Category Archives: Music

“Greater Than The Sun” for Breakfast!

Hey folks! Happy New Year! I know we’ve been into 2012 for more than a week now, but this is my first post of the year, so I figured I’d wish each of you a prosperous, amazing 2012. What better way to kick off the year than with a post that is a cross-section of all of the things I love: writing, music, photography, and food. This past weekend, I had the chance to have a house to myself, and that meant I got to play around in the kitchen. Cooking is one of my favorite things to do, but when I’m trying out a whole bunch of new stuff, I prefer to do it alone. That way, if it sucks, I can throw it away and no one is hurt that they’re in the house hungry but me. ;-)

Rewinding back a few days, I was on GChat with Cheekie when I mentioned an idea that I had for a post. I follow an amazing food blog called Carnal Dish, and the owner of said blog, Resha, has a recipe on her site dedicated to one of her favorite artists: Big K.R.I.T. Browsing her website and realizing that I had an entire weekend to play around in the kitchen, I had a brilliant idea. Why not do something along the same lines for my favorite group, The Foreign Exchange? And that’s what brings us here together today. Without further adieu, I introduce to you the “Greater Than The Sun” breakfast, inspired by the song of the same title off of Zo’s album “Sunstorm.”

i admittedly need to work on my pancake skills, but trust me. this tasted awesome.

I took a page from Carnal Dish, and put my own spin on the Lazy Lemon and Vanilla Bean pancakes. I was without vanilla bean, so my pancakes feature lemon zest, orange zest, and vanilla extract. The orange zest made something really special happen with these pancakes, and I’m certain I had a smile on my face from the first bite. Instead of syrup, I put together a glaze with raspberry preserves, lemon, lime, and orange juice, with some sugar and a bit of water. Once it reduced down, I poured it on top of the pancakes, and it added just the right amount of sweetness and tartness to the pancakes, and sort of reminded me of the color that the sky takes on when the sun is setting.

On one side, you see God’s gift to breakfast – bacon. Yes, there are 4 pieces there. I could get creative and say it’s one for every word in the title of the song, but it was really because I was starving. ;-) For my scrambled eggs, I used spinach, sundried tomatoes, and Monterey Jack cheese. MAN. Talk about some kinda good! It was just the right amount of heat, and the veggies really set it off. Last but not least, to celebrate the morning time, I poured a big glass of orange juice. Had I had some champagne in the house, it would have been a mimosa, but I figure I can save that for the next time I make this recipe!

So folks, there you have it. My culinary interpretation of “Greater Than The Sun.” Between the food on the plate and the song on repeat, it is impossible to have a bad start to the day. If you don’t already have Carnal Dish bookmarked, please do so, and if you don’t have Zo’s “Sunstorm” album, please traipse on over here to order yourself (and anyone else you care about) a copy.

Until next time, folks!

and this is what was left when I was finished...

Take It From Here…

I got inspired to sit and to write as I was sitting on my bed listening to Justin Timberlake’s “Take It From Here” off of his Justified album. I’ve loved this song since I was in high school, but I’ve been inclined to revisit it a lot as of late. I’m at a juncture in my life where a lot of important things are about to hit the ground running for me, and it can get to be a little overwhelming. 25 is very rapidly approaching, and it seems that it will be the year that I have the most growth — professionally, creatively, interpersonally, and any other aspect you can think of, I’ll probably be progressing as I enter into my mid-20′s. Here recently, I’ve been privileged enough to have a vast array of conversations with various people in my life. In these conversations, it’s been revealed that people think I’m a great person who deserves all of the love in the world, and who is full of talent and promise. Yes, I realize that that last sentence made it sound like I am tooting my own horn, but it is in fact not meant like that at all. I truly struggle with the idea that I’m great and capable of all of this progress that I see happening right before my eyes. It’s a constant battle to remind myself that I am a great person and that I am capable of great things, and it’s even more difficult when I don’t really hear it the way that I crave to hear it…

So where does the song come in?

Glad you asked! If you take the time to listen to the song, it’s basically Justin telling his woman that he’ll be there to pick up where she leaves off. He’s telling her that he’ll be her strength when she can’t do it anymore. That he’ll be the positive to her negative, the yin to her yang, “When all the love feels gone/and you can’t carry on/don’t worry girl/I’mma take it from here/Just as sure as the sun will shine/every morning every time/don’t worry girl/I’mma take it from here.” Powerful stuff, right? He’s basically telling her to lighten her load, take a breather, and just to lean on him, and he’s got it from there. There are some days I wake up tired, and don’t want to get out of the bed to do anything. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to use other creative ways to express myself, I don’t want to talk to people, and I definitely don’t want to go to work for 9 hours. It would mean something so special to me to get to have the kind of support that he’s talking about in this song. That unconditional, unwavering, and consistent support from a man who cares about and loves me.

Ah, one day.

 

Until next time, folks…

Live and Direct…

Over the last year, I’ve been fortunate to be in some really great places at very apt times. There have been times where I’ve physically felt that I was in the exact place I was supposed to be in at the exact time I was supposed to be there. It may have something to do with the fact that I deliberately set myself up for moments such as those, or it just may be the universe working in my favor. One may never know…

Over the last year or so, I’ve started to consciously make decisions to do things that make me happy. Not just put a smile on my face for a couple of hours and then send me back to my melancholy ways, but to seriously make me smile in the depths of my soul.  (Having your soul smile is an extraordinary thing for those of you that may not have been able to experience this yet.) Of all of the things that I have done this year that have made me happy, the one constant thing that sticks out in my mind is the amount of live music that I have seen this year. Now that I sit and think about it, it truly boggles my mind that I’ve been able to see as much live music as I have. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that music has a special place in my little heart. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember, but this year it was finally time for me to experience it firsthand. It started with Zo’s album release party at U Street Music Hall last summer, then to the Summer Spirit Festival, and then died down over the winter and early spring months. It was at Zo’s album release that I realized that there was no better way to experience a show but to be at the stage while someone is performing. The vibe that the performer gives off based on the vibe that the audience is giving him/her? Man, listen. It’s one of the most profound things I’ve ever seen. Starting with Eric Roberson and Vivian Green in April at Ram’s Head Live, I vowed that I would spare no expense in getting to see the music live that I have wanted to see for a very long time. That is how I have seen two Foreign Exchange shows, another Eric Roberson show, the Rebirth Brass Band, Sade and John Legend, Jill Scott/Anthony Hamilton/Mint Condition/Doug E. Fresh/DJ Jazzy Jeff, my friend Johnny Graham and his group, The Groove, and most recently, Zo and Sy Smith. I’ve been to some amazing venues, with both my friends and with my mom, and have gotten to experience songs that have grown to become the soundtrack of my life live. How many people can say that they’ve had the opportunity to do that? I’ve been blessed to be able to attend so many shows, and file the memories I have in the corner of my mind. This is a trend that may have started this year, but will definitely continue for years to come. There are too many artists out here that I love to not go out and support their music, especially when they make their way to the DC area. There is something about the vibe in a room when an artist is performing, no matter if it’s the back room of a restaurant, or an arena the size of the Verizon Center…if the person on stage is truly in love with what they do, and has fun with it, they will command your attention, and not let it drop until the house lights come back on. That, my dear friends, is what I live for. To you, I ask, what artists have you seen live, and how did their show leave you feeling once you left? I can tell you where I am right now after having seen Zo and Sy Smith perform last night…I’m on Cloud 10. Too good to be on Cloud 9…;-)

Until next time, folks…

Just Visiting Three Listening Party – DC

I know that I typically wait until Fridays to talk about music, but an event happened this past Monday that I could not wait four days to talk about. It was an event that I had been waiting actual months for, and I was so excited to be a part of it. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the release of Zo!’s third installment of his “just visiting” series, aptly titled “…just visiting three.” When the announcement hit the Twitter airwaves that the listening party in DC would be held on Monday, July 11, my face went from :-) to -_____- in about five seconds flat. Go into the city after I’d already gone home after work? On a Monday? Man…I like my sleep! Let me stop playin’, I knew from the time I saw the tweets that I was gonna go. Monday night after I got home from work, got some dinner, and changed into something slightly sexy ;-), I headed out to pick up my lovely friend Peebz and head down to Tap and Parlour on U Street. When we got there, the crowd was slightly small, but we ran into Panama Jackson at the door, and since 3’s have fun everywhere they go, we struck up a nice –ratchet- conversation while people started to file in. I ran into The Jazzy Belle, and she, Peebz, and I found a table that just so happened to be directly across from where Zo! was sitting. Score! While people were still coming in, and mixing and mingling with one another, the DJ was playing a nice set, with everything from Zo’s earlier work to The Foreign Exchange, The Roots, Bilal, Common, and an array of other artists. The lovely Husky Monreaux joined us at the table, and we all sat and talked, sipped some beverages, and waited patiently for 12:00 to hit so we could hear the new album.

Zo! got on the mic promptly at 12 to announce that the album was ready to go, and the DJ dropped the beat on the first track. From the second he pressed play, everybody in the room seemed to be locked into the music. Heads were nodding, toes were tapping, bodies were rolling (ok, maybe that was just me), and everybody was taking in the album second by second and track by track. I’m an observer by nature, so I tended to look around the room to see how different people were reacting to the music. Some were completely silent and looked as if they were stuck in a trance; others continued their hushed conversations underneath the music, while some others were partying like they were out at a club. Everyone in the place showed genuine love and appreciation for the record, which was an awesome sight to see. For me, new music is like a gift under the Christmas tree. All of the anticipation of Christmas builds up in the weeks and days before the holiday comes, and it peaks just as you turn the corner and see all of the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. Unwrapping the gift is the culmination of the anticipation, and laying eyes on the gift for the very first time gives you a sense of glee, joy, and thankfulness. That’s how I felt listening to “…just visiting three” for the first time. It was like Zo and all of the rest of the team that worked on the album had taken months to perfectly wrap the gift, making sure every crease was laid straight, every piece of tape was secured tight, and that they put the prettiest, shiniest bow they could find on top, and the listening party was our (the fans’) chance to sit under the tree and open the gift. It was an amazing experience to be around so many people listening to the same work of music for the first time, and it’s one I won’t soon forget.

After the album was done playing, Zo got back on the mic, and they dropped it again! This time, it was like everyone was dancing at their uncle’s cookout, except without the burnt hot dogs and red solo cups full of whatever you can think of, or we were all at the skating rink during the free skate where everyone got to show off their tricks. During the second round of the CD, Zo was more than happy to hug or dap the fans that came out to support him, to take pictures, and to hold conversations with people. He’s so nice and so down to Earth, and I’m personally excited that the album was so well received, and that there is so much love for him here in DC! I had an absolute ball at the listening party with my friends, and I didn’t even kick myself in the face too hard on Tuesday morning when I got to work later than I usually do because it was completely worth it.

The man of the hour and yours truly!

Zo! and Peebz of the award-winning DirtyPrettyThangs.com!

In case you don’t have it (which if you don’t, you’re loafin), it can be downloaded here for absolutely FREE! Take advantage of amazing music, and support an awesome musician. Ya’ll already know I have it loaded up on every device I own. Once you listen to the EP, share your thoughts in the comments! Until next time…

Feature Fridays – Le BOOM Vent Suite

Howdy folks! Welcome back to Feature Fridays, and today I have a pretty personal song chosen. I know it’s the Friday before a holiday, and everyone is amped to get their long weekend started (I KNOW I am), but I decided I needed to share this song with you all since it’s been on constant rotation for the last week.

It always feels like Christmas to me when an artist that I love releases new music. With every track that passes, it’s like ripping another piece of wrapping paper off of the biggest gift under the tree. When Jill Scott released her new album, “The Light of the Sun,” it was no different for me. Her music has been a soundtrack for me in both sad and happy times, so I was eager to see what direction she took this new album in. As with most new music I buy, I bought it on my iPod, so I pulled my headphones in while at my desk at work and began to listen. 1 got to track 5 and immediately stopped in my tracks.

http://youtu.be/I3szlTzmJ3c

“Le Boom Vent Suite” seems to speak to every corner of my life. It’s almost as if Jill took a trip to DC, asked me what was going on, and wrote a song about it. The beginning of the song is completely empowering for me, and inspires me to make some changes in my own life, while the end reminds me that it’s sometimes easier said than done. That balance between believing that someone doesn’t want you and you deciding that it’s time to leave with the realization that maybe they do want you if you stick it out, coupled with your realization that you completely want them and you feel that they’d benefit your life if they’d just get it together? Man. It’s like she knows me. It’s so beautifully painful for me to listen to that I can’t seem to turn away from it whenever it comes on. As if you couldn’t already tell, I relate best to music, but it’s especially gripping for me when I’m going through something or trying to get to a place that’s described in a particular song. Whenever I feel strongly about a song, I tend to listen to it over and over, and that’s exactly what I’ve done with this song this week.

If you haven’t done so already, please go buy her album! It’s a work of art from start to finish in my opinion, and as a woman, there are a few songs on there that I completely relate to and that I feel very strongly about, with “Le Boom Vent Suite” taking the lead for the one I feel the most about. Are there any songs that you all have that seem to just kick you in the chest because it most accurately describes your life at a certain point? Let’s chat about them in the comments! Until next time, folks…

Feature Fridays: Summertime (So Hot)

Ah, the smell of burgers and dogs on the grill, the sight of girls in sundresses and sandals and guys in Polos, shorts, and their best pair of kicks, the blazing hot sun burning on the back of your neck…there’s no season like summer, and I’ve always loved it. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always associated some of my happiest memories with summer, and all of those memories involve music. Now that summer has officially hit, I would be remiss not to do a summertime song for this week’s feature. The all-time summertime anthem is now, and forever will be, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith’s Summertime, but I think this song I’m featuring here will become a close second, at least for me. This week’s Feature Friday is “Summertime (So Hot)” by Eric Roberson featuring Chubb Rock. Now, I had actually heard part of this song maybe about a month and a half ago when Eric did a Ustream that I was able to catch because I was off work, and ever since then, I was hoping I’d be able to hear it again. Lucky for me, Eric decided to release the song for download a couple of weeks ago.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsHqSXCDzn0]

Now that you’ve listened to it, try and tell me that you don’t hear summertime all up and through it! It’s almost as if they peeked into the future and captured the very essence of summertime and laid it on a track. As soon as the beat drops, I’m ready to stop whatever I’m doing and either a) 2 step around the room, b) go to the nearest car wash and clean my car, or c) drive down the highway with the sunroof open and this blasting from my speakers. It’s such a smooth, fun song, and I am absolutely in love with it. It conveys the spirit of summertime perfectly, and a smile can’t help but to spread across my face when I hear it. The song just makes me want to gather some friends, have a cookout, and sit and just enjoy each other from the daylight until dusk (and of course get up and dance with this comes on). I make a lot of playlists for general purposes, but I have to create a Summer 2011 playlist just to add this song to it.

After listening to it, and reading how I feel about it, I hope that you go download the song (it’s free), and that you add it to your cookout playlists. Speaking of summertime tunes, what other songs do you quickly associate with summer? I have an entire arsenal of songs that remind me of my favorite season, but I’ve done enough talking. Leave me some good songs in the comments, and I’ll see you all next week!

Feature Fridays: Greatest Weapon of All Time

Hey ya’ll! It’s been a while since I’ve been here…a long while, and in my opinion, way too long. In order to interact with you all more, and to keep the place looking like something, I came up with the idea of starting a weekly series. I came up with an idea for a series to do two things: 1) it’ll get me in a consistent writing/posting habit (which is key as a writer), and 2) it’ll give you all out there an idea of where my head is on at least a weekly basis. I win, you win, all we do is win (x3). Khaled.

The name of this new series is called Feature Fridays. In the series, I’ve decided to showcase one song per week, give you the audio of the song, and also discuss why the song was so vital to my week, what the song means to me, and then give you a chance to maybe discover some new music and to learn something about me along the way. If you’ve been following me for some time, or you know me in real life, you know that I’m always surrounded by music. When I go to work in the mornings, I have my iPod in my ears, when I’m at work, I’m on YouTube for the music, and when I come home, I have music on in the car, and on my computer while I’m doing work. It, in a nutshell, is my life. What better way to dig deeper than to see what I have in constant rotation?

Without further adieu, I present to you the first Feature Fridays track: Zo! Feat. Sy Smith – Greatest Weapon of All Time

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWRbEojOywY?rel=0&w=425&h=349]

We all know how I feel about The Foreign Exchange and any and everything that comes off of their label, so it’s no surprise that my first song comes from an artist on their label. This song was vital to my week for a couple of very distinct reasons. For starters, I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to my writing. It’s always been a dream of mine to not only write, but to publish a novel. I struggle with the thought that what I write isn’t up to par with what else is out there on the market, so instead of trying to write more to get better, I clam up and write sporadically (as we can se by how I tend to this blog). Needless to say, that’s completely counterproductive to what I’m trying to do, and I’ve gotten to the point where I need to change that if I ever want to see my dream come to fruition. There’s a line in the song where Sy Smith says “Don’t ever underestimate/the power/of your heart and soul/cuz they might write the greatest/love story that’s/ever been told.” Now I know I’ve heard this song countless times before this week, but for whatever reason, that line has been on repeat non-stop in my head! It’s almost like it’s exactly what I needed to hear in order to get some inspiration. Within the last seven days, I’ve done research on what is needed to create a successful story, read a book about how to properly set yourself up to write, and created a skeletal plot outline. Talk about motivation.

The song has also helped me on a more personal note. I have my days where I feel like I live the cookie-cutter life: get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, work out, play on the computer, shower, eat somewhere within the day, sleep, rinse, and repeat. It’s not a hard life to live in terms of work, but it’s pretty difficult to live such a structured life when I used to thrive on freedom, which allowed me to do the things I wanted/needed to do without becoming an insomniac. After listening to this song on repeat a few (read: many) times, it dawned on me that I still have the freedom to do exactly what it is that I want and feel like I need to do – I just have to be a bit more creative in how I approach it, and if I want it bad enough, I’ll have to make the time to do it. It starts within my mind, and telling myself that I actually can achieve the things that I want to do, and to stop underestimating myself and what I’m capable of and destined for. As someone who spends a lot of time in internal reflection rather than projecting feelings outward, it’s been a difficult task to convince myself that I have what it takes to be successful. Whenever I feel like I’m not cut out for my dreams, I cut this song on, close my eyes if I can, and envision myself living out the life that I feel inclined to live. It’s an amazing feeling to see yourself in situations that you never imagined possible before.

For those of you that have heard this song, do you see where I’m coming from? Have you ever had a song that gave you the right mix of inspiration and motivation to get you to where you wanted to go, even if it was a very short journey to get there? For those of you that haven’t heard the song, check it out above, leave some of your thoughts and comments, and be sure to follow Zo! and Sy Smith on Twitter to keep up with them! Until next time, folks…

Happy Birthday Dad!

I’ve been wrestling for a few days about just how I wanted to tackle this post. It’s a hard one to write, simply because this time of year is never an easy one for me. There was a part of me that wanted to solely go the route of expressing how much I miss my dad, and how I wish I could spend his birthday with him, and how not a day goes by where I’m not reminded of him or where it feels surreal that he’s not here anymore. Now, all of what I just said is true, but for once, I think I want to write something that speaks to who he was as a person and what was important to him. My dad’s birthday is today (April 21), and he would have been 62 if he was still with us on Earth. Do I think he was taken too soon? The selfish side of me says yes…the spiritual side of me knows that things could have gotten much worse for him had he stayed with us, so in that respect, I’m ecstatic that he’s not hurting anymore.

But I miss him.

Luckily, he gave me a gift from the day that I was born that will never leave me. It’s so much engrained into who I am as a person that I feel it is an integral part of my personality, and it has a hand in every single aspect of my life. The gift he gave me was the gift of music. Whether it was me having to hear him practicing songs on his bass for church on Sunday, or going with him to watch him perform with choirs, or singing in the car with him on the way to the grocery store, music was our thing. So on this day, on what would have been the beginning of the 62nd year of his life, I choose to celebrate him through song. There are so many songs that I learned through him, or that spark some memory of him when I hear it. There is one song that every single time I hear it, whether it be on my iPod, on the radio, or me randomly choosing to listen to it on YouTube, that feels like he is reaching down from the musician’s stand in Heaven to give me a hug. That song is The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIjLBK_n-74]

If you actually want to hear the song, click the link to go to YouTube — it won’t allow playback on the site.

Now, I have no recollection of the first time I heard that song, or even if my first time hearing it was with him, but no matter where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, or what’s going on, if I hear that song, I automatically feel at peace. I’m thankful every day that I had him in my life for the 16 years that he was with me, and that he passed on his genuine love for music and his talent down to me. Every time I hear a song with an amazing bass line, or a tenor that can really sing, or see someone playing a bass guitar or an alto saxophone, I’m reminded of my dad and just how much of an impact he still has on me to this day. It’s not an easy thing to realize that the only way I can tell him happy birthday is through my dreams and my thoughts, but this year, I choose to celebrate his life and his legacy. He left me with so many stories to tell my future children about who their grandfather was, and how awesome of a man he was.

To the best man I’ve ever had the Earthly privilege of knowing, I miss you. You live on in my heart and in my mind every day, and it is my earnest hope that I am making you proud down here. I wish I had one more conversation, one more hug, one more cheer from you in the back of the auditorium after concerts, one more ride down the highway listening to the radio together…I love you so much, and I take comfort in knowing that one day I’ll see you again, and we’ll get to do a whole lot of catching up. Happy Birthday Dad!

4.21.49 – 7.25.03

I Wanna Be She…

Unlike a lot of people in my circle of friends, I got introduced to certain amazing music pretty late in the game. It wasn’t until last summer that I was introduced to the amazing, talented, and gifted Eric Roberson. And let me just say that the first time I heard his music, I was completely blown away. Now, I’m not ashamed to admit, it took me a while to buy his album Music Fan First. I don’t know what the hell took me so long to get it, but once I did, I was pleasantly surprised, taken aback, and almost immediately fell in love with the album. As on any album, there is typically one song that stands completely out to me, and becomes my favorite track on the disc. In this case, the song off of his album is “She.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOiBNGCyv00]

This song is just…beautiful. I don’t think that there is another word that adequately describes the song. It’s simple, it’s poignant, it’s direct, and it spoke directly to my soul. I’ve known since the first time I heard it that it was a special song to me, but it wasn’t until I was driving home from Baltimore on Friday night that it really resonated with me why the song was so special to me. Mind you, I have listened to this song countless times, have listened and processed the words of the song, and have committed most of the song to memory, but it never really hit me why I was so in love with the song. It dawned on me that I want to be “she.” In every single line of the song, I long to be that woman to someone (who deserves it from me). For the first time in a very long time, I actually think I’m capable of being “she” to someone, which is taking some getting used to on my end. Once I came to that realization, I also noticed that it’s the simplest yet most powerful declaration of love I’ve heard laid over music in a very long time, and I can see myself in every note, melody, and rhythm of the song.

What does this mean to me at this very moment? It’s hard to tell…I know that I do desire something meaningful at this point in life. As I said above, I also recognize that I’m capable of providing support, love, and companionship to someone. I desire someone that likes me, wants to get to know me, and respects and cherishes me, but I know that that process takes time to get to and through. Am I in a particular rush? Not necessarily. I do think it would be nice, and every time I hear this song, I feel a little twinge of hope that it can happen for me some day.

I know I can’t be the only one out here who relates to a song on a deep emotional level. What song is it for you, and how does it make you feel? If this song spoke to you, what did it say? Leave me some thoughts in the comments.

Until next time, folks…

An Ode to The Foreign Exchange

If you’ve spent any amount of time with me within the last calendar year, you would know how much of a Foreign Exchange fan that I am. And I don’t mean a “oh yeah, their new CD comes out tomorrow, lemme go cop it” type of a fan. I’m the “let me pre order the CD, order the CDs I don’t have, and put everybody and their momma onto these things” type of fan. I mean, in the words of my good friend Cheekie, I STAN for these two. Let me give you a bit of a history on how I became such a Foreign Exchange fan…

Thanks to Twitter, I had started “meeting” people that I had never met before in real life. One of these people was an MC from my alma mater, DK aka Wayne Watts. He and I built up a rapport based on music, and when he released his “24” mixtape for his 24th birthday, there was one song in particular, titled “Birthday Party Guestlist (R.S.V.P.)” that caught me as soon as the beat dropped. Since he took the liberty of shouting me out at the end of the mixtape (that still touches my spirit btw), I decided to ask him where in the world he got the instrumental from for that song. He excitedly replied that it was from this group called The Foreign Exchange and the name of the song was Take Off The Blues. Ya’ll know I went to YouTube IMMEDIATELY and found the video for it. When I tell you my jaw hit the ground as I listened to the song…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a6OueWQ0O4]

That wasn’t the first time I had been introduced to FE. I remember a few years ago, hearing some tracks off of Connected, but I never thought to ask who the group was, or where I could find the music…but when I was re-introduced to them through DK, I. FELL. IN. LOVE. Never in my life had I experienced such a strong connection to music before…as someone who defines every event in her life through a soundtrack, it literally felt as if I had just discovered the soundtrack to my life. I can literally piece together songs off of all three albums to create my own personal soundtrack. From the chill flow of “Come Around” on Connected, to the introspective flow of “Daykeeper” on Leave It All Behind to the smooth groove of “Don’t Wait” on Authenticity, I have been able to musically describe my life and my thought processes for the last year thanks totally to The Foreign Exchange.

If for some unknown reason, you have NOT been blessed by the sheer talent of this amazing duo, please do yourself a favor and go download their catalog. You can get it in the iTunes store, or go to their website to getchu a piece of glory. From Nicolay’s amazing beats (like seriously, I have a heightened level of respect for anyone that can come up with music off the top of their head, but where does he GET the inspiration for this stuff? Listening to his instrumentals is like listening to magic be made, for real.) to Phonte’s verses so eloquently laid over top of said beats (and once again, this dude is the truth. He spits some real words about life and everything that comes with it in every single song on every one of their albums; I promise you, if you listen hard enough, you’ll be thinking about a lot by the time the album ends…), you can’t be disappointed in this group. You just can’t.

And let us not forget Darien Brockington, Zo!, and Yahzarah, all members of the Foreign Exchange family. Talk about people that can sing and compose music like none other…all of their features on FE albums, coupled with their own solo efforts…high quality music. I’ve put numerous people on to the entire FE family, and I literally get excited at the mere mention of new music from anyone in the group.

Everytime I listen to a Foreign Exchange piece, no matter what mood I’m in, a little piece of my soul smiles. From the bottom of my heart, to both Nicolay and Phonte, I thank you for making the music you make. You have no idea the positive impact that each of your CDs has had on my life. You literally speak to my soul and have helped me get through and process through many situations over the last 12 months. I’m SO looking forward to the next time you come to DC, because I will DEFINITELY be front and center!

Til next time, folks…