Pass The Popcorn: ’12 Years A Slave’ Takes Best Picture At The Golden Globes

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…

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12 Years A Slave follows widespread critical acclaim with a coup at The Golden Globes, where the film directed by Steve McQueen won Best Picture Drama. McQueen seemed genuinely surprised to be receiving the award for the film about the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery. His shock persisted despite standing at the helm of the most nominated drama, with seven total nods for the period piece that debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in August 2013. 12 Years A Slave beat out Philomena, Gravity, Captain Phillips and Rush to win the award presented by Johnny Depp. Check the footage below to watch Steve McQueen accept the honor at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, alongside the cast of 12 Years A Slave.

Mixtape Mondays: Cosmo Baker x Skratch Bastid, Midnight Rockers Express, LeftO & Hobo Truffles

Songs We Listened To A Lot In 2013 / Okayplayer Mixtape Mondays

Mixtape Monday: LeftO - show 567

This week’s Mixtape Mondays features mixes from Cosmo Baker x Skratch Bastid, Mixtape stalwarts Midnight Rockers Express and LeftO and something a little different from in the way of a beat tape from Hobo Truffles. Lee and GETLIVE! of Midnight Rockers Express include artists such as Four Tet, A$AP Mob  and Arcade Fire in their 25th collection. LeftO‘s #587th show goes from the hip hop of Vic Mensa to great beats from the likes of Fatty DL  and Daedelus. Lastly, production collective Hobo Truffles drop an instrumental mixtape titled Ode to Ghana, wherein all the samples come from Ghanaian highlife music. The result is beautiful. Click through to find mixes that can turn up the heat in these frigid times.

?uestlove Talks Amiri Baraka For The New York Times

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…
amiri-baraka-questlove-gary-settle-nyt-lead

Photo credit Gary Settle/The New York Times

?uestlove talks the legacy of Amiri Baraka following the author/activist’s recent passing. He delves into his feelings about a few titles from Baraka’s catalog of literary works, discussing his fiery criticism and reflecting on his time in the studio with The Roots during the recording of the Phrenology LP. ?uesto discusses the difficulty in Baraka’s words – a particularly hard pill to swallow at times – and the dedication to change that pervades but is often unacknowledged in critical discussions of his works. Noting his personal interaction with the legendary poet within the hallowed halls of New York’s Electric Lady Studios, ?uestlove revisits Baraka’s addition to the Phrenology LP and elaborates on what he sees below the surface of “Something In The Way Of Things” (In Town). Take a look at the excerpt below for a more intimate look at Amiri Baraka’s performance on the Phrenology LP. Read the full article via The New York Times. Scroll down to watch Amiri Baraka discuss his writings and the work of breaking with the norm.

The Roots recorded with Mr. Baraka once. It was for our “Phrenology” album, in 2002, which was titled for the absurd, discredited science of taking a measure of a man’s character by feeling his head. The album was also about racial profiling, social Darwinism, and hip-hop itself: If you’re a hip-hop head, what can you expect from the world, and what can the world expect from you?

We were at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, and Mr. Baraka came in to add his vocals, which consisted of reading a poem he had written, “Something in the Way of Things (In Town).” I listened to the track again Friday, after he died, and I hear so many things hiding in the corners of the poem and his performance of it. There are traces of early poetry mentors like Charles Olson, there’s a little William S. Burroughs, there’s a reminder of how he opened the door for poetry to speech to recording long before the Last Poets or Gil Scott-Heron. There’s a devotion to making language mean something, even if — especially if — that something isn’t safe and preapproved.

Okayafrica Audio: Kwabs x SOHN – “Wrong Or Right”

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…
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kwabs-wrong-or-right-lead

Kwabs teams with SOHN to drop “Wrong Or Right” ahead of his forthcoming EP of the same name, due out February 3rd. The track follows their decidedly soulful collaboration on “Last Stand.” Kwabs keeps one foot planted firmly in 90s r&b while remaining devoted to the future of the sound with a gospel fit for a cosmic explorer. A Ben Pearce remix of “Wrong Or Right” will also be featured on the upcoming project. Check the track below to listen to “Wrong Or Right” from Kwabs. Pre-order the Wrong Or Right EP via iTunes. Check the full story at Okayafrica for more.

Pass The Popcorn: Q-Tip, Leo DiCaprio & Jonah Hill Developing Native Tongues TV Series

zo Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers…

Pass The Popcorn: Q-Tip Teams With Leo DiCaprio & Jonah Hill For Native Tongues TV Series

Thats right folks. Our very own Q-Tip is getting tapped for a Native Tongues inspired television series by Scorsese’s Wall Street cohorts Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. The series is still very much in the conceptual stage, but we do know that it will revolve around the NT movement, which showcased a collective of groups like ATCQ, De La Soul, Black Sheep and The Jungle Brothers (not to mention countless affiliates) Q-Tip who was one of the young patriarchs of that progressive period that spawned the backpackers, is no doubt a chief consultant on the dynamic between the groups. We don’t know about a time frame, but if the star-power behind this project is any indication of the types of potential narratives, then we need it tomorrow. We’ll have more on the project as details unfold.

Thundercat x Jolly Mare & Rudi Zygadlo – “Vulnerable People”

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…
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thundercat-jolly-mare-redbull-lead

Thundercat joins Jolly Mare and Rudi Zygadlo on “Vulnerable People” – a song from the forthcoming Various Assets – Not for Sale: Redbull Music Academy New York 2013 compilation – to add his signature sound to the track. The release is a free project dropping via digital download and CD on January 15th. Thundercat’s appearance on the compilation seems like a natural progression given his direct involvement with the academy as of late; Thundercat reportedly spent time with the most recent class of Redbull Music Academy students, recording and contributing advice. The release features contributions from recent Redbull Music Academy students as well as selected artists. “Vulnerable People” is available for streaming via Pitchfork. Click the link below to check out “Vulnerable People” from Thundercat, Jolly Mare and Rudi Zygadlo.

>>>Listen to “Vulnerable People” from Thundercat, Jolly Mare and Rudi Zygaldo via Pitchfork

Spotted at PF

LargeUp Audio: Island Boy Cartel x Raekwon x Assassin – “Pretty Paper”

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…
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LargeUp presents “Pretty Paper” from Island Boy Cartel – the supergroup combining the talents of Kardinal Offishal and USVI duo Planet IV – featuring Raekwon and Assassin. IBC throws their hip-hop dancehall sound back to the golden era for this track, which features a sample of Paul Jackson‘s “Funk Times Three” – a song better known to hip-hop fans as the source material for Bahamadia‘s “Wordplay.” Upon closer inspection you may notice a few more classic tracks blended into the mix. “Pretty Paper” is a serious joint with true school roots and tight lyrical performances that is primed to rock the mess out of any dance hall. Check the track below to listen to “Pretty Paper” from Island Boy Cartel featuring Raekwon and Assassin. Get the full rundown via LargeUp. Stay tuned for more from Island Boy Cartel in 2014.

Dam Funk- Last Dayz (Unreleased)

zo Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers…
Dam Funk- Last Dayz (Unreleased)

Dam Funk- Last Dayz (Unreleased)

LA modern funk royalty Dam Funk drops “Last Dayz”; a boogied-out unreleased gem for his loyal subjects to soak in. Its a cut from what seems like an endless book of locked away and unheard funk spells and synthesized wizardry. “Last Dayz” boasts all of the staples of Dam’s West Coast chops (tight claps, sunny synths and filtered vocal treatments) sure to warm up even the most bitter Beast Coast day. All instruments, vocals and production were handled by the funkonaut, who keeps elevating the constructs of the tradition through his fundamentalist approach. Fresh off the heals of the all too fitting collaboration with the other West Coast funk disciple Snoop Dogg, “Last Dayz” is an excellent lights-out, L’s up treat to get you nice and toasty this winter. Peep the endless Funk of Dam below.

Sam Smith ‘In The Lonely Hour’ Track List + Album Cover

zo Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers…
Check out the track list and album cover for Sam Smith's 'In The Lonely Hour'

Check out the track List and album cover for Sam Smith's 'In The Lonely Hour'

The UK’s anointed king crooner Sam Smith is pulling back the veil around his highly anticipated debut LP In The Lonely Hour with the track list and album cover for the release. After now countless sold out shows and a slew of A-list collabs, Sam’s moving fast and picking up snow. With no end in sight, Sam’s left of center sunshine R&B blend is taking the world by storm and we can’t wait to see where and how he lands. Sam’s solo debut In The Lonely Hour drops May 26th, just in time to thaw out before the summer. Peep the track list below.

Money On My Mind

Good Thing

Stay With Me

Leave Your Lover

I’m Not The Only One

I’ve Told You Now

Like I Can

Life Support

Not in That Way

Lay Me Down

First Look Friday: The Visions – “Never Ending” + “Evaporate Me”

First Look Friday: The Visions- "Never Ending" + "Evaporate Me"

First Look Friday: The Visions- "Never Ending" + "Evaporate Me"

It’s not only First Look Friday today, it’s the very First Look of the year, and we’re christening this recovery week with the premiere of “Never Ending” and “Evaporate Me”–two new tracks from Brooklyn-based blue-eyed funk trio The Visions off their upcoming record Wishing Well. Emulating the sonic fortitude of some of the most iconic three-piece line-ups (Band of Gypsies, CREAM, the various line-ups in studio for the Voodoo Sessionsthis trio comprising brothers Ben & Mike Shugarman and Ryan Brooks infuses contemporary pop structures with a deeper and bluer range of moods, arriving at a deceptively simple sound that manages to meld sophisticated boogie funk with the melancholy seduction of modern r&b in the vein of Sonnymoon or Frank Ocean.

If that sounds like a lot to claim, it is; based on these two tracks Wishing Well–currently slated for a February 1st release–is an early contender for superlatives. “Never Ending” is a lilting specimen of a love song which places lush synths, clean guitar textures and the delicacy and swing of Dilla-inspired drumwork under a whispery tenor with the puppy-love appeal of a boy band.  “Evaporate Me” takes that formula to the disco, slipping into “Strange Relationship” mode (two-steppers rejoice) that recalls the franco-funk of Phoenix or the jazz dance of Jamiroquai. Stream both tracks below and scroll down for live dates here in NYC if you want to hear more from The Visions. We do.

1/16/14-The Way Station

2/4/14-The Shrine

3/1/14- Ella Lounge

3/8/14- Otto’s Shrunken Head

3/29/14- Alphabet Lounge

 

Busta Rhymes & Azealia Banks x Beyoncé – “Partition” (Remix)

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…

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Busta Rhymes and Azealia Banks add verses to the white hot backseat sex track from Beyoncé‘s recent self-titled LP to deliver the “Partition” (Remix). While Busta gets into character to match the risqué commentary coming from Bey, Banks is all about the task of lyrical dexterity. Their verses are countered by Beyonce’s vocals over the sultry track. Funkmaster Flex debuted the remix yesterday on Hot 97. Take a listen to the track below to hear the “Partition” (Remix) from Busta Rhymes and Azealia Banks. Grab the Beyoncé LP via iTunes. Stay tuned for more.

Audio Premiere: Mndsgn “Starving (Iman Omari Remix)”

shamz I like ink and alcohol.... and I listen to music…
mndsgn

mndsgn

To be honest, I’m still here thoroughly enjoying the beats on L.A. producer, Mndsgn‘s, recently -re-released album, Breatharian. But Fresh Selects Records aren’t gonna sit around and wait while you play catch up, as they’re dropping a remix EP, Inedia, to coincide with the original release, before the month ends. OKP proudly premieres the first leak off the EP, Iman Omari‘s remix of Mndsgn’s “Starving.” Not just nice with the vocals, Iman can chop them beats up with the best of them, as well. For this remix, Iman slows down the feel of the OG version while also mixing in samples of his own song “Sun Ray (Look of Love)” as well as his jawn with MoRuf “Clutch!” – the result is pure dopeness, check it below. Inedia will be out January 21st and will consist of a brand new single and 4 new remixes handled by his friends and family. Be on the lookout for more big releases from Mndsgn and Fresh Selects Records, later this year (and make sure you cop Breatharian!). Artwork: Alima Jennings.

Chvrches Cover Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope” Live

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…

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Chvrches covered Janelle Monáe‘s “Tightrope” live at Billboard‘s Women In Music event, delivering a gorgeous downtempo synth-laden version of the original. The Scottish band reworked the bouncing track from The ArchAndroid, delivering an emotionally dense slow drag that sheds an amazing of light on the lyrical content. Check the footage below to watch Chvrches’ performance of Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope” at the 2013 Billboard Women In Music Event. Scroll down to peep some of Janelle Monáe’s red carpet commentary, including advice for aspiring artists. Purchase the Electric Lady LP via iTunes. Hear more from Chvrches at Chvrch.es.

Detroit’s Legendary Strata Records Raises Funds To Save Masters

Karas Lamb Karas Lamb writes and digs for tunes you haven’t heard…
strata-records-indiegogo-campaign-lead

strata-records-indiegogo-campaign-lead

The Strata Records catalog is a rare gem of late 60s jazz-funk that has been highly sought after for decades. The masters of that legendary catalog are now in danger of being lost. Strata – dubbed the Sound of Detroit – was founded in the Motor City by pianist Kenny Cox during the late 60s. Noted diggers and DJs Amir Abdullah and Ben Goldfarb (AKA DJ Scribe of I Love Vinyl fame) have recently alerted us to the fact that Cox’s widow Barbara Cox faces the loss of her home and the label’s master tapes if she fails to satisfy an outstanding real estate tax debt. In order to help save Cox and those recordings, Abdullah & Goldfarb have organized a fundraising campaign. In particular Abdulla–AKA Amir of Kon & Amir–has been working diligently to preserve those masters for rerelease distribution, with three titles of the original nine LPs having been pressed for sale already. Cox’s catalog of masters is contains a good portion of unreleased gems that your donation can help bring to market. All contributions will go to Cox and the effort to save an important piece of American musical history as one of the country’s leading DJ’s and preservationists works, in turn, to bring that music to the world. Check the message from Amir Abdullah below. Scroll down to donate to the effort to save Barbara Cox and the Strata Records catalog and get a taste of the sound of Strata Records. Read more about the campaign and donate via Indiegogo.

All money raised will go to Barbara Cox. Any amount over the goal of $6700 will be used to protect her (and the Strata masters) from this happening again in the future. Please give whatever you can afford. No amount is too small (or too big!).

xlsrebelsx – Desire [EP]

shamz I like ink and alcohol.... and I listen to music…
xlsrebelsx

xlsrebelsx

Last year, I was introduced to the music of Cali producer/writer, xlsrebelsx, by way of his Blu featured track “Sinnaman.” The song was dope, but until today, it was the only song i’d ever heard from xlsrebelsx. Well, we can all dive in and get the full scope of his sound with today’s release of his new EP, Desire. 8 new tracks from the creative mind of xlsrebelsx, with features from Blu and Laila Adem. You’d be wasting your time trying to box this one into a genre, just go ahead and give it a listen, it’s well worth it. Look for his Sink or Swim EP, coming soon.

Mick Jenkins “Leonidas”

shamz I like ink and alcohol.... and I listen to music…
Mick Jenkins

Mick Jenkins

Chicago emcee, Mick Jenkins, turns the witty wordplay up to 10 with his latest track, “Leonidas.” The OnGaud produced jawn serves as the third leak off of Mick’s upcoming project, The Water[s]. Check the lyrics here in case anything went over your head – and don’t sleep on son’s last joint, either. The Water[s] will be out next month.