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Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the most popular and inventive groups of modern times Tags: red hot chilli peppers wltimate rock classic word life production feature blog

MichRed ael Balzary aka Flea (bass; born October 16, 1962), John Frusciante (guitar; born March 5, 1970), Jack Irons (drums; born July 18, 1962), Anthony Kiedis (vocals; born November 1, 1962), Josh Klinghoffer (guitar; born October 3, 1979), Cliff Martinez (drums; born February 5, 1954), Hillel Slovak (guitar; born April 13, 1962, died June 25, 1988), Chad Smith (drums; born October 25, 1962)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers created a synthesis of punk, funk, rock and rap to become one of the most popular and inventive groups of modern times. They have sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, and five of their albums have been certified multiplatinum in the U.S. They created two of the defining albums of the Nineties, Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, and one of the most ambitious releases of the past decade, the double-disc Stadium Arcadium.

Their eclectic music has ranged from thrashy punk-funk to Hendrix-laced neopsychedelic rock to tuneful, ruminative California pop. “For all us to agree on a piece of music’s validity,” noted bassist Michael “Flea” Balzary, “that piece of music must cover all the blood types, all the seasons and all four corners of the globe.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers also rank high among rock’s most electrifying live acts, described by Flea as “a whirlwind of spontaneous anarchy, locked in with a cosmic hardcore soul groove.”

Their live shows possess an energizing physicality that is liberating to both band and audience. “I take a total beating,” vocalist Anthony Kiedis told writer Steve Roeser. “It’s the sign of a good show. When you come off bleeding with bones poking out of you, you know that you put on a good show.”

The group’s principal subject, to which lyricist Kiedis has often returned, was the state of California. Much like the Beach Boys and the Eagles before them, they obsessed over the virtues and vices of life in the Golden State. Their musical outlook has always reflected the Southern California milieu, appealing to the hard-partying skateboard and slacker subcultures while also reaching those looking for sunnier, more spiritually uplifting grooves. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have experienced triumph and tragedy in their 30-year history, scaling the heights of popularity while confronting drug addiction and the death of a founding member along the way.

The roots of the Red Hot Chili Peppers extend back to 1977, when guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons formed a KISS-inspired hard-rock band named Anthym with friends at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. Flea became their bass player in 1979, while another high-school chum, Anthony Kiedis, would adopt the role of emcee. As their musical sophistication grew, Anthym evolved into What Is This?, an exploratory New Wave group serving as vehicle for Slovak and Irons.

Meanwhile, the departed Kiedis and Flea moved on to college, jobs and other projects. However, when they set some of Kiedis’ words to Flea’s music, the pair laid the groundwork for Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1983. They needed bandmates and asked Slovak and Irons to join them, which they did while still maintaining What Is This? For their first gig, at a club on L.A.’s Sunset Strip, they used the name Tony Flow & the Miraculous Majestic Masters of Mayhem, an indication of their offbeat humor.

Settling on the name Red Hot Chili Peppers, they built a following on the L.A. club circuit. They became known for the gimmick of performing nude, save for strategically placed tube socks. (After getting popular, they’d generally save the sock stunt for encores.) The Red Hot Chili Peppers were signed to EMI Records, but Slovak and Irons did not appear on the group’s self-titled 1984 debut, opting to focus on What Is This?. Guitarist Jack Sherman and drummer Cliff Martinez replaced them on The Red Hot Chili Peppers, which was produced by Andrew Gill (from Britain’s Gang of Four). The album, whose most memorable song was “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes,” failed to make Billboard’s Top 200.

Slovak was back in the lineup for Freaky Styley, produced by Parliament-Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton. Its more overt punk-funk hybrid better captured the band’s witty, forceful style, but the album still failed to chart. Drummer Irons rejoined for 1987’s The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, which would turn out to be the only Red Hot Chili Peppers album to feature the founding foursome of Kiedis, Flea, Slovak and Irons. Cut with producer Michael Beinhorn, it was an early pinnacle, capturing the band’s raucous high spirits and groundbreaking style. Yet The Uplift Mofo Party Plan peaked at only Number 148, and the uncategorizable Red Hot Chili Peppers struggled to gain a foothold at a time when synthesized New Wave dance music still ruled. The group received a crushing blow when guitarist Slovak died of a heroin overdose in his apartment in June 1988. Kiedis and Flea decided to continue, though drummer Irons left the band for good. Guitarist John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith were selected as replacements.

The role of guitarist has been the least stable in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career, but during two tenures Frusciante achieved the most longevity and success. The foursome of Kiedis, Flea, Frusciante and Smith recorded the classic albums Mother’s Milk (1989), Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), Californication (1999), By the Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006). In 1992, they broke through to a mass audience with “Under the Bridge,” an ode to California with plainspoken lyrics about drug addiction that became their first Top 10 hit. They would later make the Top 10 again with “Scar Tissue” (1999) and “Dani California” (2006). This definitive lineup also acquired a reputation as one of rock’s premier live acts.

After Frusciante’s recruitment, the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded Mother’s Milk, with Beinhorn returning as producer. The album consolidated their strengths as a punk-funk powerhouse and included their rousing cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Among the last tracks recorded by Hillel Slovak, it was included as a tribute to his memory and link to the revised lineup. Mother’s Milk reached Number 52, by far their best-selling and highest-charting album to date, and the first to go gold. Moreover, it laid the groundwork for their breakthrough album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik. For this and subsequent releases, the Red Hot Chili Peppers teamed with producer Rick Rubin, who’d previously worked with the Beastie Boys, Danzig, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C. and Slayer.

Blood Sugar Sex Magik was Red Hot Chili Peppers’ fifth album and first for Warner Bros., to which the group signed after its contract with EMI expired. At Rubin’s suggestion, the band moved into the producer’s mansion turned recording studio in Los Angeles during sessions for Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Living and working at “The Mansion” promoted maximum creativity and unity, and enough material was cut to fill two CDs. At the label’s insistence, they edited it down to a single CD, albeit a long one with 18 songs – which would’ve made it a double album in the vinyl era. The hit single was “Under the Bridge” (Number Two), but “Give It Away,” “Breaking the Girl” and “Suck My Kiss” became popular modern-rock radio tracks.

Adjusting to their sudden popularity proved particularly difficult for guitarist Frusciante, who was the youngest band member by nearly eight years. Conflicted about success and grappling with drug addiction, he asked to leave during a 1992 tour of Japan. The remaining dates were canceled, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers searched for a replacement. Arik Marshall served as interim guitarist for the group’s headlining spot on the Lollapalooza ’92 tour, and Jesse Tobias (of Mother Tongue) was briefly a member. Dave Navarro, formerly of Jane’s Addiction, officially became their new guitarist, making his public debut at the Woodstock ’94 festival. However, his tenure was relatively short-lived, as he appeared only one album, 1995’s One Hot Minute, which was released four years after Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It proved to be one of their more difficult projects, as the musical chemistry with Navarro never quite gelled. In addition, Kiedis was dealing with physical injuries and resurgent drug issues during its making. In the band members’ own words, it was a “darker” and “sadder” album. Two of its songs, “Tearjerker” and “Transcending,” were written about the recently deceased Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix, respectively. Even with its moodier vibe and difficult gestation, the album yielded the Red Hot Chili Peppers classics “Aeroplane,” “My Friends” and “Warped.”

Meanwhile, Frusciante’s drug habit had become so debilitating that he lost most of what he owned and very nearly died. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were foundering in their own way in his absence. The troubled group performed only one show in 1997 – and even that was cut short. Navarro left the band by mutual consent in April 1998. With encouragement from his former bandmates, Frusciante entered drug rehab and was offered back his role as guitarist. The reconstituted Red Hot Chili Peppers thereupon entered the most stable period of their career, enduring without another personnel change from 1998 to 2008. The first product of their reunion was Californication (1999), a highly creative endeavor that Kiedis considered the band’s best work. Generally more melodic, philosophical and song-oriented, the 15-song album yielded a bounty of singles, including “Scar Tissue” (Number Nine), “Otherside” (Number 14), “Californication” (Number 69) and the popular modern-rock tracks “Around the World,” “Road Trippin’” and “Parallel Universe.”

In the summer of 1999, the Red Hot Chili Peppers embarked on a two-year world tour to support Californication. This included a notorious closing performance at the violence-marred Woodstock ’99 festival, during which their highly charged encore of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” (with a naked Flea covered only by his bass guitar) ignited an already incendiary situation.

The group started working on By the Way soon after the end of the Californication Tour. Released in July 2002, the album was noticeably light on the extroverted rap-funk that had established the group. Peaking at Number Two – making it the band's highest-charting album to date – By the Way yielded four singles: “The Zephyr Song,” “Can’t Stop,” “Universally Speaking” and the title track. Another marathon tour outing, lasting more than a year, followed its release, culminating in huge shows at Ireland’s Slane Castle and London’s Hyde Park.

Stadium Arcadium became the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ magnum opus and first Number One album, entering the Billboard chart in the top position on its release in May 2006. Once again there was a wealth of material – enough for what they initially conceived would be three albums released at half-year intervals. Instead, they issued a mammoth 28-track double CD, with leftovers parceled out as B sides. Truly, it was a Herculean achievement that cemented the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ stature as the hardest-working and most ambitious band in popular music. The album won the group five more Grammys. Another world tour followed, for which guitarist Klinghoffer – a friend and collaborator of Frusciante’s – joined as an auxiliary tour guitarist.

After a decade of ceaseless touring and recording, Frusciante left the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a second time. In this case, his departure was amicable, as he felt he’d accomplished everything he could with the band and wanted to devote his creative energies to his solo career. Having toured with the band, Josh Klinghoffer stayed on as Frusciante’s replacement. He appears on I’m With You, the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 10th studio album, released in 2011.

Without question the Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band of survivors, having hit many bumps but never missed a beat. “I think without a genuine love for each other, we would have dried up a long time ago as a band,” Kiedis remarked of the band’s longevity. “There have been tragedies and incredibly inspirational experiences along the way, but the one thread that has been consistent has been the desire to create something honest, soulful and powerful.”

Source: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame http://rockhall.com/inductees/red-hot-chili-peppers/bio/ 

DOPE BEATS + DOPE RHYMES = REAL HIP HOP Tags: oddisee hip hop underground hot emcee word life production

Oddisee, born Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, is a MC-producer currently recording for Mello Music Group, splitting his time between Brooklyn; Washington, DC; and London. He was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Prince George's County, Maryland, and his love for this area is clear in his work. As a member of the Low Budget Crew, Diamond District, and as solo artist, he has released more than ten records with various labels.

Oddisee was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Prince George's County in Maryland by his African American mother and Sudanese father. According to a National Public Radio interview with Mohamed, Prince George's County is one of the wealthiest African American counties in the nation but borders some of the DC area’s roughest parts. Mohamed moved to DC after high school, where he began to develop his musical sound, which has been called observational rather than angry, with a clear vision combined with soulful beats.  After finding musical success and inspiration as a part of the DMV scene, he moved to the Brooklyn area for the much larger industry. He now splits his time between New York, DC, and London.

Oddisee was influenced musically at a young age by both sides of his family. From his father’s Sudanese side, he was influenced by the accomplished singers, guitarists, and poets. His mother’s side showed him gospel and bluegrass.[1] According to Mello Music Group, he was first exposed to hip hop music by his older cousins, and it was his father who gave him his first vinyl, which influenced him to start producing. Upon graduation from high school, he moved to DC. He was all set to attend the Art Institute of Philadelphia to study visual art but was drawn to the production of hip hop and jump-started his career in music during 2002 with his production of the song “Musik Lounge” on DJ Jazzy Jeff’s magnificent album, while he worked at A Touch of Jazz studios. However, he really began his focus on hip hop in 1999 and has worked with many successful artists including Talib Kweli, J-Live, Little Brother, and Apollo Brown.

Soon after Oddisee’s release of “Musik Lounge,” he joined a group called the Low Budget Crew, which included several other DMV artists such as Kenn Starr, Cy Young, and Kev Brown. While working with this group, Oddisee signed with Halftooth Records and released his EP Foot in the Door in 2006.

In 2008, Mohamed signed with Mello Music Group and released a series of projects over the years on which he either rhymed or produced, such as 101, Mental Liberation, Everything Changed Nothing, Odd Seasons and Traveling Man. He also created a DMV hip hop group named Diamond District and has released several projects with it. His first solo album is set to be released in the fall of 2011, titled People Hear what they See on Mello Music Group [1] .

Oddisee was originally influenced by his parent’s heritages combined with a hip hop influence from his older cousins. In an interview with NPR, Mohamed explained why he was influenced by early East Coast emcees such as Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest. He said, “These rappers don’t talk about drugs or murder, and I can relate more to their lyrics.” His lyrics have touched on a variety of subjects, which include his home town, boredom, and inequality. This is clearest in his song “I’m from PG,” which is a direct ode to his hometown. Oddisee identifies with an assortment of emcees from the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland areas who share a similar sound. This area is known as the DMV. These emcees share similar determination to create original music using swinging percussion and identifiable rhythms.



THIS WEEK'S CELEBRITY PICK-J LIVE Tags: j live new york hip hop artist word life production underground railroad hot real


J-Live Biography; Timeless

As an emcee, dee-jay, producer and CEO of his aptly named company Triple Threat Productions, J-Live's music has been a staple of inspiration for listeners of hip hop from New York to Cali and around the world. His discography spans over 10 years and includes four full-length albums, two EPs, a collection of earlier singles, as well as countless guest appearances and features. His last two projects “Reveal the Secret EP” and the full length “Then What Happened” were released by BBE in May 2008.

While J-Live is all but a household name to those who collect their knowledge of hip hop music via mainstream radio, he has worked with his share of icons in the industry. Producers such as DJ Premiere, Pete Rock, DJ Spinna, Prince Paul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Spooky, Numark, Da Beatminerz, Dan the Automater to name a few. Recording artists the likes of Mos Def, El Da Sensei, Wordsworth, Talib Kweli, Chali Tuna and several others have all shared song credits with JLive. World renown for a stage show that lives up to his name, J has toured around the country as well as Canada, the UK, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. J-Live shared stages with artists such as The Roots, Wyclef Jean, Fabolous, Soulive, Ozomatli, Soundtribe Sector 9, Blackalicious, Sister Nancy, Wu Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, MF Doom, KRS One, and many others.

Born Jean-Jacques Cadet (Jon Joc Ka-Day) and raised by his Mother in Spanish Harlem on the east side of Manhattan off First Ave, J-Live reps NY in more ways than one. While working towards his bachelors degree in English from State University of New York at Albany, J-live was already touring the world and learning the ropes of the industry. Introduced to the 5% Nation (or Nation of Gods & Earths) during his college years, Jean-Jacques would eventually change his name to Justice Allah.

Before graduating, with the help of Raw Shack Productions, he signed a deal with Payday / London / PolyGram. Shortly after graduating, J learned that the best laid plans o’ mice and rappers oft go awry. Especially when corporate take-overs dissolve labels and separate artists from distributors. In 1999, the highly anticipated, often illegally duplicated debut album “The Best Part” would go down in history as one of the best records never heard. That is at least until the many bootleg versions were followed by the official release in 2001. By then, J was living in Brooklyn, teaching 7th Grade Language Arts in some of New York’s toughest school districts. J would find himself at a crossroads in 2002. With the opportunity to release what would be his “second first album” All of the Above”. J decided to suspend his teaching career and pursue music full time. All of the Above was released on independent label Coup D E’tat / Caroline’s. After severing ties with CDE, J put out his first totally self produced project in 2003, Always Will Be. The 8 song EP released on Fat Beats Records showed fans that Triple Threat was more than just a corporate identity as J took on the task of all verses, beats and scratches himself. In 2005, with Penalty Ryko’s release of The Hear After, it became clear that as labels come and go, J-Live would continue to find a way to release quality music to his ever growing fan base. People have come to expect a certain standard of quality with every J-Live record. Whether self produced or working with others, J’s beats are typically bass heavy consistent boom-bap instrumentals that incorporate and infuse various genres of music from afro beat, latin, jazz, reggae, rock, and funk into his own distinct timeless hip hop sound.

For better or worse, J-Live has developed a reputation for going against the grain of an industry dominated by flavor of the month pigeon holed made up characters. J’s subject matter is as eclectic as his taste in music. His most popular tracks show that he is more than just a boastful wordsmith that can rock a party. Often times an introspective philosopher of life, love, music, and people, J delivers hard hitting well thought out social commentary on issues ranging from US Foreign policy to the environment, black on black crime to police brutality. However, he is very deliberate in maintaining balance on each of his albums. Humorous, sometimes hilarious narratives like One for the Griot or Car Trouble are filled with vivid imagery. There are the traditionally devastating battle verses on songs like Whoever and Always Will Be. Party and show anthems like Adda Cipher, Harder, and Don’t Play. As his reputation and following continue to grow with his catalogue, the one common and constant theme in J-Live’s ever evolving style of music, is the use of original styles, and imaginative concepts, to stay fresh relevant and timeless. 


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