I just want to take time out and wish the family and friends of Whitney Houston all the best. Though some of us have been known to crack (no pun intended) a joke about Whitney's behavior, must of us know that homegirl can sing her ass off. I know she's up in heaven, singing with Billie Holliday and Amy Winehouse right now. Anyway, on to the rundown.
Kinny– “Can’t Kill a Dame with Soul” [Tru Thoughts Records]
Let's start with a little something from opera chanteuse turned soul singer, Kinny. Hailing from Norway, this lady combines her operatic vocals with soul, RnB, reggae into a mixture of refined vocals that doesn’t sacrifice the grittiness that’s normally associated with the likes of Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thorton. “Can’t Kill a Dame with Soul” will be her second solo effort, with tracks like “Big Fat Liar” and “You From This Sting” guaranteeing folks will be salivating over her future endeavors.
Various Artists – “Original Raw Soul” [Now-Again Records]
In keeping with the funkiness, we have the cats over at Now- Again Records releasing a collection of tracks dating back twenty years, but you can’t tell by the recordings. While Kinny mixes soul with operatic vocals, this compilation is just pure, unadulterated, in-your-face funk. Just listening to Poets of Rhythm’s “Summerdays” and The Whitefield Brothers’ “The Bastard” just makes you want to chill and get antsy.
Planet Asia – “Black Belt Theatre” [Green Street Entertainment]
For those who don’t know, Planet Asia has been in the hip-hop game for fifteen years. While most emcees of his year span opt to selling out and put out crap just to get money, Asia has been holding it down on the West Coast, along with peers Madlib, Dilated Peoples, and Murs to name a few. “Black Belt Theatre” shows that the man is not out of the race yet, showing a Saturday afternoon Kung-Fu movie programs in the music, like “Golden State”, with funky, gritty beats that will make your face ugly.
Last Poets – “The Last Poets [Snapper UK]
If you give a damn at all about Hip-hop, then you should look these guys up. Considered by Hip-hop historians as the precursor to modern rap music, The Last Poets, with incendiary lyrics about ghetto life, the Black Panthers, and the overall Black experience, made them so controversial that then-president Richard Nixon listed them in the Counter Intelligence Program (a.k.a. COIMTELPRO). If you’ve wanted to check them out, this is your chance. The package contains the group self-titled debut and their follow-up “This is Madness”.