October 8, 2009 § Leave a comment
I’m not above promoting old friends trying to do big things…peep my interview with aspiring rap artist Kishan Patel aka “K-19 The Prince” as he attempts to dive into the hip hop game.
Don’t ask rapper on the rise Kishan Patel aka “K-19 The Prince” to define his swagger because it’s indescribable. He’d rather let his talent speak for itself. The 23-year-old South Asian MC is ready to make history with his first LP, Outta The Ashes. Released in September 2009, the album takes listeners on a journey through the eyes of the young artist as he chronicles the past few years of his life, which haven’t all been pretty, but have given him the fuel necessary to turn his life experiences into something people can relate to. “I’ve been doing it for about four years now,” Patel says. “It started back in 05, when I was going through some trials and tribulations…family issues, social issues, trouble with the law. I basically got into some stupid shit that I didn’t need to be involved in and my uncle who I was really close to had just passed away. He was like a mentor to me, so I began writing all my frustrations and anger down. It began as poetry and gradually became music.”
Born on April 18, 1986 in Jersey City, NJ and raised in the suburbs of Edison, NJ, Patel had a traditional Indian upbringing. His parents wanted him to become a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer, but he had other plans. He rebelled as a teen, selling drugs and falling into trouble with the police often. After graduating from high school, he went to Penn State University, but eventually dropped out. “I ended up hustling, getting into trouble, and wilin’ out…which is why I moved to Georgia to go to school out there and help run my parents’ business alongside my sister, while they stayed up in Jersey,” he says.
Trouble still seemed to follow him in Georgia as he made a name for himself by hustling out of his parents’ store. But after awhile, Patel began to see that he wanted more out of his life and saw first-hand the toll poverty, violence, and drugs took on people. So he decided to take all the negativity around him and turn it into something positive. He always had an affinity for rap music, citing Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Jay-Z, and Biggie as some of his influences, so he started spitting for his friends. Before he knew it he became a “neighborhood superstar,” freestyling and battling other rappers in the area. “People weren’t used to seeing an Indian rapping around there, so it was like, oh, shit! Look at this dude!” he explains.
The rest is only history in the making, he hopes. Now back in New Jersey, Patel has already performed at five live shows in New York City, spreading his fan base. Despite these accomplishments, he takes it all in stride because he knows that there is a lot of competition out there. Sure, he’s a realist, but he’s also hungry and patiently waiting for his chance to shine. Making music is what he was born to do, he says.
Currently, on the independent label Royalty Family in conjunction with Hiz and Herz Entertainment, Patel continues to promote his new album and perform. His manager and friend, Sagoon Gulati has been influential in helping him establish himself as an artist with the hopes of helping him lock down a major record deal. His album, which he wrote and made in just over a month, is blazing in terms of its production quality, compliments of several producers including up-and-coming producer Sean Divine.
For his next album, the young rapper looks forward to getting in the production chair and dropping some of his own unique tracks which he says are Indian-oriented in that they use tablas (Indian drums), sitars, flutes and other instruments. That is one thing that Patel doesn’t shy away from—his heritage. He even sees it as an advantage in the hip hop industry because people aren’t used to seeing someone of his ethnicity rap about the things he raps about. “I’m so motivated and determined, and I’m sure all aspiring rappers are, but I feel that ain’t nobody messing with me,” he says. “I am a beast! And my lyrics are just another way of getting a message to others like myself who want to get into the game because there aren’t many Indian-American hip hop artists out there. You wanna be able to be successful so that others who are trying to aspire to this know that the possibility is out there. I want to set the standard.”
For more information on K-19 The Prince, visit www.k19theprince.com
September 29, 2009 § Leave a comment
International reggae star Sean Paul brought reggae music back into the mainstream when he dropped his Grammy award-winning album Dutty Rock (his second album) in 2002. The album sold over 6 million copies worldwide and boasted dancehall bangers like, “Gimme the Light” and “Get Busy.” Not since Bob Marley has a Jamaican artist been able to establish himself as an international star. His follow-up album, Trinity, also quickly climbed the charts with hits like “Temperature” and “We Be Burnin.’’ Now after a nearly four-year hiatus, Paul is back with his highly-anticipated fourth album, Imperial Blaze.
The album features 20 tracks, laced with what we’ve come to expect from Paul—hard-hitting club bangers that get the party jumping. His first single, “So Fine,” is produced by Stephen McGregor aka Di Genius, who produces the majority of the album. The beat is sick, yet lyrically the song leaves much to be desired, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing for Paul as he’s known more for making ladies’ hips gyrate under his hypnotizing rhythms, than inspiring water cooler conversation. Like his previous albums, Imperial Blaze sticks to what Paul is most comfortable expressing—love, partying, and handling his business in the bedroom.
Paul does try to deviate from his signature dancehall style on some tracks, like “Hold My Hand,” feat. R&B songstress, Keri Hilson. The smooth, guitar-laden track hints at classic reggae fused with a slight acoustic sound. The outcome is a nice departure, but is certainly not Paul at his best. Overall, what makes this album easy on the ears is the production. The throbbing, infectious beats scream energy and create a fun atmosphere, fit for a dancehall queen.
One of the things that struck me about this album was the talk leading up to the release. The album was originally slated for a summer 2007 release, but was delayed partially because of Paul’s desire to make more socially-conscious music. Nothing on this album even remotely suggests revolution or social change. If I were to play detective, I’d guess that while working on the album Paul had an epiphany. He realized that it’s okay to stick to what he’s good at—making us move. And ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Top Tracks: “So Fine,” “Birthday Suit,” “Wine Baby Wine,” “Press It Up,” She Wanna Be Down” “Running Out of Time”
August 1, 2009 § Leave a comment
Real hip hop, where art thou? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself lately and sometimes you just need a reminder that it’s still alive and well. I had the pleasure of seeing one of the LIVEST shows I’ve seen in quite sometime last Saturday. Method Man, Redman and Ghostface Killah continued their “Footprint In Hip Hop” tour at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ. What I loved most about the show was the energy of the artists, especially Meth and Red. I had almost forgotten how much I love those guys. They dropped their latest album, Blackout!2 in May and I’ve definitely been rocking out to it. The duo performed a few songs off the new album, like “Ayo.” But the livest part of the show was when Meth and Red took us back with their classics! “Y.O.U.,” “Da Rockweiller” and “How High” were just a few joints they killed. The pair also did a few songs off each of their respective solo albums. One of my favorite highlights was when Meth went hard on “Fall Out.” Gotta love that joint! Ghostface did his thing too on the mic and later went on a very much welcomed diatribe about the state of rap. Meth and Red also took shots at the ridiculousness of most rap concerts, making light of rappers worrying more about profiling in big ass chains than giving their fans what they paid money for–a dope show. “Ya’ll getting cheated,” Meth yelled. What I’ve always appreciated about Meth and Red is their frankness and of course their ability to throw a hot party. It may have just been a concert, but it felt more like one hell of party.
May 27, 2009 § Leave a comment
Onstage Drake showed loads of energy and bravado, finding time to throw in quick-witted, cocky banter here and there that made me chuckle light-heartedly instead of roll my eyes (which often happens when the talented Mr. West opens his mouth). “Don’t say you will, unless you will,” he sings to a crowd of screaming girls in the front of the stage, looking down at his “you know what,” as he samples West’s “Say You Will.” Or an even better example is when he says to the massive crowd, “I’m a new artist, by the way. I don’t know if you can tell by this show.”
The cuts he performed included, his smash radio-hit, “Best I Ever Had,” “Unstoppable,” “November 18th,” “Successful,” “Uptown,” and every bachelor’s favorite track, “Every Girl,” among others. All in all, Drake’s 30-minute set was pretty freaking entertaining and all the buzz surrounding it was warranted. Afterall, dude headlined a sold-out show at S.O.B.’s without even dropping an album first.
*Before the show begins MC Lyte hits the stage…not really sure why…who knows maybe she’ll make a comeback?
*“DJ Class in this b**ch…” You know the hot club track, “I’m The Shit” from DJ Class feat. Ye. Love that joint! DJ Class popped up onstage to perform it before Drake hit the stage.
*Bun B joins Drake onstage for “Uptown.” He pretty much kills it.
*Drake jokes about his seduction skills as he croons along to R-Kelly’s “Feeling On Your Booty,” “Birthday Sex,” and Usher’s “Can You Handle It.” According to this ladies’ man, New York women are the perfect women who could give him the perfect night.
I’ll be uploading some more amateur video footage compliments of me shortly! Until then, I’m sure you can find a slew of footage on the internets.
March 11, 2009 § Leave a comment
Hollywood continues to recycle horror classics
Remaking horror classics is nothing new in Hollywood. Each year you can expect to see a slew of them. The rationale is pretty simple. First, a formula already exists, which in the 21st century means that if re-imagined correctly, it will inevitably draw a new, younger audience–resulting in a guaranteed (but not always) payoff for studios. Second, die-hard fans of these horror staples may flock to the theaters just to see if the re-tooled versions of their beloved flicks pay homage to the original while simultaneously adding a bit of innovation. Personally, I think the trend has more to do with studios running out of original ideas.
Nevertheless, with the new version of Friday the 13th grossing $43 million (pretty impressive when you consider the $19 million budget!) last month in its opening weekend and igniting talks of renewing the Friday the 13th franchise, there are several more remakes of horror cult classics on the horizon. Here, a few remakes in the coming years that you may have already seen coming and some that may surprise you!
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Release Date: March 13, 2009
If the 70s were before your time or you aren’t a horror junkie with a fixation on the cinema of the 70s, you may not be familiar with The Last House on the Left, Wes Craven’s 1972 directorial debut. The original film centers around two teenage girls who travel to the big city to score some pot before going to a concert and find themselves kidnapped and brutally murdered by a trio of escaped convicts. The irony comes later when the murderers stumble across “the last house on the left,” which is the home of one of their victims. It is then that a revenge tale is born, as the parents’ of the slain girl seek retribution in a grisly fashion. The film, inspired by the Academy Award-winning (relax…it was for Best Foreign Language Film) 1960 Swedish film, The Virgin Spring was criticized and even banned in some places for its shocking and gratuitous violence. I saw the original film awhile back and never dared to revisit it. The uneasiness of it all was too much, as if I myself were being violated. Although the remake is being produced by Craven, which will definitely give it its authenticity, I’m sure it will be have to be watered down a little to stay within the MPAA rating guidelines.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Release Date: 2010
One…two….Freddy’s….I think we all know the rest. Another Wes Craven horror classic is set for a revival. The premise is the same: child murderer Freddy Krueger invades teens’ dreams blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Death tolls will climb as Freddy finds novel ways to slay his victims. Unfortunately, Robert Englund, who starred as Freddy in the original and sequels is rumored not to be surprising his role. Let’s hope whoever fills Freddy’s shoes (I’m hoping for Jackie Earle Haley) for this update will do the film justice. Nevertheless, one of the most celebrated horror franchises created, A Nightmare on Elm Street will be sure to frighten a new generation of moviegoers almost two decades later.
Child’s Play (1988)
Release Date: 2010
Along with the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, there was another horror cult classic that was born in the 80s and continued well into the millennium, spawning four sequels, (Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3, The Bride of Chucky, and The Seed of Chucky) with the last three being questionable. Despite the missteps of the sequels, fans of the horror franchise have never stopped wanting to be afraid of Chucky, the red-haired Good Guy doll with a foul mouth and the soul of a crazed killer.
Release Date: 2009
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, based on his novella, “The Hellbound Heart,” had a huge following, producing seven subsequent sequels. The British horror film tells the story of an unfaithful wife who tries to help her dead lover escape from Hell. Like Wes Craven, who has played a major role in the remakes of his horror films, Barker will also be influential in the remake of his own film. He is expected to produce and write the screenplay for the remake.
The Stepfather (1987)
Release Date: October 16, 2009
While this suspense thriller wasn’t as popular as some of the other films coming out of the 80s, it definitely had enough of a following to birth two sequels. In the film, a troubled teenage girl butts heads with her mother’s new husband (played by Terry O’Quinn, who brings sociopath to a whole new level–effortlessly), who she suspects is hiding something. Her suspicions are apparently accurate, as her stepfather is a lunatic who murdered his previous family and is now operating under a new identity to conceal his past. As she tries to convince her mother and anyone else who will listen (her psychiatrist included) that something is terribly wrong with her stepfather, the young teen does some sleuthing of her own to uncover the truth. I feel like there’s really no point in remaking this one because I feel like O’Quinn’s performance was the only thing that made the original watchable. And it’s not like he’s reprising his role–he’s too busy being John Locke on LOST. I wish this remake all the best sans O’Quinn (really, I do).
The Wolf Man (1941)
Release Date: November 6, 2009
One of the older horror classics getting a reboot is The Wolf Man, which will feature Benicio Del Toro in the title role and Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt in supporting roles. While Universal Studios, which is distributing the film, is sticking to the film’s original story, the film will include additional characters and new plot points that will employ modern visual effects. Afterall, visual effects like CGI were unheard of in the 40s. The best part about this film will probably be how it is conveyed visually (especially the Wolf Man himself), which will make for one entertaining frightfest.
The Birds (1963)
Release Date: 2010 or 2011
NOTE: Proceed with caution and absolutely NO expectations…you may be disappointed in the end.
Some classic suspense thrillers shouldn’t be touched. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from remaking the Hitchcock masterpiece, The Birds. Let’s hope that this remake, currently in production, will not make Hitchcock turn over in his grave. Moreover, let’s hope it pays homage to the original short story by Daphne du Maurier, of which the original film was based. It looks like the film is off to an “okay” start, including Naomi Watts in the lead role of Melanie Daniels and Michael Bay as a producer. The film is also rumored to star George Clooney as Mitch Brenner and could be in 3-D! As promising as this may all seem, I’m still convinced that Hitchcock classics should be left alone. They’re classics for a reason!