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Archive for May, 2008

Close followers of this space, know that we have been intermitently engaged in dieting. Tonight we begin again. There will be 10 days of the “master cleanse.” A liquid diet consisting of; salted, water flushes, slimming tea, and a home made concoction, of freshly squeezed, lemons, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and spring water. Yum!

We hope to emerge from the other side of this process, having dropped a little excess bagage. During this period, all food will be replaced by, a well rounded diet of, soul, funk, jazz, hip hop, and serious lit. I will be unreachable through this site. The NBA playoffs will serve as dessert.

Any and all who wish to reach me can do so at insideplaya@yahoo.com. Any e-mails of support will be greatly appreciated. Those who have my number, can reach me that way.

insideplaya

Shouts to Manjit, isabel, Rena, and Cory

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The evening of Sunday November 4, 2001 was memorable because it was a seasonably cool autumn evening in Los Angeles, and my beloved Yankees were playing the Arizona Diamonbacks in the seventh game of that year’s World Series.

The air was crisp with optimism and promise. This would soon turn into disappointment, as Arizona’s Luis Gonzales stopped The Bombers bid for their fourth world championship in a row. He laced a 2 out, bases loaded, single into short right, off of,Yankee closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth.

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YANKEE CLOSER MARIANO RIVERA

The October classic ran into November that year when air travel and baseball were disrupted due to the tragic events of 9/11. The Yankees, and their playoff run had begun to symbolize the grit and wll of an indomiantable New York. With the exception of 2003 it has been the orginization’s last appearance in the series to date. The Yankees have not quite gotten back on track yet.

That evening was memorable for another reason. I had dinner with future, punk, ska, new wave recording artist and provocateur Santi White the government name of, Santogold.

Joining us was then Virgin Records US, Black Music chief, Jayson Jackson, her current manager. Along with Suzette Williams, Jackson comprised the managerial duo that navigated the career of, L Boogie during, The Miseducation of…. period. Dinner was his idea.

I’d met Santi earlier that weekend at Russell Simmons’ west coast book launching party for his memoir, Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, and God. As the then head of Urban A & R for ARTISTdirect Records, I was the type of guy who was introduced to developing artists at parties and dinners regularly.

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AUTHOR RUSSELL SIMMONS

After we’d watch the Yankee heartbreak together, Santi, Jackson, and I were all due to meet, Hidden Beach Recordings founder, Steve McKeever, and his wife, Candi at Nobu in Malibu. Car trouble kept us from getting no further than Beverly Hills’ Ivy.

At the time, I wasn’t familiar with Santi’s entire history. I knew that she’d written, and co-produced, Res’ debut for MCA, How I Do. I loved the two charting singles, that she’d written for the project, Golden Boys, and, They Say Vision. I didn’t know that she’d fronted a punk band called, Stiffed. I didn’t know that she’d previously worked within the a & r department of, Epic.

Santi proved to be a rather challenging dinner companion. Opinionated, intelligent, and slightly insecure. I didn’t have the best time. In retrospect, I realize that these are some of the peronality traits of many serious artists. Santi is definitely one of those.

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MY DINNER COMPANIONS

Last week, Downtown Records released, Santogold’s eponymously named solo project. It is a combination of new wave, electronica, and pop influences. The Santogold cd, recalls a time in New York when places like, Danceteria, Milk Bar, Amazon, Mars, Area, and others broke hot new wave, records by acts like, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, The Waitresses, The Specials, Madness, and The Pixies. L.E.S. Artistes, Creator, Unstoppable are all well crafted pop songs. Lights Out is a show stopper and may be a smash.

She’s been picked by Rolling Stone as an artist to watch for 2008. She’s been featured in online interviews on The Fader’s site and Vibe.com. She scored the cover of The Fader as well. She’s opened for Bjork at The Garden. She’s performed with Mark Ronson on Jimmy Kimmel. Kanye is trying to get her on the, Glow In The Dark tour. Diddy wants her to take Jonelle Monae out on tour with her. Pharell is trying to get her on a new joint with Common. The Beasties are trying to get her on a joint with them. The Buzz is deafening. I’m glad that I had the good sense to pick up the check.

insideplaya

Shouts to, the Ronsons, Jeff Sledge, Tina Perry, and DL The Closer

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There has always been something a bit progressive about North Carolinians. John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Ava Gardner, Edward R. Murrow, Frank Lucas, Charlie Rose, and Thelonious Monk all claimed it as their home state. All of them expanded the possibilities in their own way.

My parents were both born in NC, and met while in college. It has always been a second home to me. Beacause of this, I’ve been thinking about two particular North Carolinians lately.

On April 9, Dr. George Butler died. Dr. Butler was a schoolmate of my parents, and a graduate of, Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith Univerity. He was a seminal Jazz A & R man of historic impact. In the ’70’s he was responsible for a type of popular jazz/funk fusion being recorded for, Blue Note Records, and later CBS.

Blue Note was a diskery where straight ahead, and bop were the main items on the menu. Hard times dictated a change in direction. Setting the stage for something new.

Enter Dr. Butler. He hired ex Jackson 5 producers, and Soul City residents, Larry, and Fonce Mizell to cut a new type of thing with; a little soul, a bit of funk, and a taste of improvisation. This aural cocktail resulted in, Bobbi Humphrey’s, Blacks and Blues album, the afrocentric masterpice, Flight Time by, Donald Byrd, and others.

For an encore he went over to the pre Sony CBS Records, and supervised a roster that included, Freddy Hubbard, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Marlena Shaw, and such. A good many of those joints found there way into my collection

Dr. Butler could hear hits. RIP.

Another North Carolinian, who is alive and well, and putting it down right now, is the point guard for the, New Orleans Hornets, Chris Paul. Under his guidance his team is poised to advance to the NBA semi finals. He’s in his third year as a pro, and he spent one year at Wake Forest

Kid had a birthday the other day. He turned 23. He’s from Winston Salen, NC and he’s redifining point guard play in “the show.”

First Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavs felt the Hornet’s sting. They found it to be swift, and lethal. Even though Kidd is a future hall of famer, and has been the previous standard for the position, Paul made him look like he’d hung around for one playoff series too many.

Now the defending world champion, San Antonio Spurs are in a must win situation, as they have dropped the first two on, New Orlean’s court, and have been put in the unfamiliar situation of having their backs to the wall, as the series shifts to Texas.

I could tell you that Paul is scoring, and assiting in a fashion that invites comparison to the greats, but that would obscure the point. The kid is a natural born leader, and gangster the way he’s putting heads to sleep. He is what’s happening now. Don’t miss the third game of the, Honets, Spurs series. He’s doing something special. That’s all you need to know. The rest…is just details.

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insideplaya

shouts to The Outsider, Rena, The Ab, and The NC For Obama crew

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