the one and only MAXWELL recently, for the first time in his 17yr career, has recorded his first proper collab with another artist: Alicia Keys for her new LP “Girl On Fire”. the result is a track called “Fire We Make”, a joint which sounded smooth enough for me to think that Max and HIS production team made the entire thing from top to bottom. not true. it was written and produced by Andrew “Pop” Wansel & Warren “Oak” Felder of The Knightwritaz, whose production credits have included some of the biggest names in recent pop history (as well some of the more cooler mainstream shit like Miguel‘s “Kaleidoscope Dream”). Max himself said that all he did was come in and lay down his vocals and then jet. the only criticism i would have of this hot jawn is that Alicia, while she may have excellent taste in music and for choosing Max in the first place, is heavily outmatched. her vocal shortcomings become pretty obvious when put side-to-side with Max’s crazy falsetto skills (even this late in the game, i’m hecka impressed M manages to pull it off). otherwise, this is the first A. Keys song i’ve ever played over and over and over.
it has been YEARS since i heard this full high-quality bootleg recording of one of Max’s earliest live gigs, performed in 1997 at Paradiso, Amsterdam. it’s only 8 tracks long (roughly 42mins in length) but it showcases Max and his band’s knack for re-interpreting his own songs. there are some alterations made to some M standards here that i haven’t really heard anywhere else. not much is really known about this bootleg or how it even surfaced to begin with, alls i remember is chancing upon it i THINK from the Soulseek days. regardless, this should be a collector’s item for ANY avid Maxwellian fanatic.
01. The Urban Theme (2:25) 02. Welcome (4:49) 03. Dancewitme (5:50) 04. Lock You Up N’ Love Fa Days (4:30) 05. …Til The Cops Come Knockin’ (The Opus) (Pt. 1) (5:48) 06. …Til The Cops Come Knockin’ (The Opus) (Pt. 2) (7:45) 07. Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder) (Pt. 1) (6:35) 08. Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder) (Pt. 2) (4:50)
Max took to twitter & facebook last week and dropped info on his upcoming single “Of All Kind”, set to be released very soon (sometime in June), with the 2nd installment of the blacksummers’night trilogy dropping soon after that (he said “this Summer”). he also provided some of the lyrics on his FB post:
OF ALL KIND
one day in and the next you’re out
there’s no way to insure that no danger
will not be found
will your angels hear the sounds
will i ever be where you are where spirits go
if my end should come i can only hope that..
there is a light and no end in sight
where god and you are combined
in the brightest light of all kind..
in the interest of broadcasting nothing but quality audio gems, i present to you the sexiest incarnation of Maxwell‘s debut single as an artist back in 1996: …Til The Cops Come Knockin’. as was the case with all of Maxwell’s singles from Urban Hang Suite & Embrya, this CD single features an extended cut of the song (in 3 parts) and a companion b-side (i say “companion” cos the sound and subject matter of Lock U Up N’ Luv Fa Days stays close to the narrative of TTCCK). over the coming weeks i will be sporadically chucking up most of Max’s singles under the title The Maxwell Files, simply because the time and dedication he had to craft his singles as ‘expansion packs’, almost always containing one or two remixed versions of the song (and a sweet b-side), should be revered and remembered. the thought that went into them really shows Max’s dedication to maintaining the overall story that’s being told (over the course of his first two studio albums) and a dedication to further mythologising his artistic persona.
that and tracks 02-04 is some of the sexiest music u will ever hear in ur lifetimes (track 01 is merely the radio edit of the original album version and can be skipped, the real fun starts at track 02).
01. cut (4:13) 02. pt. 01 (6:53) 03. pt. 02 (5:42) 04. pt. 3 (uncut) (6:02) 05. lock u up n’ love fa days (p+4) (5:25)
i have always loved Maxwell‘s aesthetic from the get-go, cos in an era when everything was incorporating more and more hip hop, Max reached further back to reignite & present anew the sound of 80s soul, r&b and funk. he seemingly debuted as a complete ‘artiste’, carving his own lane in the supposed musical resurgence known as “neo-soul” (a simple but effective title, & one i never saw as a point of derision). but he always stood out, he had a little extra x factor that couldn’t be easily duplicated. it ranges from his appearance to the badass musicians he’s surrounded himself with over the years, all the way to picking his debut single from his debut album (which, at his behest, features his face on the back cover instead of the front: Max’s way of putting the focus on the music & the narrative). …Til The Cops, as the story goes, was his personal choice for 1st single, whereas the label were more comfortable with sure bets like Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder) & Sumthin’ Sumthin’ (hits-in-the-making). the video, which is at times derided by fans for being too simplistic, is among my favourite Maxwell music videos. the concept? Max takes a young lady into a hotel/motel (room 508 to be exact) and proceeds to seduce her by crawling and slithering all over the place. oh and hey, that’s some nice frign wallpaper!
the song itself (after a bit of reflection), funnily enough, is not Maxwell‘s signature sound, which makes it yet another intriguing choice for 1st single. the music is (if anything) a heavy nod to R. Kelly’s 12 Play era of sexy slow-jams, cept jazzed up to the hilt. M’s true sound lay in clean crisp drums, live slapped basslines & keyboard melodies n riffs that are nothing short of instant vintage, not to mention timeless. again, this single is an interesting choice to lead off with cos we’re thrown right into the middle of the story, narrative-wise. but dammit, it WORKS. …Til The Cops may not have been the song that sent Maxwell rocketing to stardom, it IS however one of the coolest n sexiest (and ballsiest, to some extent) debuts for an artist i’ve ever heard.
& finally here’s a preview of the extended cut via YouTube, where some kind soul has mixed in tracks 02 & 03 (pt. 01 + 02) to form one luscious piece of ‘jazzsexy’ (c).
mo’ YouTube, mo BLAUGIN’. go forth and be entertained, y’all.
You Just Pulled Landscaping Duty
Ben Stiller‘s finest roles (imo) have always involved him rockin the handlebar ‘stache. this would be his finest in that mode.
NOW WE’RE FCKED
so not too long ago, a YouTube user with the name HighVoltageChrist came up with a video meme/fad vid that is quirky than the usual shit (think how viral the Antoine Dodson shit became, but on a smaller scale). anyways the basic premise is: use footage from the old Mario & Luigi cartoon show to shimmy the convo in a way that ends with one of the characters uttering an expletive. except the editing has to be precision in a way that makes someone SOUND like they’re saying “FUCK”, but in actuality is some jumbled up version that ranges from “FGLUP!” to “FWUACK!”. immediately after this comes a cut up clip of Luigi jauntily strolling singing the word “KOOP/COO” over and over to the melody of some random song (at the behest of the individual editor, there are many others). this one apparently is the original one that started this (sofar) underground YouTube fad/trend.
Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit
Nic Cage, i feel, is a somewhat misunderstood and slightly underrated actor, but definitely one of the best of our generation. and i think that’s the case cos it’s only when he chooses to play tweaked characters (some that are outright psychotic and possibly insane) when we see the depth of his talent. here, lovingly cut together, is a collection of just some of those special moments.
Dawson Leery – Asshole For Hire
i was a BIG Dawson’s Creek fan back when the show first started, and remained a loyal soldier throughout its entire 6-season run. yes everyone knows half the show’s appeal is the very epitome of cheese. however, the hook that differed this show from any kind of teen soap comparison were the characters themselves and how they communicated. long story short: they all talked like smartass psychology professors (and heavy on the sarcastic self-fladulation when it came to Pacey). i never, not once, while watching the show facepalmed or groaned at its lameness, cos it never really was. it was enjoyable, and should now be regarded as vintage television for ppl who grew up watching it. it’s got this nostalgic glow to it, is what i mean. but what happens when its star and namesake can’t shake being labeled as The Dawson? he goes on the offensive. this clip is but one of many that resulted when James Van Der Beek took over funnyordie.com for a week recently. another golden outcome from this takeover was: JamesVanDerMemes.com (if u love Der Beek you’d be a fool not to click).
SAD FORRR YOOOUUUUUU
i remember clicking onto random eps of Dragonball Z as a kid and witnessing those long extended-ass fights between Vegeta and Frieza, but it was all a bit too schizo for me to get into. i do, however, remember Vegeta‘s hectic-ass yelling and screaming of everything that comes out of his mouth.
Flynt Flossy & Whatchyamacallit – Not Your Professor, But Your Prosexxor (feat. Pretty Raheem)
as i had suspected, in a recent interview with Turquoise Jeep Records founder and artist Flynt Flossy (aka F Dot Floss), it was revealed that the earlier Jeep tracks were produced by fellow artist Whatchyamacallit. i call this the pre-Tummiscratch era. i only held that suspicion cos there was a notcieable increase in the recording quality of the vocals, the flow of the emcees and the overall production of the music. clearly Tummiscratch is the man with the magic touch, producing smangers like Slick Mahony‘s “Sex Syrup” & “Go Grab My Belt“, Flynt‘s “Cavities” (feat. Pretty Raheem & Watchyamacallit), Yung Humma‘s “Lemme Smang It” and a few other album-only cuts that aren’t on YouTube. but even Tummiscratchless, the Jeep does impress. this is an early rough cut of the song “Not Your Professor, But Your Prosexxor” which appears on the newly-released debut album “Keep The Jeep Ridin‘” in a more polished form. most, if not all the sounds i recognise as Fruity Loops/FL Studio presets, but it doesn’t matter cos the song is still smangin.
Kameron Corvet – Know These Things:Shouldn’t You
a decent acoustic cover of an underrated Maxwell song from his 2nd album “Embrya“.
Snuff Box – Boyfriend Scenes
yet another short-lived British sketch show that, judging from this clip, must be seen.
when i was but a child, one of my aunties fed me a styrofoam cup. haven’t seen her since.
Stella – “Bar”
probly one of the most surreal comedy troupes around (i think anything with Michael Ian Black is fantastish anywho). oh ye, the bar owner (aka the guy who can’t cum) is H. Jon Benjamin, currently voicing the title character in the animated hit “Archer“.
as per usual, the subtle and slow word-of-mouth for a new Maxwell album has begun, with word spreading over the interwebs that pt. 2 of his planned trilogy, blackSUMMERS’night, is officially scheduled to drop in 2011 (no word on an exact date yet, tho). the picture above was taken from his official website @ Musze.com, and is the first clear indication that the next installment is on the way. here’s Maxwell’s take on the 2nd & 3rd installments from the 5 Days Of Black DVD that came with the deluxe version of BLACKsummers’night (2009):
“the first record is the dark past and the second is the present moment; more uplifting compared to its counterpart. “NIGHT” (pt. 3) is an instrumental, emotive, and thought provoking finale to the trilogy.”
in anticipation of gettin some brand new Maxwellian goodies this year, here’s a small collection of my absolute favourite Max trax where he tries somethin a lil different, production-wise (as the next two albums are hinted at being more experimental with the music). some are songs he did post-Embrya (my fav Max album and also in my top 3 of all-time), which suggested he was taking a more electronic route, sonically speaking. and the rest are the plentiful and dope re-workings, remixes & b-sides of his 1st album material. however, once Fortunate became a smash hit, he kinda went back a step in a musical evolution that had been up til that point, very natural and fluid. these tracks signify Max fully in touch with “Musze”, a writing and production alias he’s used since the beginning of his career:
luxury:cococure (cottonbelly mix) (uncut)
matrimony maybe you or maybe not
luxury:cococure (mixzo mix)
ascension (no one’s gonna love you, so don’t ever wonder) (the tribute) (uncut)
sumthin’ sumthin’ (the mantra) (uncut)
gotta get:closer (live @ hard rock live) (nine inch nails cover/re-working of “closer”)
if you think i’m the only one with an interesting and varied musical palette in my family, think again. twice. i would say my older brother was the impetus for my own musical journey (awww, he called it a “journey”), but it hit me the other day that my dad, who just recently turned 65, also has a bit of a multi-generational taste in music. considering that i’m as much of an oddball as he is, i shouldn’t be surprised. actually we share more than a few things in common (we both have broken our noses bad enough to warrant two surgeries, we both are avid photo-takers). so here’s a brief but varied assortment of songs mein papa has dug and subsequently put his ‘spin’ on over the years (he is a wog, after all).
note: most of these clips don’t let u watch/listen as embeds, ur guna have to click the “Watch on YouTube” link if u wanna listen to em
it’s hard for people to imagine my dad being a rebellious smartass playboy bachelor living on his own in the “big city” (in actuality, the rather “tiny-ass” but tré hip city of Beirut in the 70s), but by all accounts this was the case. aside from having awesomely uncanny fashion sense for a man, dad was into his ROCK music. he never really knew names or artists, but he knew the melodies and he would often hum them in his inimitable old-guy-hummin-classic-rock fashion.
when dad first randomly asked me to track down a song called “Poke Seled Ennie” many years ago, i laffed. but then i eventually started to grasp his method of communication (let’s just call it “D-Bonics” for now), and after he kept repeating the name “Tony Joe White. Tony Joe White” to me over and over with no context, i realised i had all the information i needed to conduct my search and placate my father’s excitement. turns out the song is pretty dang cool too.
don’t sit there scratching your head. throughout the 90s my brother and i had already firmly established ourselves as the most soulful hip-hoppingest white boys around, so this was the kinda shit we were pumping in our respective rooms while doing homework. the constant barrage of music throughout the house seemed to have an effect on dad, as he would randomly burst into the chorus of this song, showing special attention to the words “baby baby won’t you be mine” and singing it with this old man ‘drawl’ voice he puts on, turning the song into: “bayybee bayybee whunt you bee moooiiinnee”.
Maxwell is up there as one of THE best artists i’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and who i wanted to model my persona after (didn’t quite work out that way as my hair is nowhere near as cool and oh yeah, i’m not as fucking sexy, but eh *shrugs*). Blackstreet was very 94, so when 96 rolled around Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite was the weapon of choice, the audio virus we would transmit throughout the house and, purely by proximity, get dad hooked onto yet another song. not surprisingly, dad loved the song so much mostly for the random bits that Max would exaggerate the song title and say: “shumthin shumthin” (with the added “h”).
i’m convinced that if dad coulda chosen to be ANYone else in the world, he woulda been Elvis Presley. the songs he recorded on tape off the radio, the tv specials on vhs, the touristy-lookin black & white postcards that he convinced me as a child were actual pics he took of Elvis (and i believed him and went around school tellin people this cos i was super fucking impressed), all tell me he loved the guy’s music. fuck, he’s got the same build and probly had as much swag as the man himself back in the day.
no real explanation necessary for why anyone would like this. alls i will say is the moment i found out dad worshiped at the altar of Hendrix and anyone else with guitar hero skills, he became infinitely cooler. we both seem to have an inner wild side that we can’t express through better means other than music such as this.
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