READ SOME OF
MY FAVORITE ARTICLES BELOW
READ SOME OF
MY FAVORITE ARTICLES BELOW
Written by Teyquil Skelton
What you gonna do when the grid goes down? The new album from Public Enemy is nothing short of astounding. It hits you with songs that leave you questioning the state of our country. It creates all sorts of emotions to get you moving and get your fist shooting straight up in the air. It digs deep into the core of the problem in which we deal with daily and the fact that not much has changed in 35 years or so. It still raises the question as to whether racism will ever be abolished. The world is in turmoil and there needs to be action taken into account. In my opinion, this album couldn’t be more relevant to our current society, exposing the failures of a divided and corrupt government that threatens our lives constantly.
The album features iconic artists including Cypress Hill, George Clinton, DJ Premier, AD-Rock, Daddy-O, Run DMC, Ice-T, and PMD to name a few. It’s amazing how this record sticks to the root of Public Enemy’s ’80s and ’90s nostalgic sound as if it was produced back in that era with superb DJ scratches, old school hip-hop beats, and lyrics that spill truths about black culture. PE, Flavor Flav, and Chuck D definitely traveled down memory lane while recording this album. It could have been late-night conversations on Zoom, reminiscing about Public Enemy records from back in the day or the tours they went on during that time. Whatever it was that they did, it reflects strongly on what they’re about and what they’ve stood for, for decades.
Chuck D was never one for biting his tongue and it showed through his lyrics as he told stories of black people and their struggles as well as his own battles. Chuck D and Flavor Flav represented blackness and the power of black skin and what it meant to be Kings and Queens. However, the message remains the same to this day; the only difference is that the younger generation is now given that same opportunity to be supported by one of the most gifted lyrical poets we have in this world as we circle around the moon another day.
One of my favorites on the album is the remix of “Fight The Power” and how this song is needed now more than ever. It strikes hard with real occurrences that are recent and makes the listener face what society continues to ignore. The song meant so much to minorities and African-Americans 30 years ago then and means, even more, today. It’s vital because it touches on things like police brutality, presidential abuse, senseless black annihilation, racist groups, and more.
Another favorite of mine on the album is a song called “Rest In Beats.” Chuck D pays tribute to lyricists like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Heavy D, Eazy-E, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Jam Master Jay, and the essence of what hip-hop represented some time ago.
Chuck D also shines a light on the simple things in life that we, at the moment, can’t experience due to the massive destruction of the coronavirus. He speaks of the times when life made sense, like, diverse tours, recording studio sessions, and spending quality time with those who meant the most. There were also mentions of lost rap flows that have fallen short, to mumbles over beats and lame memes, as well as the absence of important facts about our black culture, one of them being that we were and still are, black kings and queens as stated above. All of this lies within the song “Rest in Beats,” which I find inspiring and invigorating.
The song “Grid” featuring Cypress Hill and George Clinton is a sure shot of a reality check that touches on the idea of what it would look like if technology didn’t exist in our day and age. Would the corruption and abuse of citizens be of any importance if it wasn’t recorded? Would murderers be imprisoned if technology and new tests didn’t detect crime and locate those who committed it? Would blacks and minorities have a chance at a better America today without technology at all? These are all inquiries mentioned as the song played on. I know, for me, it got me thinking from a perspective I may have never thought of before had I not have listened to this song.
Next up was the song “State of The Union.” It’s truly one for the books, as it talks about the slack and laziness of the presidential duties that are not being attended to. Public Enemy gives it to you raw and uncut as they speak of the unprofessionalism ensued and its white privilege that they fail to admit that they’re portraying.
Moving forward, Public Enemy revives the ever so hit song “Number One” but calls it “Number Won” that features Mike D, AD-Rock, and Run-DMC on the familiar ’80s banger with a different twist this time around. Though there are strong elements on this LP, there’s also a couple of ones that are not as tight. For example, “Beat Them All” is one I could have lived without. The song speaks on issues that are interesting, but the structure of it doesn’t appeal to me. The chorus is slow and the verses tend to sway where I lose interest.
“Smash the Crowd” is another one that I can’t grasp, it just doesn’t give me the fire that I yearn for when I listen to tracks. Though Ice-T throws bars, it still drags a bit for me, unfortunately. The song “Go At It” picks up and carries the record out of the slump it fell in with powerful bass and strings from a rhythm guitar that makes love to your earlobe without apology. The song “Yesterday Man” is truly one I can get behind and love what it represents. It talks about how things are different from what it used to be years ago. As the song repeatedly states, what happened?!
If you’re hoping to be motivated, charged, and encouraged, I highly recommend this respected return from Public Enemy to be placed in your archive. This record and the heart of its spirit never left the ’80s and ’90s era. But in reality, it stands as tall and strong as John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Barack Obama, and the very essence of blackness and indigenous warriors across the globe. It’s powerful and full of superhero strength in its own expression of a Black Panther movement.
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Written by Teyquil Skelton
Resilient DJ, songwriter, and record producer, Alice Longyu Gao, just dropped a fiery remix and it’s the track, “Move It To The Side (Alice Longyu Gao‘s Softboy Dancing In The Klurb Flip)” originally released by singer-songwriter, John-Robert.
The track, rebirthed in the form of unforgettable electro-pop, also features vocals from Gao and puts a major spin on the mellow, but sad, mid-tempo single. Gao completely transforms the structure of the song and turns it into a highly energized, electro-pop powerhouse that makes it hard to stand still. The bass slaps hard, as the synthesizers easily flow throughout the track, blending both artists’ vocals to create an explosive sound.
John Robert‘s voice mixes in with the saucy grooves, as his voice modulates up and down, in and out, between moments where hip hop and trap beats meet. It’s a non-stop rush from beginning to end that ignites excitement and encourages you to dance in any way that moves you.
The addictive, repetitive patterns of the remix are what make the track so memorable. For two minutes, you are solely a slave to the rhythm. It holds no prisoners and lets it all out in your ears unapologetically. Wherever you play this tune, you’ve created space for a club setting.
There you have it, that new fever remix dominating the electro-pop circuits around the world. So, gather your girls, gather your guys, and make it a night out on the town. Gao is back with a brand new beat and she’s sweeping cities and clubs one BPM at a time.
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Written by Teyquil Skelton
Timeless means something is not affected by the passage of time; nor does it change in any form or fashion. It withstands obstacles and somehow in the midst of hard challenges, a glimmer of optimism appears, and suddenly, all hope is not lost. There’s a sense of power that kicks in and within that support comes a win over defeat. The cool thing about this defined meaning is that it could easily remind you of something or someone in its regards.
Supreem Da Rezarekta a.k.a. Jemal Carter represents this meaning well as he stands on his own platform in luminosity where nothing else stands as bright as his talent, sense of humor, and lyrical approach in the world of hip hop music. Carter’s stage presence is impactful and notably leaves a mark with each stage he damages. As soon as the music comes to a halt, so does Carter. Just like that, he diminishes in the wind leaving the crowd wanting more.
Carter has been slaying the microphone and mastering his craft for years. It is without a shadow of a doubt his one and only dream is to do it as a career. Most artists that work in the underground scene only go so far, but with Carter it’s different; it’s authentic, edgy, and raw. The train he chose to ride has such stability, grit, endurance, and strength.
Though he became popular in the underground scene, his skills took him a step further from where he planted his seeds. Eventually, he evolved and then the music did so as well. Carter made magic with numerously-talented producers, one of them being Dr. Shock who was not only a good friend of his but an important vessel musically. With them both together, there came a collaboration like no other, and the rest was history. However, the elevation didn’t become stagnant. If anything, it enhanced as Carter ventured out to search for other sounds. Though he and Shock stayed in contact and continued to make music, curiosity presented itself in a manner to see what else he can do musically with other minds from different perspectives.
From recording with many artists and touring the world constantly, Carter has catapulted from being not just a hip hop artist but a multitude of things. One of them is being a radio personality on two different radio broadcasts. You can catch him via Facebook Live on WBNCRadio.net on “Wayback Wednesdays” with DJ CL Smooth and his partner in crime, Mark Millz, from 9:00-11:00 pm. You can also catch Carter on Sunday nights on Toxicradio.net with Toxic Mike from 6:00-7:00 pm called “Funky Contradiction.” As you can see, hard work pays off and Carter is no stranger to putting in work. For that, he stands with the best of the best as he swings for the fences and makes his mark in each city he visits. Speaking of “Swing For The Fences,” it’s Carter’s new single, and just like anything else he creates, it’s fire!
I find Carter so fascinating because he wears many hats working from many different angles of the musical spectrum. The ability to adapt and re-transform is not something everyone has the power to do, but he did and still does to this day. In July of 2019, Carter a.k.a. Supreem Da Rezarekta won the Milkboy competition to earn a record deal with Milkboy Productions. The journey to this point was far from being a quick process as it took up to a year maybe a bit longer to fully complete. There were levels to this project but with each phase of the competition, stood a determined, focused, driven artist who refused to take no for an answer. Carter entered in with a purpose and ended in victory due to confidence and endurance. Every obstacle knocked down with the will to survive was Carter’s motto which made him inevitably powerful to take the winning prize home.
Once the quarantine ends, Carter has plans on having a single release party to celebrate the accomplishments he’s accumulated as well as do what he loves best and that’s to perform. Be on the lookout for the Concoction solo album and Supreem the New Experience album as well, coming soon. Carter also plans on returning to all live shows with the new experience band as a way of revisiting old roots of beautiful live music with musicians playing real instruments. Supreem and the New Experience consist of DJ CL Smooth and It’s Val, who is the drummer of the band.
Along with the upcoming projects mentioned, there’s a “Paid In Full” Tour on the rise that’s expected to take place once the country opens.
The power of music is a beautiful thing to witness when it’s done right. It’s unstoppable beyond words and emotionally moving when the truth and heart of it are involved. That’s what you get when you’re listening to real artists like Carter, you get the real, you get raw, you get honesty, and you get the man. With that said, mic dropped. Look out for the single and check out any and all things Supreem Da Rezarekta on social media platforms. L.L. Cool J said it best and I quote, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” He’s the immortal rebel himself, Carter, a.k.a. Supreem Da Rezarekta.
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Written by Teyquil Skelton
Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, professionally known as Tove Lo, is described as a Swedish dark-pop export, by Rolling Stone. She’s known for her grungy, raw, and gritty approach to pop music. In Philadelphia at the Fillmore, the saddest girl in Sweden left an imprint on the stage from her honest and sincere lyrical content that had her DNA all over it.
The night was electric, emotional, sensual, heartfelt, sexual, inviting, and bold. It was also a bit tearful, somber, charged, vulnerable, passionate and full of truth. Lo led the pack with her music and the crowd fearlessly followed. The audience sang along, recorded their favorite moments on their phones, screamed lyrics back to her, and created a sea of hand waves whenever she requested. The magic was prevalent in the room and Lo maintained the spark she possesses with each song she sang.
As the night proceeded, the stage was presented in a manner where it made sense in the world and mind of Tove Lo. Bright lights full of color, big drums, and wide open space for Lo to dance. Loud, artistic images made its appearance on the screen in the background as the smoke from the stage floor surrounded her stillness.
Lo had something to say and her fans were eager to hear and see how she would convey these experiences up close and personal. There were periods when the concert went from upbeat to slower tempo. One of the times it did was when Lo mentioned to the crowd that she would sing a song relating to love and the song was “Come Undone” that was well-received by the audience. Fans chimed in as they assisted her with the lyrics. Suddenly, the room temperature changed, and I felt the space become a therapeutic session as people merged in unification.
Tove Lo strikes me as one of those performers who really strives to make her work fun and she loves including her fans in on her journey. There was a moment when she jumped off stage and ran up to the audience to slap hands and sing to as many as she can face-to-face. The crowd ate it up and was super grateful that she took the risk in doing so.
Speaking of risks, Lo is the perfect example of someone who takes lots of them as she provocatively grabs her boobs and shakes them at the crowd. Bending over and slowly twisting her hips is quite an enticement that certainly captures the attention of thousands watching. Queen of the Clouds was Lo’s first headline tour back in 2014 and now that five years has past, Philly has come out to once again show massive support to the Swedish Queen of Stockholm, Sweden.
One of Lo’s mantras is this idea of never getting too professional or too perfect in her live performances or recording process. If it does, then it becomes a bit too structural and she prefers staying away from those kinds of confinements. All she wants is to have access to being and feeling free and it’s something that she continues to reach for not only for herself but for her fans as well. As Lo transitioned from one song to another, her single “Stay High” began and the lights changed colors. As the stage grew darker, it supported the mood she was creating with much stimulation, style, sexiness and seduction all wrapped up into one. The room itself was Tove Lo’s oyster and we, in the crowd, were fully engaged and submerged in her sea.
Whenever you can find an artist that holds that much power through their art, it’s possible to find a similar or same power that we all share. When that much empathy, vulnerability, honesty, anger, sadness and truth is acquired, it will always give you something to leave with and think about. Messengers come in all kinds of ways and as a performer of some sort, our job is to send out those messages through our own creative process and watch it reach someone in ways unimaginable.
This is just my own personal connection, and attending the Tove Lo show, I’ve discovered a message given to me through her music that we all suffer at one point or another, but we live to fight another day by dancing it off, crying it out, sleeping it off or meeting it head on and never backing down under any circumstance.
If you’re in a city/town that Tove Lo is coming to visit, I highly recommend you go and see her live. Pop music is fun, it’s danceable, relative and moving. However, Tove Lo also approaches pop music from a darker spectrum with loads of things that makes you go, hmmm. Her music hits square in the heart and the concerns she has living her own life may very well be relatable in yours. So give it a try and venture into new territories, you may just find that we all share a common theme in our versions of this imperfect path that we call life.
Written by Teyquil Skelton
It seems that the times we’re facing are only getting worse and the world we live in is damaged. People are confused, hurting, separated by loved ones, and walking with severe pressures of societal discomfort. Through it all, we manage to brave the storm and make it to another day. These were just a few of my concerns that I shared with the singer, songwriter, and composer John-Robert during our interview.
I asked him how he was coping in this pandemic and he explained that nothing much has changed as he has been in isolation/quarantining for most of his life. So, what’s a lousy six months stuck inside when you have what you love surrounding you on the daily.
Recently, he teamed up with singer/songwriter, Kathleen, on their track, “Adeline.” He explained that “her professionalism was the one that stood out to him the most and with restrictions on how we communicate and work in space makes things even harder to get things done.”
Due to the COVID-19 setbacks and interruptions on how our daily normalcy is performed has now required a new set of skills to complete tasks and the rapid-fire of its movements is sometimes quicker than lightening. Though Kathleen and John-Robert couldn’t work in the same space, they both worked really well in recording the song in different spaces at different times. In doing this in this way, Kathleen worked around her schedule best she can to get the work done in a strong and sufficient manner. They also made sure to do it according to the COVID-19 guidelines to keep them and everyone else involved safe
However, “Adeline” collaboration didn’t stop there, it also reached new heights as it fell into the hands of instrumentalist Rob Moose who put his spin on it and brought it to life from a different perspective. John-Robert feels that the lyrics from “Adeline” are very conversational, somewhat like a place of comfort and care which to me explains why the need for this song was such a success. There wasn’t any promotion that was posted informing the public of Moose and John-Robert’s amazing collaboration.
Apparently, the fans found the magic and the rest was history from there. You can’t go wrong when the power of music is vital; especially when voices of bliss emerge with a tangle of strings from an 1800’s time period that is always organically elevating in every romantic level possible as it plays on. Once that process met its peak, music producer/extraordinaire Ricky Reed took the wheel on producing it.
John-Robert’s connection to Warner Records is via Reed who is a sole reason for Robert’s stardom and why he’s signed to Reed’s label Nice Life, under Warner.
Before John-Robert and I ended our conversation, I asked him one last question. Did he ever think he’d be where he is right now 1.75 million streams later? He said that he doesn’t base his self-worth off of things like that but much rather put it in the name of humbleness and in the hands of those he loves and respect. People such as his best friend Robbie and his mother whom I would assume are his two biggest supporters.
Be sure to check out John-Robert on all social media platforms and of course the world release video of “Adeline” featuring Kathleen.
Written by Teyquil Skelton
Over the past 40 years, women in rock/punk rock n’ roll have been making statements and putting their DNA in the rock scene. Female bands of the late ’70s like, Girlschool, The Raincoats, The Pandoras, Partyline, Heart, Au Pairs, Dish Rags, The Slits, and The Runaways just to name a few.
The garage rock era in the 90’s even had female crushers killing the game as well. Bands such as L7, Hole, The Distillers, Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland, etc. Though there were men in some of the bands I have listed, frontwomen were the driving force and the lead vocal present in the heartbeat of these bands.
Now that we are in the modern age where music isn’t the exact same way it was back then, we are sometimes lucky to come across bands that remind us of those eras and the sound people craved and loved some time ago during those good times.
One of those bands that possess that “It Factor” and brings back that edgy, grit, fingernail in neck aesthetic are the Seattle-based all-female rock band, Thunderpussy. These warrior women rockers give it to you raw and make no apologies for anything they do musically. It all comes from the heart of their experiences and what they may have encountered as women in life and in music.
Their EP, Milk It, is an impactful and powerful introduction to the world, and hooks you as soon as the play button makes it accessible to the listening ears awaiting eagerly. Lead singer, Molly Sides, enthralls audiences with her powerful vocals that are seemingly influenced by great vocalists such as, Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Ann Wilson of Heart and Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine.
The band’s first single, “Never Know,” is an absolute stinger and an all-out catchy good tune that’s hard to turn away from. Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is featured on drums on the upcoming single “Powerhouse” which is my favorite song thus far. It’s truly a strong-armed track with driven energy and unforgiving relentlessness that hits you square in the face musically.
These four women play a major vessel in the body of Thunderpussy as a whole. Whitney Petty slays guitar leaving leverage for Leah Julius to shred bass as Molly Sides kills the core of it all with her bolder pushing pipes that connect everything in sequence to what is made up of the band Thunderpussy! The song “On The Line” is a slow creeper that has its own claws of sensational feels and beautiful approach which you will find on the Milk It EP also which has been magically touched and carefully structured by the great Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.
Seattle has now unleashed the hound beauties and their running rapid among the weak from city to city. Be sure to become one with the pack and not against, starting with the new EP, Milk It, It’s a sure thing to sink your teeth into and a sure thing to tell others about along the way who may not be aware of the girl power that’s occurring in the city of sweet Seattle.