Back in June, Black Thought released arguably one of the best rap albums of 2018 with Streams of Thought, Vol. 1. Produced entirely by 9th Wonder, the EP featured the Roots MC delivers tough-as-nails bars over premium boom-bap beats.
After the release, fans were yearning for more Black Thought. And guess what...?
The Illadelph MC will deliver part two of his lyrical series next week. The Streams of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation EP will arrive in digital stores on Monday (Nov. 26). The project will feature production done entirely by Salaam Remi.
Remi is one of the best producers in hip-hop and R&B. The 46-year-old hitmaker is mostly known for his work with Nas - particularly on his two classic albums: Stillmatic and God's Son. But Remi has produced songs for the late Amy Winehouse, the Fugees, Jazmine Sullivan, Mack Wilds, and many others.
The set's first single is "Conception," a Marvin Gaye-esque rap ballad with Thought rapping and singing (under his alias Reek Ruffin). On the song, Thought delivers ruminations about fame and living the life of the everyday guy.
With the soulful grooves of "Conception" ringing in my head, I can only assume that Streams of Thought, Vol. 2 is Thought's more soulful venture with more R&B in the mix than on Streams of Thought, Vol. 1. This is the more grown and sexy Tariq Trotter.
Speaking of which, one of my favorite song on Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 is "Making a Murderer." You can listen to that track on the flip.
R&B songbird Jill Scott was trending on Twitter today (Nov. 13) after a video surfaced of her simulating oral sex with a microphone during her concert performance.
In the clip, Jilly from Philly is caressing the microphone oh-so gently before showing the audience “what that mouf do.” As fans cheered on, Scott gives visual details of how she performs fellatio on a man, including rubbing the testicles.
The video instantly went viral as fans expressed shock over Scott’s performance. Some people posted hilarious memes and GIFs to express their reactions to the clip, while others joked about holding a personal meet-and-greet with the singer.
But true fans of Jill Scott (like myself) know that Scott has always expressed her sensuality on the stage and in her music. Hot and steamy songs like "Cross My Mind," "All I" and "Crown Royal" are just a few songs that feature Scott (Ms. Jill Scott if you are nasty) detailing how gets down in the bedroom.
Scott went on her Twitter account to inform her uninitiated followers that this type of performance happens all the time at her shows with proven results. She tweeted:
Hi. I sing/act out all kinds of stories. You should cum to my shows. After a Jill Scott show, most people get splendidly laid by whoever they came with😁👍🏽🎶🤪🎉 #iftheydontFitup#stopfrontinusuckdicktoo They also usually go on 2happier, more productive, focused, wealthy lives.
Scott's fellatio skills aside, I wanted to share my brief encounter with the lovely Jill Scott. I wrote about it on this very blog -- 11 years ago. In June 2007, I bumped into Ms. Scott while food shopping at a supermarket in Philadelphia.
In my blog post "Cross My Mind," I recounted my story of spotting Scott in the frozen food section at the supermarket.
"As I was putting frozen pizzas in my food cart, I looked up and saw the one and only Jill Scott. She was alone -- no bodyguard, no husband, no publicist, just her and a shopping cart. I thought to myself, "what the hell is she doing at the supermarket?"
I stalked watched her as she was looking at various frozen Lean Cuisine dinners. I wanted to give her a big hug and a kiss. Her music has been such an inspiration to me through the years. But I decided not to bother her for an autograph.
Aww, who am I kidding . . . I chickened out.
Yup, I had a chance to say "Hi" to Jill Scott and I got scared. At the time, she was going through a divorce with her first husband, Lyzel Williams. So I could have hollered at her. But instead I kept it moving and didn't bother the gorgeous singer.
In any case, Ms. Jill Scott if you are reading this.
Hi, Jill! 👋🏾👋🏾
If you want to watch Jill Scott's sensual microphone performance, click the link below. I also included some of Scott's sex-influenced ballads like "Crown Royal" and "All I" as well -- just for reference.
It might be too soon for holiday music, but I couldn’t resist not telling you about singer-pianist PJ Morton’s new holiday song and his upcoming Christmas album.
Although PJ Morton is the keyboardist for the pop band Maroon 5, as a solo artist, his musical style is deeply rooted in the soul songbook of Stevie Wonder. Case in point: His Grammy-nominated album Gumbo is a delectable listen (excuse the pun) of soul and R&B music. Songs like “They Gon’ Wanna Come,” goes full Innervisions in both its orchestral sound and introspective lyrics. He takes his Wonder influence a step further on “Religion” where he denounces terrorist acts done under the auspices of God, as well as on the reflective track “Claustrophobic.” You can stream his entire project here.
Next up on PJ Morton’s plate is his holiday album Christmas with PJ, which arrives at digital stores on Friday (Nov. 9). The eight-song collection features the 37-year-old musician’s unique reworkings of your holiday classics.
For example, the set’s lead single is his remake of Mariah Carey’s 1994 holiday mainstay“All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Unlike Carey’s boppier version, Morton gives us a Stevie Wonder-esque vibe with his rendition complete with Stokley Williams (from the R&B group Mint Condition) dueting with him and playing the drums.
In his music video below, we see old home movies of a young Morton and his family enjoying Christmas year after year. The visual is intercut with scenes of Morton and Williams performing in the studio.
Check Out PJ Morton's "All I Want For Christmas is You" Feat. Stokley
As for Morton's upcoming Christmas album, the singer-pianist re-flips several of your favorite yuletide ditties. For example, Morton remixes Donny Hathaway's soulful holiday song "This Christmas" into a joyous New Orleans bounce track. Along with bounce artist HaSizzle's energetic vocals on the song, it will no doubt make you want to shake your butt under the mistletoe.
“I went all the way there with the string orchestra and the horns on top of the bounce beat. I don’t think anyone’s gone that far, to have an orchestra over bounce drums," he told Offbeat magazine about the song. "But that’s me, though! That’s the dichotomy of PJ. A brown beat for Jesus’ birthday with a full orchestra on it. Come on!"
If you want to know how PJ Morton gets ready for Christmas, click the link below. Also, I included one of my favorite songs from his Gumbo project - "How Deep Is Your Love."
Don't sleep on PJ Morton. You can cop/stream his Christmas With PJ album here.
Can we please have a moment of silence for legendary jazz trumpeter Roy Anthony Hargrove.
The 49-year-old musician passed away on Friday night (Nov. 2) in New York. According to NPR, the cause of death was cardiac arrest. Hargrove's longtime manager, Larry Clothier, told NPR that he had been admitted to the hospital for medical issues related to kidney function; he had been on dialysis for many years.
Born in Waco, Texas in 1969, Hargrove was an enormously gifted musician who was discovered by iconic trumpeter Wynton Marsalis while he was still in high school. He would often sit with Marsalis and occasionally play sideman to his band. After high school, Hargrove attended Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music but left after one year and began his musical career in New York.
Hargrove was a brilliant experimenter in jazz. He was among the first to incorporate elements of hip-hop music into his repertoire back in the early '90s when doing so was often frowned upon by jazz purists. He created the RH Factor, a collective of artists that included like-minded musicians like James Poyser, Jonathan Batiste, and Bernard Wright, among many others. Affiliated members included Steve Coleman and Greg Osby (both of whom are part of the illustrious M-Base Collective).
“I think that music is so spread out,” he explain to veteran journalist/historian Nate Chinen about the RH Factor in 2003 (via JazzTimes). “There’s so many different worlds within music to be explored. Why limit yourself to just one?"
"When I was going to school at Berklee I noticed that there were a lot of cliques that had established themselves. There’s group A, group B, divisions and then subdivisions," he continued. "Because in the funk world you would have the straight-up fusion cats, and then you have cats that play behind straight-up R&B, and then you would have gospel in the middle of that. And in jazz, you would have cats who only played like Bird, bebop. And then the Trane cats. And you would have the progressive guys who were more into original music. So it was wild for me, because I would just go in and out of each one of these. I just never believed in limiting yourself to one way of playing.”
Hargrove's creative Neo-bop sound can be heard on his 1990 debut album Diamond on the Rough and on 1992's The Vibe. These two albums are the precursors to the late Guru's Jazzmatazz series. Greg Osby's debut effort 3-D Lifestyles (1993), Branford Marsalis' Buckshot LeFonque project (1994) and Herbie Hancock's Dis Is Da Drum (1994) are just a few albums that followed in Hargrove's progressive lead.
But Roy Hargrove Presents The RH Factor: Hard Groove project is his visionary take on the jazz, soul and hip-hop fusion. Overall, the album is a meticulous jam session with Hargrove's fluttery horn riffs highlighting the band's infectious live instrumentation. Standout tracks include the jazz-hop-inflicted "Poetry" (featuring Q-Tip and Erykah Badu) and the soulful love ballad "Kwah/Home" (featuring Anthony Hamilton).
Hargrove's musical amalgam wasn't regulated to just hip-hop, he dabbled in different genres of music as well. On his 1994 album Blues 'n Ballads, he incorporated blues to his jazz compositions and on 1995's Parker's Mood, Hargrove teamed up with bassist Christian McBride and pianist Stephen Scott to pay homage to the father of bebop Charlie Parker.
Hargrove also delivered his beautiful trumpeting on other artists' projects. He performed on Common's 2000 album Like Water for Chocolate, as well as on Erykah Badu’s 2000 project Mama’s Gun and her 2003 effort, Worldwide Underground. He also contributed his brass arrangements on both D’Angelo’s revered albums Voodoo and Black Messiah.
Among Hargrove's accolades include two Grammy Awards -- one for Best Jazz Instrumental Album in 2003 for Directions in Music and Best Latin Jazz Performance in 1998 for Habana, his stellar Afro-Cuban album recorded in Havana.
After hearing the sad news of Roy Hargrove's passing, artists such as Questlove, Erykah Badu, Eric Roberson, Anita Baker and many others tweeted their condolences.
You can read some of their tweets below.
The Great Roy Hargrove. He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music. To watch him harmonize with himself stacking nine horn lines on mamouth 10… https://t.co/ytaw0i8RWV
I have no words over the loss of my dear brother of 31 years. We played on a lot of sessions together, traveled a lot of miles together, laughed a lot together, bickered on occasion - and I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything in the world. Bless you, Roy Hargrove.
R.I.P Roy Hargrove, King. Everyone speaks to your incredible artistry which can certainly never be denied but, I learned in watching you that the truly great consider others. You were… https://t.co/JZ1cbQpSoF