Just when cats were starting to ask where he'd gone, J.Pinder is back with Code Red, a free seven-track digital EP; the release party for it goes down at Cap Hill skate/gear boutique Goods on Friday, April 9. Fittingly, there'll be custom Goods Pinder tees available (and did I hear something about a limited Pinder skate deck?). I heard the single off of Red, "Go Far," and it's the next stop on Pinder's slick-yet-humanist, old-soul/young-dude hiphop—the best part is the MC singing the aspirational/inspirational hook. I look forward to future stuff from him (such as his forthcoming full-length album and his OK Hotel project) exploring this soulful singer-songwriter chamber even more.
Another release party going on this weekend (Saturday, April 10, at Nectar) is for Phonephreak, the newest studio album from my guy and yours Sonny Bonoho. As with Pinder, Sonny's messages of self-worth and self-sufficiency are often lifted up on the shoulders of his sangin', as on "Judge Brown," probably the best thing Sonny's ever done, a soulful go-forth hymn that's stayed in my head since he passed the track to me months ago. The goofy essence of the Bonoho (last really seen on his debut LP, Life of a Backup Singer) is still on display here, but it's refined, perhaps by his exposure to the music coming out of Atlanta. Peep his homeboy Playboy Tre, one of the ATL's best, on the Fleetwood Brougham–smooth songs "I Know" and "Helping Hand." A song like "Mr. Blue Moon" is reminiscent of such post–Andre 3000 talents as B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray—in a good way.
There are tons of artists desperately trying to recast themselves as the nerd or the weirdo to fit in with these Revenge of the Nerds times—but true weirdos like my man Sonny (I mean that in the best way possible, mind you) are hard to come by. One of my favorite things about the writing on Phonephreak is how true it is to Sonny's own funky, idiosyncratic manner of speak, my dog. Sonny splits his time on Phreak between bootstraps-going-up motivational speak and silly-ass shit like "Grand Am" featuring D12's Bizarre (as I said in my very first column back in 2004, I'm just not a fan of dude as a rapper). Like a few MCs round hurr, I kinda wish Sonny would talk a little more shit on his tracks, but ultimately that's the thing we love about him—he's just not a negative dude. His CD-release party will feature his sometimes-mistaken-for twin (not really) JFK aka Ninjaface, the fabulously talented singer Tiffany Wilson, smoove operator S-n-O, DJ Bamboo, and yours truly on hosting duties (translation: yelling).
Mark April 11 on your fuckin' social calendar, though—it is, at last, time for the Seattle Stimulus Package release party; that's right, Philadelphia Freeway and Seatown son Jake One will be officering free face removal at the Crocodile. This is going to be a big one. Fatal Lucciauno (whose new Jake One–laced stuff is !!!!), the aforementioned J.Pinder, and Logics (who helped throw the whole shebang together) open up. Be there—early!