Gilles Picks the Winners

gilles-radioCatch up on the GPWW with his 2009 recap: Gilles picks the best of the past year, including Jay Z ft Alicia Keys, Q Tip, Robert Glasper ft Bilal, N’Dambi, Quantic and his Combo Bombaro, plus some new favorites like Shafiq Husayn ft Fatima, Ryan Leslie ft. Pusha T, Theophilus London, Dam-Funk and more.

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Jesse Boykins III Interview + MP3 Download

jb3The Beauty Created: An Interview With Singer Jesse Boykins III
By Mawuse Ziegbe, Photo (c) J. Shotti

No one has more swoon-worthy finesse than Jesse Boykins III. With his breathy intonations, boyish hustle and collaborations with artists like Melo-X and Theophilus London; he’s making noise in a soul music scene aching for something classic and new. In an age where vocals course through vocoders and double-clicks rule the DJ booth, Boykin’s New School-bred production and arrangement skills are both novel and necessary. His second album The Beauty Created is awash in richly textured instrumentation and driven by Jesse’s lyrical adoration of a woman’s quirks. Giant Step spoke with the Miami native about ’90s boy bands, working out with Bilal and, of course, the fairer sex.
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Giant Step’s Resident 39: Theophilus London At The Studio At Webster Hall and A-Trak At Mehanata

Photo of Theophilus London (c) Gina Erdmann

Let’s be adults about this – I’m fat. This isn’t insecure Bridget Jones whining. I’ve honestly packed on some pounds. At first it was kind of cool. When I rush downstairs my belly fat quivers. Kinda like the stomach flip you get when going down a rollercoaster. If I jerk my head to the left, the right side of my body jiggles. Sorta like there’s a waterbed underneath my skin (groovy). Every morning I play the challenging game of “stuff the thighs into the dark wash denim.” And every morning it’s like shoving a television set into a condom. I know I can free myself of the flub through simple diet and exercise. However, I waste more time haggling with the membership director at the Bedford Avenue YMCA instead of actually spending the measly 45-minutes on the treadmill. I cancel out the nutrients of a salad by dumping bits of cheese pizza into it. The times when I could be feeling the burn (I live a whole two blocks away from the aforementioned Y) I’m stuffing my face with candies and watching Mahogany.

In an effort to end Operation Pork I’ve tried to be more aggressive with my nightlife excursions. Recently, I attended the glorious Flashing Lights party at Mehanata. The first floor of Mehanata had crazy iridescent plastic leaves covering the ceiling which made me feel like I downed some ‘luudes and partied in an enchanted freezer. A-Trak spun some dizzying Euro House jams from Fedde Le Grand and Mylo. Upstairs was a Balkan Beat party where I danced with a slight fellow from Albania and jumped around like the harvest just came in.

Also, I’d been curious about Theophilus London for a while. I finally got closure at his This Charming Mixtape release party at The Studio at Webster Hall. Performance-wise, he has a loooong way to go. It’s a pale version of the slobber over the microphone, hump womenfolk in the audience, me against the mainstream thing that Spank Rock has been owning for years. It was like watching a bunch of really hyper zoo animals trying to break the cages with their screams. The ubiquitous Jesse Boykins III was his backup singer which was not a great look for London. Boykin’s easy cool was more captivating than London’s desperate mayhem. It was like watching Smoky Robinson two-step next to Ol’ Dirty Bastard. However, the music itself is proper. London and Boykins’ “Cold Pillow” is an airy electro-soul jam with an addictive beat. His remix of Solange’s “Sandcastle Disco” is equally catchy.

Maybe I can listen to it when I hit the gym. Or when I wallow in my own flub eating candies.