A sister said she needed a list of songs to learn before the school year starts. I recommended KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions' blog listacles on Hip-Hop pioneers to know. But after finishing my Historically Black College and University (HBCU) student address, I rethought my response. Why not make a HBCU music playlist of songs I think every HBCU student today should know?
Some art speaks for itself and should be first experienced without external interference. Below I'll add context to some tracks that deserve a solid call-to-action (CTA) or more notoriety.
I recently watched a YouTube video titled "Something weird is happening in hip-hop." I don't care enough to rewatch it to challenge my initial thoughts. All I remember was the author boasting about experimentation in music production and a comparison to the punk genre. I primarily want to explain my opinion to the clickbait-ish "Hip Hop is Dying" thumbnail message. TL/DR: many Black hip-hop/rap artists are returning to the roots - Black culture.
I've lost a lot of interest in RallyPoint.com, "RP," since writing about professional conduct on the military site five years ago. After sharing links about Black culture like "Complex Layers of Racism" on site last year, I noticed more White people sharing not so subtle pro-integration comments against Blacks supporting our own.
I don't know as much about hip-hop music history as I believe I should. Within recent years I've actively worked to fix that. Learning about the beginning of hip-hop and rap adds context to how we got to this era where mainstream rap music is prominently Roland TR-808 drums, street life boasting, and lacking substance.
I'm not a scholar with a years logged researching the complex layers of racism, or critical race theory (CRT). My passion is in helping others use tech to ease life. I didn't take college courses on African American history, African history, or even American history. I didn't see the point since curriculum's often grow outdated and other courses could help me immediately.
But I am at a point where I feel the need to discuss racism and ways to improve my community, the black / ADOS community, more. As complicated as it seems, there are ways to break it down into manageable building blocks.
There are companies helping to improve the black community. However, those efforts fail if we the people don't do our part as well. We must support such initiatives while holding ourselves (blacks) to a higher standard. One of my pet peeves is hearing a Christian say "if God wants it for me, I'll have it" or something along those lines. Another one, hearing people who nothing about politics or American government assuming that simply electing a new president will change the country overnight...for the better.
I've covered black owned businesses in the footwear, fitness, and underwear industries. In this blog I'll share some black owned companies in technology.
After the "Ankle Brake" instrumental I wanted to challenge myself while adding to the diversity of my discography. This urge led me to a few tracks unlike anything I'd released to that point:
My lessons learned in 2019 recap had quite a bit of geeky stuff in there. In 2020, however, I focused more on the craft. Every track on the 2-Golivelively-1 album was the result of something I'd recently learned.
The Kid3 audio metadata editor was pre-installed when I first tried Ubuntu Studio years ago. This FOSS allows Linux, Windows, and macOS users to easily edit a lot of metadata that isn't available in your average music or video player.
I've had a few local, independent artists ask me about music distribution throughout 2019. So, below I'm going to summarize my to-do list for distributing music to online music platforms - Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, etc.
Continuing from Aux 2020 volume 2 to keep momentum on the blog.
I published Music I Found in 2020 (Aux 2020) Volume 1 in May, shortly after the Coronavirus (COVID19) lockdown started. I've been listening to a lot of new music since then. This volume 2. And there will be a volume 3 soon.
First published on April 2, 2015
Creativity and originality are important abilities to possess. When I worked with underground artists during my teen years, I loved adding a bit of creativity to their otherwise normal tracks with interludes, sound effects, and other interesting dynamics. The first track I recorded for one particular artist began with an EQ resulting in an old low-quality radio sound. After a 2 second pause and delay effect, the unaltered song continued.
First published on May 10, 2015
In 2011, I competed in a Soldier of the Year competition hosted by 20th Support Command (CBRNE). I didn’t win, but I won’t rant about why I think I lost. . . okay, I lied:
First published on July 3, 2015
First published on August 17, 2015
First published on December 7, 2015
No, all of the following songs were not created in 2015. However, this is my first starter pack. . . so screw logic.
First published on May 21, 2017
One of my favorite rock bands is animated. Deathmole is a band created by Jeph Jacques in his webcomic “Questionable Content” which includes. . . questionable content. “Final,” from the album “Advances”, is one of my favorites because of its unique tempo and time signature feel (3/4) and ability to lead me through emotions of hype and calmness within four minutes. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel but this track helps me think. Since there are no vocals, my mind runs free.
First published on April 11, 2016
Two years ago, someone asked me what types of music I like. When I said “everything,” I didn’t expect her to introduce me to indie music that I’d later consider favorites. “Council Commission” by North Carolina-based Kelly Rush is one of those songs, though. “Council Commission,” from the album “Color Sessions,” was released in January 2013.
First published on May 9, 2016
The first time I heard “You Make Me Sick,” and of Egypt Central, was on WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 and it hyped me up so much every time I heard it that I downloaded it from iTunes. To this day, this rock/alternative song still reminds me of all the fireworks (mostly negative) from past relationships and the push/pull of such relationships with extreme highs and lows.
First published on June 6, 2016
When I took a course on the relationship between music and politics last year, I got the opportunity to write a two thousand word essay on my choice of topic related to the course. I decided to write about the transition and differences between what Hip Hop/Rap was in the beginning and what it is today. I emphasized the use of racial slurs and others’ view on it, also. Admittedly, It’s not a very well written piece. However, If you’re interested, feel free to read on.
First published on October 24, 2016
Warning, by Incubus, is a rock song about a woman who woke up one day realizing that she “called out a warning” and let life pass her by. In summary, it drives the point that you should be yourself and make the most of your life every day.
First published on October 22, 2018
I haven’t blogged much this year because I’ve been focusing on mixing and releasing music (and making JtSpratley.com presentable). The only music blog, out of 7 this year, was about mixing music as a teen. It doesn’t help that my ad service Project Wonderful recently shut down. But I’ve uploaded 14 tracks to SoundCloud this year! I’ve been doing more than mixing music, though. I’m learning the business side. Continuing the trend from last years’ lessons learned, Below are 7 lessons that have improved my 2018.
First published on January 14, 2017
Urbandub is a Filipino rock band from the Philippines who have been around since 2000. Their Wikipedia page looks aged once you see their years active – 2000-15 (on hiatus) – and their MySpace listed as their official website. I don’t remember how I came across this band, but I do remember hearing Hover (2013) and immediately adding it to my workout playlist. 🏋
First published on March 2, 2020
Creating Unique was my biggest music project (excluding learning music distribution) until 2019. During breaks at work, I would try to write and clean up bars. If I couldn’t come up with anything, and when I was done with lyrics, I’d work on arrangement some. I’m still learning to a lot about arrangement and transitions.
First published on December 2, 2019
I enjoy finding new inspirational music for when I work. Here are 10 great tracks I found in 2018 from multiple genres – Afro-pop, Dancehall, Drum & Bass (D&B), EDM, Hip-Hop/Rap, Jazz, Rock, and Trip-Hop.
First published on January 18, 2019
“What is that on the 1 Tonight Instrumental album cover?”
I was online searching for a new watch, and I came across a binary clock. Being an IT guy in an IT college at the time, I was interested. So I asked others about it. While brainstorming for the album cover, and with The 1 Tonight being released without vocals, I took the opportunity to show my IT interests and Syracuse University affiliation early in my album art gallery.
First published on June 5, 2017
Like Hustle & Flow (2005), Step Off (2011) follows a struggling black male musician with a supporting cast on a road of overcoming obstacles to create and share music filled with his passion and story. Unlike DJay in Hustle & Flow, Rippa in Step Off is a college student and music producer with his eyes set on winning a beat battle awarding production time for a major record label.
First published on March 9, 2020
I found out about the kalimba sometime last year while looking for Chillout music. I spent hours listening to kalimba solos including HIROYUKI’s TedX performance, April Yang’s YouTube tutorials, and original works like Can’t Help Falling In Love on a Kalimba by Acoustic Trench:
First published on March 16, 2015
Slice the Pie! Yes, you can earn money, up to ten cents per review, for providing detailed and well thought out reviews covering underground and indie songs. It may not seem like much, but it’s more for fun and helping others than a get-rich-quick scheme. Plus, you WILL find something you like sooner than later. The genres you’ll encounter vary, and within an hour, you could easily cover tracks of house, country, funk, pop, folk, and other alternative genres. Through “Slice the Pie,” I’ve become a fan of The Hong Kong Sleepover – Taste the Chain, an awesome hype rock track and PVRIS – St. Patrick, a fun high-tempo pop track.
First published on September 11, 2017
Before the two rough mixdowns in mid-2015 (Atmospheric1 and House26) I hadn’t released any music since my mother’s Ride ‘Em album. But the recording engineer, not I, mixed those beats. I’d hoped those tracks showed my versatility and potential, though I didn’t choose them all. Instrumental 613 is still my favorite on that album. I remixed Instrumental 413 because its popular on iTunes but I didn’t like the drums and overall feel of the beat. I’ll cover the story of the others in a later blog.
First published on May 27, 2019
I released Real Man Remix to show versatility in my discography and artists I’ve worked with in the past how serious I am about my music now. Before Real Man I only had 3 instrumental house tracks. Following Real Man with Can I? (You Got My Lust) was to show contrast in style.
First published on April 27, 2020
[No More] Memory Lane was a short passion project to symbolize the temptation to look back on past mistakes – the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. It’s really just four minor chords on a piano over four bars. The supporting instruments – drums, synths, bass, kalimba – enhance an emotional vibe encouraging me to reflect more.
First published on January 23, 2017
I asked IT professionals from the Rallypoint community what topics I should cover in future Linux and FOSS related podcasts. I got great suggestions involving security:
First published on May 4, 2020
I learned some really important music production lessons in 2018. I spent most of 2019 continuing to release extended plays (EPs) that show my versatility and blogging about them here:
First published on June 5, 2019
This is a playlist of independent musicians’ tracks released in 2018 (Full YouTube Playlist) with a short description about why I like it.
First published on March 30, 2020
First published on August 13, 2018
I remember when I started mixing music for underground vocalists (rappers and singers) as a teen. They wanted to hear their freestyles over popular instrumentals. I wanted to improve my mixing skills and network for when I started releasing beats. I used a bulky $2,000 Korg D16XD Digital Recorder DAW with a touch-screen GUI similar to the classic Korg Triton. My mom bought it and the similarities made it easy to learn – no complaints. This was before I knew anything about FOSS – just Cool Edit (now Adobe Audition) and Audacity. Fruity Loops (now FL Studio) and Pro Tools were new to me. Flying faders that moved to sync with the selected submix (tracks 1-8, 9-16, etc.) and on-screen values was the new hotness from what I saw in Musician’s Friend and Sweetwater magazines.
First published on March 16, 2020
I loved honey buns as a teen. In High School during breakfast, they were 50 cents, already warmed. Sometimes, I’d buy more than one. Honey bun was a favorite junk food, nickname, and popular gift from others for years.
First published on August 24, 2015
You want something between your studio monitors and its resting surface to improve accuracy between what’s being played and what’s being heard. MoPADs are awesome, and any Styrofoam could work just as well.
First published on September 29, 2019
Rapper and childhood friend Louis V. Lyrix once shared a post from a Virginia-based independent music artist stating you can support a musician with just a $1 purchase on iTunes. This reminded me of every time I’ve heard someone talk about supporting local businesses only to make excuses for not doing so when given the opportunity.
Remember this quote:
First published on February 20, 2017
HIM, formerly known as His Inferno Majesty, is a Finnish rock band. HIM’s music is categorized as gothic, dark, or alternative rock but they refer to it as love metal. They’ve stated their use of satanic imagery (i.e. “666” and the heartagram) does not represent their personal beliefs and this has in the past resulted in some issues with the black metal community.
First published on May 15, 2017
I decided to do some guest blogging for an IT blog since I’ve already done two military-related for RallyPoint. Over the last few months I’ve done two for Syracuse University iSchool (school of information studies) InfoSpace blog. My first post explained 5 applications I think everyone should use. My second InfoSpace post – Evolving with Open Source Software at the iSchool – explains how I found ways to use open source software in six IT courses.
First published on September 29, 2019
Many people explain what they like when, where, and/or how. What about the why? When I wrote free ways to support indie musicians, I said you can always share someone’s music even if you don’t like it.
But if you do listen to an independent musician’s work and don’t like something about it, don’t simply reply “I didn’t like it.” Why? Well, I can answer your question with your question.
First published on February 3, 2019
While in Syracuse, NY, I was curious about the city nightlife and decided to check out clubs and bars. I came across Trexx night club and an Erika Klash poster. Why not watch a drag show on my first night out? I checked out her website (offline now) and liked her anime cosplays – especially the Sailor Moon characters.
First published on April 29, 2019
First published on May 4, 2015
Taste the Chain doesn’t offer vocals from beginning to end. But even after ten seconds of guitar strumming followed by another 25 seconds of amped “Beer Rock,” the shouted words still push the energy to higher decibel. What follows is high energy maintained for the remaining three minutes of the song. Oh yeah, the lyrics. . . something about snakes, whiskey, and taste the chain. I get too hype listening to this to comprehend the all the lyrics. This song is great for any active bar or party venue. Ignore my statement below regarding more lyrics. If anything, it would probably take away from the song. And this doesn’t sound like Egypt Central to me. Egypt Central doesn’t have a track that motivates me to drink.
Below is my original review from SlicethePie.com:
First published on November 4, 2018
One thing I didn’t consider while preparing to distribute my first track – Needed Treatment – was album art. Yeah, I know. “Duh! Really, dude ?!” Yes, really. So I jumped in GIMP to touch up this drawing I did last year hoping to make a piece of art with a lot of symbolism. During a break I read the requirements for album art – 3000 x 3000 with 300 dpi. I didn’t need Waifu2x but I did need to enlarge the orginal image.
First published on February 27, 2017
Some resources are amazing for the simple fact that they function as a fact checker for your research and others’ advice. Here are 5 I wish I’d known about years ago.
Last updated on December 12, 2017
In fulfilling my 7 tracks new years resolution I’ve learned a lot about mixing music. Here I share what I believe to be the five most important lessons of the year.
My Tracks I found in 2019 blog was very late. So this one is very early.