K’Jon’s I Get Around Sweeps #1 R&B Album On iTunes

Detroit’s K’Jon introduces his full-length major label debut, I Get Around, a superb collection with nods to both his contemporaries, including Kem and Robin Thicke, and his predecessors, like fellow Detroiter Marvin Gaye. While K’Jon’s music is well suited to Detroit’s ballroom culture and Chicago steppers, the appeal is much wider. Whether you’re holding up the wall in a Brooklyn club, roller-blading in Santa Monica or two-stepping in Chicago, K’Jon’s music fits.

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What separates K’Jon from his contemporaries, besides his lilting vocals, are the production values on I Get Around. You can hear acoustic guitar on the sweeping “Feels Like Love,” and the grandeur of a theatrical ballad on “I’ll Never Forget.” The music, handled in-house by K’Jon’s production team, is real soul music – the kind that speaks to an earlier time in our music history. From lively instrumentation to lush vocal arrangements, K’Jon does the Motor City proud with his approach to classic rhythm and blues. When asked about his personal favorites on his upcoming release, K’Jon can’t choose one. “That’s too hard!” he says with a laugh. “But I can say that a track like ‘This Time’ could become a bigger hit than ‘On The Ocean.’ It’s very special to me. And it’s one of those songs that people have been responding to.”

Stream tracks and read more

R.I.P. Baatin

Titus “Baatin” Glover, one third of the original Detroit hip hop group Slum Village, was found dead this Saturday morning; he was 35 years old. The cause of death is still unannounced, but it’s clear that he had been sick for some time. In 2002 he told the Free Press that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Later his illness led him to leave Slum Village. But recently he rejoined a new incarnation of the group, with plans to record and tour.

It’s a bittersweet ending when music is rescued from obscurity only after death. J Dilla’s death weighed heavy on the entire hip hop community, but at the same time it sparked a huge increase in appreciation for his production and the music of Slum Village. The Detroit hip hop family is clearly close-knit, so it’s comforting to know that Baatin’s family and friends have full support in each other, along with support from fans around the world. Our thoughts are with the Glover family, and we’re truly saddened by the loss.

Thanks to Black Milk for this video with his reflections and a bit of footage of the original SV’s last video shoot.

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‘ONE LOVE JAM’ Fundraiser For The Funeral Services Of The Beloved Son Of Amp Fiddler

amp On Friday May 1st, Amp Fiddler’s only son Dorian Fiddler died of heart failure caused by diabetes.  It was a shock to the Detroit community and all of us at Giant Step.

A benefit concert will be held tomorrow for the funeral, which will be on Saturday.  For those who cannot make it to Detroit, a fund has been established.

All of the pertinent information can be found at the link below:

Thursday, May 7th, 2009
‘ONE LOVE JAM’ Fundraiser for the Funeral Services of the Beloved Son of Amp Fiddler
@ Bert’s Marketplace, Detroit
More Info

Please send your condolences to Amp Fiddler and his family.

Giant Step’s Resident 30: Detroit, Home Sweet Home, Sarah Palin, Maxwell

Photo of Jazmine Sullivan at STEVEN (c) Donna Ward

By Mawuse Ziegbe

When I’m not camping out in craptastic bars in the LES or at a concert furiously scratching notes like a geekazoid, I daydream about the most fantastical situations. Maybe one day I’m making Smores with Amy Winehouse. Maybe I’m taking a magic carpet ride with Diddy. Maybe I’m shaving Common’s head. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m in the Midwest having the bestest time in a truly underrated city. Last week, I went to Detroit on business which is like Narnia for cheap beer-swilling, early ’90s dance addicts like myself. God bless the Motor City Casino Hotel where the driveway is lit up with a maze of rainbow lights like so many glittering Quaaludes. Ce Ce Peniston and Crystal Waters jams are pumped throughout the lobby and the rooms look like the set of a J. Lo video. I partied with some friends at an “apartment” (which, after living in “cozy” NYC apartments, looked like an airport hangar) that held a boutique, a DJ booth and a mess of bedrooms. People were cheery, the music was good and when it wasn’t good, it didn’t matter because alcohol in the Midwest basically costs a hug and a kiss.

But New York is the only place you will find buxom soul singers sweatin’ out a shoe store full of beautiful people. Our precious Giant Step orchestrated another throwdown at Steve Madden’s LES outpost which was swarmed by rapturous Jazmine Sullivan acolytes who knocked over precarious stiletto displays. It was a short 3-song set which she ended with her balmy reggae single, “Need U Bad.” Music heads who have been waiting for her time in the sun and newly enchanted well-wishers were all pouting for more. But children, she is going on tour which, by the by, is fronted by MAXWELL!! I mean, THE Maxwell – in all his singing-naked-in-the-bathtub, Afro-and-sideburns-before-it-was-cool, making-songs-for-sex-scenes-of-every-Sanaa Lathan-movie-since -1995 glory, – is actually coming to your city! You can pay to watch him gyrate for a few hours and maybe touch his head or something if you camp outside the tour bus. With Maxwell, John Legend and Raphael Saadiq on the road, 2008 is officially the year of the intellectual groupie.

2008 is also the two-year anniversary of one my favorite bars, Home Sweet Home. It’s basically an unmarked, unfinished basement packed with taxidermy and a broken disco ball. But its appeal is the reckless, sensual and, if I may, crackity sensibility that makes downtown NYC so legendary. I’ve had nights where one minute I’m teaching some hipsters the Soulja Boy and the next I’m vomiting onto a stuffed weasel. So, of course the anniversary party had to reflect that psycho glamour with complimentary Patrón and a giant moose ice sculpture which doubled as a shot luge. Resident performers Sweatshop Labor and Young Lords held court and even smiley trip-hop vocalist Sia came out for a drink and a dance. And yes, I got a little reckless, sensual and crackity.

However, more than taxidermy and making up adjectives, the hottest thing in the streets right now is the election debates. When they plucked that Sarah Palin woman from Baby Siberia, I thought she must have been a brainy, ambitious, innovative politician who could really shake up the stodgy and grim Republican ticket. Instead, we have this aging beauty queen with prom hair and a foreign policy perspective that’s seemingly informed by Rainbow Brite. I wish I could skip through the most important test of my life winking and giving shout-outs to 8 year-olds. Maybe, just maybe…if I keep dreaming.