By Owen S.
Today I am torn.
For the first time in my life I am truly afraid...
But not for me.
For my children.
I see and hear so much death and violence that it makes me wonder if I should have had kids...
Then I see things like fantasy characters visiting sick children in hospitals, police offices playing with children, citizens interacting with, thanking---and hugging---police officers, people laughing together.
And it gives me hope.
Hope that maybe we actually can be better people.
Hope that we are still capable of doing the right thing, even when the right thing is not easy or comfortable.
I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, which is why I can be so cynical---people generally show their true colors all the time.
You just have to look, and not very deep either.
I see people, listen to their words, watch their eyes and form a pretty accurate opinion---which I then act upon.
People will generally say what they think you want to hear while their true intentions hide just beneath the surface, and the observant will see this and respond accordingly.
I have been right about more folks than I care to remember.
I really want to be proven wrong in my assessments.
I seldom am.
I want to believe that maybe we can turn the corner and realize the true potential we have as a species.
But what lies beneath shows me otherwise.
Hence I am torn.
I am sure by now you have heard the sad news: Prince has died.
When I first heard the news, I was saddened.
But the more I thought about it, the sadder I became.
I thought of the incredibly talented fingers that would play no more.
I thought of the masterful brain that would no longer come up with timeless songs.
I thought of the many hearts that would be devastated knowing that a man---who could touch so many just by performing his craft---is no more.
I thought of the many fellow musicians (myself included) who lost one of their greatest sources of inspiration.
life can be so unfair.
The people who do the most good seem to leave much faster than the ones who don't.
Just reading the posts on any social media site will show the overflowing of raw emotion as people try to cope with this unexpected loss.
And one of the most annoying things you will hear is when someone says to "look at the bright side", or "he's in a better place" or some other "wisdom".
Not saying that they're wrong---we all know they're right.
It's just that there is a time and a place for it.
And this isn't the time.
Too many of my musical heroes have left this mortal plane---MJ, Bowie, Maurice White, Bernard Edwards, Rick James and Teena Marie toname a few---and sometimes you just need time to process and grieve.
This is my time.
I'll miss you oh Purple One.
It be da man they call Na$h here to pose a very interesting question---what exactly is "keeping it real"?
Well, there are many answers to this question---but most would probably say it to mean "to be true to the lifestyle".
But what does that mean?
In the world of Urban music in general, and hip hop in particluar it could mean to live the lifestyle you're talking about. There are quite a few who do tote the guns, pimp the shorties (and treat them like objects rather than people), rob, steal and everything else that goes along with "tha gangsta mentality".
But I have a question to that response---
Do we really want to be remembered like this?
I'm not trying to preach to you all---you have your own minds, and will come to your own conclusions about how to live your life.
And if you wanna be a gangsta--be one.
But remember this: too many people have died because of ignorance, hatred and plain stupidity. Great men have laid down their lives so we could live together in peace and harmony---not so we could die coz we were wearin' the wrong colors, or we had a beef with another person.
I remember the time when rap was about havin' fun---when you had a "battle" at a party and lost, you went home, made your rhymes tight as hell and went back the next week to beat the other person/crew.
These days, you beat a person in a "battle" and one of his/her peeps (or the person themselves) just may decide to cap ya.
Because on that particular occasion you beat them in a rhyming contest?
Don't get me wrong---I love rap and hip hop music.
I produce the stuff so that's a given.
I just think that if this thang we call hip hop is gonna survive we need to start thinking about how we look---not just to the world outside---but to ourselves as a people.
The greatest song ever written that nobody paid any attention to was "Self Destruction" by the East Coast All Stars.
I think it's time we all really listened to it.
Because if "keepin' it real" is gonna cost me or my peeps our lives, I'd be better off "fakin' the funk".
What say you all?
Representin' the Syndicate
A GrooveTunez thang!
During my dealings with people I am quite often asked "why don't you play contemporary music on your station"?
I also have been told I develop an incredulous look on my face (I'm working on that), and then usually answer "because I'm not into it".
That normally ends the exchange, but recently I have found myself asking "Why do I feel that way?"
And the answer hit me today like a freight train.
In my opinion, today's music has no soul.
Don't get me wrong---there are a loy of very talented cats out there doing their thing---it's just that if you really listen to the lyrics, there isn't anything of substance there.
A lot of artists out there are more concerned with the money and fame than interaction with their fans. That's why you hear so much "gotta get paid" and "make that girl moan" and other less flattering statements.
And so long as there is a market for it, we'll continue to hear it...yeah I get it.
But I have ALWAYS been into trying to tell a story with my songs.
I believe in my tunes having 2 sources: you can groove/chill/dance/ romance to it on one level, then listen to the lyrics and get the true meaning on the other level.
On a personal level I do not like where we have gone musically. There are too many "faking the funk" when it comes to lyrical content.
I miss Earth, Wind and Fire, vintage Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, Teena Marie, vintage Janet Jackson, MJ, The Whispers and a few others. They often had a message---a social commentary--and were not afraid to share it with us. You may not agree with it, but it did make you THINK, something too many of us do not do these days.
So what are we gonna do about it?
Starting today, all projects currently in development are on hold as we embark on our most interesting project to date: we are calling it "State Of Play".
This project will stress songs that will explore where we were, where we are and where we are heading if things continue as they are.
This will also be a "colorblind" effort---anyone of any walk of life will be able to identify with it and take something away from it.
If we manage to tuch even one heart, alter one perception, heal one soul---then it will be a success.
This will be a true labor of love, which is why for the first month we will be giving it away.
Keep watching both here and on the GrooveTunez Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GrooveTunezMusicGroup?ref=br_tf) for updates.
I am always saying I miss the message-driven tunes of old.
Here is where I "put up".
As we start a new year, along with the chance and promise of being able to start anew, it made me wonder if we really ever change?
I mean we all make the resolutions (all done with the best of intentions), start out with gusto reserved for favorite pastimes, and watch them fizzle out---within weeks, if not days.
Why is this?
Simply put, it is because people are creatures of habit and are averse to change. How many times have you started something new only to slide back to old habits? How many times does "I'll get to it later" never materialize?
That is the reason so many people , while the first to complain, are quite happy to do so---if they "stay the course", then they cannot be held accountable when things don't turn out as planned.
Unfamiliar territory--aka change--is scary.
If you don't move, everything stays the same.
The only problem with that is this: everything else can and does change, causing those who choose to "stay put" to get left behind.
So I guess the question to be asked is this: are you truly happy with your lot in life, and if not are you willing to put in work to change your situation?
Either way, I truly hope you have a happy and healthy new year!