Monday, March 22, 2010

Say Cheese!...Or Not

This pic was taken at an IU party in Jan. '08

This past weekend I attended a bachelor party I had long planned for a best friend of mine. It was a great time – dinner at Harry & Izzy’s, Jay-Z concert and afterparty, hotel, plus messing with the people working at the hotel front desk – but this isn’t about the party itself so much as it is about the documentation of the party.

You see, every New Year I tell myself I’m going to take more pictures, but its uncommon for me to get urge to want to have to stop the movement of life to a capture a moment. I’m all for pictures for memories, but the idea of stopping to tell everyone to pose for a camera bother me a little.

I had left my camera in my SUV at the beginning of the party by accident. When I asked the fellas if I should retrieve it, they said no. One guy told me bachelor parties were things of legend and were only to be talked about to a certain point. No man takes pictures at his bachelor party (unless, ofcourse, you don’t mind your soon-to-be wife and her girlfriends finding out about Brandy, the stripper).

When I do take pictures I want them I want them to capture people in the process of living. Those are the types of pictures I love most. Not when someone’s posing. I don’t always care for the classic “look at me” pictures. The last thing I need is a picture of some pretty young thing stopping to suck in her stomach, stick her butt out, lift her breasts, and give pouty lips. That shit ain’t real. Where are the pictures of her dancing, flirting, and chatting about her new Jimmy Choo’s?

My point is this: I’m down for posing for a few pictures here and there to show who I was with, but excuse me if I don’t want to stop a good time to pose for a picture every five minutes. I say document life and what happens around, not how well you can pose. Save it for your magazine photo shoot.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Artist #4: J. Cole

If you’re a Jay-Z fan you know of J. Cole. You heard his verse on “A Star is Born” off of Jay’s Blueprint 3. You even hit rewind to hear his verse again. Why? The young North Carolina native is a definite star in the making and he did more than enhance Jay’s track, he blessed it.

Writing rhymes since age 12, Cole isn’t your average rapper. He attended St. John’s University on an academic scholarship, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. When he wasn’t studying he was fine-tuning his sound as a rapper. He later released his mixtape The Warm Up, giving fans a taste of a conscious, insightful rap style that will surely make him a star. He spit fire, Common-like bars on “Lights Please” saying,

Ain’t it shameful how niggas blame hoes for givin’ birth to a baby that took two to make? Coward nigga, you a fake. How you gon’ look in your son’s face and turn your back? Then go start another family dog, what type of shit is that?

Cole goes on to put his own touch on a classic with Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents.” We should all take notice and believe in the youngster in 2010. After all, Cole told us, “Yeah, I’m focused man, I’ll let you muthafu**as soak it in.” Clap for ‘em.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Artist #5: Nikki & Rich

I’m putting this group here for two reasons: They’re such Grammy-bate and they’re music is infectious and downright great. Why weren’t they higher on the list? They might go generally unheard of among the masses for most of the year and may not release a full album until next winter, if not 2011.

Nikki & Rich consist of singer/songwriter Nikki Leonti and producer Rich Skillz. Nikki is a former Christian Music singer. She released her first LP in 1998 titled, Shelter Me before releasing a self-titled album, and Postcards From Mixaco: A Dance Re-MIX Fiesta. She’s come a long way since those days.

Nikki & Rich’s sound is retro pop, doo wop, and R&B. Every bit of it is both soulful and satisfyingly wrenching. Judging from the few songs I’ve heard, you can’t help but smile, dance, or sing along. Nikki has garnered positive comparisons to Amy Winehouse and combines a strong, soulful voice with attractive looks.

Their music was featured on the last season of HBO’s Entourage and the new 90210. They’re beginning to create more buzz, as they held a private showcase for media and friends in New York City on February 9. After catching a glimpse of their live show and hearing a few of their tunes, there’s zero doubt in my mind that Nikki & Rich will be a promising new act in 2010.

Usher - "Daddy's Home"

Absolut NY-Z Trailer Featuring Jay-Z

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Artist #6: La Roux

I first heard La Roux last November while watching music videos on one of the numerous music channels via Comcast. It’s something I always enjoyed doing while chillin’ in my apartment – it’s how I discovered lots of new music. The song was “Bulletproof” and it didn’t sound like anything I had heard before. I actually described it in an earlier post.

The only reason I have this group slated at number six, and not higher, is because they’re not likely to get any Grammy love. Why? Probably because they’re from England and you hadn't heard of them before today. My guess is Elly Jackson (lead singer) and Ben Langmaid (synth player/producer) are out to change all that. Jackson’s voice is unique and described as “distinctively breathy and arobatic” by MTV. Their music is undeniably catchy and unlike anything you’ve heard.

They have a growing niche audience full of English electropop lovers, who in a previous life, would’ve been in love with David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and Madonna. But because those people are of this era they worship Lady Gaga, who has helped jolt the radio world into playing music that, three years ago, went unheard through the almighty FM waves. That’s where I hope La Roux will come in jamming on the paved roads Gaga has most recently recently made for them.

Their self-titled, debut album was released in June of last year and singles, “Bulletproof” and “In for the Kill” have won at the Studio8 International Music Awards, the iTunes 2009 UK Music Awards, and this year’s NME Awards. Now, it’s time for people in the States to take notice – or at least impress your friends with your extensive music knowledge beyond the main stream.