“Old School” Joint of the Day: Deniece Williams “Free”

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UPDATED TO REFLECT CORRECT ARTIST INFORMATION! 

One of the best things about old music are the times where you re-discover a song you listened to while growing up. This re-discovery can happen anywhere, whether it be at the supermarket or on the street or at a party.

With the case of Deniece Williams’ “Free”, it was while I was driving on the highway late at night going to my cousin’s house Upstate. I like to drive, but sometimes driving (especially for 2 and a half hours) by yourself gets you this strange lonely feeling.

So what better to do than put on “The Quiet Storm” on WBLS and wallow in self pity and lonliness? 🙂

As I started listening I was crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge and this song came on. I always remembered it being a great slow song. But I believe that some songs are appreciated better when you are older.

“Free” is one of those songs.

I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.

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“Old School” Joint of the Day: Allen Anthony “Alright”

Allen Anthony 

“Alright” is a song that was officially released by the rapper Freeway. I’m not a huge fan of Freeway. He just has one of those voices and rap flows that is not too easy on the ears at times.

The only Freeway song I jam to is “What We Do” and that’s mainly because of the production.

When I heard “Alright” I said “Damn, that song would be great if Allen Anthony were singing solo and Freeway were left off of it. And a couple of weeks later after an exhaustive internet search, and I found a solo version on Napster (RIP). 

“Alright” has been a fave of mine for years now. It’s one of those under the radar songs that you want to get shine, yet fear that if it does it will become so over played that you wind up hating it.

I don’t know what Allen Anthony has been up to since Roc-A-Fella dissolved into Def Jam. But he is a talented guy. He should try to get out there and release a CD if he hasn’t done so.

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Bonus Jam: Rell featuring Kanye West “Real Love” 

“Old School” Joint of the Day: Gang Starr feat. Nice & Smooth “DWYCK”

 Childhood Block

There are some songs you hear and you can’t help remembering exactly where you  were when they came out. With the case of Old School Rap music, I always remember my younger days growing up at the Betances Houses. Oh you guys didn’t know I am kid from the PJ’s? Yup it’s true. I have the stolen “Brook Ave.” street sign to prove it.

Anyhow, these songs remind me of my days hanging out behind Grandma’s house with Danny, Stevie, Eddie, and Nikki. Re-enacting the tennis ball obstacle course from “American Gladiators” with rocks, ruining the St. Pius V afterschool program, or not going to our Summer Community Center program in favor of running around the neighborhood, we sure had a lot of fun back then.

One of my favorite songs that reminds me of these times is “DWYCK”. It is also the first rap song that I was able to completely memorize (Thanks to Alexa).

It was a staple on Video Music Box when it came out.

Enjoy! 

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“Old School” Joints of the Day: The Old Slow Jam Edition!

 

You all know I am a sucker for R&B slow jams. Since my last “Old School” post was about the dance music of Cece Peniston, I figured I would slow it down a bit.

Here are some of my favorite Old School Slow Jams……

Atlantic Starr’s “Send For Me” is just a great song. People know their more famous single “Always” which is an OK song. But I prefer this song. The lyrics, singing, vocal harmonies all make the song. It’s definitely a classic slow jam.

Keith Sweat never had a powerhouse R&B voice. He often sounded like he was begging. But “Make It Last Forever” is a classic duet. I used to sing this song with my cousin Joanne in her car as if we were on stage at the Beacon Theater. It’s one of Keith Sweat’s best, but he had a lot of songs that I like. 

Debarge was the oddest looking family in show business. I remember when they made an appearance on “Punky Brewster” when I was a kid. El Debarge never had a strong voice, but this song is another slow jam classic. The music and lyrics are cool. And the beat was later used for Biggie’s “One More Chance” and Ashanti’s “Foolish”.

Those were a few. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

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“Old School” Joints of the Day: Cece Peniston Edition!

Cece Peniston

When I was younger, Cece Peniston was out and was doing her thing musically. She released a bunch of R&B-Dance songs that were pretty popular in the early 90’s. She also had a great voice to match her high energy music.

She actually came to Randolph High when I was in like the 10th grade to perform for us after school. It was cool and she sounded just like her CD’s live. I never knew why she came through because she didn’t preach to us about staying in school or anything. She just came and sang. I remember this big girl got real hype off of “Finally” like it was her life’s anthem.

Here are some of Cece’s best singles. And take note amature singers who make it to the final rounds of American Idol. If it’s dance music week, instead of singing “Turn The Beat Around” for like the 50th time, try to sing a Cece song.

“I’m Not Over You” 

“I’m In The Mood” 

“Keep On Walking”

Bonus Jam (For All You Dramatic People): “Inside That I Cried”

“Old School” Joints of the Day: Same Sample Edition!

MJ

I am generally not a fan of artists sampling other more famous songs. But when the sample is pretty inspired, I can’t hate. Look at how Biggie’s “One More Chance” took DeBarge’s “Stay With Me” and made a completely different song. That is the perfect example of sampling done right.

So today I wanted to highlight Michael Jackson’s “Lady In My Life” a song that has been sampled (to different results) throughout the years.

This is one of MJ’s best songs. But generally, MJ needs more credit with his slow songs. He has made so many good ones. From this song, to “Got To Be There”, to “Break of Dawn”, to “You Are Not Alone”, Michael has really made some memorable slow songs. This song is probably right up there with my favorite slow songs of all time.

The lyrics are good. Michael’s singing is great. And who knew other people would sample it years later?

LL Cool J made a huge comeback when I was in High School. And this song helped cement his comeback. Boyz II Men were the hottest boyband out back then. And their singing was really solid. We still haven’t had another Boyz II Men yet. The sample is just left at the beat. It does a good job and makes the song completely different from the original MJ version.

Mya, Mya, Mya.

So beautiful, so talented, so uninspired when it comes to her musical career. I never understand why this girl just can’t seem to get it all together, but that’s a topic for another blog.

Here she did a more straight ahead remake of the original song. But to me it loses the original’s simplicity. There is too much going on here. In an effort to be too current with the remake, it falls apart.

Thinking about samples made me realize that there are a ton of songs out there that contain samples that are hot. So I wanted to know what is your favorite sampled song?

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Bonus Jam: Blue Cantrell “Sleep In The Middle”

“Old School” Joint of the Day: Joe Jackson “Steppin Out”

Night and Day

When it comes to my musical tastes I can be a bit of an oddball. My Ipod is filled with different genres of music. So today, I thought I’d deviate from my norm of posting R&B/Hip Hop Music in my “Old School” posts, and expand a little bit.

Hey you can’t fault me for my insane love of R&B, it’s my mother’s fault. Her weekend cleaning sessions while listening to many old school R&B hits stuck with me. It’s funny how I even thought that The Main Ingredient recorded the Seals and Croft classic “Summer Breeze” first (because that was the version I grew up hearing.)

Anyhow, when I was younger, the go to guy in my family for musical diversity was my cousin Tone.

Tone was into every type of music (he still is), and as children we always admired his ecclectic musical tastes. I remember trying to be like him by thinking outside the box when it came to music. And I am glad I did.

This song “Steppin Out” has been a fave of mine for years. My cousin Eddie had the “Night and Day” album when we were kids.

I just liked the feeling that “Steppin Out” gave me. It was just a fun song. It’s also funny how years later the song wound up on “Flash FM” in the “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” game. So you know I always left it on “Flash FM”. There was nothing like committing PS2 crimes and outrunning the Vice City Police Department to the song “Steppin Out”.

But it is a good song. And I sometimes sing it at Karaoke if I’m bored with the songs I usually sing.

Anyhow, here is the video to the song “Steppin Out”.

Enjoy!

Bonus Jam: Joe Jackson “Breaking Us In Two”