film. music. education. art. soul.

Soul of New York


Soul of New York began in 2008 as an online radio show, originally hosted on WNSR: New School Radio (www.newschoolradio.org).  Ostensibly a simple mixtape show, Soul of New York evolved to incorporate interviews, album releases, artists of all kinds, and the classic music mix.  Hosted by YGB, the show’s mantra of “…bangin’ in your eardrums, moving your bodies, educating your minds, and feeding your souls…” easily encapsulated the part DJ set, part talk show featuring an eclectic range of musical tastes to sate the palate, swinging from hip-hop to house; soul to funk; jazz to 80s/New wave; rock to r&b. 

Today, Soul of New York is not only an archive of the original WNSR shows, but a home to music, art, and film stuffs; writings on culture, politics, and the like; and a living portfolio of the work by the artist sometimes known as YGB, Chai T. Latte, and CSS, but always known as Chinisha.


select pieces from freelance work, okayplayer gigs, and original art.

okayplayer gigs

Vernon Reid’s ‘Artificial Afrika’

Tibet House

Let’s Talk About Prince: D’Angelo & Questlove United via Prince

?uestlove, D’Angelo Bilal + More Talk About Prince


ATCQ – “Electric Relaxtion (LIVE)”

featuring Blackthought of the Legendary Roots Crew, Q-Tip, and Talib Kweli.

The Daily Show Correspondents Discover Their African Ancestry

Roots Picnic 2013 (recap)

French Montana’s Moroccan Roots

Chief Boima’s Many Identities

Erykah Badu Talks Movie Roles, New Music, and More

Cody ChesnuTT – “That’s Still Mama”

original works

Ant Marshall

Sunset – selects


NY is Killing Me

Elephant Shoes



‘Down That Road’


CBS Gamechangers: Jason Pierre-Paul

Soul of New York Archives

the original WNSR programs. all here.

If You Hear Any Noise…

If You Hear Any Noise…

Yeup, it ain’t the boys.  This one is all about the ladies.

feautured guest: Alexis Lambright.

check it out here.

Also, here’s that Young Holt Unlimited Soulful Strut I mentioned.  I made it easy for you.  No research involved.

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Homework assignment: 1) Look for the Talib/Nina Simone Four Women mash-up on youtube. 2) Internet props go to whomever can name the song and artist that sampled Grace Jones’ La Vie en Rose.  That’s a gimme, kids.

Once Upon a Time, I Was A Radio DJ…

Once Upon a Time, I Was A Radio DJ…

NOTES: this is an article from the original airing of this episode.

So, many moons ago, I had this show called the Soul of New York that occasionally appeared on WNSR: New School Radio and after a point, here on this website.  Then, for reasons far and beyond the control of YGB, Soul of New York went on hiatus and risked never to be heard again.

Lo!  A bastion of light in the darkness… and a new episode of Soul of New York was born.  Hence, we have Episode 6, starting 2010 off to a kind of dope start.  January 2010 is a DJ set with my ramblings here and there, just to get your ears back into the groove and to let y’all know – I’m not going anywhere.  That being said, I’m ready for you to enjoy the show.

I noted a few, reliable resources during the set for donating money towards Hayti relief.  The lists are ever-changing and evolving, so be sure to check in with your preferred charities and organizations for up-to-date information.  I opted not to note fundraisers and events here in this post, considering how saturated the landscape has gotten in the wake of the earthquake.  There are a few reliable events; my preference is to attend events that intend to forward money to Yele-Haiti and Doctors Without Borders.  I’ve also gotten increasingly cynical, in general, since I first heard of the quake down there, which is not necessarily reflected in the language I used for the show.  Over the course of production and the passing days of Hayti’s ‘quake status, I’ve been moving from indifference toward folks’ impassioned fundraising (only in respect to those who seemed to be on the bandwagon; folks who were primarily politically/socially indifferent to the conditions of Hayti prior to the event) to out-right frustration with the course of events since the first word of the ‘quake.  The fact that we have to see 100,000+ people pass, food air-dropped to victims like animals, and a veritable US military occupation without firing a single shot makes me sick to my stomach.  Finding ways to be active and engaged while helping the people, not further lining the pockets of the rich, is difficult but possible.  Do the research and whenever, wherever possible, get physically involved.


http://yele.org/ – Wyclef Jean’s Yele-Haiti website

http://www.kevinpowell.net/helphaiti/ – Brooklyn community activist Kevin Powell’s reliable resource for donating.

http://www.brotherhood-sistersol.org/supporthaiti.htm – another, somewhat un-vetted website.


I honestly hope we can galvanize this energy into reform for the people of Hayti, not just band-aid maneuvers in bandwagon sentiment for people who are suffering.


On a tangent, the download for the Nneka/J.Period mix tape can be found here (link originally found on Liberator Magazine website).

The download for the Poetic Republic mixtape can be found here.

Some new releases about which I’m REALLY excited?

Sade’s Soldier of Love drops on Friday, February 12th.  Excited.  Gil Scott Heron’s new album comes out that same week (first album in 15 years!) on Feb. 9th, which was totally unexpected, although about a year ago I heard tellings of him working on a new album.  He’s been doing sporadic appearances at S.O.B.’s, none of which I was able to attend but was still really hyped to hear were happening.  Definitely looking forward to what his new album has to offer… Funny enough, I spent part of my MLK Jr. day listening to a few hours of Gil and the following week, I hear he’s got a new album coming.  Nice.

The album I’m probably most excited to get is Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah pt. II: Return of the Ankh.  I’m TOO, too hype to get that!  Anyone who knows me, knows I love some Badu and to hear that we’re (finally) getting the next installment makes feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.  Okayplayer.com has a breakdown of the super exclusive, secret listening party that took place last week.  Go over there and check it out, please.  If all goes according to plan, the album will be released on February 23rd.  I want it!

February is shaping up to be a great month for music.

That being said, look out for February’s episodes of Soul of New York.  I will be back.

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photo courtesy of CSS (c) 2009.

Poetic Republic

Poetic Republic

NOTE: this is an article from the original airing of the episode.

This past July, I had the pleasure of kickin’ it with four good-looking brothers out of Cleveland, Ohio in the New School University studios.  Even after nearly two hours of technical difficulties (thanks, New School) on a weekday evening, these young men had the humour and energy that I admit, was a little hard to keep up with at first.  They definitely keep to the tradition of what Soul of New York is all about, if nothing else by the sheer musicality of the group.  Their sound influence is admittedly wide-ranging, including Toto, Prince, P.Funk, Bone, Thugs & Harmony, and others.  Sound familiar?  If not, perhaps you’re in the wrong place…

Not just emcees, not just producers, not just a bunch of guys trying to do this hip-hop thing, they substantially contribute to the on-going conversation that is the history of conscious hip-hop through a lyricism that bespeaks an awareness of where they come from and how they’d like to see themselves evolve, as well as undeniable knowledge of the music that they make.  They cut back and forth, referencing hip-hop elders and music influences, both in the words they speak and the music they create.  Even better, there aren’t any Fruity Loops, wannabe gangster, faux-rappers here.  These are brothas who act like actual brothers who play actual instruments in an actual band, recording their own tracks, autotune not included.  It’s quite a treat to listen to them, not just for the fact that they sound good but for the understanding that the birth of the product comes from such a musical place.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I respect the craft of the producer, even when there are no instruments involved.  It takes a complex mind and an ear to create some of the classic works of art that represent hip-hop legend.  (See: Kutiman on youtube.  I’ll attach a video below).  However, as a bit of a music nerd, I can’t say that I don’t have a certain affinity for the representation of musicianship here that so often mainstream ‘whomever’ claims hip-hop lacks.

One evening a few years ago, my brother and I were chillin’ in his room listening to some music, mostly hip-hop with some other classics thrown into the mix.  He often plays laptop DJ when we kick it (although he is an actual DJ), trying to see if he can stump me on a song, introduce me to something new, or figure out the sounds I like.  The latter part in particular prompted him to declare me the “bourgie backpacker”, a reference I haven’t since been able to get out of my head.  In any case, Poetic Republic is definitely a group I would throw in the sack (knapsack, that is, although I prefer a tote bag), for the discriminatory lover of music in you.

When we met in late July, we were on the eve of the release of their new album, The Blackest Man Alive, which features live recordings and a mix tape vibe of their new music.  My favorite track on that collection is the titular, Blackest Man Alive, which you can listen to on their facebook page for a taste of the new album, as well as songs off their previous work.  The full album is currently available for download on their myspace and facebook pages (www.myspace.com/poeticrepublic1 and Poetic Republic, respectively).  The show that we recorded features music from their second album, The Natural Progression of Things, which is a solid piece of work that really reflects the talent that is lurking just below the radar.  I can see the natural progression of things with these guys as an evolution of talent that will become incredibly refined in the years to come.

Poetic Republic recently re-located to Brooklyn this summer, so look out for some area shows by these guys and support great music.  Also, definitely hit them up on the facebook and myspace pages to keep up-to-date with them, first hand.  Besides being great artists, they are pretty hilarious to boot.  If the whole music thing doesn’t work out, they can always fall back on a comedy group career.  In all hopes, I can get them back in the studio for a follow-up interview in light of their new release.  By the way, this is yet another group that I was delivered to through facebook.  I have a love/hate relationship with this whole social networking phenomenon that I still need to digest a bit.  Perhaps I’ll update my sentiments in a future post.



The video is utterly amazing. Kutiman works entirely from found footage on youtube and composes these video songs. He even links you back to the source footage, which often sounds so foreign from the final piece.




NOTE: this is an article from the original airing of this episode.

Scholarman did not disappoint in my next episode back in February 2009.  Maryland-based emcee, producer, and entrepreneur, Scholarman came to the city to do a show at his regular haunt, Karma, down in the LES at a Friday night showcase and then came by the studio the next day to kick it with me.  He’s kind of a quiet personality at first but I credit his laid-back vibe to a Maryland influence.  His music can be said is in the tradition of conscious hip-hop, being likened to the regulars like Common and producers such as the late, great Dilla.  In the end, it was great to build with him in the studio that Saturday.  The man is also a machine who regularly puts out work; some free EPs for download and usually one to two albums a year.  I met with him just after the release of his then new album, Gameshift: The Movement.

Subsequently, he wound up linking up with a friend and colleague of mine, Marques Green, who produced/directed a music video for one of his singles, I Love Hip-Hop Music.  The video was shot around Harlem and features Scholarman and an artist on his label (yes, HIS record label – Soganic Music), K-Mynez.  This brother works hard!  You can check out this video right here:

It definitely has a classic hip-hop feel to it with the slick visuals of a video produced in 2009, thanks to the artistry of Marques Green.  Welcome to the digital age, ladies and gentlemen.  I believe this connection is a testament to the beauty that lies in 21st century collaboration, in the so-called independent industry: like-minded individuals effectively using resources like facebook, where I first connected with Scholarman, to create works of art without the necessity of a corporate sponsor (although no one world turn down a paycheck of that size).  In any case, it made for a great video.

You can check out Marques Green online at Que Films (www.quefilms.com).  You can find Scholarman online at www.scholarman.com.

By the way, the instrumental under the intro is by my incredible brother, LC.

check out the show, here:

Scholarman by Ygb on Mixcloud

Scholarman photograph: “I love hip-hip” video shoot, © 2009.  Photo courtesy Scholarman, all rights reserved.

Chali 2na

Chali 2na

NOTE: This is an article from the original airing of this episode.

Let me be clear: I am still in a bit of disbelief that I was given the blessing to build with this brother.  It was such an amazing opportunity to sit and talk the “verbal Herman Munster” himself.  We met backstage at a concert in the Fillmore Theatre venue on 14th street in April, I believe, where he was performing his band affiliation, Ozomatli.  Way back when, Chali first started with the group Ozomatli while concurrently building with Jurassic 5.  He has since broken with the J-5 brothers but it still doing his thing, recently releasing his solo album, Fish Outta Water.

During the interview, he mentioned how blessed his to be able to wake up everyday and make a living doing something he loves.  More incredibly, he mentioned that he got into hip-hop by accident.  Chali began as a visual artist, becoming fascinated with NYC graf art in the 70s and 80s, introducing him to NYC hip-hop and his distinct sound, a combination East Coast flow with an LA dirty sound.  Here’s a sample of some of the visual work Chali has done:

artwork copyright Chali 2na, all rights reserved.

You can find more of his work on his myspace, www.myspace.com/chali2na.  Hit him up and pick up that Fish Outta Water album, in stores now.  He’s got a crazy line-up of artists with whom he collaborated, including Anthony Hamilton, Talib Kweli, Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, Stephen Marley, Beenie Man, and some other hard hitters.  No small feat.  He recently shot a video for one of the singles so be on the look-out for that soon.

Check it out here.


Episode 2

Episode 2

NOTE: This is an article from the original airing of this episode.

This was the first episode of 2009, the second incarnation of Soul of New York.  It was an all music set to just chill to that I particularly love (not to toot my own horn).  It really reflects the general vibe of the music on the show.  The instrumental under the intro is by a producer named DJ C-Sharp.  I met him randomly one evening in Best Buy.  Don’t sleep, NY.  Talent is everywhere.

I recorded this show a week to a few days after the inauguration of President Obama and I have to admit, that is still so fun to say.  Actually, it’s just fun to feel proud to say President anything, anymore.  Lord knows I had spent the previous eight years referring to the last guy as just ‘Bush’ and some other cruder fascimiles.  I recorded the show just after his inauguration and so some of the songs reflect a residual adrenaline rush that I had been experiencing.  It was a strange mix of emotions that I think nationally, we are still trying to sort.  Some of the words that came to mind for the way I felt/feel definitely include exaltation, pride, cynicism, trepidition, contentment…

I had a complicated relation to his victory.  I wanted him to be the best possible.  I was ecstatic that he (we) had done it.  I had experienced something collectively that extended far and beyond myself as an individual. I had campaigned for him during the summer and gotten into the hours-long, routine debates with co-workers about Obama vs. McCain.  Yet at the same time, I was immediately concerned that we (as a national consciousness) would rest on our laurels in light of this isolated achievement.  I knew the moment he won at 10:55 (NY1 broke the news to me) that Tuesday and honestly, long before the votes were casted, that there would be those who would say that it is done – this is the end of your struggle.  To that end, we now live in a “post-racial society” (and the next person who says that to me is getting kicked in the head) and it makes the need for struggle even more difficult.  The work is not over and there is still a long way to go and yet to some extent, that struggle is made even more difficult for the need to convince that there still is a need to fight.

Despite that, I was still in love with my president.  It was nice to see a deviation from the norm, if only in the fact that he didn’t look like most of his predecessors.  I went down to D.C. to experience the inaguration live with the other 2 million+ people who took to the streets that day on a whim and I don’t regret it for a second.  After pouting around my house for a few hours the day before the inauguration, I bought two tickets on a greyhound to D.C. for my brother and myself at 11:30 that night.  By 1AM, we were on the bus and one the way down there.  It was freezing, I was starving, we didn’t sit down for about 12 hours after getting off the bus at 5 AM, the streets were madness full of people moving en masse to the Washington Mall, and I nearly lost my brother in all of the craziness.  But I was there and it still is a beautiful thing.  Definitely a great day in history.  Below are some sounds the speak to what I was feeling after that experience.


click the link to hear the show.

Inaugural Episode of Soul of New York

Inaugural Episode of Soul of New York

Way back in 2008, this was the first show ever recorded of the show that came to be known as the Soul of New York.  On this first show, way back when in December of 2008 (the genesis of this show is still hard to believe), I featured one awesome brother named Quad Almighty.  The show was almost like a surprise Christmas gift when it was first published at WNSR.  I received the go-ahead to start producing the show I pitched at an open session one evening in November but due to my workload, a pretty steep learning curve, and being the general procrastinator that I am, I put off producing the first episode.  It was my first semester of graduate school and I’d never touched Pro Tools before, or worked in a studio, for that matter.  But I quietly got acquainted with the system and developed episode one under the radar that was submitted and published Dec. 23rd, just before the school broke for the winter intersession.

Quad came as a reference through a friend of mine and we were able to build about the state of hip-hop, marketing music in the 21st century digital age, and life in general.  To some degree, it had set the trajectory for alot of the content that has developed for the show since.
At the time, he had a brand new album out entitled The Royal Parchment: The Indoktrination of Dynastik Rationalizm.  I send extra love and respect to that young man because he really set the tone for subsequent shows of Soul of New York.  Copies of his album can be purchased through his website, www.quadalmighty.com.

click the link the play the episode: Soul of New York – Quad Almighty


A Day Wit’ the Homiez, 1st Down

The Light, Like Water for Chocolate – Common

Gettin’ Up, The Renaissance – Q-Tip

Revelations, Not My Type, Quad Almighty, and Get Your Mind Right; THE ROYAL PARCHMENT: THE INDOKTRINATION OF DYNASTIK RATIONALIZM – Quad Almighty

Quad Almighty artwork copyright Quad Almighty, all rights reserved.

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