Tag Archives: hip hop

21Feb/18

The Love of Hip Hop With DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy

DJ Dummy with Common (Left), Pharrell (Middle).

Black history month is a celebration of Black culture for centuries and one of the biggest links to Black culture is Hip Hop. Hip Hop has given artists the ability to express themselves or use Hip Hop as a commentary on social issues in the form of art. If Hip Hop is a canvas, DJ’s are like brushes that blend the colors of sound and voice to create beautiful portraits. DJ Dummy is one of those artists that brings an eclectic flair to his work; he is talented enough to masterfully capture the essence of a Henry Ossawa Tanner painting and recreate the artistic imaginings of a Faith Ringgold in his works of art. He is able to adapt and create in the world of Hip Hop sounds that are both palatable to ear and enriching to the soul. Taji Mag had the chance to interview the ageless, musical virtuoso to discuss his journey and his love of Hip Hop.

What influenced you to become a DJ?

DJ Dummy: “I was surrounded by DJ’s. My father is a DJ, my brother (DJ LS1) is a DJ. I also had uncles and three cousin’s that were also DJ’s. Going back to the 80’s, I used to go the park and DJ’s would have their equipment out and I am watching these guys, seeing that they were doing things that my father wasn’t doing. All my father did was mix two records together to continuously keep the beat going and now I’m seeing these guys in the park, they are scratching, making the record double. I was like, ‘this is something different!’ So that’s what made me want to get into it. I was 8 years old at the time and I knew I was going to DJ.”

You’ve performed at the White House, almost all of the late night shows, NBA All-Star games, and Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. You cover pretty much everything! How are getting all of these nice gigs?

DJ Dummy: I’ve been with the right people and I can honestly say that. I’ve been with Common for the last 17 years and I can’t take anything away from that man. He has put me in such amazing places. I get to shine [and] walk away with people knowing my name. I owe a lot of those experiences to Common. Because of him, I have performed at the White House three times!

What are your top three favorite gigs?

DJ Dummy in action.

DJ Dummy: I change the order of them all the time but… When I got to perform at the White House it was out of this world. First of all, it was President Barack Obama’s first party at the White House, this was the biggest thing ever. The fact that the President and the First Lady were partying with us was great! Secret Service was there but they weren’t crowding them. Barrack was in the middle of the dance floor partying with his guests. You have to think, this was our first Black president, we didn’t think we would ever have a Black president. That’s what was going through our minds as guests as we partied with him.

 

The next big gig was the Dave Chappelle Block Party. I tell people that you may have seen the DVD but you weren’t there! It was amazing and so great! First of all, to be in Brooklyn and to have all those artists on one stage with artist like Kanye, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Common, The Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and the Fugees was awesome! I tell people that you don’t know what that meant for Hip Hop that night! There were so many other artists that jumped on stage that they didn’t put in the movie. It started at 10 am and didn’t end until midnight. It was like our Hip Hop Woodstock! It rained all day and we still rocked! I really, really loved that night! There were no fights or anything it was all about the music.

My next big event was the first time I performed at Madison Square Garden. That was a big moment for me. I never thought I would be performing there. Here I am, in my hometown, where I was born and raised. but there I was on the stage performing. I was doing the opening set with Common. During the set, I had a 5-minute solo and after I was done, the crowd went bananas and if I would’ve blinked I would’ve cried. It got no better than that!

Tell me about a few other famous artists that you have worked with?

DJ Dummy: Queen Latifah, every time she calls me I am always available. I love working with her. She is such an amazing person and she has a great personality. I respect her more than I respect Oprah, no discredit to Oprah because she isn’t my Hip Hop era. Latifah came straight out of Jersey and to be the woman that she is in Hollywood, you have to be proud of her.

DJ Dummy with Queen Latifah

J.Cole taught me about putting out great work, like whole albums and not just singles. Each of his albums are full stories. Like the album J.Cole: Sideline Story was about him trying to break into the music industry or his album Born Sinner which was about him making it big but making so many mistakes. His approach to music is if the radio picks it up as a single, OK, but if he is in the studio he is not trying to make a single because that is not what he is about.

With Alicia Keys, I felt like I was working with God’s angels. I just kept thinking, ‘Is this person really this nice?’ I had to keep asking myself because she is so amazing. As soon as she walks in a room, the whole room lights up. She just brings that energy with her. If you are in the studio and you make a mistake, she would look at you with an amazing smile and say ‘Oh it’s ok, let’s just do it again.’ She is just an amazing person.

Why do you love Hip Hop?

DJ Dummy: I grew up in Brooklyn, NY in the late 70’s and early 80’s. All I heard was disco music played by my parents. Like Motown from that era, I loved music from there. Then when I heard somebody rapping these words over one of my fathers’ old records, I was like ‘Hey that’s Good Times but they are actually doing some raps over it!’ It grabbed me like holy cow! I was thinking this is was something we could relate to. It wasn’t about shaking your booty or love, this rap was about how we were talking growing up in the streets. It was just something we could relate to. Not saying we couldn’t relate to disco, disco was just there at the time. Once I heard groups like Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and the Cold Crush Brothers rapping over my fathers’ old records, it was the best of both worlds. Then there used to be jams outside of the park where the DJ would bring out the big bottom bass speakers and he would have control of the crowd that consisted of break dancers and other people dancing. That was Hip Hop. The music wasn’t Hip Hop, the whole environment was Hip Hop. That is when and why I fell in love with Hip Hop.

When it comes to Hip Hop, DJ Dummy truly exemplifies the quote, “To find joy in work, is to discover the fountain of youth.”

Make sure to look check out DJ Dummy’s tour schedule for performances near you and pick up his collaborative hit album “Vintage Babies” with Maimouna Youssef.

12Feb/18
Young MA discusses fame weight loss

Hip Hop Star Young M.A discusses fame, weight loss, and more on Made From Scratch *Video*

Young MA discusses fame weight lossThe new digital series, Made From Scratch, gives viewers a taste of what music’s hottest artists are like when they step outside of the studio and into the kitchen. In the premiere episode, rapper Young M.A invites us into her home as she and her grandmother, G Mac, cook up the family favorites M.A misses when she’s on the road. With spice as the main ingredient, the two open up about Young M.A’s life before becoming a platinum-selling rapper, her introduction to music (queue 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying), M.A’s commitment to controlling her own identity and more. Young M.A also opens up about her recent weight loss and what prompted her to cut out the junk food on the road.

26Jan/17
missy elliott

Missy Elliott Blesses Us With Another Banger

As much as we want (and NEED) Missy Elliott to be a constant presence in our lives, we’ll gladly accept these annual bangers with visual videos that make everything else current look like child’s play. From concept to choreo, this video is everything. Shout to her dancers as always! There’s levels of core and balance required to execute these moves that us sub humans cannot even imagine. Missy keep slaying!

Missy Elliott – I’m Better ft. Lamb [Official Video]

 

19Jan/16
Black Girls in Rome

Black Girls in Rome: Super Dope Web Series

Black Girls in RomeBlack Girls in Rome is a scripted web series that follows the life and adventures of a young Black woman who decides to give Italy a try after suffering a broken heart in New York. The storyline is loosely based on the life of Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, a native of Texas who has spent the better part of the last decade in the eternal city. Dr. Pizzoli is the writer, director & executive producer of the project. Renowned Dominican-Italian actress Iris Peynado plays a role in the series and serves as an associate producer.

Black Girls in Rome: Ever consider quitting your life as you know it and starting fresh… abroad?

Comprised of eight episodes, the show highlights not only typical Roman life, but the type of existence that can be crafted, honed and enjoyed in a new and drastically unfamiliar environment if one simply has the courage to leap. A reflection of modern times and struggles both in New York and Italy, Black Girls in Rome depicts a thirty-something year old woman of color’s narrative with an exciting amount of international mobility. Scenes for the show were shot in New York, Rome and Marrakech, Morocco. At a time when the need for positive Black imagery and narratives as well as accurate representation of Black culture is sorely needed, Black Girls in Rome offers a visually and mentally dazzling getaway for viewers and looks to delight with its content.

Black Girls in Rome will debut in the spring of 2016. The trailer can be viewed here:

For additional information and updates, you’re welcomed to visit pizzolimedia.com.

14Jan/16
fresh dressed

Fresh Dressed Relives How Hip Hop Culture Impacts Fashion

Fresh Dressed was released in 2015 and directed by Sacha Jenkins. This documentary embodies the story of how hip hop has affected the fashion world. Fashion means individuality. Clothing was a way for people to show their distinct and unique sense of style. From times of slavery to modern day, fashion was an influential aspect in African American culture. In order for slave masters to be considered “good Christians,” they would make sure that their slaves had at least one “good” outfit when going to church. From this, the term “Sunday’s Best” was born. Generally, people would attend church wearing their best attire. This trend has naturally followed us through the generations from Africa and seeped into our everyday lives, culturally inspiring our style.

Hip Hop has been a major influence on the fashion community. Fresh Dressed starts with Gino and Rosa describing their outfits enthusiastically during an interview. They sported Kangol hats and Adidas with fat laces. This trend was called “B-boy/B-girl”. A B-boy or B-girl was a person who is known for dancing to the drum break section of a song. The fad began in the Bronx in 1973. The majority of rappers dressed in “B-boy style”. According to Run DMC, they decided to dress this way in order to connect to their fan base. The fans would be able to relate to them and say “he looks just like me.” During this time, “Dress for Success” was popular in schools. Also, gangs or street families began to emerge during the seventies in the south Bronx. Men in gangs would wear Lee’s jeans and denim vests with motorcycle jackets underneath. In 1971, a member of the Ghetto Brothers, Cornell “Black Benjy” Benjamin was murdered for attempting to prevent an altercation between two rival gangs. On December 7, 1971, the Ghetto Brothers organized a peace meeting and a truce was formed.

The street was considered a runway for different clothing brands. People who grew up in the projects that wanted to make a statement would wear loud colors. For example, guys from Brooklyn or “Brooklyn Cats” would war Clarks shark skins and Cazal glasses with no lenses. The colors of hip hop originated from graffiti. Jean jackets were the first canvas for hip hop. At the time, customizing one’s jeans was popular. Fashion designers such as Dapper Dan and Shirt King Phade were at large. Dapper Dan owned a boutique in the city and would remix designer brands on pieces of clothing. Unfortunately, Dapper Dan’s boutique was shut down for copyright infringement and Yo MTV Raps blurred out his designs. There were other fads that came and went during the 80s and 90s like fat laces, baggy jeans, Cross Colours, and Karl Kani.

This documentary gave me more insight into how fashion was impacted by hip hop. I was intrigued by how people made their outfits distinct. Fashion is a way to communicate one’s personality in a new light. There is so much history crammed into this documentary and I would definitely recommend it to people who want to learn more about how hip hop coincides with fashion.

Catch it on Netflix or purchase it by clicking on the Rent or Buy now links below!

30Dec/15
Tweetie, Soraya

Dance: Tweetie, Soraya, & Cicely Murder “Electric Feel”

Electric Feel… There are lots of dope female focused dance pieces surfacing nowadays, but we’re still waiting for the one that can knock this piece from the number one spot in our heart. Tweet Boogie, Soraya Lundy, & Cicely Bradley MURDERED this perfect fusion of feminine and masculine energy. Don’t believe us? Just listen to the crowd 😉

Sirens: “Electric Feel” by Tweetie, Soraya, & Cicely

 

13Jun/15
Jidenna: Classic Man

Jidenna: Classic Man *Video*

Jidenna: Classic Man. This song is extra swanky! Get into it and the amazing video, then head to one of the links below to purchase it. #SupportBlackArtists

Download “Classic Man” on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/ClassicMan
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/ClassicManAmazon
Spotify: http://smarturl.it/JidennaClassicMan
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/ClassicManGP

Twitter & Instagram: @jidenna
www.jidenna.com

Wondaland Records / Epic Records

11Jun/15
Tish Hyman : Subway Art

Tish Hyman : Subway Art *Video*

Tish Hyman : Subway Art… This song is pure genius…. Take 3 minutes and 43 seconds to listen, then go to links below and purchase it. #SupportBlackArtists

Subway Art is the first single off of Tish’s upcoming album, Dedicated To. Get it on iTunes now: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sub…
http://www.listen2tish.com
http://www.facebook.com/listen2tish
http://www.Instagram.com/listen2tish_
http://www.twitter.com/listen2tish
Thank you Fader for premiering the video!

Director: Aristotle
DP: Shawn Peters
Movie Op: Chris Aran
AD: Nelson Quinones
1st AC: Hai Tao Wu
2nd AC: Simon Davis
Editor: Peter Noon
Producer: Jamsine Castillo
A By Any Means production.
Song produced by Timothy Bloom, Bink! and William Larsen