I got up early and ate breakfast downtown at the Marriott because the panel I was to speak on at the Urban Music Summit was supposed to begin at 10: 30 AM. Things were actually running a bit behind schedule, and I ran into Janie Jennings as well as Carlos Broady, the super-producer from Memphis. I grabbed a lunch out at Harbor Town at the Movie and Pizza Company, and then made my way back to the convention for a listening panel that was to take place in the afternoon. During our critiques of artists, the sky turned black in the west and warning sirens started going off downtown. Later, after the panel was over, I drove down to Hernando to Windy City Grill for dinner, discovering that large areas of Hernando were without power and that there was a considerable amount of damage. To my dismay, I found that there was absolutely no power at all in Bartlett or Raleigh. Worse, in front of the movie theatre on Stage Road, trees had been uprooted and strewn across the parking lot. The nearby Starbucks was one of the few places with power and open for business, so I sat in there awhile, drinking coffee, and listening to people talk about the storm, which some were calling a tornado. When I got back to my house, the power was still off, but it was clear that we had suffered major damage. The tree in our front yard had broken apart, and parts of it had struck the corner of our house, and two large trees in the back yard had fallen and demolished our neighbors’ fence to the back of our house. I lay in the dark, trying to call the insurance company on my cellphone, but I couldn’t get through.
Rode downtown after work to register for the Urban Network Music Summit at the Cook Convention Center. There were a few rappers in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel across the street, but not a lot of people in the convention center. I did run into James Alexander briefly, and then ended up eating dinner at the TGI Friday’s down on Union. Not a lot going on.
I decided to spend the day down in Huntsville shopping for books and records, so I headed out after breakfast, stopping in Corinth, Mississippi for a latte. At a rather cool bookstore in Huntsville’s Five Points neighborhood, I found books about Bob Marley, Rastafarianism and Prince, as well as the London trilogy of Colin MacInnes, which includes Absolute Beginners, one of my favorite novels. I bought quite a few classical records at James Records and Tapes, and then made a final browse through the Booklegger at Holmes Avenue and Jordan Lane before calling it a day and heading out to dinner. I decided to check out a place called Connor’s Steak and Seafood, and it turned out to be in a new shopping development called The Bridge out at the border between Huntsville and Madison. The shopping village is dominated by a huge Westin hotel, and surrounded by a pretty lake, with paddle boats for rent. With an hour-long wait in effect, I decided to eat in the bar at Connor’s, and the steak there was quite good. After a latte at a nearby chocolate shop, I began the long drive back to Memphis.
NOTES ON THE STATE OF THIRD-COAST HIP-HOP- More and more people are jumping into the rap game strictly to make money, and their albums sound like it. How many more albums are we going to have to endure that brag about the sales and distribution of drugs, that promote violence against others, or disrespect of women, or that introduce some silly, mindless dance, usually sexually explicit? Time is running out for this artform that we love. We call recording musicians “artists” because we assume that what they create is “art”. Increasingly, that assumption is naive on our part, because there’s nothing artistic about hanging out in the “trap house.” Wake up, people!!! THE WAR REPORT- Memphis, Tennessee has been front and center, thanks to MTV’s Five Dollar Cover, which follows the careers of a lot of local bands and artists, including Memphis veteran AL KAPONE and his son YOUNG AJ, and the rap/rock/comedy artist MUCK STICKY. KAPONE and AJ, along with their live band, were one of the main sensations at Austin’s South By Southwest Music Festival in March, where they were featured on the Memphis Music Foundation stage. Memphis rappers LORD T & ELOISE and FREE SOL were also highly visible at the festival. Memphis has also seen the release of solo albums from DJ PAUL and JUICY J from the THREE-6 MAFIA and YO GOTTI. Albums are on the way from GANGSTA BLAC and MC MACK. Memphis will also for the first time be hosting the Urban Network Summit on June 10-13 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Be there!Nashville native ALEX KING has completed his debut album Reincarnated and will release it nationally in June. In Mobile, Alabama, CD and DVD Warehouse has opened a second location in the suburb of Semmes, and the C & M Record Pool is sponsoring a music conference on July 7. Florida’s internet radio station Reewine Radio is sponsoring a music conference on June 19-20, with panels and listening sessions on Friday, and a beach party on Saturday. In Georgia, the Southwest Georgia Radio and Music Conference was held in Albany in March, and was a huge success. People came from as far away as New Orleans and Rochester, New York, and there were notable artists there, including the New Orleans veteran KILO. Coinciding with the conference was the announcement of the formation of World South Entertainment, a new Albany label that is preparing to release an album by the artist KNO GOOD. Other albums are out or on the way from GUCCI MANNE, YUNG RALPH, T-ROCK and V-TEC. In Louisiana, Baton Rouge legend C-LOC, who helped launch the careers of BOOSIE, WEBBIE, YOUNG BLEED and MAXMINELLI, has released his latest solo album entitled Scrape The Plate. There is also a new record store in Baton Rouge called Da Sewa Underground Music and More. On August 26-30, 2009, the 13th annual Cutting Edge Music Business Conference will be held at the Westin Canal Place Hotel in New Orleans. Make your plans now to be there, as this will be one of the most important conferences of the year. Greenwood, Mississippi was the scene of a music conference in early May, which was attended by a number of artists from Mississippi and Louisiana, including KILO from New Orleans and Jackson artist RAZEN KANE. Albums are on the way from DONNIE CROSS and SMACKABATCH. In September, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina will again be the location for the Southeast Music and Entertainment Summit (SMES). Call them at (866) 554-2405 to register or get more information, and make your plans now to be there. From Texas, new albums are on the way from JUAN GOTTI, MONEY WATERS and MURDER ONE. Continue to support your local record stores. They are important!