Sunday, July 12, 2009

NYC & Rock The Bells

Whats really good? I just got home from spending the day in the pit at the Rock the Bells concert in Maryland!! This was my second time to Rock the Bells, my first being last year. The artists I saw perform today included Nas, AZ, Styles P, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Supernatural, Pharoahe Monch, MOP, The Roots, The RZA, Raekwon, Royce Da 5'9", Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Slum Village, Big Boi, Common, & Tech N9ne. Damian Marley was also on the bill, but he was unable to attend due to family illness. My best wishes to him and his family. Even so, the show was spectacular, with especially great performances by Busta Rhymes, Tech N9ne, Big Boi, and The Roots. After a spirited freestyle lead-in from KRS-One & Supernat, Nas brought the house down by bringing out special guests AZ, Styles P, and Pharoah Monch, then came back to finish his set, mixing in some new material from him and Jr. Gong. When the smoke cleared and the lights came up, it felt like we had been hit by a Mack truck with HIP-HOP emblazoned on the grill. It was certainly inspiring and I eagerly look forward to the day I will hit the stage and rock the mic at Rock the Bells myself.

Speaking of hitting the stage, last weekend Sabrey and I went up to New York City and performed at the Pyramid Club near Thompkins Square on Ave. A in Manhattan. The showcase is called End of The Weak and has been running weekly for over seven years now. They have had such special guests as Rakim and KRS-One in the building and claim to be the longest running hip-hop showcase in the city. Special shout out to Sabrey's cousins for coming out and showing love. Thanks also for the BBQ chicken and Johnny Walker in Brooklyn on the 4th of July! Overall, the show went real well. We'll definitely have to get up there again and do some more NYC gigs.

Besides that, we kicked it with our recently married homie, Drae, and the Jamaican crew up in the Bronx, kicked it with Ill Trotter and my cousin Rolfe, visited the infamous Sue's Rendezvous (RIP Sean Bell), ate some dope Carribean food, visited Central Park, Wall St., Ground Zero, and Battery Park, and feasted at BLT Prime. After our show Sunday night, we rode the subway over to Port Authority and took an overnight bus back to DC. We got in to Union Station at 6 AM, just in time for me to get home, shower, and head back downtown to work a double behind the bar... Its all in the life....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson in Hindsight

Earlier today the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away at age 50 from cardiac arrest. When I first heard the rumours, I reacted cooly, but after the news was confirmed and every TV news network and video channel were playing his videos, it really settled in just what a legacy Jackson left behind.

Jackson not only had a career that spanned 4+ decades, but he made uplifting and inspirational music that influenced everyone across the globe. He also made the best videos, was the best dancer of his time, and one of the greatest live performers ever! On top of this, he was friendly and sincere, a true humanist, and everyone loved him. When I try to think of another artist or group that had the worldwide impact of Michael Jackson, the only names that come even remotely close to him are The Beatles and Bob Marley. Yet even they were not nearly as big as the man whose every lyric can be sung on cue by millions of Chinese.

I am happy to see all his videos replayed on MTV and VH1 all day because they are fantastic and I haven't heard many of these songs in years, but soon the stations will revert back to playing the same loop of 10-20 blah videos as usual. However, even though things will soon go back to 'normal,' music will be forever changed. Every musician alive today has been in some way influenced by the songs of Michael Jackson. But soon, kids will be asking their parents, "Who was Michael Jackson?" and it will make us all want to cry. Now the world of music must find a new direction, a new inspiration, a shining star that can uplift us all in the way that only Michael Jackson could. If one day I have a positive impact on the world that equals the tiniest portion of what Michael accomplished, I will be truly blessed!

Rest in Peace, Mike!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

All in a Day's Work

Ahhhh.... Sunday. My favorite day of the week! The one day when I can just relax and chill around the house without feeling guilty about it. However, this Sunday, I am feeling very ambitious and am trying to get some things done. For one, I just finished posting another song from Grindin Season for free download on zShare. If you wanna download it now, just click the link below and enjoy:

GooD HooD - What's Yours ft. Miss Love Jones

You can also listen to it on the music player application on the left side of the blog.

If you happen to be in the DC area, I will be performing some poetry and acapella verses of mine this Tuesday at Busboys & Poets on 14th & V Sts. NW. They do an open mic every Tuesday starting at 9 PM. It costs $4 to get in, there's always a good crowd and talented performers. So if you are free and interested, come show your support this Tuesday night. I'm not really a spoken word kinda guy, so this will be my first time performing some of these pieces and it may be the only time. We'll see... Don't miss it!

As for GooD HooD, Sabrey and I have been discussing our vision for the group lately. Basically fleshing out the details of where we see ourselves going with our music careers and what we want to accomplish. Using a book by Burt Nanus called Visionary Leadership, we have been going through the exercises and writing down our responses. The whole experience has been very rewarding and I think it will be crucial in helping us to achieve some if not all of our goals in the near future. Mickey Mantle once said, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up wherever you're headed." Well, we are finding new direction and I think 2009 will prove that we are ready to accomplish the impossible.

We have been in the studio a couple times in the last few weeks working on some new songs. We're almost finished with 3 of them, but our access to the studio has been inconsistent lately and so they're still not quite out of the oven. I am determined to get this situation resolved as well and get these songs finished shortly. Our producer friend from Sweden, All I Ever Wanted, has offered us the opportunity to have 3-4 songs featured on a new compilation album to be released all over Europe and in the US, so we are working with a deadline to make sure we don't miss out.

Also, I have recently become familiar with the website ReverbNation and plan to begin using it more frequently to improve our promotional capabilities. We will be switching over our email service provider and some song sharing features as well. These days, promoting our music online requires updating and maintaining pages on Facebook, Myspace, Sonicbids, this blog page and more, so using a site like ReverbNation helps out greatly with managing all of them more efficiently.

If all that works out smoothly, I may still have time to clean the kitchen and living room while I'm at it. It might be Sunday, but it's all in a day's work!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Inspirations of a "Revolutionary"

Earlier tonight I had the good fortune of watching the soon-to-be-released movie "Che" on roadshow at the E Street Cinema in downtown Washington DC. The entire movie is 260 minutes long, but it will be shown as two separate feature length films when released nationwide. Tonight, we saw the entire 260 minutes with a ten-minute intermission. Upon emerging from the theater well over 4 hours after I arrived, I could hardly discuss it, due to the epic journey upon which I had just been taken. It was exciting, nerve-wracking, thought-provoking, terrifying, and at the same time heart-wrenching. Most of all, it very thoroughly captured the charisma, persona, and revolutionary zeal of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who was portrayed flawlessly by Benicio del Toro. I rode home on the metro inspired to action and wondering what historical circumstance and fortune would present itself for me to leave my mark on the world in such a way as Che.

When I got back to my place, I listened to a Chilean folk song about Che Guevara, then immediately picked up my autographed copy of Seize the Time by Bobby Seale, co-founder and Chairman of the Black Panther Party, and began to read. Although I bought this book after hearing Mr. Seale speak at American University almost four years ago, I still have yet to read it. However, I was just so inspired by the passion of Che Guevara and the relation to the actions of the Panthers in the United States that tonight seemed the perfect time to begin. I just finished the first 55 pages or so and decided to write of my thoughts tonight here on the Good Hood blog.

However, before I could make this entry, I stumbled across a news article about the capture of the last Tamil Tiger-controlled city by the Sri Lankan military and was struck by just how universal "revolution" truly is. Tonight, or today, at this very moment, government troops are stamping out the last remnants of the leftist rebel resistance in Sri Lanka just as they were 40 years ago in Bolivia and just as the police and FBI did in the United States with the Panthers. But look anywhere around the world and you will see the same struggle occurring. The haves vs. the have-nots, majority vs. minority, one religious group vs. another. One in control of the state apparatus and the others using any means available to resist. Surprisingly to some, the United States was and is tied into many, if not most, of these conflicts in some way via funding, military training, or direct combat roles.

As my good friend said to me after the film, "How can we find a balance between the order of an unjust state and the chaos of ongoing revolution?" Personally, I don't believe we ever will. For the only thing that is truly constant is change. Perhaps we are doomed to battle each other in the throes of armed revolution til the end of time? Or perhaps we will all eventually be assimilated into a one-world government? What do you think?

On that note, I leave you with a song of ours called "Evolution," for free download. Thoughts and comments are welcome.

Click to hear and download GooD HooD - Evolution


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inspiration and Inauguration

Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States is only two days away and I am already exhausted. At the same time, I am more excited than I have ever been. Here I am, living and working in Washington, D.C. at one of the most crucial turning points in American history that has ever occurred. On Tuesday morning, the first African American to win the United States presidency will take office and, as we all hope, this will be the beginning of a new day in American history.

I was here when Obama won the election and celebrated well into the early morning chanting, "YES WE DID," in front of the White House. Now, the whole world will descend upon D.C. in the next couple of days to celebrate as well and I am here to make the most of it. Having said that, I will be bar tending every night of the week, only two blocks from the White House, from this past Friday until the following Friday. Hopefully I make a rack of dough and get to experience first-hand just what an incredible experience this whole inauguration really is!

Just to give you a taste of what's in store, Friday night, we had a private party at the restaurant where I work, BLT Steak, and Q-TIP was one of the guests. This past evening, we had two simultaneous parties, one hosted by BET's Scott Mills, and the other a special gathering for Anthony Hamilton, who had just performed at the second annual BET Honors show at the Warner Theater. Anthony Hamilton was one of the coolest famous people I have ever met. He was very down to earth, friendly, and personable. I actually got the chance to help him pick out a drink, talk about his background, and give him my contact info and the web address for Good Hood's EPK. He said he would check it out and that we will surely meet again. For some strange reason, I believe him. Perhaps it's my optimism from Obama's big victory, but I feel that great things are in store for us in 2009.

As of right now, we have 3 new songs in the works: "Take Off," "Rock Steady," and "Gon' Grind." We will soon be starting on a new song related to Obama's rise to the presidency. Both super producers All I Ever Wanted and Battery have been plugging us with numerous fire-ass tracks and we intend to deliver some product the likes of which you have never heard before. So stay tuned and we will be releasing them here first, along with all the tracks from Grindin Season. So without further ado, here is a new FREE download from Grindin Season, a tried-and-true classic:


Enjoy and let us know your thoughts right here on Good Hood Hip Hop Joe!!!

Peace and blessings and here's to a NEW AMERICA!!!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sucka free in 09

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the new year. Which of course means a bunch of resolutions no ever keeps right????? Wrong, the one thing I've truly learned in the last year is that you have to keep a rock solid team of individuals in your click. More importantly, no matter how hard or daunting a task, you must also disassociate yourself from people that hinder your progress, or maybe you are the culprit of hindrance(I've been told once or twice to kick rocks, but i'm human enough to grow from that.) We got new music on deck, and as soon as super producer Battery, returns to the district, then our newest sure to be hit" take off" will do just that on the charts. Shouts to the heavysyndication movement, we may have branched off but we aint neva dead. Much Love to you, even if oyu wish me the opposite............. The Black Half

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

By Any Means...

First things first... NEW MUSIC for FREE DOWNLOAD!!

GooD HooD - Come Around Rmx w/ Collie Buddz

GooD HooD - So Soft Rmx

Now... Seeing as the whole purpose of starting this blog was to share our thoughts on whatever might be on our mind, I have to be real open and honest right about now. Over the past couple of months, I have been seriously feeling the crunch of this "recession." I work in a restaurant where we depend almost entirely on tips for pay and even though its a fine dining steakhouse, even the rich folks ain't spendin like they used to. I suppose that makes sense since they are the ones losing mad money as the stock market plummets. Since last year, I have seen a noticable slowdown in business and hence my weekly paycheck decreases as well.

At the same time, my car has some sort of electronic signal problem within the engine and won't start. I have tried workin on it with several different mechanic friends, but no one can figure it out. I haven't been able to afford to have it towed to a dealer and inspected and since its a Buick and GM may soon be restructured, collapse, or declare bankruptcy, I might not get the chance.

The whole reason I am sharing this is because I think that there are a ton of other people out there like myself who are struggling hard to get by but won't readily admit it in public. However, many celebrities, athletes, and musicians reinforce this image of happily spending their dollars when even many of them don't have it. I remember being a kid listening to Rakim's "Paid in Full." He said he reached in his pocket and only came up with lint. But now, when I turn on the TV or the radio, all I see and hear is money, money, money, everywhere but in my pocket. I wonder, where did I go wrong? My parents didn't send me to school to be broke three years after I graduated. I've been following my dream of making a career out of making great hip-hop, but over the years I've spent pursuing it, I have learned that this aint the so-called "game" we thought it was when we first started back in 2000. It's a business and its time to make it happen. A wise person once said to me, "Poor" is a permanent mindset, while "Broke" is a temporary setback. Well I ain't poor, but I am damn sure tired of bein broke!!

When we made Grindin Season, it wasn't meant to be a happy album. It was meant to be a motivating album. It was intended to be our honest assessment of life as we lived it in Evanston/Chicago and continue to live it in DC. It aint about being a shoot em up gangsta, but it aint about flashin money and fancy cars either. Its about real people doin what they gotta do to stay alive in this crazy world we live in. We put it out with little to no promotion budget and hoped people would feel it. It didn't sell huge numbers, but we basically sold our entire run of albums.

But over the last couple months, as I've seen my bank account dwindle and the label I helped create fall apart, its been really tough for me to stay motivated. I know I am blessed with other career options to pursue if I so choose. However, at the end of the day I also know that no matter what path I choose to take, it wouldn't be easy, and nothing is given, you gotta take it. The most important thing is, I am confident in my ability to overcome any obstacles and dominate in the path of my choosing.

So whenever I have doubts about continuing with this rap music, I think of all the people that said to me, "Roger, I loved that song on your album!! I thought it was just incredible. You have real talent. Keep it up!!" and thats enough to keep me optimistic and excited about the future. I KNOW we're gonna be succesful. I'm ready to put in the hard work and GRIND that is necessary to find success! Now I need everyone else that believes in us too to step up and spread the word to all their friends, family, and coworkers about this dope ass music so that GooD HooD will be more than just a future possibility, but a current reality!! I love all yall!!