Lynne d Johnson



« October 2001 | Diary | December 2001 »

11.28.01 01:01 AM

Bubba Sparxx - Dark Days, Bright Nights (Review)

Folks are going to be mad at me for this one I am sure. I was actually about to have a positive review of Bubba Sparxx's CD posted on Sonicnet, when the plug was pulled from the MTVi reviews department. Another one of my writing outlets has also recently closed — Artbyte. First the dot-com crash, and then 911. The economy is just so bad. Employers have been saying they are having a hard time choosing candidates for posts, b/c so many qualified folks have been laid off and they are all vying for the same gigs. It's unreal. Anyway, here's some of what would have appeard on Sonicnet about Bubba. We never finished reworking an ending, so there is no conclusion here. So in actuality, I guess you will never really know what I think about Sparxx and his CD. You'll only know how I describe the sound. Sorry! Yeah, like I care. :-)

Bubba Sparxx/Dark Days, Bright Nights/Beat Club/Interscope

Not long ago, a white, 24-year-old rapper named Bubba Sparxxx (born Warren Anderson Mathis) walked out of the backwoods of Georgia and onto the top 20. He had a little help getting there; his chart-storming single, "Ugly," was produced by the consistently white-hot Timbaland (Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Ludacris), and crafted from the same Middle Eastern-style elements as Elliott's chart-topping "Get Ur Freak On," another Timbaland-produced hit from earlier this year. But it's not as if Sparxxx came to hip-hop without the raw MC skills to make it work. He'd already made some commercial noise with a disc he released on his own before he was discovered by Timbaland, who's releasing Sparxxx's debut album, Dark Days, Bright Nights, on his Beat Club imprint.

Like most Southern rappers, Sparxxx lyrical content is homegrown — teeming with braggadocio about his rhyme skills, narratives of exploiting women, and a portrait of being poor in the rural south. Of course, the difference is that he's white — and though he's sure to be compared to Eminem, Sparxxx doesn't go in for Marshall Mathers' angst-filled and violent personas. As for his rhyme style, it's worlds away from Eminem's: Sparxxx raps in a slow Southern drawl that dexterously complements Dark Days heavy bass groove, synthesizer bounce, and frenetic beats.

On "Lovely," a Timbaland-created sonic fusion that sounds like a theme song from a Saturday morning action cartoon, Sparxxx lucidly articulates, "Just give me a minute/ I bet you everything will turn out lovely/ Just give me a minute/ I'm-a be a'right, just trust me." On "Bubba Talk," a complex, intricately layered production of low bass, tribal drum rhythms, and banjo strumming, Sparxx explains his slang and style: "You don't know me at all/ I say the same thing but slower than y'all." Organized Noize (Goodie Mob and Outkast) lend their production skills to "All the Same" and "Bubba Sparxxx," two slower, soulful tracks that enable Sparxxx to showcase a more gritty rhyme style.

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11.22.01 12:42 AM

spending the pre-holiday in

Although I know most folx are probably out getting their holiday groove on, I am home, alone, working. Getting up to speed on ish. At least I have Res, Omar, and my DJ Qool Marv mixes to keep me pumped. Marv's mixes are like butta' baby — smoove. He's got this uncanny way of blending acid jazz, with hip-hop, house, straight-ahead jazz, and then he'll hit you with some funk and soul. He'll also sprinkle in the sounds of some of the hottest producers out of the UK and Japan, and just make you feel all tingly inside. Classics are his main dish. And he's NY based, but they love him in Manchester too. He's the cat that made me stop playing records for the solo audience of myself, and take a stab at spinning in public. I'll always have mad love for Marv and good ole' Ludlow Bar for that. If you're not in NYC to catch one of Marv's gigs, you can still hear his sounds. Check out House of Nubian under Music>Acid Jazz. Support a true turntable architect.

Actually it's cool to be home. I could do without the cigarette smoke breathing through my clothes and hair, the stares of strangers, and somebody casually rubbing up against my booty. Dammit, it's good to be home! Besides, got a date with the sweetie for the weekend. So it makes sense that I finish this work now, rush over to mommy's for that soul food throw down tomorrow — I'll be a vegetarian again by New Year's I promise — and then go and get some of that much needed attention I've been lacking on my daily travels through cyberspace. Ain't love grand?

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11.19.01 09:00 AM

just got an Omar import

It's called Omar, Best by Far. It's so funkeeee! I was having a terrible day, but then this CD came along and got me out of the darkness. I've always thought he was an excellent singer/songwriter. Black brits just don't get the respect in the US that they should. I mean, musically, this CD is better than anything released in the states. It's got that funk vibe like Curtis Mayfield, back to the '70s. Even did a remake of, "Be Thankful," featuring Angie Stone. She even sounds better here than she does on some of her own stuff. There's even a little bit of the Bossa Nova sound along the lines of Sergio Mendes and Brasil. To think all the Brits are exporting on the popular music level is two-step. And well, Jay Kay. Sheesh!

Wrote this late last night:

Got a taste of Bass/ In aural space/ Frontal lobe/ Probed/ By abstrakt/ riddims And/ Breaking beats/ Tinkering cymbals/ Boom Bapping/ Hand clapping/ Textured and layered/ Like multicolored/ Kaleidoscopic/ spectrums/ I dissect them/ Weaving words/ Through dissonance/ Sonics/ Polyrhythmic chords/ Make fuel/ For discourse/ Lyrical intercourse/ Divorce/ Beat from metaphor/ Get lost in/ Dirty dozens/ And disses/ Dismiss that/ No nonsense variety/ Articulating/ Nothing but/ Bitches and ho's/ Juice and gin/ Bling bling dreams/ And/ Rolling on dubs/ I loves/ My people/ Their rhythm/ Makes me dance/ But I ought/ To be slapped/ For tapping my toes/ To sundry woes/ Calling me out my name/ Shaming my game/ Putting blame/ To my frame/ Can't explain/ Why I can't/ Counter program/ The nigga tube/ Got me glued/ To the BET screen/ I should scream/ Bootys shaking/ Naked clad/ I should be sad/ Animalistic Nature 101/ war on my brain/ Wasted/ Insane

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11.18.01 09:00 AM

Nothing much happening over here

Nothing much happening over here in my world today. So I really shouldn't even be writing. Haven't been to any parties or events. Haven't really kicked it with anyone lately. No true politicking going on. No building. None of that. Just trying to get a few pieces finished, listen to good music, and get some school work caught up. About to mix another MD. Can't wait to get new equipment. Being without turntables is killing me. The art of mixing with a CD changer and a portable CD player is really fascinating. Don't know how I make it work, but I do.

I am writing a catalog piece for The Red Clay Arts In Studio Series, but having problems b/c I keep being highly esoteric and poetic. Need to make it reach the masses, and it 's such a short piece. Don't know why I can't bring it down to basic human terms. I'm all up in my third eye, speaking in coded dialect, hieroglyphics, and symbols. I hope to finish it tonight, along with some work I am doing for XLR8R. All, really short pieces. But, I am just so happy to be writing. Just really happy to be writing about things I think matter in terms of black cultural production.

By the way, listening to some old stuff today. Kid Loops, "Alien Resident." I have it on this Quango Sport compilation. Here's a cool article about Quango from '96. Can't find the CD anywhere on the Web now, but Quango records is still banging out some serious aural futuristic sonic blasts. Found this Web site where this DJ Max has MP3s, like what I'm listening to now, for download. It's all acid jazz-funk-house-garage. I keep trying to get MP3s up here for the folks who say they'd like to listen to what I am listening to, but um, I am not a broadband user at this time, so it's hard.

I so want to get that Soul Addiction CD. It's supposed to be real funky. I've been listening to samples on the homebass Web site, and it kind of reminds me of that Groove Jammy compilation. I put in a link so you can listen to samples and buy it if you like it.

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11.13.01 09:00 AM

I don't know why...

I don't know why I don't hear Res on the radio. I am so feeling her sound. And I was sleeping on her for awhile too. Can't figure out why. She's better than anything I ever hear on radio. Sometimes her voice reminds me of Stevie Nicks. How's that for a black girl from Philly? Philly is really blowing up's like the '70s all over again. Philly soul returns. The track I am most feeling today is "If There Ain't Nothing." Starts off sounding like a hip-hop joint, then breaks down into this funk-drenched vibe. Loving this.

It's about 12:50:00 AM EST, and I've been having mad connectivity problems. My boy Peter Rickards who runs Afflicted Yard out of Kingston, Jamaica sent me a crazy Real Audio link. He usually runs a Web cast for Down Sound Records from dancehall/sound system events, and lately out of the basement of the record label with some of the hottest DJs in dancehall. But tonight, of all things, he is Web casting from Taxi cabs — it's called Taxi Cab Radio Transmissions In Kingston. The stuff is rich. Wish I could get back down there and chill with those folks again. I had fun there in January when the record company brought me down to write a piece for Hope the opportunity comes again. If you want to read the story I wrote about my trip to Kingston for BP, here's the link.

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11.12.01 09:00 AM

catching up on writing

Ok not feeling too great. Just found out, by checking his site, that my boy Donald was a little pissed that I didn't tell him about the Fela Birthday party. Sure he would also be pissed if I told him I went to the opening of that hip-hop exhibit, One Planet Under a Groove, at the Bronx Museum. Understand, man, it's all work for me. Sure, I have fun. But as a writer and critic, everytime I do something, I'm thinking about writing. So, I kind of forget to tell people what's happening. I go checking, hoping I can get someone (a magazine or Website) to believe that there's a story there. Hope he understands. Anyway, he, Donald that is, has a new fabulous party. To get on the list for his party, please send him an email Right now, I got to catch up on some writing and some school work. MBA's can be a bytch. I'll be back again soon.

By the way, Donald, if you're reading, when I wrote on 10.05.01 that someone e-mailed me to find out what was up with my diary and why I wasn't writing...well, I was talking about you.

Had to come back to add this. People are wonderful. Also while checking out sites on the Web today, well let me be more specific, checking out sites of people I have come to respect and think are totally cool, I logged onto George Kelly's site. George is from the Bay area, and I from NYC. We have never meet, but in cyberspace. I noticed he had a link to my site on his home page. This is like wow! I had no idea. Thanks George. George and I met in a little cybervillage called afrofuturism. It's a list serv that explores futurist themes, sci-fi imagery and technological innovation in African diasporic technoculture. This list has been a wonderful addition to my world, and has often kept me sane. Well, there goes something for the folks who thought community on the Web was dead.

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11.11.01 09:00 AM

All I have to say...

All I have to say is that life can be mad hectic at times. There's a lot I mean to write about here in my journal, but then I get caught up in the events of my life and never get to it. That makes for an uninteresting diary. Maybe I'll discontinue it. Guess I've just been doing so much writing with freelancing and work for school, that when it comes to writing just for the heck of it — I simply have nothing to say.

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