Wednesday, 18 January 2017

RIP William Onyeabor a.k.a Mr. Fantastic

Heard the news of today's passing away of the music legend William Onyeabor with sadness.  

I remember talking to my dad after watching the 2014 documentary about him, the excellent "Fantastic Man". My Dad looked at me, smile on his face.  Apparently we knew the guy, went to visit him a few times after he bought fiber glass furniture from my Dad's business, said we played football with his kids.  



life huh?

Mr. Fantastic, God Is Black salutes you, RIP!

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old post from 2014



Wow! This documentary was a trip in pure nostalgia.  William Onyeabor's electronic funk music was the backdrop to my childhood in the late 70s/early 80s of Enugu, Nigeria. Constantly played on the radio, my dad playing Onyeabor's songs on the 8-track car stereo, my young Uncle Bart (rip) doing the moves from the video. I can already see the flare trousers and platform shoes lol!  My brother and I used to run around singing "Atomic Bomb". Ridiculous but such was the richness of life and childhood. William was one of the many musicians who popped out of Enugu back in day, but dude was way way ahead of his time.  Enugu was, and still very much is, a very creative city with an abundance of musical talent.

Big up you guys for releasing this great documentary!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Tribute to KASHIF b/w Funky DL

Over the Christmas break I stumbled upon an incredibly funky Soundcloud 80s mixTribute to Kashif - Selected & Mixed by Walla P.  According to the tribute summary:

"2016 just saw another Legend pass away. Kashif Saleem, previously known as Michael Jones, was one of the most prolific producers in the 1980's, producing for acts such as Melba Moore, Evelyn Champagne King, Withney Houston, Howard Johnson and George Benson, just to name a few."



Man! the mix kicks ass! I'd never heard of Kashif but dude was a prolific producer and his track record is peerless.  Like seriously, I've been dancing to his shit for all these years and had no idea who had produced it all.

Kashif Saleem! GodIsBlack salutes you! Rest In Peace

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In my 2016 music round up I forgot to an album that gave me hours of pleasure last year.  Funky DL man! Dude's been busy in the kitchen cooking up some dope beats laced with crisp rhymes.  After a four year hiatus the album Autonomy: The 4th Quarter dropped out of no where, zero fanfare.  Man, worth the wait.




DL I got some much love for, ever since I heard him on the theme tune to DJ 279's Friday night Choice Radio Hip Hop show.  Man! whatever happened to Choice.  I used to get ready for a night out listening to that show.  279 was on his game, always had studio guests, rappers from across the Hip Hop spectrum. Used to be him and Westwood that ruled the airwaves in the day.  These days 279 hosts the fantastic 80s London club night Throwbaak.




Enjoy

HyperNormalisation: Welcome To Post-Truth

Normalisation (Sociology):

"Normalization refers to social processes through which ideas and actions come to be seen as 'normal' and become taken-for-granted or 'natural' in everyday life"

Caught the fantastic Adam Curtis's "HyperNormalisation" on BBC iPlayer last night.  An eye opener of a documentary.  As it played out it made one think about this world we live in, the events unfolding around us, what any of it meant.

We've become so much a part of the System that we see it's fake nature as normal. Hyper Normal. Truth becomes Collateral Damage



(15 minute Edit)

A few days ago I had blogged about Donald Trump, Syria and Vladimir Putin, trying to work out what was going on, make sense of the confusion.  One thing that struck me was that this geopolitical game of chess had been playing out for a very long time, so long you lose track of the chain of events.  Was gold dust watching Adam Curtis string it all together, events I'd forgotten, shit I never knew about (Origins of Suicide Bombers anyone?), things I knew but didn't figure as relevant.

The great thing about the documentary is it becomes a living document, like a very good book.  You can come back years later and know it will hold, curious to see what has changed.

Hyper Normalisation is a weird one.  Take the Chicago gang murders I blogged about months ago, brilliantly touched on by Reggie Yates in his BBC documentary.  I know it is crazy abnormal that this is taking place, especially in Chicago that has the strictest gun laws in USA.  I know it troubles me that my people are dying in record numbers.  But it's gone on for so long I started to see it as normal.  But see, it is anything but:


And this is the effect of hyper normalisation.  As social media desensitizes us to it, everything reduced to a Hash Tag, the killings become the normal, ceases to be a problem that must be solved.  This leads to absence of real research into why it is occurring, meaningful action.  

You just have to listen to the many talking heads on YouTube live streams, traditional television, newspapers, etc, to know none of them have a clue what is going on.  Nobody knows why Black Chicago is killing itself.  One thing in common is they talk about it as if it's some fact of life.  We were starting to see a version of this reality with the endemic knife crimes in London.

See, there are definitely outside agencies at work in this.  But why?  what is the end game? I don't know enough about sociology to understand the ins and outs of this normality, but I do know it is designed to do one thing - make us "forget about it"


Saturday, 7 January 2017

2016 Music (well sorta..) Roundup

2016 was very much different from 2015. In '15 I rediscovered my love for street level conscious hip hop, was introduced to Chill Trap (or Trap Soul as it's called these days), general found out about more music. Last year was more of the same with some very good gems.

My biggest was being introduced to Somi, Afro/Jazz/Soul Diva who's been out for a while.  I haven't stopped listening to her 2014 album "The Lagos Music Salon". "Last Song", Track #17 has been my lick for a minute and I can't stop listening to it.  Haunting, melancholy tinged love song



2014 must have been a great year.  J. Cole boy! straight picked up from where he left of with the incredible "2014 Forest Hills Drive".  "4 Your Eyez Only" is banging! Can't wait for an official collabo with Kendrick Lamar to drop, can only be pure heat.  The two put me back into that introspective music mode, where you think while bopping your head.  I really missed all that from Hip Hop.



Kabaka Pyramid was another artist I got into last year via the Crossroads Riddim, my riddim of 2016, though the riddim was from '15 (Thanks Dawna for dropping Venessa Lee Bongo's vid).  I was captivated by his take "Too Long" and completely sold by his incredible mixtape 2014 "The Lyricist" Mixtape.  Again 2014!!! There must be something in that very year :))



I don't do radio saturation. But with Rihanna's "Work" I make a complete exception, can't get enough of that joint. So good I bought the album "Anti" which is fiyah! That and the fact she's real bonafide Erotic and very comfortable with it.



But "Kiss It Better" was my fav song off the album.  Man fuck your pride!






Sunday, 1 January 2017

Poly .. What? b/w Vladimir Putin's Ordo Abchao (Order out of chaos)

lol! indeed, Poly .. what?  The Compersion, really great YouTube show, easily the best I watched in 2016



True talk, I have a certain view on these things.  But the dude doesn't mess about with his questions

"Whaaaat? Do you want to fuck other men?"

Would I request permission to indulge in a certain sexual freedom/general intimacy? The permission to freely see another woman outside of my spouse? The ideas are heady but fraught with all sorts of pitfalls.  Still it is a brave person that is honest with themselves and puts forward such a request.  I don't put no social norms on this or profess any moralistic views, it may work for some it may not work for others.  Still I applaud the woman.  I could question why she is not satisfied in the relationship, why she feels the need for the intimacy of another.  But I recognise the complexity of the request and I'll put respect on her.

What do you think?

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Ordo Abchao.  Order Out of Chaos.  And the world in 2017 is going to be a very chaotic one, but it will be brought to order.  The question is ... who's order will it be?



Ras Kass's song Ordo Abchao came out in 1996.  Really great song, goes into the specifics of a New World Order.  20 years later and does any of this still hold?

"The planet revolves, supposedly man evolves
But no problem is solved, cause man is the cause
For the sake of eugenics biochemists create ethnospecific epidenmics
Injecting the public in clinics
Then when the truth comes out "You black people are so paranoid"
But who murdered Africa? The World Health Organization
Before 1978 there was no blood with AIDS contamination
It ain't little green monkeys"

If you have a passing interest in the events in Syria over the last 4/5 years read on.

Vladimir Putin.  What a man.  I was listening to an LBC London radio show (right wing-ish) where the topic was if Obama was right to expel the Russian Diplomats for "interfering" with the American Elections.  The host, Katie Hopkins, was of the view that Obama was childish and didn't achieve much during his presidency, and that she couldn't wait to see the back of him.  It was all wishy-washy conservative vs liberal talk till this guy called in.  The caller made a strong point that this is high level chess being played out, and Katie was trying to avoid the real discussions of what was going on.  The tone of the calls after that changed, real politicking heads calling in.  Very interesting analysis followed.

Obama has expelled these guys.  Putin says he'll wait till President Elect Donald Trump is in office to respond.  It's a waiting game but Obama has played a very strong hand.  Trump will quite possibly demand the immediate recall of the diplomats.  But he'll have to do so before the Congress and the Senate, he will have to clearly explain how he cannot see that the Russians interfered with shit.  He'll have to explain this to the US nation.  This is Obama's parting shot.  Clever guy.  High stakes

Right back to Putin.  Have you ever sat back and wondered what the Russians are doing in Syria? Why they propping up Assad?  Syria produces nothing.  You strike a hole in their ground and you are not going to come up with Oil or Diamonds.  There is nothing for aggressive nation states to plunder.  So why is Putin there?  It's a long drawn out game of chess he is playing.  Putin is responsible for the outcome of the American election.  He had some serious intel on the Americans. Please, someone remind me where Edward Snowden the whistle blower is holed up again? With his stash of reams and reams of American state intelligence? Yup, in Moscow, Russia.

Conspiracy Theorists would go even further.  They would say Trump is more than just a Vladimir Putin admirer

Who are Syria's only ally in the Middle East?  Iran.  As Assad remains in power his victory will be attributed to the Russians and in turn the Iranians.  Who's currently brokering peace? The Russians, as absurd as it is.  With Trump on Putin's side Iraq will fall in line.  Of course Turkey, despite rhetoric, is allied with Russia.  So who's left?  The Saudis.  Putin would have sown everything up and lay challenge to the Saud's control of the oil market.  He aims to wrest control from them in a way that will bump the oil prices up and improve the value of the Russian Ruble.  With the Saudis in line (or even before that) he aims to have Trump force the removal of the Western Europe sanctions against Russia.  And after all is done the next target is the Chinese.

I would argue he wants to shape the world in his own image.  Bring order to chaos of his own making.  What did Naomi Klein call it again? yes, Shock Doctrine.

We'll watch his space in 2017


Imani, Faith b/w Breaking Habits and Mental Discipline

January 1st.

7th (last) day of Kwanzaa: Imani (Faith). To believe in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Won't lie, consciously celebrating Kwanzaa has been a revelation.  It coinciding with the last week of the year and culminating on the 1st day of 2017 is incredibly cleansing, spiritual and the best way to conclude the year and start a new one.  Yesterday's Kuumba was about Creativity and I thought about the many things we Africans have created, from the Mbari Art of Owerri, the Adnikra patterning, the great Pyramids of Giza, Hip Hop, Reggae, Scientific inventions ... it's endless the influence of our creativity and what we have given to mankind.  We have a lot to be proud of and should strive to create more.



"Blood of Titans" art by the incomparable Mshindo Kuumba!

We should have pride and, as today's lesson points out, We should have Faith.  Faith in those who have earned to right to guide us.

But of even greater importance, We must have Faith in Ourselves.  We must move Mountains.  The world view of the African is coloured by Western and Eastern influences, be it negative and positive.  We don't attribute leadership to ourselves.  Only if others do it do we accord merit. It's a theme that runs through everything and it's a narrative we have to combat and replace.  We are meritorious.  The evidence is all around us, we don't acknowledge it enough.  I've suffered the same non-positive views too, choosing to criticize in a non-constructive way.  Yes, hold those who speak for us accountable, but don't just raise voices when something negative happens, but also sing their praises when they make a change.  Reinforce.  Africa Rising!

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So the first thing of the New Year is we make resolutions.  But resolutions require taking stock, deciding what must change.  More important! Having the discipline to do it.  But how can we empower ourselves to make this change?  As ever Brother Quanaah, my spiritual mentor, has wise words and a very good guide to achieving this.  Bless



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Y2K17, In which I lift my mood

I woke up into 2017 in a right old mood, somewhere between cynical "can't be arsed" and "Talk Sports Radio listening, Middle Aged Moany old git".  Belly trouble for last two days had taken it's toll and all I wanted to do was lie down and not be troubled. Viral? shouldn't be two days running, surely? Didn't help that last night I sat in a Nigerian Restaurant, two big Guinness bottles and a very hot Goat meat Pepper soup, while watching Liverpool beat Man City with their overrated Pep Guardiola coach ... ffs! stop with your moaning :)))

Managed to get in a quarrel with the wife and shout at the kids. Suffice to say by noon they went off to the New Year parade, left my ass behind.  Nobody wants the hassle of a ranting and raving 46 year old git. :)) Yeah, I have my moments, don't do sicky sicky very well.

So I had a shower, felt better.  Brought out the dustpan and brush, mop, a wet cloth and proceeded to scrub the yard.  My mood started to lift big time.  Therapeutic.  Shit man it's 2017! A brand new year! A lot to celebrate, get yourself out of 2016 :)))  Finished up, put on some fresh clothes and went off to Co-op and did some shopping.  Straight cleared my head.  And here I am blogging, thinking I need a big ass cheese and onion Omelette and a cup of Black golden roast coffee.

To all my blog peoples, from the bottom of my heart, a Happy 2017 New Year, may all that you wish and strive for this year come to pass!!!  Ase!!!