Nothing To Do In Memphis? Check out a Free Concert!

           If you’ve lived in Memphis for more than 10 hours, you’ve probably heard someone say there’s just nothing to do in Memphis or it’s such a boring city. Trust me, I hear it everyday even though I kinda write this whole blog about things that I do in Memphis! Crazy right? Whoever is telling you this is not telling you the truth. Consider your source first is what my mom always told me. Want something easy on the pockets? Love music? Then head over to the Levitt Shell for their free Summer Concert Series! 

IMG_5541.JPG

          Yep, that’s totally something to do! Maddy and I go all the time and we enjoy ourselves every time. Do we always know who’s performing? Nope, but that makes it all the more exciting! FYI, we’ve never heard anyone bad ever. These are professional acts, but the local garage bands lol. This past weekend the featured band was Dustbowl Revival and they were very very good. Check them out on YouTube, Apple Music, or wherever you get your music these days. 

            Our essential list for Levitt Shell adventures goes like this. Blanket, fruit, sandwiches, drinks, Prosecco, chips, hula hoop, bubbles, and the amazing Panchos cheese dip. Oh god how we live that Pancho's cheese dip! That’s all you need for a picnic. Show up, find a spot, and enjoy. The parents are normally laid back with a beer or wine while all the kids run around doing kid stuff. It’s a very nostalgic feeling to it all. Like what summers used to be like as a kid. 

          There ya go! Something to do in Memphis! Want to see the upcoming performers? Gotcha covered. Click HERE.

 PRO TIP: ARRIVE EARLY! It fills up quickly and parking is pretty terrible over there near the zoo. You’ve been warned. So come out, let the kids run around with no shoes, hang out and enjoy some good music. Don’t forget bug spray! Southern mosquitos don’t play!   

 

Life is for Living,

Michael B.  

More pics! 

Big KRIT at The New Daisy

          Big KRIT is one of my favorite all time hip hop artists. He's country as hell, yet insanely lyrical; something Southern artists aren't necessarily known for. I prefer lyrics over beats, but KRIT gives me both as he not only rhymes; he also makes his own beats. I don't know if he's better as a producer or an MC. Either way, he's that dude. 

        KRIT performed at The New Daisy on Beale St to a sold out crowd. I've been to every single Big KRIT concert he's had in Memphis. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Last night I decided I wasn't bringing my camera and I would just enjoy the show. All I took was my iPhone 8 Plus. 

           Let's just say the iPhone 8 Plus showed up last night! If you can manually control it, the iPhone can take some amazing images. Not only that, it's so much lighter than my Sony a7ii with my huge lenses. It's not only good for photos. It takes amazing video!! 

           Shout out to the iPhone 8 Plus and a special shout out to Big KRIT! The show was amazing! I do love that you got on stage at a decent time!! 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

Don Lifted, High ISO & Mood

          I was recently invited out to a performance of Memphis artist Don Lifted for his upcoming Alero album. I really just wanted to enjoy some good music but something told me to bring my camera along, as Don Lifted is also a visual artist.

           I decided to only go with one lens, because changing lenses at a musical performance is a sure way to miss your shot. I decided to go with my trusty Sony FE 28mm f2. I love this little prime lens and I very rarely use zoom lenses.   

           When I arrived at the Dizzy Bird Music Hall, located at 656 Marshall Ave, I found the place completely black with a spot light on the artist. Even at f2, I was having issues with the lights. Then I decided I wanted to shoot this completely different. I wanted to create a moody them as well as have high ISO for a grunge look. I cranked the ISO of my Sony a7ii up to 8000 and let the lens to the rest. 

IMG_6771.JPG
IMG_6772.JPG
IMG_6774.JPG
IMG_6775.JPG
IMG_6773.JPG

          I think they turned out great! I added some pop to the colors and some fade to complete the moody look and they create a totally different vibe of the performance. I think these images really captured Don Lifted's visual art.  

           So what do you think? Are you feeling the high ISO, moody look?  

            Here's a little snippet of Don Lifted performing that I captured with my iPhone. Nothing how dark it was!!  

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

Things To Do: Paula and Raifords Disco

       Have you ever wanted to go out and just let loose and party? I'm not talking about going out to sit, but actually party. I used to be on the club scene in my younger days, but they all felt pretty much the same. People get dressed up to go out and basically sit around. I got the feeling it was more about what I was wearing than anything else. Doesn't sound fun at all. 

      What if I told you there was a place in Memphis where you could avoid that feeling? Would you believe it? Well, there is!! It's Paula and Raifords Disco!! This place is totally not a fashion show. It's just a party, plain and simple. I have zero rhythm and I feel totally comfortable at Paula and Raifords dancing the night away!

Dance floor  

Dance floor  

      This place is electric! You get a mix of pop, rock, 80s, and other dance party essentials served up by eclectic DJ Raiford. There's just something about hearing "Don't Stop Believing" that does something to me. Followed by Prince and Michael Jackson with a sprinkling of Nelly. You get all this in a place that takes you back to the 80's with white leather couches and a dance floor that lights up! Please tell me that's not the epitome of cool! Also there's a drum set that it open for anyone, but please try to stay on beat. There are also stripper poles on the dance floor.....

      A couple tips to maximize your trip to Paula and Raifords.

  1. The best night to go is Saturday. The line to get in can get pretty long. 
  2. Be prepared to be social! The partygoers are usually very friendly and talkative!
  3. The music is insanely loud! Some wear earplugs. 
  4. They serve 32 oz beer bottles....get this! 
  5. Don't hog the drums! Everyone wants to jam out!
  6. It's crowded. Be prepared to have someone bump into you. Chill and enjoy the experience. 

 

One must double cup!!

      Go and check out Paula and Raifords! Say hey to Paula, Raiford, Corey Hollywood and Keisha  for me! 

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

Playa Fly- The Mad King

    If I were to compile a Top 5 list of my favorite rappers, Playa Fly would definitely make that list. I was introduced to his music way way back in middle school and I have been a huge fan ever since. 

A fitting title

A fitting title

    The deep southern accent laced lyrics over bass heavy beats had me instantly hooked. I bought every album I could find at the Hickory Ridge Mall. I told you this was way way back in the day. I even wanted a silk Versace shirt because he wore one on the Movin' On album cover. He made me proud that a guy from a not so great part of Memphis actually was doing something big. That really resonated with me. 

IMG_1724.JPG

    Fast forward to 2017 and I hear about Playa Fly performing at Hard Rock on New Years Day as part of their Day One Live series. There was no way I was going to miss out on seeing Playa Fly perform in concert in Memphis. 

The Set Up

19187CD5-414B-4F01-977D-C618B3D7109C.JPG
The king needs a throne  

The king needs a throne  

Mic check  

Mic check  

The Show

F20D9671-B36A-45B9-816D-E8064E5161D1.JPG

     The show was everything I expected and more. Playa Fly performed all the classics as well as some awesome freestyles. The crowd was electric and the vibe was everything! I was pleasantly surprised to see fellow Memphis hip hop legends Gangsta Black and Tommy Wright III in attendance as well.  

Gangsta Blac

Gangsta Blac

Tommy Wright III

Tommy Wright III

       The live band made the show even better. Very Roots-esque. Hip hop with a band just sounds so much better to me. 

1B5405D9-3B43-470B-9D96-9DB1AC11FDD8.JPG

        Here's a little video recap of the performance. That vibe was everything!!  

Playa Fly

E3658031-3E98-4361-8429-251CAAE5B18F.JPG
D8E25B29-3C4B-4581-9B6B-07D3A592751A.JPG
2A05B3EF-B774-4488-9910-A56E8A120455.JPG
62A7171B-B67A-4F53-A434-C173389F5798.JPG

       This was one of the more energetic concerts I've ever attended and the crowd participation was amazing. This was truly a great experience. If you're a Playa Fly fan, what's your favorite track? Nobody Needs Nobody will go down as my favorite.  

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

A Sit Down with KING Heartbreaker

     I recently got a chance to sit down with King Heartbreaker, an up and coming artist originally from Memphis, and got to pick his mind a little. A little background on King Heartbreaker; he grew up in the South Memphis area  and has recently moved to Atlanta to further his music ambitions. His first single "Do To You" sold more than 120,000 copies on iTunes and his first mixtape reached over 100,000 downloads, so he's firmly established himself as an artist to pay attention to. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

    I met up with King Heartbreaker at Memphis Slim Collaboratory at his new album's listening party. It was a fitting location due to the rich musical history of not only Memphis Slim House, but also because of it's close proximity to Stax. Doing an interview at a recording studio was also something I've always wanted to do, So I thank King and his management team for this opportunity. 


How did you come to have the name King Heartbreaker? Is it an admission of breaking hearts?

"Growing up my family would always say I would grow to be a little heartbreaker. That meaning has evolved into more. I was always counted out so now King Heartbreaker is more like being an upset and proving naysayers wrong. It has nothing to do with breaking ladies hearts Haha."

So you're from South Memphis? Tell me a bit about growing up in Memphis and why you went the route of R&B instead of hip hop.

"Growing up in South Memphis was hard. Lots of killings and drugs around, but I had love for music and that kept me out of trouble. I had confidence in myself and I didn't want to be a product of my environment." 

"I went to a concert with my mom and aunt to see Usher and the Pyramid. He had just released the 8701 album and I saw how the ladies loved him and screamed for him and I wanted to be like him. Even church women were screaming for him!"

Did you have any positive role models growing up?

"My dad wasn't always around, so i never got the chance to learn a lot from him. My older friends and family members helped raise me. My mom allowed positive men around that could help teach me how to grow and survive. "

There's been a mass exodus from Memphis to Atlanta or Houston. Do you feel that move helped your career and did it effect your approach to music?

"I believed it helped me grow as a person and an artist to see something different from what you know. I wanted to know if I had what it took to go all the way and moving to Atlanta, where there's talent everywhere, was me challenging myself to be great. I got to see the ins and outs of the music industry."

Do you feel there's not enough support amongst Memphis artists?

"Definitely. I feel that it's getting better. It's a tough city and it's hard for some Memphis artists to trust someone they don't know. It's mainly on a who you know basis. In Atlanta, all the artists all help each other and are willing to reach out to help. It was completely different from what I was used to. You'll see T.I., 2 Chains and other artists working together. I want Memphis to be like that. Everyone helping each other and less out for only themselves. Personally, if you're from Memphis and doing something positive, I will never charge them for doing a song." 

I hear you've been working with Drumma Boy. How did that relationship come about?

"He saw one of my videos and later he gave me a call to come to the studio. We recorded a few songs and played 2K! Haha. He taught me a lot about the industry. He's let me turn down beats that went on to sell millions of copies, but he also taught me how to be more humble. He's a brother to me"

Ok, let's let's switch it up. Tell me about the song Big Daddy. 

"It's a song about the man a woman goes to see that will make her life easy and pleasurable. She can depend on him to fulfill her hearts desires. Make her feel better than she's ever felt before regardless of whatever situation she might be in. 

So describe your ideal woman

"A woman that know who she is and what she wants. A woman that's true to herself and her has her own goals and dreams."

Do you feel artists have a responsibility to use their platforms to create social change? Would you be comfortable with the younger generation looking at you as a role model? 

"Most definitely. With the amount of people that watch and follow you, you have a platform and a voice to say and do what others can't do. These people are buying your music and you have to be willing to accept the responsibility that comes along with that.  I also see where the artists come fro that don't want that responsibility. We are all humans and we all make mistakes. Some people think that because you have a certain platform and you can no longer make mistakes." 

"I don't mind being seen as a role model, but I'm still human. I've made mistakes and I'm going to make more. I prefer to be called a real model instead because I don't play a role. I'm just who I am and that's trying to be as real as I can possibly be." 

When you touchdown in the city, what's something you have to eat while in Memphis?

"Honestly, I gotta go to Dixie Queen! I have to have a 10 piece hot with a suicide slush! It's 24 hours so I can get it anytime I get back to Memphis. Also the BBQ. I've been to a lot of places and there's nothing like Memphis BBQ anywhere."

So the last and hardest question, Tigers or Grizzlies?

"Wow that is a hard question. Do I have to pick one? I have real love for both the Tigers and Grizzlies. If one has to go......I would say the Grizzlies, but I don't really want to pick one. The Grizzlies moved here and could move again. The Tigers were all we had for a while, so I will say keep the Tigers. Man, this is a really hard question!" 


Check out King Heartbreaker's newest single Oxygen! His new mixtape King Sh*t will be released on Dec 29th. Be on the lookout for that. 

IMG_1574.PNG

Bilal at Hi Tone

Bilal at the Hi Tone!! I couldn't believe it when I saw it. His song "Sometimes" really hit home with me about an exgirlfriend I had, so I had to go and see him live. I really enjoyed the show and the overall vibe. 

Ju Ju Bushman

The opening act was local musician Ju Ju and he really set the tone. This mans music is that right vibe to get you in the groove.  

IMG_0305.JPG
IMG_0338.JPG
IMG_0341.JPG
IMG_0347.JPG

Marco Pave

Next up was hip hop artist Marco Pave. I really like this guy a lot and his lyrical content and flow are bananas! Yes, that's a good thing! He really got Hi Tone hyped! He even jumped on top of a speaker and went shirtless for a majority of his set!  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_0355.JPG

Bilal

Bilal was even better in person than I've seen in any videos or in TV. He was so energetic and had great stage presence. His band was also equally amazing!! It definitely was a show that goes down as one of my favorites. 

IMG_0413.JPG
IMG_0404.JPG
IMG_0391.JPG
IMG_0390.JPG

Fin

Life is for Living,  

Michael B.  

Artistik Lounge!!

Every third Sunday something happens in Midtown Memphis that all music lovers should take a look at. At 1555 Madison Ave, inside Minglewood Hall, there's Artistik Lounge. "It's a Lounge Mane" is the slogan and it definitely fits the venue. There are couches and oversized pillows throughout along with some really dope overhead lamps. The vibe of the place is definitely ultra chill and cool.  

image.jpg

The event is hosted by Eso Tolsen while Siphne Aaye mixes up some of the flyest tracks in hip hop and R&B. Oh, they also have a bar! I mean you can't proclaim a lounge environment without some libations. 

Eso and Siphne freestyling  

Eso and Siphne freestyling  

So last night the Artistik Lounge featured one of my favorite Memphis MCs, Gangsta Blac! His album 74 Minutes of Bump got me through high school. When he was rocking the mic with fellow Memphis rapper Playa Fly, they were the best thing going! Nobody Needs Nobody is arguably the best song to come out of Memphis to this day.  

image.jpg
image.jpg

Gangsta Blac came through and delivered exactly what I experienced when I was a youngin beating on my desk with a pen making beats; that raw underground Memphis hip hop! The crowd was loving it! It really took me back to a great time for Memphis hip hop. You know Memphis rappers created not only jooking, but crunk music as well, right? 

image.jpg

So mark your calendars for the next Artistik Lounge! I don't have the date in front of me, but I will definitely update you guys via my IG (@_one901) and also via Facebook (one901).  

The cover is $10 so it won't break your pockets and it's a great event to network or bring a date. There were some local movers and shakers in attendance, along with local musicians like Marco Pave. 

Hip Hop artist Marco Pave

Hip Hop artist Marco Pave

So there you have it Memphis! Here's another great event that the city showcases that's not only fun but positive. I would like to thank all the people that help with Artistik Lounge each month. You guys are awesome and very gracious. 

I can't wait for the next set and I hope to see more of the city participate as well. So come on out and enjoy but remember, It's a Lounge Mane!  

 

Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

 

image.jpg

Privilege Music Fest

While food is normally my first love, Music is a close second. How can it not be? I was born and raised in Memphis, so music is engrained into my soul. Now, I can't technically hold a note or hit a high note, at least not outside of my shower, but I do know good music when I hear it. It's easy to hear good music in Memphis because it's literally everywhere! 

When my good friend, Jamal Whitlow, who's the president and CEO of Privileged Memphis, hit me up about a music fest he had coming up featuring local talent, I was instantly hooked. I knew this event would be good, because I've been to a Privileged event and it was really nice and well organized. 


Jamal Whitlow

The Privileged Music Fest was held at historic Handy Park on Beale Street. The perfect setting for a first run at a Memphis festival, which has housed some of the best talent over the years. The festival was hosted by radio personality, Ena Esco, and Bruno Mars band member, Kameron Whalum.

Esa Esco and Kameron Whalum

I really enjoyed the festival and loved that it featured diverse talent. Memphis is a city that's still held back at times by the past racial tensions, so it's good to see the diversity of Memphis talent on display. Also, regardless of your race, people know good music. as long as it's good, nothing else even matters. 

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

10 Questions with Tyke T

I got to sit down with hip hop artist Tyke T before his performance at 901Fest. I must say this is one of the more interesting things I've done so far with my blog since I have decided to try to interview more local artists. Tyke T was insanely hilarious and engaging. You have to hear his Popeye's Chicken career story! I also got to see that he is a very smart young man that provided some thought provoking responses to my questions. There were plenty of laughs and bloopers, but I think this interview really showed who Tyke T actually is beyond the music. Check out the video for the full interview!

Tyke T is definitely on the right track for his music career and I think his music is really good in a time when less emphasis is placed on lyrics. He delivers above average and witty bars over strong production. That's a winning recipe and reaped him the reward of performing at 901Fest. I'm glad to see he hasn't gotten complacent since winning K97's Next Big Thing back in 2014. He's still grinding and putting out more lyrically heavy material, such as the powerful track "This Can't Be Life". I expect Tyke T to get more notoriety and become a staple of the Mid-South music scene. He's definitely made me a fan. 

You can check out more of Tyke T music below and also get more info about the artist at www.drivenbymusic.net. 

Life is for Living,

Michael B. 

The Marco Alexander Experience

I was recently invited to a listening party by a good friend of mine in the music industry. We were initially confused on the artists name because it's very similar to a local rapper that goes by the name of Marco Pave', whom I had heard before. 

Nevertheless, we found out that the event was being held at Dejavu in downtown Memphis, which happens to be one of my favorite places to eat in the city. As we walked in, I instantly noticed that this was a serious listening party because the place was packed! There were family, friends, music producers, and artists all throughout. 

Ok, whomever planned this show did a great job, because it was well thought out and provided lots of visuals. Each track that was played featured a model that walked out with the title of the song sewn into the outfit! A nice touch of class I must say!

I really enjoyed the show and the music was a mix of R&B and pop, with some very bass heavy beats and nice vocals. Basically, that boy can sang!! The highlight of the show, in my opinion, was when Mr. Alexander sung a solo that simply brought the house down.  

I got to ask Marco a few questions and really pick his brain apart. 

Are you from Memphis? 

I was born in Memphis, but I was raised in a few different places because of orchestral work and my parents wanting me to experience more. Most of it was in New York however. My parents were always in Memphis so that would always bring me back somehow. 

So who are your musical influences?

I'm very versatile and my parents had me listening to many genres as a kid. I would have to say the greats like Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Phil Collins, and Sting! 

I got a chance to check out your "Follow Your Heart" video. Most women ain't getting ignored all day and then popping up at the studio with hugs and kisses! LOL! Based on a personal experience?

Haha yes! It is based on a personal experience! Having a relationship is a risk nowadays because most women want to make it public. Putting everything in the public eye can cause problems because others start to form opinions about the couple and it's individuals ie who they really are, their past, etc. 

I agree. Ok, we gotta talk about the jacket from the show. Were you thinking "ooh kill'em" when you wore it. If so, did you think you killed them? 

Oh the suit! Haha! I was asked what I wanted to wear and I knew that because my style is classy yet very edgy that it's what I wanted to wear. I wasn't thinking ooh kill'em. I normally never think that. I just have my own weird style that some like and some don't. 

I definitely would have thought I'm about to kill the game tonight in that suit! 

Haha. I'm usually not thinking about that. 

If you could be a super hero, which one would you be?

I would have to say Captain America. I'm all for being able to jump anywhere and protect yourself from anything with one shield. The only thing I would add is mind control. I would change negative mindsets for the better!

Tigers or Grizzlies?

Haha, I'm definitely not a sports person but....I would say Tigers because that's my alma mater. 

Favorite spot to eat in Memphis?

The African Restaurant in Whitehaven is my favorite place when I'm in town. I love African food!

Tell me something you love about Memphis and something you would change about Memphis.

I love the creativity and raw talent of Memphis! Everyone you meet has a talent/skill that they are amazingly great at. The thing I would change is the willingness to practice and perfect your craft before putting yourself out there. I was blessed to spend the majority of my life on the road performing up North and the East Coast. It's cool that everyone wants to be an artist, but at what cost? There is negativity in regards to the support aspect in Memphis. It's mainly because people don't want to sort through the artists who are serious vs who's not. So in essence, artist development is a huge issue in this city. 

I encourage you to check out this artist's work. I was pleasantly surprised by the vocals, showmanship and the show in itself. Check out Marco Alexander on May 27 at the Cook Convention Center for the Neighborhood USA Youth Conference. His album also drops in July, so be on the lookout for it and support this homegrown talent. 

 

Check out his Facebook HERE and his Instagram page HERE

 

Life is for Living,

Michael B.