Take Note!

Pictures and videos used on this site are all borrowed (well not all, some are actually mine) for everyone's viewing pleasure.  They are not being used in a malicious matter, it is all in good fun and most likely to promote the good stuff found.  Please don't threaten to sue, just ask me to take it down if it is a bother.  If not, thanks for the borrow!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane...

"Everyday there's something that's new to me, I just gotta breathe, I don't know about you.  But I'm the only one that looks out for me, can be me and...walk in my shoes..."  Emily King - Walk In My Shoes

Hey Hey y'all, sorry I'm a bit late but a woman gotta be on her grind.  Just because school is finished doesn't mean that I can sit on my assets and call it a day.  I have to do me, that's how I roll.  So I have been writing all day long working and listening to some Raheem Devaughn Teedra Moses, Kool and the Gang, Eric Roberson and anything else that would keep my channels of creativity open.  So after all of the concentrating, I have decided that today's entry will be fun.   We are going to reminisce a bit, take a trip down memory lane if you will.  I am hoping that this entry will bring a huge smile to your face as you read and remember.  Whatever I have left out, please be sure to share and add comments about things you remember growing up, but this is what I remember at a time when we didn't have a care in the world.  I remember:

  • All the different candy that we spent our allowance money on after school.  Fundip (you know the candy stick with the two flavors on each end), jawbreakers, sour gum, fizz candy and powder in a straw.  Let us not forget Popeye cigarette candies, when we didn't have to worry about our kids being influenced to smoke.  Frills gum - or how we know it–the purple gum that tastes like soap, ring pops, Blow Pops, Bazooka gum (as hard as it was to chew), ONE CENT jujubes (no bloody tax!), Mr. Freeze, Tootsie Pops, corner store mini sacs etc
  • After school specials, School House Rock, and Saturday Morning Cartoons and I could go on...
After elementary, we jumped into high school (jr high for some of you), a time when we all wore our ego on our sleeves and thought we were cooler than the next person.  I remember:
  • Everyone took part in after school activities
  • Everyone you knew ran track, played basketball, football, volleyball or some type of sport?
  • You had to be styling and get the new Converse, Nike, British Knights, K-Swiss, L.A. Gears, Addidas, or Fila's that were out at the time?
  • All the girls had their bobs done with Pink Oil, pin curls and finger waves done with Let's Jam, while the guys had their gumby's, high tops, and fades in check with Dax. And let us not forget the whole Jerri Curl Phase - Soul Glow!
  • Anything with any African American political leader , especially Malcolm X, was a statement in itself.
  • Cross Colors, Karl Kani, Jordache, Calvin Klein's and Sassoon Jeans
  • Air brushing and "It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand" printed on your gear?  And I could go on...
The transition from high school to college was a difficult one for some, yet others did it effortlessly.  Not that I needed any help but, music was my aid in transition, where there was music best believe Tha Connoisseur was in the middle of the dance floor tearing it up.  I remember...
  • At school dances, soc hops, house parties, block-o's or clubs, these songs were guaranteed to be on the dj list: "Groove Me" by Guy, "Treat 'Em Right" by Chubb Rock, "Push It" by Salt n Pepa, "It Takes Two" by Dj Rob Base and E-Z Rock, "My Way" by Kid n Play, "Don't Be Cruel" by Bobby Brown, "Raw" by Big Daddy Kane, "Poison" by BBD, "Bogle" by Buju Banton and anything by Sanchez...just to name a few.
  • And each time those songs came on, you broke out in the appropriate dance: Roger Rabbit, The Running Man, Cabbage Patch, The Wop, The Kid n Play, The Transformer, Butterfly, Bogle, Santa Barbara, etc.  Whatever the song required, we knew how and when to do it.  And I can go on...
Oh how times have changed!  We have come so far from playing outside until the light posts came on.  We were always told not to rush things and make sure to enjoy life as a kid and I must say, I truly did.  I am still enjoying life, except for the practical jokes that adulthood tends to play on us sometimes.  You know, like paying rent and paying for overpriced gas.  But it's all in stride...gotta roll with the punches!

Flashback of the day:  That's right, I had to go here!  I had to call on my almighty new jack swing gods–Guy.  Enjoy!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Madness...

"We're brothers of the same mind, unblind.  Caught in the middle and not surrenderin'..."  Public Enemy - Don't Believe The Hype

It's Monday y'all, back to the grind.

And here is Monday Madness; last weeks news that made me cringe, cuss or just shake my head.

 1) Eddie Murphy and his trifling ass: I know this is old, but I came across something that resuscitated the nagging feeling in my stomach.  It was only a matter of time before I exploded.  I must admit, Eddie used to be the man when he had us hollerin about, "Edddiiiieee I want HALF!" But when all of his dirty laundry was aired when Spice Girl Mel B. had his love child, the real Eddie Murphy sure did stand up.  Eddie Murphy has fit the mold of the stereotypical deadbeat father portrayed in movies...ok and I hate to say it, but live and in living color too.  The one who does not take care of his child and responsibilities or steps up as the man that he should be, because he was blessed with the gift of having children.  The one who tends to forget they are not a father because they have a son, unless you're taking care of him. With that said, my whole perception of this man has changed immensely.  The only good thing to come out of this situation, is that Miss Mel B has a beautiful baby girl and has grown into a sexy confident woman and mother who is doing the damn thing.  Check out her spread for this new lingerie line she is heading up.  Mel, you do you girl, I'm not mad at ya.  

2) Wesley Snipes gets 3 years in prison: I have had the pleasure...ok honestly I am not sure if it was a pleasure, however I have met Wesley Snipes twice over and on both accounts, he was not the most personable of persons.  Perhaps it was a bad day, I don't know but it sure didn't seem like it.  Anyhow, Mr. Snipes as we all know, had to spend some time in court for tax evasion which followed by an acquittal of felony conspiracy and tax fraud charges.  However, he was found guilty of 3 misdemeanor acts of willfully failing to file tax returns.  With the federal prosecutors pushing for the maximum penalty, Wesley has to do 3 years–one for each count. The one thing that I read which bothered the hell out of me, was the fact that after Wesley wrote a long statement saying he was sorry, the United States Attorney for the middle district of Florida said, because his letter never said the word 'taxes' or 'tax', he showed no remorse.  Ummm, riight.  Well Mr. Snipes, I'm sorry but you who makes all that money from all of the wonderful movies that I have paid my $13.00 and change to see you perform in and YOU mean to tell me that you are not able to pay your taxes?  WTF??!!  Get it together my man, get it together.  I digress...you reap what you sow...

3) Songwriters becoming singers: I don't know about you, but the new wave of songwriters/producers coming forth with albums are a bit overwhelming for me.  Especially because most of them should have honestly stayed behind the scenes and continued writing.  Those I will steer clear from are: The Dream–even though it's too late, I can really do without hearing "Shawty is a 10" one more time.  Sean Garrett–this dude's new song "Gripping" with Ludacris is a complete waste of 3 minutes and 44 seconds.  And the last, Ryan Leslie–well I must admit that "Diamond Girl" has grown on me, but I am not sure if I will be able to get through a whole album of Ryan.  Seriously.  Now the three aforementioned artists are talented in their respective fields of songwriting and producing and have brought many danceable tracks our way. However, there is no excuse to further destroy and suck the life out of the once prominent genre of R&B.  Please, give it a break.

4) Kanye shouts out the wrong city during his show: Oh my my my, Kanye what is going on?  Too much Connect Four on tour is starting to take you out of your element.  FOCUS KANYE, FOCUS!  Now tell us the truth, did you forget where you were performing purposely to get us talking (it has worked hasn't it?), because you have been so quiet?  Or did you genuinely forget where you were at that instant?  I am sure you wanted that spaceship to take you away to another planet.  I know we all make mistakes and yes, believe it or not, Kanye is only human.  But to forget where you are during a concert?  I don't know about that one...but then again, he is dealing with breaking up with his fiancee and hurting from the passing of his mother.  Perhaps, I should give him a break?

And lastly...

5) The Sean Bell verdict: There is so much to be said about this verdict, I don't know what to say because I am utterly speechless.  How do you seriously acquit 3 cops of literally taking away a man's life the eve of his wedding day?  And to add to the remarkable outcome, we are force fed to believe the sheer fact that Sean Bell and his friends were under a barrage of 50 bullets...50 BULLETS and that was not enough for a conviction of some sort?  I don't believe that, I can't believe that. I think excessive force is an understatement of grand proportions.  The unsettling actuality that the normal outcome for cases involving black men loosing their lives at the hands of the NYPD (Amadou Diallo, Ousmane Zongo etc) is a payout by the city, leaves my queasy. I also do not believe violence in any shape way or form is the answer.  Some are saying that since peace is not an option, maybe violence will get a message across.  I am hoping these same people realize this is EXACTLY what they want, and you are feeding into the frenzy.  Sometimes silence is the best message to send.  In silence, there is fear in what your opponents next move will be and consist of.  And it is the not knowing that will have them on the edge of their seat, because we do fear what we do not know. One thing we do know very well, is Nicole Paultre Bell and Sean's family, will continue to fight their courageous fight for justice.  It will be a hard road to continue traveling, no harder than the evening of November 25th, 2006 no doubt, but a hard one indeed.  I am sure knowing they have support from the masses, friends and family is a huge comfort in itself.  My prayers go out to Sean Bell's family...

A picture of strength and courage...

Flashback of the day: After the madness I needed a reality check, but for the life of me nothing came to mind and I sat here drawing blanks each direction I took.  So I had to go with my guardian angel Anita Baker once again:

Hope you caught the podcast.  See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, April 25, 2008

Podcast for In NYC Vol #4...

Hi there beautiful people, here is your weekend installment of In NYC Vol #4.  And no, don't worry you didn't miss one.  I just jacked up when I saved it...so let's leave it at that!  Danalee and I would like to apologize yet again for the tardiness (we will get better I promise!!).  We were finally able to get it together and bring the show to you.  There was a lot to cover and catch up on!  This show is live and direct from Connecticut Muffin in Brooklyn Heights.

Here is a quick guide to the places/sites discussed during the podcast:

Connecticut Muffin
115 Montague St
Brooklyn, NY
718-875-3912 - there is no website but you can get the store hours and directions here.

530 West 28th St
New York, NY
212-629-2000 - www.mansionnewyork.com

Brooklyn Museum 
200 Eastern Parkway 
Brooklyn, NY
Featured artist: Takashi Murakami

Bodies:The Exhibition
South Street Seaport 
Fulton & South Streets, Pier 17
New York, NY

Kittichai and Thom Bar
60 Thompson St
New York, NY

Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar
11 West 31st St
New York, NY
212-714-2992  www.ayzanyc.com

Styleaholics -  Najwa Moses

Thurgood Marshall on Broadway

Sy Smith interview here

Hope you enjoy, have a good weekend...

Tha Connoisseur 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Key To Longevity...

"Let's get physical, physical..."  Olivia Newton-John – Physical

Yes, I went for the cheese today.  I know some of you are wondering if I have gone off my rocker with the choice of quote.  But no, I haven't.  I just wanted to use it for the double entendre that it was when the song was originally released.  As cheesy as the song was, we were still jamming to it–DON'T LIE!

There is a method to my madness though, I wanted to touch on a topic close to my heart.  As we all know, Sunday April 20th would have been Luther Vandross' 57th birthday.  Luther was a man that we could never forget.  There is not one Luther song that can play on the radio, without you displaying a bevy of emotions.  From sadness, to jubilation, to a great big smile on your face–Luther is love.  From "A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)", "Superstar", "Love The One You're With" or "Never Too Much", Luther knew what he wanted to convey with his music and he did just that.  He was the type of singer who touched everyone with his songs, incredible stage shows and talent.  Luther was not a man of mediocrity, he always took a song, even cover songs, and made them all his own.  I never got the chance to see Mr. Vandross in concert in all of his glory and that is something I will obviously never get over.  There will be an album of the week to come soon by Luther, no doubt.  But today I have brought Luther Vandross forth because of the disease that took him away.

Diabetes is a disease that is a deadly killer in all communities, but quite prevalent in the Black population. With diabetes being one of the most serious health issues raging through the black community, it is only fitting that we take a minute to reflect.  We all know and can attest to some of our stubborn family members who are as "healthy as a horse"... you know who I am talking about.  The ones who claim, "I'm fine, it's nothing!" when something starts to go askew and they refuse to go and get the ailment checked.  I think that now we, the children who are now the adults, are in the position to put our foot down and tell them about themselves.  We are now at the age where we are unfortunately going to start seeing our favorite aunts and uncles,  and our mothers and fathers leave us and move on to greener pastures above.  There are ways for us to keep them around for longer periods of time.  We should enforce the fact that nutrition is a big factor in longevity.  You are what you eat.  Exercise is essential and I don't mean running a treadmill everyday.  But taking a 20 minute walk to the park, the store or wherever makes so much of a difference.  And we have to make them see, that seeing a doctor when something is wrong is not the end of the world.  Hell I hate doctors too, but if an ailment needs to be taken care of–so be it.

I have watched my Dad take insulin from since I can remember, I have seen my Dad go into a diabetic coma and I have also watched my Dad succumb to cancer and diabetes.  This is all the while watching other family members who have recently passed away from diabetes or have had amputations.  All of the mentioned instances are all more of an incentive for me to take care of myself and those around me.  I watch what I put into my system, I exercise and try to do best by my body.  I also plan to have kids and do not want them to be exposed to this disease, even though it is in my genes.  However, I am too much of a stubborn mule to have this disease get the best of me.  We all have the power to do what we have to do to keep ourselves in check and to keep our loved ones closer for a time to come.  So in terms of getting physical, get on it!!  It can be sports and yes, it can mean sex as Miss Olivia meant...do you know how many calories you can burn?  Good lord!!!  Remember y'all, our bodies are our temples.

On a more musical note, here are a few videos that are milling around the net that I thought you would enjoy if you haven't seem them already.

Alicia Keys' "Teenage Love Affair" - Alicia's homage to School Daze is well done!  And if you don't know you better ask somebody!!  It's one of Spike Lee's best movies!  Check it out:

Ledisi's "In The Morning": Sexy soul music at its best.

And I know this one is EXTREMELY late, but it's a gem nonetheless.  Here's Jimmy Sommers featuring Vikter Duplaix "If I Knew":

And the flashback of the day is of course, vintage Luther...enjoy!

We miss you Luther...

In NYC Podcast coming tomorrow!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

All I Need To Get By Is Music!

"You know it's funky, funky, funky 'cause you heard it from hearsay, a jam that you love that be gettin' no airplay..."  LL Cool J - Booming System

Yesterday was a day of HTML, writing and most of all studying for my upcoming exam on Saturday.  Ahhh the perils and incredulity of school–thank god it will be over in 4 days.  So since my brain was slowly turning into silly putty and every second word looked like "the", I decided to treat myself and get my mind off of school and other things.  I FINALLY took my tail to Harlem's Shrine World Music Venue and visited my ladies from One Nation Under The Soul Shack (ONUTSS)–Pam and Detrel.  Last night they had a listening party for 3 great soul acts that, as my friend LL said above, don't be getting no airplay.  And it's a damn shame too, because these artists are phenomenal in their own right. The Triple Threat bill consisted of Heston, Taniq and Rahbi (pronounced Robbie). Don't fret, I didn't forget you!  I have plenty of pics and goodies to share.

Heston, who made it here on Saturday I believe, without his luggage (we know how unpredictable airlines can be), was very happy to receive the delivery of his belongings before he went on stage.  Heston's music has become one of my new favorite things.  This man's voice is quite reminiscent of Maxwell, with the haunting veracity of Bob Marley.  Sensual, sexy, calm yet packs a punch lyrically just like Marvin Gaye.  Not to mention he is a sweet humble dude with a beautiful smile.  He reminds me of family really, and it cannot get any more comfortable than that.  His song, "Good Morning America" is a poignant track on his album Storyteller that he shared with us last night.  Here is a little clip:

My favorite track from the album is "Brand New U", a killer song that captures the pure essence of missing the person who you thought you once knew.  You will find many tracks on his MySpace page.  Check it out!

Taniq, which is a combination of the words 'talent unique',  is the husband and wife duo Miko and Carolyn who exude love, positive vibes and love to have a good time.  Carolyn and Miko complement each other in every way.  Both are simply beautiful and judging by the few minutes that I spent with them, they are clearly on the right path.  They love what they do, which shows in their performance and they are just all around cool people.  Love just emanates from these two when they are together or apart.  And their vocals?  Pure harmony.  They blessed us with a sexy live version of "Everything About You".  I do not want to say too much about any of the artists, since I will have upcoming entries on each of them.  However, in the meantime do check for their album The Life And Times Of Love.  Just yesterday I was told that it was sold out on CD Baby (way to go!).  I did hear the album yesterday and it is a must have!  If you hurry, you will be able to find one of my favorite tracks from the album, "Breakin' The Rules" as a free download from Soultracks.  I unfortunately did not get any video from their performance to share because I was truthfully grooving a bit too hard, but I promise there will be more coming in the near future on this talented newlywed duo.

Taniq and I

And lastly, my new sugar dumpling Rahbi (pronounced Robbie) hit the stage with sheer fabulousity.  The Prince Of Glam Soul did the damn thing and was NO JOKE.  With his insane level of intensity and energy, gold beads, lace glove, charming character and vocals galore, he had the house in an uproar.  Rahbi took over the stage and proved to everyone that he was born to perform.  His opening track "Bittersweet Dreams" is a killer rendition of the Eurythmics' stellar track "Sweet Dreams", with a twist.  I wish I got a little more, but my video card ended up being full.  Here's a taste:

After his second song, he was asked to do an encore to satisfy the masses.  It was my first time hearing and being exposed to Rahbi and it become a memorable evening indeed.  As I sat in front of the stage taking in his set, he zeroed in on me for a little chair dance if you will.  And as my new found friend Walter said, "Look at you, your first show...", all I could respond was, "Well, I have now been christened haven't I?"  

So my soiree was a lot of fun and a chance to de-stress and take in some wicked tunes.  I met new friends and...Oh wait!!  How can I forget to mention the MC?  Pam and Detrel asked Fiona B from The Bloom Effect to host the show.  She became one of my first friends on Soul Commune, so it was great to see and meet the person behind the name.  Good lord, what a firecracker that one is!!  If you ever need someone to host a show for you–Fiona should be your first choice.  She is spunky, full of personality, like fiyah on the mic and who can resist an English accent?  I don't have video, even though in hindsight, I should.  But trust me, I love me some Fiona B or Miss B as I dubbed her last night.

Below is a little ensemble of the pics I took last night, at a previous show and a mix of a few family pics as well–hope you enjoy!

And lastly, the flashback of the day.  Today the song chosen is for myself and my girl Vivrant Thang, who just saw Lalah Hathaway in concert.  We both love this song and like her, it happens to be my favorite Lalah track.  I just happened to stumble on the remix, that I heard and fell in love with before I heard the original:

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday Madness...

"Don't hesitate 'cause the world seems cold, stay young at heart 'cause you're never old at heart..."  Earth Wind & Fire - That's The Way Of The World

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, I didn't but I do plan to make up for it this weekend.  It is what it is right?

Before I delve into Monday Madness, I must rejoice in the news that ISIAH LORD (yes that is his middle name) THOMAS III IS OUT OF THE NEW YORK KNICKS ORGANIZATION!!!  Well ok he is not out, but he is no longer coach and that says a lot.  Can I get an amen?

With that said, here is Monday Madness; last weeks news that made me cringe, cuss or just shake my head.

1) Wendy Williams' husband's sexual harassment troubles: Up to this day, I frankly do not see what the whole fuss is about Wendy Williams.  A shock jock who is rude and disrespectful to those she speaks to on air.  Howard Stern is enough, we do not need a black counterpart–honestly.  It's just not my flow at all.  Well it now looks like a whole lot of trouble is coming her way, stemming from her husband Kevin Hunter's indiscretions.  Kevin Hunter has been brought up on sexual harassment charges by Wendy's talent booker, Nicole Spence.  But the thing is, a lot more women are coming out of the wood work to support Spence's allegations with stories of their own.  Look, if you are going around behind or in front of your woman, trying to chase skirts and harass women, then really you deserve what you get.  I don't know what else to say.  It looks good on ya, done deal.

2) Foxy Brown is released from jail:  Again, I might get shouted out for this one - but yes Ingrid Marchand is free.  Not to sound like a hellcat, but there is no sympathy on my part for those who put themselves in situations where they could have gone the other way and not follow the path of destruction.  Especially when the path is lit up in florescent colors and practically glowing in front of you.  I mean come on, unless you are Naomi Campbell who needs to learn to manage that anger–who hits people with their cell phone?  Especially knowing well that your action is a blatant violation of your probation and it could put your ass in a sling!  And really, I had a problem from the get go with all of her so called run ins with the law.  Didn't anyone see a Lil' Kim pattern here?  I-have-to-be-a-bad-girl-cause-my-rapping-counterpart-was-one-too syndrome?  I must have some attention too!  You know how the devil works sometimes, always on his grind.  Kim was in for "not 'snitchin'" and Foxy for parole violation.  HELLO!?  And now we have to sit through a TV show based on her release and upcoming album?  Enough already with the female rappers and jail time - enough!  Actually how about enough of the profiling and stupidity on the account of you being a rapper, trying to be a badass and profiting from your stupid decisions.  Sickening...

3) Will the real Akon please stand up: Seriously now, those who know me, know that I detest this dude.  From throwing kids off stage, to literally molesting an underage child on stage at his concert (did it really matter that the girl was underage??!!  You don't treat women like that stupid!)...oh and let us not forget–his artistic contribution to hip hop.  %^$$%^%%^KDIJHINKLSH...sorry, I couldn't stop laughing at my last statement!  Anyhow, it is no surprise to me when we heard–thanks to the Smoking Gun–that Akon is not the gully gangster that he claims to be.  SURPRISE, SURPRISE!  And that's all I will say on that.

4) Jackass' Steve-O to record a comedy gangsta rap CD: Why are we even going here?  Really...why?  Are they serious?  And to add to the insult, some producers from G-Unit are going to help him produce this dumbassidrie.  This is surely going to be a hit album!  I do hope you hear the sarcastic tone oozing out of that phrase.  I think that Kool G Rap was having an off day when he decided to rap with Steve-O a few years ago.  Steve-O rapping...why oh why?  

And lastly...

5) 31 people shot in Chicago over the past few days: WTF?  I actually shuddered when I read this, I just could not believe the senseless violence.  Out of the 31 people who were shot, at least 6 were killed.  The age range of those who were shot run from 12-65 and were either innocent bystanders or gang members.  I have to point out that the numbers from the shootings were calculated from Thursday night.  I am genuinely speechless.  I will have a full blog entry to share my feelings on this type of recklessness and disregard for life.  I just do not understand...

For the flashback of the day, I did not even know what to do or say after #5, so I thought it was best to end it on a pensive note with Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes.  Again, it is not a video but it does the job:

Look out for an In NYC podcast this weekend.  See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sweet Sweet Love...

"So if you're in the valley and life is so unkind, and if your tears keep falling from your tired eyes; your burden seems so heavy and it's hard to smile, you must remember, it's only for a while..."  Anita Baker - Only For A While

With so many albums in my catalogue, it is really hard to pick one to focus on because I get a bit too excited.  But today's pick for album of the week, came to me in an instant.  This artist is most definitely one of my favorite female soul/jazz/R&B singers EVER.  Some will say that she has not been on the scene long enough to be considered an "icon" per say (my answer to that is whatever man...), but there is no contesting what she brought to the world of R&B, soul and jazz.  I mean come on, ask Mary J Blige and she will tell you.  Mary's career got a jump start by singing one of this illustrious singer's songs on her demo.  The singer of the week is artist and songwriter extraordinaire Anita Baker and the chosen album is Rapture.

I honestly don't even know where to start with Anita (and yes, her and I are on a first name basis). Anita has been my Linus blanket for a very long time.  Whenever I am going through a rough time trying to get over the obstacles of life, out comes Anita.  She has been lifted to guardian angel status in my book.  Close friends know once an Anita Baker marathon starts on my end, I am definitely in a contemplative vibe.  I had the pleasure and joy of seeing Mrs. Baker in concert last year and no words can explain the vibe from that show.  Every word was sung from every song on my part, causing me to spend the next day at work with "man voice", but it was well worth it.  I could start by talking about her early work with Chapter 8 and her album Songstress that gave me and everyone else "Angel".  A song that will definitely be dedicated to my future significant other, wherever you are, but that is a whole other story...

Rapture is a 6x platinum, double Grammy award winning album.  It is one of those rare albums that can be played from beginning to end, on repeat for days on end.  Almost every song on this album was released as a single—"Sweet Love", "You Bring Me Joy", "Caught Up In The Rapture", "No One In The World", "Same Ole Love" and "Watch Your Step".  6 out of 8 tracks were released, that cannot be said for a lot of soul albums today.  Or would I be pushing it if I said ANY soul albums of today?  Anita Baker came to us at a time when sangin' was no joke.  In order for you to be in the music game, you had to come correct or not at all.  Even the one hit wonders who succumbed to lip syncing, had to be able to sing. That is serious business right there. With contemporaries at the time being Regina Bell, Stephanie Mills and such you had to have vocals to be on par or better than the rest. Anita Baker has been said to single handedly carve the niche of adult contemporary music for her female counterparts.  So even though, as some may argue with me, that she is not an "icon", I beg to differ.  Do not look at the quantity of work, look at the quality.  She may not have 20 albums under her belt, but her discography is a reflection of amazing work from an incomparable artist. Anita's voice is angelic, bone chilling and heart felt.  At times tumultuous and then seductive.  Her songwriting skills are astonishing always focusing on her favorite topic of choice—love.  Love lost, love found, love endearing, it was and always is all about love.  We can't be mad at that now can we?

There are so many things to say about Anita Baker's other albums, but you best believe that they will be discussed in the future.  There really is not much to be found about her since she is not on the scene.  However her latest info can be found on Bluenote's website. I have also included a site that lists Anita's discography, you can purchase anyone or all of them where ever you like, just as long as you do! And lastly, check out my peoples at SoulBounce, they are presently in the midst of counting down their Top 100 Soul and R&B Songs.  Mrs. Anita's "Sweet Love" was # 91.  If you do not have any of her albums, you can go ahead and cheat.  Go out and buy her best of, you actually get the cream of the crop and I won't be mad at ya.  All the same, if you are not up on Mrs. Anita Baker's work at all, please—GET ON IT!

Flashback of the day: this was a hard one. I was not sure which Anita track to go with.  I almost did not get through writing this entry because I am jamming a bit too hard with Rapture. However, the choice has finally been made, so here is one of my favorities!!  What's your favorite Anita Baker track?  Let me know!

Have a phenomenal weekend, see y'all on Monday...

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's 6 Questions With...Sy Smith

"Wake up everybody no more sleepin' in bed, no more backward thinkin' time for thinkin' ahead..."  Teddy Pendergrass - Wake Up Everybody

It is going to be a short and sweet entry, because I am trying yet another new thing here today. 

I have shared with you previously that I have had the pleasure of interviewing quite a few artists over the years.  Some were bitchy and disgusting and some were uptight but they did not outweigh all the others who were simply a joy to be with.

So I have decided that I will use my charming skill to the best of my ability and reach out to those that are doing the damn thing on the music scene.  My entry today is called "6 Questions With..."  It is a simple 6 question mini-view with an artist whose music I enjoy and a person I admire.  We just might learn a few tidbits about an artist that maybe we have not known or something they wanted to share.  So with that said, my first choice is the effervescent and funky Sy Smith.

Sy Smith has been on her grind since the late 90's.  Some of you may not know her work, yet on the other hand some of you all do.  Her sound is funky, sexy soul that takes you on a journey to new highs.  If you have not experienced any of her albums: Psykosoul, The Syberspace Social or her recent endeavour Conflict -  you are definitely caught up in The Matrix and need to be freed!  With her stint as lead singer for The Brand New Heavies and her 4 seasons as a background singer on American Idol, Sy Smith is always doing her thing.  Sy's new album Conflict is a cool, eclectic blend of stellar soul tracks.  My favorites are "B Side Love Affair" and the album title track "Conflict", find it, listen and take it all in!  You can find some of the album tracks on her music player on the website.  Sy is the woman to go to for an intense blend of crafty lyrics and insane galactic beats.  When you decide to purchase this phenomenal CD, please visit Soultracks for an autographed Sy Smith CD, as she is being featured as the CD of the month.  Also, please check out an interview on Honeysoul, where Sy talks about a little bit of everything with Vonnie.  Do check out Sy Smith's new album Conflict and you can catch up with her movements (tour info, album reviews and such) on her website Sysmith.com  

So without further adieu, here are 6 Questions With Sy Smith.

1) With a BS in Psychology and a minor in Music Theory, would you say that your insight into the workings of the mind definitely influence your eclectic writing style?

I don't consciously use my knowledge in the disciplines of Psych and Music Therapy (Music Therapy was my minor, incidentally) to influence my writing. I think that any psychology I might use is the same that any person uses in his/her day-to-day life. It's definitely fun sometimes to break down the lyrics of my songs after-the-fact and see what the heck I was on though! Sometimes I'll read my lyrics and just trip out, like "wow, was I on crack?" LOL!

2) I always find that your music is always ethereal and fresh - anything you put out is always different. What is your secret to keeping things new and funky?

I don't know that I have a secret. I just try not to be repetitive or redundant, while at the same time always putting my "stamp" on my music. I sometimes approach songs by picturing myself as someone else. For instance, the song "dreamtrip" on the Syberspace Social CD - I wanted to sound like a Japanese boys' choir so I sang everything the way I felt a young Japanese boy might. I sang everything very precisely, each note was uniform with all the rest. If you listen back to that tune, you'll hear what I'm talking about... I probably sound crazy trying to explain it, huh?

3) "Conflict" is a song I love because of the conflicting contrasts; the opposites in life that we go through on the daily that always require choice. As an artist, where would you say your heart and passion is, in other words - where do you come alive - in your songwriting or singing? And if you had to break it down between the two, which would be your choice? If there is one of course...lol

Art brings me alive, however it chooses to manifest itself through me. I absolutely LOVE performing whether it be singing or acting, but I love writing too. There's something so satisfying about having a song in your head and then watching/hearing it come alive in the studio. I'm just happy and blessed to be a vessel for the arts because I firmly believe the arts to be the way The Creator communicates to and through us. And by "the arts", I'm not just speaking of music and dance, but also architecture, horticulture, floristry, sculpture, culinary arts... everything artistic!

4) Some may not know your work, but you are ALWAYS on your grind. You have been featured in commercials, sing background on American Idol etc. Would you let Hollywood steal you away from us musically if the acting bug hit you? 

I must have been bitten by the said acting bug years ago, because I originally moved to L.A. to perform in a play. I've done several plays here in L.A. and one that traveled to D.C. at the Warner Theatre. I love acting.

5) Your style is always daring and alluring. Explain in your own words, your personal style.

Ooooh... I probably won't be good at answering this question. I don't think too much about style, unless I'm on stage... When I'm performing, I like to give the audience some drama. I like stagey/costumey wardrobe, but it has to fit the mood of the show too. I think I was a drag queen in another life...

6) My last proverbial question: Name one album you keep close on a:

a) melancholy day - Portishead's "Dummy", Nine Inch Nails "Downward Spiral", Amel Larrieux's "Lovely Standards"
b) night to set the mood right - Afterdark New York,
c) funk down soiree - Zo!'s "Freelance", DJ Quik's "Rhythmalism", Rahsaan Patterson's "Wines & Spirits"

Flashback of the day - this was a no brainer.  This would be one of the album choices that I do have in common with Sy Smith.  Portishead's Dummy is an album that I stumbled upon when I used to work at HMV back in the day.  Here is my favorite track from the album:

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Madness...

"Well all I need is the air I breathe and a place to rest my head..."  One Republic - Say (All I Need)

This quote resonates so much with me today.  Last night your girl was in the middle of madness when a fire broke out in my building.  I have gone through alarms and what not, but when it really happens you really have to spring into action and hope and pray for the best.  My Aunt and I by the grace of God, got out safely with a little smoke inhalation on my part.  There is a lot of damage and the inside of the building looks like it was dipped in a soot glaze.  It is a hot mess out there.  However I give thanks that everyone got out safely, no one was hurt and we all have another day to give thanks for.

So it is kind of ironic that I am launching my new theme today entitled, "Monday Madness."  It's a collection of things that I either heard or came across during the week or weekend, that I did not get to mention.  So here are the top 5 things that made me 1) shake my head in disgust 2) curse my MacBook while I was reading the story or 3) think are just weird, dumb or stupid!

1) R Kelly's gold Hair:

I think the picture says it all really...I mean seriously??

2) Internet Beating Movies:  If you have not heard about the beatings lately that have taken place, you must be oblivious to everything around you.  Or you just don't want to hear it.  The most disgusting thing about this is that there is more than one instance and they are not the first.  This is an ongoing occurrence from since last year, however these cases are recent.  There was one where a teacher was beaten by one of her students in her CLASS while everyone just looked on.  And the thought of one student, instead of going to get help, was to pull out their camera phone and tape the whole damn thing.  The other was of 8 teens who beat the crap out of a 16 year old girl who was talking smack about them on her MySpace page.  Another set who decided to tape the beat down and post it on the net.  What the hell is going on??  And I may get in trouble with some of y'all out there, but these kids need a good WHUPPIN' man, SERIOUSLY.

3) Kobe Bryant jumping over an Aston Martin:  As cool as this may look, I think it is the most stupid act on his part - ad for new shoes or not.  You know what I have to say about this, real or not?  DUMBASSIDRIE. Dude is a mulit million sports figure, his body is his bread and butter.  If he would have landed differently, his ass would have been on the unemployment line and he would be saying bye bye bye to the NBA.  "I got this..." my ass!  Think before you do Kobe!

4) Alicia Keys' stance on gansta rap in Blender magazine:  Somethin' ain't right, but oh boy this is a doozie.  I am hoping and praying to the great music gods up above that Miss Alicia is not going on a paranoid militant rant. Her perspective is, "It was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other and Gangsta Rap didn't exsist."  Oh my my. We know she is an intelligent and talented black woman, but whoa there now. Nonetheless, everyone is entitled to their perspective whether we agree with it or not. You will have to buy the magazine to read the whole article, but there is a clip of it on Blender magazine's website.

And lastly...

5) Mariah Carey on the cover of Jet Magazine:  Everyone already knows how I feel about Mariah's new album E=MC2.  The songs that have been released and leaked for our torturous pleasure have been enough to make me want to staple my ears to my head.  And to make things worse, she comes out on Jet magazine with this:

I know she didn't exactly write that subtitle but...SAYWHAAAT??!!  Staying true to her music?!  Please do not get me started!!!  I am just going to leave that alone and stop right there.

Flashback of the day y'all:

I'm in a sentimental mood and I love this song.  After all the mess I just wrote about, we need a cool vibe to bring us back to sanity.  Here is Mr. Biggs at his best.  It's not a video for the song, but it does the trick.

Before I forget, my partner in crime Danalee was on vacation - hence no podcast.  I PROMISE we will have one for you soon!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, April 11, 2008

Oh Maxwell, 'Till The Cops Come Knockin' Indeed...

"I can't control the soul flowing in me..."  Erykah Badu - Appletree 

I love that song, so many good quotes to take from it that ring true.

I have not graced these pages in a while with an artist or album that has put the santaria, holy spirit and all of that on me.  I have been very inconsistent with that, so I have decided to make Friday's the day to bestow my peoples with my and our favorite picks.  

With all of the talk going round about his upcoming trilogy, I only felt it was right to put in my two cents.  So today I have decided to choose an album and artist that is very close to my heart:

Now I have to explain something, so y'all don't think I am going out of my mind.  Anyone who knows me, is well aware of the love I have for this artist and man.  I admire him for his artistic merit, I admire him for his lyrical prowess, I admire him for the crazy, sexy music that he continues to deliver and of course I admire him because he is fine as all hell.  Not to mention, we share the same date of birth.  I have been fortunate to interview many artists over the years (Brandy, Pete Rock, Tamia, Teedra Moses, Syleena Johnson to name a few...) and I am really not one to be star struck.  HOWEVER this is one interview that would have my knees trembling and my mind circling in loops.  I would love to sit down with Maxwell and pick his brain on how his thought process works when writing a song.  I would like to find out why he cut his lovely tresses off and what exactly makes Maxwell the man and artist tick.  This is one interview, if it ever came my way and as professional as I am and can be, that will have my stomach turning in knots and blushing like a little girl. 

Oh sweet lord when this CD was released...or better yet, I remember the first time I heard this song. I happened to be in NYC at the time, listening and of course taping some jams from The Quiet Storm on WBLS.  When this song came on, it was one of those moments when a wave of sumthin' sumthin' came over me.  The wave where you have to call your man and tell him about the song you just heard that has to be added to your slow jam cassette.  You know what I'm talkin' 'bout!  So of course I taped it and that was the beginning of my love for Maxwell.  Urban Hang Suite is a masterpiece (in my eyes), it is your quintessential soul album.  Sexy funk interludes, lovemaking tracks and just smooth and impeccable song writing.  When the video came out for "Til The Cops Come Knockin," it was over from there.  Maxwell at that point had every soul loving woman eating from the palm of his hand and ready to bless him with their panties.  Sexy, reassuring, voice purring and cooing about holding one hostage doing unspeakable things until the cops break down the door - every woman's fantasy.  After dropping that phenomenal track, he hit us with "Sumthin' Sumthin", "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) and "Whenever, Wherever, Whatever."  Each song delivering with the delicacy of a rose petal on one hand and the intensity of Marvin Gaye on the other - it was insane.

Maxwell did not just stop there, for that was just the beginning of what was yet to follow.  I can basically have a discussion on each album that he released: the EP from MTV Unplugged, Embrya and Now.  Each album had it's own distinct sound and his writing evolved and took on new heights.  I mean come on!   "Submerge within the light/illuminate my night/and let your atmosphere surround me?" Wow...and there is so much more from where that came from.  A lot of critics said that his writing was too convoluted, but not to worry because his fans clearly understood.  I found myself on a Maxwell hunt, purchasing every album that he was featured on from the Love Jones soundtrack to the Sweetback (and don't even get me started on Stuart Matthewman!) album.  Name it and everything in between, I bought it.  And then poof...like magic, he was gone.

Leaving everyone jonesin' from 2001 was hard to deal with, but a little hope came our way when he started popping up.  He was featured on the collabo with Nas on "No One Else In The Room" and the "Luxury" remix from the Cottonbelly NYC Sessions in 2004.  Then when rumors started circulating about his new album, everyone was minding their p's and q's making sure to find the correct info.  Well, it's no longer a rumor ladies and gents, Maxwell will be gracing us with Black Summer's Night.  The album is said to be a trilogy and one album will be released each year over the span of the next three years.  The first installment will be Black and that will be in stores soon (as per Maxwell's blog, it is coming but there is no date yet), while next year we will see Summer's (in '09), followed by Night (in '10).  Please visit Maxwell's MySpace page for a preview of his new exquisite track "Pretty Wings."  Mmmm mmmm, this song really hits home for me at the moment, I cannot wait to hear the whole track!  I am sure that this album and the following two will be an immediate addition to any soul lovers collection.  I am anxiously awaiting the releases, believe me.  I think this is the second most exciting thing for me right now, besides my George Michael concert.  And y'all know how excited about that I am. 

Oh and by the way I AM GOING TO SEE GEORGE!!  TIX HAVE BEEN PURCHASED and there's no stopping me now!

And on that note, I had to be real about the choice of the flashback of the day.  I really think that this woman is serious.  I always liked her work and besides, Maxwell's version did the damn thing and is forever etched in my brain.

See y'all soon, have a good weekend.

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Rage Against The Sex Machine...

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T,  find out what it means to me..."  Aretha Franklin - Respect 

R.I.P. Cedella "Ciddy" Marley Booker - Bob Marley's mother passed at the age of 81.

I am so incensed with rage at the moment, that I had to take a moment to spew about this cloud of negativity hovering over me.  I have gone from one spectrum of emotion to another in less than 2 hours.  From being proud of being a black woman to being totally disappointed and irate with some black women.

Tonight was a night of must see TV for me.  My high first started by watching If I Were King on MTV, about Diddy's 2008 Sean John collection.  
And what a collection it was, full of bursts of color, symmetrical lines and bold statements.  It was amazing to see everything come together in the short span of time that they had.  Quite impressive for a line that has not had a show in 5 years.  Yes we know that Diddy is a "control freak", however I do agree with digging deep to get the best out of yourself and your crew for the task at hand.  That is what he set out to do and that is exactly what was achieved.  The highlight for me, was the fact that he used an all black cast for his show.  With the sprinkling of token black models on the runways, it was nice to see an all black cast strut their stuff.  And it was not a showing of your typical Ford model, but a mix of all colors, sizes and hotness.  Yes Diddy can sometimes be a cocky, arrogant, temperamental dude.  But truth be told, I was extremely proud of Sean John and Diddy for not letting anything or anyone stand in his way and his vision.  To watch Mr. Diddy do the damn thing was an extraordinary achievement in itself and that should most definitely be celebrated.  If you missed it, the encore will be played on April 12 @ 2pm.

After my high, I stumbled on a show on VH1 called Hip Hop Videos: Sexploitation: On The Set, this particular show was about women who perform in risque hip hop videos.  And I am not sure if it is a repeat, but because I am laying my eyes on it for the first time, it is new to me.  Of course, we all know who the poster girl was - yes Karrine "Superhead" Stephans.  Now this topic is an ongoing saga and has been beaten to death and resuscitated plenty of times.  The fact...sorry I mean excuse that sex sells drives me bloody insane.  When the discussion veered in the direction of BET Uncut, that is when my blood started to simmer.  I know that BET no longer has this show in its lineup (not that it matters cause they still show garbage regardless), but the sheer audacity of Uncut was apparent - to show videos of highly sexually charged nature for their "adult" audience.  Yes....riiiight...showing videos entitled "Bend Over" and "What That Thing Smell Like" where certainly appreciable ways to celebrate black culture BET.   What really took me aback was an interview that took place with three young strippers from North Carolina, who were looking to get into videos for a little exposure.  One is a single mother and the other two are working to survive.  All three of them did a video shaking everything that their mother, father, grandmother and grandfather gave them, and then some, for the camera.  And after all was said and done, they did not get paid for it.  The response from one of the girls was, "We did it for ourselves, so that we can feel a little bit better about ourselves.  And of course for exposure."  There was also another video girl named Asia who basically gets what she wants by using sexual commerce.  Translation, giving away her goodies to any man who will make time for her.  Her line was, "I don't care what nobody says, as long as my bills are paid and I'm making money I will do what I have to do."  Ummm - SAYWHAT??!!!

At that point, is when my blood started to boil, because all I am thinking is, "Is that what young girls with low self esteem are really thinking and are they taking anything into consideration?"  Their reasoning will be that they want exposure and will do anything to get it.  HOWEVER, it would be nice to see women saying hell no to the video ho or video vixen genre and hello to the sexy professional vamp or sexy woman period.  How 'bout that?  I know a lot argue that a gun is not held to these women's heads and it is done on free will.  Yes, these people have every right to say so.  But I know there is one thing that remains a constant in life, the fact that we always have CHOICE.  We know what is right from wrong and we know what will cause us harm and what will bring us joy.  So really only you know what is right for yourself once you make that choice.  I can't speak for that person who makes the choice to show all their god's gifts to everyone on camera.  Just the same, it will take that one person to stand up, say NO and do the do and another woman to follow suit and so on and so on.  It's on no one else but you.  I think Michaela Angela Davis the cofounder of Essence magazine's Take Back The Music said it best when she said: "Sex sells?  Well crack sells too, but that doesn't mean that it's good!"  Preach on Angela, preach on.  I may not agree with everything said by the group, but I do agree with that.  

So you see, these two shows are what brought me on my journey of being content and overjoyed one minute, to disgust and disdain the next.  Now that it's all out, I have some music to enlighten us!

The flashback of the day - some goodness from Sheila E.  'Nuff said.

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, April 07, 2008

Oh Hip Hop, Where Art Thou?

"Not about the money, no studs was mic checkin her..." I Used To Love H.E.R. - Common

I love hip hop, I really do.  I love Jay Z, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Common, Kanye, Jay Electronica, Gangstarr, Mos Def,  etc.  I guess you noticed that I have been naming rappers that have made exceptional music.  And lately, that seems to be a really tough thing to ask for in the world of hip hop today - hearing music that is worth dishing out your hard earned $9.99 to purchase a full album on iTunes or anywhere else for that matter.  Everything that I have been hearing for a while now (and I do mean years), only consists of a hot single and that's it.  After the single rides the chart for a few weeks, that seems to be its run.  Once the album is released, true colors are shown in regards to low album sales.  

For example, Flo Rida's "Low" was an infectious song that broke digital download records.  Everyone was riding on its catchy hook, even though my understanding of the lyrics did not go past the chorus.  However, the sales of his album Mail On Sunday is a clear indication of what consumers do not consider purchase worthy.  I mean honestly, we all love Shorty Lo's "Dey Know" because of the beat.  But really, what hip hop connoisseur is going to go out and purchase an album of his?  Certainly not me.  There used to be a time when hip hop reigned supreme on the charts, solidifying its place in the fickle music industry.  Run DMC's King Of Rock was the first hip hop album to go platinum, you would think that those who would follow would keep that in mind and pay homage.  There was a time when you could not turn around without seeing a hip hop album debuting at number one on the charts.  But now, we are left to our own devices when a song like "Crank That" by Soulja Boy comes on and has people going out of their mind.  And I am not just talking about kids, I have seen plenty of adults start "youuuuu-ing" when the song comes on, while I stand around puzzled in the middle of the mayhem on the dance floor.  So what exactly is going on with the creativity that rap was based on?  Whatever happened to the art form that consisted of "two turntables and a mic and one phat mc on the set?"  Whatever happened to a true lyricist and lyrics that say and mean something?  Are we now using the excuse that because hip hop is firmly planted in its roots and has grown massive branches, we can spew out crap and anyone will bite?

I'm sorry, but perhaps I am spoiled just a bit from being an ol' head, I am very fickle about my hip hop.  I was raised on the good stuff - Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shante, BDP, X-Clan, Grand Master Flash, Run DMC, Afrika Bambaataa, Eric B & Rakim, Public Enemy, Whodini and I could go on and on.  I can still remember my brother and I writing our own rap to the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight".  I am at a loss for words at the state of hip hop today.  The drop in album sales is an indicator that I am not the only one at a loss.  When I am asked what I think about the state of hip hop, I usually say it's crap, but I always lament over that answer.  So again, I gave the question some thought and this is my answer: I believe like everything, hip hop will go through a cycle.  Every cycle starts on a high, hits a really low point and then goes on a high again.  It's kind of like life, there will be bumps in the road, but the trick is to get through them so we can go on and accomplish greater things.  I am hoping that we reach that high again soon, because right now I can honestly say that I am truly disappointed and don't like dwelling in the valleys.  And dear lord, I haven't even started on soul music yet.  That will be another discussion...

My flashback of the day is from the hey days of hip hop.  It was so hard to choose one, but there are so many more opportunities to share, so I am not worried.  Here is one from one of my favorite MC's - Big Daddy Kane, I used to KILL this track...hell I still do!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, April 04, 2008

Time Waits For No Man Or Woman For That Matter...

"Time keeps on slippin', slippin' slippin, into the future..." Fly Like An Eagle - Steve Miller

I have been working on a paper all week for a class that I have been taking and let me tell y'all, it's kicking my ass! So much so that the I am literally brain dead sitting here trying to write this post. So my Soulsters, this one is most definitely going to be a short stint.

Mention number one: Just an FYI, there will be a new podcast coming for In NYC next week!

Mention number two: I will say it now, congrats to Jay Z and Beyonce. According to all of the news flying around, they should be married by now. Apparently they were to marry today here in NYC. Good for them, I wish them the best. Now let's move on...

I am last on the draw with this one, but I think it's worth a mention. Photographer D Blanks has a wicked exhibition out with celebrity "Alter Egos", which is what his show is appropriately called. He enlisted celebs such as Eva Pigford (ANTM), Ciara and Kim Porter to name a few. Check it out, his work is quite impressive.

My girl Vivrant Thang went to see Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and has reviewed it on her site. Check out what she had to say.

The basketball gods seem to have finally awaken from their slumber! Isiah Thomas is ALMOST out of the Knicks organization (thank the lord!!), I know, I know - one step at a time. Being a basketball buff, it has been quite difficult and perplexing to watch this man literally single handedly screw the once prestigious organization of the New York Knicks. The Knicks have gone from a once exceptional basketball team and organization, to a sexual harassment lawsuit and one of the worst teams presently in the NBA. And that was all by the hand of Mr. Isiah Thomas himself. I thought his days for playing dirty during his time with the Pistons were done. Well his president position is now occupied by Donnie Walsh and lord does he have some spring cleaning to do. One position down, one more to go y'all.

Late mention: I'm sitting here watching Mary J and Jigga on David Letterman and Jay Z is a hoot!! Well he had me cracking up, along with the studio audience. I honestly didn't think that David would be interviewing them. I thought that they were there solely for entertainment purposes. If you didn't catch his remarks on R. Kelly, you need to check it out. I know it was old news, but it was JOKES!! Scroll down the page, you will find the video on the left hand side, last entry. And "Can't Knock The Hustle" is a classic joint that is no joke.

And lastly, I promise I will have a REAL blog posting come Monday. I will at least leave you with the flashback of the day. I am in a funky mood, so I figured I would go with a house classic. There is a video for the song (I had no idea) , but the quality is not that great. So here's a substitute. I feel a soul clap coming on...

Hear y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur