Lecrae | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The last act I was able to catch at the BET Experience music festival was Lecrae; a Christian rapper who has amassed quite a loyal fan base through his crunk beats and his verses on Christ.

With a new album scheduled for release on September 9th, his 7th album titled “Anomoly”, there little doubt that he will soon be charting on Billboard’s Gospel Albums chart before the year’s end.

Check out Lecrae’s Facebook page to keep up with her music. CLICK HERE to get redirected to Facebook.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Lecrae performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Elle Varner | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The fifth act I was able to catch was Elle Varner; an R&B artist who emerged during the early 2010s, whose single “Refill” charted in March 2012. Her debut album, “Perfectly Imperfect”, was one of the only female R&B albums that I purchased that year.

Currently working on her sophomore album, she recently released a single titled “Don’t Wanna Dance” featuring A$AP Ferg. If her follow up is anything like her debut, I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of it to add it to my collection.

Check out Elle’s Facebook page to keep up with her music. CLICK HERE to get redirected to Facebook.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Elle Varner performed at this concert.

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Tiara Thomas | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [PHOTOS]

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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On the second day of the BET Experience at L.A. Live, I decided to watch the various acts performing on the main stage of the convention center. Each of the acts performed short sets to give the audience a sampling of what their music was all about.

The fourth act I was able to catch was Tiara Thomas; a singer-songwriter who had a hit as a featured artist on Wale‘s 2013 single “Bad“. Currently signed to Interscope Records, she is currently in the process of putting together debut, full-length album, tentatively titled “The Bad Influence”. To get updated on the progress of her forthcoming album,

Check out Tiara’s Facebook page to keep up with his music. CLICK HERE to get redirected to Facebook.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Tiara Thomas performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Dear Kanye … Your Stage Production is Overrated, And What’s Up With The Cheescake?

THIS ENTRY WAS WRITTEN 11/30/14 BY A. LEVEL AND IS REPRINTED HERE BY PERMISSION.

A Level: "About to walk into a pool of darkness, with the quasi-naked beekeepers writhing behind him on the cheesecake."
A Level: “About to walk into a pool of darkness, with the quasi-naked beekeepers writhing behind him on the cheesecake.”

Dear Kanye:

Could you please fire your entire production design team? Honestly, who thought it was a great idea for you to perform in a series of masks for virtually the entire concert? And why did you steadfastly refuse to stand *in* the spotlight? If there’s a pool of light and you stand 15 feet off to the side – wearing black clothes and a black mask – you are invisible. When I’ve paid a good amount of money and trekked out to the Staples Center to see you, I’d like to actually *see* you.

It’s a good thing that your ego is so large that it has its own gravitational pull. That at least gave you enough stage presence to compensate somewhat for the completely bizarre (and not in a good way) staging. For most of the show, you were standing on an island that looked like a slice of cheesecake, periodically surrounded by a dozen women in nude body stockings and what looked like beekeeper masks. Then, there was the guy who followed you around from time to time, wearing a get-up that may have been stolen from Sweetums from the Muppets.

Later, you moved onto a main stage that my companion was calling the Fortress of Solitude but that I thought looked like either one of those volcanoes that 3rd graders make out of papier-mâché or like an ice cream cake. The sparker-style fireworks at the end of the show did nothing to dispel those images.

Oh, and rather than having any sort of design, it looked like they’d just turned on the house lights for the back ¼ of the arena. That meant that while you were invisibly perched on the cheesecake, all the techies around the main stage were bathed in harsh, white light. I couldn’t even figure out where you were part of the time, but I had a great view of the quasi-naked acolyte ladies roaming around in the wings and of the dj off to the side. Oh, and nice job on the spike tape – glad to know that your crew uses fluorescent yellow to mark where the equipment should be.

While I’ve sat in what seems like every possible area of the Staples Center over the years, these were also the seats with the worst acoustics I’ve ever experienced there. Was it the location, or was it the sound crew? It’s not clear, but I couldn’t understand a word you said all night. When you add in the incomprehensible Confederate flag merchandise (which I didn’t see firsthand but my companion told me about), this was definitely one of the weirder Odes to One’s Own Greatness. While I can’t say I was at all surprised by your sense of self-importance, I was massively disappointed by the show – when the music is completely forgotten in the process of putting on a show, it’s time to rethink your approach.

Ms. Unknown: "About to walk into a pool of darkness, with the quasi-naked beekeepers writhing behind him on the cheesecake."
A. Level: “About to walk into a pool of darkness, with the quasi-naked beekeepers writhing behind him on the cheesecake.”
Ms. Unknown: "Here, he went from wearing black and standing in the dark to wearing white and standing in front of a white set. Not a big improvement. The monster thing is above him, halfway up the Fortress of Solitude."
A. Level: “Here, he went from wearing black and standing in the dark to wearing white and standing in front of a white set. Not a big improvement. The monster thing is above him, halfway up the Fortress of Solitude.”
Ms. Unknown: "Cheesecake in the front, volcano project/ice cream cake in the back." Friend: "looks like Exhibit A of wedding-cakes-gone-wrong"
A. Level: “Cheesecake in the front, volcano project/ice cream cake in the back.”
Friend: “looks like Exhibit A of wedding-cakes-gone-wrong”

THIS ENTRY WAS WRITTEN 11/30/14 BY A. LEVEL AND IS REPRINTED HERE BY PERMISSION.

This Blog entry is considered editorial. The opinions expressed herein are not the opinions of MusicOfMyMind14, but those of a third party.

Establishing an Identity | “The Frvnk Freeman Project” | Frvnk Freeman [Album Review & Stream]

front Who is Frvnk Freeman (nee Frank Freeman)? I’ve been following his musical efforts for a few years, and I’ve been waiting for his evolution. Maybe we’ve arrived. With his latest album, “The Frvnk Freeman Project”, I heard some music that got my music juices flowing.

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Elle Varner | BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [Instagram Videos]

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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Similar to Centric TV’s “Centric Certified” initiative, the flagship BET channel “Music Matters” spotlight also aims to  highlight the next BET superstars through music, bios, music videos, photos and intimate interviews where the artists explain who they are and what music means to them.

Each artist performed a short set of around 4-5 songs. It was a great opportunity to discover (or rediscover) a number of both up-and-coming and established recording artists do their thing within an afternoon.

Being up close to the artist while they performed gave me the opportunity to take some really good pictures. Please follow me so you can get notified when they get posted.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Tiara Thomas| BET Experience: Music Matters | 6/29/14 [Instagram Videos]

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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Similar to Centric TV’s “Centric Certified” initiative, the flagship BET channel “Music Matters” spotlight also aims to  highlight the next BET superstars through music, bios, music videos, photos and intimate interviews where the artists explain who they are and what music means to them.

Each artist performed a short set of around 4-5 songs. It was a great opportunity to discover (or rediscover) a number of both up-and-coming and established recording artists do their thing within an afternoon.

Being up close to the artist while they performed gave me the opportunity to take some really good pictures. Please follow me so you can get notified when they get posted.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Bizarre Ride Live | Welcome to Dillaville | El Rey Theatre | 5/12/14

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Following Slum Village’s tribute set to J Dilla, FatLip and SlimKid3 (two of the original members of the essential hip-hop group The Pharcyde), J-Swift and K-Natural performed cuts from Pharcyde’s seminal album, “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde.” I had already seen Bizarre Ride Live (what the band calls the performance) last year; in fact it was one of the first topics I blogged about when I started writing this blog, but I was still geeked to be seeing “Ya Mama”, “Oh, Shit”, “Otha Fish, “Soulflower”, and my personal favorite, “Passin’ Me By” (clips of some of the tracks are in the video below) performed live again.

Pharcyde’s relationship to Dilla runs deep. At one point, Dilla was even the group’s DJ. Dilla helmed the majority of production duties for The Pharcyde’s sophomore album, “Labcabincalifornia”, producing the hit single “Runnin’,” which peaked at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Though I wished that all of the original members were performing the hip-hop tracks I listened to all throughout high school, there was absolutely no reason to complain. Each of J-Swift and K-Natural admirably performed the verses originally recorded by Imani and Bootie Brown. Fittingly, they concluded their set with a performance of “Runnin'”.

I don’t have a setlist to the songs that were performed that evening, but all you you have to do is listen to the album, and that’s all you need to know.

Slum Village | Welcome to Dillaville | El Rey Theatre | 5/12/14

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There’s a special place in my heart for James Dewitt Yancey, pka J Dilla. I’ve already written about the impact his music has had on my life, so I won’t rehash it here, but let’s just say his music has meant a lot to me. When I heard that Slum Village and Bizarre Ride Live (The Pharcyde’s Fatlip and SlimKid3 backed by Bizarre Ride producers J-Sw!ft and LA Jay) were paying homage to J Dilla with a  concert aptly titled “Welcome To Dillaville”, I made some calls to make sure that I could attend the event.

Slum Village is a hip hop group from Conant Gardens, Detroit Michigan that has gone through a lot of changes since it’s inception. Originally consisting of J Dilla, Baatin, and T3, only T3 remains as an original member, with both J Dilla and Baatin passing on way before their time (rest in peace). Currently the group is on record as featuring T3, Young RJ and Illa J (J Dilla’s younger brother), but for this show it seemed that only T3 and Young RJ handled MC duties.

With the ever sublime instrumentals produced by J Dilla, Young RJ and T3 faithfully spit verses from some of my favorite Slum Village tracks: “Fall In Love”, “Get Dis Money”, “Players” and, my personal favorite, “Tainted” (clips of which are all below). They had a couple of surprises appearances from specials guests, including Frank Nitt (a frequent J Dilla collaborator) and one other rapper that I didn’t know (but whose picture is below).

Before Slum dove into their set, Young RJ and T3 gave the audience a little presentation about their beloved, lost member. They gave a slideshow presentation of never seen before letters, track sheets, personal affirmations, and photos, telling stories that only they would know, and it was truly a pleasure to watch them reflect so fondly on their lost comrade.

I couldn’t find a setlist online anywhere, but if anyone has it, please let me know, and I’ll update this post accordingly.

 

 

BINKBEATS Performs and Recreates J. Dilla Beats Solo. Dope. (VIDEO)

I’ve been a big fan of J Dilla’s since  Slum Village released “Fantastic Vol. 2“, so whenever someone posts some new J Dilla material, or music inspired by J Dilla, I take the time to check it out.

The video clip above released on Youtube back on December 20, 2013, but I just stumbled upon it. I’d never heard of BINKBEATS until now, but I’ll have to say that he’s impressed me with this 7 minute video. Performing all of the instruments himself, he’s able to recreate some of J Dilla’s unique sounds live to create a wonderful “live” video that mixes in four of J Dilla’s beats: “Make’em NV”, “E=MC”, “Wont’ Do” and “Fall in Love”.  I’ve found videos of the foregoing tracks that you can check out, and compare, below.

Well done BINKBEATS. I’m sure J Dilla would be happy.