Respect to this cat Mndsgn who makes some incredible beats and compositions. Originally a Bboy from New Jersey, he bounced around a bit before landing in LA where he fit right in with the growing scene of musicians making instrumental music. To me his music sounds funky, gritty, dream like, and warm depending on which of his projects I’m listening to. To date he has released 18 projects ranging from full length albums, to mixtapes, and EPs. Mndsgn has worked with Fatima, Danny Brown, Ivan Ave, Joyce Wrice, Asal Hazel, and more. In addition to putting out incredible music he is also a part of the crew “Klipmode” with Knxledge, Suzi Analogue, and Deron Who. He is also a part of the group “Vivians” and has his own record label releasing new artists with partner Alima. If you’re not familiar with his music, follow him and give his sound a knock.
I still remember playing my cassette of “The Devil Made Me Do It” as a 5th grader in El Cerrito California. I would come home from school, finish my homework, and press play. I can’t remember how I was steered to Paris-The Black Panther from San Francisco, but whenever I think of the history of Bay Area Rap, Hip Hop, and revolutionary thought I think of Paris among many others.
Paris broke some sonic barriers on the west coast by incorporating funk, bass, hard drums, and sharp lyrics that talked about the Panther Party, revolutionary movements, the evils of the US Government, real attempts to dumb Black folks down, the Nation of Islam, Drugs, Hood violence, economic self sufficiency, respect for Black women, and being aware. Studying. Not only that but he produced, made the beats slap by studying the funk of Larry Graham and George Clinton and adding his style to it. Something else P-Dog did was put other people on such as Oakland’s own Conscious Daughters and T-Kash.
Over the years of major label and independent projects Paris has worked with Public Enemy, Dead Prez, The Coup, Immortal Technique, E40, Kam, Fredwreck, Mc Ren, KRSONE, Mystic, DJ True Justice, and many more. His music has been featured in many films and TV shows as well. If you’re not familiar with this cat go check out Guerilla Funk Recordings. Respect!
Sources: Sway In the Morning, Guerilla Funk.com, East Bay Times, SF Gate
Marlon Riggs was a pioneering Black gay filmmaker. He was born in 1957 in Fort Worth Dallas and grew up there as part of a military family and moved around a lot. He lived in Georgia and Germany as a result. Always an incredible student and queer he faced discrimination, racism, and alienation from both many people. In the mid 70s he got a scholarship to Harvard University and although he excelled academically was hiding his true sexuality. Then Marlon moved to the Bay Area where he attended UC Berkeley study film and Black history. He became a filmmaker and shot his first documentary “Long Train Running” about West Oakland blues history in 1982. He also began to embrace his sexuality and bean what would become a life long relationship with Jack Vincent. They were among the first gay couples in the Bay to apply for domestic partnership. He went on to become a faculty member at UCB an self funded and produced another film called “Ethnic Notions” about the historic portrayal of Black folks which aired on PBS. He went on to join a group called the “Black Gay Men United” and made a film called “Tongues Untied” which was revolutionary in its portrayal of queer Black men. The film received wide acclaim and criticism. Riggs would go on to make several more films, to win international film awards, to become a young tenured UCB faculty member, and to receive an honorary degree from CCAC (now CCA). Marlon learned after having kidney failure that he was HIV positive. He would later die from complications of AIDS and he vowed to not stay silent about the disease which was ripping apart both queer and straight communities across the US. Marlon was a pioneer in film, Gay pride, and Black history.
Sources: MarlonTRiggs.com, Current.org, I Shall Not Be Removed (film)
The first record I purchased that had Jaydee’s name on it was a remix of “Woo ha” by Busta Rhymes. I thought that beat was amazing. The 2nd time was a beat he did for Phat Kat’s “don’t nobody care about us” that Harley (drummer for Wild Hunt) had. I played it over and over again. Then tribe LP. Then the Slum Village stuff, then it felt solidified that this guy was one of my favorite producers. I’m not gonna do the whole bio today, go look it up. But for you young musicians, this guy truly studied, made art w/ the likes of D’Angelo, Q Tip, Blackstar, Pharcyde, De La Soul, Janet Jackson, The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu, Madlib, Elzhi, Amo Fiddler, too many to name and his sound lives on through so many musicians today. Dilla! 1974-2006! I remember the day he passed. RIP. You can purchase a print for $20 (includes shipping) , email at firstname.lastname@example.org -a portion will go to Ma Dukes!