Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meet Swizz Beats

This footage was so lost, I still can't find it. The raw footage from this interview with producer and rapper Swizz Beats still eludes me, but I came across the Wavelength episode that featured an edited version recently.

Swizz aka Kasseem Dean became known for creating the sounds for the artists on the Ruff Ryders label in the late nineties. He was promoting his debut album "Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories," in 2002, when we met him at the DTLR clothing store at Virginia Center Commons.

The producer has been a target of internet gossip sites recently, as reports have linked him to R&B songstress Alicia Keys. Swizz, who is separating from his wife of four years, denies the rumors.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Merry One

Some last minute Christmas wrappin'.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Anthony Hamilton gets to the point

Maybe you've heard about singer Anthony Hamilton's famous attitude. He's a diminutive artist who took some hard hits from the music industry before becoming a success and has every right to be bitter, angry and aloof. Well, he isn't. Instead, he seems to posess more humility and grace than the sum of his peers in the R&B game. Yasmine inteviewed the North Carolina native shortly before the release of "Comin' From Where I'm From," back in 2003. From what I hear, Hamilton still has the same folksy attitude that turns the people he meets into fans and supporters.

Hamilton talks with former Wavelength host Yasmine about his struggles in the industry, the love of music that kept him going and his desire to become an interior decorator. He's funny, too. The out takes from this one are a hoot. His latest CD, "The Point of It All," was released this week.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kwamé never played out

The interview above is taken from "Soundwave," a precursor to "Wavelength," the failed video show I produced for over a decade that inspires this blog. Soundwave was hosted by Von and Chuck and produced by another guy named Chuck. I was usually the cameraman, but for some reason, I wasn't available when they went to the Richmond Coliseum to interview DJ Quik, Nikki D, Yo-Yo and Kwamé back in 1992. I'm sure I was doing something really important that night.

I was never a Kwamé fan. I thought "Ownlee Eue" was too R&bish and "The Man We All Know and Love," didn't keep my attention. "The Rhythm," I kinda liked. But with his polka dots and bugged out hair, the Queens native seemed to be long on style and short on substance. And after Biggie dissed him so poeticly and completely on "Unbelieveable," I thought that would be the last we ever heard of him. It wasn't.

Kwamé reinvinted himself as music producer, and under the name K-1 Million he did tracks for LL Cool J, Lloyd Banks and Mary J. Blige. He's also scored scenes in some major films and has his own indie label. He recently took back his name and produced the song "Sick," for Skillz on his last album.

The talented producer is seen here as an enterprising young man, with a hunger to share his music with the world and for a certain vine-dwelling fruit.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pieces of Weight

I dug legos as a kid. But I never considered building anything like the images above.  What is it about these little yellow men people find so compelling?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Freake-quently Invited Guest

Freake aka Freak D was our favorite local rapper. He holds the record for making the most appearances on Wavelength, the defunct video program that spawned this blog, and is the only artist to have performed live on the show. As a guest, Freak was articulate, engaging and displayed intelligence and knowledge. We once debated the merits of In God We Trust versus the appeal of Reel to Reel. As a rapper, Freake has been part of a couple local music groups and once toured Europe with Skillz.

I heard through the grapevine that Freak hit a rough patch a while back, so I was heartened to see he's back on the grind.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Son of Bazerk plans 2009 Tour

The band's about to swivey again. Cutting-edge hip-hop group Son of Bazerk, known for their dapper clothes and highly charged music is planning a tour in 2009. MC Half-Pint aka Cassandra (pictured above, see if you can figure it out) says the online response to the band's classic material and the attention of a certain blogger (ahem) made her realize the group has not been forgotten.

For those who never knew, Son of Bazerk was Daddy Raw, Sandman, MC Half Pint, Almighty Jahwell and Bazerk. They released one album, "Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk," in 1991 on SOUL Records, which featured the singles "Change the Style" and "The Band Gets Swivey on the Wheels." The group was produced by the Bomb Squad, the beat makers behind Public Enemy and featured contributions from noted musicians such as Micheal Hampton and Cliff Branch. It was a hip hop record unlike any other before or since, but don't take my word for it:

One of the rowdiest, craziest, noisiest, most animated records the rap world has seen, "Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk" recalls everything from James Brown to Bad Brains to the Time to King Tubby to...well, a great number of things -- occasionally within the span of one track ... Similar to most Bomb Squad productions, the album has a merciless up-down-up-down sequence, with tracks continually flowing directly into each other. This only intensifies the breathless mania of the album. - Andy Kellman of All Music Guide

more ...

The groups sound could be described as being heavily influenced by the Long Island rap scene that included Public Enemy ... and by the style of soul epitomized by James Brown during his peak years. The sound was dense, manic and often noisy, but centered on very discernible funk grooves and ample use of heavily edited samples. -

I interviewed two members of the group in 1991, while on a shoot for what would become Wavelength, the failed video show that inspired this blog. As Half Pint slept on a tour bus, Daddy Rawe and Bazerk talked about their overseas tour and their second album, which remains unreleased to this day. I caught up with Cassandra, now a school teacher, a while back. That interview starts here.

Bazerk mentioned a third album in a recent interview, but expressed doubt that it would ever be heard. I'm not sure where this track I downloaded from back in the day is from, but it's worth a listen.

"Can't You See" Son of Bazerk 3:52

UPDATE: Join my facebook group Bazerk for Son of Bazerk!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Shout Out.

Skillz finally acknowledges all I have done for his career, with this blog and with Wavelength, the failed video show that I produced for more than 10 years. Listen close at at :45.

Friday, December 05, 2008

D'Angelo is not a Bad Boy.

Despite what one gossip site is reporting, D'angelo is not signed to Bad Boy Records.

"Contrary to various media reports, producer, composer, performer, D'Angelo has not signed with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records," the singer's manager, Lindsay Guion, said in a press release. "Both gentlemen hold one another in the highest regard, however the stories circulating in the press are totally false ..."

According to the release, the singer is still working on his third album in a Hollywood studio, which is scheduled a Spring 2009 release on RCA Records.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pimp C 1973 – 2007

A year ago today, UGK member and southern rap pioneer Pimp C was found dead in a hotel in Hollywood, California. The group was known for it's dirty south style and for their hits "International Player's Anthem (I Choose You)" and "Something Good." Surviving UGK member Bun B continues to carry the group's banner and a final album featuring the duo is forthcoming, as well as a solo record from the deceased rapper called "A Pimp Named C."