Woke, Leery
('Bout The Trickle-Down Theory)

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Click on Songs to Listen

1) "To the Flow (sample version)"
2) "He-Done-ism (sample version)"
3) "Mucha Alegria (sample version)"
4) "Master Peace (sample version)"
5) "Ain't Yo Mama Black?"
6) "Let's Take a Ride"
7) "Give It All U Got"

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Click on Songs to Listen

1) "Give It All U Got!"

2) "He-Done-Ism"

3) "Mucha Alegria"-Radio Edit Version

4) "Afro-Cuban Sax Brothers"

5) "Uncle Sam's Goin' Broke"-Radio Edit Version

6) "Bold and Beautiful"

7) "Connections"

8) "Cocoa Venus"

9) "Let's Take a Ride"

10) "Ain't Yo' Mama Black"

11) "Social Emergency"

12) "Playaz Blues"

13) "Mucha Alegria"-Extended Version

14) "Uncle Sam's Goin' Broke"-Extended Version


Give It All U Got!!

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1. "Squash it!" Remix-Radio Edit                  

2. Introducing S.O.U.L.S.

3. On the Street

4. Cleaning House

5. Bold and Beautiful

6. All the Above

7. I Can

8. The Role of Men

9.Rites of Passage

10. Let's Take a Ride

11. The Runner

12. Social Emergency

13. Connections

14. Apology

15. Vacant-eyed Revolution

16. "Squash It" Remix (extended version)

17. What Kind of Dreams Have You

18. The Man Upstairs

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Paradise Presents




"The Light House"

 Sound & Lighting

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EMAIL: pdise18@yahoo.com




True Vibe Records Affiliated Artists Rufus Wonder, left, and Dave McClellan show their presence at the 2014 HAL AWARDS.

The Mary Jane Girls are surrounded by reporters at the festive event.

Busy reporter takes a break from interviewing R&B legends such as Motown founder and former President Berry Gordy, New Edition, Take 6, Eddie Floyd, Dennis Edwards, Freda Payne, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, and more who attended.

Rufus Wonder discusses show biz with other attendees.

Take 6 gets ready to "tear the house down" with their spectacular harmony.

Dave McClellan, right, entertains an attendee.

Ray Parker, Jr., left, congratulates a HAL Scholarship Award recipient.

Take 6 sings for their favorite reporter at the event.

Rufus Wonder, left, and Dennis Edwards reminisce about their earlier music career days in Detroit.

Current Motown President Ethiopia Habtemariam, left, shows off her trophy to Dave McClellan, sharing her excitement about winning the 2014 HAL Triumph Award.

Two attendees enjoy the festivities.

Warner Brothers/ Chappell Music Publishing Company Vice President Ryan Press, center, fields questions from reporters.

Current Motown President Ethiopia Habtemariam, left, shares a moment with Actor-Film Producer Leon Isaac Kennedy.

Original Supremes member Mary Wilson, left, enjoys a moment of night life with Dave McClellan.




    Featuring Bay Area Artists    




Woke, Leery Album

True Vibe Records, based in Oakland, California, takes a bold stand on resolving the plight of black, brown, poor, marginalized, and disenfranchised people with the new release of its latest 12-track album titled Woke, Leery, which is also the title of the first track. Producer “BJ” aka Bill Jackson expands his contribution to this Socially-Conscious Multi-Genre (SCMG) music as a lead vocalist and gets things poppin,’ as he performs dynamic spoken word and sings on this emotionally-charged first track. Over the polyrhythmic Afro-Latin beat with hip hop, jazz, funk, and R&B influences, he promotes empowerment as a solution to overcome the challenges that many underdogs face in American society. He cites famous political slogans of historical figures and urges all generations to help affect positive social change.

Bay Area hip hop star D Labrie, a representative of Hip-Hop Congress who often tours the U.S. and Asia, shows his lyrical mastery and poetic genius during the second verse of the song, as he comments on the state of affairs in America and what folks need to do to move forward.

Multi-talented musician Ben Ball lifts our spirits with a couple of dazzling keyboard organ solos, and Wally McClellan, who is the engineer, doubles as the guitar player and adds extra flavor by treating listeners to his Wah Wah guitar- style embellishments and solo, reminiscent of 70s stars such as Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Sly and the Family Stone, and Isaac Hayes to name a few. Master percussionist Bill Norwood fattens the polyrhythmic sound on congas. Veteran classic-soul vocalist Rufus Wonder, up and coming pop vocalist Wakane Luke (who has sung the national anthem at a Golden State Warriors Game), and “BJ” sing background vocals.

Other tracks include: “The Man Upstairs” with Ben Ball showing up and showing out on tenor sax, jazz drummer Lorca Hart (son of the noted jazz drummer Billy Hart) doing his thing, and percussionist Bill Norwood playing congas as they keep the smooth groove moving on this instrumental tribute to God almighty; “Bold and Beautiful” with unsung songstress extraordinaire Shavone Pickett singing lead vocals, virtuoso alto and soprano sax player Ben Ball playing some monster solos, and Bay Area hip hop diva Keldamuzik running down a perspective of today’s young career-minded woman; “Afro-Cuban Sax Brothers,” a nostalgic Latin jazz instrumental with Ben Ball exciting listeners on alto sax, soprano sax, and piano, while the awesome Dave Ellis lights things up on tenor sax, and distinguished percussionist Bill Norwood plays congas; “Connections” with trained-vocalist Raquel Ramsey rendering sultry spoken word on this piece and supported by her long-time friend and Berkeley High (California)/ Berklee Music College (in Boston) classmate Ben Ball playing tenor sax and James “JR” Tall on guitar; “To the Flow” showcasing Bay Area hip hop star D Labrie, who recently filmed a music video in Japan while on tour in Asia, and this song about fun times in Oakland and the Bay Area gives monster tenor sax player John Patrick Douglas another platform to show off his skills as a soloist while the Legendary Mighty O’Town Passions, Caley Kenny, Vendetta Jeanjacques, and “BJ” sing background; “Uncle Sam’s Goin’ Broke-Extended Version” guided by classic soul vocalist Rufus Wonder with Paradise the Poet featured and alto sax man Ben Ball and trumpet master Cayce Carnahan playing some impressive solos. This album also brings back hip hop veteran D Labrie again, taking us to the underworld of stigmatized hardcore addictions on “He-Done-Ism,” and the soulful Brianii Savage is featured as a lead vocalist.

The groove continues as the smooth jazz instrumental “Master Peace” treats listeners to the fluid, melodic, stylings of veteran tenor saxophonist John Patrick Douglas; Latina hip hop artist Kalizay is the main attraction on “Mucha Alegria,” while pop singer Xavier Toscano engages in romantic Spanish dialogue with her, Bill Norwood on congas, and trumpeter Cayce Carnahan solos at the end; “Give It All U Got!” is a dazzling high-energy Latin Jazz track showcasing Brianii Savage and “BJ” singing, Kalizay spittin’ bilingual hip hop lyrics in English and Spanish, and Paradise the Poet closing things out with outstanding spoken word; Rufus Wonder sings his heart out as lead vocalist on an up-tempo version of Charles Brown’s classic, “Merry Christmas Baby,” and he is supported by a host of top- flight musicians, including Michael “Spiderman” Robinson on piano, Ben Ball on alto sax, and James “JR” Tall on guitar.

Professional recording studio The Wally Sound was at its best to bring this project to peak quality, as veteran engineer Wally McClellan recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered all of the album tracks. The multi-talented and highly gifted graphic artist Aidan O’Flynn designed this brilliant album cover, which is both captivating and thought-provoking.



To the Flow—the Single

This fun and brand new version of the album's title track, "To the Flow," the Single, pumps up the hype and puts a positive spin on underserved Black and Brown communities featuring Bay Area hip hop star D Labrie the E.O.G. (East Oakland's Greatest, who recently toured Japan and South Korea) AKA “Mr. Network.” This upbeat conscious hip hop song celebrates Oakland in particular, and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area in general. Over the catchy jazz funk beat, he tells a story about Oakland's vibrant people enjoying fun times, Oaklanders working hard and playing hard, but also feeling empowered to stand up for social justice. In addition, D Labrie gives listeners a snapshot into the life of an upcoming conscious hip hop artist and pays tribute to Bay Area sports teams—especially those which have won championships during the 2010s decade. Listeners can dig two slammin’ solos by powerhouse tenor saxophonist John Patrick Douglas.

This version of the song is bolstered by Jimmy Mack & The Legendary Mighty O'Town Passions singing group, which began as a Doo-Wop group at West Oakland’s renowned McClymonds High School back in the late 60s. Talented vocalists Caley Kenny, Vendetta Jeanjacques, and Bill Jackson also sing background.

The lead track is followed by a diverse group of talented artists on six hip-sounding "edu-tainment" bonus tracks. Bonus tracks include "He-done-Ism" by D Labrie, "Mucha Alegria"—Short Version Remix by Kalizay, the smooth Latin Jazz instrumental "Master Peace"—Remix by John Patrick Douglas, dynamic conscious spoken word pieces "Ain't Yo' Mama Black" by Paradise the Poet and "Let's Take a Ride" by Big Dan, as well as the hot Afro-Cuban/ Latin Jazz and Funk joint "Give It All U Got" with lead vocals by Brianni Savage, Bill Jackson, Kalizay, and Paradise the Poet. This is another project among a series featuring a music genre called Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry (a term coined by Paradise the Poet). The album producer is Bill Jackson, the label is True Vibe Records, recording and engineering was done by The Wally Sound, and the colorful, captivating CD cover was designed by Aidan O’Flynn.



JFHP—5 Generations

Oakland-based True Vibe Records promises to excite listeners with the release of its new album titled JFHP-5 Generations. As the title suggests, this project showcases a diverse collective of San Francisco Bay Area conscious hip hop and spoken word artists, vocalists, and musicians who span five decades in age—bridging the generation gap.

According to TVR producer/owner Bill Jackson, this marks the fifth in a series of albums pioneering a musical genre called Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry, a term coined by Bay Area poet/spoken word legend Paradise (AKA Richard Moore). On this album, you can hear the influence of Common, Mos Def, Brand New Heavies, Gil Scott-Heron, Eryka Badu, to name a few. This ambitious project brings masterful fusion of Conscious Hip Hop, R & B, Jazz Funk, Spoken Word, Latin, and Blues.

This album kicks off festive vibes, putting a positive spin on underserved Black and Brown communities with its lead track featuring veteran Bay Area hip hop star D Labrie the E.O.G. (East Oakland’s Greatest) AKA “Mr. Network” on a new remix of “To the Flow,” an upbeat conscious hip hop song celebrating Oakland in particular, and the San Francisco Bay Area in general. Over the jazz funk beat, he tells a story about vibrant people enjoying fun times and makes sure folks know that Oaklanders, who work hard and play hard, also feel empowered to stand up for social justice.

In addition, D Labrie gives a snapshot into the life of an upcoming conscious hip hop artist and pays tribute to Bay Area sports teams—especially those which have won championships this decade. Listeners get a special treat when they dig two slammin’ solos by powerhouse tenor saxophonist John Patrick Douglas. Talented vocalists Caley Kenny, Vendetta Jeanjacques, and Bill Jackson sing background.

The second track, “I Love Everything About You, But You,” is a remixed version of spoken word icon Paradise’s provocative signature piece, which he has performed on BET (Black Entertainment Television). He sings, raps, and delivers spoken word with comedic wit and political satire on this social protest song to criticize America’s White power structure and its exploitation of African people, their talents, valuable assets, world contributions, and the way this power structure continually refuses to accept Black people collectively as first-class citizens in the USA. Progressive-minded listeners will love both the short and long versions of this controversial and thought-provoking song.

Noted Bay Area rapper-producer Naru contends that, “this is one of the best songs ever written!”

KPFA Radio’s Greg Bridges (in Berkeley) calls it, “the New International Black Anthem!”

Percussionist extraordinaire Babatunde Lea asserts that, “it’s the Song of the Century!”

Legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy fame chimes in, “that says it all!”

Bay Area femcee Beastella proclaims, “Paradise has forever been dope!”

“Master Peace” (Remix) treats listeners to the smooth, melodic stylings of veteran tenor saxophonist John Patrick Douglas. During this mellow Latin Jazz gem, you can hear the melodies, styles, and rhythms reminiscent of late musicians Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Mongo Santamaria, and the still vibrant Poncho Sanchez. John Patrick Douglas is a distinguished bandleader who has played with many and various groups, including the Afrofunk Experience, Groove Doctors, and Rene Escovedo (of the famous Bay Area Escovedo family, which includes Rene’s Uncle Pete and Cousin Sheila E).

The fourth track, “He-Done-Ism,” takes you to the sinister underworld of hard-core drinking, drugging, pornography, prostitution, and gambling. Once again D Labrie runs it down, telling a story about people caught up in self-destructive situations before seeing the light and finding peace of mind in recovery from addictions. D Labrie, who often tours the U.S. and abroad (including South Korea), is a representative of Hip Hop Congress, a politically active non-profit organization very influential with young people.

Female hip hop artist Kalizay, originally from El Salvador, is featured on the fifth track with her sultry “Mucha Alegria” (Short Version Remix), a jam that takes you on a mellow Latin groove describing fun times in Chicano culture. This song also pays a brief tribute to Mexican-American heroes such as Delores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Stanford University Heisman Trophy winner and former star Oakland Raider Super Bowl MVP quarterback Jim Plunkett.

Other tracks include: “Afro-Cuban Sax Brothers” featuring Ben Ball on alto sax and piano, Dave Ellis on tenor sax, and Bill Norwood on percussion; “Ain’t Yo’ Mama Black” featuring Paradise at his best rendering spoken word; “Bold and Beautiful” featuring songstress extraordinaire Shavone Pickett, premiere Bay Area hip hop diva Keldamuzik, and virtuoso alto and soprano saxophonist Ben Ball; “The Chili Is Hot” featuring Ben Ball on alto sax and keyboard; “Give It All U Got!” featuring lead vocalists Brianii Savage and Bill Jackson, Spanish and English hip hop by Kalizay, spoken word by Paradise; and an uptempo version of Charles Brown’s classic song “Merry Christmas Baby,” featuring the incredible classic soul vocalist Rufus Wonder.

Professional recording studio The Wally Sound raised this project to peak quality as veteran engineer Wally McClellan recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered the album tracks. The artistically-gifted Aidan O’Flynn illustrated the impressive portraits of artists on the album front cover and designed the rest of the graphics.

For more information, visit the True Vibe Records website at www.trueviberecords.com



Click Here to Order or Listen to Tracks



Bill Norwood -Percussionist  Brianii Savage-Vocalist

Ben Ball- Piano/Alto Sax

Kalizay Paradise
Kalizay-Bilingual MC -Hip Hop Paradise-Spoken Word Keldamuzik-Hip Hop
Chayla Shavonne
Chayla Smith-Vocalist Rufus Wonder-Vocalist Shavone Pickett-Vocalist
Bill Jackson
Wakane Luke-Vocalist Bill "BJ" Jackson-Producer April Dawn-Vocalist
 Alejandra Mojica-Spoken Word Big Dan-Spoken Word/Hip Hop Denice Carrasco-Vocalist
David McClellen-Vocalist D LaBrie -Hip Hop Rick Alexander-Vocalist
Dave Ellis
Dave Ellis-Tenor Sax Raquel Ramsey-Spoken Word 

Cayce Carnahan-Trumpet  

John Halbleib-Trumpet Melvin Bell-Tenor Sax Byron "Bebop" Briggs-Trumpet
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Congratulations! You Broke the Top 3!

True Vibe Records Affiliated Artists
are one of the Top 3 Bands on the ReverbNation Charts.

Well done! Thank your friends and fans — they helped you get there.

December 2014



True Vibe Records, founded in Oakland, recently stepped up its game by  releasing its newest and hottest album yet, titled ¡Mucho Mas! Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry. Song tracks have trace elements of Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Brand New Heavies, Public Enemy, Gil Scott-Heron, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, James Brown, Ohio Players, Tower of Power, and Carlos Santana. And these thought-provoking songs create a festive mood that uplifts listeners as they inspire them to dance, reflect, and take action to affect personal and social change.

This is the fourth in a series of CDs, following the highly acclaimed Paradise Presents Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry, Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry—Phaze 2, and Give It All U Got! The title of this 14-track project hints that many of these original songs have a Latin influence, along with fusion of Jazz Funk, R&B, Conscious Hip Hop, and Spoken Word. Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry has developed immensely as a new genre of music since its inception when producer Bill Jackson recruited Bay Area poet laureate/ slam poetry icon/ spoken word artist Paradise to collaborate. Paradise coined the name of this music.

A diverse line up of topflight
Greater San Francisco Bay Area vocalists, musicians, conscious  hip hop and spoken word artists were recruited to contribute their musical gifts to this album. They came from Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Richmond, Novato, San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont, Danville, San Jose, and Gilroy with their creative juices overflowing with talent.

The album’s opening track, titled
“Give It All U Got!” is a brand new version of this trail blazing cut that thrills listeners with its dazzling mix of Afro-Cuban/ Latin Jazz, R&B, Funk, Conscious Hip Hop, and Spoken Word. Sassy, sexy Brooklyn, New York native Brianii Savage (of Puerto Rican/ African American/ Jewish ethnicity, now a Bay Area resident) leads a dynamic call and response opening to this upbeat song, inspiring people to live life to the max. Lovely and talented vocalists April Dawn, Denice Carrasco, and Yolanda Davis pave the way for lead vocalist Bill Jackson to take this groove to new heights, while master percussionist Bill Norwood (who in recent years has played drums with Robin Duhe, former bass player with Frankie Beverly and Maze) is the driving force. Red hot Salvadorian MC Kalizay’s exotic hip hop flow in both Spanish and English inspires fans to reach their dreams. Speaking to the Latino community, she also praises “my brothers for breakin’ the cycle of stereotypin’.” Then Bay Area spoken word legend Paradise keeps the party going celebrating diversity with his lofty visions a multi-ethnic “cultural world fair in Oakland,” a “United States of Africa,” and Swahili as a common language to be a key to economic growth for Black people worldwide of the African Diaspora. Master trumpeter John Halbleib (who’s played with the likes of Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., Larry Graham, Aaron Neville, and Roberta Flack) ignites fans with a raw solo and anchors the brass throughout the song while Ben Ball, whose saxophone brilliance can also be heard, rocks near the end with his exhilarating piano solo. Ben Ball has performed with jazz immortal Donald Byrd, Bay Area jazz luminaries Ed Kelly, Charles Hamilton, Bill Bell, and a New York City-based African funk band called Ibrahim World Beat.

The second track,
"He-Done-Ism," takes you to a dark place of addiction in the sinister underworld of hardcore drinking, drugging, pornography, prostitution, and gambling. Background vocals by singers Brianii Savage, April Dawn, Denice Carrasco, and Yolanda Davis kick it off with a chorus steeped in soul followed by the dreamy chant “I wanna feel goooood.” Then without being overly preachy or moralistic, Bay Area hip hop star D Labrie the “EOG” (East Oakland’s Greatest) takes charge and runs it down, telling a story about self-destructive situations before seeing the light and finding peace of mind in recovery from addictions. D Labrie (who has toured the U.S. and abroad), also known in Bay Area show biz as “Mr. Network,” is a representative of Hip Hop Congress, a non-profit organization very influential with young people.

Kalizay is featured on the third track with her sultry “Mucha Alegria,” a jam that takes you on a mellow ride describing fun times in Chicano culture. She lures listeners and conveys subtle messages in English and Spanish about honesty and personal integrity in relationships, assuring that “I never lie to my sisters or the opposite sex.” This song also pays a brief tribute to Mexican-American heroes such as farm labor leaders Delores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and Stanford University Heisman Trophy winner/ former star Oakland Raider Super Bowl MVP quarterback Jim Plunkett. The gifted, charming Chayla Gibson-Smith sets the tone for this mellow groove with her soothing vocals in the opening. Kalizay and up and coming pop singer Xavier Toscano render sizzling hot romantic monologues in Spanish before trumpet pro Cayce Carnahan (a Cal State East Bay-trained music educator) tops it off with a captivating Latin-style part muted and part un-muted trumpet solo at the end. The album includes two versions of this song: an extended version and a radio edit version.

The classy
Latin Jazz cut, and only instrumental on the album, titled “Afro-Cuban Sax Brothers” features gifted tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis and master musician Ben Ball playing brilliant solos on alto sax, piano, and soprano sax respectively. Dave Ellis raises the excitement with a rich tenor sax solo, followed by his spellbinding tenor sax voice over the backdrop of vibrant background horns. Producer Bill Jackson composed this piece as a tribute to saxophone players Ben Ball, Dave Ellis (who’ve known each other since elementary school in Berkeley), and Melvin Bell (also affectionately called “Mellow,” originally from Denver, Colorado), who are all former classmates and graduates of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Distinguished percussionist Bill Norwood once again assumes the role of the driving force behind this piece, which is reminiscent of many classic Latin Jazz tracks using strings and background horns. Not only is this song is great for listening, but it also makes you want to get up out of your seat and dance.

Get ready to rock
with veteran classic soul vocalist Rufus Wonder leading a cadre of many artists in a call to action on “Uncle Sam’s Goin’ Broke.” Over Ben Ball’s commanding alto saxophone voice, the hard-driving beat, blues/ rock-style guitar and bass, this social protest song (written in 2011 during the peak of the Occupy Movement) reveals snippets of our challenging U.S. economy, erosion of the middle class, a society of "haves" and "have nots" growing apart, with increasing gentrification in major cities and slight economic gains in 2014 primarily benefiting the rich. Like “Mucha Alegria,” this song also has an extended version and a radio edit version (the fifth track).

In the extended version (the final track), the tension lightens as a series of brief humorous monologues by Bill Jackson, the late distinctive bass vocalist Rick Alexander, Brianii Savage, Rufus Wonder, and Dave McClellan add comic relief. Bay Area spoken word legend Paradise shares some pearls of wisdom and a provocative Afro-Centric message of hope, healing, and inspiration at the end, advising African Americans (who now have a higher poverty rate than during President Johnson's "War on Poverty" in the 1960s, according to USA Weekend magazine) to "Occupy Black Wall Street!" The collective voices of Rufus Wonder, Brianii Savage, Bill Jackson, Denise Carrasco, Rick Alexander, April Dawn, Dave McClellan, Yolanda Davis along with masterful solos by trumpet boss Cayce Carnahan, alto saxophone boss Ben Ball, and Paradise's spoken word make this track a classic.

Elegant songstress extraordinaire
Shavone Pickett, premiere Bay Area hip hop diva Keldamuzik (who in recent years has toured the Caribbean and Japan), and virtuoso alto and soprano sax man Ben Ball are featured on “Bold and Beautiful,” a tribute to strong and beautiful women in general and strong and beautiful black women in particular. The late Tina Floyd sets the stage for this piece with her engaging background vocals. This album showcases a new version of this original song, which represents a model for fusing Jazz-Funk, R&B, and Conscious Hip Hop. Lyrics were written by Shavone Pickett and Keldamuzik, the music composed by Bill Jackson, and Bill Norwood plays percussion.

Other outstanding tracks on this album include spoken word pieces (the steamy, romantic)
“Connections” by spoken word artist/ vocalist Raquel Ramsey (friend, high school and college classmate of Ben Ball, who plays tenor sax on this one), “Cocoa Venus” and “Ain’t Yo’ Mama Black” by Paradise, “Let’s Take a Ride” by Chicano spoken word/ conscious hip hop artist Big Dan, “Social Emergency” by gifted Chicana spoken word artist Alejandra Mojica, and “Playaz Blues” featuring vocalist Rufus Wonder, hip hop artists D Labrie and Vendetta, with Chayla Gibson-Smith and Rick Alexander adding humorous monologues in the mix. This song is a musical parody about the life of an aging player.

The earlier mentioned
“Let’s Take a Ride” represents dynamic spoken word at its best and is partially an autobiographical piece about the early troubled life of Big Dan (a motivational speaker who has also performed as a hip hop artist around the U.S. and abroad) living in the barrios and ghettos of Oakland before turning his life around to graduate from the distinguished University of California at Berkeley.

Special recognition goes to professional recording studio engineer
“Smilin’ James” Heyser, who did a monumental job of recording, mixing, and mastering the tracks. Special commendation also goes to talented graphic artists Veronica Leon and Earl Bickham, Jr., who designed the artwork for the album.

For more information about
Rufus Wonder and Ben Ball,
click here on the Features page. For more information about Paradise, click here on the JFHP page. For more information about Shavone Pickett and Keldamuzik, click here on the Meet SOULS page.



True Vibe Records Releases Follow Up to Landmark Recording,
     Lead by "Squash it!" The Anti-Gun Violence Single

(Click on the photo below to preview video)

Click here to view video!


Sounds of Urban Life Soldiers


In 2008, True Vibe Records released Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry-Phaze 2,  the follow up to the highly-acclaimed CD Paradise Presents Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry.

The Phaze 2 release, a CD double set,  was the debut for Oakland Ca.-based spoken word/hip hop group Sounds Of Urban Life Soldiers or S.O.U.L.S., as the acronym is spelled and their bulging fan base refers to them as. The group members and song writers are poets Raquel Ramsey, Keith Thompson, and President L. Davis, rap and hip hop artist Keldamuzik  and songstress  Shavone Pickett.  Together, they have a very unique and diverse blend. 

According to True Vibe Records owner and producer Bill Jackson regarding Phaze 2 he says, “as the genesis of the first CD was my pilgrimage to Senegal’s Goree Island (a United Nations historical site in West Africa which was a holding pen for slaves), this music was born from the compelling social concerns that continue in America and is musically upbeat funk with jazz, hip hop, R&B and Caribbean influences.”

The lead single Squash It! featuring Keldamuzik with guests D Labrie and Rufus Wonder certainly supports the concept of “social concerns” as it addresses the grave problem of violence in America’s urban cities, and from early indications this seems to be the song that radio will embrace and help Squash It! be a part of the solution! Following that theme is On The Street, outlining the conditions and perils in some of our urban communities.

There are lighter more playful moments on the CD as with All The Above that again features Keldamuzik at the mic running down a love and relationship theme. Then there is the Caribbean-flavored I Can  with vocalist Shavone Pickett delivering a very tender vocal with an almost dancehall track. Associate Producer Jam G "JR" Tall intensifies the groove with his lead guitar riffs.  (He also was the chief sound engineer for this album.)


The jazz lover isn’t forgotten here with contemporary tracks like The Man Upstairs with its hip hop /trip hop feeling and a scorching tenor sax lead from guest artist Ben Ball and the pulsating drum work from Lorca Hart, son the legendary drummer Billy Hart, and on What Kind Of Dreams Have You which features guests such as the smooth-talking percussionist/spoken word artist Bill Norwood, renowned guitarist Calvin Keys, pianist extraordinaire Michael “Spiderman” Robinson, tenor sax man Ben Ball again, and veteran drummer E.W. Wainwright.  This is a track that swings with the best of them!  

All three poets are full of fire and earth moving emotion here addressing issues such as fatherhood with the piece The Role of Men by Keith Thompson and coming of age with Rites of Passage by President L. Davis, while Raquel Ramsey delivers supremely and passionately with a piece titled Connections and again on the exalting Apology, a duet with bassist Nelson Braxton (Braxton Brothers).  There is more contemporary conscious-raising spoken word from the three poets of Sound Of Urban Life Soldiers on other tracks as well.

This album also showcases the talents of a host of highly-talented and dynamic guest spoken word artists such as Roxanne Hanna-Ware and poets Big Dan and Alejandra Mojica running down a Latino perspective.   

Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry- Phaze 2 is a well-balanced, well-crafted, and cleverly-written collection of urban life experiences and feelings delivered with the often pulsating bass line that locks everything in place and drives it home. 



This is what Urban Buzz Internet magazine wrote:

"Sounds Like Life. 'Squash It!' is the anti-gun violence single by Sounds Of Urban Life Soldiers 'Squash It!' is getting airplay at WJJN, KWZA, KJMH, WESE, WBAI and more!

Plus new this week at WLYX! "Squash It!" is from the forthcoming CD, "Jazz Funk Hip HoPoetry-Phaze 2" on "True Vibe Records."


Download "Squash It" Lyrics


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