Giant Step Resident 49: J. Cole, Big Sean, Fresh Daily & Jesse Boykins III

tomorrow-1-600x5961By Mawuse Ziegbe

Lately, some new artists have hit the interwebs who are down right addictive and, if all goes well, they will be giving fans the shakes on a massive level. J. Cole’s “A Dollar and A Dream II” affixes graceful metaphors about the throes of quarter-life insecurity to a generous piano melody that makes a clean break from the ever-ubiquitous synth-hop. Jay-Z scooped the North Carolina MC as the first signee to his newly-formed Roc Nation imprint; a move that makes sense since Cole has the same low-key cleverness that has rendered Hov a mega-bajillionaire. He’s young so his mixtape The Warm Up has the requisite knuckle-headed sneaker and swagger rhymes. But the clean production has the classic brooding sensibility of jazz-sampled hip hop from Slum Village and Little Brother. Tracks like “I Get Up” and “Losing My Balance” are that good good.

[Read more...]

Giant Step Resident 48: Summertime

6By Mawuse Ziegbe

Monday morning I woke up in a rumpled tank top with my cell phone plastered onto the side of my face, an ache in my thighs, and vodka sloshing through my veins. This level of abject foolishness means only one thing: summertime! It’s July but for a lot of New Yorkers making do with a pittance of sunshine, summer has just only begun. But even through a completely soaked June, some of us kept our dispositions on the sunny tip like singer Miz Metro. She premiered her bubbly video “Trashion” – a montage of her flouncing about the LES – at her recent SOB’s mixtape release party. While her fussy outfits and re-purposed Metro Card accessories evoke a street artist/trustafarian trying to “find herself,” her music is actually warm and effortless. Toasty soul from zany white chicks is usually pretty fun.

[Read more...]

Giant Step Resident 47: Michael Video List

badBy Mawuse Ziegbe

No need to expound upon his achievements or even mention his last name. We all have our favorite Michael moment. Mine is headbanging to “Bad” as a toddler in pre-school. Instead of nap time our teacher let us run around like, well, babies. Me and a roly-poly, pigtailed friend nearly snapped our necks every afternoon. I’m pretty sure that guy was fired. But I would always see him bopping around Boston with his headphones on; very likely bopping along to “Bad.”

Part of Michael’s legacy is the advancement of music videos. Every time we see a lit dance floor, an errant tiger, Prohibition-era pop-lockin,’ or massive flying marbles, Michael will be on our minds. But for every indelible hip thrust, he also left a rash of quirky videos that are largely beeping off the radar. Here are some of Michael’s equally awesome – if less celebrated – moments.

[Read more...]

SXSW 2009: Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, Devo, Red Riders, Big Boi and More

kan

Kanye West at the Levi’s/Fader Fort © Seher Sikandar

SXSW 2009: Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, Devo, Red Riders, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Big Boi, Janelle Monáe, Chin Chin, Beach House, Solange, Kid Cudi

Austin’s South By Southwest Festival is four days of new bands eking out a following and amplifying their buzz while established acts assert their influence or grasp at a comeback. Giant Step’s Resident Mawuse Ziegbe took in as much of the long lines, late nights and musical highs as she could. Here’s her review of a weekend of sounds in the South.

[Read more...]

Giant Step’s Resident 41: Soulwax, Jesse Boykins III, Dr. Dre

jess

Posted by Mawuse Ziegbe

I’ve always said that getting involved with friends is a no-no but recently I thrust my hand in the fire – and got burnt the hell up. There were red flags from jump: Brooklyn-based artist/actor/ “creative entity” (whatever), vegan (which to an African woman means starvation) attractive, tight-pants-wearing Black man (so he’s already hooked up with half of Fort Greene). As friends, we would giggle at parties and talk shit about people. With that kind of spiritual connection how could we lose? Well, now I’m out of a partner in bitchiness and I’ve added a name to my “please God don’t let me run into this yokel” list.

[Read more...]