With 2017 coming to a much needed close, we have another dope single from The Ghost Of Len Bias EP entitled "Tom Sheppard". If you are a nostalgic cat that fiends for 90's Hip Hop culture, you will get the reference as the basketball character (portrayed by Leon) searching for his identity in the hood classic Above The Rim. UllNevaNo channels that characterization in this video (directed by another dope artist/producer Logic Marselis). Enjoy the Golden Era vibes (courtesy of producer Jumbled) and don't forget to support one of the best indie releases I've heard in this otherwise depressing year (full of political strife). I'll save the soap-box rantings for another post.
I'm definitely a huge fan of the podcast Heat Rocks with Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes. Both hosts are dynamic in their individuality and perspectives on music. Of course Episode 6 strikes a chord because it speaks on one of my personal favorites, Like Water For Chocolate (2000). Common put himself fully on the Hip Hop map with this Soulquarians gem. If you're not familiar with The Soulquarians collective, it was comprised of Questlove, James Poyser, D'Angelo, Q-Tip, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Common, Mos Def (now known as Yasiin Bey), Talib Kweli, Roy Hargrove, Pino Palladino and the incomparable J Dilla (Rest In Beats). I gravitated towards that sound and sonic artistry because it came from a place I could fully identify with when it came to Neo-Soul and Progressive Hip Hop. Years later I'm still immersed in that movement, even as others have moved on to the trappings of Trap/EDM/Mumble Rap or any other categorization I may not be a part of at this point in life. Without expounding too much on my own fascination with Common and his music, I will allow Ill Camille, another dynamic emcee to break down the seminal project. Ill Camille is an LA artist that is part of a very progressive movement on the Left Coast (somewhat similar in nature to what we heard from the Soulquarians camp in the late 90's-early 2000's). Her most recent project entitled Heirloom garnered praise and attention as a stylized piece of Hip Hop artistry. Make certain to check out Heirloom and her discography via her website: http://www.illcamille.com/. Enjoy the podcast and tune in to other Heat Rocks episodes to get some very insightful conversations.
Congratulations for NC lyricist Rapsody (one of my favorite artists in any genre) on her Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song. Laila's Wisdom is a gem, replete with top-notch lyricism and laser-sharp production. "Power" (featuring Kendrick Lamar and Lance Skiiiwalker) is a riveting video that shows the gradual growth and determination of Rapsody. She is one of the few artists that I can genuinely say has paid her dues, and those dues are paying grand dividends. After peeping the powerful visuals for "Power" (pun intended), support and cop this extremely dope project.
Strong Island trio De La Soul once again are showing and proving that there is no expiration date on dope Hip Hop. Dave, Maseo and Posdnous dropped the Grammy-nominated gem and the Anonymous Nobody August 2016, and more than a year later we are still reveling in the extended shelf life of that Kickstarter-funded project. The newest video is for "Royalty Capes" (featuring Gina Loring) and it starts off with an honest and surreal look into the medical condition that Dave is dealing with on the daily (congestive heart failure). With the passing of his Native Tongues brethren Phife, it brings into full focus that Golden Era emcees are facing their own existence and mortality as they embrace middle age. I'm definitely a part of that reality, and it is refreshing that De La STILL is a beacon of light in Hip Hop. Continue supporting the culture and cop and the Anonymous Nobody.
Twitter: @WeAreDeLaSoul @DeLaSoulsDugout @PlugWonDeLaSoul
Skarr-Akbar has been a staple in the Baltimore Hip Hop scene for more than a decade, along the way becoming one of the most respected lyricist in Harm City. Peep his deep mixtape and album discography if you need a reminder of his potency. The B-more rhymer just dropped a dope video for the sonic gem "Florida Evans", which is another feather in his cap (undoubtedly an Orioles fitted). Make sure to support the artist and view his various social media offerings (listed below).
Ullnevano (@Ullnevano) is a very dope individual indeed. Not only does he hold true to the true tenets of Hip Hop, but he is a very down to earth and knowledgeable subject. I've had the pleasure of knowing the brother for a few years now, first meeting him at the famed Reflection Eternal Barbershop co-owned by my Berea brethren Andwele (another individual deserving of a WISDOM SEEKER interview in the near future). Even though I'm no longer physically in B-more, I still keep in contact with my Hip Hop family, and I consider Ullnevano as an integral part of that extension.
I had the honor of interviewing Ullnevano for the highly anticipated project The Ghost Of Len Bias, a collaborative effort with Harm City producer/beatsmith Jumbled (@NapalmDef). We had an in-depth convo revolving around Len Bias, continued violence in Baltimore, the state of Hip Hop and the anticipation behind the labor of love that is The Ghost Of Len Bias. Our 30-minute phone conversation was definitely eventful and fruitful, but I apologize in advance for the audio quality not being up to par. I did not want to delay this interview any longer than I've already done, so please enjoy and listen (to the best of your ability). Support Ullnevano, Jumbled and TGOLB project when it is released.
9th Wonder has carved out a dope niche in the pantheon of Hip Hop lore because of his every-evolving and influential nature. Be it top-notch production, Hip Hop education, shining light on the vast NC talent pool, 9th has been a beacon as well as influence in my life. This PBS-based video gives another glimpse into the incredible life of 9th Wonder.