End Of An Era...End Of The-Quotable

The Company Man has officially outgrown The-Quotable. Thank you all for rocking with this blog for the past 6 years. Without all of your support and motivation, I wouldn't have been able to progress past this page and into complete journalism career. I truly appreciate you.

But with every ending is a new beginning (sometimes it's okay to be cliche, right). I humbly invite you to keep up with the travels of The Company Man over at InboxSessions.com—the new home base for all my writings, radio shows, events I'm hosting, new music favorites, etc. The personal legend continues...

Visit InboxSessions.com

#TCMS 10/31: Occupy Wall Street Edition With Guests Eye2025 and Conscious

In this edition of #TCMS, The Company Man welcomes @Conscious and @Eye2025 in the studio to talk Occupy Wall Street.

The Company Man Show airs everyday at 4pm on PNCRadio.fm

#TCMS: Phonte, "Charity Starts At Home" Live Album Review

#TCMS History was made yesterday... Phonte of Little Brother's solo rapping debut, Charity Starts At Home received a perfect score. That's right...the full ***9 Second Applause***

#TCMS: Fresh From Vegas Edition With Guest, Loki Da Trixta

Brand new #1 on this Wednesday Countdown. Plus, Loki Da Trixta drops through to talk his upcoming endeavors.

Microphone check check check check...

The Company Man Show: Maffew Ragazino, "Rhyme Pays" Live Album Review

Been following Maffew Ragazino's music all Summer. Finally, we get to hear the album.

#TCMS, Maffew Ragazino, Rhyme Pays Live Album Review with special guest, @I_Am_Fresco

6.8 Second Applause


Me at work...courtesy of Gee Notes.

Maya Azucena: No Sleep Til' Brooklyn

There’s no rest for Maya Azucena.

The spellbinding Brooklyn songstress would trek from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Brooklyn to Manhattan again, then finally, back to Brooklyn on the day of this interview. She had to pick up a U-Haul in Brighton Beach packed with production equipment and drop it off in Chelsea for her video shoot the next day, then straight to DUMBO for an appearance on #BodegaRadio at PNC Studios. After that, a dinner meeting in The City before heading back to her creative haven in Flatbush -- somehow squeaking in fifty-eight minutes to talk her latest release, Cry Love, over appetizers at re-Bar’s bustling gastropub on Front Street. In the background, Sillicon Alley techie-types decked in button-downs and flip flops revel in happy hour, sipping in the week’s end. Sitting in front, Maya skims the menu.

“I like the steak fries,” she says easily, as if oblivious to her loaded schedule; as if fatigue doesn’t exist in her world.

Visually, Maya Azucena is the picture of conquering resilience. Her eyes smile when she talks, remaining fixated even when it’s her turn to listen. Her laughs erupt freely. Her words seem to float like incense, drifting initially while first answering each question then landing resolutely on her ultimate conclusion. She’s a captivating communicator, really, both calming and disarming all at once.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Maya began writing and performing at 4 years old. Her father is a freelance journalist in the Washington, DC area and her mother worked for the Department of Corrections. “She was a parole officer that wore long dangling earrings and cowboy boots,” she says proudly. “She was fabulous at the same time.”

A creative gene is ever present amongst Maya’s siblings. Her younger sister focused on the visual arts, working as an illustrator for MTV and Nickelodeon, among others, during her career. Not only is her older brother a journalist as well, but also a mixed martial artist, body builder and front man for, what Maya describes as “death metal meets performing arts” band, Oxbow -- a modern day renaissance man by it’s most modernest definition. “My brother is a person that is a genius,” she says. “He does a million things at once. When I was younger, I always looked at it like, ‘Hey, why do I have to do just one thing? Why can’t I do it all?’”

Her brother’s example quickly ingrained itself in Maya’s artistic journey. She studied classical voice at Manhattan’s LaGuardia High School and minored in acting at Swarthmore College. The secluded Pennsylvania campus offered a stark contrast to The City’s congestion, but once she realized that what she needed to experience couldn’t be learned in theory one-hundred and eleven miles south of The Big Apple, she dropped out in the Kanye-sense.

“I had a professor who literally said, ‘One day when you audition...,’” she says. “I’m like, ‘Did he really just say that?’ I’ve been auditioning for major things before I came here. I don’t need to spend $28,000 a year talking about ‘one day when I do this.’ I need to get in the game as soon as possible.”

Such a weighty decision came rather pragmatically for the raw soul singer. Her seemingly unwavering confidence, relentless work ethic and a voice empyrean enough to reverb the soul cemented the foundation of what’s grown into an impressive independent career. The Village Voice and Washington Post rained praise on Azucena’s live show, while The New York Post compared her to luminaries Chaka Khan and Roberta Flack. Billboard Magazine describe her vocals as “soaring” and The Austin Chronicle declared her possessor of “The Best Pipes At SXSW” -- racking up two Porin Awards (the Croatian equivalent to the Grammy’s for her work with Gibonni), AllHipHop.com’s “Best Alternative Artist of the Year Award,” and business publication, The Network Journal’s “40 Under 40 Achievement Award” in the process.

“That was really deep for me,” she says about being recognized by a business community. “They’ve only acknowledged something like three artists in eleven years.”

She even received a Grammy Certificate for her collaboration with Stephen Marley on his album, Mind Control. “I recorded in Bob Marley’s house and Tuff Gong [Studios] in Kingston, Jamaica,” she describes.

“That was really surreal. A surreal moment was being in the office of Bob Marley’s house and Stephen Marley was there and Rita Marley. Rita Marley showing me the harmony to a Nina Simone song that I was going to sing. It was like this baton being passed feeling. I’m singing a Nina Simone song being produced by a Marley, harmonizing with Rita in Bob Marley’s house. It was just crazy.”


Exile Talks "4 Track Mind", The Difference Between Working With Blu and Fashawn

Exile crafted the sound bed behind two of the 2000s most critically acclaimed rap albums, now he’s releasing his own.

The Southern California producer arguably best known for his work with Blu on Below The Heavens and Fashawn on Boy Meets World -- and to a lesser degree, as one-half of Emanon with Aloe Blacc -- prepares for the release of his solo debut, 4 Track Mind coming in October. Following his performance at the 2011 Rock The Bells on New York City’s Governor’s Island, BrooklynBodega.com asked Exile about the difference between working with Blu and Fashawn, his transition to stepping behind the mic, and his view on the producer-turned-rapper stigma.

Brooklyn Bodega: It’s gotta feel kind of cool after rocking with two of the artists you always sound the most seamless with then coming off stage and getting mobbed by people. You guys have a very strong fan base. You guys are resonating with a generation. How does that feel to you?

Exile: Yeah man. It feels good. I’m definitely doing what I set out to do -- manifest destiny, so to speak. That’s all I ever wanted to do was just connect with people and be able to have them enjoy my art form.

Brooklyn Bodega: What’s the difference between working with Fashawn in the studio and Blu in the studio?

Exile: Well it depends on which Blu you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the Below The Heavens Blu, the difference is that we live closer together so we got a little more building time. But Fashawn actually just moved to [Los Angeles] so we’re working on The Ecology. Really it’s the same shit. We just build and try to make the best music possible. We just keep on creating until we have a little pile of songs to choose from. Actually, they’re both pretty similar. They’ve both put out records and have gotten to shine. Now we’re both on our second ventures working together, even me and Blu. It’s the same shit. We’re just trying to make music that, first of all, we’ll enjoy and, second of all, the people will enjoy.

Brooklyn Bodega: You’ve got 4 Track Mind on the way. You rhymed on Below The Heavens. You rhymed on Boy Meets World. What made you decide to put together a full project?


Fashawn Talks Working With 9th Wonder, Fatherhood, Reuniting With Exile

It’s almost as if Fashawn can hit the switch gears whenever he chooses.

Minutes removed from unleashing his microphone melting kerosene flow live and direct for the Rock The Bells’ masses, the Fresno, California native down shifts from rap star raucousness to his regular guy humility in milliseconds. He’s signing autographs. He’s taking pictures with the swarm of fans circling him. He’s smiling. He’s simply, Santiago.

BrooklynBodega.com caught up with Fashawn briefly and discussed reuniting with Exile exclusively for his follow up full-length, The Ecology, collaborating with 9th Wonder on the highly anticipated, The Wonder Years, fatherhood, and what surprises him about Hip-Hop.

Brooklyn Bodega: This is the first time I’ve seen you, Blu and Exile all rock together.

Fashawn: Word. That’s the fam. We all get to travel separately, but it’s rare that we get to travel together and people get to see the whole package. We even brought Johaz out, Evidence, Alchemist -- the whole camp; the whole fam. That’s my fam.

Brooklyn Bodega: The last time we spoke was at the 2010 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. We talked quite a bit about your background and your perspective and how you didn’t rhyme like anyone your age. You don’t rhyme like anybody, from a perspective stand point. You’re mad nice with it.

Fashawn: [Laughs] Word. Thank you.

Brooklyn Bodega: You also talked about [your upcoming project], The Ecology. How’s that coming along?

Fashawn: It’s coming together great, man. I’m working on it with Exile. I’m doing my second album with Exile and that’s it. I know I did Higher Learning 2, I did Grizzly City 3, Ode To Illmatic and I kind of threw niggas off track like, “Yo, what is he going to do next?” I’m going back home to my nigga Exile and we’re already in the midst of making a classic. I can’t wait until people hear The Ecology. But right now, I just barely moved back to [Los Angeles] from Fresno, California. I had a daughter right when [Boy Meets World] dropped so I was busy being a father and a rap star at the same time. I had to take some time off and be a man. I gotta handle my business. I handled business at home and now I’m back on the road, back in the studio and just grinding. Getting it in.

Brooklyn Bodega: Do you feel pressure following up Boy Meets World? That’s a phenomenal album.

Fashawn: Nah, it actually feels like a relief, man. I’ve been doing all this other shit trying to find a sound and it’s been successful to a degree. But there’s nothing like that first person you worked with that gave you your sound. I think Exile, he gave me my sound that I was looking for when I was 20 or 21 years old and that kind of epitomized everything I wanted to do. I think it’s only right that I’m connecting with my brother again.

Brooklyn Bodega: Your slated to be on 9th Wonder’s, The Wonder Years coming up. How was it working with 9th?


Joe Scarborough Says We Should Thank George Bush For “His Leadership”

There was suspect exchange on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday morning, one day after the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. In an attempt to rise above the partisan cluster fucking our sad political system has deteriorated into, host Joe Scarborough suggested that -- on at least this national day of solace -- Americans should refrain from criticizing our elected officials and merely say, “Thank you.”

“It is OK to say, ‘Thank you President Obama for having the courage to start the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden,’” said the Conservative talk show host.

“It is OK to say, ‘Thank you George W. Bush for keeping us safe domestically for 8 years. It’s OK to say that without adding on, ‘Well, George Bush you did this, this and this. At some point we’ve got to say, ‘Thank you, sir, for your leadership...At some point we just salute our leaders and we say, ‘Thank you.’”

Ignoring the immediate fallacy that is this propagandized myth that George Bush kept us safe for 8 years (since, after all, the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 were all attacked while Dub-Ya was occupying The White House), Scarborough’s rhetoric sounds more like Britney Spears in Michael Moore’s, Fahrenheit 9/11 than a supposedly knowledgeable political commentator.

Suggesting the populace blindly say, “Thank you for your leadership” to two administrations who’s political and economic failures of leadership resulted in millions now without homes, without jobs, and in the worst cases, without loved ones is not only insulting, but -- in Tea Party speak -- strikingly anti-American. Questioning the actions of our elected officials is the cornerstone of a free society and a free press is charged with holding them to task. By undermining skepticism, plights of the past are doomed to be repeated.

“At some point we can let that go,” Scarborough says dismissing the lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina, the financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession, the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, the 33 percent of US citizens who lost 58% of their wealth since 2009 and the 46.2 million Americans currently living in poverty. “Historians will judge that.”

Rest in peace Tupac Amaru Shakur. I wonder what you’d say about all this.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Tech Billionaires To Create Independent Sea Colony

Eminem once rapped about growing a beard, getting weird and disappearing into the mountains whenever he decides to officially hang up the mic.

Raekwon, too, opining that he should “escape project life, run with my rifle, live in the woods, grow a rugged beard and chill,” on Only Built 4 Cuban Links 2’s “Walk Wit Me.”

Visions of a self-imposed exile have always remained prevalent amongst those tired of running the rat race or those tired of succumbing to society. Historically, options were limited: either set up a private compound in one country or set up a private compound in another. However isolated, avoiding the nation state system was highly unlikely.

Until now…

Technology billionaire, Peter Thiel has invested $1.2 million to the Seasteading Institute, an organization with the goal of building island colonies off the coast of San Francisco independent from any other nation, TheHuffingtonPost.com reports.

Patri Friedman (grandson of Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman) is working directly on Seasteading. Friedman and Thiel estimate that the colonies will be ready for full settlement by 2018.

The first of these island colonies will sit on a single oil rig in the Pacific Ocean and all colonies will be governed by libertarian policies. No welfare programs. No minimum wage. Loser building codes. Few restrictions on weapons. Let’s call it Tea Party Island.

“Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world,” says the Paypal founder. “We are at a fascinating juncture: the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level.”

Each Tea Party Islander will receive 300 feet of living space per person along with a garden, solar panels, wind turbines, and internet access. Each will also have no place to run if a coup takes place thanks to those “few restrictions on weapons” or if an earthquake topples one of those structures built with “loser building codes.”

Who said paradise comes with safety included?


Are DJs The New Black Actors?

Samuel L. Jackson was never a fan of the rapper-turned-actor Hollywood takeover. Nia Long, neither. Anthony Mackie once equated an acting emcee to a janitor performing surgery. Taye Diggs copped to losing roles to “Hip Hop artists.” Even Bow Wow brazenly stated that he hates watching rappers in movies.

The Golden Era’s Big-Screen-Boom—featuring House Party, Boyz-N-The-Hood, Juice, the Friday series, half of anything featuring LL Cool J, anything featuring Will Smith or Queen Latifah—ignited isolated fires of resentment throughout Black Actordom. Stories of thespians lashing out at “Raptors” snatching gigs littered the World Wide Web. Once Tinsel Town realized the selling power of an emcee’s mean mug in a movie, the few black roles were no longer reserved exclusively for the few black actors. To Hollywood, a black rapper with a platinum plaque worked twice as fine.
The Rise Of The Raptor (Rapper/Actor)

Now, the irony of Nia Long and Anthony Mackie dropping issues is unavoidable. With Friday and 8 Mile respectively, both actors arguably received their biggest break sharing the screen with a headlining rapper-turned-actor. Not only would Taye Diggs dial back his statements a few years later, but he also took time to chide Long for her assertion that singers should sing and rappers should rap—fulfilling full-blown hypocrisy in the process. And Bow Wow is much more “actor” than “rapper” (for whatever that means).

Facilitator aside, the position resonates. Black Hollywood is now more crowded than the post-Great Recession unemployment office. Technically trained actors compete regularly for roles right next to rappers and singers who often times have little or no experience. Talent is no longer paramount, and box office draw reigns supreme.

To be fair, raptors who earned their way apprenticing through television and drama classes were never highly targeted by the frustrated. Will Smith and Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah and Ice Cube and Mos Def were never the rule. They, along with a handful of others, have always been considered the exception. They, along with a handful of others, accepted the access and the accountability. The gripes extend towards perceived exploiters pimping a system without contributing to it earnestly, undercutting a culture from the outside. The gripes extend towards studios too willing to cast Rapper X strictly off broader name recognition. For betterment or detriment, in this Industry of Cool, artistry lives secondary to bankability.

“Kids that go to acting school deserve a chance,” Jackson said in his 2008 interview with Angela Yee. “And their chances are diminished because they bring people from another venue to get jobs and they’re not proven. You’re afforded an opportunity just because and it’s in the way of somebody who really needs the opportunity.”

“It's over straight through / Finished / Hey you look like that nigga that played in Menace / That's me but I'm not celebrity stricken / They be choosin' / Figuring I must be oozing with that bubblin' dough / They be sayin' oh he look right / Plus his flow sound tight…” —Saafir, “Just Riden'”

Look back at Jackson’s quote above, and remove “Kids that go to acting school,” and replace it with “DJs paying dues.” Samuel L’s Hollywood assessment easily fits the economic environment many trained DJs are now forced to navigate. Stories of porn stars, singers, reality television personalities and...gulp...rappers snatching high-profile, highly lucrative deejaying gigs litter the World Wide Web. Sasha Grey stepped behind the turntables. Macy Gray, too. Jersey Shore’s Pauly D finished eighth in 2010’s America’s Best DJ poll—ahead of Mixmaster Mike (of the Beastie Boys), Diplo, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Rob Swift (of the Xecutioners) and 38 others. Q-Tip, ?uestlove, Talib Kweli can all be found spinning at popular New York City nightspots. Technology opened the door for anyone to easily be their own deejay hero. Now, like movie studios before them, party promoters have realized the drawing power of a celebrity with Serato manning the ones and twos. Crazy techniques like blending and mixing and scratching and knowing how to read a crowd takes a backseat to star power.


Immortal Technique Documentary "The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique" Begins Festival Circuit

New York’s Immortal Technique premiered his documentary, The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique, recently during The Harlem Film Festival in New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center.

Filmed and edited over a six year span, (R)evolution follows the Peruvian born lyricist as he tours cities and countries, sharing his message, music and experiences with supporters all across the globe. The 60 minute documentary also shows Immortal Technique discussing Hip Hop and social issues with rapper/actor, Ice-T, Dr. Cornell West, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and others.

“You symbolize the voice of truth all around the world in the name of rap music and Hip Hop,” Chuck D says of Technique. “Because, you know in rap, when you see something [you] say something, right?”

Born Felipe Coronel, Immortal Technique has released three critically acclaimed albums to date (Revolutionary Volume 1, Revolutionary Volume 2 and The 3rd World with DJ Green Lantern) and is approaching the release of his fourth, The Middle Passage. Each of his projects has been released without the aid of major record labels, something he not only values, but advocates. “The record label does a lot of things for people,” Technique says in the documentary.

“It buys them beats. It buys them studio time. It pays for cars. It buys them video spots. It buys them radio play. And let’s get real, it buys them women. It buys them coke. It buys them weed. It buys them cars. It buys them chains. It buys them watches. And sometimes they even pay for other people to write the verses for you. So all you really did was go in there in a booth and spit a verse that somebody else wrote for you, somebody else designed for you, and you expect to get paid a lot for that? Get the fuck out of here. If you’re gonna act like a puppet then don’t get mad when someone stick’s their fucking hand up your ass. I’m nobody’s puppet. I control me.”


Oddisee, Rock Creek Park Album Review

It seems Rock Creek Park was inspired by Oddisee’s local scenic refuge while growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The Washington, D.C. woodland that is this album’s namesake represented somewhat of an escape from the metropolitan bustle for the Diamond District emcee/producer. Littered with cascading percussions and triumphant horns interpolated with occasional break beats, sonically, this ten-track largely instrumental offering is a serene detour from the conventional. Somehow, Rock Creek Park is equal parts progressive and nostalgic.

Fellow Diamond District-er, yU details the journey to Rock Creek Park’s monument laden landscape on opener, “Still Doing It.” “Feeling dynamite / Riding a bike / I’m downing Marlboro Pike, peddle at the speed of light / I hit a hill / Switch gears into a lighter one / Made it to the top and looked down peeping what I had done / Water bottle before I hit full throttle / Just a sip ‘cause a cramp could cause problems,” he raps over Oddisee’s hollow drums and funky bass riffs blaring subtly in the background. yU’s verses not only set the scene, but are this album’s only vocal contributions. In a sense, that’s Rock Creek Park’s coolest part. Oddisee succeeds in painting the narrative with no rapping required.


The Company Man Show: Michael Jackson Tribute Edition, VMA Wrap Up

In this edition of #TCMS, The Company Man and Laureluxe tribute the King of Pop, Michael Jackson and discuss the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards Winners and Losers.

#TCMS Airs Monday through Thursday on PNCRadio.FM from 4 to 6PM. Listen on your mobile device HERE