Monday, 9 June 2014

Those bloody lists

I am not a person that can group a top 5, top 10 in anything. I mean I like Movies. I like Music, I like rugby. I like all facets of those but can I list my favourite movies of all time? The best Albums I ever heard? Top rugby players? Gah!
No I can’t!
BUT. I will attempt to do a sort of ‘Top five albums’ and what they meant to me. They are not the best in the world according to Rolling Stone magazine, Nor the hippest in terms of The Source. But they affected me and there is a lot of love for them. This is not a definitive list, this is my list now, in a years time it will change.

So here goes my attempt at securing my ‘Top 5’.

DJ Shadow – Entroducing.

This could very well be one of the greatest albums ever released. The very first album to be made completely by sampling and to go platinum. From the first track ‘Best foot forward’ to the last track ‘Transmission 3’ this album alludes to something that can cause emotion in you. It has everything from scratching to sampling to the finest piano I have heard. Simple yet emotive. I use that word ‘emotive’ - a lot when describing this album. Because it is. It was my last year in high school and dealing with all of the pressure of exams etc.  when this album came out, it was recommended to me by a friend and when I heard it, I was blown away. I had never really heard anything like it at that point. There were some DJ albums I had looked into at that point – Executioners, Straw People and DJ Yella’s Solo effort in the same year. But this, this was different. This was………Perfection. There is not a wrong missed beat, skewed sample or a track that is out of place on this album. The start of the song ‘Midnight in a perfect world’ has the sample of someone saying “Insight, foresight, moresight, the clock on the wall reads a quarter past midnight”. An amazing intro to an amazing song on an amazing album. Sums it up really……..

GZA/Genius – Liquid Swords

From the opening salvo of ‘Shogun Assassin’ this album grabbed me immediately with its grimy beats from RZA and laden heavily with Chinese Martial art movie quotes this was the first follow up from The Wu Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers debut. GZA, one of the original members of the Wu Tang and in my mind a lyrical Genius had poise, shape and delivery on every tune……..Hence the name I guess? The production on this album is some of the most epic I have heard. RZA outdid himself on this arrangement and it could very well be his finest to date. The beats are so intense and loops are timed to perfection. It was almost as though Feudal China was the birthplace of New York Hip Hop. This album was one of the first hip hop albums that I really had true love for. I mean I really liked Enter the Wu Tang but this album was huge. It had it all and more. Better production, better songs and a more intense feel. Because of Liquid Swords my love for hip hop and Wu Tang remained strong and forever.

Sepultura – Chaos A.D

In my younger days I was not a metal head. I had a brief dalliance with Metallica before I realised they were shite but I never found anything that really stopped me in my tracks. I was given Chaos A.D by a school friend when I was in 5th form and the rest is history. So a little bit of a back story, around this time I was into Punk music – Mostly Dead Kennedys and British fare such as 999, Sham 69, Anti Nowhere League and Angelic Upstarts. None of this lolly pop So-Cal stuff which saturated the market in the late 90’s. So when I read the liner notes in class ( likely to be mathematics as I hated that ) I saw the Jello Biafra from the DK’s had input into the album. This excited me. I threw it on when I got home from school and the sound of Zion’s heartbeat at the start and then the Brazilian drumming of Igor Cavelera grabbed me instantly. The guitaring was superb and lyrics were profound. Tribal conflict, culture, Israeli/Palestinian relations and forest devastation were just some of the topics. It opened my eyes, not only to these issues but also to the world of metal.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Freaky Styley

 I don’t know where to start with this album; May be one of my all-time favourites before they went commercial? Everything about this albums works. The production by George Clinton, the amazing guitaring of Hillel Slovak on what proved to be his finest effort, the horns and bass of Michael Balzary ( Flea ) and the virtualistic vocals from Antony Kiedis. This whole album is all killer, no filler. I remember the first time I heard the Chili’s, I was around 9 years old and a family friend was playing ‘Catholic School Girls Rule’. I loved it but never really got into them until Mothers Milk came out. But this album, Freaky Styley was the first of the back catalogue that I brought and was amazed at the musical aptitude these boys had, the energy and the style. This one album started my obsession with Funk music forever. Sadly the Chili’s have now become a shadow of their former selves but this album, this one album…………..Perfection.

Fat Mannequin – Bigger than Buddha

Before I heard Shihad and other good New Zealand acts I heard Fat mannequin. The now defunct Wellington outfit headed by Bill Hickman was a big favourite of mine. They only released 2 CD singles, 1 EP and 1 full length album. Fat Mannequin was not a huge NZ band, nor did they garner much fame but they were a huge influence on me and the type of music they played rocked. They were epic. I remember how excited I was seeing them in Napier at ‘The State’, a small crowd but the most unreal gig, so much energy and rawness about them, they were tight and did not disappoint.  The album Bigger than Buddha was an EP that was 5 songs of a time that showed the talent emerging from Wellington and the style was intense. I still listen to the EP on a regular basis to this day, it comes out several times a year with the volume up. I still would love to know what the term ‘Fridgecutter’ meant though……………

So there you go. 5 of the best as I viewed them. A great collection of past albums that really mean something to me. Not too many new albums but hey, this is an ever changing list in an ever changing world.

Take care y’all.

Friday, 23 May 2014

The lines of interactions

Today’s blog is more off topic. It is about relationships that one develops with another. Yes, I refer to music in some form but this is more of a diatribe on life.

“Life’s fantasy, to be locked away and still think that we are free. So live for today because tomorrow never comes” 

This is a line out of the song 'Die Young' by Ronnie James Dio. It basically says embrace life, even though you think you are trapped, you are still free. I love this. Life is all about your interactions with others.

It amazes me some of the people you meet.  On one side you can meet a person and instantly hit it off or you meet someone and hope that their limbs are ripped from torso in mere moments.  It is the chemistry of relationships.

Music is much the same way.

There are not too many people in the far flung reaches of this earth that do not have an opinion of the music you listen to or the relationships you have – whether they are through love or torturous hate.

There has always been an affinity of distaste between pop culture and metal. Both genres at the opposite ends of the spectrum and sort of a grey muted middle. From Bieber singing Baby, Baby, Baby to Cradle of Filth offering up vampiric vestal virgins the gap has widened for years. No fans could have a foot in both camps and neither could they respect the others music.
In recent years there has been a shift in dynamics in regards to this and most has stemmed from the Nordic country of Sweden. Yes the country that brought us Abba, Roxette and A-HA also has brought us the most brutal metal ever created such as Mayhem, Death, Meshuggah and Soilwork.

In recent years a crossover scene has emerged out of a town in the south of Sweden called Gothenburg.  Such bands as Sonic Syndicate, Amaranthe, At the Gates and In Flames have changed the way metal and pop has evolved. Swedecore, Melodic metal or pop metal, whatever you want to call it has bridged the divide and has musings from both sides of the musical valley listening in awe of what these bands are producing. A collaboration where without one you could not have the other.

But what of human relations? Does one wander through life looking for that true soul mate that they could find on the other side of the world, through adventure or danger or do they look at the place they grow up, not expand the search and enjoy for what they have or through everything do you end up alone? There is the best of all worlds in either arguments.  The same as the music genre.

Humankind’s ability for internal growth stems from 2 things: Routine and new experiences. On one side of the coin going through the motions of everyday life and the ability to make informed choices develops the maturity of a person, it instils responsibility and respect. The flipside of this – Our new experiences, delving into the unknown can change our perspective on life, create love that was not there moments before and let us dream. However you cannot have one without the other for fear of boredom or heart palpitations. 

I have met the most loathsome people in my life, people who I would be quite happy to never see as long as I live again. I have also met the most amazing people too. These are the ones I surround myself with. The people who I want to be with, the people that make me feel good. But it’s these horrid souls of people who help create me, help mold me and shape my opinions. For without you, I would have never known adversity, know my strength or how much my convictions are upheld. 

Your hate creates my love.

The people I have met in my life have made me who I am;

To the man who beat me – You made me stronger, To the bullies – You made me resilient, To the people who tried to kill me – I am still here.

To my family – You gave me love, To my friends – You gave me a reason.

To my life. I have a purpose.

So in retrospect, you need 2 outlets; Love and Hate, for the one to survive you must have both in your life. You can hate the life you love or love the life you hate, or you can embrace both.

At the end of the day, we are all human and we need interaction on some level, good or bad.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Death of an unknown legend

Death of an unknown legend

Again here is an old guest blog that I wrote in 2013 for a music page. I hope you enjoy.

Last week I awoke to the news that Jeff Hanneman, the legendary guitarist of Slayer passed away from liver failure due to complications from a spider bite.
This is the first time I was at a loss for words and sad at the passing of a music identity. Yes, for the fact that he actually died but more so for the fact that this would now start the decline of Slayer. Jeff Hanneman was the soul and glue of that band. He wrote, directed, empowered and constructed most of the songs that made the band what they are today. He was, without bias or prejudices one, if not the greatest musicians of our lifetime.

Can I back that up you ask? Yes. Yes I can. Look at the blogs and reviewers on the internet, the media coverage and the outpouring of grief from musicians and fans all over the world. There are celebrities also who you would not associate with heavy metal music also saddened by his passing such as Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon, this is worldwide grief people.

One thing that has confused me throughout the week is the coverage via social media and news outlets of Jeff’s death. Not so many years ago a member of a metal band dying was hidden away on page 9 of the newspaper if it even made it there at all ( see the deaths of Paul Grey from Slipknot, Ronnie James Dio from Dio and Black Sabbath and Mitch Tucker from Suicide Silence ) . Cast your minds back to the murder of Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell and the amount of media outlets that reported it. Apart from Music magazines and the odd opinion column, most of the information was spread by person to person. It was not reported as widely as Jeff’s death. Why? What has changed in the last 10 years? Metal is no longer as big as it was from the 80’s though to 2000 so why in 2013 is his death relevant to the masses? Could it be that Westboro Baptist Church is planning to protest at his funeral? Or could it be that Metal is making a comeback? Is it now an acceptable form of music?
I for one cannot answer that, but what I do know is the world has lost a huge talent. A talent that for all intents and purposes was relatively unknown in the music world as a whole. Jeff was never in the limelight as Kerry King always seemed to be the Slayer frontman, He rarely gave interviews and apart from stage and obligatory band shoots he was not photographed outside of this arena.

There are currently only 2 original remaining members in Slayer with Tom Araya and Kerry King left, following the release of Dave Lombardo and the sickness of Jeff Hanneman it is highly unlikely that we will see a follow up to the critically acclaimed “Come Back” album “Christ illusion”. This 2006 album squarely put Slayer back on the map after a few sub-par albums let them down and ‘World Painted Blood” kept the aggressiveness going.  They have always been part of the Big 4 with Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax making up the other 3 slots but Slayer has solely been responsible for leading this pack. They have never changed their stance, never changed the music nor the speed and loudness. They have been resilient the whole way through, not wavering at the outside pressures of dumbing down the music and cutting their hair while having a cry baby doco about how their life sucks or writing a 400 page book about how life is not fair or trying their hands at Rap ( yes I am talking about Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax ). They have been the strong thrash metal band and will forever be the leader.

Reign in Blood is one of the best albums. Not just of Slayers, not even in metal, but of all time. I stand by this. If you listen to the time signatures, the complex riffs and the heavy vocals it eclipses all that has come before it and maybe to this day, what came after it. Hanneman wrote 3 of the biggest songs of his career on that album ( he wrote 11 of the 12 songs ) – Angel of Death, Raining Blood and Alter of Sacrifice. They all still stand the test of time and even a musical songstress like Tori Amos has covered the song Raining Blood for the last 15 years of her career in her live shows. The music was a cross over, a change in direction and a kick-start to destroy the hair metal facade that was taking over. It was a game changer.

To give you an idea of how much the Reign in Blood album meant here are a few facts:

  • Legendary producer Rick Rubins first Heavy Metal produced album
  • 1 of only 2 Def Jam titles to be distributed through major labels by Geffen and Warner Brother Records
  • Through the relationship with Def Jam Records and Rick Rubin, Kerry King met The Beastie Boys. He later came up with and performed the guitar on the debut album Licence to Ill’s song “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
  • The very first album to enter the Billboard top 100 charts with no radio airplay whatsoever
  • The songs on the album combined have been covered in total more than 116 times by recorded artists on their subsequent records.

So while this piece has been primarily written about Slayer, Jeff Hanneman’s untimely demise and the Sterling album “Reign in Blood”, the underlying guttural for this is about talent that is not revered until it’s gone. It’s about something that can be held in high esteem and even being a foreign idea that it can be loved. Jeff Hanneman and Slayer started something in 1983. They kept it alive and made it their own. Even if you are not a fan you can see the talent and the attitude they brought.

It is something that all musicians can inspire to be. \m/ \m/

Let The Children Play

Children by Robert Miles.

So this is a guest blog that I wrote for a friend a in October 2013 on his music blog - Never Miss a Beat.

Enjoy people

I never thought much of this song; yeah sure it was good when it come out in the mid 90’s but not something that ever stuck out with me. However it was one of the vivid memories I have from the 21st September 2013. That was the song that was playing in the café I was in were in when it was attacked by terrorists in Nairobi.

That was the song that was playing when I was shot and almost died.

It’s amazing what sticks in your mind when events such as that day unfold. The music playing on the café speakers was something that really held focus as I was bleeding from the multiple gunshots and grenade shrapnel. All through the attack that haunting tune just stayed with me.
I will not go into the events of that day too much. They are still pretty raw to me but what I will tell you about is the music that I listened to enable my recovery in hospital. Music is good for the soul and if anyone says it does not help when you are injured or sick has never used it as therapy. Trust me, it works.

I listened to that song again today for the first time while writing this piece. It gave me shivers, brought back memories of that day. But to be honest, I now have a new and unusual love for that song. It will always sit with me and it does have a sort of special, morbid place in my heart.

After 12 days in the hospital I was hooked to my iPod to get me to sleep, wake me up, keep me going and hold my concentration. The drugs I was on, the lines I was hooked up to and the moaning of the other patients mixed with all the sounds of a Kenyan hospital created a cacophony of noise I needed to escape from. Sometimes I had my ear plugs in, other times I let that shit play loud.  I can tell you right now, Kenyans are not fans of Slayer’s “Divine Intervention”.  Maybe they just haven’t really appreciated metal here yet?

But there were several tunes/albums that stuck out with me, held and kept me going. A few oldies but a couple of newbies that I heard while living in Kenya.  So here they are:

Robert Delong – Global Concepts. Its about 9 months old now but this song has so much energy and oomph I was listening to it every day. It got me up and got me going and really got me moving. This eclectic German fellow is going to be a big star one day.

Watch The Duck – Poppin’ Off. This song is almost a year old but damn its catchy. When you can mix a little dub step, blues, indie, D n B and a very Bobby Womack lyricist this song is a winner out and out.

Blakroc – Blakroc. There really is not one song one here that is filler. Every song is great and  is one of the most complete albums I have ever heard in Hip Hop. The Black Keys were awesome in this collaboration and as some know I am not a huge fan so they really did themselves proud.

My Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West. I do not care what this guy does in public. Hell, I don’t read gossip mags. This by far and away was my fav Hip Hop album in the last 5 years – Close second was “Watch the Throne” but I listened to this album trying to get to sleep at night. Runaway is the best song to drift off too.

Divine Intervention – Slayer. It’s the greatest band in the world. Enough said.

Coming From Where I’m From – Anthony Hamilton. This guy’s voice is one of the best I have ever heard There is a touch of Jackie Wilson and you can tell he is channelling Sam Cook and Marvin Gaye as well. He is also the face of Kenya’s Premier lager too. Unfortunately I will be missing his concert here in Nairobi by a few weeks as we should be back in New Zealand by then.

Tired – Stone Sour. I have never been a huge fan of Slipknot but thoroughly enjoy Stone Sour and have a new found respect for Corey Taylor after reading his book – The Seven Deadly Sins. This song is one of my favourites off the concept 2 part album “The House of Gold and Bones Part 1”

So I go back to that song that I started this diatribe about. Children by Robert Miles. I will never forget this song. When it come out in 95’ it didn’t really resonate with me as I was in a Hip Hop/Metal phase at the time. I can tell you right now, that song; I will remember as long as I live.

Take care y’all.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

What music has taught me

I used to have a unhealthy attraction to anything to do with music. I have never truly grown out of this phase but I have improved to say the least. I no longer am parked outside the local music shop waiting for albums to be released, I no longer spend $100’s of hard earned cash on music mags each month seeing what new bands to watch out for and I am not addicted to buying the whole entire back catalogue of a band that I started listening to 25 mins earlier.

Yes these days have passed. I have the internet now J
My daily ( yes daily ) music info fix has been turned into an easy click to many different sites that tell me what is happening in the world as well as numerous sites such as iTunes, Spotify, Youtube, Pandora, and Grooveshark. Rolling Stone online mag and The Source also get a look in on an almost daily occurrence too.

So much has changed in the 27 odd years since I started my musical journey that I will always wonder where it will end. What songs will be played at my 40th, 50th and 60th birthdays? What song will be played at my funeral and what song would suit me? This question will always be an ever evolving topic with it more than likely changing every few years due to what I am into or what new songs had come out and also what people thought of me.
If I died tomorrow ( not planning on it ) what song would I play? There are several contenders. A personal favourite is ‘He ain't Heavy, he’s my brother’ by The Hollies. Another would be ‘I will follow you into the dark’ by indie favourites Deathcab For Cutie. As long as it is nothing by Celine Dion or Eric Clapton I will pretty much be happy to trust the decision unto my friends and family. If it was a few years ago, it would have been something stupid like ‘Down in a hole’ by Alice in chains or other inappropriate songs such as 'Bro Hymm' from Pennywise or 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet.
I have been to a few funerals in my life - Mostly the older generation and it is full with church favourites such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'Lord is my Shepherd'. One funeral stands out of a friend who passed away when I was 24 years old. This guy was one of the coolest people I have ever met and as they played 'Hero' by Foo Fighters, his coffin was taken from the church, I do not think there was a dry eye in the house. Even now when I hear that song it really moves me because I think of him. Personally I am not a fan of The Foo Fighters but this song, this moment, this person - it fitted him and it fitted everyone who knew him.

Music really is about the 'Here & Now'. Songs can transform you back years to memories and to events that really stuck in your mind or even in the far reaches of your mind that have been long forgotten until out of the blue a song triggers a thought, a murmur in the back blocks of your consciousness and everything comes flooding back.

Music is a memory and a past and a future all rolled into one. This is how we evolve as people and how we create our personalities. By what we listen to portrays us as people. Music teaches us.

Frank Sinatra taught me to dance
Public Enemy taught me to think
Bob Dylan taught me to care
Sly & the Family Stone taught me to groove
Black Flag taught me to fight
Red Hot Chili Peppers taught me to boogy

Music taught me to live

* For the record if I died tomorrow I want 'Take Me To The Water' by Nina Simone and Die Young by Ronnie James Dio ( Robb Flynn from Machine Head version though ).

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

34 hours of travelling.

That’s how long it took to get back home from East Africa. Usually my travel time would have been broken up between bouts of movie watching and sleeping while listening to my iPod on the plane. This however did not happen on my trip home as my iPod was stolen the night before I left Nairobi.

Gutted is not the word I would use.

During my trip home I thought about what I would be listening to and at what stage I would listen to the music. I had all these dreams of sliding back into my seat and drifting off to Sly & the Family Stone from Nairobi to Dubai and then while walking around Dubai airport banging out to some Sepultura. Dubai to Sydney would be a mixture of Nina Simone, Soundgarden, The Rollins Band and Mos Def, While coming back Sydney through to Auckland would consist of Tiki Taane and Zane Lowe’s Breaks Co-op. Good ol’ Kiwi sounds.

Sadly it was not to be.

The aside factor of not having my iPod made me start thinking of trips taken when I was younger – Road trips with the boys and what we listened to. This also is the topic for this blog.
Growing up on the East Coast of New Zealand was one of the greatest things in the world. You have everything at your fingertips; Beaches, Mountains, Cities and farms - Paradise on earth as far as I am concerned. During and after high school I had many trips to these places and road trips both north and south with the guys to some great locations. Music played a major role in all of these getaways.

Danzig’s self-titled debut was a huge aspect of these trips and played a major part in several of these boy’s only drives. Whether it was to the beach or off to Wellington for the weekend that album got played a hell of a lot to the point that the cassette could not handle it anymore and disintegrated. One of the greatest albums I have ever heard to this day. Glen Danzig’s booming dark voice with a slight Mick Jagger twist had a feel to it that really made you want to listen. The more mellow songs like ‘Mother’ to the angrier ‘Twist of Cain’ scoured my memory for life as the good times they were.
Rewinding a few years earlier when I was still living at home, I had purchased ‘The Trip 3’ of the alternative Trip series. Hugely popular at the time in the early 90’s and was a definite forerunner in introducing new bands to fanboys like myself. I always waited in anticipation for the new 'Trips' to come out.
Even though 'The Trip 1' was the best of the 9 that came out - 'The Trip 3' was the one that sticks in my mind the most. This album was used most on the car trips we took and even though it was by far not the best if the series it had a certain style. From Afghan Whigs to Nick Cave and Therapy? to Mudhoney. It made the best rides to the beach get us ready for a surf or trip to mates south get us in the mood for getting our party on.

My travelling music is very important to me and when I am without said music, it pains me. Imagine 34 hours of having to sit through not being able to listen to my own playlists and sounds.

What are your sounds that you listen to when you travel? I would be very interested to know?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bringing The Ruckus

I was never good at mathematics. I wasn't a bad student, I was actually quite capable and managed to pass all classes I took, that is, except for the numbers game. For some reason it never caught on and made me feel like a 4 foot point guard in Basketball. I just couldn't quite grab the ball.

However through hard work I started discovering the world of maths and due to a chance encounter in 1995 with a classmate, maths became my favourite subject. I used to sit at the back of the class close to the window so I could look out over the school field and see what the other Physical Education classes were up to. A guy named Matt always sat beside me and I think he had the same idea I did as the droll curriculum did not enthuse either of us. Matt always had his Walkman on during most classes and had rigged his headphones up so the cord went up his jersey, down his sleeve and held one ear piece in his hand and then lent on his desk with his hand up to his ear. A very ingenious idea and he never got caught.

It was during one of these classes that I asked Matt what he was listening to. He replied to me "Hip Hop". I asked "Who?" He said "The Wu-Tang Clan" - 36 Chambers. I never would of picked Matt for someone who listened to Chinese Music and was impressed at his worldly views. He then put the ear piece up to my ear and on that March day in 1995 my whole life changed forever.
Dramatic huh?!

I had only heard limited Hip Hop and apart from Public Enemy, Ice Cube and an emerging Bone Thugs n Harmony I was fairly new into the rap world ( There was also a small Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer affliction a few years earlier - Don't judge me ) This new sound was street, rugged and dirty. The vocals were grimy and the beats that held the rhymes together were unfamiliar but were intense and heavy. The play on the Martial Arts movies also appealed and I instantly became a fan.

I started listening to all things WU and the solo artists. GZA, RZA, Method ManRaekwon the Chef and Ghostface Killah were all in my CD player. Nothing since NWA in the early 90's had really grabbed the youth of the day and created a following almost instantly as this. I wanted WU posters, WU wear, WU music. Hell, if they had WU paste, That is what I would of been brushing my teeth with. They were a bunch of guys who you told how it was on the street. New York Style. Completely different to NWA and the sound was like nothing I had ever heard of. I was sold. As your average white boy into urban hip hop ( remember Eminem was still at least 7 years away. ) it was hard to fit into the mould and it was not like you could walk down the street singing "Shame on a N****a or "Wu Tang Clan ain't nuthing ta F**k wit". I had brought a red and black WU jacket which I loved much to the disdain of my brother. He was not the biggest rap fan at the time and he did not approve of the jacket at all. We had many discussions that ended with both of us taking the piss out of each other.Him taking the piss out of me due to my musical appreciation and me taking the piss out of him because he loved Kenny Rogers. Go figure.

Wu Tang changed the music industry and turned the group into a business. It was one of the first of many and you saw happen almost over night with Puff Daddy and Bad Boy Enterprises, Jay Z a few years later with Rocafella and Surge Knight with Deathrow Records.

I already had a love for Cypress Hill ( which will forever last until the day I die ) Public Enemy and NWA so to add another band to the stable was easy for me to do as I felt they all went hand in hand.

But believe it or not it was The Wu Tang Clan that got me into 60's motown and 70's R&B. If it was not for them I would not have an appreciation for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Aretha Franklin, Theolonius Monk, The JB's, Hall & Oates ( No, really ) and Zapp. All these were sampled on that one album ( Enter The Wu Tang - 36 Chambers ) and that is the reason why my musical diversity flourished in the Hip Hop world. It was not because of the bands/groups/artists that I was listening to, It was the Bands/groups/artists that I was indirectly listening to. These were the foundations of Hip Hop and who these artists were influenced by. Now they were influencing a new generation.

GZA ( founding member of Wu Tang Clan ) released an album in 96' entitled Liquid Swords. This album without a doubt would be in my top 5 albums of all time. If anyone takes anything away from this blog, take this:

Listen to the album, listen to the words, listen to the beats.

Just listen. It may just change your life...................