Beats, Podcasts + Life (8.31.19)


Peace! On the last day of Black August, I'm back with another edition of “Beats, Podcasts + Life” focusing on the art and culture uniting us across the African Diaspora. We are ONE.

Lucky Seven feat. D.King

“Hanging by the Noose”

(Prod. by Lucky Seven)

It’s the noose

We hanging on the…

We hanging on the block

We hanging by the spot

We hanging by the noose

Cops chase aiming with they glocks

They hate us cause they made us what we not

It’s really just the noose

— Lucky Seven

Post Traumatic Slave Disorder — released the day before Independence Day — is a very important album by Lucky Seven. The emcee and producer from Buffalo, NY, came through with a revolutionary message for Black folks. Get to know Lucky Seven in this Don Diva Magazine interview and push play on this! CDs and digital downloads available here:


VRN Hayes

“Celebrate Yah Life”

(Prod. by Clark Makes Hits)

Celebrate your life

Living wrong or right

Don’t matter really much

We all a sacrfice

All headed toward the light

I hope it’s not tonight

If so, then I’m alright

— VRN Hayes

VRN Hayes brings us a whole vibe from South Central Los Angeles on the new single “Celebrate Yah Life” from his new album. The proud father delivers upliftment and light in every line. Listen here.


Rapsody feat PJ Morton


(Prod. by 9th Wonder)

My brothers

I love you

— Rapsody

Rapsody always comes through with a vibe! Hearing the queen Aretha singing her rendition of “Young, Gifted and Black” on the intro for “Laila’s Wisdom” was divine timing for me. We were in the middle of raising money to produce Digging for Weldon Irvine — an important film about the jazz and funk musician + mental illness in the music community.

Paying homage to the women who came before her, Rapsody released her third album Eve with songs named after women who inspired her. The first song I was encouraged to hear is called “Afeni” named after the late iconic freedom fighter (my friend said “Afeni” made him cry). The Hip-Hop generation got to know Afeni Shakur through her late son Tupac’s lyrics. Rapsody delivered a continuation of Tupac’s profound message in “Keep Ya Head Up” (1993) — a message to Black men and women on how we treat each other. I cried.

Eve is available on vinyl, CD or digital download, and check out the merch here.


Patrice Rushen

“Remind Me”

(Prod. by Charles Mims Jr. and Patrice Rushen)


Patrice Rushen is my muse lately. Prince had the biggest crush on her (listen to “I Wanna Be Your Lover”). I added “Remind Me” (1982) to my playlist this week, followed by Mary J. Blige “You Remind Me” (1993) — the original and the remix with Greg Nice — and Junior M.A.F.I.A. featuring Aaliyah and Faith Evans “I Need You Tonight” (1995). My friend Jesse Fairfax went to hear Patrice Rushen speak in Los Angeles. Celebrate the legends while they're still here! For upcoming shows and appearances, visit her website:


Claudine (1974)

My mom, aunts and grandma introduced me to Claudine some years ago. Powerful film about the Black experience. When I lived in Bed Stuy, I let my neighbor Simon Black borrow my Claudine DVD for his Ph.D. paper on the history of welfare in New York City vs Toronto. That’s how real Claudine’s storyline is that it can be used as a solid reference and depiction of what it was really like to be on welfare back in the day.

Claudine, played by actress and singer Diahann Carroll, was a single mom of 6 children, living on welfare in Harlem, working a side job as a housekeeper, when she met a garbage man named Rupert, played by a much younger James Earl Jones.

claudine rupert children.jpg

I’m taking your mom on a date. Dig that? A date. — Rupert

Claudine and Rupert fell in love and made plans to get married, but their income and livelihood was threatened by the Department of Social Services. This was back when social workers showed up unannounced, looking through Black folks homes to report people who were not listed as welfare recipients on a case or unauthorized possessions.

claudine at social services.jpg

When I shared the Claudine trailer on Twitter the other day, responses came from Chuck D, Holly Robinson Peete, Dej Loaf, Gary Washburn and so many others who shared their experiences in relation to the film or just being Black in America.

Scott Saul, author of Richard' Pryor’s biography and professor at UC Berkeley, said: “Great film! And one that was, tellingly, the first film made by Third World Cinema, the production company launched by actors James Earl Jones, Ossie Davis and Diana Sands, and blacklisted producer Hannah Weinstein to open up Hollywood to people of color.” Brilliance! You can find the Claudine DVD online.


Nas and Michael Jackson

Ill MIC Tic

(Remixed by Rich Medina & The Marksmen)

Please don’t close the door to our future

There’s so many things we haven’t tried

— Michael Jackson

Leon Ware (rest in peace) wrote those mature lyrics for a young Michael Jackson on “I Wanna Be Where You Are” (1972). August 29th would have been MJ’s 61st birthday. Rich Medina and The Marksmen blended Michael Jackson’s voice with Nas and the Heath Brothers on Ill MIC Tic for the 20th anniversary of Illmatic. Listen here.


Camp Lo

80 Blocks from Tiffany’s

(Prod. by Pete Rock)

Camp Lo and Pete Rock made magic together on 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s hosted by Trackstar the DJ and DJ Mark Divita. The Bronx lyricists teamed up with Mount Vernon’s own Pete Rock using beats from the legendary Mecca and the Soul Brother (1992) with CL Smooth. 80 Blocks is true to Camp Lo’s nostalgic time capsule reminiscent of Black culture from back in the day that we still strive to emulate today. Listen here.


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Tasha Digital