Her music is very much a part of her resume, and Kat Ouano has done a lot of music in the last 15 years. With new ventures in front of her, she has decided to put together a compilation of some highlights of that input in what she is calling MeowMix Retrospective Vol. 1. The second volume will follow next week so if you only know of the Kat O1O vibe but haven’t heard it yet, it’s the perfect time to do so and get down.
Some of you may know about The Next Logical Progression by Gift Of Gab, but did you ever imagine that his next logical progression would be this video? It’s for the track “Everything Is Fine”, featuring fellow Quannum fam Lyrics Born and Lateef The Truth Speaker. The video was beautifully directed by Justin Berger.
Musician/producer Headnodic has created an online video series that he loves so much, he decided to name it after himself. It’s called Live From Headnodic’s, where he brings in various musicians, rappers, and singers to have a jam session of sorts to see and hear what happens. If you haven’t heard about this year, fear not, this is only episode two and for this show he brings in Lateef The Truth Speaker, The Seshen, Raashan Ahmad, Max MacVeety, Trio Zincalo and others.
Headnodic will be releasing a new album on October 23rd called The Iguana (Ropeadope), and a review on this very site is forthcoming.
It may be Lei Day on this May Day, but in other parts of the United States and the world, there have been a few protests of interest, specifically from the Occupy movement. Arrests have been made in Seattle, Portland (Oregon) and other cities, but they’re not giving up. Perhaps it’s appropriate that Latryx have dropped a video for the Headnodic-produced track, “Call To Arms”, on this day. You can download the single for free directly from LatryxAuthentic.com (32mb), and in case you’re wondering “wait, how come a single is 32mb?” it’s because the file is a zip (tested) that contains the following mixes of the song:
1) Album Version
2) Clean Version
4) A Capella
Get at/to it.
Headnodic has been the focus of attention for a little over ten years. I first became aware of him through Mission:, and when one of the MC’s in the group, Moe Pope, departed, they turned into Crown City Rockers. In between these albums he’d do the occasional remix, but also came out with two very fine albums, Headnodic Beats Vol. 1 and Tuesday. The former consisted of nothing but his own beat production and bass work, showing his Mission:/Crown City Rockers components, while the latter was a few beats along with tracks featuring a little help from his friends and band mates. The albums seemed fairly low-key, and my interpretation of this was that his group was meant to be the primary focus, while each of them would have the freedom to do whatever they wanted, and they did. Raashan Ahmad has recorded and toured extensively, it always seems like he never stops working, which is good. I’m a Kat Ouano fan for life, and if she’s not busy making her own music, she’s doing shows, sitting in with other artists, and becoming a primary focus in her own right. I’m a producer/beat junkie so I’m thinking like Robin Harris and saying to myself “where the fuck is Headnodic?” Truth is, he has never been far from radar range. He did an album with Moe Pope four years ago, but it had been nine years since he released a full-length album under his own name, and I’m glad to say that with Red Line Radio, he has tuned into the proper frequency and is ready to broadcast the goodness once again.
Let’s get direct and to the point: Raashan Ahmad and Moe Pope reunite Mission: style with the incredible title track, complete with an uptempo groove that shows how well the three of these guys worked together. Things are turned down just a notch (if only a notch) and gets extra funky as Lateef and Lyrics Born do what they do best and become the double-headed beast in “Movin’ On Up”. Add Kat O1O to the mix, and it sounds like you just went into a smoke-filled basement of good sounds and aromas and never want to leave. The highlight of the song (for me at least) is when the beat drops around the 2:18 mark and it sounds like Headnodic caught Lyrics Born eating a meal of some sort. The record light is on, he realizes this, goes “uh”, and he doesn’t get anxious, he just sits in the bean bag and rides with that style and finesse LB is known for. Classy, 100%.
True to his name, Headnodic creates one head nodder after anotther head nodder, and when you hear People Under The Stairs in “Surgeon General”, you realize why this album is called Red Line Radio: you’re tuned into the radio station you have been looking for all your life, the one that has been dominated by podcasts and online frequencies. This one goes back to the emotional vault of good times, and while it feels like the grooves of your favorite hip-hop radio station on the left of the dial, you realize that it’s music that has never faded out from the consciousness of anyone who feels this in the heart.
As the album goes on, the funk never stops. There was a time when you had to go out of your way to find an album that is damn good and you experienced it in real time. You’d pop the album on your turntable, cassette deck, or CD player, and waited anxiously for each song to blow your mind. When they say “Turn Your Radio Up” and you realize “oh shit, Gift Of Gab, The Grouch, and fricken Mr. Lif are in this?”, you can’t believe it. It’s also nice to hear Destani Wolf in the jazzy “Truth”, which features The Jazzy Mafia Horns and true to the title, this is indeed the truth. Wolf has such a rich, soulful voice, and it’s great to hear her bless a Headnodic track once again.
Even with all of these special guests helping him out, the core of his music remains his productions and his bass work, he is someone who has always been confident in how he wants his music to be heard and goes out of his way to make it sound… okay, maybe “sound right” would be too arrogant, but maybe the words I’m trying to say is he goes out of his way to hopefully make his music feel good. He wants that music to make an impact on the listener and that comes from wanting to feel the music himself. As a producer, I can hear the layers and textures in his work, where he’s trying to recreate a vibe from the late 70’s or an 80’s party groove. Hip-hop at its best has always been about borrowing elements and reproducing it in any and all ways, to where you don’t know or care where it actually came from.
My point is this. If Headnodic has been someone you’ve heard about in passing, on blogs, or may have seen his name referenced in reviews, may I suggest getting to know him even more with this album. Red Line Radio is an accumulation of what he has built for himself in the last 12 years, and this is merely a crossroads which came from where he has been, and where he’s about to go next. Ethan Parsonage is probably that guy that, like you, listens to his music deeply and puts that passion he hears in others into his own music, and helps to define his own style. He doesn’t play around, or maybe a better way of saying it is: this is his playground, he knows how to assemble the toys, and if you’re nice, you’re more than welcome to play along with him. Playing, be it on a school ground or music, is about having fun, and Red Line Radio is a fun album from start to finish, feeling youthful like the classics but grown up with the class and dignity that comes from maturity. I look forward to the next frequencies.
(TIP: If you buy the CD version, you can actually put the disc on your turntable and play the label side as it doubles as a record. It features a previously unreleased track by The Mighty Underdogs. Only 1000 copies of the CD version with the vinyl pressed on it were made, and you can order your copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online music merchants.)
Everyone is still trying to get a piece of their pie, while others are growing, creating, and making the recipe to make it happen. You can say that about Headnodic, whom I’ve been a fan of since the days of Mission: and Crown City Rockers and for this video he teams up with Lateef The Truth Speaker and Kat O1O for a very nice song called “Moving On Up”, thus making The Jeffersons reference
Any rapper that says the word “microfiche” and knows what it means is alright with me, and Lyrics Born has become one of the more impressive MC’s in hip-hop, regardless of city, region, state, coast, country, world. The man isn’t afraid to sing, and he’s not afraid to let people he’s not too hi-pro in that department but what he does is deliver, as an incredible lyricist and powerful entertainer. For fans who find it hard to wait for a new proper album, LB has released The Lyrics Born Variety Show – Seaon Pho, a mix CD featuring a collage of brand new tracks, including rhymes over trusted breakbeats that will make fans pee pee in envy. Ever wanted to know how he would sound rhyming over Gang Starr‘s “Take It Personal”? You’ll find out in “Stay Professional”, Want to know how he does it in a dancehall stylee, as if he’s the Asian Shabba Ranks? Licka shot with “Pop Campaign”. For a bit of R&B flavor he teams up with wife Joyo Velarde in “Mama’s Got A Brand New Swag”, and 1-upping Amerie big time. Need more? Both of them bring in Lateef for a bit of that Latryx deluxe groove in a remix of “The World Is Calling”. LB’s humor has always been subtle, but in “Beautiful Bowlegged Lady” he honors those with their boto legs and puts them up in a pedestal for all to hear. Need funk? His track with The Bamboos for the almighty “Turn It Up”, but I would’ve pissed out a donkey had it been a duet with Kylie Auldist.
Let’s just say that for a well rounded album, of any genre, Lyrics Born is a monarch in this, simply doing music for the love of it. He tours almost endlessly to make ends meet, but the man is incredible in the studio and those who have witnessed him live know there’s no other. This easily works as a proper album, and if this is what his in-between albums are going to sound like, I hope he does a lot more. Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick.