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!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sensational Songbird...

"I thought of you today and I began to smile, I reminisced on times gone by and oh my, my, how we've changed..."  Chante Moore - I Wanna Love (Like That Again)

Today is Friday, my favorite day in the week because it allows me to bring the album riding my brain to you.  But before I get into the it, I have to acknowledge the fact that I am a Sex and the City JUNKIE and I am very excited to FINALLY be viewing the movie tonight.  The tickets were almost sold out everywhere by mid week, well it is New York after all.  Hopefully those of you who have procrastinated can still find tickets to feed your jones.  Online would be the way to go!  Happy ticket hunting!!  I will let you know my thoughts (or rant) come Wednesday.  I had to explain to a man-friend the other day that contrary to what he thinks and says, this movie is about female bonding, not male bashing.  So ladies, do it up right!  Bring out the Blahniks, Choos, Weitzmans and whatever else is in your closet.  Put on that snazzy outfit, get the girls together, go out for dinner and drinks and see the movie.  I am still in born-week mode and I am also celebrating my lovely cousin's bday as well.  Two Geminis and the gals doing the do - you know that's serious!  Let me know if you ventured out to see it and what you thought.  I really hope it will all be worth it!!

Alright, back to the lecture at hand...It was a toss up between two this week, but this album won out for a couple of reasons.  1) Because I was having a conversation with Miko from the talented duo of Taniq and he was saying how this album is one of his favorites and I agreed that it is not one to look over.  And 2) She had a new album released just the other day without her significant other.  Don't get me wrong, I love both of them singing in unison, but I missed Mrs.  Chante Moore cooing in her lonesome without Kenny Lattimore on the track.  Hell, I miss him too...but that's another post.   So the album of the week is:

Chante Moore's Precious is a delight to and fro, from the writing to her angelic 5 octave range voice, this was an amazing introduction to the talented songstress.  Not to mention Chante had men stannin' (as my American partnahs would say) for her left, right and center!  No one could understand how Kadeem Hardison, yes Dwayne Wayne from A Different World, could marry and divorce such a stunning woman.  But people, things happen.  I mean come on...Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon can do it!  As her liner notes said in her second album A Love Supreme, he was her lion...but all great loves run the risk of fizzling out and unfortunately, theirs did.  However her second love with Kenny Lattimore (an upcoming page devotee) is going strong musically and personally and I am sure she gives thanks for that.  Anyhow, when Chante came onto the scene, her talent and voice paralleled her beauty.  The fact that she could hit those Minnie Ripperton notes without hesitation, flawlessly without flinching was incredible.  When she sang, it was like being captivated by a siren in Greek mythology.  You were entranced and taken away with her compelling, sultry, airy voice and the lyrics?  Nothing short of superb.  From the soothing track "Alright", to the passionate and sexy "Love's Taken Over" and the impeccable "Listen To My Song", Chante was fierce, not forced–her talent shining through. 

Chante hit a rough patch when she released her album Exposed, as it did not do as well as her 3 gold predecessors Precious, A Love Supreme and This Moment Is Mine.  However with the release of her new album Love The Woman, I hope that it is a return to the Chante Moore that we love.  The r&b, soul songstress who does not have to prove anything to anyone.  If she relies on her talent and does the soul thing rather than jumping on the radio-friendly bandwagon, we just may be in for a treat.  You can find more on Chante Moore on her MySpace page and on Peak/Concord label's site.

Now for the flashback of the day, it was honestly a toss up between the tracks everyone loves from the album,  "Alright" and "Love's Taken Over".  Of course, I chose my favorite, which one is yours?

Have a wonderful weekend!  Once again, I know I will!

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Soulful Tidbits...

"Automatic, systematic, full of color, self-contained tuned and gentle to your vibe..."  Jackson 5 - Dancing Machine

Well look who decided to crawl out of her self made abyss?  Here I am ladies and gents, I have managed to pull myself together in the midst of my born-day week to bring forth some goodies for your reading and listening pleasure.  Yes, I am still broken and no I am not finished partying–hence BORN-DAY WEEK!  

First off, if you read the 6 Questions With Teedra Moses entry, you will notice that she mentioned one of her favs right now is the 21 year old singer/songwriter from Philly–Jazmine Sullivan.  I am up on this young lady like honey to a bee, Miss Sullivan is seriously talented.  She has been behind the scenes for the longest while, but like everything else, your time comes in time and this seems to be hers.  With a yearning and urgency in her voice way beyond her years, Jazmine will be sure to make her new reggae influenced single "I Need U Bad" feat Missy Elliott (on the player to the left) a sultry summer hit.  With a tinge of the lucid Lauryn Hill that we miss and a sick resemblance to the amazing Kim Burrell (if you don't know, you better ask somebody or click here), Jazmine Sullivan will be sure to leave her mark this summer and hopefully for a time to come.  Check out this clip from Sugarbar in 2007:

Lawd, she is a scatting machine.

Secondly, again if you remember in a past entry a ways back, I mentioned the movements that India.Arie was making with the neo-soul (so not a fan of that moniker) gentleman Anthony David.   I am a bit slow on the draw with this one as well, but here is the video for the sexy, simple and sensual "Words" featuring India.Arie, believe me when I say that Anthony David's album will not be one to miss.  I loved this song from the first time I heard it.  Sweet and thick like honey...

Alright, I will be the first to say that I had a whole write up prepared but my brain got the best of me.  It told me that since I brought some music news your way and the album of the week is due on Friday, it is just best to leave it at that.  Don't you just love that sidestep?

So the flashback of the day today is on the reggae tip, all day long I have been listening to oldies.  Oldies that we will never, ever, EVER get again.  Not that I don't love dancehall, but honestly, I am too damn old to be "Dutty Whinnin'" for fear that I might break something.  Anyhow, the flashback of the day is one of the wickedest medley's in reggae.  There is of course no video, but this was good enough for me.  For all the reggae lovers and West Indian's out there - LIIIIIIGHTTTAAA!

See y'all soon...really I promise!

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, May 26, 2008

I Am So Broken....

Yes today is Monday and no there is no Monday Madness and there is not enough brain power to bring you a snazzy song quote either - sorry!  Your girl is B-R-O-K-E-N from the bday festivities.  So tomorrow is another day, but I thought I would at least leave you with a flashback of the day...

Here's a couple of old Paula tidbits for you, the Paula we know that could cut a rug like nobody's business!  That is what I set out to do on Saturday and had fun doing it and then some...And besides, the first song title pretty much describes how my ass is feeling today...

See y'all on Wednesday when I am coherent...

Tha Connoisseur 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Born Day To Moi...

"Want to see an exhibition, better do it now before you get too old.  'Cause we're the party people night and day, livin' crazy that's the only way..."  Michael Jackson - Off The Wall

And that my friends, is exactly how I plan to do it up this Memorial Day weekend, because today (being Friday, since I wrote this late Thursday night) is the day that I give thanks for another year of life.  The big man upstairs is good all the time, all the time he is good.  A day of reflection on the things I have done to get to where I am today and things I need to do to continue on my path.  It is a run down of the good, the bad, the stupid and the ugly.  A day to thank my Mom, Dad (I miss you), siblings, family and friends, because they all are a huge part of the person that I have become.  A day to say THANK YOU to all of those who I am blessed to have in my life, to those who test me and cause me to get ignorant on the daily and to those who have been like an anvil, hanging around bringing the heavy vibes.  I mean after all, we do need balance.  What would we do without the haters?  So all in all, I would like to say Happy Birthday to all my May people, Happy Birthday to all my Geminis and Happy Birthday to me!

On that note, I had to do it up right today for the album of the week.  It would be absolute blasphemy if I did not do a write up on the album that means more to me than life itself.  This is my favorite album of all time and I am sure many of you out there feel the same as well...

My friend Chris Rizik, publisher of Soutracks wrote a piece on the anniversary of Thriller and what it means to us.  In his article, he stated, "I'd argue that Off The Wall was front to back his greatest release."  And let me tell you, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.  Qunicy and Michael set out to make a good album, yet delivered a masterpiece.  In their eyes, it may not be Thriller, but in my eyes it may have well been.  I remember the day I received this album like it was yesterday.  My aunt in Brooklyn went out and purchased the album and mailed it to me in Montreal by express mail, for my birthday gift.  Yes I waited all the way 'til May to get it even though it was released in August, I had no perception or concept of time at blah blah years old!  So on May 23rd 1980, this album was mailed to me and there I was in my glee, playing the album over and over again all day long.  My mom was Michael-Jacksoned-out by the end of the day, but she still sat and sang or hummed every song with me (that's what mommies do).  And all I could do was sit and stare at my album jacket full spread on the floor in awe, wishing that I could be next to Michael in the picture with his arm around me.  And oh the hypnotizing effect those glowing socks had!  I still believe that the lyrics to all of the songs on the album are etched into my psyche and there they will remain.  Even though "PYT" from Thriller is my favorite pick me up song, it just doesn't have the same heartwarming effect as "It's The Falling In Love" with Patti Austin.  Michael had your ass in a frenzy dancing nonstop starting with "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", then you chill a bit with "Rock With You" and then had your pulse going again with "Workin' Day And Night" and "Get On The Floor" back to back.  It was insane!  Then they decide to take it down a notch with "Off The Wall", listening to him blackmail his chick on "Girlfriend" and then having you want to console him on "She's Out Of My Life" (maybe because of the blackmailing?) And just when you started to feel sorry for his ass because his girl left him, he ups the ante with "I Can't Help It" and "It's The Falling In Love" and then you drink your Redbull so that you can ride out to "Burn This Disco Out".  Now is that brilliance or what?

Off The Wall went on to become the third best selling album in 1980, the best selling r&b album of that year and believe it or not only garnered Michael one stinking Grammy.  Surprising, I know.  I know that Grammy's are the awards that are given to you by your peers, but really, I prefer the one's that come from the fans.  It's just too bad that they come in the guise of an American Music Award.  Anyhow, this album was graced by the likes of amazing writers, producers and singers of our time.  Paul McCartney, Rod Temperton and Stevie Wonder's writing skills,  Randy Jackson's technique, Patti Austin's vocals, David Foster and Quincy Jones' magic and these are just to name a few–but name it, they were there doing what they all do best.  And the end result is nothing short of a piece de resistance.  Of course I have a copy of the album on CD, but my album copy, the sentimental copy, has seen the best of times and the worst of times.  It is a bit battered since Michael had to dance with me all the time, but the album jacket has taken a lickin' and is still hanging on.  Off The Wall is the number one album in my collection and there is no other album that will ever take its place–believe that.

So the flashback of the day is OF COURSE Michael like we love to remember him– a dark skinned, slim, woman loving, dancing fool.  We just couldn't get enough of him...but honestly again, we miss you Michael!

Have a safe and wonderful long weekend...I know I will!

Tha Connoisseur 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

6 Questions With...Teedra Moses!

"It's a hard knock life for us!  It's a hard knock life for us!  'Stead of treated we get tricked, 'stead of kisses we get kicked!  It's a hard knock life!"  Jay-Z – Hard Knock Life

Well it looks like I have been lucky enough to bless you two weeks in a row with my 6 Questions entry.  This lady has left her spot vacant for close to 4 years now since the release of her debut Complex Simplicity.  With unforgettable tracks like "Backstroke" (presently on the music player to your left), "Still Got Love" and "You'll Never Find" feat Jadakiss, the Southern Belle Teedra Moses, showed us that her path in life is to sing rather than dress her counterparts.  The old school vibe that emanated from the disc, along with Teedra's strong vocals had everyone from Billboard to Fashion Week in Toronto calling out her name.  The nightingale Teedra Moses is not one to stay quiet at all, she has been touring tirelessly and is constantly in the studio laying tracks and the finishing touches on her new anticipated album The Young Lioness.  She had mixed tapes fill in the void, but we are all still longing for that full length album badly.  Miss Teedra Moses is talked about constantly on music sites and blogs, keeping everyone on their toes waiting for the album to drop.  However, the ongoing saga between the now bankrupt and defunct TVT Records, held Teedra back from delivering her baby to her fans.  Now with things finally taken care of and the umbilical cord cut, we await and watch her every move.  I had the pleasure of hanging with Teedra back in 2004 during her show at Fashion Week in Toronto.  My scheduled ten minute interview the day before, ended up becoming a half and hour gabfest about everything.  She was funky and fun doing everything to her heart's content.  Her style is sick, I'm sure being a stylist didn't hurt either.  And her overall vibe is one of a close friend that you haven't seen for a long time.  You can check out Teedra's MySpace page for the most recent updates regarding the release of her new album, tour dates and such.

Here is 6 Questions With...Teedra Moses

1) It's been a long time since you graced us with a full studio album and we are very excited to hear what The Young Lioness has to offer.  Because of the demise of TVT, inadequate promotion and communication, we are anxiously waiting the drop date.  Is there a glimmer of light as to when we an expect it?  And when are you coming back out east (particularly NYC) and to Canada for performances?

I have just recently found a way to sever my relationship with TVT and I am in the process of starting to take meetings with other labels.  I am VERY EXCITED about that.  But I'm not exactly sure when I'll be back on the east coast performing.

2) What can we expect from the album The Young Lioness?  Will it be along the lines of Complex Simplicity in terms of the old school vibe with the underlying urban feel?  Or have you decided to take a different creative route this time out?

You can expect the same personality from Complex Simplicity as far as my outlook on life, but I've tried some different sounds.  I really didn't set out to, I just wanted to present a musical journey of where I am right now in life.

3) It has been  a long time since we have spoken - 2004 to be exact.  What have you been dabbling in during that time and now?  With acting and music etc.  tell us–what has been keeping Teedra Moses busy?

I have been writing for other artists.  Working hard on the road, gaining fans and most importantly working hard to be the best mommy I an be to my twin boys.  Motherhood is my 1st great passion, everything else is inspired by it.

4) Miss Teedra, if it is one thing that I remember from our last encounter is that you are a fun, fearless and straight up person.  So straight up, tell me–when you are not thinking about music and studio time, what are you doing during "Teedra" time?  And it better be fun and fearless!

Sorry to disappoint, but my life is very NORM!  I love leisure things.  I like to lay in the sun listening to music.  I love lounge spots where I can hear different kinds of music and have martinis, the more relaxing the better.

5) Who on the scene, are you listening to right now?  Who inspires you to get in the studio and do the do?

I love Janelle Monae, I love Gnarls Barkley and Raheem DeVaughn and Jazmine Sullivan's voice is sick too.

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

a) Melancholy day: Miles Davis - Kinda Blue 
b) Night to set the mood right: Prince's 1st album - For You
c) Funk down soiree: Gwen Stefani - Love, Angel, Music, Baby

Flashback of the day will have to be from the purple one himself, but the song that I wanted to bring to you does not have a video.  So since there is no video for "Soft and Wet", I will leave a tune that everyone knows and loves.  So what his lip syncin' is off, just enjoy it!  You will never get it like this again!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Madness...

"Falling down ain't falling down if you don't cry when you hit the floor..."  Alicia Keys – Lesson Learned

Yes ladies and gents, it's that time again for Monday Madness–last weeks news that made me cringe, cuss or shake my head.

1) Atlanta "Crazy Girl" remix and clothing line:  When I read this, my stomach turned and I was so close to throwing up in my mouth it's not even funny.  How could someone actually go and capitalize off of someone's disability or disease?  To think that someone would actually remix the young lady's berating sad rant into a techno song AND then (yes it gets better!) make t-shirts to bankroll off of her misconduct is beyond me.  This idiot in the picture link would be the same MF'er that would wear a "FREE MY HERO R KELLY" shirt if there was one (give it time).  I didn't listen to the song, because I did not want to be delivered to hell in a hand basket.  What the hell is this world coming to when we literally kick the life out of a person when they are down, instead of helping with the issue at hand?  Apparently not everyone was taught, if you have nothing good to say (or do in this matter), do not do it AT ALL.  MY people, can we please get it together?

2) LeBron and his potty mouth:  I have to get West Indian on this one – WHOOOOOOOY this was a doozie.  I know I am well late with this, but I had to put my two cents in.  During a playoff game last Monday night against the Celtics, Lebron James was checked literally off of the court by Paul Pierce.  Now here's where it gets interesting.  It was a blatant foul that received a rousing reaction from the crowd and a particular woman, who you will see come up on the left side of the camera.  This woman was told to SIT YOUR ASS DOWN by Mr. James himself.  Now, I personally thought it was his wifey, but unbeknownst to me, it was his MOMMA Gloria!!  Good lord, LeBron done told his mom to sit her ass down.  Mind you, if it was his wife, it wouldn't be a good scene either, but his mother?!  Alright y'all, I don't know about you, but if that was me–I would be really busy picking up particles of my mouth on the court and the game would have to go to half time IMMEDIATELY!  Kuddos to LeBron for having the balls to do what he did, cause it wouldn't have been me!  And Mama James has to realize that her son is a NBA basketball player who can take care of himself and like he mentioned after the ordeal in interviews, he wants her around for future games.  And she did raise him right, this could have gone so many different ways, but look how the altercation ended:

3) Some things are MEANT to remain ol' school:  Let me paint a scenario for you.  A movie head honcho or executive sitting in their office overlooking whatever street in their smug and pretentious high rise, thinking hmmmm we have to find something that will appeal to the masses.  Something that will bring everyone together and have a feel good ending, basically we need something with box office potential.  I'VE GOT IT!  Let's bring Fraggle Rock and Electric Company to the big screen!!  I loved Electric Company, but Fraggle Rock?  No thank you and I honestly will not pay to see Electric Company on the big screen.  No I will not.  Why y'all, WHY!!!  If they can't find anything else to do with their funding, they can surely make a donation to Tha Connoisseur Foundation.  I am sure I can figure out some way more interesting things to do with the money.

4) Racial Obama t-shirts:  News has been spreading like peanut butter about these offensive t-shirts being sold in Marietta, Georgia.  It was someone's bright idea to put Curious George on a t-shirt with the caption "Obama '08" right underneath the picture.  Not funny at all.  I think that some people really like to push the envelope to see what can get a rise out of people.  You mean to tell me that this was not an unabashed disrespectful act on the seller's part?  Especially after dude said how Obama and the cartoon character look so much alike?  Wow...how do I reply to that?  Oh but wait, it gets worse...

5) Obama's dissidents:  A friend of mine sent this link to me (thanks Max) and upon watching it, I must say that I was more appalled rather than shocked at the reaction of these people in West Virginia.  It is no secret that racism is still alive and kicking in this day and age and that there is sooo much more work to be done in the struggle for equality.  The response from these ignorant, sad and unknowledgeable people is disheartening, yet we have to remember that it is not only prevalent there, but everywhere.  I think this also shows us that Barack Obama's road to the White House is indeed an uphill battle on roller skates, more so because you see this here on video rather than it being hearsay.  

We needed a feel good song today to get us through all of this mess and craziness going on in the world.  Landslides in China with 200 relief workers now missing, trying to save those trapped from the earthquake, the monsoon in Myanmar, shootings in Philly and Chicago...it's just too much.  My prayers go out to those in need.  As many problems as we have over here, we sometimes tend to take too much for granted...all we can do is hope tomorrow will be a brighter day.

Have a good one y'all...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, May 16, 2008

Janet, We Will Never Do Without You...

"This is a test, no struggle, no progress, lend a hand to help your brother do his best.  Things are getting worse, we have to make them better–it's time to give a damn let's work together..."  Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson

As I mentioned before, every Friday I get excited about sharing the album that comes to mind at the beginning of the week, for today's discussion.  But between Tuesday and Wednesday, all I have to hear is a song that will make me change my mind and choose another album.  Then of course, come Thursday, someone else throws a wrench into the mix and hence, another fricken album comes to light.  I have gone through 4 albums this week in my mind, but here are the reasons why I chose the following.  This woman is a music icon, regardless of what some say about her (and no I am not getting into that stupid fiasco, you know what I am talking about).  She is a tireless philanthropist for AIDS and many other causes, she is a May born like me and even with her weight fluctuation through out the years, at 42 years old today she is DOING THE DAMN THING.  Happy Birthday Janet- Miss Jackson if you're nasty!

As we know, Control was our full out introduction to Janet Damita Jo Jackson.  Her debut album Dream Street was alright at best and Control took us to a whole other world of Miss Jackson's constraint.   But when Rhythm Nation 1814 was released in '89 (fans should know what 1814 stands for), it was groundbreaking, innovative and blasted cool.  I have to share my disheartening moments though, cause my write up would be nothing without them.  This is one of my favorite albums from Janet, next to the Velvet Rope.  Nonetheless, I managed to miss Janet's amazing tour when it passed through Montreal, because of an exam for school and a no go from my parents.  Needless to say, I was NOT happy when everyone and their donkey came to school in their Rhythm Nation t-shirts.  And then the sinker for me, was when I lost my damn key earring that was my trademark (ok, Janet's trademark but hey...) and the one thing I had to mesh in with those who would kindly not let me forget that I did not attend the concert of the year.  Well I have some choice words for you all, ya I still do!!  But we won't go there...

Anyhow, this album was another innovative feat from a sibling in the talented Jackson family yet again.  With the CD, was a release of the accompanied video Rhythm Nation which was a black and white video montage starring a young Tyrin Turner, a visual perspective of what Janet's fight for a nation without social injustices of drugs and illiteracy, would be filled with.   The rigid military black outfits, elaborate and precise dance scenes and that damn key earring, had everyone (including me in my choreography days) trying to figure out what track Janet would release next.  With the hits, "Rhythm Nation", the fun "Love Will Never Do Without You" with fine ass Antonio Sabato Jr and Djimon Houndsou, the throwback "Alright" with the amazing cameos, the carnival ride of "Escapade", the ballad "Come Back To Me", the rock infused "Black Cat" and the black and white G-E-M "Miss You Much" – that album was a show stopper and did not show any signs of slowing down.  Rhythm Nation went on to garner Janet her first Grammy and a host of other awards that year and on.  That was just the beginning for Janet Jackson, that was 1989 and this is now...

Janet Jackson has gone on to become one of the best selling artists of our time.  I will be the first to say that yes, Janet is not the strongest singer and does her lip syncin' thang, but she is not just standing on stage doing NOTHING y'all.  I did make it out to the Velvet Rope Tour and it is one of the best concerts that I had ever attended.  Janet Jackson is your consummate artist.  Her performance is always on par, her dancing skills are envious to all and she continues to take care of those in need when she can.  You can't be mad at that.  I know this is about Rhythm Nation, but don't sleep on her latest release Discipline, it is Janet at her best.  Check out my hun QH and his Janet tribute and of course you can find out more about Janet Jackson on her MySpace page and on her label Universal

Flashback of the day was SO hard, so I cheated and have decided to go with two of my favorites from this album...lol  It's my page, I am allowed!!  Janet Jackson doing the damn thing...

And another...the fun and sexy Janet that we have grown to love!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's 6 Questions With...Taniq!

"Ever since the first moment I spoke your name, from then on I knew that by you being in my life, things were destined to change..."  Musiq Soulchild - Love

I have not had a 6 Questions entry in the longest time, but that is all on me really.  This week, I am extremely happy to have the pleasure of sharing an amazingly talented duo with you.  The artist that I am able to bring to you is a husband and wife duo from Chicago and Houston via Los Angeles, CA.  Miko and Carolyn are the r&b soul combination of Taniq.   Taniq, a combination of "talented and unique," are newlyweds, and their love and emotions radiate from their debut disk The Life & Times Of Love.  The album is a solid disc from beginning to end, with tracks delving into the nature of love.  Love in marriage, friendship and life brought to you by the sexy sounds of soul, jazz and r&b.  My favorite track on the album is the sexy, scatting "Breaking The Rules" along with the mellow yet groovy "Everything About You."  You know I only cover artists with unspeakable talent on my page, so we already know what they bring to the table.  However, you need to see Taniq in action on stage.  Both Miko and Caroyln have experience in theatre and they know how to put on an enjoyable, energetic and engaging show.  And yes, they are just as sweet, genteel and personable as they look!  You can find out if Taniq will be in a city near you, more about the duo and other information on their MySpace page and on their website.  Please, check it out!  Tha Connoisseur would never steer you wrong!

Here is 6 Questions With...Taniq!

1) You and Carolyn have so much energy during your performances engaging your fans in serious grooves throughout your show.  Both of you have been exposed to theatre and performing for a long time now and it's obvious that you enjoy and love what you do on stage together as Taniq.  What is another passion that you and Carolyn have (individually) that we your fans, do not know about?

Miko: I love Asian martial arts movies.  Bruce Lee was an all around true genius and what young boy didn't want to be like him growing up...My honey brought me Bruce Lee's book recently and a birthday or two ago she surprised me with an Asian theme and we did moves together from an instructional marital arts video.  I have a collection of movies on DVD and VHS.  I can even use nunchucks (Karate sticks) without knocking myself out :-o)

Carolyn: I love bridges and waterfalls.  I have an unwritten list of them that I want to experience around the world.  I feel they are an illustration of who I am and I want to be.  Both of them symbolize the endless possibilities in life.

2) Thinking back, is there a song that you can think of that made you realize that singing was the path for you?  Which song and why?

Miko: When I was heavy into Hip-Hop back in the day, a classmate who was a DJ, asked me to write a Rap for him to perform.  I had never written a song before, but I was up for the challenge.  It was called "Hitting Harder Than Steele" and he thought it would be better if I performed the song and so writing and performing that song is what gave me the bug.

Carolyn: "What A Friend We Have In Jesus."  I had always sang in church, but this song was one of those that went with me even after I'd stopped regularly singing in church.  One day, this song came to me and comforted me and I felt God telling me that I would be singing again, and though at the time I had no way of supporting a career in music, this song helped me realize that I have a friend who will be with me on this journey.

3) I noticed on your website that you have the lyrics to your songs available.  Do you remember when lyrics were an important part of purchasing an artist's album?  Next to the music itself, it was the second best thing!  I miss liner notes!  it was almost like a connection between the fan and the artist-with the artist sharing more of their creativity process.  With the insurgence of iTunes and mp3 downloads, do you feel that as an artist, it is important to continue with that tradition?

Miko: I was always the one who looked forward to reading lyrics and credits.  I believe the artists or the songwriters really had something to say back in those days so it was worth it to read the lyrics.  Reading the lyrics to "Songs In The Key Of Life" is like reading a book of poetry.  Seeing the lyrics were also helpful for those songs we didn't quite know what the artist was saying but thought we did...I remember back in the day my cousin mistaken Prince's song "Controversy" for him saying "Count Your Blessings" until we read the lyrics from the album.  Kirk Franklin don't get any ideas :-o)  So yes I would like to see that tradition continue, but only if artists continue in the same tradition of making good quality lyrics and music once again.  I certainly wouldn't want to read the lyrics of an artist who didn't have much to say and lyrics were masked by the focus on an overproduced track or vocals.

Carolyn:  Of course lyrics are important, out of the abundance of the heart does a man speak...and if we're making Soul music, we have to come correct lyrically to really touch people's lives.  If melody and music was all we cared about–we'd rather scat or do an all instrumental album, than write a song that didn't relate a message, or share an honest emotion.

4) There are strong underlying jazz melodies in Taniq's music.  Seeing that Carolyn's favorite vocalist hands down is jazz great Ella Fitzgerald, is there a chance that we could  be graced with a full on jazz album in the future from Taniq?

Miko: We've definitely talked about making a full Jazz album down the line.  I would like to give the album a variety as Jazz music has and have songs touching on sub-genres like Dixie, Swing/Big Band, fun songs like Louis Jordan would do, Latin Jazz, Straight Head, maybe cover a standard or two.

5) There are not that many married soul couples around doing their thing and it's a damn shame!  It's easy to see that there is a unified flow between the two of you on and off stage, together or apart.  It's just a presence that Taniq has.  Being newlyweds, how do you two balance it all out in work and play?

Miko: By having the foundation of a true friendship and trusting and believing in God.  As simple as it sounds, the flow of our life revolves around those key things.  Keeping the open communication knowing that our intentions are always to help not harm and believing that when we get centered on God, all thinks will balance themselves out.

Carolyn: Well, in response to your statement that there aren't many married soul couples around, the truth is people have a misconception about marriage.  Our life and music stands as an example of real-life love and marriage.  We don't focus just on romance and sex, but rather on emotional intimacy, healing and expressing our appreciation for on another.  That's the Life & Times of Love ...and that's what we strive to do every day.  There's a time for everything, but romance and sex is not the only gratification to be found in marriage.  We travel, have date nights, and take time when we don't work on music for days at a time.  We also disagree, compromise and heal.

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

a) Melancholy day: Kim Burrell Live In Concert - Kim Burrell
b) Night to set the mood right: 
Theraputic: Extension Of A Man-Donny Hathaway 
Romantic Mood: Brian McKnight - Brian McKnight
Sexy Mood: A collection of slow jams by Prince I put together
c) Funk down soiree: Fresh - Sly & The Family Stone

a) Melancholy day: Testimony: Volume 1 Life & Relationships - India.Arie
b) Night to set the mood right: Nightmoves - Kurt Elling
c) Funk down soiree: Fresh - Sly & The Family Stone...gotta go with my honey on this one, can't get too much funkier than "If You Want Me To Stay."

Flashback of the day:  I will have to go with Brian McKnight on this one.  His best album for me is and forever will be his first.  

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Good Laugh....

Hi y'all,

Alright, I don't usually do a post on Tuesdays so this is going against the grain.  But I just saw this commercial and COULD NOT stop laughing.  Everyone in my circle that I have spoken to lately (including myself), had a negative vibe hovering around them for the past week.  Whether it was due to personal issues or people just bringing the negative on a silver platter.  So with that said, I thought that I would share the laughter, even if it's for a minute.  This commercial may be nasty to some, but sorry - that's my sense of humor....ENJOY and laugh a bit!

See y'all tomorrow...

Tha Connoisseur 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Monday Madness...

"Don't believe the hype!..."  Public Enemy - Don't Believe The Hype

I know, the quote was just too easy today - sorry.  I hope all the mother's out there had a fabulous Mother's Day.  

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

1) Snoop Dogg on One Life To Live:  Alright, I am not a hater, at least I try not to be.  But Snoop on OLTL?  Oh no no NO!  I didn't have a problem with him performing his nauseating song "Sexual Seduction," (that's the original name) after all that is his bread and butter.  But when dude went and literally jacked up the show's theme song, I was quite irate.  His version did not even come close to anything remotely good.  Shame on those producers and such who allowed Mr. Dogg to do that to their theme song.  If it's one thing that I give Snoop accolades for, is his ability to spin anything and use his marketability to profit from it.  But THIS was some 'ish.  I am one for change, anyone that knows me is aware of that, but this was certainly a case of - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2) R Kelly and his pedophile ass:  I am hoping that this is the last time that I even have to give any kind of attention to this idiot on my page.  I do not and have not supported this man on his musical journey for a very long time now–genius or not.  I believe the last album that I own from this sicko is The Chocolate Factory and that's only because I had to review it for a magazine.  There is no way I would spend money to help his defense team get him off!  So to think that this idiot had the nerve to try and get his trial delayed YET again, just proves to me that he has something to hide.  And now news surfaces about a young lady who is going to testify to being a participant in a three way with The Pied Piper (he obviously didn't think out that nickname properly) is on the horizon.  Oh boy, Robert–just say it was you and deal with the consequences that your peeing-on-young-girls nasty self got into.  Dutty, just dutty.

3) Dereon's new girls collection:  Well when I saw this!!  This doesn't even need a link, just check out the picture below for yourself.  Tina and Beyonce need to quit with envisioning women with any sense, dressing their little daughters like hoochies in training!!  High ass heels and jeans with embroidery with heavy lip gloss on a five year old? WTF?!  There's the illusion of being a child imagining dressing up like mommy, but to have my kid in an ad looking like a two dollar ho ready for her booty shot is NOT becoming at all.  This is DUMBASSIDBRIE and BITCHASSNESS to the highest degree.  You think Jay would want his daughter looking like this?  B–get your independent ass outta here!

4) Arrest warrant out for crazy girl on Atlanta train:  This is what happens when your kids are exposed to crap on the radio like Soulja Boy.  This young lady basically verbally abused and berated an elderly woman on the train, she just lost control and went off on the unsuspecting woman and everyone else around her as you will see in the video.  Now there is an arrest warrant out for her...

But according to the update, her outburst was due to her being diagnosed as bi-polar and this is the result of her not taking her meds.  She is now in custody at the DeKalb County jail.  It is really sad to watch and her breakdown is not a joking matter.  That situation on the train could have gone so many ways, but thank god it didn't.  The whole situation was bad enough to watch.  I hope that she gets the help that she needs really, cause at this point that is the only way to go.

And that's all I will be reporting today y'all.  Here's the flashback of the day, one of my absolutely favorite musical geniuses.  Mr. Stevie Wonder doing his thing...

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Friday, May 09, 2008

Whitney "The Voice" Houston, Where Are You?

"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow.  If I fail, if I succeed, at least I'll live as I believe..."  Greatest Love Of All - Whitney Houston

At the beginning of the week, I had already chosen what my album of the week was going to be.  Then again, I was swayed to the other side when I heard a song from Ms. Whitney Houston.  Here I was, reminiscing and singing "All At Once" from the top of my lungs in the shower.  Don't worry, I remembered right quick that my forte is writing and NOT singing–reality kicked in.  So on that note, the album of the week without further adieu is:

Boy, where do I start.  This is the Whitney that we all know and love, the one everyone cares to remember.  Let us be a bit nostalgic for a moment shall we?  Remember the fresh face that came to light, care of the power mogul Clive Davis?  I still remember the night I was up waaaay past my bedtime, and was allowed by the grace of my Mommy, to watch Whitney Houston's debut singing the hell out of "Home" on The Merv Griffin Show.  Watching Whitney looking a bit apprehensive at the jump in that poofy purple outfit, was a bit uncomfortable, but once she settled into the song and took off her confidence shined through.  I don't usually do this, but I had to show those who don't remember, what I am really talking about.

This was all pre her biggest mistake of all–Bobby Brown, pre crack-is-wack and pre rehab.  This album is just all Whitney Elizabeth Houston, graceful, beautiful and oh that voice.  Whitney was the kind of artist that could sing a phone book and win a Grammy for it.  It is amazing to think now that many producers actually passed over working with the new songstress.  Thanks to a duet with Teddy Pendergrass entitled "Hold Me", her voice was finally pressed on vinyl for the world to hear.  But the song that catapulted Miss Houston into fame, was her smash hit "You Give Good Love."  A song that cannot be mistaken as one of Whitney's best, it was one of the ultimate song choices for the back in the day quiet storm tape.  I must say (and I know I will get cracked on for this), that I was one of the few who jumped on the Jermaine Jackson bandwagon and have his work on vinyl (I said it!!).  Jermaine is no Michael, but "Take Good Care Of My Heart" is a smooth finger-snapping feel good track, while "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" is serious! 

Whitney had quite a few hits off of this album with "You Give Good Love", "Saving All My Love For You", "Greatest Love Of All", "How Will I Know" and "All At Once."  Nevertheless, apart from the hits, the other singles are definitely noteworthy.  Whitney was known for her duets with Jermaine and Teddy, her angelic voice complementing the high and nasal vocal of Jermaine and the sexy gritty growl of Teddy.  This phenomenal album went an incredible and unprecedented 13 times multi-platinum and is perhaps the best album ever from Whitney Houston.  Nothing can be substituted, replaced or even come close.  

So with all of the talk of Whitney's new album being released during the upcoming holidays, accompanied by her rousing performance in Malaysia and her disastrous performance in Trinidad–what are we left with?  What direction do we go?  Do we believe that The Voice can make a come back with an album worth the wait and weight in Grammy's?  Forget the Grammy's how about the weight in support from her fans?  Or will her attempt finally be the last nail in the coffin for her already dimmed out light?  Only time will tell...

So the flashback of the day is my ultimate favorite Whitney Houston song.  Pure, from the heart and straight up love.  I had my hair cut like this AND bought myself a monogramed sweater, all because of Whitney!  Y'all let me know what your favorite Whitney track is.  Enjoy! :

Have a wicked weekend...

Tha Connoisseur 

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Art And Its Intricacies...

"I love my young nation, groovy sensation.  No time for hibernation, only elation..."  Scenario - Tribe Called Quest feat. L.O.N.S

Today's discussion seems to be a melange of things going on in the art world.  I don't only talk about music you know!

First of all, kudos to Italian Vogue for FINALLY opening their eyes to the obvious and doing their part.  They have decided to do an all black issue of Vogue, using only black models.  Now that in itself is an epic event ladies and gentleman.  You may argue that yes, we had Grace Jones, Beverly Johnson, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and her angry self, Iman and Roshamba to name those who come to mind.  And of course we have the already established Alek Wek, Selita Ebanks and Ajuma Nasenyama paving the way for the newbies.  However, all of the models listed along with those who are not, are still not getting their just due on the runways or anywhere else in fashion for that matter.  With a sprinkling of black beauty on the runways and on fashion magazine covers, it is amazing to see the Bible of fashion magazines, step up and do the damn thing.  Of course, it would be much more gratifying to read and see the spread in American Vogue, mostly because I do not read italian.  I guess we will have to schedule a little chat with Anna Wintour on that one.  Nonetheless, I do tip my hat off to Italian Vogue and photographer Steven Meisel (for those who don't know, he is the one who shot Madonna's Sex book and the "it" photographer for Vogue) for putting rising star Jourdan Dunn (above) who is only 17 years old, on the cover.  She better not be half naked a la Miley Cyrus!!  And Miss Dunn is not the quiet type either, she is extremely vocal about the affairs of racism in the fashion world.  She says she is looking to go back to her studies to attend business school so she can open an agency for black, hispanic and asian models.  Indeed a young girl with a serious head on her shoulders.  I hope that her dreams and aspirations come true so she achieves her personal goals and helps others in achieving their own in the fashion world.

Another mention in the art world that I came across, is work from Australian artist Emma Hack.  You know the emails we receive with body art being painted on bodies used as canvas? Well Emma Hack is basically that kind of artist, but it would not be fair to put her in that category at all.  I could be coming across as a bit snub, but those emails clearly look like spray paintings or photoshop at their best.  They are good, but not this good.  Her pieces are so intricate and beautifully detailed, that I had to take a second and third look.  She is indeed a body painter and has been a make-up artist, hairdresser and face painter for the past 20 years.  All the years of training, precision and talent are definitely reflected in her work.  She has done work for Tiffany & Co, make-up mega giant MAC and Toyota to name a few of the companies up on Emma's work.  Some art enthusiasts argue that Emma would not even be spoken about, if it wasn't for the nude element in her work.  They claim her wallpaper patterns to be boring and she adds to the declining position of women in the arts.  Emma's pieces are said to take as much as 19 hours to complete.  Take a look at her website and at at her work.  I believe that Emma Hack is much more than just her wallpaper exhibitions and that she is certainly an artist in her own right.  So let those naysayers talk their dumbassidrie.  Do your thing Emma!

And lastly, you know I can't get enough of Hotlanta gem and photographer extraordinaire Derek Blanks aka D Blanks.  I did a post about him previously regarding his portraits titled "Alter Ego."  His shots of Eva Pigford, Diddy's ex Kim Porter and Amerie were smokin' hot.  Perhaps I am the loner on this one, but hey, I am not a "hot on the heels of ..." kinda blogger.  I only dish out interesting info for your pleasure as I go along.  Derek has a book out entitled "The Art Of Photography" with Miss Keyshia Cole on the cover looking serious in her b-girl stance. 

This book is sold and apparently downloadable here for free.  The download free part doesn't make sense to me, but if you are interested you can check out some of his amazing pics in this collection.

For the flashback of the day, I thought it would only be fitting to grace my page with an innovator in the art of videos.  He was the one who tagged video production with big budgets, story boards and imagination beyond compare.  Michael we miss you...we really do!

See y'all soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Monday Madness...

"All I want is to be left alone, in my average home.  But why do I always feel, like I'm in the twilight zone..."  Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me

Monday just comes too fast!

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

1) Terri Vaughn name's her child after Superman:  Alright y'all, I know this is going to seem out of order seeing that this is really not out of the ordinary.  We have become so accustomed to people naming their children after cars, fruit and Disney characters, it's a damn shame.  Whatever happened to Sheila and Deborah?  And now, it seems like we have crossed into Marvel and DC Comics territory.  How in your right mind, can you justify naming your child after Superman?  Seriously - Kal' El is Kal-El regardless of how cute the apostrophe looks or how you spell it.  And yes, I know she is not the first to do it.  I do believe that Superman lover himself Nicholas Cage did something along the same lines.  Hmmm, I'm contemplating Storm for my first daughter...riiiiight!!  I just don't get it!

2) Jean Grae is retiring from the game:  For those of you who do not know, Jean Grae is known as a phenomenal underground rap artist.  Jean is an artist on Talib Kweli's label Blacksmith Music and has a couple of gems coming our way in June.  She is terribly frustrated with the state of music and has decided to "retire."  Welcome to the club Jean!!  Now I really don't blame her, but she is an amazing artist from the tracks that I have heard her on.  It's a shame that once again, real music is taking a back seat to commercialized sensationalism.  It's too bad that the non talented artists out there are not the one's putting down their mics to make space for the real deal.  Hopefully, Jean changes her mind.

3) Ronaldo arrested after transvestite fiasco:  Oh boy, here we go.  Soccer/football great Ronaldo has been caught in a difficult position, the AC Milan forward was caught with not one, but two transvestites.  Yes, that's right–manly Ronaldo wanted to have a little fun, but did not realize that he was in for a bit more than that.  Well, let's hope he didn't realize it!  Of course, this whole transaction would not be complete without a mention of drugs and blackmail would it?  Does the drama ever end?

4) Man has children with daughter held in captivity:  I am sorry y'all but this son of a bitch had to make me cuss!!  When I saw this on TV and read more about this, I was so disgusted and taken aback that I really did not know what to say.  Just the thought of a man doing this to anyone, is disgusting, but a father to his own flesh and blood?  That is down right appalling.  I know that this is not the first time that we have heard something like this come to light and unfortunately, it will not be the last.  Nonetheless, hearing it makes my stomach turn and my heart ache.  To think that this man had the audacity and gall to imprison his child and children/grandchildren (I am shuddering at the thought) in an underground cellar and deprive them of their free will, is mind boggling.  I'm sorry, but I hope the bastard rots in hell.  Enough said.

5) Kanye cussin' people again:  Well this time Kanye West has decided to cuss the hell out of Entertainment Weekly for giving his tour a B+ in their review.  Lawd, Kanye was well vex!  You need to read his rant.  On some points I hear what he's saying, mind you it doesn't mean that I agree.  Yet on the other hand, Ye is Ye, what can we say?  Read the review here and see if Kanye has anything to really bitch about.

There are some other things that made me cringe, but they really were not worth a mention (Miley Cyrus, seriously girl please use your head!  And I love her but, Madonna on BET–WTF?), so I will not even entertain the thought.  Besides, next week is another week.

Flashback of the day:  One of my girls was sharing some tunes that were spilling out of her soul this evening.  My girl is another wikipedia of music, just like your favorite resident Connoisseur.  So I have decided to go with one of her picks that she chose tonight, a song that HAS to be on your slow jam of all slow jam lists.  Quincy certainly knew what he was doing when he brought this ensemble together.  Enjoy!

Happy Monday y'all, see you soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pure Unadulterated Harmony...

"Someone to love, someone to hold, someone to kiss, with you I wanna grow old.  Someone to squeeze, someone to tease, so just believe I'll always be faithful..."  Mint Condition - Someone To Love

Ok, I am a stickler for romance, is there a woman on earth who isn't?  The words above, are lyrics you would looove to hear your significant other tell you.  And I don't mean just on your wedding day, I mean on the days when it needs to be heard.  Everyday, every other day...when ever!  Just as long as it is expressed in some shape or form.  Men, we are NOT mind readers!!!  I must say, in hindsight, I wasn't in love in my last relationship even though I thought I was, but I did feel deeply for the person.  The reason I am reminiscing about this "person" is because I remember having a conversation with him one night, regarding one of my favorite bands–Mint Condition.  All he kept on saying was, "What you know about Mint Condition?"  Even though I will admit, I do not have ALL of their albums, I do consider myself a huge fan.  At that point, I had to do the damn thing and represent!  So because Mint has been on my mind, especially with the release of E-Life on Tuesday, my favorite Mint Condition album is my selection for album of the week:

Mint Condition's From The Mint Factory is an album that has to be in your collection if you are a lover of soul bands–actually soul, period.  This is an album that is on heavy rotation EVERY OTHER DAY...seriously.  All of the band musicians are ridiculously talented, Stokely could play everything and anything.  I wouldn't be surprised if the man could make a harmony off of a toilet bowl cover–that is how he throws down.  And considering that there are not that many, if any, soul bands left but MC (and don't front, you KNOW I don't mean Mariah Carey!!!) doing their thing, really says a lot for this hard working band.  From beginning to end this album is full of energy, funk, rock guitar laden riffs, sentimental ballads and they play steel pan!!  Sorry, coming from a West Indian background I have to say that they do the damn thing!  Their album is so much more than their hits "U Send Me Swingin'", So Fine" and "Someone To Love".  There's the infectious "Good For Your Heart" that makes me want to dance every time I hear it.  The jazzy sway of "10 Million Strong" always evokes a smile and the easy going and mellow flow of "Back To Your Lovin'"...hunney if you sing it like that, I would run back alright!  The album begins with such liveliness, from the intro "Welcome To The Mint Factory" drum solo and percussion straight through to the hardcore rock influenced soul-tinged track "Fidelity".  

This album means so much to me, it's my all around I-need-a-fix album.  Doesn't matter what emotion, it is always within reach.  My iPod, My MacBook on iTunes, the cd–name it, it's always around.  I managed to get my little sister hooked on this album (always coming to my house and stealing my 'ish!!) and this is one album that one of my sistafriends and I have had many a conversation on, dissected every song and built a strong friendship around.  Mint Condition is part of the glue to our friendship, MC brought K&A together.  And to this day, we speak about Mint Condition like they are our close and dear friends who we look out for.  Absolutely no one can say anything amiss about this group to MY FACE!  If you do, you obviously do not know what you are talking about and I will leave your reasoning to you being confused and not knowing any better.  And that is that!!

I did a quick mention of Mint Condition previously and tried to upload some video from their last show I took in at B.B. King's last year.  However, Blooger was being a bit temperamental and unpredictable.  So here is my attempt once again, to load a snippet of "Pretty Brown Eyes (Breakin' My Heart)"...alright, apparently Blogger does not want me to share my MC video.  Let's hope that I get some new video when they grace the stage at B.B. King's on May 29th. I plan to be there with bells on!!  Mint Condition is definitely the definition of a band, they have a broad base musically, they are able to play jazz one minute, cross over to soul and then jump into rock.  They are always on their grind on tour, whether there is a new release impending or not.  And they do not only concentrate on Mint Condition, but do have side projects in different genres of music that will be sure to blow you away (look it up, you will find it!).  I have heard tracks from the new album E-Life and so far my favorites are "Somethin'" feat Phonte, "Why Do We Try" and "Nothing Left To Say." Please be sure to check out Mint Condition's website for tour dates, other social pages to catch them on, band updates and merchandise.

Flashback of the day: I could go the easy way and just post "Pretty Brown Eyes", but that wouldn't be any fun at all would it?  I decided to use this song, because it's a favorite for my sis, sistafriend and I.  Enjoy!

Have a good weekend y'all...

Tha Connoisseur