A Tribe Called Quest could easily be the greatest Hip-Hop group ever.  To prove this statement I compiled some of my favorite songs off of all there albums through out the years so you can conclude your own opinion. Q-tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jorobi White made history and revolutionized the game when they presented a fusion of Hip-Hop, Jazz a twist of positivity and an eclectic style of individualism. These Kings were or should I say are 100 percent themselves they made music from the heart and of corse for the love. Staying true to what we do here at LOK which is to celebrate Legends as they live and breath on this Kingdom we call Earth I give you a nice mix of one of the greatest groups of all time “A Tribe Called Quest” press play and enjoy, Life Of Kings More Than Music It’s Life. To down load right click here.

 

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Last year I got the opportunity to attend Street Etiquettes “Sartorial Sounds” live. I posted photos of the grand de jour on the site but recently I was digging in my archives and found video of the event so I want to share with you some moving stills of that moment. Enjoy and stay tuned for more. Life Of Kings More Than Music It’s Life.

No need for elaborate words here the name speaks for it self I present Sade “King Of Sorrow”  the MixTape. Press play and enjoy.

To download right click here. Life Of Kings More Than Music It’s Life.

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Song of The Week number two is a tune from one of my favorite soulful artist Meshell Ndegeocello [ pronounced Mee-shell N-deh-gay-o-chel-o]  titled ” Love You Down” which happens to be a cover originally by “Ready For The World”. Press play and enjoy.

 

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Life Of Kings gets back to the music and I’m proud to introduce “song Of The Week” ; a series where I’ll be posting songs that are in my playlist. So to kick it off here is a tune by Smoove & Turrell titled Gabriel. Press play and enjoy.

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We here at Life Of Kings love celebrating Legends while they still live, breath and take Kingly foot steps on this great Kingdom we call Earth. With his resent album release The Dreamer,The Believer and his first  book titled “One Day It Will All Make Sense” Lonnie Rashid Jr. A.K.A Common is still one of the greatest emcees to grace the mic. I’ve been a fan since I heard “I Used To Love H.E.R” off his second album Resurrection around 1994. Common has been carrying the torch for over a decade now with nine studio albums, Grammy awards and I’m sure he has his eye on an Oscar now. Some say Hip-Hop is dead others may debate but listening to his latest album Common would disagree with the non-believers as would I. His latest attempt is Hip-Hop in it’s purest form and I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from this King. Reading his book I had no idea that Common doesn’t write down his rhymes, he does the rain man rap just like King Jay-Z does, but of course he doesn’t brag or boast about his super human abilities the humble King just keeps perfecting his craft and gives his fans solid albums. 

In his book “One Day It Will All Make Sense”  Common writes about one of his heroes/producers Jay Dilla , he tells us how much Dilla loved music and how much he (Common) loved his style of music he called ” The Hump” as well as the bond they built while he was alive. Me being a huge Jay Dilla fan found these stories super emotional it really touched my heart so I would strongly recommend purchasing “One Day It Will All Make Sense.” Rashid takes you on a journey of self definition  growing up in Chicago holding a strong bond with his mother, hanging out  with his friends getting into fights finding love, losing love, his relationship with God and searching for his voice. 

 

” [ One Day It Will All Make Sense] is a book about [Common's] fascinating life. That is true. More important, his story is the story of all young people trying to grow up. His saga reminds the reader that love liberates and poverty cripples. Common writes beautifully, like the poet he is.” Maya Angelou

 

I have put together a glimpse of Common’s new album The Dreamer,The Believer along with past classics to keep your head nodding, so press play and enjoy. Life Of Kings more than music it’s life.

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Last Week I was blessed with the opportunity to see Beyonce perform at the Roseland Ballroom. Now I’ve seen Beyonce perform before and she is absolutely amazing to see live. This was different though, this was 100 thousand trillion percent better it was as the title says “intimate” she took us through her journey and had us hanging onto every word. The place was packed and everyone there knew every lyric to every song she sang. Looking back at some footage I took gave me goose bumps as I felt the raw energy she exudes on stage. Beyonce is a force, plain and simple. Even if you’re not her number one fan she’ll have you raising your hands singing along putting you totally in the moment and that’s the quality only a great artist can offer. She really gives her all on stage from dancing to singing, connecting with her fans comes easy to B she is pure entertainment and I enjoyed every bit of her performance especially watching fans go crazy for her. If you’ve never seen her live I strongly suggest you do. I don’t care how old you are, male or female you will enjoy her shows AND you will know why she is deemed  the best in the game. Some say she’s even on Michael Jacksons level and If you see her live you’ll know why words such as those were ever uttered. Life Of Kings. More Thank Music It’s Life. Enjoy the photos I took of that special night. To see the images in black and white click here.

Last month I was able to attend Essence Music Festival in New Orleans and I witnessed one of my favorite Mc’s tear the place down. What a great moment it was to capture such artistry, performance and sheer power. Kanye West is undeniably a great musical genius and one of the best entertainers out there. The show was electrifying hairs literally stood up on my arms that’s how powerful the energy he exuded from the stage. He was simply Brilliant, here’s some moments I caught through the lens. Enjoy, Life Of Kings More Than Music It’s Life. Stay tuned for more images from my trip.

It’s been a while and I’m actually fiending to post all the pictures I took so far on my journey but it will have to wait, so I leave you with this shot I took of Kanye while in New Orleans at the music festival. I have so much more to share stay tuned for all the beauty to come. Life Of Kings. More Than Music It’s Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry I’ve been busy flying here and there for business and pleasure, I’ve got some great photos of Essence Music festival that I will be sharing as soon as I get home. Right now I’m over seas in Sri Lanka making sure the collection we worked so hard to create comes out as we vision. Being away means neglecting not only my blog but also my bubba, speaking of bubba I finally saw the video she’s in for a hot second watching it made me smile. The video I speak of is King B’s new song “Best I never had” take a look and Radhika is at the end portion, go Bubba!!!! Oh how can I forget they labeled the genius behind Life Of Kings(blush) “Eye Candy” (laughs) on Essence Magazine website check it here.

This past saturday I had the pleasure of attending a great night of good music well dressed people and cool vibes. The guys from the exquisite fashion blog Street Etiquette hosted a show @ 92Y Tribeca and introduced to the audiance “Sartorial Sounds” Live. Joshua and Travis Introduced artist such as Jesse Boykins III, Mara Hruby, Joekenneth Museau, Joshua Bennett, Melo-x, Theo Martins and Rinaldy Alvarez.

The show started off with great performances and ended with all the artist on stage singing ” Take Off  Your Cool” a cover by Andre 3000 from Outcast. Now I can go in about every artist who performed that night but I’d rather let the short video I took while snapping photos of that night speak for it self. All I know is I enjoyed every last one of them. Mara Hruby who expressed her first performance in New York stole the crowds hearts with her beautiful tone and romantic music. Melo-X killed it with a live remix he did of Maxwells Bad Habits when the beat dropped all I saw were heads nodding back and forth. Theo Martins from Rhode Island also worked the stage well and put his home town on the map. The poets Joshua and Joekenneth were moving, intelligent and extremely entertaining and how can I forget about Mr. Boykins who with his animated performance rocked the crowd like the star that he is. The only regret I have is not being pushy enough to capture Mr. Alvarez who was shying in the back ground and I just couldn’t get that perfect shot, But I did manage to get him tapping in the video so watch out for that soon.

In closing Joshua and Travis have impeccable taste and style the duo brought together great talent and shared them with the rest of us. I saw Dr. Woo filming so I’m sure the footage will be nothing less than exuberant.

I took some photos of that night hope you enjoy. Life Of Kings More Than Music, It’s life. Click on the artist name and check out there music.

I know when I visit Bklyn Bishop of SoundProof  Music it’s usually going to be an inspiring day for me. So I geared up the equipment and headed to his sound lab to catch up on music and talk about up and coming projects. I personally think this kid is one of the most profound producers period. I’ve been following his music for a while now and when he played his beats I couldn’t stop thinking, wow, I have to step my game up (laughs). His production is definitely complete now, you know how some up and coming producers play you there tracks and it always seem like there’s something missing? Well, this feeling doesn’t occur when you here something from SoundProof Music, he covers all type’s of genres so if you’re an aspiring singer or writer I suggest you hit this guy up because Bishop has an endless archive of Big Hits just waiting to reach the ears of the masses. Press play below and here what the artist/producer/engineer/director has to say. Life Of Kings is on a beautiful journey. Download ” The Breaks” Mix Tape here.

 

The year was 1998 and I was home on break from design school in Atlanta Georgia, I remember not having cable in my dorm so I couldn’t watch any music videos until I went home to visit. So I sat in front of the t.v. catching up on every Hip-Hop video I missed in a few months. Then a video comes on with a Japanese guy name DJ Honda and this cool charismatic looking dude who goes by Mos Def and he begins to sing this hook ” memories don’t live like people do, they always remember you whether things are good or bad, I’m a traveling man.” That was the year I was introduced to one of the illest emcees to date. So next day I went to “Record Express” and looked all over the “Rap” section for DJ Honda but I couldn’t find it.  I was so disappointed and asked the women who works there ” do you have a song called traveling man?” Her response was no but we do have an album called Black Starr and the guy who’s featured in traveling man is on that album. [editors not: I'm so glad that lady knew her s**t thank you] So I pick up the cassette tape look at the songs on the back and I didn’t recognize any of them, so I took a gamble I purchased it without even hearing one song off the album. I never even heard of Talib Kweli. I get home and push in the tape turn up the volume and the rest is history, to my surprise it was one of the best Hip-hop albums I’ve heard since the 95-96 era. It was a classic, and so began my “Back Packer” era (pause).

Mos Def and Talib kweli shared perfect synergy, you know when you get group artist sometimes one of the members of that crew or duo is a little weaker than the other rapper(s) but in Black Starrs case both artist were well versed, lyrical and powerful emcees spitting positive words that made you think. Yeah I was hooked and became a fan of both of them. Mos Def became the poster boy for what is deemed as “underground” Hip-Hop showing great potential to carry on the torch.

Talib Kweli went on to drop his classic solo album “The Train Of Thought,” and as I anticipated one of the best albums ever, Mos Def drops Black On Both Sides. “Umi says” becomes one of my favorite all time songs and the rest of the album is nothing less than a classic. Mos did drop some albums later on through out the years but nothing close to his previous work. So with that said we here at Life Of Kings like to celebrate legends while there here walking amongst us on earth. We love Sharing our gratitude towards great artistry and mastery of rhyming. So I compiled a mix of Mos Def through out the years. From his early work on Lyricist Lounge to his latest “Ecstatic”. Enjoy LOK.

 

Press Play and enjoy. [ Right click here to download]

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I discovered D.A. one day while surfing the blogs I normally look at as my daily routine. The minute I saw the video to ” Take A Look” I was immediately drawn in by the conviction of his gestures and facial expressions he made while rapping his lyrics. It reminded me of a poet on the street corner telling the world his story and making you feel his energy as he spoke his words. The way the video was shot, simple yet effective, the suit with bow tie transcended me to an era when Malcolm X walked the streets of Harlem awakening the minds of lost souls. Then came the lyrics, ” Take a look into the future, heart stone like you looking at Medusa, the island can’t seem to make it up that latter, well suppose I’m the booster”.  After hearing that opening line, I wanted to here more. So like what we do nowadays I googled him and found his website, where his music lies waiting to be  listened to by all who discover this diamond in the ruff. After hearing more I told myself “yeah this kid can spit”. It’s not easy finding young artist who give a s**t about lyrics these days, with all the stop, drop and roll rhymes nowadays it’s really disheartening when I think about it But and thats a big (But) I do get hype when stop, drop and roll is played in the club. ( If your a** is on fire!!! Stop, Drop and roll, stop drop and roll, stop, drop and roll haha, whats crazy, that can really be a hook, smh).

So I contacted his management to set up an interview, to my surprise they were happy to meet. The location, a recording studio in East New York ran by a young Dominican by the name of Miguel Hernandez, who welcomed me in as I waited for D.A. who was running late. D.A. arrives, greetings and apologies and we talk a little to feel each other out. I like to engage into some sort of conversation when I’m interviewing people, kind of like to warm them up, make them feel comfortable so I can get the rawest emotions from them. Upon talking to D.A. I discovered that this young man is hungry to make his dream a reality. A young charismatic individual who’s  determined and focused. I mean after the interview, which finished like at 11:00 pm they were going some where to shoot a video, how dedicated is that? I don’t have to say much more because you can see for yourself. Hit the play button. If D.A. is any inclination on how our youth are facing the world today, I think it’s safe to say the kids are all right. Enjoy.