Ok ok…I know I’m a little late to this party but this is TIGHT!!! I am talking about the new Jimi Hendrix motion comic Mojo Man, created by The Aleem Brothers. You know you want to read more about this!!!
JIMI HENDRIX TO WU TANG CLAN TO JIMI HENDRIX: THE ALEEMS COME FULL CIRCLE
Since the 1960s, when they worked and recorded with their friend, the great Jimi Hendrix, all the way through to the 1990s, the legendary twin brothers, Albert and Arthur Allen, known as the Aleems (a.k.a., the Ghetto Fighters, Prana People, Us and Fantastic Aleems) have been responsible for providing the best of rock, blues, R&B, dance and rap with their musicianship, performance and production artistry. Their place in music history is well established as premier independent record label pioneers, and their status as collaborators with, and recognizers of major music talents, has propelled them to Hall of Fame attention and recognition in the world of black music in particular and popular music as a whole.
Tunde Ra and Taharqa Aleem (keyboards and guitar specialists respectively, as well as vocalists), began their careers in the 1960s, working, traveling and socializing with the greats of rhythm & blues, such as Big Maybelle, Bobby Womack, Sam Cook, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Clarence “Blowfly” Reid and others. They learned the inner workings of the music industry through their association with Harlem legend Fat Jack Taylor, owner of the Ro-Jack Records independent label and co-owner of the famous Harlem World club, of which the Aleems would also establish co-ownership status with Taylor. (Harlem World would later be known for the large number of pioneer rap acts that performed there.)
During this period the Aleems met Jimi Hendrix by way of a couple of girlfriends, and shortly after, they soon shared living space together in a house in Manhattan’s Park West Village for a period of two years. They also later began working with Hendrix as singers and musicians, calling themselves the Ghetto Fighters. They put on a free concert in Harlem on 134th Street in 1969 with Hendrix and recorded three albums with him, Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes, in addition to working on their own projects.
Hendrix had planned to give the Ghetto Fighters wider exposure through special projects he was developing to present to the world. After Jimi Hendrix’s death in September of 1970, the deeply hurt and saddened twins decided to put the entire Jimi Hendrix experience on the side as a pleasant memory and move on with their own careers, changing their name to Aleem from Allen in the process.
By the 1970s, the Aleems hooked up with the New York Knicks’ basketball Hall of Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. A music enthusiast, Monroe later established music business concerns which included the labels Pretty Pearl and In Your Face Records.
Around 1977, the brothers recorded two songs for Monroe’s production company, one under the group name Us which resulted in the song “The Ostrich for Spring Records, the other, as the Prana People, recording the single “Is Your Life A Party?”
Into the early 1980s, the Aleems established their own independent label called Nia Records. This time, recording as the Fantastic Aleems, they recorded the song “Hooked On Your Love” on that label. The work featured the background vocals of R&B singers Luther Vandross (his first vocal work for records) and Jocelyn Brown.
Other songs the brothers released on their label in 1983 include their Captain Rock series, “Cosmic Glide” and “The Return of Captain Rock,” which was co-written with the rap duo, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde. The twins would later work with Mr. Hyde, who began recording as Lonnie Love, producing two songs for him on the Profile label titled “Young Ladies” and “Dr. Jeckyll Is Dead.” In 1984, the Aleems recorded the song “Release Yourself,” and with that, the two set up the Nia Records offices in residence of Earl Monroe’s partner, Dick Scott, former personal assistant to Motown Records’ Berry Gordy, and later manager of New Kids On The Block.
“Release Yourself’ marked another turning point for the twins. After having watched and listened to the emergence of rap via their children, they decided to use then upcoming hip hop DJ Marley Marl to do a special mix for the song. First meeting Marl through pioneer hip-hop radio DJ Mr. Magic (whom the brothers helped secure an on-the-air spot on New York radio station WBLS-FM), the Aleems recorded Marley Marl’s mix for “Release Yourself’ on that single’s b-side. By 1985 Marl recorded the groundbreaking “Marley Marl Scratch” with MC Shan for the Aleems’ label. From there, the brothers found themselves at the forefront of recorded rap, with their Nia Records becoming a pioneer black-owned independent rap label.
Around this same period, the twins began working with female MC Sparky D, which resulted in their recording her “Sparky’s Turn (Roxanne You’re Through)” in reference to her legendary MC battles with Roxanne Shante. Shante recorded for another black owned independent label, located in Philadelphia, called Pop Art, also owned by brothers named Lawrence and Dana Goodman. The Aleems and the Goodman brothers saw an opportunity to focus on the Roxanne battle craze, so they created a special label to record the phenomenon, called Spin Records, after which, The Battle was recorded and released.
At the same time, the Aleems were still recording as artists on the Nia label, releasing works under their name with singer Leroy Burgess (former lead vocalist for the R&B group Black Ivory), such as “Confusion” and others. They then decided to separate their own work from that label and sign with Atlantic Records (keeping the Nia label strictly for rap acts). They recorded for Atlantic with Burgess the single “Love’s On Fire” and the albums Casually Formal and Shock. Towards 1989, after releasing another one of Marley Marl’s work on Nia titled “Coke Is It” by the Supa’ Kids (featuring the Intelligent Hoodlum, Tragedy, recording as MC Jade), the brothers became divided as an act for Atlantic and as independent label owners. Also, staff problems at their own label caused them to dismantle Nia Records, and concentrate on production and engineering.
By the early 1990s they decided to build their own recording studio, as well as set up their own distribution services. Acquiring space on the fifth floor at 1600 Broadway in Manhattan, the Aleems built their Concrete Recording Studio, and B.I.D. (Black Independent Distribution) services. They also continued producing other artists, working with acts like Rick James, Kashif, Technetronic and New Kids On The Block. But later, once again, problems with their staff rendered disruption to the brothers’ operation, which forced them to disassemble their successful venture and move on to the next phase in their careers.
During the period when extensive attention was paid to England’s Royal Family, due to the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, the Aleems decided to bring attention to the black royal family in Ethiopia, citing that royalty exists in people with an African lineage. They started a non-profit organization called the Reconstruction of Black Civilization, which ultimately brought over the son of the Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia to the United States before his death.
By 1997 the Aleems began doing production work with the rap group Gravediggaz, whom they met via their relationship with the Wu Tang Clan, who recorded some of their 36 Chambers album at the twins’ Concrete Studio. (The brothers also distributed the Wu Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” single in New York.)
In 2000, the Aleems established a non-profit organization they call Hip Hop for Humanity (HHFH). HHFH’s specific purpose is to awaken the minds and spirits of America’s youth in the music industry to their responsibilities as future leaders of the world. HHFH co-produced a benefit show with the James Marshall Hendrix Foundation in Seattle, Washington to present the “Jimi Awards” to their good friend, hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons. Also receiving awards were Booth Gamer, ex Governor of the state of Washington and musicianlfounder of the group Nirvana, Cris Novacellic.
Into the early 2000s, a CBS production employee approached the Aleems to contribute to a documentary on Jimi Hendrix that he was producing. Realizing that they themselves had a wealth of archival material on Hendrix from his early attempt to give the twins exposure when they performed as the Ghetto Fighters, the Aleems decided to devote their time as a labor of love, to assembling specific projects pertaining to their relationship with Jimi Hendrix. One of the projects is a screenplay titled, “Jimi and the World of the Mu,” a musical mythology of a young musician’s voyage into the enchanted and intrinsic worlds of sound and music. “Jimi and the World of the Mu” is a magical journey that is certain to enlighten the viewer to a new dimension in music entertainment.
Jimi Hendrix and the Ghetto Fighters Material to Be Released
After almost 40 years in the vault, the never before heard or seen multimedia material on Jimi Hendrix and the Ghetto Fighters(TM) is being readied for release and licensing through Visu-Whirl Productions LLC, a multimedia company. Some of the previously unreleased product was produced by Jimi Hendrix, TaharQa Aleem and Tunde Ra Aleem, the 3 principals of Jimi Hendrix and the Ghetto Fighters, and will be made available globally through a wholly owned subsidiary called Urban Street Tales formed by the Aleem Brothers to bring these projects to market.
The Aleems have completed a full-length autobiography titled, “Ghetto Fighters” and are preparing to release their new album titled “ Die like a Ghetto Fighter”. This album includes previously unheard recordings featuring Jimi Hendrix on guitar. The first single from the Ghetto Fighter’s album is titled, “Mojo Man” and will be marketed on web and TV in a cutting edge, animated, musical motion comic video that the Aleem’s branded: “Clea’art DMS. (Clea’art simply means, “making art clearer through Digital, Music, Storytelling”(TM)
“Mojo Man” is a story of legendary guitar god Jimi Hendrix and the phenomenal musical revelation that he exposed to his friends, the Allen Twins. This classic animated, Clea’art DMS debuts a previously un-heard original single titled, “Mojo Man” featuring, Jimi Hendrix on guitar, with the Ghetto Fighters and Leroy Burgess on vocals.
Jimi and the Aleem Brothers formed the Ghetto Fighters in 1970; their objective was to explore new music concepts and dimensions in sound. Mojo Man reveals that part of Hendrix/Ghetto Fighter legacy that the world have been waiting for. “Die Like A Ghetto Fighter” is destined to be a classic album and with Hendrix’s incredible revelation exposed in the Ghetto Fighter’s animated, Clea’art DMS video, “Mojo Man”…the world can witness and tune into the new evolution of sound!!!
To hear more about the Aleems and their MOJO MAN project, please check out c-dubs interview with the brothers in his Funkalicious blog – The Aleem Brothers Interview – Parts 1 and 2.
You can purchase the single Mojo Man and the video from the iTunes store – click the links: