Wednesday, May 5, 2010

GIMME MORE DOPE BLACK GIRLS: Finally Inside Beyonce's Mind

"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo.

So I know its weird. I went from 2 posts a year to 3 posts a week but when beauty and history crash into each other I gotta say something!

Okay so I effing love Beyonce! I'm not one of those crazy fans that can't admit when she plays herself but I will be the first one to jump up and tell anyone why she is doper than they are. But I feel like I've been waiting over a decade to feel something inside of her. Being so glamorous and playful and flirtatious, its been hard to sense her sincerity in the past. But as she always does, she has finally confronted the issue of her authenticity and proven, she's everything you ever seen, and more.

This video turned everything about Beyonce WAY UP. Classic and well fashioned pin up imaging, grainy vintage 50's video taping and a shot of "B.B. Homemaker" dusting off her countless Grammy's was all it took to make this video a winner. The song, while not the greatest banger of them all is perfect for this theme. She plays on the problem of an unsatisfied husband, but in great B vernacular, you know its also a punch at everyone that questions, critiques and disregards her successful career.

why don't you love me when i make myself so easy to love? i got beauty, i got heart, keep my head in the books I'm sharp. but you don't care to know that I'm smart..

Those vulnerable lyrics are met with Bey fixing cars in stilettos, burning up food and being dangerously beautiful while affirming she deserves more love than she receives. She displays all the ways she caters to her man/public without being regarded for all it takes to be a wonder woman. Makeup rolling down her face, with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in another, for the first time you see and hear real torment in her voice. I appreciate that she put it all out there and I believe this is finally the end of the surface Bey. Grown, sexy and secure and in depth, she is surely just as dynamic inside as she is out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Congi Swagga: The Real from Faro Z


Sitting down to write about this song has been difficult. Mostly because before i reach the 3rd minute i am up dancing. Faro Z has the magic within to invoke ancient values in a totally contemporary context. In the Fela era New York is currently enjoying, Only Built for Afro Cuban Linx is a gem for on and off broadway audiences. The album is a perfect fusion of Afro Beat, Wu Tang influences and Faro's classic New York mc-ing. To be such an intellectually stimulating body of music the most dynamic part of this single and the entire album is it makes you dance.

This was confirmed at the NRO Speakeasy in the Bronx a few weeks back. Cool vybes, great convos, everyone was chillin. Then Congi Swagga came on. Immediately the cocktail party vybe turned into a full on bashment. Followed by 3 other amazing tracks off the album the event began to BUMP. Bodies were shaking and bouncing from all directions and all I can remember is that I never experienced anything like that moment prior. A room full of people that had never heard Faro's music had become a room full of dedicated fans. We were all shocked. And motivated.

What I appreciate most about Faro, Congi Swagga and the whole Only Built for Afro Cuban Linx is that he doesn't sacrifice any of his skills, he accelerates them and in doing so creates a space for himself within Hip Hop and Diaspora music cultures. Multi-lingual lyrics, familiar and ferocious beats, authenticity and swagga, Faro Z is "the real".

download Congi Swagga at

No Stranger to Being Dope : Tecla Esposito

Documenting a beautiful moment in history is always right on time. This is a lesson I learned recently while lost in the woods with the sensual, playful, wild world that Tecla Esposito created on her new album, Strangers In Masks.

I was of the lucky elite class that got an early preview of Strangers before its actual release date. I immediately began taking notes and BBM'd Tec about reviewing her music. But i was way too overwhelmed to share most of my words. I never experienced anything like her before. Tecla and her album are such a flavor filled box of candy and beer, girls and boys, masks and bare truths.

This album is packed with dope from every direction. The ambient, psycho-analytical introduction of Chi Ali's sample, scary laughter and carnival harpsichords open the door to her vortex "Vintage Circus". Lyrically, Tecla is coy and creative and concerned from the gate. Throughout the album she is confronting social bullshit we often walk around in the name of fun and fashion. "Let's Play Dress Up", "Skinny Skinny" and "Good Hair" are all about the world's dumb expectations of her and women all around. Playful lyrics like "Scenester, scenester on my way/ out the door who am I today?" are sexy lines that blatantly call out the external focus of our current pop culture. What I enjoy most is that she is laughing at all of these issues; bringing them to the forefront while vocally proving she doesn't abide by such standards. She calmly questions the issues of beauty and brilliance and how our current culture values each. This discussion is powerful and compelling coming from such an undeniable beauty like Tecla, who conveys well that beauty alone won't win anyone their throne.

Regarding love and romance and creating her own space, Tecla's lyrics are visual and vulnerable. "dancing mimes" and "leprechauns in underwear" and other colorful childhood images are are all over "See The Rainbows", a synth bass driven song about her ideal utopia. One of favorite tracks, "Rollercoaster in Woods" has perfectly visual lyrics and it is easy to find yourself lost in her bouncing images of romance and flashlights. The distant sonic environment in her mid tempo, booty shaking offer a great example of her constantly fusing musical influences.

Confessions of insecurities and inconsistencies in her world are well expressed in tracks like "When I was a Sinner" where she sings doo-wop about how the world may regard her choices in music, friends and lovers. My personal favorite booty shaker, "So Have I" takes that discussion and flips the groove from apologetic to empathetic. The body rock and booty bounce of this songs production exudes confidence that will make listeners question their judgement less and roll with the punches.

In conclusion,this album isn't about a scene,a type, a brand. Tecla, her synth performance, dope lyrics and unique voice are all her own. Considering her already strong catalog of music, I imagine the future for Tecla will be bountiful, and I wont be surprised to find her fusing more styles and sounds into her collection. Much like Little Dragon and Bjork, I am sure that Tecla Esposito's career will be ever fresh, ever elevating and simply DOPE FOREVER.

buy Strangers In Masks on iTunes. and enjoy.