ChanteSez … Listen to a titillating Mo Audio today!

16 Apr

Madam CJ

What’s on tap for Mo Audio this week? If listening to the powerfully sexy Madam CJ talk about how she wants to titillate you at her Le Courtesan Et Coquettes Noirs cabaret show on May 19 weren’t enough, trumpeter and all-around musician Dashill Smith gives the rundown on Music in the Park on May 20.

Then, of course, there are the hijinks of Slo Mo founders Carlton Hargro and DJ Larmarrous. I just get to enjoy the fun alongside my co-hosts — and I know you will, too!

Big shouts to Aalyah Duncan of A-List Events Marketing for getting Smith onto the show on such short notice. And for the always lovely Teya for gracing us with her presence while supporting Ms. Madam.

Tune in on today at 10 a.m., and again at 6 p.m.

ChanteSez … Sometimes you have to go missing

2 Apr

Someone recently asked me where the (over)use of ellipses — or dot dot dot — came from. My guess is texting. Who has time to write out words on a small screen?

Here’s the lowdown on this punctuation fave:

Ellipses are formally meant to indicate missing words, or their intentional deletion.

More commonly, they’re used to signal hesitation, which is also an appropriate use.

The key is to leave enough context and content so the missing words don’t distort your message. So text and type away, and remember why you’re taking the missing route.

Listen in! Mo Audio launches today on AB+L Radio

19 Mar

Mo Audio launches on AB+L Radio

ChanteSez … there’s always room for Mo Audio. Starting today — and featuring yours truly, along with Carlton Hargro and DJ Larmarrous — the show airs on AB+L Radio at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

I’m excited. I’ve always had a love for radio, as you may have read. And this is such a good opportunity to be a part of the answer to commercial radio. Not to mention that AB+L Radio is headed up by Jabari Graham, whose vision and hustle is infinitely respect-worthy.

The show is presented by Slo Mo magazine, and just like that publication’s principles, Carlton and Larmarrous, it is quite funny. Listeners will be informed in between the laughs, though.

This week’s interview is with Charles Judson, who’d held down the Atlanta Film Festival artistic director position for seven years until recently. Now he’s making moves on his own, with Observe Imagine Create, a film and creative consulting firm.

The music is a main course in itself. You will definitely jam to DJ Larmarrous’ track selection. The Stepkids’ cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” is one of many highlights.

So check it out, Wednesdays at 10 and 6. Download the app for your iOS or Android, then listen in at the designated place, at the designated time, so we don’t have to gladly designate yo’ ass!

ChanteSez … It’s best to focus on today

12 Mar

You’ve heard the sayings: Live in the present. Focus on today. It’s not always easy.

When it comes to your writing, it’s best to use the day of the week instead of “today” or “tomorrow.”

Wrong: He’s going to be traveling again tomorrow.

Right: He’s going to be traveling again Friday.

If you’re not referencing a particular day, but instead some broad range of time in the future, it’s OK to use tomorrow:

The families of tomorrow will be rooted in a dedication to their community as well as to each other.

Same with today:

Women today have different values than those 50 years ago.

Recap: Diamond D premieres new album, The Diam Piece

2 Mar

Diamond D Boom Bap

If you’re a hip-hop head and missed Diamond D’s listening party for his new album, The Diam Piece, you may have to wait until April or May to hear the acclaimed producer’s latest addition to his unmistakable raw-with-finesse style.

But for those who made it to the Basement on Friday courtesy of the Boom Bap, it was a reminder of good hip-hop music’s relevance and reach. 

“Y’all are the first to hear the album I’ve been working on for the last two years,” Diamond said. And true to the Diggin’ in the Crates crew sound, all the tracks kept heads nodding hard.

A few highlights:

  • A track featuring Pharoahe Monch kicks things off with a bang — the rumble of bass over a touch of smooth that Diamond is known for.
  • Next up: The unmistakable voice of Pete Rock, putting up verses between a crazy guitar lick and D’s ever-present knock.
  • Fat Joe and Chi Ali team up on a track Diamond said was “that fighting music right there.” Understandably so. I could see how this track would get you live for the night.
  • On the dopest track yet, Hi-Tek and Diamond himself rip over a stealthy sick beat, grimy in all the right ways. The horn break is ill.
  • Ladies love a production worthy of their skills. That’s why Rapsody, and Atlanta’s own Boog Brown and Stacy Epps shine on this next one. Pump your brakes, indeed!
  • J-Live’s flow is his best friend, and they reward each other well on this next track. Good stuff.
  • That Diamond had to remind folks that Sadat X is from Brand Nubian makes me SMH. The Kill Bill “Bang Bang” sample is doing just that.
  • Ras Kass is still doing his thing. This track has a West Coast funk feel to it, which makes sense.
  • “Where’s The Love?” with Talib Kweli is the perfect combination of this self-proclaimed geek’s high pitch and guitar soul. The details — particularly an “I ’oun know” answer to the track’s title — make this song.

DJ Gee Supreme held down the decks for most of the night, while special guests Big Rec and J-Live kicked off the show, which was hosted by the ever-present, always amped Fort Knox.

If it’s mostly the voice that gets you up, then Big Rec had people jumping. Three tracks in, he rounded out his set with an a cappella rhyme worthy of everyone’s attention.

But J-Live felt the need to check the crowd like the school teacher he used to be after his first rhyme. “If you don’t shut the fuck up right now, I’m gonna start singing. And I’m a rapper, so y’all don’t want me singing.”

It worked. As he launched into his next track, the crowd made sure to “Start Listening.”

J-Live commanded the mic much like he did the crowd, the true definition of an MC — master of ceremonies — as he explained at the opening of his set.

That said, I wonder if demanding attention is better than getting it freely. The crowd was obviously there in a show of support.

If only the crowd had shown more support by staying through the entire The Diam Piece album.

Regardless, there’s truly nothing like good hip-hop music, and I’m encouraged to see legends like Diamond continue to make moves and bring comparatively new artists along for the ride.

Chante Sez … What in the world?

26 Feb

Mercury retrograde is almost over, folks. Feb. 28, here we come. But with the planets in mind, this week’s tip is about Earth. What in the world is the difference between Earth capitalized, and lower-case earth?

Here’s how to remember it: In reference to the planet Earth, it gets a big “e,” just like the planet is big.

  • Earth = the planet. It’s a proper noun, just like your name, or the city you live in.
  • earth = the stuff that plants call home, aka dirt, good soil, etc.

Here are a few examples:

Welcome to Earth. (As we greet aliens, of course.)

“I felt the earth move under my feet.”

What on Earth were you thinking?

I like him because he’s down to earth.

Atlanta premiere of Phife’s ‘Dear Dilla’ video honors acclaimed producer

8 Feb

Photo courtesy Kat Goduco

The official reason hundreds of hip-hop artists, adorers and advocates packed into Atlanta’s Landmark Theater on Thursday was to see Phife’s new “Dear Dilla” video, a tribute to the late James Dewitt Yancey, aka J Dilla.

But the event’s significance was much greater — much like the acclaimed hip-hop producer’s catalog.

Rasta Root, a highly regarded DJ and producer in his own right, created the track. Sadly, he was also the one to tell Phife of J Dilla’s untimely death due to lupus complications in February 2006.

“Ever since then, I knew I had to do a dedication for him,” Phife said. “This was the right time.”

The video officially drops Feb. 11. It took about 10 months to make, and kicks off with Phife laid up in a hospital, frustrated with the Chicago vs. New York score, among other things.


Rasta Root and Phife
Photo courtesy Kat Goduco

Rasta Root and Ali Shaheed Muhammad make cameos, mostly to discourage Phife from packing on the pounds and pushing him to stay healthy. It’s a humorous flip on Phife’s serious battle with diabetes.

After the screening, hip-hop radio powerhouse Jayforce hosted a panel that included Phife, Rasta Root, director Konee Rok of Chicago, and Atlanta-based Chicago native MC 4-Ize.

4-Ize made it clear that in addition to Phife’s triumphant return to the mic after 14 years since his last single, and on the eve of Dilla Day, the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate.


MCs Boog Brown and 4-Ize; Boog dropped a verse from J Dilla’s ‘The Money’ before the screening.
Photo courtesy Kat Goduco

“I was supposed to be an extra [in the video],” 4-Ize said. But he was there when Rasta Root was making the beat, and he just happened to be in Chicago when Rok and the crew were filming.

Now, here sat 4-Ize on the panel, with his brother visiting from Chicago to witness what he insisted was the universe at work.

It came full circle, he said. “Nothing is a coincidence.”

Rok could say the same, as his original love for breaking brought him to filmmaking — music videos in particular. “If I didn’t do what I love,” Rok said, “I wouldn’t have been led here.”

Rasta Root had a different, but related take. His tendency is to do things organically, to just let things line up in any given situation, he said. And working with Rok just fit.

The same could be said of Phife’s new album, Muddy Morphosis, to be released later this year on Rasta Root’s Smokin Needles label. Phife treated the audience to a verse toward the end of the event, a well-received sample of what’s to come.

As for that long-awaited, always debated next ATCQ album, Phife said, “I wouldn’t mind doing it, but I’m only one fourth of A Tribe Called Quest.” Then again, “I can really do this solo stuff,” he said — to cheers and claps.

There was an afterparty at El Bar where Rasta Root would take to the tables, and Friday, the crew headed to Detroit, J Dilla’s hometown, for Dilla Day.

Along with a plethora of hip-hop luminaries including Dilla’s group Slum Village, Pete Rock, DJ Premier and De La Soul, a very special guest would be on hand to see “Dear Dilla” for the first time: Dilla’s mom, Mrs. Yancey.


‘Dear Dilla’ video director Konee Rok
Photo courtesy Kat Goduco

Like the family members and loved ones who held framed photos of Dilla in front of Detroit landmarks throughout the video, and like the music Dilla made and the hip-hop we love, it’s authentic and everlasting.

As Rok said, “It’s not old, it’s just a certain style of music. It’s present, just like anything else.”


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