Lincoln Barrington Minott or Sugar Minott, was born May 25th in Kingston, Jamaica. Sugar would discover and develop his awesome talent into what would later become his life’s purpose – to bring a joyful, soothing voice to the ever growing reggae culture.
Minott officially began his musical career as a member of the Sound of Silence Keytone sound system. His primary function was to select records to play as he would also chant over the dubs. Soon after, Sugar would team with Derrick Howard and Tony Tuff to form The African Brothers. The group was short lived but managed to cut a few records on the Studio One label. After the group disbanded -around 1978- Sugar began to record solo.
Sugar dominated the dancehall era with tunes like Mr. DC, Never Gonna Give Jah Up and perhaps his most notable remake of the Jackson 5′s Good Thing Going. I have to say that Sugar is there in my top listing of favorite reggae artists. He admitted to being influenced by the likes of Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson and my all time favorite, Dennis Brown.
Sugar Minott passed away July 10, 2010. He is and continues to be a pioneer of Roots Reggae music. In life, Sugar was indeed a supporter of the ghetto youths and would often pay hommage to his humble upbringings as being the reason he is able to survive in the industry as he did.
Salute to a great artist and performer – Happy Birthday Sugar!
William Michael Griffin, Jr. respectfully known as Rakim Allah/The God MC, is a hip hop veteran well known to all who claim to know true hip hop music. Rakim was born January 28, 1968 in (Wyandach) Long Island, NY. An all star athlete in high school, Rakim would have likely been a professional footballer had it not been for Eric Barret, or Eric B who would later become his DJ. Eric B at the time worked as a DJ at a prestigious New York radio station and would convince Rakim to take the music serious because he was that good at it. Following Eric B’s consultation, Rakim would leave a potential football career in order to follow his music and become a hip hop icon.
What is evident is that Rakim is a master at developing rhymes that were more prolific and spoke beyond having cash, cars and women. As a member of the Nation of the Gods and Earths, Rakim’s rhyme style are indeed influenced by his spiritual teachings. Rakim’s ability to generate lyrical content required fellow MC’s to either tighten up their lyrical game or drop the prefix “MC” from their titles. For example, the track The Ghetto is a black history lesson/Nation of the Gods build session alone and is without curses. Listen to the lyrics.
Timeless, so age don’t count in the booth when your flow stay submerged in the fountain of youth…
I always enjoyed Eric B & Rakim’s music. Actually, a funny story regarding Eric B and Rakim’s first album – my uncle (dad’s brother) had just came from Dominica to live with us and he wanted to become familiar with New York. My uncle went to the record shop and came home in the evening with Paid In Full. The album had just came out and I didn’t have enough money to get it so when I saw that vinyl in his hand, it was over. He had no clue what that album was about or how important it was that he had it but I immediately took that record, ran to my dad’s music room and played it – Sides A and B, all night. I liked the track Paid in Full so much that I was disappointed it was only 3:50 minutes. As am I writing this, the track I was most intrigued by on that album was Chinese Arithmetic. What caught my attention with this track was how Eric B manipulated the sound of dripping water to match the overall beat of the track. I thought that was absolutely amazing.
A humble man, my son and I met Rakim on 125th St. in 2009. We were leaving House of Hoops and as we walked I noticed Rakim was alone and walking towards us. I asked my son, 14 at the time, if he knew who Rakim was. He said the named sounded familiar (gasp). I immediately told him he was on the track Classic with Nas and Kanye. My son remembered. I urged my son to walk over and say whats up to Rakim. Rakim greeted my son with a pound and “Peace young God, protect your mother.” Obviously that moment was more important to me than it was to my son but whatever.
Rakim still continues to make music and many artists attribute their careers to being influenced by Rakim. Eric B and Rakim are current nominees for the 2012 Hall of Fame induction. Hailed by many as the greatest of all time, Rakim is the God MC, hands down.
One of my favorite Rakim tracks…..
This track hard as all hell…..
Love and support your artists while they’re here too….Enjoy
I can’t take the credit for writing all of the following but I am highlighting this young poet because not only is she that good to be a Black History feature on DJ WayneSki.com but because we share a grandmother, and a few aunts and uncles. Check her out….
A New York City grown cupcake enthusiast and college sophomore with neurotic tendencies, Camonghne was featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices as a member of the Urban Word 2010 team, who became the 2010 National Brave New Voices Champions. She is a two-time New York Knicks Poetry Slam Finalist and the 1st Runner-Up of the 2010 NYC Youth Poet Laureate Program. She is currently (2011) the 17th ranked poet in the world. In early 2011, Camonghne opened for esteemed writer Sapphire, author of the book PUSH and has been honored to share stages with Talib Kweli, Common, Rosario Dawson, Mahogany L Browne, and La Bruja. In November of 2011 she was profiled in The Forward as a Young Jewish Philanthropic Hero. You can find her work in various publications, including Pank Magazine and Kill Author Magazine. She writes about the small things that happen when we’ve stopped looking.
Hailing from the Bx, it isn’t hard to tell that Ka’mone definitely has it going on. She actually makes me want to revsit the poetry reading scene. Her craft inspires me to stay on top of my writing and I’m honored to call her my lil cousin. You can follow her on Twitter @KamoneFromPluto. She apparently has a lot to say.
HBO’s 2010 Brave New Voices Appearance performing Amber Alert with Jessica Blandon….
Nkosinathi Maphumulo better known to us as Black Coffee was born March 11, 1976 in Durban, the largest city of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Nathi began his musical career as a member of the school choir. He later went on to study music theory and keyboard at Natal Technikon. His desire to learn music theory is perhaps what makes him an integral and indeed relevant music producer and DJ today.
Black Coffee left his studies at Natal Technikon in 2001 on a hunch to integrate himself into the music scene taking place in Gauteng, another province of South Africa. He freelanced and played clubs before locking down a residency at The Afrodisiac and Voodoo Lounge in Johannesburg. In 2003, Nathi would participate in the Red Bull Music Academy and the rest is history.
Nathi launched the Soul Natives Music label and also started the foundation “The DJ Black Coffee Foundation” with the hopes of uplifting and assisting people in South Africa who are disabled. He, himself only has the use of one arm, the result of a car accident he endured during his childhood. Visit the foundation website at www.djblackcoffee.org and follow him on Twitter @RealBlackCoffee.
In 2010 Black Coffee set a world record for the longest DJ set (60 hours) using one arm. He is an avid deep house DJ and has received SAMA’s (South African Music Award) in the categories of Best Urban Dance Album (2005, 2010) and Best Male Artist (2010).
Perhaps one of Black Coffee’s most recognizable tracks would be Superman which features South African vocalist Bucie who has been dubbed the princess of House. This track is fresh and remains in heavy rotation at the skating rink……
One of my favorite remixes of a Black Coffee track….
You can also hear a live Black Coffee set on the podcast That’s House Act V with Black Coffee live at Djoon.
James Dewitt Yancey bka J Dilla was born February 7, 1974 in the motor city of Detroit, Michigan. Like most of us, Yancey was influenced by his parent’s love of music. At a very young age, he started to collect vinyl and would perform as the dj at neighborhood gatherings. Yancey was exposed to all genres of music but he developed a distinct love for hip-hop and this passion would eventually become the basis of his life’s work.
Yancey, with two high school friends, formed the group Slum Village and would produce the first series of the group’s albums debuting with Fan-Tas-Tic Vol 1 in 1997. This album would introduce to the underground community and beyond, Dilla’s production skill and would subsequently get the attention of ATCQ’s Q-Tip. J Dilla worked alongside many hip-hop and neosoul notables and was a founding member of The Soulquarians, a collective of musicians that included Questlove, Erykah Badu, Common, and Bilal to name a few.
J Dilla suffered a rare blood disease and was also diagnosed with Lupus. It has been documented in interviews with his mother that Yancey kept a set of turntables in the hospital with him as he worked up until his last days finishing his solo album Donuts. After battling his rare illness and undergoing numerous treatments to no avail, J Dilla passed away days after his 32nd birthday in 2006
J Dilla’s mother and brother created a foundation in Dilla’s honor. This foundation seeks to provide opportunities to children who may show musical talent but lack the resources enabling them to channel their musical energy. Visit the foundation site for more information:
I couldn’t pick just one so….
Love – I love this track because of Curtis Mayfield and Pharoahe Monch….
Love It Here – This is one of my fav instrumentals. It’s wistful and the vocals are soulfully obscure…
Robert Nesta Marley was born February 6, 1946 in the parish of St Ann, Jamaica. Born into a family consisting of a white father and black mother, Marley would use this juxtaposition to his benefit. The messages in his music would resonate unity and liberation; unity of all people and the liberation of those who continued to live under colonial rule and unjust subjugation. An avid musician, he has been honorably regarded as the king of reggae.
Marley’s musical career began very early with him leaving school at the age of 14. He connected with his childhood friend, Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer) and they would attend vocal classes held by reggae musician Joe Higgs. Higgs would later introduce Marley and Wailer to Peter Tosh and with this introduction the world would receive Bob Marley and the Wailers.The trio were introduced to Sir Coxsone Dodd who would later help the trio refine their signature harmony evident in the first Studio One release “Simmer Down”. This single sold over 80,000 copies.
Bob Marley was diagnosed with cancer in 1977 and later succumbed to the illness May 11, 1981. Marley experienced a very successful career and continues to function as an influence not only to his children which include Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Stephen Marley, and Damian “Jr Gong” Marley but he continues to influence the music of many reggae artists and hails as the reigning King of Reggae music.
Happy Bornday Mr Marley.
My all time favorite Marley and the Wailers track…..
Welcoming in the celebration of Black history month, I wanted to start off with a special bornday mention…..
“Here I come with love and not hatred, surely goodness and mercy shall follow I all the days of my life…”
Dennis Emmanuel Brown, born February 1st, 1957 in Kingston, Jamaica, has got to be one of the most recognizable voices in reggae music. Coined as the “Crowned Prince” of reggae, Brown would help define the elements of Lovers Rock, Rockers and Conscious reggae music. Brown’s most recognizable record would probably be Love and Hate which is indeed a classic reggae tune. Dennis Brown worked with a canon of notable reggae producers that included Niney the Observer, Joe Gibbs, and Sir Coxsone Dodd. A musical prodigy, he recorded his first record No Man is an Island at age 13.
I was introduced to reggae music via my father’s vinyl collection. The very first Dennis Brown album I ever became familiar with was an album titled Judge Not which had a picture of both Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs on it. I have to say though, my favorite Brown album is Satisfaction Feeling. This, to me, is an undeniable classic DB album. His voice, no lie, is like soothing honey and he sings with such passion. He is indeed my favorite reggae artist and I am happy that I was able to witness his last live performance in New York at SOB’s in 1998.
Dennis Brown died July 1, 1999 of complications with pneumonia. He rests in Kingston National Heroes Park in Jamaica. The influence of Dennis Brown’s music resonates through artists like Luciano, Freddie McGregor and George Nooks.
So thankful for Youtube, here’s a video of Brown recording Rocking Time….Enjoy