James Blake

With the Success of his latest albulm “Overgrown” James Blake is going places.James Blake is an English electronic musician from London, England. James began his final year at Goldsmiths in September 2009 studying popular music while recording songs in his bedroom. Blake attended The Latymer School and released his debut 12″ “Air and Lack Thereof” on Hemlock Audio in July 2009. It was a firm favourite with Gilles Peterson from BBC Radio 1. James was invited to do a special mix on Gilles Peterson’s worldwide show which included an exclusive Mount Kimbie track.James was invited to do a special mix on Gilles Peterson’s worldwide show which included an exclusive Mount Kimbie track.

CMYK was released on R&S Records in 2010 and Nick Grimshaw chose it as his Record of the Week. It was also played by various BBC Radio 1 DJs . On 29 September 2010, Zane Lowe made Blake’s cover of “Limit To Your Love” by Feist his “Hottest Record in the World”. On 6 December 2010, the BBC announced that Blake had been nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll. On 15 December 2010, Blake made the runner up behind Jessie J at the Critics’ Choice for the Brit Awards 2011.

Blake’s work found itself on numerous 2010 year-end best-of lists, with “CMYK” ranking 24th on Frontier Psychiatrist’s top 40 songs of the year and the Bells Sketch/CMYK/Klavierwerke EPs ranking 8th on Pitchfork’s top 50 albums of 2010.
On 29 September 2010, Zane Lowe selected Blake’s cover version of “Limit to Your Love” as his “Hottest Record in the World”. The song was written and originally recorded by Feist and appeared on her studio album, The Reminder. The single was released in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2010, where it debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 47.

Blake was announced on 6 December 2010 to have placed on BBC’s Sound of 2011, an annual poll that highlights the forthcoming year’s likely successful musicians. It was then revealed on 6 January 2011 that Blake has positioned in second place, ahead of fellow shortlisted acts; The Vaccines, Jamie Woon and Clare Maguire, who reached third, fourth and fifth respectively. It was also revealed on 15 December 2010 that Blake had been made the runner-up behind singer-songwriter Jessie J at the BRIT Awards’ “Critic’s Choice”. In January 2011, Blake was awarded Single of the Year (2010) for “CMYK” at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards.

Blake’s work found itself on numerous 2010 year-end best-of lists, with “CMYK” ranking 24th on Frontier Psychiatrist’s top 40 songs of the year, the Bells Sketch/CMYK/Klavierwerke EPs ranking 8th on Pitchfork Media’s top 50 albums of 2010, and “I Only Know (What I Know Now)” ranking 8th on Pitchfork’s top 100 tracks of 2010.

Having spent the majority of 2010 recording his debut album, Blake revealed in late December that his album would be self-titled and would see release in the United Kingdom on 7 February 2011.James Blake, an 11-track album which features the single “Limit to Your Love”, will be made available as a digital download, CD and 12″ vinyl. The vinyl release contains two extra tracks, “Tep And The Logic” and “You Know Your Youth”. Only days after the announcement was made, the album was leaked onto the internet. On 9 January 2011, circulation began of “The Wilhelm Scream” being released as the album’s second single,[14] with a scheduled release date of 7 March in the United Kingdom. The Single was used during the end credits of HBO TV series Entourage season 8 episode 3. The name Wilhelm scream refers to a sound effect used in numerous movies.

Malik Yosef- Poet


Southside Chicago poet turned rapper Malik Yusef (aka the Wordsmyth) started honing his craft in the mid-’90s with appearances at open-mike nights. While he was performing a spoken word set, director Ted Witcher was in the audience looking for inspiration for his next movie about urban poetry. Impressed by Yusef’s loose but powerful free-form style, he hired him as a coach for Lorenz Tate in 1997’s Love Jones. This opened some doors in Hollywood, leading to appearances on BET’s Rap City and HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry TV shows, where he performed “I Spit….” Major corporations started taking notice, too, and he was invited to appear on some promotional compilations by Nike, ASCAP, Sprite, and Coca-Cola.

Malik Yusef was born on April 4th 1973. He wrote Love Lockdown, Heartless, All of the Lights and Dark Fantasy, among other things. His albums include Wouldn’t You Like to., The Great Chicago Fire, G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night and Good Morning Good Night: Dusk. His current occupation is poet. Branching into the rap world was a natural progression, and he was featured on Channel Live’s Armaghetto and Common’s One Day It’ll All Make Sense albums. R&B singer Carl Thomas also featured Yusef on his debut album, Emotional, and this led to a tour together. While on the road, he met jazz saxophonist Mike Phillips from Hidden Beach and the two paired up in 2002 to make a spoken word jazz song titled “This Is Not a Game,” which was selected to appear on a CD-ROM included with pairs of Michael Jordan’s 17 shoes. Jordan explained in ad campaigns that the shoes had a sleek design, “inspired by the smooth lines of a jazz solo.” Moving back to rap, in 2003, Yusef released his debut solo album, The Great Chicago Fire — A Cold Day in Hell, which featured a long list of production credits and guest appearances that included Kanye West, Xtreme, Chantay Savage, Common, and Bigg Nastee, among others. Jason Lymangrover, Rovi



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Screen Names




Meshell Ndegeocello

(born Michelle Lynn Johnson, August 29, 1968) is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, bassist, and vocalist. Her music incorporates a wide variety of influences, including funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, R&B, rock, and jazz. She has received significant critical acclaim throughout her career, and has had ten career Grammy Award nominations.  She has been credited for having “sparked the neo-soul movement.

Following the release of 2011′s critically acclaimed Weather, Meshell Ndegeocello announces the release of her 10th studio album,  Pour une âme souveraine (“For a sovereign soul”), a dedication to fellow musician Nina Simone.  Joined by musicians Chris Bruce (guitar), Jebin Bruni (keys) and Deantoni Parks (drums), the singer-songwriter, rapper, bassist, and vocalist reworked some of the tracks made famous by the iconic musician.  Guests on the album include Sinead O’Connor, Lizz Wright, Valerie June, Tracy Wannomae, Toshi Reagon and Cody ChesnuTT.  To celebrate the release of the album, Meshell is sharing the iconic track “Be My Husband,” which just premiered on NPR.  Flush with stomps, claps and chants, Meshell is accompanied on vocals by New York singer-songwriter Valerie June.

Ndegeocello was born Michelle Lynn Johnson in Berlin, Germany, to army Sergeant Major and saxophonist father Jacques Johnson and health care worker mother Helen. She was raised in Washington, D.C. where she attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Oxon Hill High School. In early press releases from Maverick Records her birth year was erroneously listed as 1969. The 1968 birth date has been confirmed through a previous manager and lifelong friend

After only ten days in the studios of guitarist Pete Min, this album was born, reflecting Meshell’s admiration for the pioneering work of an artist who refused to be owned by genre, industry, or expectation.  As Meshell describes, this album is “a dedication to Nina Simone and her incredible influence but it is also a dedication to the single, interior life we all experience.”  Revered by Meshell, Nina Simone was a powerful influence both musically and politically.  Her music was highly instrumental in the fight for equal rights in the United States.  “She wanted success, was pressured to make hits, but her own sound was still irrepressible,” explains Meshell.  “She had things to say, she protested. She was a loud, proud black, female voice during a time when black female voices were not encouraged to make themselves heard.”

Comprised of a mix of traditional classics (“Feelin’ Good”), songs written by Nina Simone (“Real Real”), or for her (“To Be Young, Gifted and Black” by Weldon Irvine), the album represents a full spectrum of Nina Simone’s work and life.  From the pulsing of the traditional ballad “House Of The Rising Sun,” the velvety, soul filled vocals of “Feeling Good,” and a bluegrass duet with Sinead O’Connor in “Don’t Take All Night,” Meshell Ndegeocello gives a subtle spin to the tracks off the Pour une âme souveraine.

“We really wanted to do something we felt was true to Nina Simone. By that realizing it meant we had to do what felt true to us,” says Chris Bruce, who co-produced the album along with Meshell and wrote the arrangements. “The aim was not to re-create the existing versions, because we felt strongly that the only way to honor Nina would be for Meshell to find her own voice in the material. Nina was always exploring and experimenting, and quite cathartic. If you are familiar with her work at all you will frequently find that there exist multiple versions of the same song. So we wanted to tap into that same creative spirit and make the songs our own. And in the end hopefully have something we feel she would appreciate and feel pride.”

Studio albums

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar likes to compare himself to Tupac Shakur. But Tupac wasn’t from Los Angeles and didn’t know his father growing up. By the time Tupac was 23, he had already been shot multiple times and begun serving a prison sentence. Lamar, on the other hand, was born and raised in Compton. His parents are still married. He’s 23, and so far he has dodged the almost inescapable bullets that dart through what he calls his “mad city.”  Enjoying this Kendrick Lamar Biography?  Keep reading!

Even so, Lamar seems to share Tupac’s soul; better still, he seems an evolution of it. The line between “Pac the Playboy” and “Tupac the Tortured Poet” was drawn with an indelible marker, but the sides of Lamar’s personality bleed into one another. The chorus of “P&P” (an ode to “Pussy and Patron” punctuated by a girl pouting, “Hey, what’s up, daddy”), for example, is cookie-cutter braggadocio. Its first verse, however, stacks a precarious tower of thoughts almost tipped over into rage by an incident at a gas station — and leaves him searching through his phone for a comfort he admits is temporary.

Candid vulnerability and a voice that sounds as though he’s just inhaled great mouthfuls of smoke (even though he abstains from weed) are why Lamar is on everybody’s lips. Last November, Dr. Dre (who was led to Lamar by Eminem’s manager) said out of the blue on Power 106′s popular morning show Big Boy’s Neighborhood that he wanted to work with the rapper.

By now, Lamar has not only worked with Snoop Dogg and Dre, he was snapped, paparazzi-style, sitting courtside at a Lakers game with the legendary producer. His buzz has ratcheted to such a roar that he’s considered a shoo-in for XXL magazine’s “Freshman 2011″ cover.

But he doesn’t want to hear that he’s the next in line to wear hip-hop’s crown. No wonder, considering that honor can be as sturdy as the ones you can get from a box at Burger King. Lamar says he still wants to be making albums when he’s 45.

“The hardest thing for me to do is to get you to know me within 16 bars,” the rapper says on a track from last fall’s O(verly) D(edicated), “Average Joe,” in which he relates a story of being shot at by a gang, even though he’s not affiliated. The problem isn’t that Kendrick Lamar can’t reveal himself. It’s that there’s too much he wants to reveal. His thoughts tumble furiously; words swarm so frantically that in one song he eventually chokes on them.

“Goin’ crazy in your head is wanting to say so much, but you can’t. I think it comes from my struggling relationship with God — my whole life, I go to sleep every night and just think about God,” he says, faltering for a moment. “Is that a trip? That’s me trying to find myself in a relationship with Him. Righteous, but at the same time being so [caught up] in the vanities of the world … it messes me up inside.”

Lamar’s parents moved from Chicago to Compton in 1984 with all of $500 in their pockets. “My mom’s one of 13 siblings, and they all got six kids, and till I was 13 everybody was in Compton,” he says. “I’m 6 years old, seein’ my uncles playing with shotguns, sellin’ dope in front of the apartment. My moms and pops never said nothing, ’cause they were young and living wild, too. I got about 15 stories like ‘Average Joe.’ ”

In school, Lamar was a quiet, observant kid who made good grades. “This is always in my head: There was a math question that I knew the answer to, but I was so scared to say it. Then this little chick said the answer and it was the right answer, my answer. That bothers me still to this day, bein’ scared of failure.”

Maybe the memory of that missed opportunity is what landed 16-year-old Lamar in front of the “dude to get your music to” in Compton, DudeDawg, chief financial officer of TopDawg Entertainment. “He threw me in the booth. I freestyled for, like, an hour. He said I got raw talent.” He’s been with the company, along with one of last year’s XXL Freshmen, Jay Rock, ever since.

When Kendrick Lamar was growing up, his father used to cheat while playing basketball with him. A few days ago, standing in the middle of a court in a park not far from a sign welcoming you to Compton, Lamar looked up at a hoop and shrugged. “He wanted me to know that was what was gonna happen in life.”

Lamar ends sentences with smiles. He’s friendly and funny, offering to share the lunch he eventually lets go cold and teasing that he wants to switch interview roles. Yet there are a few instances when he retreats, suddenly looking harder, older.

At the park, he’s laughing as he bounces onto the basketball court. He calls a friend who lives a couple of houses down to bring over a ball.

But shortly thereafter, sitting on the back of a bench, he stares up at a rare overcast sky. “I wish it was like this every day. Not raining, ’cause I hate the rain, but cloudy like this,” he says. The slight gloom seems to have seeped into his mood; the shift is abrupt and barely perceptible, but definite.

When Tupac pleaded, “Peace,” he sounded like he’d already lost hope. Lamar struggles, too. But when he interjects that same refrain between strings of gang names in “Compton State of Mind,” he first sounds insistent, then imperative.

These Compton streets was built not to win …

Standing just beyond the three-point line, Kendrick Lamar shoots the ball.

It arcs, then slips soundlessly through the hoop.


Bukola Elemide known as “Asa” pronounced “Asha”, born in September 1982 Paris (France). Asa is a young and talented Nigerian singer.At the age of two, her parents returned with her from Paris to the atlantic city of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.She spent her formative years in the city of Jos, Plateau State, northern region of Nigeria before returning to Lagos at the age of 18. Asa attended the renowned saxophonist, Peter King’s Musical School in Badagry, border town of Lagos where she majored in Guitar studies for a year. She later established herself as an international artiste playing in major concerts all over Europe.

November 16, 2008, Asa was awarded the 2008 Prix Constantin France’s equivalent of the Mercury and Choice prizes. where she found a home in her father’s extensive and eclectic collection of records from soul classics to traditional Nigerian music. Starting to sing at a young age, Asa was inspired by the sounds and messages of artists such as Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey who served as touchstones when she later began crafting her own songs. It wasn’t until she was studying in Paris that she truly formed her musical style, immersing herself in the songs of her musical contemporaries — Erika Badu, D’Angelo, Rafel Saadiq, Lauryn Hill and Angelique Kidjo.

Asa fuses pop, r&b, world, funk, soul and reggae in a debut eponymous album where she sings in both English and Yoruba. Featuring impeccable percussion, a funky Hammond organ and reggae-infused bass, the album has two stand-out tracks: Jailer, a song about « the irony of oppression, the one that operates in everyday life » and Fire In The Mountain. Asa’s album met recognition worldwide and the artist engaged in an extended tour including Europe, North America, Africa and Japan. Asa gained global recognition as a charismatic songstress with a trademark husky voice, unafraid to tackle serious issues with intelligence and confidence. « This Nigerian singer-songwriter might actually be a twenty-first century Bob Marley » — BBC Music

With her dreams fully in motion and with an array of experiences under her belt, Asa was in a purely positive frame of mind when crafting her new album, Beautiful Imperfection. The album’s lead single « Be My Man« , an up-tempo rock-tinged track with hints of 1960s soul, sees Asa in romantic mode, as she sweetly croons to her love interest. Guitar-driven « Why Can’t We« , laced with strong horns and beautiful harmonies is undoubtedly a toe-tapper. « The first album reflected my state of mind then. I had a lot to talk about — social and political issues. Beautiful Imperfection is different, it has more brightness. This time, I wanted to create something that would make people feel uplifted ».

The Foreign Exchange

Representative of how the Internet can aid in creating music, the Foreign Exchange started when Little Brother rapper Phonte heard a beat on by Dutch producer Nicolay and asked if he could lay some vocals over it. Nicolay agreed, and the song “Light It Up” appeared shortly after as the B-side to “Whatever You Say” off Little Brother‘s 2003 album, The Listening. Relying mainly on instant messaging and e-mail, the duo continued to work together, with Nicolay sending beats to Phonte, who would add vocals and send them back until they had enough tracks together to form an album. Not once during the entire process of making their debut, Connected, which came out in 2004, did the members of the Foreign Exchange speak over the phone or in person. Due in part to an increasing production load, Nicolay moved to the States, and Leave It All Behind, the second FE album — more R&B-oriented than the debut — was recorded. Released in 2008 and featuring a handful of stunning videos, its lead single, “Daykeeper,” was nominated for a 2010 Grammy in the category of Best Urban/Alternative Performance (and lost to India.Arie‘s “Pearls”). After assisting two of their associates, YahZarah (The Ballad of Purple St. James) and Zo! (SunStorm), with albums, the Foreign Exchange released Authenticity. All three albums were issued in 2010 through The Foreign Exchange Music. A DVD/CD set, Dear Friends: An Evening with the Foreign Exchange, followed in 2011.

The Weeknd


The Weeknd is a Toronto-based R&B singer named Abel Tesfaye. Songs recorded under The Weeknd name first leaked in late 2010, though the identity of the individual behind the project was initially unknown. The Weeknd released a nine-song mixtape, House of Balloons, on 21 March 2011.

In late 2010, The Weeknd uploaded three songs – “What You Need”, “Loft Music” and “The Morning” – to YouTube. A nine-track mixtape titled House of Balloons was digitally released on 21 March 2011 through the artist’s official website.[6] Hip-hop artist Drake has been partly credited for generating public awareness for The Weeknd, after he quoted a line from the track “Wicked Game” via Twitter and linked to the singer’s music on his website.

In a review of the House of Balloons mixtape, Pitchfork Media’s Joe Colly wrote that “all the thematic and sonic pieces fit together – these weird, morning-after tales of lust, hurt, and over-indulgence … are matched by this incredibly lush, downcast music. It’s hard to think of a record since probably the xx’s debut … that so fully embodies such a specific nocturnal quality.” Frontier Psychiatrist’s L.V. Lopez claimed the album was “brilliant, disturbing, and not safe for work,” calling the song “Loft Music” a song that is “so unsafe it should come with a child-proof cap, so dirty that you’ll feel guilty the next time you see your wife.” Tom Ewing of The Guardian said that although the singing and songwriting on House of Balloons “aren’t especially strong by R&B standards,” the Weeknd is receiving “so much attention” as a result of its “command of mood.”

Sean Fennessey of The Village Voice called the mixtape “impressive” and added: “It’s patient, often gorgeous, and consistently louche … with the sort of blown-out underbelly and echo-laden crooning that has already made Drake’s less-than-a-year-old Thank Me Later such an influential guidepost.” Maegan McGregor of Exclaim! praised the mixtape: “Packed full of sex, drugs and some downright killer production, this easily stands as one of the year’s best debuts so far, hipster, Top 40 or otherwise. Sputnik Music’s Tyler Fisher said that “despite being a free mixtape, House of Balloons feels like a true album, a true labor of love.” The title track samples Siouxsie and the Banshees’ 1980 single “Happy House”.


Birth name Simon Green
Also known as Barakas
Born March 30, 1976 (age 36)
Origin UK
Genres Downtempo, trip hop, chillout
Years active 2000–present
Labels Tru Thoughts, Ninja Tune



Genre: atmospheric jazz with electronic elements (Nu jazz, Downtempo, Acid jazz, Trip-hop)

* Motion (1999)
* Remixes 1998-2000 (2000)
* Every Day (2002)
* Man with a Movie Camera (2003)
* Ma Fleur (2007)
* Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2008)
* Live at the Barbican (2007)
* Horizon EP (2002)

Current Members:

Jason Swinscoe
Phil France
Luke Flowers
Tom Chant
Nick Ramm
Stuart McCallum

Former members:

Jamie Coleman
T. Daniel Howard
Alex James
Patrick Carpenter



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