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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 (https://tonywilliamsmusic.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/what-is-the-king-or-the-fool-video-shoot-stills/). 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