# WhatUshouldBListening2 : 12am Night Edition

Hey guys! This is my first mixtape!. Please let me know you think about my song choices! This mixtape is just the first in a series, #WhatUshouldBlistening2 is a collection of Electro House /Soul songs from some of my favorite underground producers that I believe it everyone should check out sometime or another!  The songs are either tracks they have remixed or “refixed” or just original songs.
The Track listing is below.
https://soundcloud.com/bigboynerd/whatushouldblistening2-12pm-edition
Anne-Marie -Stole (Chole Martini Refix)
Flight Facilities – Clarie De Lune(Feat Christine Hoberg) (Them Jeans Edit)
Anthony & Cleopatra – Sirens (Clarens Remix)
Azealia Banks – Chasing Time (Crayon Remix)
Portland – Deezy Daisy (Oxford Remix)
Pat Lok Feat Desire’e Dawson – All In My Head
Lykke Li – No Rest for the Wicked (Belarbi Remix)
Owl Eyes – Find Out
Morgan Page – Fight for You (Imbue Remix)
KAYTRANDA – Come Clean (Hilary Duff Cover)
Brancaccio & Bishop – “You’re So Fine” Ft. Ana (John Monkman Remix)
Portland – You Don’t Know Me (Bit Funk Remix)
Avicii X Daft Punk – Dear Boy (Dave Edwards Remix)
Rejjie Snow Ft. Rae Morris – Blakkst Skn (KATRA Mix)

* For best effects, listen to at night 😉 *

Fighting the Good Fight : How Oddisee Helps me Through my Depression

“Might of begin to tear up, my nose started to flare up, I’m not afraid of improving” – Word to the Wise

Despair, anger, excitement and above all else, fear. These are the emotions that I have been battling with over the last few months. I recently got an apartment with my lovely girlfriend, successfully learned how to not get lost on the subway in NYC (still needs a little work), found new friends and even started to learn how to DJ. No matter how big or small, these are events that have shown progress in my 27 year young life. I am proud, but on the other hand, these changes have added new responsibility. I now have to provide for a new apartment, try my best to learn the ins and outs of the city so I can effectively make a career change and better understand how to create time in my life for relationships. My life seems to be happening faster than I can process, my emotions are all out of whack; there are less people in my life that I receive support from and each day teaches me that nothing is guaranteed. Some call it an early identity crisis (shout out to D.C. Comics), others call it anxiety and depression.

“What’s a Crew, what’s a gang to a brother who been his thing all alone?” – “I Belong to the World”

Hip Hop artist Oddisee views it as growing pains. He reminds me that it’s ok to be afraid and with hard work and determination anything is possible. Born from an African American mother and Sudanese father, he grew up in Prince George County, Maryland, which is one of the wealthiest African American counties in the nation. He was afforded a cultivated and cultured worldview that has likely provided him sage like wisdom. His omniscient worldview is expressed through impactful poetry over a wide array of jazzy and soulful productions that would make Ali Shaheed Muhammad proud. Oddisee crafts nearly every single one of his songs from the ground up. He uses live instrumentation in his production. Every pluck of a chord, melodic hiss leaking through metal and thud of bass is usually recorded live and edited for his albums. His lyrics are consistently thoughtful and impactful. He wrestles with complex morals, the traditional American ideals of progression and his personal contradictions. Often he explains his mixed feelings of being a successful indie artist. He is essentially trying to do the best he can in a world that is hard, he’s not just a dreamer but a non-conformist to what the music industry deems popular. Oddisee has produced for soundtracks, commercials, podcasts and even your favorite indie artists (Joey BadA$$, Chris Faust, Fresh Daily). He’s an everyman, your favorite indie artist’s Mc and producer. In everything he touches, there is a hint of thoughtfulness and care in all his work.

“Motivated by fear, ain’t the best, but it works for me” – “Tomorrow Today”

https://soundcloud.com/oddiseemusic/tomorrow-today

Lately, his music has been helping me. It’s sort of soundtrack through my depression, with all the chaos in my mind lately, Oddisee helps me make sense of it, and shows me that it’s always possible to make an honest living and be proud of what you contribute to the world. He has the ability to rationalize and explore his thoughts in a clear and cohesive manner, for the better or worse. It just so happens, when he does it also helps me sort through my own insecurities and doubt. On his most recent album, The Good Fight, he has a song titled “A List of Withouts”. On it, he quickly raps within a verse that money coming and going predict the pattern I’m trying to define. With just that quick string of lyrics, he makes me face the question of if I am willing to sacrifice my belief system to make more money? Or will I stick to my guns and try to find my passion? I think I have always know that fear governs the decisions I make, either it be professionally or emotionally. As I grow and learn about myself and what I want to achieve, it dawns on me that fear and doubt is all a part of the game. In order for me to make it into the next day with my psyche intact, I need to be able to prepare for worse but expect the best.

“I ain’t start from the bottom, I started from the beginning” – “Tangible Dream’

When Oddisee explain his journey of personal success in such unpretentious detail, it stills my anxiety about what I believe I haven’t accomplished yet. It is a constant reminder that just changing my perspective a bit will go a long way.

“Anything I do is a part of me from the start” – “First Step”

Now while I don’t completely subscribe to Oddisee’s personal religion he mentions at times, I do enthusiastically believe in the spiritual values he professes in his work. As I grow, I have been learning to accept the unexpected, it is important to understand that just because I have a romanticize view of something, doesn’t mean hard work isn’t required. Being at the beginning of a life project is something to be proud of, days go by and I have thousands of ideas, yet I do not act on them. I’m at least glad that there was an instance in my life that I believed in myself enough to engage in anything I love in whatever capacity. I believe that all of these experiences not only enrich my perspective but also my soul. Without the first step there can be no destination, for the end and beginning are undoubtedly connected.

101 Artists to Listen to before you Die by Richardo Cavolo

What up ya’ll! Long time no talk to, been a busy lately moving into a new apartment and learning how to be a DJ. It’s a been a rewarding road so far. But I haven’t forgotten about you guys! Anyway, my friends over at Nobrow hooked my up with this new book.

101-Artists

101 Artists to Listen to before you Die is the newest books from Richardo Cavolo. It is pictorial list of essential musical artists that should be listened to before you expire from this world. The beautiful thing about this book is that it is not a “how to guide” to music or someone author telling you why whatever he’s pitching is better than anything you could be into. It is a normal guy expressing his love for music and explaining his honest thoughts about how the music makes him feels when it hits him. Quite truthfully, the book is refreshing. It catalogs his experiences of music and he provides us with some vibrant, beautifully unconventional art. It’s all personal but it also invites you to think back to how you felt about whatever music might have shaped your life up to this point.

101Artists_002101Artists_003101Artists_015

Being an eclectic guy myself, I wanted to challenge myself and see out of the 101 artists, how many can I say that I have listened to, I came to the resounding number of just 40 artists. Not too shabby I thought, but I have decided that I want challenge myself.

From this day forward I will be listen to at least 2 artists a day in this book, chronologically, (Thank God For Apple Music!)  in order to not only say I have listened to them all, but to see how it makes me feel and see what I can learn from each artist, I will document what I’ve listened to and write what I’ve heard and felt on here! Hell maybe even one day I will write my own book about artist you all should listen to 😉

{Music you never knew you liked} – Ratatat – Abrasive

Ratatat is back to their beautiful electric guitar riffs that their known for. They have been on a bit of a break lately but after their at Coachella performance, they are back with a new album –Magnifique which will be released on 7/17. The single below is their second single off the new album it’s titled Abrasive, even though song is anything but. The sounds from the electric guitar melts on your eardrums, the song sounds like a guilty pleasure. it’s beautiful. It’s easily the best song you will hear all day long. Check out the video below, it includes animation using over 4,000 black and white drawings by Ratatat’s Evan Mast. It’s incredible to look at, it’s something you shouldn’t miss.

 

That helpful confusion that is Rachel Dolezal ….

I get it, the Rachel Dolezal situation is truly out of hand. Dolezal somehow changed her skin color, added a bit more volume to her hair and posed as a black woman for over 10 years. Yes it is offensive and it’s despicable, but if she were a white woman advocating for black advancement would she even be trending? The real question is, do blacks even want help from whites in this day in age? The #feminist hashtag was originally thought by the uneducated to be a social media war cry for women against men. After Emma Watson took time to eloquently clarify that it’s simply equality for all the sexes, the #HeforShe hashtag was created.

It was a social media trend that was pushing for men to advocate for women’s rights. Basically, women gave men a platform to be a supporter for women’s rights. The intention was clear, the message was concise and most notably, the movement was inclusive. These are some elements the #blacklivesmatter platform could be lacking. Whites were very important in the development of the NAACP and in the civil rights movement. The main purpose of the movement was for blacks to be accepted as equals and work alongside people of different races to cultivate change. Rachel Dolezal was an American civil rights activist, former Africana studies instructor and from 2008 -2010 was the leader of the Human Rights Education Institute in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. Not to mention, the president of the Spokane chapter for NAACP for the last year. While the action of her physically changing herself to be black is disturbing, her list of accomplishments to champion civil rights is extremely impressive. With such achievements, it’s easy to see why the NAACP thought her to be qualified for the job. However, her successes are not being mentioned.

There are many people, black, white, Asian, Spanish, who passively engage in black culture. They either cash in on “blackness” as a commodity or participate in the fetishzation of black culture. They listen to rap music and think that it represents the entirety of black culture. They use certain black colloquiums for “fun”, and buy into the hyper masculine representation of black men and the over sexualization of black women. We are thought to be the same person and that “our” problems, created from a history of institutionalized racism, are written off with such phrases as “we should just try harder “and “if we would stop killing each other”. Minorities are portrayed as deviants, criminals, and savages; we are usually seen negatively and rarely heard in the spheres of information.

I have seen a number of comments stating that Dolezal was in blackface and countless memes poking fun at her, but Rachel Dolezal differs from the passive participant in black culture. She didn’t lightly stick her toe in black culture she fully submerged herself. She reported several instances of racial profiling to the police and being afraid for her family’s safety . She could have changed her appearance and went back to being white when the going got tough, but she never did. She kept embracing the constant struggle of the black experience. Dolezal could have easily reaped the benefits of white privilege; she grew up in a decent neighborhood with her middle class white family and both or her parents present. She could have had a life where she was a simple spectator in the Race Game.

Now I do not know her family dynamics, but Rachel Dolezal made a choice and not an easy one. Even after being harshly criticized and demonized by blacks and whites and on various forms of media, her sense of identity hasn’t faulted. The concept of race, or as my girlfriend likes to label it – “Crayola Politics” are usually politically incorrect for the sake of trying to be sensitive. The term African American itself is an incorrect classification of blacks. Only if the person you are referring to has been born in Africa or has direct lineage from Africa is that person African American. So that term correctly applies to someone like Akon or Charlize Theron. The fact is, the average American is a myriad of different ethnicities and the only nationality you can appropriately fully claim is, American. Yes, you can be proud of where your family comes from and everyone’s history is important, but it is equally important to understand that we are all connected.

So I went to Special Events Comic Con NY 2015 ……

This past weekend, I had the pleasant experience to attend Special Edition of New York City. This comic con is very similar to the annual one October, the major difference being its size and focus. But sometimes, big things come in small packages. I didn’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of money to get a picture, or stand on long lines to get a glimpse of my favorite artist and writers, I walked directly up to them and conversed with them for a limited period of time. It gave me the opportunity to ask what inspires their work, ask them about their creative process and just have a friendly conversation. What I learned? Whether its indie comics or big publishers like DC or Marvel, its the same things as the readers that drives a lot of writers and artists. Either the stories’ theme is courage, moral greys, civil rights, humor or just bombastic fun, they have a story that they believe needs to be told.

The most memorable experience I had was meeting the artist and co-creator of one of my favorite comic books out right now, Bitch Planet. The artist, Valentine De Landro was one the kindest and most pleasant creators I have ever met at a convention, and I have been to a few. When I walked up to his booth, he was drawing a sketch of Iron Man for a young boy. He couldn’t stop smiling as De Landro asked to assist him in finishing the sketch. In an effort to not disrupt the process, the young boy carefully moved his hand up and down as De Landro instructed him on what lines to erase. In the end, De Landro jokingly told the young child he may need to hire him as his assistant eraser. After that exchange, my girlfriend and I met him and got the opportunity to not only to fanboy/girl out, but also to thank him for the important work that he and writer, Kelly Sue Deconnick have been doing. We explained that it is an important statement not only about women’s rights, but about women of color, the ignorance of men and how the book is a enlightenment to it’s readers of how ingrained these problems in society really are.

IMG_2789

I also got on opportunity to say hello to the King of Rock himself, DMC from Run DMC. And like the many other times I met him, it was great. He is so positive and so accompanying; he has a way of making everyone he meets, feel like they have known him for years.

IMG_2788

I volunteered for Midtown Comics and for early hours of the convention days, so didn’t get the opportunity to cover as much ground as I hoped for, but nevertheless, it was an extremely positive experience and it has me more than psyched for New York City Comic Con 2015!

Vacancy by Jen Lee

nobrow_logo_2

Nobrow is a relatively new comic book distributor from the UK that is giving indie developers their own platform to publish comic book style short stories, illustrations and art comics. Nobrow’s aim is to publish eco friendly books with magnificent quality. With the turn of each page, the each book has the ability to engage majority of a person’s senses. The comics’ smell like fresh carved wood, each page is cool to the touch and not waxy like typical comic book issues, and each story has a major artistic value. I mean, you can take page out of any book and hang it at any art gallery. Many of the stories aren’t about superheroes, supernatural events or fantasy, but have qualities of Aesop Fables; they explore questions of history, insecurities, self-discovery and morals.

Vacancy_001 vacancy-jen-lee-6

CAzA3crWUAAaY8-

The first book I picked up from their inventory was Vacancy by Jen Lee. Vacancy is a new comic short story about a dog with glasses in a post apocalyptic future that realizes after years of waiting for his owners to return home, he is alone and has to venture out into new big bad world for the first time without guidance. Along the way, he befriends a raccoon and a deer for adventures in the wild. I know it sounds like a plot from a 90’s Nickelodeon Tv show, but this story was incredibly charming and warm-hearted. The main character, Simon the dog, makes you care about him instantly. He questions the world around him, but never himself. I found myself quickly relating to Simon, it’s clear he’s trying to embrace change and grow but has his doubts. As he progresses into the wild he knows he has to brave. Once again, the story is short but strong. The color choice is perfect for the story, warm orange lights the evening sky while dark greens and blues illuminate the shrubby. Art invites you into it’s world, it knows it’s tone and how it wants to show it’s beauty yet contrast it with broken and beating down landscapes. The book cost only $6.00; where you can purchase here. it’s worth it to have it in the collection to remind yourself that world can be scary at first glance, but if you brave on, you will be just fine.

Here Comes Daredevil on Netflix….

The trailer for The Man Without Fear hit today, man and it is so satisfying. Frank Miller and Romita’s work is prevalent in the trailer alone. I think it’s incredible smart for Marvel to not include DareDevil’s classic blood -red outfit, it will be a refreshing surprise when it debuts. It will be more of a organic experience, it will raise the question – “is Matt a hero? or a Villain?” so when the outfit is donned, you will just see a man trying to make sense of his insanity. I’m calling it now, this show will be amazing.  If you were under a rock today, check out the trailer, you’ll be glad you did.

You haven’t had Christmas Stockings like these before!

These Christmas stockings are UNACCEPTABLE!

the_earl_of_lemongrab_by_darthguyford-d5r9gts

Looking for a Christmas stocking? Can’t find one that isn’t cheesy and generic? Well you’re in luck, I have just the thing to save you from settling, The Super Sock Shop!
The Super Sock Shop is an online store that specializes in creating customized stockings and accessories based on comic book characters, manga and pop culture figures. Their items are all handmade and exclusive.
There are items for sale like Wonder Woman’s boot or Captain America navy blue mesh outfit fashioned into a Christmas stocking, even lesser known characters such as D.C Comic’s Mister Miracle‘s face crafted into a stocking. Don’t be fooled, this store doesn’t just have Christmas themed items, there are many things to choose from.
For example there is a hat-mask made in the likeness of Adventure Time’s Lemongrab’s face, Ramona Flowers’s infinite handbag and even bacon themed leggings are available. Each one of the items go for a reasonable price, especially since they are handmade and can be delivered to you just in time for the holidays. Check out the website here.
 

 

IMG_5651_400w

 

IMG_3384_original

 

IMG_3813_original

IMG_5334_original

{MUST HEAR MONDAY} Sia – Chandelier (Chloe Martini Remix)

Well, well, how can I explain this gem of a song. I usually say songs that I love have a celestial or intergalactic feel. As if the song literally catapults your soul into space, but this particular song, if you ever needed a playlist for the trip to heaven, this song would definitely be on it.  This song is a piece of art, it incorporates, chopping, screwing and jingle bells. It blends all this musical elements perfectly, almost like they are deprived by not being together on a normal basis. Sia’s voice is sultry and the production takes her further, making her sound like a powerhouse singer. After your ear digests all of that beautiful melody, the song ends on a lighter and more delicate note with a beautiful arrangement of strings. The song is romantic and uplifting. If this song doesn’t brighten your Monday, I really don’t know what will. Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/chloe-martini/sia-chandelier-chloe-martini