***“Five Points.” Named for the heart of the MARTA train lines, it’s a blog where I’ll quickly highlight five random things that I’m thinking about, tech stuff, or some other piece of randomosity.***

  1. Killer Mike Appreciation

This weekend I went to hear Cornel West do what he does and his performance was good. But the person who stole the show was Killer Mike. How and why did I totally forget about this dude? I love to hear him wax poetic on most topics. In additional to being a very talented rapper, he’s speaks reflectively about the world around him. It seems like no question ever catches him off guard. Here is a snippet of his response to a question about the word “nigga/er.” (Incidentally, this is a debate I could not care less about, but listen to his answer).

Shout out to the folx at From Afros to Shelltoes for putting on a dope event.

  • Express Scribe
  • In terms of my research I’m somewhere in between data collection and data analysis. I’m trying to annotate and transcribe the interviews I’ve done thus far. I vaguely remember someone doing a praise dance for the software express scribe. If that describes you, please stand up and testify and tell me the basics of how to use it. I spent hours trying to get it to obey me, but ended up cursing out my computer (in Jesus’ name).

    1. Sampling 101

    I’m adding that to my list of dream courses that I would love to teach. However, I don’t really know how I could do it better than Mark Anthony Neal who is offering said course, titled “Sampling Soul” at Duke with Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder.  How dope is that??

    Relatedly, I just watched a documentary on PBS about sampling called “Copyright Criminals.” I started to write a full review of it…and then I got lazy. Suffice it to say; I think it’s a starting point. It presented bits and pieces of the pro/con arguments without ever really getting to the heart of why producers do it and why it works aesthetically for audiences. (Clearly, that’s the ethnomusicological bent that they should’ve hired me to present, lol.)  But I’ll say it a genesis for further discussion on the subject.

    Here’s the trailer and check your local listings for its next airing:

    1. J DILLA + Jay-Z = JOY

    If you need to know anything about me, it’s how much I LOVE Jay Dilla. Exactly who James Yancey was, is a subject for another series of blogs. I’ll say this, he’s your favorite producer’s producer, or he’s your favorite producer that you’ve never heard of.  He’s produced for Janet Jackson, A Tribe Called Quest, Common, Busta Rhymes, Pharcyde, De La Soul, and Slum Village and countless others.

    But BANK! did some tremendous community service by putting some classic Hov rhymes over some unforgettable Dilla beats. Like my man Prov!? suggests it makes you sad that Dilla & Jay never got the chance to work together. But do your ears a favor and listen to the Dilla versus Jay-Z: The Lost Blueprint.

    Donuts are FOREVER.

    1. Why Music Matters: The Haiti Earthquake Edition

    My mind cannot comprehend the devastation in Haiti. It just can’t. Thirty-five seconds that have fundamentally changed a nation and her people forever. But as I watched the non-stop coverage in Haiti, amid the journalistic slants and borderline disaster porn, I found the voice of the people….and the people were SINGING. You could tell the commentators were blown that amid the ubiquitous death, abject poverty, and undeniable misery: the people were gathering and singing.

    I was particularly struck by the story of Mrs. Janette. She was a bank worker who had been trapped in her collapsed bank for six days! Miraculously she was in good condition when she was finally freed. But the thing that pleasantly surprised me was that her first inclination was to sing a song about not being afraid of death.

    Songs travel places words cannot go.

    Praise God for her life.