Back on ‘The Corner’

Hi friend,

A few years ago I was sitting in Mr. Hollin’s room at Douglass Elementary School in Walnut Hills. I was left in charge of 22 very challenging young first graders. I needed something to hold their attention. I grabbed a children’s book of poetry off the shelf and began reading. I quickly realized that I could rap the poems from the book. I began rapping. The kids loved it. Attention held!

Fast forward to earlier this year. I am sitting in the Presbyterian Church of Wyoming’s children’s library (in Cincinnati, I know its weird). I am cleaning out old books. What do you know. I come across the same exact same book of poetry. Then, the light went off.

I have been pursuing music AND working with kids my entire life. However, I never really created music for kids. I always created music for adults. Can you guess where I’m going?

There it was. As plain as day the thought illuminated my whole being; I need to create children’s content. It’s not as much as I want to, I have to. Don’t get me wrong I want to do this, but that desire is far outweighed by the overwhelming sense of obligation. I feel a calling to this.

So what is it? Well, it has taken off and it’s called The Corner. The Corner is a unique hip hop music, video, art and storytelling platform designed to entertain young children and help them learn about life and their world with a delightful sense of humor and discovery. You can think of it as the Hip-hop Shel Silverstein of this generation.

There is so much more to it. There is another rapper involved, an illustrator in France, a chief creative officer at a really big marketing firm all in this together to make it a success.

I will be sharing much more about it as the weeks and months go on. For now I need you to do three things…

1. Be excited for me
2. Be prepared to help kickstart this thing (kickstarter campaign is coming soon)
3. Watch the video below simply by clicking on it (or copy and paste this link into your browser… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKf2USx30aM

Please share my excitement today then reply to this e-mail and let me know what you are excited about these days.

Peace,
Adam

The Roots: “…and then you shoot your cousin” (album review)

I’m going to write a stellar review forthe Roots new album. I’m going to rap its praises. But, is it really a classic album? Well, if you’re asking that question isn’t that for you to decide? Here is my take…

Earlier this week I saw that the new Roots album, “…and then you shoot your cousin” was available for free streaming online. I declined the opportunity to listen. I’m a bit old school with music. I prefer to actually get up, go to the record store, and purchase albums especially from artists like TheRoots.

So, I waited until today. Knowing that mom & pop stores will typically sell you new releases as soon as they get them in the store I was off to Everybody’s Records. I asked the manager if he would hold me a copy of the new roots album when itgets in. He says, “Well, it might be in already. Do you have a minute for me to look through some boxes?” Do I? Of course, that’s why I came!!!

After one listen I know this album is special. It is pretty short. In fact I don’t even think Black Thought drops 10 verses on the album. But when he shows up he does so with extreme care making sure every verse makes sense and every syllable translates into audible words as well as rhythmic percussion. Dope.

Then, there is Dice Raw. That dude. I just love him. He is not Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen. He’s Ron Harper. Tremendous talent. Never really shined on his own, but when surrounded by greatness he elevates that greatness even higher. I’m sure there is a more modern Miami Heat or San Antonio analogy, but I’m old school remember (plus, I’m really hoping the Paces eventually smash them)!

Speaking of old school, the drums on this album are so on point in my book. They remind me of old school break beats, but they are not. They are Questlove breaks and they are lovely. No one is making drums sound as live, fresh, and vintage as Questlove. Adrian Younge comes close.

This album sounds so good. It is dark, slow. It utilizes silence. It offers glimpses of something other than itself, but it remains. I think it is great and will rise to the top of my favorite all time Roots albums fairly quickly. It is certainly going to be one of the best Hip-hop albumsof the year giving ‘Pinata’ a run for its money.

But, here is my angle when it comes to writing about albums… my angle. It is what the album does for me. Not what the album does for you. Music is not contained. It can never be. It is whatever you perceive it to be. I could argue all day with you to change your mind, but shouldn’t we let the music do that? Support local stores, support quality artists, and go buy a copy of “…and then you shoot your cousin.” And then let me know what you think.**

Current rating: Masterpiece
Future Prediction: Divine

Rating System
Divine (perfection)
Masterpiece (very close to perfection)
Classic (every song is really good)
Good (most of the songs are really good)
(anything less than good should not be reviewed for this group. If you review anything less than good then their will be comments:)

**For the record I have stolen my fair share of music online. Even stole a few physical cds back in Jr. High. Sorry Best Buy.