10.31.2020

[Press-N-Play®] DJ Darrell D sez..."Let's Talk Prince Bootleg Vinyl!"


The homie DJ Darrell D over at the God Made Me Funky blog went diggin' in the crates recently to show off five of his most 'favoritest' bootleg Prince bootleg vinyl records of all. 

Wait––um...what? Did'ja really just say that you didn't even know that there wuz bootleg Prince records? Well then, prepare to be schooled, grasshopper. Darrell D's got the 411 on these uber rare gems. So press play and also subscribe to his YouTube channel!

And speaking of Prince...

This super dope illustration came through my Facebook feed a few days ago. 

Can you guess the song? Of course you can.



"Lady Cab Driver - Prince feat. Jill Jones"

Artist: Pablo Alcade

7.23.2020

NeoText is a publisher of quality fiction and long-form journalism



So yeah. The website for the small film studio-related project that I mentioned (in somewhat limited detail) some months back finally launched yesterday. My piece on hip-hop album cover art, which was published to Medium last year, now has a swell 2nd home on the website for NeoText, a new digital publishing venture. My piece is featured as the site's inaugural essay.
The NeoText launch also got a write up on The Hollywood Reporter's site yesterday, which will give ya all the nitty gritty on this new publishing venture that I'm quite happy to be a part of. There's a link to the NeoText site near the end of the Hollywood Reporter article, too, but I've posted hyperlinks above and right below this intro as well. Check 'em both out, eh?



3.27.2020

That Cool Thing That Happened Back in November (that I Somehow Forgot to Mention)



This was cool. And for the life of me, I can't imagine how the heck I forgot to post this Facebook screenshot back in November, when the article was first published on Vocal. But I did. (Whoopsie!)

Anywho, there it is, True Believer. Ain't it cool?!?! Yeah, super cool. 

Also, I decided a few days ago to move the article from Vocal over to Medium, so if you're lookin' for it–cuz you were, perhaps, too busy or too cool to read it the first time–you can find it by clicking here

3.15.2020

Another Satisfied Reader


A two dollar tip isn't much, no. But it's the thought that counts, as goes the saying. And it does mean a lot to me when an anonymous reader thinks enough of one of my essays to dig into their "pocket" to send me a tip (it's an option on Vocal but not Medium, sadly). So, anonymous reader, in the immortal words of that old Bartles & James wine cooler commercial, "Thank you for your support." 🤓

3.10.2020

3.08.2020

Janina Gavankar: The Way Back (Back, Forth & Forth)

My early-ish introduction to multi-hyphenate talent Janina Gavankar was her remarkable cover of Kanye's West's "Love Lockdown" back in 2010, which was promptly followed by the stunning music video shared below.

Today, Gavankar stars opposite Ben Affleck in the recently released film 'The Way Back' (2020).

Admittedly, though, it had been so long since I'd heard her name that I actually had to run a google search to make sure that the singer and the actress were one and the same. The subsequent confirmation made me love the previously posted quote of her comment to co-star Affleck (shared on Facebook) even more: 

"I’ve been marginalized for 15 years. There was no way I would get to act across from you in any of these years until now."

As is true for most of those whom we think of as an "overnight" celebrity, Gavankar's star turn didn't happen overnight. She was doing the work while the rest of the world slept. But also working twice as hard, as a brown girl, to earn one of those chances that are too frequently given to someone with half the ability.

2.29.2020

Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry

That moment when you discover – a bajillion years after the fact – that Eric Benet’s gorgeous duet with Faith Evans, “Georgy Porgy” (1999), was a cover. And not only that, but that rapper MC Lyte’s “Poor Georgie” (1991) sampled the song that Benet later covered–a soulful 1978 rock song by Toto. And you friggin' love Toto, but never knew about their OG version until stumbling across it on YouTube just now.
I mean, what the hell? What other musical mysteries are out there waitin' to bamboozle me? I've strived to know...well, pretty much everything. But now I'm feelin' like I don't know up from down! How do people live like this?!?! 😅😭🤣
Updated: While listening to the original version again (about an hour after posting this), it occurred to me that the sista singing the chorus sounded really familiar. Something about her voice and the way she sings made me think of R&B songstress Cheryl Lynn ("To Be Real," 1978). Sure enough, looking up the song credit's for "Georgy Porgy," Lynn's name is right there!
Ah, the balance is restored. 🤓

2.24.2020

"For Relaxing Times, Make it Suntory Time."


Although I've never been a big whiskey drinker (or a big drinker at all), I've decided that if I'm gonna own a bottle of whiskey (and I am gonna), then it'll be an $80 dollar bottle of imported whiskey. Because...why the heck not?
Suntory, which has a few different whiskeys for varying price points ($40 to $6,000––yes, six grand, kiddies) was made famous outside the Land of the Rising Sun back in 2003. It happened with the brand's clever placement in Sofia Coppola's Academy Award-winning film, Lost in Translation.
In a commercial shoot that was woven into the screenplay, a tuxedoed Bill Murray slowly raises his whiskey glass, looks into the camera and delivers the line, "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time."
Like a bajillion other fans of this flick, I've probably wanted a bottle of Suntory Hibiki ("Harmony") ever since. But, again, not being a big whiskey drinker, I wasn't in any particular rush. But now it's finally time. I mean, I'm not getting any younger.
Truth told, I'd thought about buying a bottle last year for my birthday, but didn't get around to it. And so it occurred to me a few days ago that I could get a bottle for my birthday this year. But I'm also realizin' now that it can't just be a gift.
I've gotta earn it.
You see, Paco's got this lil' folder on his Mac with more than a dozen unfinished articles piled inside that need to be written finally and then published. So I'll reward myself with my much coveted bottle only after all this work gets done.
Yes, in light of the aforementioned, I prolly won't be enjoying any "relaxing times" anytime soon. But what's cool about incentivizing this is that my articles will pay for my bougie-ass imported liquor, and quite a bit more too.
Although I've watched Lost in Translation more than 20 times (yes, really), it's been a few years now since the last viewing. So planning now to watch it again after my projects are done makes for a sweet bonus incentive; I just posted the trailer and I really do look forward to watching it again.
It's also just occurred to me that I will need to temporarily deactivate my Facebook account again soon. On the bright side, though, in a few weeks (or more), I'm gonna have the perfect thing with which to toast my "triumphant" return.

2.18.2020

In Memory of Ja'Net Dubois (Aug 5, 1945 - Feb 18, 2020)



This special dedication is going out to the beautiful Ja'Net DuBois, star of TV's Good Times, film actress, songwriter, and singer of the beloved theme song from The Jeffersons.
Thank you, Queen. Rest in power.

1.31.2020

1.28.2020

Diana’s Amazon Sister Nubia Featured On ‘1970s Variant’ Of Wonder Woman Issue #750!

"In recognition of what the good folks at DC Comics very likely find to be a surprising level of adoration for a character they’ve never done much at all with, Nubia has been given the shared spotlight with her sister Diana on one of the many special variant covers created for Wonder Woman #750."
To read all about it, click here.

1.19.2020

The Size Of A Tiny Crater On The Moon [Hotlinked™]

Phase 2 photographed by MikaV
On December 13, 2019, I would read in the news that my hero, Phase 2 (born Michael Lawrence Marrow), had died from the quiet battle he was having with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 64. 
The news left me drained. So much so that I couldn’t even write about his death. What should I say? For more than a month, my blog was silent on his passing. But then it dawned on me–finally–that everything I’d want to say was already covered in my unpublished interview questions. So I publish them here now, in fond memory of Phase 2.

1.03.2020

[Press-N-Play™] “Respect Mine” by OBVIOUS is Wu-Tang Chillout/Shaolin Lounge Music



Che Guevara once wrote: A man must harden himself, but without ever losing his tenderness.” I’m somehow reminded of that as I listen–on repeat–to the lo-fi hip-hop track “Respect Mine” by OBVIOUS, which strikes a strangely similar balance between both hardness and tenderness. It does it by way of a gritty-voiced sample from a Wu-Tang classic (C.R.E.A.M.) coupled with multiple layers of seductive synth chords, delicate piano licks, and faithful beats and bass lines. The hypnotic end result, I think, makes this track the perfect addition to YouTube playlists curated for long and solitary night drives through dreaming cityscapes. – YourKungFuSucks




11.10.2019

Circles of Influence

Back on August 12th, I very happily posted a screenshot from the Facebook feed of cartoonist, animator and painter Bill Wray (Mad Magazine, The Ren & Stimpy Show), who'd shared my article on Vaughn Bode. But what I didn't realize until sometime much, much later (after revisiting his page) was that the second comment down below was from Bob Camp–which had me geekin' out  all over again! 😅 


Bob Camp is a former Marvel Comics comic book artist and a giant in animation with credits on TV shows like ThunderCatsSilverhawksThe Ren & Stimpy Show and many, many others. Camp is also the guy who illustrated the artwork on the 12-inch single of Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force's Renegades of Funk, a piece that was  a big influence on me as a young hip-hop kid. 

The aforementioned is a piece of record cover artwork that was also being included in a listicle that I was actually in the middle of outlining at the time!

Oh, artist Denys Cowan (Black Panther, The Question) had also liked the piece in Wray's feed, but we're actually Facebook friends, so it wasn't that much of a surprise. He's liked pieces that I've shared in my own feed, including this article when I first shared it there. 



In addition to that uber goodness, I realized that my article had also been shared on Facebook by Ron Turner, the founder of underground comics publisher Last Gasp. And the first person to comment there was cartoonist/tattoo artist Mark Bode–the son of Vaughn Bode. 

I'd always wanted Mark to see my piece, so it was super cool to get confirmation that he'd seen it–and read it. Even if he very clearly missed the point a little. 😇

Excelsior!

11.09.2019

16 Times Comic Book Artists Absolutely Rocked Hip-Hop Album Cover Art [Hot Linked]

Image Credit: Def Jam, Marvel Comics

"Exhaustively curated here for your viewing pleasure is a senses-shattering listicle showing 16 times comic book artists rocked hip-hop music cover art."

11.05.2019

'Prince: Alter Ego' Comic Book


Prince: Alter Ego
Publisher: Piranha Press/DC Comics
Date: October 1991
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artists: Denys Cowan and Kent Williams
Cover: Brian Bolland

Synopsis: "A fantasy story in which Prince is locked in mortal combat with a man from his past who can turn music into the greatest destructive force the world has ever seen."