Ill Camille goes ‘Home’ with latest visual

I’ve figured it out. Los Angeles’ leading female lyricist iLL Camille – yep, I said it – is a modern-day Bahamadia mixed with Ms. Lauryn Hill.

Look out for her upcoming full-length album Heirloom (Empire/Jakarta Records) to drop very soon. This here is the latest visual, which also happens to be one of my favorite songs from the project, as heard at a very fun listening party in the Fairfax District a few weeks ago.

“Home” features Damani Nkosi and was produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow. The video directed by Dana Washington.

“This one of the many instrumentals Georgia sent me that I couldn’t ignore. Damani Nkosi understood my vision for it and blessed me with a verse. Felt like I needed to talk about my progression and eagerness to leave my home all while realizing home (truly) is where the heart is.” 

Why You Should Be At Dirty Harvard Sessions at UNPLUGDLA This Wednesday

I’ve contributed to many media outlets over the years, including some of the leading outlets that cover hip-hop culture and rap music. For many writers, interviewing and being associating with name-brand artist matters. I never looked  it that way. Even interviewing Nas – my favorite musician of all genres, for very personal reasons – was a rather straight-forward deal (Write questions, ask them, get answers, publish, move on to the next story).

My specific mission and purpose has and always will be to champion undiscovered and deserving talent. Pac Div in 2006. Skeme a few years later (Pistols and Palm Trees, funded by Baron Davis, is comparable to Illmatic). The premise to build a genuine fanbase around a consistent stream of dope music over a period of time is rather simple. To get commercialized? That’s another story. The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am broke that down to me when we chopped it up at the Record Plant in 2007 for what became a Critical Beatdown in The Source. Diddy turned down a chance to be a secondary quote for that piece, but I passed him in the hallway.

For what it’s worth, the latest artist I’m really championing is South Central LA-based Biz and his band, simply called Dirty Harvard Biz.  I’ve heard some of the music from their forthcoming Heart Break Hotel LP and feel its a matter of time before their art ascends to new heights.

For what it’s worth, my contribution to the band’s success is at the grassroots level. After kicking it with Biz in person a few times after mostly interacting on the phone or social media, I drafted up a new band bio and helped DHB submit an application to American Voices. I really hope they get a shot because Biz and his bandmates feel like the authentic hip-hop and urban culture ambassadors in the vein of the prototype, my Brooklyn-via-Bay Area pal Toni Blackman, and her protege, Detroit-based Mahogany Jonz, whom I’ve had a chance to see live in concert in Lusaka, Zambia.

While we wait and see what happens with American Voices, Dirty Harvard Biz is doing what bands do: play shows. If you’re near Hollywood on Wednesday, do yourself a favor and dip by UNPLUGDLA for the next one. You will enjoy yourself. Trust.

 

 

On #TrumpInaugural and ass-backwards entertainment politics of hip-pop

Why no one at this hip-hop media platform I contributed to from 2007-11 has bothered to call Hip Hop Caucus for a direct quote about the #TrumpInaugural perfectly illustrates the idiocy that infects the segmented hip-hop audiences today like a virus.

 This is why urban media, such as the aforementioned flagship enterprise of a Canadian-Indian owner, is generally in my good graces. Websites like this and their audiences are truly the poster child for the  post-Obama #niggality backlash from non-Black U.S. citizens. Yea, it’s true. I count myself in the latter group, but having spent more than two months total in East Africa plus fathering a child with a Tanzanian national residing in Southern California, I honestly, truthfully and candidly could not care about anyone’s opinion of me. Unless, you are in the federal government, a federal contractor or one of the 20 percent of Americans who own a passport, you are not anywhere remotely close to understanding the global political landscape nor business. We have no common ground in which to speak to each other. Get it right.

 
Bottom line is this, though. Hip-hop/rap/urban culture is stewing in its own piss and fertilizer. That is unfortunate and extends well beyond that “State of Rage” merch from FWMJ, which I am cool on buying as much as HSTRY clothing (I did order Queensbridge Bricks from Lipmatic but my kid couldn’t care less about it and that’s probably the last time I shop from that e-commerce provider).
The rest of the world is ahead. Russia’s bigger, smarter and overall, simply more pragmatic about its approach to Libya and Syria than the “exceptional” U.S. – because Obama is not a monarch, d’oh!
As far as I’m concerned, for those that are curious about what I’m doing next, well, that’s inconsequential and on a need-to-know-basis. I may head back to Tanzania or just drive L.A. aimlessly. There’s nothing wrong with Dallas or Kiev, though. Pops is still in Kiev, plus Kiev flights cost $600 roundtrip from L.A.X. and I don’t need Terrell Starr’s opinion-laden national security stories on Foxtrot Alpha to inform me about the reality in my homeland. I can do artist discovery out there just fine and figure out how to make money.
The bigger picture is I’m going to write #TheAmericanOpportunist in Dar es Salaam this summer. It’ll find its way back to the States like my private equity partner in D.C. found friends falling from the Twin Towers on 9/11/01. That’s still in Langley vaults, though, I’m sure. And I don’t care about the CIA considering it has no legs right now.

Serena Williams bojangles on TMZ

Never met Serena but my ex-business partner has, and I’m a fan of her tennis game. Booty jiggle is as effortless as this attempt to lighten my outlook about moving to Dallas or D.C. this year. I don’t love L.A., sorry.

 

Did’ya know the U.S. State Department money sends rockers to Azerbaijan?

While you live Pac’s thug life, the rest of the world and your Department of State is sending rock bands to five countries in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Latvia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and back to Sunset Strip for a FREE show. Granted, the venue was rented by American Voices Abroad. AMA is a great nonprofit that gets funds from DOS’ Bureau of Cultural Affairs. For all intents and purposes, they show may be free for attendees, but Viper Room must’ve given U.S. a giant old discount.

 

 

 

 

 

Excuse you, Buzzfeed News, for playing faux journalism for pageviews

I just posted about that or this controversy on my Instagram, but it has to be placed here for posterity because Ben Smith’s co. hired a man that I am a fan of, Darren Sands, in whose Harlem apartment I crashed in 2007 before heading out to Dar es Salaam for the first time. Also, there’s my ex-colleague at the Orange County Register (different bureaus) Salvador Hernandez in Los Angeles. He toiled away at the Orange County Register a lot longer than I have been reading LA Observed (Thank You, Cynthia Rawitch). Here’s what I posted on Instagram. Don’t get it twisted and end up another ni88a on the hitlist.

“And @buzzfeed is about to become the next Gawker unless they realize what 5 o’clock follies around the clock means. You just do not publish sexually deviant cornucopial information about president-elect who is a billionaire and does what billionaires do (DJT is not as deviant as, say, Broadcom founder, and @vanityfair forced federal gov to ground his jet and seize passport after he backed expansion of @guerillaunion?) I personally don’t care if #DonaldJTrump is Turkish Republican or a chicken sandwich. Facts are facts when they are on the ground.”

Not sure if Vanity Fair’s Bethany McLean was done in by the FBI or the other way around. Y’all will have to ask James Comey for me. I bet he doesn’t know I knew hedge fund volatility process well enough to get out of harm’s way in Kaufman County, Texas.