Grammy award winning Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove dead at 49

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Roy Hargrove the prolific jazz trumpeter and Grammy award winner has died at the age of 49 due to cardiac arrest. Hargrove’s death is a blow to the music industry. Over three decades Hargrove managed became an elite Jazz musician and helped to enhance the flavor of Black music with his broad and elaborate horn arrangements. The best examples of this are in D’Angelos Voodoo, Common’s Like Water for Chocolate and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun.

Many of his music industry cohorts took to Twitter to provide their condolences.

 

 

 

Hargrove was born on October 16th 1969 in Waco Texas. He attended Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas Texas where he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis. He continued to study music at Berkelee College of Music in Boston. He released his first album Diamond in the Rough in 1990. In 1998 Hargrove won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album for Habana with the Afro-Cuban band he founded. In 2002 he won his second Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album Directions in Music: Love at Massey Hall that also featured jazz impresarios Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker. In 2003 Hargove release the RH Factor that was recorded in the famed Electric Lady Studios. RH Factor showcased Erykah Badu, Common and featured George Clinton.

Trumpeter and composer Theo Croker took to twitter to share a feeling that may be universal with respect to anyone who worked with Hargrove. “My heart is completely broken. The passing of legend #RoyHargrove is a  huge loss to the entire music community. No one single musician has ever represented the scope of Black American music with as much integrity as Roy. Simply put he was the greatest of all time. REST in POWER” he wrote

Hargrove was recently touring and was scheduled to perform at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark New Jersey at the TD James Moody Jazz festival.

Hargrove is survived by his wife Aida Barnes, his daughter Kamara Hargrove, his brother Brian Hargrove and his mother Jacklyn Hargrove.

 

-Precise

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Principal targets Black children in Chicago suburb accuses them of gang activity

The principal of Homewood Flossmoor High School located in the South Suburbs of Chicago is currently under scrutiny for a letter sent home with students claiming they are in gangs or have been associated with gang activity.

A letter was sent home with about 70 students after an e-mail was sent to their parents saying “Your child,______, has directly or through association been involved in what is considered ‘gang activity’. The letter penned by principal Jerry Lee Anderson required parents to come to a series of different mandatory meetings on Saturday morning to address the accusations. If they did not show their children would be “excluded” from the school.

In a statement made to the Chicago Sun-Times Dr. Lee Anderson said “We have some who believe that violence is not part of what happens in the suburbs, that we are somehow immune. We are not. We need informed, empowered parents to be part of the solution.”

As one of the father’s who received one of these letters with regards to his children it is important for me to speak to the insensitive and incendiary way this message was delivered.

Living as a Black man in America it is understood at an early age that you are targeted and under attack. It could be in the form of micro aggressions, as blatant as the public school to prison pipeline or as irresponsible as calling the police on Black men sitting in a coffee shop. The attacks are real and measurable.

According to the NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheet nationwide African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested, 42% of children who are detained and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court.

These numbers are problematic. African Americans make up 32% of the United States population and 56% of the prison population IN 2015 according to the NAACP fact sheet.

There is already a well oiled engine working against our children in this world and to selectively single out any child of color without definitive proof of anything and basing a list on pictures and visits to the Dean is irresponsible and dangerous. Threatening to “ “exclude” a Black child from his or her education because of speculation in itself is criminal and resembles an aid an assist to a system that is already stacked against our children.

I understand that there have been isolated incidents with former students of the school that have raised the level of awareness and that it is your duty as an educator to ensure the safety of the children you are entrusted to provide a quality education to. However; to single out any group of students in this manner is essentially adding a log to the fire of
intolerance and racism that is consistently burning out of control and tends to burn Black children the most.

Many of the parents who are currently living in this suburb are not naive to violence in any shape or form. It is for this reason that they have sacrificed and scraped to create a better life for their children. Violence can happen anywhere, no one is immune to it. When it does happen the community should be addressed and solutions should be shared.

The letter that was sent home with those students was most likely intended to nip a problem in the bud, but what you have done is make the bullseye bigger on the backs of these specific children.

An apology is in order for each one of the students and parents who received this letter. The student body should be addressed as a whole when it comes to any issues have to do with the gang violence and how the school views it.

Lastly, I understand that you are the mother of a young Black man. I’m a very sure you are aware of what it means to be a young Black man in this world. It is for this reason that I ask that whenever you decide to make a decision similar to the one you have made with regards to this issue to take into account how you would feel about how your child would be viewed or treated if someone singled him out in the manner that you did with our children.

-Precise

Here’s the letter that was sent:

Dear Parent/Guardian of ___ ,

Your child, ___ , has either directly or through association been involved in what is considered “gang activity”. Because I am concerned about your child’s safety and the well being of all of the students and staff at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, I am requesting that you and your child attend a mandatory meeting on Saturday, October 20, 2018 in Room 101 in the North Building at 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. At the parent/student meeting, you will receive more specific information about your child’s involvement.Failure to attend this meeting will cause your child to be excluded from Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

Information has been gathered through Deans’ investigations of conflicts that have occurred in and out of school over the last few months that have negatively impacted the environment and safety of our students and staff.

As a concerned parent/guardian, you need to be aware of what we have observed that could potentially endanger your child and your family. Your child’s success at Homewood-Flossmoor High School is important. I hope by meeting with parents/guardians and students, we can come to a resolution that will support the success of your student and ensure the safety of everyone.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jerry Lee Anderson
Principal

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Leon shares his thoughts on love, dignity and his band Leon and The Peoples

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Leon and The Peoples – (Photo Source: Instagram @insideozpodcast)

Leon Robinson is known by the world as Leon and as with other celebrities who are recognized by their first name Leon has crafted a career that is iconic, impactful and genius. Ever since coming to life in Madonna’s controversial “Like A Prayer” video in 1989 Leon has remained  a bankable artist in Hollywood. His roles as JT in The Five Heartbeats and David Ruffin on the VH1 miniseries The Temptations have become cultural staples and stand as an example of his range as an artist.

As of late Leon has been touring with his band Leon and The Peoples and he demonstrates how deep and profound his skills are when it comes to music. I spoke with him recently during rehearsal at 35th Street Studios in Chicago. He explained his staying power, dignity his passion for music and why love is a necessary subject in his work.

What is the origin of Leon and The Peoples?

We are all from New York City. I originally was part of this band called the Young Lions which was a bunch of really great musicians that played with Steel Pulse, Sting, Bruce Springsteen you name it. We were playing cover tunes and I wanted to do original music, so I started my own band called The Peoples about 11 or 12 years ago. Then I had to pull a David Ruffin on them and changed the name to Leon and The Peoples cause we got better gigs. We play a mixture between Reggae and Soul Music and people love the music. We have a good following especially with the women.

We are trying to move the music forward. We sing about thought provoking topics and things that are just fun

Talk about your most recent release Love is A Beautiful Thing

Our album Love is a Beautiful Thing is about all aspects of love. Not just the kind of love where you slob on the same pillow with somebody for years and go through deaths families and holidays and just because you didn’t sleep with them you don’t know where they are in the world. We not talking about that kind of love. We are talking bout the kind of love you have for your brother, your sister you mother you aunt. You made hate them some days but you still love them. We have a song on our new album called “Happy and Sad.” Let’s face it that’s what love does it makes you happy but it sure enough makes you sad, like nothing else in the world.

We have another song called “Beautiful” that has charted on billboard and it’s about telling people in your life that they are beautiful. It could be your mother, your sister your friend your baby mother, just letting people know that you find them beautiful. Not just on the outside but on the inside and letting them know what they mean to you. It’s about how important love is in our lives and not just in the romantic sense. It’s the way we educate our kids it’s the way we make our mark on the world, the love for ourselves and our love for others.

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Love Is A Beautiful Thing Artwork – Photo courtesy of Leon

Why is love the common thread? Why is now the time to stress the concept of love?

Love was an obvious choice for us to talk about on our second record. Love is such a big influence in our lives in general and in my life I have never been in a world or in a country that needs love more than we need love right now. We are in a time right now where we are fighting to have our own dignity. We are trying to keep the things that we thought were commonplace. The love for our fellow man and our fellow countryman is something that is going away and it’s ridiculous. We should be moving forward instead of moving backwards.

When you mention the concept of dignity it resonates. Talk to me about how you are able to preserve your dignity as a Black man in these days.

Keeping your dignity is something that comes from within. I was very lucky to have parents especially a dad who instilled a great deal of pride in me. They always made me hold my head up high and always made me feel good about myself. I was very lucky to have that. So many Black men grow up without fathers, so they don’t have that male figure encouraging them telling they can do whatever they want to, they can accomplish anything they want and be dignified about it. When you don’t grow up with that kind of background sometimes its hard because you don’t have that self love. The first love is the love for yourself and if you don’t love yourself you can’t love anyone else.

One of the songs I had to make sure to ask you about is “Sometimes I Wish I Was Single” The concept of this song blew me away. Talk about your intentions behind this song.

I like to do songs that almost anybody can identify with. One of the things that everybody can relate to no matter how successful a relationship is even if it’s just for 5 minutes out of the day, or one day out of the month or every other day you wish you were single. Not to get with someone else but just to be free to do whatever you want to do without affecting another person. Once I came up with the concept I wanted it to be a love song, so it’s like a love song disguised as a bad boy song. It’s about going back to the days when you first met. There is a lyric that goes “I wish we were single, so we can go back and meet again.” Everyone know the beginning was the s–t, it was before the kids, the house notes and the struggles. Those were the days when you first started feeling somebody and you realized they were feeling you. After being with someone for any length of time you lose a lot of that.

Some people told me couples wouldn’t like this song, but this song is for couples. The chorus mentions all the things I would miss if I were single.

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‘Sometimes I wish I was single” Artwork – Photo courtesy of Leon

The music on the album is heavily influenced by reggae, where does that come from?

We play a mixture of soul and reggae music. In my house my dad was always singing and his favorite singer was Nat King Cole. Motown music and soul music was always playing. I remember when I was 12 years old I heard out a friends window the Natty Dread album by Bob Marley. It was on repeat and I learned it right then and there. I was mesmerized. I hadn’t heard that before. That drum and bass became the back beat of my life. I would hear songs that would be a soul song with the drum and bass of a reggae song. That’s where you get that sexy reggae and that soulful reggae. That music made me want to sing.

You are a cultural icon. What is next for you creatively?

I have so many things going on right now. It’s kind of hard to balance them all. We have a production company called Motion Mob and we produced a short called “Make America Black Again” Its about a candidate named Lamar Johnson who is running against the Trump administration in 2020 with the campaign slogan of Make America Black Again with an entirely white campaign staff.

People have asked me why I made this short film. I consider myself as part of the resistance, but I can’t walk around mad. I only have one life. Nobody in office is going to make me walk around sad. So, I can create something that will make us laugh but also address the issues and the struggle and make it clear that we are against what is going on right now.

I’m also starring in a movie on BET Her during Breast Cancer Awareness month called “Her Only Choice”. It’s a real tear jerker about a woman making a decision between her life and the baby she wants. I also have a TV series that just recently debuted in LA, called “40 and Single”. It’s an international series shot in the motherland in Ghana. It starts airing on UMC on October 18th.

How does it feel to still be relevant after decades in the entertainment business.

That’s one of the hardest things to do in this business. I talk to young acting students and college students all the time about having a career. Right now in this world of social media we have a lot of over night stars, but they don’t have a career. In order to have a career you need to stay relevant you need to stay on people’s minds and consciousness. In order to do that you must keep creating things and doing stuff.

I’ve been very lucky to do memorable work that people want to see over and over again and yet its allowed me to make new work that still captures their imagination. There is no formula for it, you just have to do it.

Take a listen to Love Is A Beautiful Thing below.

-Precise

Check Out Ladies Love Mixtapes by Precise on Spotify

Caught a vibe at the lake – We♥Soul

The plan for the day was to hit the dealership, return some shoes and catch a vibe at the lake. Ran into the homie Kevin ‘KMax’ Maxey and he told me about the We❤️Soul’s event at the pier. Definitely caught a vibe at the lake. S/O to Kwest_on, Sean Alvarez,  Joe Kollege, JayToo and Duane E Powell.

Chicago is so dope!

-Precise

The top 5 rap songs that sampled Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s rap influence (Artwork by Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

The world is celebrating Aretha Franklin because of who she is and what she represents to music and Black culture. Her talent has stretched across many genres of music and affected many soundscapes. Rap music is not absent from that discussion. Many of the driving rhythms and melodic music of Franklin’s have added to the tapestry of this art form we call rap and the culture of hip-hop. Let’s take a look at the top five rap songs to sample The Queen of Soul.

While the world is singing “Respect,” arguably Aretha Franklin’s greatest hit, the song that resonates with this writer is “Rock Steady.” The rhythm is timeless and has made for one of the perfect breakbeats for rap.

EPMD sampled “Rock Steady” on their classic release Strictly Business in the song “I’m Housin.” The funk is preserved and still remains hip-hop.

 

Ms. Franklin’s song “One Step Ahead” is an ode to avoiding heartbreak and preserving a love.

Ayatollah produced “Ms Fat Booty” which contains elements of “One Step Ahead” for Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, and appears on his album Black On Both Sides. This song is arguably Yasiin’s biggest hit. The song tells the story of a young brother shooting his shot to a beautiful woman.

The way Aretha addressed the subject of love you can tell that it comes from a heartfelt and emotional place. Her song “Call Me” is a song of anticipation, a song where you find a woman yearning for her love just by asking for a phone call.

The Kanye West-produced “Selfish” borrowed a bit from “Call Me” for Slum Village’s album Detroit Deli. Slum approaches their song as a moment to praise all the beautiful women they love. Kanye makes sure not to miss out on this dope production with his own verse. “This one here is a heat rock spit like a beat box the way the beat rocks new version of Pete Rock.”

On “Young Gifted and Black” we find Aretha steeped in her gospel roots. She celebrates the beauty of Blackness at time when Black Power was the mantra of the culture.

DJ Premier sampled the song for Gang Starr’s Daily Operation album on a 30-second joint called “92 Interlude.” I always felt like that would be an awesome song. Most recently you can find the vibe on the 9th Wonder-produced “Laila’s Wisdom.” It appears on Rapsody’s debut project by the same name.

“Oh Baby” is yet another song where we find the Queen lamenting over love.

The producer Ski skillfully plants her vocals across the production of Jay-Z’s song “In My Lifetime (Big Jaz Radio Mix) from The Streets is Watching soundtrack. This is rap at its essence, and the soul was able to traverse the genres effortlessly.

 

-Precise

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Jill Scott and The Roots light up Ravinia night sky

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Summer and Chicago are having a hard time finding each other right now, but Jill Scott and The Roots were able to bring some heat with them to Ravinia Friday, June 22.

I think I’ve seen The Legendary Roots Crew more than 10 times over the years, and it feels like their show gets stronger with every performance. Black Thought commands the stage with a presence that is all hip-hop. Every solo — from the Jeremy Ellis on the beat box, to guitarist Kirk Douglas blacking out during “You Got Me” — garnered standing ovations. It was easy to forget that The Roots were the opening act and the thought of anyone following The Roots after such a masterful display of showmanship didn’t seem likely.

Jill Scott proved she is more than capable to bring the house down in her own right. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling as Jill sashayed onto the stage and launched into a rendition of “Watching Me” that seemed more timely now than it was when it was originally released. She seemed to have been overcome by emotion as a tear streamed down her face. She gathered herself and preceded to bless her fans with a vocal presence that sounds like honey.

Her voice seems stronger, and she does not shy away from sharing her personal experiences, which pulls her fans in. In the midst of all of her emotion, her smile shined brighter than any light in the pavilion. Watching her perform is like watching a greatness in action.

We spoke to concert-goer A. Jason Lloyd and asked him what he thought of the show.

“The Roots were incredible,” Llyod said. “I think they showed why they are who they are. They are a supergroup. Each solo from their individual members showed they are all superstars, but they can pull together, play together and rock a crowd like no other. Black Thought is the glue that makes everything stick, but I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see a drum solo from Questlove.

“Jilly from Philly was very powerful and emotional. She took us on a ride that she was in herself,” Lloyd added. “It’s incredible to think that she performs with that same emotion and passion every time she touches the stage. You walk with her on her emotional journey — the highs and lows. At one point, I could see the tears from her eyes. It was really, really a true representation of artistry.”

Check out a few photos from the concert in the gallery below.

 

Listen to “That Ol’ Boom Bap” on Spotify

Kanye wants ALL SMOKE in interview with Big Boy in Wyoming

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Ye has dropped and after 2 days of taking it in I can honestly say its a great release. An in depth review is coming soon. Big Boy was fortunate enough to be in Wyoming for the official listening party and interviewed Kanye. We find a very happy and lucid Kanye in this setting. Check it out.

-Precise

Stream/Buy “That Ol Boom Bap” ft Precise produced by Dj Tekwun

What do Kanye and Wyoming have in common?

After the all the rants, drama, racial tension and MAGA hats dozens of influencers and media have descended upon Wyoming to listen to Kanye’s newest project. The release is also being streamed on an app called WAV. The stream started at 9pm CST. If you were expecting music you were disappointed. The stream focused on the Wyoming landscape with horses in the background while you listened to crackiling a campfire.

Chris Rock introduced Kanye with a few jokes and mentioned that hip-hop is the first art form created by free black men. He also said that Kanye has taken full advantage of his freedom and to listen to the project without prejudice.

The name of the project is Ye and the first lyric you hear behind a brooding vamp is “The most beautiful thoughts are beside the darkest. Today I seriously thought about killing you. Premeditated murder.” The production is classic Kanye and lyrically it plays like a journal he has been keeping for the past few months. A few well placed lines speaking on current issues lace the project. “Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too. But imma pray for him cause he got #metoo I wonder what if that happened to #metoo”

The inspirational Kanye that we all know and love enters with a Slick Rick sample assisted by the unmistakable vocals of Charlie Wilson. The campfire is LIT literally and figuratively and all of the people who flew out to hear the project seem pleased and content under the Wyoming sky.

Considering that Kanye has spent the last year in Utah and Wyoming it makes more sense why he has been espousing these middle America sentiments. He doesn’t get a pass for it, it just makes sense. When it all comes down to it when it comes to Kanye its all about the music and always has been.

After two listens it is safe to say Kanye delivered once again. He has captured the attention of the world and given an insightful heartfelt and honest project. Fresh off of Pusha T destroying Drake the G.O.O.D music wave continues rise with the release of Ye. Cudi and Kanye are up next. Lets see how he will top this release.

-Precise

Why is Rhymefest mad? What did Kanye say about the youth?

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Photo source: instagram @rhymefest

The internet is a blaze once again. Per usual Kanye West finds himself in the middle of the heat. His Good Music CEO and artist Pusha T recently dropped his 7 track album Daytona. The project is a solid effort, but just like anything else these days a few lines are chosen and become the focal point of the project. Pusha takes a jab at the streaming king Drake on his song “Infared” “Niggas beats is bangin’, nigga, ya hooks did it The lyric pennin’ equal the Trumps winnin’ The bigger question is how the Russians did it It was written like Nas but it came from Quentin”

That specific lyric alludes to the fact that Drake has a few hired pens out here helping him write his verses. Drake in true champagne papi fashion responds with “Duppy Freestyle” where he goes in on Push and Kanye equally. “Must’ve had your Infrared wrong, now your head in the beam Y’all are the spitting image of whatever jealousy breeds Don’t push me when I’m in album mode You not even top 5 as far as your label talent goes You send shots, well, I got to challenge those But I bring Calicos to the Alamo I could never have a Virgil in my circle and hold him back ’cause he makes me nervous I wanna see my brothers flourish to their higher purpose”

Drake managed to become the newest trending topic on twitter and all of his loyal fans have claimed victory. This is great for hip-hop, but something else has arisen from this battle.

Rhymefest, Kanye’s estranged friend and co-writer of “Jesus Walks” from Ye’s college drop out chimed in to the battle because he feels that Kanye has abandoned Chicago and the not-for-profit created in the name of Kanye’s late mother Donda’s House.

In response to Drake saying in his battle that he will send Kanye and invoice. He actually did send him an invoice by the way. Rhymefest had this to say.

Then in a tweet that has since been deleted Rhymefest shares what Kanye thinks about Chicago youth.

This has definitely opened up some doors and is shining the light on a foundation that was created to showcase the best of Chicago and add value to the lives of the youth. Donda’s recently put out a statement asking for people to not confuse Kanye’s statements with the mission of the foundation.

-Precise