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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

US, We Hu$tle

In Art, Fashion, Film, Music on December 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

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Yo this movie is dope.

Director David O. Russell suspends us in a state of operatic delirium in this madcap tragidramedy with fuego performances by its cast of craftspeople. Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence are on fire for the duration of the film. Bale is scary great; it’s a good thing he finds work in Hollywood or he could terrorize society in any way he saw fit, I think. He becomes his characters in ways that may be scary even to him, or especially to him.

Jennifer Lawrence nears that territory alongside Christian the Great. This role, and her turn in A Winter’s Bone, demonstrate absurd levels of precociousity (pfd. over ‘precociousness’). She plays here as a precious mess, an irresistible  mishmash of trash and charm — a sleaze genius, sultry and sly.

Jerremy Renner occupies similar territory as an actor who becomes other people, though his role here is more subdued and restrained than either Lawrence’s or Bale’s.

The shit is fire, start to finish.

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12 Years A Slave

In Art, Books, Fashion, Film, Music, Poetry, Politics, Shotz Fired, Sports, Uncategorized on November 13, 2013 at 7:12 am

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This a must-see. There’s more trauma to be re-lived in this film than most anything. Fun times. Oscar for Chiwetel Ejiofor for this film, imo. At least a nomination, best supporting, for Michael Fassbender in this film. Cameo for the Mr., who presides in the filmic piece.

Aite — imma break editorial rules here and speak first-person. I had to use the baffroom for about an hour of this film. Even worked my way out the seat (Times SQ. Theatre on a busy f***ed NYC day tho too — yes capital, letters, yanowhatitalkof) — during a transition in the film — got to the aisle, new scene started and hot dammit if i din’t haft stop my tracks dere ana, well shux, keep on right on watchin dat dere film dere. y’hear? sh*t is that live people. matter fact, i’m still tryna work my way back into that theatre, and move in namsaying (nod to the Ghost) and Just LIVE THERE while the movie keep playing. steal a popcorn candy bar erry yesi’mcooning 1nce in a while tho too. Just to keep right on watchin the movie. Which is playing on several reels and heals for reals.

Aite- do whatchu haftu due.

Keon Torres, Mic-Killer GodZilla

In Music on April 27, 2013 at 8:14 am

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Keon Torres maneuvers on the mic with an edgy energy that few, if any, can match. His unique style blends elements of true school hip hop along with pop and rock and roll. As Keon says himself, “if Tupac and Fiona Apple ever had a baby …” yep, it’d be him. We caught up with the star-crossed lovechild for a quick interview. Here’s what he has to say.

CC Who/what/where inspires you to rap ?

KT Well Eminem, Tupac & Nas Inspired Me To Rap, But When It Comes To Music In General, Fiona Apple & Marilyn Manson Inspired Me As, Also My Life In General, I Been Through A Lot & I Used That To My Advantage To Make Music, & Where It All Started Is On This Planet Called Earth.

CC What is your creative process like?

KT My Creative Process, Hmmmmm, Well When It Comes To Creating Music, I Want To Make Sure All My Songs Sound Different & Also Have Different Concepts, I Try To Keep It Versatile To The Max, I Want To Be Different From Not Only Hip Hop But Music In General, I Want To Have My Own Sound That Would Timeless, Far As Writing Rhymes Go, I’m Very Strict On Lyrical Content, I Could Never Dumb It Down, I Love Being Very Complex In My Lyrics.

CC How do you feel about the state of rap music today?

KT I Feel That Today’s Rap Music Is Okay, But It Could Be Better, & There Should Be A Balance Between Mainstream & Underground Artists.

CC How do you see the playing field here in NYC?395644_519257619758_1993350074_n

KT There’s An Old Saying If You Could Make It In NYC You Can Make It Anywhere Else In The World, So To Me It’s A Simple Playing Field, I Always Have An NYC Crowd On My Side, & That’s The Hardest Thing To Do As A Performing Artist In General Is To Get An NY Crowd To Like You, Far As “Competition” Goes, The Only Competition There Is, Is Myself, But The Playing Field In General Is Real Simple Long As I’m Ambitious & Focused 24/7.

CC Cool, thx for the chat.

Subway Songcatcher: Ghsts n Guitars

In Music on April 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

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Everything can change in a New York minute. The subway door opens: in saunters a sound from another world, one that somehow slows down the City as notes drip and slide from the neck of a six-string guitar. He’s haunted the underground and captivated train cars full of caught-up commuters throughout New York’s subway system.

Check out “Waiting for Love.”

Meet GhstsnGuitars, a one-man wonder-world of sounds that soothe those sores of your soul. His music may melt your harried mind as the G-train’s jostle morphs into a gentle sway. Ghsts n Guitars took a moment from his mobile music march to carry on with City Circus in the following interview.

CC How did you get into playing guitar? How long have you been playing? How much do you practice?

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GnG I started out playing the Trombone for a few years but quit because I was frustrated that my teacher kept telling me not to improvise, That was about 10yrs of age, and I didn’t pick up the guitar till around 17 or 18. I play the guitar pretty much everyday for my living, so that is most of my practice time. I love to watch videos on you tube of great performers weather it be on guitar of piano or singing.

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CCWhat sort of technology do you use as you play through the subways?
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GnG When I play solo Doing the ambient music show I use a Pignose guitar amp, that I have customized with a Roland pandora for reverb and a little delay, with a 1980 Gibson Firebrand Electric guitar, In the summer I like to use a Silvertone Guitar because it is very light weight Rechargeable batteries. I also use a Regal Parlor guitar when I work with a singer or Rapper.
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CC What’s the funniest/wildest/weirdest thing that’s happened as you’ve serenaded straphangers on the subways?
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GnG There have been so many crazy off the wall moment’s that is a hard one, But one day a man was following me around and after about 20 minutes he walked over and gave me 10.00 dollars and said Keep doing what your doing with a very serious look on his face and I told him I would, then i asked him if the music sounded alright to him? and he replied that he had seen me on the F train to Coney Island a few nights before and he was really depressed and was thinking about killing himself and I walked in and Played and the music connected with him and made him feel like living… That is one of most positive event’s ever in my life!
 On the funny darkside type of stuff, the train was pulling into Broadway Lafyette and the door open and a homeless guy is taking a giant shit on a village voice in front of a couple hundred people During rush hour! that was sick…
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CC How has the subterrean train-and-tunnel landscape influenced your sound?
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GnG The tunnel and trains have help me to develop a more cinematic and spacious sound…
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CC What inspired you to get out and play out in the subways? do you play in clubs as well?
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GnG I had always seen people Playing in the subways and streets and enjoyed it, But in the year 2000 I was arrested on  drug charges and while I was sitting in the Tombs in Manhattan, I had this epiphany that I needed to change my Life patterns and the way i was thinking. I had played in Bar bands and original bands that were able to earn enough to survive so I said to myself that I was going to make art and feed myself doing art. So I started going into the subways to practice and met a rapper named Big City who later introduced me to Legendary street performer Ziggie who really showed me how to get my music hustle on. After that partership ended, I just started playing my original stuff that made my soul feel at peace and people started responding and something that was buried inside of me was awakened, and I have been running with that feeling ever since… For the last year I have been living between Amsterdam,Berlin and Brooklyn,Performing on the streets and subways, and I play in clubs as gHSTS n gUITARS and as one half of gENERATIONS with Jadon Woodard.
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CC Who are some artists you most admire?
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GnG I really love Curtis Mayfied and Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd. Clint Eastwood Movies have really Inspired me!
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CC What’s up with your mta Generations collaborative project?
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GnG I met Jadon Woodard who is a freestyle rapper / poet after the roots show at Prospect Park in 2010 and we had good vibes together, we made a E.P. in 2011 called Rap n Roll vol. 1 and are currently doing a 4 month subway tour promoting the project and we are about to Finish our First full Length Album.
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CC What’s the best train line to ride to catch some notes from Ghsts n Guitars?
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GnG You can see gHSTS n gUITARS on all lines if I’m out grinding for the paper but for fun, you can see me riding out to Coney Island or Playing on the J train over the Wille B Bridge.
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CC Cool, thanks a million.

Johnny Ford Soothes & Shocks with Blues & Rock

In Music on April 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Photo: Nadia Itani

Photo: Nadia Itani

His music is straight up — raw, real, and from the heart. His voice drives home the pain, love, and longing of real life in an era of polished, over-produced, pre-packaged culture commodities. Bitter, bold, and have the balls to cut the bullshit? Johnny Ford’s music and straight-ahead, no-nonsense live show will let you know that you’re never alone.

Give a listen at www.johnnyfordshow.com. He performs on April 21st at The Studio at Webster Hall with a drummer, bassist, and a big fat sound to blow your mind out and hit and heal your hardened heart.
Mixing elements of blues, grunge, and rock’n’roll, Johnny Ford tells it like it is. He mixed it up with City Circus in the interview that follows.
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City Circus How did you get into music?
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Johnny Ford Music got into me!!–I wasn’t even trying!!–Ha!– But seriously, the power of music was really my thing from a very early age–4 or 5 years old…and the way music can just transport you to another world or bring you into a place of energy or sadness or bliss. I was hooked immediately.
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CC What were some of your first explorations?
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JF Well, I was always singing along to the radio.  I have a twin sister and we used to just launch into these songs on the radio together and tear it up, ya know?–She’s a great singer.—But my first instrument was the drums–my grandfather’s a drummer and he began to formally teach me when I was ten years old.  He’d try to teach me all these rudiments and how to read music and do things properly but I just wanted to rock!!!—I think it was a very frustrating experience for him!!
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CCWho are some of your musical influences and why?

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

JF I’ve been influenced by so much…and really almost everything…even the stuff I consider to be bad music influences me!!!—But what I really pay attention to or what really grabs me is anything that rings ‘true’.–Anything that feels genuine.  Specifically, I’ve always loved alot of the old Delta Blues legends like Son House, Johnny Shines, of course Robert Johnson–I just love the passion and the act of pouring your heart out through a song.–And I get the same reaction to Punk Rock and even some Rap or Hip-Hop.  I mean, the emotional punch to the gut that you get from listening to a Tupac record is very similar to that punch you get from a Black Flag song—I’ve always said that good music is good music regardless of the genre.
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CC So what do you write about?
Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

JF I write about personal expriences mostly. My songs are pretty much like a journal or diary of my life. –And I’ve kinda had a rough life (laughs)!!…so, I mean, they’re all real — from the heartbreak and how you feel when you’ve been cheated on by your lover to waking up in a drunk tank. I also sing about the beauty in life, though — how it is or how I’ve felt when falling in love or just how a sunny day somewhere out in nature is a spiritual or religous type of thing. I try to capture these emotions as well.  And I try to make my melodies as beautiful as I can .. even when I’m singing about the harcore subjects. I love to sing.

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CC How do you craft your songs? What are some of your techniques you use when songwriting?
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JF Well, every song is a little different but honestly, the best ones just come through me. Some of my best songs have literally just come right out of my mouth and fingers on the first pass. That’s not everytime, but when it does happen it makes me realize that I’m not really responsible for these songs at all — that it’s all a gift from God, ya know?  My song ’21 days’ was like that — BOOOM!! DONE — in like three and a half-minutes. And then people just started responding to it left and right — people were singing the chorus — with it stuck in their heads — after hearing it just once!!  We just shot the video for ’21 Days’.
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CC How do you feel about the New York music scene?
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JF I have great respect for anyone pursuing their creative passion here in New York. I mean, here, every waiter or cab driver or store clerk is either an actor or a musician or novelist.  And it’s not like middle-America where a town will have like one or two bands and everyone will come out for every show, ya know? In New York, there are a thousand different things to do on any given night, so gettin’ peoples’ attention and holding it is no small task.  Also, everything costs so fucking much here compared to the rest of the country and it’s really a struggle and a grind just to pay your bills here. So, all power to the people of New York City!!
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CC So what’s on the map for Johnny Ford right now and where can we check you out online and in-person?
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JFRight now we’re  gearing up for a big show at The Studio @ Webster Hall—

Photo: Nadia Itani

Photo: Nadia Itani

Saturday April 21 at 9pm—gonna be a great show!!—I’ve got an amazing drummer and bass player backing me up so it’ll be a big fat sound—can’t wait!!–Also, I’m in the studio recording several songs–we’ve got some major-label interest so that’s exciting–Johnny Ford’s getting his music out to the people this year!!—As far as online–there’s my main website which is johnnnyfordshow.com —And there’s Facebook of course which is faceboook.com/johnnyfordshow.  And my management has just got me dipping my toe into the Twitter pool so watch out for my tweets (laughs)!!!

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CC Cool, thank you very much for the opportunity to toss it back and forth with you.

Miles Megaciph, Ex-Marine, Microphone Fiend

In Music on July 25, 2011 at 7:27 am

There is an honesty, an earnestness, and a purpose to the music of the man Miles Megaciph. His style ranges from ominous treatments of topics gravely important to an uncanny ability to lyricize lightheartedly on heavy issues of life-and-death stakes. Megaciph has returned to his hometown NYC to mobilize his music on the New York club circuit. His efforts have equipped and empowered other lyricists as well — Mega hosts The Vital Movement, a weekly open mic at No Malice Palace.

Megaciph’s other-centered, community-minded outlook extends to his efforts in other arenas as well.  Superman Mega’ Clark-Kents for dollars and cents as a writing specialist and coach for high school students at Harlem Children’s Zone.  His non-profit, ThatsGoodness, seeks to pay forward to the people the good will of a socially conscious art movement.  Tah Phrum Duh Bush
hosts Mega’s album release party on August 19th at Sullivan Hall.  Megaciph gave his time and energy recently to an interview with City Circus.

City Circus Who is Miles Megaciph?  Where are you from?

Megaciph My name is Miles Megaciph. Megaciph is an acronym for Mental Energies Gather And Circulate In Positive Harmonies. I am from Earth and I try to represent that in my music. More specifically, I am originally from Brooklyn and also had some teen and young adult years in Atlanta, GA.

CC Who are some of your musical influences?

Megaciph My rap influences were mostly Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, KRS-One, Kool Moe Dee, Ice Cube and De La Soul to name a few. I also grew up listening to lots of Jazz, Blues, R&B, Classical, Opera, Heavy Metal and even some country music. When I was growing up my mother had a record player and there was always something playing in the house when we were home.

CC Does your interest in heavy metal influence the way you approach and make hip hop?  If so, how so?

Megaciph I think my mother still has a vest from when I was a Metal Head, on this vest I had written in black Sharpie, “Posers Must Die.” I have the same feeling about my Hip-hop. This culture is the lens through which I view the world and how I express myself in the world. I believe people who are profiteering off this without adding positive vibrations back into it are responsible for the decline in lyricism, consciousness and variety. When cats routinely get on Funk Flex Freestyle Friday and have no qualms with reading off their Blackberry, and there is no back lash from the industry or the streets, it is obvious that lyricism or any awareness of the culture has been largely lost.

CC What has been your path to, and through the world of Hip Hop?  When did it start (as a listener)?  How did you come around to having a desire to spit fire yourself?

Megaciph I first started listening to rap music with the song by Eric B. and Rakim “Paid In Full.” Prior to this I was seriously into Heavy Metal like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Black Sabbath; so the hard core positive rappers like I listed above, especially Chuck D and Ice Cube, really appealed to me. I began writing poetry and ‘battling’ at the lunch tables at age 13, when I still lived in Brooklyn. All through high school, I continued to write and had a couple of rap groups that never materialized.

I was first taught how to format my rhymes, control my breathing and even how to deliver my rhymes at age 19 in the Marine Corps of all places. I had two good friends who were in my same battalion in North Carolina. One brother was from North Carolina, IQ, he is the emcee who I credit with being my teacher in the culture of Hip-hop. We had another partner named Double Dozier from New Jersey. With these two emcees I got to perform at a large concert 300+ people while still in the Corps.

I have wanted to spit fire since before I was writing raps. I have always questioned authority and voiced my opinion whenever I saw injustice; I am naturally a compassionate and sensitive person so rap music is a natural place of solace for me.

CC You mention your tendency to question authority — how did this go over in the Marine Corps?  What was your experience like in the military?

Megaciph I was a knucklehead in the Corps; I fought a lot, I smoked weed and I even had one of those posters of Mt. Rushmore with George Washington smoking a big ol’ white boy hanging proudly on my wall. I was an exemplary Marine though, don’t get it twisted, get it? Twisted. I was the fastest in my platoon on the 81MM mortar. That means I could have the entire gun set up and ready to fire faster than any other in my platoon. Besides, everyone — literally everyone — did some form of drug to escape from the shit they put us through. All I did was smoke, and to be perfectly honest, I started smoking in the Corps. But there were cats who drank a case of buds a night, sniffed coke, once we had a staff sergeant get busted for coke in his system …. he blamed it on his wife’s cooking and all charges were dropped. Imagine that, for all the busted down privates that got kicked out for smoking weed they could have said it was just an ingredient in their cooking, haha, LOL. The US military is what disillusioned me about race and racism in America. The guys in my platoon were cool but the structure and promotion process was one big racist, stratified, exclusionary machine of bigotry and oppression. Once I met 20% of the black fighter pilots in the Marine Corps, at least he was a Colonel. You do the math.

CC How do you feel about the label, “conscious rapper”?

Megaciph I enjoy being labeled as conscious, since I am awake and vocal about what I see/believe needs to be aired out. I feel sorry for rappers that shy away from the label conscious, as if they are ashamed of being awake. When rap music began brothers were active in addressing injustices in their communities and American society. It was cool to be conscious until the Bling era began in the early to mid nineties when the mainstream flooded our culture with the lure of money and fame. Now all the young kids are eager to sell their souls for a chance to get some of that blood money and they are all happy to remain unconscious to the injustices that they live in and take part in. I am happy to be labeled conscious and believe it is the responsibility of the media to give more conscious rappers some light and coverage.

CC What are some of the injustices that you explored or shed light on in your music?  What is this creative process like?  Is there a deliberative period where you target and identify issues and then rap?  Or do references to injustices occur spontaneously as you write?  Or somewhere in the middle?

Megaciph I explore everything in my music, whatever moves me when I’m writing a song will often find its way in to the lyrics. Usually I write my songs with a topic in mind and an overall concept custom fitted for the track and each line and word I precisely place for effect and meaning. Sometimes I allow the rhyme to take me on a journey with my pen. One thing I always do is envision how a crowd would receive the line, how another emcee would receive the line. Most often I reserve the spontaneity for the freestyle and the methodology for the written.

CC Sounds good.  Thank you for the back-and-forth!

Watch Megaciph’s music video here.

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