Rapper/Activist to Know – Mona Haydar

Mona Haydar’s bio describes her many talents – “a rapper, poet, activist, practitioner of Permaculture, meditator, composting devotee, mountain girl, solar power lover and a tireless God-enthusiast.” That’s a lot!  The Michigan native is an artist you should know as she has one main mission:  Love. Her debut single Hijabi was ground breaking with over a million views on youtube and another million on Facebook and featured Mona 8 months pregnant. Her music addresses many important topics and issues facing our society today: from racism, colorism, and Islamophobia, to violence against women.

Check out her latest video featuring Jackie Cruz of the hit show “Orange Is The New Black”, and stay tuned to PREMO for updated stories on this gifted woman.



Esperanza Spalding To Record Album on Facebook Live

Multi-talented musician, composer, singer and producer Esperanza Spalding is the ultimate creative.  Just as she has done before, the artist is forging a new path of experimentation by announcing that she will write, record, arrange and produce a new album, “Exposure”, on Facebook Live. The Sept 12 event is slated to last 77 hours (3 days), with the final version to be available via 7,777 physical copies (it won’t be sold digitally) by mid-fall 2017.



82 year-old Japanese DJ Who Also Cooks

Sumiko Iwamuro — aka DJ Sumirock — runs a dumpling restaurant by day and DJs in clubs by night in her hometown of Tokyo.  She holds down a monthly residency at DecaBarZ nightclub in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, after she first got into DJing a decade ago at the tender age of 70.

Describing the music she plays, DJ Sumirock says: “It’s fundamentally techno music, but just that would be boring. I add jazz, French chanson and a bit of classical music.”

Dubbed “DJ Dumpling” by news outlets, she’s been popping all up over the internet thanks to a feature on Al Jazeera, you can watch their mini-documentary on DJ Sumirock below.

Kap G Re-Visits His Roots in Mexico City

Atlanta Hip-Hop phenom Kap G recently visited Mexico City as a way of reconnecting with his Mexican Roots. In a compelling min-doc brought to us by the wonderful people at Remezcla, the rapper provides an interesting narrative of his experiences in the land of his ancestors. He also performs at a top music festival.



Ever Heard of Lion Babe? Well Now You Do

New York neo-soul duo Lion Babe has a new single out, “She’s A Lady”, which is a funky take on the classic Tom Jones song from the early 70’s. This act has been steadily building their audience with simmering live performances at top venues and music festivals around the world.  Lead vocalist Jillian Hervey commands attention not just for her glorious big curly hair, but her honey smoked vocals, harking back to the early days of neo-soul. Producer Lucas Goodman, the musical influencer and the other half of the group, provides a serious dose of blended hip-hop beats and live instrumentation.

The duo has been busy it seems releasing music and videos over the past 4 years when they first formed the group while attending college.  Check out the video “Jump Hi” featured on VEVO with Childish Gambino AKA Donald Glover.



All Time Great Hip Hop Soundtracks

There’s been so much chatter about the direction of hip hop music over the last couple of years. The old heads decry the lack of creativity, the homogenization of the genre, and the perception that the new guys simply don’t possess the requisite rhyme skills to even be considered in the same conversation as their legendary musical forefathers. While the youngsters, in their colorful clothes, sing-songy deliveries, staccato beats, and minimalist lyricism feel like the old heads don’t respect their form of creativity and that they need to embrace hip hop’s evolution instead of screaming for them to “get off their lawns!” One thing they all share of course, is a love of the music. Particularly those years in the 80’s and 90’s, where they could go to the multiplex, check out a great hip hop flick like “Juice” or “Krush Groove” or “Above The Rim” and then go out and grab the soundtrack on cassette or CD. Even movies that weren’t necessarily hip hop like “Deep Cover” produced some great sound tracks and introduced us to legends like Snoop Dogg. Check out this list of the greatest hip hop soundtracks of all time…and tell us what’s missing!

Anderson.Paak Crushes Performance on NPR Music

Anderson .Paak and his band The Free Nationals did a summer appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk. Much of their sound is layered atop a soulful hip-hop foundation; from there, your safest bet is to call it a hodgepodge of genres in the best way possible. Guitarist Jose Rios and bassist Kelsey Gonzalez inject a hard-rock edge into the Hi-Tek-produced “Come Down,” this set’s opening number. When you hear them play the first few jazz chords of “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance,” it’s hard to simply call this R&B.

It’s been a slow build for .Paak, who released a few mixtapes before his 2014 debut album Venice. This year has marked his official breakout with Malibu, on which he did what so many in his position fail to do: He capitalized. After bursting into the spotlight with his appearances on Dr. Dre’s Compton LP, he immediately prepped the release of Malibu. The album sculpted an entirely new lane for Anderson .Paak. He can rhyme with best of ’em, and his vocal styling, reminiscent of ’70s and ’80s greats, is invigorating when set against today’s tender R&B elite. Before all that, he’s a drummer-slash-bandleader.