Black Dynamite Giveaway!

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Black Dynamite, Scott Sanders’ new hilarious spoof on the Blaxploitation film genre, is currently playing in limited runs across the country (to stellar reviews) so click HERE and request to see it in your area. PLUS, the film has two—that’s right, TWO—accompanying soundtracks! The original score and the soundtrack itself are available now.

To score FREE COPIES OF BOTH SOUNDTRACKS just send an email wth your name to with “Black Dynamite Contest” in the subject. Winners will be chosen at random from all entries received. The contest ends in one week, November 9th ’09…SPREAD THE WORD…ENTER NOW!



Black Elvis Is In The Building

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Me: You’ve worked with so many different producers through the years. How have those experiences struck you?

Kool Keith: If you just got off the plane from 42nd Street with crazy people yelling at you, and bums on the streets, and piss-filled elevators, and people upset, and traffic, and all that mess, your style isn’t gonna mesh with a producer who’s from a sunny meadow… they made the beats in their beautiful backyard, with a horse in their garden and poodles running around… I don’t want to rap over a fluffy beat from a producer who just picked flowers from his garden.

Read the rest of this new piece I did with Kool Keith on the recently relaunched Wax Po site.

Confessions of a Beat Junkie: Prince Paul

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We’re huge fans of Prince Paul. So naturally, we were geeked to get our hands on Confessions Of A Beat Junkie, a promo tape Tommy Boy put out in ’97. The 35-minute blend of b-sides, unreleased stuff, famous works, and many skits don’t disappoint—especially if you’re familiar with Paul’s work. Not much info exists, so I wrote Paul and asked him to introduce the tape for us. Here’s his response:

Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed the tape. I made this for Tommy Boy as a promo item in the late ’90s to reintroduce myself to the public. It was to launch off the reissue of Psychoanalysis and a new project, A Prince Among Thieves. I just wanted to make something different from the old traditional mixtape that was out at the time. I had my friends and mom do little intro pieces to the songs.

I wanted to make it appear like I was this elusive, eclectic guy, and they were describing my work to those who weren’t familiar with me. The photo [on the back] is a picture of my son when he was about 3 or 4. He was always facinated with the turntables now he’s a DJ himself at 17. I put a lot of work into that tape, I’m glad that it’s still being enjoyed. Thanks again.

Hear Confessions Of A Beat Junkie… Continue reading “Confessions of a Beat Junkie: Prince Paul”

Original Sinn

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Known as the “King of Khmer Music”, Sinn Sisamouth was a wildly prolific singer/songwriter who made thousands of known songs—thousands. He was active from the ’50s through the ’70s and is believed to have been killed by the Khmer Rouge during Cambodia’s holocaust. It’s said that even more of his work existed, but was destroyed by the Cambodian government during their “cultural cleansing” campaigns.

The recordings that did survive are plentiful and pretty amazing. Sinn’s songs—and Phnom Penh’s pop scene during the the ’60s and ’70s in general—had heavy elements of psych, garage, R&B, and some funk. If you’ve heard any Cambodian comps, chances are you’ve heard Sinn. He was such a versatile singer and soulful in a way that is atypical in Western music; his voice wasn’t powerful or distinctive, but rather delicate yet spry. Even to foreign ears, he conveys emotion well. Here are a few songs from Sinn that blow me away. The first three are covers, the last is an original.

“Always Hope” is a killer Beatles cover. Dig the dusty drums and the weird organ in the background. You haven’t heard “Hey Jude” like this.

“Missing Tender Care” is a cover of Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)”. The vocals have this eerie echo effect to them.

“Women of ’72” is a rendition of the often-covered “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”. Notice how Sinn does his own backup vocals, fluctuating his voice from high to low during the chorus.

“Beloved Girlfriend” is oddly quite haunting and is definitely a sharp turn from the one above. Personally, it might be most moving of the four.

There’s a wealth of info on Sinn Sisamouth so look around. If you have Sinn records (music and/or cover art) to share, please do!!! Here’s Sinn’s cover of “Sugar Sugar” I just got off youtube.

Doctor’s Note

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“Phantom Lights”, from Calm Seas, Phantom Lights

Doctor Nurse is a San Jose band whose perfectionist (and laissez faire) approach delayed this release for years. Besides a droning, 8-minute instrumental interlude (aptly called “Graveland”) the other songs have touching lyrics that volley between detailed, real life moments and abstract imagery. The melodies are bright and replete with illustrative musicianship that combines traditional tools with vintage synths like the Prophet-600 (Sequential Circuits). Occasional French horns, vibraphones, and organs flesh out the rest.

The 4 members (and 2 guest musicians) are multi-instrumentalists whose roles rotate depending on the cut. The songs are laid-back compositions—short, garage-y, indie-rock tunes with occasional psychedelic flare. The joint above, “Phantom Lights,” is a personal favorite and displays a sense of reverie that Calm Seas... is bound with.

*JB of Doctor Nurse, who plays guitar, sings, and writes all the songs, will be sharing an amazing interview he did with pioneering ’70s filmmaker, Jamaa Fanaka. This has been a long time in the making. Be ready.

To hear more of Calm Seas, Phantom Lights and to purchase it, please click HERE or contact Doctor Nurse directly at


Road Less Traveled: Interview With Pax Nicholas

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“You (snippet)” from Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef

Published concurrently on Soul Culture

“Pax” Nicholas Addo-Nettey’s early life was spent on Fela Kuti‘s Kalakuta Republic. He would eventually appear on all of Fela’s records between 1971-78, singing and playing congas like he had been since age 6. Eventually, a teenaged Nicholas even recorded solo projects on the side (much to Fela’s chagrin). In 1978 while at the Berlin Jazz Festival, Nicholas (along with Tony Allen and other members of Africa 70) decided to stay and avoid returning to Nigeria. To this day, Nicholas, now in his mid-50s, resides in Berlin with his two sons.

Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef, one of those solo projects Nicholas made in the ’70s, was reissued by Daptone and is out now. It was discovered by Frank Gossner, a collector and DJ who—for 3 years—scoured West Africa for records. Strangely enough, he found Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef in Philadelphia before leaving on his trip. But the record “remained somehow special” to Frank, even among the thousands of records he’d eventually find. He took it to friends at Daptone and, fortunately, here we are talking about it now.

Fela flouted convention, so it’s interesting to hear the product of someone who came from that environment. Imagine growing up in Kalakuta and Fela Kuti and Tony Allen are your bandmates? As expected, Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef is strong afrobeat with long songs that are swift and exuberant. It’s a lovely record from a young Pax Nicholas who was even lovelier when we recently spoke. Nicholas still gigs, still records with his current band, Ridimtaksi. Here are some of his stories.

How old were you when you started playing music?
I have always had an interest in music from the age of six. But the decision to go into music came to me at the age of 15 years.

Did you feel it was your life’s calling? Or were you just raised into it?
I would say, I was raised into it. When I was growing up there was a lot of music around me. In the church with gospel music, and in the community where people met from time to time to play traditional music with drumming and dancing.

How did you end up in Kalakuta?
In 1971, I travelled to Nigeria on the invitation of Joe King Kologbo and his family. While in Nigeria, he introduced me to his brother the late Igo Chico who was the main tenor saxophonist with Fela’s band- Africa 70. He then introduced me to Fela as a singer and percussionist from Ghana. Later I was asked by Fela to visit his shrine at the Surelere night club. The rest is history. Continue reading “Road Less Traveled: Interview With Pax Nicholas”

I Gots to Have It, I Miss Mr. Magic

mr. magic, right, with grandmaster caz, 1981

It’s hard to overstate the importance of radio DJs when hip-hop first gained popularity. Mr. Magic (pictured above, right, with Grandmaster Caz, 1981) was one of the few who lobbied to get rap music on the radio when it was new and considered an edgy, passing fad. His compilation tapes also introduced hip-hop to legions of cats outside New York. His impact is well documented in the many songs that referenced him (here’s an early example). Also called “Sir Juice”, he got Marley Marl on the radio and was an early proponent of the Juice Crew. John “Mr. Magic” Rivas passed away yesterday at 53. Here’s a nice NY Times piece on him; and another piece by Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker. RIP.