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Smokin’ Grooves Was Full Of Red Solo Cups, Vibes & Great Music [Recap]
"The night time became the right time. Red solo cups accepted libations awaiting affirmations of “say when” that never seemed to come. Booming conversations attempted to pierce through the smoke, signifying something much louder in the atmosphere. The celebratory repast had begun and life was good."
Maségo Speaks On Zodiac Signs, Diddy & More [Interview]
"I didn’t expect Maségo to be so tall. Of the many eccentricities adorning his lanky frame—a Jennifer Lopez t-shirt, silk pants, and several rings that I seriously considered stealing—I was first taken aback by his height."
An Extended Selection — Descent (An Introduction to Self Care)
"I had lived there for 28 years. By any standard, it was a masterstroke in curation. Pastel walls embraced tastefully arranged images of both loved ones and former loves."
A Brief Selection — “Requiem for a Rainy Day”
"So, as I look through the tear-stained glass of a Manhattan residence, I am thankful for the melancholy that I feel at this moment."
A Late Night Selection — “Lullaby in Two Movements”
"My mother — the auteur of my natural-born life, the first person to ever reinforce my self-worth, the woman who loved me so much that she swore to never bear another — has turned my childhood bedroom into a fucking office."
An Extended Selection — “Live in Dear Old Stockholm”
"The dimly lit streets lay barren. It’s not particularly late, but it is a school night — a construct understood in any language. Our bodies have long forgotten how to tell time, buoyed in a purgatory found somewhere over the Atlantic."
An Extended Selection: “Self-Portraits in Exploitation”
"Exploitation stands as a nomenclature signifying the erasure of origin, the capturing and repurposing of a soul. It is as much a historical marker of our lineage as improvisation and protest. And just like the former, I do not take exploitation lightly."
A Brief Selection: Her Keys
"My mother rarely plays that piano, but when she does the sound reverberates across the entire house — every chord, every note. Her tonality is percussive in the way a text in all caps read, you know. And it surprises the recipient just as much."
Life, Death, and Love From San Francisco
"Death is a painfully slow process. I’m not speaking of the inevitable fate that lies ahead for all of us. Instead, I’m speaking of the steady decline that comes along with not living your truth."
Of God & War: The Relevancy of Black Messiah [Review]
"When you see people yelling and destroying things, understand this: Yes, we are angry, but more than anything else we’re just really fucking tired."
OKP Exclusive: Erykah Badu x Childish Gambino Rock The Greek Theatre Live In The Bay [Recap]
"The pairing of Erykah Badu and Childish Gambino may seem odd to some, but their convergence at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California this past weekend was nothing short of complementary."
The Roots Put Hip-Hop On Their Backs In San Francisco [Recap]
"Despite its brevity, this exchange made a bold proclamation on the current reality of hip-hop’s favorite band. I would not call it “harsh,” however, as it’s been anything but."
Christian Scott: Sartorial Correctness in Modern Jazz
"Placing Christian Scott is difficult. On the surface, he is simply a musician. What complicates this narrative is his approach. He is a walking art exhibit; his sensibilities conjuring memories of jazz countercultural past."
Wayne Shorter: His Life, Faith, and Music
"The musings of Wayne Shorter are delivered with an unfailing optimism and a dash of wit. Embedded in his words is an underlying provocation:
'I dare you.'"
good kid, m.A.A.d world — The Deification of Kendrick Lamar [Review]
"Kendrick is what a million snapshots of a West Coast excursion sound like. From the beginning, he reminded me that the streets of Compton are filled with treble clef curves and ironic basslines constructed specifically for showing them off."
“Songs for Women” and Other Interesting Stories
"Frank was supposed to change this. R&B has become the bastard child of music, eschewing any semblance of direction. For many, nostalgia, ULTRA was the foggy image in music’s crystal ball."
(Re)Defining Amy Winehouse
"In a sense she’s actually always been “in character,” just not the one that we want. Amy Winehouse is Nola Darling. Amy Winehouse is the apathetic physical lover providing the proverbial, “chill, fam.”
Diplomatic Immunity: A 10th Anniversary Reflection
"It’s a fitting backdrop to the 10th Anniversary of Diplomatic Immunity. The idea itself is nothing new. The reappropriation of urban culture existed well before Dipset and will continue to live on as long as poor black folks continue to flood the streets with that proverbial “work.”
Ahmed Sirour — The After 2AM Sessions [Review]
"The aural pleasures captured in the midnight hours often evoke our underlying carnality. They are aggressive and impulsive; explicitly erotic. There is no restraint; its delicate subject matter handled without care."
The Coltrane Quartet — Ballads [Review]
"Autumn has a distinctive feel. While urban meteorologists Tony! Toni! Toné! once reported that it never rains in Southern California, those of us located in more temperate climates recognize that this particular season features appearances by grey skies and heavy precipitation."
Jimi Was A Rock Star
"R&B showed me how to set the mood, Hip-Hop told me what to say, and Funk showed me how to let loose. Surrounded by sounds my entire life, my earliest memories do not include rock music."
Thoughts on Billy Strayhorn
"The tale of Billy Strayhorn plays out in such a way that it carries the makings of an award-winning screenplay. In many ways, this is a story conducted by the age in which it was placed."
Ellington x Coltrane [Review]
"Love sounds like the entrance of a piano accompanied by a percussion section, both in restraint. The tenor saxophone arrives shortly thereafter with a tenderness found only in the beginning of a promising relationship."
Marvin Gaye — Here, My Dear [Review]
"Love is an abstraction that lives well beyond the limits of human understanding. There is a certain malleability inherent in the indefinable that allows, almost contradictorily, for it to be expressed with little to no effort."