Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friday Night Lights – The Mixtape

I wanted to pay tribute to one of the finest television programs I have ever seen. 
Friday Night Lights is set in a small Texas town that is completely dedicated to, and obsessed, with high school football.

I never watched the show during its original run but I recently discovered it on DVD. By the third episode I was completely hooked.

I really enjoyed the writing and how it helped develop a wide range of characters. For a show about a football team, the town, the coach and his family, it could have easily been filled with cardboard incidental characters. But you really get to know and come to love the characters on the show.

As I got closer and closer to the final episode, I was sure I’d be sad to see the series come to an end. But it had such a powerful finale that was completely perfect and in tune with the essence of the series. As such, Friday Night Lights has made its way in to My Top 10 Favourite TV Shows of All Time.

Almost as soon as I’d finished watching the series, I started thinking about this mix. I did some research and found quite a few songs about football that I had never heard before. I also added a few songs about Texas, and one about a small town that sounds a lot like Dillon, Texas.

I hope you enjoy the mix. It seems that I’m working on creating an entire series of tapes based on televisions shows. It started with Lost, moved on to Doctor Who, and finally made its way to the football field for Friday Night Lights.

Here’s the song list. Each track blends into the other, in true mixtape fashion. It was a bit of a challenge considering the wide range of musical genres here, but it turned out better than I could have imagined. I love this mix and I hope you will too.

Thanks for listening.

W. G. Snuffy Walden – Friday Night Lights Theme
Mocean – NFL
High and Mighty – Friendly Game of Football
Kenny Star – The Blind Man in the Bleachers
Kenny Chesney – The Boys of Fall
Jason Aldean – Tattoos on this Town
Funeral for a Friend – The Art of American Football
The Ataris – San Dimas High School Football Rules
Rejectioneers – Get So Mad
Buddy Holly – That’ll Be the Day
Heartless Bastards – Sway
White Rabbits – Percussion Gun
Nas – Halftime
Explosions in the Sky – From West Texas
Jack Johnson – Mud Football
Fink – This is the Thing
Stereophonics – Rewind
Katy Perry – Last Friday Night
Masta Ace – Unfriendly Game
Wu-Tang Clan – Shame on a Nigga
Tony Lucca – Devil Town
Brad Paisley – Anything Like Me
Dixie Chicks – So Hard
Restless Heart – The Bluest Eyes in Texas
Never Meant – American Football

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

Women in Hip-Hop Mixset 2

This is the second mixset that Gamma Krush did for our 2nd annual International Women’s Day Spectacular for DOPEfm. You can download it for free or stream it with the player below.

We celebrated the day by dedicating all seven hours of our programming to the Women in Hip-Hop. If you missed the show or if you just want to have a copy of it to listen to whenever you want, the entire night’s worth of programming will soon be available as a free download. So far, I have already shared with you The Special and Gamma Krush’s first mixset.

We still have a lot more content to share with you so stayed tuned to Silent Cacophony for all of the free downloads and transcripts.

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

How to Beat Match and Mix Like a Pro

Beat matching is the art of laying two tracks over top of each other when transitioning between songs in a DJ set. It’s a difficult task and several things need to fall in to place to make a seamless mix.

First, the two songs should be fairly close in tempo. You can sometimes judge this by looking at the soundwave file on your computer screen or by counting the beats in your head. Other times, you can just feel when two songs will mix well together.

Being a DJ requires practice and skill. You need to have an ear for it and you need to know which tracks will work together and which ones won’t.

I made this video to demonstrate how to beat match and mix like a pro.

You can see that beat matching isn’t as easy as it looks, but I hope I’ve given you enough tips that you will be able to starting mixing and overlaying tracks to create your own mixtapes, radio shows, or podcasts.

Previous DJ Tutorials

The Book Whisperer – Get Your Students Reading!

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Read in Every Child by Donalyn Miller is an amazing book.

She writes . . .

The only groups served by current trends to produce endless programs for teaching reading are the publishing companies who make billions of dollars from their programs and tests.

I’ve know that for a long time. Many of these programs don’t get our students excited about reading. As such, our students do the bare minimum required and call it a day. That being said, I didn’t see much of an alternative to using these programs prior to reading this book.

Donalyn Miller is a sixth grade teacher and an avid reader. She shares this passion for reading with her students and gets them reading more than I ever thought was possible in the school year. She actually requires her students to read 40 books a year.

That I require students to read forty books may seem shocking when you are a student who has not read more than a book or two a year, but this hefty requirement prevents students from negotiating with me about whether they will read that much. Any teacher who expects students to read forty books is not going to accept a book or two. If I expect less, they would read less, or would wait until later in the school year to start. . .

By setting the requirement as high as I do, I ensure that students must have a book going constantly. Without the need to read a book every single day to stay on top of my requirement, students would read as little as they could. They might not internalize independent reading habits if my requirement expected less from them.

There are roughly forty weeks of school so that works out to a book a week. Normally, we get our students to read two books a year. Traditionally we do a novel study together as a class and then have the students write a book report on a book of their choosing. So this approach seems quite radical at first, but as I read this book, I became convinced that this would work in any classroom.

She sets genre requirements and has reading conferences with each and every student in class. The students become invested in their books and begin to internalize the reading process. They don’t just rush through the assigned readings to get it done because they don’t have assigned readings. They get to choose what they read.

I really love this book. Donalyn’s passion for reading and for reaching her students really shines through every page. She gives us practical tips to create a culture of readers in the classroom and I can’t wait to try out her ideas.

I also love how she gets her students using the small snippets of time that usually just get wasted every day. For example, her students bring their books to picture day and read quietly while waiting for their turn. They do the same thing as they wait for assemblies to start.

Miller writes, “I have commandeered this unstructured time for my students to read, and as a result, misbehavior at such times is almost nonexistent and my students rack up substantial reading time that they formally spent talking, getting into trouble, or standing around being bored.”

This is such an inspiring book. That is why I am added it to my Recommended Reads.

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Silent Cacophony Turns 5!

In March of 2007 I started this blog with a very specific goal. I wanted to become a published author and thought it would be a great idea to establish a presence online. So I started this blog with the goal and desire to become a published author within five years.

Well, tomorrow, this little blog celebrates its 5th birthday. It feels like a great accomplishment in and of itself and it is definitely worth celebrating.

I have fallen a little short of my goal of becoming a published author. However, I am not giving up on that dream. While it looks like it may not happen by the end of 2012, I am still dedicated to getting my name in print. It doesn’t matter how long it takes.

I am still writing and perfecting my craft. I will be participating in Script Frenzy again next month and in National Novel Writing Month in November. I plan on writing a Teaching Tip ebook later this year as well. So lots of things are in motion. I am currently working on a few revisions and hope to start sending out queries soon.

What I didn’t know when I started out this little blog was that it would become a hub for teachers. I was unaware that my Teaching Tip Tuesday posts would become a popular feature here on the blog. While the posts may not get much in the way of comments, they continue to give teachers what they are looking for and I’m glad.

I also had no idea that I would become part of a radio show and a regular contributor to a hip-hop magazine website. I am having so much fun producing radio segments, doing artist interviews, podcasting, and writing album reviews and articles.

Overall, I can say that my foray into the blogosphere has been a great experience. Thank you for tagging along with me.

Please leave a comment below and help celebrate my blogging birthday!


Women in Hip-Hop Mixset 1

Every year on DOPEfm we celebrate International Women’s Day by dedicating all seven hours of our overnight radio show to the Women in Hip-Hop.

This year we had an excellent show featuring artist interviews, a roundtable discussion, a Know Your History segment on the first lady of Canadian Hip-Hop, Michie Mee, and some great mixsets from Gamma Krush and myself.

This is the first of two mixsets that Gamma Krush did for the show. Each and every track is blessed by a woman. We are celebrating the great music that female artists contribute to hip-hop culture each and every single day here on DOPEfm.

Please download this show for free, stream it with the player below, share it with your friends, and put it on blast all summer long. And make sure you stay tuned to this blog for more coverage of our International Women’s Day Spectacular. Lots more to come!

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

DOPEfm’s International Women’s Day Special

Welcome to a very special edition of DOPEfm. This is our second annual International Women’s Day Spotlight where we focus all seven hours of our programming to the Women in Hip-Hop.

We have a lot of great content for you tonight including a roundtable discussion with three female MCs and a female hip-hop promoter. Here is a small clip of what you will hear later tonight in that roundtable. . .

Lady A.S.G.: “I guess you see it much more in what people would consider the mainstream to be very negative towards women. In the underground, I mean, we have three lady MCs in the house, so what more can I say?”

Nilla: “We have three MCs in the house. ‘A dope MC is a dope MC,’ KRS-One, ya know?”

A dope MC is a dope MC. Gender, race, class, etc, none of that should factor in to what makes an MC great and we have some great MCs on the program tonight. In the roundtable discussion you will hear Nilla, Kool Krys, and Lady A.S.G. We’ve been spinning their tunes for quite some time now on DOPEfm. Tonight you get to hear them talk about some important issues in hip-hop culture and how it relates to women and artists. Also on the panel is hip-hop promoter, Our Sis Sam. All four of these ladies have a lot to say. You won’t want to miss it.

After that, Gamma Krush is going to throw down some nice mixsets where every single track he plays will have been blessed by a woman, either on the microphone, on the production tip, or behind the turntables.

Speaking of behind the turntables, DJ Betti Forde will be calling into the program. We also have an exclusive interview with Money Stax. We will be sitting down, talking to her, spinning some of her great tunes from her projects Vicious Cycle, The Co-op, and Monopoly. Some great music there. You are definitely going to want to tune in, because once you hear her, you will become a fan.

Later tonight, I also have a special edition of Know Your History focusing on the first lady of Canadian hip-hop. And believe it or not she was the first Canadian artist to get a major record label deal. Her name is Michie Mee and we will be exploring her career and her music later tonight.

Lots of great things happening. Daddy J is executive producing the whole night, Gamma Krush is spinning some tunes, and I’m holding it down as usual. It’s going to be one heck of a show.

This is DOPEfm’s second annual International Women’s Day Spectacular.

International Women’s Day is on March 8th every year and has been celebrated for over 100 years now. It’s a day to celebrate and recognize the achievements of women.

I’m going to stop talking now and spin some tunes. DOPEfm is saluting the Women of Hip-Hop all night long. Please stay tuned, download the podcast, and share the music.

Lady Cam – Tribute to Female MCs
Speech Debelle – Live for the Message
Kool Krys / Eternia – Never Give You Up
Gabriel Teodros / Madlines the Lioness – Flow Throo
Bahamadia – Special Forces
Vicious Cycle – Goosebumps
Sa-Roc – Queen’s Philosophy
Amanda Diva – I Can See

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

OK Go (and) Show This Video to Your Class

OK Go are just as much visual artists as they are musical artists. Their videos are absolutely amazing. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have created this educational video about the primary colours. It’s perfect to share with your class when introducing this concept and the colour wheel.

And then you could show them my favourite music video of all time – OK Go, “Here It Goes Again”
I don’t know how they ever thought to combine treadmills to dance on, how long they must have practised this routine, or how it could be any cooler.

More Teaching Tips

A Gift Every 56 Days

Blood donation drive
Image via Wikipedia

Every 56 days, I take some time out of my busy schedule to do something very important, something that only about 3.5% of us do. I give blood.

I don’t have to go out of my way to do so either. Canadian Blood Services has many permanent clinics in cities all over the country. But they also operate mobile clinics at your local community centre or church.

It doesn’t take a lot of time. It doesn’t hurt, and it can help out someone in the hospital who really needs it.

The first thing they will do when you get to the clinic is to test the iron in your blood. They do this by pricking your finger. If your iron level is too low, you will not be able to give. After that, you see a nurse in a private office. She asks you some questions, checks your temperature and blood pressure before bringing you to the donation chair.

Those chairs are comfy. You sit back and relax as your blood is collected in a bag. It takes about ten minutes to donate. Then you get to go to the refreshment area where a volunteer will serve you a drink and offer you some cookies, Bits and Bites, a granola bar, or other snack.

The entire process takes less than an hour. And it can help save a life. Not enough people give blood so they are always looking for donors. There’s a clinic in my neighbourhood tonight. Hopefully I will see you there.

You can visit for more information on where you can give or call 1-888-2-Donate.

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DOPEfm’s International Women’s Day Spectacular TONIGHT

Tune in live TONIGHT starting at 12:00 midnight to hear DOPEfm’s annual International Women’s Day Tribute show.

We dedicate all 7 hours of our programming to the Women in Hip-Hop.

This year’s show is even bigger and better than last years.

You will hear some great mixsets from myself and from Gamma Krush where every single track we play will have been blessed by a woman. Either on the microphone, from the behind the turntables, or on the production tip.

We also have a very special round table discussion with 3 dope female MCs; Nilla, Lady A.S.G., and Kool Krys, and a hip-hop promotor, Our Sis Sam.

We will sit down and talk to Money Stax and play some of her great music. We also have an exclusive interview with DJ Betti Forde.

And, if that weren’t enough, we also have a special edition of Know Your History focusing on the first lady of Canadian hip-hop, Michie Mee.

I hope you will tune in live tonight wherever you are. There are several ways you can listen tonight.

  • Tune your radio dial to 93.3 fm if you live in the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada area.
  • Catch us online
  • Live radio by phone 1-704-772-7627. Station ID is 10042
  • Cogeco Cable Digital Channel 288 (Ontario)
  • Shaw Cable Radio 93.9 FM (Ontario)

Join WoMEn on the Radio

Today is International Women’s Day!

To celebrate the talent and achievements of women in hip-hop music and culture, DOPEfm will be dedicating the entire overnight to the Women in Hip-Hop. This is our second year of doing so and things are only getting bigger and better.

Please tune in live on Saturday night starting at 12:00 midnight as we take you straight through to Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m.

We have a lot of great programming to deliver this year. We will be highlighting the first Canadian rapper to ever get a major label record deal and yes, it was a woman. We will explore the career of Michie Mee and highlight some of her great music in a special edition of Know Your History.

Gamma Krush will be spinning tunes exclusively by female rappers and producers.

Chase March will be talking to rapper / producer Money Stax, who you might know from the groups Viscous Cycle, The Co-Op, and Monopoly. And if you don’t know the name, tune in because she’s got mad talent and you will sure to be won over by her. He will also have an exclusive interview with DJ Betti Forde.

We will have a special roundtable discussion featuring some great feamle MCs; Nilla, Kool Krys, and Lady A.S.G. Also on the panel will be one of Hamilton’s biggest music promotors, Our Sis Sam. We will be talking about women’s issues as they pertain to rap music and hip-hop culture. It’s sure to be something you won’t want to miss.

So get ready for Saturday night. Tweet this post, share it on Facebook, mark your calendars, and tell your friends. DOPEfm is the place to be Saturday night. You can listen live on your radio or online.

You can also catch all of last year’s programming today through the wonder of podcasting and the Internet.

Happy International Women’s Day Everyone!

40 Teaching Blunders (Or Opportunities)

English: 030901-N-6967M-064 Students in Bahrai...Image via Wikipedia

The Ottawa Citizen ran a story entitled Another 40 Business Bloopers and the teacher in me saw immediate parallels to the classroom.

Here are a few of my favourites from the article.

4. Not empowering subordinates to challenge and correct you.

Teachers make mistakes. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you make a mistake in the classroom. I know I’ve had a few occasions where a student has caught me making a small error or blunder. Every time this happens, I praise the student, make the correction, and use it as a teaching point to show that not only do we all make mistakes, but that we can help each other out to improve our own work.

8. Not understanding that feedback – from teachers, peers, staff – is a gift.

Students need to be taught to look at their marked work when they get it back, to look at the mistakes they have made, and to learn from them. This directly relates to point number 4 above. A bad mark on a paper or assignment is really an opportunity to improve on the next assignment. We should all strive to do our best and to use the feedback we get to make that happen.

10. Treating dissatisfied students as problems rather than opportunities.

I believe that there is a way to engage and to reach every child. This is the principle behind differentiated learning. It’s a difficult thing to do as we need to address a multitude of concerns in the classroom. But it can be done. We just need to pay attention to each and every student we teach.

13. Not keeping a special notebook or digital document to record ideas for new products and tactics.

Whenever I get inspired to try something new, I just try it. I like to improvise in the classroom and although I plan my lesson and day out very thoroughly, sometimes I will abandon that plan to try something new. Other times, I make a mental note, share something on Twitter or on Google+ that I know I want to try later.

17. Not telling students you have confidence in their decisions

If you show that you believe that your students are capable of making their own choices, they will often surprise you by not only meeting, but exceeded your expectations. They also need to hear this message, so make sure you tell them that you believe in them.

25. Settling for average. Never accept an idea, initiative or assignment  without asking “what could we do to make this unforgettable?”

If a student hands me a piece of work in which I know they haven’t put in their best effort, I will ask them if they think it is their best work. Half of the time, the student will look at it, say, “No,” and head back to his or her seat to improve the work. The other half of the time, the student needs a gentle reminder, or some coaching on how they can improve the work. This also relates back to point 8.

34. Not carving out more time for yourself. it’s not just about balance – you’ll get your best ideas when you’re relaxing, running, or playing with the kids.

Very true. There is often an avalanche of work on our desks and things calling for our attention. Some teachers work before school, after school, and bring work home. Don’t make your career a 24 hour / 365 day a year affair. I have a policy to Keep It At School that helps me keep that balance.

That was a useful exercise.

As teachers and students we can learn from everything around us, which I think is another great lesson we should pass on to our students.

Thanks to Randy Wilson for the story and the link. If you enjoy art, go check out some of his talented pieces.

For more Teaching Tips, check out the Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive or leave a comment below to add to the discussion.

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The Word is Bond Podcast (Free Download)

I’ve been working with The Word is Bond for almost a year now. They are an excellent hip-hop magazine website that provide you with informative articles, artist interviews, album reviews, and everything related to underground hip-hop.

We’ve been teasing you with this news for a while but today is the day we officially launch the brand new Word is Bond Podcast. I am very excited to be heading up this project. 
Without further ado, here is Show # 1.

House of Pain – Word is Bond
Brand Nubian – Word is Bond
Rashad and Confidence – Pen on Display
D-sisive – Mr. Romance
KRS-One – The Solution
The Funk League – Through Good and Bad
Defcee – Reasons Why
Quel and Maker – A Little Something
Whatson – These Days
Lee Reed – Same Old Same
Jae Fresh – Wronging
Theo 3 – I’ll Be Better
Bahamadia – Do What I Believe
Hassaan Mackey / Apollo Brown – Tell Me
LMNO – Free the Web
John Graham / Configa – Back 2 Basics
Torae / Rapsody – Let’s Rap

Please download it, share it with your friends, and enjoy the good tunes. 

This podcast is a joint venture between DOPEfm and The Word is Bond.

We will be bringing you dope mixsets, artist interviews, Know Your History episodes, roundtable discussions, and much, much more. I will be producing a new show each and every week.

Please subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss out on any of the great shows that will be coming your way each and every week.

A lot of this content will air on DOPEfm before it is podcasted so make sure you tune us in live each and every Saturday night on 93.3 on your radio dial from the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada area or worldwide on CFMU Online.

Comments are always welcome, as well as artist submissions and requests.

Thanks for tuning in.

Chasing Content – March 2011

It’s time to make an about-face and march back into the archives for a little feature we call Chasing Content. (gotta love all of those puns)

You can read all of the posts from March 2011

or just these favourites

300 Cassette Tapes – I used to tune in to the radio station every weekend to record rap shows. One of my favourite shows was the Mastermind Street Jam on Energy 108. I still have about 300 of those tapes dating all the way back to 1994.

5 Word Study Strategies to Use in Your Classoom – There are some great variations of Scrabble that will engage your students and have them working with words. Why not try these activities or games in your classroom?

Battle Scars – I was disappointed that I bashed up my brand new skateboard so quickly last year, but I am proud to say that it is still going strong. I love skateboarding!

DOPEfm’s Women in Hip-Hop Special – Last year, to mark the 100th celebration of International Women’s Day, we dedicated the entire overnight programming to the Women in Hip-Hop. We featured over eight hours of female fronted rap music. It was an amazing special and we will be doing the same thing this year. Stay tuned!

Women in Hip-Hop: Download – You can download all 9 parts of last year’s tribute to the Women in Hip-Hop. There are four mixsets from Gamma Krush, the interview I did with Kadyelle, and three episodes of Know Your History focuing on the accomplishments of the amazingly talented women in this culture.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Please leave comments on this or any other post that speaks to you!