Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Tribute to William Fessler

A Tribute to William "Bill" Fessler
10/15/46 - 4/5/18
#MrFess

This is the tribute I wrote for my dad's Celebration of Life (funeral) Service on Saturday, April 14, 2018. It was read during the service by my good friend and music colleague, Nii "NiiBox" Mensah, as there was no way I was going to get through it.




I’ve only ever looked up to three men; my father, my cousin Dan, and Michael Jordan.
My father wore shoes I spent my life trying with fever to fill.
He was the model of a man I broke countless molds trying to replicate.
And my Dad was the bar I strategically placed each of my ladder rungs under, attempting to reach.
I never will.
But I came from him, I learned from him, and I inherited many of his greatest qualities and endearing traits…along with some of the bad and much of the “strange”.
So while I was scrambling to match his stride, my Dad was calmly just providing me with everything I needed to be a great man in my own right.
That’s who my Dad is.
The most incredible father and mentor I could ever have asked for.


My Dad was complex and calculated, brilliant and beautiful.
My Dad was simple values and humility, loyalty and love.
He was the serenity of a single drop in the ocean,
and the passionate dance of spinning galaxies.
He was special.


As a husband, father, grandfather, brother, father-in-law, uncle and friend, my Dad was happy and content. He deeply loved his family and friends, and accepted people for who and what they were. He had the uncanny ability to connect with anyone, on some level or another. Life was measured in moments and memories, stories and jokes, and smiles and laughs.
As an individual, my Dad was driven with an impassioned hunger for success and excellence. He quested perfection at every turn, and pushed himself to the limits of his abilities. Be it his career, collections, hobbies, or personal goals, my Dad raced the mirror’s reflection, undeterred by obstacles. He did this not for glory, but personal satisfaction.
I often marvel at how he mastered that balance. A symbiotic harmony of life; robust yet fragile, and not for the weak of mind and heart. My Dad was both sides of the coin, soaring free and unrestrained with each flip. But he didn’t leave things to chance. He knew every degree of the flight path of every coin flip. He was self-made, the sculptor and puppet master of his own destiny.

My Father took great pride in his career. His accomplishments and impact were monumental. And he absolutely loved to talk about his work. But when my Dad spoke about his career, it was never about his personal successes or accolades. It was stories of people, interactions, travels, new experiences, meals shared, and relationships formed.  That’s the character of a champion. And that’s how I will always remember my Dad. As a champion.  

My Dad was the singular spot in space and time where math met poetry, where science met art, where logic met compassion, and where life met love. He was the first and the last stitch in the intricate tapestry that hangs in all of our hearts. He was both sides of the coin, an invaluable coin we all inherited. And because of this, we are all rich with a wealth measured in moments and memories, smiles and laughs, and life-lessons and love.
That’s who my Dad is.

So thank you, Dad.
Thank you for your life.
And thank you for mine.
Thank you for being the man and father I look up to. For being an inspiration to live life to its fullest. To respect and cherish what truly matters, while never being afraid to chase dreams.

Thank you, Dad.
I miss you, and I love you.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Dr. Mickel's Golden Era Playlists Vol. 5




Ruckus Squad anthems – the Hip Hop tracks DaJuan, Nate, L and I used to bump and roll to like crazy (circa 1998. Twin Cities, Minnesota).

1 – Intro
DMX
DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

2 – Y’all Niggas Ain’t Ready
Def Squad (Erick Sermon, Redman, Keith Murray)
Def Squad – El Nino

3 – Sparkle
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

4 – Just Ballin’
Do or Die
Do or Die – Headz or Tailz

5 – Black Trump
Cocoa Brovaz feat. Raekwon
Cocoa Brovaz – The Rude Awakening

6 – Da Joint
EPMD
EPMD – Back In Business

7 – Race Against Time
Ja Rule
Ja Rule – Venni Vetti Vecci

8 – Writin’ Rhymes
Timbaland & Magoo
Timbaland & Magoo – Welcome to Our World

9 – Let Me Fly
DMX
DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

10 – Killin’ Em Softly
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

11 – Hed
Noreaga feat. Nature
Noreaga – N.O.R.E.

12 – Night Riders
Boot Camp Clik (Steele, Tek, Buckshot)
Boot Camp Clik – For The People

13 – Coolie High
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

14 – Beautiful Skin
Goodie Mob
Goodie Mob – Still Standing

15 – My Niggas
DMX
DMX – Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood

16 – A Night in the Bronx with Lord and Gunz
Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz
Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz – Make It Reign

17 – Izzy Izzy Ahh
Missy
Missy – Supa Dupa Fly

18 – Rather Fuck You
Akinyele
Akinyele – Aktapuss

19 – Runnin’
[various artists] – Tupac, Notorious BIG, Outlawz, Stretch, Buju Banton
One Million Strong The Album

20 – Down Bottom
Ruff Ryders (Drag-On, Juvenile)
Ruff Ryders – Ryde or Die vol. 1

21 – Black Connection
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

22 – Keep Your Shit The Hardest
DMX
DMX – Flesh Of Me Flesh Blood Of My Blood

23 – DMX Freestyle over Mobb Deep’s Give Up The Goods
Funkmaster Flex feat. DMX
Funkmaster Flex – The Mixtape vol. III

24 – Pimpology
Do or Die
Do or Die – Headz or Tailz

25 – Fuckin’ Wit D
DMX
DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

26 – It’s Murda
Ja Rule feat. DMX, Jay-Z
Ja Rule – Venni Vetti Vecci

27 – Lil’ Sum Sum
Do or Die
Do or Die – Headz or Tailz

28 – K.I.M.
EPMD feat. Redman, Keith Murray
EPMD – Back In Business

29 – Top Shotter
DMX feat. Sean Paul, Mr. Vegas
Belly Soundtrack

30 – 15 After Da Hour
Timbaland & Magoo
Timbaland & Maggo – Welcome to our World

31 – Fuck Dat
Onyx feat. All City, Bubba Smith, X-1
Onyx – Shut ‘Em Down

32 – Fuck Me For Free
Akinyele
Akinyele – Put It In Your Mouth

33 – Sparkle (Mr. Midnight Remix)
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

34 – Suicide Freestyle
Ja Rule feat. Case
Ja Rule – Venni Vetti Vecci

35 – Sometimes
Noreaga
Belly Soundtrack

36 – Feel It
Timbaland & Magoo
Timbaland & Maggo – Welcome to our World

37 – Ruff Ryders Anthem (Remix)
DJ Clue feat. DMX, Drag-On, Eve, Jadakiss, Styles P
DJ Clue – The Professional

38 – Ain’t No Way
DMX
DMX – Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood

39 – Can U Dig It?
Def Squad (Erick Sermon, Redman, Keith Murray)
Def Squad – El Nino

40 – Kill ‘Em All
Ja Rule feat. Jay-Z
Ja Rule – Venni Vetti Vecci

41 – Damien
DMX
DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

42 – Beep Me 911
Missy feat. 702
Missy – Supa Dupa Fly

43 – Nigguz Theme
Ja Rule
Ja Rule – Venni Vetti Vecci

44 – Bring Your Whole Crew
DMX
DMX – Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood

45 – React
Onyx feat. 50 Cent, Bonifucco, Still Livin’, X-1
Onyx – Shut ‘Em Down

46 – Still Po Pimpin’
Do or Die
Do or Die – Headz or Tailz

47 – Say Word
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

48 – They Don’t Wanna Fuck Wit Me
Missy feat. Timbaland
Missy – Supa Dupa Fly

49 – X Is Coming
DMX
DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

50 – Nicky Barnes (It’s Alright)
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

51 – Luv 2 Luv U
Timbaland & Magoo feat. St. Nick, Playa
Timbaland & Magoo – Welcome to our World

52 – Black Nostaljack
Camp Lo
Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night

53 – I Love My Life
Noreaga feat. Carl Thomas
Noreaga – N.O.R.E.

54 – Ride The Rodeo
Crucial Conflict feat. Toi
Crucial Conflict – The Final Tic

55 – No Love 4 Me
DMX feat. Drag-On
DMX – Flesh Of My Flesh Blood Of My Blood

56 – Gangsta Shit
DJ Clue feat. Jay-Z, Ja Rule
DJ Clue – The Professional

57 – Off The Books
The Beatnuts feat. Big Punisher, Cuban Link
The Beatnuts – Stone Crazy

58 – Grand Finale
[various artists] – Method Man, Nas, DMX, Ja Rule
Belly Soundtrack

59 – It’s On
DJ Clue feat. DMX
DJ Clue – The Professional

60 – ATF
DMX
DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot

61 – Put It In Your Mouth
Akinyele
Akinyele – Put It In Your Mouth


Monday, January 22, 2018

Dr. Mickel's Golden Era Playlists Vol. 4


The Hip Hop soundtrack to my crew’s summer of 1996 in Northern Virginia (Fairfax County), Washington D.C. metro. It’s all tracks from albums released January-August of ’96. They’ll be a R&B list down the road, and of course we had some DC Go Go sprinkled in!

1 – Feelin’ It
Jay-Z
Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

2 – Coolie High
Camp Lo
The Great White Hype Soundtrack

3 – High ‘Til I Die
Tupac
Sunset Park Soundtrack

4 – Perfect Match
Cella Dwellas
Cella Dwellas – Realms ‘N Reality

5 – My Crew Can’t Go For That
Trigger Tha Gambler feat. Smoothe Da Hustler
The Nutty Professor Soundtrack

6 – Don’t Front / Let’s Chill
Shyheim feat. Lamisha Grinstea
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

7 – If I Ruled The World
Nas feat. Lauryn Hill
Nas – It Was Written

8 – 1nce Again
A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes and Life

9 – Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check
Busta Rhymes feat. Rampage
Busta Rhymes – The Coming

10 – The Nod Factor
Skillz
Skillz – From Where?

11 – Breaker 1, Breaker 2
Def Squad (Erick Sermon, Redman, Keith Murray)
The Nutty Professor Soundtrack

12 – Shoot ‘Em Up
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
The Great White Hype Soundtrack

13 – Ready or Not
The Fugees
The Fugees – The Score

14 – I Gave You Power
Nas
Nas – It Was Written

15 – Picture Me Rollin’
Tupac feat. Danny Boy, CPO, Big Syke
Tupac – All Eyez On Me

16 – Funkorama
Redman
Insomnia – The Erick Sermon Compilation Album

17 – Can’t Knock The Hustle
Jay-Z feat. Mary J. Blige
Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

18 – I Must Confess
Too Short
Too Short – Gettin’ It (Album Number Ten)

19 – Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka
Heltah Skeltah feat. O.G.C.
Heltah Skeltah – Nocturnal

20 – Itzsoweezee
De La Soul
De La Soul – Stakes Is High

21 – Real Bad Boys
Shyheim
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

22 – Everything Remains Raw
Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes – The Coming

23 – Ain’t No Nigga
Jay-Z feat. Foxy Brown
Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt / The Nutty Professor Soundtrack

24 – As The…
Passion
Insomnia – The Erick Sermon Compilation Album

25 – Ain’t Nuthin’ 2 It
MC Eiht
MC Eiht – Death Threatz

26 – Heartz of Men
Tupac
Tupac – All Eyez On Me

27 – The Hop
A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes and Life

28 – The Message
Nas
Nas – It Was Written

29 – 4 More
De La Soul feat. Zhane
De La Soul – Stakes Is High

30 – Shit Iz Real
Shyheim
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

31 – Buy You Some
Too Short feat. Erick Sermon, MC Breed, Kool-Ace
Too Short – Gettin’ It (Album Number Ten)

32 – How Many Mic
The Fugees
The Fugees – The Score

33 – Fear
Tommy Gunn
Insomnia – The Erick Sermon Compilation Album

34 – Ratha Be Ya Nigga
Tupac feat. Richie Rich
Tupac – All Eyez On Me

35 – Dead Presidents II
Jay-Z
Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

36 – Take It In Blood
Nas
Nas – It Was Written

37 – Stakes Is High
De La Soul
De La Soul – Stakes Is High

38 – Dear God
Shyheim feat. Pop Da Brown Hornet
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

39 – It’s That Hit
Keith Murray
Insomnia – The Erick Sermon Compilation Album

40 – Letha Brainz Blo
Heltah Skeltah
Heltah Skeltah – Nocturnal

41 – The Bizness
De La Soul feat. Common
De La Soul – Stakes Is High

42 – What Makes The World Go Round
Shyheim feat. Rubbabanz, Trigger That Gambler, Smoothe Da Hustler, DV Alias Khrist
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

43 – Brooklyn’s Finest
Jay-Z feat. The Notorious BIG
Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

44 – Affirmative Action
Nas feat. AZ, Foxy Brown, Cormega
Nas – It Was Written

45 – I Feel It
L.O.D.
Insomnia – The Erick Sermon Compilation Album

46 – Got My Mind Made Up
Tupac feat. Tha Dogg Pound, Method Man, Redman
Tupac – All Eyez On Me

47 – Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby
De La Soul feat. Zhane
De La Soul – Stakes Is High

48 – The Score
The Fugees
The Fugees – The Score

49 – 5 Elements
Shyheim feat. Down Low Recka, June Lova, Rubbabanz
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

50 – Abandon Ship
Busta Rhymes feat. Rampage
Busta Rhymes – The Coming

51 – Phony Rappers
A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes and Life

52 – Late Nite Hype (Part 2)
MC Eiht
MC Eiht – Death Threatz

53 – Never Talk Down
Too Short feat. Rappin’ 4-Tay, MC Breed
Too Short – Gettin’ It (Album Number Ten)

54 – 22 Two’s
Jay-Z
Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt

55 – Live Nigga Rap
Nas feat. Mobb Deep
Nas – It Was Written

56 – Big Brother Beat
De La Soul feat. Mos Def
De La Soul – Stakes Is High

57 – Can You Feel It
Shyheim feat. June Lova, King Just
Shyheim – The Lost Generation

58 – The Set Up
Nas feat. Havoc
Nas – It Was Written

59 – Tha Crossroads
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony [single]