When it comes to making music there are a million artists on this planet to choose from. But maybe that's where the problem lies, we’re only looking for artists that are on this planet. It’s a big universe. So why limit yourself to just the Top 40. Go see the galaxy. That’s exactly what NASA BO’s latest album Mr. Universe is doing. It’s doing things on an intergalactic level. And passing up all the haters in the process. Let’s take a look at the latest project from NASA BO.
NASA Bo is an artist from Oklahoma City who has become known for his hardcore in your face delivery and his hard-hitting bars, and can you believe this is his first full-feature project of which comes in at 20 tracks. An album with this many tracks comes in handy if you’re planning to go across the universe. You’re gonna need a lot of music, and that’s just what this project provides.
Every album needs that first track to make an impression. That’s just what the "Intro" is. The intro makes an impression right out the gate and sets the tone for the album. That tone being slapping beats and NASA BO rapping, rapping. NASA BO ain’t just making words rhyme. He’s going in. I’m talking about bars. And this is just the intro. When you get to track 2 “Tesla”, you know that track 1 wasn’t a fluke. NASA BO can really rap and he knows his value. “If these rappers wanna feature, ima charge em like a Tesla.” It’s witty bars like this that aren’t sprinkled throughout the album, Naw forget that these witty bars are heavily poured like your grandma’s kool aid. But the intro ain’t over, NASA BO let’s you know just how to say his name on the next track ”Nasa not Nasha”. “If you speaking on my name then pronounce it right.”
It’s clear to hear in the first few seconds of some of the tracks that NASA BO wasn’t afraid to dig deep in the crates and rap on some of the most iconic tracks. Track 4 for instance is this soulful sample of Deniece Williams song “Free”, which also happens to be the name of the track. It’s like the producer just gave NASA BO free range to murder the beat. Another classic sample is Tupac and Jon B’s “Are You Still Down”. Also is Bill Withers classic “Just The Two Of Us”. This track is more of a slower tempo with bars that reference what it means to really stay down. Most of the album goes deep in the sample crates which is a vision that was brought to life with the help of producer SAUCEMEUPGQ. Which we’ll talk about next.
We had to take a second to give respect to the producer SAUCEMEUPGQ and Track 5 shows your why, because by the time that you get to this track you realize that SAUCEMEUPGQ has been mentioned numerous times already. And not only do you hear his iconic beat tag all over the album, he also executive producer over the project, so it’s only right that he gets a track inspired by the producer on the track called "SauceMeUpBO". “Fuccin with GQ got me sauced up.” The beat is on go and so is NASA BO. You really see the magic of this track at the 1-minute mark where the bass is stripped out and NASA BO switches up his flow as if he’s sprinting on the track. This track is definitely sauced up and is a high point of the album. SAUCEMEUPGQ even gets to shine as a featured artist on the track “Triple Double”. NASA BO goes in himself from the very beginning and then throws the assist to SAUCEMEUPGQ, who shines with some clever lines of his own. “Me and NASA on the beat, Houston we have a problem”.
Throughtout the tape there’s these ironic bars that stick out, some of them are really witty and some of them are bluntly rhetorical. For example, on Track 9, “Keke Palmer” he says the line, “How you real but you wear fake clothes?“. It’s a really bluntly rhetorical bar that makes you just think. On another track he spits the line, “How your baby momma love me, but mine don’t.”, that’s some irony for your ass. But this also shows NASA BO’s ability to make even the most sensical bars into a perfectly painted picture. You gotta give him his just do.
When it comes to the featured artists this album only has 3. That’s something you wouldn’t expect from a project with 20 tracks, and surprisingly it’s well balanced. This is NASA BO’s project, so you gonna get NASA BO. But as far as the featured artist, we’ve already talked about SAUCEMEUPGQ who lends his production skills and bars to the project. Also, there’s Uno who lends his vocal talents on the last song of the project. He brings a softer side to the album which if you want to sale records you gonna have to have a few for the ladies to vibe to. And the track “No Lettin’ Up” does that with its infectious chorus. But our favorite feature of the project has to be on “Heart Breaker”, which samples Mint Conditions track “Breakin' My Heart”. NASA BO comes in so smooth with a pimp vernacular, then he switches up his flow up while calling out famous tv female co-stars from 90s tv that he had a crush on. The featured artist Tony D. just shines, his unique delivery and undeniable confidence makes him stand out. Listen to this bar, “Hittin licks with Jordans, blocks on blocks, DeAndre, Blueprint like Jay-Z, Irreplaceable Beyonce”. He’s in his pocket on this verse.
As you go through the album it’s clear that you’ll hear some crazy metaphors. NASA BO really be out here rapping. There’s so many lines we’ve already quoted but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The album is bar, after bar, after bar. For instance, on “Stuck N Love” where he spits the line, “She was black but now she Russian how she getting her cream on.” and not only that bar because throughout that track are so many more like, “Ain’t nobody got my back like this VLONE”, bars. Also on "Gilbert Arenas" he has this crazy wordplay where he says, “I be with my daughter teaching her ABCs, I got racks but they didn’t come from no EDD or no PPP, it was all on me, now we eatin like EBT.”, NASA BO is flexing on the beat. He has an undeniable talent. And it shows all throughout the album.
TULSA LINES FAVORITE TRACKS
When it comes to our favorite tracks, “Get Down” definitely is extra sauced up with the sample of Earth, Wind & Fire’s track “Reasons”. In this track NASA BO gives all the reasons why niggas can get down. And them 808’s by ADHD makes each bar hit harder. This a hit. "SAUCEMEUPBO" is another one of them ones that just goes. "Heart Breaker" for the reasons starred earlier. Another one is “Stuck N Love” because it has so many bars. Lastly, “Doe Party”, this is a straight to radio hit. This is a track that you’re gonna hear in the club. IT'S IS A STRIP CLUB ANTHEM! Like he said, "That nigga snappin'," So as you can see it’s hard to pick just one track. There’s just so many hits on this album which says a lot for a 20-track project. NASA BO did his job.
So, there you have it. The album Mr. Universe by NASA BO, and executive produced by SAUCEMEUPGQ. This isn’t an Oklahoma City album. This is an album that can penetrate any market. New York, L.A., Atlanta, Detroit. It doesn’t matter. NASA BO has what it takes to get to that next level. The album is literally out of here. And next year we wouldn’t be surprised if NASA BO is out of here with it.
Also make sure you follow NASA BO on social media:
YouTube: NASA BO
Spotify: NASA BO
Also listen to Mr. Universe by NASA BO below:
Have you ever wanted to take the perfect picture but didn’t want anyone to see you pull out your phone or some bulky camera. Here are some that glasses come straight out of your favorite spy movie. Like a 007 agent you can only imagine all the spy stuff you can do with the Ray-Ban Meta glasses. Like for instance, taking a screenshot while you're on FaceTime, catching the homie taking your last joint, let’s not forget when you are going thru your girl’s phone, and you need to get evidence of dudes in her DMs. These glasses will revolutionize the way we capture things.
Well Maybe not exactly. The truth is that these glasses will have a million and one applications for use but what it will probably be used the most for is creating content. And for the socially awkward, this is something we’ve been waiting for. A way to be a part of the action without being a part of the action and standing out so much during the action.
Imagine being front row of an intimate concert and no one has their phone out, but you want to take a picture. Suddenly capturing that perfect moment can feel like all eyes are on you. The Ray-Ban Meta glasses can help you to discreetly take a picture without anyone thinking any different. Plus, there Ray-Bans so they have the social currency and a low-profile that will keep your secret identity, secret.
Even if you don’t care about being seen and don’t have social anxiety, the Ray-Ban Meta glasses still has you covered. It’s livestream feature allows for you to take your audience with you while you are in the moment and give them a front row seat to what you’re doing. Imagine being on the set of a new music video and capturing behind the scenes content without having to have a second cameraman. This is POV at it’s finest. 1st person shooter mode. Meek Mill almost broke the internet when fans saw him go live and he wasn't holding his phone. It was the Meta Ray-Ban glasses.
Here are some of the features for all the nerds:
What do you do when you’re the king of the music industry? When you’ve slayed most of your enemies? When you’ve reached the pinnacle of what success looks like? And last but not least, when you have stayed on top of the game consistently for a decade? For Drake, this means looking to his son Adonis. If Drake is the king, then Adonis is the heir to the throne. Let’s see what the king has to say.
So, Adonis. Who is he? He’s the son of Drake who was pulled from the shadows into the middle of a rap beef. And since he has been seen on everything from tabloids to blogs, to Drake’s social media timeline. Fast forward to today, Adonis has been put into the limelight again but this time it was his art, as seen in the 8 Am in Charolotte video. The video featured Adonis and Drake talking about his drawing. which would become the cover of “For All My Dogs”. Anyone who has heard the 23-track album realized that on “Daylight”, Adonis would make his first album feature as he dropped 8 bars. The internet went crazy. It was actually one of the best features of the album. It was becoming clear that “For All My Dogs” was quickly becoming “For Adonis” as following up the release of the album was Adonis’s debut music video called “My Man’s Freestyle”.
Disclaimer: Now let’s be clear. Adonis is only 6 years old. But we have to hold him to a high lyrical degree being that his father is Drake. It’s unfair. But that’s life. So, let’s get into the video.
Let’s start with the beat. I was very surprised with the beat selection. Mostly because you would expect some high-tempo drill beat that the new school rappers usually recycle. But this beat is unexpected because It’s got roots in more of a Boom Bap old-school New York-style production, with just enough synth on it to give it a more updated feel or maybe RZA feel. The eerie strings stretch around each bar clearing for a soft landing for Adonis to have fun with the track.
The video. I liked the video. It was Adonis with his friends, most likely the basketball team, and the whole team was having fun. It was dope to see Drake also in the video supporting his son and putting a battery in his son’s back. There’s even a part that reminds me of his dad’s videos where the video breaks and Adonis goes into a monologue about how to win the game. That’s classic Drake. It was a posse type of vibe and Adonis was the star.
Now let’s get to the bars. The meat and potatoes. Adonis’s pen…. What I liked: I liked that the song was about a kid having fun with his friends. It wasn’t about sliding, it wasn’t about the opps, and it wasn’t some oversexualized video of him chasing grown women. It reminded me of when hip-hop was just fun. When people used to do it for the fun of it and not for the fame of it or for a quick check. What I didn’t like: There wasn’t a lot of substance or metaphors or double entendre's. Some would say that’s OK for a six-year-old who probably has a trust fund larger than what some people will ever make in their lives. But I digress, for Drake standards, I need to see more. On top of that, I would argue that his dad should’ve shown him some type of song structure as some of the bars were repetitive chants instead of the carefully crafted bars we’ve come to know from Drake. He’s six. I understand that the ability to write a compound sentence may be an advanced tool, but hey, he could’ve been given some guidance. But then again, it’s a fun song, and his first song, so maybe the point is he has time to build. The best part of the song by far was the hook. This is the part he obviously gets from his dad. His father has always had a knack for making catchy hooks, and that’s what has always sold records.
So, there you have it. Adonis’s song “My Man Freestyle”. He’s officially in the game. It will be interesting to see what happens next with his music career. Also, how will his skills develop as a rapper? The heir to the throne. Just know that heavy is the crown that wears the crown.
Let us know what you think of “My Man Freestyle”.
I’ve always heard about the life of a writer, but I never saw it as an actual career that you could live off of. When you hear the term “starving artists”, this category often includes writers. Many of which, didn’t get their name in bright lights until well after their deaths. Even if they did get their flowers, oftentimes writers had to go through some period of substance abuse like chain smoking or drinking themselves to death as they literally poured out their souls on each page. So, naturally, I thought, there’s no way a writer can make a living from solely writing. That’s until I got invited to go to New Haven, Connecticut for a meetup with some amazing writers and a secret writer panel.
First, let's talk about the opportunity. Over the past 3 months, I’ve had the opportunity to write for the Independent Review Crew which is a crew of writers from all over the country like; LA, NYC, Boston, and of course, Tulsa. The Independent Crew is supported by the nonprofit Online Journalism Project. Formed in 2005, The Online Journalism Project's mission is “to encourage the development of professional-quality hyperlocal and issue-oriented online news websites. Sites like this one. We also assist others undertaking online journalism initiatives.”
What do we write about? Local events. The arts. Because if we don’t tell you why you should go, then why would you go? And I’ve gotten to write about some amazing events all the while showcasing the great art that is going on in Tulsa. My editor Alicia Chesser, has really helped me grow as a writer. I still dread the red marker. But it’s only there to help me get better, so I trust the process. So, in working with The Independent Crew I got the opportunity to go to New Haven and meet up with the writers and the organizers of the Independent Review Crew.
League Of Extraordinary Writers
Not every hero wears a cape. Well also, not every writer knew that they were destined to be a writer. As I started to meet the different writers, I started to notice that some of us didn’t take the traditional path to becoming a writer. What does that mean? We weren’t English majors. We never worked or interned for a news publication. And last but not least, we were never English teachers. What we were, were people who had regular jobs who happened to love the arts and felt the need to shout or rather write it from the rooftops.
Did It All Without A Pen
Pens are cool. But I’m not gonna lie. I only use them as a last resort. A computer has been my sanctuary. But pen or not, I never really thought words could provide a livable wage in 2023. Not with the slow death of the newspaper. All that changed when I met the panel of writers. The panel consisted of Independent and Review Crew Arts Editor Brian Slattery, New Yorker music writer Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker food critic Hannah Goldfield, and profile writer Jazmine Hughes of The New York Times Magazine. Most of them started their careers in New Haven and then decided to make the leap to New York. What really caught my ear about this discussion is that writing was their only job!!!! And it wasn’t a job. Writing still seemed to give them that same passion that they had when they first decided to write. Also, 2 of them were black. So I saw myself in them. Probably something that if I had seen earlier in life, would’ve led me to becoming a writer sooner. Because you’re influenced by what you see and how close you are to what you dream.
Sometimes when you start off on a new adventure you get to second-guessing yourself. Many people usually call it Imposter Syndrome. It’s not until you realize that you’re already doing the things that you’re worried about. For me, that meant I’ve always written, whether that was writing 10-page papers at the last minute, and still getting an A. That meant writing poems and raps. Side note: One time I turned in a rap to my English class on accident, but that’s a story for another day. The point is. I am a writer, and I’ve been writing my whole life. So I left New Haven with that confidence. The same confidence I saw from Kelefa Sanneh during the panel discussion. I think my only regret from the trip would be not being able to ask him how to become a better writer. But with an editor like Alicia, I feel like I’m right where I need to be.
Until next time New Haven. This is Ryan Anderson, The WRITER! Hoping to see you soon.
If you know Jay-Z, then you know that he’s had one of the longest-running careers of any hip-hop artist. You also know that he’s had countless crossover hits. Jay-Z is truly an artist that both the culture has celebrated by winning multiple BET and urban outlet awards, as well as with the industry with awards such as Grammy’s and being inducted into both the Rock & Roll and the Writer’s Hall Of Fame. And he did it without a pen I might add. He’s even been a guest and performer at the White House. There’s no doubt that Jay-Z has been celebrated around the world. But to be celebrated in your own home. I would have to think that’s a whole other feeling, because few people are celebrated in their own city, much less, get to come back home a hero. But that’s just what is happening with the new exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library called “The Book of Hov: A celebration of the life and work of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter”. We got a first chance look at the exhibit.
The exhibit was not just put together by the good people of Brooklyn. No. This was a curated art installation that the Brooklyn Central Library partnered with Roc Nation in order to create some truly personal and interactive experiences between Jay-Z and visitors. I found myself lost in the memories of photographs that lived as artifacts like cave drawings, yet these pictures were plastered on wooden blank canvases. The interesting part is that these photos never seemed to show a particular chronological order, but more a less a collage of Jay-Z memories, maybe how his mind has mapped them out. Either way, each picture captured a moment in time. Some of these moments I remembered. Some of them I wish I could’ve been there to experience. The pictures themselves seemed to capture a thousand lifetimes.
When you talk about Hov. You gotta think that there has to be a crazy amount of memorabilia. This installation confirmed that. It was amazing to see Jay-Z’s setlist or his track list written in his own handwritting. There were rooms you would go in and encapsulated behind plexiglass would be items like the Che Guevara t-shirt he wore during his famous MTV Unplugged concert. Or the guitar he played when he headlined the Wonderwall rock festival. Let’s not talk about the concerts. He literally had a box of backstage passes to concerts that he had either performed at or probably was invited to. I was amazed also to see some of the awards that he had put on display there. Obviously, none of his Grammy awards were there, but there were still the Academy Awards and the NCAAP award on display that are all quite impressive just to have one. He has multiple. We all love a good magazine. What magazine cover has he not been on? There were many of the most prestigious magazines around that had featured Jay-Z. From GQ, to Life, to even the Cigar Aficionado magazine. I was also amazed to see that Jay-Z even had some of his masters on display like the one for his Carnegie Hall Live Performance or the negatives for the Streets Is Watching movie.
If you want to know how Jay-Z became Hov, then you gotta know about Baseline Studios. The art installation featured a fully functional analog studio that was designed to resemble the actual Baseline Studios which was on 127 West 26th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, where Jay-Z made some of his greatest pieces of work, such as “The Blueprint” and “The Black Album”. Both pieces are featured on the walls of the exhibit showing their platinum status and sales in an age where fans literally had to get out of the house and go to a store to buy a CD. This was also where the documentary “Fade To Black” was filmed. Who could forget when Jay-Z took of his bucket hat and put it over his face when a young Kanye West played the “Lucifer” beat. This is Hov’s workplace. This is where he continued getting in the reps that helped him become the One.
The Library CarD
When it comes to going to see any memorable moment. What do you want the most? Of course, you want some type of souvenir. Right? Well officially for The Book Of Hov art installation, there is none. Because of course this is a library, and aside from pictures and the “The Book Of Hov” installation guide, there wasn’t anything to truly help you remember this moment. But if are a resident of New York, then there is something. For every resident of New York there was a limited-edition library card that you could get, that features one of Jay-Z’s albums. Each library location would have a different card that featured a different Jay-Z cover, as seen here. I guess that sucks for someone from Tulsa. Right? You’re left out. But they say, "If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.". And Tulsans say, "where there’s a will, there’s a way.".
Side story: So, I’m from Tulsa. I walk in the library. There's this Black dude sitting behind the desk. He had to be no older than 34. I ask him, “Can I get a Jay-Z library card?”. He says,” Are you a resident of New York?”. I say, “No I’m not. But come on. Help a brother out.” And of course, he is acting like he gonna get fired for giving out one card, or he gonna be missing out on some sales commission for not signing up someone for a library card. I even offered him $20. Come on. You not gonna take $20 when nobody will know either way. But like I said, “I’m from Tulsa, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I continue going walking around the exhibit. Maybe like an hour in, and it’s almost time for me to go. That’s when the homie is like, "How they gonna know you don’t live here? What about the hotel?" It then hits me. Ohh, shit, the hotel is a Brooklyn address. So, I go on the Brooklyn Public Library website, and I sign up for a library card using the hotel’s address. Success. I get a code. Now I ain’t taking this to the same hating ass library worker. Naw, I’m going to the other desk. It was someone else sitting at the desk. They asked me for the code, I gave it. Then they asked, “Can I see your Id?”. Of course, my ID from Tulsa. Then they ask, “Can I see something showing your name and the address of this place?”. So, I hand them my phone that has the hotel agreement with my name and address on it. They peeped game. What went on was a one-minute back and forth about what constitutes as being a livable dwelling in New York. (which I still think that being in a hotel is a legal short-term lease agreement that holds statues as being a resident of place) But they admired my hustle. The same hustle they probably have and would’ve used in my predicament. So, in the end, they said, "Don’t tell nobody you got this from me.” As they proceeded to hand me the library card. My souvenir. Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
So, there you have it, The Book Of Hov art installation in Brooklyn. If you have a chance, I suggest you go see it. You won’t be disappointed. And Brooklyn is a dope city. Maybe I’ll tell you about some of my other adventures another time. Until then. Hov Did!
Picture this. You're in your 4th rap battle ever, and your opponent says some shit so crazy that you know that it's gonna go viral. That's exactly what Jaylocke found himself in during the 3rd round against veteran battle rapper Aaron Sawyer. So, how do you beat somebody thatâs went viral? Thatâs easy. Just be so much better than them, that even after the videos and memeâs have go away, people remember you. Also, you have to make them remember what really matters. Winning. Floating around the internet is the clip from of Aaron Sawyers with an animated verse about his opponent Jaylocke. I gotta admit the wordplay was nice. But did it win him the battle? Thatâs what matters. Thatâs what battle rappers are remembered by. Not a hot line. But the number on the left being greater than the number after the line. So let's breakdown the battle:
ROUND 1: Fight
Again, Aaron Sawyer is a veteran battle rapper, so it was only appropriate that he goes first. And in the first round Aaron Sawyer was set out to teach the newcomer the Five Pillars Of Battle Rap. Pilar 1. Disrespect your opponentâs manhood. Pilar 2. Challenge his character. Pilar 3. Schemes, angles, punches, and jokes. Here are a few of those bars:
Next it was Jaylockeâs turn: And straight out the gate Jaylocke had some tricks up his sleeves. First, he talked about hygiene, or possibly the lack thereof under Aaron Sawyerâs sleeves. Jaylocke handed Aaron Sawyer a stick of deodorant. This did get the crowd going. Who doesn't like a well-timed prop? But back to business, it was now Jaylocke who was on the clock. Here's some of the bars that caught my ear:
Round 2. To start off the round, Aaron Sawyer showed that he is a quick witted by using Jaylockeâs previous Madea bar against him. He even showed him how you should use a GWayne bar in a battle rap, while he focused on his Pilar 3. Look at these:
ROUND 3: Finish Him
Round 3. You can't hold back. If you're a veteran in the rap battle game, then you know it's time to leave no doubt. It's time to Finish Him! Aaaron Sawyer started out with Pilar 4 which was angles.
The Scorecard: Finish Him
Drumroll. There were three judges with a split decision of 2-1.
It was a hell of a fight. Both competitors brung their 'A' game. It was a lyrical battle filled with highs and lows. And truth be told, the viral scene helped both battle rappers. My advice to Jaylocke is to project more in his performance and to remember that rap battling is a performance. You need to use different vocal inflections, especially when you come to the punchline. It helps the crowd hone in on the punchline. And my last piece of advice would be for Jaylocke to stand firm and mean mug the fuck out of your opponent. Make him feel uncomfortable with your stare so much that he stumbles. Also, it's important to note, that Jaylocke has so much potential and so much room for growth. So, look out for Aaron Sawyers and Jaylocke's next battles, And one thing is for certain. BATTLE RAPPIN' AIN'T DEAD. THEY JUST SCARED!
âAlso watch the whole battle below and let us know who ya'll think won:
Hip Hop 918 has become one of those events that happens every year that celebrates the culture, the music, and the artform. I know, it’s crazy to see right? Who would’ve thought that Hip-hop would’ve lasted 50 years. More importantly, who would’ve thought that Tulsa, Oklahoma would be the place to celebrate it and bring some of the creators to a town they’ve probably only heard of recently during the Black Wall Street Massacre Centennial. But Hip Hop in Tulsa is happening, and now it’s clear to see, that Hip Hop is getting it’s time in the city they call 918.
Next, we got a glimpse of the new school of hip-hop artists that have the potential to blow up from Tulsa. These students/artists are from the McClain High School Music Program that is taught by Tulsa artist Steph Simon. These kids are truly learning from G.O.A.T.s, And in a short amount of time, they’ve gotten amazing opportunities such as shooting their first music video 4929 (click to see the video), which an ode the address for the school. They also are getting the opportunity to perform on this stage. A huge jump for a first performance. They got to cut their teeth in front of hundreds, you could tell they were living their dreams, and that they had a ways to go before they were truly ready. But some people practice, to get in shape, and some people play, to get in shape. And they were there to win. The performance reminded me of the Wu-Tang posse’ cuts where at anytime there would be 10+ members on stage, all with their own unique swagger. These young artists are talented. But if I had to put on my critique hat for one minute. I would suggest that they not perform with their vocals. We want to hear YOU! But still they're still learning and have one of the best teachers to help them along their journeys. They're gonna figure it out.
One of the best things about the night was getting to see this musical roulette where 4 artists in particular (Jeezmino, K,O, Yung Qwan, and OTS J Huncho) took turns rapping their songs. Starting with Jeezmino, who did what she does. That's rap, rap. She left no doubt that she has bars and is one of the baddest in the game. Every time she steps on the mic, she commands the stage and her respect. With a beat or without a beat you're gonna here her. That's just how sharp her words are. They cut deep.
Next was K.O. What else can you say about K.O.? She’s one of the most versatile, lyrical artists in the state. If you were looking at how much she is booked you probably would think she has to be from Tulsa, or at least OKC. But she’s from neither. She’s from Enid and she reps it loud and clear. Loud and clear is what grabbed the audience's attention so much that there were these audible for “ohhs” from the crowd because of a bar that hit hard. And that’s what you’re gonna do when witness a K.O. performance.
Then we get to Yung Qwan. Yung Qwan came out of nowhere with his new fade instead of the dreads we’ve known him to have. His song selection was dope, even coming to perform his latest track “Rocket Man”. I think all in all it was a good performance. But if I had to put the critique hat back on. I would say that rapping over his lyrics took away from his performance. For example, Rocket Man seems like it has a lot of emotion that the performer needs to get across to the audience. But when you’re hear two different voices (the vocals from the track and Yung Qwan) who are not on the same tempo and sound completely different it’s easier to pick out the mistakes from missed notes and the wrong vocal pitch. It put the microscope that much more on his performance to spot the blemishes. But he's a great artist that can fix that.
Last but not least in this rap roulette was the KING OF THE APES! OTS J. Huncho. His performance was the one that hit the hardest. I mean to see his growth from his first performance to now, is like night and day. When he first started performing, he used his backing vocals as sort of crutch, he had all the bravado, but that couldn't excuse the fact that to be the best rapper as he claimed, that he couldn't rap over his vocals. But now he’s flipped it and used his backing vocals to his advantage to help out with catching his wind and also to switch things up. He's realized that when donig a performance it's not just spittin bars, also there's showmanship. And that's what OTS J Huncho is incorporating in his shows. It's exiting to see this young rapper mastering his craft and rapping straight bars about the town he's from living in. He is the one. OTS J Huncho.
After the roulette was finished another M.C. grabbed the mic. Marcel P. Black. An artist that exudes everything it means to be an M.C. And if you know him then you probably have heard his motto: “Real emcees don’t rap over vocals”. And true to his motto Marcel P. Black performed in pure hip-hop fashion, controlling the crowd with his voice. He even had the crowd 2 stepping to his song. Now if that ain’t an M.C. than I don’t know what is.
Another veteran that came and rocked the stage was Dangerous Rob. His performance more than anything showed how deeply rooted he was in Tulsa hip-hop, as Playya 1000 gave him a dope introduction about being there since the beginning. His performance also showed that he’s a marketing genius as three members of his entourage handed out Dangerous Rob branded shirts, of which the crowd ran to catch and also background workers held up signs. It's clear to see why he's been doing his thing for so long. He even performed his latest track "I Luv You", which showed that the veteran still has a lot left to say.
When you talk about Tulsa Hip-Hop there’s no way you don't mention Steph Simon. He’s been the one in the trenches with the machete clearing the path that soo many artists are now walking behind. He’s not only rapped next to your favorite rapper; most likely he’s booked them. Now if that isn’t a Tulsa King than I don’t know what is. Which is exactly what his accapella freestyle was about. Being the Tulas King. And as he said in the chorus, “Tulsa Kings run the world and Tulsa queens run the world”. From Steph Simon’s first song, to his last, he moved the crowd. He was in his Best Mood. He’s clearly in his 100,000 hours of practice and it shows. It’s his commanding presence, and his ability to move the crowd that moved the legend Eric Sermon to speak to Steph Simon after the show. Cause Steph Simon Is Hip-Hop.
Last but definitely not least was the legends EPMD (which stands for Erick and Parrish Making Dollars) made up of the rappers Erick Sermon (“E Double”) and Parrish Smith (“PMD”) and DJ Diamond that hell from Brentwood New York. This is where our hip-hop lesson begins. But not where it ended. Because throughout their performance, not only were they playing their hits, but they were also teaching lessons. Lesson 1. Pure New York Hip hop. Say we don’t rhyme over vocals. As noted earlier in the article. It's doesn't help. Lesson 2. Hip-Hop means you have a dj. And it was with this lesson that DJ Diamond showed his mastery of the turn tables by scratching and even doing various tricks while the spotlight was on him. And last but not least. Lesson 3: Never forget the ones who came before you. EPMD ran thru some of the most classic Hip-Hop tracks, that no matter what generation you’re from, no matter what side of the train tracks you’re from. You respect it. Cause it’s Hip-Hop!
So that sums up Hip-Hop 918 2023. You can’t tell that you don’t have a reason to go next time. It’s a free event that celebrates one of the biggest genres in the world. And you get to see some of the legends in the game do what they do best. Hip-Hop. Just as important, you get to appreciate the amazing hip-hop scene and artists that we have right here in Tulsa. Continue to support these artists by showing up to their shows and buying their music and merch. And by the time that the next Hip-Hop 918 rolls around you’ll be a believer that Tulsa IS SO HIP-HOP!
If you ever had the honor of being invited to a dj noname. event then you know just how huge of a deal it is. It’s like the Don Corleone sending you an invitation. And if The Don sends you an invitation, then you go. It’s an offer you can’t refuse. So, when I got the text from The Don, dj noname. I greatly obliged to show up to what was the dj noname. Residency at Mercury Lounge.
“It's not personal, it's business”. And for dj noname. business is good. He’s worked with the best artists in Oklahoma. I’m talking Steph Simon, 1st Verse, Earl Hazard, Bambi, DialTone, and the list goes on. And let’s not forget Snackin’ With Flavor with Keng Cut. It’s a masterpiece that stands alone in the dj noname. trophy case. And the unreleased projects are just as talked about as the tapes that are out. Another thing is that he also takes care of business as seen with his proud to pay campaign on BandCamp. Let's be honest. You get more money from BandCamp than you do from streaming. It's not even close for an independent artist. And those that know, know, It's good business.
"Power Wears Out Those Who Do Not Have It." And dj noname. has the power. It shows, especially when it comes to his residency shows. It’s nothing but heavy hitters! The level of talent that he is able to get on one ticket speaks to just how much power he has. Every time I go to a show and speak to an artist about how they first collaborated with dj noname., the conversations usually start with, “noname. sent me these beats and I was inspired.” And it's this inspiration that has gotten artists to start recording again or even back on stage. Even the audience members are filled with people who come to show their respect for an artist who has the power to make things happen. The man has his own socks! Tell me one dj in the game that has power like that.
“Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In." That’s how you feel when you go to a dj noname. show. Just when you think there is no other way the night can get better, dj noname. always throws in a curve ball. For example, unreleased tracks. I remember hearing “Best Mood” by Steph Simon at a dj noname. show., I swear I was close to leaving the party, but was pulled back in when the beat came on. "I'm the throwin' money out the sunroof, feel like I caught my second wind, I'm in my best mood, if I don't touch a mil this year, it's cause I touched 2". That's a short recap of how it went down. Everyone in the crowd rapping that part, while people who may have never heard the song watched in awe. And that’s what happens at a dj noname. show. You don’t wanna leave.
"Some day, and that day may never come, dj noname will call upon you.” Trust me. You don’t want to let down The Don. He has the power, he has the juice in the town. It's shown be his consistency to get some of the best artists in the town to not only jump on his tapes but to also come out and perform. So go! The music is going to pull you in. And if you haven’t gotten an invitation yet, don’t worry. It’s not personal. Show up anyway and believe me one day you gonna get that message. And when you do. Do me a favor, and answer the call.
And until then.... I'm in my "Best Mood".
It would be incorrect to say that I knew where my ancestors came from. We of African descent oftentimes just generalize that we are from Africa. But is that true? Some of us can only guess. Some may try to use Ancestry.com as proof. But is that true? We can never truly confirm because of our history. A history that was erased. But one history that we never really cherish as much as we should is the one that can be traced. The one that's often only 1 to 2 generations behind. That's the history of the black cowboy. A legacy that has recently been getting the appreciation that it should have been getting all along. And three filmmakers Kian (35-0), Video Hereo, and Nicole Jocleen captured just that in their film called Riding Legacy. And I had to seize the opportunity and see just what this film was about.
If you have Netflix than you've probably watched Concrete Cowboy, a movie that documents black cowboys passing down the traditions and skillsets to the younger generation. What's most compelling is that this ranch is in the city. But if you have ever been to the northside of Tulsa then you've also seen horses. Just like in other small black towns over Oklahoma, you can see cowboys riding their horses on street blocks. But it's not until you watch Riding Legacy that you realize just how deep the roots of black cowboys go.
So, you might be thinking, there's always been black cowboys in movies. That's where you'd be wrong. Hollywood has traditionally whited out our black heroes'. Even the cowboys. One example is the famous 'Lone Ranger' who was actually based off the black sheriff Bass Reeves. Reeves had been born a slave but escaped West during the Civil War where he lived in what was then known as Indian Territory and is historically noted as the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. He worked mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory. I say that to say, we didn't learn that in school, but we did know about Jesse James and Buffalo Bill, and all the other white people who shaped the west. Our history is so rich. That's what community tells you that academic books won't.
Riding Legacy took you deep into what it was like to be a black cowboy. That's something that we take for granted as spectators of the sport. The time away from family, the injuries, the buy ins to even compete, the time in the gym to train your body, and most importantly the legacy. What most captured my attention is seeing the legacy of the riders competing. We're talking generations deep, 5th and 6th generations of cowboys still carrying on the family name. That's what Jay-Z rapped about. Legacy, Black excellence baby, you gon' let 'em see. We saw cousins, brothers, sisters, old and young all competing. We saw the family rivalries, few people know why, but best believe the rivalry is still alive.
Another thing I really liked is how film highlighted the female cowboys. You get to see just what they deal with when competing. You see their strength. You see their competiveness. You get to see them as the athletes they are. Because just like their male counterparts they also deal with injuries and the heated moments. There's even been times when women cowboys have been known to compete in men competitions. These women show just how much heart they have and often are fighting to keep their family names going for generations to come. One of the women cowboys spoke about being pregnant while still competing but not knowing about it. That makes her way stronger than a man in my book.
The riding legacy also showed how the black rodeos are similar to the chitlin circuit that so many black stars came up out of. It is the small black towns that host these events and are filled with the rich history of black cowboys. These cities include Spencer, Oklahoma City, Taft, Okmulgee, and others. These small-town shows have birthed black cowboys that have went on to compete and win on the big stages like the PBR (Professional Bull Riders organization) and other places where the big sponshorship money is. But you can always come back home and see Riding Legacy.
Check out the Riding Legacy Q&A session at Circle Cinema's Film Festival below.
After watching the documentary, I came back with a sense of pride. And I made it a mission to go to the Okmulgee rodeo and see the legacies right there carrying on their family names and the spirit that is the black cowboy.
Of course, everyone stayed for the Pony Express event. An event that is unique to the black rodeos and has gained popularity over the years.
So next time you hear about the black rodeo events. Go out and support. Believe me, you won't regret seeing the community that has been built and the legacy that is the black cowboy.
By Ryan Anderson
Soulbody Cyphers Presents: Battle Royale - The Last Artist Standing
The Boxyard Tulsa
July 29, 2023
Soulbody Cyphers is a showcase performance event for artists from all over Oklahoma. Theirmission from their Facebook Page states; SoulBody HipHop Cyphers highlights underground hiphop talent all around the nation. A typical Soulbody Cyphers event would be 10-plus artists gathered in a building rapping some of their best bars over the same beat. But today’s event was anything but typical. This time around the Soulbody Cyphers did a competition for which this was the first round. 20 performers from Tulsa going head-to-head, performing one original song, and only the top 8 advance. To what? For a chance to be selected to go to an AirBnB to do music-related challenges and skill development programs.
The Judges. These weren’t just anybody pulled off the streets, each judge carries an impressive resume. Kode Ransom is a well-known poet and songwriter who has written most notably for the Grammy award-winning artist B.o.B.. MidWest BJ is a popular radio personality for 105.3 who also hosts a radio segment called the “Midwest Artist Takeover” that features songs from local artists. Thomas Who? is one of the most lyrical rap artists in Oklahoma who has also appeared on the Fire in Little Africa album and is a PPBC Trailblazer award recipient. And the final judge 2 Peece, who is one of the most sought-after producers from Tulsa whose music has amassed millions of streams, he’s worked with the likes of Steph Simon, Devin The Dude, and Lil Flip. so you can see, these are the real deal.
The Performances: The performances featured a wide array of talent, but a narrow list when it comes to genres, mainly Hip-hop and R&B, and a sprinkle of Neo-soul. The performers had a wide range of experience, from the veteran to the new kids on the block. You get the gist of it. Each performance was by itself unique and authentic. Each artist brought something to their performance that they thought would be worthy Soulbody Cyphers. That’s because Soulbody Cyphers is a community. One that has been built brick by brick by the artists and supporters. Support being a very keyword. Because when Anonymous Vox, decided on the unconventional method of performing acapella backfired into what became a recurring retry of forgotten lines, it was support from the artist and audience that helped him finish his song and still cheered for him. But don’t forget, this was still a competition, but few competitions exhibit this sort of support. And at the same time, few competitions had a Thomas Who? as their judge. Similar to a hip-hop Simon Cowell, Thomas Who? was the only judge out of the 4 that was willing to score an opponent below a 6. It was Thomas Who? who gave out a score of 4 out of 10 to an artist, and deservingly so. But with that, he gave the most honest and the most helpful critique of all the judges. On the flip side was a surprising performance from JediahKO, a performer that took control of the crowd from the beginning. He’s also a younger artist, so it was refreshing to see his command of the stage and to hear the depth from his bars. “How you supposed to put the Rugers down when niggas is Ruthless now.” This bar left all the judges amazed. His performance was an assurance that hip-hop was in good hands.
Another performance that caught everyone’s attention was Ace Da Kid's, because it was filled with raw emotion. Seated in a chair and with a phone pressed firmly against his cheek, an emotional Ace Da Kid rapped a voicemail let to his father about the lies and abuse that he could never tell him until this now. This was a special moment where he himself could not contain these raw emotions, breaking into tears, which created pauses in his verses that invited waves of emotions throughout the audience. Afterward, the crowd ran to the stage and embraced the performer. The performance even moved the judge Thomas Who? to feel this performance enough to give out the rare 10 of the night.
And then there was Kendra Bars. There aren’t enough words to express just how great of an artist she is. Her bars. Her flows. Her bravado. Misses bars take a bow, take a bow. She is someone that is making waves in the town. You’ve got to see a Kendra Bars performance for yourself.
Soulbody Cyphers may be moving to this new battle royale format. Who knows? But what’s not changing is the support from the community that has been built. I left the event with a newfound respect for some of the artists while also seeing the potential of others. So, to make it clear. Soulbody Cyphers got talent!
The Top 8 were:
Midwest BJ also picked JediahKO and Kendra Bars to be featured artists on the Artist Takeover which will put 10 radio-edited songs from these artists in rotation on 105.3.
2 Piece also gave away a collab studio session.
Kode Ransom picked an artist to do a songwriting session with as well as a studio session.