Issue #5

Community Report

Wow People! Can you all believe it is May already? By next month we will already be exactly halfway through the year. So far so good. This year we have seen good progress, but not enough. That should be changing in the months to come, if the things I know about ( that you all don’t) will prosper well. Still we need more talents, DJ’s, and more exposure. I am not the one for hype, but it is no hype to let every one know that people are watching and watching closely to the Freestyle scene. The scene is changing rapidly. New faces are replacing old ones as both the underground world continues to search for elements and beats, samples and inspirations from our retro years and major labels try to find the next “POP” thing . Everyone wants to find out about Freestyle’s past, but what they will find is something they never saw before, an overlooked scene that held a voice and a history. It is not a pretty story, as it is not a pretty life. Some will be offended, others won’t. What we will see is how the past will come and judge the present and how the sole purpose of the Freestyle movement will come and unleash its vengeance on the very same scene that claims to be a part of it. The truth Hurts!

In this month’s Community report we are going to do things a lil different. This is due to two reasons. One is that not much has happened since April’s news, which was pined up exactly two weeks ago (and you can go back to see it). Second is that there are certain things that need to be said that certain people are not’t going to have the balls to say, so I will because they need to be said now.

Mike Hernandez at Escape Ent. Should already have all submitted material collected for his compilation “Freestyle The Millenium Vol. One” . The compilation is said to be out sometime between the next two months. I will keep you all posted. More importantly is that, although I am not supposed to say anything (but I will because this record needs to be seen and heard), Escape has a future treasure on their hands. She goes by the name of Emilee and her record is good. “In Both Arms” has a thyme about a young girl who is caught in a situation of having two guys at the same time and does not know what to do (its called a three some). Anyway, this love triangle thyme is distinct. Her vocals give the record a slight bubble gum feel, but still grip that strong high pitched vocal work found in classic Freestyle scorchers. It is a Neo style record close to the Angelina family, but what makes this record stand out is the congas that are used. It was said that Latin traits harmonies and percussion’s were soon to dominate most Acid Phunk and Neo Freestyle records. In the Propeller Heads (U.K) “Take California” we see a beginning of the trend and in Emilee’s “In Both Arms” we begin to see the trend flourish in more verbal style records. Nothing new, there was always Latin percussion’s and influences on E-Funk and Freestyle records, it is just coming back.

The record should have commercial success, as it is a bit reminiscent to Bananarama’s “I heard A Rumor” as far as feel goes. The record also has a High NRG mix as for a House mix. Hopefully we will see more from Emmilee the same way we all heard from another one of Mike’s aquatinted talents, Rochelle, who is now in the books because of “Praying For An Angel” and “NeNe”.

The Queen of Flips has spread an inferno. Jocelyn Enriquez’s “Get into the Rhythm” is rocking the underground joints as program directors of radio stations hesitate whether or not it is too “Progressive?” for radio. The original Mix, which can be found on the album, is simply a combination of ambient synths merged into an Electro format, giving the record a feel of elevation into higher levels of sound awareness. This Acid FreePhunk scorcher also holds remixes (Very good remixes) and they will be looked at closer next month’s Report as well as the review.

The newest and freshest face on the Freestyle scene right now is Jacqui’s. Jacqui Who? Cenci ! Who, what, where, or how old she is, or even where did she pop out of is not really known by popularity right now. It does not even matter. The record is slammin. “Memories” is a bit sticky, but what makes the record stand on its own, is the production and synth work. A combination of a lil ambient, Classic Freestyle synths, Electro beats and influences. This record should be all over radio and it is also clubable.

The “one and only” mix that should be looked at is the Carlos Berrios mix. , because it is the Freestyle mix. Props to Michael Angelo for putting something new and fresh out there.

Bobby Leal has a new track, soon to be released entitled “For You” with Soleil on back vocals. Backed with Danielle’s “All Night Long”. At the moment the record is at demo status and not really released commercially yet. I am letting you all know to watch out for it, it is sure to be a dangerous one on the floor. I cannot find the words to express this record. It is somewhere between slow and mid tempo (I am talking about “For You”).

On the other side with Danielle’s “All Night Long”, it is another Trippy record. Although it is too repetitive, it should be able to make its way into somebody’s mixes. Mr. Leal has some projects coming up, some with an Ambient/Freestyle feel (which is what I am waiting for) and will be focused on as soon as we receive it.

Jumping back to Timber records, by next month the four-volume compilation “The Perfect Beat” should hit store shelves. It is a compilation of early 80’s HipHop music (as in Breakdancing Jams). Packed with the most recognized E-Phunk and Latin HipHop jams that dominated the streets (and still do) of those times. In the meantime TommyBoy’s Division “TommyBoy Silver”, which will cater underground music to all underground and club DJs, has already released their first product. Entitled “Hyper Trophy”, it should be out at vinyl shops and record pools.

While we are on the Compilation tip, like mentioned last month, Intersound records has released “The Underground Kingdom- Best Of Kram” . The compilation consist of material released from the Orlando based Kram records who blessed the underground with some funky scorchers. Containing material from the Electronic underground high duchess Kelee Reverb and her “Let the Beat Control your body” to the now commercial K5’s “Passion” who had the “now” infamous Tammy Wright on lead vocals. This is definitely a collector’s item. It is definitely worth the dollars and cents and should favor all those who plan to stick around. Like they said “I Heard The Future” .

This reminds me to let every one know that there is still another good compilation containing good Phunk and Freebeats. Planet TripHop 2 on Street Beat Records is another must. It contains Electro scorchers like Jocelyn Enriquez, Acid factor, Beat Dominator, Subconscious and many others. This is not the sound of the future, this is the sound of today’s “TRUE” underground Funk and Freestyle scene.

Many people don’t know about material like this because the “Freestyle Intelegecia” does not believe that this material is Freestyle until they recognize the Planet rock beats or see people like lil Suzy trying to do it. There are many Freestyle advocates and members of other genres who do recognize and basically like this. The only problem is that the “Electronica” scene recognizes the Phunk, but not the Freestyle the same way those who claim to be Freestyle don’t even recognize their ancestral elements. The Freestyle and Phunk Genre now has become too commercial for the Underground and to underground for the commercial mainstream. This causes both markets not to give full blown support to the evolved hybrid. It is true what they say, the non educated can’t teach. As many don’t know where to draw the line between what is Freestyle and what is not, they should just stop worrying about that and enjoy the scenes. At Freestyle Music . Com, we will make sure to keep the things Phunky and Free. This way our audience knows where to look and where to go and who knows might learn a lil something from another genre of music. Remember, we all have the same roots. HipHop.

Since there was not much interest from certain labels to submit material this month, I will definitely replace their tired asses with other material that is more better sounding and more contributive to Phunk and Freestyle mixes than any of the material they have put out within the last four years.

I start off with introducing to the Freestyle scene another underground duchess, Elli Mac, who has made her way high into unknown levels with “Celebrate” . Although there are different versions to “Celebrate”, the version most Phunkateers would look for is Uberzone’s Elektro Fiction 2 remix. This version is basically a reverberation of many Electro elements floating in the atmosphere, then coming together and dropping like a roller-coaster before rising high into the sky and start echoing in the stratosphere. On the beats we have a Reminiscent bass line of Miami’s glory days with Elli’s vocals chanting “Celebrate our love” which later launch into an echo. This is an absolute must for any mix. Especially for those creative DJs who add synth samples from Shannon’s “Do you wana get away” to today’s mixes along other records as the 1990’s “Dun Da-da”.

Another soaring (soon to be a star) singer is Kimberlee. A couple of months ago she started gaining popularity with her record “Neverland”. This month she and her label Detour Records, are not snoozing. They have gone back to her original name, Robyn-Z, and now has a brand new record called “Fly Free” . The record is definitely up to today’s standards holding a feel for the new era. Not so like the other Angelina beat driven records, this record switches back and fourth the beats between a present day Freestyle beat and a Funky breakline. On the bridge we have J Lover rapping over the four on the floor, before it goes back into the version it started with.

Detour records is a small Miami based label that has opened opportunities to many young singers. The main love Detour records has always had, was for Freestyle Music. Through out the years the label has spawned its directions into different types of music. Everything from House, NRG, Spanish, and Eurodance, but without abandoning the Freestyle. Because the label was a small independent, it was bashed and criticized by other known labels and producers. Everyone will be blown away, as I was , when they get their hands on Detour’s newest compilation. Entitled “Rhythm & Harmony” , this is the bomb. This won’t only benefit the Freestyle scene, but other scenes as well. Containing many Freestyle/Trance sides it also contains the Phunky side as well. The major stand outs are the trancey “Take Me Away” and the Undergound “I Need A Rhythm”.

On a serious note, I am glad to see that the label has the capability to put out good material for the future. Even though many have not really gotten to know Detour’s past, they will in the coming months. I am not looking at Detour from a present point of view, I am seeing that label and what it is about to become. It is true, everyone and everything has its time and place. Detour is just getting into position.

I would continue with other records that people need to know about, but that really is not on today’s agenda. first we have at least some Latin-house to cover. Though it has been out. A compilation out on Polygram entitled “South Beats” is gaining popularity. More on the Spanish tip though with the group Meztiso and that kind of stuff. The CD should really do well in the Spanish speaking Market and might even cross over.

Last month we went over Tito Puente JR’s “Azucar” , which is making some noise in some places. We also went over El Presidente’s “La Gatita” and Fullanito’s slamin “Guallando”. This month we go over Latin Express . Not to be confused with the Group Latin Express on Pryme Tyme records, this Latin Express is the one that has Frank Lords (formerly of Secret Society ) all up in there. Frank Lords , who has been known for working the leather, did good with the drums on all his projects. This month Latin Express delivers us with the 1972 classic “Soul Makosa” , but with a updated 1990’s version. The record is fierce and is sure to get big, not to mention that the previous “Descarga” is not quit done discharging massive jams. The record that busted out with the lyrics “Ariba con las manos, ariba con las manos, ariba con las manos, throw your hands up in the air…………llo llego echando candela, mulatta quemate…” . We will definitely hear more about this.

To wrap up the news, like I said, not much has happened since two weeks ago. Lisette Melendez has “Make The Way”, DJ Juanito feat. Alexis with “Feel My Love”, anything else would be added to next months column. If you would like to see last months report, just find the button around here that would take you back to April. One more thing, last month I noted the Incident with the pipe bomb at club Amnesia ,South Beach. This month I note that the people responsible where indeed caught.

OK, now that I got all the “Report” crap out of the way, its time for a piece of my mind.

I call it crap because I rather sit here and type about Freestyle records. Good quality slammin Freestyle records. You know what , there really is not much out there. I am ashamed to even be categorized as a “Freestyler” and made to look like I share a scene with people who don’t Freestyle their skills. I come from a generation of people who were demanding for skills and quality. A generation that believed in talent, individuality and distinction. People started reading my articles to see what the hell I was going to say next. Who am I going to sell out. What controversial things will be said. The truth is that there are no direct intentions towards anybody. Everything said here is the truth. What is so controversial about the truth? I blame the whole Freestyle Community for Freestyles problems. No one has the complete fault that Freestyle fell except for the ones who made the music.

Everybody in the whole Freestyle Industry blames and points at someone else. Some blame radio for not supporting. Others blame labels for not having artist development. others blame others for not coming out with enough records, and so on. The whole Industry needs to stick a sock in it and stop worrying about others and start looking at themselves and how they contributed to the downfall.

Everybody talks about the “Untalented Artist”. So why don’t the reviewers of major Dance magazines point them out? Why don’t the artist that bitch about them point them out? You want to know why? Because its the same circle of friends. The same circle of labels. The same circle of producers.

If you pick up any issue of any Dance magazine that focuses on Freestyle………………………… Notice that their are no UN-talented artist. Everybody is so talented. Everybody has a five star review!

Some columnist over-hype material from some artist they themselves have not heard of or even heard of the material. When they write about what they never heard, what they are really doing is deceiving the scene. Selling out everybody just so they could be on good terms with so and so who owns 24 record labels at a time, but that no one has ever heard of any of the material. Others write nice things about others just because they know and hang with certain people.

Me, I don’t care if your my great grandmother who raised me and spoon fed me when I was ill. If granny can’t sing, I’ll be the first to shoot her down. I have to stay neutral. I have to keep it real. There are people out there who earn $ 5.00 an hour. Young kids who work and go to school or couples on a tight budget who don’t have the money to go out and blast $20 dollars (That’s four hours of labor) on a CD. I look out for them to guide them to the best quality and where they can get more for their money. I look out for record companies and let them know what would be a wise choice to do business . I also try to keep people updated with what’s really going on. The changes in the music. Where we are headed as well as where we have been.

The only reason I am here, is for the future. Even if I reach one, just one person, to truly understand what this whole Freestyle thing was about, I would be satisfied. Because then I know that the true soul of the movement will continue. I don’t care who I reach. The knowledge, like the music is universal. It must be told, it must be heard.

I could write a report about what Freestyle is. I could write a report of what its not. I could write so many things, but will it make a difference at this moment if everybody is going to go back to the same bullshit they have been eating for the past years.

Much love and respect goes to all those who have kept some aspect of keeping the movement and music alive. All the DJ’s, magazines, radio and above all the crowds.

But the media and the crowds have just sat there for too long and basically accepted what certain record companies wanted to spoon feed them and it became the norm for everyone. I can not sit here and believe that the crowds really do like or are content with what the record companies are throwing at them. I believe they are content because it is believed to be Freestyle, but are they really content with the sound.

Why the hell is everybody so UN-original these days. It pisses me off when certain writers call this phunk movement of the 90’s a trend. When they say that, it means that somewhere down the line they plan to go back to what they are used to seeing and not moving to unknown frontiers. That means they plan to continue to shine the light on certain labels who hold positions but no flavor, especially to those of their regions who at the moment have not made any noise. Are we really going to let these people continue to represent the scene.

Fuck that “Funky Melody” bullshit. There isn’t nothing funky about that plaid out phrase. People getting on Freestyle’s jock and boasting to be all that about Freestyle. Some even using Miami (My home) in their productions or names, and yet have not stepped foot into the Latin Capital. All these Industry people talking about Freestyle. Where the Fuck were they back in the day of Latin HipHop. Where were they the days we roamed the streets looking for the massive jams and at times even risked our own safety just to go see one of our own on stage. When we ducked rocks bottles and bullets at street concerts while Latin gangs La Familia and Latin Kings were at each others throats.

What’s up with all the Freestyle so called “Artist” who come out with one record and all of the sudden they are walking around like if they are Barbara Streisand. They need to get off the high horse before the horse drops them on their ass. They need to know that they are small. Its these types who seek fame , not the dream .

However,even if it is one record, the record does need to get recognition. Now I am targeting the Industry people that have been around. Those talking about One Hit wonders and how those one hit wonders are not worth anything. How easy they forget that Freestyle was built on “One Hit Wonders”. Even though many in the past had one good song, each of those songs was like a brick that went on to build a kingdom. Some put out more bricks than others. That does not make them more important than everyone else. They too need to remember that they came from the same crowds.

I speak for everyone who does not have the balls, because I got enough balls to go around when I say “OK people, enough with the bullshit!”

It is plain to see that some people do not have the passion or desire for Freestyle as they should. If they really love Freestyle, they should sharpen their skills and who knows even start promoting their stuff. That’s right! Every one makes a record and expects the world to come crawling to them on their knees. They expect the world to put their record on a marble pedestal while they grin with pride. Its time for them to get off their ass.

Sometimes I wonder if people in today’s Freestyle Community know that everyone looks at this genre as a joke. The music is looked as corny as the people who make it. Some people do not take themselves seriously , so people don’t take them serious..

Some label owners don’t even have an artist development plan. When artist ask for it , the owners laugh in their face and respond “Artist development! In Freestyle?” . This is an example how some people do not think some things are important. It shows that not only do they not believe in the preservation and cultivation of quality Freestyle, but do not believe in their artist or what their artist are capable of becoming. Selling units to them is more important than actually spending the time and money on promotion . And still they get outstanding comments in media sources.

If it seems that I am selling out, I am not. I love Freestyle. I live the culture and have been since the day this shit began. I am ashamed that those with talent have not done enough to work the full potential. Embarrassed that those who don’t have. But I am not worried, times are changing. I could say what I please because what I am downplaying is not a Freestyle community. It is not my scene. My scene died a long time ago. The scene died, but certain people have not. Now we begin to unite ourselves. We can all remember way back when, well its back again.

The 1990’s Freestyle scene is dead. The 2000’s Latin Hip Hop order is taking over. Everyone is shitting bricks because they know it is over for them . Everyone knows that all hell is about to let loose on the scene. Conflicts and confusion. Disorganization.

The replacement of old generations that have held on to their positions for too long, as it has come down for a new generation to run things. Chaos ! Our rebirth. The past will not be brought back, but the dignity and respect will. It is time to restructure the foundations that we once upon a time stood on. It has already begun and will continue as Freestyle fanatics run to the streets pulling out their hair screaming “That Is Not Freestyle”.

What is Freestyle? A question the whole community has no idea anymore. And still they want to represent. That is the sad part. Who crowned them the inheritors of the movement? That’s why everyone is still at the bottom. I am not downplaying anyone in particular. I am down playing everyone.

The reason is because I see so much more that they can be doing, but they don’t do it. The day I see people have respect for themselves and their work, is the day I will show the world the recognition they deserve. I feel natious just typing about it, so I am closing this report before I make myself and my viewers sick.

I am glad that most of this bullshit won’t be around too long, as better things and better people are soon to dominate a new scene. Of course that does not mean people cannot better themselves . But there will always be those who are outdated. Remember, there are still people who listen to Do-Wop on classic 50’s stations, then there are those who listen to the Wallflowers. It is still in the Rock Family. The same thing goes with Freestyle. But who in the 1990’s is still making Do-Wop records?

I am sick now, so I got to bail. I know where I am going as well as I know where Freestyle is headed. I was there back in the day and I will be there tomorrow. But so will everyone else? Should I care?

I apologize to the public that they have to witness such things. I know that some of you just want to know what is new out there and really don’t care about politics and shit, but you have to remember that you also have to know what is going on. Join me next time as we focus on real music and another spoon full of sunshine. I have enough of that to go around also. If any one gets mad, I would like you to know that I am not. In fact I am laughing. I am always down for a good joke. I am also generous and willing to share it with the world. Have a nice life.

by: Jonpito