61 WYTHE AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY, 11249
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THE SOUL REBELS
The Soul Rebels are riding high in 2019, receiving national attention with a performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series, a debut late night TV appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a headlining set at the global TED Conference, and an appearance and official soundtrack feature for Universal Pictures’ hit comedy Girls Trip. The band continues to expand its international reach touring four continents including Europe, Australia, China, South Korea and Japan. Their explosive stage presence has led to live collaborations with the likes of: Nas, G-Eazy, Robin Thicke, Macy Gray, Portugal. The Man, Robert Glasper, Pretty Lights, DMX, Curren$y, Joey Bada$$, Talib Kweli, GZA, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mobb Deep, Raekwon, Metallica, and Marilyn Manson among many others, and opening for Lauryn Hill and Nile Rodgers.
The Soul Rebels started with an idea – to expand upon the pop music they loved on the radio and the New Orleans brass tradition they grew up on. They took that tradition and blended funk and soul with elements of hip hop, jazz and rock all within a brass band context. The band has built a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in a deep pocket funk party-like atmosphere. The Soul Rebels continue to chart new territory as they feature in major films, tour globally, and combine topnotch musicianship with songs that celebrate dancing, life, funk and soul.TALIB KWELI
The Brooklyn-based rapper earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. His travels around the globe as one of rap’s most in-demand performers combined with his conversations with political activists and his genre-straddling work with Idle Warship and others caused Kweli to realize that he was limited in a sense, a prisoner of sorts of his own success as one of the world’s best rappers with something significant to say.
“My music has been associated with those types of causes, with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such,” he says. “I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don’t necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do. I tried to stretch my wings a little bit and bring something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general.”
The result of this artistic growth and exploration arrives with Kweli’s dynamic Prisoner Of Conscious AKA P.O.C., an artistic tour de force that signals the start of the next chapter of Kweli’s remarkable career. The BK MC spent more time working on Prisoner Of Conscious than any of his other albums, a three-year journey that found him exploring new vibes, joining in some unlikely collaborations and taking him to foreign lands.
Produced by Symbolyc One (Kanye West, Ghostface), the title track’s alternatively rap and rock-based beat provides a distinctive platform for Kweli to deliver rhymes that detail his artistic awakening, while producers Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, Raekwon) created a Marvin Gaye-esque vibe for “Come,” a cut featuring Miguel that showcases Kweli trying to convince a series of women to do things his way.
Then there’s the dramatic, piano-driven “Before He Walked,” which showcases passionate vocals from singer Abby Dobson and includes a verse from possibly the most noteworthy guest on Prisoner Of Conscious: Nelly. Both Kweli and The St. Louis rapper recount the importance music has had in their lives on the stirring song, which was an outgrowth of conversations about music and life Kweli and Nelly had at Kweli’s Los Angeles residence.
“Nelly is somebody I’ve known and have been friendly with throughout the years in this business,” Kweli says. “Nelly has always been an example for me because a rising tide raises all boats. Nelly is an artist who is polarizing at times because of the ‘Tip Drill’ video to the boycotts he’s endured at colleges, but I know him as a person, and he’s a great person.”
Elsewhere, the driving “Ready Set Go” with singer Melanie Fiona features Kweli’s ever-impressive clever verbal gymnastics, which are also on display on the stark Busta Rhymes-guested and RZA-produced “Rocketships.”
Kweli shifts gears on “Favela Love.” Inspired by and created during a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, the breezy song features crooning from Brazilian singer and actor Seu George (City Of God, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). Kweli and George met in the studio, leading Kweli to deviate from his original concept for the song.
“The song went from being about a woman to be being about Brazil, about the favela, about loving to come there,” he reveals. “The woman is really a metaphor for the place. That’s why it’s called ‘Favela Love.’ When I was telling Seu George about that, he started singing about how much he loves Brazil and where Brazil fits in the world.”
AFTER NEARLY 20 YEARS OF RELEASING MESMERIZING MUSIC, TALIB KWELI STANDS AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST TALENTED AND MOST ACCOMPLISHED RAPPERS.
Whether working with Mos Def as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, releasing landmark solo material or collaborating with Kanye West or Madlib, Kweli commands attention by delivering top-tier lyricism, crafting captivating stories and showing the ability to rhyme over virtually any type of beat.
In particular, Kweli showed his artistic reach in Idle Warship. Teaming with longtime collaborator and acclaimed singer Res, Kweli began getting out of his sonic and creative comfort zone on the group’s 2009 mixtape Party Robot and its debut album, 2011’s Habits Of The Heart.
Idle Warship’s music challenged Kweli and led him to a new artistic space. “I like the position I’m in,” he says. “I feel like I’m a connector, a leader. I feel like I’ve led by example and I want to continue to do that. I like the fact that I’m in a position where cats who are coming out and making music that I enjoy are interested in my music and are interested in my influence. It’s a great feeling.”
Kweli also has the high-powered Attack The Block mixtape with DJ Z-Trip set to arrive and will be focusing on making his Javotti Media (which released his 2011 album, Gutter Rainbows, and is named after his paternal grandmother) into a media powerhouse that releases music, films and books.
But for now, Prisoner Of Conscious arrives as an artistic triumph, a collection that embodies Talib Kweli’s robust creative vision. “I wanted to put out an album that really can support the artist that I’ve become,” he says. “I’m a touring artist. I’m an artist that’s internationally known. I’m not just a local artist at this point in my career. I’m cognizant of the fact that what I do is beyond where it started. I’m trying to reach the apex of where I am now, but without turning my back on or dismissing what I’ve done before.”MACY GRAY
Rubies hold a special place amongst the world’s rarest natural treasures. The most sought-after of the corundum family, the gemstone’s crimson hue instantly catches attention—as if extracting passion from the earth itself and crystallizing it in mineral form. Similarly, Macy Gray occupies a rare space in the canon of modern music.
That unmistakable rasp, unshakable grasp on soul, and funky spirit ensured her status as a 21st century icon since her arrival with the triple-platinum How Life Is in 1999. Selling over 25 million total albums globally, winning a GRAMMY® Award and two BRIT Awards, collaborating with everyone from Ariana Grande to Galactic, and enchanting fans all over the world, her voice has consistently resounded throughout pop culture. Eternally enamored and enthralled with her voice and presence, a devout fan base that transcends genres, generations, and creeds celebrates her work—album after album and tour after tour. Most recently, 2016’s Stripped earmarked a creative high point, garnering unanimous acclaim from Vogue, Vice, and many more. At the same time, she remains a force of nature on tour, selling out venues in nearly every corner of the globe two decades into her storied career. Macy’s talents resound beyond music as well. She starred in Tyler Perry’s Black Reel Award-winning For Colored Girls and would grace the screen everywhere from Brotherly Love and Cardboard Boxer to NETFLIX’s hit Fuller House. Moreover, she made a now legendary appearance in Training Day alongside Academy® Award winner Denzel Washington—one of many on-screen hallmarks.
Now, her tenth full-length album, RUBY [Artistry Music/Mack Avenue], reaffirms and reasserts that signature rarity millions continue to treasure.
“I love the gem ruby,” she explains. “It’s so regal. I really wanted a title that would stick. The stone is also red of course, which is my favorite color. It’s rich and has history. It’s classic—and so is this album.”
Channeling the spirit of the “grimy” R&B and smoky jazz closest to her heart, Macy made a leap forward by looking back to formative inspirations. However, she updated those elements with enriched, entrancing, and enigmatic soundscapes brought to life by producers Johan Carlsson [Michael Bublé, Maroon 5], Tommy Brown [Jennifer Lopez, Fifth Harmony, Travis Scott], and Tommy Parker Lumpkins [Janet Jackson, Justin Bieber].
“They’re all stellar producers, and they helped me craft an incredibly rich project,” she goes on. “They were brilliant in integrating horns and strings. There are so many complex layers. I wanted something that never got boring in terms of the music.”
Take the first single “Sugar Daddy.” Co-written with none other than pop superstar Meghan Trainor, the track swings from jazz-y piano into a cooing verse that’s as sweet as it is sassy. Her voice takes hold on the hook, “Be my, be my sugar daddy and provide me with your candy.”
“Meghan and I thought it be great to collaborate,” Macy recalls. “She had the concept in her head for some time, so we took a stab at it. It’s really great fun and a bit cheeky. Her writing and talent is brilliant. It was the perfect song to come out with first.”
RUBY canvases a wide spectrum for the songstress. Raucous horns that feel ripped from a classic seventies flick augment the grit on “Cold World” as “Jealousy” spins a covetous narrative that soars as it seduces. Gary Clark Jr. adds six-string firepower to “Buddha.” Everything culminates on the reggae-inspired “Witness,” which shuffles between mainland soul and island grooves as she croons, “I wish I was Jesus. I would make sure to fix it. Can I get a witness?”
“I think my sound reflects where I am,” she exclaims. “I’m a little older…just a little [laughs]. I’ve had more experiences and influences. I want my sound to feel fresh and relevant. I feel that I was able to achieve that, and I’m extremely proud of this album.”
Audiences will feel that too as she brings the record to life nightly in North America, the UK, and Europe on her 2018 tour.
In the end, RUBY represents Macy Gray at her most passionate, poetic, and powerful.
“I hope audiences can feel connected to the record,” she leaves off. “I hope that I can make them smile and make them reflect. I love when fans reach out with stories of how I’ve inspired, influenced them, or helped them get through a moment in their life. I want them to take away sincerity, honesty and authenticity. I’m hopeful that I am providing them with something that is meaningful and thoughtful. I’m still looking at how I can contribute more artistically and as a human. This is one way.
Categories: Live Show