Wednesday, May 19

video: janelle monae on david letterman

The genre-busting Janelle Monae performs her hit, "Tightrope", off her amazing debut album. The ArchAndroid is available in stores now, and its definitely approved. This album represents the type of sound, talent, and effort that should be in the forefront. Great work, Ms. Monae. The album is available at Itunes and Amazon . Please support good music!

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Friday, January 29

event: resilient rhythm (2/5)

Join us at The Arts Garage, Philadelphia as we honor the memory and assist the rebuilding effort of the people of Haiti, who on January 12, 2010 experienced an enourmous human tragedy. All proceeds of this event will go to the Haitian Reconstruction Project.

About the event:
Place: The Arts Garage, 1533 Ridge Ave, Philly PA 19130
Time: 10pm-3am
Cost: $10
This event will feature DJ Statik, and catering by SpicyWildMango

For more information please email

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Tuesday, November 10

wale releases attention deficit

For those who frequent the site and have not heard of DMV artist Wale, no worries. Thats why exists. Hailing from the DMV area, Wale burst onto the local scene in 2005 dropping mixtapes (100 Miles and Running, A Mixtape About Nothing, Hate Is The New Love, Back To The Feature) and doing local shows. It was in 2007, where I got a chance to meet Wale through Jabari, and witnessed him perform for the first time. The brother brought the crowd down, and it wasn't long before he translated his mixtape success into being signed by Interscope. Discovered by Mark Ronson, Wale soon began to make appearances on studio albums of major artists such as The Roots. The Howard University community recognized his talent at the outset, and probably collectively represent one of his biggest followings. Parties routinely included his "Dig Dug" and "Breakdown". He has performed at the Yardfest concert the last three years, even filming his video for "Nike Boots" there. Today is the release of his first studio album, Attention Deficit and the beginning of what we hope is a long career. The project features legends (Bun B), the future (J.Cole and K'Naan), and some of the best vocalists out right now (Chrisette Michele, Marsha Ambrosius). Don't take our word for it however, we have provided the skeptics with a preview of this great project. The album is in stores now support our brother!

Wale "Mama Told Me"

Wale "TV In the Radio" featuring K'Naan

Wale "Beautiful Bliss" featuring Melanie Fiona and J.Cole

My brother Jabari interviews Wale

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Tuesday, October 27

cameo headlines howard university's yardfest

The 2009 HU Homecoming Steering Committee provides the old heads with a little reminder of the past. Usually Yardfest includes up and coming artists, however this year the coordinators saw fit to take it back. In their 33rd year of performing, the crowd enjoyed renditions of classics such as "Single Life", "Candy", "She's Strange", and "Word Up!". Here's a glimpse of the hour-long set from Cameo!

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Monday, October 19

philadelphia's rafiya presents: amazing

Got this new track in my inbox the other day. This is from Philly-based Afro-Soul singer Rafiya. The track is called 'Amazing'. Support her, you can find it at itunes. Shouts to Jimmy and 413 Management for the heads up.

Who is Rafiya?

Rafiya was born in Los Angeles to Congolese parents: a diplomat father and a sociologist mother. Due to her father’s career, she traveled extensively during her formative years: living in Congo (Democratic Republic), the Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Senegal, Guinea, Barbados and Ivory Coast. She moved to Philadelphia in 2001 to attend Temple University where she double majored in Sociology and Spanish, and graduated in 2006 with honors.

While attending school full-time in the aforementioned nations, Rafiya found time to work with local artists, absorbing their techniques and wisdom all the while enriching her sound. She has worked with Oscar Kidjo, recorded in Youssou N’Dour’s studio and toured France and North Africa with French rap star, Mokobe.

Every passing collaboration, studio session and performance strengthened her ever-present belief that she would be spending her life making music; making people smile, dance and think.

Rafiya writes and sings about the human experience in French and English but regardless of your native tongue, her passion translates itself in the melody. Parlez-vous Rafiya?

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when and where i enter: paula giddings

book info: published in 1984 by Morrow
author info: Paula Giddings is a professor of African American Studies at Smith College

Anna Julia Cooper. Ida Bell Wells-Barnett. Maria Miller Stewart. Mary Church Terrell. Mary McLoed Betuhune. These are just a few of the names that are mentioned in this important work on the history of Black women in the United States. In her work, Paula Giddings provides a narrative history of the impact of Black women on America and more specifically and importantly the lives of the Black community in America. For whatever reasons, the general history of African people in America is distorted, and this includes many African American women. Giddings begins the process of uncovering some of the stories and struggles of these women in the American context. Well-written and informative, When And Where I Enter is an important piece of scholarship for the casual reader, scholar, as well as the young people in our communities.


"...Black women had already proven their inherent strengths--both physical and psychological. They had undergone a baptism of fire and emerged intact." (pg. 55)

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Wednesday, September 30

david walker's appeal

This past Monday marked the 180th anniversary of the publication of David Walker's Appeal. This was one of the first attempts by an African American to inspire his people to rise up and 'retake their fame'. It was one of the first attempts by an African American to elucidate the inner workings of white supremacy in America. It was one of the first attempts by an African American to brainstorm solutions for Black people. It was a seminal work and work that is to this day still relevant. The four sections of this work include:

David Walker work represents truth, authenticity, and passion. It is a work of great honesty and worth.

This books is available online for free. Check it out here.

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Tuesday, September 29

interview with tolu olorunda

In our latest artist spotlight, we interview Tolu Olorunda. One of the brighter minds in hip-hop and journalism. Olorunda has recently released an instrumental EP entitled, Open Casket which is available for free download (we thank the Brother for that). We at Beats and Books decided we want to know a little more about the brother so we conducted an interview.

BB: Introduce the world to Tolu Olorunda.

TO: I am a cultural critic whose work has appeared on several websites including,,,,, among others. I don't work primarily as a producer, but I did for about three years until early 2008, when I decided to focus more on a career in writing.

BB: What are your earliest influences in music, and in life in general?

TO: My earliest influences in music are varied. But two musicians I grew accustomed to hearing at a young age are Bob Marley and Nas. Life influences would probably be more the guys I hung out with when I skipped class and school. There was an innocence and realness I grew accustomed to in those environments that attracted me. Later on, when I began reading voraciously, I came to understand just why I had more in common outside of than within a controlled classroom setting.

BB: What is the inspiration behind the Open Casket project?

TO: The first 7 beats on the album are the result of a beat battle I engaged in just a couple of months ago. I battled a local producer and thought the beats came out pretty good--more so because, as I prepared for the battle, the creative energy didn't just limit me to battle-style beats. In the process, I created tribute songs to the legacies of icons like Michael Jackson and Mike Tyson. The last three, however, are a random selection from my vast, past catalog--just a small treat from the many beats I created in those three years.

BB: Who did you work with on it?

TO: Nobody. Just Me, Myself, and I. I work solo. That way, full control over the direction of such a project is in my hands. But I credit my whole career to the immortal spirit of J Dilla--in whose work I've found illimitable motivation, drive, diligence, and richness.

BB: What is in your Ipod?

TO: I don't have a Ipod, but my musical library (which includes Vinyls, CDs, and cassette tapes) is as diverse from Odetta to Mos Def, Fela Kuti to Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong to Coltrane, Nas to Carlos Santana, J Dilla to DOOM, Devin the Dude to Z-Ro, Talib Kweli to Pearl Bailey, Pete Rock to Big L, MC Lyte to KRS-One, Michael Jackson to Ray Charles, Ahmad Jamal to Tears for Fears, Joni Mitchell to Muddy Waters, James Brown to Lupe Fiasco, Amir Sulaiman to George Carlin, Femi Kuti to Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin to Brian Eno and David Byrne, and many others without whom I couldn't survive.

BB:Where can fans go to learn more about you and see more of your work?

TO:You can check out,, and

BB:In your opinion, what is the state of African and African American music?

It's in crisis--a severe one. If we don't act now, we would be mortgaging the future of the next generation--abandoning them at the hands of capricious executives who have no respect for our culture or music or artform, who simply see it as an ATM machine. They've made ATM cards out of artists--swiping them at the speed of light. It's not just Hip-Hop. It's every musical creation classifiable as "Black" in the native sense of the word. They've commercialized the sound and re-packaged it as disposable, paper-plate, bubble-gum caricatures of serious art--music at its purest form. For more, see the great documentary, Before the Music Dies.

BB: How do we raise the consciousness of our people through music?

TO: By demanding the labels, media outlets, and artists all stop feeding the public bullsh**. I've written quite extensively about this issue in the last few months, and I plan to keep on doing so for as long as the need remains. Some fans are smart; some aren't. Some fans can see the forest from the trees; some lack the foresight. Some artists are prophetic in their inclination (see Jasiri X, Amir Sulaiman, Asa, M.anifest, K'Naan, Tumi & The Volume, Invincible, Ian Kamau, for young, noteworthy examples); many aren't. But the universal theme in all this is choice and diversity--something major labels seem to lack the intellectual capacity in grasping. So, it's incumbent upon conscientious fans to do the heavy lifting. We have to stop purchasing music that degrades women, promotes promiscuity, and champions materialism above the non-market values--such as Peace, Love, and Unity--that founded, and are at the core of, Hip-Hop culture.

BB:What is next from you?

TO:More wide-ranging, hard-hitting essays, and a book to be released sometime next year.

Thanks for the opportunity. I love the concept of the site: beats and books--two essential tools in my life!

We thank Tolu for a great interview and we encourage everyone to cop the Open Casket EP as well as check out some of the his articles. Its well worth it. Expand your mind!

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Wednesday, September 23

video: happy birthday john coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967)

Celebrating the life and achievements of John William Coltrane. Maa Kheru. Enjoy these videos.

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Tuesday, September 22

music: dv one's "soul girl" mix

If you don't get DJ DV One's newsletters you miss out on gems like this. I will just leave it at that. Here is his "Soul Girl" mix. Listen and Download

From DV One

Whattup ya'll!

LIVE AND DIRECT FROM THE 206.... well for now at least.
Fresh back from Detroit Big Tune... BIg up to all the competitors,
and the winners Apollo Brown, and Frank Dukes! see u at the
finals in ATL. Being in Detroit we took a trip to Hitsville USA.
The birthplace of motown records and many, many soul legends.
It was that visit which was the inspiration for this weeks mix.
This weeks jammy is all abt the soul girl... This one will definitely
have a volume II, maybe a vol. III & IV too... So much good stuff
and more that i didn't even get to add. As always listen, enjoy
and pass along to anyone else u think may be interested.
This is the 27th mix to the collection, so u know its good :)

Until next time....


DV One
Rock Steady Crew
Massive Monkees


Roberta Flack - killing me softly
Margie Joseph - stop in the name of love
Diana Ross - my world is empty
Ten Wheel Drive - aint gonna happen
The Emotions - as long as ive got you
Yvonne Fair - let your hair down
Dawn Penn - no no no
Sister Nancy - bam bam
Booker T & the MGs - children dont get weary
Lyn Collins - take me
Patrice Rushen - where is the love
Marva Whitney - only you
Wendy Rene - after laughter
Minnie Ripperton - adventures in paradise
Marlena Shaw - woman of the ghetto
Lyn Collins - you cant love me if you...
Ella Fitzgerald - sunshine of your love
Vicki Anderson - i want to be in the land of milk & honey
Aretha Franklin - respect
Teena Marie - square biz
Freda Payne - you brought the joy
Thelma Houston - reach out i'll be there
Nicole Willis - feeling free
Cold Blood - i wish i knew

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