Photograph taken from the Anthony Gap (NM to TX). The sight had several vehicles pulling over to record the sun setting or to take pictures. Probably the most red I'd ever seen the sky in the early evening. (For full view click on the image)*
A photograph from a cell phone sent to me in a text that I really liked. From the direction the vehicle is going based off what you see in the bottom of the photo to how the city's cigarette is most clear and in tact. But not for long. (For full view click on the image)*
Morning (AM) at All That Music April 16, 2011. Only got to stay for about half an hour, when on any other occasion I would've spent more time. In recognition of National Record Store Day, All that Music had its 4th Annual Sidewalk Sale. With 20 single $1 dollar bills, my goal was to find 20 records I liked, any genre. Even though the boxes had been flipped through by dozens of hands before I got there and while I waited in line, I was confident I'd find something.
Few weeks back, took the day off from work to get a couple of wisdoms pulled. Afterwards with two bleeding holes behind the right side of my top/bottom teeth, a soaked bloody gauze between, and a numbing painful jawline that could barely move... I kicked back at the house and stumbled across a VH1 Classic channel that was showing 80s videos. One of the videos, "All I Need is a Miracle" came on, but right before the actual song, a brief snippet of one of Mike & the Mechanics other singles was playing, "Silent Running". I thought the track was amazing, one I remember hearing in brief clips years prior. Returning to work the following day, I dropped by the record shop for lunch and went straight to the "M" section and found the debut vinyl above.
The El Paso Times, 46 years ago this day. "A fusilade of gunfire cut down the fiery Negro extremist, Malcolm X, as he rose to address a rally Sunday in an upper Manhattan ballroom. At least five men were believed to have sprung the fatal ambush, after lurking amid the ranks of 500 of his disciples."
I was doing some research on El Paso's history one evening at the downtown library when I decided to see what it was that local papers had reported the day after Malcolm was assassinated.
"THE MOVIE ALBUM starring Ramsey Lewis with a large supporting cast of musicians under the direction of Richard Evans is a natural, beautiful production. The source material is drawn from the rich resources of the motion-picture industry's wellspring of screen themes. One movie theme after another in recent years has leaped to incredible heights of popularity. This musical spring tide has been rising with the powerful aid of some magnetically attractive motion-picture music. Certainly the trend of utilizing movies as a vehicle for creative thematic scores offers heavy competition to Broadway musicals which have held a dominant hand as a major outlet for American musical literature."
This was the original cover that I discovered Durango Street shuffling through the shelves of Veteran's Park Library during the early 90s. One of my favorite books along with Walter Dean Myers texts. I don't think they revise the content when they release the book with a new cover, or maybe they do? Reading the newer version, it doesn't seem the same. Maybe its the cover. Durango Street, life classic.
One of the latest finds. Was on the clock shuffling through the "W's" for any WAR records I might've missed when I discovered the misplaced Feliciano record above. The cover texture is unique to other records. Feliciano is one of my favorite guitarist and an artist whose records I collect without question. With a career that stretches over 40 years, the search never ends.
Title inspired by James Brown & Jr. Walker & the All-Stars*
For a while now, I've been shooting shots of random basketball goals. Every so often I'll run into one while I got my camera in the most unexpected of places (behind a bank, in an empty lot at a Steak House on the outskirts of town, a broken goal in front of a Baptist church, etc.). These goals been in my life since as long as I could remember. Way back to kindergarten when Coach Carter use to hold up a milk crate and guide our sure misses into the opening, using his knuckles as the backboard. Hear is a link to one of the inspirations behind the title, none other then the late and only, JB: "Maceo, Shoot Your Shot!!" | ((Audio))
This LP has some good tracks: 'I Wish It Were Yesterday', 'Dollar Green', 'Trade Winds', 'There Will be Love', 'Unforgettable' and 'If I Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda'. Plus the line... "We always a day late and a dollar short..." Here is the message on the back of the record by Kenneth Gamble from Gamble & Huff:
One Life to Live
"Life - the most precious gift of all. The chance to experience physical things and spiritual things at the same time. The Creator of life is greater than life. There is no greater treasure than a life of awareness - being aware of the purpose of life. That purpose is to glorify and exault the Creator; to be humble; to be caretakers of the physical condition. We are blessed every day we wake up. To destroy life is a sin; to destroy the earth is a sin.
Just as every snowflake has a different design, so are the patterns of life. There has never been another you, or another me, on this planet before.
We've got one life to live... So let's live it in peace, truth, and harmony.
My youngest brother just recently finished reading this book that we checked out from Richard Burges Library in NE El Paso. Almost twenty years ago I discovered this text (either at one of the public libraries or the library on Ft. Bliss) but never got around to finishing the book. The cover I recall is postedhere. My brother knowing I like chess highlighted the following:
"You play chess?"
"A little, you got a set?"
Walowick went to get his chess set, and Jamal came back in. He had a clipboard and he put it in front of me. He pointed to a figure. It read "3." I looked at the column it was in and it was listed "Confirmed Kills." I looked up at Jamal, but he was already on his way out."
* * *
"Brew came in and put his radio on. He had cupcakes and tossed me one and Walowick one. The radio was playing something about going to San Francisco with flowers in your hair. A nice tune.
We played two games of chess, and I won both of them easily. Walowick didn't seem to mind. His idea was just to capture as many pieces as possible. If it led him to a bad position, he would just lose. I was glad the game wasn't hard. I didn't want anything hard to do."
EP: Trek Life, first its an honor getting the chance to exchange question and response especially having had the chance to check you & Oddisee out at NMSU earlier this year... Before we get into the first few questions on the track/album "Everything Changed Nothing", I'd like to go back to the record that introduced me to your work... Price I've Paid. At the time (I believe this was 06'), we received a promo copy at KRUX 91.5 fm NMSU and included it in our rotation... What did this record represent for you as an artist and as a debut... especially in terms of the title Price I've Paid?... After hearing Everything Changed Nothing, I returned to Price I've Paid and felt like these two records compliment each other real well... both unique in their own right but connected by solid production and the message in your verses. How would you describe your perspective at the time after Price I've Paid, as you prepared to go into your next project?
TREK LIFE:Price I've Paid was a serious combination of hunger, life experience and trying to make up for time I felt like I wasted bullshitting with my talent for years being too afraid to shine. We had a serious energy going as good friends hungry to make our way in this business. Everything we did for the record seemed right (lol).
Honestly, I had a direction after Price I've Paid that I was sure I was going. I started a project called Dark Liquor and Blacks which featured some newer producers and was part of my initial idea to drop 3 albums and move on to other ventures in the business. After starting the project it just wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to sound. Some of the music was uninspiring and on top of that Lupe dropped Food and Liquor which made me feel like I'd look like I was biting. Basically I was stuck. I wanted to write albums that actually reflected a person growing through all stages and Oddisee CLEARLY understood what I was trying to do. It took a little while to figure out the musical direction but as soon as the title Everything Changed Nothing came up, we were off and running.
EP: I been a long time fan of Oddisee... Your debut album includes a strong lineup of various producers... On Everything Changed Nothing, Oddisee holds down the production on the entire album... In the spirit of legendary producer/MCs collaborations from the past... I get the sense that timing of this for you as an MC and Oddisee as a producer couldn't have came at a better moment... and I also love what this collab represents in terms of locale, you representin' L.A. and Oddisee out of D.C. Could you give us some background on how this collab developed? And having had the chance to tour with Oddisee in promotion of the record and hearing the feedback... looking at all this now, what are your thoughts on what your work with Oddisee means to Hip Hop?
TREK LIFE: Oddisee and I met through a mutual friend named Brub while Oddisee was in LA on tour with J-Live. We pretty much clicked from the get go and started to plan tours for each other on different sides of the globe. The whole process was like gaining a brother and an I'll producer all at once. I would say that Everything Changed Nothing was born from a whole lot of musical discussions while on tour. We would talk about everything from samples to the business of music for hours during our travels.
I think it's impossible to say what this album means to hip-hop in general, for both of us it'll be a link in a long chain of good music when it's all said and done.
EP: Our focus for this interview ('1 Track @ a Time', track featured in the youtube) is "Everything Changed Nothing", same title as the album... Was it the track that it inspired the album title, or vice versa? In terms of the times, with "Change" being a busy theme today, especially in politics... how do you feel about the title "Everything Changed Nothing" in thinking about what's been going on in this country politically?
TREK LIFE: The title track came up after the album was already in motion. The beat seemed to say it all as soon as I heard it. I wanted to explain my view through a few short stories, I felt like it was the best way to make the title relatable. Oddisee confirmed the idea and we went from it. "Everything Changed Nothing" is my way of showing that through all life's ups, downs and stages really not much changes at all. The core essentials of life remain the same, happiness, taxes, bills, family, or anything else that you may consider part of that list. Politics are much the same, the bottom line is that with all the change that is spoken of so frequently, the core negatives about people don't change, racism, greed, general foolishness... when those things change, then the core essentials of life become easier for "EVERYONE" to get.
EP: Would you also give us some background on the feature/production... Originally, I was going to highlight "Jump Out There", when I first heard the track, I thought the beat was just crazy... On "Everything Changed Nothing" Olivier Daysoul is featured on the hook. In my opinion, the hook can make or break the track, and in this case, Olivier Daysoul shines with the vocal. Please provide some information on this artist and how the decision went down to feature him on this track.
TREK LIFE: Olivier's presence on the album is all because of Oddisee. After recording the album Oddisee went out to London to tighten the sound and do what a producer is supposed to do (lol). Oddisee wrote the hook and had Olivier sing it while he was out there. Olivier is truly one of those artist that is forreal slept on. He's got a lot of dope music out and a whole lot more on the way.
EP: In terms of your writing process going in, the track "Everything Changed Nothing" is a visual series of stories that I interpreted to be about the same person at different stages of their life and in the first the listener watches an individual overcome struggles and eventually through education move up with the goal of investing in the future of their own... For decades, the gift musicians, singers, producers and lyricist have contributed, for many of us turned into an investment that we've used to help us move forward with our day to day. Whether it be the inspiration we take in from a record from the days of old, samples, style, message, or as the track references the business, etc. Who are some of your influences both in your family life and music and how did it in turn shape the output of your lyrics, sound and career.
TREK LIFE: My father and brother are the greatest men to ever walk the earth to me. From day one I wanted to be like them and carry that same strength. My mother and sister are the greatest women to walk the earth to me. They have supported me from minute one. My whole being comes from the love and support of my family. I was introduced to hip-hop by my brother and sister, they were the first people I ever freestyled with. That's probably the reason I never really got into the clique and elitist ways that LA hip hop can have at times. My family is my center. This album was dedicated to my daughter, she's the reason for the title. She's MY everything, but the rest of the world doesn't change at all. Artist that write directly from life experience have inspired me over the years and I think that's what leads me to do these type of albums. I was never really too much of a fan of punchlines, it was those down to earth "put you in the moment" lines that used to get me hyped. I write more along those lines than anything and TRY to write more when I'm inspired to say something than just to finish a lot of songs.
EP: I recall reading a Nas interview where he talked about the problem nowadays with everybody listening to music off some computer speakers, and we've seen that effort nowadays with producers like Dre and the Beats headphones, which intend for the listener to experience the details of the music as it was meant to be heard... What are your thoughts on how music is being received today, in comparison to yesterday? Today how are you most likely to come across someone's music?
TREK LIFE: I can definitely see people losing something by hearing music through little computer speakers. I absolutely CAN NOT listen to an album that way and truly judge it for what it's worth. Even a poor set of headphones aren't really giving it a fair listen. I'm partial to bumping music in the car. That's where I can get a good feel for what I'm listening to and if the trip is long enough I can actually pay attention to what's going on. There's nothing like hearing a dope song for the first time over some bangin' club speakers as well. That's when you screw your face up and say "WHEWW!!! WHAT IS THAT!?" I love it when that happens. Aside from that, studio speakers, they definitely give the best sound, but as far as how the average listener listens, its pretty much a lie. Don't get me wrong, they serve a purpose and you should get the best sound you can in studio monitors, but the average person just can't afford that type of quality. Since people get their music right from their computer I imagine that they listen to it on media devices with small speakers. The beats series of headphones is an awesome idea to give people the best sound.
EP: What is your impression of radio and Hip Hop today? To give credit to where credit is due, what were some radio shows that you heard that you felt were doing it the way it should be done, and what made these stations stand out in your mind? Also, if you had the world's ear at your speaker box for an hour what would a Trek Life playlist look like?
TREK LIFE: People laugh when I say that the wack rappers today are MUCH better than the wack rappers 10 years ago (lol). I like mainstream hip-hop today, I think that hip-hop is out of it's "Glam-Rock" stage and moving more into at least trying to be good. Rap was a cash cow for a lot of people, so the music was suffering from giving exposure to people that never really cared about the music, now at least artist Drake, J.Cole, BoB sound like they care. Soundwaves in LA is as good as it gets for me. Abraham plays dope music and has dope guest. If artist are smart, what they'll do is go through there Saturday night right before their show or make sure to hit up Soundwaves Radio. Since I'm partial to new artist, I would probably play Stik Figa, J.Bizness, Skeem Price, Belvi, Richard Wright, Mr Sober, Cov Original Artist... right now those are the artist I'm into. Radio still plays such a big part in so many artists success, I believe that's its radio's responsibility to feed people new artist as well as old.
EP: You put out a phenomenal record Trek Life, and in selecting a track that I wanted to feature, there were definitely several tracks in mind. Just so people know about the singles, and the tracks that featured videos, please provide additional information/links/youtube to these tracks so that people could check them out (such as "Due West", etc.). Also additional link info for more information on your past and current work, let us know where the readers can find you on the world wide web.
The Representation Show Presents... music selections subtitled ((Tape Decks Rotation)) of Hip Hop & Soul tracks. Audio postings include interview content conducted by EPmijo (EP) aka Lee (repshowhost) aka Brown Hornet. The Representation Show started on KRUX 91.5 fm at New Mexico State University in 2000, broadcasting for 8 years. 1 Track @ a Time is an online broadcast via youtube. More information on the program's history and music will be posted at hiphopalumni.com
1 Track @ a Time YOUTUBE Playlist Link: CLICK HERE