Leikeli47: Meet The Woman Behind The Mask

You may not know Leikeli47 by her name. However, you probably heard her 2015 single, “F$#% The Summer Up”, which Jay Z featured on his Tidal playlist. Plus, her feisty, uptempo track, “Attitude”, is on an episode of this season’s Insecure series on HBO. Leikeli47’s image is as elusive as her footprints in the music industry for the last couple of years.  Her debut album, Wash & Set, features her sitting on a red couch with most of her face covered. Her couch companion, a teddy bear, dons a blue ski mask over his own head as well. A clear box filled with different colored ski masks sits directly in front of her on the floor. 

Nevertheless, Leikeli47 has the music to back up the buzz surrounding her unorthodox look. The Brooklyn native is one of the freshest faces the music industry has seen (or not seen). Her 42 minute debut LP starts off with a bang on “2nd Fiddle”. Leikeli47 boldly rhymes about her hard earned road to success. She fluidly weaves in and out of singing and rapping; both of which she does quite well. “Miss Me” drives in like a bulldozer with its thumping bass drums, coupled with her witty and animated raps.  

The southern swamp drawl, “Bags”, is a club ready romper. This is one of the lyrically less intense songs on the album, but it still packs a mean punch. Although this is her first album, she has the wisdom of a veteran on “O.M.C.”. The song details how she is not quick to trust many people. “Money” is reminiscent of the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song)”, but with more polished vocal arrangements and lyrical content. She is a self proclaimed introvert who isn’t looking for new friends.

“M I L K” finds the rapper flaunting her glowing skin and physical attributes. She’s not shy to show off on this infectious track. “Don’t Do It” picks up where fellow Brooklyn MC Foxy Brown left off in her hey day. This song is the perfect contrast to “M I L K”. It serves as a warning to anyone who tried to cross her. She tries her hand at a reggae influenced sound (that she pulls off very well) on the memorable “Bubblegum”.

Just when you think you’ve got Leikeli47, think again. “Look” speaks to a high class way of life and being, over an edgy, jagged track. She admits that she almost fell for a guy who juggles between Keisha and Pam (and anyone else) on the comical “Ho”. She drives this knife in deeper on “Elian’s Revenge”. This R&B infused track finds her laughing at guys who try to reach out to her she has changed her number. Perhaps an underlying reason for Leikeli47’s mystique is to show young girls that talent still exists without selling sex. Her covered up persona actually gives her a sexy edge. Something tells me Leikeli47 will be around for years to come, mask on or not. 

 

Pappadeaux’s Captain On Deck

Pappadeaux is my favorite restaurant. Most people that know me well can easily tell you this. However, the last time I went I decided to try something new. I tasted their crawfish etouffee for the first time. In addition, I also ordered their Captain Hurricane. Hurricanes are some of my favorites drinks. So, I had high expectations especially since it was coming from Pappadeaux. Needless to say the etouffee was a hit; so was the Captain’s Hurricane. 

This special mix of Captain Morgan’s Original spiced rum, Myer’s Original dark rum, pineapple juice, fresh orange juice and lime juices topped with Grand Marinier, is amazing. Honestly, the Captain’s Hurricane is one of the best hurricanes I have ever had. I actually wanted to get two, but I maintained my composure and stuck with just one. This drink is sweet, without being too sugary. The liquor still packs a mighty punch here. Be careful. It will sneak up on you. 

Pappadeaux has never steered me wrong when it comes to food. Now, I can confidently say their drinks are always top notch as well. If you haven’t tried their Purple Voodoo drink, that’s one you have to add to your list. Trust me, you will thank yourself (and me) for it later. Hmmm…suddenly a trip to Pappadeaux sounds really enticing. 

Bottoms up…it’s Thirsty Thursday! Name some of your favorite drinks. 

I Can’t Come To The Phone Right Now

Technology is a beautiful thing when it works properly. Case in point, my phone decided to lock itself at 4:15 am this morning. Never mind the fact that my phone had been sitting untouched on the charger for several hours. I didn’t notice the issue until I woke up today. I tried powering down the phone and that didn’t work. Nonetheless, I even stopped by a local AT&T store. Oh, I forgot. Today is Labor Day. They were closed. Finally I was able to get the phone reset later this afternoon. Everything was back to normal. 

I had a bit of an agitated panic when I couldn’t get my phone to unlock. I thought, “What if there is an emergency and someone can’t reach me?”. “What about the business calls I need to make today?”. Oh and the proverbial, “I feel naked without a working phone”. Despite the fact that all of these feelings were valid, I needed the time. I was able to fully disconnect from everything for a few hours. During that time, I was able to sort out some thoughts in my head and refocus a bit. 

Sometimes we have to be forced to do what’s best for us. We should all take a designated time to unplug from social media, work, our phones and any other distractions to center ourselves. There is a danger in not doing this. We could keep going to the point where we are forced to stop. Although I was frustrated about my phone not working for part of today, it helped clear my mind. Clear the clutter from your mental space. Do it now, while it’s manageable. If not, you just may find yourself in a situation where you have no choice about the matter. 

Adrion Butler Drops ‘Timely’ New Single

I still have Adrion Butler’s “Let That Boy Worship” in heavy rotation on my iPod. It’s one of my cardio go to’s or just when I want to hear some good music. Adrion makes the kind of Hip Hop music that has substance, with a current sound. So, I didn’t expect anything different when I heard he was releasing new music. “On Time” is laid back, compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless, Adrion Butler’s message is just as poignant.

The song has a throwback, nostalgic feel to it (complete with touching references to his grandmother). The song compares God to a “drink when I am thirsty”. He admits God may not be there when he wants, but He is right on time when he needs him most. Although Adrion’s flow on this track may remind you of current day rap stars like Migos and 2 Chainz, thank God (literally), his skills far super-cede theirs. In fact, each verse finds him altering the speed and delivery differently than the previous one.

“On Time” is that feel good song that will surely lift your spirits. Adrion conveys his message here in a way that makes those who don’t even listen to Hip Hop music take notice. His music resonates with the youth for a specific purpose. Also, he has an old soul that fits right in to those listeners who may have difficulty adapting to Hip Hop.

I have already been giving “On Time” repeated rotation on my playlist. Chances are, once you hear it, you will too. Check out the single for yourself below. It’s definitely right on time. Download or stream “On Time” on all digital retailers.

 

Samuel Green Shakes Up The Industry (Interview – Part 2)

The male R&B world is quite a saturated market right now. There’s Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Bryson Tiller and Usher. However, there is always room for a new fresh and exciting artist who comes to change up the game. Meet Samuel Green. Sam is actually not new to the music industry. In fact, he started out in a 12 piece gospel group and now pursues music in the R&B lane. He’s much more than an R&B crooner though. His most recent singles, “She Don’t Know” and “Time Out” have been creating quite a buzz in the States and Internationally. I had a chance to catch up with him and gain insights on his music, thoughts on the industry, what motivated his extreme diet change and his upcoming EP, Seasonal.

Here are some of the highlights of our interview. Check out Part 1 of my interview with Samuel Green at Dallas Black.

P.E. What are the pros and cons to being in a group vs being a solo artist? Also, how has the transition been from gospel music to R&B?

Sam: I do like the group setting. I’m a leader and I like encouraging, helping other people out. Plus you learn from each other vocally and different ways to create music. As a solo act, I get to say yes and no to everything. I don’t have to wait on anybody else. Honestly, patience has not been my friend. That was one of my struggles being in a group.

P.E.: Who are some of your biggest music influences?

Sam: Nat King Cole is one. That’s what my grandmother listened to. Etta James, Ella Fitgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cook, Dean Martin, John Legend, Usher and Tank. I love Jazmine Sullivan too. I like Kim Burrell’s jazz placement too. I used to play trombone in the band. I started in elementary with the violent. I did a jazz camp every summer in Missouri too. You know, I listened to a lot of Fred Hammond too. He made gospel really cool.

P.E.: Tell us about your new single, “Time Out”. The song is dope by the way.

Sam: Thank you. The name of the project is called Seasonal. Everything has its season. My first single, “She Don’t Know” is based on a true story about my ex. A girl I thought I was going to marry. She didn’t have patience, cheated on me, left me. Now, she hits me up even though she’s married now. I tried to tell her, “Stick with me. Have faith. Have patience”.

“Time Out” is about a girl I dated off and on. But she got in this relationship and would always tell me, “I miss you. I miss the things you used to do…” The song says, “You hit me up when you want some of that Sam time out”. My producer Isaac “Chill” Yowman wrote the majority of the song and I co-wrote on it.

The main single coming out next month is called “Seasonal”. It says, “You can be here today and gone tomorrow. Don’t get too comfortable”. He wrote majority of “Time Out” too. I wrote all of “She Don’t Know”.  

P.E. What is the most memorable fan experience you’ve ever had?

Sam: I used to work at J. Crew. I was ringing up a lady and this girl ran up to the counter and said, “Are you Sam Green?!”  I said yes and I had to apologize to the lady I was ringing up. The fan said, “Oh my gosh! Can I take a picture with you and put it on my Instagram?” That was the first time something happened like that. I was blown away. It actually happened last year.

P.E.: What can fans expect on Seasonal?

Sam: You’ll get a little bit of everything. I want to show people I can be R&B, Pop, a gentleman, street. Some people say, “He’s light skinned. He’s gonna be smooth and quiet. No, I can be street too”. Especially growing up as a church boy. I love God. Don’t get me wrong. But we’re still human. Just because we serve God doesn’t mean we go without struggles.

P.E.: What would you tell someone that’s trying to break into the music industry.

Sam: Don’t give up. Make sure you have a strong foundation. Know what you want. Know how you want it. Know who is there for you and who’s not there for you. I know somebody who was there just for the ride. I’ve already dealt with that. Learn as much as you can on your own. Don’t expect things to get handed to you.

P.E.: If you could describe your life in one song, what would it be and why?

Sam: I have a playlist that I play every day. Let me see. Honestly, I don’t think there’s one set song. I can really relate to Drake though. His lyrical content, everything. He’s not afraid of being in his feelings and that’s how I am.

A song I relate to though is “No Longer Friends” by Bryson Tiller. It’s more relatable to me.

P.E. Tell everyone where people can listen to your music and find you.

Sam: I’m still working on my website now. I’m a perfectionist, so there is still some work being done on it. But you can find me on all social media at: @thesamuelgreen. I’m on all music outlets, iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Soundcloud, etc.

If people want to email me too, Contact me at thesamuelgreen@gmail.com

I’ll have some shows coming up soon too that I’ll announce. I will be doing an HBCU tour soon though. I have some shows in Atlanta, New York, Kansas City and LA coming up too. I have a really big following in South Africa and London too. Thank God. Shout out to them.

I Need A Release

“How do you find the time to write all of these books?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get about my writing. I am currently promoting my latest novel, No Cream In The Middle. Shame on you if you don’t have it already. You can get your copy HERE. Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program. When I take a look back at my some of my writing, I know exactly what I was going through when I wrote it. So, to answer the question, writing is my release. Writing is that fantasy place (or at times reality) that I can escape and just say what I feel. 

We all need a release from the daily pressures of life. Without it, we will wind ourselves up into a tense ball of anxiety.  Your release may not be writing. Yours may be outdoor activities, traveling, sports or just being silent. There are times when we have to be comfortable with silence being our release. Some people easily consume themselves with constantly staying busy. I’m the type of person who rarely gets bored. I write when I’m not working. I consult about writing when I’m not writing. Music is another one of my favorite things. Also, I am a huge movie buff. I’m saying all this to say that your own interests and passions should keep you busy enough. If not, then maybe you need to step it up a bit. However, we must learn to find the release in the silent times too. 

People often spend mindless energy watching reality TV, gossiping, holding grudges against people who have wronged them or sweating too much of the small stuff. I’m learning more and more that life creates its own problems. We don’t have to conjure up any new ones. Be a go getter. Set your goals high and aim to surpass them. Just make sure you build in some time for the release to refuel your inner being. 

Look At The Bootstrap Manhattan

Last weekend, my wife and I saw the movie Annabelle: Creation at LOOK Cinema. If you’re into horror movies, I’d say it’s definitely worth seeing. We decided to grab a quick bite to eat in the theater’s Ivy Kitchen. I love trying new drinks. So, I decided to get the Bootstrap Manhattan. The key players for this drink are whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, Luxardo cherry and a maple smoked glass. This drink is freaking amazing!

However, I will say the most interesting part of the drink is the maple smoked glass. There is something about that element of surprise of sweet smoke, mixed with the bite of the whiskey, bitters and that cherry, Yes, I would be re-missed if I left out the Luxardo cherry. This cherry has a full, rich flavor that has a hint of grape. The cherry is the secret weapon that really sets the drink off. This drink would pair well with BBQ, a savory alfredo sauce dish or even pizza.

My only complaint (if I have to pick one) is the drink is too small. Nevertheless, with a $12 price tag, it’s well worth every dollar spent. The Bootstrap Manhattan has a unique kick that you just won’t find in mere whiskey alone. I could have had another one, but I stopped there. So, make sure you try this drink the next time you find yourself at LOOK Cinema. You’ll thank me for it (and yourself). 

Bottoms up….it’s Thirsty Thursday! 

 

Bringing Cream To Tha Afterparty

Join me tomorrow, August 16th, at 2:00 pm CST, for my exclusive interview with It’s The ADD Show Through The Eyes of Robi Nickoli, on Tha Afterparty Radio. This will be my third time featured on the show. I always have a great time. This crew is hilarious! So, get ready for some no holds barred dialogue. Also, I’ll be talking about my latest novel, No Cream In The Middle. I am currently working on some new projects as well. Make sure you tune in to find out what they are. 

If you don’t have your copy of No Cream In The Middle, you can get it (along with the first part of the trilogy, Fortune Cookie) HERE

Listen in to The ADD Show tomorrow at 2:00 pm CST, on the B Side of Tha Afterparty.

Oh and here’s a little sample of the Cream. Hope you enjoy it.

Cookie stayed awake while Ken was sound asleep. She looked over at the clock and the time was 2:36 am. Every time she fell asleep she kept having this recurring dream of someone, a lady, with long hair whispering in her ear, with a blade across her forehead. The stroke of the blade wasn’t deep enough to cut but forceful enough to scratch the surface of her skin. She couldn’t keep this up all night. She had to get some rest.

Ken tossed a bit in his sleep and held on to Cookie tightly. She felt secure and safe in his arms. Finally, she went to sleep. About three hours passed and she woke up again. Ken was still holding her but as she opened her eyes, she saw the most frightening thing in the hotel room. Although the room was dark, it was light enough for her to still see without turning on a light.

Standing right in front of the door was a tall person, possibly of a female stature. The only thing that seemed female about this person was their hair. Could it be Ted? He did know where they were staying. He had long hair. There’s no way it could have been him though. He wouldn’t have been able to get through the door. At that same moment, she heard the sliding of the chain lock at the top of the door. She could feel herself breathing heavier, as her head and heart felt as if they were about to explode.

 

Pink Asks ‘What About Us?”

Pink can virtually do no wrong. At least that’s how I see it. But it’s not really up for debate either. She has brought us monster hits like “Just Like A Pill”, “Sober”, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and “Family Portrait”. Although it’s been 5 years since her last solo studio album, she released a collection of soft ballads with singer Dallas Green (under the name You+Me), collaborated with Kenny Chesney (“Setting The World On Fire”) and written songs for Celine Dion. Now, she has broken her studio silence and re-emerged with “What About Us?”. The song is the lead single from her upcoming 7th studio LP, Beautiful Trauma

“What About Us?” is one of those multi dimensional ballads that can be taken several ways. The song sounds like an open love letter at first listen. She sings, “What about all the plans that happened in disaster?” Her songwriting ability is one to be rivaled. However, “What About Us?” is less of the bad girl scorned, smashing mirrors and quirky one liners. This offering sounds much more mature and reminiscent of songs like her hit single, “Try”. If we dig a little deeper though, this song could also be speaking to the current state of the world. Perhaps there will be more clarity when the music video drops. Expect this song to gain Pink even more of an Adult Contemporary fan base.

If “What About Us?” is any indication of what to expect on Beautiful Trauma, Pink appears to be more reserved this time around. Nonetheless, I’m sure the album will have some classic, unforgettable uptempo songs. There’s no word on the exact release date, but expect her new album to be released before the end of the year. 

What are your thoughts on Pink’s new single? Would you Bump It Or Dump It?

 

Stokley Rises To New Level On Solo Single

Mint Condition was one of my favorite groups of the 90s. Who can forget some of their biggest hits like “Breakin My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes),” “What Kind Of Man Would I Be?”, and “U Send Me Swingin”? Front man Stokley has an unmistakable voice that was a large part of the group’s appeal. It has been 5 years since the group’s last original studio release, Music @ The Speed Of Life. Now Stokley has returned as a solo artist. The move seemed a little oft put at first, considering Mint Conditions impressive run for nearly 30 years. The music business is much more fickle than their hey day. Would die hard fans be open to hearing from solo music from Stokley after so long? Would the generational gap be too wide for him to really find his proper space?

Stokley slams the naysayers in his new single, “Level”. The track sounds like that feel good, vintage Mint Condition sound. Plus, his vocals are as crisp and distinct as ever. I must say I was pleasantly surprised after hearing this track. The idea of a long awaited solo album from him seems just as viable now as it was in the 90s. The song speaks about him finding a woman who is his equal and on the same level as him. Thank goodness he did not fall into the trap of trying to sound trendy. Mint Condition (and subsequently Stokley) has always been in an elite class. So, it would be a shame to see Stokley flush all of those innovative years down the drain.

Expect to hear some big noise from him this summer. “Level” is a solid R&B offering that makes you reminisce on the days when music actually had more to offer than a dance-able track. This is soul music. This is what music is missing right now.

Plus, check out Stokely’s debut album, Introducing Stokley, available now on all digital retailers.

Hear “Level” for yourself below. What are your thoughts on the new single?