Sunday, March 30, 2008

There's Nothing Better Than More Liquid!!!

Liquid Soul V.16 (Circa '00)
Intro (Gotta Get Up) - Jill Scott
Doin What I Can - Raphael Saadiq
Masquerade - Toshi Kuboto
It's Alright - Cooly's Hot Box
As - George Michael ft. Mary J. Blige
The Next Movement - The Roots
Get Dis Money - Slum Village
Everytime - Toi
Love - Michael Phillips
Breakadawn (Instrumental) - De La Soul
Left Field (Instrumental) - Yaggfu Front
Philadelphia - Bahamadia ft. Dwele'
Butterflies (RMX) - Michael Jackson ft. Floetry & Eve
What About Our Love (RMX) - Maysa
What About Our Love - Maysa
Ascension (Ever Wonder) - Maxwell
Black Capricorn Day (JayDee RMX) - Jamariqai ft. Slum Village
Electric Relaxation - A Tribe Called Quest
Carry On - Fertile Ground
No More - INI ft. Pete Rock
Can't Wait - Jaguar Wright ft. Bilal
The Light - Common
Ego Trippin' (Instrumental) - De La Soul

FELA......The Legend!!!

Wow, so much can be said about Fela Kuti. Fela, as he preferred to be called, was more than a musician. He was a politcal activist & pure socialist amoung other things. To much surprise, my introduction to Fela was just a few short years ago while djing a party for a friend. I needed something new to incorporate in my House sets. So, I called fellow friend, DJ Nabani and asked him to bring over some records that he thought I'd might enjoy. Around 12, in comes Nabani with a couple of records that had weird looking labels on them. Some said Afro-Beat and others said Fela. All he said was "trust me" and I did. It has been history ever since.

It's almost impossible to overstate the impact and importance of Fela Anikulapo (Ransome) Kuti (or just Fela as he's more commonly known) to the global musical village: producer, arranger, musician, political radical, outlaw. He was all that, as well as showman par excellence, inventor of Afro-beat, an unredeemable sexist, and a moody megalomaniac. His death on August 3, 1997 of complications from AIDS deeply affected musicians and fans internationally, as a musical and sociopolitical voice on a par with
Bob Marley was silenced. A press release from the United Democratic Front of Nigeria on the occasion of Fela's death noted: "Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic, socialist Africa." This is as succinct a summation of Fela's political agenda as one is likely to find.

Below is one of my favorite songs from Fela. It is called "True Don Die". Enjoy and feel what he was trying to say through his music. This song is also a great song for House sets!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Dose of Liquid Soul!!!

Liquid Soul V.15 (Circa '00)
Excuse Me - Raaphael Saadiq ft. Angie Stone & Calvin Richardson
Blue Jeans - Blue Jeans
Find A Way - 9 Yards ft. JayDee
Faithfully - Faith Evans
Silent Treatment RMX - The Roots
Hustlin' Dayz - Guru ft. Donell Jones
I Didn't Mean To Turn You On - Koffee Brown
Lovely Day - Bill Withers
Climax - Slum Village
Black Gold Of The Sun - A Tribe Called Quest
Time's Ticking Away - Loose Ends
Keep On Movin' RMX - Soul II Soul
Magnificent - Mos Def
Gangsta Bi..h (Inst) - Apache
Overjoyed - Boys Choir Of Harlem ft. D'Angelo
Funky For You (Inst) - Common
Instrumental - J-Live
Thug Nature (Inst) - 2Pac
This Time Around RMX - Michael Jackson ft. Notorious B.I.G.
Funky 4 U - Bahamadia ft. Slum Village
Sometimes RMX - The Brand New Heavies ft. Q-Tip

Sunday, March 16, 2008


On my last entry for Beat Central #2 I spoke about adding more keys and chords to my beats. Well this time, I am putting everything together....everything that I have learned over the years and in the last couple of weeks. Shout out to Ace, Talib, & Mike J for teaching a brother. Attached is the latest installment. Enjoy!!!


My Melody - J-Finesse


Should I - Grenique
Why - Eric Benet ft. The Roots
Dial 911 RMX (Inst) - Wyclef Jean ft. Mary J. Blige
All in Your Mind (Inst) - J. Sands
Get Up - Amel Larrieux
Bee-Bop Song - Miles Davis
Tell Me - Slum Village ft. D'Angelo
Strength, Courage & Wisdom (RMX) - India Arie
Push - Jay Dee ft. Phat Katt
What You Do 2 Me - Tha Truth ft. Kenny Greene
Fakin' Jax - INI ft. Pete Rock
Force -AIM
Pete Rock Beat
One In A Million - Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Me & Those Dreamin' Eyes (RMX) - D'Angelo ft. Erick Sermon
Bye Bye Baby - Lina
Spiritual - Fertile Ground
Don't You Forget - Glenn Lewis
Candles - Pru
Verses From The Abstract - A Tribe Called Quest
Rock Box - Que -Dee
The Notic' - The Roots ft. D'Angelo & Erykah Badu

Here you go gang. Another volume of Liquid Soul.


J-Finesse - Liquid Soul V.4

Artist Influence #3

Lenny Kravitz.......The Modern Day Jimi Hendrix

"WELL WE MOVING ON UP/ TO THE EAST SIDE", you all know the rest. Anyways, the all-time leading sitcom, The Jeffersons not only produced a catchy tune, but also introduced us with multi-faceted characters that were unforgetable. One in particular is the Roxie Roker character of Helen, wife of Tom. Roker was also the mother of this weeks artist spotlight: Lenny Kravitz.

There may have been other "retro" rock acts before him, but Lenny Kravitz was one of the first to not be pigeonholed to a single style as he touched upon such genres as soul, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk, and ballads over the years. Born in New York on May 26, 1964 (his mother was actress Roxie Roker, best-known for her role as Helen Willis on the popular TV series The Jeffersons, and his father was a TV producer), Kravitz was raised in Los Angeles, where he found himself around countless musical giants as a youngster due to his parents friendships with the likes of Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short, and Miles Davis. Kravitz was a member of the California Boys Choir until his teenage years, when he decided to pursue rock & roll while in high school and under the heavily influence of funk rocker Prince. Kravitz's admiration of the Purple One was so great that he at first patterned his style and approach directly after Prince and became known as "Romeo Blue" (complete with blue contact lenses), but failed to land a recording contract.
In the late '80s, Kravitz relocated back to New York City, where one of his roommates turned out to be actress Lisa Bonet (who played the part of Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show); they eventually got married. During this time, Kravitz wisely discarded his Prince-like approach and looked back to such '60s/'70s classic rockers as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley, and the Beatles for inspiration. Kravitz found a kindred spirit in engineer Henry Hirsch (who would stick by Kravitz throughout his career). With a back-to-basics approach, his style was quite refreshing in the humorously gaudy late '80s. He inked a recording contract with Virgin Records and issued his debut release, Let Love Rule, in 1989. Kravitz's debut proved to be a surprise hit due to the success of the title track, which became a hit single and oft-aired video. A few critics were quick to assume that Kravitz's retro look and sound were simply a shtick to get the public's attention, but come the '90s, it had become integrated into the mainstream (both musically and fashion-wise), proving that Kravitz was a bit of a trendsetter.
It was around this time that Kravitz penned a major hit single, not for himself but for Madonna, who went to number one with the sultry track "Justify My Love." What should have been a time of happiness for Kravitz quickly turned sour as he and Bonet divorced by the early '90s. Kravitz's heartbreak was very evident in his sophomore effort, Mama Said, which was even stronger than its predecessor, highlighted by the Led Zep-like funk rocker "Always on the Run" (a collaboration with Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash), as well as the mega hit with the Curtis Mayfield-esque soul ballad "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," which confirmed that Kravitz's success was no fluke. But the best was yet to come for Kravitz. His third release overall, 1993's Are You Gonna Go My Way, is often considered to be the finest album front to back of his entire career, and with good reason: Every single song was a winner, including the up-tempo anthemic title track, which turned out to be one of MTV's most played videos for that year. The album was a massive hit and Kravitz became an arena headliner stateside, as well as being featured on countless magazine covers. Despite an almost two-year gap between albums, Kravitz's fourth release, Circus, came off sounding unfocused and was a major letdown compared to his stellar previous few releases. Perhaps sensing that he needed to stir things up musically, Kravitz dabbled with electronics and trip-hop loops for his next album, 1998's 5. Although not a huge hit right off the bat, the album proved to have an incredibly long chart life, spawning the biggest hit of Kravitz's career, "Fly Away," almost a year after its original release. With the single's success, Virgin decided to cash in on the album's sudden rebirth by reissuing it around the same time with a pair of extra added bonus tracks, one of which became another sizeable hit single, a remake of the Guess Who's "American Woman" (which was used in the hit 1999 comedy movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me). Kravitz's first best-of set, the 15-track Greatest Hits, was issued as a stopgap release in 2000, while his sixh studio release overall, Lenny, was issued a year later. Baptism followed in 2004.
After starting a residential, commercial, and product design company called Kravitz Design, he recorded a funky version of John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" for Amnesty International's 2007 benefit compilation Instant Karma. Before the end of the year it was announced that Kravitz would return in 2008 with a new album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution. The album arrived in February, accompanied by a brief tour.In addition to his own albums, Kravitz continues to pen songs for other artists and his compositions have appeared on albums by such rock heavyweights as Aerosmith and Mick Jagger, while he produced and wrote the majority of Vanessa Paradis' obscure self-titled 1992 release.
As a tribute to Lenny, I decided to remake one of my favorite songs by him. The song is called "Storm" and is found on his 2004 release Baptism. I have attached his version and mine to show the similarities and differences. Enjoy!!!

Lenny Kravitz - Storm ('04)

J-Finesse ft. Lenny Kravitz & Jay-Z - Storm ('08)


The time was 1989-1990 and the place was Shreveport, Louisiana. I remember it like it was yesterday. My church youth group was attending DCYM training at Centenary College...home of Robert Parish(Boston Celtics). The story goes, that I was trying to win the affection of a young lady from Lake Charles, but had no game and with my futile attempts hopped in the church van dejected and ready to come home to the embrace of my mother. Well on the way back home I asked to stop at the local record store and happened to buy the new debut release from A Tribe Called Quest. Being that I already had been jamming the 12 inch single of "Description of A Fool", I definitely needed a boost in spirits and this was going to do it for me. Well after flipping the tape over to side two, I stumbled upon the song that changed my life; "Bonita Applebaum". I remember cringing at the intro because is sounded so weird, but when the beat dropped I was hooked and I mean "hooked". Suffice it to say, I had to have played that song for the rest of the trip home.

After figuring the placement, I quickly threw it into my mixes during parties and people would always ask me who was that. I would say the "next big thing in hip-hop" and go on about my mixing. As the years went on, Bonita Applebaum became a Hip-Hop Classic and is still rocking parties to this day. Surprisingly, I heard it on V103 Friday morning and was just so elated to hear it.

The funny thing about the song is that I never knew who did the original because for the longest I thought that it was an orginal from ATCQ. Upon my searching, I finally found out that it was the group RAMP. Oddly enough, I remembered that my dad had the 45rpm, but of the song, "Everybody Loves The Sunshine". It really wasn't until 2000 when I found the album and paid $100.00 for a mint condition album....probably the most I have paid for a record to date. After the listening to RAMP's album, I realize there were more songs that were sampled by other artists and became even more intrigued.

A group that was based in Cincinnati and also an acronym for "Roy Ayers Music Productions," RAMP released one album in 1977 that didn't do all that much upon its release. However, decades later, as appreciation for anything bearing the mark of jazz-funk legend Roy Ayers has increased, the album has become a revered rare groove classic. Supported by the excellent "Daylight" (sampled by A Tribe Called Quest for "Bonita Applebaum") and a version of Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," two anti-gravity soul/jazz-funk pearls, the rare album has been known to fetch extremely high prices among collectors. (It was reissued on CD in Japan in early 2007 and later in October in the United States.) The group — bassist Nate White, drummer John Manuel, guitarist Landy Shores, and vocalists Sibel Thrasher and Sharon Matthews — folded after the album's release but reconvened during the early 2000s.

So there you have it. The story behind one of hip-hop's classic songs. Below you will find the original and Tribe's version. Enjoy!!!

Ramp - Daylight ('77)

A Tribe Called Quest - Bonita Applebum ('89)

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Liquid Please!!!!

As promised, I have attached another volume of Liquid Soul. Indulge yourself in the melodious sounds of Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, & R&B.


Liquid Soul V.12 (Circa '00)


Slowly, Surely - Jill Scott

All Night Long - Common ft. Erykah Badu

Stay - Jaguar Wright

It's A Party (RMX) - Busta Rhymes ft. Zhane

Remindin' Me Of Myself (Again) - Common

Mellow '00 - Instrumental

Aim - Force

In Due Time - Outkast ft. Cee-Lo

One More Day - Glenn Lewis

Stressed Out - A Tribe Called Quest ft. Consequence & Faith Evans

Check The Vibe (RMX) - Dred Scott

Check The Vibe - Dred Scott ft. Adriana Evans

Housewife (Instrumental) - Dr. Dre

Sending You My Love - Zhane

Wish You Were My Girl - Babyface

Weekend (Instrumental) - Kenny Latimore

Reminisce - Bilal ft. Common

Instrumental - Planet Asia

Sun God - Common

Luvin' U - Musiq

Act For You - Spacek

Like This, Like That (Instrumental) - A Tribe Called Quest

EMBRACE - Society Of Soul

The Rhyme (J-Dilla RMX) - Keith Murray

Download Here!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Liquid Soul (The Unheard Edition)

Back at the turn of the century I was really upset at what the radio was playing. A lot of garbage was released and there was a void in the music world. I found myself really searching for the type of music that would evoke that "feeling" of utopia. As a result, I went on shopping excursions to acquire hundreds of Neo-Soul albums. I covered the entire earth searching for that vibe......shouts out to Dusty Grooves, Earwax, Moods, Satellite, Dr.Waxx, Ameoba, Rasputin, Tower, More Dusty Than Digital, Bowie's, Peaches, Odyssey, & After completing the very expensive mission of buying all that wax, I decided to put everything down in the form of a mix cd. What started as one mix cd that actually sold well, turned into a 20 volume set. Unfortunately, the rigors of corporate america began to stress me and I never put any thought in releasing the rest of the volumes.

Well here we are in 2008, and I have uncovered my mini-discs that contained my masters and realized that there was a lot of great music on those discs. I oftentimes think about where would I be had I released all of them...(no pun intended Jamad).

Anyways, my slip-up is your gain. I am going to release all of the volumes over the next months. Starting off in no particular order, here we go!!!


Liquid Soul V.17 by J-Finesse (Circa '00)


Testin' Me - Peven Everett

Am I Worth You? - De La Soul ft. Glenn Lewis

Maria, Maria - Carlos Santana

So Flute - St. Germain Tourist

Sumthin' Sumthin' - Maxwell

Rebirth Of Slick (Instrumental) - Digable Planets

Georgy Peorgy - Faith Evans ft. Eric Benet

Happy - Surface

Get Involved - Raphael Saadiq

Been Around The World - Tina Novak

Ghetto Heaven (RMX Instrumental) - Common ft. J-Dilla

Dance Tonight - Lucy Pearl

W.O.E. (Instrumetal) - Jurassic 5

Tom's Diner - DNA ft. Suzanne Vega

Get To Know You - Maxwell

Back To Life (RMX) - Soul II Soul

Rico Suave Bossa Nova - J-Dilla

By Your Side (Bossa Nova RMX) - Sade

Love Will Find A Way - Lionel Richie

Hey DJ - Zhane

Download Here!!!