Tag Archives: neo soul

Tank And The Bangas NPR #TinyDeskConcert

If you’ve had a long MONTH like I have, then you’ll enjoy this mini concert given by the recent winners of NPR’s #TinyDeskContest TANK AND THE BANGAS! Based in New Orleans, this group has pushed the envelope of everything I once knew as music. To be totally honest, I was losing hope for music in terms of innovation. Though I mainly listen to Christian/Sacred music, jazz and neo-soul holds a very special place in my heart. Something about it (like gospel or worship) lifts me up and away from the stresses of day-to-day responsibilities.

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Yet and still, that genre has yet to birth something new. Other than Musiq Soulchild’s most recent project, and newcomer Chantae Cann — there is a familiarity that isn’t bad, but not altogether great!


THAT WAS UNTIL….. I happened upon TANK AND THE BANGAS’ submission video to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest. TALK…ABOUT…IT! The multifaceted eccentricities and grooves of each line and stanza took my mind on an unfamiliar musical rollercoaster that left me exhilarated and wanted more! I immediately subscribed to the groups’ Facebook page eager for more updates. Today, on what is shaping up to be the end of a SERIOUSLY LONG work week, I came across the gem posted below. When I though TANK and her people couldn’t do it…they gave me more! I think I’ll wrap up my commentary here and let you enjoy the fruits of my scrolling. Remember, if this has been a tough day, week, month — good music and prayer can always bring you up outta that funk! HAPPY FRIDAY YA’LL!

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Blessings, Joc





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From Fatherless to Fatherhood — (Effects on Black Children) Joc’s Thoughts

Tonight I have been blessed to stumble across the gem “From Fatherless to Fatherhood” on ASPIRE and I am really inspired by it! The terrible part is that this film came out 3 years ago and I’m just now hearing about it — but better late than never in this case. This documentary (created by Kobie Brown) addresses some key truths when discussing how fathers being absent or present affect children and their own personal decisions.

The entire film (which is a little over an hour long) is weaving perspectives and raw thoughts and feelings of various men and women on fathers. There were women who admitted to making poor decisions because their fathers weren’t there. They found themselves living the stereotype of “the angry black I-Dont-Need-You independent woman” because that’s how they were FORCED to be by growing up in a household where the woman was alone and doing everything on her own. They also responded to men who say they choose to date outside of their race because they can’t deal with the attitude. One woman simply said that she and other women portray this stereotype don’t WANT to be like that but they never had their dad stick around long enough (or any man for that matter) so they are ready to fight and prepare themselves to do without men because they go into relationships already expecting to be let down.ESSENCE-Music-Festival-2012-ESSENCE-Empowerment-Experience-Speaker-Kobie_Brown

Black men, which included gospel star Kirk Franklin, were also interviewed and candidly stated that they got into trouble growing up because they didn’t have that balance from their fathers in the household. They were just big ball of emotions and didn’t know what to do with them all so they would act out in school, join gangs, or sleep around on women because they grew up not knowing how to be anything else! The same with the single mothers that were interviewed. They wished they had their child’s father in the household to balance their parenting skills. No one does anything perfectly — and aside from the obvious disparity that comes with a single income household, emotional balance is lacking in households with one parent.

Sex is the smallest part of a meaningful relationship; ESPECIALLY when it comes to having children. If you have a child with someone you can’t even get along with, you should really give your all in thinking if being physical with them is even worth it. Even if you’ve married and divorced — your kids still need to have that constant flow of love, nurturing, and attention from their fathers — from their PARENTS! “It’s easy to have a partner in parenting than trying to do it all by yourself.”

But the lesson that literally screamed at me while watching this film is this  — plain and simple. If you are a selfish person it’s IMPOSSIBLE to be a good parent…point blank AND period.

urbanworldfl2(1) w: bleedYou’re going to have to sacrifice some of YOUR comfort for your child. Your love for them should borderline exceed your love for yourself. You should want to see them succeed in life. Being a good parent takes discipline. If you are a father or mother, you need to be physically and mentally present in your kid’s life. Help them with their homework without having to be asked. Take them to the park to get some fresh air. Take them out for an ice cream cone. Turn on the hose and make a homemade sprinkler. Don’t make your children have to FIGHT to get your attention.

Yes it is true, I don’t have kids of my own and may catch some flack for this but I don’t care — I know PLENTY of grown folk in their twenties and thirties who are TERRIBLE parents! I don’t have to have children of my own to see the effects of a sorry parent or one who’s not present. I am the product of a two parent household where I have grown up seeing what a 30 + marriage looks like. I know FIRST HAND the benefits and differences that come when you have the balance of a present and active father in the household. Though my life hasn’t been perfect and I haven’t always gotten what I wanted, my father was ALWAYS there to give me little hints of wisdom, buy my favorite candy from the convenient mart, bring soup up to my room when I was sick, make encouragement cards to give me when I was feeling at my lowest, teach me how to ride a bike and roller skate — I am the well rounded, loving person I am today because I didn’t have parents who just stuck me in front of the tv, but actually INTERACTIVELY loved me.

I look at my life and some of my friends who have been forced to live in single parent homes and it, and always has, hurt my heart. Though we have all made similar mistakes, I know none of mine were because I didn’t have a father present in my life — it was because of my own strong will.

Watching this film has once again made me realize how thankful I am for my parents, but also stirs up some hurt in my heart because I know so many deadbeat fathers (AND mothers). It’s ridiculous.

And before I end this post I want to point out that being someone’s father or mother doesn’t make you a DADDY or a MAMA. 

If you would rather sit and daydream about “making it big” all day instead of help your child with their home work — you’re NOT present.

If you can spend money on clothes and trips and parties while your child looks like they’re one step away from the gutter — you’re NOT present.

If you spend more time with your girl, dude, or friends and always stick your child w/a baby sitter or in front of the tv — you’re NOT present.

If you can’t help your child with their homework or at least find a tutor and throw up your hands while they struggle — you’re NOT present.

If you give your child WHATEVER they want, just so they can “shut up” and “be good” while you sleep your life away — you’re NOT present.

If your kid is wreaking havoc on the mall or office and you don’t correct them YET talk about somebody else’s child — you’re NOT present.


The black community HAS GOT to do better about having good, faithful, strong fathers in the household or else this cycle will continue to repeat itself. 




** all photos courtesy of the film and film’s website



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GOALdigger Preview Session – Brandon Farmer (Musician)

Born to musician parents, Wilson, NC native Brandon Farmer is no stranger the arts. “I was always into music. My dad is a singer/guitarist, and my mom is a singer [as well]; so I pretty much grew up around music. None of my friends [were really into music early on in my life, so] playing [drums] for my church at the age of four was probably one of the groundbreaking moments that led to me taking music as seriously as I do now.”

By the time Brandon reached age seven, he began learning the piano and knew at that very moment that music was what he was made to do. As he grew older and entered middle school, his band teacher Ryan Robinson helped guide his appreciation for the art to a higher level by stretching his musical ability. He did this by putting young Brandon on the saxophone; despite the fact that his heart was with the drums. “I remember signing up for band [thinking it was going to be] an easy A, but little did I know that my teacher had other plans. [laughs] He said to me (after I felt embarrassed about not knowing how to play the sax well), “I’m willing to work with you as long as you’re willing to learn”. Those words carried me through [up to this very day. Mr.Robinson] instilled a drive in me that made me want more… not only out of music, but [out of] life.”


What was your first serious gig?    My first serious (nonpaying) gig was playing saxophone with a gospel music group RDP (Radial Dynamic Praise).  [The funny thing is] I’m actually in the process of acquiring a paying gig as we speak. [laughs]

After school, you followed your passion for music and found yourself moving to California. What has been the hugest difference between west coast living and the small town life you lived in North Carolina?   The people are the biggest difference. Coming from a small town you’re in a mental box and you don’t [even] know it [most times]. You’re only allowed to think and accept what you’re taught.  People on the West Coast are way more accepting [of new ideas]. On the flip side of all that, people from North Carolina are more disciplined [than those on the West Coast]; but [then again,] people in California have more of a “go getter” drive.  [Since being over here, I’ve found that] California people will help you push for your dreams because possibilities are endless. [Many of the] people back home have never seen anything [out of the ordinary], and will condemn and discourage [what] they don’t understand.

brandon2What are some of the projects you’ve been a part of since moving to California?   Do you have a signature style? [I am part of] the production company Zoe4Life or Z4L. We’ve worked with former freestyle battle rapper turned gospel rapper MC Jin – who is featured on our “Vision” album that’s now on iTunes. We [produced] some music videos for him [as well]. We’ve [also] worked with Latoya London, [who is a] former American Idol contestant. I actually had the opportunity to engineer one of her sessions [which is] much more in the making! As far as my style of producing, I’d say that [my style is] more R&B/Neo Soul; [but to be honest, in] this industry you have to [be able to] do everything from trap to country. So [right now, you can say that] I’m a blend of all that. [laughs] [What I really] look forward to doing is scoring films. I play with a lot of emotion [in my studio sessions] that would really translate well with movies.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?   By the end of 2014 I plan on being on tour with someone (I don’t know who…but someone. ps. let me know if anyone needs a drummer. haha). My main focus at the moment is [establishing] myself and putting myself around all the right people so I can get set up for my future. [I plan to now work on] making wise business moves, learning [all that I can], and growing spiritually.


If you weren’t pursuing music, what would you be doing?   I would probably be a football player or a boxer. I always wanted to play/do it and I like to run and workout, so if that was my focus, I know I would beast it.

What are two pieces of advice you’d have for a young teens wanting to seriously pursue a life of music?   [I’d have to say three things:] don’t give up, be honest with who you are, and stay true to what you want to become. No one is better than anyone else. Some people [have raw talent] and don’t have to work as hard for [what they have]; [but you have to remember that] talent never outweighs hard work! Work hard to see yourself successful. I love ya’ll.

Interview by: Jocelyn Drawhorn

Photos by: Tyler Thompson (Z4L Photography)


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Sir Abstraxxx (spoken word)- “Endless”

If anyone knows me they know that to love me is to love poetry/spoken word. There is a breathtaking beauty to the fact that you can take a pen and paper and transform one second or one thought into art. Since really rededicating my life to the Lord going on 3 years ago, I had to totally purge everything that was connected to my ‘old self’ in order to get to the place where God could mold, transform, and reshape me. Now that he has done that, I have a pretty good handle on balance. I filter what I allow into my ear/eye gates as I am FULLY aware of that fact that the [world] I live in doesn’t operate in the same manner. I would be a ‘dumb Christian’ if I didn’t acknowledge that fact; and since I am equipped with this knowledge I make sure I handle people and things with a long handle. What some Christians (especially new Christians or comfy Christians) forget at times is that there is such thing as a ‘gateway drug’. Gateway drugs don’t necessarily have to be physical drugs, but they can be anything that can open a clear path through the dooryway of temptation and the old sinful life you should have left behind when you got saved. For me this included my beloved poetry (for awhile). Even today and going forward in life I have to be mindful of what music I listen to, what leisure events I attend, and the type of people I hang out excessively with. Going back to the opening of this post — poetry is my thing. So now that I am living this new life for the Lord, I have to be careful not to lose myself in the words of the pieces I hear (like I once did) because it can be dangerous for my walk. All it takes is the right combination of words and my mind will go racing with memories of the life I once lived. I had fun times in my ‘old life’ but it was a sinful life — therefore I have to constantly battle thoughts and memories of who I once was in order to continue to strive and prosper as the woman of God I am now. AND SINCE I DO miss out on a lot of stuff because of my self censor, it really made my weekend to stumble across this spoken word piece by Sir Abstraxxx (I won’t get into his stage name, just focus on the piece haha)

This guy laid it out for his lady pure, clean, and simple. And to add the cherry on top, any soul who has ever known me will know that these chords in the beat behind this guy is EVERYTHING AND MORE!!! WOOOOOO CHILDREN! So enough of me talking and jabbering…check it out for yourself. Enjoy.

– Joc

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