Tag Archives: soul

The End of the World as We know it!: Annual Year in Review


Greetings beautiful people

For myself this year has been one of many downs and some ups, but yo brotha has made it through!  I know some of you have moments good and bad, and we all know, that’s the way life goes.  Here we are again for my annual “The End of the World as We know it” blog.

The Occupy Movement:

I would narrow this one down strictly to the Wall St. protest, but that may lead to a large group of people attempting to occupy the courtyard of my apartment complex with vague demands such as…..Ty should be more P.C……….. “When I’m really a Mac b*tches!”

Now mind you, I was excited to see that Americans had finally had it up to Kris Humphries’ balls with the corruption that has infested our political and social economic system.

The movement on Wall St spread through out the land like Erykah Badu’s legs when a hip hop star comes around.  Oakland, Detroit, Canada all stood up and let the government know that they are some douche bags.  Now that I think about it…the Occupy movement didn’t really stand up for anything, but rather sat their asses down!  Ha!

These protestors sat and refused to go.  They turned Wall St, Oakland, Detroit, and Canada into neolithic shanty towns.  The movement spread.  It attracted the likes of Angela Davis and Cornell West (who was jailed twice by the way).

They held mock trials and decided that executives of Freddie Mac were guilty of crimes against humanity.  They screamed.  They sang.  They ran the streets topless, made out, and made rich people pissed!…and for what?  I have no idea!

I mean their demands were not clear.  Did the Occupy movement really want rich people to stop being greedy, corrupt, and be nice people?  Epic fail!

Trust me!  When I become rich and corrupt….. no topless neo hippie living in Cadillac square is going to stop me from getting that paper!  I’d be thinking about pepper spraying yawl “peaceful” yet “annoying” protest.  Yet, that’s if I was rich and corrupt.  For now, I’m poor and good hearted.  I’m part of the 99% I’ve felt the weight of a this broken system on my back and literally fell on one knee crying trying to hold it up.

I hope that rich people get it (but they won’t).  I hope the U.S. becomes the greatest country in the world again (but it won’t).  Instead of the age of reason, I’d say we live in the age of excuses.  We make up excuses for why we do such terrible things to each other.  The mortgage crisis is just one of the main things that disturbed the sleep of Americans since the 1930’s.  I want some peace to occupy this land. I want  some “reality” to occupy this land.  I need some love to occupy this land.

The Royal Wedding:

Ask me how many f*cks I gave about this wedding.  Go ahead, ask.  NONE! Not one!  I mean really?  I live in the United States; a country that was founded on being anti monarchy.  Yet this Spring, the media went ape sh*t over William and Kate (or as I like to call her…the diet version of every pretty James Bond girl!)  She’s aiight!

It was an affair to remember.  The people lined the streets of Britain waiting to see two people get married.  Not two super powered people.  Not two magic people.  It was just a balding dude and a brunette, getting married.

I get it.  People are always trying to create a fairytale.  We want fantasy made reality.  We need to see the majesty.  Yet rather than stay up to 4 in the morning watching the wedding or record it via DVR, I spent my time sleeping, like most living species do.  I’m glad people got married.  It was the first of 3 weddings that happened this year for me.  That almost assured that I will no longer attend anymore weddings!  It’s not that I don’t think people should get married.  I just don’t want to have to get dressed up, buy a gift, and sit through seeing them say long speeches, empty traditions, and the wedding dress…OH GOD!  What a terrible dress!

By the way, I am not anti monarchy.  I love the “idea” of a king and queen.

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami :

This Spring I witnessed some of the most disturbing images I had ever seen in my life!  The tsunami caused by an earthquake overtaking the land in Japan, looked like something from a Michael Bay movie.  The water and debris that swept across the land and footage of a man on the beach being overtaken by water as beyond tragic.  These people went through a horrific experience.  The chaos.  The aftershocks.  More floods.  Finally after, what seemed like a watery punishment from God himself, there came a fiery one.  The Japanese had to deal with post tsunami nuclear fallout.  The local power plants started to have a melt down!  Epic misery.

As with all things tragic to the human race, the entertainment community in the U.S. took it upon themselves to put on glitter and shine lights to raise money for the cause.  They donated throw away tracks as part of compilation albums to buy rations for the “poor” Japanese people.

Wait! “Poor?”

I thought Japan was one of the richest nations on the planet.  They have so many people; I think collectively they can accomplish anything!

Now I’m not saying they didn’t need help, but in the grand scheme of things, I still think, despite the collateral damage Japan experienced, we here in the U.S. still need all the help we can get!  We need to get our sh*t together!  Stars need to be performing constantly to raise money for the poor and disenfranchised here!

Yet as with all tragedies anywhere else in the world, it seems to me, that Unites States always looks to help others fix their problems, rather than fix the ones we have here.

Death of Lucian Freud, Amy Winehouse, Steve Jobs, David Blair:

Viva la vida!  This was a year of heart break and loss.  The great ones just seem to have had enough with this world and decided to leave, but not without leaving an artistic legacy that will influence generations to come.   Some of them were here long before my birth and some were born during years I can remember.

Lucian Frued

Lucian is one of the greatest artists to ever walk this planet.  He looked at the human figure with the scrutiny of god creating a universe.  Freud carved flesh out of paint, and let us have a view of his melancholy toned world.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was the one we saw coming, but wished it wouldn’t have happened.  That little white woman would wail in such a cool idiosyncratic way, Billie Holiday would have given her a nod.  Yet beyond her singing ability was her talent for song writing.  Winehouse was a poet who would interpret heartbreak from the smoke at the end of a cigarette or the bottom of an empty whisky glass.  Lyrically she could rip a concept apart. Maybe that’s why she detached herself from it, when she sang.  She was my emotional hero.  She was someone who saw love the way I see it.  The big difference is, that she handled it in such a destructive way.

Steve Jobs

Me and friends once argued, as to who had more power, Oprah Whinfrey or Steve Jobs?  I went with the latter.
Steve jobs upgraded humanity.  Remember back in the 80’s when we all had this idealistic vision of what the year 2000 would be like?  We thought about flying cars, robots, wireless phones, and communication monitors.  Well jobs took the later part of the 90’s and all of this millennium and started to make that fantasy come true.   When you set standards in technology, you set standards in human evolution.  You’ve heard the statement, “Were not reinventing the wheel.”  Well Jobs did everything in his power to reinvent the wheel.  Will ya give him props?  I-wheel….get it? I-wheel…ha!

David Blair


David Blair isn’t as known as the rest of the celebrites I’ve listed, but he was as great.  He was a man so tragically human that it baffles me as to how he was made without a mold.  Blair was a poet, singer, songwriter , producer, friend, brother, activists, and above all else…an artist.  He travelled the world and shared his idea of love and perspective.  He touched souls everywhere.  His passing during the blazing heat of this Summer, here in Detroit, chilled our very souls.  He came from dirty Jersey, but was cemented here in Detroit!  David Blair is a legend of this city.  He is the word and the melody.  He is the chord and the note.  He is loved and missed.

Birth of  Felix, Marcus, Kendal, Fabrice,  and Xavier:

Now to parallel the former topic, let’s raise of glass to all the cute babies that were born this year!  I am the biggest advocate for aesthetically pleasing people getting together and making even more aesthetically pleasing people.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, well I often think that’s wrong…. unless the beholder is really beautiful.  2011 brought about some of the most beautiful babies in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Congratulations to one of my best buds, Julius Gadjos and his partner Rachel on the birth of their son, Felix Gadjos!  I call little mixed babies “Tomorrow People”. See (Shameless: Season 1. for reference) .  Judging by who his parents are, he’ll probably be one of the smartest most talented people of his generation.

Congratulations to Dara Brown and her husband Blair on the birth of her 4th child; a beautiful baby girl named Fabrice Brown.   Dara is managing to build an army of cute, intelligent, and artistic children while maintaining her pop star like figure……ladies step ya fitness game up!

Congratulations my Brown Sugar counter parts Kyle and Janica Smith on the birth of their beautiful baby girl Kendall L. Smith.  Thank God someone keeps having little chocolate babies!  Gorgeous!

Congratulations to my cousin Shanelle on the birth of her son Marcus H. Moore Jr..  He is one of the happiest babies I’ve ever seen in my life.  The bi product of his joy just happens to be that he is one of the loudest babies I’ve seen in my life. Lol.  Well the laughter of children can be the sweetest sound!  Praise God!

Finally congratulations to Carmelita and Shibu Samuel on the birth of the son Xavier Samuel!  Once again a “Tomorrow People”!  You guys know to have some good genes!

Jay –Z & Kanye West “Watch the Throne”:


While I don’t believe this is the best work from either one of these artists, I do enjoy this album.  It took me a minute to dig “Otis”, but once I got my swagger back, it was all good.  It became the kind of self indulgent mantra I love to say over and over again when faced with the abominable hoards of stupidity.  Which happens more often than you think.  “N*ggas in Paris” was awesome!  I mean, I didn’t know what it meant, but it was provocative!  It got me moving like a music fan who enjoys the song way too much on an NYC subway. (see viral video reference).

I’ve read mixed reviews about the project and heard some music heads completely dismissing this project, and calling it garbage.  I disagree.  I feel this was a work, that had no real direction save for making a collection of songs for song sake.  It’s obvious that Jay-Z and Kanye both enjoy making music.  You can hear it in every line and see it when they perform.  These songs weren’t meant to be some hip hop changing defining moment.  It’s just two rich ass MC’s spitting   in a Louis Vuitton cypher.  Poof!

Lady Gaga “Born this Way”:

Love this woman!  “Born this Way” is, conceptually, her most consistent album to date.  Just about every song on the project spoke about identity, empowerment, and rebirth.  The soundscape was 80’s power pop, mixed with industrial and rock.  On the song “Born this Way” she sings to the heavens (or hell knowing her) about sexual orientation and equality.  Sonically it reminds me of Madonna, just sung way better and a 1000 times more amp.  “You and I” is an amazing power ballet that is equal parts Billy Joel, Elton John, and Gaga.  “Edge of Glory” and “Marry the Night” are my dance joints.  They make me forget about the horrors of this world for at least 4 minutes.  At least.

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings “Soul Time!”:

I just coped this earlier this week and what a great late entry into my favorites for this year!  Sharon is a force of nature who doesn’t give a f*ck about these young half a singers.  Sharon Jones and her band the Dap Kings, who provided the music for Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black album, create that good ol get down!  I mean get down!  It’s so vintage and so good, that I believe somehow they are from the 50’s or 60’s and have a time machine that they use to travel to right now to give us good music.  This is the real nostalgia ultra!

The Bad:

Charlie Sheen:

Winning! Charlie Sheen, get yo ass off of my television screen!

Tiger blood, strippers, deals falling through, losing the kids, viral rants, and almost getting a beat down in Detroit for talking sh*t to the wrong city, just was too much.  I get it!  We as the public, love drama and Mr.Sheen gave us all that and then some.  Yet in reality, this is another privileged rich white man, who isn’t in any kind of danger of falling from grace.  We as the public have no reason to care about his drug addiction and sexual innuendoes.  Charlie Sheen has millions of dollars, which he brags about quite often, so ease your minds fellow robots.  He doesn’t need help or medication.  He just needs to black and poor for 3 hours and that’ll fix all that self destructive, abuse of position madness.

Beyonce’:

“4” best sung album of the year. “4” one of the worst albums of the year.

“Girs: We run the world”, really?  Really Beyonce?  Yes the video was bananas, but the song was an epic failure.  Just about every decision concerning this project was a bad one.  I think it’s because she got rid of her father as a manager and makes all these choices herself.  Terrible.  I’m all for independent women doing big things and making it happen.  Yet for some people that might not be the best thing.  Now I’m not saying she should go back to her dad (even though his results when it came to the advancement of her career can’t be disputed) but she needs someone to get her back on track.   The best decision Beyonce has made this year was to get pregnant.  A baby is a great weapon of mass distraction from that horrible album.

Black and Yellow hair:


I won’t say much about this except, if you dyed your hair black and yellow then you should be executed.

Mr.Sawyer’s predictions for 2012:

Adele is going to smash them at the Grammy’s

Lauryn Hill will not release an album

There will some kind of natural disaster during the Spring or early Summer.

Barack will be re elected

Brad Pitt and Angelina will break up

This is the final blog for this year beautiful people.  I hope that you have a happy new year, and only good things come to you.  Be blessed and be easy.  Be beautiful!

Yo brotha

Ty

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Album Review: Inohs Sivad “No Goodbyes”

Artist: Inohs Sivad

Album: No Goodbyes

Style: R & B, Jazz, Pop, Hip Hop soul, Euro-soul

This artist could tour with:  Kem, Brenda Russell, Randy Crawford, Maysa,

Greetings beautiful people

“No Goodbyes” is the 3rd full length LP from Detroit soul artist Inohs Sivad, scheduled for release 10/22/2011 on Sound Thought Recordings. Let me just say, this project was one of the biggest surprises for me this year. As someone who is familiar with “the formula” of soul music, and someone who is familiar with this artist; I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised (and I hate surprises).

Rather than create just a collection of love and social conscious songs, which I was expecting, what Inohs Sivad has managed to do is create an understated concept album. If Kandinsky created paintings of what he though music looked like in color and stroke, then Sivad has created music in what she feels color and form feels like in painting.

The album reads conceptually as a, unconventional requiem to Inohs’ late mother Deborah Ann. It’s not so much as a tribute, but rather evokes who and what Debra Ann was. I admit, I never had the pleasure of meeting her (Deborah Ann), but one listen to “Metamorphosis” and I get the impression she was a woman of God, love, music, and magic. All the previous adjectives are exactly what this song is.

Each chord, boom, bit, snare, strum, and key stroke evokes the appropriate emotion for all 12 tracks. At times I want to nod my head and smoke an “L”….(which I don’t do by the way). Other times, I want to cry, and other times, I want to dance.

“With Me” is the kind of classic song, one loves to hear. Here lies an amazing pop song, with a lovely melody, poignant lyrics, and just a piano & stings accompaniment. While her version of pop lives in the realm of soul, this is the kind of song that was meant to be covered and is just an amazing moment on this project. Oh yeah, and just wait to you hear the high note she hits! She’s given me so much!

“Gotta be Good” is great mood music. It makes me feel happy in the same way that Groove Theory use to make me feel back in 97.

I mean I can dissect the album song by song, but this review would be 10 pages of me pointing out wonderful elements of this painting. The music, song writing, arrangements, sentiment, the color, the shapes, composition, the hue, etc. It’s fine art. The woman has the voice of an angel and the soul of an artist. She’s still winning!…. (Charlie Sheen reference)

Until next time

Yo brotha

Ty

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B.4. Kehinde there was “Barkley Hendricks”

Greetings beautiful people

I’ve been meaning to post something about this artist for a while and just became distracted with deaths, and new shows etc.  Yet here I present to you, for those who are not familiar, the art of Barkely Hendricks.  Hendricks (born 1945) is an African American figurative painter who has notable works dating back to 1964.  His claim to fame (within the art world) comes from his life size portraits of contemporary blacks.  Barkley Hendricks pulled from art historical portrait references and imbued his portraits with the same majesty and spiritualism.  See the portrait above of Fela Kuti 2002.

It’s clear that this artist was a direct influence on the work of Kehinde Wiley in terms of subject matter and style.  What I love about this concept this that here we find influence without imitation.  Anyone who has seen the development of Wiley’s work clearly knows his portraits are beyond life size and take direct poses from art history and recontexualizes them.  Hendircks paints real people…correction…Hendricks paints “cool” people.  If you familiar with 60’s and 70’s black style, then one look and you are aware that your looking at some cool cats.

I love this! Lawdy Mama, 1969 (53 3/4 x 36 1/4 ins; oil and gold leaf on canvas); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Gift of Stuart Liebman, in memory of Joseph B. Liebman. Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, Paintings 1964-2007.

I feel bad that I did not discover Barkely Hendricks earlier in my career, because as a black artist, it would have gave me a different perspective to this level of figuration from someone who looks like me, in a art historical context.

Please enjoy the works that I’ve posted here and visit Barkely Hendricks (<–click here)  site coordinated through the Nasher Museum of Art.  The site is great and has audio commentary from artist, currators, and Thelma Golden herself.  I’ve also included his bio from wikipedia for additional info

Until next time

Yo brotha

Ty

Bio:

Barkley L. Hendricks (born 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary American painter who has made pioneering contributions to black portraiture and conceptualism. While he has worked in a variety of media and genres throughout his career (from photography to landscape painting), Hendricks’ best known work takes the form of life-sized painted oil portraits. In these portraits, he attempts to imbue a proud, dignified presence upon his subjects, most frequently urban people of color. Hendricks’ work has been noted as unique for its matrimony of both American realism and post-modernism.

Hendricks earned his certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yale University. Currently, he serves as a professor of art at Connecticut College.

Hendricks’ work can be viewed in many public institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. Hendricks’ first career painting retrospective, titled Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool, with works dating from 1964 to present, was organized by Trevor Schoonmaker at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in spring 2008, has traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, is on view now at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and will finish at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in spring 2010. Hendricks’s work was featured on the cover of the April 2009 issue of Artforum Magazine, with an extensive review of Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool. Hendricks is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.

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Album Review: Jill Scott “The Light of the Sun”

Artist: Jill Scott

Album: The Light of the Sun

Style: Neo Soul, R & B

This artist could tour with: Herself, Ledesi, Marsha Ambrosius, Amel Larriex

Greetings beautiful people

So here we are again with yet another review by yours truly.  Understand that the views expressed in this blog are those of one Tylonn J. Sawyer.  No matter how god-like my words may seem, please people!  This is the opinion of an artist, blogger, and part time deity, so don’t loose your head.

Jill Scott’s latest released entitled “The Light of the Sun” debuted to a pretty rainy day here in Detroit.  I’m talking torrential down pour!  Yet despite the rain and much like the temperature, this album is blazing.

I believe it’s her best project since “Words and Sounds Vol. 1”.  It’s as if we no longer have to ask the question, “Who is Jill Scott?”  This work answers it explicatively.

Musically, it’s the same jazz infused r & b that we’ve come to expect from Jill.  What pleasantly surprises me, is the sprinkle of hip hop added into the mix.  See the opening track , “Blessed”, where Jill is almost rapping as opposed to singing while  her alto flows like the breeze.

“Shame” the projects first single is a resinates and I can just see it a staple at family reunions and basement card parties.

One thing I had to get use to with Jill is rhyme scheme (if any at times).  Listening to her over the years, I wasn’t sure if she cared about melody, so much that she just cared about the vibe of the song.

Now I’ve noticed that she’s always had a great sense of melody, but her writing style is so spoken word influenced, she doesn’t find it necessary to use a particular rhyme scheme (if any).  I’ve come to appreciate the lack of predictability in her words.  It keeps me on my toes.

The song writing on this album comes off self assured and without effort.  Nothing sounds labored over, but everything sounds (not quite serendipitous), but rather when Jill only knows how to create art.

I know men love Jill Scott, but this album is a sonic feminist manifesto.  I believe it’s her most lyrically aggressive project and at no point in time, does she come off vulnerable.  The album is called “The Light of Sun”, and like I said previously, Jill is blazing em!

“Le BOOM Vent Suite” is superb!

So all in all, I’m glad some good music has been released  lately.  Jill Scott, who almost lost me there for a minute, has brought me back to the light.  Get this album….or else!

Until next time beautiful people

Yo brotha

Ty

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Marsha Ambrosius “Late Nights Early Mornings”

Greetings beautiful people

Big Marsh is killin em with the messages in the videos.  Now this is what being a social conscious artist is about.  I know this video has been out for a minute, but I just got around to it!

Hope you enjoy it

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