Reading Music Fest Flyer 2016

Live Show Review: Reading Festival Feat. Disclosure, CHVRCHES & More: Reading, England, August 26

Reading Festival is one of the summer's biggest music festivals in England and Grown Folks Music was blessed to have eyes and ears at the spot. Friend to GFM and guest contributor Victoria Clarke had her feet planted firmly in the grass during last Friday's performances and came through with a review of a few acts -- UK Rappers Lady Leshurr and Giggs, and groups Fickle Friends, CHVRCHES and Disclosure. Read it and get into it.

A few years ago the organizers of Reading festival took a gamble and decided to move away from its traditional roots in rock and create a more diverse line up. A gamble that has paid off. As I navigated my way between groups of young adults, drinking copious amounts of cider on a sunny first day of the three-day festival, it quickly became apparent what the key talking points would be and about whom.

Lady Leshurr at the Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: Getty Images/Joseph Okpako
Lady Leshurr at the Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: Getty Images/Joseph Okpako

Lady Leshurr @LadyLeshurr
"The First Lady of Grime", had the 1 Xtra tent in "lockdown" Her unique freestyles from her "Queen's Speech" series and album Mona Leshurr are what set her apart from other female rappers. Having amassed over 30 million
views across various blogs and social platforms, it was perhaps unsurprising to see a packed tent for her 30-minute set. Flanked by two female dancers, the set flowed effortlessly by mixing in old school Hip-Hop tunes to get the crowd warmed up and she ended her set with "Where Are You Now", a track making waves both here and in the US. Having landed a deal with Columbia in the US, she recently signed with RCA and it's no wonder Leshurr was named as the hottest female rapper by Vogue.

Fickle Friends at the Reading Festival 2016
Fickle Friends at the Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: Fickle Friends Facebook

Fickle Friends @FickleFriends
Filling a tent when you've only been signed a year and you are still working on your first album is an impressive feat, so one can hardly blame lead singer Natassja Shiner for taking a selfie with the crowd. Hailing from Brighton, the five piece provide the perfect blend of synth pop. The single "Swim", which showcases Shiner's effortless vocals and is the perfect tale of modern day relationships, resonated with many in the crowd. "For You" is a slightly more subdued track and the ultimate synth pop end of relationship ballad for the under 25 generation. With over 100,000 plays on SoundCloud and a growing fan base, it would not be surprising to see the band moved up the billing in 12 months time.

Rapper Giggs at the Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: BBC
Rapper Giggs at the Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: BBC

Giggs @officialgiggs
The anticipation for Giggs's 4:00pm set in the Radio 1 NME tent began around lunchtime, and by the time he hit stage an hour later then planned due to rapper Fetty Wap pulling out under doctors' orders, the tent was full to capacity. Early this month Giggs released his album Landlord to critical acclaim and as he hit the stage the crowd erupted. Building on his reputation for his gritty take on modern life his style is fast-paced and his onstage energy is relentless. He moved around the stage like he owned it! Pausing only briefly to perform the retrospective track "Just Swervin", he then turned the packed tent into a club by performing "Lock Doh"-- a track about an issue most rappers encounter-- having too many girls coming onto you. Covering peer tracks is a common theme at most festivals and Giggs did not disappoint. Performing "Three Wheels Up" by Kano ( featuring Giggs and Wiley) set the crowd into a suitably frenzy and "Man Don't Care" by JME, ensured Giggs earned his place in Reading folklore.

 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches at Reading Festival 2016 (Photo by Chiaki Nozu/Getty Images)
Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches at Reading Festival 2016 (Photo by Chiaki Nozu/Getty Images)

The Scottish band had the diffcult task of keeping the early evening crowd entertained as it waited for the first of Friday night's co-headliner Disclosure. Despite the fact this was the bands third time at Reading it was their first time on the main stage. However, it proved it was more than up to the challenge. The 2015 album Eyes Open won numerous awards with various critics and it's clear to see why. CHVURCHES' set began with "Never Ending Circles", which mixes lead singer Lauren Mayberry Celtic-tinged light vocals with '80s-inspired beats. As Mayberry bounced around the stage the crowd soon followed suit. The group also performed its latest track, "Leave A Trace", described by the band as "a middle finger mic-drop" which is rather hard to believe as Mayberry's likability shines through on each track. The set ended with "The Mother We Share" which may have a slightly more melancholy subject matter, but it didn't seem to dampen the crowd's spirit as the sun began to set.

Disclosure at Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: BBC
Disclosure at Reading Festival 2016/Photo Credit: BBC

Disclosure @disclosure
"Mind Blowing" was the phrase the duo used to describe the audience response to co-headlining the main stage. It's probably fair to say the feeling was mutual. Much like Frankie Knuckles and DJ Ron Hardy who pioneered a change in the Chicago music scene in the late 1980s, for the last three years the duo from Surrey have been changing the face of electronic dance music and propelling it into the mainstream. With two number one albums and one Grammy-nominated album, choosing a set list was no easy task and there was only one guest vocalist-- Brendan Riley (who performed "Moving Mountains"). The duo created a light show that Muse would be proud of featuring silhouettes of the various singers they have collaborated with.

The set started with "White Noise", a synth-heavy track with a funk twist provided by a live guitar and they moved seamlessly between tracks even singing along under their breaths. At the start of the summer, the duo released the EP Moog for Love and they performed "Boss" (from the EP) with Howard providing the lead vocals which are distorted throughout the track. "Bang That" never made it onto either album, and the extended live version sent the already pumped crowd into overdrive. By the time they performed "When A Fire Starts To Burn", even the most hardened rock fan would find it difficult to be critical of their promotion from the dance tent to the main stage. Minus the presence of Sam Smith, there could be a suggestion that "Omen" and "Latch" may fall flat, but this was not the case at all as the crowd ramped up the tempo another level. Before they left the stage the duo informed the crowd that this was the first festival they attended seven years ago. How fitting it is then that Reading should play host to the their first main stage headlining set and I am proud to say I was there.

About our guest writer: Victoria Clarke is PR professional who enjoys attending and volunteering at music festivals and concerts across England and writing freelance reviews.

Musiq Soulchild Heart Away

Now Playing: Musiq Soulchild: "Heart Away"


Growns, check out "Heart Away", by Musiq Soulchild. We kinda dig the old school Hip Hop swing of it. Tell us what you think. "Heart Away" is from Musiq Soulchild's forthcoming new album, Life On Earth.

Ian Gordon How Bout Now Single Cover

#NewMusic: Ian Gordon: "How Bout Now"

Ian Gordon How Bout Now Single Cover

Growns, check out Pittsburgh based Trumpeter Ian Gordon putting his own spin on Drake's "How Bout Now". Produced by Grown Folks Music's own Ivan Orr for 296 Recordings. Click on it and enjoy.

Tish Hyman Subway Art Single Cover

#NewMusic: Tish Hyman: "Subway Art"

Growns, this is dope. Click on it. Feel it. Love it.

Check Tish Hyman out at


#GetIntoIt: Black Sheep Dres: "Propagation"

Don't let the dope beat fool you, Black Sheep Dres (of '90s duo Black Sheep fame) is kicking a serious message to his son and to ALL young men in "Propagation". Check it out.

The Seal Breakers Is It Possible Single

New Music: The Seal Breakers: "Is It Possible"

Growns, check out the musical stylings of The Seal Breakers: "Is It Possible". We're headbobbin' and vibin. What say you Grown Folks? If you dig it, then check them out at iTunes.

From the Press Release:

The Seal Breakers (initially called the Eagles Brass Band) came about when their visionary founder, Craig Williams, wanted to create music reminiscent of what he heard in his church-as well as inspiration from bands like The Ohio Players, Chicago, and Sly and the Family Stone. A native of Bed-Stuy at a time when Hip Hop culture was taking prominence, Williams took his skills as a musician and entrepreneur and added them to his vision of enriching the lives of youths from his community-resulting in this remarkable seven-member ensemble called The Seal Breakers. With the eclectic blending of R&B, a spoonful of Hip Hop, and a healthy dose of Gospel, The Seal Breakers continues their mission to entertain, inspire, and educate through their music.

New Music: Flip feat. AG (of D.I.T.C.): "Dreaming"

Nice vibe, chill beat and nice rhymes... we are diggin' this breezy track from Flip featuring AG of D.I.T.C. Let us know if you're feeling it. If you dig it, then it's available at iTunes.

About Flip (From the press release): What happens when an Austrian rap producer with a history of more than 20 years in the game, teams up with some of his favorite MC's from the US? First of all, great music. But wait a second, who's that guy? Flip is a veteran producer and rap enthusiast from Linz, Austria who got addicted to hip-hop and its culture in the early 80's when he first heard joints by The Fat Boys and Melle Mel on Austrian radio. A couple years later, heavily being influenced by the sound of Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim and EPMD, Flip and a bunch of other rap-nerds founded the nationally critically acclaimed group Texta in 1993 and became the originators of the Austrian rap scene. Flip also has been organizing hip-hop shows in his hometown Linz since 1994 and started building connections to the US indie rap circuit since 2000. So as these connections grew, Flip began to record songs with the artists passing through and doing shows. Out of many tracks Flip recorded, he picked the best collabos for his "Reflections" album, with a line-up boasting artists from all corners of the US, like AG (of D.I.T.C.), Killah Priest of the Wu-Tang family, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Edo. G, Kev Brown, LMNO, Tragic Allies and many more.

Flip's signature sound is deeply rooted in the classic boom bap tradition with thick and hard-hitting drums and chopped samples, but also incorporates synth sounds, deep 808 low end and unconventional song layouts that move away from the old two bar loop formula. Flip is also a DJ and record digger, and handled most of the cuts on his album himself. And yes, he is also an MC, just in case you wondered...

After putting out 7 classic albums with his legendary Austrian group Texta since 1993 and a solo album in 2010, plus crafting beats for various German, French, Swiss, US and Jamaican artists, Flip's music finally gets released for a wider audience and rap connoisseurs all around the globe.

As the Akrobatik cut in the outro track proclaims: "Dope beats, rhymes and cuts, so now what!" - this is pure, uncut, and raw rap music that has its foundation in the past but also takes a perspective into the future.


Live Shows: Jay Electronica Performs with Common: December 3: Howlin' Wolf New Orleans

common flyer

Jay Electronica performs Wednesday, December 3 at the Howlin' Wolf.

Crescent City native and hip-hop enigma Jay Electronica performs first concert in his hometown in nearly five years this Wednesday, December 3 at the Howlin' Wolf (907 S. Peters St) with Chicago hip-hop veteran Common as part of their "Nobody's Smiling" tour. Doors are at 9 p.m. and tickets are $30 advance, more at the door.

During a recent interview with Complex, Common spoke highly of Jay Electronica and explained his decision to bring the New Orleans rapper along on the road: "I have a ultimate respect for Jay Electronica," he said when asked about why he brought him on tour. "I think he's one of the dopest emcees. I can go back and listen to his raps he did in 2010 and be inspired. He's timeless already. His emceeing abilities is high level. It feeds me the way it always fed me. Hip hop provides so many things for me."

Common enlisted Jay Electronica for the remix of "Kingdom" on his tenth album. They performed the track, which originally featured just Vince Staples, at this year's BET Hip-Hop Awards. At the end of their performance, the rappers paid tribute to Mike Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, back in August. Brown's parents took the stage and raised both hands, a symbol that has become prominent during the protests over the arrest of Wilson.

Third Ward youth and St. Augustine High School graduate Timothy Thedford is not necessarily someone that most New Orleanians, let alone most hip-hop fans, are familiar with. But Jay Electronica on the other hand, well, there's someone with whom many are salty. Hip-hop fans and progressive music buffs the world over have been waiting -- many not so patiently -- for the release of his first "official" album since his signing to Jay-Z's Roc Nation in late 2010.

Electronica exploded onto the viral internet scene in 2007 with the beginnings of what would be a string of free music releases of tracks he both produced and rapped on via his MySpace page. His mode of simply pushing his music out into the matrix ethers for anyone curious enough to listen rapidly gained him an underground cult following, making his first proper live appearance back in New Orleans in 2009 after traveling as a music nomad since the late 1990s.

After just one year of headlining his own concerts across the continent, Jay Electronica found himself courted by hip-hop dons and record label chiefs like Puff Daddy and Jay-Z. And almost exactly four years ago this week, Jay-Z formally announced the newest artist to join his Roc Nation dynasty.

Though he often visits family and friends at home in New Orleans, Electronica has spent the past several years in London, New York and abroad working on what will be his major label debut. Parts of the album have been recorded in London, Detroit, South Africa and where ever else Electronica may have been moved to lay down tape in his signature nomadic style. Alas, this month will mark four years since his announcement to release a full length project via Roc Nation.

Only a couple snippets of tracks from the forthcoming and highly anticipated LP have been released online via SoundCloud thus far, only building fans' frustration for the wait. But as Electronica has gone on record to preach, "real music has no 'sell-by' date."

Perhaps this Wednesday's concert will quench a good bit of his hometown fans' thirst though, as it will be hist first proper concert in New Orleans since he last performed at the Howlin' Wolf with intermittent NOLA resident and fellow hip-hop artist Mos Def in the spring of 2010. View photos from that show here.

Though he has made a few cameo appearances at special events since 2010, the December 3 concert will be the first time in nearly five years that local fans will have the opportunity to experience Electronica's growth as a performer, and possibly hear some new music.

Wednesday, December 3
Doors 9 p.m. | Showtime 10 p.m.
Common and Jay Electronica plus Fly Union
Hosted by Slab1

The Howlin' Wolf
907 S. Peters St.

Tickets: $30 Advance | $35+ Door
Online via TicketWeb here.
Ages 18+

#BMM14: De La Soul - "Me, Myself, and I"

This was number one this week in 1989... the reason for this posting is that this is a great example of the new and the old co-existing together and creating the new. Both creations stand on their own merit but together: magic!


Never Forget!!! A Comment on Culture feat. "We Want the Dude BacK"

Anyone who has ever visited these parts knows the type of love and admiration we have for Quincy Jones. I placed the above video from a campaign we did a few years ago to illustrate a point about the culture of music versus the commodification of the same.

In all fairness to Mr. Jones he discussed at length his involvement in the above project that we took him to task over. He had zero involvement. It was a tribute. You know like the tribute that you receive that you don't really want or like but you are a gracious enough human being to grin and bare it as it were. Quincy Jones represents the best of the culture of music has to offer. Has he had tremendous commercial success? Absolutely! But somehow that success never superseded his musical integrity (and this is just a guess on my part) because Quincy never forgot from whence he came musically.

Every genre has its respective moment in the sun shall we say. In this country it seemingly starts out and ends the same way...

1. The music of the(some group of) people gains a critical mass
2. A few early entrepreneurs make some commercial headway
3. Several well-funded corporate entities make even more commercial headway
4. The critical mass turns into popular mass
5. The original purveyors, creators and audiences of the music are slowly replaced
6. The cultural message and indicators turn into commercial ones
7. The music becomes unrecognizable to the community and culture that birthed it
8. This phenomenon is always aided and abetted by "critics" who somehow become empowered to at once criticize and create cultural imperatives
9. The pioneers are often not rewarded for their pioneering efforts, many die penniless and forgotten
10. Rinse and repeat for: Blues, Jazz, R&B and now welcome to the club Hip Hop

So what is it that we shouldn't forget? The above listed points and I'm sure many others that we could identify as we've watched this play out over and over again.

What is it that we should do? Challenge everything. Hold everyone accountable. Ignore the hype. Embrace the real, the genuine. Respect the elders and encourage the upstarts that respect the culture. If radio isn't doing the job turn it off. If television has made everything a mockery, a reality show and the music has been affected turn it off.

There is tremendous power in knowing and respecting from whence you've come so that the lessons that are learned from history are not repeated. Unfortunately, far too much is being repeated when it comes to the commercialization of music. We should know better. We must do better.