BLOG and Playlist Submissions

Greets everyone.
MC ZULU here just dropping a line to say thanks for giving feedback on the latest remix. I was a pretty established vocalist before, but took time off (raising kids). Now I’m returning and producing for myself. It’s going to be across multiple genres, and the constructive criticism you gave is very important.

Being a vocalist took me around the world, but I had to put in the work and pay dues. It’s going to be the same on the production side of things. I’ll be taking your suggestions, working with engineers, other producers and watching MAAAWWDDD tutorials. Looking forward to sending more material your way, and through other channels very soon. I wish you all the best in what you’re trying to accomplish as well.

Kind Regards!!

Hanging With Jess The Ska Kid

Jess The Ska Kid

This is a situation that is going to happen in the life of every artist. When you are on your way “up” you will meet random people. However you treat them at that point is going to have an impact on you years later. A long time ago I used to play with a group known as The Drastics. They toured the United States and Canada, building up a significant following. Their musical repertoire ranged from Ska to Jazz, but was centered on Dub.

Shouts to Fada Dougou for inviting me to play with them.

During one of our shows (at a college in Wisconsin) I remember a bright-eyed kid asking a lot of questions about our varying lineup, the meaning of the songs, the twist we were putting on traditional ska, etc. She was really interested in the music (which is rare in the midwest), so Fada and I stayed behind to answer everything. That same young lady would go on to brand herself as “Jess The Ska Kid”.

Fast forward some years later. I put off touring to raise kids and the scene changed. Although I have been places and done great things, the music industry has essentially collapsed. Let’s face it. Putting aside the expected reduction in my own popularity, I am returning to a barren wasteland as far as opportunities are concerned. My new strategy is to go around “the Industry”, directly at fans no matter where they may be.

Re-enter Jess The Ska Kid with an invitation to appear on her daring, Wayne’s World-styled home show. She explains that after helping build the radio station at that same Wisconsin school there was a new management coup. Instead of begging and holding on she struck out on her own. She didn’t know what to expect but handles issues (like Facebook LIVE copyright muting) in stride. The show is now booked a full year in advance, with even internationally touring bands adding her as a stop.

All things mimic the cycle of life and death. The music industry is no different. It was always a predatory and destructive element however, so I do not mourn its destruction. The ones who rise through its rebirth will be in a unique position to create life-worthy opportunities. I am putting my money on people like Jess The Ska Kid.

Media Revolution: KFAI Minneapolis/St. Paul & Latino ALTRock

Make no mistake about it. Latino Alt Rock is definitely a thing. With its punk inflected, revolutionary aesthetic an entire culture has grown from the social ashes left by decades of American interventionism. ALT Rock is the perfect vehicle for channeling feelings of angst, rage and frustration. It may include any number of genres with a message of resistance permeating throughout.

Bionik & MC ZULU on Latino Alt Rock / Hosts Pablo Miranda, Raul Escobar

So why are they playing Reggae in Minnesota?

The answer is simple. Once the norms and accepted messages have been established, it’s easy to find mutual interests, even among people from differing backgrounds. KFAI Radio, broadcasting from Minneapolis / St. Paul, plays host to the areas most progressive minded shows. They are dedicated not only to supporting local talent, but advocating for innovative voices.

Bionik & MC ZULU with KFAI’s “Radio” Rico Morales

Imagine FM programming which covers an entire metropolitan area, but features a guest list that reads like a “who’s who” of homegrown artists. Music often branches far away from any genre namesakes into a free-form journey guided by the personalities’ current mood. Suddenly you aren’t being “programmed”. You are being introduced to some cool person’s music collection. When this happens common ground finds itself, while the local economy benefits. In my humble opinion it’s the only formula that can save terrestrial radio.

MC ZULU @ KFAI FM Minneapolis / St. Paul with DJ legend Spider J. Hamilton

Latino ALTRock:

“Blue Wave” A Non-Partisan Assessment of America’s Social Conscience

Blue wave… more like a teardrop.

Beto O’Rourke didn’t win. Andrew Gillum didn’t win. Even that racist P.O.S. in Georgia presided over his own election and saw to it that Black people couldn’t vote.

Now…. let me tell you WHY
There is no strong voice against Republican reasoning. The resistance does not happen at the ballot box. It happens in the minds of the people, and the conscience of America used to be it’s ARTS COMMUNITY.

When you think of the civil rights era I guarantee you, aside from the speeches, a song comes to mind. The counter-culture revolution was driven by MUSIC, COMEDY and FASHION. No revolution can happen without them.

Hidden within those three things are messages for the people interested in changing the world. The messengers don’t always have the answers, but they have a platform, credibility and the best of intentions. Athletes try, but they are not always as effective or iconic as Ali or Kaepernick.

Record labels: They are supposed to make money, but they are also supposed to take risks. They no longer do that. The end result is an industry-wide, homogenized artistic output from the same 50 people who seldom dare to speak out against anything, for fear of losing their sponsorship (deal). So there is effectively NO true voice for change.

Can you blame artists? Their credibility is derived from a combination of SINCERITY and SUCCESS. Today’s fans are only impressed by “social proof”. We believe things are actually getting done by way of Facebook / InstaGram Likes.

Point blank… ART drives culture, and today’s artists are manufactured, packaged garbage designed to turn off your mind. You think the 60’s artists didn’t make a difference? Look up Vice President Spiro Agnew. Look up President Richard Nixon. These politicians were forced to resign due to impropriety. The USA elected Jimmy Carter afterwards. HE IS ONE OF THE ONLY POLITICIANS I RESPECT.

Still, the call for real change will not come from a politician. It will come from an artist. So entertainment companies are going to have to start taking risks again. Release work from people who have something to say. Stand behind it, even if you don’t always agree.

Fans are also going to have to step outside the cattle car. Support ART that speaks to you. Don’t look at what the “crowd” is doing. Many times numbers are manipulated anyway because they know you are programmed to QUANTIFY art. You don’t QUALIFY it.

The moral compass of society is always something that comes from the arts community. This is why poetry and music (definitely comedy) are banned in countries where there is no freedom of expression. In the USA they did not ban it. They simply paid dumb assed artists a great deal of money to dumb down the population. Media companies are complicit in this, and now wonder why even their biggest and brightest stars (Oprah, Beyonce, Jay-Z, etc) cannot make a social impact.

With art being placed so low in terms of importance, it means that corporate interests will always drive the conversation. Why would anyone listen to lyrics from a progressive singer with three jobs, when the village idiot is stepping out of a limousine? 🤣🤣🤣

Hustle vs. Grind: What’s the Difference?

Many people are on a quest to “get rich or die trying”. So if you get the money what’s next? You should know…
How many people have you seen who are rich but they don’t enjoy their lives?

It’s because they allowed the hustle that they once loved to become a GRIND. Think about it. Grinding, by nature, invokes images of punitive abrasion. It’s aggressive and there’s no way you can enjoy that.

Sometimes you have to do it for survival, but it wasn’t meant to be a long term solution. Any time something starts grinding too much, chances are that you’ll have to replace it soon

Joints grind… Gears grind… All signs of trouble

Now how does something GET to that point?
In a word…. OVER REACH.
The hustle has taken up too much space in your life. No… You are NEGLECTING other aspects of your life!

And before you get started… the solution is not to just QUIT. The solution is to develop an EXIT STRATEGY. That way you can be mindful of other opportunities as they present themselves. With an exit strategy you are once again working with purpose. The grind is downgraded to a hustle.

It’s the definition of working SMART instead of working HARD.
So minimize the grinding. You are here to be smooth. Be Smooth dammit!

Why Does it Seem Like Hate is Stronger?

Have you ever noticed the positive, uplifting things you post to social media have a hard time getting traction? Anything you post having to do with HATE catches on much easier, as people jump on the bandwagon.

To all Haters:
I have a theory that your only competition in life are Time and Gravity. Time is constantly ticking from the moment you’re born, but Gravity draws you in and pulls you down. Hatred also draws you in and pulls you down, so when you express it you’re working in tandem with gravity.

This is why Hatred is easy. You can set it and forget it. Love by comparison is uplifting. It works against Gravity. If you carry Love in your heart you are, in effect, working against the forces of Time and Gravity. In this way, Expressions of Love can actually extend your life. Anything you want to maintain, your body, your car, your relationship all require “UP”keep… or constant expressions of Love, working against the forces of Time and Gravity.

Is Spotify Stepping Around The Major Record Labels?

Imagine a world where record labels are a thing of the past, and artists forge their own agreements with distribution outlets. Music industry whispers are indicating that Spotify has been testing a new arrangement with a select group of artists. Said artists will enjoy increased chances of being playlisted, and they will receive a larger percentage of their streaming revenue. This move has the major labels, quite predictably, shi**ing bricks.

Being that streaming has now become the preferred distribution model it puts services like Spotify at the top of the pyramid. When Spotify reached out to major labels years ago a clause was added that they would NEVER be able to become a record label per se’. What seems to be happening though, is that independent artists don’t really NEED a label. Though they may choose to create boutique labels for identity’s sake, there is really no need for anyone to aspire to sign to a major.

I believe Spotify’s maneuver is in keeping with their original charter, because they are not actually producing the music that they distribute. After the amount of scrutiny they have received for literally becoming a billion dollar corporation on the backs of musicians, it’s time they made some moves on the behalf of the artist. This is after all, the MUSIC business. Without MUSIC there is no business………… and without business…….. most musicians have little choice but to resign themselves to years of servitude in unrelated professions, relegating music production to random, stolen moments throughout the year. When we meet, ask me how I know.

SOURCE: New York Times

MC ZULU’s “Win Win” Gun Control Idea

Let the floodgates open and let’s have a real discussion. In a perfect world, we’ll all listen to each others ideas, concerns and we’ll consider everything. The very idea of gun control leaves people so divided, it’s as if rational conversation about it isn’t even possible. It reminds me of the vaccination issue. No one will agree on anything before it devolves into name calling. Well, Here’s my idea:

The idea of eliminating reverse compatibility of ammo COULD be met with all sorts of enmity… OR we could have a real discussion about it. I am not for disarming the population. That is every tyrant’s first step before clamping down. I am also not in favor of undocumented weapons flooding the streets.

Just like you need a license to drive, you need to have a license to shoot, and what you shoot needs to be documented. Americans have lost the trust factor in the eyes of their children. Trust is being violated every day by people who shoot indiscriminately. My opinion is that we’ve reached the point where use of a firearm has to be monitored for MISUSE. Target practice, hunting, protection? Fine. Robbery, assault, murder? It will be easier to find suspects. That’s my suggestion. I welcome any dissenting opinions. This generation is not likely to change a damn thing, but my hope is that these same endangered youth will pick up the ball and run with it. Time will tell.