There’s a saying which rings true to many; “Get back to the ROOTS”
I had recently moved back from LA to the NW for various reasons, one being the need for a new spark of inspiration. Getting back to where I started was a vision for my music that I wanted to rebirth. A good friend of mine and music enthusiast “Mr. Crates” had met with me carrying a stack of vinyl for sampling purposes. The first album I grabbed was the Quincy Jones produced soundtrack for the well known series ROOTS.. I fell in love with the music within a couple seconds after dropping the needle. It spoke to me in ways unlike any other. The art of how Quincy sequenced each song and incorporated audio from the show, while keeping it highly intact with African culture was remarkable to me. It was at this time I knew I wanted to sample this entire piece of art and turn it into a complete hip hop rendition of ROOTS for 2016.
Music is a journey. It takes you on a ride of personal thought, reflection, and imagination. Quincy did that for me with his masterpiece and I wanted to replicate the same for my listeners. I decided to have the same structure of my project follow the storyline of the original record dealing with: Heartache, Strength, Adaption, Progress, and eventually Growth into self of a new era. From the ‘Mother Land’, to slaves being brought over by sea, to the transition of getting accustomed to a new life in the new world. I wanted people to visualize this story through music.
Track 1 “Mother Land” - Welcome to Africa. I wanted this track to take you straight to the ‘Roots’. Where the journey begins.
Track 2 “R.O.P.” (Rites of Passage) - African culture in its purest form. Unassimilated. Rich in spirituality and tradition passed down from generations ago.
Track 3 “Black Ice” - The dark age of reality. The heartache. The understanding that life will forever be changed from what once was. The notion of being enslaved to work for benefits of another race. Mothers trying to calm their babies who were being swept from them through lullabies that would only be heard through their dreams at night.
Track 4 “Amerikkka” - The beginning of new life. “You ain’t in Africa ‘no mo’” The beginning of change.
Track 5 “Oh Lord” - Strength. Faith. Calling to the Lord to watch over them in times of darkness. Finding hope in places where one would not think to look.
Track 6 “L.B.C.. (Live By Character) - Being at peace with yourself in times of hardship. Rising above the conformity of society and slavery to still reach new heights of individualism and live at peace with yourself and ones around you.
The music piece was done but I still needed visuals to complete the journey. My friend Hussein of Almaic Brand was someone who I knew could spiritually and artistically capture the essence of what the project was trying to accomplish. He put together an amazing piece of abstract art which illustrates the process of journey for slaves traveling from their homeland to eventually coming to America and beginning their new life. All while maintaining their culture, and grasping the strength to still grow to be beautiful individuals of hope and love.
If you look at the cover from bottom to top, the bottom represents the homeland. Beautiful horizon colors with long brush strokes swaying left to right and back again. Pure, true colors of nature and life. As you continue glancing up, you notice pieces become smaller with colors mixing and brush strokes happening every which way. This is the break up of families and the introduction of slavery to the culture. You will notice top right of the picture, colors are beginning to return to original base and even off-kilter in its alignment, symbolizing the growth of slaves to still reach new heights of individualism even in a society that is completely trying to conform them to one way of living. This STILL is happening in 2016.
This project is very dear to me, because of a transitional phase I was going through and still am. It reminds me of the story of the alchemist. You can travel the entire world in search for answers, treasures, or messages. When in reality, sometimes what you were searching for was at home the entire time. Sometimes we all must go back to our own ROOTS.
There are rumors of a new ROOTS series coming back into production. Wouldn’t it be great if this project was placed as theme music? Positive vibes, and energy y’all.
Seek Knowledge Find Peace.
My best always,
released February 1, 2016
Producer - Cee Goods
Musical Direction - Mr. Crates
Album cover - Hussein of Almaic Brand
Guitarist (Track 2 & 6) - Troy James
Engineer - Zebulon Dak of Momentum Studio
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