Sunday, December 9, 2012

VIDEO: LUPE FIASCO INTERVIEW WITH KC CHOPZ

Lupe Fiasco has been one of my favorite artists for the better part of a decade, even with his label "fiascos" overshadowing his undeniable talent.  Here is a sixteen-minute interview with KC Chopz, touching on topics ranging from his G.O.O.D. Music cohorts, comparisons with Kanye and Pharrell, and his aforementioned label woes.  Thanks to Okayplayer for, as usual, providing a link to this dope, insightful interview, which was directed/edited by Steve "Alien" for Most High Films.  Don't believe the retirement rumors! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

VIDEO: "WHITE PEOPLE ARE RIOTING FREESTYLE"---REDMAN

Reggie Noble still has that it factor when it comes to spittin'.  No denying he is one of a kind within the hip hop pantheon.  Here is a little morsel to tease the appetites of those Gilla House fans that are waiting for the Funk Doc to make more dope music.  Hopefully this is a reflection of music to come from Redman and the Green-Eyed Bandit himself Erick Sermon, who produced this treat.  Rest in eternal peace Boston Nic!



Twitter:  @therealRedman
Facebook:  redmangillahouse
Instagram:  Funkdocmedia
Youtube:  FUNKDOCTV

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

VIDEO: "ENJOY YA SELF, V2"---SLAKAH THE BEATCHILD FEAT. DRAKE

Here's a late pass joint for your ears!  Slakah the Beatchild is a dope artist from north of the border, calling T-Dot home.  Here we have the follow-up to the cult classic "Enjoy Ya Self".  "Enjoy Ya Self V2" has a chill cameo from Jimmy Wheelchair himself, Aubrey Drake Graham, sharing the track with his Toronto brethren.  I love the vibe of this track, as Slakah effortlessly breezes through the verses with a sing-song flow.  Drake opens the song lovely, complimenting the smoothed-out production of Slakah the Beatchild.  As the last track on the dope, yet slept-on collection entitled Soul Movement, Volume 1, you catch a glimpse into the creativity behind this revered artist.  Once you peep the visuals, directed by RT, hit the website at http://www.beatchild.com for some dopeness.  Better late than never!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Video: "Black Orpheus"---Jesse Boykins III feat. MeLo-X

Jesse Boykins III is one of those talents that flies under the proverbial radar, but gets MUCH RESPECT from a brotha like myself.  I've had the pleasure of witnessing his artistry live and in person last year in Baltimore at Select Lounge, so I'm no stranger to what he brings to the table.  With his frequent collaborator in tow, MeLo-X, "Black Orpheus" emerges.  A dope, visual, visceral piece of work is what we have here with this new video.  Take a few minutes to observe and absorb what JBIII is bringing to light for the new year (sorry, but that Mayan calendar thing is not gonna happen people).  Directed by Dr. Woo, this eye-grasping treat will sure to have you talking about this artist.  Hit iTunes and download the new LP Zulu Guru, which will take you into that crazy, sexy, cool dimension that Jesse Boykins III occupies for the women.  Follow JBIII on Twitter: @JesseBoykins3rd.

Video----J Rocc Breaks Down J Dilla Interludes

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!!  Good to be back on fertile soil with WISDOM SEEKER, my oasis for dope Hip Hop culture.  It's been thirty long days since I've touched this, but the time away has sharpened my vision and enhanced my senses Hip Hop Blogosphere!  In the past month alone, I've witnessed a plethora of musical and artistic endeavors, be it ratchet or hatchet.  In any event, Wisdom is back spreading the word as only I can.  With a renewed vision for 2013 in my crosshairs, it's high time for me to not only go "Back To The Future" Michael J. Fox-style, but take it back to the essence a la the pioneers of this thing that I love and inhale.  I won't be just touching on the obvious, but I will be reflecting light onto those pushing the culture forward.  In the infamous words of my North Cakalak sista Rapsody of Kooley High fame, CULTURE OVER EVERYTHING!

Off my soapbox, and on to the next one...

What we have here is a J Rocc short video, detailing the interludes of some very hot James Yancey joints.  For those not in the know, Mr. Yancey is the late, great J Dilla (Dilla Dawg, Jay Dee, etc.).  One of my biggest inspirations in this culture when it comes to crafting heat rocks like the new version of Pete Rock, Dilla has been revered by those inside AND outside of the Hip Hop box.  Box may be the wrong term, because listening to some of the aural concoctions from J Dilla will let you know that his music had few, if any, boundaries.  This 1:53 visual brings you into the insular world that was Dilla, at least in terms of his prowess behind the artistry that is beatmaking.  His interludes were doper than many full-blown beats.  J Rocc does a good job when discussing Somewhere Over The Radio.






Peep the vid, courtesy of Bling47 and Okayplayer, and do some diggin' to find out what type of ear Dilla had by combing through the audio treats of Somewhere Over The Radio (the 1979 comedy release from humorists Stevens & Grdnic).

 
 
 
Avant garde will be my calling card, so don't expect any Gucci, Weezy, Fiddy talk on these pages (unless the miraculously step their respective games ALL THE WAY UP!)  Even then, I probably won't have much to say.  I want those underdogs, underlings, underappreciated cats to get shine via WISDOM SEEKER.  Remember the mantra:  BEATS, RHYMES, LIFE...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

VIDEO------"THE DRUMS", RAPSODY FEAT. HEATHER VICTORIA AND THE SOUL COUNCIL

Another 9th Wonder/Rapsody banger!  Check out this new video with Rap Diddy, featuring North Carolina stalwarts Heather Victoria and The Soul Council.  From her dope The Idea Of Beautiful, Rap waxes poetic over a jazzy, almost retro joint.  Kenneth Price does a nice job (as usual) with the visuals on this joint.  Peep it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

NEW MUSIC: RAPPER BIG POOH----"FRIENDS"



One of the most slept-on emcees in the Hip Hop world, Thomas Jones, better known as Rapper Big Pooh, is set deliver the next installment from his creative mind, Fat Boy Fresh Volume 2 (due November 20th).  The new single for this project is "Friends", a concept we can all relate to in this day and age.  Produced by Astronote, this song covers familiar territory, but coming from the unique perspective of Pooh.  Inside and outside of this industry, friendship is a topic that is at times touchy, yet all too real.  As the chorus states, "they don't love you, they know how to pretend/and these are the people who call themselves friends".  Nice ode to Whodini with this expectedly dope joint from one of my all-time favorites.  I champion the underdog, or in this case, the "fat boy freshest".  Visit Rapper Big Pooh at the following:  http://thefreshestfatboy.com/.  You can also follow him on Twitter:  @RapperBigPooh.  Peace to Shamz at Okayplayer for bringing this joint to light for the underground masses.


VIDEO---KENDRICK LAMAR FEAT. THE ROOTS, "SWIMMING POOLS (DRANK)"-LIVE

Courtesy of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon is everyone's newest favorite emcee (or at least my favorite NEW lyricist in the game) Kendrick Lamar.  Backed by the hardest-working group in Hip Hop, The Roots, Kendrick Lamar blessed the Jimmy Fallon crowd with a touch of what to expect with his debut album entitled good kid, m.A.A.d. city.  Be on the lookout for the almost-guaranteed dope album when it is available on iTunes and in stores October 22nd (barring any label setbacks).  Thanks to NBC for not removing this video performance, as well as Okayplayer for being that trusted website and fam.



Monday, October 8, 2012

MIXTAPE DOWNLOAD----THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (THE PREQUEL)

The first mixtape installment from one of the dopest turntablists is upon us.  The Underground Railroad (The Prequel) is the premiere offering from B-more bred DJ Awethentic, who now calls New Mexico home base.  With military precision, DJ Awethentic brings forth that Hip Hop that real heads are clamoring for, but won't get if they base their listening decisions on mainstream radio.  This is no Top-40 music collection; what you have here is underground, authentic Hip Hop music, hence the name of this reknowned vinyl spinner.  Listen and learn as he takes us on a journey into sound, a journey that is just beginning through The Underground Railroad (The Prequel)Download this dope concoction of Dilla, Common, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, The Roots, Biggie, O.C., and so many others, and be on the lookout for his next mixtape that is sure to have heads wanting more.  This is that Gray Matter ish!

   The Underground Railroad (The Prequel).mp3 by dj awethentic

Link:  http://soundcloud.com/dj-awethentic/the-underground-railroad-the

VIDEO----LIVE FROM THE STREETS EPISODE: MR. GREEN FEAT. MALIK B AND KEVIN BROWN

It has been a long time since I've witnessed a Malik B sighting.  Malik B, of The Roots, has been an enigma for the better part of his career.  I've wondered if, and when, we would see this talented lyricist reemerge on the Hip Hop radar.  A few appearances on recent Roots joints notwithstanding, the Philly phenom has been forging a path on the underground.  He recently linked with beatmaker Mr. Green for his Live From The Streets series.  Live From The Streets is very dope, as it melds the worlds of live instrumentation and sampling in a palatable format.  In this segment, we have Mr. Green interacting with street performer Kevin Brown (not to be confused with the DMV beat maven of the same name).  Once Mr. Green gathered enough live material, he took to his studio, utilizing his Native Instruments MASCHINE to chop the material into a dope beat for Malik B to spit over.  What you have as a finished product is a good piece of Hip Hop.  Special thanks to director Sam Lipman-Stern for bringing the authentic, raw flavor of the Illadelph streets to life in this video.  Also check out Noisey, the new music channel for VICE:  www.noisey.com

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SAMPLE SUNDAY----THE DEFINITIVE PRAYER EDITION

Good to be back...better yet, GREAT to be back with Sample Sunday!  It is fitting that on this Sunday, where my beloved Ravens squeezed out a victory on a wing and prayer, and Orioles Magic is in full effect at Camden Yards against dem damn Yankees, I celebrate a joint that should be heard.  A joint that evokes a sense of spiritualism, not necessarily in content, but in sheer bravado.  The artist in question just released his critically-acclaimed album A Dream Deferred.  Please cop the physical of this dynamic album or go to iTunes:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dream-deferred-bonus-track/id556175668.  I will save the review for later, but in the meantime lets talk about a song that I think is just incredible from a lyrical aspect.  "The Definitive Prayer" is a spectacular display of lyricism, bringing forth comparisons to Hip Hop visionaries such as Rakim, Nas, Kool G. Rap, and the like.  Included on his Great Debaters mixtape, "The Definitive Prayer" is almost unmatched in this emo, trap beat, "bands to make her dance" environment that is inhabited by my Hip Hop brethren at the present moment.  Name ONE song that can touch this joint.

 
 
Produced by !llmind, with the accompanying video by NC's finest Kenneth Price, you get this visceral sense of a man that is ultra-introspective within the context of Hip Hop.  You do not get this on a regular basis within this culture of ours.  However, as soon as Skyzoo rhymes, you get the sense that something very unique and special is upon us.  The dope soundscape is from the brilliant catalogue of David Axelrod.  His 1968 gem, "Holy Thursday", is the engine that drives Skyzoo's lyrics.  If you are not familiar with David Axelrod, peep his expansive body of work.  I am sure that you will get a hint at his genius (check the dope sample for Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode").
 
 

 
Songs Of Innocence is the Capitol Records album that "Holy Thursday" comes from, and it is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  When I first copped this album a few years ago (on a beat-digging venture of course), I was moved by each and every psychedelic/jazz/funk/rock/soul joint included.  "Holy Thursday" stood out among the collection of songs because a very visual story arc was told with this five-plus minute song.  I guess that !llmind conjured the same imagery in his "ill mind" (pun intended), because the drums and orchestral arrangements are the key to Skyzoo delivering one of the most vivid displays of lyricism this game has seen in quite some time.  This song is very reminiscent of O.C. with "Time's Up", a classic among Hip Hop classics.  What are your opinions of Skyzoo, "The Definitive Prayer", and David Axelrod's "Holy Thursday"?  I welcome your comments and opinions, and remember that this so much more than a passing fad.  Hip Hop is a culture, so we should all treat it as such.  I'm pretty sure that Skyzoo does.
 
Twitter:  @Skyzoo
Facebook:  TheRealSkyzoo
 
 
 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

VIDEO: "KILL SCREEN"----JEAN GRAE

Jean Grae is an anomoly within Hip Hop, because she MOST DEFINITELY rhymes to the beat of her own drum, so to speak.  Her topicality has so much depth and substance, but it typically gets lost in the proverbial sauce when mainstream comes into question.  Truth be told, I don't think that Jean Grae worries about acceptance from any mainstream constituency.  Again, she is cut from a different mold, a mold more akin to Rakim Allah than Nicki Minaj.  This new video, "Kill Screen", is another twisted view from the mentality of this lyrical tornado.  The visuals are haunting, revealing, visceral and weird.  Pretty much Jean Grae.  No knock on her, because I feel strongly that she is one of the dopest artists in Hip Hop.  Absolutely NO ONE touches her when melding lyricism, humor and smugness.  You gotta love the artist known as Jean Grae.



VIDEO: "BREATHING'S BEAUTY"---STANZA

Stanza is a slept on lyricist that should garner much attention by the masses.  This ATL-based emcee has been on my Hip Hop radar for the past few years, and with this dope video for "Breathing's Beauty", he should be poised to make more noise from an underground standpoint.  "Breathing's Beauty" is an ode to the notions of love, in a Hip Hop format.  Enjoy the visuals, and make sure you check out the artist known as Stanza:  http://iamstanza.com/.  You can also follow Stanza on Twitter:  @iamstanza. 

 
 



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

VIDEO: "GONNA BE A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT"---PHONTE FEAT. CARLITTA DURAND

Charity Starts At Home definitely has a long shelf-life.  Almost a year after its release (on September 27, 2011), Phonte is STILL dropping dope videos from this classic banger.  "Gonna Be A Beautiful Night" is another in the long line of singles that the dope CSAH has provided for his burgeoning fanbase.  More from the melodic side of Mr. Coleman, the song/video features NC songstress and long-time collaborator Carlitta Durand, who brings her lush vocals for all to witness.  The video was directed by Kenneth Price, who is THE go-to videographer/director for The Foreign Exchange/9th Wonder camps.  Peep the dope cameos by NC residents and Okayplayer fam Rachel Stewart (Rachel Stewart Jewelry) and Christopher Charles (Creative Silence Photography) throughout the video. 
 
Enjoy the video, courtesy of +FE Music
 
 
 
 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

VIDEO: "FAILURE AIN'T AN OPTION", DEE-1 FEAT. MURS AND TABI BONNEY

Dee-1 is one of the dopest, most slept-on Hip Hop artists in the game today.  I've had the distinct pleasure of interviewing him in 2011, so I feel a special kinship with this N'awlins lyricist.  Joined by underrated cats Murs and tabi Bonney, "Failure Ain't An Option" is the featured video from the Dee-1 project The Focus Tape.

BEING "AWETHENTIC" IN HIP HOP----AN IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH DJ AWETHENTIC

It would be an understatement to say that interviewing my long time friend, mentor and resident Hip Hop historian was an honor, but it indeed was.  I've been looking forward to sitting down, choppin' it up, and bringing forth a discussion for all the world to see.  Here is the first part of an interview conducted with DJ Awethentic, one of the dopest DJ's I've ever come into contact with, who also happens to be a member of our Gray Matter crew.  Call it Hip Hop nepotism, but I still wanted to bring an unbiased account into full view of what it is like to be such a talented individual and still not be heard by the masses.  Hopefully that will change, but if it doesn't, so be it.  It's all about the love, and if the accolades come, cool.  If not, EVEN COOLER! 

             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Discuss your direction that you are taking with Hip Hop/DJing in 2012 and beyond.

For starters, I'm just trying to keep the artform of turntablism alive. I try to introduce young aspiring DJs to the artform of it whenever possible because it's dying. Cats swear they're doing something on the tables until I show them videos of the greats like Roc Raida, Total Eclipse, Craze and A-Trak to name a few. Then I'm like "yeah, that's what it's all about young fella...battling". Secondly, Hip Hop in my opinion is so one-sided right now. Southern Rap, or whatever you want to call it, is so dominant right now that even East Coast emcees have changed their styles to fit in. I like a lot of stuff out there and as a club DJ I have to stay in tune with all of it and remain unbiased. It's hard though (lol), I'm East Coast to the core. So, what I try to do is infuse some of my "East Coastness" in when I spin. I'll mix a down south joint w/ a hot East Coast beat and it usually goes over well in the club. I guess I'm trying to make the hip hop audience more well rounded and diverse. They way I see it there's room for everyone.

What sparked your passion with getting reacquainted with DJ culture?

There was a fire burning inside me man. I really missed spinning and I got tired of seeing garbage ass DJs getting money, when I could be getting paid too. The love of good music and mixing it never died, even though I was out of the game for a minute. Plus when I got on my man Polo's set it was like the skills really didn't diminish at all, so I said what the hell and bought my own equipment. DJing is my sanctuary, and it's proven to be my roadmap to get to where I want to be financially as well.

Name 5 Hip Hop/DJ influences.

Oooohhh, I'm so glad you asked this one (lol). Too bad I can only name 5, because so many have influenced me.

DJ Premier, DJ Jazzy Jeff, KRS-One, J Dilla, Frankie Parran aka DJ Frank Cola, Common and The Roots.

Okay so I named seven...shoot me!!

Describe how Hip Hop has molded Awethentic.

Hip Hop made me the DJ I am today. It drives me to become better at my craft and has given me an undying love for music as a whole. Hip Hop is a culture man; maybe the most influencing culture ever known, possibly surpassing the Rock genre. Hip Hop is everywhere now. Maybe because I've been there since its inception and have seen it grow from nothing into the behemoth it is today is why I have such an affinity for hip hop. I still remember the first time I heard classic joints like "Eric B for President", or Illmatic, or "I Used to Love H.E.R.", or Spoonie Gee, or T La Rock's "It's Yours". I remember seeing Jazzy Jeff live in B-More (before anyone really knew who he was); absolutely destroying Peter Piper during his solo, and thinking to myself "damn I need to practice." Those types of moments made DJ Awethentic.

Who is Awethentic?

Awethentic is a DJ committed to keeping hip hop alive & rocking crowds in ways no one else can...PERIOD. I'll be bumping hip hop 'til the day I die.

If there were aspects of Hip Hop you would or could change, what would those be?

Quite simply, I would like to see a resurgence of good East Coast hip hop. There's a lot of nice cats out there that people ain't trying to hear and I don't understand it. If you got some substance to your lyrics cats ain't checking for you. No knock against what's hot right now, I'm feeling a lot of that too; but come on y'all...can we get a little diversity? Also, I would make sure Little Brother reunited 'cause they're dope! LOL

How has Awethentic changed since your introduction to Hip Hop?

Hip Hop made me that wide eyed little kid & still does to this day. I can't really say it changed Awethentic, but it MADE Awethentic. I always loved music as a youngster. I guess you could say hip hop brought out my creative side.

Name one DJ that you would love to spin with in the club or collaborate with in the studio.

I would love to spin with Jazzy Jeff man; that cat is like my idol 'cause we're both old (lol) and versatile in the way we spin joints. I would love a studio session w/ 9th too though. Dude is the truth!!

Is there the possibility of Gray Matter recording an actual album?


For sho'!! As long as there's breath in my lungs and I don't have arthritis in my hands it's possible. Gray Matter for life yo! I got 'dem beats...lol.


Discuss the dynamics of being in a group that has not realized its potential.


Well, at times it's a little disheartening; especially knowing the talent that lies within all of us. My life's dream has been to be a performer of sorts and I guess I'm kind of living that out to some degree now since I'm DJing in clubs. But, I wanted it for us man...we brought a different aspect or perspective to the game. I also know everything happens for a reason and we're channeling our energy in different ways now. I feel good about what I'm doing at this point in life. Looking back at the incredible grind we would've had to go through to be successful in the rap game vs. being there raising our families; I wouldn't trade it. Rap fans are so trendy and fickle man, I would've been pissed if we went unnoticed and unappreciated after putting in all that work.


How do you feel about today's Hip Hop climate?



Ehhh...it's alright. As I said before, there's not enough diversity in it right now. Or should I say the diversity doesn't show, because media doesn't expose us to the entirety of dopeness that's out there. Everybody's beats sound alike, everybody rhyming the same. What's up with the stuffy nose sound? Change your flows up.
              -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Because we have SO MUCH MORE to discuss, we will follow-up with a continued, more in-depth interview with DJ Awethentic.  Hopefully the next round of discussion will be audio/video in the same location.  Until then, peace to all of the WISDOM SEEKER followers in the blogosphere!
 


 

FULL DOCUMENTARY-----SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP

Here is the full-length Ice T documentary that I've been waiting for in 2012.  Something From Nothing:  The Art Of Rap is an almost two hour offering envisioned by Mr. Marrow, known to the Hip Hop and entertainment world as Ice T.  It is a fascinating look into what makes Hip Hop, and not just "rap" a cultural and artistic phenomenon.  Take a look at the interesting and informative interviews with a slew of Hip Hop icons and personalities.  Too bad Ice didn't have more time to cover an even larger array of artists, especially from the Left Coast and South.  Either way, this is a dope documentary!
 
 
 

Friday, September 14, 2012

MIXTAPE-----CONSUMER VOICE 360º PROJECT

 
 
September 14, 2012 is a great day for real, raw, authentic, lyrical Hip Hop with the release of the Consumer Voice 360° Project.  With CVEG CEO Lewis Williams III as Executive Producer for this retro, yet forward-thinking, mixtape, you have a collective of mostly Baltimore-based emcees (not rappers) who put their spin on vintage Hip Hop joints.  Fifteen tracks of unadulterated lyricism over an array of dope sounds is an apt way to describe Consumer Voice 360° Project.  From beginning to end this mixtape, which in my humble opinion is one of the best releases in 2012, captivates the listener by merging the lanes of old and new, allowing for each emcee involved to offer their refreshing lyricism to ride the provided soundscapes effortlessly.  A who's who of lyrical artists abound on the Consumer Voice 360° Project:  The Last Born Child (who also served as Co-Executive Producer for the project), Lavar Conscious, Lonnie Moore, 330, Pa.in, Morock, skoolafish, Bravo, Reyo, Yo Slick, Rome Cee, Cyn Hawkes, Eagle G.G.I., Showtyme, DJ Black Wizard and DJ Rich.  If beats and rhymes are your forte, then PLEASE download this mixtape below:

http://www.last.fm/music/Consumer+Voice+360%C2%B0+Project/Consumer+Voice+360+Project

A song by song review is forthcoming for Consumer Voice 360° Project, because this brief description will not do justice to the hard work put forth by the artists and entities involved.  Mark Carey of Street Legal Entertainment fame deserves mention for recording, mixing, and mastering this audacious undertaking.  Without his input and expertise, I doubt that we would have the finished product that is Consumer Voice 360° Project.  All in all, listeners will not be disappointed in the least bit.  What we have here in this mixtape is a project that realized the vision of Lewis Williams III to provide quality Hip Hop that B-more and beyond will be proud of in 2012 going forward.  To connect more with Consumer Voice, utilize the social media outlets listed below. 

Facebook:  Consumer Voice Ent. Group
Twitter:  @cvegceo
Reverbnation:  consumervoice360project

ONE LOVE!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

THE BIRTH OF HIP HOP



August 11, 1973 may not mean much to those not in the know, but for me, it is a pivotal point in the evolution and creation of a culture.  A nondescript party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, concocted by Cindy Campbell, sister of Hip Hop legend Clive "Kool Herc" Campbell, paved the way for this thing we revere, take for granted, utilize, abuse:  Hip Hop.  “I didn’t want to go to Fordham Road to buy clothes because you’d go to school and see everybody with the same thing on,” Cindy Campbell said in an interview about that fateful initial party.  “I wanted to go to Delancey Street and get something unusual.”  In her eyes, that unusual was clothing, but in the bigger picture what we received was the birth of a culture, or at least the planting of the proverbial seeds. 


Hip-Hop Flyer

This is how the original invite looked on a simple, yet quite effective index card.  Even in infancy, Hip Hop made its mark with simplicity, and in a positive manner.  Truth be told, Hip Hop would have most likely evolved if this party would have never existed, but this DJ Kool Herc party surely served as a catalyst for a cultural explosion that started as a very slow burn initially.  With August 11th in the past, we can reflect on how a Back To School Jam opened the doors for those that followed, be it Grandmaster Flash, The Cold Crush Brothers, The Treacherous Three, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, NWA, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Souls Of Mischief, Pharcyde, The Geto Boys, Outkast, Goodie MOB, The Roots, The Fugees, Ludacris, T.I., Foxy Brown, Li'l Kim, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick Lamar, and a plethora of other colorful monikers.  Let's give everlasting thanks to the foresight of those that participated and made this historic party occur at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in West Bronx! 

NEW VIDEO: "KIND OF LOVE"---RAPSODY FEAT. NOMSA MAZWALI

#CultureOverEverything is the Twitter hashtag employed by NC emcee Rapsody, who released her dope joint entitled The Idea Of Beautiful today.  While in South Africa, Kenneth Price filmed this gem for "Kind Of Love", produced by 9th Wonder and featuring vocalist Nomsa Mazwali.  I salute Rap Diddy for staying completely true to her true school roots (pun intended and nod to 9th Wonder's True School).  Witness this creative being waxing poetic over another soulful joint from 9th.  Cop The Idea Of Beautiful as soon as possible via iTunes.  You won't be disappointed in this sixteen-cut album, which can be considered as the true proper debut for Rapsody.  With other releases by Slaughterhouse, Torae and Nitty Scott, MC, this has been a very good day for dope lyricism within Hip Hop. 
 
#CultureOverEverything
 
 
 
 
 
Twitter:  @rapsodymusic
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/rapsodymusic

VIDEO-----"BITCH BAD", LUPE FIASCO

Lupe Fiasco is not playing this go 'round folks!  Food & Liquor 2:  The Great American Rap Album is poised to be a powerhouse release.  Lupe has been hitting listeners in the heads with gem after gem from the early fall release (album slated for Sept. 25th).  Add "Bitch Bad" to the list.  Spin Magazine took the stance that Lupe was being preachy and contradictory with this song, so in turn Lupe has instituted a boycott of the publication.  We'll see how that goes (because many cats don't try to take a stance or stand with ongoing issues).  In the meantime, take a look at this new video, and see how Lupe "spins" the "bad bitch" theory with his dynamic lyricism.  Thank you to my Okayplayer family for posting the new video, along with sponsorship from Sugarwater Energy Drink
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BUSTA RHYMES MINI-DOCUMENTARY: LIFE & RHYMES

Courtesy of Google Play is the mini-documentary for Busta Rhymes, Life & RhymesThe twenty-plus minute short details the ascension of Busta through the ranks of hip hop stardom.  Interviews with Spliff Star, Talib Kweli, Sadat X and others gives insight into one of the most unique and dynamic hip hop artists ever.  Take a peep at this short, and be sure to cop his aptly-titled joint Year Of The Dragon when it is released in the near future (fingers crossed).  Special thanks to XXL Magazine for showcasing this video expose' at http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2012/08/busta-rhymes-reflects-on-career-in-mini-documentary-life-rhymes/.

VIDEO: NAS DENIES GHOSTWRITING RUMORS


Last night, while perusing Twitter as usual, I came across a shocking revelation or declaration from fellow journalist and respected writer dream hampton.  If you don't know, dream hampton has been entrenched in hip hop culture for the better part of the past twenty years, from being an editor with The Source, writing for a multitude of publications such as Vibe and The Village Voice, and recently co-authoring the Jay-Z best-seller Decoded.  What caught me off guard was her assertion that Nas used ghostwriters for his Untitled album (better known in hip hop circles as Nigger).  Reading her tweet may take more abstract thinking than literal, but in essence she pointed out stic.man from dead prez and Jay Electronica as the two individuals responsible for the alleged ghostwriting duties.  In all fairness, both highly respected artists (in their own rights) are credited on a few of the songs, such as "Queens Get The Money" (Jay Electronica) and "Sly Fox" (stic.man).  Also, the context of the allegation needs to be noted, as dream hampton was discussing another hot hip hop topic in relation to her friend and cohort Jay-Z (about Jay discussing more substantive items in his material).  Obviously, these points all lead up to Mr. Jones going on Power 106 in Cali with Big Boy.  Part of the conversation with host Big Boy was if a prolific lyricist such as Nas has used ghostwriters in the past to craft his lyrics.  Check out the response during the video, and you be the judge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

BROOKLYN HIP HOP FESTIVAL '12----"SCENARIO" LIVE WITH ATCQ AND L.O.N.S.

The best posse cut in Hip Hop. The aligning of the stars, metaphorically and existentially. The vehicle that launched two groups in the Hip Hop pantheon. I don't care if you agree or not, but in my Wisdom-laced opinion "Scenario" is the zenith for this music called Hip Hop. A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders Of The New School created a timeless cut that brings the Uncle Ruckus each and every time. I have been waiting for this moment for the longest, and the 2012 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival was the perfect opportunity for these NY titans to wreak havoc onstage. They may be older (and hopefully wiser), but Phife Dawg, Dinco D, Charlie Brown, Q-Tip, and headliner Busta Rhymes delivered on one of the most energized joints from the Golden Era, or any era, for that matter. Peep the video, and let me know what you think about Tribe and L.O.N.S. joining forces again for this CLASSIC MATERIAL (shameless L.O.N.S. reference).  Peace to Brooklyn Bodega and 2DopeBoyz for the footage/video material.

VIDEO: "ETERNALLY"---PHONTE FEAT. MEDIAN

From Charity Starts At Home, we have another Phonte gem, this time featuring Median.  The 9th Wonder-produced cut gets the obligatory Kenneth Price treatment, and to good effect.  In this dope video we have Tay Gravy and Median trading verses while showing their working-class roots from a lyrical aspect.  Enjoy another jewel from Charity Starts At Home, and if you haven't purchased The Foreign Exchange Music offering, please cop it soon!

Monday, July 23, 2012

VIDEO: "ILLUSION OF LOVE"---ROME CEE

Rome Cee is definitely Baltimore, yet has a uncanny knack for showcasing a worldview that you don't always find with local artists.  From his 14-cut Grey Area project we have the cool "Illusion Of Love".  Directed by Kirby Griffin and shot by Jay Mastermind (under the 87 Conceptions umbrella), this cinematic joint tells a detailed story to accompany the visceral lyrics of Rome Cee.  Peep the performances from Griffin, Isaac "Eye" Wilson, Teresa Renee, and Tiesha Parham.  This is a dope video through and through! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SAMPLE SUNDAY----LIFE IS GOOD EDITION

Life Is Good is a dope, mature offering from Nasir Jones, known to the music world as Nas.  July 17th gave us the tenth studio album from one of the most acclaimed artists that the Hip Hop world has ever known.  If he would release sub-par music for the duration of his career, Nas would still be considered one of the best ever, bar none.  He didn't, however, release a sub-par album.  Life Is Good is indeed one of the best joints period for 2012 (at the present moment it is my choice as Hip Hop Album Of The Year).  I can elaborate on the plethora of quotables and jewels found throughout this collection, but I will save that for my forthcoming review that I will unveil shortly.  What I will discuss on this somewhat overcast, humid and damp Sunday is the twelfth track, "Stay".  This jazzy, Quiet Storm-format cut is the perfect song for the most mature and introspective album of an illustrious career.  The horns that are a part of this song brings an elegant flair to the lyrical content of Nas.   Take a listen below at one of my favorite joints on Life Is Good.



The L.A. Carnival (formerly The Les Smith Band) is the source for the bulk of "Stay".  "Seven Steps To Nowhere" is the credited joint from The L.A. Carnival offering Would Like To Pose A Question (Pacific Avenue imprint).  No I.D. is the production maven that provided the soundscape that would become "Stay".  As usual, No I.D. showcased a knack for finding a jazzy, atmospheric joint that would be the perfect companion for a top-tier emcee (see "D.O.A." by Jay-Z).  Take a ride on this adventure with The L.A. Carnival, circa 1971,  and see where No I.D. received his inspiration for "Stay".  




If you are unsure of any 2012 offerings, be it Hip Hop or any other genre, please cop Life Is Good.  Purists and novice listeners can get the next-level lyricism and introspection from an artist still showcasing razor-sharp skills twenty years deep into a career that is almost unparalleled in Hip Hop.  After you purchase the album, sample some other offerings from Lester Abrams, the heartbeat behind The L.A. Carnival, The Les Smith Soul Band and other funk/soul outfits during the bell-bottom era. 

SAMPLING IS ALIVE AND WELL!  RESPECT THE ART AND THE ARCHITECTS!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DEEP FLOW TV PRESENTS: BIG ASS COOKOUT (PART 1)

Last Born Child and Imatellmuva should be very proud of their Big Ass Cookout.  From the backyards in Northwood to NowChild Soundstage, this spectacular event is part performance, part cookout, and ALL family, immediate, extended, and artistic.  Thanks to all that participated, supported, shared, and indulged in the ultimate cookout experience.  Amotion, of Deep Flow fame, provided the videography, and this is Part 1 of the Big Ass Cookout experience.  Consumer Voice 360, OOH, seeWEED, and countless others provided behind the scenes support, ensuring that this year's Big Ass Cookout was a huge success.  Peace to the plethora of talent that graced the NowChild stage  Enjoy what I witnessed firsthand at NowChild.  A full recap will soon follow from Brother Wisdom! 




Thursday, July 5, 2012

VIDEO-----"AROUND MY WAY (FREEDOM AIN'T FREE)"

Wasulu Muhammad Jaco, better known as Lupe Fiasco, has stirred the pot once again, using his mic as the spoon that feeds the masses.  The controversial song "Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free)" caused an uproar, not necessarily because of content, but because of the soundscape choice (see previous post http://wisdom40.blogspot.com/2012/05/lupes-fiasco.html).  Now we have the visuals to accompany this Food & Liquor II:  The Great American Rap Album Part 1 lead single.  I'm hoping for a triumphant return to form for Lupe.  He is a throwback emcee and forward thinker at the same time, and it would truly be a shame for him to go unnoticed in this climate of global warming and lukewarm rhyming.  Needless to say, peep the visual offering, directed by Alex Nazari.  As of this posting, his newest album will be released September 25th, barring any issues with the label (and you know that is ALWAYS a possibility in the Lupe realm).

HIP HOP EMBEDDED (A POEM)

Feel pain in heart burdened with excess stress


No relief in sight unless you look to the future

Don't live in the past because it will entrap you

In a prison that can be escaped once mind is refocused

Reloaded ammunition into life gun and shoot for the stars

Spit bars of hope instead of spend time and money in bars

Barred from that existence is what the outcome should be

Let income accumulate to build the American Dream

And stop having nightmares filled with fright and terror

Welcome To The Terrordome blaring from speakers made for deaf ears

Maybe one day listening instead of babbling may end the battling

But ears are filled with wax made of parrafin

Paraphasing paragraphs prepared for perpetual motion

Mountains out of molehills made mental notes of commotion

Not sure why these words appear on these pages

Maybe it's a way to deal with anger and rage

Slave to master 'bout to make escape into dark

Might hurt heart but life needs resuscitating

Hip hop not dead, I am hip hop

I am soul, I am rock and roll

I am neo-soul, like Neo in The Matrix trilogy

Looking for The One except eyes have seen too many

Empty feeling with two so now is the time to go underground

With railroad, with hip hop, with pipelines

Not sniffing white lines or telling white lies

Truth in coded language only a select few will understand

Who won't undermine or underappreciate

Or make mistakes the basis of existence

Facing resistance, flee into the woods

Following streams of consciousness to new land, new time, new person...





.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

WORDSMITH---KING NOAH

The aptly named Wordsmith has released another dope album, King Noah.  I've been aware of his lyrical prowess for quite a while now.  He is one of those hidden gems from Harm City that is under the radar within the 92 square miles of this city, yet is known outside its radius.  Who else can claim recording a FULL-LENGTH LP with the likes of legendary Chubb Rock?  All I can say is support this positive cat.  Go to Sound Garden in Fells Point, go to iTunes, go to http://www.fatbeats.com/.  Wherever you go, seek out this album.  You won't be disappointed if you're a fan of beats and rhymes.




Here is the first video release for King Noah, "Music For The Masses", directed by Paul Adams.  The song was produced by Strada, and is just a sampling (no pun intended) of the musical range this dope collection contains.  Visit http://wordsmithmusic.com/ for more music and videos from Wordsmith.  You can also connect with Wordsmith via Twitter:  @Wordsmithmusic.




WISDOM!

UNTOUCHABLE FORCE---AN INTERVIEW WITH DOC ICE



Written By: WISDOM

NOTE:  This interview was conducted earlier in 2012 and was slated for print via On The Rise Magazine.  I am now including this interview for my WISDOM SEEKER readers to view and enjoy.  Special thanks goes to Doc Ice and Mocca Styles for allowing me access into the musical life of a hip hop legend.




Iconic. Legendary. Trendsetter. These are just a few words that aptly describe Doctor Ice, from UTFO fame. Now going by the shortened moniker Doc Ice, he is making his presence felt again in this constantly fickle hip hop landscape. He has never truly disappeared from the music scene, still recording and performing for the customary old school hip hop heads, all the while gaining newer fans. Most know him for his contributions with UTFO, some recognize him as a prior dancer with Whodini (whose group member Jalil is the older brother of Doc Ice). Doc Ice is blazing a new trail here in the 21st Century, reacquainting himself with the hip hop realm. Because he is such a busy individual with recording and performing, it took a good while before we were able to connect for this interview. I extend special thanks to Mocca Styles with 4 Diamonds Productions for granting access and providing excellent PR with Doc Ice.



WISDOM:  It's a pleasure and honor having this opportunity to interview a hip hop icon. Thanks to your PR rep Mocca Styles, I've had the chance to listen to the new song "They'll Never Be" featuring Full Force. Tell the readers what you are currently working on music-wise.

DOC ICE:  Thank you for this interview. I am blessed that somebody wants to interview me (Laughter). Much appreciated. Currently I'm working on a new album called The Doctor Will See You Now. I have two singles circulating, one titled “The Comeback” and the other “They'll Neva B” (Valentine’s Day). “The Comeback” video is done; getting some great feedback and continuing to climb in numbers.



WISDOM:  Being a part of both UTFO and Whodini as an MC and dancer, is there a possibility of recording any new music or going on tour in the upcoming future?

DOC ICE:  I'm actually on the Royalty Of Hip Hop tour with Whodini, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, DJ Kool. As far as UTFO is concerned I don't see anything happening right now.

WISDOM:  How do you see your position as an elder statesman in the hip hop realm?

DOC ICE:  I see my position as grounded, and I hope that I can get the fans from our era to continue to buy our new CD's and download songs because they are just as knowledgeable as the kids nowadays, and that would really make me feel more rooted and grounded in the realm of hip hop.

WISDOM:  I had the opportunity to see you come onstage with Whodini when they performed last year in Baltimore for an old school hip hop show. How does it feel to still get on stage to perform?

DOC ICE:  It's one of the best feelings in the world to get on stage and party with the people. It's a blessing to still be rapping and dancing in 2012.


WISDOM:  Name three hip hop artists that you are currently listening to.

DOC ICE:  Jay-Z, Ludacris, Rick Ross, etc.

WISDOM:  When "Roxanne, Roxanne" first exploded on the scene, did you expect so many response records?

DOC ICE:  Not at all, it was a total surprise! We couldn't believe that we created the soap opera of hip hop with “Roxanne, Roxanne”.

WISDOM:  Are there any artists you would love to record with at the moment?

DOC ICE:  The real question is, are there any artists that would want to record with me (LOL). But if I had to choose I would say Busta Rhymes, maybe Chris Brown, maybe Nicki Minaj.

WISDOM:  What pieces of advice would you give an aspiring artist looking to enter the music business?

DOC ICE:  Do not let anybody tell you that you can't do it, stay focused, and never give up on your dream. Even if you have to work to make a living stay on the path.

WISDOM:  Since WISDOM SEEKER is designed to illuminate those that are reaching new artistic heights, how does it feel to still be recognized within the hip hop world?

DOC ICE:  Like Kanye said, "it's amazing, so amazing".

WISDOM:  What is allowing Doc Ice to still be "on the rise"?

DOC ICE:  Just knowing that there are people around the world still looking for something from me, and I don't wanna leave the fans that we gained empty and without a choice. Whether people like it or not hip hop is not for the youth; it's a music that keeps you young, but we all enjoy it, so what keeps me "on the rise" is the people.

WISDOM:  Let the WISDOM SEEKER family know how to reach out to you with social media or websites.

DOC ICE:  I can be reached @therealdocice on Twitter, at www.reverbnation.com/DOCICE, or Doc Ice on Facebook.

WISDOM:  Thank you very much Doc Ice for being gracious enough to give WISDOM SEEKER access to your professional life. Again, it is an honor to speak with someone who has been an influential figure within hip hop.

DOC ICE:  Thank you again for this privilege,  keep on rising! Peace… Doc Ice.




Doc Ice is a hip hop pioneer, both as an MC with UTFO and breakdancer with Whodini, emerging on the hip hop scene in ’83-’84. As part of UTFO (which stood for Untouchable Force Organization), he unknowingly became part of hip hop lore with the classic “Roxanne, Roxanne”, a song which spun a long thread of response records during the 1980’s. Not one to rest on his laurels, you can still find Doc Ice pursuing his musical passion, still recording quality music and performing. Stay tuned for more from the artist known as Doc Ice!

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON---A DUAL INTERVIEW WITH GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING PRODUCER S1 AND RISING SON VOHN BEATZ


Written By:  Wisdom


NOTE:  This interview was originally conducted via e-mail February-March 2012 as part of On The Rise Magazine.  Unfortunately it was never published, so I am bringing it to the masses via WISDOM SEEKER.  Thank you to S1, Vohn Beatz, and Theresa Griffin for the professionalism and a dope interview opportunity.





Waco, Texas native Larry Griffin, Jr., also known as Symbolyc One (or S1), has been on my hip hop radar since I first discovered Strange Fruit Project around 2004, with the release of their album Soul Travelin’. I loved the positive lyricism and imagery that was presented by the three-man group, comprised of S1, Myth, and Myone. Their musical concoctions were similar in nature and stance to other left-of-center groups such as Little Brother, Tanya Morgan, Slum Village, and the like. Years later, S1 would garner acclaim as co-producer of Kanye West’s “Power”. He now can add “Grammy Award Winner” to the list of accolades, winning the coveted award for Best Rap Album Category with Mr. West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Along the way, his very talented son, known to the hip hop world as Vohn Beatz, is a budding producer/artist in his own right, following in his father’s blessed footsteps. After reaching out to the powers that be for S1 and Vohn Beatz, I was able to secure a dope interview (via e-mail) for both individuals. What you have here is a closer look into the musical and familial connection with S1 and Vohn Beatz.


S1 Interview---



Wisdom:  It is a pleasure and honor to have this interview opportunity with a blessed producer/artist such as yourself. My first exposure to your music was with Strange Fruit Project. How did Strange Fruit Project come into being?

S1:  SFP (Strange Fruit Project). My cousin Myth and I formed a group back in the day named Symbolyc Elementz (‘94 The Source Unsigned Hype). I met Myone at a job I was working at. I invited him to our session one day and after that he stayed at all our sessions we had. The music we were creating was great so we decided to form a group. We also had a female vocalist by the name of Lysoul in the group at the time.

Wisdom:  Is the group name a reference to the song that Billie Holiday made famous, "Strange Fruit"?

S1:  Yes. It represents the struggle and pain we go through and we feel our music represents the same thing.

Wisdom:  Even though you have created some very high profile joints with Kanye West and Jay-Z, you've been able to maintain an almost enigmatic image. Is that by choice?

S1:  I don't get caught up in all the Hollywood stuff. I love creating my music and hanging with my family…that keeps me humble.



Wisdom:  Your son is Vohn Beatz, and he seems to be following in your production footsteps. When did you first notice his interest in music?

S1:  Vohn showed signs of wanting to play piano and drums at a young age. He would always be in my sessions when he was 2 years old and up so he picked it up really fast.

Wisdom:  How are you guiding your son through this musical path he is walking?

S1:  Just by being a father/parent and teaching him was right from wrong and letting him know that God has to be the foundation.

Wisdom:  I unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to see Erykah Badu perform recently with her electronic band The Cannabinoids here in Baltimore. Did you perform with the band, and how is that experience?

S1:  Yes, I'm in the ‘Noids group. Yes, I performed and we had a great show! Erykah is a great performer and great person, along with all the other members in the group. We all love what we do and we show that on stage.

Wisdom:  If you can, talk about some upcoming projects on deck for Symbolyc One.

S1:  Working on a lot of Kanye things right now. I’m also working on Willow Smith, 50 Cent, Talib Kweli, and Rodney Jerkins and a lot of his artists like Ace Primo, Young Steff and Alex.

Wisdom:  Who are some of your musical influences?

S1:  I have so many, but I will say a few: Justus League, J Dilla, Hi-Tek, Timbaland, Darkchild, Kanye, DJ Khalil, No ID, Dr Dre and many more.

Wisdom:  How do you balance your musical career with your strong faith foundation?

S1:  Just by surrounding myself around great people like my family and closest friends. And staying in God's word. That all keeps me level headed and humble, but yet confident enough to excel me in my music.

Wisdom:  What does being "on the rise" mean to Symbolyc One as a producer, emcee, and performer?

S1:  It means me progressing and evolving as a producer, artist, and performer.

Wisdom:  What would you like to say in closing to the  readers?

S1:  Love each and every one of you and thanks for the love. ---S1






Vohn Beatz Interview---



Wisdom:  Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. It is rare to be able to speak with a father and son that are both forging a path down the road with hip hop. How did you become interested in music and hip hop?

VB:  I have always wanted to make music and hear artists sing/rap over my music. I used to just hang out in the studio with my dad all the time. And I still do because I am still learning.


Wisdom:  How long have you been producing?

VB:  I have been producing since I was 10 years old, which would be 4 years now.

Wisdom:  Your presence is strong online with some of your videos on YouTube. Do you plan to utilize social media to expand what you're creating?

VB:  I do use the social media when I can. I am in the 8th grade and with homework, sports, band, and family it can be hard to log in and do videos or chat on Twitter or Facebook.

Wisdom:  How is your father helping to guide you with music?

VB: My dad allows me to learn from him. He is my mentor and teacher.

Wisdom:  Who are some of your influences with music?

VB: My dad S1, J Dilla, Pete Rock, Darkchild, M-Phazes, Hi-Tek, Nottz, Needlez, Illmind, DJ Khalil, T-Minus, Tha Business, Justus League, and so many more.

Wisdom:  Do you feel any pressure because your father has been a part of the industry?

VB: No, not at all. He has taught me how to make it fun. No pressure at all.

Wisdom:  What do you have on the horizon musically for 2012?

VB: I have been building my catalog and continuing to learn and collaborate with my dad. I plan to join the drumline as I start high school. I did co-produce on a record for Talib Kweli that should come out this summer. And there are some other things that I cannot speak about.

Wisdom:  What are some other things outside of music that you have a passion for?

VB: I love playing basketball with my school, hanging out with my big brother and friends, playing video games, and also just having family time.

Wisdom:  What would you like to say to the readers?

VB: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview with you. I thank you for the support as I grow in this industry.





You can visit www.symbolycone.com for more insight into the artist and producer known as S1. You can also follow him on Twitter: @SymbolycOne. His son Vohn Beatz can also be found on Twitter: @VohnBeatz. Together, these two will be creating music, collectively and individually, that will touch the ears and souls of many. Special thanks goes to Team S.K.P. for the opportunity to discuss music with both entities.