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Lil Jon  

Patricia Moss

[Smith, Jonathan Mortimer ]

(b Atlanta, GA, Jan 27, 1971). American rapper, music producer, and DJ. As a prominent figure in popularizing the Atlanta based Dirty South movement, Lil Jon began making a name for himself as a producer with a talent for club remixes in the mid-1990s. In 1997, he formed his own group, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, which included fellow rappers Big Sam and Lil Bo. Their first album Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album, released in 1997, featured the sounds of the developing crunk genre, a style of music that originated in the mid- to late-1990s with the Memphis-based group Three 6 Mafia. General characteristics of crunk music include heavy basslines, shouting vocals often utilizing call and response, and drum machine rhythms. Unlike most hip hop, the focal point of crunk is the music and the beat rather than the lyrics. Crunk is more often associated with party music than with personal or socio-political concerns. Though Lil John did not invent crunk, he added much to it, including roaring synthesizer lines. Lil Jon’s ...

Article

Carrie Allen Tipton

(b Henry, TN, Sept 18, 1938). American gospel music television and radio host, singer, choir director, and media executive. He began singing publicly in the Methodist church as a child, although his first exposure to gospel music came in sanctified churches. His involvement with gospel music deepened in Nashville when he served as keyboard player, singer, and director for church and civic choirs while studying at Tennessee State University. In 1978 Jones recorded the first of many albums with his small ensemble, the New Life Singers, whose aesthetic leaned more toward contemporary Christian music than black gospel. Around this time he began hosting children’s and gospel music shows on Nashville television stations. In 1980 Black Entertainment Television began broadcasting one of these programs, Bobby Jones Gospel. The popular program has featured performances by Jones’s ensembles, established gospel stars, and up-and-coming gospel artists. Firmly within the gospel entrepreneurial tradition, Jones’s other enterprises include music festivals, workshops, radio shows, the gospel opera ...

Article

Jonas Westover

( Chicago, IL, Nov 8, 1954). American Singer, songwriter, and producer. She began her career as a musician with the band Easy Money, which with she performed throughout the Los Angeles area. She signed with Warner Bros and began singing at clubs across the country. Her early music drew on jazz, R&B, and rock, but she moved towards mainstream pop music as she became more well known, although she still included some jazz standards in her repertoire. Her romantic relationship with Tom Waits in the late 1970s also influenced her musically. Songs from her first, self-titled album in 1979 include “Young Blood,” “Night Train,” “Coolsville,” and the jazz-inflected hit single “Chuck E.’s in Love.” The recording brought her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Jones’s second album, Pirates (Warner Bros., 1981), also spawned popular singles including “Lucky Guy” and “Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking.” Jones also became known for her distinctive fashion, which often featured a beret, long gloves, and skin-tight pantsuits. Although her subsequent work did not garner the same level of success, she continued to sing and record throughout the 1980s and 1990s, sometimes touring with her longtime collaborator Rob Wasserman. In ...

Article

k-os  

Athena Elafros

[Brereton, Kevin ]

(b Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Feb 20, 1972). Canadian rapper, songwriter, singer, and record producer. k-os (pronounced chaos) is an internationally known Canadian musical artist whose music fuses rap, rock, reggae, and pop, among other genres. He is a self-proclaimed “rap and roller” whose music transcends musical boundaries while drawing upon his Trinidadian roots. A prolific singer/songwriter, he has produced and written the majority of the songs on his four studio albums. His debut album, Exit (Astralwerks, 2002), garnered multiple accolades including a Source Award for Best International Hip Hop artist in 2003. His follow-up album, Joyful Rebellion (EMI/Virgin, 2004), was certified platinum. Its debut single, “B-Boy Stance,” won two awards from the Canadian Urban Music Association. His third album, Atlantis: Hymns for Disco (EMI/Virgin, 2006), also certified platinum, marked a lyrical departure from the social commentary emphasized in his first two albums and further showcased k-os’ versatility as a musician. For example, the single “Sunday Morning” is a melodic, pop-infused song which showcases his singing abilities. In ...

Article

Stephen Ruppenthal

(John )

(b Oakland, CA, Sept 19, 1952). American guitarist, synthesizer player, and producer. He studied economics at Harvard University (BA 1976) and began performing in improvisational contexts in 1974. In 1979 he became involved in experimental rock and has since performed extensively in the United States and abroad. He has worked with, among others, Derek Bailey, David Lindley, Fred Frith, Herbie Hancock, Jerry Garcia, Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Michael Stipe, Diamanda Galás, John Zorn, Richard Thompson, and John Oswald; he has also played with the Rova Saxophone Quartet and many free-music groups in the San Francisco Bay area, where he has been based. In both solo and ensemble performance he characteristically aims for some type of fusion of rock, jazz, non-Western, and avant-garde classical styles and focuses on “language elements of attack, articulation, pitch bend trajectory, and velocity.” His use of elastic rhythms, non-tempered scales, and widely varied timbres shows the influence of Southeast Asian and Indian musics and the blues. His extended solo improvisations (such as “The Shadow Line” on the album ...

Article

Mark Anthony Neal

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole. The group eventually signed with Jive Records, though after creative and financial tensions, three of the members were replaced and the group renamed R. Kelly and Public Announcement. After a moderately successful debut that produced the hit singles “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love,” Kelly left the group in early ...

Article

Ryan Kirk

[David ]

(b Hudsonville, MS, July 28, 1930; d Holly Springs, MS, Jan 17, 1998). American Bluesman, bandleader, and juke joint owner. He began playing guitar as a youth in northern Mississippi and developed a fiercely independent playing style marked by constant droning bass notes articulated by the thumb, leaving the other fingers free to play melodies in the middle and upper ranges. His music is characterized by its hypnotic and droning quality and seldom adheres to traditional harmonic frameworks. A lack of recognizable harmonic direction and the use of a limited melodic vocabulary give Kimbrough’s music a modal character, and the prominent use of syncopation and polyrhythm firmly root it in the African American tradition.

Kimbrough recorded only sporadically throughout the majority of his career. In 1992, Fat Possum Records released his debut album All Night Long and around the same time he opened his juke joint “Junior’s Place” in Chulahoma, Mississippi, where he would play regularly with his band the Soul Blue Boys. Following the success of ...

Article

Tim Lawrence

(Warren, Jr. )

(b New York, NY, Jan 18, 1955). American DJ, producer, and remixer. He has made major contributions to the development of disco and house music. A regular dancer at David Mancuso’s Loft, Knuckles worked at Nicky Siano’s Gallery before his close friend Larry Levan invited him to share the turntables at the Continental Baths. Knuckles took over the position when Levan moved on and subsequently relocated to Chicago when Robert Williams invited him to work at the Warehouse. DJing at the Warehouse from its 1977 opening to its 1983 closing, Knuckles helped dance culture survive the backlash against disco, which peaked in Chicago in the summer of 1979. Knuckles went on to become the resident DJ at the Power Plant, where he became one of the first DJs to play house music. Often described as the “Godfather of House,” Knuckles was in fact less open to the sound’s initially raw aesthetic than Ron Hardy, who DJed at the Music Box, Williams’ post-Warehouse venue....

Article

Daniele Buccio

(Henry )

(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...

Article

Gelsey Bell

[Arthur] (Morgan)

(b Richmond, VA, May 28, 1953). American songwriter, producer, guitarist, and vocalist, primarily active in Brazil and the United States. The son of American missionaries, Lindsay grew up in Brazil from the age of three and moved back to the United States when he was 18. In 1977, he started No Wave band DNA as the guitarist and singer. Included in Brian Eno’s famous 1978 No New York compilation, DNA was active until 1982. Lindsay played guitar with the Lounge Lizards from its beginning in 1979 until 1981. He was subsequently a founding member the Golden Palominos, led by drummer and composer Anton Fier, as a guitarist and singer, but left the group after their debut album in 1983. Known for his unconventional guitar playing, Lindsay is untrained and has developed his own techniques that do not involve chords, often focus on rhythm rather than harmony, utilize unique tunings, and are sometimes described collectively as “skronk.” Lindsay’s early vocal style is characterized by talk-singing, shouting, surreal lyrics, and glossolalia. In ...