Premios Puños Arriba // Puños Arriba Awards

23 Mar

Premios “Puños Arriba”- La Habana // 3 de abril, 2009 (English version below)

[Gracias a EmeTrece Productions]

(Premiaciones del rap cubano publicado en el 2008)

El 3 de abril, en la Ciudad de La Habana, se realizara la ceremonia de premiación “Puños Arriba” en el Cine-Teatro Rivera de 23 y G // 8PM.

Categorías en competencia incluyen:

Canción Beef, Canción Social, Canción al Amor. Canción Más Popular, Mejor Featuring, Mejor Beat, Mejor Grabación, Mejor Video Clip, Mejor Mini Reportaje, Mejor Cover CD, y CD del Año.

Discos en competencia:

Mi Testimonio (Escuadrón Patriota). El Atropello (Los Aldeanos), Miseria Humana (El Aldeano), Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde (El B.), Redención (Papá Humbertico), La Segunda Temporada (Maikel Xtremo), Conseptos y Prinsipios (El Libre), y El Alma de un Soldado (Soldier Squad).


Puños Arriba Awards – Havana // April 3, 2009

[Courtesy of EmeTrece Productions]

(Awards ceremony for Cuban rap released in 2008)

On April 3, 2009 en Havana, Cuba, the Puños Arriba awards ceremony will take place the Rivera theater on 23 and G at 8PM.

Award categories include:

Beef song, Social Song, Love Song, Most Popular Song, Best Guest Appearance, Best Recording, Best Video, Best Mini Report, Best CD Cover and CD of the Year.

Competing albums:

Mi Testimonio (Escuadrón Patriota); El Atropello (Los Aldeanos); Miseria Humana (El Aldeano); Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde (El B.); Redención (Papá Humbertico); La Segunda Temporada (Maikel Xtremo); Conseptos y Prinsipios (El Libre); y El Alma de un Soldado (Soldier Squad).


Cultura Profética

20 Mar

It was 3am and I was done. My lower back was burning, my eyes were being assaulted by smoke, and I had had enough of the hippies in their red, gold and green costumes. Cramped among hundreds of reggae zealots somewhere in the belly of Mexico City, I questioned whether or not Cultura Profética was worth the stress. I told myself if they weren’t on stage in the next 10 minutes, I’d be out out. About 20 minutes later my patience was rewarded:  Cultura Profética was on stage interpreting a Bob classic with a sincerity and musicality I hadn’t seen all night, and my five hour wait was already forgotten.cultura

Debuting in 1996 in Puerto Rico, the band has since released six albums with topics ranging from love to critique of their island’s complicated political predicament. Their sound plays with jazz and hip hop, but is still deeply rooted in reggae.

The first album, Canción de Alerta (1998) sold over 60,000 units in Puerto Rico alone and was engineered in Jamaica by Errol Brown under the legendary Tuff Gong label. Cultura Profética is the only Spanish- speaking band to have been named as a headliner in the prestigious Bob Marley/Tribute to the Reggae Legends concert year after year, and they’ve toured extensively across the Americas, selling out shows and playing to thousands. Yet chances are, most native English-speaking, reggae enthusiasts have never heard of them.

The band is expected to release a new album sometime this summer. Here’s a clip from the DVD, Cultura Profética Live: Tribute to the Legend Bob Marley, released in 2007. And just because I can’t help but love the rhythm on this track, you’ll also find “Pof Pof Pasa” with emcee E.A. Flow below.


Video: Chrisette Michele – Epiphany

17 Mar

IF you don’t know about this girl Chrisette Michele, you need to know about THIS girl Chrisette Michele! So I’m gonna do my due diligence as a friend, who has a vested interest in you hearing the best music and the most talented artists out there and post this video so you can watch her, find her amazing, and seek out her lovely music where ever it is you do your musical seeking…

You may remember her unique voice featured on tracks from Nas (Can’t Forget About You) and Jay-Z (Lost Ones). (I kinda felt like the folks at Def Jam were over using her… but they eventually let her release an album of her own…so I guess it all worked out.) She also sang the hook on the Roots single “Rising Up” from the album Rising Down. She’s really quite special…and I’m REALLY feeling her hair!!! back to the topic at hand, Chrisette Michele’s album Epiphany drops March 31…so get yourself up to speed. And then get that album. She’s amazing.

*Big up to T-dot’s own, Drake, her love interest in the video!


Chrisette Michele – Epiphany

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Drake – So Far Gone Mixtape

13 Mar

I like my emcees arrogant.  Rap lyrics with a hefty dose of bravado otherwise they lack flavour. Admit it: punch lines combined with a certain amount of cockiness is often what leads to classic material.

Last month Drake released a “mixtape” (I love how we’re holding on to the “tape”) called So Far Gone with 17 tracks so-far-gone-front-coverand guests spots by Trey Songz, Lil’ Wayne, Santo Gold and a few other friends. Besides talent, young boy’s persona exudes a cockiness I kind of like: seemingly effortless and consequently far from corny.

When Boi -1da told me during an interview back in 2006 that he was working with an emcee named Drake, who in his opinion was one of the best lyricists out, I had to hold in my laughter. Really? “Jimmy” from Degrassi (Canadian TV show) is an emcee AND he’s good? I figured it was Boi’s youth speaking, turning “good” into “the G.O.A.T.” But respect due, Aubrey Graham/Drake has managed to successfully distance two sides of the same coin.

Some listeners will have to take him in short doses because, understandably, too much of anything makes you annoyed. To his credit, Drizzy does take off the mask and show some vulnerability (rare, but it happens) a few times on So Far Gone.

Brothers with confidence are infinitely more attractive than the herb who is always second-guessing himself and I hear it’s the same on the flip side. The same principle holds true in the rap world. And that rumoured line that separates confidence from arrogance, like good from evil, might not actually exist.


*I’ve chosen the word “persona” carefully, I’m not just trying to sound fancy. I meant persona, as in character, role, front. I’m old enough to know better than believe every story I hear in a rhyme.  I grew up listening to lot of Boot Camp Clik…loved them. And when I met most of them at an interview session, I was pleased that they were extremely friendly, well-mannered young men. A storyteller’s worth is in the way s/he tells the story.

Imani Monique tries her hand… at poetry :)

12 Mar

Take me to my weakest point, all at once.

That liquid slip and slide

Take me

Have your way

with me – gone

drink me – drunk

Love me and leave me

here on the floor…

room spinning…

all giggles


Pour me another

Paper, plastic or glass

Please! – no pictures.

Title: Red Wine

*I can’t even front, I wrote this a few years ago in honour of my first REAL drunken experience. (There haven’t been many…something about vomiting and feeling horrible that just doesn’t appeal to me.) Besides, despite my small, slim stature, I hold my liquor pretty well…with red wine being that singular caveat. I realized in that alcohol induced giddiness, that red wine was my alcoholic kryptonite. It still is today.  Most times I avoid it, but sometimes I seek out that feeling… and in that *spirit*…hahaha…(I’m such a nerd) my musical guilty pleasure of the moment, this silly song from Jamie Foxx


Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain – Blame It

Vodpod videos no longer available.

New Video: Dwele – Workin’ on It

4 Mar

1 minute and 26 seconds of goodness from Dwele…. OMG why don’t I have this album yet?


Do you know what I love? (shhh, don’t tell anyone…LOL)

3 Mar

So last night I fell asleep with my TV (and light) on, at about 9:45pm . It was a restless sleep. And the volume from the TV woke me up around 1am…. but I was still too tired to get up, so I went back to bed – TV on, lights out. More restless sleep until I was awoken, again, by my television at 3:14am, yeah, my sleep has been really shitty of late… But this is not really a post about that… I’m actually here to make a confession…

I love Time Life Music commercials!!!! tlmusic There it is… I said it! Please tell me I’m not the only one….LOL. I know they are corny, the production values are low…I mean they are nowhere near Super Bowl commercial territory. But they are the one infomercial that you can be sure I’m gonna sit and watch from beginning to end. I know that Time Life is just trying to convince me that “5 easy payments of 39.97” is a steal since I would have to “scour the internet and search for hours and not have a collection like this”, when in reality, yeah it would take time but I would probably just download the songs that I really want (real talk!). But there have been many times where I have been, oooohh…this close, to calling NOW and giving them my credit card information so that in addition to whatever collection they are hawking, at the time, I’d get the 2 bonus CDs!!! Not to mention the FREE shipping and handling…not too shabby.

And it doesn’t matter the genre, I’ll watch any Time Life commercial because they are only trying to sell me the best songs and biggest hits! On this morning it was:

Flower Power: Music of the Love Generation!flower-power3

As you can probably surmise from the pictures in the “About Us” section this is not the music of MY generation; my generation’s music would probably be hip hop or maybe that gangsta, New Jack Swing R&B (think: Bell Biv Devoe) from the early 90s. But my connection to the most well known songs of the 70s, well of course that has always been strong. And while I can’t legitimately “relive the powerful songs and artists that were such a part of our lives”, I’ve managed to make my own personal connections using those songs and my experiences. For example:

– Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison…I just adore this song! Makes me think of the TTC subway performer that plays a lot in the corridor between Yorkdale Mall and Yorkdale Station in the summers…This may be the only song he knows how to play…lol.

A big part of the 70s (for white people) was Woodstock… I immediately think pheasant skirts and people rolling in the mud. Still, some of my best loved songs came out of that era and movement… and of course were featured prominently in the commercial.

– Joe Crocker – A Little Help from my Friends (@ Woodstock) – You only REALLY need to watch as far as dude “catching the spirit”…priceless!

– Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe (@ Woodstock) – Correct me if I’m wrong but is there a guitar riff that Jazmine Sullivan has on her song “My Foolish Heart”? I think so…. that song uses a great sample from GZAs Liquid Sword’s beat. If you’re gonna borrow, borrow from the best, right? And just by way of strange randomness involving Eddie Murphy…apparently he has a version of “Hey Joe” too. Go figure.

Satisfied customer Donna Grace had this to say:  “If you weren’t listening to music, you were missing the message of the day”. It really was like their newspaper so much of what was going on at that time was documented in the songs…and can be mine for 5 easy payments of blah, blah, blah…get to the music…lol. This was a particularly good “set”… “Ball of Confusion” – The Temptations, “War” – Edwin Starr and of course…

“What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye

There are a lot of reasons the Time Life formula is such a success with me…the commercials are like the best DJ ever!!! None of this playing the whole song business, just the hook, (the part that I will know), and then on to the next hit song. What’s not to love? Plus, the song title and artist are rolling across the screen so I don’t even have to wonder who created the masterpieces. And the whole thing comes with detailed liner notes – I LOVE liner notes.

So as the commercial drew to a close and they reiterated the merits of their musical sales pitch for the third and final time, a sleepy smile crossed my face. And finally with that music bouncing around in my head to act as my lullaby I turned off my TV (also because the next infomercial was the extremely annoying one with Hugh Downs selling some secret health remedies that are SO secret you can’t know what any of them are… (you left 20/20 and put your co-sign on this? Jeeesh… at least Barbara had the good sense to start something legit like the View)) and lay in my bed… then I looked over at my laptop and decided to write this… I’m gonna be SOOOO tired today. Tired, but full of Flower Power.

The preceding was not meant to be an ad for Time Life even though it may have come across that way. This message does reflect the viewpoint of Imani Monique although not necessicarily the views of Project Bassline…but you have to admit the songs are pretty damn fly!