This past week was one to remember. Hassahn Phenomenon and Dasha, The Divine Divah were all in these LA Streets for all the Grammy Week Festivities. Peep just a few of the photos below and Tune-in this Wednesday night at 7pm PST for all the dirty details in the Cypher Scene!
Archive for the Cypher Scene Category
By Hassahn Phenomenon
“Then we started singing and they said it sounds smooth,” are the lyrics from Boyz II Men’s first hit single, “MotownPhilly” and twenty years later, they sound even smoother. On a cold winter night in the city of Hammond, IN at The Venue located inside the Horseshoe Casino, Boyz II Men along with Mint Condition gave an awe-inspiring lesson in the art of “Real Music!”
What a better place than The Venue to hold such a display of talent as the scene gives you a bit of Vegas with a blue-collar edge and a tad bit of southern hospitality. As you ascend the monstrous escalator within the Horseshoe Casino to arrive at the pinnacle place for performance and parties, you can’t help but notice the musical and comedic legends that have performed here as their portraits align the walls of the lobby area. The sight of autographed photos from Patti LaBelle to Cedric the Entertainer welcomes you visually as the courteous staff invites you in with a simple yet effective greeting, “Welcome to The Venue.”
As Cypher Lounge Radio correspondent, Maria Isabel and myself found our seats, we both couldn’t help but notice the energy in the room as the mostly 35 and older crowd seemed to be buzzing like antsy teenagers ready to see Justin Bieber for the first time. Adorned in their winter’s best layered fashions, the predominantly Chicago audience was once again welcomed to the show by V-103′s newest midday host, Kelly Mac as she brought Mint Condition to the stage to serve as the opening act.
Not that it took this performance for me to know this, but Mint Condition could serve as headliners for any show. Lead singer Stokely is an amazing talent as he sings, plays the guitar, and even jumped on the drums as the R&B group went through an awesome array of songs that had us rockin’ in the 90′s and a few new songs from the current album, Music @ The Speed of Life, that had us grooving in the aisles of The Venue. When they performed their classic hit, “Breaking My Heart” which most people call “Pretty Brown Eyes,” every lady in the house seemed to be reminiscing about the first time they slow danced to that song including Maria, as she said, “I remember dancing at my 8th grade dance with this guy that I had a crush on and I wanted him to dance with me so bad.” As Maria got her wish, everyone got ours as we were treated to performance the reminded us of what “Real Music” was, is, and should be.
The thing about “Real Music” is that is should take you to place or moment in your life or move you to some sort of emotion that you just overwhelms you. Before Nate, Shawn, and Wanya arrived on stage, we were treated to a video montage that took us through the legacy, t rial, and tribulations of Boyz II Men. As they stepped, the OVERWHELMING began! With hit after hit after hit, their voices still in mint condition, (Yes, the pun was intended.) the once four man group hadn’t lost a vocal or a step for that matter. Whether they were emulating the Motown legends of the past or kneeling on “Bended Knee,’ Boyz II Men gave an iconic performance that featured, powerful vocals, precision, and personality. There was not one person in the house that didn’t rise to their feet or try to mimic Wayna’s masterful riffs and runs on classic hits like “I’ll Make Love to You.” The trio also introduced us to a new song written by Babyface entitled, “One More Dance.” from their new album, TWENTY.
As they closed the show with the classic, “MotownPhilly,” all Maria and I could think of was how much we danced, laughed, cried, sang, and lost our minds on this evening and over the years to Boyz II Men, Mint Condition, and every other classic song and artist we grew up listening to. Wanya put it best when he said, “They tried to write us off but Real Music will always be here.” Yes, it will and on this cold winter evening the Boyz II Men was in top form or should I say, Mint Condition and the place was The Venue.
Every now and then, we come across something that we consider poignant, culturally relevant, and most importantly a great representation of sophisticated ignorance. Check out this hilarious Parody “Facebook Sh*t I Don’t Like” brought to you by Cypher Lounge Radio fam, Kyra Kyles & Myth Lab Entertainment.
By Hassahn Phenomenon
“Jesus and titties don’t go together,” was just one the hilarious sing-a-long chants that resonated throughout the Key Club this past Friday night as The Foreign Exchange invaded the world-famous Sunset Blvd. Nicolay, Zo, Sy Smith, Jeanne Jolly, and of course the ultimate Master of Ceremonies, Phonte’ brought their “A” game this evening with a cleverly crafted and balanced performance that leaves you thinking, “How come they aren’t more famous than they already are?”
Don’t get me wrong, the room was packed from front to back and energy was incredible for the Grammy nominated R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop group. With patron shots flowing, the grown & sexy stepping in the love in the “Moscato Section,” as Phonte so eloquently called the balcony area, and the young the restless crammed at the front of stage, @FEOfficial was absolutely as official as their twitter handle indicates. Whether it was “Take off Your Blues” from the “Leave it All Behind” album, “Gonna Be A Beautiful Night” from Phonte’s “Charity Starts at Home” album, or “Fight for Love” from the “Authenticity” album, those in attendance were groovin’ for the entire two hours FE blessed the congregation.
And congregation is the absolute best word to describe the way the crowd connected with Phonte’s masterful ability to deliver eloquently edgy humor, fluid yet soulful vocal ability, lyrical prowess that dominated 90’s hip-hop, and good ole’ southern Baptist preacher like satirical sermons as the “church” obliged him with an “Amen” every time he requested one. The entire band plays off of each other extremely well and they just seem fun on stage and therefore the crowd responds and reciprocates the enthusiasm. The Foreign Exchange was on their BBD type flow on this night because they brought the Hip-Hop smoothed out on the R&B tip with a Soul feel appeal to it.
There are only one more stop on the “Authenticity” tour but if you can get to Phoenix, AZ for the last show at the Monarch on October 23rd, I highly recommend that you go. If you do make it, here are a few tips for you: Be prepared to have a good time, enjoy some quality music, “LOL” will be a requirement, get ready for “The Mack” (That is an inside joke for true FE fans), and when Phonte says, “Let the Church Say Amen,” make sure you respond accordingly.
In a world where conglomerates run the radio airwaves and velvet ropes keep the “have nots” in their “proper” place away from the “haves,” we are beat over the head with a Top 4o music culture that embodies repetition, fast money, and 2 minutes of fame for those that fight so hard to be a part of what has become the norm. For these reasons, the LA club scene tends to be a chaotic mess of pretentiousness, fictitious lifestyles, & well lets face it, fake DJ’s that hide behind their Serato and spins their favorite radio stations’ playlist.
What happened to the “grown and sexy” yet “young & the restless” balance that once existed and kept the dance floors packed? Where is the Hip-Hop smoothed out on the R&B tip with a Pop feel appeal to it?
Well, that nostalgic feeling can be found generally once a month at Vikter Duplaix’s, KissNGrind party. This is the place where LA’s sophisticated urban socialites come funky fresh dressed to impress and ready to PARTY! Each month the KissNGrind features a different world-renowned DJ like Biz Markie, Quest Love, and many more. If you don’t know, now you know that Mr. Duplaix always holds it down but at the last KissNGrind party, DJ Kid Capri started his set with a 30 minute slow-jam session that had the ladies “Weak in the Knees” and the fellas trying to “Bump N Grind.”
With that being said, if you are looking to have your soul fed and you are ready to “leave that 9 to 5 on the shelf and just enjoy yourself,” you might want to get over to the KissNGrind party Friday, Sept. 7th at the Vanguard in Hollywood. Did I mention that DJ Jazzy Jeff is the guest DJ? Cypher Lounge will be in building and we suggest you get your ass down there and “Make it a Night to Remember.”
The iStandard Producer’s Showcase recently hit tinsel town on its popular award tour to find, aid, assist, and showcase new producers while giving them an opportunity to have their sonic designs critiqued by music industry taste makers. While the panel of judges included Dirty Swift of MIDI Mafia (50 Cent, Justin Bieber, Fantasia, etc), Jeff Vaughn (A&R at Atlantic Records / Director of A&R at Artist Publishing Group), and Otha “Vakseen” Davis III (A&R at Slip-N-Slide Records / CEO of Vakseen LLC), the competing producers showcased a vast array of styles that ranged from hardcore hip-hop, dub-step, to pop.
As always, iStandard Co-Founder, J. Hatch served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event while fellow Co-Founder, Thrill Collins served as the director of the one’s and two’s for the evening. The Dragon Fly on Santa Monica Blvd played host to this years showcase and was a welcomed changed from last years venue. With classic hip-hop music blasting through the speakers, a few cocktails providing a sophisticated level of intoxication, and a room full of aspiring producers, songwriters, and industry heavyweights, the scene was set for a healthy competition.
Although this is a competition, iStandard sets the standard by making sure everyone knows that everyone is a superstar and deserves to be treated as such. With that attitude, the energy in the room resonated with positivity, love, and honest feedback and makes the environment highly conducive to networking. And who better to network with than Da Internz, who were in attendance to drop a few jewels on an audience as they both emphasized the importance os staying humble yet confident, building relationships, and investing in your craft. The entire night seemed to be more about providing words of wisdom rather than the music itself. Of course you heard the judges give the typical critiques to the producers like, “Enhance your sounds, work on your mixing, and work on making beats that songwriters can write,” but there was a heavy focus on building relationships which most of us know is one of the most vital elements to having success in the music industry.
One person that may be on his way to success is Marcus Jay, the pop-based producer that earned the most points over the course of the two-day competition. Marcus took home the victory in a very close competition that featured producers from all over the world, including to young gentlemen from Korea. Marcus was the winner of Native Instruments MASCHINE MIKRO, 1 OF 3 Products from Focusrite Novation (Impulse 25 controller Keyboard, Scarlett 8i6 (USB), or Saffire Pro 14 (Firewire), IK Multimedia iOS Products Valued at Over $1000 - iRig Microphone, AmpliTube iRig, iKlip, iRig MIDI, iRig Mix, plus their renowned plug-ins SampleTron, SampleMoog, and T-Racks 3 Deluxe, BKE’s BTVSOLO by Dallas Austin, Indamixx Pro Portable Studio, 101 Distribution Professional Set-Up – $499.95 Value (Click “Pro” Tab), iZotope’s The T-Pain Effect, a Soul II Sole T-Shirt / Hat from Time Bomb Clothing, a Lifetime Subscription to iStandardProducers.com, promotional gear from Monster Energy, and more.
While Marcus Jay may have been the announced winner, everyone in that room was a winner because of the amazing opportunities to network with like-minded people who all have a very similar vision. With that being said, iStandard definitely sets the standard when it comes to providing young producers and songwriters the opportunity to connect, build, and grow.
10 year anniversary party for CURLS hair care line. We also found out that evening that we were not there to only celebrate the past 10 years for CURLS but also the future of the company when Creator/CEO,
The story of the entire evening was a celebration of the moment and milestones of Mahisha but her story is awe-inspiring in itself. As a girl, she felt there were not enough products on the market that catered to the woman with natural curls so she decided to make her own products and 10 years later, she is now joined by actress, Tia Mowry and a host of other celebrities on her custom-made orange carpet celebrating a decade of her success and significance in the industry.
Also joining the party was Ray J (R&B Singer/Songwriter/Actor) , Sophie Monk (Actress/Super Model),Victor Ortiz (Former Welterweight Champion of the World), and a host of others. Singer/Songwriter, Austin Brown set the night off with a performance of his hot single, “Menage a Trois” and few other well-received joints. Mr. Brown’s performance was the perfect cap to an already exhilarating evening that mirrored the image of the CURLS CEO, in that is was bold, classy, inspiring, full of energy, fun, and beautifully brilliant.
Whether it was Dasha, the Divine Divah chopping it up with Tia Mowry about past hair horror stories or Hassahn Phenomenon sparring on the red carpet with Victor Ortiz, Cypher Lounge Radio brought the sophisticated ignorance party while Mahisha brought out the “flyness” with her personal style, beauty, charisma, intelligence, and amazing guest list. From the fondue tables, to the gift bags, to the celebrities in attendance, we are excited to see what the next CURLS anniversary party will be like. With that being said, we have the utmost respect and admiration for Mahisha Dellinger and it’s only right that we say, “We love CURLS, CURLS, CURLS, CURLS we do ADORE!
By: Hassahn Phenomenon
“With good music, got that good feel, a good meal; leafy greens, two veggies, protein, and a starch,” are the words of rhyme spitter/crooner, Phonte on his 9th Wonder produced song, “Not Here Anymore” featured on his new album, “Charity Starts at Home.” In a fast food music industry, where people want music quick, cheap, and just good enough to fill them up for the moment, Phonte chose to go away from the McDonald’s like brand album with one or two singles, and 10 fillers. The album is definitely not two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun and guess what; “I’m Lovin’ It!”
I have actually had the album in my possession for more than three weeks and just like any good meal, I didn’t want to rush through it. I wanted to let it digest throughout my soul so I listened to it in my office, rocked it my car, worked out to it at the gym, and left a few friends hear it in my home. With that being said, now I feel like I let the predominantly 9th Wonder produced project, marinate long enough that I could give an honest opinion of how it smelled, tasted, and made me feel after I consumed it.
“Charity Starts at Home” smells of the essence of a nice blend of sample driven boom-bap instrumentals mixed with the soulful quintessence of piano rhythms and full melodies. On tracks like the head bobbin’, “Dance in the Reign” produced by Swiff D, which serves as the intro song to the album, Phonte shows that his pen game is still strong while still providing an outlook to his view on his place in hip-hop. The gifted songstress, Sy Smith, joins him on the track towards the end as she provides a soulful balance to the track that sort of depicts the entire of feel what you can expect from the album. “Charity Starts at Home” tastes like raw, honest, adult-like, and cleverly scribed lyricism spoon fed to the hungry listener by Phonte, a few guest emcees, and a few R&B vocalists. The former Little Brother member shows off his crooner like vocals on the smooth Sl and Caleb produced track, “Gonna Be a Beautiful.” Joined by usual and talented suspect, Carlitta Durand, this track is sure to satisfy the soul of the Foreign Exchange followers. In that same vein, “Sendin My Love” is also sure to please the auditory palette with the captivating percussion provided the use of the conga drum, while simultaneously appealing to the hearts and minds of any grown ass man or woman that has battled with the ups, downs, fidelity, and commitment of marriage and relationships.
“Charity Starts at Home’ makes you feel as if hip-hop and music in general can still possess the originality and creativity captured during the “Golden Era,” while simultaneously being innovative enough to be relevant for the moment and beyond. That very essence is captured on the song, “We Go Off” featuring hip-hop legend, Pharoahe Monch. The song definitely speaks to any and everyone that appreciates a dope beat, raw rhymes, clever metaphors, and punch lines.
This album definitely packs a good punch but is more than that. It truly is a good meal due to its bountiful balance. It provides nutritious sustenance to the ears, mind, and soul with pulsating production, sinister similes, thought-provoking content, and uncut honesty from Phonte, who seems to have truly embraced who he was, is, and will become. With that being said, if you have had your fair share of value meals and combos for the day, week, or year, then I suggest you go grab some leafy greens, two veggies, protein, and a starch. A good meal and “Charity Starts at Home.”
On a wonderfully pleasant Friday evening, Hollywood came together to support Kiki Shepard in her fight against the disease Sickle Cell. The setting was PINZ Entertainment Center in Studio City where some of Tinsel Town’s elite came out to knock a few pins down for a good cause. With Herbal Life, Bank of America, Grey’s Anatomy and host of other sponsors, the stars were aligned for the event to be a life-changing success. Cypher Lounge Radio was on hand for the experience so we figured with bring you a little closer to the experience from the lens of Beverly Lindo for E.Y.E AM Shooter photography.
Already 21 cities deep once they hit Hollywood, The Award Tour that we have come to know as the iStandard Producer’s Showcase didn’t disappoint the Tinseltown socialites. With the likes of music production royalty such as Rob Knox, and Slip N Slide A&R, Vakseen the panel of judges was your usual cast of the who’s who of the industry.
With over 24 producers competing for the top spot, which includes meetings and consultation with the panelist, software from IK Multimedia, Ableton, and a host of other dope sponsors, you would think the tension or hate would be spewing throughout the room, but the iStandard Producer’s showcase is that type party. It’s all about love for the music, constructive feedback, and networking. The vibe of the entire showcase mirrors the image of the iStandard Founders,Don Di Napoli aka Thrill Collins and Jason “J Hatch” Hadshian in that it is all about progressing the culture and bringing amazing talent together in one room. J Hatch said it best, “The most amazing thing I have seen from traveling city to city is the camaraderie amongst the producers, artists, and everybody in attendance. Although it’s a competition everybody is just their to be heard and make connections.”
The connections are real, just ask up and coming producer, Woozy Collins, who was in attendance, “It was so dope for me to have my music critiqued by the people who already have a name in the game but it was even doper to have that direct access to them. iStandard is providing an amazing opportunity for artist like me.” With performances from artists like Shanica Knowles, , it is also an avenue for up & coming rappers, singers, etc. to showcase their talents as well. The iStandard environment is definitely one that caters to the artist and networking socialite within all of us.
Powered by Monster Energy Drinks, the iStandard Producer’s Showcase is a force in the industry that is truly providing young talent with “REAL” opportunities. When they come to a city near you, be sure to check it out. Whether you are an artist, songwriter, manager, lawyer, or a producer, you need to be there. iStandard is truly the standard by which industry showcases should be measured.