Nicole Wray and her band are Lady. The singer-songwriter who is most known for her 1998 hit, “Make It Hot,” has cooked up some raw soul tunes with funky bass lines and a slight hip-hop edge that feel like they could have been created in the 1960s. The band’s self-titled debut album encompasses eleven of these retro-inspired tracks with production from Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman of Truth & Soul Records. Check it out.
Stream Lady below. [iTunes]
I’m currently having a “how did I miss this” moment.
Luke James‘ “Oh God” featuring producer-rapper Hit-Boy is one of my favorite joints off of his 2012 mixtape, Whispers In the Dark. Trying to get that old thing back, the R&B crooner fights for his former love at a gala in the Sarah McColgan-directed visuals. Luke’s smooth delivery paired with Hit-Boy’s laid back production and verse makes it impossible to not keep this track on repeat. It’s modern, yet with a ’90s vibe at the same time.
Watch Luke James’ “Oh God” video featuring Hit-Boy below.
Marc Jacobs’ models for Spring 2014 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC.
(Photo by JP Yim/WireImage)
Marc Lamont Hill of The Huffington Post sat down with Vogue’s first black cover model Beverly Johnson, editorial brand manager for BET and image activist Michaela Angela Davis, founder and CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row Brandice Henderson, Cosmopolitan magazine’s fashion market director Shiona Turini, and beauty editor Julee Wilson. The group discussed the complex relationship with high fashion and race as it relates to the culture of Hip-Hop and beyond.
For example, the statistics on New York Fashion Week’s Spring 2014 Collections: white models make up 79.98%, Asian models make up 8.1%, black models make up 8.08%, and Latina models make up 3.19%. From 2008 to 2013, these figures haven’t changed much. Brands that don’t have any models of color include Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Louis Vuitton, and Iceberg to name a few.
Kanye West: “I’ve got ideas that can mean something if I could put the proper production around them. […] But currently in fashion and the way the fashion world works, there’s no black guy at the end of the runway in Paris.”
Beth Ann Hardison: “Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism. Not accepting another based on the color of their skin is clearly beyond ‘aesthetic’ when it is consistent with the designer’s brand.”
Brandice Henderson: [In reference to Versace having no models of color and the rap song “Versace] ”People of color have all the influence in music, sports. We have so much cultural influences to push whatever we want to push forward. But what do we decide to push forward?”
Michaela Angela Davis: “This is how complex and twisted racism works. The politics of fashion are starting to fight their artistic expression. It’s not fair to say to someone, ‘you shouldn’t like Gucci because they don’t include you.’ But then you have this twisted thing, ‘they don’t include me but I [still] love it. It’s weird.”
”[…] They won’t be honest. They won’t just say blackness disrupts our aesthetic. Blackness disturbs us. Blackness interjects politics that they don’t want […] If someone would just say, ‘you know what, the black body is too complicated and it takes people’s minds off my clothes and I can’t deal with it. Tell the truth.”
Kanye West: “I’ve dedicated the past 10 years of my life to this. I spent 80% of my time working on [fashion] and 20% of my time working on music. Why do you think the song “Niggas In Paris” is called “Niggas Is Paris?”
Brandice Henderson: “Rock your own ideas. I don’t think we have to sit back and wait for some institution to open the door for us. I think we can make our own way. We have to be very creative. Kanye West could actually fund five designers of color. Nobody has to know he’s behind it, but he could push them forward. Build up enough capital.”
Michaela Angela Davis: ”Mainstream doesn’t mean white anymore. Mainstream is an aesthetic. But there’s this mindset that mainstream is white and it is not. It’s over.”
Watch the discussion in full below.
The folks at SoundWorks Collection sat down with Academy Award nominated-director Alfonso Cuarón and re-recording mixer Skip Lievsay to discuss the intense sound design behind the sci-fi film, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
Synopsis: Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) in command. But on a seemingly routine mission, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. The only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, you’re doing yourself an injustice. It’s a must-see that needs to be viewed in 3D, in order to gain the full cinematic experience as if you too are in space.
If I had to create a simple review, it would parallel Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman: ”The ebb and flow of Gravity’s story is deeply organic — it seems to be making itself up as it goes along, and that’s how it hooks us.” I would also add that it’s a visually riveting, character-driven film where its core message outweighs the intense disaster.
Watch the making of the sound design behind Gravity below.
Following up the success of the eclectic, Grammy-winning album, Black Radio, which featured tunes from Erykah Badu and KING to Yasiin Bey and Lupe Fiasco to name a few, jazz-fusion collective Robert Glasper Experiment is gearing up to release a sequel entitled Black Radio 2.
The first single off the project is by none other than Philly’s own Jill Scott. Scott’s hypnotic delivery to a smooth, ever-changing time signature on the mellow tune, “Calls,” is simply captivating. I can’t get enough of this record. Not to mention, director Ace Norton’s beautiful visuals lend so well to the song’s vibe.
Black Radio drops Oct. 29.
Tracklist (Songs only on deluxe edition have an *)
1. Baby Tonight (Black Radio 2 Theme)/Mic Check 2
2. I Stand Alone (feat. Common & Patrick Stump)
3. What Are We Doing (feat. Brandy)
4. Calls (feat. Jill Scott)
5. Worries (feat. Dwele)
6. Trust (feat. Marsha Ambrosius)
7. Yet to Find (feat. Anthony Hamilton)
8. You Own Me (feat. Faith Evans)
9. Let It Ride (feat. Norah Jones)
10. Persevere (feat. Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, & Luke James)
11. Somebody Else (feat. Emeli Sandé)
12. Jesus Children (feat. Lalah Hathaway)
13. Big Girl Body (feat. Eric Roberson) [Bonus] *
14. You’re My Everything (feat. Bilal & Jazmine Sullivan) [Bonus] *
15. I Don’t Even Care (feat. Macy Gray) [Bonus] *
16. Lovely Day [Bonus] *
Watch Robert Glasper Experiment and Jill Scott’s video for “Calls” below. [iTunes]
Alicia Keys penned a new track entitled “Better You, Better Me” for the George Tillman Jr-directed coming-of-age drama, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, which Keys serves as the co-music director and executive producer. The film, for which is currently in theaters, stars Anthony Mackie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks and Jeffrey Wright.
Stream Alicia Keys’ “Better You, Better Me” below.
English electronic duo AlunaGeorge discussed touring in America and their hit record “You Know You Like It” with Billboard at the magazine’s New York City studio before hitting the stage. Aluna’s distinct vocals accompanied George’s stripped down arrangement on “You Know You Like It” and “Attracting Flies”—two songs from their debut album, Body Music, which is in stores now.
Watch AlunaGeorge’s interview with Billboard below.
Watch AlunaGeorge’s “You Know You Like It” performance below.
Watch AlunaGeorge’s “Attracting Flies” performance below.
If you’re a lover of house music from the late ’80s and early ’90s house music, “It’s Party Time” by London-based producer Lokiboi is just for you.
Stream/ download Lokiboi’s “It’s Party Time” below.