Tonight the Oddballs welcome back special guest Mars Jupiter to the show. We’ll explore his latest musical endeavors with 7th House, his podcasting efforts on The Peace Coast, and whatever other artistic enterprise he finds himself spearheading this week. So PRESS PLAY to join us for the livest new podcast on the internet, The Oddball Show.
Today, the world is saddened by the news of the passing of Afeni Shakur. Born Alicia Faye Williams on January 10th, 1947, in her early 20s she would change her name to Afeni, derived from a Yoruba term rooted in Western Nigeria, loosely meaning “lover of people” and/or “health.” An activist throughout her life, perhaps most notably in the mid-late 1960s as a member of the Black Panther, Shakur was most recently the Founder and CEO of Amaru Entertainment, Inc., and the subject of noted actress, Jasmine Guy’s 2004 book titled, Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary.
That said, Afeni is best known for being the mother of Tupac Shakur, one Hip Hop’s gradest figures, and arguably its most impactful. After Tupac’s passing in the 1996, she created Amaru Entertainment as platform against which to release his posthumous material, which included several books and albums, a licensed film biography called Ressurection, and a Broadway musical titled Holler If You Hear Me. A saavy businesswoman and noted philantropist as well, Afeni also used her platform to establish Makaveli Branded clothing in 2003 and most notably, Tupac Amaru Foundation for the Arts, an organization right outside of Atlanta serving youth of all social and economic backgrounds, giving them knowledge, skills, and courage to stay steer clear of the perils of the street line and instead positively impact their communities.
Simply put, for the reasons above and many more, Afeni was a game changer, and she will be missed. She selflessly battled her entire life for her children, her people, and her communities, and without question left an indelible mark. Her legacy, much like her son’s, will live forever. Rest in Power, Mrs. Shakur.
“You always was committed. A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it! There’s no way I can pay you back, but my plan is to show you that I understand. YOU ARE APPRECIATED!”
Greetings, Lime Nation!
We’ve gotten many questions recently as to when new music will be forthcoming from the JP Lime camp and I’m glad to finally be able to answer thusly: soon. We are currently in the pre-production period, a part of our process alive with possibility, exciting in its potential. Each of the three emcees that make up the JPL trio works slightly differently in their writing process so over the coming weeks we’ll each bring pieces to the table – an idea to a particular type of beat, hooks and verses without attached music, concepts, thoughts, and themes for where our new material should go. As we engage in this collective process, here at #JPLMagazine we’ll be offering an inside look at how we create and collaborate to bring you the Lime-flavored brand of Hip Hop you’ve grown to love.
Today we’ll be taking a look inside my notebook, browsing a few of the verses I’ve been working on and maybe providing some level of insight into my artistic process. I am a writer through and through and I frequently face the struggle of continuing to move forward in the moment of lyrical inspiration versus reworking and editing. Often I am struck by verbal rhythms ahead of the words themselves so throughout my writing are blanks and placeholders, signified by [square brackets], spots to either fill or rework later based on the rhythm, syllables, and concept. Allowing my brain the time and space to find the perfect word or phrase yields far better results for me than forcing a choice to complete the line. These spaces can be anywhere from a syllable or two, to half or a full line, even to a couple bars if I know that something I’ve already written fits best at a certain place in the meter (as the beginning versus end of a four-bar measure, for instance).
Perhaps none of what I present below will find its way into our final product but that causes me no trepidation. It is fertile soil on which we now tread, something awesome is about to grow no matter what.
Most often I write having heard the beat first, drawing direct inspiration from its character and nuances. But this is not always the case and sometimes I’ll just begin a piece and attach notes on its tempo, such as the nearly complete verse below:
<somewhere around 90 bpm, can get up to 95>
Dependent on a wind blowing westward today
The whims of my sin
And my whiskey intake
My urge and desire for another mind state
I am burning the tires and fleeing today
Onto a tomorrow that’s tipping my way
All I hear is tick tock in my everyday
But the tip of the iceberg is what you see and say
There’s always another fate
Awaiting in the wings
And everything ends where another thing begins
So pick a place to be
Or make a sudden change
No sense in sitting, waiting
In the sunshine or rain
Whether under [the weather]/[achieving]
Or over [disdained]
I am subject to the will of my bionic brain
Got the verbal skills to bend
But unwilling to break
And I will not descend until I’ve made my stake
As we approach this next phase of the Lime I am eager to push our music in new directions, finding ways of expressing my own fascination with the strange, the offbeat, the alternative. The following 8 bars have no hook or other defined concept attached to them but I know how the track is supposed to feel.
Not but/Only philosophers and apothecaries have need to here apply
We’re peeling back your epidermis to see just what’s inside
What you’re made of, if you will
What Truth you might provide
What vile proof is in your root
And what you can’t abide
Not sounding like your cup of tea?
Then be pleased to see the door
Be sure to tip the barmaid
And the man who keeps the score
From the basement to the penthouse
And on every single floor
We play “Hotel California”
So don’t dare ask for more
On this day in 1994, Outkast released their first album Southernplayalisticallilacmuzik, a deep and sprawling soundscape that would set the tone, though they didn’t know it at the time, for a career comprised of albums that would push hip-hop’s sonic barriers. Full of funk and soul influence and noted for its live instrumentation, the album is distinct in its southern feel and imagery and ranks as one of hip-hop’s top debut albums of all time. Southernplayalistic was also at the forefront of bringing a whole region of hip-hop, previously noted for bass-heavy crunk music, to the mainstream.
Before the Dirty South and before trap music, Outkast let the genre know that “The South has something to say” and brought strong ATL connections in Organized Noize and those that would later become the Dungeon Family. Released at the end of Second Golden Age of Hip-Hop, in company with albums such as Enter the Wu-Tang, Illmatic, Doggystyle and Midnight Marauders, Southernplayalistic is emblematic of a period in rap’s evolution full of new material and style and is jam-packed with hip-hop classics in ‘Player’s Ball’, ‘Hootie Hoo’, ‘Crumblin’ Erb’ and the super funky title track. The album’s lyrical content is at once both glorifying towards subjects of drugs and hustling as well warning and uplifting in tracks such as ‘Git Up, Git Out’ and ‘Call of Da Wild’. What is expressed in this balance is a truthfulness that pervades the album and Outkast’s identity as a whole. One never feels, despite their theatrics and unique style, that Big Boi or Andre are posing as anything other than themselves.
For their continued trail-blazing and for being a constant reminder of the lyric, sonic and stylistic possibilities of hip-hop, Outkast, we salute you!
April 25, 2002 marks the tragic passing of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, a critical third of the 8 time Grammy winning super group, TLC. At the time of her death Lisa was in Honduras with some friends, filming her a spiritual retreat of sorts. At one point in the trip, a young boy ran into oncoming traffic and was hit by a vehicle in which Left Eye was a passenger. The boy’s last name was Lopez and that prompted Left Eye to theorize that an evil spirit was after her life and accidentally took the boy’s instead.
A shocked and very remorseful Left Eye offered to pay for the funeral services. The boy’s family accepted and as a sign of gratitude gave Left Eye a pair of the boy’s shoes. Later that month, Left Eye would be involved in yet another car accident (this time as the driver) as she tried to swerve around a truck and was veered off road by another car heading towards her vehicle. While there were several passengers in the car, Left Eye would be the only fatality.
Left Eye left an indelible mark in both Hip Hop and Pop Culture. Both the lyrical and visual force behind TLC, she was a very vibrant artists as well as conscious and passionate emcee. Her lyrical content and delivery has at times been likened to that of a female Tupac Shakur. Left Eye’s larger than life personality and knack for style enabled her to stand out visually, whether it be preaching safe sex by wearing condoms on her glasses in “Ain’t To Proud To Beg” or her antics as a 1940’s mafia type in “Red Light Special” (where she knocks over the poker table after arguing with T-Boz). Simply put, TLC is on a short list of groups that can be considered the greatest of all time (male or female), amassing over 50 million record sales. Left Eye was an integral part of that success. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long since her untimely passing, but rest assured Left Eye will never be forgotten. Rest in Power.
“Believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you.” — Left Eye, Waterfalls
Hip Hop fans, your April Rap Flashback has arrived! This month we celebrate three recent Hall of Fame inductions, we look back at the debut albums of A Tribe Called Quest and Big Pun, and we wish a Hip Hop Happy Birthday to Pharrell, Redman, and half the Souls of Mischief. We are the Rap Flashback, your Old School Hip Hop fix.