Jhene Aiko: A Cali Geisha’s Omnipresent Journey Through Love, Life, Death and Transcendence

Slauson songstress Jhene Aiko embodies a perfect blend of her Afro-Asiatic roots and the chill vibe that West L.A. is known for, creating her special sound that was quite different when introduced at the time. Many are unaware of the key role that Jhene’s style played in the most recent wave of R&B coming out of L.A. and the impact beyond its borders. That style has heavily influenced the Rhythm and Blues you hear across radio airwaves today. How can you be sure of this? one might ask, However if we gather the essence of Japanese culture woven into her Afro-Native nuance, Jhene’s sultry delivery is distinguished by that heritage and the emergence of her rise amongst peers like THC, The Fisticuffs, Dom Kennedy, HitBoy, Overdoz, Kenderick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle and other West L.A. artists who’d crossed creative paths at the rise of L.A.’s dominance of today’s music scene.

Jhene’s decision to share her travels on this latest project Trip invites listeners into a vulnerable space, where she bravely expresses her struggle with depression, drugs, and transcendence toward her higher being.   She performed the last leg of her national show in L.A. this past week, accompanied by a Harpist in a jungle-themed oasis against a vibrant backdrop of psychedelic visuals. Positive vibes filled the air and the surprise opening act was Willow Smith, who nailed her performance even with a scratchy talking voice after a grueling tour. The show was truly impressive and the new album Trip is well worth the listen, if nothing else to get away in one’s mind and explore a perspective that might heighten a sense of awareness.

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Jhene Aiko by Prince & Jacob for Galore via (Source: Www.BlogLovin.Com)

Overdoz Finally Releases “2008” Album!

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Overdoz finally releases their long-awaited album “2008”

Overdoz finally drops its album 2008, with fans eagerly awaiting its release since…well, 2008! If you’ve never heard of them, say hello to these West Coast rock stars, whose name rings bells across the land from Dena to South Los Angeles and beyond.

The brothers have been together since day one, chillin’ on avenues and cruising highways most Cali Natives would only pass through.  Documenting their journeys in LA, Overdoz takes us back as far as 2008, When Everybody Loved Everybody.

One thing most people don’t know much about is 4711 Expo, the studio where several paths crossed, including the likes of Miguel, ASAP Rocky, Jhene Aiko, Dom Kennedy, the Fistacuffs, THC, and several other aspiring local artists who would collaborate. Folks from every hood would come together in the name of creation where this studio once stood, including Overdoz. It was the block no one would want to walk through at night, with burnt out light posts unworthy of fixing and street-life exchange on every corner.

Today, these old warehouses are barely recognizable, developed into the types of contemporary décor that typically follow gentrification shortly thereafter. Coffee shops and industrial conversions are tucked away on streets where underserved communities of color were once left destitute long after the LA riots had given way to an influx of black wealth amongst the Baldwin Hills, Ladera, Leimert Park, & Crenshaw areas. Although Ujima and Ujamaa principles were reserved amongst several families in the area, others would choose to take their earnings and resources outside of the community, creating an interesting dynamic between rich and poor black families from the hills down to the flat lands. These areas would later face troubles self-sustaining, but the Youth of these local towns would go on to create great art.

2008 is an important project for several reasons. Film director Calmatic has been working with Overdoz for several years, catching controversial footage like Overdoz’s “Rich White Friends” and landmarks that may someday be archived as a blast from the past alongside other monumental black eras, like the times of Black Hollywood in West Adams. These places are important to Los Angeles culture, as they are what make Southern Cali one of the dopest spots across the globe. Of course, such locations would simply be architecture if not for the people who create its diverse artistry, of which Overdoz is a part of.

Their charismatic and quirky humor blends a conscious lyrical wordplay with notes of funk, acid jazz, neo – soul and West Coast HipHop. Someday I imagine them sharing memories as old men in one of these new cafes around here, maybe even some coffee shop that sprouts up near 4711 Expo just for the irony of it.

images courtesy of hotnewhiphop.com