Archive for the ‘The Rhythm of Life’ Category

Nelle Slim’s Yourz Truly out now!


Wonder what No Choice Music Group’s latest artist Nelle $lim is bringing to the scene?

Peep the review and follow the links at the bottom to stay up on the news.


Nelle $lim Album crop

Check it out on Amazon MP3 and iTunes!

“How am I going to be introduced to the artist” is always on my mind when pressing Play on a brand new album from a hot new artist. I noticed the first 3 tracks of this album go intro, skit, song track, so – I think to myself – Executive Producer Sleepy Wonder is going to give us a couple little samples, a few tastes of his new find Nelle before giving us the whole experience with the first full song. An interesting start no doubt. Known to deliver gold, ol’ Sleeps I’m sure has gone right again here. So let’s see:

The album starts with a light and refreshing piano melody, an Intro which moves into a beautifully slow beat. Knowing it will be a minute before we truly hear her vocals in full form Nelle doesn’t hide from the opportunity to jump right in on the track here. “When I was a little girl I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing everyday. Singing took away my pain. I wanted to sing.” BAM. Nailed it. I’ve never heard a better opener from an artist on my first introduction.

The piano keys step along with the slow steady beat and take you into a better mood, a higher place, and a more alert state of mind. I’m ready for this album…

“I always wanted to sing. Now I’m doing my thing.”

What an intro to what we need to know about Nelle Slim.

After a strong intro we regress into what sounds like an unmastered, raw segue on track 2, the Phone call skit. As a listener you catch yourself hearing the artist at home or maybe even finished in the studio after a long week, and showing the personal side behind the production. Our heroine is reaching out to see who’s catching tonight. She’s looking to get up with her girls and go out. What I know is going to be a contrast to the following song, the skit acts as a fiendish appetizer to the first full track to appear on this project.

Slip Away feels like dreaming in club land. A brilliantly produced darker vibe with a late night club feel in a place far away from the skit we just heard. Like going from day to night, or reality to fantasy, Slip Away sets it off.

I don’t think anyone is going to hear the opening pizzicato harp and not give this song full attention. “I want to slip away before the lights come on, yeah. Nobody knows what we ‘bout to do.”

Remember this is our first full meeting with Nelle, so as if to put it all out there later in the track after the second chorus we get a few bars spit from Nelle just to let us know this girl can flow as well as ride on a melody. A danceable going-out song, I can picture the video for this one being amazing to watch as Nelle shows us what Friday night looks like.

Grind is a bit more aggressive. Grind is haunting, bassy. After a brief minute the beat develops into a heavy but moving, looming feel that makes you want to turn it up. I’m not sure if I’m nodding my head because I love the song or if I subconsciously wish I could get it to go louder.

Grind is direct, with a hard working beat behind it. “My name is Nelle Slim I’m about my money. I grind all the time.” That’s the sound of the meaning, or is it the meaning of the sound?

Killer, this one is.

Boy Boo sets off right. I love the electronic tones and the slow violin. The producer dipped his brush and painted something nice with this one. We get a few seconds of taste and then they bring it in. Ever surprising, every well crafted is the music saturating any NCMG release. Brandi Edwards adds her gift to this track stringing vocals and harmony along her path. An electric guitar shows up subtly in the background and you fall deeper into the song. I love an artist like Nelle because there’s nothing I like more than music where I get melodic song lines, and then a nice flow too. A high point of this song is the harmonic chorus that is spread over an incredible beat. This one wins it for me so far and makes me more excited to keep moving forward.

Do Me This Way stomps onto the scene. Nelle sings in a heartfelt narrative over a man who’s done her wrong. The beat is dynamic and developing as always. It steps steadily, then deconstructs. It breaks down and returns. Sleepy Wonder himself blesses the track with some vocal accents as well.

Another winner with this one.

How Could You is a throwback to summer. It’s full of bright tones and an easy feel. I close my eyes and feel sunshine. Smokin Dro Frazier appears after a brief intro from our songstress. The two compliment each other over verses and vocals, often with Frazier rhyming to the beat with Nelle providing a musical backdrop at the same time. The layers work well with this one. Dro drops a good verse that goes with the vibe of not only the song, but the album. I like him talking about treating his girl well and appreciate that his voice doesn’t steal the show but instead fits into the music as an instrument. This one’s easy to feel.

Next is another short skit. HipHop artistry brought the theatrical and reoccurring notion of skit work on records, one that I’ve noticed has gone missing over these past years.

This skit is a non-essential addition to the album, but again I like that it takes this highly produced professional album back to a personal situation.

Right away, Friday jumps to be a contender for my favorite track on the album, though it would be hard to actually choose. We all love that “It’s Friday, I just got paid, I’m gonna have fun tonight” feeling.

Once again production master Sleepy Wonder makes heads nod along to a good time. I find it interesting whenever a good party song is crafted from a smooth beat and mid-tempo rhythm. It’s easy to blast the timing into the stratosphere and end up in a hyper situation when your intent is to give someone a “time to party” track, but here we have a “getting in the car, going out to the club” anthem. Kush appears later in the track adding flavor. Friday is a song that I’d like to hear again and again.

The Slip Away (European remix) is a good bonus to this album. A slow build from a place of R&B into a brooding electronic sound scape and arriving into a late hours club beat – a grand reimagining of a featured song of the album and a good note to go out on.

* * * * *

Nelle Slim is a great addition to the No Choice Music Group’s growing catalogue of talent. What I’m starting to know more clearly is how the NCMG artists ended up in music. With these incredible and natural gifts, sense of style, rhythm, and burning to create songs they had no choice but to end up here and now, in this industry, in this profession, making powerful music. I expect we’ll continue to see NCMG grow in quality nd magnitude as their musical paths carry them onward into an increasingly bright future.

Nelle’s first album on NCMG is nothing to be over looked but something to look over again and again.  The tracks and skits are a day in the life of an artist thirsting to sing.

She makes you hungry for music. I don’t know how No Choice Music Group can so consistently find artists with such passion.

Nelle’s album is one that bring a number of different experiences with a backdrop of consistent, top-notch production and brilliant sound imagery. Nelle’s gift as a vocalist and lyricist shine over the entirety of the album. She and Sleepy Wonder execute this project very well. They should both be outwardly and unapologetically proud of this art they produce. The sonic compositions here are as always fresh. As a listener, paying close attention means reaping greater reward as they change, drop-off, develop, deconstruct, and return to original programming.

I look forward to what No Choice Music Group has in store for us in the future. I have no doubt they will, with proper timing, attract the attention of other like-minded artists who will make their own beautiful additions to this large musical project that is NCMG. Maybe one day we’ll even have a label album featuring the combined work and imagination of the label’s artists. There’s reason for excitement and anticipation for anything this group may later bring to us.

But as for now, Nelle $lim’s charging up the scene with something sweet. Catch it while it’s hot.


Amazon MP3





No Choice Music Group



Review: Yourz Truly

No Choice Music Group ASCAP BMG Chrysalis US

Sleepy Wonder featured on track #6 Do Me This Way.

Will Hockaday


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EDDIE Barringer’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Some of us may be familiar with EDDIE Barringer’s history having co-produced Thievery Corporation’s song Stargazer in 2011 and Sleepy Wonder’s album Injustice in 2010 but until now we didn’t know what a personal effort from the artist might sound like. Having now heard this album it’s with a sense of urgency that I share a brief synopsis.


Eddie Barringer Self Fulfilling Prophecy Cover Art

due out December 9, 2014

Preorder on iTunes and Amazon MP3


BFly is the first track on this album and I feel it was a mental exercise as much as a song. We begin with what sounds like an old low-fi recording of a jam session and then launch into an audible galaxy of rich production and a slow rhythm and blues style dub beat. It feels like you just sat down and blasted out of Space Mountain

The experience lies in catching onto this rich contrast and having the vocals, rich but smooth, come in soon after giving you one of those “stop in your tracks and listen” moments. In the split second it’s taken you to get attune to the lyrics the entire landscape has already been smoothed over and the song is now defined. EDDIE’s driving this thing. I’ll linger on this song a little more because it is immediately an interesting tune. The organ and the chorus are intoxicating.


Having set a huge bar just now we move onto Til Dawn, where intelligently we deconstruct into a slightly slower but harder beat, a little electronics and reverb – and again EDDIE. Listen closely as we go from a kick-beat into a reggae style and then back to the opening sound again. The lyrics are uplifting. I’ll refrain from quoting a line because anyone who is going to purchase this (Dec 9) owes it to themselves to give it a proper listen.


In Color is a stronger sound. EDDIE’s “don’t judge me lyrics” build on the positive, conscious writings he created for this album. The I dream in color harmony is the part that will be stuck in your head one day – happily so. The song’s good and reminds me of a little of something from the 90’s I’ve long forgotten about – and ingeniously placed is a sharp sample to let you know you’re on the right path.


We stay on a good tip with Positive Place. We’re ride on a simpler beat because every word here is a powerful and preachable statement that should be heard. I’m feeling the glitchy samples styled into this track, keeping the message from becoming too heavy and adding a bit of fun to what’s going on here.


Flowers is a good, good vibe. Soul pours overtop these bars. EDDIE’s delivers something more classic than modern and the beat swings more than kicks. This one you’ll find yourself playing for somebody.


We reach the title track with Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. From the get-go you have a feeling EDDIE’s going to deliver on this song. You can make it happen carries you through the transitions between the verses and breaks. The production soars on this song. Well done.


The guitar riff and stop-go type drummer is what I like about Action. The lyrics bring us to a place where the problems of the world are demanding that something be done. It all melts together into a beautiful piece of art. “Don’t just say care – care is an action. “ I like that.


B4ilay as a reflective, slow song is a memorable moment in the overall album. It is so lulling, so nice, so relaxing that you realize just how mentally active the first half has been.


“Don’t love me to death, love me to life.” I like it already.

Next is KTWK, which stands for Kill Them With Kindness and is a cool choice to follow the previous track. It picks up the pace a bit but then also develops into a bright, melodious tune. At this point you’re realizing EDDIE can do no wrong.


I Got Music (on my mind) is next. Vocally we’re taken somewhere new with EDDIE winding through a faster cadence and revisiting holding certain tones longer – a noticeable and skillful change in the delivery. Contrast that with a chanting chorus and you really have something cool to listen to.


Perfect is a slow build. A lost & found series of drum hits and a dribble of a bass line that soon come to cohesion and turn into a steady rhythm. I believe this is the slowest track on the album but in no way does it bring you down. As EDDIE daydreams to the listener, painting an image over thoughts of what perfection looks like, you’re once again fully engaged in what’s coming from your speakers. Another favorite of the album.


I See Dem Watching comes stomping in. Sleepy Wonder drives into your chest with his known style of reggae. It’s slow, it’s fast. You want to listen, you want to dance. You’re taken back to how the album opened by how much your attention is picked up and carried all over the place again. Each sound, each rhythm, each voice – damn – what a way to finish.



* * * * *



The talent hidden in EDDIE EDDIE Barringer is one due for the world to see.

There is not another album just like this. The vocals, even when soft, are strong. They fit themselves to audible backdrops of all different styles and tempos not normally matched with such conscious lyrics. Musically there is a lot of invention going on from start to finish as well. The listener’s focus gets caught between kicking drums, a dub line, and an R&B chorus that stay perfectly held together. It’s genius in concept and executed perfectly. Instead of fusing into a marginalized sound, the influences and elements of each track stay separate. They coexist instead of meld. The result is a painting of musical diversity, something truly new and different for each song.


The writing is consistent. Bold but easy. Powerful but pleasant. Pulled from a well of positivity running deep within the artist. You can tell the singer feels every part of his message. The voice behind the pen is introspective, insightful and interesting. None of the songs here take effort but instead pass through your speaker easy and all with a message of “negativity won’t ever win” and “music is my freedom”.


These are the ones we need to be writing our hits and radio singles.


EDDIE BARRINGER set out do something different with this album and was incredibly successful. Share this with your friends and coworkers because a follow-up to this album will be desperately needed.





due out December 9th worldwide 

Preorder on iTunes and Amazon MP3












Review: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

No Choice Music Group ASCAP BMG Chrysalis US

Sleepy Wonder featured on track #12 I See Dem Watching.







Will Hockaday


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Now that I’ve effectively doused the heat pouring from my house stereo speakers I think I can actually digest SLEEPY WONDER’S upcoming release

Corporate Greed

FinalCD cover2LR 

due out November 11, 2014.

Jumping head-first into this latest gem:

Sleepy rolls over the earliest track Another Gear showing us his natural ability to take the tightest lines and flow them loosely. From the jump you see a gifted artist giving us what he knows best and why this Independent King has ‘been here for years’. This first track is in place to let you know he’s got your attention and you better hold on.

Ghetto Blues is well placed as the second entry in the track listing. Building from the genius of Portishead’s Glory Box, Sleepy cooks up an atmosphere, lulling us into a moving blue beat that gives the artist a chance to share some of the deeper tones that ring through a person’s soul. Definitely one of the tightest on the album.

Now we move on to an immediate attention-getter. Facing My Challenges makes you wish you were at 9:30 in DC on a Friday night, slowly bumping out your stresses. This one goes out ‘to the whole wide world with an ear’.

There’s something instantaneously nostalgic about the title track Corporate Greed. As the bass line plucks over its smoothly-staccato melody our artist reaches in, separates our minds from our bodies and takes us somewhere else for the next several minutes. Pouring over the subdued angst concerning government greed and ‘the man who fights against the strugglers’ we find no lack of heart in what Sleepy gives us on this song.

You’re going to have to find your way to a dance floor and grab the closest princess before moving onto Why Did You Leave Me To Cry. Heartfelt and beautiful, we get a track that you would rather celebrate the joy of a past love than sulk in the memories.

The Time Has Come is a straight-up call to attention. Citing should-have-been learned lessons from the past, Sleepy sows through this lulling beat with some knowledge for us all. I love here how he’s putting assertively potent lyrics to an utterly soothing beat just to show us all that revolution is indeed a beautiful thing.

Letter To The Media infuses a progressive upbeat rhythm to our journey and gives us yet another fine Sleepy Wonder style moment. I hope to see this track appear on a slew of mixes in the latter part of 2014. In case you didn’t know, Sleepy ‘did it BEFORE and… will SURELY do it again’.

Perfectly set towards the rear of the album is the inspirational Lift Your Heads to the Sky featuring the vocals of Samara Morris. Giving you that 5:00 Vibe here Sleepy has you raising your hands and feeling the world’s eternal fluid feed though your spirit. Once again the track is so wholehearted it’s as if a spark appears in his mind and is immediately coming through your speakers.

Why They Hatin Me Foe introduces the first and only real hiphop influence into the set. We have a funkier drummer and only compared to the smoothness of the previous tracks do you sense a bit of good ol’ grittiness threading its way through the system. Gichi Dame pours an airtight hook in between Sleep’s verse, also tying his guest artists back into the fabric of this banging track. With Marlee Jaye, Miami, Smokin Dro Frazier and Peso Dollar pressing lyrics into the beat you’ll love how this track stays danceable. I love the short-winded verses here because they don’t pull you away from the fragrance of the well-laced chorus or move attention too far away from the beat and its good vibe. Excellent song to end on…

Did I say end on? Actually, remember that beautiful downtempo joint Sleepy gave us after the opening track? Well he sends us out with a much-appreciated instrumental from 5-minutes in just so we feel and remember the full body & soul experience that is listening to this album.

* * * * *

I love that nothing on this album gives us any reminder of what we’ve seen Sleepy do before.  Whether it slows you down or picks you up, you won’t hear anything but sparkling new inspiration from this talented musician and inventor.

Corporate Greed shows us a display of the talented SLEEPY WONDER concealing the more “in your face” styles as seen previously on tracks like Much Harder Than Ever, the drum & bass mix of Big Inna Body, or the heavy metal rock mix of My Vibes (all available on 2013’s Geometric Echoes). We miss the radio-ready Ass On Her, the synths and the R&B fragrance of Time Is Running Out (both from 2010’s Injustice).

In light of which I’ll say that for a performer known for his live energy, I’m wondering how Sleepy will interpret these new tracks into his upcoming, sure to be electric, performances.

With this album Sleepy takes a hold and sends you through the experience of this top-quality foray of wits and makes another strong addition to the Reggae musical canon.

Even if your thinking this kind of record isn’t typically your strength, I implore you to let The General SLEEPY WONDER take you to a place of world citizenship. You won’t be disappointed in the trip.

You can only help but wonder what this truly gifted writer, recorder, producer, and label exec will give us next time.

For as he has told us before, ‘you can never put me down, never get me down’.

If you’re inept to Sleepy Wonder’s music check my personal favorite:

Can’t Do Mi Nothing from 2010’s Injustice or experience the lyrics prowess of State Of the Union Address from Thievery Corporation’s Richest Man In Babylon.





Check out Sleepy Wonder on tour this Fall :

  • 28.2014 – Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA
  • 29.2014 – Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA
  • 01.2014 – City National Civic, San Jose, CA
  • 02.2014 – Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA

11.01.2014 – Hulaween Music Festival – Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, FL

Review: Corporate Greed

Prod. Sleepy Wonder

Exec. Prod. Sleepy Wonder and Trevor Archer

No Choice Music Group ASCAP BMG Chrysalis US

Guest artists include Vincent Biggs James, Frank Orall, Dave Finnell, Samara Morris, Marlee Jaye, Miami, Smokin Dro Frazier & Gichi Dame.

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