Although groups like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest were mainstays of hip-hop’s golden era from the late 80’s & early 90’s, both groups fell out of the public eye in the last decade. Thankfully for their fans around the world, the stars aligned and both groups dropped impressive comeback albums in 2016. While most hip-hop media will talk about the comeback albums themselves, we decided to take it a step further and breakdown why both comebacks were successful. It gets risky returning from any leave of absence, but we got the keys. There are six keys that De La Soul & A Tribe Called Quest employed that made their comebacks successful, and we give you all of them.
While conflict between competing rappers is a relatively common occurrence in hip-hop these days, it’s much more rare to see two friends air their dirty laundry in public. Well, not this week as Kanye West returned to the news for his on-stage tirade against his close friend Jay Z. We’ve all been there before; arguing and beefing with friends and family over small things. But we wouldn’t be grown ass men if we didn’t frown upon this type of behavior, and we wouldn’t be the MVP (Most Valuable Podcast) if we didn’t give you nine rules to help you handle conflict with your friends without escalating things.
One of the most difficult balancing acts in life is between our personal lives and our careers. A decision to focus primarily on work usually forces us to sacrifice our personal lives, and a decision to focus on our personal lives often leaves us without challenges in our careers. Everybody is trying to achieve the proper work-life balance, but very few actually do. In this episode, we give nine tips for achieving the proper work-life balance and also briefly speak to two of our professional friends that are working on it as well. Lots of bars in this one.
“I think its really important, especially in this day and age that people have individual thought because the collective mind is dangerous” – Rita Alva Lawson (My Mom)
This is the first installment of a short series”Thinking with Your Own Mind” Directed By me, My mother explains the origins of the album name and how she trained my brothers and I to think for ourselves and be our own people and just drops mad bars about the state of individuality in the world.
Pre Order “A Man Who Thinks With His Own Mind” HERE
A little over three years have passed since Man Bites Dog released the album Capture the Sunby Blockhead and I to much anticipation and fanfare. This album is very close to me being that it was dedicated to one of the most important and influential people in my life, my late grandmother Rev. Mable Holt-Hynes. The concept of capturing the sun is one of self-determination and vigilance. It is the idea of never giving up on your dreams or goals no matter how impossible it may seem to achieve them. It is an ongoing process that should be present throughout a person’s life. One should always be attempting to achieve something, whether it be minuscule or grand. The moment you cease attempting to achieve is the moment that you are no longer living life. You become a zombie, an empty shell of skin wasting space and oxygen.
Fast forward a year to 2014; I was contacted by Sam Weatherby aka Ill2lectualaka Tha Sound Cultivator (TSC), asking if I was down to work on some music with him. Unbeknownst to me this was the same man who had done a remix for a friend of mine, who come to find out was a mutual friend, Kristoff Krane, for the song “Parachute” that I was featured on from his Fanfaronade Remixedalbum.If you click on the link you can probably see why I agreed to do music with this man. So in order to get an idea of how each other operated we worked on a little free ep called Something in the Water. It turned out pretty good in my opinion. For me, it was an eye opener to work with someone that was a fan, but accepted me as an artist, meaning that he didn’t want me to rap a certain way or try to recapture some nostalgic feeling he got when they first heard Celestial Clockwork. He was fine with, and encouraged me doing me. It was ok that I attempted to do different styles of music, and he had no problem telling me if it was a successful attempt or if I wasn’t. It was a breath of fresh air to meet someone new that doesn’t try to put me in a box and this is why I consider him a friend today.
Here we are now in 2016, two years after Something in the Water was released: enterA Man Who Thinks with His Own Mindaccompanied by Tha Sound Cultivator. The Album is scheduled to be release on July 19th. You can Pre-order the package of your choice HERE.
The packages include:
The deluxe digital version: Includes a download of the album with the instrumentals and a PDF of the Lyrics.
The CD package: Includes a download of the album with the instrumentals and a PDF of the Lyrics, CD of the album, an 11×17 Poster (signed) and a 4×4 sticker.
The Cassette package (limited 50): Includes a download of the album with the instrumentals and a PDF of the Lyrics, Cassette of the album, an 11×17 Poster (signed) and a 4×4 sticker.
The CD & Cassette bundle package (limited 50): Includes a download of the album with the instrumentals and a PDF of the Lyrics, CD and Cassette of the album, an 11×17 Poster (signed) and a 4×4 sticker.
This is my 6th Full length LP, but it is the first time I going about this on my (our) own. No Label to foot the bill. No team to fall back on. This is all Sam and I. This and my last record deal experience is how I arrived at this album title. For the record, Man Bites Dog treated me well, but I was so focused on getting Capture the Sun on a label I failed to see what/who I had in my corner the whole time, ME. So this is my testament to that Idea. It’s a continuation of the Capture the Sun concept. Many times people, even ourselves, will try to psyche us out of reaching our potential and goals. We cannot listen to all of the noise. We have to think with our own minds.
The first single from A Man Who Thinks with His Own Mind is called “Wake Up“.This Wake up has multiple meanings, hopefully it will mean something to you.
The more that you learn and the more that you experience in life the newer you become, for better or worse. Whether you choose to or not you continue to change and grow throughout your time on this earth due to what you come in contact with. You are not the same personat 10 years old that you were at5 years old and so on so forth until the day you die.
If you listen to my music you know I talk about choices a lot because that is basically what life boils down to in my opinion.Life is a series of choices thatyou make every day based on what you have learned the days, weeks and years before that moment. Everyday choices are not always based on knowledge because it is possible that in you vast knowledge of the universe there is something that you don’t know so you make educated guesses. I say all of that to say this evolution is not a choice but how you evolve is, and that what I have found beautiful and exciting.
As many of you know I have journeyed into music production in the last month or so and it is one of the greatest decisions that I have made in a while. It is something that I have always been interested in, being deeply involved inhip hop culture and music (drum lessons, Saxophone) since I was 11 years old. I’ve sat in many studios and watched some of the illest producers create. In that time I have always had my own small collection of records just for listening purposes, but I was always catching loops or I would make a suggestions on how to freak a loop that someone I was hanging with was hooking up. I’ve always wanted to make my own soundscapes and build a true musical vision from the ground up. My problem was that I was intimidated by having to learn the equipment or programs. It just seemed hard and that it would take more of an effort than I was willing to make at that time. I was in lazy “I just wanna rap” mode and that attitude hindered my evolution in a direction of my choosing. Now that I have made that step I feel that I am discovering hip hop again for the first time, because I am looking at it and participating in it from a different perspective. Since taking on this new found endeavor I find myself listening to hip hop, and music in general for that matter, in a new way and I love it. My eyes are being opened to a new world that has been on the other side of a door that I have had the key to for many years , but I wasn’t ready to walk through it until now. The evolution of Illogic is exciting! I have a fire in my eyes again.
I say all that to say this, NEVER STOP LEARNING! Never stop finding new things to expand your palate. You can even look at things that you are already involved in and see how you can evolve in thoseareas as I did. Evolution is a never ending process of life and you evolve into who your choices and experiences dictate. So be decisive and strategic, as much as you can be, with the choices you make for your evolution.Make sure you do what you can to enjoyits direction and don’t just be a passenger of your own growth along for the ride? It’s up to you. Evolution is a beautiful thing if you make it beautiful.
Ps. If you haven’t head my Beats yet Check them out below and let me know what you think of them. Honesty is appreciated.
As many of you know I release The Remnants free last month to all of those that signed up for my newsletter. You can still get if for free if you sign up, but for all of those who want to support the movement I have put it up on my band camp For a small donation of just 9.99 you can have this music in your collection.
Thank you for your Time.
There is a special announcement coming next week!!! Stay Tuned!!!
We are all drawn to hip hop for different reasons. For some of us its a home, a shelter or place of comfort. For others it the attraction of having a good time with no strings or judgement. For me it was an escape from my life in times of despair and desperation as well as an area when I was accepted no matter what. Most of the friends that I have made in and because of hip hop are just as screwed up as I am if not more, but that’s okay. Hip hop doesn’t judge us. Hip hop doesn’t ask anything from us that we do not have the means to provide. Hip Hop is a “come as you are” mantra. Hip Hop is our rocking roll. This is why we fall in love with it because hip hop allows us a freedom that in many of us has been suppressed, if not by our environment (home, neighborhood, church) then by ourselves for fear of what people will say or how we will be looked at if that part of us is revealed. Of course there has been a obvious perversion of our culture that is present to the main stream global community, but that doesn’t take away from its foundation. That perversion doesn’t taint or belittle our love.
This post was inspired by a friend of mine who sent me an email a week or so ago with his epiphany as to why he became part of the culture. Here is what He sent me:
Growing up I definitely loved hip hop, but really did not know why. I loved nearly everything about it. I studied it more intense throughout High School and at the age of 18 began to participate in hip hop. I knew that I wanted to participate in it, and that it is a participation sport. The only requirement was being yourself.
Now at the the age of 35, KRS 1 helped me now understand why I even liked it in the first place. It is a deep complex industry now that has transformed multiple times and has had multiple movements in the last 50 years. Kool Herc adopted a style of deejaying in Jamaica that he brought with him when his family moved to NYC in 1967. He loved the way the deejay interacted with the crowd in Jamaica, and their spin back technique of restarting the record among other things. No one was going to tell him it was the wrong way to do things in the Bronx because it was his way. And he liked his way. Blend one break right into the next, fuck the rest of the song.
Owning your Identity seems like a fairly simple thing to do. When you DO own your identity, no one or thing can tell you what to do. Again, this is why I loved hip hop. No one could tell hip hop what say or what to do. Now as an adult it is clear as day, that this truly what I loved about hip hop. You could be yourself, and not only that, it is a requirement to be yourself.
In Middle School (arguably the roughest time in a kids life) kids are flat out mean. In this age range we see conformity taking shape. Those who follow to so because they’re scared and don’t understand that they’ve just given up their identity in order to feel safer. The day I became a man was in the 7th grade. This was the time that I decided no one was going to clown me for ANYTHING. I was going to own it all, the good along with the bad. Yes, I have zits. Yes, I like hip hop (even though I don’t know why) and yes, I masturbate a good deal because it’s new to me and girls won’t sleep with me yet (wait till summer next year lol). I owned everything. Dress and style were only as hard as what I liked. Throw out the rest. (Just give me the breaks Herc). My music, My art, My education (fuck yes I get 3.5 so what?), my Mathematics, are all cool. No matter what, because I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE A FUCKING OPINION.
And so do you.
We all have our own experiences and reasons for being part of hip hop whether as a fan or and artist or combination of both.