Sun. Oct. 21, 2018

Una – Soul Underground 2018 (B.I.T.S. Vocal Mix)

Single Of The Week: Una – Soul Underground 2018 (B.I.T.S. Vocal Mix) (Poji Records)

Like some of you I suppose, I’ve come to read Quincy Jones‘ recent interview on Vulture.com. But even though I couldn’t deny the acuracy of his expertise as not a producer myself, I can’t neither subscribe 100% to what he says. Most likely when putting almost everyone (producers, musicians) in the same (mediocre) basket. And by that signifying there’s no (really) more music around worth the listen.

Leavin’ this matter aside which will be the subject of a forthcoming editorial, I just strongly disagree on certain aspects. And how could it be different at the end? As admitting Mr Jones‘ sayings would just result in havin’ us ceasing our activities. Which, hopefully, isn’t in the pipeline. This as long as there will be people to bring us some emotion as time goes…

Thankfully, we still can find people blowing our hearts and souls here or there. With, as in most cases, the underground standing as our playground. This being were are to be found DJ Pope and DJ Oji. Those two Baltimore-based long time activists / jocks and producers celebrating the 25th Birthday of their Poji Records label this year. Meanwhile delivering their 100th release by the likes of ‘Soul Underground 2018’ featuring Una.

A quick look at the title of this gem – ‘Soul Underground 2018’ – almost says it all. With the 2018 suffix suggesting it’s a revamp. As a matter of fact of… ‘Soul Underground’ which Pope and Oji along with Dr Bob Jones originally released back in 2004. Meanwhile showcasing the one of a kind mesmerizing vocal performance of Una Barry. A singer whom you might remember of for the classic ‘We Lift Our Hands At The Sanctuary’ along with DJ Oji

Now the threesome go for another round. With the infectious ‘Soul Underground 2018’ firmly set to reach another level. With thanks to Nicolas Laget (T-Kolai)’s enchanting flute part. But also to its new rhythm pattern over a killer bumpin’ bassline. Therefore puting the whole in a flow somehow reminding of Turntable Orchestra‘s ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone’. If not Liz Torres‘ ‘Mama’s Boy’…

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Overview
Oji Morris was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He stared DJing by the age of 14, exposed to ‘House Music’ and many of its legendary DJ’s from the very beginning. However, it’s in Baltimore, MD, he would come to develop his skills as a DJ and as a producer. First setting up in the city to attend Morgan State University. Before makin’ of the capital of Maryland his (new) hometown. This after coming to meet a brother who shared his vision and love for House Music by the likes of DJ Pope.

From then on, the twosome joined forces. Eventually producing together but also seperately at times. And creating their Poji Records label which turns 25 this year. With their revamp of Una‘s 2004 ‘Soul Underground’ (‘Soul Underground 2018′) comin’ up as their label’s 100th release.

– A DJ, a producer and a remixer, Brian Pope has made himself a permanent part in the history of the Baltimore House scene. He first brought his name on the map in the 80’s. Back then, he was producing a DJ Mix show on WEAA 88.9FM. He quickly teamed up with Oji Morris. Together, they gave birth to the highly respected POJI Records label. Setting up a loyal following along with time allowed him to spin in front of 10,000 people attendance at the Southport Weekender. And more locally to earn residencies in Baltimore and WDC clubs such as The Paradox and The Sanctuary to name a few.

Brian released his first production – ‘Traxx From The Vatican’ – back in 1993. From then, he buit up a consistant repertoire, for himself as with Oji. Collaborating with artists such as Ron Carroll, Lynette Smith and Dana Weaver. Not to mention Jocelyn Mathieu and Sheree Hicks more recently.

He released his first album – ‘My Way’ – as B-Soul presents The Family back in 2003. There, he showcased his writing and production skills, teamin’ up with artists such as Sheila Ford, Una and Ed Ramsey among others. An opus which got him to win the NYC’s Underground Archive Choice Award for album of the year. He followed two years after with ‘The Deeper Side Of Midnight’. A CD mix which generated extra attention. But this time to his skills as a gifted mixer and music selector.

Back together again 3 years after ‘Live It Up’, DJ Pope and Marc Evans could well be responsible for a(nother) major episode in the history of House Music with the infectious ‘Do You Remember’. Meanwhile showcasing their connection with Disco Music with a sample from Gary’s Gang‘s ‘Let’s Lovedance Tonight’. In the footsteps of Stardust‘s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ and other Superfunk‘s ‘Lucky Star’. 2018 will tell! Then what about his cover version of Sylvester‘s ‘I Need You’ along with singer Marty St. Michaels? A cut he has reworked a few weeks before the Winter Music Conference…

Meanwhile 2018 (also) marks the 25th birthday of their Poji Records venture. With its 100th release being a revamp of Una‘s 2004 ‘Soul Underground’, titled ‘Soul Underground 2018’ for the occasion…

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