Archive for December, 2008

Keyshia vs. Mary – A dissection of two distinguished ladies

December 29, 2008

So sue me, I’m only starting to get into the amazing talent that is Keyshia Cole. I wasn’t really feeling that track she did with Kanye a while back, but always knew she had an ill voice. “Let It Go” was the first song of hers I had in serious rotation. And now with that 2Pac joint AND that fine family viewing known as her reality TV show all up in the mix, I’m fully on board, looking to get retroactively get her catalogue in my repertoire.

That being said, I can finally see why more people have been making comparisons between her and my reigning queen of soul, Mary J. Blige. Most are cosmetic I know, and I highly doubt Keyshia is making a serious stab at the crown like that, but it feels like the people that groom her (stylists, video directors, song arrangers) are placing Cole soooo close to Blige that it leaves people no other option but to compare.

Par example:

Mary J. Blige – “Everything”
directed by Hype Williams

Keyshia Cole – “Heaven Sent”
directed by Benny Boom

It’s like what Russell Peters said: the media places two images together, doesn’t say anything about them, but lets the media draw their own conclusions. Like a picture an asian person coupled with a car accident. You’re left with the question “What do you think?”

Mary J. Blige ft. Smif ‘N’ Wessun – I Love You (Remix) (1995)

Lil’ Wayne ft. Keyshia Cole – “I Love You” (2008)

Sequels always suck, and no one’s ever really done well for themselves being the second coming of some big name (see: Sean Lennon, Frank Sinatra Jr., Nick Carter, lol). Keyshia will definitely find her own lane and will rule all in the years to come, but the powers that be need to dead all this jockeying for position. Mary’s one of those artists that is going to be around for a long time, so that’ll be a very large shadow that you’ll have to run far away from to not be under.

Making all that noise on the floor above us…R.I.P. James Brown

December 25, 2008


Plus this is ill clip of him cooling out the fires in the height of civil unrest in Boston. He had that power.

I should have taken that night off in January ’06 to see him. Here’s to never living in regret.

THE LEGENDS LEAGUE + DJ MENSA present THE LAYER CAKE M*XTAPE

December 24, 2008

This is the Layer Cake, a collection of songs that have personally fueled the fire to pursue my individual goals. Over the years, hip-hop music has been able to communicate so much to me on so many levels, that it was only right for me to select the brightest gems out of the bunch and compile them for the masses.

I made this for every person who has fought with their parents, creditors, ex’s, teachers, bosses, and anyone else who said they couldn’t do what they wanted to do really do in life. This is for those brave enough to venture off away from the 9 to 5 paradigm, risk financial security, and hold off on the white picket fences for a real shot at following their dreams.

It reads like a book in three chapters: admission, advice, and actualization.

The first step to self-betterment is acknowledging your problem. The songs in this third of the tape are tales of struggle and despair, spoken from both a personal standpoint, or with regards to the social climate. Put together, the vibe of this section is gloomy, but every word is spoken with a glimmer of hope.

The next step to finding your way out of despair is to heed the advice of people who have been down a similar path. Naturally, the atmosphere in this part of the tape is more uplifting. Many of these songs I live by for affirmation of living this unorthodox lifestyle.

The final path of the tape is supposed to be the big breakthrough: taking the steps to achieving your goals. No more talk, just action. Here, songs of triumph against the odds and some final words of confidence are offered to toughen you up before finally stepping out into the world. My favorite Biggie Smalls quote of all time was saved just for this section.

Speaking of quotes, the title of the mixtape comes from this ill movie from 2004, and and is heard at the beginning and end of this tape. The notion of the Layer Cake is the inspiration for this tape. I hope it impacts you the way it did me.

For all my aspiring artists, regardless of your craft, this one is for you.

All the best in the ’09 and beyond,
DJ Mensa

Tracks separated:
THE LEGENDS LEAGUE + DJ MENSA present: LAYER CAKE – A MOTIVATIONAL MIXTAPE
THE LEGENDS LEAGUE + DJ MENSA present: LAYER CAKE – A MOTIVATIONAL MIXTAPE
THE LEGENDS LEAGUE + DJ MENSA present: LAYER CAKE – A MOTIVATIONAL MIXTAPE

Playlist:

Acknowledgement:
LAYER CAKE INTRO
LITTLE BROTHER – SPEED
GOAPELE – CHANGE IT ALL
BLU – SHOW ME THE GOOD LIFE
MISTA – BLACK BERRY MOLASSES
JAY-Z & SCARFACE – THIS CAN’T BE LIFE
SAUKRATES – MONEY OR LOVE
DE LA SOUL – TRYING PEOPLE
AKON – GHETTO
KANYE WEST – SPACESHIP

Advice:
TRIBE – STRESSED OUT
THE ROOTS – WHAT THEY DO
FOREIGN EXCHANGE – HUSTLE HUSTLE
MYSTIC – THE LIFE
MARY J. BLIGE – GOOD WOMAN DOWN
ERIC ROBERSON – FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME
CESAR COMANCHE FT. ETERNIA – UPS AND DOWNS
ALLEN ANTHONY – ALRIGHT
GANG STARR – MOMENT OF TRUTH
J. DILLA – THE $$$
BRAND NUBIAN – DON’T LET IT GO TO YOUR HEAD

Actualization:
N*E*R*D – PROVIDER
SIZZLA – BE STRONG
COLLIE BUDDZ – BLIND TO YOU
2PAC – KEEP YOUR HEAD UP
JAY-Z ANYTHING
KANYE WEST – LAST CALL
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. FT. 112 – SKY’S THE LIMIT
LUDACRIS FT. COMMON & SPIKE LEE – DO THE RIGHT THANG

Shouts to my motherfuckin’ man Be. of The Legends League

The appeal of Mass Appeal

December 20, 2008

My first exposure to DJ Premier production was also the quintessential winter in the streets video. Of course, from the instant I had this on tape (shout to Muchmusic Rap City), I kept it in constant loop. And everytime it would be start from the top, there would be so many reasons that kept me WATCHING this song, in addition to listening to it.

1. The trip to the beach in the winter was low budget filming at its best. It doesn’t not get any more atypical of a hip-hop video than a bunch of dudes head to toe in parkas, on a beach frozen over, with no girls, and no booze. To this day, I would refer to this scene as a lookbook for winter fashion trends.

2. As a new cat fiending for anything hip-hop in the early 90’s, watching Preemo’s cuts had me rewind his parts on the fader ad nauseam. Those scenes are one of the main reasons I became what I am today. And upon further reflection, his mixer-table-table setup had my mind blown (sorry, that’s some nerd ish you ain’t gotta worry about).

3. The bleekness of the project hallways, the exhaust sputtering hooptie, Guru’s hoodrat friends (who may or may not have been party of the Gangstarr Foundation) poking their heads out their doors. The grimy basement party with probably a lot of Mad Lion records playing for full effect. I doubt they spent any money on set re-creation.

GANG STARR – MASS APPEAL

DJ I-DEE on his Video Game shit

December 19, 2008

One of the last of the turntablists I actually cared to check for, DJ I-Dee, shows off his love for video games in this ridiculous video. Reminds me of some Justice DVNO business.

IT’S A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT CHRISTMAS!

December 17, 2008

Real talk from Linus…

December 17, 2008

…this never fails to entertain.

Fuck I love this time of year.

RANDOM BIG TUNE OF THE DAY

December 16, 2008

DE LA SOUL – OODLES OF O’S

From one of my top two albums ever: De La Soul Is Dead.
Shouts to Bozack and to be., who both definitely know what’s up.

Who throws a shoe? Honestly!

December 15, 2008

Man, it’s wayyyyyy too late for me to give a fuck about this guy, but Bush’s face is classic, and his reflexes are pretty impressive.

Definitely one of the highlights of the holiday season.

Prince makes cameo at Q-Tip show in LV

December 12, 2008

holy shit!