“Hate On Me” is now available on iTunes including the “The Real Thing” Sampler. Only $0.99. To purchase on iTunes, please click here or click the banner below.
Listen to Keite Young’s new album by visiting www.keiteyoung.com or click on this image below.
By Steve Jones, USA TODAY
Hip-hop is under constant fire for portraying negative images, but Princeton religion professor Cornel West says it is untapped as a positive social force. With his new album Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, he hopes to inspire a shift in the music’s emphasis.
He lectures on such politically charged topics as the war in Iraq, the n-word, homophobia, corporate power and the aftermath of 9/11 with musical support from Andre 3000, Jill Scott, KRS-One, Killer Mike, the late Gerald Levert and others. The first two singles are the pointed Dear Mr. Man, featuring Prince, and incendiary Bushonomics, with Talib Kweli.
“It’s very important to have a sense of history, especially for the younger people,” says West, 54, who has endorsed and is advising Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
“So much of the album has to do with trying to keep alive the spirit of Curtis Mayfield, where you bring together the spiritual and the social, the personal and the political, while keeping it artistic. In hip-hop, there is a real need for that.”
West, author of 17 books, including 1993′s Race Matters, meshed politics, scholarship and music on 2001′s Sketches of My Culture and 2004′s Street Knowledge. But where those albums infused jazz, blues and R&B, Never Forget focuses on hip-hop to appeal to younger listeners.
It’s the first release on Hidden Beach Forum. Founder Steve McKeever says the new Hidden Beach imprint is similar to Motown’s Black Forum label, which released recordings by Martin Luther King Jr., black nationalist Stokely Carmichael and poet Imamu Amiri Baraka in the early 1970s.
As much as “80% of the media that we hear, read or see is controlled by six companies,” McKeever estimates. “Then you have a situation where you have these towering figures who don’t have a large microphone to speak from. Cornel clearly had something to say.”
West says he didn’t know how many artists he’d be able to get to participate in the project, though he had relationships with KRS-One (who has attended West’s classes for years) and Levert (who featured West on the title track of 2004′s Do I Speak for the World). But it didn’t take long before stars started getting on board.
The album comes in the wake of a firestorm of criticism aimed at hip-hop after CBS Radio shock jock Don Imus’ disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Imus was fired, but the debate over rap lyrics intensified.
Never Forget is not a direct critique of hip-hop, but West says rappers have to be responsible for what they say and portray.
“We know that misogyny is shot through the culture,” West says. “It’s in country. It’s in rhythm and blues. It’s in the White House, and it’s on Wall Street. So you can’t just single out the hip-hop artists and have them bearing the burden for the whole culture. On the other hand, Snoop Dogg is just as accountable as anybody else.”
West encourages rappers to be more thoughtful in their rhymes.
“We need to respectfully challenge them on the issues of misogyny and homophobia,” he says. “You can hear that on the album, too. Quit bashing gay brothers and lesbian sisters. Quit this domestic violence.”
05:36 PM CDT on Friday, August 24, 2007
By THOR CHRISTENSEN / Pop Music Critic
Singer Keite Young is an ordained minister with deep roots in gospel music. But most of all, he’s a free thinker.
“A lot of times, gospel music comes off as propaganda,” says Mr. Young, an ex-member of Kirk Franklin’s band.
“They’re always talking about ‘Try God.’ But what does that mean? God doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody.”
And don’t even get him started on organized religion.
“I love God, but more people are being killed over organized religion than anything else. Anything that tells you ‘This decision is the only right decision’ is inherently messed up.”
The 30-year-old Dallas-based singer pours his strong opinions into his debut CD, The Rise and Fall of Keite Young. It comes out Tuesday on Hidden Beach, the L.A.-based label that’s home to Jill Scott. But don’t file it in the “neo-soul” bin. It’s too bluesy and rock-edged for that.
Dallas-based singer Keite Young
Mr. Young grew up in Fort Worth in a musical brood. His grandfather played blues under the name “Big Daddy” Young, and his gospel-singing mom turned her son on to Parliament and Prince. Eventually, Keite (pronounced “keet”) found his own favorite bands.
“As a teenager I got heavily into the Beatles and Led Zeppelin,” he says. “I remember riding down the highway when ‘Black Dog’ came on and my mind was blown.”
But while he was grooving on Jimmy Page, he was still heavily involved in the church. By 15, Mr. Young was ordained a minister, and a few years later, he joined gospel star Kirk Franklin & the Family, a band that also included Mr. Young’s mom, Carrie Collins, and his stepdad, Dalon Collins.
Touring behind 1998′s multimillion-selling The Nu Nation Project, Mr. Franklin and the Family played to packed arenas and at the Grammys, where “Lean On Me” was nominated for song of the year.
“It was a mind-trip,” Mr. Young says. “I was signing autographs and running from women and crowds. Even on a gospel tour, there’s groupies.”
But the party ended in 2000, when Mr. Young’s parents and three other Family members sued Mr. Franklin and Gospo Centric Records, saying they weren’t properly paid for their work on The Nu Nation Project. Mr. Young wasn’t part of the lawsuit, but he eventually left Mr. Franklin’s group along with his parents.
“It made things complicated and awkward, but nevertheless, everybody still loves each other,” he says. “I saw Kirk in the studio a year ago, and we were like we always are.”
With his Family ties severed, he turned to another well-placed connection: Wayman Tisdale, the ex-NBA star and bass guitarist who also happens to be Mr. Young’s great-uncle.
“Every Thanksgiving and Christmas he’d come in the game room and hear what I’m doing and tell me ‘Kid, you’re a star! Give me a demo and picture and I’ll come back with a record deal.’ ”
It took a few years, but Mr. Young eventually signed to Hidden Beach, an independent label distributed through Universal. He finished recording The Rise and Fall … last year. In the meantime, he’s been building buzz, opening for the likes of the O’Jays and Robin Thicke and playing South by Southwest.
At SXSW, he turned in a kinetic set that included funked-up covers of the Police’s “Roxanne” and the Beatles’ “Come Together.” He’s been known to whip out a version of the Stones’ “Miss You.” And given the chance, he’ll bend your ear about his love of Nine Inch Nails.
“I’ve got so much music inside of me from everything I listened to growing up,” he says. “Gospel wasn’t enough for me.”
The lyrics on The Rise and Fall … are almost as wide-ranging as the music. “If We Were Alone” (featuring Dallas singer N’Dambi) is a straightforward love-and-lust song, but “Masks” is about a preacher who’s torn up over his own homosexuality.
“Being gay and believing in God shouldn’t be a conflict,” he says. “It’s about taking off the artificial vibe and letting other people know the real you.”
Equally powerful is “The Wash,” a song “about the plight of black America.”
“We’ve had 400 years of deprogramming and roughly 40 years of semi-freedom. We’ve been disenfranchised and miseducated, and we’re expected to come back from that,” he says. “It’s a sad song about the truth.”
The CD-opener, “My Change,” includes a nod to Sam Cooke’s civil rights anthem “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which had a huge impact on Mr. Young. He wonders why black artists aren’t writing songs like that today.
“It’s like, ‘What went wrong?’ And what went wrong is we got comfortable – we got sucked into the money and the cars, and we just started accepting the status quo,” he says. “I want to believe music is getting back to the point where musicians are town criers informing people of what’s going on – all great music is born out of conflict.”
Onitsha has been in London spreading her good music from her new CD “Church Girl”. She is doing Radio, TV, and show all in LONDON from 8/20-28/07.
LONDON Schedule as follows:
Sunday 19th August:
Radio Interview with Dave P, Choice FM via phone.
Tuesday 21st August:
Fly into London.
Evening – Live Radio Interview via phone – BBC 3 Counties
Time: 9.00pm – 9.30pm: Radio interview at Premier Radio with Grantly
Thursday 23rd August: Souled Out!
Sound Check 4pm.
Doors open 8pm
Interview with Dj El Nino UnitedbyOne
Interview with UCB Television. This night will also be recorded by UCB Television for future broadcast.
Friday 24th August:
Time: 10.30am – 11.00am: Live Television interview and performance. OBE TV, Lifestyle show with Pam Joseph.
Time: 11.30am – 12.00pm: Live Radio interview Premier Radio for the Woman to Woman show with Maria Toth.
Time: 12.00pm – 12.30pm: Interview for the Premier Drive show with Bridgitte Tetteh
Saturday 25th August:
Possible Church performance (TBC)
Sunday 26th August:
Time: 7am – 7.30am: Live Radio interview on BBC1 Extra with DJ Fitz (Backing Track)
Time: 5.00pm: Sound Check for Cocobutter Live music night (Live Band)
Time: 9.00pm: Showtime
Time: 12.00am – 1.00am: Live radio interview at Choice FM radio studios with Dave P
Monday 27th August:
Time: 6.00pmThe London Notting Hill Carnival. God’s Corner Stage Performance (Backing Track)
Tuesday 28th August:
Fly back to LA