Lynne d Johnson



« March 2004 | Diary | May 2004 »

04.18.04 09:10 PM

just back from seattle

last week was a very hectic week for me, as you can see by the posts i've been putting out.

thursday i got to meet rocka, and it was a wonderful lunch meeting. we talked about writing, and bloggers (what else right?) and for those of you who want to know, he is attractive, and oh yeah, stylish. would say more, but i'm speed blogging right now as i'm extremely tired.

thursday night i went to see black eyed peas and n.e.r.d. with my boy chan. i want to write a review of that show and i have pics to go with it, but it will probably end up on my gig's site, so i'll link it here. all i can say right now is that fergie not only has a dope body, she can actually imitate a black woman in the gospel choir riffing quite well. i have a question though, isn't the black eyed peas really just and fergie? and prior to her joining the crew, wasn't it really just what do those other two do anyway? yeah, ok, they dance. but what else.

n.e.r.d. had all the young white folks in hysterics and like the beyonce show i went to last week, when the jigga man came out to spit his verse, the crowd was in uproar. overall, pharrell did his thing. but uh, yeah, more on that later.

i woke up mad early on friday to catch a plane to attend emp pop conference. i enjoyed it even more this year than i did the last. there was a lot more diversity in presentations and the presentations were more vibrant. o-dub was one of the organizers and i think he did a tremendous job. somehow i feel he was partly responsible for the bulk of the diverse presentations. and my boy jeff chang really put it down with his panel on the ghetto brothers (it was a pre-hiphop history of the bronx gangs and the former leader of the ghetto brothers had great stories and good music too). i'm going to be the first in line when his book comes out. jeff's that is.

well, i really have to get some rest. let's hope my week doesn't get too crazy and i come back and revisit some of these topics with full analysis. but for now, i'm couching with the sopranos.

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04.15.04 11:55 AM

the roots - the tipping point

Can I just tell y'all I love The Roots. Love them. I feel that Black Thought is one of the most gifted lyricists, and his cadence and flow are just awesome. Have you ever seen them live? He battles with the instruments, and it's something akin to what Ella Fitzgerald used to put down. I mean this, man. Since I'm an old head, I've always appreciated this group's musicality and allegiance to the old school - hot beats and just straight-ripping rhyming. And while BT might lack material - you know he usually just talks about how dope he is - the writing is tighter-than-tight.

So if I feel all of these strong positive feelings, then why last night when I went to Electric Lady Studios for a listening session I found myself not really all that impressed. I was mad at myself for not being that impressed. Not one song remains with me now today. Well, perhaps one. There's this song where Thought flows just as if he was Kane. That's right the Big Daddy. Now this track is hot! and the ? puts it down on the drums, as per usual. I mean, there's no gimmicks here. No let's make that hot radio single (oh there was "Break You Off"). It's just straight up rhyming and really good music, real music. But I wasn't totally impressed. The track that I was digging the most is called BOOM!, and it even sounds like it samples some of Kane.

I've got a lot more to say about this joint overall, but for lack of time, I'll just lead you to the source, where you can listen to the audio for the first single, "Don't Say Nuthin'" And this one could be kind of pop-ish, come to think of it. Go over to okayplayer to check it out. It ain't bad, trust me. I'm just not like WOW!

But of course when they got on the stage to perform three of the joints live, I was into it, deeply. Maybe it was the sound system at the studio. Maybe it's the fact it's been raining all week. I just felt bored listening to the CD selections, and as stated above the only song that I came away with making a dent in my psyche was "BOOM!" Or was that one "Web?" I'm not sure, I believe they kind of blended together. I know I thought one song ended when this phat breakdown started and then there was this BOOM in the kick and Thought just started rhythmically getting at it, flowing just like Kane.

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04.13.04 07:21 PM

kill bill vol.2 - the violence continues

i'd love to tell you what i think of this movie since i saw the screening last night. but i don't want to give the story away. though you probably already know the story. the violence is not quite as over-the-top as it was in vol. 1 but it definitely exists. and if you were one of those kids who grew up in my era, you'll appreciate the karate movie aspect this time around cuz it will take you back to saturday afternoons after soul train when you put on the karate flix. funny with all the violence though, there's enough humor, and the script overall comes off really intelligent. acting - splendid. soundtrack - rza puts it down again. and this volume gets a lot more western with it than the last. i think the last was more asian focused. even the music seems to tilt more toward the blaxploitation and western genres.

there's more story in this installment and more compassion. we get real pictures of our characters, something that was totally lacking in the first pass which seemed to focus on chick's fury and the violence. here we really get a story, and lots of background story, and even a glimpse into the future. i wish i could say more, but i don't want to spoil it for anyone.

after it opens, maybe i'll say a hell of a lot more.

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04.11.04 10:56 PM

p.diddy's acting and missy, alicia, and beyonce rock

this past tuesday, kevin and i made our way to the royale theater on broadway to witness p.diddy, audra mcdonald, sanaa lathan, and phylicia rashad in a raisin in the sun. granted, there are moments on making the band II where i feel that p.diddy is straight-up acting, and quite well at that, but placing him in the company of this splendid cast simply reveals how much he lacks in acting ability. let's not mention that homeboy was a little wack by not showing up to a few rehearsals, and perhaps this accounts for his inability to have moved me. his film roles have been just too few, and such bit parts, that we really haven't gotten to see whether he really has any acting chops. the three ladies were dramatic, excellent, superb even, and i've come to the conclusion that in such a circle of acting talent, even if he had a morsel of dramatic abilities, here is not where we would have seen them. overall, the play was brilliant, and i was even able to remove myself from the original tv cast to give each actor a fair chance, but when it came to p.diddy whether i kept flashing to sidney poitier in my mind or not it simply didn't matter.

on another note, i took the 14-year-old niece to nassau coliseum last night to see the ladies first tour. we missed the tamia opener, but walked in right as missy was amping up the crowd. we straight-ran from our gate of entry to the gate where our seats were located. standing the whole time, dancing, and singing we watched a very energetic performance. the dancers were amazing. and missy, who "lost a few pounds in her waist for ya,'" ran through the crowd, standing on chairs within the audience, hyping up the crowd. not a one in the crowd, male and female alike, were mad at the healthy chick who entered the stage via sliding down the pole and performing stunts, uh, acrobatics, uh, floor manuevers, that were phenomenal. the crowd hooted. it was like as if i received some reviving pump in my heart watching all the movement that went on onstage with this performace.

at that moment i wondered why alicia keys was slotted between missy and beyonce on the bill, as i was expecting piano interludes and very dull moments. why fall asleep between two hyper performers? this was not the case at all. i totally have a new appreciation for ms. keys, whose voice i often find irritating, like nails scratching a chalk board. in person she proved to have powerhouse vocal abilities. she also worked in a few dance numbers, which made the crowd go crazy. piano playing was impeccable. she even laid atop the piano, and reached down backwards with one hand to play. the background singers were dynamic. and ms. keys even tried to give us a little sex here and there. there were funk and classical interludes that sent the crowd into hysterics.

(the niece was ecstatic by now. she had lost her voice. she was screaming like crazy and singing loudly. she kept glancing at her auntie from time-to-time, smiling, grabbing her hand, to display her appreciation for the night's activity.)

finally, ms. booty hop herself. we kept watching this activity in the middle of the floor, where the niece was convinced that beyonce would enter from. she was right. they had four muscle-bound dudes carry the chick out on a cleopatra-styled carriage as she threw rose petals into the crowd. her hair looked a bit messy, but i suppose it worked into her tina turner impersonations. yet i'm prone to opt for a bad weave day, and perhaps it's been a bad weave week because in pictures of the yankee opener with jay-z, the hair looked just as tossled. but nevertheless to say, she is the new tina turner on so many fronts. she sang with umph, as usual. her outfits were too cute, revealing her tighter-than-tight physique. she pranced across the stage like a royal r&b queen. her little destiny child's medley was a little strange, since you'd expect she'd pull michelle and kelly out to perform with her - but she didn't.

(the sound system at the coliseum was amazing. booming even. made both alicia and beyonce sound like they were singing, directly to you, right in your ear. and the reverbs and echos - piercing. not shrieking, but piercing.)

beyonce continued and i kept telling the niece that i expected jay-z to come out as i heard he did in nj earlier in the week. yet things were slowing down and she had not performed "crazy in love." most of the crowd started winding down, some started leaving, and some were sitting down tired looking. and then it happened, "crazy in love" started kicking on. some folks started rising to their feet, yelling and singing at the top of their lungs. i saw a man in a hat, coming onto the stage, i thought it was you-know-who. i blinked for one second, and there he was. new york loves the jigga man. by now the majority of attendees still left rose to their feet, put up diamond signs, and rapped with their beloved jay-z. the moments between the two were slighly romantic. she was constantly in his face, put her arm around his waist, and he brushed her thigh. they looked - in love. their chemisty, not in-your-face bubbling over the top, but simply acknowledged - present.

(when we got back to the car, turns out i had left the lights on and was in need of a boost. the niece immediately got on the cell to call her male friend and report that jay-z had performed with beyonce. he dropped the phone. i finally got a boost from someone in the parking lot, got into the car, and soon after the niece told me she was going to sleep. we both smiled at one another. for all of our generational differences, last night we totally bonded on some old music ish. i thought about the audiences makeup, young, old, white, black, latino - sorry i didn't see any asians, if they were there somehow i missed them. music really brings folks together. as for the niece and i, our bond is nothing new, but last night, i saw something deeper, a level of understanding between us that i had not realized was there before. music has power that i don't think i can ever really capture in words.)

to be quite honest, i don't own not a one of missy's albums. as for alicia, i only have the recent one, and it came directly from the label. i don't own beyonce's album, nor not a one of destiny child's cds. but thanks to the lack of radio and video playing diversity, i knew most of the songs. these ladies aren't necessarily my favorite artists, but last night i loved them all during the time i shared with them.

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04.05.04 04:21 PM

it's good to be loved...

got to send out a public shout out to cecily for sending me her latest random playlist, and nova for the r&b and hip-hop mixed cds. they just arrived in the mail, so i'll be checking them out later.

this reminds me i owe my boy hardcore a review of both of his 3rdEyeOpen projects. and then there's good old dj mel who gave me that mixtape that blends rock and rap in ways i've never heard before. even scratch pickilz nor tripp can touch this cat.

lots of reviewing to do.

and if for some reason you still don't understand why why i lapse so much over here on this site, remember all i'm doing over there on that site every day.

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04.01.04 01:54 AM

only in new york

this past weekend that tv appearance came to haunt me again. while jaunting about the city with the niece, who is now 14, i ran into a high school mate who said, "i saw you on tv, damn, lynne is doing her thang."

anyway, it was an interesting saturday, since the niece had turned 14 just last week. we spent the day together and we did a bit of shopping, eating, and lots of walking. even stopped to watch this 5-year-old breakdancing in union square. to say the least, homey was rocking better than the older dudes who were teaching him.

anyway, we ran into the high school mate while in search of bling for the niece's cell phone. bling in this case would be lit-up antennae and new face plate (tweety preferably). while searching for said bling, lo, and behold, but who should i run into?

it was none other but fabulousness itself, in the flesh, mr. kevin r scott and mr gotnathan. at first we had passed each other, but something made me cry out, "is that kevin?" and nathan said, "is that lynne?" mind you, i'd never met nathan before. turns out they had just been talking about me.

after seeing me say hello to folks on the street, the niece is convinced that i know everybody.

like i said, only in nueva york.

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