without any restrictions. Looping is fun as shit!

TVAS: It looks fun! Cats like Bernhoft and Reggie Watts have made careers out of doing live looping. You have any new music out/on the way?

Jacqueline Constance: My single, Orange Moon, will be out soon. It’s very different from what people are used to getting from me. It’s very abrasive, very raw, very in ya fuckin’ face. Queer as shit. I’m definitely excited about it! It’s my first single in 3 years! Look out for that!

TVAS: Definitely looking forward to that! You have any dream collabs?

Jacqueline Constance: Absolutely. Top of the list for me is Kendrick Lamar. One of my more recent collabs I want to do is with Anderson.Paak. I did a loop cover of one of his songs and he actually hit me up on Twitter like, “Yo! Send the stems over!” So, that might be collab that actually happens, haha! Another dream collab that might actually happen is with BJ The Chicago Kid. I ended up getting randomly hit up by him last year about another loop cover I did. I even got to meet up with him and talk a bit. Hopefully 2017 is the year of the dream collabs becoming reality! But, yeah, those three are just like…..*excitedly grasps the air*

TVAS: That’s litty! I hope those come to fruition (churchy asf lol). Who are some of your influences?

Jacqueline Constance: Biggest influence all time: Ella Fitzgerald.

TVAS: Ella is bae.

Jacqueline Constance: Absolutely, haha. I’m such a fan of her vocal nuances, her phrasing…just her voice in general. A lot of what I do, I emulate from her, even down to some of my arrangements and how I loop things. Ella is top of the list, but I have a lot of influences.

A lot of my influences come from 1920s era artistry. The art that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. It was so breathtaking and different, so new, and it’s gotten emulated time and time again.

I also think of cats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

TVAS: So, in an evermore saturated music scene, what do you focus on as an artist to make your mark on this world?

Jacqueline Constance: You’re right. Music has become a lot more saturated and congested. I hate to sound cliché, but the thing I focus on the most is being me. And it’s like, “Of course, she would say that.” But, being in an industry where certain things sell (and I don’t mean just sex. It could be money, fame, the look of it all), I found that I’m getting more accolades and attention from just…doing whatever the fuck I want to do, haha. I’m not trying to fit into what like a signed person might look like or an industry person might look like. It’s a no-fucking-brainer: no one can do what I do, because I’m the only Jacqueline Constance. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m so comfortable with who I am now, I love myself so much and I’m ready to share myself with the world. Being me and being me unapologetically. If I wanna scream “fuck you” on a song, then imma do it. Just being true to who I am.

TVAS: Good shit. Not as cliché as you might think looking out at the industry! Thanks for your time, this was fun!

Jacqueline Constance: This was fun! Thanks for listening!

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Follow Jacqueline Constance on Twitter @jacqconmusic and Instagram @jacqconmusic88

Interviews

Lee Mo: Spreading Soul From The East Coast

Lee Mo is an up and coming jazz/soul/R&B vocalist hailing from Baltimore, Maryland and currently performing out of Philadelphia, PA, two of the nation’s hotbeds for musical talent of all sorts. She’s been given a public vote of confidence from the legendary Anita Baker. Velvety, chocolatey tones and well-practiced vocal technique combine for something truly fresh but also reminiscent of iconic black soul singers of yesteryear. I got a chance to chat with this sweet soul of a singer to discuss her roots, how she’s grown since and where she’s going. Check it out:

The Vince Anthony Show: So, tell me a bit about yourself

Lee Mo: I’m a black girl from Baltimore, born and raised. I love music. I was adopted into a family headed by a religious single mother, which meant lots and lots of church, and that’s where I first started singing.

TVAS: What made you want to pursue artistry professionally?

Lee Mo: As a kid, I picked up on some natural ability to imitate singers and play melodies on the piano by ear. I kept working on it throughout the years. Pursuing artistry for me isn’t something I feel like I have a choice in doing. I would be cutting off a part of who I am if I didn’t. My artistry is my life, it is more than just singing to me.

TVAS: Could you say a bit more about how innate music is to you?

Lee Mo: It’s something I’ve always had an ear for. I remember playing on a toy keyboard as a kid. My sister taught me Mary Had A Little Lamb (I still remember the colors!). After that, I started to just pluck out the melody of any song that came to mind. It was the same with singing. I could make my voice sound like anyone. I mimicked a lot of singers as a kid, picking out their inflections and runs. It was fun for me!

TVAS: That’s really dope! Can you tell me about the music you’re performing now?

Lee Mo: Right now, I’m really into performing Sade, Anita Baker and others in that vein. Their individual sounds are very organic and that is something that I want to portray with my original music, too.

TVAS: I’ve seen Anita Baker interact with you quite a bit on Twitter. What’s that been like for you?

Lee Mo: It’s unbelievable. I appreciate her being down to earth and sharing life gems as well as regular conversation with me. My friend calls her my fairy god-mother, haha. I’ll take that!

TVAS: I’d say that’s fitting based on what I’ve heard from you. Let’s talk about your music!

Lee Mo: Okay! Whatchu wanna know?

TVAS: Any singles out?

Lee Mo: I have two singles out currently. Don’t Have A Reason and One Last Chance.

TVAS: Both of these seemed to be received really well! What was the inspiration for these two?

Lee Mo: It’s humbling to see and hear people express such great feelings about the two songs. They are basically about different points in a relationship. One is about being unsure about the faithfulness of your partner, and the other is about forgiveness with a stern warning that they better not mess up again.

TVAS: Those are some deep yet relatable topics. Your beautiful voice helps carry the message just fine.

Lee Mo: I try, haha. I can relate as well. I want my music to express things that we’ve all been thinking and feeling And I want to do it in a simple, palatable, relatable way.

TVAS: Mmhm. Let’s talk about your recent trip to Europe. What were you doing over there?

Lee Mo: I ended up in Europe through a Facebook post, really. My friend shared that she was looking for a couple more singers for a European tour, and I was the first to respond. She had me contact the company with my bio, some videos, and they replied almost immediately saying that they would like to have me. We worked out all the necessary business and that’s basically how I ended up in Europe. It was an extremely eye-opening experience for me. For one, I hadn’t realized how real it was for black people to live in Europe. I met so many black singers making careers in Germany and in France. I hadn’t really thought of that as a possibility for myself. I needed that.

TVAS: Can you see yourself making music out of Europe?

Lee Mo: Absolutely. I mean, they do things kind of differently there, but it’s definitely possible to make a living there.

TVAS: Dope. Are there any artists or producers you’d like to collaborate with?

Lee Mo: Hmm…I hope to get up with Cory Henry and do something. I think that’d be dope. If I could get with Stevie Wonder, Pharrell or Frank Ocean that’d be dope too!

TVAS: Nice wish list! What advice would you give to aspiring artists, specifically singers?

Lee Mo: I would say…make sure you really like what you’re doing. Keep striving to like what you’re creating. Don’t be afraid to start over. And don’t be afraid to wait.

TVAS: Lee Mo, it was great talking with you!

Lee Mo: Well thank you! This was really fun

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Check out Lee Mo’s music @ www.leemomusic.com and Soundcloud

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @Musica_LeeMo