Veteran hip-hop scribe and A&R Bonz Malone talks to GASFACE about how he gave Biggie Smalls the the King Of New York title and how he almost signed him but couldn’t because of dice game.
Daily Archives: August 16, 2015
Natali Rize’s foray into reggae began in 2005 as the lead vocalist, co-founder and chief songwriter of the Australian based Blue King Brown. “Water” was their nuanced single about imperialism in the new world and the video racked-up enough views to take them beyond their down under audience. Rize’s lyrics were unapologetic about cultural displacement but her delivery made the serious topic sound like uplifting world pop music. New Era Frequency has the same consciousness wrapped in velvet made with consoling rhythms from Jamaican production duo Notis and Rize’s good-natured vocals. “Generations Will Rise” is fiercely hopeful in a younger generation who will reject mental slavery inside an amicable arrangement of bright riddims and stark vocals from Kabaka Pyramid. Rize’s politics are always present in each song but she also recognizes love as a force for living. Revolutionaries still need companionship and “Rebel Love” featuring Zuggu Dan doubly serves as opposition to the establishment and romantic yearning. Wayne “Unga Barunga” Thompson and Jason “Big Bass” Welsh of Notis provide a heavier sonic bottom to Rize’s breezy singing which places them in the reggae and pop worlds at the same time. Her light touch to the microphone is a strategic sell of radicalism without sounding radical. “Heart Of Lion” is rebellion disguised as non-threatening reggae but Rize’s words about “Trouble in the jungle take it to the streets” is another edict to demand changes to the status quo. Rize and Notis ultimately handle their duties well by balancing New Era Frequency’s politics with feel-good playing which will appeal to the most casual fans of reggae.
Billy, Mike and Kenneth Young of East Orange, New Jersey formed Young & Company with the addition of vocalist Jackie Thomas in 1979. “I Like What You’re Doing To Me” took off as a club record in places like The Paradise Garage in New York City and Club Zanzibar in New Jersey. The song was also popular in roller rinks nationwide despite having very little radio play outside of the late Frankie Crocker’s legendary radio show. Starleana Young, who sang with of the ’80’s funk groups Slave and Aura is their sibling. “I Like What You’re Doing To Me” was famously sampled by hip-hop group Black Sheep for “Strobelite Honey” and by DJ Quik for his song, “Dollaz And Sense.”