Zulu Jam, 9th Wonder, Donald Byrd
Peace to the Love Haters out there, but take a moment to jam Outkast's "Happy Valentine's Day" this week, because it's a great, playful treatise on how, as a master once put it, "Love's in Need of Love Today." It's not all just about played notions of romantic love (jealousy, ownership, patriarchal bullshit), though, so take a sec to think about love for yourself and love for your people—all people, all creation in fact. Love's gonna get ya, word to Kris: "I got my good shoes on/And I got 'em tied up tight/So you gon' find out... TONIGHT."
Having got that hippie service announcement out the way: This weekend, show some of that love to 206 Zulu for their ninth anniversary—at the annual Zulu Jam—going down in the historic environs of Washington Hall (Feb 15–17, see 206zulu.com). Seeing as it's their nueve year, the Zulu mossie is bringing in North Cackalacka's own beloved boardsman 9th Wonder. (A more appropriate choice than Bronx's Nine or Kansas City's Tech N9ne, I'm thinking.) You know him for Little Brother, for putting Jay-Z's "Threat" in your mama's mama's crib, for putting Phonte, Jean Grae, and Lil B the BasedGod on the same track—not to mention his numerous solo releases and collaborative albums with Murs, Buckshot, David Banner, and Pete Rock. 9th is also a teacher (as artist in residence at North Carolina Central University), which all adds up to the perfect pedigree for the Zulu Jam. Hey young world, why don't you listen and learn? Speaking of, other guests include A.C. the Program Director of hiphopphilosophy.com.
Also, Suntonio Bandanaz will be performing; he's celebrating the release of his newest album, American Gangster Nerd. Boys and girls of the B should also know that there is a three-on-three battle worth nine, count 'em nine, bills for the victor. Go get at that and get Comcast off your ass, those bastards.
I want to send a big RIP shout-out to the OG Donald Byrd, who passed last Monday. Jazz heads revere his hard bop material, but hiphop heads know him best for the string of hit records he did with my pops and my late uncle Fonce, aka the Mizell Brothers, who he met while teaching class at Howard University (where he also discovered his band the Blackbyrds). That partnership led to stuff that provided classic grooves for A Tribe Called Quest ("Footprints"), Public Enemy ("Fear of a Black Planet"), Ice Cube ("I Wanna Kill Sam"), Main Source ("Looking at the Front Door"), and countless others. (Seriously, though, every hiphop producer I've ever met who figures out who my fam is always tells me that they've sampled some of those Byrd records before.) Besides, whoever the fuck sampled it, it's all incredible music, and I don't just say that because of the obvious—just give Places and Spaces a listen on a beautiful, sunny Seattle day like today happens to be. I guarantee it like my man at Men's Wearhouse: You will feel the love.