Posted in What I'm Hearing...

Friday Features: Tropical House

Summer 2015, a new genre emerges bringing the sultry beats of Jamaican dancehall and the hypnotizing downbeat of chill deep house together in a perfectly mellowed treat for mainstream listeners who’d grown tired of the caffeinated pulse of EDM. The sound championed by Justin Bieber’s Kygo produced “What Do You Mean” and OMI’s global smash “Cheerleader” ruled the summer and much like pop music does everyone tried their hand at it such as Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and to a certain degree, Rihanna with “Work,” although “Work” is more true to its Jamaican Dancehall roots than the previous songs. With 2 years under its belt the sound is showing no signs of letting up.

With summer 2017 getting underway, it seems the rest of the world is getting on the bandwagon. Like in South Korea where various KPOP artists like Jay Park, Taeyeon were among the first mainstream artists to bring the sound of tropical house to the ROK in 2016 with Me Like Yuh and Why. Fall gave us many tropical house kpop chunes such as the surprising hit “Don’t Believe” by underrated girl group, Berry Good and the debut of DSPs co-ed group KARD which has taken the world by storm with 3 back to back tropical house jams. More recently, Winner has comeback with their hit “Really Really” which took off with a killer dance video directed by the legend Dave Meyers. And of course, one of my personal favorite groups Melody Day who knocked the chill off of February with the steamy “Kiss On The Lips.” So to get you into the summer uplift I’ve made a playlist of my favorite Western/KPOP Tropical House Picks. Enjoy and chill out!

Wink and a Smile,
Joe

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Posted in 52Essays2017, Personal

Vintage JoJo, Resort 1997/ Spring-Summer 2004

I was going through some stuff from around 4th-6th grade. In grade school, I loved experimenting with the way I wore my clothes. I wanted to take away from the fact that my family couldn’t afford what other kids at my school were wearing. Constantly picked on because I didn’t have the Jordans, the LUGZ the K-Swiss, the DADA Sprees, just Payless’ finest. Yet I loved watching CNN’s fashion coverage before they went to a trash 24 hour doom cycle. Looking at Naomi, Linda and Yasmeen being gorgeous. I adored feminine dress, I was growing in the era of Tom Ford for Gucci, the Golden Years of Versace and Azzedine Alaia. I tried my hand in embellishing (read: stapling or tying) various things inspired by what I saw McQueen and Gaultier doing on the runway. I shredded a pair of jeans trying to turn them into Old Navy Flares before realizing I couldn’t sew.  Continue reading “Vintage JoJo, Resort 1997/ Spring-Summer 2004”

Posted in What I'm Hearing...

Friday Features (Memorial Day Special): Summer Music 

It’s Memorial Day, the ceremonial first day of summer, grills are grilling, pools are splashing (not really its been 60f and below), and the air is going to get hot…well warm…ish. In a few weeks the days’ll be clocking 80 plus degrees. and as the heat rises so will the tensions in the cities. However, all that can melt away with a summer party. Be it a cookout,  a block party, or a kick back on the roof top music helps us forget the troubles of the world. Here are some of my favorite summer cuts.

Posted in What I'm Hearing...

Friday Features (on Saturday) : LeToya Luckett

Flashback to Wally World, late summer 1999, I was a kid tagging along with my mom on the dreaded back to school. We walk by the electronics section and Bills Bills Bills is playing on all the demo boom  boxes, kids and teens all in the aisle dancing on the low, the beat even getting to some of the grown ups.  I like almost everyone else that summer was a fan of Destiny’s Child, Bills Bills Bills turned out the be the song of the summer that year and DC  scored their first hot 100 #1 on Billboard and was skyrocketed to crossover fame.  The Writings on The Wall ended up going platinum many times over. As I became a fan of the group, I was OBSESSED WITH THEM. I knew all their names, Beyonce, Kelly, Latavia and LeToya. However, if you know the story, the group started and ended the promotional era with four members BUT they weren’t the same four as Latavia and Letoya were let go (rather sloppily by Matthew).

We hadn’t really heard much from the two aside from them going to court. Seven years later, I am riding the bus home from my freshman year of high school and I hear the DJ drop the debut single Torn by LeToya,whose voice I never recognized I at the time didn’t even recognize (because let’s be real all of DC’s Singles until DCE were mainly Beyonce and Kelly’s vocals). It was as if fate had come full circle, LeToya on her own. Such a sweet, smooth soprano. Torn became the ringtone for every teenage black girl I knew. Her debut album was pretty R&B that repped H-Town to the fullest with heavy hitters like Slim Thug, Paul Wall and Mike Jones. She followed the success of her debut with Lady Love in 2009 before a foray into acting kept her away from seven years.

Now back with the album Back 2 Life,  a matured Luckett explores a sexier yet still sweet sound the third time around. The album even has a thrilling “miniseries” accompanying it. The first two promotional singles Back 2 Life and Used To combine Luckett’s music with the gems that she’s learned in her years as an actress. The final video is yet to be announced, however I’ve made a brief playlist with my favorite Luckett tunes with songs from the latest album and her earlier works as well. Enjoy!

Wink and a Smile,

Joe

Posted in Solo, What I'm Reading

Overdue Reviews: The Glass Of Time by Michael Cox (2009)

I started reading this book in high school (2010) after picking it up at the library and fell for it in the first few pages. Unfortunately, my time with the book ended. I forgot about it until I found it via amazon two years later. The plot itself is intriguing and the ending chapters made my heart jump like a Pharrell beat. However, I ended the book slightly disappointed. Continue reading “Overdue Reviews: The Glass Of Time by Michael Cox (2009)”

Posted in What I'm seeing...

We Bring Flavor to EVERYTHING: Cheerleading/Stomp-N-Shake

Harding University High ’s COLD GOLD Cheer Squad

I love cheerleading, I have always wanted to be a cheerleader. Last year, I discovered a style of cheer that just proves that black folk bring the flavor to all that we do! I STAN for the Stomp-N-Shake/JAM style of cheerleading. SNS was started and popularized in the late 60s/early70s in D.C./Virginia and North Carolina. This correlates with HBCU cheer squads such as the Virginia State Woo Woos, the Winston Salem State Powerhouse of Red & White and the Blue Chips of Saint Augustine’s University

This group of youngsters hails from Harding University High School in Charlotte, NC, coached by a former WSSU Powerhouse member and these kids BRING IT!!!!!

Aside from having a good squad, Harding also has a place in the American history for being the place where these iconic photos of Dorothy Counts were taken in 1957. Counts was the first black student to desegregate the then all-white Harding High.