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The Quiet Greatness Of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White

The thing you have to remember about Maurice White—the dynamic founder of the legendary, elegant funk band Earth Wind & Fire who died at the age of 74 Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles—is that he was never afraid to let others shine. Think about it. A great deal of EW&F’s rich, massive catalogue, which includes such hits as “Shining Star,” “After the Love Has Gone,” “That’s The Way of the World,” “September,” and “In The Stone,” shined a spotlight on group members beyond head writer and producer White. There’s the rubbery bass guitar licks of brother Verdine White; the soaring, otherworldly falsetto of Philip Bailey; the signature brass workouts of the Seahorns.

White knew when to lay in the cut. But the Memphis native, who fought a long, courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease, also proved to be the ultimate band leader; an expansive, genre-jumping mastermind (EW&F could jump from funk, jazz, Latin, and rock in just one song) who was so in demand, so respected in the music industry that everyone from Deniece Williams and the Emotions to Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond lined up to work with the studio visionary. EW&F’s Afrocentric/cosmic themed album covers made bold, powerful statements. So did their big-budget, arena-ready stage shows, which rivaled Kiss in sheer overwhelming spectacle. Still not up on Maurice White? VIBE presents 10 songs, some known, some vastly underrated, that you need in your life. RIP Mo…


“Sweet Sweetback's Theme” (1971)

The White-led Earth Wind & Fire was just an unknown rag-tag Chicago-based outfit looking for their proverbial big break. Counter culture filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles was looking for a band to inject a blitzkrieg of junkyard funk into his groundbreaking independent film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which gave birth to the Blaxploitation genre. EW&F more than delivered.


“Devotion” (1974, Live Version)

White understood how to get the best out of his gifted players on this standout track from EW&F’s platinum Open Our Eyes, the follow-up to their first million seller Head to the Sky (1973). This soulful overture, co-written by indelible member Philip Bailey, allows ample space for his majestic falsetto, which ranks in sheer heavenly bliss with the likes of Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, the Stylistic’s Russell Thompkins, Jr., and Prince. Go with the live version.


“Drum Song” (1974)

It’s easy to forget that White made his bones early on as a drummer, working with jazz stalwart Ramsey Lewis and his acclaimed Ramsey Lewis Trio. “The Drum Song” is a startling reminder. Not so much an overdone percussive exercise; it’s a love letter to Africa.


“Got To Get You Into My Life” (1978)

In the rare tradition of a song besting the original, this Beatles cut gets a complete funk overall. Like Jimi Hendrix’s 1968 stunning version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower,” EW&F’s superior take on “Got To Get You Into My Life” has become more celebrated than its predecessor. Those sick brass runs? Compliments of the mighty Seahorns, a staple in EW&F’s mammoth sound.


“Love’s Holiday” (1977)

White’s lead vocals majestically stay in pocket on this underrated ballad taken from EW&F’s most commercially successful album All ‘n All. Warning: you may feel the need to break out into air guitar theatrics by the end of this breezy slow jam.


“Let’s Groove” (1981)

What may come off as cheesy wedding reception fodder is really a master class in GREAT sing-along songwriting. When the futuristic talk box intro hits you are given license to boogie in the most absurd manner. A smile-inducing classic.


“Fantasy” (1978)

How intricate was this grandiose, bombastic musical spectacle? “Fantasy” took three months to write and record, and was only finished when White found inspiration after watching the groundbreaking sci-fi game changer Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


“This Is How I Feel” (2005)

One of the last EW&F recordings to feature White, “This Is How I Feel,” produced by Outkast studio vets Organized Noize and featuring Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland, Outkast's Big Boi and Sleepy Brown, is no mere tribute record. The spirited track, taken from EW&F’s critically acclaimed comeback project Illumination, is a shining reminder of the rich influence of a band that often times defied stuffy labels. Thank you Mr. White.

[/videoembed] “Sun Goddess” (1974)

When the aforementioned Ramsey Lewis wanted to update his sound he turned to old friend Maurice White. The results? The inescapable jazz fusion title track from Lewis’ most successful crossover album Sun Goddess would chart both on the black and pop singles charts pushing the long playing disc to gold status.

[videoembed size="full_width" alignment="center"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qz_b1di3i8


“Reasons” (1975, live version)

Another track given new life as a live centerpiece. “Reasons,” a quiet storm R&B staple, never charted but it remains EW&F’s most celebrated ballad. Once again, Baily’s heart-tugging falsetto gets top billing.

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Cardi B Wants People To Be Educated About 2020 Presidential Candidates

It was announced on Thursday (April 25) that Joe Biden would officially be throwing his hat into the ring for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. He joins the likes of politicians such as Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and several others who are hoping to win the nomination next year.

Cardi B, who has been open in the past about her affinity for history and politics, is urging her fans to make sure they are educating themselves about the potential candidates and their policies.

"Post I love to see!" she wrote on Instagram in a caption accompanying a screenshot of all of the Democrats who have announced 2020 presidential bids. "These are the democratic nominees.I can’t front I only hurd and read on about six of them .Im going to research these names on my flight ! LETS START LEARNING AND ENCOURAGING VOTING NOW ! Not when is popular to do so and it’s only like four nominees left."

Earlier this year, Cardi spoke on the lengthy government shutdown and her thoughts on the underlying reason it was enacted.

"This sh*t is really f**kin' serious, bro," she stated in a viral Instagram video. "This sh*t is crazy. Like, our country is in a hellhole right now. All for a f**kin' wall."

 

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Post I love to see !These are the democratic nominees.I can’t front I only hurd and read on about six of them .Im going to research these names on my flight ! LETS START LEARNING AND ENCOURAGING VOTING NOW ! Not when is popular to do so and it’s only like four nominees left.

A post shared by MOSTHATEDCARDI (@iamcardib) on Apr 25, 2019 at 12:45pm PDT

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Tim Mosenfelder

Joey Badass Launches New 'Badmind' Record Label

Joey Badass is making serious moves. The rapper announced the launch of his new record label, Badmind, on Thursday (April 25).

"Proud to announce the launch of my label #Badmind," Badass revealed on Twitter. "First single from my first artist drops tonight on all streaming platforms. Stay tuned for more."

Proud to announce the launch of my new label #Badmind. First single from my first artist drops tonight on all streaming platforms. Stay tuned for more.... #NAOQuelly

— BADMON (@joeyBADASS) April 25, 2019

The single Joey is referring to is NAO Quelly's "Mo Betta," which is now available to stream.

Badass is coming fresh off the release of "Left Hand," a Beast Coast collective single. The single boasts production from Tyler Dopps and Sam Wish and features guest verses from Badass, Flatbush Zombies’ Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott, Nyck Caution, Kirk Knight and CJ Fly, and the Underachievers’ Issa Gold and AK The Savior.

"Left Hand" is the first studio release from the collective. The group appears on forthcoming tour and summer concert lineups including Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, Florida (May 12th), the Soundset Festival in St. Paul, Minnesota (May 26th) and Governors Ball in New York City (June 2nd). Beast Coast is also going on their Escape from New York Tour from July 23 until Aug. 25.

Listen to NAO Quelly's "Mo Betta," and check out the tour schedule for Beast Coast below.

 

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#BEASTCOST Escape from New York Tour! Pre-Sale starts tomorrow. Tickets available on Friday. @ beastcoastmusic.com

A post shared by Official Pro Era Instagram (@proerarecords) on Mar 12, 2019 at 9:13am PDT

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Texas Administrator Suspended For Coloring In Black Student's Hair Design With Sharpie

A school administrator from Texas has been suspended from their position at Berry Miller Junior High in Pearland, after forcing a black student to color in a design shaved into his head with a permanent marker.

Per the New York Daily News, “The boy’s hairstyle featured the letter "M" on the left side of his head, which is a violation of the district’s dress code.” The school’s assistant principal told the boy at school the next day that he had three options: “notify his mother, face disciplinary action or cover it with a marker.”

A detailing of the incident was written by the boy’s mother, Angela Washington, on Facebook. Washington says she was never informed of the action taken against her son.

“On Wednesday at school the Assistant Principal at Berry Miller Jr High in Pearland ISD told him he was out of dress code with his designs and decided to color my baby design with a PERMANENT MARKER!” she wrote. She added accompanying photos, one of the day the incident occurred, and two more pictures from the day after. She notes that the black marker coloring is still in his head.

“The district said the administrator ‘mishandled’ the case and the actions do ‘not align with appropriate measures for dress code violations,’” the Daily News continues. “The assistant principal, who has not been named, was placed on administrative leave."

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