MONDAY'S TRIPLE ESPRESSO :: Sharu - Euphoric Monday Mix

Sharu - Euphoric Monday Mix
Sharu - Euphoric Monday Mix

Ahead of the curve for most of you in the America's, I bring you Sharu, Euphoric Monday mix. Actually laid down a few months back. It really should start Monday. Shoutouts to Serious Stuff for bringing such beautiful tunes.


BUMP N TIME :: Blair Norf - Klymera

Blair Norf - Klymera; Barrel~DEM
Blair Norf
Hailing from Vegas, I don't know much about Blair Norf. I know that he's produced tracks for some pretty prolific producers but feels comfortable in the underground scene. God bless' em. These tracks are tops.

Check out more at https://soundcloud.com/blairnorf


REAL HIP-HOP :: The Legend Interview

Legend; Barrel~dEM
As a recent transplant to Atlanta, I've been really eager to hear some local music. One night, I was out with my room mate and literally got finished saying that I couldn't wait to get my first Atlanta mixtape, when we were approached by someone on the street."Do you like hip hop? Don't worry, I'm not trying to sell you anything ... I just want to give you my mixtape." - he said. We took them and went our way. It was a CD in a cardboard sleeve ... very professionally done. I couldn't wait to hear it.

The first time I played Legend - Somewhere, I was floored by how good it was. I went to the website to find out more. I sent in a request to do an interview and received an email from Legend's manager - TeCori, the man that had actually gave me the CD. They agreed to do the interview and decided to meet up somewhere to do it. I picked a coffee shop thinking it would be quiet enough. Unfortunately, I was wrong, so what was supposed to be a video interview, turn into the transcript below:

Today, we are here at a coffee shop in Inman Park / East Atlanta talking to Legend. How's it going?

How's it going?

So we are here today because a few weeks back I was given your "mixtape" on the street, and it's been in my car repeatedly on playback. So I wanted to share that with our readers and get a short interview with you. Thanks for taking the time to come out tonight.

No problem.

Now, you're originally from St. Louis, aren't you?


What brought you to Atlanta?

A change in life.

I feel you. I just recently moved here myself and I can tell that there's some real good hip-hop going on in Atlanta. It's a great place to get a career going. So you created the mixtape here, yes?

Yeah, I produced it here in my home studio in my apartment.

What part of Atlanta do you live?


Let's talk about the mixtape - "Somewhere", for a little bit. To me the quality and production on the whole thing was excellent, and I noticed that you had different producers for each track. How was that to work with different producers?

I got beats off sites like Soundclick and Youtube. There's only one song on there that's from a face to face interaction with a producer. But, shout out to all the producers on there. I appreciate it.

I got you. The flow is excellent as well. It starts off and then peaks at track 6 - "Somebody or Nobody", my favorite on the thing ... and it steadily comes down from there. On track 1, you are talking to someone on the phone and getting their advice about getting in this game. Their comments were to put your DNA on this, to put your mark on this - to make it your own thing. Can you tell us who this was?

An older dude I know named Marvin, who's like an uncle/mentor to me. He taught me a lot about hip-hop and its essence. We have a lot of conversations about music and just life in general. He's a funny guy and jokes a lot, but still intelligent at the same time, as you can tell from the intro.

I love the fact that he says - when you take something from hip-hop, you have to give it back ...

Of course.

I definitely believe that. Let's talk about some of the other tracks. I notice there are a lot of tracks that seem personal to you ... relationships, your family, your mother and trying to be successful for your kids. I definitely respect that. What's next for you ... are you going to get out there and do shows?

Yes, to do shows and keep putting music out there, the same way you got it. Really just touching the people.

Social media is a great way to do it too.

Yeah, definitely.

Getting out and doing shows if a valid way to do it. Now, the video for "Somebody or Nobody" - I love that you use the sample from American Gangster. Was that what inspired you to make the song?

Yeah, I think I was watching the movie one day and later on found that beat on YouTube. Things just kind of flowed from there.

There's a line in there, I can't remember the exact words ... but something like "from one cent, like Mr. Lincoln, I'm never changing." That one stuck with me. Is that your seminal track off this in terms of promotion?

I feel like it's the most attention grabbing out of all of the songs. It's like the peak of the tape, but I wouldn't necessarily say it's my favorite.

Well, what is your favorite track?

Probably "Play This For My Mama", if I had to pick one.

So, let me ask about that one. From what I gathered on the track, you weren't raised by your mother.


And she's not in your life?

Not really.

Well, that's a nice dedication to her. Some of the other tracks talk about police brutality ... and that's topical because there's been a turning point of late in the eyes of white people and a lot are waking up. It speaks to me that you say in that track, I'm just trying to live my life - don't shoot me. Did you have a personal experience that inspired that?

Well, most of the people that grew up in the inner city and impoverished areas have experiences with police, and learn how to deal with cops. When I was making that song it just came real natural and I pretty much did it in one take.

Now, you're from St. Louis of course and Ferguson was right there.

I'm originally from Ferguson.

Oh, you are from Ferguson?

Yeah, yeah ... my family is still there.

Were you living there when the marches happened?

No, I was here already.

Well, that was definitely a turning point, with the Black Lives Matter group and other good things coming out of there today. Can you tell about the production?

I mixed and recorded everything myself. The beats were pretty much already mixed when I bought them, I just mixed all of the vocals and got them to mesh well together. It's all software based.

Well, you definitely fooled me, because it sounds studio quality. How have you utilized social media?

I haven't really utilized social media, in terms of myself speaking out. I let the music speak for itself. I like for people to hear it and know me for the music. Just use that to connect to people. But, I do understand the importance of social media and plan on utilizing it more.

I think that's a true sign of a great artist. Well, music is art and passion, and it's great when it can speak for you. Do you have any artists that have influenced you?

Kanye is a big influence. I really like Starlito ... Future. A lot of R & B, new and old.

I noticed you don't use the vocal effects all over. You use them, but sparingly.

Yeah, I had an engineer who told me to leave my vocals as natural as possible, to give the listener more of a raw feel and experience. But I'm not against vocal manipulation. Sometimes, it can bring a different feel to a song that's necessary.

Now, I'm showing my age here … I don't know how old you are, but in terms of production, it reminds me of the album "The Main Ingredient" by Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Are you familiar with those guys?

No, but I know the name. I'm only 23.

Yeah, this was early 90's. Anything else, you would like to say?

I'm really appreciative and thankful for you listening to the music and taking the time out to interview me. I just want everybody out there to check out the music and let me know what they think through social media and when they see me.

Thanks for the interview.

Definitely, thank you!

NO SCRUBS :: Shleepytime - Real Tasty!

Shleepytime - Real Tasty!; Barrel~dEM
Shleepytime - Real Tasty!

Lush Crank (yes, it's a genre) producer Devin Mills aka Shleepytime combines sexy funk, bouncy vibes and No Scrubs in Real Tasty! ... the end result might just have you skipping dessert. Check out Shleepytime's Facebook page for more information.


PLANT PROPHET :: The Transcendental Object At The End Of Time (Terence McKenna Movie)

The same chemicals released before death are the ones found in psychedelic plants. For example DMT. or dimethyltryptamine is found not only in the body, but also in these plants found at this link - http://www.neurosoup.com/dmt/dmt-plants/. Recently passed, Terrence Mckenna has often been called the modern shaman for our generation, for he not only studied psychedelics personally, but also researched the history. This movie/documentary/project/amalgamation by Peter Bergmann covers his life and teachings, music included by, one of my favorites, We Plants are Happy Plants. Watch and enjoy!

onelove ... oneearth,
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CARL'S CRIB :: Holy Family - Airy Jane's Flying Carpet

Holy Family - Airy Jane's Flying Carpet
Holy Family - Airy Jane's Flying Carpet
So, I'm catching up on Shameless (the US version). Which, by the way, is a pretty exceptional show. I mean, you could've had me at William H. Macy. But, as some shows seem to drag on, and this one goes there too, it will then change completely ... and then there's hope again; even if Carl is selling handguns to buy the house back. So, this weeks episode closed out with the instrumental from a song, by a band called Holy Family. Guess, where they are from? Chicago, Brooklyn ... Austin? No, fuckin' Sweden man. I swear, there must be something in the water over there. Anyway, enjoy "Airy Jane's Flying Carpet"!

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DISCO DELITE :: The Evolution of Disco

The Evolution of Disco
The Evolution of Disco
I was talking to my hair stylist today about music and the topic quickly turned to disco. We both agreed that it still had a huge place in our hearts after all these years - or in his words "the kind of music that makes the lights sparkle!" I told him I would make him a mix with some of my favorite old and new disco tracks. I decided to do it here, so I could also explain some of the history and why these tracks mean so much to me. 

To understand disco, you really have to understand that disco was a product of the underground. More importantly, it helped to shine a light on many social issues concerning minorities, including people of color, women and most importantly - the gay community. It challenged the straight white male patriarchy and quickly gained some enemies. 

Disco combined the elements of funk, soul, pop and salsa. With its four on the floor beat, it was the anti-thesis of rock music. It could also be mixed easily creating DJ culture and a vibe that didn't have to be interrupted.

Some say that what we call disco, was original started in NYC, at a regular private party called The Loft - thrown by DJ David Mancuso. One of the songs seminal to those parties was "Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango, which David found in a West Indian music store. The artist, originally from Cameroon had his track re-released as a US single in 1973 where it reached #35 in the charts.

Disco also reached popularity in Europe. Anita Meyer reached #1 in the Dutch charts in 1981. It's a great example of how strong female "diva" voices came to dominate disco. I love this track. It just screams passion.

Cloud One's "Disco Juice" is another favorite. It premiered in 1976 and like many disco tracks has been remixed into various house tracks.

As disco grew in popularity, it became regionalized. For example, there was the Philadelphia sound. Also remixes of songs from pop to movie soundtracks to classical became popular. Walter Murphy's 1976 remix of Beethoven's Fifth was incredibly popular and well done, I should add.

I want to skip ahead next to 2010 and a song that almost didn't happen - Midnight Magic's - "Beam Me Up". Observe the differences and similarities between disco from the 70's and today's music. Hailing from Brooklyn, Midnite Magic are on James Murphy's DFA Records label. James, of course, got his start from incorporating disco into his sets during his infamous Manhattan parties.

Boston's J Paul Getto is also highly influenced by the disco sound. This can be heard in another of my favorite tracks - "Space Disco" from 2011.

Let's get real now. There are probably no other two people that influenced disco more than the two that collaborated on this next disco gem - "I Feel Love". Donna Summer on vocals and Giorgio Moroder on track. Remember, I said how big disco was getting in Europe. Well, Giorgio might have done more than anyone to move that along. This one reached #6 in 1977, which is really an accomplishment considering it really it such a minimal song.

Moroder continues to work to this day. His contribution to disco and eventually electronic music can not be understated. Daft Punk recently brought him in to work on their latest album - as he was such a big influence to them. It's really amazing how the sounds and layout of Moroder's "The Chase" is to "I Feel Loved".

I don't know a lot about this next track. It's fairly recent and does a great job of combining the old and new elements of disco.

We've now come full circle. Why do I say that? Well because this last track combines a hip hop artist with a Nu-disco track. Disco's popularity eventually waned in the 80's, but not it's influence as hip hop DJ's took the skills that they had learned from disco DJ's to cut between records; as well as even sample disco. Would Sugar Hill's "Rapper's Delight" be as big as it was had it not sampled Chic's "Good Times". It's hard to say.

You can listen to the above tracks together in a Youtube playlist here.

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DESIGNER AT LARGE:: Interview with ELLY BLAISE designer Amanda Flagg

Amanda at Elly Blaise
Today, I had the fortunate opportunity to talk to Amanda Flagg, CEO / Director / Designer for Elly Blaise, a clothing outfit in Chicago. She is well known for her swanky, eclectic outfits custom designed for clients. Amanda is also Creative Director Vivid Variations Studio. She got her Master of Fine Arts from Fashion Institute of Technology in N.Y.C. and Bachelors from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Lately, she's been busy with new projects and fashion shows.

Hello Amanda. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me tonight! Can you start off by telling me a little about your favorite designs?

My favorite designs from famous designers or my own designs?

Your favorite from famous designers and how that has influenced your own designs -

Some of my favorite designers are Valentino and Chanel which inspired my romantic classic look, that I have. I love their classic styles and lines that make a woman look and feel beautiful

Is a large percentage of your clothing made for women then?

Most of my clients are women, however I do custom design which is called Couture, which can be anyone. I prefer to work one on one with someone to make them feel good.

What is the process there with Couture?

I generally get clients that come to me with ideas of their own and I explain whether the idea can be executed or not. Then we go from there. We choose the fabrics, and design elements; incorporate, and execute the design in a time frame.

That really sounds like the ideal way to work. I always wanted my own clothing designer ... I'm not sure if I still have a sense of style - unless comfortable is a style. I've noticed many combinations of fabrics and furs among, other textiles in your outfits. I really like it. Is that your own influence coming into play?

Yes, that is my style, which is an incorporation of different cultures and looks from different times in my life and different places I've lived, it's a collection of looks combined.
Everyone has a style they just have to know what to enhance in their wardrobe. Its about playing off of a theme.

Is there an music artist, genre or mix that gets you hyped when designing?                               

I love listening to love songs it's something about them pouring their heart out while I'm pouring mine out.

Now I assume most of your clients come from word of mouth and shows that you are in ... do you have an Etsy or any portfolio online?

I had an Etsy, but I couldn't keep it stocked. I sold out pretty quick. I'm about to launch an online site here in a month or so. Most of my clients are from different places and I have a lot of people who come back because they love who I am and what I am about. They believe in me so they know I love what I do and want to support that. Its beautiful, I'm truly blessed.

Yes, keeping up with demand is always a challenge. It's also a good challenge to have. I did look at the portfolio you sent me and noticed that you've done quite a bit of silk screen, including totes and hoodies as well as clutches hats and shoes. I can't even imagine what it entails to make a custom shoe. Are you still doing those types of accessories?

Yes I do accessories all the time. I just got a boot machine

Nice ... I've always wanted a pair of classic Air Nobles for my birthday. The cassette tape skulls tote is dope. I want to buy that design on a hoodie if possible. Now, am I tripping or did you just get married? 

I did just get married!! Thank you!! You could get a hoodie if you would like.

I do want one and congratulations, Mr. Craig is a great guy.  Is there anything else you want to add?

I just wanted to add how fun this was and how awesome you are!! Thank you for doing this!

You are very welcome ... oh one last question - Elly Blaise? Is it a double entendre?

It is my alter ego. It means little fire

Of course it does ... Thanks again Amanda!

Here are a few more designs from her portfolio. You can follow Amanda at https://www.facebook.com/ellyblaise30/

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MILK THAT FUNK :: The Bar-Kays - Holy Ghost

Barrel~dEM, The Bar-Kays - Holy Ghost
The Bar-Kays - Holy Ghost
Back in the hey-day of funk, the Bar-Kays had the pimp cane of funk with their hit - Holy Ghost. From their album "Money Talks", Holy Ghost went to number 9 on the US R&B Chart. It would later be sampled by another incredible group MARRS on their one and only song "Pump Up the Volume" in 1987.

The Bar-Kays are still touring today, but with only one original member.

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Noble's Secret Weapon

Noble's Secret Weapon
It's almost Valentine's day ... and while I don't think that's the only time of the year to celebrate love, it is a time to remember how special love is. These mixes are very personal to me. I made them for a very special friend. She's given me permission to share them, so I will. Some of them have a theme, but the overall theme is expressing love in a number of ways. Enjoy!

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