Finally spring is here and there is hope for a wonderful summer.
Everyone is buzzing over what will be the summer anthem this year. Many are speculating that Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" with Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers is the perfect candidate. I love this track! The original version is about 116 BPM and it's nice to see dance music take a swing back down in speed. It was getting kinda crazy with everything up around 130 BPM's. But of course the remixes by eSQUIRE and Laurent Schark are around 128. This track is light and fun. The hook is simple and catchy, but I actually believe that the song is too sophisticated for today's audience to appreciate the brilliance of bringing Pharrell's vocals together with the legendary leader of the Disco group Chic, Nile Rodgers. He's only the mastermind behind "Le Freak" which was originally written as a protest song for not being able to get into Studio 54.
And for over a month, Beyonce has been teasing us with her Pepsi commercial that featured her infectious "Grown Woman". Immediately I grabbed the commercial off of YouTube and made a loop of what was there to have something to play. Well, as of May 21st the entire song was leaked on the internet. I snagged it from Perez Hilton's site and stayed up all night to do my own remix. I guess since she and her husband were executive producers of "Fela" on Broadway, she really took to the African rhythms and chants. The track is hot! And I can't wait to put it in my regular sets. In the lyrics she declares that she is a "Grown Woman and can do what she wanna!" I am really looking forward to her new album. This track is definitely in the running to being a summer anthem.
Now, one track that has no chance at all of being a summer anthem is the new Mariah Carey featuring Miguel called "Beautiful". It's just not a good song. I so wanted her to have a great comeback right now after spending the entire season being a diva on American Idol. Yes, Nick Minaj was annoying but Mariah did come in with an attitude and then found that people were liking Nicki for being herself…ghetto. She wasn't about to stoop to that level (nor could she), but I did want her to show Nicki that you have to be in the business for a while before you could pull the stunts that she did. Nicki only made herself look silly when she commented on songs that she didn't understand or had not even heard of. My husband said she represented the "Average Joe" and that's why on some weeks she out shined Mariah. "Beautiful" is just boring. They better remix the hell out of it like they did with "Triumphant". It didn't save the song, but at least it gave DJ's a version to play if someone requested it.
But surprisingly enough, I played Peter Rauhofer's Part Two Reconstruction Mix of "We Belong Together" and the crowd went crazy the week that he died. I was really sorry to hear that he lost his battle with brain cancer. I didn't know him well. I had heard many things about him. But I did meet him on a couple of occasions and stood in his booth while he created the magic that he did on his floor. The last time I saw him was back in December of 2003, when I was dressed as my alter ego, Jade Elektra and was moments away from performing "Crazy In Love" with Beyonce and Harmonica Sunbeam. It was a night that I will never forget and he was a very sweet guy to me.
Unfortunately, not everyone had that opinion of him. The day after Peter died a facebook conversation got posted and we found out that DJ Drew G. Montalvo was planning on suing Peter and called DJ DeMarko "a fat n#gger". He claimed that the posting was edited to make him look bad. He put up a statement saying that he and Peter had a complicated working relationship. He gave no explanation for the use of the racial slur. I never really paid that much attention to him because I am not into the Gay Circuit scene. The White Party in Palm Springs is just not my thing. But I found it really distasteful that he would even be so disrespectful to someone who had not even been put in the ground. And I am never surprised to hear what people will say when they think no one can see or hear them. It's nice to know how he really feels and I now know to stay away from venues that book him or to not play his remixes. Drew has had all the posts removed from facebook, but I won't soon forget what I read.
And on another sour note, I hate when the music awards come around. Especially something like the Billboard Awards which are all about record sales and not about true artistry. And it makes punk-ass bitches like Justin Bieber think he is on the same level as real artists who have written and produced music that changed the course of the industry. Kurt Cobain, Stevie Wonder, Dave Brubeck, Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse, Jill Scott, Prince, Beyonce, Frank Sinatra, Al Jarreau, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Edith Piaff….all names that come to mind as real artists. Hell, I would even say Lady GaGa is a real artist compared to Bieber. I just wish his 15 minutes were up so we don't have to suffer through another one of his acceptance speeches. This idiot really believes that he is important. If he were humble, I could just completely ignore him. But they keep blowing him because teen girls all over the world are still wetting themselves every time he tilts his head down and gives his best "I'm so innocent but I'd still bang ya" look while repeating the word "baby" over and over again.
The problem is that in today's internet frenzied youth culture they believe that YouTube hits and record sales mean that you are the best. The new "payola" is YouTube and doctored record sales. Just like the U.S. Elections in 2000 and 2004, anything can be bought. I remember when Ashanti was winning all these awards and selling tons of records. When the IRS investigated her label, suddenly she couldn't get a hit if she was playing in rush hour traffic. It's gonna be a really sad day when the next teen Pop male superstar is produced. I'm sure Bieber is sweating since Timberlake is back on the scene. If we are gonna have Elvis 2013, shouldn't it be Justin Timberlake?
The one thing that I do like about Timberlake is that he does pay homage to the R&B artists that he grew up listening to. He did a record release party on the CW in the states and at the end of a live version of "Suit & Tie" he went into "Shining Star" by Earth, Wind & Fire. Bieber doesn't have enough experience or knowledge to do anything like that. There's a reason why young artists work with legends…..so they can learn something.
And speaking of the Billboard Awards, I really enjoyed seeing Prince perform again. I've seen him live on three occasions. He is truly an artist. It was nice to see that he was being honored after all these years. But I believe Nicki Minaj and Lil' Wayne were extremely horrible. A lap dance on national television? Really? Let's continue the stereotypes and promote this as art. I do not and probably will not ever like Lil' Wayne. He represents all the things that I think plagues the African-American male. There are so many great performers and real artists out there who will probably never get the opportunities that this bozo is handed just because he looks and acts like what the stereotype of a black man in the U.S. is perceived to be. And Nicki is following the same path. Madonna came from a modest background. Just look at what she has done and the mark she has left on the world. I wish Nicki could realize the true power and opportunity that has been given her. I thought her time on American Idol was going to open doors for her, but because of her behavior I don't really see her going any further. Her mouth and attitude have embedded her image in our minds.
I don't want to leave you with me bitching about people who probably won't matter in a couple years. Instead I want to share with you two new tracks that I am grooving on right now. First up is "Rise (Stand Up)" by Sylvia Simone…..the Harlem Mix in particular. Although what I call true House Music is not the stuff that is at the top of Billboard's chart, I still love a nice NY style production of the music that derived from 70's Disco and became a soulful experience. My friend Criss Is Bliss sent me this track and I am looking forward to programing it into my Club Queer Radio Show on WRSU out of New Jersey (fourth Thursday of every month).
And last but not least, Local Instruments featuring MJ White. Over the years, I have always felt that MJ White has been an untapped talent. I have been privileged to witness his genius in the studio. Literally I have watched him walk up to a microphone and make up a lyric off the top of his head. That session lasted for almost 8 minutes. If MJ had not opened his eyes he might not have seen the producer, DJ David Comacho giving his the signal to stop. So, when I listened to his latest track, "Living My Dream" it kinda brought a tear to my eye. Finally, producers all over the world are contacting him and begging him to work with them. He may never be as big as Michael Jackson, but he is living his dream. He's writing his truth in his lyrics and sharing his heart with his voice. If you get the chance to listen to his work, please do.