FUNK/SOUL has been arranged and dragged so much it had aged prematurely. 2011 may have offered a revival when “Johnny Popcorn” offered a drug with impact more potent than domestic painkillers. Lead vocalist and song writer Hezekiah is no stranger to the music industry with three full length solo albums as a hip hop artist. Aided by Bass Guitarist and producer Tony Whitfield the “Johnny Popcorn” offers its own formula, a concoction of highly fueled croons, layered with their own views on topics ranging from teenage growing pains, masturbation, weed, and humdrum suburbia and family values. When personal careers periodically got too stressful the duo would record some “Johnny jams”. The name was inspired by the duo jokingly adding the name JOHNNY POPCORN to lists at open mics. The crowd responded and that’s when they realized Johnny was a substance that deserved its own ego.
“Be Good” is the first video from Jazz singer Gregory Porter’s critically acclaimed album of the same name. Shot entirely on location in Baltimore, Maryland, director Pierre Bennu visually compliments Porter’s intense lyrics and smooth, soulful vocals with vibrant colors and whimsical storytelling, and sets it all against Charm City’s unique backdrop.
“One Fifty” is the new video from Philadelphia emcee Ethel Cee and beatmaker Haj of Dumhi. For the first video from their project “Seven Thirty” they decided to make their album cover “come to life”. In order to achieve their vision, the duo recruited Joe “Sick Six” Painter and Adam “Monkey Toed Abu” Wiesen. Joe captured the “video” portion and added some color and aging effects so that it would resemble the cover photo. The footage was then sent to Adam who added all of the formatting and animation.
“The diaspora is part of my essence, from before my physical existence. I don’t embrace any nation or state. Everywhere I go, I surround myself with communities that embrace similar values as me. There’s a lot of work to be done in our communities everywhere.” –Bocafloja
Bocafloja is a pioneer, a member of the first generation of Mexico City’s hip-hop scene. “Somehow we built a platform that developed into a community,” he says. Since then, Bocafloja’s art and activism have taken him around the world. Today he bears a certain responsibility in the action of his art, an ideology that has been built over a decade of hip-hop and world travel. This video tells that story.
Kahlil Joseph serves up another winner with Brazilian music artist Seu Jorge’s “The Model.” The short, divided into two chapters — “Marcello in Limbo” and “Oshun and The Dream” — is a companion piece to the release of Jorge’s latest album Seu Jorge and Almaz.
After over 20 years of beats, raps and rhymes, Black Noise is South Africa’s oldest active hip-hop crew. Their latest “The Cape Flats, Mitchell’s Plain” is a fun party track celebrating an oft misunderstood and misrepresented area. To many, the only reported stories from the media tell of organized crime, drug dealings and gang violence. They miss out on the music and culture coming from this region including house music tracks like this one.
Ben Herson, Democratic Republic of Congo, 5 min Music Video
Out of the chaos and instability that has dominated the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the past decade comes the latest single from Congolese hip-hop artist Alesh, entitled ‘Reveil,’ or ‘the Awakening’. The song presents a vivid and complex picture of the Congolese experience at this critical juncture in the country’s history. A combination of frustration and hope, Alesh’s poignant lyrics reflect how, in many ways, both Congolese leaders and citizens have failed their country. In a country with strict censorship, it is rare to hear such an honest, introspective, and brave account of the Congolese struggle. Nomadic Wax, a US based independent media production company has been working with African and global hip-hop political movements for a decade, were honored to have the opportunity to produce a music video for the song. The video was filmed throughout the DRC, including Kinshasa, Bukavu, Kikwit. However, the core of the music video was filmed in Baniele, an illegal squatter settlement on the outskirts of Kinshasa. Baniele was built on land that is in a constant state of erosion and where a single electrical wire and a single well supports the entire neighborhood of thousands. Despite the seriousness of the political situation in the DRC, few people outside of the country have a grasp on the issues faced by the Congolese today. “Congolese as well as the rest of the world needs to see what is happening here and why” says Chirwisa, “I believe that music has the potential to create change and open peoples minds. This is exactly what the goal is with this video. To wake up the world.”
Life Moves in cycles. (Life) is a story. It ends. Then begins. All over again. This song by def Sound explores that idea in a more conversational form over production by RC that sampled Bird & The Bee. Even when its all over there is something to be gained by every experience.
Brooklyn, NY – via Harare, Zimbabwe – December 19, 2011: Zimbabwe has suffered under a decade of political violence, record-breaking inflation and an exodus of its population. At one time, Zimbabwe had one of the strongest and most diversified industrial infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa. Confronted by widespread power blackouts and fuel shortages, factories are now operating at less than 20 percent while unemployment hovers at 80%. Opposition activists and journalists are still routinely arrested by a ZANU (PF) regime desperate to cling to power. With ZANU (PF) pushing for elections in 2012, political violence is on the increase. From this context comes Zimbabwe-bred Comrade Fatso & Chabvondoka’s latest single: Korokoza. Shot on location in Harare, Zimbabwe, Korokoza (which means ‘to hustle’ in Shona) features leading international artists. This includes Mali’s most gifted balafon player Lassana Diabaté whose group Afrocubism has just been nominated for a grammy for best world music album. Also featured on the track is the pioneering Zimbabwean hip hop MC Outspoken. So outraged have the Zimbabwean authorities become with Comrade Fatso, his critically acclaimed first album House of Hunger has been banned on radio and TV. During the filming of the Korokoza video, the entire band and film crew were detained by the authorities for over five hours. Korokoza is a hopeful song dedicated to the resilience of Zimbabweans and people across the world who struggle to survive. Comrade Fatso deals with the contentious Marange diamond issue in the song attacking ZANU (PF) for not allowing the local Marange community to benefit from diamonds found in their area. Instead ZANU (PF) cronies and the army moved in, massacring the local community and placing the diamond mining under their clandestine control. Combining English with Shona, hip hop with the balafon and Zimbabwe with Mali the track presents a fresh, new international urban sound. Recorded in Zimbabwe and Mali while being produced, mixed and mastered in the UK and the USA Korokoza is a global collaboration.