You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘music’ tag.

Shinobi Ninja Rocks Hood

Kookin Sol

When you talk about funk, rock, and hip-hop, laced in the form of indie fire, one group comes to mind. Yes, Shinobi Ninja continues to pave the way for a new musical revolution.  In a world were genre defines your audience and how much success you should expect, Shinobi Ninja quickly reminds us that it’s never about that crap.  Duke Sims (D.A.), Baby G, Maniac Mike, Alien Lex, Dj Axis Powers, and Terminator Dave continue to create without boundaries, refusing to be marginalized by the constraints imposed by the music industry.  Fresh off performances at SXSW, these guys continue to mesmerize crowds through out the world.

The party mix below of Shinobi Ninja’s classic anthem, “Rock Hood,” is a blend of beats by Jeff and flows from the ninjas.  We sat down in the studio with Shinobi Ninja’s bass man Alien Lex and laid down these tracks last summer, ironically this was one of the last sessions we would collab on in  Shinobi headquarters located on 23rd St., in the heart of The Flatiron District.  The studio is no longer on 23rd, but the music we created continues to generate a buzz. This version is available for Deejay’s looking to add ‘Rock Hood’ (Party Mix) to their collection.  Please send your request for an mp3 to

The future looks bright for Shinobi Ninja, for more dates on upcoming performances check out the website at  Also, I have a beat tape that will be available this summer called, ‘Beet Juice,’ be sure to check it out as well.  Always remember that true music is from the heart, it can’t be defined by words because it’s marinated in authentic feelings and energy.  With that being said, it’s important to support groups like Shinobi Ninja because the work that they are putting in will eventually define new standards in the recording industry.



Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

 Artist Spotlight with Skematics

This semester we added a different element to ‘Kookin Sol,’ if you were tuned in last semester, we dealt with true music and great production. We also dealt with social justice and the power of our voices in the community. Although these issues still plague our inner cities, we decided to embrace some of the creative voices that are coming together to form a new music community. As a music maker, I see the undeniable dedication that these artists display on a daily basis; therefore we hope to present new music from new artists as we continue to work for equality and justice for all. I sincerely hope that you don’t sleep on this artist series; these artists are the voices of the future.

Our first artist hails from Washington Heights, NYC. He entered the game a few years ago with the single, “Hit Them Hard,” which was ironically produced by yours truly. Skematics went on to write music with industry notables like R.I.P. Sean Price and Saigon. He continues to shine as an underground artist that made the decision to represent good lyrics and quality music. Skematics recently completed his new EP titled, “Somewhere In The Gray” scheduled to be released early this spring. This project is sure to define Skematics voice and should solidify his ability to produce records in a climate where true music is fading quickly. Be sure to support this new project from my guy, the Dominican Dynamite, Skematics, he is no stranger to the kitchen, and is ready to serve the world that recipe he has just created through music.

Featured below is his new song titled, “Feels So Right.” Skematics takes us down a narrative path of a man who wants what he is not supposed to have. With a smooth hook featuring his home girl CrestaStarr, this track displays his maturity as an MC. Self produced; Skematics takes us on a journey reminiscent of the soul classics we grew up on! Also be sure to check out his first single featuring Saigon entitled, “4 Elements,” produced by PF Cuttin. This track lets us know that true hip-hop is still alive!  As a musician, I have witnessed the evolution of Skematics, on this project we got a chance to work together again on a track called “Understand Me.” Of course the creative process was exceptional, but more importantly we both continue to represent music, life, and equality. Do yourself a favor, download this guys new project, “Somewhere In The Gray,” be apart of history in the making. Peace.

click to follow Jeff on Twitter

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York. He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

As I write this, I have Microsoft Word open with nothing more than a title on the page. Even the title isn’t sitting well with me. It’s the beginning of a 5-6 page paper due next Friday for which I have a topic, enough background information, and websites for citation purposes. The words are just hard to come by. I’m writing here to vent my frustration with the sometimes overwhelming process of putting thoughts to paper.

In another Word window, I have some sentences down for a project I’m a bit more excited about, though there’s no grade given for that. That’s a personal project. Ideas came to mind, and it was best to write them down. I’ve always dreamed of making a film. Not for fame or fortune because I’m too much of a realist for that, but because it’s the best way I can think of to express some of life’s sensibilities. A diary. I’m not talking about some three hour epic, but something short; 10 minutes, 20 minutes. Maybe several 10-minute sequences over the course of time that add up to feature length. I can post them on a website dedicated to the project. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram play a part in promotion.

It’s all a struggle. It’s like sometimes your mind just becomes a cloud. The type of cloud with nothing going on inside. No lighting or thunder, no rain or snow. I write, not because I think I’m any good at it (I give myself credit for being pleasantly mediocre), but because it can be very rewarding. Here, I vent my frustration. On another page, an idea comes alive. That’s when I love it. The screen in front of me becomes a form of therapy. Getting started is the hardest part. Then I get started, and the first 500 words become the issue, though once you get into a groove, it can be an infectious feeling. One idea follows another and suddenly you’re several pages in without feeling like you’ve really tried.

What’s the best ending to your story? Forget the story, what’s the best ending to a paragraph? How do I make the simple thought a powerful one? I should let more prolific authors answer those questions. It’s possible the answer isn’t the same for everyone. We each get to a specific point in our thoughts, but go in different directions.

Despite all that, I’ve always been capable of a good paper. Give me a 5 page paper any day of the week over a 50 question multiple choice test. Studying for weeks for a test is arduous at best, excruciating in general. Writing is such an important part of being a student at CUNY SPS. Its helped me view my strengths and weaknesses in equal measure, and with time, improve those deficiencies.

One tip I can give that’s been helpful to me as of late is to find a song, or a type of music you like; something that helps you relax, or puts a smile on your face. Play that music when you write. Not so loud that it’s a distraction, but loud enough so that you feel whatever emotion you’re looking for in the moment. I’d always heard that classical music was a great motivator in the process. I tried it. I liked it. I also find inspiration in a terrific film score. Sometimes it’s dark and creepy, sometimes it’s melancholic, and other times it’s the uplifting sounds that might push you to a place of triumph, so to speak.

Some will use big, thoughtful words, and speak in terms you might not understand. I find as much value in that as someone who just writes what they think in even the simplest of ways. I’ll go back to my open Word windows now and try to piece it together bit by bit. I know it will get done, and done well. It just takes time.

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

Jeff’s Top 5

Crafting music for artists has changed tremendously within the last 40 years. From the days of Gamble and Huff laying down rhythms and melodies for the Ojay’s, to generating new music for the Black Eye Peas, technology has taken on a whole new meaning as we continue to create music. Nowadays one man has the ability to lay down numerous tracks, without an engineer, or additional musicians through music programs like Pro Tools and Reason.

As a musician, I decided to name the top five beat makers that influenced me to continue to make music. As technology continues to be a driving force in the creation of music, these guys have found a way to stay innovative. Also featured are a great list of honorable mentions, I feel that they are equally gifted and remain rooted in the art of creating music. In hindsight I left out Pete Rock, The Neptunes, Da Beatminerz, and D.I.T.C who also were very influential in the music industry and set a high standard when it came to making beats. Check out the video and let me know what you think, these are obviously my opinions and solely mint to inspire and encourage the next generation of music makers.

Jeff’s Top 5 Beat Makers:

  1. Dr. Dre
  2. DJ Premier
  3. Timbaland
  4. Erick Sermon
  5. RZA

***** This Blog is dedicated to the families and friends that lost a loved one on October 1, 2015 at Umpqua Community College.

Jeffrey C. Suttles is a Master of Arts candidate in Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute. He is an independent songwriter/musician who completed his undergraduate studies at The City College of New York.  He is currently a CUNY CAP student who continues to pursue career opportunities in publishing, communications, and the arts.

The wonderful world of Twitter is to thank for my latest blog post! A little over three weeks ago now, I was going through my normal morning routine by surfing through my three favorite websites (the NY Times Homepage, Gmail and Twitter) when I came across the actor Ed Burns’ latest post about a winner for a song for his new movie “Newlyweds.” That is where I quickly clicked on @mrpatmccormack and found the man who won the contest; which then lead me to his website and contacting him personally. At first I had to congratulate him on his winning and of course than thank him for us little people who try very hard to follow our dreams. He entered a contest and won a once in a lifetime dream! After a few emails back and fourth I asked him if he’d let me interview him for the CUNY blog and he said yes!

I asked Patrick to tell us a little bit about himself before we started the questions …. I’m a singer, songwriter and film composer originally from New England.  Last spring, I recorded and independently released my debut EP, “Fresh Paint.”  I pride myself as a self-sufficient recording artist, performing guitar, drums, piano, vocals and all other instrumentation.  I’ve spent the past 3 years living in Chicago, playing in my band, T & The Wonder, while writing and recording my original songs.  In addition to singing and songwriting, I spend equal time composing and producing instrumental music for independent films.

·     If you had to describe your music in three or four words, what would you call it?

Sentimental | Folk | Pop

·     What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Growing up in the 1990’s was a very inspiring time for popular music. When I heard stuff like Beck, Beastie Boys, or Cake all over the radio, it just seemed so relatable.  Even if it got me nowhere, making music is such a versatile form of expression. I felt like such an underachiever by NOT having a band, even when I was 10. As far as actually pursuing music, I saved up for a four track cassette recorder.  The first batch of simple folk songs I made on cassette really kickstarted my obsession with layering instruments and vocals.  That’s also when I realized you can make a record completely by yourself.  With enough practice, and commitment, I learned bass, guitar and drums; the brick foundation of every rock song.

·     I saw through Ed Burn’s personal Twitter Account that you’ve recently entered a contest sponsored by him through Twitter; can you tell us about that experience? How has it changed your career?

It was a huge surprise to me.  My friend Giancarlo even had to talk me into entering the contest.  Burns chose “Ovenbird” from my “Fresh Paint” EP.  This could not have been any easy choice for him, I think there were about 100 song submissions from some very serious musicians. Luckily, they had a pair of tickets to the premiere for me, so I flew into New York about 36 hours after finding out I had won. Very surreal.  The film was amazing, so just being attached to it was such a thrill.  Edward Burns was extremely encouraging when we spoke in person.  Getting complimented by such a legendary filmmaker,I couldn’t even mentally process it. A large part of my career focus is composing music for film.  Right now I’m scoring a few short films and other instrumental projects. Getting the credit of an Edward Burns film is a huge boost for my future in cinematic music.

·      What are your up-to-date performance plans? New Releases? Tours? News?

Sometime in the next week I will be releasing the “Mile Away” single, along with some other material.  This is a prelude to a new album, which has no official release date yet.  I’m at my home studio just about every day, working out the details of my new songs.  Should be around mid summer, so look for that. Currently, the “Fresh Paint” EP is ‘name your price’ on, in other words, FREE.  I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in independent music to download and listen.  Each track is original, and every instrument was performed by me, including all vocals.  I’m very proud of this EP and I can’t wait to share my next one.

I’d like to personally thank Patrick for lending me his time to answer these questions for his blog post! If you’d like to find out more about his work,  check out his website or follow him on Twitter @mrpatmccormack 

Louise Marie Russo is currently an undergrad at The School of Professional Studies majoring in Communication and Culture. She enjoys traveling, cooking, baking, photography as well as volunteering. Her goal one day is to work with a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless population of New York City and one day publishing a book of photography.