Thursday, January 22, 2004
After seeing singer Yvette Brooks perform at a Salinas open mic night, producer/MC Roy Waxx knew he had to work with the young woman. So after Brooks’ performance of “Brown Eyes,” an original song, Waxx made sure that the talented vocalist left with his phone number.
Now, two and a half years later, the duo called Another Option is ready to share their music with the rest of the world. A four-song demo CD proves that the outfit is able to craft both contemporary neo-soul songs and smooth, positive hip-hop.
On “Soulmate,” Waxx half raps, half croons about a girl he has just met at a café. It sounds like it could be The Roots doing an R & B song. On “Yak Yak,” Brooks sings the song’s verses in almost a whisper, before letting loose on a chorus that would put “singers” like J. Lo to shame.
Waxx’s “My Ol’ Lady” starts with the rapper dedicating the song to his mother, before he starts to rhyme over a drum beat, some piano music and another man’s plaintive moaning and singing. The lyrics provide an unflinching view of a poverty-stricken childhood: “Can’t forget having to sleep with two socks on my toes/ Getting up to use the bathroom and the toilet was froze/ Going to open up the cabinets, seeing nothing but roaches/ Around the last can of beans as hunger approaches.” By the end of the song, Waxx is vowing to become successful so that he can buy his mother comfortable shoes and a king-sized bed.
Waxx, who says he just reports on real life, says he believes that “My Ol’ Lady” is one of his best songs. “I think that is the realest song I ever wrote,” he says. “The most revealing—that’s for sure.”
On the demo’s last song, “Guilty,” Brooks displays her vocal prowess
over a simple, repetitive drumbeat. Though the song sounds like it
features an army of vocalists, the whole song is actually Brooks
trading lines and duetting
The demo highlights the similarities and differences between the two performers. While Brooks says that her songs are about “life experiences, feelings and emotions,” Waxx admits that he likes to write about “more graphic things.”
Right after their meeting at the open mic night, Brooks and Waxx realized that they had something in common. “We are both into poetry,” Brooks says.
Though tonight is Brooks’ and Waxx’s first gig together under the name of Another Option, both of the Salinas residents are seasoned performers. Brooks used to be in the Salinas group Dubwize, and she still hops up onstage at some of the reggae band’s shows for a couple of songs. Waxx has also been known to jump up and share the mic with Dubwize, but he is probably best known as half of a hip-hop duo called Afficial Poetz with another Salinas rapper named Black Flame.
In addition to Another Option’s CD, both artists hope to release solo albums by the end of the year. Brooks calls her work-in–progress a mix of several styles of music. “It is kind of a rollercoaster of different emotions,” she says.
Tonight’s performance will feature solo tracks by Brooks and Waxx, a few Afficial Poetz songs with Black Flame, and a handful of songs by Another Option.
Another Option perform at Lava Lounge, in Club Octane, 321 Alvarado St., Monterey, Thursday, 10pm. No cover. 646-9244.