Up Next- Legs

At what point did it become so cool to “dumb it down” and not care about things deeper in life?  At one point the men and women who spoke about the realness of life were respected.  We didn’t assume they were fake or just trying to get put on.  Their care came from the inspiration of people before them, the leaders who were dedicated to uplifting people and setting them on a better path.  Say what you will about whether they are just trying to get looking eyes and listening ears, ask yourself: Is their message true or not?  Are they looking at things with a focused lens, or just spouting off the same basic things we always hear about being righteous?  With all of this fast food music, there comes a point where you need something more healthy and nurturing.  What you put into your body has a direct effect on you just like what you put into your mind.  What has a more direct hold on your mind than music?

For those looking for something deeper, I offer you Los Angeles emcee: Legs.

Formally named Legacy, he changed it to Legs.  I first spotted him while I was in grad school at UCLA.  I hadn’t formally spoken to him at length, but most of the time I saw him he was working with an after-school youth group that taught the fundamentals of Hip Hop.  I saw him a few times with young teens walking around campus.  I even helped put on a  concert on campus and somehow, he already had connections to make sure the kids met the band after they performed.  His determination and leadership was very apparent to me without us ever having a conversation.  The other cats I knew that were friends with him could vouch for him.  Soon enough I found out he knew a large bunch of the talented musicians and poets in the Los Angeles underground including Jimetta Rose, and the homie Kampaign.

Legs does not beat around the bush in his music.  He even makes mention of the words many “deep” musicians hear when their stuff is “too deep” or “too Black” or “too militant”.  Things like that often seem to scare people.  But regardless of that, Legs is determined to bring you his thoughts.  As many people say “People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it.”  Legs is not another cat just trying to get on as a hustle.  This is something he cares about and refuses to steer in another direction.  Some may call it stubborn, but I call it integrity.

Check out the sights and sounds below.  He has two albums both for free!  You can’t cant lose here.
His newest album “Journeyman” dropped today! Check out more of his bio here:
http://www.iamnappy.com/nappy-nation-artists/legs/

Contact Info
Email: legs2010@gmail.com
Phone: (323) 605-5817

Journeyman- LEGS from Nappy Nation on Vimeo.

Check out his joint with Jimetta Rose “We Choose You”

Here’s his latest project,  Journeyman

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Something to Appreciate Vol II

Over the weekend I saw two things on Twitter that made me really see that we’re in a sad state of affairs when it comes to music.

The first, from Phonte of Little Brother/Foreign Exchange…

phontigallo – I imagine bein a club DJ in 2010 is like bein a world class chef that’s forced to make fried bologna sandwiches every night.

The 2nd, from DJ Jazzy Jeff.

djjazzyjeff215 – Listening to the radio makes me realize…I STILL miss DILLA

I was having a good back and forth convo with local LA native/fierce microphone wrecker/femme fatale Brandi Kane.  She asked Why are local West Coast artists not getting any love, especially in Hip Hop.  In my view, it has nothing to do with “love” anymore.  It’s about what is hot currently,. and that standard is the “Dirty South” sound.  808s, fast hi hats, simple choruses, and maybe dances.  Teach Me How To Dougie is from a West Coast group, Cali Swag District; but, you’d almost think they were from the South.  It’s not about individuality or separation, it’s about one particular sound.  Part of that is because of the media and technology.  It’s very easy for us to all hear and witness the same trends.  But also, clearly, the powers that be are sticking to what works.  I talked to NY emcee Pack FM this past weekend.  He even said that right now it’s the same local cats running the circuit.  In NY, even the legends are played out.

There are lots of sounds and sights being made all over the place.  The questions is how and when will they be recognized.  Seems like people everywhere complain about the radio.  They make their own Pandora stations and tailor to their own tastes.  This is great for individuality…but wasn’t it a lot of fun when we could all sing together?

The human spirit needs to know itself, but it also knows itself through the interaction of others.  Let’s take it back to some jams you might all know and love.   Picked at random by some homies and myself.

Peep the comments about them from Youtube.

TheTruckwheels – im 11 and love this song i kinda hate music now it doesn’t make sense

apesloc27 – Today is my 12th anniversary! love u hubby!

ZR0SuM – Timeless! I played this for My Baby on ours & took Her to he Favorite place far from home to dine we spent the whole night talkin laughing & makin love to a track list devoted to her.

silveradokid1232 – i’m about to turn 19 in 3 months and i grew up on classics like george

Soulthinker2007 – It is the first time in more than 25 years since I’ve seen that video. It is one of my faves.

cashscholar – 1982! I was 9 years old when this song came out and I remember the impact it had on me. George Clinton came super hard on this track. Truly this song was ahead of it’s time as evidenced by the continuous samples obtained from it. Funk was changing and so was music at that time, but this was P-funks signature “we still got it” track.

SuperJaceman – I used to be so scared of this song when i was younger

Mourning5 – best beat ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!­!!

gtsudu Even 50 Cent said this is one of the greatest hip hop songs in history.

CosmicVisitor – OMG! Was that Alek Wek??? I haven’t seen this video for years and had no idea she was in it. She looks stunning.

aminazking – ’94 was the GREATEST year: Nas; Jeru the Damaja; Biggie; Craig Mack; Scarface; Keith Murray; Method Man, Redman; MC Eiht; Bone thugs-n-Harmony; Digable Planets; The Fugees; Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and Common … among a few who dropped fuckin’ CLASSICS in that ethereal year. ’94 was the greatest year to turn nineteen … freshman in college, first car, first time tried weed, late night StreetFighter2 Turbo batttles in dorm listening to said jams, waiting on my next on the spade table … AAAHH!!

artxg – I can play this gangsta rap in my condo without scaring the white people…Thanks Eiht!

MCM49 – Tyrone davis – in the mood.  Mortel le son merci!! from france

LillyXMae – Damn this song was out when I was like… 3 or… 4 maybe…. I”m 18 now. I liked it then and I still like it now. Gwen Stefani is the shizz!!!

SaKuRa97100 – I love the lyrics <3!!When I first heard them I was like…OMG o.o…it’s like she tells my story ^^.It’s the first song that I hear,which has lyrics about a broken friendship,from which remain only memories and promises.It’s kinda sad,but I totally love it *o* =^_^=.

VladGirocului – i’m not an No Dobut fans or of this type of music, but this i love it

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The Creative Mind

Finally, there’s proof.  Something I always felt I saw happening.  Something many people have commented on in various ways, perceiving, but not quite able to articulate.  Probably part of the reason why a lot of films are starting to feel redundant, why the music is so repetitive, why you probably can’t name four contemporary pioneers of visual art right now…

Creative intelligence is dropping.

I got this article from Newsweek that states that creative intelligence has been steadily dropping year by year since 1990.

Intelligence can be marked in various ways.  Some have emotional intelligence, meaning they can perceive emotions well or how to manipulate the emotions of others around them.  Some have a spatial intelligence, which would make them a great architect or artist.  Some have academic intelligence.  Some are creatively intelligent, meaning they are good at taking one thing and creating something new or improving it.  It could mean a whole range of things.  For all these kinds of intelligence there is usually some kind of test that is associated.  We most know of IQ tests or SATs.  Well then there’s the Torrance test.  The article goes into some detail on the test and so forth, but here are the most striking parts of what the article says about the decline of creativity over the years…

…there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.

Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”

It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.

The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded. When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening—ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly…

A large part of the reason why I created this site is because I wanted to use the arts as a way of communicating the idea of “creative intelligence”.  It’s my belief that in order to be a great artist/entertainer, you have to have some kind of creative intelligence in order to move what you’re doing forward.  Of course, there are plenty of musicians who can play instruments, but do not have the creativity to improvise a piece.  Many people who are artists can copy a picture, but probably can’t create something out of their own head without a direct reference in front of them.  But that’s what, to me, means they are not ARTISTS in the sense of it being their path of life.  The life of a person who produces a product based on their creativity.

Leonardo to Picasso.  Stravinsky to Stevie.  Hitchcock to Spielberg.  Some of these folks have an ability to take a medium to the next level.  That’s the kind of thinking I am talking about.  Someone that can take one piece of an idea (like the Torrance test does in it’s drawing section) and being able to expand on it to create something different.  It’s a quality of leadership.  It’s problem solving.

So when we hear music, see movies, or other things that make you say “I’ve seen that before” and we feel that it’s copying something else, it’s probably because the person behind it was not entirely creatively intelligent.  But the folks who have a deep following and fan base, that have set the trends, that have changed the game, were creatively intelligent.  Kanye West.  Heath Ledger.  You name it.  They take the art to the next level that inspire us.  They are leaders.

It’s not enough for a person to get a mic, pro tools, and a computer program to make beats, and then call yourself a music artist.  Sure you can do it, or imitate others.  But come up with something on your own, that’s honest, and catches fire like Prince?  That takes another level of thinking.

I’ve seen a lot of people suddenly take up cameras and call themselves photographers.  People who jump in front of that camera and call themselves models. Folks who buy the cheapest Flip Mino and want to make music videos.   But compare the work of an amateur to that of the creative intelligent person with the natural knack and learned skill?  You can’t compete.

So before someone jumps up and calls themselves an artist, I ask, are they creative? And as the article says you don’t  necessarily have to be in the arts.  A business person can be creative.  Anyone can use a creative mind in any field, it’s just that we usually recognize efforts of creativity in musicians and storytellers.

And who are the culprits when it comes to the fall of creative intelligence?  Well we can definitely point toward the American school system.  We measure achievement by how well you can do on academic tests.  Your grade is reflection of your ability to learn. But plenty of people in leadership positions didn’t do well in school.  Along with that, how many of us learn how to create the solutions to problems?  We learn the process and get the answer.  But how often are we asked to create the process itself?

And furthermore, we have a society that doesn’t really reward creative thinking…at least, not until the thought has been proven to work.  Imagine someone coming up with the idea for an iPhone in 1978?  A computer, a camera, AND a phone all in one?  Yeah right.  How is that going to happen?  We doubt imaginations that don’t seem immediately practical.  A seed of doubt can kill an idea.  So we place a lot of doubt on “out the box” thinkers.  So then they also doubt their own intelligence.  But the ones that truly believe in their idea, and prove others wrong?  We praise them later, especially once they make millions of dollars.

I can go into a whole rant on the industries (i.e. film, music, television, radio, etc) that take “creative” works and market them.  Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t dumb.  It may take a while for others to catch on, but when they notice a remade film disguised as being “new”, a song that follows the exact same format as another one, people begin to catch on.  And when they notice their pockets being drained by nothing but the same product, that’s when the pirating happens.  And yes, the industry wants things “proven” to work, so they tell artists to copy the creative minds.  It’s a very interesting cycle that happens in every business, but we treat it with a different regard when it comes to art.  We think of art as needing to have some kind of unique mind behind it.  I don’t care if my socks are the exact same, but the art I enjoy?  Some of it needs to be original and unique to me.

It’s no wonder that a lot of younger people now are listening to older music.  They feel the creativity and honesty in it.  People are going back to older things trying to figure out where to go next.  Leadership is dropping.  A lot of people sense it happening.

I saw this video a while ago and couldn’t wait for the right post to put it up.  I think you all should check out the WHOLE LECTURE HERE.

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Something to appreciate Vol 1

Most of my musings may be criticisms.  They are an analysis of things going on.  Problems I see.  But I want to take some time to show appreciation for some great artists and great music out there.

One of the things I love to do is watch YouTube videos and read people’s comments.  It really helps share the wonder of the music.  Here are some great songs and some comments I ran across, that I think illustrate the timelessness of them and put some of the things in words I couldn’t express.

Redman- Time 4 some Aksion

Boogers4dinner- “I know this sounds crazy but me and my friends went to the basketball court years back when this rap came out, and I just seen the video seconds before I left the house. I was in a zone when I went to the basketball court. I was on fire. That song was in my head the whole time! They said they never seen me play that well before. This song was in my head the whole time! I was in a zone for real! LOL I didn’t miss a shot that day.”

Superjigga2004- “What gets me all the time is when the song is about to close and suddenly he goes into another lyrical burst. Almost 20 yrs later and I still keep falling for it!”

SOS Band- No One’s Gonna Love you-

trackmanllm09- i luv this group im nineteen and my generation is terrible in music our music is not sincere its just whateva looks cool this is the type of song that you leave on repeat when your at home

J-Davey- Mr. Mister

madhatter536- my hormones ache just looking at her. I have a pool.

WilliamLevi09- Im so irritated that J*DaVeY isn’t as big as they should be! Ive been listening to them for year now and I cant stop singing their music. They need to seriously blow up in the industry asap. I want to see them on tv more often! C’mon J*DaVeY please come out with a new cd and tell BET, MTV, MTV2, VH1, etc. and radio stations all over to play your music! I freakin love you guys! I love all your music, ALL of it!

Rhaegar1- BET, MTV, MTV2, VH1, etc. and radio stations dont play good music thats why J*Davey not on there

Brittany Bosco- Blues for Blue/ Black & White

risas323- Dis is WHaT i CaLl MuZik

Cocomo08- Me too! Love this chick! I need to get this EP again because my computer crashed and away went my music. So sad.

Common- I Used to Love H.E.R.

Fetcha200- Wow I don’t even like Hip-Hop/Rap.
I’m more of a hard rock/blues/acoustic type of guy
but this shit surprised me.
Mad respect for this artist/song
and I mean it.

Yasenifah- my english university prof used this song in teaching us about a form of poetry… deep shit common

JawbolingWoW-  it took me awhile to understand this video.. and now i understand it.. i thought he was talking about a girl but it turns it he was talking about Hip-Hop.. this song really makes me sad thats why i love it.

calm1like- LOL i learned this song in english class last year for grade 12 in the poetry unit… just goes to show how amazing this song is

Dwele- Shady

MisterDynamite-  I just got this CD yesterday and I must say that this was one of the best purchases I ever made.  Most CDs usually have one or two good songs, but on this CD, every song is great.

LVipez- he has an aura wen he sings

kinda like dilla on his production

J Dilla- La La La

FRESHCOOLAIDE- This song sounds like love, and freedom.

Phlexxon- Feels like the sky looks right now in Compton – fresh and alive

joecrow24- do you know where it can be purchased?

Jayedoubleneye – Where can i buy this ?!?!

Miles Davis- So What

2424reservoirdog – I am a fan of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, but i love Miles Davis. Any fan of any musical genre should be able to appreciate his greatness.

JazznBlues85 – Kind of Blue is a true masterpiece. So full of melody, not a single note is out of place, it is what every album of any genre should aspire to be. These guys sing with their instruments, they talk also. Long live music!

grgtompen- perfection

alisesay- this is the first time n this real jazz song n artist ive ever listened to, nuff respect to the blues n jazz that started the foundation for soul funk n hip hop RIP MILES DAVIS sorry it took so long for man like me to discover your music

TheBee38- Classic class. You know he had a rare condition where he saw colours and shapes when he heard music. Colour to sounds, amazing eh? Wish I suffered this, i’d take it as a blessing. :)

StormZephyr – My God. I didn’t even know about Miles Davis until last week. It was like stepping out a familiar door into empty space, losing your footing and going into free-float in endless void.

BrzNinja – I’ve been just recently listening to Jazz, but this kind of music made me think in a way I never have. I closed my eyes and got into a deep trance. I forgot all my problems, and by the end of the song, I finally said… “So what?”

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