A Tribute to J-Dilla by emcee Niles Davis (Rapathon Veteran) February 19th, 2010
The first time I heard Dilla was when he was with a production team called “The Ummah” (J-Dilla, AliShaheed, and Q-Tip). I was very young, but not too young to understand the live sounds coming out of my speakers. My older brother would play some old very rare Tribe, and I would wonder “What is this great music that is playing and who is producing it?”. Then I heard The Pharcyde’s “Runnin'” and “Drop”, loved the songs but didn’t know who produced it. As time went on, Tribe called Quest came out with an album called “Beats, Rhymes and Life”. The first single was “Once Again” and it would always play on “Yo MTV Raps”. The beat came in smooth, then I heard Q-Tip say “You on point phife?”, Phife responded “Once Again Tip”. Then the lady came in and sang “Ooh, you did it to me once again my friend”, I was buggin’ like “What is this dopeness?”. Mind you, I was in middle school, 1996, in the height of the golden era of hip-hop (depending on when you were born you have your individual golden era). I copped the album then I heard, “WordPlay”, and “Stressed Out” feat. Faith Evans. I was completely sold on the album, especially this crazy nice production. I looked at the credits of my favorite tracks and it would read “Produced by Jay Dee”.
I thought to myself “What ever Jay Dee produces on I’m copping from now on”. Then I heard “Stakes Is High” by De La Soul and completely lost it. I mean it was like heaven to the eardrum. I looked at the credits, “Produced by Jay Dee”. I was telling every single person I knew about this producer named “Jay Dee”. Low and behold, everybody I knew would come back to me like “Yo, you right, this Jay Dee producer is insane”. We’d have conversations for hours about the livest Jay Dee cuts. Then I started hearing all of this Jay Dee production coming from everywhere, to the point where no matter who it was, I’d cop the albums just because the production had Jay Dee on it. From Talib’s “Kwelity”, to Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate”, to Erykah Badu’s “Moma’s Gun” (Dilla produced %80 of that album), to overseas artists and so on. When I heard Slum Village’s “Fantastic Volume 2”, they instantly became my favorite group and I went back and dug up anything I could find what they did (Rest In Peace Baatin). That album is in my top 5. Then I heard of this collective called “The Soul Aquarians” that Jay Dee put together that consisted of some of my favorite artists (Quest Love, Q-Tip, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, James Poyser, Common, etc..), just a genius creation. The late night hip-hop Lansing radio station 88.9 (The Cultural Vibe) would always outro to the “Fall In Love Instrumental” as I’d fall asleep while listening to it. Just paradise… I could go on and on about Dilla but I’d be typing forever. I made a song in tribute to him that is very special to me. This is the least I could do and it is an utmost honor to pay tribute and respects to a genius, a legend, a timeless influence. And with that I present to you my homage to the greatest producer ever, J-Dilla.
Hip Hop Caucus Clean Energy Now! Tour Hits the Road February 18, 2010
The Alliance for Climate Protection’s Repower America campaign is teaming up with the Hip Hop Caucus on a bus tour that will bring together leaders from the faith, business, and climate communities alongside entertainers and prominent figures, including DJ Biz Markie, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, actress Gloria Reuben, performers D. Woods and LaToya Luckett, and many others. The Hip Hop Caucus Clean Energy Now! Tour will assemble diverse participants to amplify the voices of the young people and communities of color that are calling for a transition to a clean energy economy. The Hip Hop Caucus Tour kicks off this week in New Orleans on Thursday, February 18 and rolls through Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and the District of Columbia for a variety of events including community rallies, roundtables on college campuses, tours of clean energy job sites and musical events.
Little Rock, AR: Friday, February 19
Columbia, MO: Saturday, February 20
Indianapolis, IN: Sunday & Monday, February 21-22
Bloomington, IN: Monday, February 22
Columbus, OH: Tuesday, February 23
Washington, DC: Tuesday-Wednesday, February 23-24
“The Hip Hop Caucus Clean Energy Now! Tour will amplify and unite the voices of young people, African Americans, the Hip Hop community, and the faith community, around the critical need for clean energy jobs now and a clean energy future for our country,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President of the Hip Hop Caucus. “We are excited to work with the Alliance for Climate Protection and numerous national and local partners on this historic effort. We anticipate this tour will go a long way to educate and mobilize communities for a brighter future through policy that will reduce poverty and pollution at the same time.”
“Our partnership is proof positive that people from all walks of life are united in their support for a shared clean energy future,” said Maggie L. Fox, President and CEO of The Alliance for Climate Protection. “It is clear that our young people and communities of color will benefit greatly from the economic opportunities that come from investing in clean energy. Together, we support comprehensive new energy policies that will start us on the path to creating millions of new jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and stopping the devastating effects of carbon pollution.”
“The clean energy choices we make today will have a profound impact on the environment of our young people and communities of color — the very people this tour is bringing together and the voices we need to hear,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re going out and meeting people where they live, work and learn to talk about how we create clean energy jobs, protect our planet, and break our dependence on foreign oil.”
Studies show that clean energy investments will create up to 1.9 million new jobs, including those for entry-level workers, professionals and entrepreneurs. Investments in building insulation and other efficiency improvements will cut down on energy bills for low-income families. Moreover, limits on pollution will reduce medical bills and protect communities from the ravages of global warming.
Queen Latifah brings new comedic drama to VH1 Februaury 10, 2010
VH1 has greenlighted a femme-centric telepic from Queen Latifah’s production company. The untitled movie is a comedic drama about female best friends with very different takes on relationships. Set in Atlanta, project centers on two twentysomething African-American women: Aspiring fashion mogul Val and former musicvideo dancer Keisha.
Queen Latifah is executive producing this new project via her Flavor Unit label; Flavor Unit’s Sha-Kim Compere is also an EP. Stacy Littlejohn (“All of Us,” “Life With Bonnie”) wrote the film and will exec produce. Other exec producers include Maggie Malina and VH1’s Jeff Olde. If successful, the untitled project could also be turned into a regular series.
Flavor Unit and Latifah previously worked with VH1 and Olde on the reality special “Broke and Famous: Willie Aames.” Latifah also developed the VH1/BET pilot “Wifey.” Her other TV movie producing credits include HBO’s “Life Support.” The actress and music star has also produced the features “Beauty Shop,” “