L3 Magazine | December 2011 | No. 006
Canada's leading Caribbean-Urban Magazine!
DECEMBER 2011 | L3MAGAZINE.COM KEES OF KES THE BAND TWITTER.COM/L3MAGAZINE | FACEBOOK.COM/L3MAGAZINE | MYSPACE.COM/L3MAGAZINE | YOUTUBE.COM/L3MAGAZINE M A G A Z I N E TIA MOWRY FROM SISTER SISTER TO STYLE NETWORK UNITY CROSS FIRE FROM FLORIDA TO ATLANTA TO JAPAN TYRA MYRICKS TAKES ‘FLIGHT’ JAZZY F. BABY IN THE L3 FOLDS TOP HOLIDAY BEAUTY & FASHION TRENDS MUSIC REVIEWS HONOREBEL JAH NYNE BBQ RIDDIM JAHKIREVI AND MORE! C O N T E N WELCOME LETTER FROM THE EDITOR LIFE IN FOCUS FASHION BEAUTY TECHNOLOGY LOVE LYRICS UNDER OUR XMAS TREE IN THE MIX T S 009 016 024 040 048 050 056 058 073 099 101 C O N T E N T S KEES OF KES THE BAND 074 SISTER ACT 084 TAKING FLIGHT 088 WELCOME TO L3 092 JETSETTING 094 L3 had the honor of talking to the Kees of KES The Band before he rocked the stage! L3 has a heart-to-heart with Tia Mowry about her evolution on screen with her twin, Tamera. L3 sits down with Tyra Myricks to discuss why sheâ€™s shaking things up with her clothing line! L3 welcomes Jazzy F. Baby to the folds! Read about him now! From Florida to Atlanta to Japan, Unity Cross Fire is blazing a trail! LIFESTYLE NETWORK THEFAMOUSFACE.BLOGSPOT.COM TROPICALFETE.COM EDGE-AGENCY.COM TORONTO-LIME.COM L3MAGAZINEBLOG.TUMBLR.COM BEHANCE.NET/L3DESIGNS BECAUSEIAMAGIRL.CA FFAWN.ORG iTUNES.COM REGGAE4US.COM HARBOURFRONTCENTRE.COM SOUNDCLOUD.COMBYZEONE CONCRETELOOP.COM DANCEHALLMOBI.COM W W E L C O M E T R I B U T E T O A F I R S T. . . TRIBUTE TO A FIRST CHUCK TAYLOR E L C O M E W E L C O M E T R I B U T E T O A F I R S T. . . On November 8, 2011 the music industry lost one of its pioneer heavy weight stars and musical icons; Dwight Arrington Myers, better known as Heavy D, the Overweight Lover; The Heavster. This Jamaican-born American wore many hats over his musical career: actor, rapper, record producer, singer and leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, a 80’s – 90’s Hip Hop group which included dancers G-Whiz, Trouble T. Roy, and Eddie F the DJ and musical producer. The group had a strong core in the Hip Hop scene in the US with five albums under their belt. Heavy was a product of Mandeville, Jamaica and Mount Vernon, NY. He was dancehall meets Hip Hop. He had an ear for the music in Jamaica and the urban streets of New York. I had the pleasure of meeting Heavy a few times over the years and was always amazed at his humbleness when it came to music. He was truly the first in many arenas. He was where the action was and was part of it. I will truly miss him. For those who don’t know, Heavy D & the Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records (the label that brought you Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Father MC, Soul for Real); their debut album, Living Large, was released in 1987. The album was a commercial success with street creditability although the second album Big Tyme, produced four hits and made the small Uptown Records label a force in the music world. Heavy was a marketing genius at a time when everyone was shouting, “My ADIDAS” (from RUN DMC). He flipped the script and started wearing Nike Track Suits and Air Force Ones (white on white) in his videos, creating a buzz that consumed New York in the summertime even to this day. Heavy was one of the main people that mixed the early Dancehall style with Hip Hop and R&B beats. Remembering when Trouble T. Roy died in July 1990, I as well as the world saw Heavy do a tribute album that went platinum. The album was called Peaceful Journey. The spin-off was Pete Rock & CL Smooth create the tribute song “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” which is regarded as a Hip Hop classic. As a true lover of music, Heavy pushed for it to be everywhere. Many people may not know that Heavy D & the Boyz sang the theme song for the television program In Living Color and MADtv. Heavy D was the first to perform a rap with Third World, and also performed on the late Michael Jackson’s hit single “Jam.” Performing with sister Janet, they turned out the hit single “Alright.” Heavy even had an acting career (before the well known Will Smith), appearing in various television shows. By nature Heavy D was very comical and animated which landed him appearances in off-Broadway productions, one of which was Riff Raff. His ever expanding love of music saw him collaborate with Blue’s great B.B. King in the song “Keep It Coming.” In the 1990’s, Heavy became the first rapper to head a major music label, when he became the President of Uptown Records. Heavy was a cornerstone in helping to develop the career of the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, the great Mary J. Blige. Without him hiring Sean “Diddy” Combs as an intern and show him the inside of the business, we may have never had a Bad Boy Record label. Heavy D’s influence was so far reaching, it was referred to in the song “Juicy” by the Notorious B.I.G. Heavy would later further his music arm as a decision maker by becoming the senior Vice President at Universal Music. The last time I saw Heavy D perform was on TV for the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards in October 2011. It was his first live performance in over 15 years. Sadly it was his last. He passed a month later in Los Angeles, California. As a friend and a musical icon, he will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace Hev…. W E L C O M E T R I B U T E T O A F I R S T. . . REMEMBERING HEAVY D WITH QUOTES The impact of Heavy D’s death has been felt around the globe. His rise to prominence in the 90’s, and his success throughout put him in the limelight and even landed him in the infamous lyrics of Notorious B.I.G’s song “Juicy” in which the Hip Hop artist rapped ‘it was all a dream, I used to read word up magazine, Salt n Pepa, Heavy D up in the limousine….’ The truth is we all wanted to be like Heavy D! The overweight lover had us hooked on his swag long before the term ‘swag’ became what it is today. He set the model, he made the mold, he epitomized the standard. Beyond his public persona, Heavy was very supportive of upcoming and established artists in the industry. He always had an inspirational word to give them as they began on the journey he had already walked. His presence was everything. As we remember Heavy, we take time to share the words of people Heavy touched personally. The quotes below come directly from: R. Kelly, Wayne Marshall (Jamaica), Dennis Blaze (California), Pee Wee (Queen’s, New York), DJ Mike D (from Hawaii), Rico Vibes (Atlanta, Georgia), ZJ Sparks (Jamaica), Captain Collin Hines (Jamaica), Chris Smith a.k.a. Nightmare New York (New York), and Tyrone a.k.a. Mr. Muzik (Baltimore). The entire team at L3 Magazine Salutes Heavy D … never to be forgotten…. Please support Heavy D’s estate by purchasing one of his albums on iTunes. One of our favourites is his 2008 album entitled Vibes… “ “ “ “ Heavy D was a big influence on my music. The way he blended Jamaican sounds over typically American beats was forward and futuristic. I always loved his energy. Maximum respect goes out to Heavy. “ PEE WEE I grew up on Heavy D and the Boyz! When I was younger watching Video Music Box Heavy D was one of those main Rappers coming up! Dance moves and stage presence! We lost a Rap Icon… “ “ “ ZJ SPARKS A great entertainer who shows that there is no limit to what you can do, regardless of size. Heavy D will be missed … we loved him. “ DENNIS BLAZE Heavy D was a great MC. He never had to curse to get his point across. He never had beef with anybody nor took shots at anyone. He blessed many remixes with his trademark voice and delivery (Janet Jackson “Alright”, Musiq Soulchild “Buddy”, Ne-Yo “Because of You”, Soul 4 Real “Candy Rain”/”Love You So”/”Every Little Thing I Do”, Carl Thomas “2 Pieces”, Robin Thicke “Lost Without You” just to name a few. He also represented his Reggae roots with collaborations with Ziggy Marley and Supercat. His latest reggae track “Long Distance Girlfriend” is on current rotation on my mixshows. Rest in peace, Hev. You’ll be missed and your music will live in my crates until I retire. “ “ “ “ CHRIS SMITH A.K.A NIGHTMARE NEW YORK Heavy D will forever be a legend to us all. He was one of the greatest out of Jamaica. My girl and I have had so much fun actin’ a fool and dancing to ‘Now That We Found Love’. Haha! You may be gone big homie but your music and movies will forever carry on your legacy. Much love and respect. R.I.P TYRONE A.K.A MR. MUZIK Heavy D is already heavily missed; he was a prime example of a Caribbean-American artiste/musician that just made great music that broke all barriers. His music just made you feel good and want to party, and that’s what it’s all about, R.I.P Heavy D. “ “ WAYNE MARSHALL RICO VIBES One of the first successful fusions of Reggae and Hip Hop was “Now That We Found Love” By Heavy D & The Boys Released in 1991. He was a Pioneer who embraced his Caribbean roots by Recording with Reggae Stars such as Buju Banton & Super Cat. He will be missed! “ Heavy D was not only like a long distance brother to me, he was the first professional artist to give me the chance to open for him when I was an amateur and he told me then that it was just a matter of time before I would be a star. A person with that much faith and belief in someone that they don’t even know could only be in one place. So enjoy Heaven Heavy D. Peace. “ DJ MIKE D Heavy D was that dude that was relatable not only as an artist but as a person...that guy who you’d want to have a beer with after his show. Heavy D kept true to himself, and there’s nothing more Hip Hop than that... a true legend who will be missed. “ “ “ R. KELLY CAPTAIN COLLIN HINES Heavy D’s loss is a big blow not only to Hip Hop, but to Reggae and Dancehall as well. He was young, but was one of those artists that truly embodied that relationship between Hip Hop as the American and Dancehall which is the Jamaican. Being Jamaican and American, he represented both worlds, and his records were clean fun with a little tongue in cheek. His records with Super Cat and Buju Banton showed us that he never left the Jamaican side. For people who know good music, they know that Heavy D was the best. Rest in peace…. DECEMBER 2011 | NO. 006 CEO & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF VP & CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER PUBLISHER ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER NATASHA VON CASTLE DOMINIQUE RAPHAEL L3 GROUP OF COMPANIES - KEVIN SMALLS PAIGE HARRIS EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR & LIFESTYLE EDITOR ALLIE MASON TRAVEL EDITOR SAIDAH GOMEZ MUSIC REVIEW EDITOR JILL MAHONEY EDUCATION EDITOR GLORIA GOMEZ BEAUTY EDITOR LONDYN NIKOLE FASHION EDITOR SHELEEN ROYAL TECHNOLOGY EDITOR KEMARIO LINDO COPY EDITOR XAVIER RAPHAEL SENIOR WRITER STARLETTAH BROWN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ZAKADA MILTON, HEIKE WOLLENWEBER, LANRE DAVIES, RAINE MARTIN, MUMMA SUSS, KERRY K. TAYLOR, KENDON POLAK, JENNIFER MENSTER INTERNS EDWARD BISHOP, ALICIA KEMP, JONATHAN NEWTON ART PHOTO DIRECTOR PHOTO RESEARCHER ART ASSISTANT CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER RETOUCHER REBECCA SLATE KIRSTEN DALY JAMALL THOMPSON CALVIN FRENCH, JAMAL JEROME MABINI ADVERTISING ADVERTISING & PROMOTIONS MANAGER CHRISTINE HALL ADVERTISING ASSISTANT TERESA MAGLOIRE CIRCULATION CIRCULATION/MARKETING DIRECTOR RICHARD NEILSON SINGLE COPY SALES MANAGER NIGEL COLLINS “L3” (ISSIN 1020-2000) is published monthly (Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec) by L3 Group of Companies, 123 blank street, Scarborough, ON L1R2H2. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Copyright © 2011. Title “L3” registered CAN Patent and Trademark Office. Printed in Canada. MANUSCRIPTS AND ART: The Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art, photos or negatives. SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES (CAN) 1-289-217-2800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. SUBSCRIPTION RATES and Possessions: 14.95 CAD/Year plus applicable taxes. SUBSCRIPTION PROBLEMS call 1-289-217-2800 or email email@example.com. WELCOME LETTER FROM THE EDITOR LETTER FROM THE EDITOR We are our own Savior I may anger some people when I say this, especially with the time of year that we’re in (Christmas), but I just have to say it: you are your own savior. Yes, you are! I’ve had the opportunity to speak to so many people from many walks of life about their career (not all are musicians, some are in finance, design, architecture, medicine and sports) and how they were able to ‘make it’ out of dire circumstances to now walk in a place of abundance. They have all told me the same thing. They had to make a decision to move from where they were, to where they wanted to be. THEY had to do it; there was no ‘savior.’ Each of us has the ability to move from point ‘A’ to point ‘B.’ we don’t know how we’re going to get there, we just know we’re going and that’s the way it should be. The beauty of life’s wisdom is that it will provide all the people and events we need to get to where we want to go. We just have to remain focused. This month’s edition of L3 Magazine features KES The Band, Tia Mowry and Tyra Myricks. Each of these people is incredible in their own way. KES describes his childhood, and how all of his early experiences prepared him for the path he’s on today while Tia talks about motherhood and balancing family with career while Tyra, daughter of Hip Hop legend Jam Master Jay from RUN DMC shares that there are no limits to what we can do. The common factor in all three people is they did not wait for someone else to do for them, they did for themselves. As we celebrate this Christmas season, and we share holiday joy with each other and make plans for the New Year, I ask one thing of you! Celebrate you! Celebrate the fact that you can take yourself from where you are, to where you want to go. You are your own savior, and that is worth a celebration! Natasha Von Castle D E S ideas brought to life L3DESIGNS@HOTMAIL.COM | 1.289.217.2800 @L3DESIGNS I G N S L3MAGAZINE.COM IS NOT JUST A MUSIC MAGAZINE IT’S LIFE, LOVE & LYRICS ADVERTISE WITH US EMAIL L3MAGAZINE@HOTMAIL.COM | CALL 1.289.217.2800 ON THE SCENE EXPERIENCE ECHO MINOTT IN JAPAN ON NOVEMBER 19TH! HOSTED BY BLACK ASSASSIN! ON THE SCENE CHECK OUT THE COOK HENNESSY VIDEO SHOOT WITH DELLY RANX IN QUEEN’S NY! HOSTED BY KHEILSTONE PRODUCTIONS! L L I LF IEF E I F O NH OT NO OU RR I NF GI L EJ ES S S E J A C K S O N HONORING JESSE JACKSON CONTRIBUTED E L I LF IEF E O NH OT NO OU RR I NF GI L EJ ES S S E J A C K S O N The all girls empowerment organization, “Sisters of Today & Tomorrow” (SOT) presented Civil Rights Icon Jesse Jackson, Sr. a special honor during his 70th birthday tribute at the 12th Annual Rainbow Push & CEF Creating Opportunity Conference in November in Atlanta, Georgia. “Out of all the schools and organizations in the City of Atlanta, Rainbow Push selected us to present to you today, and we are honored,” stated Carla Morrison, Founder/Executive Director of Sisters of Today & Tomorrow. Sisters of Today & Tomorrow’s relationship with Rainbow Push extends back 5 years, when the Founder, then Senior Publicist / President of Chit Chat Communications, a boutique public relations firm, assisted with the coordination of Reverend Jackson’s 65th birthday celebration, by securing the now Oscar Award Winning Actress/Comedian Mo’Nique to receive the President’s Award. “Ever since that time, I’ve always had a great relationship with Rainbow Push, who are significant supporters of Sisters of Today & Tomorrow,” said Morrison. The presentation was preceded by the Rainbow Push Sports Luncheon coordinated by former Dallas Cowboys player / Rainbow Push Sports Director Dextor Clinkscale, where Clayton State Women’s Basketball Team Division Two Champions and Dewey McClain, Past President of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Metro Atlanta Chapter were honored for their contributions in the world of sports. There was also a college fair and workshops as part of the Youth Summit component of the Conference. Friday evening during Rainbow Push’s “Keep Hope Alive Gala”, Filmmaker Roger Bobb, CEO of Bobbcat Films (former Executive Vice President of Tyler Perry Studios) was honored with the Entrepreneur of the Year award, alongside Hip Hop Mogul Debra Antney. “I will always remember this award, because it is my first as an entrepreneur,” stated Bobb. Music Executive/Philanthropist Debra Antney, who has gone from social worker to hip hop mogul, is one of few women in the music business who has reached the many levels of success, providing a guide for others to follow. “I associate myself with Harriett Tubman and the Underground Railroad, with the work I’m doing,” stated Antney during her acceptance speech. Other honorees included: Wanda Smith, Honorable Andrew Young, Rita Samuels, Mr. Clayvon Croom, Leona Barr Davenport and Jennifer Ffrench Parker. “As we bring in people like Roger Bobb and Debra Antney, our hope is to begin the process of preparing our youth to become the next leaders; And Sisters of Today & Tomorrow is a great example of that preparation,” stated Attorney Janice Mathis, Executive Director of Rainbow Push Atlanta / VP of Citizen’s Education Fund. For more information on the collaborative efforts of Rainbow Push, and Sisters of Today & Tomorrow, log onto: www.rainbowpushatlanta.org, www.sistersoftodayandtomorrow.org L I LF IEF E O NH OT NO OU RR I NF GI L EJ ES S S E J A C K S O N LIFE AROUND THE GLOBE LOTUS HOUSE HEIKE WOLLENWEBER W hen the month of November hits, many start to get into the holiday spirit; buying decorations for homes as well as presents for family and other loved ones. The season usually also gets people into the spirit of giving. As we are encouraged to support charities, we usually do so by buying gifts for poorer families, but this season, we’re being encouraged to take it up another notch by helping out at shelters. It is a beautiful gesture to give money and time for the Christmas season but there are people who dedicate their lives to helping others, and one such person is Constance Collins Margulies. If you are an avid reader of L3 Magazine you read about her briefly in my article about the Wynwood Art Fair in Miami, which was also a fundraising event for the Lotus House Women’s Shelter in Miami. Constance Collins Margulies gave up a successful business career to change the lives of homeless women in Miami’s poorest neighborhood, Overtown, by opening a shelter for women. What first sparked the idea was something that happened when Constance was just 13 years old. She says she vividly remembers the first homeless women she ever saw in the streets of New York City in the winter. It was freezing cold and the woman was digging through the garbage. Mrs. Margulies remembers what she thought: “How can anyone be happy as long as someone else has to live that way?” At 13 clearly there is not much one can do but having been blessed in life and with a successful career Mrs. Margulies was eventually in a position to do something. The idea for Lotus House was born and once the right property had been purchased things were about to change. Resources for the homeless are very limited and oftentimes women are at the bottom of the barrel as they fight for survival on their own. The streets can be especially dangerous to a woman so many try to stay invisible to avoid becoming targets. Shelters welcome women, but Lotus House is a center designed especially for women with special needs. Women can stay a year or at times even longer, and many have high levels of trauma, mental health issues or other health issues and need treatment such as chemo therapy. Lotus House sees several cases of women who have been severely traumatized in childhood. They have been abused, neglected and molested and have had to learn to love themselves, recover and heal. Lotus House welcomes women of any age from 18 to their 80s and provides the tools and resources necessary to change lives. As a public charity Lotus House has to raise money privately and only gets approximately 15% of their resources from the government. Innovative ideas such as the aforementioned Wynwood Art Fair are what keeps Lotus House going as well as the help and assistance of many individuals who believe in the cause, helping to provide this safe haven. Over the years Lotus House has grown and now houses approximately 100 women and children. The maternity ward was added because Mrs. Margulies did not want to keep turning down pregnant women and women with infants. A second building was purchased which now houses around 16 mothers and over 20 infants. A community center was added as well when an existing building could be renovated and the latest building was bought in a foreclosure in 2010. The shelter is definitely an endeavor from the heart for Mrs. Margulies who has learned what homeless women need over the years from the women themselves. It is not just about a roof, meal and a shower, it’s about a change in life and a new start by supplying access to computers, clothing for interviews and work. “These women need to be able to receive mail and have a phone number,” explains Mrs. Margulies who, along with her team of volunteers, takes a wholesome approach by providing job readiness training which includes computer courses, employment coaching as well as art and music classes. To build self-esteem and promote healthy living Lotus House offers “a total health and wellness program.” Every woman can get a full health exam provided by the Department of Health and medical students from the University of Miami. LIFE AROUND THE GLOBE Counseling is available and so is money for medication and educational programs on nutrition. Walking club, yoga, aerobics, acupuncture and massages round off the healthy living-package designed to heal the mind, body and soul of the formerly homeless women. Two special on the job programs are taught at the facilities. Women can learn to cook healthy food and become state certified food handlers or they can take advantage of on the job training in retail via the Lotus House Thrift Store, located in Miami’s Design District. The store, now entirely run by Lotus House alumni, specializes in designer wear, vintage clothing, furnishing, collectable items and more at great prices, and all proceeds benefit the shelter (if you are in Miami check out the store on 203 NW 36th Street perfect for some Christmas shopping!). While in the store, you might run into manager Ciara, who is a strikingly beautiful young woman who herself, has lived through homelessness and turned her life around at Lotus House. She often speaks out and educates others in the community, sharing her story to help others and change the dialogue on homelessness. Mrs. Margulies and Ciara are dedicated to changing lives. Mrs. Margulies says “We do not have to accept homelessness. We have the capacity, all of us collectively, to provide for every single person. We need the political will to do so and we need to understand how to do so effectively.” She continues, “I hope to raise the collective consciousness about these issues and replace judgments and stereotypes, with tools and resources. With caring and nurturing the lives of those individuals are transformed and our communities are enriched with their potential realized.” Let us all get involved, any time of the year, and as Mrs. Margulies puts it “begin to sow the seeds of change so that no one has to ever walk by a woman digging through the trash.” Lotus House can be a model for other communities. Mrs. Margulies is full of joy every day when women come back to visit and tell her success stories. To keep doing the work Lotus House always welcomes financial aid and donations via their website: www.lotushouseshelter.org, and volunteers with long term commitments (consistency is very important to the programming) are welcome at the facility in Miami. The goal though really is to inspire others and other communities around the world to start their own homeless shelters and organically grow programs suitable to their respective environment, helping homeless women in need. Mrs. Margulies and her team are more than happy to provide guidance to anyone who is interested in starting a program such as Lotus House. I hope Lotus House inspires you this Christmas season or any other day of the year to help others, find a cause or change how people view homelessness. Join Heike’s Twitter timeline @axesmedia S’VOYCE GIVING BACK FOR CHRISTMAS HEIKE WOLLENWEBER S’Voyce is a true multi-talent and he enjoys giving back to the community. The artiste, song writer, producer and CEO of White House/ Sagini Records has teamed up with Furniture Plus in the Bahamas, presenting a Christmas song for everyone to enjoy this season and to raise money for one of his favorite charities. The song was originally written by Julio “S’Voyce” Hall in October 2010 but was not released due to time constraints. This year however S’Voyce and co-producer Mark Johnson were determined to release the song and sacrificed time and sleep to make it happen. The song, entitled “Christmas Time Again” also features Slip & Slide artistes Shonie and newcomer Lattia. The especially designed CD features the original version of the song plus two additional remixes. In spirit of the season, the White House/ Sagini team produced “Christmas Time Again” as a meaningful gift and part of the proceeds will be donated to the Ranfurly Home for Children in Nassau, Bahamas, wanting to bring joy to the children. The donations will be used for gifts, food and other things to make the children’s days happier. The children’s home was chosen as the recipient for the proceeds because Christmas is mainly for the younger generation. “Christmas means a lot to children, especially those in need” S’Voyce says. “I really wanted to make a difference. After the death of my mom a few years ago my holiday spirit wasn’t there and I have been feeling down but it hurts me to see children in the streets so I wanted to change things and show my support to a foundation helping children. I would love to be more involved in other charities as well in the future.” Giving monetary assistance, food, clothing and toys is one thing but S’Voyce as well as Mark Johnson, Shonie and Lattia wanted to do something extra. With the help of Furniture Plus the project will reach even more people as the store will sell the single in all locations across the Bahamas. The single will also be available at every Super Video location as well as digitally so everyone across the world can enjoy the Christmas spirit. S’Voyce says “Christmas is about giving and this is a beautiful way to show those who are less fortunate that there are people in the world who care.” He adds “The CD is a perfect gift for everyone. The songs are for families to relax or to listen to while doing all the things we love to do during the holidays.” What does the artiste love most about the song? “The song fills your heart with emotion and brings out a smile in everyone, which I love to see especially for the holidays when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is a time for sharing, giving and for love. We hope to raise enough money to bring smiles to the faces of the children at Ranfurly Home and we also hope that everyone who hears the song will enjoy it every time.” LIFE AROUND THE GLOBE I WAS NOT THERE CONTRIBUTED On October 25th and November 4th, 2011, thousands of people from La Spezia, Massa Carrara, Genova, Napoli, Torino and Alessandria were affected by ravaging floods. Italian Reggae artist Jahkirevi, with the assistance of Youth Revolution Productions decided to record the song “I Was Not There,” and make the song available for download in exchange of a donation. Funds raised by sales of the song are being donated to assist the people of the affected areas of the flooding. Living in Barcelona, Spain, the Levanto (Italy) born artist says he was moved to be a “positive support” in his home countries time of need. Donations can be made to www.cri.it, or by supporting the Red Cross. LIFE I N V3E0S TSIENCGO N D S LIFE LOVE ADVICE TOP 10 WAYS TO MARRIAGE / RELATIONSHIP MAKEOVERS ... IN 5 MINUTES! CONTRIBUTED These quick, no-sweat strategies will smooth out the bumps, bring the sexy back, and, ultimately, make your love last. They’re too easy not to do. It turns out that love is in the details: “We know from marriage and divorce research that it’s the everyday things — having fun, connecting, and showing you care — that make or break a marriage,” says Debra Castaldo, Ph.D., author of Gifts of Love. We heard the same from other experts, real couples, and even one of America’s greatest living poets. So we worked up this list of 17 fast little somethings that’ll help you and your guy go all gaga for each other again. Have a quick bitchfest: “It’s very detrimental to a relationship to pretend you’re always doing great,” says Brian Grossman, Ph.D., a relationship expert and author of Learning to Listen: Did You Hear What I Think I Said? So vent about whatever’s bugging you: your job, your mom, this morning’s rude barista. “You’ll immediately feel closer. And don’t feel pressured to come up with solutions; this exercise is more about sharing your feelings with each other.” Act like teenagers once in a while: Have a semipublic makeout session. Remember how thrilling it was in high school? It’s even better now. Read some poetry: It’s romantic, a little whimsical, and a little surreal. Now doesn’t that sound like marriage? Brag about your other half: And do it when you’re both right there. “When my husband and I are out with other people, talking about marriage or parenting or work — anything, really — I love to say what a great dad and friend he is to me and our daughter,” says Linnet Overton, 31, from Nashville. “Sure, he blushes up a storm, but I know it makes him feel good to know he’s appreciated. And when he publicly compliments me, it reminds me that I’m loved and valued.” Share story time: “My husband and I used to take turns giving a bath and reading books to our daughter at bedtime,” says Alisa Bowman, author of Project Happily Ever After. “But one night, my husband crawled into bed and listened while I read to her. It was a very sweet moment to have us all lounging there together, and now we do it regularly. It only takes a few minutes to read a bedtime story, but I always feel closer to him when it’s over.” If you’re not in the reading-with-kids phase, read novels aloud to each other. Especially the good parts. Open a bottle of wine: A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2010 found that couples who drink together report feeling closer and having fewer relationship troubles than people who imbibe alone or don’t drink at all. But don’t turn into a Tennessee Williams play: The best effects were seen when couples had one to three drinks and sipped similar amounts. Get in the shower together: It doesn’t matter how jam-packed your days are: Any couple can grab five minutes of absolutely alone, soaking-wet face-to-face time (be it sexy or just warm and sudsy) first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Get some distance: If you come home in a terrible mood, take five. Sit on the deck or go grab the mail — so you don’t pick at your hubby when you don’t really mean to. Share a sexy dream in full detail: “Our brains are the biggest factor in making us feel turned on,” says sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. “After you’ve had sex with someone a thousand times, it’s the mental stuff that keeps things hot.” Dance to your Wedding Song: “A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen with my husband and 9-month-old son, chopping onions and listening to the radio. Out of nowhere, our wedding song started playing: Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell,’” says Jessica Bliss, 30, from Nashville. “I grabbed our son, spinning him in circles and singing. My husband laughed and joined in. Having our little man with us was a reminder of how much happiness we have enjoyed since our first dance.” LIFE AROUND THE GLOBE STARBUCKS A MODEL IN PARTNERSHIP CONTRIBUTED As part of the company’s commitment to the communities where it does business, Starbucks Coffee Company will introduce a new community model in the neighborhoods of Harlem, New York and Crenshaw, Los Angeles where community organizations will share in the profits of a store in each community. Starbucks will donate a minimum of $100,000 to each organization for the first year of the partnership as it assesses the success of the program and gathers learning in hopes of creating a new type of corporate engagement in communities, potentially providing a model for other companies to consider emulating. Starbucks is partnering with the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC) in Harlem and the Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) in the Crenshaw neighborhood to create a new kind of private sector engagement with these changemaker organizations that have a proven record in creating progress for disadvantaged communities. “Starbucks is partnering with two organizations doing heroic work to address the economic, social and education challenges in their communities,” said Howard Schultz, president, chairman and CEO, Starbucks Coffee Company. “These two partnerships are intended to help us learn how our company can successfully join with change-making community organizations in a localized, coordinated and replicable way.” A New Business Model – Business and Community Working Together The stores in Harlem and Crenshaw, which were redesigned to reflect and embrace the individual culture, character and needs of each of these neighborhoods, represent a new business model, bringing together the scale of Starbucks, its partners and customers to collectively create positive change in these communities. In addition to creating a model for financial contribution, Starbucks hopes to work with both ADC and LAUL to increase local awareness and engage local residents, share our business expertise with them to help the organizations meet their mission and their targeted community impact metrics, provide strategic technical and management assistance, join together on community service imperatives and work with the organizations to plan unique ways Starbucks can support their jobs training and placement work. Lisa Price and Sheena Wright & President and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corporation, and, at a celebration for Starbucks announcement of a new business model to support local community non-profit organizations at the Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem. Both the ADC and LAUL have a rich history of solving the unique challenges that affect their neighborhoods through holistic programs that have measurable impact. Opened in 1999 and located in the heart of Harlem on the corner of 125th street and Lenox Avenue, this store will support Abyssinian Development Corporation’s efforts to comprehensively serve the children and families of Harlem through affordable housing, economic development, social services, quality educational opportunities and civic engagement. ADC made a commitment to educational excellence in neighborhood public schools, and created a continuum of quality and award-winning educational programs. Each of ADC’s sponsored schools has been recognized for its outstanding achievements, setting and meeting exemplary educational standards. Most recently, ADC was selected by the NYCDOE to be an Educational Partner Organization (EPO), a new initiative designed to connect struggling schools with successful education organizations and implement a strong school turnaround process. “We are honored to work with Starbucks as a beneficiary of one of the first community stores in the nation,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corporation. “We applaud Starbucks for its development of this community store concept, which has the potential to do much good not just in Harlem, but in other similar communities nationwide. This partnership will enable us to expand and improve upon the education and social services we have provided to the Harlem community and beyond for nearly 25 years. “Our store at Crenshaw and Coliseum in Los Angeles opened in 2006 and will now help to bolster LAUL’s efforts to revitalize a defined 70-block area in the Crenshaw neighborhood through Neighborhoods@Work™. This holistic, neighborhood change model focuses on education, safety, housing, health and employment. This strategic initiative has brought targeted resources and interventions to the community of Park Mesa Heights as well as parents, students and teachers at Crenshaw High School which lies at the center of the model. So far, this has resulted in a 51% increase in overall graduation rate at Crenshaw High School and a 34% decrease in violent crimes in Park Mesa Heights from the 2007 baseline. “Starbucks is taking the lead in very tough economic times. They fully recognize and appreciate the need for collaboration between forward-thinking organizations from the for profit and nonprofit sectors,” said Blair H. Taylor, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League. “This 21st Century partnership makes tremendous sense, since the Los Angeles Urban League is fundamentally committed to transforming communities through our holistic model, Neighborhoods@Work™. Howard Schultz has fully embraced the notion of Starbucks playing a vital role in rebuilding communities. Our hope is that this powerful relationship – which allows communities to receive contributions from Starbucks through nonprofit agencies – will be replicated by other companies across the nation.” These stores will also serve as the hub of Starbucks community service and additional training programs in the area, which will provide leadership job and life skill development, positive learning environments, and overall health and wellness. www.starbucks.com. I FOCUS N F O C U S THE ARTS For this installment of In Focus, we present the art of photography as seen through the lens of Jerome Dupont of Neu Era Photography. To book Jerome for a photo shoot, or to cover your important occasion, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @neueraphoto Model: Tanya Malcolm MISS DECEMBER KARLA LAUREEN Thanks to our friends at www.NikkiRichModels.com, we have been introduced to super HOTTT model Stacey Callender! Whether runway, print, art or fashion, Karla has the look for it all! Contact Stacey via @NikkiRichModels on Twitter for the latest on Karla, and including her on your latest projects! FOCUS THE ARTS MIGHTY CROWN SHOE DEAL WITH NIKE: JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! CONTRIBUTED Mighty Crown “The Far East Rulers” have sealed their third sneaker deal with Nike Sportswear. The sneaker pak, released in honor of Mighty Crown’s 20th Anniversary in the business, was the hottest possible way for “The Far East Rulers” to culminate their year- long celebrations. Consisting of the Nike Dunk High Premium and Nike Sky Force 88 Low, impressively, the sneaker pak marks Mighty Crown’s fourth and fifth Nike sneakers to date. Notably, Mighty Crown is the only sound system in the world to get a Nike sneaker deal. Over the years, the name Mighty Crown has become synonymous with Reggae/Dancehall music and culture Globally and as expected the sound continues to make an indelible and unprecedented impact on the Reggae/Dancehall and Sound System industries. The new limited edition sneakers come in clean colors, yet with lots of special materials, applications and details on the upper. Both the sleek all black Nike Dunk High Premium and the silver Nike Sky Force 88 Low sneakers are customized with the infamous Mighty Crown logo throughout and the Mighty Crown name uniquely engraved in the sole. What makes these sneakers really blaze is a collage of all of Mighty Crown’s sound clash trophies on the shoes’ insoles - truly a testament of Mighty Crown’s achievements. “Being able to say that five pairs of Nike sneakers were made in honor of Mighty Crown is truly a blessing. It reminds me that hard work does eventually pay off, but none of this would have been possible without the support of Reggae/Dancehall fans,” says Masta Simon, co-founding member of Mighty Crown. Sneaker freaks have been obsessed with Mighty Crown’s new sneakers, particularly because they are limited editions. Since the demand for this limited supply is so high, remaining pairs are being purchased by collectors for prices in the range of $300 $400. In addition to the sneaker afficionados, more than a few celebrities have been spotted donning the kicks. Because the sales of Mighty Crown’s past sneakers with Nike were exceptional, one can truly understand why a new deal was sealed. Moreover, it’s clear that Nike and other companies are starting to realize that Mighty Crown’s popularity can be used to market the lifestyle of Japan’s burgeoning Reggae/Dancehall culture. Much to their credit, Mighty Crown has landed numerous endorsement deals over the past several years. “The influence that selectors and other key members of the Reggae/Dancehall and Sound System culture have on the lifestyles of those they entertain is undeniable, yet underrated by many. Mighty Crown’s continued relationship with Nike simply solidifies them as a brand and a marketing powerhouse. At the same time, it shows limitless possibilities for those at the forefront of our music and culture,” says Mighty Crown’s long time manager Garfield “Chin” Bourne of Irish and Chin. Mighty Crown’s newest Nike sneakers add to their growing empire, which consists of a sound system, record label, magazine, clothing brands and retail outlets. Always focused on expanding their outfit, Mighty Crown continues to make great business strides. FOCUS THE ARTS LOCS FOR LIFE! CONTRIBUTED For hairdresser / hair stylist Jay Adegunle, a person’s ‘locs’ are more than just hair, it’s an opportunity to showcase creativity. With a background in braiding, and using hair as her canvass, Jay creates works of art from her clients dreadlocks. If you’re in the UK and want to wear art in your hair, connect with Jay at www.Locs4Life.co.uk HIGHLIGHTS! AUTUM ASHANTE’S POETRY Since the age of 4, Autum has been a force on the spoken word scene. Known for her truthful, thought- provoking verses, Autum’s passion for spoken word has driven her to amazing heights. Her first performance was at Hottest Poets Slam and since then, Autum has been causing quite a stir. Performing on both the East and West Coasts, her words have been heard in venues such as The Apollo Theater, Russell Simmons Phat Farm Fashion Show, the Soul Cafe, Caroline’s, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Rush Art Gallery, Da Poetry Lounge in L.A, The Nile Valley Poets Cafe in L.A Million Youth March, AfricanBurial Ground, The Cotton Club in L.A the Harlem Book Fair, Ashford & Simpson’s The Sugar Bar, Grammy in the Schools, Matthew Modine’s annual Bicycle for a Day event, International World Youth Day at the United Nations just to name a few! Some of Autums TV and Film credits include: BET’s “RAP IT UP”, Steve Harvey’s “Big Time”, MTV/ Total Request Live, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, The Heights, Confessions of an Ex-Doofus, String Bean & Marcus, The Prophet, peeps, Hot Cop, Missing in Action and Sesame Street A to Z. F FASHION A S H I O N H O L I DAY G U I D E HOLIDAY FASHION GUIDE EDWARD BISHOP Tort and Pave Statement Necklace (Ann Taylor) 99.99$ | Oversized Madison Chronograph Watch, Horn (Michael Kors) 275.00$ | The 42-20 CHRONO (Nixon) 450.00$ | Gia Large Slouchy Tote, Plum (Michael Kors) $695.00 |Studded Leather Cuff Gold (Vince Camuto) 145.00$ | Infusion de Vetiver Cologne (Prada) 71.98$ | White iPad 2 (Apple) 519.00$ | Black double buckle boot (Vince Camuto) 139.00$ | Sequin Boat Neck Top (Vince Camuto) 100.00$ | The RAZR Android (Motorola) 150.00$ FASHION H O L I DAY G U I D E A SELF INVESTMENT EDWARD BISHOP T is the season to bring your imaginative gift ideas to life. Most of us focus on gifts for friends, family and colleagues! With the noticeable change in urban attire, the holidays will the perfect time to focus on you too, allowing you the opportunity to purchase the self-investment piece(s) you’ve been longing for throughout the year. Buying the best holiday gift can get a tad difficult, especially with the many media influences we are bombarded with. You might be asking “where do I turn for inspiration?” The answer does not lie in trends of today. Shy away from trends, reoccurring images or videos of similar styles distract you from creating your own individual holiday sizzle. Pulling off the ultimate holiday investment doesn’t mean entirely classic is the way to go, as trends do have their appropriate time and place. Looking to trends for updating classic pieces in your wardrobe is the crowning pathway for accentuating idiosyncrasy in everyday attire. Commonly, the December season is accompanied by an increase of budget for the perfect holiday acquisition. Acquiring trendy accessories with your budget balances an outfit and creates differentiation in high and lower end piece points. When shopping keep in mind, classic pieces bestow far more bang for your buck. A timeless holiday purchase definitely gives the perfect gift of substance throughout the year. Being mindful of the diverse facelift urban culture has undergone will help when tackling the stores during the season. As a male following up on cultural changes when shopping requires a map, guiding you to where high-end clothing and street flare collide. Celebrities who monitor this change and implement it into their own styles are rappers Tyga and Kanye West. Looking at both these artists gives an accurate perspective of how urban males of today embrace their own unique bravura by wearing slimmer pants and eclectic fabrics. This transformation spawns from the 80’s “Retro-Kid” era, bringing carefree fashion to the hip-hop and dancehall circles. The urban female’s change in fashion comes with the incorporation of decadence. The urban woman of today sees herself in exquisitely adorning accessories and a mixture of luxurious fabrics in her day-to-day outfits. Buying your perfect gift is difficult at best, just remember, it is the feeling of flawlessness that vindicates the purchase. If you just can’t decide on a gift, remember that trendy electronics can also lift your seasonal sprit. Hopefully these tips will help you in the tough decisions ahead for the seasonal festivities. B BEAUTY E A U T Y WINTER ESSENTIALS WINTER WONDERLAND LONDYN NIKOLE With Christmas just around the corner, we know you want to look as HOT as EVER. Keeping you in focus, take a look at the quick yet fabulous Christmas 2011 beauty looks to get your ultimate look! SMOKEY EYES Smokey eyes quickly change your look from day to evening. It’s easy to do; start with your favorite dark, smokey charcoal color, apply the colour directly onto your eyelids with your finger, and blend-in. Using a lighter shade, apply this under the lower lashes. Complete the look with black liner along your lash line. And don’t forget the mascara...2 coats! BEAUTY WINTER ESSENTIALS METALLIC EYE SHADOW As you want all eyes on you whenever you step in the room, this shimmery look will achieve that for you with no problem. Try using a lighter shimmering color in the corner of your eyes. This will give you a POP and add to your radiant holiday glow! BEAUTY ASK THE EXPERT This Ladies is my favorite look! No matter what complexion you may be, a red lip is a classic, trendy look no different than your little black dress. This look can be dressed up and down – it’s all about ATTITUDE with this colour! Best advice for the ultimate red-lip look ?! Try adding some glitter on top of your red lips – this will guarantee your lips to be seen, and maybe even kissed a few times under the mistletoe! Have a very Merry Christmas! Have a question? Send an email to Londyn at L3Beauty@hotmail.com or join Londyn on Twitter @L3Beauty //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// RED LIPS ASK THE EXPERT! Our Beauty Editor Londyn Nichole answers your beauty questions! Q Londyn First off thank you for the mascara advice, I’m sure I will never use individual lashes again! Ok so my question is I have the worst luck in finding foundation. I have really bad acne but I don’t want to pile on the foundation. What are the best foundations for women of color? Signed, Dark Skinned Diva Toronto, Canada A Dark Skin Diva HAHA! I’m glad you stopped using those lashes cause if you kept using them I was going to come and get you!! :) As for your question, I love using MAC Studio Tech. It’s a cream to powder foundation and it goes on really smooth and it has a medium coverage look. I also like using Makeup Forever HD Foundation. My advice is to try pairing your foundation with a concealer to get better coverage without the “caked” on look. Be sure to also use a matte powder or loose powder to set your foundation for a longer wear. I hope this helps DIVA! Stay beautiful! T E C H N O L O G Y TECH THE TECHNOLOGY TICKET GEAR UP! TECHNOLOGY TICKET KEMARIO LINDO The Samsung Galaxy GS II is one of the best phones on the market. Clocking at lightening speeds the performance of the Dual Core Application Processor provides functionality and density for fast browsing, quick multi-tasking, a smooth UI, snappy streaming and efficient gaming. With encoding/decoding ability that supports video play and recording, the Samsung GALAXY S II showcases outstanding power and performance. Taking slim to the next dimension, the GALAXY S II rides the leading edge with an ultra-slim 8.49mm form factor, a luxurious design and an easy grip. The ultra-slim smartphonealso boasts 3D TouchWiz UX adds to the evolutionary experience with a futuristic user interface. TECH THE TECHNOLOGY TICKET This phone gets a 5 star rating! The iPhone 4S is not as impressive this time around. With minimal improvements, the only bonus to the phone is its processor that allows consumers to do more multi-tasking than before. The phone also has one of the best cameras for a smart phone. Newer users to the iPhone experience will like the application called Siri. Siri is an advanced voice command that allows users to tell the phone who to text, what to write in the text and will read incoming text messages to the recipient. Siri is the intelligent assistant who is there to help. Reminders can be set to call the dentist, figure out the best apps to use for a particular inquiry, or get general answers from the web. LOVE I N T E R N AT I O N A L A F FA I R S INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DJs WE LOVE TO HEAR SPIN AND YOUR EARDRUMS WILL FALL IN LOVE TOO! OLIVA LEWIS DJ BUTTAH CERTIFIED REMIXER FROM THE US JButtah aka The Prince of Zamunda has garnered recognition and acclaim as one of today’s leading creative talents as a DJ, Producer and Musician. A genuine connoisseur of music, J Buttah is skilled on many instruments, mainly the piano, trumpet, and drums. He began his musical journey at 6 years old playing the drums in a recreational marching band, later becoming section leader for the drumline at Herndon High School. Dabbling as a DJ for local parties and events, Buttah was a featured DJ for Howard University by the time he was 16. He then went on to further his studies at FAMU in Tallahassee, FL where he graduated with honors. While at FAMU, he continued to build a name for himself, DJ’ing for the homecoming concerts, college parties as well as fashion and step shows. Post graduation with his reputation upheld in his hometown of Herndon, VA, he was a sought after DJ for various parties and community events; later stamping his position as the official DJ for Herndon High School and Georgetown University. J Buttah’s musical repertoire encompasses various styles ranging from Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae, Neo-Soul, House, and Techno, Go-Go, Rock, and Baltimore Club music. This eclectic arsenal led him to host and produce numerous successful mixtapes including “The Commission” (DJ Rough Handz and DJ JButtah), Its “Nothin Buttah” Mixtape, “The Best Of Bathgate” (DJ Superstar Jay and DJ JButtah) and “Smooth Like Buttah” to name a few. J Buttah brings an out-of-the-box creativity and versatility. His diverse production style allows for him to create under the umbrella of any musical genre. His production credits include Fat Joe’s album (J.O.S.E 2) for “Blackout” ft. Swizz Beatz, DJ Suss One’s “Let Em Lay” ft. Maino, Edley Shine (formerly of Born Jamericans) latest single “War 2010”, Bathgate’s “Pockets Full Of Money” and countless tracks for DC native Kingpen Slim including “My Life Is A Movie” ft. Jim Jones and “Gone”. He has also worked on projects with other industry artists such as Trey Songz, Swizz Beatz, Red Café, Cassidy, Bathgate, Cardan, Sizzla, Loon, Diego Cash, Assassin a.k.a. Agent Sasco and Malice (The Clipse). He currently serves as Music Director for Kingpen Slim’s Beam Up ENT in their forthcoming album release titled (The Beam UP 2). J Buttah’s additional credits include production work on commercials for Kimora Lee Simmons, Saturn Automobiles, and BET’s NBA Live Access Granted. J Buttah is currently in the studio working on new projects with Wale, Juelz Santana and Edley Shine. Along with just accolades as a successful DJ, Producer, and Musician, J Buttah is also an established business man. J Buttah formed Total Dynasty ENT, an Entertainment Company, that provides DJ, Production, and Event services where he is the featured talent. He is also in the process of establishing a non-profit organization that will provide music, instrument and DJ lessons, along with music business education and culture of Hip Hop to youth who aspire to become musicians, artists or industry executives. J Buttah’s recent Dancehall remix, “Party” teams Beyonce with Edley Shine which is heating up dance floors and radio waves around the world. Learn more about J Buttah by following him on Twitter @DJJButtah L OI FVEE TI NH VE E AS LT TI EN RG N A T I V E B E A T THE ALTERNATIVE BEAT MAYLEE TODD “HEIROGLYPHICS” ALLIE MASON In preparation for their For those of us born in the wrong era, or simply stuck in the past, this Torontonian disco queen has something to feed your need. With classic back-up vocals, rhythmic disco guitar, futuristic synth, and a downright funky bass line, she will have you busting out all of your favourite ‘70s dance moves in no time. JUSTIN ROBINSON WOODEN WAND GROUPLOVE BLACK STAR The simplicity of this track is what makes it stand out. The female harmonies over Robinson’s clean vocals, the understated combination of spiccato violin and smooth singular tones, the delicate mandolin and basic rhythm of the drums narrates the usual story of love, despair, and confusion. With a ballad-y Springstein kind of feel, this is classic Americana for a new era. Like a true do-it-yourselfer, James Jackson Toth has brought together his raspy, half-speak vocal delivery, electric backup, including keys, and defiant and wishful lyrics. I’m definitely calling Toth “Sir” after this release. For your monthly dose of pop pleasure, this is a must-hear, but the L.A.-based quintet Grouplove, aren’t your typical pop group. One look at them will convince you of that—donning full beards, long locks (on the guys), and short ‘dos (on the lone female), with a downhome, kids-next-door style—and their sound is no different. Another throw-back to the nostalgia of yesteryear, Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey deliver rhymes reminiscent of decades past. This tag team’s clean samples, meaningful lyrics and play on words go beyond the popular, simplistic, superficial lyrics so prevalent in modern day hip-hop. Feeding the back-andforth has them definitely sounding sharp. “VULTURES” “WINTER IN KENTUCKY” “TONGUE TIED” “FIX UP” LOVE COUNTDOWN DOWNLOAD ON THE 10 SINGING MELODY “Collide” FROGGY MADD SQUAD CASTAFARI 1 “Sanctuary” 11 “Up Before Sunrise” NOTICE JUNIOR X 2 “InFURTHER 12 My Bed” “Not Afraid to Live” FAZE LIONEL RICHIE 13 3 “Stuck “Juss Life Dat” On You” G. STARR KAYLA BLISS 14 4 “Rock “Spot Check” n Sway” BIGGA BOSS CHAM 15 “Born 5 “Wine” Free” ALFONNSO 6 “Broken Wings” DAMIAN MARLEY 16 “Set Up Shop” FARRAH BURNS 17 “New York State of Mind” JESSE ROYAL 18 “Butterflies” PRESSURE 7 “What Ya Gonna Do” REESE BADDA 20 8 “Haad Enuh” KAYSHA LEE BEYONCE FT. EDLEY SHINE 9 “Happy 19 “Party” Holidays” (DJ J Buttah Dancehall (Island Pop Mix) Remix) UNCLE JONNY “Jamaican Girls” LOVE ON BLAST MUSIC ON BLAST! KAYSHA LEE HAPPY HOLIDAY’S CONTRIBUTED CONTRIBUTED Something magical happens every Christmas. Families re-unite, loved ones snuggle under the mistletoe, kids enjoy their gifts, snow fights and bright lights, and eggnog is consumed en mass with apple cider. Thanks to Kaysha Lee, we can add soul moving festive music to the list of magic! Toronto’s native with Jamaican roots has just delivered 2 super HOTTTT versions of her newest song “Happy Holiday’s” which comes at the perfect time! Celebrating the Christmas season with us, Kaysha sings: “December’s gone half way / Mama’s making rum cake / malls are crazy all day / the vibe is right / I’m just saying now / through the power of the mind / we’ll make this month a special time / and with praises to the most high / whoever he is in your eyes ... with cheer I greet the year amending / it’s clear everyone is up to spending / Happy Holiday’s!” Musically, Kaysha hits with her simple piano key progression which will have you humming and singing it as much as you hum and sing the lyrics. The bass guitar thumps in support of the piano and synthesizer, while the sleigh bells ring reminding us it’s Christmas. Oh and by the way, Kaysha with her sweet self gives you two versions of the song to choose from! The first is a Reggae Mix and the second is an Island Pop / R&B Mix. If you can’t decide which one to choose, play both! This is definitely a Christmas hit! If you’re looking for great Christmas music to play whie you’re decorating the Christmas Tree, hot an intimate Christmas dinner, or spend some intimate time with your significant other, this is the song to play! Visit Kaysha Lee on YouTube where you can hear this and other songs: http://www.youtube.com/user/kayshaleemusic or join Kaysha Lee on Twitter @KayshaLeeTweets NEILTON “JOHNNY RINGO” LEE CONTRIBUTED CONTRIBUTED Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Johnny Ringo has been a Dancehall DJ since the 1980’s. Over the course of his career, he’s represented sound systems: Studio B. International, Road Star International, King Earthquake, Leotech Hi Power, Katarock Sound and now Chinese Assassin. Telling us about his earliest days with music, Ringo reminisced with us by sharing “from I was a youth growing up in Mona Heights, my brothers and some friends of mine decided to form a sound system by the name of Studio B. We were very young then and all we did was eat, drink, and sleep music. This was my introduction to the music world, both uptown parties and in the dancehall. Performing in both worlds was not the norm, so it was here I came to a crossroad where I had to choose if I wanted to remain uptown or go straight dancehall. My brother Bobby Chin and I decided we want to be Reggae / Dancehall selectors, and so we moved on to other sound systems.” Further in his journey, Ringo met Mr. Trevor Levy who was the owner of Road Star Int’l, and after playing alongside them one night, was so impressed with the talent of the DJ that he asked if he would allow the young DJ to tour with them. The answer was yes, which began his career with the sound. “This was a good time for me as I was learning how to select and manage a true Dancehall sound. Playing for Road Star allowed me to compete with other sound systems, and we were very successful at this. I also gained most of my experience playing in the other parishes of Jamaica. I loved playing for Road Star and it was with this sound I got my first opportunity to play in another country. We went on tour in Canada to do a few shows in different cities. Playing with Road Star led to King Earthquake which led to Leo Tech Hi Power. While Ringo built his experience, his youngest brother, Peter who was now living in Florida decided to launch his own sound. He started out doing a mixed CD’s, and after getting rave reviews, launched Chinese Assassin, the sound system. “I decided to move from New York and help him manage and run the sound” recalls Ringo. “Our mixed CD’s got so popular so fast that we started taking bookings to do parties and dances!” Playing among some of the biggest names in the business, Chinese Assassins have played in countries Jamaica, Bermuda, Belize, Amsterdam, Canada, The Virgin Islands, Cayman, Costa Rica and almost all of North America. Some of the sounds they’ve performed with include: Black Chiney, Mighty Crown, Bass Odyssey, Katarock, Poison Dart, Renaissance and Foundation from Groningen, Holland. Always humble, Ringo says “I just want to say thanks to everybody who has given me an opportunity to develop my love and skills for playing music. Without music I don’t know what kind of person I would be. I still enjoy making people dance and delivering feel good vibes. I will continue to play and teach music until the day I die! I am Johnny Ringo aka Chinese Assassin!” LOVE ON BLAST CONKARAH FOREVER CONTRIBUTED CONTRIBUTED The Oxford dictionary defines a conqueror as “a person who conquers a place or people.” This definition aptly describes “Conkarah” one of Jamaica’s newest artistes to hit the music scene. Twenty-six years ago Conkarah aka Nicholas Murray was born in Kingston, Jamaica to his English Mother and Jamaican Father. Growing up in a culturally diverse home gave this young talented artiste/song writer/musician a reason to want to explore the world. Having the opportunity to attend school in Jamaica, and USA, this gave him the exposure and hence a greater desire to explore even further and music became his vehicle of choice. After leaving school, Conkarah moved to London where he spent a year working on his music and conquering the local club scene, performing in hip districts such as Camden and Porto Bello, UK. In 2009, Conkarah launched his first music video, for a Reggae D and B (drum and bass) fusion single called “Runaway.” The video, filmed on the streets of London, aired on YouTube to rave reviews. Holding firm to his belief that as Jamaicans, Reggae is encoded in our DNA, Conkarah’s journey has brought him back to his roots – Jamaica. “I had to come home to be close to the heartbeat” he said recently. Since returning, Conkarah has teamed up with producer, Niko Browne of Lifeline Music, the son of Danny Browne of Main Street Records. The duo holds in reverence the rich legacy that has been passed on to them as young musicians, and strongly believes it is their responsibility to help keep reggae music alive. “It’s great working with someone who shares the vision and the passion,” Conkarah said of his producer. “We work closely with Niko’s father who brings a wealth of experience, and this synergy has created great music.” Through his new single “Forever,” Conkarah makes his mark in a way that confirms he will be in the music industry for years to come and, in the process, ‘conquer’ the hearts of music lovers globally. Check out Conkarah’s latest single titled ‘Forever’ here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv8dKO3riTw FRENCH WEST INDIES INSPIRES LATEST RELEASE FROM UK JAZZ GUITARIST CAMERON PIERRE AYEOLA L. GEORGE CONTRIBUTED Recorded in just one day at London’s Holodeck Studios, and featuring renowned French pianist Mario Cononge, Cameron Pierre’s Radio Jumbo is a mix of French Antillean rhythms and influences fused against a backdrop of jazz interpretation. “I love Jazz music and it’s tradition for it offers me the unique opportunity of self expression unmatched by any other art form, says the Dominica-reared Pierre, who had only one day of rehearsal with the musicians prior to recording the live album. Radio Jumbo consists of ten tracks, two of which see vocal contributions by Dominicans Michele Henderson and Dave Joseph. Henderson, hugely popular in the French West Indies, masterfully covers Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star,” while Joseph gives a stirring narration on the track “Traditional.” Pierre debuts his banjo playing skills on “Traditional” as well as the title track “Radio Jumbo.” A staple of the Jing Ping bands he listened to as a child; Pierre says he always dreamt of incorporating the traditional African instrument into his music. The album was named after a radio station from his teenage days in Dominica called Radio Jumbo and reflects the Creole heritage of both Pierre and Canonge (who hails from Martinique). Sharing a love for sounds such as Zouk, Cadence, Kompa, and Beguine; and influenced by bands such as Tabou Combo, Magnum Band, Malavoi (of which Canonge was a member) Grammaks, Exile One and others; wanting to work together was easy. Pierre first saw Caononge perform at a party in Paris in 1994 and found his way to the band’s rehearsal the following day. It took 16 years, though, for the two to actually get together to record any music. During the recording of Radio Jumbo, Canonge was instrumental in getting Pierre’s ideas across to the musicians (including a string quartet) who were not familiar with some of the French-influenced rhythms. Still, they all shared a Caribbean sensibility; drummer Wesley Joseph was of St. Lucian descent, and the bass player Michael Bailey and percussionist Donald Gordon had in common their Jamaican heritage. Pierre is hopeful that a European and Caribbean tour with Canonge can take place next year. In the meantime he plays the UK jazz circuit with his own Cameron Pierre Band, and tours with Courtney Pine, who produced the album. Radio Jumbo is available online via HMV, Amazon, iTunes and Pierre’s Official Website under the Destin-e Records label. LOVE ON BLAST GUINESS SOUNDS OF GREATNESS WINNER RICKY TROOPER LESLEY HAYLES Sound clashing is alive! After Friday night’s performances, it’s obvious that DJs and Sound Systems are hard at work to state their claim to be known as the biggest, baddest sound in the world. The Guinness Sounds of Greatness finals at the Chinese Benevolent Association was an epic battle between Hot Shot winner Rich Squad versus Veteran winner Sound Trooper, with the old overpowering the new and a showdown of the ages between colleagues Little Richie and Ricky Trooper. Words were thrown, tempers flared but in the end, it was one winner with a check for one million dollars. Jamaica is the entertainment capital of the world but its best known for its Reggae music and sound clashes until Dancehall music took over with more party songs and sound clashing thrills began to fade. Pioneer sounds like Bass Odyssey, Stone Love, Kilamanjaro, King Addies and Metromedia were now paving the way for the younger sounds like TNG Muzik, Renaissance, 007, Area Code, Swatch and Coppershot as well as solo DJs leaving from other sound systems and radio stations. Now, thanks to Guinness Caribbean, we see the young and old, rich and poor, uptown and downtown coming together to see what all the excitement is about. Ricky Trooper teamed up with DJ Kitt of 007 Mobile Sound who is also the son of a former owner of Bass Odyssey, Father Bunny, to walk away with the top prize. It was a close competition as Little Richie fought to the end but could only manage second place. Kitt said his proudest moment was when he realized that his older brother DJ Ali Patch had joined him on stage for moral support. Also in attendance were singers Khristopher, Tony Curtis and George Nooks; Dancehall artists Shifta, Munga and New Kidz; DJs Hottaball and Jiggy Unks; Producers Bulpus and Q45; Designer Bubba James, 007 Sound crew and several other top celebrities in the entertainment industry. Congratulations goes out to Ricky Trooper, DJ Kitt and the entire Sound Trooper crew and supporters for a battle well won. Trooper will be on tour in Europe until December. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// T-Pain, Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen recorded the monster hit “5 o’clock” which you know had to get a joint Champion Squad (USA) and Kalibandulu (Italy) treatment by way of a remix! Now featuring Dancehall artist Aidonia and Lily Allen, this remix (sans Wiz Khalifa) has a little Caribbean spice as Aidonia DJ’s lyrics for the ladies telling them how much he appreciates their love as it ‘drives him mad and drives him crazy!’ Champion and Kalibandulu’s treatment of the song and the remix speak to their years of joint experience in the remix game. Choosing Aidonia for the remix couldn’t have been better as the artists flow was perfectly matched to T-Pains and Lily’s. More importantly the remix can be mixed easily by mixed format DJ’s who throw down for fans on the radio or in the clubs. Both Champion Squad and Kalibandulu are members of the Shadyville Caribbean DJ squad who represent the elites in the Caribbean market. For more information on this and other remixes, as well as mixed CD’s both sounds have produced, tweet with both crews at @ChampionSquad and @ KalibanduluCrew 5 O’CLOCK REMIX REVIEW CONTRIBUTED LOVE ON BLAST DAMIEN RICHARDS ROCK AND SOUL OF THE NATION CONTRIBUTED With his hands firmly gripped to his guitar, Damien Richards, a.k.a. D-Rich gives fans a unique blend of Alternative, Rock and Soul as he presents lyrics that are reflective of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. This accomplished musician has been dubbed Rock n Soul. With his live band serving as his canvass, D- Rich illustrates the journey called life through his music. Born in Trinidad and raised from the age of 13 in New York City, New York, D-Rich has been compared to Lenny Kravitz, Jimmy Hendrix and Marvin Gaye due to the soul with which he performs. Patrons who have attended his live events do so leaving having explored their raw emotions, sometimes dark, with the confidence that it’s ok to go that deep and that far. “My music takes listeners to a whole new level” says Damien flanked by his band members at his recording studio in Queens, New York. “We strive to make music that explores raw emotions and that is just good music.” We’re giving them Rock n Soul!” Building on his impressive catalog which can be heard in his sold out 45 minute set, Damien’s newest single, “Stay High” begins with an 8 bar intro which serves as an attention grabber as the next bars of music tell listeners to get free tonight as the perfect moment is at hand. The artist sings: “Baby won’t U stay, stay with me a while, we can high girl, maybe we could fly” Recently, D. Rich performed at Fighting Leukemia with Fashion at 404 NYC Lounge where a fan described the artist as one of the best independent talents she’s heard, and she also added “no one puts as much soul into rock and alternative the way Damien does!” Damien will be releasing his EPK in the Spring of 2012. He is currently performing intimate dates in venues across the state of New York. He has been featured www.essence.com, 95Flavas.com as well as DallasPenn.com. In the meantime, fans can stay up to date with the artist by logging on to www.DamienRichards.com. M.A.G. PACK LEADER In a time when major label artists are adjusting to the newly created music landscape, a new generation of MC has risen to the occasion of being a pack leader, and that MC is MAG. M.A.G. is the personification of a true Hip Hop artist. His influences vary from Heavy D, Naughty by Nature, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane to Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Jay-Z, The Lox and many more. Growing up on the streets of Grove Hall in Boston, MA, the streets laid the foundation for what fans hear in his music today. His MIC skills were crafted through your “neighborhood corner raps” and “lunch cafeteria sessions.” MAG’s first shot at radio exposure came on Boston’s Hot 97 with LBD and Chubby Chub’s “Who Got The Props” battle competition. MAG held down the title for more than a month which increased the rappers shine. Featured on Boston’s own “Best of the Bean Vol. 1″ Mixtape, MAG saw that as another brick in his growing Hip Hop foundation of accolades. People were finally starting to take notice! Following up on those accolades MAG released his first mixtape called “My Point Of View” hosted by Peter Parker. Teaming with G-Unit producer Chad B for production, they crafted tracks that would become one of the streets most sought after underground releases. The constant grind continued with his sophomore mixtape release called “Got Juice.” MAG collaborated with legendary Boston MC Ed O.G as well as Legendary mixtape host Big Mike who’s status in the mixtape world extends to artist like Jadakiss, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z to name a few. With a brand new single hitting heavy in the clubs and with his video on MTV jams “Around the Way,” the artist is sure to have A&R’s reaching out. What does the future hold for MAG? That’s easy…he is the future! LOVE ON BLAST AUDACITY RIDDIM REVIEW CONTRIBUTED For Dancehall fans who grew up with the slick word play of Spragga Benz in the 90’s and 2000’s, they will be happy to know that the artist, armed with his label Red Square and production by Riff Raff Records and Notice Productions, continue the legacy of greatness started all those years ago, and do so with the riddim ‘Audacity.’ Taking the Dancehall beat back to basics, yet keeping the music current with the use of stringed instruments, Red Square gives fans music they can bounce to either in the car, on the radio or in the Dancehall. Featuring Briggy Benz, Spragga’s protoje, as well as new artists Tajji, Magazeen, Kemikal, Jay 5 and Xyclone, the riddim offers a good run for fans who want the experience of Spragga, the development of Briggy, and the hunger of the new artists. Spragga’s chune “Over All” celebrates the beauty and physique of a woman as well as her independence which is not often looked at it Dancehall. Spragga’s hook “to get your body / money man ah pull him vault / fih get yuh body / man ah step but it’s not his fault” are the kind of lyrics that usher ladies to the dance floor so they can confirm the artists words as truth. Briggy Benz song “My Life” looks at the male – female relationship from a different angle which is one of the woman trying to control the man. The artist makes it clear that she cannot ‘dictate my stance / you want the love / but ah me wear the pants….’ Oh! For some fans, this is the first time they’re hearing this artistic line up, so we have to commend Spragga for exposing these artists to a wider listening audience, however, it’s the big guns who are generating the most excitement for the riddim! Dancehall heavy hitters Blaqk Sheep (Loud Disturbance), Chino, Bling Dawg, Gappy Ranks, Jo Mersa, Pressure, Busy Signal and Delly Ranx as well as Spragga Benz give the riddim fierce ammunition. Combine those artists with the diamond touch of Shaggy, and we have a runaway hit that will receive extended radio play, mixtape play and Dancehall play all over the world! L3 MAGAZINE is proudly sponsored by L Y R I C S THE LYRICAL JOURNEY AWAITS... K KEES OF KES THE BAND NATASHA VON CASTLE CONTRIBUTED Standing on the stage with KES The Band, and watching women scream as lead singer Kees performs is a scene played out over and over again in country after country. The Bands signature live performance includes music from all Soca greats (past and present), and is one of the most liberating musical experiences a fan can ever have. From dancing lessons, to Trinidad and Tobago pride, to upliftment, to fun; KES The Band delivers it all on stage. Before their show in Toronto, we met with lead singer Kees who embraced us with such positive energy! We had a catch up before the interview began which helped to calm my nerves as, I confess, I was really nervous! Kees gave me reassurance and said, in his beautiful Trini accent ‘doh worry!’ With that, the interview began… L3: Of all the bands coming out of Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean for that matter, you have a HUGE advantage which is you are a successful multi-genre band! Was that by design? K: I think it’s a little bit of both in that it is / was by design and a lot has to do with how we grew up. A lot of people don’t know that in Trinidad & Tobago we listen o all types – everything – every genre. It could be Calypso, Reggae, Rock – you name it. We grew up with that as kids and those impressions stayed with us. We stayed with it over the years because it is who we are, or at least a big part of who we are. I love to sing a Soca, then a Rock song then a Dancehall track all within the same concert. Maybe it’s by God’s design, but we like it! How has the journey from Rock to Pop to Soca been for you and the band? Did your fans protest at any point, or were they moving with you every step of the way regardless of genre?! One of the advantages that we had in our career is that we grew gradually. The crowds that grew with us, grew gradually as well, so they were on our journey with us. When the band was smaller, we had a smaller group of fans who just loved what we were doing, and they loved the vibes. We could flip it wherever at that stage and it was ok. When we grew, people, our fans, were accustomed to us doing this and that by way of performing different genres. For new fans, they might come to concerts and say ‘why are they performing that rock song?!’ Being as diverse as you are musically, and being incredible multi instrumentalists, we have to ask who some of your influences were / are while growing up and currently! For me, I grew up listening to the Beatles (both KES and I start singing “Yellow Submarine”), from there it went to Van Halen (both KES and I start singing “Panama”), but out of all the brothers, I’m the one who loved R&B, so Stevie Wonder was an artist I really vibed to (KES serenades us with “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “My Cherie Amour”), so Stevie had me from a young age. When I got older and more into Soca, David Rudder (Charlies Roots) really had me. He’s an amazing artist and performer who mixed R&B with Soca and created a whole new sound. Other influences are Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, Barrington Levy, Buju Banton, Shadow, Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano etc. All these are people that I look up to and respect and admire. Have any of those artists you mentioned reached out to you to say ‘I really like that song you did called (fill in the blank)? Yes, it really did happen this year with Machel Montano. We grew up watching him and seeing him share his interpretations of who we are as Trinidadians to the world, and there was something genius about it. For me as a young artist, to have him endorse what we’re doing with our combining of Pop and House, and the new approach we’re taking with Soca Music; the sound was different and the vibe was different but Machel didn’t think twice. For me, that was an honor! You have had a whirlwind 2010 – 2011 with concerts, performances, expansion of your business, yet you are calm and humble. What keeps you grounded in this often ‘hype’ industry? I’ll tell you something; I’m inspired by people. Also, we’re all a family in the band. I’m K the little brother so if I mess up, they’re going to hit me with two taps and let me know I’m messing up. Everything is out there and the temptations are out there too but they keep me anchored. Having family is a good thing, but I will tell you, I really feed off of people’s energy. I’m not talking fake energy, I’m talking real energy; not as an artist to a media person, or an artist to a fan, but let’s reason as two people – human beings, and then go from there. I’ve met some inspiring people in my life that way. Speaking of industry, does it surprise you when media or fans refer to you as ‘up and coming band,’ or ‘new band’ despite the fact that you have 4 albums under your belt, and a string of hit singles?! I’ll tell you, I feel mixed about that. When “Wotless” first started to get big, and really started to bubble, I thought to “ “ HAVING FAMILY IS A GOOD THING, BUT I WILL TELL YOU, I REALLY FEED OFF OF PEOPLE’S ENERGY. I’M NOT TALKING FAKE ENERGY, I’M TALKING REAL ENERGY... myself, what about songs like “Lion” and “Upliftment” and have recorded with David Bowie’s producer and Desmond Child, so what do they mean “Wotless?!” What about the other songs I’ve done?! And that taught me so much at that point in time. The point it is it will happen when it’s ready; when it’s time. Maybe I am an upcoming band to the people who think so. My past is my past and if it is that people are now seeing us, then so be it. The only moment is now. Some of the artists you’ve opened for include: Maroon 5, Musiq Soulchild, Sean Paul, Usher, John Legend and Rihanna – and that’s just to name a few! It’s crazy for a Caribbean music band / Soca band to open and be relevant – it has been an awesome year! We’ve been nominated for a BET Soul Train Music Award for ‘Best Caribbean Performance’ and I sit back and say ‘wow we’re really doing this!’ Will we see collaborations with any of these artists on an upcoming album? Are there any artists from any other genre you would like to work with? Yes, there are collaborations in the works but we can’t talk about it yet. When it does come out, people will be surprised in a good way! A beautiful song you recorded with Tessanne Chin is “Loving You.” How did that collaboration come about? You know when you hear a song for the first time – the minute you hear that song you just know, well that was how I felt. Before we got to that stage, I turned on the TV and I say this beautiful Chinese woman singing Reggae but sounding like Celine Dion! So my first thought was ‘who is this Joss Stone of Reggae’ who’s singing Rock-Reggae?! The track “Runaway” was that track! To see her doing it from another island; I was just blown away. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore, and I told my management to find her. I told them to call whoever they need to call, but I had to record with that girl. 2 years later (emphasis on the 2!), we got the contact information, we sent her the music, and we went over and the family cooked for us. I mean, we looked in the kitchen and saw Tami Chynn cooking lasgna – I was losing my mind (Wayne – I’m just saying!). I cooled down a little bit, then we wrote, we put down our ideas and that was it! We recorded the song in 10 days and Tessane is just amazing. She is so talented and just so amazing. Taking the music back to Trinidad, tell us about your earliest experiences with Carnival, in particular, when you decided that you were one day going to compete for a Monarch? That’s a heavy question! My Dad is full of passion and loves Trinidad & Tobago, so he would sponsor Calypsonians and things like that. He was into ‘Ole Mas’ and was a master at that so we were exposed to it at a young age of 4 and 5. We would be on the truck, 4 o’clock in the morning on J’ouvert morning as small kids just being there with dad and his band, and from that, the feeling just stayed with me. I remember being most happy at that time. The mas, the band , the music, the energy…. As for competing in a Monarch, William Munro changed the culture of Trinidad with how he took the Soca Monarch competition to the next level. The competition became such a part of the drama and the fans made it clear that we had ‘better enter the Soca Monarch competition because I (meaning the fans) are defending you, so you have to defend me – don’t play the ‘ass’ (Trini lingo meaning don’t play the fool) – you better enter!’ It’s only after I entered that I really realized honestly how important it has become, and how passionately people feel about their music and their culture in that way. The Monarch instills passion in people and raises the bar. Trini fans can be tough critics. What would you say, apart from the obvious heat of your music, helped you connect with those fans?! Yes they can be very very tough but I ‘kill’ them with love. I stand for my own, and I let you (meaning the fans) know what I’m about, but, I have nothing but love for them which comes through and they have to accept. I’m cool, and I don’t want negative vibes. People are people but the more they see you doing what you’re passionate about, they will eventually come around. They’ll say (in their Trini accent) ‘I didn’t like you you know, but yuh workin!’ And it’s true, I’m working and I’m working hard and it doesn’t stop. After Toronto I go to Japan and I have recording in between, and nothing ever stops, and I love it. I really do! Do you have a Trini performance experience that means a lot to you or a song that means a lot to you which was inspired by your home country? Again, that is a loaded question. I’ll tell you a song and an experience and they are both a Phoenix rising out of the ashes. When I was first coming up in the business, an artist or someone in the music business came up to me after a show and said ‘why are you doing ‘we ting’? I then asked him ‘what do you mean by that? Who is ‘we’? I am me, and I am everything under the sun – I’m a black, white Trinidadian. Why can’t ‘I’ do it? That was the reality. The colour of my skin was an issue. So he said ‘you is a Rasta man, a white boy trying to sing Soca….’ That was a real thing; that really happened and it happened because a lot of people assume that when you’re ‘red’ (referring to his skin complexion), or fair a lot more doors open for you, but that’s not true, it’s quite the opposite. You have to prove yourself time and time and time again. When an experience like that happens, you work with it. That made me work harder, perform harder and push myself. That experience helped me gain a lot of muscle. As they say in Trinidad, it ‘hardened my back’ so I could move forward. As for the song that really helped me, it was “Lion” which is one of my favourite songs. It’s a song I still use like a prayer. If I feel any fear, or any bad vibrations happening, I’ll sing that song because it gives me strength. When we left the band Image, it was one of the hardest things. People didn’t understand why we were doing it, and behind the scenes there were a lot of things going on that weren’t being talked about, and we had to do what we had to do. It was rough and it was scary because a lot of people turned their backs on us, and we had to deal with that. Out of that experience came the song “Lion” which touched me, and touched other people as well. One person called me and told me he was going to kill himself that day, and heard the song which saved his life. There is nothing in the world that can explain how that feels. That is the most amazing thing. Another friend used the song for her campaign on her fight against Lupus. She passed away, but she fought like a Lion. Although the song is my emotions, it touches people and speaks for people who are going through what they’re going through. Although I do party songs, I still do songs like these because it’s the spiritual side of me coming out. I have a new song coming out called “Take Me Away” that the fans are going to like and it will touch them too. Of your music we would say, you are thread that weaves through tapestry bringing a whole people together from all walks of life. What colour or colours would you give that thread and why?! Another fully loaded question! I would have to say it’s a multi-colored thread. I’m not one color, I’m not one place, I’m not just one – I feel I’m a part of it all and it feels good. It’s like to people who are opposed to each other have so many gifts for each other and don’t even know. They don’t realize how much they can learn from each other which makes them better. I see the results of this, and I see the change it brings about, especially in the young people, so I know what I’m saying. There are some who say young people are lost but I beg to differ. I see that they are expressing their ‘self’ which is what helps them know who they are and who they are not. I see the positive side. Multi-coloured thread. Being on the road as much as you are, food, and we mean good food is hard to find! Who is the chef in the group, and how have you adapted to cooking on the road?! Well I’ll tell you, we don’t cook on the road! If we are in a city and are staying at an apartment style hotel, we’ll cook. Apart from that, we do eat on the road – a lot of fast food. I personally eat healthy, and one thing I find, especially being on the road a lot, is the best way to know a country is to eat their food. While I’m away, I eat a lot of that countries food! I eat well, but I don’t cook on the road! What general advice can you give our readers / your fans on Life, Love and Lyrics? Live with Love and the Lyrics will come from the heart! Keep up with Kes on Twitter @KesTheBand TH M TIA MOWRY FROM SISTER SISTER TO STYLE NETWORK JEFFREY LEWIS JL: You guys have a new reality show on the Style Network. You and Tamera are together again. How does it feel to be filming together again? TM: Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun. My sister and I are hilarious. We are crazy together! There’s no other dynamic or chemistry. She can’t have it with her husband. I can’t have it with my husband. She can’t have it with her best friend and I can’t have it with my best friend. It’s just a special dynamic that my sister and I have when we are together. It is HI-LAR-I-OUS! We’re crazy. Definitely; we definitely know Tia and Tamera can get a little crazy together (she laughs)! How do you guys balance your connection as twin sisters while maintaining your separate lives? It’s challenging and I think the reason why we remain so close CONTRIBUTED because we keep it a priority. Whenever you keep a priority you definitely make time for it. But there are some sacrifices like I would want my sister to be around more for me while I’m in Atlanta. But she’s a newlywed. It would be selfish of me to ask her to stay with me for two to three weeks while I’m in Atlanta working. She has to spend some time with her husband. She’s not going to be a newlywed forever; she really has to live and play out that role as a new wife and vice versa. I’m sure she would want me to partake in many of the dinners that she has with her new husband. An example is she surprised Adam (Tamera’s Husband ) with a birthday party. Unfortunately, Cory and I couldn’t make it because we had to watch the baby. The baby is still breast feeding and he’s still young and can’t go out at night. So she has to understand why we couldn’t be there. But as long as we communicate with each other and don’t take things personal, I think we’ll be cool. I’ve noticed on this show, you guys have disagreements. We’ve never seen that side because you were doing sitcoms, but how do you guys have disagreements and still bring the love back? How do you not allow those disagreements to come between you two? I think the main thing is you really have to know that the other person really loves and cares for you. If you don’t then it gets kind of messy. Also, you just have to communicate. I think that’s what Tamera and I are working at. Just because we have disagreements or confrontations doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t love each other. I believe that if you’re in a relationship–whether it’s marital or boyfriend and girlfriend–if everything is all good and hunky dory all the time somebody is lying. You have to be able to say, “No, I don’t like that.” To me, that’s what keeps things healthy. You should be able to disagree, but you should be able to work out those disagreements. Tamera and I are working on that. You guys are twins, but the two of you have completely different personalities. What is the difference between you and Tamera? We’re twins and what you guys haven’t been able to see is throughout the years, our personalities have switched. So one moment I can be the sassy one and other times that’s Tamera. I wouldn’t say I’m the sassy one. My sister calls me the diva. But cracking jokes and stuff like that is both of us. This is your first reality show. What’s the difference between shooting a reality show and shooting sitcoms? The difference is with a television show it’s about a script. It’s all about remembering lines and it’s also very scheduled. When you’re doing television you know what you’re shooting the day before. You know what your lines are and you know what you’re going to wear and you’re prepared, which makes it easier. In reality, it’s not like that. It’s reality. You don’t know what you’re going to shoot or what’s going to happen. I’m a very organized person so that can be difficult for me. On the other hand, people who have a nine to five job, can come home and they’re done. Not with reality. You’re working, but when you come home, cameras are there. I know some people think it’s regular life, but a reality show is still a job. There are ten to twelve people in your house, you have mics on, and two cameramen following you around. I know you filmed the show while you were pregnant. When women are pregnant they go through mood swings where sometimes you’re happy and other times you’re not. How was it shooting a reality show while being pregnant? Oh, gosh (she laughs)! I was hesitant about doing it because I knew that I was going to see myself in a vulnerable place. I’m still seeing myself in a vulnerable place. As of my weight, I’m the biggest I’ve ever been and I was the biggest I’ve ever been on television. It’s hard seeing yourself like that. I had to remind myself that I did all of this for my son and I have plenty of time to get the weight off. And I will get this weight off of me because I’m working with my fabulous trainer. It was difficult seeing myself pregnant, but at the same time, I’m happy that I did it because my son will have some documentation of his mom. I miss being pregnant. I really do. It’s a wonderful experience. Your husband, Cory Hardict, is an actor and you’re an actress. What is life like having a family and both of you guys are in the entertainment business? For me, it makes everything all better and easier because my husband just booked another movie and he will be shooting in September. I’m going to be filming in Atlanta at that time. So I get it. We both understand at different times we won’t be with the baby. If I wasn’t in a relationship with somebody who understood that, it could bring a little conflict. But Cory and I are so laid back, it’s not even funny. He lets me do me and I let him do him. We are a team and we support each other. Sometimes, women don’t feel they look their best after giving birth. What advice would you give new moms on how to feel good about themselves? First of all, women feel the pressure to lose the baby weight immediately. My thing is this: the time you spend working out and trying to lose the weight instantly is the time you should be bonding with your baby. The more time you spend in the gym is more time you’re spending away from your baby. So take your time. Don’t rush and listen to your instincts. Take it a day at a time. If you try to control everything, you’ll go crazy because nothing goes according to plan all the time when a child is involved. Everything is always changing. Do you have any tips on getting the sexy back in your marriage after having a baby? I think the main thing is not to neglect your husband. A lot of men feel neglected throughout this time. I would suggest you involve him in the whole process. Another thing is to not be afraid to put on a sexy dress and go out on a dinner date just you and your man spending time with each other. Don’t let your children sleeping in your bed become a habit. If the child is in the bed, they are in the middle and the parents don’t get a chance to hug and be intimate. Do you take any of your real life marriage experience and put that into your character on The Game? Oh yes, definitely! I think that’s why I’ve been able to play Melanie the way I have. That’s the reason why I loved this character. I’ve been able to take some inspiration from my relationship and marriage and inject a lot of reality into the character. One thing that I use is when you are married, you cannot lose your identity. The challenge is finding the balance between being a good wife and mother and still remaining yourself. Especially with last season, she was all about Derwin. Melanie took cooking lessons and it was all about the legacy. I told the writers of the show I would like to see her be more independent and hopefully we’ll see that next season. The new season of BET’s The Game (season 5) hits the airwaves on Tuesday January 10th, 2012 at 10pm on BET. Visit www.bet.com for show details! TM TYRA MYRICKS TAKES ‘FLIGHT’ NATASHA VON CASTLE JAMAL COOPER | CK PHOTOGRAPHY Fashion, as defined by Wikipedia.com, is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. The site goes on to say Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social latitudes, which has varied over time and space. One person who is growing in the specialty of cultural and social influences over Fashion is none other than Tyra Myrics. With her keen eye to the taste of people en masse, as well as the taste of the celebrities she styles, Tyra’s name is being spoken by the who’s who of the music and entertainment industry. Her style is bold, her attitude is Fashion forward and her ability to connect swag to the individual is effortless. We caught up with Tyra in New York where we talked about what else?! Fashion! Presenting Tyra Myrics… “DESIGNERS ATTEMPT TO SATISFY CONSUMER DESIRE FOR AESTHETICALLY DESIGNED CLOTHING; AND, BECAUSE OF THE TIME REQUIRED TO BRING A GARMENT ONTO THE MARKET, MUST AT TIMES ANTICIPATE CHANGING CONSUMER TASTES.” L3: Have you been to school for fashion design, or is all of this natural as in you’re inspired to design the way you do?! TM: No – design is an inspiration for me. I haven’t been to school for it but I love what I do, and I love the creative process. I enjoy putting together designs with my team that I know will have a great impact on the market. I’m definitely inspired! You use a lot of vibrant colours on your T-Shirt line. Are those customized colours designed by you? The colours are hand chosen because we feel that colours can affect a person’s mood. We select the colours that are most uplifting and bring good energy not just to the people who wear the clothing, but to the people who see the clothing too! Colours are channels that can open individuals up in different ways – like bringing people positive energy. We colour the way we do both for the person wearing the clothes and the people who see the clothes! We see a lot of B-Boy-esque themes in your clothing. Are you trying to bring that swag back to the mainstream? The B-Boy theme is us paying homage to that era in Hip Hop! It was so inspirational to so many people not just here (in the U.S.) but around the world so we wanted to bring some of that inspiration back, and combine it with swag. We also want to remind people that swag was in back in those days only they didn’t call it swag they called it style! How much of an influence is music on what you design? Oh my gosh – it’s a HUGE influence! It’s a channel that brings out some of the creativity we have inside. I feed off of the energy of music – usually I stay up late, and just create masterpieces. Right now I’m on Drake’s new album ‘Take Care’ which is my ‘ish’ right now as well as the teams. We’re just vibing to that so hard. Back to the question! We also use it [music] to bring people from other genres to the Hip Hop genre so they can match some of our style with their Rock star swag. Music is a channel that allows us to meet people outside our box or circle and blend style, swag and design. Music is an absolutely HUGE influence! You’re a stylist to celebrities. How do you balance being a stylist and designer? I think the two go hand in hand. It’s not really about balance so much as it is about designing the style you know fits the person you’re styling for. Some of the best work is achieved when the stylist is in sync with the design and vice versa. Would you say you’re the type to push the limits with your creations and if you are, what are the limits if any? Yes! I definitely do. There is no limit to what we can do with Fashion. There are no grounds that we can’t cover, and there is no barrier we can’t break down. Are there any urban designers who have influenced you, or whose work you admire? Yes, I really like the work of Jeremy Scott who designs a line for Adidas (Scott is an American fashion designer who is known for pushing the limits with his futuristic touch), and I also like Keith Haring (Haring is an American artist whose pieces often focus on social messages). Both designers have pushed the limits in their own way, and both are not afraid to express themselves. They’re known for pushing those limits and that’s become a big channel for me where I push the boundaries in what I do. Is your line available in Canada and if not, Can we see a few pieces here sometime soon? We do some work with a Canadian designer who actually designed the background for the twitter page. She’ll be doing more work soon. I think you have a lot of talent in Canada and it’s only a matter of time before more people know what’s up there talent wise. Not just in music but in Fashion too! So we do ship to Canada and are working on our presence there by way of retail presence and boutiques. Would you be open to working with Canada’s growing fashion industry? Maybe be a part of a fashion show here in Toronto? Yes definitely. We currently ship our products to Canada and hopefully in the future will be in a few boutiques out there as well! As for fashion shows, most definitely. That would be an opportunity to have more eyes on the brand and maybe inspire others to launch their own lines and labels! Are there any plans to expand into accessories such as watches, hats, jewellery, shoes etc? “FASHION DESIGNERS ATTEMPT TO DESIGN CLOTHES WHICH ARE FUNCTIONAL AS WELL AS AESTHETICALLY PLEASING. THEY MUST CONSIDER WHO IS LIKELY TO WEAR A GARMENT AND THE SITUATIONS IN WHICH IT WILL BE WORN.” We actually just did a collaboration with a young man who does wooden jewellery; kind of like the ‘good wood’ type feel. It was a good venture as we did necklaces and bracelets, so accessories is something we definitely want to branch out and do more of. We’re not going to do mass production yet, but it’s something we’re looking into for the future. For now, the next big project we’re working on is the jean line – be on the lookout for that. Do you have any general advice for our readers on Life, on Love and on lyrics. On life, I would say live everyday like it’s your last. I think life is something a lot of people take for granted and we shouldn’t. Try to excel and push to each limit – don’t just ‘pass.’ Be your best. For love I would say it’s unconditional, and it’s also something everybody in the world needs. Love is a joy and a gift and the only thing we need really. Giving back is a big thing with me so love to give back, love to serve and love what you do! For Lyrics, I would say music speaks the words we can’t say. Lyrics can be our best friends like when we don’t want to talk to anyone, we can speak with the lyrics in music. Connect with Tyra on Twitter @TyraMyricks or visit http://www.shopFLIGHTNYC.com JFB JAZZY F. BABY INTRODUCING JAZZY F. BABY TO THE L3 FOLDS! NATASHA VON CASTLE Jazzy F. Baby is known in the industry for his larger than life personality, perseverance and creating a name for himself; taking his career in media and publishing to new heights. Born in Harlem, New York as Jeffery Lewis, Jazzy’s name was taken from Lil’ Wayne’s Weezy F. Baby which is a statement to let it be known that he will remain consistent and out work his competition. Jazzy F. Baby realized early on that Corporate America was not for him after getting tired of being stuck behind a desk in an office and living pay check to pay check. He had bigger dreams. The Harlem native decided to create his own website, The Society Biz, and the rest is history! He is now the newest and hottest blogger to hit the Internet, hosting a Blog Talk Radio Show with Mz. Berry, Vh1 reality star and winner of “For The Love Of Ray J 2.” Jazzy’s work has also been featured on some of the hottest music and entertainment blog sites including RayJ.com, Twista. com, 4EverBrandy.com and AllHipHop.com to name a few. He has been a key in getting controversial interviews with celebri- CONTRIBUTED ties such as Raz B and the controversial “Hip Hip” personality, Sidney Starr. Jazzy has even had the chance to be a guest blogger on popular websites such as GlobalGrind.com, BleuLife.com, The Miss Mouth Times and VH1Access.net and has been mentioned on Thisis50.com, Vibe.com, NecoleBitchie.com and the popular MediaTakeOut.com Jazzy F Baby currently writes for Radio One’s digital network, Interactive One at TheUrbanDaily.com providing celebrity interviews with Lloyd Banks, Tia Mowry, Tyrese, Laurieann Gibson and original content for the website. Taking over the internet, social media and now the air waves, Jazzy is a media force to be reckoned with! He’s expanded his brand to conquer the radio, television and the online world, and won’t stop till he dominates the industry! Join Team L3 in welcoming this dynamic personality to our fold! Tweet with Jazzy @itsJazzyFBaby UCF UNITY CROSS FIRE FROM FLORIDA TO ATLANTA TO JAPAN NATASHA VON CASTLE CONTRIBUTED It’s impossible to talk about Reggae and Dancehall in Japan, and not include Unity Cross Fire in the conversation. They are the sound who pushes artists music through street promotions, through mixtapes and my organizing tours. Their formula for ‘bussing’ an artist in Japan is the same as the formula they used to buss themselves in the U.S. Actually, there is no formula. The truth is the each member of the sound loves what they do, and they perform their tasks with passion and energy as if they were starting in the game for the first time. The crew originally began in Tampa, Florida in 1994 where their mixtapes were sold at Kirky C Muzik Station. The sounds name actually came from the artiste Ninja Ford who voiced founding member DJ Red Cross (now called Crossfire), his first dubplate. Their journey from Florida to Japan is as interesting as it is distant! In our interview with the crew, we learn why they are a household name for fans across the world who prefer music the ‘Unity’ way! Presenting Unity Cross Fire! L3: You came up from the days of cassette tapes, to the days on radio, then on to have a worldwide brand that every Reggae and Dancehall loving fan recognizes and respects. Tell us about the journey; starting from an egg to becoming a Chicken farm if you will! UC: A chicken farm?! Seriously Natasha?! (Crossfire laughs) Ok - I’ll roll with it – but this might take awhile! I grew up in Florida as a Hip Hop head from 8 years old and actually got the name “Red Cross” from my rapping days in high school (he smiles); yes I used to rap! As a Hip Hop head we were always exposed to Reggae artistes like Shabba, Super Cat, Cutty Ranks, Louie Ranks, Screechy Dan, Red Fox, mad lion, and so on… plus hip hop artistes like Krs-One, Just-Ice, Poor Righteous Teachers, Brand Nubian, etc., and always incorporated some Jamaican influenced style into their lyrics and production, so Reggae wasn’t new to me. After graduating high school in 1993, I gave up the rapping and decided to buy my first set of Technic 1200s and dabbled in DJ’ing. I would make my weekly hajj to the record store to buy Hip Hop promos and then journey to Kirky C Muzik station in Tampa for my Reggae records. My weekly paycheck would be burnt after that - I was an addict; straight! From the records I got, I would make mix tapes weekly and try to hustle them for a couple dollars at restaurants, shops and to friends. My girlfriend at the time was from Jamaica, and her family educated me deeply on Studio One, Foundation chunes and artists etc., and were the biggest supporters when buying my tapes. I can’t thank them enough for what they taught me. I used to DJ the family parties and if you can survive selecting for the family parties, you can survive anywhere. That gave me my understanding for selecting. Kirky C from Poison Dart also was a big influence in how I look at selecting. Kirky C and Purple Man used to let me early warm for their dances in Labor Temple and just being around Poison Dart those times really make me know the meaning of “no rush no fuss.” Kirk was committed to no MC’ing until after 2am and would take it easy in the earlies. He always told me to make the people fiend for the big hits, so just relax in the earlies and make people bubble, don’t get them too hype. That formula should be every selectors guide; it’s genius. Kirk and I used to make remixes in the back of his shop using three turntables and a DAT machine. Those remixes used to flatten Tampa! In 1996, after years of playing locally in Tampa at Hip Hop and Reggae events, I finally cut my first dubplate by Ninja Ford. I never had a name for the sound but made mix tapes called A.N.P. which stood for “Ain’t No Pro” (Crossfire laughs) which is actually still how I feel when I make mixes to this day. I just like making mixes and like that people like them for all these years. Ninja Ford ended up naming the sound UNITY SOUND because Kirk and I just couldn’t think of a name at the time. I loved the name and kept it. I voiced three dubs, one on a Hip Hop beat, I think Jay-Z & Foxy Brown “Ain’t No N###A”, which was Ninja Ford’s first time ever voicing on a Hip Hop beat. That same year, I decided to move to Atlanta and live with my brother Dready. He was already selling A.N.P. tapes in ATL at places like Devry University, Ear Wax and Lion’s Den Music. When I reached, we opened up the Unity Sound shop in a flea market in Decatur with our last 200 dollars. We sold mix tapes and camouflage gear. We also set up shop out the back of our car on the side of the road in front of the mall and events on the weekend. We hustled hard! Finally in 1997, the CD technology was finally becoming affordable and we decided to put a CD out on our own called “Sim Simma” aka the Monkey CD. It was a bright green CD with a monkey face on it. We sold all of them quickly. I didn’t know it at the time, but Dups from Black Chiney, later told me that we were the first sound to officially release a Reggae / Dancehall mix on CD. Because of the success of the monkey CD, Harry Dread in Miami linked us to make a CD for him to take across America. We made him a mix that started with a Busta Rhyme remix on Dave Kelly’s Showtime riddim and the CD went global! He sold 5000 plus CDs which was pretty much “ghetto platinum” for aReggae mix. From that time we just continued doing what we do and make mixes. Our shop grew in Atlanta with records and mixes; we started traveling throughout the states and the Caribbean. We ended up coming to Japan twice before moving here. The mix cds really put our name out there and got us known. As the internet grew, we grew even more. I give thanks every day for the experiences I had and having now. I moved to Japan in 2004 and have been here since still making mix CD’s and traveling throughout Japan. At first it was a little difficult, but Japanese people respect music and soon embraced Unity Sound full force. We’ve been truly blessed with the amount of opportunities and support. We play out 2-3 times a week now in different places in Japan and considered one of the top jugglers in Japan. Still pushing new artists and setting trends. The love of music shows and that is what people feel and why we’ve lasted so long in the game. Your opinion on music is so appreciated and respected that your top 10 charts were printed in X-News on a weekly basis. Do you participate in similar charts in Japan? Radio isn’t influential in Japan like it is in the West. When you listen to radio in Japan it’s 75% talking, 15% music and 10% other things. Not many people listen to music via the radio. Some music gets exposed through mix CDs but mostly at the dances. If it isn’t playing in the dance, people don’t know about it more times. Japanese are starting to research music on their own with the help of youtube and itunes, but the dance is still the number one place to buss music in my opinion. For example, we have a dubplate from UK artiste Gappy Ranks called “Thanks N Praise.” The dub is sick and has become our anthem in the dance. Before we started playing the dub, no one played the song or tried to voice it. After 3-4 months of running the tune hard, I now hear it played as a regular tune in the juggling by sounds and people sing out the words. The song isn’t popular in Jamaica but it gets a forward in Japan. Similar cases like that with J Boogs, G Whizz and Konshens. But to answer your question, no, Unity doesn’t participate in charts in Japan because there are no charts where radio is concerned. The charts you can see are usually sale charts from record shops printed in magazines or online. Making the move from Florida to Japan must have taken some adjusting. What are some of the positive advancements you’ve seen since you first moved, to now where Reggae music is concerned? When I first got to Japan, Reggae was just on its way down. Let me explain a little. Reggae in Japan was unbelievably popular at one point. Major labels endorsed Jamaican artists and released CDs, and did tours etc. Reggae was played everywhere. You could walk in a convenient store and hear TOK or Da’Ville blasted on the speakers. Places like Tower Records or HMV would have huge sections devoted to only Reggae. People loved Reggae. Dances were rammed with patrons and the vibes was crazy. Now, I don’t think any one thing caused the decline in Reggae in Japan, but I believe it just has it’s time in a cycle. On the other hand, Reggae is far from dead in Japan, it’s just not making the money like it used to. Parties still happen every day of the week. Artists come to Japan regularly and there is still a lively scene. However, major labels stopped putting out Reggae CDs, big Reggae festivals like Japan Sunsplash featuring foreign acts and so on don’t happen anymore. A lot of Reggae fans became Japa-Reggae only fans, meaning they only listen to Japanese Reggae. Sounds don’t cut dubs like before, etc. The money just isn’t running like once before. But, I have seen the dancing scene explode in Japan since I’ve been here. Japanese love the dancing and you can see a whole club skip to my louin’ for hours! That both has had a good and bad effect on the scene, but I think more positive than negative. Because you’ve been in the industry as long as you have, you have close relationships with artists and producers. Who are some of the artists you work with on a regular by promoting their music in Japan? I work with Konshens and Delus (Sojah) a lot. I deal with them like family. G Whizz, Million Stylez, Gappy Ranks, Ziggi Recardo, Maikal X, Esco, Laza Morgan, Sophia Squire, King Ali Baba, Brusco, J Boogs, T’Nez, Stylo G and so on. Of course, Fresh Ear production and Arif Cooper. Arif Cooper is Unity Sound so we push Fresh Ear artists like Charly Blacks, Sanjay, Tami Chynn, Alaine, & more. We also have Japanese artist that we push like Rude Boy Face, Fat D, Cornhead, Fire Ball, Trigga Finga & more. Who are some of the Japanese artists we should be paying attention to in North America and the Caribbean? If you want to hear music that you can feel no matter what language, check a singer named Pushim. She’s remarkable. Very soulful and her live performance is one of the best. Also Fire Ball from Mighty Crown, Papa B, Rude Boy Face and even a new artist named Lef-T produced by Gachapan. He has a remix for G Whizz “Who Jah Bless” that is number one on itunes right now. He is an artist with a lot of potential. If an artist or producer wanted to record a Japanese artist, are you a person they can call? (We ask this question as culture and language may be an issue for people wanting to make contact, so we want to showcase Unity as that person to contact for Japanese exposure) Yeah, you can link me, but I’ll tell you now, I’m slow to get it done. I don’t have the freedom because of work, family and other things to go to the studio with artists and make sure the voicing is done. Sounds like King Jam, Mighty Crown, Captain C and so on are good links to get it done. I mean, I can get it done, but I have a heavy priority list with a lot of things that will have to get done first. We see pictures of stage shows in Japan where hundreds of thousands of people come out to take in a Reggae show! Is there such a thing as a ‘smaller’ Reggae show?! Definitely. Every day Japan has events ranging from 50-300 people average. Reggae Dancehall is alive in Japan especially in the bigger cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka. Reggae doesn’t sleep in those towns. Dances sometimes end at 8-9am. Real ravers! Video’s of Japanese Dancehall posted on YouTube show the influence of dancers and dancing culture in the Dancehall’s. What future trends or styles do you see impacting in the future? The phrase “Tun Up” has already made its imprint on Japan. From t-shirts, to dance names, etc. “Tun Up” is the latest trend. The dancers are actually in part responsible for a lot of the trends that reach back to Japan now. Many dancers spend a lot of time in Jamaica and keep their ears for new tunes, fashion and slang. Sometimes dancers know a new tune before the selectors know and that’s crazy! Dancers really bring back that Jamaican attitude or “swag” should I say. It’s one reason I respect the dancers. They love the music. Your position of importance in Japan has you very busy. What are some of the projects you’re working on for release at the end of the year, or going into 2012? Right now we do a thing called the Unity Cup which is a 3 bout clash between some upcoming sounds. The winners of the 3 bouts battle it out in a final at the end of the year. It’s our second year doing it and it has become one of the most looked forward events in Japan. We’re working on the line up for next year as we speak. Also, we’re working on the “Leaders of the New School” part 2 all dubplate mix for 2012 and our return to Europe tour. Trying to do a Million Styles Japan tour with Safari Sound outta Sweden and hoping to bring back Gappy Ranks. Last time he arrived the same day the big earthquake struck and the tsunami happened. We weren’t able to seal up all the dates for the tour, so we definitely want to bring him back. That was a crazy experience! What general advice can you give readers on Life, Love and Lyrics? I’ll quote G Whizz with his lyrics “Live life and Love it” UNDER L3’s CHRISTMAS TREE FOR YOU! AVAILABLE ON iTUNES THIS CHRISTMAS HONOREBEL FT. PRESSURE BUSS PIPE “I WISH” CASINO “REESE BADDA” CHRISTOPHER MARTIN “GIVE A LITTLE LOVE” J.A.E. “JUST MY TIME” BBQ RIDDIM VARIOUS ARTISTS TAMI CHYN “LONG TIME JAH N “HOLDIN NN E” NYNE AH VIBE” FIVE STEEZ: MOMENTUM VOLUME ONE Rising Hip Hop artiste, Five Steez, and New York City radio icon, DJ Ready Cee, have released the highly anticipated ‘Momentum: Volume Two’ mixtape for free download and streaming at http://www. djreadycee.com & iTunes. The 35-minute mix by DJ Ready Cee is also available as a single-track and as 17 separate tracks at the Five Steez Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/fivesteez). ‘Volume One’ in the three-part series, released December 2010, clocked tens of thousands of downloads within months of its release. “I took it back to the ‘golden era’ with the choice of instrumentals on the last one and now we’ve moved up in time. It’s the same concept but the energy is crazier plus there are new flows and new styles. I had to top the first one with this. That’s the whole idea of building momentum,” says the young Kingstonbased rapper. Despite widespread local and international awareness of an emerging Hip Hop scene in the land of Reggae, Five Steez has captured the attention of numerous tastemakers in Hip Hop including the legendary DJ Ready Cee. “I’m telling you, whoever felt Volume One is gonna love Volume Two. It’s exactly the same vibe and sounds like a perfect continuation. I know it took a long while but I just had to wait for the right time,” says DJ Ready Cee. Five Steez is one of Jamaica’s leading Hip Hop artistes gaining recognition on and off the island. He is currently working on his debut album entitled ‘War for Peace’, which will be released in 2012. I N T NEW MUSIC TUESDAYS STREET MIX RICO VIBES H E M I X DOWNLOAD Love What You’ve Read? Support L3 Magazine to Continue Delivering the Best!