Tuesday, October 16, 2012

GATA City Street Date

So, finally, GATA City is gonna be released on November 6th, 2012, worldwide, on iTunes and stuff like that. I'm excited. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Video...

Well, finally it's out! Already has dislikes so I guess I'm doing something right to piss yawl off, LOL
Anyhoo: here 'tis:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Old Twitter Rant...

I was inspired to post this due to this article...which totally validated my attitude towards the whole femcee culture. I am SO. FXCKING. GLAD. I am not the only one who sees this shxt--and has used this anaolgy!
This was one of the rants I went on-- and often go on-- about the plight of the femcee, the attitude the world seems to have about us, and how I'm just gonna continue to do what I do--EVERYTHING I DO-- whether people like it, accept it, or not. I know I have tweets that go back further than this rant about the same subject; if you care to look, go right ahead, LOL. But this is the stuff I've said as of late.

A rant from a month or so ago:



Twitter rant, April 17th:

TRUEORIGINAL GATA 黒猫 @ThaGataNegrra
Did a search on YouTube: ”female rapper”. Oh, boy. Two things: 1) you can't ALL be the ”best female rapper alive in the game”.......(I tried to cram all the common adjectives into that one, lol) 2) there are some really misogynist, limited, chauv bastids out there. I'm staying in my lane. Fxck what sells, fxck trying to outrhyme my femcee brethren (never battled anyway; got nada to prove!),fxck yo niche...Fxck the currently limited scope of the genre that chose me...I'm doing what I do to express me, and gonna have fun doon that shxt. I choose not to play ”the game”, cuz the game sure ain't playing me. I colour neatly but go outside the lines cuz I...just do. #facets I'm just done w/this Highlander ”there can be only one” shxt w/chyck rappers. Done w/one-dimensional chyck rappers. You are BETTER than that...Stop trying to prove how sexy/badass/hard/fill-in-the-blank you are to the world, ladies...and just BE. Create. Damn. I know and accept I don't belong in yawl's arena...so I'm building my own. That will be my legacy. I don't have to be what I'm expected to be or what motherfxckers think I ”should” be...who has time for that? #notme...

And then Russell Simmons goes and tweets this, so I RT'd: " 'Do what you know in your heart to be right—for you'll be criticized anyway.' Eleanor Roosevelt"

I go on:

 TRUEORIGINAL GATA 黒猫 @ThaGataNegrra
W'ever. If you actually read my feed, you know I go on these rants every once in awhile... #randomthoughts...Yawl ain't tryina hear me, you just wanna tweet. HAHAHAHA

Friday, August 17, 2012

Filmed a Video; Show Juggling; Upcoming Birthday

Well, we FINALLY did the video, and I must say, everything up until that day was so fxcking stressful. I could not believe our bad fortune. But, here at Tha Cat Lair, one thing we do and do well is make a dollar out of fifteen cents. So, we took what we had and made the best of it. I'm not expecting my exact vision, but some semblance of it. Money is a powerful tool...I probably would have had exactly what I wanted if I had a decent budget.
In spite of that, we got to meet some really awesome people, folx I hope to work with again. The director was sort of a geek, like we are, so he knew what I was going for...I trust that he will make it look fun and lighthearted like I wanted it to. I would like to do another version that's all dance, but it's hard to get people together for that.


Above are some of those great people I was talking about. We filmed it it two parts; one for the intro and one for the big shoot. Here's me below lounging and dancing and stuff like that there:




3 Miles was super supportive of the shoot and I was soooooooo grateful for that!

I have two shows in one day, within an hour and some change of each other. I'm nervous, because one is pretty big, and the promoter's rep is on the line (he fought for me and one other artist, AAEHH's Orikl), so I CANNOT SUCK.  I'm trying to not take the fact that they misspelled my name on the site as a bad sign, LOL...MercRetro just hasn't been letting go, has it? Go away! You're supposed to be turning direct!!
 The other is less formal and more of a block party, so it should be fun. Last year, the block party was NOT trying to cancel in spite of the fact that Hurricane Irene was bearing down on us. So, that was pretty interesting!


And yes...my freakin' birthday is coming up...AGAIN.....I'm hoping for sushi and dancing and debauchery. Pirate stuff. I'm sure something interesting might happen this year. It can't be boring every year!
Also....I got some messages I really needed to hear...I will heed and keep moving forward...and continue to give two middle fingers to the haters.
Meow-ho-ho!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Random Pic: Fashionmusicality

There was an event called Fashionmusicality done by Majesty Loft, a great place in Newark that I've mentioned before. The City of Newark had left it to the Loft's owners to handle this new and different addition to their annual African-American Heritage Festival. Everything seemed like it was going swimmingly, and we took promo shots for the showcase. Below is one of those shots that didn't get used (as far as I know).

Photo Credit: Orikl As-Salaam

I'm not even gonna get into how odd this shoot was for me. I think I freaked the guys on the right out. It was fun, though.
Unfortunately, Fashionmusicality was fraught with challenges, and not everyone got to perform as scheduled. I firmly believe this was because of sabotage, owing to the fact that some probably didn't want it to be successful, and I'm not the only one who saw it that way.
Months later, their Second Annual House Music Festival goes on seemingly without incident. Which just figures: Newark loves its house, because that is familiar to them. God forbid something different should happen around here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Slacking Off....

Not really. I've actually been kinda busy.
Between trying to save my brand, stay afloat, help run a small label, do a gig here and there, fight off haters, raise cubs, nurture b/f, and find a new dancer...plus write new material and cast for a video, it's been pretty hectic.
I'm sure there's folx out there that were really REALLY hoping I would just fall off the face of the earth, or had actually fallen off the face of the earth. But, frankly--and in the case of a few particular people, I mean this--where, then, would they be? I'm sure they don't know. Besides, people are starting to see the pattern...
Anyway...

GATA City is being re-released next month. Funny how it's a year later and we're still trying to break this to the masses. Hopefully, our deal with Brainmuscle Media will be successful. I have heard anything from "Why isn't this on the radio?" to "This deserves to be heard!" Well, let's hope.
I'm in the process of casting for my first video. I can't wait to start shooting. It should be fun.

We have finally found a new dancer. His name's 3D. He reminds us a tonne of the last guy, but he's got waaayyyy more humility and respect going on in his favour so far.

I was working on a manga I really wanted to release along with the CD last year, but got distracted by life, as per usual. I've begun working on it again in earnest, so hopefully I'll have something going there soon.

I also have been working on The Alliance a lot, too, trying to get that up and going, still looking for crazy folx. We have more musical artists than visual or dancers, but I'm hoping that will indeed change and we can become a bit more structured. Right now it's a loose alliance than anything else. But everyone is game. There's nothing else out there like it as far as I know, w/the exceptions of maybe the Afro-punk movement and the Black Rock Coalition. Of course, they're more regimented and structured. We're not big enough to worry about that just yet.

I had quite a few gigs, nothing like, gargantuan (I so rarely get to use that word in a sentence, LOL), but nonetheless fun! I loved performing at the BareNaked Bake Sale event. They are such a fun crowd. They accepted me in all my Cheshire Cat glory.
Photo Cred: Andrew Levengood Photography



So...that's it...


Friday, April 20, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Breakdown of GATA City...

I spend some of my time on hip-hop forums reading the intelligent topics and the answers that the users post. My faves are the ones that ask about lyrical quality and content, metaphors, multisyllabic writing, double-entendres...you know, the fun stuff. I also like the ones that talk about how hip-hop degenerated into "party rap" and then back and forth again. You can usually tell exactly when people who say things like that were born...uhm, guys? Newsflash: RAP BEGAN AS PARTY MUSIC. It was BORN from parties. DUH. And while we're on "rap", Hip-hop ain't rap. Hip-hop is a culture. Rap is one of its mediums/elements. So yawl's distinction of "real hip-hop" from "rap" is a moot point. Quit getting it goddamn twisted. Plzkthanx.

Anyway, I like the topics about the meaning, or an explanation of the songs, and I said, "Hey, didn't I do that with 'Paperdollz'?"  So, in the spirit of that post, for shxts and giggles I'm gonna break down my cd, track by track.

Truth be told, the cd was based mainly around four existing tracks: "I Feel You", "Come Show Me", "Anything" (which was actually called something else that I just decided to revamp) and "I Like". It all started with a house/dance music project I was doing with my family.. Now these four songs sounded NOTHING like they do on the CD...you'd prolly crack up if you heard them. My father came to me with "I Like" first. Said he wanted a sort of spoken word thing, so I gave it a shot. He had the hook and that "you got me in a spin/I need some oxygen" bit already, and the bit round the next hook as well, sung by a singer I never met. Everything else was me, lyrically. We recorded, and went to work on the other stuff, which also had singing hooks that my father wrote. But, as I told Aki in the interview on my site, the more the Hip-Hop Monsta began leaking, the less interested folx were in the project. I guess I was ahead of my time.

Eventually, someone else who was interested in the songs asked me to re-do all of them, just this time, meows truly had to sing EVERYTHING. Ugh...even though that was my major at Arts High School, we were never really taught how to sing properly and develop our INDIVIDUAL voices. I am a vocal mimic on certain songs, I bend and sing in that style, unless it's a song from my childhood, then I prolly sing it like "me', whatever the hell THAT is, LOL. I will be the very first to tell you, singing is not my strong suit...I have a light, airy kinda voice...no belt whatsoever. Plus I get nerves in front of a mic, so it's a mess sometimes, and it takes forever to get it sorted, LOL.
 God/dess help me; I AGREED TO SING THE FREAKIN' SONGS. Every last bit--the lead, the harm, everything. ::facepalm:: ::headdesk::
We revamped those tracks so many fxcking times it wasn't funny. My brother would come up with new and better mixes for the songs. The guy who was interested basically turned out to be fulla crap, and so I had songs just sitting around doing nada.

On the strength of three of those four tracks, I snagged an opportunity to perform in Japan, but couldn't raise funds in time. So, the label (which had been formed during all this and had already produced one artist) decided to fund my project instead.
And then the fun really began.
So, if you've read this far, here's the rundown on the tracks...

Felinus Scorchius
Wow. Uhm, this was my brother's sudden burst of crazy. He was looking for a Steve Irwin-esque type deal, except my Aussie accent sux nards. So I went with one I was a little better at. We laughed our asses off with this one.

Felinephunk
This, actually, is an older song. The first version sounded kinda dancehall-ish. We decided to make it angry this time, LOL. It's basically just a fun song, and I pulled out my big words and crazy syllables for that one. To be honest, that's my general writing style. I just didn't get to flex it that much on this project.

Like I Do (You Should Dance With Me)
Now this...during the recording of the songs I mentioned at the top of this post, they wanted them to be dance-heavy, because that's what they were trying to push. I remember saying to my brother at some point:  "Hell, if we're gonna do this dance thing, let's do the dance thing--but MY way. Gimme Janet, gimme Madonna--gimme something fun and funky."
Why the HELL did I say that? LOL
So, hermanito--genius that he is--goes to craft the perfect dance-y, bouncy, top 40 track, because he wanted an instant hit (he was seriously money-minded at the time, LOL). He plays it for me, and it's so...cute I had to write cutesy lyrics. I was reminded of Japan like crazy w/this, and that appealed to my moe nekogrrl. It's a lighthearted kinda thing, and those words in the hook was what I heard in my head when I was writing. Not very edgy, but not very syrupy either, cuz that's how I am. And anyone can relate to The Chase. So, there you are.

Come Show Me
This was one of the "dance project" songs. Hook by Papi; I wrote around it. What's it about? What else?...dancing. Trying to get a wallflower to dance cuz I know he really can--cut that shy shxt out and get on the floor, mane!

I Feel You
Another from the "dance project". Same formula. I sort of flipped it and made it an ode to the DJ, instead of making it about another dancing gooey. I was serious hard crushing on him, and his music was what drove that along....how he showed me how he felt. Symbiotic thing, if you will. And I was constantly told, "Put on the happy and sexy!" ::eyeroll::

Transmission From Tha Cat Lair
Title partially inspired from one of my influences, De La Soul. Also called that because it's a message. We wanted to give the feeling of I had been recording when PoppaRazi calls and asks me to come out and play. I actually asked him to give me the BPM sort of like "Bed Intruder", which was hawt at the time, and we were still CTFU on it. Plus, I wanted to smack the listener upside the head with something harder than what they'd heard so far, and I do my typical writing for it. (Full version here.) There's a few side jokes in the phone call. This also played into the nature of the next track...

GATA City: KuroNeko Chaos
Was thinking of Grand Theft Auto for some reason when I came up w/that title. Don't ask. Anyway, when presented with the track, hermanito had nicknamed it the "Catwoman" track because of the cello. He was like, "I can just see you like Catwoman in Gotham City--no, wait-- GATA City." I laughed, and it became the theme. Naming the CD came out of the graphic designer mistakenly thinking this was the title of the whole album...it just stuck. Why the Japanese? I'm manga, anime...that's been my whole angle since God-knows when. It was natural. I flex my lyrical in this one, too.

I Like
Refugee from the "dance project", as I explained above. I can remember my father saying he wanted me to sound "grimysophisticated". So I did the best I could....

Really?!
We thought it would be funny to set the stage for "Paperdollz"  by illustrating the relationship the song is about. Talk. About. Awkward. Obviously, my brother's not my boyfriend (ew) but we had to get the shxt done! I'm just glad I found a sample of moaning, cuz I sure as hell wasn't gonna go in the booth and stand there and moan in front of my brother like he initially suggested! When it was done, we couldn't stop giggling.

Paperdollz
What more can I tell you than what I said here? Besides the fact that I tried to keep it simple... and failed, ha. Not totally, though.

Juliet Is Bleeding
The first version of this was fulla dark strings and 808 and snare, and stuff. So we revamped. There is someone out there who prolly thinx this song is about them (don't you...? Don't you? LOL) but it's not. It's actually not about anyone in particular; in fact, when it was written, I was actually in a relationship. I kind of just drew on how it felt to have your heart broken, and on my fave Shakespearean tragedy. So, okay-- maybe with this one I WAS trying to write Shakespeare, as I often say I'm not. :oP

Anything
This actually was part of the initial "dance project" too, except it was called something else and sounded completely different. It was the last to be done, and I admit I had no ideas...except to write a singing hook due to how the track sounded (suicidal! LOL). Hermanito was going for something ballad-y. What I heard in my head is what I wrote for the chorus. This was also lyrically simple because it was the words to the dance song. It didn't leave a whole lot of room for fancy verbal acrobatics.
Later, I realised the track sorta reminded me (and our father) of Prince. So funny when my brother heard the song I thought it sounded like...

I Like (Youhei remix)
A very nice young man from Tokyo approached me online and asked if he could remix. We liked the jazziness so we decided to include it.

There it is. GATA City in a nutshell. Now you know why it sounds the way it does. Despite reviews that have said I'm "going for mainstream" or whatever, I really wasn't trying to. Everyone hopes they'll have a hit, but I wasn't trying to write for the masses, as it were. And as far as my writing, yes, some of the tracks are simple. But "Felinephunk" and "GATA City: KNC" should give you a better picture into what I'm REALLY capable of.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random Pic: Doctored Locks

I dunno why I didn't post this sooner...
Doctored Locks, where I get a lot of my hair stuff, did this neat feature-y thingy w/me. I was shocked when they asked. I love the graphics on the pic to bits. I thought it was super nice of them.
I also think it's pretty apropos that they put "reinvent yourself"on it, which is an ongoing process with me... I just keep adding and evolving. There was a time in my life I was hiding behind my clothes and I needed to do something to shake things up...find myself again, but take bigger risks. So, I did.
True story.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Random Pic Just Because

Peace is also involved with Bare Naked Bakesale. I brought him with me to the launch party/fundraiser for the site, and he got in front of the camera, and...oh, my.
Anyway, they had a neat little Facebook event where people were invited to take pictures with their mobile devices for one of the campaigns, "Give Cancer The Finger".  One night after we came back from an appearance at Majesty, we decided to snap a few to upload to the album.
This is one of the shots...and pretty much how we feel about the heat we've been getting for simply existing. This was taken Feb 3rd, 2012.
It also reminds me of something one of the photographers said of a similar picture he shot of Peace and me:
"You know why you always take pics like this? Because you two generate something so powerful most of us mere mortals can only hope to find in our lives. As I recall, I didn't ask you to pose like this. It was just instinctive for the two of you. And then for it to transcend the lens the way it did, this is all you. I just fired the shutter."


Monday, February 27, 2012

Random Pic Again; This Week

Wow. I'm actually doing this.
This is a pic from an event recently held by Bare Naked Bake Sale, who I am involved with in a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to contrib to various causes. Peace donated a training session to the fundraising; I donated my cd and picture and stuff, which I pawprinted later. This is a picture of the winner and his swag, and one of BNakedB's  founders, the lovely and talented Justina Walford.
Photo Credit: Jeff Wickliffe Photography

Friday, February 24, 2012

Music's Heart/Soulprint...


It is really amazing how much music can affect how you feel, how you perceive the world, how much your life can be echoed by another person's lyrics. It's no small feat that hearing a song, whether you liked it or not, can take you right back to where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with when you heard it...when you lived it. Especially if you are an artist who either makes or uses music on a regular basis-- I don't mean just listening to it; I mean IMMERSING yourself in that shxt like it's a bath...wearing it like your favourite shirt. Breathing it. Carrying it.
We all have at least one song that, to put it mildly, eviscerates you, rips you from asshole to scalp and makes no apologies for it. It feels like swords sliding through your heart all at once....right up to the hilt, and you are dead in the water, with no-one to put it in a box for you so it beats forever...sorry. Too many viewings of POtC: Dead Man's Chest.
In my "past life", I had SEVERAL such songs. I couldn't listen to any of them w/o nausea, dizziness, and my heart beating a mile a minute. My gut felt like it had been kissed passionately by a steel-toe boot. I ached soooo much. I felt like I was bleeding out. You know the feeling. I even had a whole album like that. So for years, I avoided such songs like the proverbial plague.


The song here was one of those songs.
I associated this and many other songs with a time in that life that should've been happy, but which really was an out-and-out lie. I carried that burden with me, couldn't even hear the first two notes of the song without diving for the radio or the tv to kill it DEAD before it could get going. It hurt too much.
At some point, in the new life, I decided that I would do an exercise that I learned called "blowing pictures". The pictures the practise is referring to are embedded in your auric field, and can affect your life heavily. You may not even know why. You basically destroy that picture, and heal that spot in your aura. Some pictures are stubborn and you have to do the task over and over to make it stick.
I combined this technique with a cord-cutting visualisation and another technique involving connecting your timeline to change things in your past. It is S T R O N G work, lemme tell ya. And it WORX.
I am happy to say that this beautiful song (and that aforementioned album, for that matter) does NOT NOT NOT have the effect it had before. I can listen to it with no ill effects. It's so freeing to be able to listen to WTH I want w/o feeling imprisoned in pain.
It's wonderful.
How cule is that? I'm freakin' ecstatic about it!
The song has a different energy; a different heart/soulprint for me now. I'll say it again: it's. WONDERFUL.
I can breathe...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Random Pic of the...Whenever

...since it seems I can't be consistent with this shxt!
I recently did a short local gig at a place called Majesty Loft. They had a small fashion event called Cat Fight (how apropos), and asked me to do a few ditties...
I like this one because it really captures both the intimacy and the energy of the place and what we did there. Catherine is a damned good photographer.
Till next time, GNOtaku.
Photo Credit: Catherine Payne

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jason Mizell

When one-third of one of my biggest influences from the hip-hop culture was suddenly lost to us, I admit it: I wept. Hard.
I couldn't believe it. It made no sense. He couldn't be gone. He was immortal. Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay were fxcking immortal. A part of the bedrock, the infrastructure. There's no way.
I remember that the day after, the streets were filled with nothing but the best that these men gave us: "Rock Box". "King of Rock". "It's Like That". "Raising Hell", a song I still need to play before a show, like a ritual. And someone, in a drop-top, in Brick City, no less, was actually blasting "Jam Master Jamming". I was having an "oh, shxt!" moment right there on the bus. It was beautiful.
It's Jay's birthday today. I still wonder what it would be like, how much further would the East Coast have come, if he were still here. Would the sound have reshaped? Would Run-DMC have made us a slew of more stuff? Would they have toured? Would Jay have hit us with more skilled djs, well-trained in the art of scratch? Would he have turned out something to turn the whole rap world upside down? I like to think so.
Happy Birthday, Jay. You're still in my heart and on my mind. Thank you for helping to make me what I am.