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November 1969 was a seminal month in U.S. history. The Vietnam War unrest was in full swing with over 200,000 protestors descending on Washington, D.C. for the “March Against Death.” The second manned mission to the moon was a success via NASA’s Apollo 12 program. Sesame Street aired their first episode. And one of the greatest voices in music history, Minnie Riperton, was beginning the first steps of what would become a remarkable solo career.

At 22 years old, Riperton has spent the last two years as the lead singer of the psychedelic soul/rock band Rotary Connection. While the group’s experimental sound never found huge commercial success, their eclectic approach spawned a devoted a following and a 1968 Grammy nomination. But Riperton was ambitious and eager to retry a solo career, having previously released records as a teen under aliases. This time, she had the backing of multi-talented producer Charles Stepney, also a member of Rotary Connection and already acclaimed for his work on albums with Muddy Waters, Marlena Shaw and Howlin’ Wolf.

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Over the span of a mere two days, Riperton and Stepney would record the 10 tracks that comprise Come To My Garden. Listeners will immediately notice the drastic sound difference from Riperton’s 70s LPs. Come To My Garden is marked sprawling orchestral sounds that weave seamlessly with her otherworldly octave range. A master arranger, Stepney enlisted Ramsey Lewis, bassist Cleveland Eaton, guitarist Phil Upchurch, and Maurice White to round out a sound that is at times jazzy, dreamy and neo-classical, but always subordinate to Riperton’s towering vocals.

“This chick,” he told Downbeat magazine in 1970, “has a soprano range of about four octaves, a whole lot of soul, she’s good-looking and she’s got the experience of Rotary behind her.”

Come To My Garden is considered a masterpiece today. However, it hasn’t been an album that lends itself to easy sampling like Riperton’s later works. The arrangements are multi-layered, making loops and chops difficult in most cases.

But there are notable exceptions. On the “Rainy Day in Centerville,” Minnie sings of being in solitude and lost in her thoughts under the persistent rainfall. Stepney crafts the arrangements to hit like crashing tidal waves around Minnie’s subdued vocals. When we arrive at the eye of the storm/song, a brooding peace comes from the chords of Lewis’ piano keys and Eaton’s bass.

1:52-2:07 mark

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There have been two persistent criticisms of Nas’s albums in the latter part of his career. One is the beats never live up to the potency of his lyrics (debatable). The second is the cutting room floor is littered with tracks of much higher quality than what made the albums (not debatable). A strong argument for the latter is “Where Y’all At,” released in 2006 during the Hip Hop Is Dead era. Admittedly, this song was released early on as a “street single,” to promote the project, but still one that was so dope it deserved inclusion on the album.

Produced by Salaam Remi, the piano-driven sample from Minnie and Stepney is perfect for Nas’s lyrical wheelhouse.


For more samples from Minnie’s career, check out Know Your Samples: Minnie Riperton.

 

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After a month of teasing, we finally get to hear the much-hyped collaboration between Remy Ma and Lil Kim. And in a surprise twist, the ladies have reworked the Hardcore classic “Queen Bitch.”

The ladies are in battle mode with Kim also on chorus duties (“You bitches ain’t humble enough… These fake ass bitches are done.”) and fires off a “bitch” heavy verse at rivals. Of course, the aggression and bad blood history with Nicki Minaj will have many speculating this joint is throwing shots (Kim has already denied this). Whatever the case, this a cool single street single with nostalgia elements for the older heads. Still, I would’ve preferred they spit over the original beat.

“Wake Me Up” is available now at all streaming outlets.

Wilder vs Stiverne 2 - November 4_ 2017_11_04_2017_Fight_Ryan Hafey _ Premier Boxing Champions

Photo Credit: Ryan Haney/Premier Boxing Champions

BROOKLYN — Deontay Wilder said before last night’s rematch he feared for Bermane Stiverne’s life. Two minutes and 59 seconds later, we found out why as Stiverne failed to land a single punch and was on the receiving end of three knockdowns before being left motionless at the Barclays Center.

At 39 years old and having not fought in two years, most weren’t expecting much from Stiverne. Wilder wisely pounced on him early, showing a sharp jab. As Stiverne tried to plod in, his guard was split by an accurate straight right that put the former titlist on the seat of his pants. Any semblance of fighting spirit left Stiverne as he vainly claimed it was a rabbit punch. Wilder taunted him with a statue pose before unleashing two haymaker left and right hooks for another knockdown seconds later.

With under 10 seconds left, Wilder landing a sliding right hook and two left hooks that put Stiverne out cold against the bottom of the ropes.

Wilder’s win now gives him the distinction of knocking out every man he’s ever faced. In the post-fight interview, he challenged Anthony Joshua, who he accused of using performing enhancing drugs. Wilder also rebuffed the public offer from Joshua’s promoter Matchroom Boxing, who want him to face Dillian Whyte to earn a Joshua unification.Wilder did acquiesce that he would be willing to travel to the UK for Joshua.

Last night’s knockout was Wilder’s sixth successful defense of the WBC heavyweight title.

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A good knockout can make you forget the details. Stiverne was a dead man walking the minute this fight was announced. Shopworn, 39 years old, and inactive for two years (and in his last fight, was dropped), Stiverne was facing a man in Wilder at the peak of his physical powers and it showed quickly.

But the fact Wilder scored a huge KO, and Joshua seemed to “struggle” a week ago vs. Carlos Takam, has led some to claim not only will Wilder win, but that AJ is ducking the American champion.

When comparing resumes, Joshua holds the clear advantage. If Wladimir Klitschko was washed up, then Stiverne was the walking dead. And even more ironic is that Wilder’s next opponent is likely Dominic Breazeale, a man Joshua easily knocked out in seven rounds last year.

Now make no mistake, the fight needs to happen to unify the division. But Wilder has to realize he has zero leverage. Last night’s win was not even a sellout, while Joshua easily filled and set an indoor boxing record of over 70,000 with a replacement opponent in Takam. Much like Canelo-GGG, Joshua has all the cards and can delay the fight or have Wilder jump through as many hoops as he pleases.

Don’t expect this fight to happen until late 2018, early 2019 at the latest.

 

[Video] Lil Kim Returns with “Took Us a Break”

Posted: November 3, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
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LilKim

Is Queen Bee season upon us? After a lengthy hiatus, Lil Kim is back with a new aggressive track entitled “Took Us a Break.” Kim has her bars pointedly aimed at imposters and biters of her style.

I was raised in the school of hard knocks/ These bitches is class clowns / Giving y’all my old clothes/ My old flows like hand-me-downs.

With that said, you’ll notice Kim does her own borrowing in adopting Future’s melodic flow to accompany the autotune. Sign me up for a Lil Kim comeback album in 2018.

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Check out the live stream of today’s weigh-in for the Wilder-Stiverne rematch. The event takes place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and airs on Showtime Saturday night (November 4).  Wilder is making the sixth defense of the WBC title he won from Stiverne two years ago. Stiverne, who hasn’t fought since 2015, is looking for revenge and redemption after claims of dehydration from the first bout.

DJ Premier ft. A$AP Ferg – “Our Streets”

Posted: November 2, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
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With the relaunch of the seminal Payday Records, DJ Premier and A$AP Ferg have linked to drop the first song for the label.

The song is exactly what you’d expect — Primo’s signature cutting and Ferg’s raw flow combining for that vintage NYC feel. 

“It’s a dream to be able to work with the legendary DJ Premier on this record” said Ferg. “Primo has worked with all the NYC Hip-Hop icons and greats – Nas, Biggie, Guru, Hov, KRS-one, and The Lox. Just knowing I was working with him pushed me as an MC.”

“With Ferg, or anybody I work with, they already know my history so they know that I come from the 90s era” DJ Premier said. “Ferg just automatically said ‘Don’t do what I’ve been doing on my albums – I want you to do a Preemo style and let me show I can rap to that,’ so I was like ‘let’s do it.’ Everybody was happy off jump – no suggestions, no ‘I think we should go this direction’ – it was an automatic in, out, done, in one day.”

Originally formed in 1992, Payday was the first label to sign Jay Z and release his “In My Lifetime” single in 1995. Other artists that came through Payday’s pipeline include Group Home, Showbiz and AG, WC and the MAAD Circle, Mos Def (via UTD), and Jeru the Damaja.

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After the success of the first Underground Showdown in July, promoter Terri Moss and the Buckhead Fight Club are back tomorrow with a public press conference and weigh-in for Underground Showdown 2 at the Atlanta Buckhead Marriott.

“Our first show July 1 was a success, totally sold out, with great action, and we’re expecting more of the same November 4,” said Moss. “I’m bringing back some local favorites, Deonte Brown (1-0) who fights out of Buckhead Fight Club, and Ray Barlow (2-0), and I’m thrilled to have a women’s WBF bantamweight title between Helen Joseph (14-3-1) and Elizabeth “Betty” Anderson, (5-8-0) as our main event. Don’t blink when these ladies get in the ring because they’re ready to battle for this title!”

The full card features Deonte Brown vs. Gabriel Braxton, (2-18-0), Ray Barlow vs. Lloyd Wright (0-1-0), Pablo Batres (9-15-1) vs. Patrick Riley (11-0), Jesus Almonte (1-0) vs. Joe Ryan Montgomery, (0-3-0), and Jeremiah Williams (3-11-1) vs. Sugi Foxx (1-13-1).

The weigh-in takes place at Friday 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Although tickets for Underground Showdown 2 are sold out, BeatsBoxingMayhem will provide live coverage starting Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Twitter at @Ismael_BBM_NYK.