Tag: Kanye West

New Video: The Cosmic and Symbolic Visuals for Cody ChesnuTT’s “Image of Love”

With the release of his critically praised 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, singer/songwriter and guitarist Cody ChesnuTT was universally hailed as a modern-day soul troubadour with many critics comparing his work to the likes of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, largely because of his frank and socially conscious songwriting focusing on modern Black life. Interestingly, The Headphone Masterpiece was released at the height of the neo-soul movement, which included Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and a lengthy list of others — all of whom proved that artists could still release deeply personal, thoughtful, socially conscious work that was fairly successful both critically and commercial successful. In the case of ChesnuTT, his closest brush with mainstream success was a collaborative remake of “The Seed,” “The Seed 2.0,” which appeared on The Roots’ Phrenology released at the end of 2002.

After the commercial and critically success of “The Seed,” ChesnuTT abruptly disappeared from public view for the better part of a decade, a period in which the singer/songwriter and guitarist spent time raising children and in writerly fashion, reflecting, observing, loving and living. Naturally, those experiences informed and influenced 2012’s Landing on a Hundred, an effort that linked contemporary Black soul and pop with the classic work of Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, as Hundred thematically focused on a man’s road to redemption after years of womanizing, drugging and scheming, of the power of a love that eclipses superficial and material expressions of love and devotion and of the power of being truthful to one’s self.

Since the release of Landing on a Hundred, ChesnuTT has been rather productive as he’s contributed to the soundtracks of the Oscar Award-winning major motion pictures 12 Years A Slave and Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandela, and writing the material that would comprise his recently released third album, My Love Divine Degree. Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past year, you may recall that I wrote about My Love Divine Degree‘s second single “I Stay Ready” an uplifting call to positivity in the face of tremendous adversity — and while further cementing his reputation for crafting frank, earnest songs, the production work of Anthony “Twilite Tone” Khan, a BMI Award, Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and DJ, who has worked with Kanye West, Common, John Legend and Pusha T pushes sonic boundaries as it meshes beat-based hip-hop and soul.

The album’s latest single “Image of Love” continues in a similar vein as ChesnuTT’s soulful crooning is paired with a genre blurring production that features wobbling synths, big tweeter and woofer rattling beats and a slick hook in what may arguably be one of the funkiest and most hip-hop leaning songs ChesnuTT has released in several years. Interestingly, the single much like the material on the album is “inspired by a story of a Man and Woman that exercised their ability to rise about their arresting selfishness — to attain a higher level of communication — that they might willing share in the love of eternal life . . . all to simply win the hearts of men, woman and children to better things,” as ChesnuTT explains in press notes. And much like it’s preceding single, it’s a desperately needed bit of uplift in dark, fucked up times.

Featuring gorgeous, psychedelic and cosmic line animation by Konee Rok that includes Cody Chesnutt walking through the woods and the cosmos, playing his Gibson and singing, kids running and playing in the woods, while nodding at the album’s and song’s themes about the differences between selfish and superficial love, and the sort of love that truly connects you with others and the larger universe.

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With the release of his critically praised 2002 debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, singer/songwriter and guitarist Cody ChesnuTT was universally hailed as a modern-day soul troubadour with many critics comparing his work to the likes of Marvin GayeCurtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder, largely because of his frank and socially conscious songwriting focusing on modern Black life. Interestingly, The Headphone Masterpiece was released at the height of the neo-soul movement, which included Erykah BaduJill Scott, The Roots, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def,  and a lengthy list of others — all of whom proved that artists could still release deeply personal, thoughtful, socially conscious work that was fairly successful both critically and commercial successful.  In the case of ChesnuTT, his closest brush with mainstream success was a collaborative remake of “The Seed,” “The Seed 2.0,” which appeared on The Roots’ Phrenology released at the end of 2002.

After the commercial and critically success of “The Seed,” ChesnuTT abruptly disappeared from public view for the better part of a decade, a period in which the singer/songwriter and guitarist spent time raising children and in writerly fashion, reflecting, observing, loving and living. Naturally, those experiences informed and influenced 2012’s Landing on a Hundred, an effort that linked contemporary Black soul and pop with the classic work of  Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, as Hundred thematically focused on a man’s road to redemption after years of womanizing, drugging and scheming, of the power of a love that eclipses superficial and material expressions of love and devotion and of the power of being truthful to one’s self.

 

 

Since the release of Landing on a Hundred, ChesnuTT has been rather productive as he’s contributed to the soundtracks of  the Oscar Award-winning major motion pictures 12 Years A Slave and Idris Elba Presents Mi Mandelaand writing the material that would comprise his third, full-length effort, My Love Divine Degree slated for a June 2, 2017 release. Now, if you had been frequenting this site over the past year, you may recall that I wrote about My Love Divine Degree‘s second single “I Stay Ready” an uplifting call to positivity in the face of tremendous adversity — and while further cementing his reputation for crafting frank, earnest songs, the production work of  Anthony “Twilite Tone” Khan, a BMI Award, Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and DJ, who has worked with Kanye West, Common, John Legend and Pusha T pushes sonic boundaries as it meshes beat-based hip-hop and soul.

The album’s latest single “Image of Love” continues in a similar vein as ChesnuTT’s soulful crooning is paired with a genre blurring production that features wobbling synths, big tweeter and woofer rattling beats and a slick hook in what may arguably be one of the funkiest and most hip-hop leaning songs ChesnuTT has released in several years. Interestingly, the single  much like the material on the album is “inspired by a story of a Man and Woman that exercised their ability to rise about their arresting selfishness — to attain a higher level of communication — that they might willing share in the love of eternal life . . . all to simply win the hearts of men, woman and children to better things,” as ChesnuTT explains in press notes. And much like it’s preceding single, it’s a desperately needed bit of uplift in dark, fucked up times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: FYUTCH’s Hilarious Action Movie-based Take on Rejection

Harold Simmons II is a Gary, IN-born, New York-based (by way of a lengthy stint in Nashville, TN), emcee, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who writes and records as FYUTCH (pronounced Fi-yoo-tch). Simmons can trace the origins of his musical and performing career to when he initially began to receive attention as a public speaker, who had given speeches at a number of impressive and major public events — including Gary’s Mayor Scott L. King’s campaign banquet and on the steps of Congress. When he turned 17, Simmons formed Legendary Biscuits and Gravy a band in which he played alto sax and contributed vocals with friends, Eric Sexton (keyboard), Brandon Holt (drums), Wesley Winfrey (tenor sax) and Brady Surface (bass). The quintet received regional acclaim as they were nominated for Southern Entertainment Awards’ Best Indy R&B Artist of the Year in 2007. And over the subsequent two year period, the band saw a rapidly growing profile as they’ve been on bills that included nationally and internationally recognized artists including The Pink Spiders, Sam and Ruby, as well as opening for Kanye West, GZA and Nappy Roots.

Simmons relocated to Nashville and while using the moniker Future the Artist, Simmons released his self-produced solo debut The Sci Fly EP, which garnered a Nashville Music Award nomination for Best Urban Recording of the Year, which he followed up with his Overnight Mixtape series in which he wrote and recorded six mixtapes — with each mixtape being recorded during an overnight studio session and then released as a free download the next day. The mixtapes caught the attention of renowned site, Nashville Scene, who praised Simmons’ work; in fact, thanks to the growing attention he received, the fourth mixtape of the series found Simmons collaborating with the likes of Bun B and GLC. Additionally, as a solo artist, he has opened for Wale, Pharrell Williams, Little Brother and Afroman.

By late 2012, Simmons changed his name to FYUTCH after discovering that there was another artist who also went by the name Future, who was receiving quite a bit of attention nationally — and internationally. And since changing his performing moniker, Simmons has released several efforts including Mr. Flattop, which was executive produced by DJ Rob “Sir” Lazenby and featured guest spots from Mike Stud, Futuristic, Mello Rello, Whitney Coleman and production by G-Pop, Wick-it the Instigator and The FANS; a psychedelic hip-hop concept EP Peace, Love and FYUTCH which was produced by G-Pop and featured deeply obscure samples and world music percussion. Interestingly, “Funked Up,” the first single off his Philosophy of Love EP was produced by Solar Shield — and the single is a Dam-Funk/Thundercat retro-futuristic -leaning jam featuring shimmering, arpeggio synths and wobbling low end paired with Simmons rhyming and singing a hilarious and very true tale about approaching an attractive woman, who’s been attracted to for some time or has noticed for a little bit and being cruelly rejected for his efforts. On one level, the song is about having the blind courage to risk being made a fool of and being rejected; on another level, the song is a tell off to someone, who in the narrator’s eyes doesn’t see what kind of man he is; but also, the song can be viewed as an admission of how stupid and vulnerable love can make us. And Simmons does all of this in a slick and funky as hell, dance-floor friendly song.

Filmed by Wesley Crutcher, the recently released video for “Funked Up,” is a mischievous take on action movies — in particular, movies like Jumper in which the main character travels through time; in this case, the future FYUTCH winds up traveling through time to see a younger FYUTCH get rejected by one of his first love interests, while the older FYUTCH gets rejected by a love interest, who was sitting near the younger FYUTCH. Trippy, right? But at the same time, it’s goofy and hilarious take on rejection.

Live Footage: Yasiin Bey Returns for His First Stateside Performance in 5 Years

Last month the great poet, singer/songwriter and actor Saul Williams presented a Boiler Room Session dedicated to lyricism and spoken word in London, which the good folks at Okayplayer presented last month. The set up of the evening was deeply influenced by Def Poetry Jam with the show being split in two distinct parts –the first being artists (emcees, poets, spoken word artists, etc.) sharing their favorite and/or brand new verses and poetry in a theater-like environment and the second half of the night had the same artists taking part in a large cypher, backed by a DJ. Williams along with Aja Monet recently brought the carefully curated Boiler Room In Appreciation of Lyricism session to Miami for Art Basel and while having an incredibly diverse list of artists performing — from including Allan Kingdom, a Kanye West collaborator; Wifisfuneral, a trap hop artist, Melo-X and a ton of local talents; however, the biggest highlight of the session was Yasiin Bey (he’s still Mos Def to me) making his first Stateside appearance in over 5 years, performing completely new material, including a new piece “No Time to Pretend,” which he performed acapella in front of an awed and completely surprised audience.

Perhaps more popularly known as a co-founder of renowned indie electro pop act M83, Nicholas Fromageau, who left the project after the release of the act’s seminal album Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts, Fromageau (vocals, guitar) founded his own project, Team Ghost recruited fellow French musicians Christophe Guérin (vocals, guitar),  Benoit de Villeneuve (vocals, guitar, keys), Félix Delacroix (drums), and Pierre Blanc (bass) to flesh out the project’s overall sound. Following the release of several EPs, 2013’s full-length debut Rituals, tours with Crystal Castles and a set the inaugural Pitchfork Paris Festival, the members of the band found themselves in a bit of a creative rut before they ultimately found inspiration in an old analog synthesizer, along with the Blade Runner soundtrack and Kanye West‘s Yeezy among other things while blending it a bit with elements of feedback-filled guitar chords played through effects pedals, inspired by Sonic Youth and Slowdive. And the end result is the retro-futuristic and cinematic “The Riser,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled sophomore effort, slated for a December 2, 2016.

While possessing an icy and abrasive feel, and vocals fed through layers of vocoder, the song not not manages to be larger-than-life and anthemic, it simultaneously manages to nod at Chateau Marmont, Milemarker, Kraftwerk, and John Carpenter soundtracks while evoking an Orwellian, post-apocalyptic world of cyborgs, clones, nuclear waste, pollution, deprivation and unending strife. However, just underneath the icy and uneasy surface, there’s an aching and human yearning for much more — for another world in which the song’s narrator could truly be free.