Monday, February 28, 2011

GCTD and GrungeCake Magazine: The Delivery Issue: Cover Featuring NTU FARA

Gotham City TransDisciplinary's 1st U.S. release and I'm on the cover! Here are some photos from the feature!
Shout out to GCTD and GrungeCake Magazine. Special thanx to Richardine for her energy and handwork. To see the full feature click HERE and to buy your copy of this wonderful publication click HERE!

Monday, February 7, 2011

15 Tips To Travel By

To honor some lovely ladies headed to Mumbai this week I'm sharing a few travel tips I've shared with them (via @realtimetravlr) and a few a I left out. Now most of us are pretty savvy travelers when venturing to places that are more oriented to western culture. It can be a whole 'nother story when going out of cultural boundaries and into countries that seem to be on the complete opposite end of our own. India is one such place for many westerns. While it's bustling capital of Mumbai seems, at times, like New York, we (most especially women and people of color) should take note to a few tips to keep us safe and enjoying our trip.
The most important thing to be conscious of as a woman in India is how you present yourself. Now, I'm a certified rebel but it's imperative that travelers adhere to cultural customers to insure your safety. Sexual advances are curbed by modest clothing and act as a stop sign to most men. Women should pack loose clothing that covers the arms, legs, and chest area. You can also buy outfits when you reach your destination. Clothing is pretty cheap so picking up a few pairs of churidar pants and salwar tops should be no sweat.
  1. This is a bit complex but a huge tip for women of color would be to mind your interactions with the opposite sex. You are both a rare occurrence as well as of a similar resemblance to local women. The social structure is still very much influenced by western imperialism and gives leeway accordingly. It's always best to avoid any chance of being in a compromising position.
  2. Change your currency to rupees ASAP. It's just less of a headache.
  3. If you didn't pack for quick mobility, don't even think about taking public transportation long distances.
  4. Make certain that where you stay has a man or person of the establishment whose responsibility it is to look out for you. This will insure that you are staying in both a safe and reputable place. Don't take their actions as an infringement on your privacy. By law, this individual is responsible for your safety and will follow their duties to the letter. When you sign a contract of fee for your room you are also agreeing to these rules.
  5. Know where the tourism information center is in case you need help.
  6. Try not to respond or stop for anyone calling out to you on the street. It's seen as socially inappropriate and should be regarded as an advance. This is most important in the country or small town areas.
  7. On PDA, don't do it! Especially if you and the other person are not visibly married.
  8. Single female travelers: you will have significant interaction with young males who are shopkeepers, waiters, rickshaw drivers, etc. Do your best to mind your mannerisms and know that anything like touching, attempting to grab your hand, winking, etc. should be viewed as inappropriate.
  9. City folk, never try to catch a cab or car on the road. Always get a cab driver through your hotel, homestay, etc. The choice vehicle for getting around is a small open cart called a rickshaw. It costs next to nothing to ride so unless you have a personal driver or need to go long distances I suggest using one.
  10. Regarding transportation, big cities can be so overwhelming that it's best to get a personal driver. It may be too expensive for your budget but if you can swing it, DO! Also, make certain that they speak English. This may not be easy but trust me, driving around Mumbai during rush hour is stressful enough without a severe language barrier to navigate through.
  11. If you're touring the country if possible, opt to stay in a homestay instead of a hotel. Many popular homestays are much nicer than the hotels that go for similar rates and make for a really great experience all around. Homestays range from simple add-on rooms in some one's house to massive, lofty rooms in the fanciest of homes. I suggest something more towards the upper scale.
  12. There is no harm with interacting with local children. As a lone female traveler speaking with kids and young adults was a highlight of my trip. If they call out to you or ask questions, let them! Just understand that some may ask for things.
  13. Never give out money on the street to crowds of children. Feel out the situation. If you are going to give, the best place is a person's home (as it is not uncommon in the country to be invited into homes for coffee or tea). It is a completely personal decision of when to give, to whom, and how much. But sometimes it doesn't hurt to give a young kid a few rupees.
  14. Finding alcohol anywhere except in cities and upper scale hotels and restaurants is damn near impossible. So don't expect to be able to get a drink any old place. And ladies shouldn't be seen drinking at all unless in an upper scale hotel or restaurant where western customs are the norm.
  15. If at all possible, stay out of the city! To be honest, the cities are not as thrilling as taking a tour of the rest of the country. Go out and enjoy it!
Please be sure to leave a comment and leave some tips of your own. Would love to here from you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NTU FARA for Triple Cover of 21-7 Magazine Issue 18

Photos by King Texas
Visit 21-7 Magazine for more photos and the full interview with NTU FARA

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More CMJ Shows

Had an amazing time for the betteryet ANAVY show! Shout out to Jason Scott and all the artists who performed! I've got a couple more shows, so check the flyers below.
You can rsvp for the secret show @
See you there!

Friday, October 15, 2010

CMJ 2010: betteryet ANAVY Show

Tuesday, October 19th, 8PM $5
152 Orchard St.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Land of Butterflies: A Local Food Review

My writings are not only for the adventurous spirit but a person who wants to learn a bit about the places I visit and engage themselves (how ever they can) in the culture, passions, struggles, and strengths of a country. My words are as much my honest opinion as they are an attempt to capture the essence of a nation, a city, a town, a culture, a people, and even a life whose story isn't so simply labeled. No matter where we travel we will always be foreigners, visitors, or tourists but with an open heart and mind there is great potential for bringing what we experience just a little bit closer to home.

First, the food...


Spend a bit of time abroad and you will quickly notice the go-to food spots are most times right on the side of the road. Jamaica is no exception, with their wide range of food choices lined along the main drag, from Kingston to Negril. Day or night you can find some of the best street food outside shopping areas, beaches, bus stops, and party venues. Likewise, pretty much anywhere there are large groups and locals there will be ample places to eat. When traveling in the West Coast, take advantage of smaller restaurants who grow their food out back or get produce from one of the many farms located right in Negril. Cosmo's, located just minutes from most of the major resorts in Negril, is a great place to get affordable and delicious eats. The restaurant is a haven for workers, tourists, and bus drivers who've made the beach front restaurant their usual hangout spot. The oversized snapper, large drinks, and amazing curry are all priced low to give you a great value. And the digs aren't too shabby either. It isn't the Ritz but would make for a nice place to go day or night.

In these photos: Jenn & Chris at Cosmo's

With the look of a patio wrapped around the outside of a roadside home, Choices is an interestingly satisfying choice for a group or couple. Unlike many of the smaller, less expensive restaurants of its kind Choices has a romantic charm perfect for a relaxing end to an island day. The meals are well priced, generous, and nicely seasoned. The traditional simplicity of their curry dishes compliment selections of delightfully infused West and East Indian cuisine. Another quiet-as-kept spot to take your dinners just minutes from the center of town.

In these photos: Fishermen's Beach

On the North side, Fishermen's Beach is popular hang out spot for locals as well as foreigners who prefer a more authentic taste then most resorts or Americanized franchises serve. Located just passed Island Village, it's accessibility is further evidence of its patronage. You can take the path through its main gate or go to MargarittaVille (for appearances) and cross the rocks byway of the beach. This collection of shacks perched right by the water offers everything from salt fish and ackee to curried lobster fresh and cooked to perfection. If you're not in the mood for a meal just grab a beer and head down to the shore to see the beautiful view. Be advised that this spot is very simple so don't expect anything fancy. Also, I'd advise you not to venture down to Fishermen's Beach after hours mostly for safety reasons, especially if you're not familiar with the town.

In these photos: Celebrating at Spring Garden

Spring Garden is a beautiful restaurant located just a few miles from the center of Ochi. Its dinner selection and dimly lit tables secluded by trees and greenery make it great for enjoying a intimate evening with loved ones. The food was some of the best I've had among all the restaurants and the portion options like the XLARGE Snapper encourages patrons to let loose and splurge. The pricing is a bit of the same, so prepare to pay something a little closer to what you normally spend at home (but it's worth it!) The best seating is in the back, up the step, just across from the main bar where you'll find couples tables and a large group table surrounded by a garden. Though there's hardly ever a wait, Spring Garden is very popular so try to go a little later to ensure you sit exactly where you want.

Refer to the general review Summa Bounce: The Land of Butterflies for an overview, photos, and more. Also keep posted for the Local Party and Excursion Review.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BILAL: Airtight's Revenge Review

Four years after his second album Love For Sale, Bilal Oliver releases the long anticipated Airtight's Revenge under indie label Plug Research. The album, an eleven track classic, pushes its audience to hear beyond genres as cuts like All Matter, Robots, Who Are You, and The Dollar challenge concepts both musically and socially. The album pushes the envelope with abstract composition, groove centered rhythms and layers of funk, pop, hip hop, and jazz blended in seemingly effortless harmony. Much to nothing can be compared to Airtight. The best similarity would be something like the soulful sounds of Marvin Gaye, with his masterful vocals and socially conscious content, coupled with the harmonies of old D'Angelo and Cee-Lo Green. Listeners should note that the young singer had been a huge contributor to genre-bending albums like Voodoo released by fellow Soulquarian member D'Angelo as well as a slew of projects released by collective members Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, The Roots, Common, and others.

Bilal's Airtight's Revenge is the definite guide to how to deviate from form and live in between disciplines. The quality of storytelling like that of the song Flying, is only matched by the refinement of Bilal's pitch; reaching incredible highs and lows as the story weaves in and out to unknown destinations. The audience is given the heaviest of questions and takes away from the album the themes of balance and perseverance, through which past issues are addressed and old wounds begin to heal. Much of the album is produced by Bilal himself along side Steve Mckie. Production credits also go to Nottz, Conley Tone Whitfield, Shafiq Husayn, and long time friend 88-Keys. Though nearly flawless, the shining pieces on the album for me are Restart, All Matter, Levels, and The Dollar. A pure classic.

Peep the interview with myself and Bilal HERE, where we touch on the early parts of his career, life after the Love For Sale leak, and much more.

Airtight's Revenge Track list:

1. Cake & Eat It Too (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Steve Mckie)
2. Restart (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Steve Mckie)
3. All Matter (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Steve Mckie)
4. Flying (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Nottz)
5. Levels (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Shafiq Husayn)
6. Little One (Produced by Conley Tone Whitfield)
7. Move On (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Steve Mckie)
8. Robots (Produced by Bilal Oliver)
9. The Dollar (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Steve Mckie)
10. Who Are You (Produced by Bilal Oliver & Steve Mckie)
11. Think It Over (Produced by 88 Keys)

Visit Bilal at:
DOWNLOAD this and other albums on iTunes

Friday, August 20, 2010

GALAKTIKAT: The Birth of Boddhi

Come out and support this beautiful new showing for Lichiban!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summa Bounce: The Land of Butterflies

As a child, Jamaica was a home a way from home; a place my mother took my brother and I to spend warm summers soothed by the fresh sea air and sand. She always said it reminded her of Virginia (where much of my family is from) because of its dirt roads and expressive spirit... and the older I got the more I saw evidence of that spirit in the passions I pursued. Among my many loves, traveling became a way for me to connect all my passions into a single tapestry of sight, sound, emotion, and magik. But no matter where I go I always feel that little longing deep in my heart. I've missed my home.

Our first stop was Negril, a place I’m not so familiar with but have come to appreciate for their fresh cooking and raw attitudes. We stayed at Country Country, a beautifully built group of bungalow style cottages perched right on the beach. The water was breathtaking! With the shore only steps away from our cottage door we promenaded the beach like a city sidewalk. Next door was MargaritaVille; a tourist-friendly franchise, which attracts the foreigners who see it as a symbol of safe Americanized fun. This in turn attracts the hustlers because they know where there are tourists there’s a dollar to be made. An array of operators pitching everything from fresh lobster and marijuana to jet-skis and prostitutes gather every morning on that beautiful beach looking for a mark. That’s one side of life on the island. Tourism is such a huge part of their daily lives that most people whether working jobs legit or illegitimately, depend on it for economic survival. It may have been a bit different if we were on private property but the thin line between wanted and unwanted advances is always present. Yes, there are unsavory characters and a bit of pestering on the part of some, but if you can get over the annoyance and look forward to the phenomenal selection of restaurants, fresh produce, and activities you'll definitely love the South Coast.

Sitting in Cosmo’s; a great local beach-front restaurant down the road, my stepfather explained, “In Jamaica, we speak our mind!” And besides noticing how much Jamaicans constantly make comparisons to themselves and everyone else in the world, I saw the boldness of the country through the raw exposure Negril granted us. Everything was wild and untamable. The ocean water off the reef at Jackie’s left me changed. Rick’s CafĂ© on the cliffs was like something I’d never seen before and the Pelican Bar in the middle of the ocean at Black River was worth the adventure we took to get there. I just couldn’t wait to see what was next!

In these photos: Jenn and Chris L. at Rick's Cafe

It's the way the Now is more important than the moments past and ones to come. In a place where nothing is guaranteed I've found the best option is to lay back and let go of any and all thoughts associated with worry. Locals will be the first to let you know, "Here, every thing's cool", even when something similar to a civil war breaks out between the people and powers-to-be, over a certain drug lord's extradition to the states. On the North Coast, l found a sense of freedom rivaled only by my memories from childhood.

In these photos: Jenn overlooking the balcony at the Riu

Jenn and I took a walk down Main Street in Ocho Rios (affectionately called Ochi) to see what we'd find, who we'd meet, and ended up in the crafts market filled with an assortment of trinkets, nick knacks, and carvings. I spent every last dime I had on a wood carved skeleton I'm sure the seller swindled me into paying too much for. I did it happily. We walked the main drag toward the Island Village Shopping Center as I reminisced and time tripped about all the other times I'd walked that very same strip. And to top it off I was feeling so good about buying Charlie I'd let my confidence soar, when a deep voice on my left side casually said, "What would make you go and buy such an ugly thing?!". I looked up to see a bald headed, tattered looking guy, blunt in hand, walking clear past me. He looked back with a jerkish smirk and I replied in a playful tone, "Excuse me? This is a very nice sculpture. It's to protect me from people like you". He continued to insult my taste and suggested that Jenn and I go down with him to see where real Jamaicans chill. Passing Island Village we made a turn into open gates greeted by a LA-fitted-wearing-kid and a couple decked out in downtown gear. They could have been Sway Kids, Cali Kids; they were just like us. Walking in and out of dimly lit bars and shacks Tony led us to the beach where we crossed some rocks and moved through a passage way around another gate. There were three other guys now, as Tony took a victorious stance; both hands on his hips pointing to the Ocho Rios MargaritaVille right behind us. "You still paranoid?", he asked. I wasn't anymore. The guys pulled chairs up for us right where the tide just missed our feet. The fitted-kid rolled another blunt and lead the conversation into culture and politics. Tony, at first refraining to speak on the issues, began to give insight into how his original home in the UK (where he left his wife and kids) got too heavy. I could hear the bitter taste in his voice as he explained the game and how it goes for guys like him. They all had a story…one as familiar as the next. I told them they'd be amazed at how similar they were to boys in Brooklyn. They weren't amazed at all. "It's the same for black men everywhere", Tony said. LA raised a blunt. Then Tony said, "But it's not as bad as that ugly thing you wasted your money on!". Of course, they all laughed at me as the coolie boy, Chenoy who had placed his seat close to Jenn asked, "Why does he have so many ribs?!" We laughed, talked, exchanged info, and all.
In this photo: Tony at Fishermen's Beach

Heading back to the car to meet up with the fam, Jenn and I felt an interesting satisfaction. "That was like Nostrand Ave on a beach", she said. But no matter how much they seemed like boys back home I did they see us? Were we just foreign girls in their eyes? No matter how much we talk and laugh were we still different? As we headed to our resort and they went back to the hustle, I couldn't help but question myself.

The guys had mentioned something about a ‘real party’. Not those 'shit parties' at MargaritaVille. They'd said there was a party at Priory but we had no idea where or what Priory was. Sunday came and after asking my stepfather and having him bet we’d be drunk and in bed by midnight, he agreed to take us there. Priory was a small little town between Ochi and Runaway Bay, which seemed to center around a beach. We had no idea what it'd be like but if heads said it was the place to be we wanted to be there too. Pulling onto the rocky road leading down to the beach the yard was full of shadowy figures making their way toward the sound system. Jenn and I walked around the bar to the sand and found a nice spot right under the full moon light. Everyone's face glowed a silvery blue. It was an amazing sight. So many men surrounded us; each group with that one guy who'd come up and introduce himself. One guy worked at a resort in Runaway Bay and said he'd brought some of the guests who stayed at his hotel but when they came, got scared and asked to be taken back immediately. Another kid was from Kingston and came all the way down to Priory for the party. It was the usual Sunday event; A well-known affair around JA. We'd bumped into Chenoy as he walked back and forth handling business. Two stepping to the music I realized how loose everyone was compared to us.

They had no shame in showing their joy. Not there or anywhere! In fact, most everywhere you go you’ll see somebody moving! (Made abundantly clear after a trip into the store, Del Sol, where the whole staff started wacky dipping to the riddim on the radio). New Yorkers in all our coolness can be pretty lame when it comes to truly letting go. So busy tryna look cool we never enjoy ourselves. But there was a group of guys in front of us, JAMMIN! One of them looked back and asked me to dance and of course I charmingly declined. Truth be-told, I was nervous. Here I am in a land best known for their dancers and a guy who can clearly dance me into the ground wants a dub?! Oh no! Not embarrassing myself! Now I can dance don't get me wrong but I didn't know how my pseudo-Caribbean whine would translate among the locals. He handed me his drink and said, "That's your drink now. You're safe. We won't let anything happen to you here". And in that gesture, which usually would be met with suspicion, I saw the simple difference between our mentality and that of many Jamaicans. Especially in the North Coast, you gain a sense of the simple joys Jamaican life has to offer. They’ve no desire to swindle you because they just wanna have fun! In fact, through out our adventure we’ve come upon more people genuinely lending a hand when they weren’t obligated to than anywhere I’ve ever been. To me, this is the true spirit of Jamaica; the understanding that right is right and wrong is just plain wrong. And that, if someone needed help the proper thing to do is help. Maybe this is why Jamaica has always been able to maintain its cool through a history riddled with economic struggle. To the core, it is the people who have banded together to help make things happen. All with a laugh and a smile, a cup of rum and their hands in the air. We quickly got with the program and partied with our new friends everyday for the rest of our trip.

In these photos: Various friends in Ocho Rios

The all-inclusive resort, although expansive and beautiful, didn’t offer the kind of food or kind of time we liked, but were free to come back and forth despite the attitudes of the guards at the front gate. They even went as far on one occasion to ask our friends to get out of the cab while the driver dropped us off at the main lobby, which I’m sure was their way of politely hatin’. The locals know too well that the resort policies are structured to keep them out and keep tourists bubbled in. Along side the policies comes slightly scewed perceptions had by both parties. It’s not that the locals don’t like the presence of tourists...they just rather not go to places where tourists are treated better than them. That’s all. Country life is that simple. They want to have the opportunity to make enough money to live a happy life. No extravagant fantasies of moving to America and ballin’ out in a mansion. And certainly no ambitions of being a drug kingpin like Ox in Belly. As LA put it, “We don’t want to go to the US. We like it right where we are. We just want to be respected.” The ordinary Jamaican just wants to be treated with the same respect as any other person. That’s where the friction between local life and tourist-friendly fun rests for now. But if you truly want to see the country in all its romantic, joyous, and sometimes backward ways, take that chance and venture into the unknown. There are a few more tips I’ll give that will be especially helpful to single female travelers so catch me on the follow up post where I'll go a bit more in depth on restaurants, hotels and resorts, spas, local activities, and hang out spots on the island.

Melo-X: More Merch (prod. by Ryan Leslie)


More Merch! Download HERE and visit for this and much more!


As MeLo-X starts the Writing, Producing, mixing and mastering process for his next Project “More Merch” he found time to Bless us with a freebee of the same name produced by Ryan Leslie. Last Week Ryan Leslie released a Video For a song He was working on called “Fast Life”. MeLo was so inspired that he Jacked the beat straight off of Youtube and Created this Jem.

Check it out

“More Merch” Dropping this Fall”

Fresh Daily: The Stuy (On My Mind) Video

Directed by Pacool

The Stuy, off Fresh Daily's newly released EP, MOTHERSHIP/L A N D

Visit Fresh's site HERE to download this and other projects from one of Brooklyn's finest!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nikki NTU VS. Brainfeeder: Medulla Dinner EPK

Here is the EPK for the newly released Medulla Dinner EP. Get a look at behind the scenes footage of interviews, photoshoots, and more. A big thanx to Thony Remy, KTS, and GALAX team!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nikki NTU vs. Brainfeeder "Medulla Dinner"


Track List:
1- Dinner Plate (Prod. Teebs- “BERN RHYTHM [Codeine Version]” )
2- Time Lords (Prod. Flying Lotus- “Dirty Chopsticks”)
3- Upper Managment (Prod. Ras G- Untitled)
4- Lady of The Tower (Prod. Flying Lotus- “Recoiled”)
5- Tabuoli Feat. MeLo-X (Prod. Flying Lotus- “Beginners Falafel”, & Samiyam- “Falafel Cannon”)
6- Pelican Fly (Prod. Teebs- “Why Like This”)
7- Sat-A-Lite (Prod. Flying Lotus “Satellite” Ending Redit by MeLo-X)


“For the past few months I’ve been working to the sounds of some of Brainfeeder’s greatest masterminds. Nikki NTU vs. Brainfeeder “Medulla Dinner” is a seven track EP featuring production from Ras G, Samiyam, Teebs, and Flying Lotus. It was definitely a challenge to take on such amazing music so I wanted to go where I haven’t gone both lyrically and conceptually. A big thank you to King Texas, MeLo-X, Timothy Jack, Visionary Dary and the whole Galax team for the support and great work. I hope you enjoy!”

Visit GalaxRecordings for this project and more!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

21-7 Presents: Hi My Name Is... Featuring Nikki NTU


Had a great time at the event. Shout outs to the wonderful ladies at 21-7 Magazine!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Boddhi by Lichiban


Tonight @ ZaKka
155 Plymouth St. btw Jay St. & Pearl)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The One Who Woke Up

Watch the premiere of The Buddha on PBS, tonight at 8pm eastern time.