Music Spotlight: Fight the Power 2020


I have my issues with BET, but I thought this was a great tribute regardless. One of my friends showed me this video which was for this year’s BET Awards. Public Enemy made a new version of “Fight the Power”. This song came out 31 years ago and it’s still relevant. They came back with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought from The Roots, Jahi, YG, and Keedron Bryant. This was very necessary and relevant given the times. It’s a shame how nothing’s changed since that song came out or even the movie Do the Right Thing. I was even surprised to hear references to the Haitian Revolution, Breonna Taylor namedropped twice, Seneca Village (FKA Senegal Village) in Central Park being an all-Black community a long time ago or Juneteenth in a mainstream channel. There were great lyrics and one particular highlight was Rapsody (in my opinion, had the vest verse and a shoo-in for guest verse of the year) saying “You love Black Panther, but not Fred Hampton.” WOW! I thought I would share this updated version of this classic rap song with you.

Ospreyshire’s Realm Isn’t Dead AKA A Recap Of Ospreyshire’s Life In a Rona-Filled World

Mbote! Nsango nini, bato?

I hope you appreciated my Lingala greeting to all of you. I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting on here for a long time. It’s been quite a turbulent few weeks for me. Not just because of the current pandemic affecting the whole world (obviously), but with how my life has been.

For starters, work has changed. I’ve been getting more hours with one of my jobs. My other job did get back, but it’s in an online context, so I have to get used to that. I’ve been crazy busy for the past few weeks, but I can’t complain about whatever extra money from my jobs. Interestingly enough, I haven’t been spending as much money on trivial things since it’s mainly been for groceries, gas, and personal care items.

Outside of work, I’ve been trying to keep myself occupied. There have been times where I’ve gotten very nervous and anxious, so I don’t want to lie to anyone here. I’ve been reading lots of books as well as trying to learn other languages. Can’t say I’ve been watching too many things though. I finished a book written by Desmond Tutu and been reading some of my language books. I revisited Lingala and also been dabbling in French, Spanish, and even Wolof of all things. Maybe my next goal should be Swahili? That would be fun to learn, there are multiple countries that speak it, and it would be relevant to part of my heritage.

img_6033

Once things were getting more intense on the pandemic front, I made a bandana mask. I thought I needed to buy some bandanas at the store, but apparently I didn’t have to. Last year, I bought a Saitama Seibu Lions bandana on eBay, but what I didn’t realize was I got two instead of one of the same thing. Yes, that’s the same Japanese baseball team that features the adult version of Kimba the White Lion as their mascot. I wore it at work one time and one co-worker whom I found out was an anime fan asked me about the mask. I mentioned the basic premise of that 60s anime and (of course) he said “Wait a minute! That sounds like [that one 90s animated film]! Did they seriously rip it off?”. You should’ve seen his face when I showed him a picture of Claw in that conversation on my phone. A couple of days later, he told me he started watching Kimba and told me “It’s really freaking good!” Looks like I got to show off some anime pride while protecting my face. Some of my co-workers and supervisors who know about that animated work thought it was amazing, too.

img_6035

I beat Camp NaNoWriMo 2020! WOOHOO! With all the stay at home orders, this gave me more of an excuse to write another book. I won’t say too much, but this one if part of my Hollanduscosm series if one is curious. I got a shirt, water bottle, and a poster as well as discounted writing/publishing programs. It’s good that I accomplished something during this pandemic.

I’ve also been getting into different kinds of music and revisiting others. Here’s a sample of what I’ve been bumping lately.

Besides that, I’ve had some conflicting feelings. Regardless of the news with all the casualties of the virus or the rampant covidiocy going on in different forms (beaches without social distancing, the current protests, the various stories of people coughing on others or food, etc.), I had some feelings of worthlessness and a lot of internalized anger. Sure, I feel productive in and outside of my jobs, but I wondered if I was doing enough to progress in my career(s). It would be amazing to use my skills in more productive ways and to make more connections with others. However, my low self-esteem has kicked in as I wondered how good enough I was in front of others. I wished I would be seen as worthy and for more people to be thankful what I’ve done for them. Of course, there’s one example of a former seasonal job where I used my skills from my Bachelor’s Degree, but I felt so slighted to say the least. I don’t want to discuss this even if I was partially at fault, but I’m infuriated by those who get away by doing legit heinous things with similar positions. It also causes me to wonder if people actually care about my creative works. I feel like (depending on the other blogger), I’m either just an aniblogger/film critic or a random guy on the internet voicing against various injustices who just happens to make music or poetry. There are times where I just want to lash out at others, but I feel like some of those people don’t deserve it. Boy, do I wish I could lash out at everyone who disrespected or bullied me while figuring out ways to destroy their self-esteem, but I’m someone who’s considered “too nice/too kind” to do that. As I’ve said before, it’s REALLY tough for me to insult others let alone coming up with epic comebacks. I don’t want to suffer in silence, pandemic or not.

Anyways, that’s what’s been going on in the life of this diligent avant-garde artist/poet/musician/opinionated blogger/film critic/author/aniblogger/whatever else I’m supposed to be.

Hope you’re doing alright. Stay safe and stay healthy, everyone.

Tikala malamu!

Ospreyshire Origins: The Realest Man From Colchester, Ontario

Lyrics:

Fifty-seven patents not that I’m blowing steam
Glowing with overlooked esteem
Not fronting or stunting
You’ll know more than just my name
Than some hall of fame

Everybody trying to plagiarize my work
Like parasitic jerks
But they can never materialize my prized inventions

A folding ironing board? Built that!
Lawn sprinkler? Built that!
Oil lubricators? Built a bunch of those!

I was never bored when I was a tinkerer
With indicators pointing to me being an inventor like no other
The stars and stripes and the maple leaf
Better recognize and save their gripes for some fakers and thieves

Who da realest? Elijah! (X8)

Colchester, keep it real, eh?


What’s up, Canada? I got a song just for you!

This is all about the inventor Elijah McCoy. Born in the unincorporated village of Colchester, ON (it’s actually part of a town called Essex) to runaway slaves, he eventually moved around to Scotland and America. He worked in various engineering and railway jobs, but he eventually created dozens of patents in multiple fields. One of the biggest ones was oil lubrication on trains which is still used in this present day. His formula was so successful that everybody and their mom tried to rip off his patent. Various companies were so reluctant that they only want McCoy’s original formula. Here’s a little video that talks more about him.

The Realest Man was a first for me on so many levels. I had never written a rap song in my life and this was the first time I ever recorded one. I made the beats and I added acousmatics as part of the sound textures. It was a mix between my avant-garde leanings and modern trap rap. Yes, I was a bit comical in my delivery especially after multiple serious songs, but I wanted to make something fun and educational. You certainly aren’t going to get constructive and/or informative lyrics from 2 Chainz, Migos, or Lil Pump, that’s for dang sure. Hahaha!

Fun facts:

Colchester and Essex, Ontario seem to be named after the town and county of the same name in England.

The picture of Elijah McCoy is from National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Ospreyshire Origins: Cameroonian Originality March

Lyrics:

Attention!

[French]
Nous avons des vautours de la culture a venir!
Notre musique est attaquee!
Marche en avant!
Oui, monsieur!

Barnwell, Baranquilla, Gary, Portsmouth
We’re coming for all of you
Your status as godfathers, hip shakers, kings, and misdemeanors
Have nothing on us
We’ll keep marching on (X2)

[French]
Nous devon securiser le berceau de nos ancetres (de nos ancetres) [X4]

What do we want? (Our original tunes!)
When do we want them? (Right now!)
(X4)


Before I get to talking about this song and what inspired me, I would like to give major props to my Cameroonian blogger friend Dr. Y from Afrolegends. He’s been awesome in making high quality posts for over a decade about African history, culture, news, trivia, proverbs, and then some. Dr. Y was able to educate me about some of the musicians from his home country and even gave me some nuggets about plagiarism cases involving their musicians.

Not going to lie, Cameroon has some great artists. I got into Mr. Leo’s music last year, been listening to some Salatiel (I knew who he was before he was a part of THAT companion soundtrack), and more recently Tim & Foty who are part of the topic of this song. I also wanted the song to have a balance between French and English lyrics to represent unity in that country given some of the issues going on with those communities based on those languages. There have been four high profile songs straight out of this Central African nation. Prepare your ears because some of these songs are going to sound familiar to you.

Exhibit A: “Zamina mina (Zangaléwa)” by Golden Sounds

Exhibit B: “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango

Exhibit C: “Hot Koki” by Andre-Marie Tala

Exhibit D: “Douala by Night” by JM Tim and Foty

Doesn’t Cameroon have a lively music scene? Did you also think some of those songs sounded familiar? It would certainly be a shame if a Colombian and some Americans were to steal them.

Yes, that happened and I’m going to correlate each rip-off song to their respective originals.

Shakira stole from Golden Sounds:

Michael Jackson stole from Manu Dipango:

James Brown stole from Andre-Marie Tala:

Missy Elliott, Method Man and Redman stole from Tim & Foty:

All of this came from one country. Some of your favorite artists are musical robbers, so deal with it. This blew my mind and I have Dr. Y to thank when it came to the Shakira and James Brown issues before discovering the rest on my own. Unbelievable, and Cameroon deserves so much better and not just because of some of their current issues right now.

Besides that, I wanted that marching vibe like the “Zangelewa” song, but completely different chords and instrumentation with the Omnichord with hand percussion. This is homage and at least I acknowledge MY inspirations.

The Cameroonian flag picture is from Flags of the World.

Dear Innovare Bio and Release Date Confirmed

Ospreyshire has been on a roll recording things in 2019 so far. Besides some compilation exclusives and a couple of singles made, and another EP, there was one thing missing in this discography…a full-length album. A long player was lacking and the solution involved poems and songs for a whole new concept album. The final results involved forty-one of them.

Dear Innovare…The Souls of Ignored Pioneers Shall Be Renowned is the first full-length album from Ospreyshire and it is nothing like any previous EPs or singles. While his trademark acousmatics, avant-garde leanings, and spoken word vocals do return, there are more great additions. There are more organic instruments used this time around and there are songs that incorporate some programmed elements. It’s also a genre roulette of sorts as elements of electronic, acoustic, blues, post-rock, digital hardcore, shoegaze, acapella, folk, and even rap show up in some forms. The production is all lo-fi and DIY, but the result only strengthens the truthful narrative in these stories.

This is a concept album much like previous EPs. Verses Vs. Anhedonia was an autobiography dealing with elements of depression. Pathos Formula Wave: One Score of Rage was a compilation of angry letters to those who hurt in him the past. Dear Innovare is a collage of stories and narratives about numerous creators. These stories involve inventors, doctors, engineers, musicians, animators, filmmakers, business owners, and many more. Many of them have been overlooked for several reasons and some of those people were ripped off by those more famous than them. These tracks are homages to those who were forgotten and some of them simultaneously bash the rip-offs in question. Dear Innovare incorporates smaller song or poem cycles that are part of the larger concept. There’s the About A Benjamin trilogy which is about African-American inventors all named Benjamin who have contributed to innovations still used to this day even though the history classes have been neglectful in talking about them. The Art Theft trilogy is about three specific African nations who’ve had their art and artifacts looted while being placed in European museums. Those nations (Benin, Senegal, and Nigeria) are trying to get what’s rightfully theirs. Larceny By Dirigible is a five-part acoustic rock cycle which excoriates a certain classic rock band who made a career on plagiarizing various blues, folk, and other rock artists. In hindsight, they’re a glorified cover band at best. Pugnam Contra Fures Leonis is a interconnected trilogy which covers one of the most controversial film plagiarism scandals in history as a certain franchise is responsible for a legacy of theft, cultural appropriation (while grossly misrepresenting said cultures), and even an attempt to block something original from getting exposure. At the same time, it honors two different musicians and an animated series that were stolen.

Dear Innovare…The Souls of Ignored Pioneers Shall Be Renowned is an ambitious album and certainly the most creative one Ospreyshire has created thus far. Feel free to to be enlightened by these poems and songs while also immersed in his experimental forms of audio art.

Oh, and by the way…12/27/19. Pre-orders will happen soon. You’re welcome!

Discovering Ethiopian Rap Music: Cypher Abyssinia 2016

Here’s a quick post that some of you may be interested in.

I haven’t spotlighted many musicians outside of ZAP Records (the label I’m affiliated with), but I thought I would branch out by discovering some music off the beaten path. You’ve all noticed that I’ve been talking a bunch about Africa lately with some various news sources going on there, but I thought I would change it up with their music scene. I’ve been listening to some pop music in Africa mainly in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, and Togo recently, but I randomly discovered this series of music. It’s called Cypher Abyssinia which is a yearly rap tradition in Ethiopia where their rappers spit some verses together. However, they aren’t rapping in English. It’s all in Amharic, one of the major languages in that country. For those of you that don’t know, that’s the same language that The Weeknd used in the outro to his song “The Hills” (he’s Ethiopian-Canadian, for those that didn’t know), and the alphabet used in that language (Ge’ez script) is one of the inspirations of the Wakandan alphabet in Black Panther. It sounds really cool hearing rap music in an African language. Bonus points for incorporating traditional rhythms and melodies while mixing it with a hip-hop beat. Feel free to check it out!

Video courtesy of AND Tunes

So I discovered a metal band from Togo the other day.

I needed to discover some new music since I’ve faced some repetition with my typical playlists. After watching a music video from a band I haven’t listened to in a while called Wrust.

Then I found these guys.

This is Arka’n. They are a metal band from Lomé, Togo of all places. Besides some typical metal instrumentation, they mix elements of African rhythms, reggae, rap, and funk. I thought it was cool how coalesced the musical styles were and how creative their songs are. This was a pleasant surprise for me as I wanted to find some new music.