Monday, February 27, 2012


I came across this 38 minute long documentary for underground NC group Kooley High about three years ago, and I love what Napoleon Wright II was able to convey.  It is an in-depth, yet short, look into the formation of Kooley High, comprised of Charlie Smarts, Tab-One, Sinopsis, Foolery, DJ Ill Digitz, and sole female voice Rapsody.  The three MC, two producer, one DJ outfit gave us a glimpse when this was filmed about what the Triangle Region (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) was about when it came to a purer, more grassroots approach to hip hop.  I've been fortunate enough to see Rapsody perform a few months ago, on tour with 9th Wonder and Phonte, and she is a microphone phenom to say the least.  I also chopped it up a couple of years ago with Charlie Smarts after a dope performance by The Foreign Exchange at Cat's Cradle (what's up Charlie Smarts, I didn't forget our parking lot conversation).  Special thanks to the keen mind of Napoleon and all that helped to make this short documentary happen.  Visit for more insight into the North Carolina design collective responsible for this vision to come to fruition.  You can also find out more about the Kooley High collective at  Each member of the group is flourishing collectively or on a separate plane, and I am very proud of my NC brethren (and sista Rap Diddy too).  Enjoy the 38:01 long video, and check out their music!

One Day - Introducing Kooley High from Napoleon Wright II on Vimeo.

SHORT STORY------"DAYS GONE BY" (an excerpt)

I just unearthed this piece I started back in 2010 entitled "Days Gone By".  It is a fictional short story I started about a single father starting over in unfamilar territory.  My vision for the story is to give an emotional, yet positive, account of a black male encountering day to day struggles, triumphs, setbacks, and ultimate victories that you rarely find in literature or media.  Too often black males are depicted in the darkest of light, either from a legal, relationship, sexual, or societal standpoint.  I was inspired to at least start this story by having in-depth conversations with my like-minded brethren who are in the business of uplifting, and not destroying.  This written depiction is in its beginning stages, so hopefully I will get the necessary inspiration to continue and close this so-called chapter.  Feedback is much appreciated Wisdom Seekers...HAPPY READING!

"DAYS GONE BY" (an excerpt)
                         Written by:  Wisdom

Sitting at my desk, I’m alone with thoughts.  Pondering how did I get to this point in my sometimes still young life of forty-five years.  Too bad my physical doesn’t always agree with that youthful outlook though, because there are moments when I’m in “The Wizard Of Oz”, Tin Man mode.  Mentally my mind wanders from one task to another, from one idea to another notion, never at rest or ease.  That constant wandering of the mind can be sometimes daunting, always exhausting.  I’ve been this way for as long as a brother can recall, so it’s a fact of life for me.  Maybe I can use that excess energy exerted from a mental capacity and utilize it in another form or fashion.  Being a thinker AND creative at the same time can be a gift and a curse.  A gift because the two areas can become one; a curse because one can overwhelm the other.  Either way, it’s apparent that a change in my mundane, stagnant life is needed.

Once I leave my workplace for the evening, Jones Media Conglomerate, I have a few errands to run before heading home.  Moving to a bustling metropolis like Charlotte from Baltimore has been a transition of sorts, but a good one.  Charlotte is like the second incarnation of Atlanta, as far as the Dirty South goes, at least from a cultural standpoint.  Same southern values and charm, minus the bustling music scene.  Charlotte covers more ground from a logistical view than good ol’ Charm City, with a population slightly larger than the City That Reads (and the city I miss).  After taking the marketing position at JMC eight months ago, I’ve been making my rounds, scouting out the “Queen City”.  I’ve made a few friends here, and have plenty of acquaintances I know by face.  For the most part, people in Charlotte are friendly, a difference with the sometimes rough around the edges nature of Baltimoreans.  I can assimilate in any situation, or so I think.  Jones Media Conglomerate is definitely offering me a chance to spread my wings, but with me pondering and thinking, I know there is more out there for me, but what is it?

I miss my daughter.  I miss her much.  Even though she’s away at college at Hampton University in Virginia, I miss her.  This being her junior year, I should be used to the notion.  I’m not.  Not at all.  We have what you would call a very cool father-daughter relationship.  She calls me when she’s excited about her Chemistry exam grade. She calls me if she is devastated by a failed relationship. As a good father should do, I listen to her, not ALWAYS giving advice.  I actually listen to her so she can vent, and I think that is why she feels comfortable discussing things with me.  I love that part of our relationship.  She’s my baby, even though she is close to twenty one years old now.  It doesn’t bother me as much about the failed marriage with my ex-wife.  I’ve come to realize that there is a season and reason for everything.  Before, I played the blame game and pointed fingers at her shortcomings, usually ignoring my own flaws and faults.  Being more mature has mellowed a brother, I guess.  At least my daughter has been able to pretend to deal with the marital breakdown and attempt to move forward.  My ex-wife and myself at least made a point to make sure our shared.  I miss my daughter.  I asked her to visit me during the Christmas holiday, but it appears that she is going to call Hampton Roads home for the holiday respite.  In addition to her full eighteen credit course load, she works part time for a local newspaper publication in Norfolk, about a twenty-five minute or so drive from Hampton.  I guess I’m starting to see some similarities with my daughter and myself in that aspect.  It puts a smile on my face.  Yet, I still miss my daughter.

With Christmas fast approaching, I have a deadline for a marketing proposal I have to present.  I’ve been working on an important, time-consuming, all-encompassing marketing plan for a North Carolina-based entertainment firm.  When they approached JCM to structure a grassroots scheme to give them even more exposure in the Tar Heel State and beyond, of course I was the one who would have to tackle this animal.  I think I’m up for the challenge though.  Sounds cocky, but I’m from the Kanye West school of thinking: if no one else thinks you’re dope, you better think you’re dope!  I’ve been working on a marketing plan three-fold in nature with print, radio, and online.  Sounds exciting, right?  It’s tedious work actually, because I’m dealing with a multitude of variables and characters when structuring a marketing plan to bolster a client’s image.  I figure this is where that creativity I was speaking about earlier comes into play.  Not only do I have to bring forth a vision for Blue Entertainment, the company I’m commissioned to help, but I have to juggle multiple responsibilities within Jones Media.  Tedious indeed.   I’m not complaining, but I’m contemplating whether or not working for JCM is my ultimate calling.  This is where prayer AND humor comes into play.  God has the best sense of humor, because I know he is laughing at me right about now, knowing that about a year ago I asked Him for divine intervention when I decided to take this driven, high-powered position with JCM.  Now I’m in a mental space where I’m looking at my life from a different perspective, and this conundrum I’m weighing.


Sunday, February 26, 2012


It has been long----too long.  During this unexpected sabbatical from Sample Sunday (and my blog for the most part), I have still been in tune to hip hop, samples, production, lyricism, you name it.  I guess it is only right for Wisdom to go back to the roots (not The Roots, my favorite hip hop group) and unveil some musical gems for the Wisdom Seeker contingent.  I was excited to see one of the dopest MCs EVER to release his 9th studio album at the end of 2011.  His career is one filled with longevity and creativity, something that few MCs can claim in this industry.

The Dreamer/The Believer is almost a throwback within the realm of hip hop, because it was solely produced by longtime Common collaborater and friend No ID, who happened to be the musical mentor for the incomparable Kanye West.  No ID created a sonic backdrop throughout The Dreamer/The Believer that complimented the expert lyricism of Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.  After the somewhat lukewarm reception for the 2008 release Universal Mind Control (in my humble opinion the worst Common album), I hoped that Common would find his footing again, and be that hungry MC he is known to be.  It happened with The Dreamer/The Believer.  One of the standouts on this dope album is Track 3-----"Blue Sky".

When listening to "Blue Sky", The Beatles-like sample stood out, but knowing how protective the powers that be are of that prized catalog, I had to dig deeper to find out the true source that No ID mined.  Look no closer than "Mr. Blue Sky" (how creative).

"Mr. Blue Sky" is an offering from the 1977 album entitled Out Of The Blue, by English rock group Electric Light Orchestra (hence The Beatles influence).  Jeff Lynne was the mastermind and main creative force behind this spacey, yet orchestral, song. 

At approximately 54 seconds into "Mr. Blue Sky", you can hear the basis for the No ID production.  It serves its purpose very well.  Common floats along with the sample, allowing his metaphoric imagery to invade the senses of the listener.  Common has been very successful painting vivid pictures through his poetry since '92, and he shows no signs of slowing down (ask Mr. Canada Dry himself Drake for proof).  Elecric Light Orchestra enjoyed a very successful run within the rock realm from 1970 through 2001, with various changes in group composition.  As of now, there doesn't appear to be any future releases for the rock outfit, with Zoom being the most recent album in 2001.  Be thankful that No ID culled his vast collection to unearth this sonic gem, bridging the proverbial gap with hip hop and English rock.  It has allowed me the opportunity to locate other joints that Electric Light Orchestra birthed during that golden musical period that was the 1970s.  I hope you are able to enjoy the musicality that both hip hop and rock have, not just on the surface, but on a deeper aural and sensory level. 


Friday, February 24, 2012


After a few months of waiting, I am FINALLY unveiling this definitive discussion with Thomas Jones, also known as Rapper Big Pooh.  I apologize to my readers, as well as to Pooh, for the unexpected delay, because this was to appear in On The Rise Magazine at the end of 2011.  To ensure that I do not cheat those that are accustomed to my insider-based interviews, I'm giving you the opportunity to see what a working-class emcee is all about!  Read, and enjoy!


Written By: Wisdom

You can call him what you want:  Rapper Big Pooh, Big Pooh, Pooh Ferrigno, Mr. Fat Boy Fresh, or simply Pooh. What you will NEVER be able to call Mr. Jones is not determined.  Be it as part of the underground dynamic duo known as Little Brother, or as a solo entity, Rapper Big Pooh has carved out quite the career within the realm of hip hop.  Starting with his lyrical musings on the Little Brother intro to the musical world The Listening, and continuing on with rock solid creations since, this artist has been one of the most consistent and honest lyricists in hip hop, be it mainstream or underground.  This consistency and truthfulness is evident on the most recent solo release from the artist born Thomas Jones, entitled Dirty Pretty Things. Because I have been an avid listener and fan of all things Little Brother-related, having the opportunity to speak with Rapper Big Pooh was refreshing and challenging.  Pooh was very candid about his musical career, his position within the Little Brother dynamic, and his underdog status as an emcee, and I am grateful for the in-depth discussion that resulted.  Make no mistakes about it, Dirty Pretty Things is that album that should remove any doubts about Rapper Big Pooh as a true individual force within hip hop circles.  The album, released November 1st, is a collection of fourteen introspective and dope cuts, with four bonus offerings on the Deluxe Edition when obtained via iTunes. Looking forward, Rapper Big Pooh is still an artist ON THE RISE!

OTR: How does it feel to receive positive feedback and reviews for your new album Dirty Pretty Things?

Rapper Big Pooh: It feels good man. I think that the fans and listeners like the direction I’m going in with the album, so I’m pleased with the response.

OTR: What direction would you say you are going in with this release?

RBP: With Dirty Pretty Things I am showing what I really contributed to the group. Branching out just allowed me to be a more complete artist and lyricist. I could stay rhyming over boom bap beats but I progressed. This album is just a showcase of my skills. When you listen to it, I sound at home over the production. I got the chance to go outside the box. Once reviewer said by all three albums coming out around the same time (Phonte’s album Charity Starts At Home and 9th Wonder’s The Wonder Years) you see what all three were contributing to the group. Each person brought to the table a different dynamic.

OTR: On Dirty Pretty Things, what is your personal favorite?

RBP: I got to a point where I don’t listen to an album once it’s completed. I was skimming through the album and did find some cool joints. “Real Love” talks about my relationship with my older brother, I like that one of course. “Free” gotta be my personal favorite joint. It’s an organic track. I was riding around and playing the track, then I sat down and put my pen to work. The message in that song can be appreciated. Anybody can listen to it. Anybody can pull something from it. The whole story is crazy. The producer BlackSoul did it perfectly.

OTR: I know there are some known producers on this album like DJ Khalil and Nottz. Who are some of the other producers you worked with on Dirty Pretty Things?

RBP: Ahh:zel is one of the up and coming producers on the project. He entered into a contest for me and this beat for “Legendary Lullaby” was beat to win the competition. When I heard that joint, I took beat and recorded to it. I did a verse overseas for his group (Late Bloomers). It just came about by happenstance, but it was definitely a blessing. Family Biz Entertainment did three joints on the album. Severe Garcia hit me, I checked out a track and I liked it. I truthfully didn’t know how it would fit though. The crew played an integral part with mixing and mastering the album, so I am grateful for the connection.

OTR: I also noticed that you had a production credit from Sheldon Williams on the album. Now knowing that you are such a sports buff, is this the same Sheldon Williams that played basketball for Duke.

RBP: (Laughter) Not THAT Shelden Williams! He is a talented cat. He had to reformat a beat for me. On a track we wanted strings. He played strings on “Dreams” on the Little Brother album Getback. He’s definitely a talented musician and producer.

OTR: What about the connection between sports and music?

RBP: I know some cats that dibble and dabble with both, but I haven’t come across that serious athlete that is also a serious musician. I know it’s gonna happen sooner or later though. (Laughter)

OTR: You’re a big sports enthusiast.

RBP: I’m a BIG sports enthusiast. NFL, college basketball, college football, baseball, you name it. I guess I get it from my father. I didn’t really know him when I was younger, I met him later. I think that is where I get it from. I love the competition, that competitive spirit that sports provides. I was in the gym last night, and the Georgetown game came on at midnight. I pretty much stayed on the treadmill for two and a half hours until the game was over. I remember the last Little Brother show that was in Philly. Me and my manager spent almost two hours watching end of a game. I stayed on the treadmill the entire time watching that game and didn’t move. I was focused! (Laughter)

OTR: Are you going to be touring to support this project?

RBP: Hopefully towards the end of January or beginning of February. We have something special lined up for everybody. I got a new booking agent, so I’m just mapping out the details for a tour. I’m probably going to start out on the West Coast first, they definitely show much love.

OTR: What about the East Coast, especially D.C. or Baltimore area?

RBP: D.C. is a must. With the accident I was in a few years ago travelling on the East Coast has been an issue, but I’m looking forward to my fans in D.C. and B-more.

OTR: B-more definitely wants to see Big Pooh, I can assure you of that! I tried to go to the last Little Brother show at Black Cat in D.C. When I arrived, of course the show was sold out, so I spent the next few hours at the café attached to the venue listening and watching from afar. (Laughter)

RBP: Yeah, that was not one of the most memorable shows at Black Cat, but it was still a good show.

OTR: Are there any new projects on the horizon?

RBP: I let inspiration take the wheel. Right now I have four new songs for Fat Boy Fresh Volume 2 that I’m excited about. This cat Paper Boy Fabe is handling the production. I guess you can say that Fat Boy Fresh Volume 2 is a continuation of the sound that I am developing now. He is just tweeking it a little bit. Hopefully it will be ready by March.

OTR: What about the project that you were discussing with Roc C?

RBP: He’s working on his own solo joint right now Stoned Genius that is coming out in December I believe. We’re probably gonna get back at top of year. Of course we’re dealing with getting sued for using the name Young Americans. We’re trying to get that suit thrown out, so we’ll see. Not sure of an exact time but we’ll get this thing poppin’.

OTR: It seems that your alma mater North Carolina Central University had so much musical talent when you were attending. Did you notice the NCCU musical talent at the time?

RBP: It really didn’t hit me until later, but yeah, there definitely was a lot of talented individuals at Central. Darien Brockington, I knew of him, but didn’t really connect on that level at first with the music. Of course there was YahZarah. I’ve worked with her as well. There are so many names to talk about from that time period. That time period bred so many artistic and creative people. I didn’t get the significance of the movement we had at the time, but now I am able to realize it.

OTR: I know that you’re from the Northern Virginia region originally, but relocated to North Carolina . How did that come about?

RBP: I came to North Carolina in 1998 to go to school at North Carolina Central, and I think I went back home in ’99. I came home for two summers, then pretty much I’ve been in North Carolina ever since. I love it man down here.

OTR: How is the North Carolina hip hop scene?

RBP: It is fractured. You have that faction of people that does the boom bap. Then you got that Down South flavor. Even though North Carolina is “southern” it isn’t quite “south”. It’s a melting pot. You have all types of hip hop here. People here will be looking at groups funny, and it makes for a fractured scene, but there is a lot of talent here. It’s definitely a lot of talent, but in order for the scene to pop they gotta come together. Until that happens people won’t look at Carolina as a well of talent.

OTR: At first I didn’t want to talk about the dissolution of Little Brother and your relationship with Phonte and 9th Wonder, but I’ll ask you if it is okay to discuss this?

RBP: That’s funny you asked that. I have this joint called “I’m Sorry”. I’m basically writing a letter to the fans that wanna know about the Little Brother issue. The first verse I talk about how the fans felt betrayed. It was time. It was time to move on. I needed to move on personally and as an artist.

OTR: Is there a chance that we can see you, Phonte, and 9th recording music together again, even if it is not under the Little Brother umbrella?

RBP: I don’t see it right now. So much transpired personally. What made our music so special was sincerity. We were friends. We were cool. Right now we don’t speak to each other at all. The way I see it is that we are not gonna make another song. That’s really all I can say. I don’t mind discussing it because I know the fans want to know. I do make sure to focus an interview on me and what I’m bringing to the table as an artist though. I like to set the record straight. I think there were people under the assumption that we were all cool once Phonte and 9th mended their differences, but that wasn’t the case. Three people would have to mend the differences with us. I’m not one of those people to run away from questions.

OTR: I appreciate your honesty with that.

RBP: It’s cool.

OTR: If you can, name three artists that you are listening to right now, either inside or out of hip hop.

RBP: My man Torae, I’m diggin’ his new joint For The Record. I’m also listening to that new Danny Brown and Black Milk album. This cat TyRon out of L.A. is cool. He’s a young cat. Someone put me on to him two years ago. I ran into him recently in L.A. Those are the last three purchased joints that give me that feeling of that real hip hop.

OTR: This has been an exciting discussion with you. What would you like to say to the On The Rise Magazine readers?

RBP: I would love to thank everyone for supporting Little Brother and Big Pooh. Be on the lookout for Tasty Treats to be released in 2012. I’ll be touring as well for the new year, so I’m looking forward to feeling that love and support from my fans. One thing I would like to say is that the distributor for my album Dirty Pretty Things underestimated then messed up the original shipment of albums. We’re getting them repressed and I’m waiting on those copies soon. Hopefully by the beginning of December we’ll have those physical copies for the fans. I’m trying to have a hundred copies of the physical signed personally by me. Peace to all of my fans.

OTR: It has been a pleasure speaking with you.

RBP: Same here. Thanks man!

Rapper Big Pooh has four solo albums under his belt: Sleepers (2005), The Delightful Bars (2009), Fat Boy Fresh Vol. 1: For Members Only (2011), and Dirty Pretty Things (2011). He also has two mixtapes that showcase his lyrical prowess and versatility, Rapper’s Delight (2008) and The Purple Tape (2010). You can follow the path that this Carolina-based emcee is paving on Twitter @RapperBigPooh. For more information about Rapper Big Pooh, visit the website If reality-based, honest, and insightful lyricism is what you crave, then Rapper Big Pooh is the artist that will satisfy your hip hop appetite!


Take two of the dopest entities ever in hip hop, Nas and DJ Premier, and put them in territory that you would not normally intersect with the underground scene.  What do you get?  "Regeneration", which is a collaborative DJ Premier effort with the Berklee Symphony Orchestra.  Here is the video showcasing the orchestral sound that Premo has masterfully interpolated with the urban grittiness of the incomparable Nas.  After the video, let me know what you think of this sonic concoction.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Video: Pharoahe Monch feat. Jill Scott-----"Still Standing"

More than a year after its release, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) from lyrical titan Pharoahe Monch is still on the hip hop radar.  One of the stand-out cuts on this slept-on and dope release, "Still Standing" showcases the synergy with Monch and Jilly from Philly herself.  I absolutely LOVE this joint...emotional, deep, soulful, what more can you ask for!  This song is five minutes and eighteen seconds of true, awethentic, soul-stirring hip hop at its greatest.  Add my favorite vocal diva Jill Scott to the mix, and you have hip hop as it is meant to be.  Monch has been able to carve out a very successful career, at least in terms of creative product, even without Billboard or Soundscan support.  I've been fortunate enough to see this dynamic artist bless the microphone on a few occasions, and to say he is awe-inspiring would be an understatement.  If you haven't done so already, please, please, PLEASE purchase W.A.R. (We Are Renegades).  This is intellectual, thought-provoking music to say the least.  In the meantime, peep this dope and emotional video, directed by Terrance Nance.  My day is better for this joint...ONE LOVE WISDOM SEEKERS!