What The TheloniUs

#WhatTheTheloniUs

Thelonious Monk inspired scores of jazz and hip hop legends, but in his time he was that artist who contemporaries thought was crazy because he did things his way. They didn’t know if he was garbage or genius. History has proven Thelonious a complicated and brilliant visionary. His rhythms, patterns and textures continue to inspire musicians and poets alike. We are TheloniUs when we are not afraid to be ourselves, regardless of whether people “get it.” We are TheloniUs when we take what is old and make it new with our own original wild style. #WhatTheTheloniUs is a journey through jazz and lyrical improvisation.

Concept by Molina Speaks
Produced by Diles for Visceral View Entertainment

Vocals performed by Molina Speaks and guest emcees
Beats and Mixes by Diles
Mastered by DJ Icewater

1. #WhatTheTheloniUs features guest vocals by Ill Seven and Yuzo Nieto on Saxaphone. Written, recorded and improvised start-to-finish to Diles beat in a two-hour studio session at Dryer Plug Studios, October 2014.

2. #Check features guest vocals by Mike Wird, Asia Fajardo on Saxaphone, and Chris G on Flute. Written, recorded and improvised from scratch including beat in a two hour studio session at Cherry Sound Studios, February 2014.

3. #TimePiece features Randy Runyan on Trumpet. Written, recorded and improvised start-to-finish to Diles beat in a two-hour studio session at Dryer Plug Studios, August 2014.

4. #Hustle features Joshua Trinidad on Trumpet. Horns recorded at the end of #WhatTheThelonius session at Dryer Plug Studios, lyrics written in a 30-minute stream-of-consciousness session on a Wednesday morning at sunrise, then recorded in a 90-minute studio session at Late Nite Studios.

Molina Speaks - What The Thelonius

Future Town

Future Town
     by Molina Speaks

The future of music lifts
Ancient hieroglyphs in sound waves
Modern airplay must give way
The new creative class is coming

Humming, hovering, hustling
to be heard, our words curve
Mockingjay designs, dagger verbs
our picket signs

Old lines become shadows and we shade
Done standing in lines, music will even pay to play

We drown days of sorrows in cluttered bedrooms, unfinished basements, gentrified stoops, street corners, opening garage doors,
planting miracles into unlit space, endless time,
designing our own futures so we will not be swallowed
by dust bowls or ghosts in the machine

We are
not the mere relics of strange fruit,
not the forgotten hands of intertwined roots
We sculpted the bricks, leveled the floors and mixed cement for these buildings, and we want more than what we have been given access to

We deserve to be heard, so yes, we will even pay to play
Even if it’s just to spit the fire of lyrics to near nonexistent crowds, most whom will not hear the brilliance in the poetry of even one verse over the roar of beer, cell phones, sidetalk
We still write in chalk on sidewalks
You never know how you may reach the next one like you

Art will always say “I am Here”,
riding a bucking bull into Future Town waving two fish,
carrying two buckets of water and organ keys
into Aquarius

Be you Ol Skool, True Skool or New Age
the tags on the high beams are always the same
Adapt or Die
That’s music

We weather the edges left of center with our right brains
saddling it, circling days of crows that cray the decays of the age

Do you see a web that could upend the top down and flip it on its head?
Do you envision a collapse and a revision of disposable culture?
Or just The Collapse?
Can you envision a new system of economic and cultural exchange?
Or do you only see the cash?

Reset
We thread
Skill sets
As artists
We flex
Next

Whether you wax Dystopian Utopia or Utopian Dystopia
We do not wait for outcomes, we create the context

Response:
A call to La Alma we address the most pressing issues of this design
The artist knows she can confront the education crisis, and through music, reverse the school-to-prison pipeline
The focused activist knows it is not about solving but experimenting
He actively addresses the systems’ isms
A life vision that reengages disenfranchised suns and daughters
Deeper relationships within the village
Land, food,clothing, shelter, water and music

Time:
To crowdsource the alleyways
Provide direct access to the underserved
Convert startup and revenue streams to unsuspected dreamers
Create capacity for new content in up-and-coming markets
Draft policies to make up-and-coming a reality for communities who are not, but need to be, and deserve to be
Up-And-Coming

Reality.

Remember:
It is our responsibility to activate ourselves, advocate wealth, and create healthy space in vibrant places where the soul of humanity speaks loudest through the teeth of resilient youth who don’t give a FUCK
about any of this fancy language

They came to sing
They came to shimmy, to shake
They came to two step, doo wop, lindy hop, gogo, break
Pop, lock, salsa, merengue, bachata, krump, twerk–Orale!
They came to smile
They came to laugh
They came to play

We owe it to ourselves to be there with them
In the schools, in the parks, in the heart centers of Community
Downtown, uptown, ghettotown, underground, aboveground

Future Town.

 

[Live poeticizing at the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington, DC.  Presented October 28, 2014 on a panel featuring Youth On Record, recognized for music education.]