Diary: Geneviève Mame Kodou Dieng

From True Laurels: The Overseas Issue. The zine will be available in our online shop Monday, April 20th. 

Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng

Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng

I just got my graphic designer diploma. I’m half French, half Senegalese. I always had a passion for drawing and never stopped since I was able to hold a pen and express myself on a piece of paper. I love how it always let’s me capture moments and the faces of life. One of my largest influences comes from the comics universe. I've always been fascinated by drawers like Druillet, Moebius and Crumb. My work reflects these influences both in my pictures and drawings. I just spent a month in Senegal doing a documentary on my family. What’s important for me is to share my work as it is made of the people for the people.

GMKD is my artist name : Geneviève Mame Kodou Dieng. I promised my dad to never forget my African roots so I have put my African name on my nickname! I love Martian stories, and stories about space, that’s why my emblem is a spaceship. For me, people like Erykah Badu, Sun Ra, Bad Brains, Funkadelics, The Cramps, Sex Pistols, The Specials, and so many more are kind of comics characters for me. That’s why I love to  find special people for my pictures. People who remind me of a comic world!

Senegal is fantastic for that because everybody reflects the sun and it shines in their smiles. Everyday I was so happy to see happiness and colors, especially for the spectacular pink and orange natural light flashing from the sunset.

I’ve taken a special interest in religion in Dakar These souls or these mystic spirits, demonstrations (appearances) of the deceased or animal divinities, can act on the tangible world...in a beneficial way or not. It is thus advisable to dedicate worship to them. So by definition: faith in the soul and in the future life, correlatively, faith in guiding divinities and subordinate spirits; it can characterize extremely diverse societies, situated on all the continents.

I’m a total fanatic of Japanese artists like Takeshi Kitano, Hayao Miyazaki, Suehiro Maruo, Wong Kar Wai and Katsuhiro Ōtomo as well. I love how they put a lot of colors with all this beautiful perfection. Since I was born I always dreamt to be a nice witch and fly on the GMKDIZ (my imaginary world). One day I will jump on my drawing and I will fly into the page of all the comics from this world!

All photos are taken by Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng, a French-Senegalese multidisciplinary artist. Follow her on Instagram.

Catching Up w/ True Laurels' Favorite Artists From 2014

2014 saw four new issues of True Laurels and while we wish we could have caught back up with every single artist featured, here's what seven artists from the zine took from this year and how they're going into 2015. Check it!

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Butch Dawson (True Laurels Vol. 2)

What was your favorite musical moment from 2014?

My favorite musical moment of 2014 was experiencing my first tour and first time in LA.

Best artist you got put onto?

I got put on to Thundercat this year and I listen to him all the time so he has to be my best artist.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned this year to carry over to 2015?

I've learned that things are possible for a Baltimore guy like me and for all musicians from Baltimore, and that i shouldn't doubt myself or have a conscience when it comes to taking the next step. I wanna be able to take my confidence into the next year and show myself that I'm capable of doing what I need to do.

Abdu Ali (True Laurels Vol. 1)

You've been very candid online with your take on the structure of our society this year. What's a more fitting explanation: The world's bullshit making you more conscious or is your increased level of consciousness hipping you to the bullshit?

It's a combination of both: me being more conscious/educated on the shade of society and the current events of shade that have taken place as well. Both sort of provoke each other to come about. Also with age comes wisdom. As you get older, if fortunate, you become less blind and your perception of the world you live in starts to become more raw and real.

Something you did that even surprised you this year?

At the last Kahlon, during my performance I got too overwhelmed by the energy and became very emotional and idk. It was an out-of-body experience I had on stage for the first time, it was a lot to deal with. I loved it though. It was like I saw and felt that burning bush, as if "god" came down to me touched me and spoke to me.

3 Essential Do's & Don'ts for DIY touring.

Do: Be vegan. Drink a gallon of water everyday. Sleep as much as possible (fuck going out to sight see and all that). Don't: Eat bad. Smoke or Drink. Don't hold any emotions or feelings in.

Your most valuable takeaway from 2014? 

To do the most you can, be uninhabited, and try to stay calm and positive. All three are vital. And try to be healthy as fuck. Drink a gallon of water a day. Try to eat meat once a week or twice. Or never. And vitamins are bullshit. They basically don't work. Most herbal supplements are bullshit because they are cheaply manufactured and can fuck your body up. If anything use raw herbs or powders. Get mad iodine (salt with iodine or from sea plants), b12 (veggies or a high quality b12 product that contains no cyanide), vitamin d (from sunlight or uv light) in your body. FOOD IS THE BEST MEDICINE.

UNIIQU3 (True Laurels Vol. 5)

Overall, club music seemed to have reemerged as a leading genre of interest on the web this year. As an artist in that field, how'd it make you feel?

To see something that we just grew up on grow to be enjoyed and accepted internationally was beyond amazing. It also gave me hope and reassurance that I'm doing something right, as far as my music career goes. Overall it's just a blessing. 

You were on the road a lot this year. What was your best and worst touring experience?

This year was my first year being on the road. My best experience would have to be traveling to Australia. It's half ways around the world and it was my first tour! The whole thing was an amazing experience. My worst experience would have to be when I was getting picked up from the airport one time, my driver had the wrong name on the board so I walked around the ground transportation for an hour, but eventually I found him. 

5 mixes you really rocked with from 2014?

That's kinda hard, I'm such a music junkie but here you go!

1.  Pause FadetoMind :: Kingdom b2b Rizzla b2b Prince Will - Fade to Mind on Rinse FM - 10.9.2014

2.  Pelicanfly :: Dj Slow - As The World Turns Slow Chapter 1 

3. FILTHYRICHTAJ - xoChill

4. BEASTONLEASH :: SICH MANG - WARKSTAP FOR TRADER JOE'S MIX P3

5. The FADER FADER Mix: UNIIQU3

What's a non-music-related goal you have for 2015?

I really want to be the best version of Cherise I can be, and I'm well on my way there. 

B L A C K I E (True Laurels Vol. 2)

You've been a fighter through your music since Day 1. Has this year's heightened exposure to police killing black men added more fuel to your fire?

Not really. Not at all. I'm focusing on making sure my family is living good and all that outside of music. That's the first & only real battle. I got a black child. Fuck the police state. Fuck these tyrants.

Something you HAVE to get better at in 2015.

I want to get better at maintaining my own personal solitude. Kick all the fakes, flakes and mistakes to the dumpster.

Something new you learned about yourself this year?

This year I learned I can move on in my life and not let anyone (even myself) restrain me.

Three albums that got the most spins from you in 2014?

Ola Playa - Slime Season

Blunt Fang - 777 #1 Hits

Deftones - White Pony

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Chrissy Vasquez (True Laurels Vol. 4)

What was your biggest challenge of 2014?

My biggest challenge in 2014 was going to summer school and going on the Freakshow Tour. I had to wake up early in the a.m for a straight month and ride my Huffy bike to school while going out of town on weekends, coming back to school exhausted and not ready to pass some days. In general, it's hard trying to level out school and performing. It's like, "Okay do I take this chance and be half sleep in the morning while the school bus is 20 minutes away?" and I always did it. To be able to express is a blessing. 

What artists did you listen to the most this year?

Artists I listen to the most: Nas. 2Pac, Crystal Castles, Andre 3000, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu. Can't forget the good bike rides listening to Earl Sweatshirt. I listen to tons of artist and tons of genres. So it's not as if I listen to the same people everyday.

You're always carrying around a gallon of water. What health tips can you lend us going into next year?

Yes. I try my best to drink a gallon of water a day. Your body and my body needs water. I've transitioned from a vegetarian to a vegan, it being a full year now. I'm not saying in order to be healthy you have to drop the meat and lift the veggies...however, that would be a good option. I recommend everyone to eat many servings of vegetables and fruit a day. It's many fun things you can do with your food to make a healthy lifestyle not so bland. I enjoy making a good vegan meal with a spot of green tea. Sip it, it's good for you and very relaxing. Everyone should have up to 2 spots of tea a day. For my protein I like to eat beans and eat tree nuts...and digging my finger in the peanut butter jar. Be optimistic when it comes to having a colorful diet. Broccoli is your friend. Pineapples love you. Always remember that you can either look at your body as a trash can or a temple, and that what you eat on a daily basis can either better you or harm you in the long run.

Was there anything you read that changed your perspective?

I'm in the process of reading "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. To sum it up, it talks a lot about the mental and how you can think positively and act on your goals, pushing them to your full potential. Most of the people who are successful now is because it took hard work and a smooth thought process. You can do anything you desire as long as you strive for it. In the book he talks about successful people and situations where a blockage may come into your life and you just have to bite your way through it. I'm not going to summarize the entire book, but here's something I underlined: "Tolerance and an open mind are practical necessities for the dreamer of today. Those who are afraid of new ideas are doomed before they start."

Hi$to (True Laurels Vol. 3)

With some of your peers being featured in both Boiler Room's Baltimore and Jersey club episodes, how were you affected? Were you motivated?

I was definitely moved and more confident in being next. I've payed attention to these people for years prior to moving to Baltimore and I get respect from most of them featured in both episodes. I have a few joints with TT The Artist, a remix I'm working on for James Nasty, and I'm working on a beat I want UNIIQU3 to hop on for my next tape. I met Sliink again around this time last year and talked to him about working before but he was touring heavy over seas after that. One day.

What there a moment this year that made you really miss Houston?

Not really but I say that because I spent three months in Houston over the summer. But if there was a moment, it was definitely SXSW. I missed out on it this year and I usually kick it in H-town before I go to Austin. 

Did you develop any new musical routines during the year?

I've been practicing  new scratch techniques on the turntables. I learned a personal technique where I can knock out remixes within a day. And I'm currently working on fusing visuals I create with my sounds right now for my short film dropping next year. 

Four tracks that never left your rotation in 2014? 

That's kinda hard but my favorites I mostly play are:

Lakim- "Rent4"

iLoveMakonnen - "Don't Sell Molly"

DJ Rashad - "Do It Again"

HI$TO & Gianni Lee - "Shake"

Asaad (True Laurels Vol. 2)

What's your proudest moment of 2014?

The entire 2014. The fact that I stopped lying.

You were on the road with Ab-Soul for the These Days Tour. Your three favorite stops and why?

Chicago because I like the thrill. Toronto because I'm Drake there lol. Madison, Wisconsin was a great vibe. 

I saw online you were talking about getting your health right this year. What was your method?

I rid the lying, rid the stress, told the truth and got some rest. 

Your 5 favorite tracks from the year? 

Lil Mouse- Don't Get Smoked

Asaad- Blue Note Entendre 

Pharrell- Gust Of Wind

Rick Ross Feat. Yo Gotti- Trap Luv

Chief Keef- Faneto 

Diary: Chrissy Vasquez

 Photo: Keem Griffey

 Photo: Keem Griffey

Today I realize that I'm not like many people. As I've been told my entire life by many people. I'm similar to my music, my music is me. Different...astranged...created off earth. Where ever I go, my music goes with me. Journeys written into a melodic tune. It flows in my head through times of melancholy and when I feel joy it takes off into my body. Wave length. Taking off in to outer space. Let me go so I can free my mind. I swing my maschete full of treble cleffs, eight notes, do...re....me's...fa's...and sorrows. I'll blow you away baby, blow you away. Chrissy Vasquez. That's what they call me. I smile. As well, I'm hesitant. As I step on stage. The tune plays, I sway my hips and range my vocals with my hand. Strange voice. Numb and glazed. They didn't expect this, did they? Capturing pictures of the essence. Fifteen minutes...only fifteen minutes. Fifteen fucking minutes.

As they applauded, the noise filled up the room. The smell of drunk, the smell of fucked up...I still smelt a scent of love.

Love is universol. Love is all you need.

...

I grew up...without love. I grew up, with heartaches. The house on Rogers Ave, living bottom under the crack addict on top of us. I struggled. I've seen more than you think. You'd think the only thing I'd be witnessing in a child stage is the frog pad, and cartoon figures on the televsion screen. I knew what guns were before I even seen one, I knew what fear was because I scent it. I knew what pain was. It was all around me. Mami don't cry, I will protect you. The cops knocked the door down...

Love...love.........it's out here. Mami...do you hear me? Love...love.

He blacks out.

Follow Chrissy Vasquez on Twitter: @CHRISSYVSQZ



Weekly Faves: Saint Heron + Death Grips + Da Mafia 6ix + Vinyl Vagabonds

Overall, the week was tight. Got a new project from Three 6 Mafia (I hate calling them Mafia 6ix), Death Grips dropped an album, I'm still stuck on B L A C K I E's record and Solange came through with an R&B compilation. Shoutout to Smash Records in D.C.! They'll be selling copies of True Laurels Vol. 1 (the first issue of my zine!) and I came out with an ill Jimi Hendrix record (Band of Gypsys) and an album by a group called The Drifters. Also while in there, I came across this tight zine called Vinyl Vagabonds out of D.C. So here are my favorite music-related things from the week:

 

1. Death Grips- Government Plates  

Wednesday evening every major music outlet tweeted that Death Grips had just released an album without any prior promotion—Government Plates. I'm actually more into how the record was released than I am the music. The idea was a good contrast to the usual hashtag overload simultaneous countdown we get for most people's music and videos but with Death Grips is seems to be a calculated "We don't care" thing when it's obvious that their stunts are not by chance. On the whole, with a few listens in, this record is Death Grips moving into a more abstract, instrumental phase; A good deal of the album is repeated lines over crazy production or a lot of the time, there are no vocals. The intro, "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" is killer. The project's production is great and, intentions aside, the method of release was unexpected and added to the experience of listening.

 

2. Mafia 6ix- 6ix Commandments 

As you can see in the review in my previous post, I didn't have much hope in a Three 6 Mafia record that wouldn't have regular contributions from Juicy J or Project Pat. On top of that, all the members who were contributing (DJ Paul, La Chat, Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca and Lil Wyte) haven't all worked together at once in over ten years. I was wrong, though. This is HCP's best project since Da Unbreakables. No one seemed out of touch, or, or reaching for something that wasn't there. Felt good to hear everybody back together on "Body Parts".

 

 

 

3. Various Artists- Saint Heron 

If you didn't catch it back in January, Solange had a moment on twitter as she checked hipster writers who have no idea about what hip-hop culture is really about. A bad write-up on Brandy's 211 album is what got her going. She said "So you can stop acting like it just popped off last year for R&B. Like it just got interesting and experimental." She didn't sit around and just complain either. In May she announced that, through Sony, she had launched her own record label, Saint Records. We got Saint's first project this week—a compilation titled, Saint Heron. Rightfully, the album is very right now—something Solange seemed determined to express, that current R&B has a wide array of gifted artists. While not all original, it includes songs from Jhene Aiko, Kelela, BC Kingdom, Jade J, Iman Omari, Sampha, Cassie, Petite Noir, Starchild, India Shawn and a closer by Solange. Current R&B's love with the '90's that they group up in is evident but the joining of that era with our Hip-Hop/EDM production gives most of the artists featured a leg up in the "R&B is stuck" argument.

 

4. Vinyl Vagabonds

This isn't a project or song title (although it would be sick). Last night while in the Adams Morgan district in D.C., I dropped some zines off to Smash Records and started to get into other zines in the shop. I came across one called Vinyl Vagabonds. It's an extension of this blog , of the same name. I couldn't put it down! The writers exclusively review vinyl albums—ones that they find, buy or are given. That's what I love most about it; they give anything a chance and review it from an outside angle, while still referencing other artists that they absorb on the regular. Props to them.

True Laurels Zine Release/ KAHLON Photos

If you were at The Crown in Baltimore this past Saturday to celebrate the birth of KAHLON/True Laurels zine launch, THANK YOU. We packed it out and danced all night. Shoutout to everyone that came to the table to buy a zine and chat it up with me. Big ups to Al Rogers, Abdu Ali, TT The Artist, David Revlon, Gurl Crush and Ponyo for giving a crazy show. If you didn't catch me at The Crown, the zine will be available to purchase online very soon and keep checking the site to see online features of those highlighted in the issue. Thanks to Jonathan Hanson and Abdu for the photos. Also peep the cover and Table of Contents for the zine!

KAHLON: All Night Rager + True Laurels Zine Release Party

If you're in Baltimore next Saturday (November 9th) you should definitely come be a part of KAHLON—an all night dance party and rager with live sets by my friends Abdu Ali, TT The Artist, Ponyo, Gurl Crush and David Revlon. But best of all, KAHLON will also be the release party for the first issue of True Laurels' zine! I've been working on this for a while and I'm excited to finally share a physical component of the blog with people who've been reading from the start and anyone who happens to stumble by. Overall, it's a collection of conversations and insight with people that inspire me a great deal. Catch Cities Aviv, Abdu Ali, DUOX, Modi (DCtoBC/Trillectro), Neil Martinez-Belkin, TT The Artist and 83 Cutlass in the first issue, along with contributions from some talented friends! I've been fiending for a more personal connection with artists that are featured through interviews, profiles or docs in various pubs, so that was the aim for the zine—intimate moments with those who push the culture forward. Without mouthing my way to completely defeating the purpose of an invite for its release, come by The Crown (1910 N. Charles St., 2nd Fl) next Saturday. For those not in Baltimore, some online components of the zine will be posted soon after the release.

RSVP to KAHLON here!