Check out this song track Nigerian singer/activist Nneka featuring the Roots rapper Black Thought. On "God Knows Why," Nneka ask the question, if there's a higher power, then why are people struggling to survive admist warfare and hate?
The production on this song is phenomenal -- a great mix of hip-hop beats, guitar and socially-conscious lyrics. Nneka's Soul Is Heavy album drops Sept. 27.
Nneka -- "God Knows Why" (Featuring Black Thought)
Three generations of west coast emcees on one track equals brilliance. Producer 9th Wonder was able to get rappers Warren G, Murs and Kendrick Lamar together for his banging joint, "Enjoy." The song is from his new album The Wonder Years, which hits stores on Tuesday (Sept. 27). Warren G sounds like he's ready to "Regulate" again. Take a listen:
Can we please have a moment of silence for veteran soul songbird Vesta Williams, who was found dead in a hotel room in Los Angeles on Sept. 22. The cause of death is still not known, however, investigators did find multiple bottles of prescription pills near the scene. An autopsy is being performed and it will take at least six weeks for toxicology reports to be completed. She was 53.
"R.I.P. Ms. Vesta Williams. What a tremendous talent + great soul! Cuz as long as I can breathe, you'll always be the one for me!" tweeted Vesta's friend Kimora Lee Simmons. Funnyman Sinbad also commented on Twitter saying, "Our dead sister and one of the sangiest divas ever, Vesta Williams, has passed away. I loved that sister."
At 5-foot-3, Vesta was a small woman with a gigantic soulful voice. The Ohio native spent the early part of her career as a background singer for such artists as Chaka Khan, Anita Baker and Gladys Knight before establishing her own career with her first album, Vesta, in 1986. The collection featured her first Top 10 R&B hit "Once Bitten, Twice Shy." She followed that release with her 1988 album Vesta 4 U, which garnered three Top 10 R&B hits, "Sweet Sweet Love," "4 U" and "Congratulations." Vesta's third album Special was modestly successful with the title track becoming a chart-topping hit, reaching No. 2 on the R&B charts.
In 1990s, Vesta's career began to falter and she gained an enormous amount of weight. Once morbidly obese, the singer made headlines for her dramatic weight loss. She blamed the music industry and bad business decisions for her out-of-control eating habits. "This is a very visual era," the singer toldEbony magazine in 1996. "When I lost my record deal and my phone wasn't ringing, I realized that I had to reassess who Vesta was and figure out what was going wrong. I knew it wasn't my singing ability. So it had to be that I was expendable because I didn't have the right look."
Vesta was scheduled to perform at Sheryl Lee Ralph's 21st annual "DIVAS Simply Singing!" concert in Los Angeles next month. The Oct. 22 show will now pay tribute to her and another late soul singer, Teena Marie. "She was really excited about doing divas," said Ralph who was Vesta's confidant and friend. "She had just become such a brand new person. This is very hard, this is very hard."
Since this is Beats and Rants, it's only right that I show you talented beatmakers who are making some dope BEATS.
For the "Flud Watches Beats Per Minute" series, the watch company interviews in-demand producer AraabMUZIK. The self-proclaimed "MVP of the MPC" has produced tracks for Slaughterhouse, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Cam'ron, Jim Jones and others.
But AraabMUZIK is famously known for his ability to create drum patterns, samples and other sounds all at once on the MPC. In the video, he makes it all look very easy. In reality, it took him years to become a master of the MPC thanks to his formative years as a drummer.
Watch AraabMUZIK below and be amazed at how fast his fingers are tapping on those drum pads. This dude is deadly on the MPC. Oh, and go cop FLüD's BPM watches here.
I have been hearing a lot about this motley crew of artists and celebrities called The Bullitts. In this video, we get to see actor-rapper Idris Elba live out his dream of performing at the prestigious Big Chill Festival in England with the Bullitts. Fellow rapper Jay Electronica and actress Lucy Liu are also onstage.
Every time I see Elba I think of his infamous television character Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire. He's equally as good as the mysterious detective John Luther in BBC drama Luther. I'm indifferent about him as a rapper because I only heard a few songs from him, but I'm happy that he's living out his dreams.
The Bullitts Performance At The Big Chill Festival 2011