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[PRODUCER] AUDIO JONES IS LIVING HIS DREAMS

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Get to know Miami producer/ songwriter Audio Jones. He is the songwriter and producer for Trina’s new song “Situation” featuring Lil Wayne on her upcoming 6th solo album THE ONE. His production credits extend from Pusha T to Gunplay. Audio Jones is just a Carol City kid living his dream.

1. Audio Jones…how did you come up with that name, it’s hella catchy?

Thanks, honestly me and boy Dopexgold was sitting in the studio chillin and he out of no where started talking bout how his name going to be Sanchez Mora so I said shit imma change my name too and then came Audio Jones lol.

2. How did you end up working with Trina? And what was that experience like?

Well that’s  a long story…but I was once part of a production Duo called Snatch & Grab who was being managed by Kd s/o Kd btw who works with Trina. After the break of the production team I stayed working with Kd and it led to me getting placements as Audio Jones starting with her single from 2013, “Back 2 business.”

Over the years I kept consistent with submitting material and led me to making a placement on her upcoming Album “The One” producing a track I wrote, produced and featured on called “Situation” feat Lil Wayne. The experience of working with Trina is amazing. She is so cool, I mean down to Earth, funny and likes to enjoy herself every session. Every session is full of good times, jokes, good company and all other ingredients for a good time lol. Over all it’s humbling. I’m a kid from Carol City and living my dreams.

3. What’s one jewel of advice for up and coming producers?

Get Hot! Build your demand. The more you are in demand the more leverage you have.

4. What artists have you worked with and what projects are you currently working on? I’ve worked with Trina, Ice Billion Berg, Gunplay, Pusha T, Emilio Rojas, Lecrae, Joe Budden and Brianna Perry to name a few. Currently I’m working on a production album full of different collaborations and features. I just started but presume to work on this for the year. I’m looking forward to releasing music as a producer.

5. How can people find you online?
@audiojones twitter and IG and to hear more production www.soundcloud.com/audiojones

6. What’s your definition of a hustler? A mover, a shaker. Someone who putting this with that and making it happen.

7. Any shoutouts? S/o Kd management s/o my business partner Othagod And the Behindthescenekings and shout you guys out for shining light on the producers thanks.

8. Can you tell us a lil bit about where you are from? I was born in Miami, raised in Carol City. I come from a multicultural ethnic background being half Latin and half African American. I started as a singer and was signed to a couple independent labels like Circle House with Abebe Lewis then I was signed to independent label “S.G.S “which was heavily Affiliated with Zoe Pound s/o Blind and during that time I had a single as an artist named Prince Ty which featured Trick Daddy called “So Ghetto. Unfortunately that didn’t pan out for me and I had to reinvent myself and so forth. I started producing.

 

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[MUSIC] BENNY FAME: A BLEND OF 2PAC & CHRIS BROWN

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Benny Fame of Worldwide Reality ENT. is gonna take you on a swerving journey  with “SEXY OUTTA SPACE ,” produced by Doug Grigsby (Michael Jackson, Levert, Teen Marie and more), “I DO IT” and “V.I.P.” just to drop you a few game changers from HATE TO LOVE exclusively on DATPIFF.

The full project is produced and arranged by Benny Fame. He style is vicious and smooth. My personal two favorites are “STORY OF MY LIFE” and  “FLY GIRL.” Below is a self-produced music video for “I DO IT.”

Get to know Benny Fame on this one on one for STRAIGHT OFFICIAL MAG.

1.What is your name and where are you from?

Benny Fame from Philadelphia…I have lived in Florida & Texas.

2. How would you describe your music?

A mix between 2Pac and Chris Brown.

3. What is hip-hop to you?

A full expression of one’s feelings at the moment…good or bad.

4. Can you tell us about your past projects and what you are currently working on?

Currently on Datpiff I have “”Hate to Love mixtape…I am working on new Ep coming soon.

5. What’s a hustler?

Person that gets thru any situation.

6. How can people reach you online?

Email bennyfame215@gmail.com instagram:@Benny_fame

7. What do you think will make you stand out as an up and coming artist?

I produce all my own music and I am a walking encyclopedia of music from the 50s to current music and in all genres from rock to rap…I feel this will reflect in my music and help me stand out.

8. Any shoutouts? Shout out Da Front Porch …Noble Prince Hart…Worldwide Royalty…and my mom

 

Booking info: hursh@dafrontporch.biz

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[PRODUCER’S CORNER] VSTs!!!

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Before, I’ve covered DAW programs. To recap, DAWs are Digital Audio Workstations, and they are used from making beats to recording songs. Now, I am going to cover VST plugins. VST, or Virtual Studio Technology, has been the future for some years, if that makes sense.

VSTs serve a very wide range of purposes. One main purpose producers use them for is to lay unique sounds on beats. Engineers may use VSTs with the mixing of vocals. Some creators use them for both of the said purposes. Me personally, I use them for any purpose, depending on the situation. I will cover the use of VSTs when recording on another day. In a producer’s world alone today, VSTs are the bread and butter.

Omnisphere

This has to be my favorite VST today. The VST itself has to be around 70 GB alone, but it is all worth it. I literally haven’t been through all of the sounds this one has, not to mention newer expansion packs are being released. If you want that unique sound, get this one.

Nexus

This VST comes in second place in my book. Since the early 2010s, you have heard this one in many hit tracks. Although this VST is aging, it still serves its main purpose. If you’re a trap rnb, or edm producer, this one is for you.

Those are the 2 I’m covering today. See you next time for more.

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614 Radio Legend: Kevin “The Man About” Townes by DJ Layne Luv

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Blogger Sidenote: This is a very special blog post for me because, most people think my musical passion lies solely in DJing. While this is true, however, most that know me, know that I have a white-heat adoration for the occupation of radio & broadcasting.  To provide a bigger fun fact, although my followers know that Tom “The Fly Jock” Joyner is my current radio idol, my aspirations of wanting to be a disc jockey started with a gentleman by the name of Walt “Baby” Love and his show entitled “The Countdown”. I used to sit and listen to him every Sunday by the window seal.

Now I don’t know where you might be from, but but back in day in Columbus Ohio, if you were a radio disc jockey, you were THE hometown celebrity to be. You were “The Man” or Woman, and had much “juice” in my city. Names like Kirk Bishop, Eddie Saunders, The Nassau Daddy himself Bill Moss (CapSoul Records), Les Brown, Mike Reeves, KC Jones, and Mel Griffin ring bells in the city of Columbus to this very day. Unfortunately I can’t name a lot of female jocks because as James Brown put it best…it was a “Man’s World” back then. When acts would come to town like The Whispers, The Temptations, The Bar Kays, and The Commodores the jocks would get as much attention from the ladies as the headlining acts.

This leads me to the gentleman we’re spotlighting in this blog. I came to know this guy about three years ago. He would always support my internet broadcast as if he had a vested interest to see me win. Eventually I just bonded with his spirit. Shortly after, I was able to witness him in action doing an internet show on Jamz.com. But this is not just a story about one man’s journey in radio…this is a story about a man’s fight for his life, for his legacy to be remembered, and to let the world know that Kevin Flemister aka Kevin Townes cares about the City Of Columbus, it’s rich history, and the business of entertainment.

Kevin Townes grew up in the Lincoln Projects on the Southside of Columbus. He is a graduate of South High School Class of  1984. During his teenage years, he became heavily influenced by the live broadcasts hosted by hometown legend Kirk Bishop at the Eastside skating rink. Through methodical planning, Kevin and some of his friends decided they would host a replica skate parties in their community recreation center (Barack). The venture proved to be more successful than the gentlemen thought. People from all over the city were coming to the recreation center to attend the skate parties. That provided the push for Kevin to dream about becoming an on-air disc jockey.

Nothing short of a Howard Stern movie….Kevin went on to attend Ohio University. During his freshman year, Townes got a job on the South Green Campus at the college radio station called WSGR. Townes moniker at that time was Kool DJ Kev! The thrill for Kevin was short lived after he grew bored of his responsibilities at the WSGR. To Townes, he felt like he could do more and wanted to do more with his career. After a year and a half of frustration Kevin dropped out of college altogether.

Following his instinct, he returned to Columbus and an old friend by the name of Frank Kelly was starting up an independent community hip hop radio station called CTNT. But what gave the station it’s claim to fame was, while other stations would only play top 100 R&B and safe hip hop…. CTNT was playing rap records like LL Cool J Rock The Bells, UTFO Roxanne Roxanne, and Run DMC Rockbox. “And we weren’t just playing the singles…we were playing the album cuts too!” said Townes. Anybody from that era knows that you could only get that station through a cable receiver, however, tapes of the mix shows were in high circulation and duplication around the city.

In 1987, Townes went from CTNT to the Columbus Hip Hop infamous Z103 (Sunday Night At The Raps). Through diligence and loyalty, the program director took a liking to Flemister. Once a spot opened up, Kevin was asked to do live overnights. While Kevin was working, he noticed that the city looked to him to find out where all the cool places were to go, and all the events that ruled the night. The town was his, even if it was for that 4 hour brief air shift….thus the name was born…Kevin Townes. Kevin liked the freedom he had to develop himself and play the songs he wanted to play to set the tone for the city that evening. It’s so important to document that, because corporations will never allow that kind of freedom again. The reason for this, is that they don’t want the city getting too comfortable with a personality, less they get fired and don’t welcome the replacement with the same love & respect and above anything else….lose loyal listeners.

In 1990, Townes radio world came Full-circle when KC Jones asked him to come over to 1580AM WVKO to host Blue Monday. A radio tradition in Columbus established and popularized by the late great Kirk Bishop. Of course they were big shoes to fill, but Kevin did it his way and the city loved him for it.

In ’92 Kevin lands himself back at Jack Harris aka Papa Jack’s 106.3fm and the station is going through the transition because Power 106 is setting up to be ran by Bluechip Broadcasting with Frank Kelly and Warren Stevens signed on a program directors. Once Corporate got its hands on urban radio….everything changed and not for the good. The jocks were told what to play and what to say. It’s riding in a Dodge Charger with a 4 cylinder engine…what’s the point LOL? But that didn’t stop Kevin’s hustle drive. He also hosted a Hip-Hop television video show called Music Video Avenue from ’93-’96

In 1996, Kevin’s world crossed paths with a young man from Louisville Kentucky. The man from Louisville would change how Columbus Ohio would hear urban radio forever. Enter Paul Strong. On the drive to Columbus, Paul heard Kevin’s Sunday broadcast, and decided Townes had the chops he needed for his show. The deal was offered and from that point, he became the pioneer and original member to what is now known in radio history as The Power Morning Crew. After Townes stint with Power, he did other things, but that was the last time he did radio on that grand of a scale.

The Original Power Morning Crew

But the true story is where Kevin found redemption and where he really found out what he was made of as a man. In 2013, Townes was experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. After a number of misdiagnosis, it was finally discovered that Kevin had a leaky heart valve and caused his health to decline tremendously. Kevin Townes could have chose to be private about his affairs, however he had the same epiphany I had when it came to social media…it was media…which meant he could use that platform to tell his story and be an encouragement to others.

Procedure after procedure Kevin would ask for the prayers of his followers right before a surgery and would always say encouraging words to his friends after overcoming each trial. As we acknowledged his fight to live, Kevin also inspired hope in other people though his videos of promoting heart health awareness and spirituality.

Kevin is no longer working in terrestrial radio. But for everything he’s been through, and continuing to go through, he remains in good spirits and when he can, whether it’s internet radio or a Facebook video, he lets you know that HE IS STILL KEVIN “YOUR MAN ABOUT” TOWNES! 

Follow him on Facebook

under: Kevin Flemister-Townes

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@FleetDJs

@StateOfHip_Hop

@UptownWeekly

 

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[420] Green Crack and a Surprise

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Ok. Before we get started with this review, let me give you all a disclaimer. THIS STRAIN IS FOR WAKE AND BAKE ONLY! Now that is out-of-the-way, let’s begin.

With a name like Green Crack, a normal person (bud toker only) would be like “ehhhh…nah.” Trust me, there’s no cocaine and baking soda in this. The smell is oh so lovely, fruity, and a bit earthy. The fruity smell alone has lured me into giving this one a try. The buds I’ve had required the use of a grinder. My choice of ingestion was, of course, an organic hemp raw paper.

I’ll describe the 1st pull of smoke as this: OHMYGODTHISTASTESSOAMAZING! Very fruity taste and the classic pungent smell that makes people stop in their tracks and say “someone is smoking pot somewhere.” After around 8 – 10 minutes, I wasn’t feeling anything. Nothing. Not a thing. I said to myself “no, this can’t be disappointing…”, and then it hit me. Zero couch lock, heavy cerebral effects, strong euphoria, and, read this: VERY SHARP FOCUS! After my joint was done, I just wanted to keep myself gainfully employed. I cleaned my house, did laundry, and began making beats from 11pm until 10am the next morning! If you are a creator, this strain is for you! Speaking of those beats, you can listen to part 1 of my Spring 2017 beat collection, trap/drill edition below! If you are interested in using any of these beats, contact moi at workwithtylenol3@gmail.com .

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/319137433″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

The high typically lasts around 4.5 hours if you just had one session. Let’s revisit the disclaimer. DO NOT SMOKE THIS STRAIN AT NIGHT UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO DO OR SOMEWHERE TO GO! WHY? I’M GLAD YOU ASKED! YOU WILL NOT GO TO SLEEP! YOU WILL BE MAD AT YOURSELF! Other than that, happy toking!

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Exclusive! DJ Layne Luv Chops it up with The Legendary Large Professor

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When you become a journalist, you quickly come to realize that not all interviews are created equal. When I came to know the one they call Large Professor, I’m sure I stereotyped him along with the rest of the world. He didn’t look like Run DMC, Ice T or KRS-One. But he didn’t have to because before his release, The Native Tongues featuring A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, helped us to embrace difference in Hip Hop. So when we saw the intelligent hoodlum from Queens on our tv set, it made us pause to get past the Poindexter glasses to listen to what the rapper really had to say. Not to mention, with songs like “Looking At The Front Door” “Fakin The Funk” & “Live At The Bar B Que” you couldn’t deny his raw talent. Who knew that he would go on to be a fraction of the dynamic production squad that would produce THE hip-hop classic Nas’s Illmatic. Large Professor is the name you mention in certain hip hop circles when you want to impress high ranking hip-hop scholars.

While watching certain Hip Hop documentaries such as ATCQ’s Beats, Rhymes Life, Memories of Paul C McKasty & Nas’s Illmatic and a host of others, you’ll notice that they don’t get Large Professors inputs because of what he’s heard, they look to get his input because he was there. Right smack dab in the middle of The Golden Era. Right in the midst of New York’s comeback. Right in the midst of the beef between Jay and Nas. He’s always honored as being a dope lyricist and a phenomenal producer. To snag an interview with him is like a Jedi grabbing wisdom from Yoda.

Sidenote: As fate would have it, energy is real, and whether good or bad, it transfers. The day of our interview, I was not having a very good day, but I had already rescheduled the interview the day before, and there was no way I was going to stall The Legend a second day. So I set all of my recording equipment up the way I normally do and wait until Large Pro calls. As we’re going thru the interview, I’m hearing my mixer shorting. I’m sweating, and I almost break down because in all things, I love to present professionalism and I don’t want him to know something is wrong. After 6 minutes, my mixer shorts out completely and I had to go super old school and write everything out short hand. After 11 min we both agreed it was time to take what I had and make it work. Never the less it was a classic interview, and I would have even appreciated 2 minutes with The Legendary Large Professor.

OTT: First of all can I say, what a privilege it is to have an exclusive interview wit da hip hop god, but seriously I want to thank you for all you’ve done for this culture. I want to start off by talking about the love you get overseas vs. the love you get on your homeland. As I follow you on your page, I’m always seeing someone fly you out to do a show overseas. There are many stories of artists like yourself that are rockstars in the UK, Africa and especially China & Japan…why is that?

ExtraP: Well that’s simple. As with anything that is rare is treasured. Those countries didn’t get to see Hip Hop in it’s truest form on a regular basis. At home, you might see me and Mr. Cheeks hangin out on a corner at a bodega or in a club. You have people in America that actually watched us grown from nothing to somethings. Over there, all they have is what they see on tv. They know that Hip Hop started in America, so they pay homage to that. They collect and take care of the records we made that are classics to them. The US is just so used to seeing one artist after another; we can get a little spoiled. And furthermore, we don’t even carry ourselves like that at home. Cats over here might see us in the park and be like “Boom, yo there go Large Professor” and just leave it at that. As to over there, a cat may be in awe because it’s not every day you gonna see a cat like Raekwon just randomly walking down the street.

One more thing, they cherish their history over there. For example, overseas, they keep their historical buildings alive. Over here we can have a monumental building today, and it will be a parking lot tomorrow. But there they keep their traditions alive as the same with Hip Hop.

OTT: With your legendary status in the game, Large Pro…how do you stay so humble? I mean you still touch the people in a way like you never had hit records and like your name doesn’t ring bells in this culture.

ExtraP: Yeah, but see the whole thing about it, with you saying that, be clear, It’s About The Culture! It’s the culture that keeps me humble because this is what we do! Just like families have family traditions to it’s just certain things they do as a family. Nobody’s a star at the family table right? That’s what it is in Hip Hop. In fact, people look at you strangely when you on that. This is what we relay when we’re in a place like Australia. It’s like, I’m no different than you, I just have a story to tell.

OTT: We know you for being in the legendary group Main Source, but you are a legendary producer as well. When you’re are producing, do you get into all the latest gadgetry or do you like to keep it classic?

ExtraP: Akai MPC 1000 is my weapon of choice man. I mean don’t get me wrong, I can still nerd out on you if the conversation calls for that, but if you’re not a producer, then I’ll just keep it simple and say MPC. Hahahaha.

OTT: As I follow your page and Mr. Cheeks page, I see a lot of Queens rappers unifying lately, such as recording, doing shows together and just altogether hanging out. What sparked that?

ExtraP: Whoa! Be clear…Like there was never a time where that didn’t happen. Just yesterday It was me, Cheeks and Nas in the studio building. Through that building can come a session, through that session can come a song or a single. You just never know. We come together for the music man! It’s like wine tasting amongst brethren. It’s like sitting on stoop do0-wopping. We come from the same place, so we’re always going to have that connection.

OTT: Large, you were on the Beats Rhymes and Life documentary. Considering Tribe is from Queens, what are your thoughts on the memory of Phife Dawg.

ExtraP: Dang man….ummmm what can I say. Phife was……Damn man…..Phife was what I call The Perfect Trooper. He the type where you look at him like, you he knows where he’s headed and how he wants things to be. A level headed person. Real cool cat. Phife was my guy. Damn man…The Perfect Trooper that’s all I want to say about that.

OTT: Lastly Large….20, 30 years from now, what do you want your legacy to look like?

ExtraP: I can’t answer that B. I’m still adding to the culture. It would be a different story if I was done but I’m not. Right now I’m still creating; I’m still digging, still doing shows and still building my relationships like no one even knows my history. People can have their opinions about the culture, but if you’re not actively adding to the culture then what’s the point? People can say this and that about what I’ve done and what I haven’t done, but to the people that know me and love me…..I’m just Large P man.

@PLargePro

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@UptownWeekly

@StateOfHipHop

 

 

 

 

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@DJLayneLuv Chops It up with Buddy Wike of 90’s R&B Group Intro Pt 1.

Intro Album Cover

The early 90’s still brought about a plethora of R&B singing groups. The funny thing about the R&B groups of the 90’s, is that they started to separate themselves from the Jheri curl & sequin suits era. Out of the blue, you started noticing singers wearing baseball hats and jerseys. When they would show up to perform at shows, you thought groups like Jodeci were going to sing not rap. This new style brought about a coined term from Sean “Puffy” Combs called Hip Hop Soul. All of the sudden, the radio was filled with songs that had “The Funky Drummer” sample with singers that had church harmonies in the background.

In the summer of 1993, I was in Virginia. Boyz II Men and Jodeci were still preparing for their sophomore releases, and besides SWV blowing up the airwaves, this blaring tenor was coming from the jeeps screaming “I Want To Be The One…Leeeet Me Be!” Now R&B songs sounding like church songs were nothing new, but this voice sounded like no other. It was the legendary Kenny Greene pleading with the Hip Hop soul gods to be the next voice. And for the next year, he was. Songs like Come Inside and Don’t Leave Me were on a number of slow jam mixtapes.

This story has a common thread among singing groups as with any story on UnSung. The rise to power where you are riding high, to the tragedies of that same star power waining because of the gravity theory, what goes up must come down. From the lack of enthusiasm of the labels marketing to group members going in different directions, it’s just the natural progression of singing groups. However, the unsettling thing is, that 90’s lead singers were passing away around the turn of the century at an alarming rate like an omen or curse. Tony Thompson of Hi-Five, Dino of H-Town, Left Eye of TLC, Orish Grinstead of 702 and unfortunately the group Intro was not spared that fate. Kenny Green passed away in 2001 from complications of the disease known as AIDS. Since then, the group has gone through some lead singers, that didn’t prove successful until they came up with the lightbulb conclusion that Kenny simply could not be replaced and so Intro decided to take the music in another direction while still keeping the core sound and audience.

Buddy Wike the original and founding member of the group tells Part 1 of this Amazing story as On The Table takes a closer look at what happened to the group Intro.

OTT: Thank you so much for taking out your time to speak with us. How did the group intro come about?

BW: Thank you so much for sharing your platform with me. Well, we have to go back to Fort Bragg North Carolina when I was in the military.  I met Kenny Thomas, and he told me about this kid named Kenny Greene that could sing real good. He knew I played piano and figured there might be something we could come up with. So we ended up linking on a Sunday writing a bunch of songs. We started out recording rap and house songs for a small indie label. Ned Pdub Brown was our lead rapper in the group. I was doing the tracks, Kenny was doing the background and lead vocals and Nelson was doing backgrounds and rap parts. Soon after that, next thing you know… Desert Storm/ Gulf War broke out and I ended up being deployed. Long story short, while I was in the desert, someone sent me a tape of Lalah Hathaway, and it was all I played. What struck me was, that Lalah reminded me of Kenny a great deal. While I was there, I kept saying, “If I ever get back in touch with dude, we’re going to make something happen.” Once I got back in town, it took about six months, but we linked back up and started working. Through another friend that used to dance with Kwame, I linked up with Jeff Sanders that could dance real good. I couldn’t dance that well but Jeff brought me along. Through that particular chemistry and hangin out, we became a group. We all had the same vision. TO BECOME STARS!

OTT: So tell us how super producer Eddie F of Heavy D & The Boyz found you guys…

BW: Hahaha. What people don’t know is, Heavy (RIP) found us first and then sent us to see Eddie. This was way before Heavy started managing groups like Soul IV Real.

One night Jeff took us to this club called The Red Zone in New York, and on our way, we had been singing Peaceful Journey, (RIP T-Roy) one of Heavy’s songs. It just so happens Heavy D was there that night, so when we saw him we were just like “This is our chance, what better time than to just sing for him right now!” He really dug it. He took our number and told us to call Eddie F because he had a production company called The Untouchables. So when the next week came around, we thought we were gonna meet with these corporate heads and listen to demo tapes all day. Nah, Eddie was real chill. He told us to wait in the studio while he ran to Sam Ash. Once he got back, we sang for him; we were in the studio with Jeff Redd the very next day doing the remix to You Called and Told Me.

So the day after that, we went over to Eddie’s house, and when we walk in, there’s this girl sitting on Eddie’s couch. I’d never seen her before, but she was mad cool. We said “Wassup” …she said “Hey guys what’s up” and from there, we ended up writing and collabing on a lot of songs. From that point, Eddie puts us in the studio with her, and we pen and record 3 to 4 songs with her. That started the birth of what is known today as Hip Hip soul, and what became of those sessions was the album we all know. What’s The 411? and the lady I’m talking about is none other than Mary J. Blige…….

This concludes Part 1….Please check in next week for Part 2 of this Amazing story!!!

@DJLAYNELUV

@StraightOfficialMag

@BuddyWike

 

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[INTERVIEW] Gamal Brown: “Dance To The Music”: DJ Layne Luv

Gamal Brown Dance Company

There are several names that rattle off the tops of peoples heads when famous dance companies are mentioned across the country.  Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King, American Ballet Theatre and so many more. However, because of stiff competition, most dancers may not ever realize their dream of dancing for these prestigious companies. Thanks to inspiring people like Gamal Brown, aspiring dancers can still live their dream through companies just like his in their communities. The name of his company is called Onyx Productions of Columbus Ohio. Instead of the brow-beating strict discipline like most of his east-coast mentors, Brown takes on a more available and nurturing role when it comes to teaching his students. But don’t let any of that fool you because he can be just as tough and critical as any New York performance arts instructor.

Besides my fascination with music, dance comes in at a close 2nd as I am a die hard fan of the late great James Brown, Michael Jackson, and The Temptations. I’m also a fan of newer artists such as Usher Raymond, Chris Brown and Janelle Monae. My transparency will also have me to admit that Fame, All That Jazz, and A Chorus Line were some of my favorite movies. I say Admit because in the Hip Hop world, sometimes “sophisticated culture” is frowned upon and I wanted Gamal to shed a little bit of light on what it truly means to be a part of the dance culture.

OTT: Ok Gamal so give us a little bit of your background.

GB: Well I was born and raised right here in Columbus. I studied in Ballet Met for a number of years. After I had graduated high school, I went on to Dayton Ohio where I attended Wright State University. While I was there, I attended the Jeraldyne School of Dance. I worked out with a few other dance companies and then received an opportunity to go to Africa and study with the ballet masters in Senegal. It was really amazing , And I must say, anyone that visits the motherland, it is a life changing experience.

OTT: How do you balance teaching what you know, while still developing as an artist?

GB: Hahaha there are long days and even longer nights…but that’s just it. You never stop being a student in this culture but make no mistake about it; you have to want to be here. You have to want to learn. People have their misconception on what dance truly is until they encounter a master at this craft. That separates the real from the fake, real quick. My undergrad is in business economics so when I view an opportunity from a high level, I have to make sure it’s worth my time and investment, and this is also what I try to get my students to understand. Mastery takes time, and you have to be willing to put in the work.

OTT: I’m an extreme advocate for saving the lives of urban young males in America. Being that their manhood is tested on every level, a number of them may view the cultured arts as soft or become downright homophobic of the art of dance. How can we get them to view this in a different way?

GB: Oh yeah…but just think about it Layne, you’re in this field where you’re always in tights. You’re in this field where the assumption is that you’re doing these effeminate movements, but the reality is..the strength and training that it takes to do what we do are second to none. If you’re partnering with someone and she weighs 145 pounds solid…there is nothing feminine about that. That takes a strong man. Are there a number of gay menin this particular culture? Yes, but that’s true in any culture. But I’ll have a straight person look at it like this, what other place can you find some of those most gorgeous women, bodies stacked and you get to engage in the most sensual, intimate movements for a living? It seems like that’s where I’d want to be hahaha.

But before you ask the next question, let me say this, it takes a certain level of mental strength to do ballet and modern dance. People will always criticize, accuse you or try to judge you and put you in this box. We come from this masculine community where you either play football, basketball, baseball or run track. It’s time for us to view the arts as something more than this effeminate culture to where you have to be a woman or gay. The arts are for everyone.

OTT: Since Social Media is at the forefront of gaining an audience, how to you think it has effected the presentation of dance?

GB: Wow now that was a great question! You’re a great writer I can tell, but to answer your question, we’re in a microwave generation. People want to be on stage right now. Aspiring dancers want the followers and acknowledgment now. I don’t think they realize the steps it takes to become a professional dancer. Don’t get me wrong, when I look at certain videos I see great movements but no training. I don’t even give a pass to these Hip Hop freestyle dancers either, because I’m thinking about the next generation behind them is going to be injured often because they have not been taught how to properly train. What are you teaching them? This is why it’s stressful to teach dancers, because it’s hard to get them to unlearn what they’ve been doing all along. It’s hard to watch people molesting the movements of the art to where professionals like myself will say  “I need you to stand in acudapie’ and hold that position” but they don’t understand that language. And each level you go to, you have masters that will hold you accountable for not mastering your craft. The craft has to be honored if we’re going to be craftsmen.

OTT: Last question. What can people expect when coming to an Onyx production?

GB: It’s nurturing, It’s fun. We tells stories of love, pain, and protest. I’m happy to see more men in my productions. It’s a movement. My next production is March 18, it’s entitled Roho which is swahili for spirit. It’s a snapshot of my life presented in 8 pieces. I was working for another company and found out that my voice was being muffled so instead of sustaining that relationship I made the decision to form my own mission. My mission is social justice advocacy. I have to tell the story according to the way I see it. I encourage you and anyone on this post to check it out. You will walk away with an experience.

Please visit Onyx Productions at:

www.onyxproductionohio.com

@DJLAYNELUV

Follow Gamal Brown on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

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[MUSIC] POPITO-ROTATE

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Ezerioha Ebuka or better known as “Popito” is a Nigerian Producer and Artist who grew up in western Nigeria. He has worked with several artists and has graced us once again with a great hit ‘Rotate.”  Speaking with Popito like most artists,  he started in church playing different instruments such as the keyboard and the drums and as time progress so did his ability to bring and help nurture great music. Some say he is the Top 10 most underrated producer and artist; I say he is just getting started especially with his Afro-pop which will definitely get you up and moving. I asked the Producer/Artist what was his inspiration for his new song ‘Rotate?’  Popito responded that “he was making the beat and someone said Rotate, so he thought on it and ran with it.” Pure talent is how I see it! I really would love to see more of this artist and possibly some collaboration’s because according to Producer/Artist we will see nothing but Greatness! Check him out below.

 

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