Saturday, April 5, 2014

CONSCIOUS LYRICISTS ON THE RISE: THUNDERLIONS

By: Dominique Grant


Knotti Chris and Isaac Faith, better known as the Thunderlions are leading the way by creating conscious music.  This Brooklyn based duo stepped into the music scene as a group in 2012 and have already made quite an impression in the industry.  They're well known for their progressive lyrical flow which stems from their natural personalities combined with their diverse backgrounds.  This collaboration led these two masterminds to form a powerful fusion that simply sealed the deal.

Thunderlions will soon become a household name.  They are signed to Youth Black Faith label where they spend their time honing their craft.  Both Isaac Faith and Knotti Chris are innovative creators who understand that music is not just an outlet, it's also a gift and a responsibility.  Their mission is to spread awareness by using their talent to convey a righteous and educational message while encouraging other musicians to do the same.  The Thunderlions pride themselves on producing music outside of the box such as, "Selassie Selassie," "Black Faith Soldiers," and "Fadeaway."  In every track, you can hear the deep-rooted message they were sent to convey.  Their presentation is intense and their style is unique which brought them opportunities to grace the stage with the likes of Spragga Benz, Khari Kill, Gyptian, Aidonia, Serani, Elephant Man and so many others.


The Thunderlions have an impressive range of influences, from prominent icons like Haile Selassie I, musicians like Barrington Levy, their individual life experiences, and genres of music itself including Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Bachata and Soca.  Their sound is a harmonious blend of all the music they love and enjoy;  a sound that constantly grabs your attention.  Along with their musical career, they are also very business minded.  They've built a brand which includes merchandising, graphic designs, film production, audio production and marketing services.  They have great knowledge of the music business and is transferring their skills to create an enterprise that will reflect their mission.

Isaac Faith initially made strides in the music industry as a gifted producer and business man while Knotti Chris worked professionally for various magazines like the Source and leading record labels like Sony Records and Young Money Entertainment.

Thunderlions are on the rise!  Right now, they're rocking the music scene with their mixtapes, "Kingdom Come" featuring Conquering Lion Sound and "Rastafari Knowledge We" featuring King Lion Sound.  They are currently working on a full length album that's expected to be released this summer.  This upcoming project is not yet titled but will include their hit single, "I'm An African" featuring Joint Pusher and "Thunderlions Anthem" featuring Jahdan Blakkamoore.  If you're in the New York area, you can find them performing at popular venues like, "Amazura" or "The Den" and you can catch them competing in prominent music competitions like "Suzie Q's Video Alley."  Their fans are anticipating their upcoming performance on the New York City Edition of "Coast 2 Coast Live" this May.  Coast 2 Coast is a well-respected platform that allows artists to showcase their talent to industry executives and fans alike, it's filled with networking opportunities and hardcore fans who appreciate quality musicians.



The Thunderlions often team up with other talented musicians on the rise whose message is in sync with their mission.  By incorporating what they've spent their lives learning, they're actively building one of the greatest movements in history.  One that uses music as an educational tool while honoring their African Heritage and promoting the advancement of their culture and community.

Their impeccable lyrical flow and inspirational platform is the heartbeat that will continue to guide their career straight to the top.  Just listen for yourself!  Check them out on www.ThunderLions.com to hear their music and subscribe to them in social media.  Keep connected with this dynamic duo because they're here on a mission and they're here to stay.


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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

UPCOMING EVENT: I OCTANE'S ALBUM RELEASE SHOW LIVE AT SOBS ON APRIL 9TH, 2014




SOB's is at it again showcasing the hottest live concerts in New York City. SOB's rocked 2013 and promises that 2014 will be no different! Where else can you go to see your favorite reggae superstars? Last year SOB's brought artistes like I Octane, Chronixx, Christopher Martin, Collie Buddz, Morgan Heritage, Mighty Crown and so much more to the stage;  can't wait to see what this year holds!

They're shaking things up with I-Octane's Album Release show on April 9th which is hosted by Rob Kenner of Boomshots Magazine; the event also features Livity Movements, The Royal and the Khaoz Band.  Niceness all around!   I-Octane harnesses a powerful blend of culture and energy, conquering both dancehall and reggae. Only a few artistes can keep a steady momentum while bringing the hype at every show.   Over the years, he's given us hits on top of hits so we are happy to announce his upcoming project, "The Journey" which was recently released to all outlets, online and in stores.

In a recent interview, I Octane stated, "Musically, this album represents my growth as an artist and as a person. Over the years, my perspective on a lot of things have changed and I'm now seeing things not just from a local standpoint but from a more global perspective."  This album is not just for a particular group, it is for everybody and the music and content reflect that."

It's a beautiful thing, listening to real music from real musicians.  At this intimate event; a very special group of us will be able to catch him live at SOB's on April 9th as he introduces us to his slew of hit songs. Watching him perform live is a must! Get your advanced tickets today by going to www.SOBS.com or www.TicketWeb.com or call 212.243.4940.

Check out this clip below from the Ladies Ball at Amazura Night Club:


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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MAGAZEEN FULLY LOADED

By: Charlene Wiggins


Originally known by his given name, Reagan, the first reggae artist to be signed to Maybach Music Group (MMG), successfully labeled himself, "Magazeen."  Magazeen's lyrical ammunition and phenomenal destiny allowed him to establish links with two major music families.

Growing up in Dunkirk, East Kingston, Jamaica to Christian parents, "The church is where I got my first exposure to music."  Magazeen learned how to play the drums and guitar and after winning local talent shows, he decided to drop out of high school to pursue a career in music.  "I began working as a chef to support myself and to buy studio time."  Although his debut single, "Jeans and Timberlands" received wide airplay on the Jamaican airwaves in the year 2000, "I got frustrated that the music did not reach a wider audience."  Intent on taking his career to the next level, Magazeen migrated to Miami, Florida in 2005 where he continued to hone his craft.


One day in 2009, he experienced the chance encounter of a lifetime;  "I was detailing a Maybach that pulled up and spitting lyrics at the same time.  The owner happened to be Rick Ross and I was invited to the studio to voice tunes and a week later, Rick Ross came back to the car wash to let me know I was signed."  In a 2011 Boomshots Magazine interview by Rob Kenner, hip hop royalty, Rick Ross speaks of why as the CEO and Founder of Maybach Music Group (MMG), he signed Magazeen as the first reggae artist on the label: "You meet people with talent a lot of times but when I met Magazeen, it was his character, it was more about him being authentic to me as a person."

Rob Kenner Interviews Magazeen and Rick Ross Backstage at the 2011 New Jersey Reggae Fest


The every day hustle paid off and after being signed to Maybach Music Group, Magazeen saw a projectile growth in his career and various opportunities to work with his label mates which includes: Wale, Meek Mill, French Montana, Teedra Moses, Omarion, Stalley, Gunplay, Triple C's and Rick Ross himself.

Rick Ross and Magazeen Performing "Yacht Club" on the David Letterman Show



In 2010, Magazeen linked up with Red Square Productions (Red Square).  Reggae icon, Spragga Benz and his manager Tugz Redsquare (Tugz) founded this record label in 2003.  According to Tugz, "Spragga and I are both from the same community, Red Square Corner (Dunkirk), East Kingston, Jamaica.  We wanted to turn the negative stereotype of this area into positive vibes so that the youths in the community could have an outlet to channel their talents, especially musically.  Our artists include: Spragga Benz, Briggy Benz, Amlak, Xyclone, Kemmikal, Jahfrica, Askel TudiWorld, Jay-5, Natty Chris, Tajji and Bittah.  I actually knew Magazeen because we are both from Dunkirk.  So we were all booked at the same event in Atlanta: Spragga Benz, Rick Ross, Trina and Magazeen.  After the event we voiced Magazeen on our first Riddim, "Sudden Death," which was a collaborative effort with Frenz4Real Productions.  He loved our work and since then a just magic."  Following this, there have been numerous projects between the artists of both MMG and Red Square.


MMG and Red Square Alliance



The latest collaboration, salutes Miley Cyrus for her twerking efforts at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and fuses dancehall with hip hop in Magazeen featuring Wale, "Twerkin' Cyrus." This song was produced on the Suburb Riddim by Tugz of Red Square Productions.  MMG artist, Wale, gives this song hip hop flair and with echoes of Little Lenny's, "Healthy Body" and Ravyon & Red Fox, "Bashment Party,"  Magazeen provides step-wise instructions for twerking on the dance floor;  "Work it/ Twerk It/ Bend down/ Work it/ Tic-toc/ Tic-toc/ Ya batty up/ Look at that/ Stick out ya tongue like Miley/ Twerk it like Miley/ Wine up like Miley."

Magazeen ft. Wale, "Twerkin' Cyrus"


This is not the first collaboration for these fellow MMG artists.  The two label mates work together frequently.  In the incendiary hit, "Keep Running Back,"  Magazeen and Wale address cyclic heartbreak from a male perspective.


Magazeen:  "I give my heart to you and all you do is hurt me more!"

Wale:  "It's easy to love when everything is cool/ But when it wasn't, why your love never came through?"

Magazeen ft Wale - "Keep on Running Back"


Magazeen continues to create a street buzz for his lyrics, thanks to a succession of mixtapes, which includes clear enunciation over the beat.  Magazeen recalls that he spent over two years working on "delivery pronunciation" because when he moved to Miami, a lot of people complained about difficulty understanding reggae lyrics.  Magazeen worked to improve the clarity of his lyrics based on this feedback.

Magazeen - "Progression"


The sky does not even seem to be the limit for this artist as we await his highly anticipated debut album, "Jamaica Gates."  It seems that the planets aligned for him with an impromptu audition that allowed him to be signed to a hip hop label.  Furthermore, his personal magnetism fostered an alliance between two successful music families, Maybach Music Group and Red Square Productions.

Follow @ Tweeky_Givenchy


Charlene Wiggins is a NYC based writer and can be reached at Charnwnyc@gmail.com.






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Saturday, February 8, 2014

BOB MARLEY: "IS THIS LOVE?" [EDITORIAL]

By: Charlene Wiggins



In recognition of Bob Marley's birthday this week, we honor this great songwriter and reflect on the most famous rhetorical question he posed, "Is This Love?" (1978).  He shares his personal idea of love with the lyrics:

"I wanna love you and treat you right; I wanna love you every day and every night. We'll be together with a roof right over our headsWe'll share the shelter of my single bed; We'll share the same room, yeah! - for Jah provide the bread. Is this love - Is this love - Is this love - Is this love that I'm feeling? Is this love - Is this love - Is this love - Is this love that I'm feeling? I wanna know - wanna know - wanna know now!I got to know - got to know - got to know now! I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I I'm willing and able, so I throw my cards on your table!"

The first verse sounds like an answer but the repetition of the question in the chorus leaves room for uncertainty that lingers with, "I wanna know, wanna know, wanna know now!"  This complex question with no clear answer gives rise to vulnerability in the last line of the chorus, "So I throw my cards on your table" implying that perception of love varies from one individual to another (in this case, Bob's love interest).  The man with a message gives us reason to closely examine love.  If we consider the love in this song, at least as a decent representation of love between two people, we can make inferences from the lyrics.  It's clear that the love that Bob describes consists of good treatment, respect, loving, kindness, sharing and having each other's best interest in mind.  The video for this song gives the overall impression that love is gentle, amicable and happy.


Now, when evaluating our personal relationships with the "Is This Love?" lyrics, we also need to see the other side of the coin, with an unhealthy representation of love in song.  Let me bravely suggest, as an example, Alkaline, "Things Me Love".  The lyrics are similar to a plethora of other "pain is pleasure" songs in all genres.  However, I must say I felt eerie after watching the video.  In the beginning it's this roses are pink, violets are purple teenage love theme with adventure, some motorcycle stunts and caressing; nothing out of the ordinary or that we have not seen before.  An abrupt disruption in the equilibrium and a physical altercation occurs.  At the end you see a woman with meaty flesh projecting over her zygomatic bone and raccoon eyes from tear-smudged mascara.  Alkaline has blood seeping from the left side of his mouth.  I thought to myself is this the black version of the movie Twilight?  Soon realizing it was not a vampire after dark theme but a human punching bag ending.  This video by the shock value artist has been viewed over 1.5 million times on Youtube however in comments to the video, people seem to be more interested in his sclera tattoo and voice than the real issue being highlighted.


In any event, lets talk about it.  This would not be the first time seeing volatile scenarios in music videos, movies, reality TV shows and other forms of popular media, so where do we draw the line?  Have we become desensitized to violence because of the preponderance of these images?  And what's considered violent behavior in a relationship?

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) describes "physical, sexual, psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse."  It falls under the larger umbrella of domestic violence, which includes family violence.  Most of the time, Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence are terms used interchangeably because most domestic violence occurs between intimate partners - heterosexual or homosexual.  It can happen to men but usually women are the victims of violence.  Most of the time, it starts off as "verbal abuse and warning signs may include belittling, name calling, a lack of trust and accusations of cheating, threats, manipulation, controlling behavior and isolation from family and friends." ( See 1 in informative websites ).  According to the CDC, one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime, an alarming statistic considering most cases of domestic violence are not reported.  "Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner" according to Safe Horizon, one of the largest domestic violence organizations in the United States.

In 2014, if love is hurting you emotionally, physically or psychologically then let it go.  That kind of love is not worth you sacrificing your happiness, self-esteem and more times than fewer, ends fatally.  Bob Marley, one of the most socially conscious artists to walk the earth provides us with his perspective of love in his music.  Furthermore, he follows up with a question to help maintain our own personal homeostasis.  In contemplating matters of the heart, we always have to come back to this question, Is this Love?


The Wickedest Time Presents Youtube Video Memories of Women Who Have Died From Intimate Partner Violence To Raise Awareness

1) In Memory of Siobhan "Shev" Russell, 19 years old


2) In Memory of Aneese Michelle Rivera, 17 years old

 

3) In Memory of Starlena Pratt, 28 years old


4) In Memory of Jamie Williams, 30 years old 


5) In memory of Nicole Sinkule, 25 years old



Informative Websites to Help If Your or Someone You Know Is In A Relationship With Intimate Partner Violence:

1) Intimate Partner Violence Statistics 

2) Safe Horizon - U.S. Based Crisis and Safety Planning and Emergency Shelters
24hr Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

3) Woman Incorporated (Crisis Center) - JA Based Crisis Planning and Emergency Shelter
18 Ripton Road, Kingston 5
24hr Hotline 1-876-929-9038

4) Domestic Violence Legislation and State Protection 
http://refworld.org/
(Keyword search:  Domestic Violence)

5) National Coalition Against Domestic Violence - Break The Cycle Love Is Not Abuse Campaign and Remember My Name Project

6) The National Teen Dating Abuse Help Line (NTDAH)
1-866-331-9474




Charlene Wiggins is a NYC based writer and can be reached at Charnwnyc@gmail.com.





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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

THE TOP CASINO DESTINATIONS IN THE CARIBBEAN

By: Rachel Kimmell



While casino tourism is far from dead, the era in which certain destinations were known primarily for their incredible casinos seems to be becoming a thing of the past.  At one time, there were only a few mainstream destinations around the world where enormous crowds of tourists flocked to enjoy the thrill and glamour of gambling.  From hubs like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, to various island casinos and Far East resorts, world class casinos were havens for gamblers and all the entertainment they enjoyed.

Now, it's much easier to simply log into an online casino on a computer from their desks at home.  And really, it's no wonder why when you look at the extensive offerings of certain sites. Betfair's poker site, for example, provides a clean and professional image.  Additionally, it offers players everything from casual video poker to scheduled online tournaments against real opponents from around the globe.  Naturally, any online casino environment is missing some of the atmosphere of a real-life casino.  But for those who are in it for the games themselves and the gambling opportunities, Internet casinos definitely does the trick.

There are certain destinations that can make even the most serious and intent gamblers remember just why poker and other casino games were once considered vacation activities.  And the Caribbean is full of them.

For many, there's nothing that quite beats the combination of casino thrill and luxury paired with the best beach areas in the world.  That is just one reason that the Caribbean has maintained its status as a very desirable destinations for gamblers.  And if such a vacation appeals to you, here's a look at four of the top casino venues in the Caribbean islands.

Atlantis - Bahamas Paradise Island

The biggest and most impressive casino in the Caribbean by a fairly wide margin, Atlantis will always be mentioned first in this category.  In fact, it is a pick for the best resort in the Caribbean, too, aside from its actual casino.  With over 90 gaming tables and 850 slot and arcade machines, the Atlantis casino offers a gambling experience as rich as any in the world.

Hard Rock - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Mentioned right behind Atlantis by the Caribbean Journal, the Hard Rock at Punta Cana is another very high-end casino.  It spans 45,000 square feet and offers 40 gaming tables and a poker room where regular tournaments are scheduled.  For a large, luxury resort casino, the Hard Rock offers a surprisingly intimate environment the appeals to many who are serious about their gambling.

Stellaris Casino - Aruba

This large casino at the Aruba Marriott is certainly a popular favorite in the Caribbean, and it features all the usual amenities.  However, if poker tables go beyond what many competing casinos offer by providing various types of the popular card game.  Also, the "Wheel of Fortune" - themed slot machines are a unique and popular draw.


El San Juan -San Juan, Puerto Rico

Whereas the majority of the main casinos in the Caribbean and on this list are more "Vegas-style," the El San Juan casino feels more like a European venue with a more elegant atmosphere.  Despite the rich atmosphere, the El San Juan caters to all different skill levels and budget, which makes it a great stop for anyone passing through the wildly popular San Juan area.

There are casinos dotted all throughout the Caribbean region and many offer a smaller, simpler experience.  But if you're looking for a casino destination that is built for international tourism, these four are a great start.

Monday, February 3, 2014

THE PINNACLE VS A FLAWED GOVERNMENT: WHY ISN'T RASTAFARI BEING RECOGNIZED IN JAMAICA?

By: Paul Wayne


It is very disturbing to know that the Jamaican government still has not officially recognized Rastafari, but let the Church of the Latter Day Saints come and set up shop in Jamaica.  This is the same organization that condemned blacks as being damned and unworthy of going to heaven!  The stance of these racist neanderthals has changed just recently, but these are the people that we support and allow on our soil, yet continue to reject our own!  Now what does this project say about the mindset of our leaders?  They allow these people to set up shop but will not make PINNACLE, the original home of Rastafari, a national landmark, but yet are so quick to capitalize from the international appeal of Rastafari and its benefits to Jamaica.

The spirit of Rasta is the essence of who we are as a people and no other slave master narrative can compare as such.  We truly as a people need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery induced by the sorcery of the white man with proven evil intentions!  Worshipping via the eyes of our own liberating culture will surely do that.  It can only happen if you stop glorifying the oppressor.


Bless,

Paul Wayne










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Friday, January 31, 2014

LADY SAW: HEELS ON HIGH

By: Charlene Wiggins



No other female dancehall artist can surpass the Queen, Marion Hall aka Lady Saw.  Macka Diamond learned this the hard way at STING 2013, when lyrical ability overshadowed personal jabs.  Lady Saw says everything a woman wants to say at one point in her life or another, without biting her tongue.  With a myriad of hits, her lyrics span from raw to raunchy, in songs like "No Matta Me," "Bad Inna Bed," and "Stab Out The Meat," to vulnerable and cherubic in her songs: "Give Me A Reason," "Love Sick," "Underneath It All," (collaboration with an American Rock Group, NO DOUBT, which went triple platinum) and "No Less Than A Woman."

Lady Saw In A Legendary Performance featuring Dancehall Queen, Carlene Smith at Sunsplash 1995 -- Songs: "It's Raining" and "Glory Be To God"


Lady Saw is not only the first female deejay to win a Grammy, but the only female dancehall artist that continues to reign with her heels on high, keeping her lyrics up-to-di-time and worthy of consideration.

I remember when I first heard "Heels On" in a two-dollar van on the way to Kings Plaza in Brooklyn, NY.  The rain was pouring down and every woman in the van began belting out the chorus, "Let me %^*$ you with me heels on!  Yeah!  Introduce me to your ding dong!"  At first I wanted to melt in my seat, naively feeling bad about loving these lyrics.  However, I soon joined the unbridled choir in this song produced by Diva Records and mixed by Teetimus and Truckback Records.  The video, directed by Scorpio21, was released in mid-January and included lessons on how to spice things up with super sexy stilettos, lingerie and  featured a sizzling chemistry between Lady Saw and reggae icon, Shaggy.


Now Lady Saw has us glued to the computer screen again with the "Heels On" remix video featuring chart topping rapper Flo Rida, with the premier on MTV's world wide website.

Flo Rida and Lady Saw Turn Everything to Gold with "Heels On" Remix



Flo Rida raps, "I need me a dancehall queen" and then lays it down on this track with echoes of El General, "Tu Pum Pum" and Shabba Ranks, "Ting-A-Ling."  The remix video, directed by Evan Winter, is grandiose in appearance.  It features the artistic appeal of a gold paint on black theme and a cameo by a Miley Cyrus Teddy Bear.  Listen it's 2014, I hope I don't step on anyone's toes but after watching this, I'm investing in some new heels!



         



Charlene Wiggins is a New York based writer, charnwnyc@gmail.com.







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