Her music may roam the skies but Eagle Nebula stays grounded…

“I understand that people need to have reference points to understand new things better. The sound, people are still trying to grasp where to put it.” – Eagle Nebula

I was first introduced to Eagle Nebula by way of her song “Funny” that stuck out as one of my favorite tracks on a Blind I compilation back in 2009.  The first thing that hit me was how strong the beat knocked and after I picked myself off the floor I digested her unique delivery and wordplay. Her lyrics are honest and nostalgic most of the time, reminiscing on a moment in some of our lives that was pure and amazingly unfolding in front of our eyes. Not laced with sexual exploits, profanity or stripper pole dreams that some of her female contemporaries fall victim to stay relevant, Eagle Nebula has a voice that I want to hear.

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“It’s the way in 7th grade I used to bump to Mobb Deep” – Funny

DJS: It amazes me that while you were in 7th grade being affected by Mobb Deep’s “The Infamous” I was a freshman in college having my own personal experience with that album.  Hip Hop is the soundtrack of our lives. What other hip-hop albums in your past had a major effect on you when they were released?

EN: I was fortunate to be in junior high school when a lot of great hip-hop albums were coming out around 1995-1997. I was heavy into each Wu-Tang release, but rocked Liquid Swords, Iron Man, (Only Built for)Cuban Links and ODB really hard.  I was really into Devine Styler, Del, Handsome Boy Modeling School and Bahamadia.  I love The Pharcyde so both Bizzare Ride and LabCabinCalifornia are major albums for me. Along with a healthy dose of Freestyle Fellowship, De La Soul’s Stakes is High and Buhloone Mindstate  and Tribe. I really fell in love with albums that had that early Jay Dee production on it. Of course, Fantastic Vol. 2 and J-88.

“As long as you split your stick of gum in half…” – Funny

DJS: You seem to be fond of remembering specific things from childhood. What other things from your childhood do you have fond memories of?

EN: I’m hella nostalgic in general, but the song you are referring to is off the album, Cosmic Headphones, which was created with a childhood friend of mine, so it was a nostalgic creative period for me. My most fond childhood memories are of my mother (a dancer) dragging me around to various art, music and dance parties in LA, all the while wishing I was at home watching TV. She would insist that I needed to see and experience these things and I’m so glad she did. Most of my great memories from childhood are centered around Leimert Park in the mid to late 90’s. It’s amazing how much those years shaped me.

DJS: When listeners first hear an artist, it is natural for them to place a genre on them or make a comparison in order to explain their sound. Have you ever been compared to any rapper and how do you feel about people categorizing sounds and making comparisons?

EN: I used to get MC Lyte or KRS One a lot in the beginning. I understand that people need to have reference points to understand new things better. The sound, people are still trying to grasp where to put it.  For me, it is more about a feeling than a sound. It’s a vibration that the universe wants to exist and it is manifesting through me and many others.  I’m just a vessel. Put it in whatever category you want, as long as the vibe can be felt there.

DJS: I recently made a tweet about how I feel that due to the type of rap that is being pushed by the industry it is directly affecting how women interact amongst themselves and with the public.  I feel that women today that listen to mainstream rap are very aggressive and can sometimes be negative. How do you feel about this opinion and do you feel that mainstream rap music affects women’s behavior?

EN: Mainstream rap plays a greater role in our culture than most would like to actually believe. Life is imitating art on a greater level than ever before because now, that art is everywhere all the time. In your computer, on your phone, blasting out of car windows…Songs are affirmations and we often get what we affirm. I think in addition to making folks aggressive, it has helped perpetuate a lack of sensitivity to what’s happening in the real world. It affects women in a lot of different ways, from the way we relate to one another, to our standards for our mates and even the standards we put on ourselves and each other. Everybody just wants the music video as their life. That’s a major cultural fail.

DJS: I see a strong cosmic influence on your style, where did that manifest from?

EN: I come from a Trekky Sci-Fi family. My brother is a Science Fiction writer and my dad used to play 2012: A Space Oddessy on loop when I was a kid. My grandfather was an astrologist, so I feel connected to the spiritual aspects of space as well. I think there is something in the water in LA that makes a lot of us have a slight space obsession. Plus, I’m and 80’s kid, so I want a flying car and a house like The Jetsons.

DJS: Let’s play a game of word association.  Say the first thing that comes to mind.

  • Octavia Butler  The illest
  • Africa Tro Tro
  • Business That’s what this is.
  • Legendary aren’t we all?
  • Crab  um. I don’t bang homie.
  • California WEST!
  • Brooklyn needs more swimming pools and better schools
  • Headphones make sure they’re COSMIC!
  • Image warfare
  • Quality over quantity

DJS: One of my favorite things about your style is your beat choice.  I’m a beat junkie so production plays a major role into whether or not I dig a tune.  What producers would you like to work with and why?

EN: I’ve been fortunate to work with some really amazing and talented producers over the years. I appreciate working with artists who I can grow and build with. I feel it when our working together makes us both better artists. I like to work with people who believe in magic and newness over formulaic cookie cutter vibes. I’d love to work with Four Tet, Shabazz Palaces or Earl Blaze of Anti Pop cuz they are fearless and I love the vibe and the energy of what they do.

DJS: When did you decide that you wanted to become an emcee? What was the defining moment?

EN: Honestly, when I moved to New York, I couldn’t find a job, but people were always asking me to record or perform. I figured, that must be my job then.

Stay connected:

www.iameaglenebula.com
www.eaglenebula.blogspot.com
twitter.com/eaglenebula
facebook.com/eaglenebula
www.myspace.com/eaglenebulamusic


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CHICS WHO ROCK: DJ Aura doesn’t want your labels just your attention…

The music industry, is like a country club of men that won’t allow you entry unless you have some luggage between your legs. On the outskirts of patriarchy lies a group of dope women doing dope things. There’s nothing sexier than women in control of their art. One member of this league of extraordinary women, is DJ Aura. I came across this sister while wasting away my free time social networking and I became an instant fan. She has an ear for flava underground joints and her spirit is genuine. Time for you to get familiar with DJ Aura.

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DJS: When did you decide that you wanted to become a DJ? What experiences led up to that decision?

DJA: Being a dj is something that I’ve always wanted to do I just never had a chance to learn how to dj. I can remember seeing the movie Juice for the first time. I’ve always loved music and been very obsessive over my collection. So a few years ago I happen to find myself at a “djing for girls” workshop. Once I learned the basics, the rest was history.

DJS: There are different types of djs: night club dj, radio dj, mixtape dj, ipod dj…. what type of dj are you and what challenges have you come across trying to express your art your way?

DJA: I’m guess I’m pretty old school. I dj w/ 1200’s. I will dj any where for $$, bat mizvahs ba mi LOL. Well I’ve dj’ed several radio shows, and I have my own radio show. I’ve spun at poetry ciphers, sneakers shows, art shows, and I have a monthly party. I post mixes & make podcasts. I guess I’m pretty versatile.

DJS: How do you feel about gender specific words such as “femcee” and “she-j”?

DJA: hmmmm She-J. I don’t think I like that term. What makes a female dj different from a male dj? Doesn’t art transcend gender? I’m not one for labels.

DJS: Let’s play a game of word association.  Say the first thing that comes to your mind:

SL1200 – Antique or an artifact that should be preserved
Social Networks – NECESSARY!!!
The 90s – Golden Era/ Cross Colors
Shoes – 54.11’s
Soft – Bunny Rabits
Nerds – Sexy
Natural – K.O.S. Knowledge of Self
Honesty – Authentic
Crush – Groove
Influence – Global/International


DJS: What influences you artistically?

DJA: Everything influences me artistically life, polictics, people

DJS: If you could open for any DJ who would it be?

DJA: If I could open for any dj in the world I would open for Kid Capri

DJS: What are your top 5 records to spin and why?

DJA: 1. Ascension by MaxwellI’ve loved this song since the 1st time I heard. I think this song welcomes people to the dancefloor
2. You Give Me Something by Jamiroquaiessential to any dance party
3. Golden Lady by Stevie Wonder I’ve always imagined myself dancing to this song at my wedding
4. Jump by K-oskinda pacifies the house heads
5. Shakatak by Night BirdsI feel this song lets people know they should be dancing together. This song transforms singles into couples.

DJS: Being a dj allows you to travel the world, meet all kinds of people and even open up other avenues never once fathomed. What would you like to accomplish with our craft?

DJA: It’s so interesting how music unites people. Everyone no matter what race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation dances. Music is essential to life in my opinion. I would like to see communities unify and people take ownership of what happens in their community. I would like my music to incite social change.

DJS: What kind of advice could you offer to young girls who want to embark in a career that is male dominated?

DJA: I would tell any young woman who aspires to become a dj to define her sound. Only spin the music that inspires you. Don’t be driven by money; however, make sure you know your worth. Lastly, NEVER COMPROMISE!

DJS:  You just released the mixtape “Taste of Power vol.1”. What was the motivation behind that project?

DJA: I think independent female artists need more platforms to showcase their work. And I thought what other way to help this cause than by making a mixtape.

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Graffiti haven, 5Pointz, might become another victim of new NY

Sunday, NY Daily News, featured an article about Long Island City’s legendary graffiti realm, 5Pointz.  Developers plan on building high rise apartments and restaurants in place of this landmark location in the hopes of revitalizing the neighborhood.  For so long this area was abandoned and the ingenuity of hip hop came along and beautified the eye soar.  Now developers want to build housing that will most likely not be affordable. The owner of the site also plans on having studio spaces for artists but that in no way compares to the masterpiece that exists right now.

I was having a conversation with a friend about gentrification.  The problem with gentrification is that Caucasians are taking over neighborhoods occupied by Black and Brown people because the recession has made it virtually impossible for them to afford living in more affluent areas.  However, the major problem is that when the Caucasians move into a neighborhood, they aren’t leaving the old neighborhoods either and they don’t rent to Black and Brown people either.  Where are we to go?  The master plan is to eliminate the Black and Brown lower and middle class and move us out of NYC.

Okay, okay… I know I ran on a tangent, but shit is real in this battlefield.

P.U.D.G.E. – “Hot as the kitchen; cold as your Frigidaire”

It’s the most refreshing feeling to meet someone for the first time and you are able to speak with them with ease about a myriad of things.  That’s the feeling I got when I first met P.U.D.G.E not to mention he sweetened the introduction by handing me a vinyl copy of his project with Dibiase, Los Angeles 1/10.  His musical scope is expansive, and his appreciation for the art is admirable.  As an emcee, deejay and producer, P.U.D.G.E has remained busy touring and has released at least 6 projects in the past few years.  Take a closer look….

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DJS: How do you come up with the names of your tracks?

P: It’s a combination of influences, between what i might have made to make it (samples, artists, sounds,) or simply the first word/sound that comes to mind after it’s rocking for a while. No real rhyme or reason.

DJS: Let’s say you were putting together a group of your all time favorite producers, kind of like DC Comics “Super Friends”. Who would you choose to be on your squad? 

P: Awwwwwww chit!!! Dilla (R.I.P.) is the captain, Pete Rock is the OG, Primo is the enforcer, BattleCat for the West coast slump,  & to round out my squad…Diamond D, Nottz, Havoc , DJ Quik , Pimp C (R.I.P.), Erick Sermon (90’s era), Large Professor, Organized Noize & DJ Pooh.  I really want to have more, but i’ts already unfair. LOL.

DJS: You use a lot of movie clips for your albums, so I’m assuming that you are an avid movie watcher.  Name your top 5 movies of all time.

P: I don’t know if I would be considered an avid movie watcher.  Believe it or not alot of the clips I use aren’t necessarily my favs. They made sense with the beat, but… hmmmmmm, The Last Dragon, BellyRockers, Barfly & Penitentiary II.

DJS: So you’re a producer, an emcee and from the looks of your tweets, a life coach or budding spiritual healer.  What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 yrs?

P: I would like to officially get to the point where I am thriving off of music solely. Complete independence from any other revenue stream but the release and performance of my art (and some deejaying) is (my) financial goal. Also in terms of spirituality and my physical being, I just want to continue my commitment to improvement. I’m not sure where it would put me in 5 years, but if I work at getting a ‘lil better every day, I’m sure it will be a good place.

DJS: Let’s do a bit of word association, I’m going to say 10 words/ideas and tell me the first thought that comes to mind:

Art sensitive
4080 –  shady industry types
Bass line – my favorite part (and i love to yell it right when it comes in, like at a soundclash)
Mary Jane – she’s my main thing, she makes me feel alright. and uh, she makes my heart sing.
Fame – overrated
Reality – ignored
Square – man made
Master plan – the creator’s got one
Collaboration – a big part of musical growth
Nocturnal – not me (im a morning person)

DJS: Your name is an acronym and you reference 222 a lot. What do both of those mean?

P: Wellllll, my name means many different things. It started as a reference to my stature in high school. “Pudgy Reggy” my homegirl used to call me.  As I got older and more serious as an artist I wanted a name that “meant something”.  Instead of calling myself some pretentious and deep nickname, for the sake of looking cool, I made it an acronym. Here are a few … People. Usually.Dont.Get.Even / Practice.Utilize.Divine.Grace.Eryday /  Peace.Understanding.Dignity.Garners.Excellence / Persistent.Unyeiding.Demanding.Good.Energy and the list goes on… I used to change it on my AIM status daily.

222 is the street my grandmother lives on in Queens that I moved back to when I was 17 and first realizing that I was put here to make music.  As the path got clearer the number started showing up in my everyday life.  I would see 2:22, 12:22 am & pm. I would see it in addresses, phone numbers and it just started showing up A LOT.  A few years later I looked it up in numerology and it stated that you are on the right path.  As of now it’s the second and most recent tattoo I have.

DJS: If there was a message that you wanted to get across with your music, what would it be?

P: Love Is the message… Be Yourself. Tune in to what YOU really want and how you want to be.  Nothing in this life is promised, so enjoy each day as it could be your last.  Be thankful for it all.

Follow him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PUDGEMCEE

Check out his Bandcamp page

 

CHICS WHO ROCK: Raye 6 “La Dolce Vita”

Upon first sight you may be distracted by the larger than life hair, the super sexy ensemble or even her fierce shoe game, but smoldering beneath the surface is a dessert of super thick and sweet soul.  With a voice reminiscent of Stephanie Mills, Raye 6 has a voice that can’t be reckoned with. Her talent has even gone international after visiting Japan, a country known for it’s daring fashion sense and limitless innovation, which seems to be a perfect match for Raye 6. Everything about her steez, screams star and I advise you to get on this train before it leaves the station.  If she keeps on pushing the way she has been: music, videos, pastries, lifestyle it won’t be long before Raye 6 becomes the name that everyone knows.

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DJS: You seem to always be “on”. I think I’ve only seen you dress down two times. Always being on your “A” game is a talent in itself.  What is your favorite outfit to wear when you just wanna lounge?

R6: Yeah it’s a talent and a burden. It shows you how society will only accept you when you’re “on”. When I’m not “on”which is rare, I’m at home relaxing in my birthday suit.

DJS: With the plethora of skimpy and sometimes complicated outfits that you’ve worn, have you ever had a Janet Jackson moment?

R6: With the plethora of skimpy outfits that I own, it’s inevitable that I have a malfunction right? But I haven’t and I won’t because all of my clothes are custom made for my body, so the only skins you’ll ever see  is what I allow.

DJS: Your whole style is sexy: from your music, your presence, your fashion, and even the name of your pastry business, “Eat My Treats”. Who do you find sexy today and why?

R6: I find Michael McDonald sexy because of that voice, The Obama’s are sexy because of the power and black love they possess.

DJS: In the movie, “Like Water for Chocolate” every emotion the main character felt would transfer to the food she was cooking. If a tear fell into the batter and you ate the cookie, you would cry.  I can only imagine what kind of reaction someone eating your pastries would have.  Give me 3 names of super sexy pastries.

R6: “Kiss my Cakes” which are my multi flavored giant cupcakes topped with handmade fondant lips, “Roses Are” which are my handmade rose cupcakes, “Va-JJ” which are my hand sculpted sugar vagina cookies.

DJS: You recently released the official video for “Universal Lover”.  Who came up with the styling of the video and how much of a role did you play in that process?

R6: I came up with the styling for the video. The hair the clothing the jewelry everything. Any vision I have is executed to the fullest by me. I know what I want. I know what attitude I want you to possess when you’re working with me and I know what I want you to look like. The creative process is easy when it’s coming from your own mind.

DJS: So your entourage, “The Bubble Girls” are beautiful companions that add to the whole appeal of your stage show.  What was the concept behind them when you were formulating the idea?

R6: The Bubble Girls were my imaginary friends when I was a little girl. They wore tutu’s and blew bubbles. So when I was thinking of an added visual stimulant for my shows I brought them to life.

DJS: I have seen a few artists become very closed and adopt an elitist attitude on their rise to fame. I must say that you are one of the nicest, most humble people I’ve encountered.  How do you stay grounded?

R6: I stay grounded by knowing that what I do is never enough. There’s so much more to accomplish so there’s no need to feel like “I’ve arrived!” I still am and will always be in “building” mode.

DJS: “Chocolate Mahogany Poppy” was featured on Sin City II because the song was so delicious. How much reality is in your lyrics?

R6: My lyrics are all reality, no painted pictures here.

Geisha ♥’s Producers (1 – 5)

These alchemists are an integral part of music, in some cases they are responsible for what picture is painted.  Their range is limitless and they have the to control your moods just be the manipulation of note placement, drum pattern and adlibs. Being the beat junkie that I am, I found it only right to pay tribute to some of the producers who have created the ever-evolving  soundtrack to my life. This list is by no means in any particular order and hopefully I’m able to introduce some of you to new favorites. Enjoy and spread the love … it’s the Brooklyn way!

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1. Wax Tailor (JC Le Saout)

It’s a brisk autumn day decorated in colors of black, gray and white. A crisp wind sneaks up underneath your loose fitting blouse as your hair effortlessly glides across your cheek.  All the while you are focused on a target, eyes penetrating the chosen destination. A hum of violins creep up in acrescendo and even though you notice the melody, you don’t lose focus.  That’s what I envision listening to Wax Tailor’s music. It’s cinematic, it breathes, it’s beautiful.

Wax Tailor has been compared to artists such as RJD2, Portishead and DJ Shadow because of his mood music.  Extending the days of “trip hop” his use of strings and heavy bass line is the reason why this amazing producer was at the top of the CMJ Hip Hop and RPM charts in 2006 and “Tales” remained in Itunes Top Electronic Albums list for 28 weeks straight.

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2. Jake One (Jacob Dutton)

Hearing Jake One’s production makes me fall in love with the hardcore street rap of the 90s when groups such as Mob Deep, the Notorious B.I.G. and CNN were running things.  I like his work so much that he was one of the producers I chose to include on The Lotus Lab Show 63 – Mad Notes, which was pure instrumental heaven.  Hailing all the way from Seattle, this beatsmith is a professional when it comes to making headnodding tracks.  As a producer for many G-Unit projects, Jake One has worked with some of the best emcees of the underground such as Doom, De La Soul, Little Brother and Elzhi.  In 2008, Jake One released the impressive White Van Music, where every track is straight fire.  Since then he’s released The Stimulus Package with Freeway and Patience with TruthLive.

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3. Osunlade

Honestly, I wasn’t always a house music head.  In the late 80s and early 90s when people in the North and MidWest were listening to house I was too busy dancing to freestyle.  Not until I was introduced to Osunlade did I appreciate this form of dance music.  Now tribal/afro house is my favorite form of this genre.  Many of his production is drum heavy, giving a very raw, tribal feel due to his belief in Yoruba.  Born in the St. Louis, this Yoruba priest started out composing music for Sesame Street during the same time I was wearing patent leather shoes and dancing to artists such as George Lamond and TKA.  His spiritual belief system is so apparent that he names a lot of his songs after Yoruba principals and deities.  My personal favorite from him is Sokin Sikartep

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4. Oddisee (Amir Mohamed Elkhalifa)

His beats are velvety smooth.  When I bought Jazzy Jeff’s 2002 release, Magnificent, I never knew the track “Musik Lounge” was produced by Oddissee.  And when I was nodding my head to the Diamond District’s mixtape In the Ruff, I also didn’t know that beat smith Oddissee was responsible for a lot of the boom bap. Odissee whose influence comes from singers, guitarists and poets on the Sudanese side of his family and blue grass guitarists, gospel singers and hip hop loving cousins on the American side. He has made beats for acts such as Talib Kweli, J-Live, Little Brother and Freeway. Check out his Bandcamp page for music from this eclectic producer.

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5. Tricky (Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws)

Since Tricky’s debut solo release, Maxinquaye in 1995, I have been a fan. His dark beat production, raspy voice and patois-filled ad libs is a winner in my book.  Not to mention he always has the best female vocalists that compliment his trippier style.  Tricky hasn’t changed his style over the past 15 years as a solo artist. Shying away from the media and giving the public limited access to him seems to be keys to his success.  He’s dabbled in  a little acting as well, with bit parts in The Fifth Element and the TV sitcom Girlfriends where he played a musician and showcased his talent.