Posted inNews & Politics

Like Father, Like Son

At age 40, Luis Rodriguez figures he should have enough life experience to deal with the problems of his 20-year-old son, Ramiro. He talks to Ramiro, draws him out about what he’s feeling. He talks to Ramiro’s friends, offering a nonjudgmental ear. He takes the boys to sports events and even helped them start a […]

Posted inMusic

Island Records

Spragga Benz Lucky Star, March 18 Spragga Benz, one of the top five DJs in Jamaica, is already a success by dance-hall standards. He recorded his first single in 1992, and every one of his 25-odd singles since has become a hit in his country. Capitol signed him last year, but most record companies don’t […]

Posted inMusic

Praised And Confused

Fishbone Vic, March 11 Digable Planets Metro, March 11 Hype isn’t always a good thing. It’s not a new idea, but it struck me as I watched one of the most hyped groups of the early 90s perform exactly the way they sound on their latest album: hesitant and confused. The irony was that I […]

Posted inMusic

Soft Around the Edges

Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler Arie Crown Theater, February 25 Soul music is a dying art form. Contemporary artists are producing emotionless interpretations of black musical traditions, since soul, rooted in the African American experience, is often considered too black to have crossover appeal. But the artistic compromise that crossover demands is a heavy one–less authenticity […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Zine of Record

J-Bird has identified with hip hop since he was a shorty in Waukegan. It shows in everything from his speech to his mannerisms–he sounds like a Bronx teen and gestures with his hands like a laid-back MC. The 24-year-old J-Bird (aka Jason Cook) has just launched a new zine called Caught in the Middle, a […]

Posted inMusic

Too Soft For The Hard Core

Spearhead, Fugees Metro, December 16 Emancipate your mind / Don’t set the limit preached to some / Free the spirit / Cause ya blunted / On the lyrics / I just punted. –Fugees,”Vocab” When I scanned the crowd at Metro during the recent Spearhead/Fugees concert, I wasn’t surprised to see mostly white faces. Spearhead and […]