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Let me start off by saying that what I’m about to report is one hundred percent accurate and true, at least to the best of my recollection. In April of 2010 I posted stills on this blog site from the video shoot for King or The Fool (
). That would be the King or The Fool version that showed up on my 2010 mixtape, The World Famous Tony Williams: FINDING DAKOTA GREY. As stated in that 2010 post, I had lofty expectations for the final project.
That video was shot in Atlanta at Tree Sound Studios by Count Justice of the Three Little Digs. I happened to be slumming around the studio that particular weekend… just piddling around… Justice (who is first and foremost an engineer and producer)started cooking up beats that morning and Paul Revear and I penned lyrics to “Not The One” and then I laid a rough vocal. That same rough vocal was the one you heard on SOME OF MY BEST RAPPERS ARE FRIENDS. We, also, laid the first vocal draft for SLEEPOVER that weekend.
Anyway, back to that video. We ended up making a few calls and in a few hours, we had a studio full of hotties and several of my homey rapper/ friends. Friends like Donnis, Knowledge (Kidz In The Hall), Micky Facts, Kyle Lucas, Mama Sol, CyHi Tha Prince, G.L.C., and Sean Falyon…… Reason being, the directors soon to be known as Three Little Digs had recently purchased new camera and editing equipment. You see, this was the first full fledged music video venture they had undertaken. Our plan was to service the video to the internet within a few weeks, but something went wrong. Something went terribly wrong and what had happened was this- Aliens infiltrated the studio and made off with about a terabyte of data from a hard drive, more specifically, the hard drive that contained the data from the video shoot. These were the type of aliens that morph into human physical form, like the ones from Men In Black. It was later learned that they had posed as interns.
For two years now, we’ve been collecting intelligence pertaining to this clan of alien’s modus operandum, while preparing to raid their headquarters and retrieve our data. Three weeks ago, we got the tipoff that we needed, and led by James “Groove” Chambers (producer) and the others of the Three Little Digs crew, Lawrence O’connor, Tristin McClain, Count Justice, Prentis Brown and myself, launched an attack on the aliens hideout. We caught them by surprise, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t ugly. In fact, it was downright scary. We all managed to escape with our lives and the stolen data, although while fleeing, “Groove” chambers, who I think used to be some kind of track and field athlete, fell and lost the data containing the footage of Cyhi The Prince, Knowledge and about fourteen of Atlanta’s coldest skrippas.
We still don’t know what motives the aliens had for stealing our data, but it’s very coincidental that since then recordings have been made with Donnis (“Outta Here”), Sean Faylon, (“Slow Down” and “Welfare), as well appearances on SOMBRAF by G.L.C. (“Not The One”), Micky Facts (“Hero In The Morning”), Mama Sol (“Hero In The Morning” and “You Got Soul”), Knowledge (“Put Me Back Together”), Kyle Lucas (“Put Me Back Together” and “Caught Up”) and Cyhi Tha Prince (“Caught Up”). We may never know…. doo doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo (Twighlight Zone Melody).
Hats off to the entire Three Little Diggs crew for burning the candle at both ends to get this video edited expeditiously.
Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare yourself for … From The World Famous Tony Williams: FINDING DAKOTA GREY MIXTAPE…King or The FOOL, the video
Directed By Three Little Digs and Tony Williams
Straight fire!! I’m particularly partial to track 2.
Nelson George’s 1987 book, The Death of Rhythm and Blues is a must read for anyone that might, even, begin to construct an opinion on the state of today’s black music. In the book, Mr. George cites the failure of the black culture to preserve ANYTHING, from family heirlooms to family or cultural traditions or customs and thus separating ourselves from our past as one of the main reasons that true Rhythm & Blues no longer exist. Subsequently, we leave all of our cultural treasures to be embraced and preserved by others as we search for that new thing (btw, what the hell is neo (which means new) soul?). Case in point, take the blues for example, let’s say B.B. King for example, go to one of his shows and who do you see in the audience. Ask anyone in Texas and they’ll tell you that Stevie Ray Vaughn is the King of the blues. Hell, I ain’t gone lie, I love hearing Eric Clapton when he hits his blues gear.
Call it what you will, but R&B is just R&B. So when people attach the British R&B label to Amy Winehouse, I call bullshit. Amy Winehouse is JUST R&B. Amy Winehouse is more R&B than most so-called R&B singers in America today, and for anyone not to have acknowledged that just because her outer casing ain’t what you think it should be, well I simply revoke you’re right to an opinion. We’ve abandoned that Classic R&B for a diluted hybrid version known as R&B Hip Hop. Rhythm and Blues is a style; it is well crafted lyrics that does a careful dance with the accompanyment, and is never over cooked. Hip hop has opened a door and ushered in watered down lyrics and subjects as complex as a 2nd grader can understand with the vulgarity of a Compton Crip. Search any list of best R&B songs for 2007 (the year of Winehouse’s Back to Black album) and see if you can find a mere mention of “Some Unholy War”, you won’t. I’ll assure you, though, that you’ll find Monica’s “Sideline Ho” pretty high up on the list. SIDEBAR: I’m a huge fan of the t shirt line “Smart is the new gangsta”. As you can tell, i give no passes for the follies of youth. Translation: being young is no excuse for stupid. Did Hip Hop also usher in “stupid shit” is vogue? I’m just saying. Consider that Winehouse pinned every song on Back to Black before she was 22 years old, especially when listening to “Love is a Losing Game”. Takes me back to the Burt Bacharach pinned Dionne Warwick songs of the 60′s and 70′s and other than Lauren Hill and a handful of other acts, I hadn’t heard much that good since then. Perhaps I could grant a pass or two for the church singers out there disguising themselves as R&B singers, if they’ll promise that they’ll at least work on not overcooking every damn thing. Remember, both Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye were preachers kids, and what they did in there day was straight up Rhythm & Blues, they never oversang the lyric. Like I said, R&B is a style. It was derived from gospel… but it AIN’T gospel. I love some good gospel just like the next person but when I want to hear R&B, I ain’t necessarily trying to hear Marvin Sapp or Kim Burrell sing it.
Where am I going with this rant? I’m merely suggesting that Nelson George add an addendum to his 1987 book. Perhaps I am suggesting that R&b may have not been totally dead, but had been living on a respirator over the last few years by the name of Amy Winehouse. R&B is a a treasured institution and like the pyramids of egypt, it should be protected so that it remains undefiled. Amy Winehouse has been an I.V. to R&B like Jonny Lang as been to Blues. She has been respectful of this treasure and careful to protect it. Tragically she, herself, was left unprotected. Amy Winehouse simply got it. She was the total package. It is as if Amy had channeled into a supernatural and picked up the spirits of R&B’s past. Unfortunately, not only did she tap into the qualities that made all of the performers of yesteryear so iconic, she tapped into the demons that destroyed several of them, as well. Perhaps I am suggesting that this time, Rhythm and Blues might really be dead.
“PRICELESS” In my opinion… hmmmm .. well, i’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this is a classic..
Produced by Keezo Kane and written by The World Famous Tony Williams and Ronkat Spearman
This is one of my favorite joints… I channeled my inner 1982 to come up with this one. You’ll see what i mean. It’s produced by Mike Cash who I feel certain you’ll hear more collabs from the two of us in the future. In fact while you’re at it, download the entire Emilio Sparks’ Scumbino’s Way mixtape. It’s insane.
I think I get the best musical experience when I listen to music through headphones. Not the cheesy white ones that come stock with your ipod, but really hi-tech earbuds that fit snug in your ear canal or big cushy studio headphones with massive bass response. I’m the type of audiophile that wants to hear all of the subtle nuances within the track. Those nuances that exist in frequencies that get lost when sound travels through the air. Most of the time that’s where the real magic is. For the last six years that has been how I’ve experienced the magic of Joi Starr. Practically adjoined at the hip as if siamese twins, we were the deadly harmonic duo on every major stage around the world behind Kanye. Anyone that ever snuck a peek at a Kanye sound check surely would’vd heard me screaming to the monitor mix engineer to “gimmie more of Joi in my ears… more… more.” I’ve heard identical twins, or in even spouses speak of being in such sync with each other that they knew what the other was going to do before they did it, just by a look. Joi and I could weave background vocals around and through each other without ever colliding on a pitch black stage without a single glance… because she’s always in my ears. Because of this, I am probably one of the most qualified people to offer up a review of her latest mixtape project Broccoli and Noodles, but instead of a review I’ve decided to just write a ‘thank you’ letter to my lil sis..
Thank you Joi, for doing YOU. The world only needs one Beyonce. It’s not everyday that we get new artist that offer up something that is uniquely them. These days there are few artists that can lay claim to having there own vocal styles, but instead, having everything from vocal riffs to their vocal cadence seeming as if it were taken from a Simplicity (sewing) pattern.
Thank you Joi, for having one of the best vocal tones in the game. It seems these days that artist would rather sacrifice tone for vocal acrobatics (although she has amazing voice control as well). Broccoli and Noodles hi-lites how amazingly pure Joi’s vocal tone is. Erykah Badu once said to me, “Joi sounds like she has electronics in her throat..”, (well stated, E). Not to mention how I had to step my tonal game up from having to blend with her night after night… quite a tall order.
Thank you Joi, for the classic remakes. ”Sunny” is breathtaking. That joint was written (1966, by Bobby Hebb) during a time when the songwriting was as much a feature of the song as the vocalists ability. Everything about this track takes me back to some good ole times. Thanks for taking a classic doo-wop song like “Earth Angel” and putting a honky tonk twist to it. That took nuts. I like it. I remember backing Joi up at an open mic at a random bar in London when she performed “Kiss of Life” over the top of Alicia Keys’ “Unbreakable” groove. That ones a gem.
Thank you Joi, for offering up a collection of songs that show your diverse taste. In an era where a handful of producers dominate the musical landscape and labels force projects down consumers throats which are laden with generic radio single sounding cuts, albums usually get heavy on the ear by track four. Broccoli and Noodles offers up a surprise, track after track.
Thank you Joi, for giving us original music on this mixtape, as well as covers with well crafted and thought out lyrics. Instead of todays common practice of in your face writing like “I saw, I liked, so I gave him some…”, Joi takes the high road on her take of Coldplay’s “Yellow” where her dude makes the world around him bright.. like yellow. Joi brilliantly uses the seasons to paint her imagery on “October” as she longs for her lost love and tells him “I want you back by October..” Crafty work Joi.
And lastly, Joi, thanks for not being too…. I can’t get in to artist that are too…. To me, not being too is the sure sign that an artist ‘get’s it’. Know what I mean? Like, it’s not too overcooked, too well done. There’s always this delicate balance where we can feel your soul, but your not too soulful. We can feel your spirit, but your not too churchy. You have tracks that are as funky as “Impatient” (which happens to be my favorite on the mixtape, I see you gettin yo Marvin Gaye on, girl), but yet and still is palatable to ‘pop’ ears.
Usually, when I blog about my favorite artist, I usually end it by puting the word out that if anyone happens to see them to let them know that World Famous would really like to work with ‘em, but don’t y’all worry ’bout that, I have her number. So I’ll just end it by telling you to make sure you click the link to download my girls project, if you haven’t already done so. That way you can do what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks… gettin me some more Joi in my ears… more… more!!
download Broccoli and Noodles here
CONGRATULATIONS to one of my true brothers in the game… Derek Watkins, a.k.a. Fonzworth Bently has just released a masterpiece and we wish him the best!! Get ready for C.O.L.O.U.R.S.!!
The 808 Experiment is an annual compilation produced and released by SMKA. In just three years the series has become a popular, and anticipated, project in the hip-hop community. The strength of the series rests on the range of the artists, as well as the quality and variety of the music. Each year SMKA attempts to work with a new collection of artists who have consistently produced quality music. The 808 Experiment: Vol 3 is the continued evolution of the series, and more than ever showcases a cross section of hip-hop music. The free compilation features nearly 40 different artists, and truly demonstrates the range and talent of producer 808 Blake of SMKA.
In the past 2 years The 808 Experiment series has featured over 50 artists, including: Yelawolf, Pill, Tanya Morgan, Nappy Roots, Shawn Chrystopher, Playboy Tre, Outasight, Stanza, Joe Scudda, Kyle Lucas, El Da Sensei, Fat Tony, Supreeme, Fresh Daily, Tom P, Hollyweerd, The Canz, Senor Kaos and many others. The project has also been featured in many of the top hip-hop blogs, sites and publications from around the US, and abroad.
Ce-looowwww (J.J. voice) is back!! He was my partner in crime on the ‘Nightmares’ remix from the Finding Dakota Grey mixtape. I thought by now he would’ve gotten over them, but somehow he’s still “Afraid Of The Night”.
STS- Cloud of Endo Ft. Tony Williams and Freddie Gibbs (produced by SMKA)
The Money Making Jam Boy teams up with Gangsta Gibbs and the world famous Tony Williams for the latest offering off The 808 Experiment: Vol 3, set to drop April 26th.
Listen/ Download .. Cloud of Endo (Prod. SMKA) by SMKA
We are (finally) releasing the video for ‘Still Got Love’ off of The World Famous Tony Williams: Finding Dakota Grey. Enjoy!!
To go in hand with the new video, we are also releasing a remix of ‘Still Got Love’ featuring STS of the Money Making Jam Boys.The remix can be downloaded for free HERE!!
It was suppose to be a successful “coming-out” show. This year’s South X Southwest Festival was suppose to do for The World Famous Tony Williams what Woodstock had done for Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Sly & the Family Stone in the 60′s. Instead, it was more like Kanye at the 2008 Bonnaroo Festival. I remember that one well. I remember arriving at the small airport near Manchester, Tennessee at about 12- midnight, after the short flight from Atlanta, where Kanye had just rocked a Summer Jam show at Phillips’ Arena. I remember how exhausted we were when we walked down the steps of the plane (which, incidentally was owned by Ludacris and piloted by his uncle) and into the two black SUV’s that were waiting on the tarmac. I remember sitting in the backseat, only, half coherent and looking through the tinted glass as a bottle shaped female figure with huge hair walked toward the car through the darkness and thinking I must have been dreaming, until she completely opened my already half- jarred car door and stuck her head in. It was Diana Ross. If you think that in the last few sentences, I’ve been walking through some pretty tall cotton with some pretty high powered name dropping, maybe for the sake of stunting, well that’s not the case. I did it for a reason that I will expound on more later in this post.
Anyway, back to Bonnaroo. This was the event that Kanye was raked over the coals for and was accused of not showing up on time. I remember sitting backstage, while waiting for the change over from the Pearl Jam set to take place and thinking that “this shit is taking forever!” And so we sat and we sat..and we sat…, but we were there! After assuring us that they were equipped and prepared to handle the elaborate setup of the Glow In The Dark Show stage, the Bonneroo people flopped and let Kanye take the fall. I remember hitting the stage at 4:30 a.m and us giving the crowd 100%, until dawn.
Now, back to this past Saturday night in Austin, Texas at SXSW! This was a scenario that had an uncanny similarity to the series of events of the aforementioned. It it, also, uncanny that it indirectly involved Kanye, as well. This event marked the first time that The World Tony Williams had performed with a full band, since becoming The World Famous Tony Williams. It was the first time I had performed with a band separate from Kanye in over six years. This was to be the night that I would show “the world” that The World Famous Tony Williams was a capable and credible artist, independent from his, even more, world famous cousin.
For starters, after being billed as the headlining act for the Saturday night line up at Red 7 and placed into the 1:30 a.m. slot, I had to request a slot change a week prior to the show, after Kanye announced that there would be a G.O.O.D. music showcase at a different venue… at the same freakin’ time. Although, my focus these days is on building my career, it’s hard enough that we’re not working together like we used to without having to compete at the same festival during the same time slot. So much for escaping that shadow, but I’ll cut to the chase. Reports after my showcase are saying that the hype of my set fizzled due to me being late after a flight from France, while my band waited on stage seemingly doing nothing. In addition, there is speculation that plans for some of my high profile colleagues that I had anticipated dropping by, fell through at the last second and maybe took the luster of my show with it.
For this, I am torn between whether to turn this into a mere commentary or a full-on rant. After all, what is it that we artists live for? Attention, in any form, be it negative or positive means, at least people are talking and that’s all we, artists, can hope for. I guess I should worry when folks aren’t saying anything, right? However, this story has Bonnaroo written all over it and I wish to express that I feel I’ve been bamboozled, hoodwinked and led astray.
First of all, I’ve never been late for a show of any magnitude. The show organizers had obtained all of the specs required for pulling off my production several weeks prior to the event. Upon arrival, I was told by a (or should I say the?) sound man at the venue (Red 7) that he had not been made aware of the elaborateness of my production, until he had arrived at the venue a few hours, before. As the headliner, I was promised a sound check which I never received because of time. Therefore, needless to say that the first 25 minutes of my 45 minute set were spent with him trying to “sort things out” and when I hit the stage in white tux pants and my undershirt and hit ‘em with “Sorry I’m, I was in France or was that Milan?” and then broke into “I hopped up out the bed, turned my swag on, took a look at the world and said wassup, yeeeahhhh, I’M WORLD FAMOUS”, Austin 360.com implied that perhaps, I had pulled the shenanigans, as a stall tactic to wait on Kanye and Jay Z and of course, they never showed up. Oh really? You see, the club or some workers for the club or some the promotors or “some damn-body” put the story out earlier, in the day, that Kanye and Jay Z were feature guest of mine…. really? Maybe, they were a bit confused and maybe my timing was bad, but my intro had been planned for weeks. Maybe, they didn’t realize that I recently toured the globe with a guy whose stage was literally a planet. Maybe, they didn’t see me rising up from the pit 15 feet into the air on a hydrolic lift on the GITD tour. Did they really think that I’d hit the stage on MY showcase and just be plain ole’ normal?
Dfw.com, even, commented that my demeanor on stage changed visibly, after I was supposed to have received a message on stage that possibly signified that my guest were not showing up. No sirs! Imagine, preparing for weeks for one- 45 minute showcase and being told half- way into your third song that you had time for one more song. You’d be obviously or shall I say, visibly, pissed too! Additionally, I kinda’ take offense to Dfw.com referring to my guests as unknowns. Could they seriously be referring to my guest Rockwell Knuckles, Kyle Lucas, and/ or STS (Sugar Tongue Slim)? I’d be willing to wager my house that, if you asked any of the attendees at any of the 6 zillion hip hop showcases last week, that no one would regard them as such. Wait, HOLD UP (NATE DOG voice, R.I.P.)!! Isn’t this SXSW festival that you’re covering designed with the intent to showcase and promote the independent artist? If so, why come off like my show is maybe a dissapointment because Kanye or Jay Z didn’t drop by? I guess my other friends are unknowns compared to the popularity of those guys. Allow me to introduce them:
Rockwell Knuckles is from the north side of St. Louis and is making a strong charge at being my favorite rapper. Really. He is definitely in my top few. He played at the Sunday Swagger with Big Sean, Wiz, Chiddy, Bun B, Kendrick Lamar. His most recent mixtape, Choose Your Own Adventure is a must have for the collection. Look for Rocky Knuckles X The World Famous Tony Williams collabs in the very near future.
Kyle Lucas is from Marietta, Ga. where it’s always sunny and he’s the frontman for the group Vonnegutt. Vonnegutt was featured on Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Leftfoot on “Follow Us”. Also he was seen around Austin performing Showcases with Big Boi this year….. I guess Big Boi fraternizes with ‘unknowns’ as well. Wait til you hear their cover of Weazer’s “Put Me Back Together” on their next project, the song features The World Famous Tony Williams and Knowledge from Kids In The Hall.
STS, also, was featured on The Roots album How I Got Over and is from the group Money Making Jam Boys which consist of himself, Black Thought (The Roots Crew), Dice Raw, Truck North and P.O.R.N. You could have caught them at this years SXSW at the 10 Deep Showcase. MMJB’s new mixtape The Prestige: Jam Boy Magic is in my player right now and is absolute fire. Listen to what Big Boi has to say about STS and the rest of the crew.
I guess I’ve made my point that these writers are probably not credible hip hop writers. Maybe, if they’d gotten your hands on a copy of my mixtape The World Famous Tony Williams: FINDING DAKOTA GREY, they’d know that World Famous ain’t scarred to feature ‘unknowns’ as they refer to them. Like the world needs one more 16 from Jaye or Ye, or any other mega m.c. I should know, check the pedigree, I’ve been on a few joints with all of ‘em…. You know, I really DO hang around in bars- and hang around with stars … LIKE BADU….. Oh, my bad, I forgot the ‘LOL’. But when given the chance, I’m gonna shine the light on the small names with the big talent.
All I know is that when we hit the stage for our 20 minute, we gave the fans a world class presentation. My only regret is that, while I sat in the 8′ x 5′ green box at stage left that they so appropriately called “the green room”, I didn’t have a Sharpie so that I could have partaken in what seemed to be a tradition of tagging those green walls, like so many that had been there before me. It would have been great, just to leave mark mark on history- I did it at the Chicago Theater, The Fox in Detroit and even the Apollo in London, because I WAS THERE… just like last Saturday at the 2011′s SXSW mega expo… I WAS THERE!
I’m really digging this visual candy from King Fantastic… there’s no excuses for non-creativity when you’ve got porn stars like Kristina Rose in your cell phone…
Last November, Kanye West dropped My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to critical acclaim. Today, the Hype Williams directed video for ‘All of the Lights’ was released. Pay close attention and try to catch the shout out to The World Famous Tony Williams, he sings so beautifully, don’t you agree? Don’t you agree?