Nightdreams and Daymares

This is not an album review.
Just my reflection, listening…

 

shooting golden arrows, vibrations tongue in cheek
karmic shine up in your head

a balance beam of light
night
swallowing days
under shadows we ignite seasons
change

up in your head
these ballots and coffin boxes
sing ballads away and away
while character assassins talk
talk away

fly by maps my own spells
i put my heart on your scales
and weigh wise cracks
against these laws
that crash skulls

up in your head, this human
plucks heart strings
playing chess
inside a music box
fuck you 

and me, i save the best
for last, lost ones just(?)
whistling away you strays
cuz one way or another we all pay
for this fame…

Dreams.

 

Felicidades to a skilled emcee, Bianca Mikahn on her new release Nightdreams & Daymares.
Happy to see her co-creating with my long-time collaborators Diles and Hakim Be.
EP mastered by my main man DJ Icewater.

- Speaks

Bianca Mikahn - Nightdreams & Daymares

Who Killed Jigaboo Jones?

I recently made the mistake of calling Jeff Campbell “Apostle” when he walked into my Social Solutions (Social Problems) class at Lincoln High.  This was after he told me to introduce him as Jeff…  What can I say?   The past is slow to die.   As guest speaker, Jeff did not spit rhymes or talk about hip-hop.  He didn’t even talk about his play.  He spoke about Identity, Purpose and Vision, and he had every student identify theirs, loud and proud.


This past Friday, I went to Jeff Campbell’s one man mockumentary of the hip-hop industrial complex: Who Killed Jigaboo Jones?  If you have ever been affected in any way by hip-hop, and let’s face it, at this point, who hasn’t… you need to see this play.  There are three dates left in Denver this fall: October 17th, 18th and 19th at Shop Works in Five Points.  If you’re outside of Denver, I have no doubt national dates on the horizon.

DJ Icewater told me in an Oakland recording studio in 2008 that hip-hop is about taking something old and making it new.   Simple.

True to form, artist Jeff Campbell has done so with the following themes:
* Mass media is mind control.
* Hip Hop is Dead.  And if you want to know who killed it, you should probably look in the mirror.
* Corporate rap entertainment is modern-day blackface / minstrelsy – practiced by all races.
* You can only know a man by knowing the various faces of a man.  Dualities.
* Identity is bought and paid for in the digital age.

With Who Killed Jigaboo Jones, Jeff Campbell proves that every activist is truly a comedian.  Laughing your ass off at the smoke and mirrors may be the only way to stay sane.  True comedy is tragedy.  We like to sing and dance too.

Jeff reinforced recent reflections that there are two types of artists:
* Those who master and perfect a form, so they are known to embody it.
* Those who break it, because they are beyond it.

Hip-Hop artistry is not necessarily about rapping, even for the emcee.  Not necessarily about spinning records, even for the DJ… And well, you know the rest…

Following the play, Jeff invites his audiences to talk back and ask questions.  I would have left them in the dark…

Brilliant.

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The Soul Pros

The Soul Pros

I never sold out a show, or my soul
They say never say never but low and behold
Ever isn’t ever so forever I’m a glow
Dough or no dough my endeavors are a GO
- Mike Wird

Billboard vs. masterpiece up on the streets
Big money studios vs. home-cooked beats
Sex sells vs. b-girl skill
Studio thugs ballin’ vs. real souls rottin’ in jail
- Pablo Kee

The Soul Pros present a conundrum: Selling out vs. being Soul’d Out.  OG emcees Mike Wird and Pablo Kee lace DJ A-L’s soulful beats with down-to-earth flows and clever word play.  Classic hip-hop samples and audio snippets from old business seminars provide context.

When’s the last time your soul smiled at hip-hop?

This isn’t an album review and I’m not a music critic.  I’m an artist, often frustrated with the shady business aspects of this work I love.  At a moment I thought I needed a break from the game, $OUL’D OUT reminds me why we create.   I’m ready for more work.

Blessed to contribute to this project and add it to the cannon.  Soulful.  Professional.  Get it.

Autumn Sun

Summertime one mile high
city, red bricks tell the history.
Heat strokes begin to fade
and we bid her farewell,
as yellow school busses cast 7PM shadows
on the wide eyez of the winged.
They began to believe they ran everything
under longer dayz,
wearing their youth on their brows
running from time,
running from each other at play.
Loz vocez de los inmigrantes spilling out
into the streetz,
alongside the thick thump of el loco’s bass
cruizing by helado carts and lemonade stands
watching the streets signs change,
gentrified.
Star signs shifting abovehead, dancing with sliver moons
under grass blankets,
below Scorpio,
above doubts.
Even the grown folks, we thought we could do anything
like mountain streams running
and running, running like lil Carlos running from Jalene,
like lil Chris running from Esperanza,
running up and down the sizzling streets,
el jefe grilling carne asada,
mama boiling greens from the community farm,
Joslyn juicing fresh beets and carrots 
at the pop-up market on Welton Street,
summer setting on the North Side, South Denver,
West Side, East Side, Park Hill,
Montbello, out to Aurora
where suburbs are becoming inner-city,
schools closing and reopening under new names.
There were welcome back barbeques por las familias.
Everything changing, remembering how the hood felt so good
under the banner of Summertime―
fall winter spring we daydream
summer,
chanting down the autumn sun.

 

~ a poem by Molina Speaks