Friday, 30 April 2010
RV is happy to bring you this video of KUSH performing their hit single ''Angels'' back in 2003. The three KUSH ladies, Lara George, TY Bello and Emem Ema Obasi are in the video. We are grateful to Google and YOUTUBE for allowing us use this material on this blog. RV is working hard to keep this blog updated consistently. Cheers.
Contact Tolu Ihidero: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Emem was the official rapper of KUSH on the group's album '' The Experience ''. I was really impressed with her delivery, and it was not hard to tell that she made tracks like ''Tic Tac Toe'', ''Lets Live Together'' and ''La La'' sound very interesting. I've since discovered that Emem Ema Obasi is much more than thrilling us with the microphone. Since the break-up of KUSH, she has been making giant strides as a music entrepreneur. Emem graduated from the University of Lagos in 2001 with a Law degree. She attended the Nigerian Law School between 2002-2003. Since then, she's had her hands in various pies in the Media business. She is a co-founder and a leading light at Vzhun Media, and the Executive Director of One Integrated Management Services, a consultancy outfit that assists creative artists with a bid to make their dreams come true.
Emem's parents were staff of the Nigerian Television Authority [ NTA ], so she could be said to be a chip off the old block. Emem was also the Associate Producer ( PR&Marketing ) of NOKIA First Chance/Reflex Media& DaWorks Records/Squirt. She's also the producer of ''Sights and Sounds of Bonny'' a documentary commemorating ten years of the King of Bonny's [ Bonny is in Rivers State, Nigeria ] coronation. It is also pertinent to note that Emem was involved in the production of Kunle Afolayan's landmark movie ''The Figurine''. Apart from helping out in promoting the movie, she was the one that gave Afolayan's work its title. Through O.N.E Management, Emem [ She's fondly called Mem'O these days ]is managing the careers of upcoming Nigerian artists like Ibiyemi [ Her video is on YOUTUBE ], Provabs and Drae. She's putting her energy into music production and management while maintaining a different angle to music and entertainment.
Emem Ema Abasi is also the first Nigerian to win the British Council International Young Music Entrepreneur Award in 2006. She was also the Future Awards Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2007. You might be tempted to believe that Emem has lost her vocal chords due to her foray into Music Entrepreneurship. Nope. She has a single ''Greenlight'' which is a very inspirational song. Emem talks about the inspiration behind the song- ''You've got a situation where life throws lemons at you. One person sees it as an opportunity to make lemonade and another sees it as a reason to go on rampage as to why life is so unfair. 'Greenlight' was for me as much as it is for everyone out there who has heard it. We can be anything or anyone we choose to be. It starts with determination. I can do all things through Christ. That's where it came from.'' When asked about a possible reunion for KUSH, this is what Emem had to say:
''I'm one part of KUSH. It would have to be a collective decision.'' she said. RV really wants to see this hugely gifted lady team up with Dapo, Lara and Toyin for a second experience as KUSH.
Sources: www.linkedin.com, google.com, one1mgt.com
Where to find Emem Ema Obasi online: twitter.com/vzhun/status/12665889904
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Guru A.K.A Keith Elam [ 17 July 1962-19 April 2010 ] came from a middle class family in Roxbury, Massachusetts, to New York in pursuit of his dreams to make it in the Rap Game. He met DJ Premier and they recorded some albums together. GURU means '' Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal ''. After splitting from DJ Premier, Keith Elam put out some Jazzmatazz albums and he collaborated with other artists including Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu and The Brand New Heavies. He also toured with his new sidekick and producer, MC Solar. According to Guru, his first solo album was ''Version 7.0: The Street Scriptures (2005)''. The album had the imprint of Solar on it. Guru's last projects were the instalments in his JazzMatazz series [ A new genre of Rap Music in which Elam fuses Jazz with Rap ] which were released in June 2007 alongside ''Guru 8.0: Lost And Found'', released May 19,2008. Though there were consistent rumours about a Gang Starr reunion, Guru maintained that he did not want to work with DJ premier again.
DJ Premier has however issued a statement in which he mourned the death of his ex-colleague. According to him, '' It was a sad day for me to get confirmation on the death of a man who I'll continue to call my brother, Keith Elam, better known as Guru of the Legendary Gang Starr...,''. Premier also touched on the issue of the letter allegedly written by Guru [ And which was produced by MC Solar after the rapper's death ] in which his late friend slagged him- ''All I will say is that our time together was beautiful. We built a hip-hop legacy together, and no one can re-write history or take away my love for him. I love you Goo...DJ Premier.'' RV has gathered that Guru's family have said they do not believe he wrote the controversial letter. Keith Elam is survived by his son, KC.
Sources: aceshowbiz.com, Wikipedia, RV.
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Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Guru, the front man of Hip-Hop/Rap Group, Gang Starr, is dead. He died yesterday after battling with cancer for a year. Guru [ Keith Elam ] suffered a heart attack on February 28 2010 and subsequently slipped into a coma. 43 year old Guru formed Gang Starr in 1985 with DJ 1, 2B-Down and several producers including Donald D, J.V, and DJ Mark helped out. It was not long before this gifted assembly broke up with Guru deciding to continue his career under the name, Gang Starr. He teamed up with DJ Premier [ Christopher Edward Martin ] in 1989 and the duo put out their first single, ''Words I Manifest'' alongside the album ''No More Mr. Nice Guy''. The group's other albums include ''Daily Operation'' (1992), Hard To Earn (1994) and ''The Ownerz (2003). Gang Starr's style combined elements of New York Swing Jazz and Hip-Hop.
RV gathered that Guru wrote a letter before his death, in which he stated that his producer, Solar, should take care of the elements of his character after his death, and to also ensure that his ex-Gang Starr partner, DJ Premier is not allowed to operate under the group's name. RV will produce an article on Guru's life along with good videos that tell stories. We commiserate with Guru's family, friends and the Amercan Hip-Hop community.
Sources: cnn.com, www.nme.com, RV
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's new album ''Uni-5: The World's Enemy'' will hit music stores on May 4, 2010. ''Rebirth'' is one of the songs on the new album. RV is happy to share this video with you courtesy of YOUTUBE. Keep visiting this blog. Cheers.
Bone Thugs N Harmony's Flesh-N-Bone has railed against charges that he assaulted his mother in 1998. The 36-year-old Rapper claimed that he cannot remember the incident. Flesh, whose real name is Stanley Howse, was arrested last month while performing at a Reunion Concert in Ohio with other BTNH members. He is accused by the Police of hitting his mother with a gun and leaving a 1-inch gash on her head. John O'Brien, a Sherrif's Deputy, revealed that Flesh-N-Bone's Mother and two witnesses have described the incident.
However, while chilling with Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone [ Fellow group members ], Howse denied the allegations. According to him: '' I will never do anything like that to my mother. Anyone that thinks I would do something like that need to check themselves ''. Flesh-N-Bone also maintained that he has a solid relationship with his mother. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are on a promotional tour for their new album, ''Uni-5: The World's Enemy'' which will be released on May 4, 2010. The group won a Grammy in 1997 for Best Rap Performance with the song ''Crossroads''. RV will keep you informed and updated on news concerning Flesh-N-Bone and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Sources: The Associated Press, Google Images, RV.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Music lovers who will be attending the Glastonbury Music Festival this year will be eating out of a salad bowl of music. This is because Michael Eavis, the English diary farmer who runs the festival of vibes, has decided to bring in a variety of artists from different backgrounds and cultures. The increasingly innovative Eavis has crowd favourites like Snoop Dogg, Dizzee Rascal, Vampire Weekend, Wurzel, Corinne Bailey Rae and Fatboy Slim hitting the stages from Wednesday June 23 to Sunday June 27, 2010. Femi Kuti, the son of Nigeria's Afro-Beat Legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, will also be jamming at the event. Glastonbury 2010 is being headlined by Irish Rock band, U2.
Micheal Eavis believes this year's line up of acts is the most staggering in the festival's 40 year history. Femi Kuti will be performing on the Pyramid Stage on Friday 25th June alongside U2. This is indeed a big break for him as he's been causing some stir in music circles internationally. Other great figures performing at the acclaimed festival include Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Slash, Ray Davies, Mos Def and faithless. There are loads of upcoming artistes and DJ's who will be manning other stages at the festival. RV is looking forward to Glastonbury 2010. The festival began the day after Jimi Hendrix died in 1970.
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Wednesday, 14 April 2010
If you've listened to the KUSH Album, ''The Experience'', you might have been tempted to believe that the group consisted of only three ladies. Apart from the song ''Mercy Way'', Lara, Toyin and Emem were either lead vocals, support vocals or rappers on the other songs. The first time I listened to ''Mercy Way'', I wondered who the guy with the lovely voice was. That guy is Dapo Torimiro, the only male member of KUSH. He was also the producer of the group's only album. With the instrumentation and quality production skills behind ''The Experience'', I'm not surprised that Dapo has become a juggernaut in international music production.
For a man that dropped out of medical school in Nigeria to become a music producer in America, working with music stars he adored and getting credits on their albums is a dream come true. Torimiro, who's a Yamaha endorsed artist and solid multi-instrumentalist worked with Ex-Fugees member, Lauryn Hill, as her keyboardist during her tour in 2006. He has also performed with Stevie Wonder and Lalah Hardaway. Due to his unique techniques in Song writing and Music Production, Dapo was able to place the song ''Quickly'' on John Legend's [ Legend is a five-time Grammy Award winner ] third studio album ''Evolver'' which was released on October 28, 2008. He has also worked with multi-platinum selling R&B diva, Brandy. It is very clear that Dapo's relocation to the United States has helped develop his music career greatly. He's been able to network with important personalities in the American music industry.
Are you also aware that Dapo Tomiro co-wrote and produced the track ''Bigger'' on Canadian kid wonder Justin Bieber's first part of his debut studio album ''My World''? The CD was released on November 17, 2009 by Island Records. Dapo's CV is very impressive and he keeps adding gold nuggets to his profile everyday. He has also taken the time to collaborate with other producers. According to Bruce Waynne of Midi Mafia [ Producers of 50 Cent and Fantasia ], ''Dapo brings something different to the table. You have to do something very special and unique for us to decide to work with you. He plays multiple instruments and he's not just a beat guy. He's someone who can also start from the scratch, but he does it in his own way, from his own perspective.'' This is a huge endorsement of Dapo's talent from a renowned music producer. Dapo worked with Grammy winning producer, Jeffrey Webber, on ''Change'', a song which was recorded for Barack Obama's presidential campaign back in 2008.
I wonder what would have happened if KUSH had not broken up, with Dapo using his songwriting and production talent for the Gospel Group's subsequent albums. The Lagos born dude and his female friends might have received Grammy Award nominations in the Gospel Music category. KUSH had a bright future as a group. It was a project that died prematurely. However, RV thinks Dapo has done well for himself and should consider reuniting with Lara George, TY Bello and Emem Ema for a sophomore album which will surely be outstanding. He literally has the world at his feet right now and has been writing scores for movies recently. Watch out for this amazing guy as the years roll on.
Where to find Dapo Torimiro online: www.myspace.com/dapomiroproductions, www.twitter.com/dapotorimiro, www.dapomiroworks.com
Contact Tolu Ihidero@: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, 11 April 2010
If you've always been curious about Nigerian music, it is likely that you'll come across the songs of a group called ''The Plantation Boys''. The group played a huge role in bringing Nigerian Hip-Hop and R&B to the attention of music lovers all over the world. Augustine Ahmedu, one of the founding members of Plantation Boys, took a fresh musical direction when the group broke up after their two albums ''Body N Soul'' (2000) and ''Sold Out'' (2003). Unlike his former band mates, Faze [ Chibuzor Orji ] and 2face [ Innocent Idibia ] who are good at releasing love songs and party jams, Blackface has carved a name for himself as a social critic and incurable fighter for human rights. He's just come out of a 2-year hiatus with a new album.
Blackface, who was born at the Creek Military Hospital, Obalende, Lagos, Nigeria in 1974 grew up listening to the music of Boney M, The Whispers and The Sledge Sisters. He was also inspired to pick up the microphone by rappers like Nas, Method Man and Redman. As a student of St Gabriel's Secondary School, Makurdi, in Northern Nigeria, Blackface joined various dance groups and was a member of the school choir. The prolific songwriter later attended the Institute of Management Technology [IMT], Enugu, where he met Tuface and started the Plantation Boys. After the group's demise, he released his solo album ''Ghetto Child'' in 2004. The album revealed Blackface's connection with the suffering masses of his country and thus a revolutionary was born. If you've listened to two of his songs ''E Dey Pain Me'' and ''Hard Life'', you'll get my drift. Though he's not as popular as his ex-bandmates, Augustine Ahmedu has his own dedicated fans who've purchased his other albums like ''Evergreen'' and ''Me,Music and I''.
Lovers of Blackface's brand of music can start smiling because he has a new album in the stores. After touring Europe [ Switzerland and Spain ], he's returned to Nigeria with a fresh dimension to his music. His latest album ''Dancehall Business'' was released on March 27,2010. Blackface collaborated with upcoming artistes like Oti, Ruffman and Rocksteady on some songs in the release. The album is being marketed by his company, Loudhouse Entertainment. Blackface has also taken the time to answer his critics. According to him '' Though people are saying I've not made it like Faze and Tuface and that they're not seeing me like the others, I have my own values. I don't want to be seen all the time. The more you don't see me, the more music I do''. However, it is widely acknowledged that Blackface wrote 2face's hit song ''African Queen'' which was the soundtrack of ''Phat Girls '', a Movie featuring Monique. With his new album, it is time for Augustine Ahmedu to shed his underdog tag and shoot videos that will make music fans acknowledge his talent. RV wishes him the best as he relaunches his music career.
Sources: www.africahit.com, RV
Where to find Blackface online: www.myspace.com/blackfacealive
Thursday, 8 April 2010
I was very young when I saw his critically acclaimed movie ''Do The Right Thing'' when the world was still into video cassettes and VHS players. Ours was a Toshiba brand and we'd joined a video club in the neighbourhood where we borrowed videos for a specific amount of money. Though ''Do The Right Thing'' portrayed black consciousness and racial violence in inner American cities, Rosie Perez's dance at the beginning of the movie says a lot about Spike Lee's soft spot for music. Born on the 20th of March 1957 in Atlanta, Georgia, Spike had music running in his veins from day one. His father, Bill Lee, was a jazz musician.
Spike Lee has worked with top-notch musicians over the years in his movie directing schedule. The confrontational rap music of Public Enemy was judiciously used in ''Do The Right Thing'' with the hip-hop jazz influences of Gangstarr being featured in ''Mo Betta Blues'' [ This film itself is based on the jazz world ]. The contributions of Terrence Blanchard, a jazz artiste, to Spike Lee's productions is worthy of mention. The trumpet player has his sounds in the background of most of the African-American director's movies. In ''25th Hour'', Blanchard was the film's composer. Another innovative move by Spike Lee was to use Bruce Springsteen's song ''The Fuse'' as the accompanying song to Blanchard's Score on the movie. Movie reviewers found this a bit odd because the soundtracks of Spike's previous productions had largely favoured the sounds of urban America i.e funk, soul, jazz and Hip-Hop.
Spike Lee, whose real name is Shelton Jackson Lee, shot Michael Jackson's videos for '' They Don't Really Care About Us '' [ The video has two versions and they were shot separately in Rio de Janeiro & Bahia in Brazil and New York, USA. ] He also produced Jackson's video ''This Is It'' after the famous singer's death. He has also directed music videos for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Miles Davies and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince [ T.A.F.K.A.P ]. Spike Lee, who's an alumnus of Morehouse College has furthered the careers of black actors including Denzel Washington, Samuel L.Jackson and Lawrence Fishburne. He's succeeded in pushing them into the mainstream of Hollywood acting. In ''Do The Right Thing'', the music imagery was very clear. Radio Raheem signified the Rap culture of the hood with his boom box, while the DJ/Continuity Announcer was like a businessmen selling American music to the world. RV is proud to be associated with Spike Lee. He's a man who has inspired youths all over the world with his films and has helped nurture the growth of Hip-Hop music in a creative way.
Sources: msn.com, feministmusicgeek.com, RV.
Monday, 5 April 2010
From all indications, Lara George seems to be the one affected most by the break-up of KUSH. Listen to her- '' The inability of the members to be fully dedicated to KUSH was a major challenge that we contended with all through. For us in KUSH, it got to a point where not everybody wanted to give their all. There were issues of time and focus. If you have people in a place and some are giving 100% of their time and others are not, there would be issues. There wasn't a specific event that led to the break up, but one day when the same thing that had been happening all over again happened, it became a thorn that needed to be removed. We just called a meeting and called it quits. We were afraid of giving our fans less than what are known for. So we let it rest in 2002. ''
Lara contributed in no small measure to the success of KUSH's only album '' The Experience ''. She was great on tracks like ''Tic Tac Toe [ A song that I love dancing to ]'', ''My Friend'', and '' Angels ''. Another factor that made her outstanding was her sophistication and natural charm. To me, she's the prettiest of the three KUSH women. I'm also not surprised that she got married before TY Bello [ Emem has not found her soul-mate yet ]. Lets get down to real business and get to know Lara George more. She grew up in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, and attended the University of Lagos Staff School. She's an alumnus of Queen's College, Yaba, Lagos [ Queen's College is one of the top high schools in Nigeria. Lara graduated from the University of Lagos with B.Arch in Architecture. It was at the university that she met TY Bello, Dapo Torimiro and Emem Ema with their friendship culminating into KUSH.
So what has Lara been up to after KUSH broke up? She released her debut solo album ''Forever In My Heart'' in 2007 with the hit single being ''Ijoba Orun'' [ Heavenly Rule ]. This song made a lot of waves and it left many fans reminiscing about her days as a KUSH member. In August 2009, Lara came out with her 2nd album self-titled '' Lara George ''. The album has a remix of ''Ijoba Orun'' alongside other tracks like '' Halleluyah ', ''Kolebaje'' [ It won't get worse ] et al. The album is also due to be repackaged by SONY Music for the International Market. Lara's songs seem to be strictly gospel though she still retains KUSH's urban style and feel. She is also very focused and has big dreams. As the Vice President of SoForte Entertainment, she wants to build the biggest entertainment distribution company in Nigeria. Lara George is very popular in Nigeria and among Nigerians, Afro-Carribean people and African-Americans in Europe and North America. There's something she has not forgotten. Lara has not forgotten her tour of the UK and the USA with the other Ex-KUSH members and how the group recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London [ The Beatles recorded great songs there too ]. So will Lara reunite with Dapo, Emem and Toyin as KUSH if the opportunity arises? Well, only time will tell. What RV knows is that Lara is not happy about the break-up.
Lara's message to KUSH Fans: '' Keep your head up. Trust in God and never despise the days of small beginnings, because God always has a master plan that you may not understand''.
Where To Find Lara's music: www.mytruspot.com/larageorge ( Complete Albums )
Lara's Web Presence: www.myspace.com/larageorge
Sources: nigeriafilms.com, RV.
Friday, 2 April 2010
Canadian teen sensation, Justin Bieber, is holding the No 1 position on the Billboard 200 Album chart with his new release, ''My World 2.0''. The album has sold 283,000 copies in its first week in the market. 16 years old Bieber has become the youngest solo male artiste to become No 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, since August 1963 when 13- yr old Stevie Wonder was No 1 with ''Little Stevie Wonder and The 12 Year Old Genius'' album. Bieber's first album ''My World'' debuted at No 6 when it was released late last year by Island Records. Justin Bieber started out by posting his videos on YOUTUBE with the encouragement of his mother. Before then, he had thought himself to play the guitar, drums and the piano. The native of Stratford, Ontario, was soon spotted by Scooter Braun, who'd formerly worked for So So Def Records. Braun brought Justin to the United States and after convincing R&B singer, Usher Raymond, that he was really gifted, he was signed on. The rest as they say is history. RV believes Justin Bieber will become a great Canadian musician like Celine Dion, Bryan Adams and Shania Twain.
Sources: Wikipedia, billboard.com, RV.
TY Bello was the most vivacious of the three KUSH ladies [ Fans of the Group tend to forget that Dapo Torimiro is part of KUSH ]. Her hairstyle which was afro-like back then and her Alto voice made her unique. In the KUSH album, ''The Experience'', Toyin was the lead singer on most of the songs. She has this commanding presence whenever she's on the microphone. If you've listened to ''The Experience'', you'll agree with me that she was great as lead vocals on the the track ''Under His Shadows''. It is great to also acknowledge that TY Bello is doing well for herself as a solo artiste.
It took her 2 years to release her solo album ''Green Land''. The album has cemented her position as one of Nigeria's best female singers. Honestly, I've not seen an amazing singer like her besides Onyeka Onwenu. Green Land has a good number of lovely songs. Apart from the title track ''Green Land '', ''Come Ride With Me'' sounds like a song performed by Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill. ''Funmise'' is another favourite track of mine. The song highlights the need for God's guidance in all what we do. Toyin believes we can't achieve much without God's help. ''Ekundayo'', a song which has a true life story behind it continues to inspire Nigerians to care about orphans in the country. '' Green Land '' has been well accepted by Gospel Music lovers. It was released on the North Avenue Music Label.
TY Bello holds a Degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Apart from music, she is a celebrated portrait photographer and her photographs have been used in Nigeria's ThisDay Newspapers. RV also discovered it was Toyin that snapped the Photograph of Sunmi Smart Cole, which was used on the homepage of his website- www.sunmismartcole.com She has also been featured on 1cubed.com and was given an award by the Christian Music site. So what is TY's take on KUSH? According to Mrs Bello: '' We didn't really break up. KUSH was together for 8 years. For me and I think the rest of us, KUSH was fulfilling and it was an amazing training for all of us ''. Eclectic in her music style, RV has gathered that Toyin is working on a 2nd solo album though she has refused to make comments about the project. She also has a personal principle of not performing at shows and concerts. Toyin and Dapo Torimiro are the two KUSH members that have websites. TY Bello is very cultured in her approach to music and she's got this presence that brings peace upon her fans. RV hopes she will team up with Lara, Emem and Dapo for a sophomore album.
Toyin's Website: www.tybello.com
Where To Find TY Bello's Music Online: www.last.fm, www.mytruspot.com/tybello
Agency Material: nigeriafilms.com, naijarules.com