Ending the year on a bright note is Camp Lo, bringing us another banger entitled "Suga Streets". The visuals are vintage Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba, and is a nice welcome for those thirsting for fluids of a lyrical nature. Definitely support the legendary Camp Lo and check out their site: http://officialcamplo.com/
The newest installment for the Beat Tape Project series is dedicated to the one and only Anthony Cruz, better known in the Hip Hop world as AZ. The new project, spearheaded by Gadget (@DigitalHustler), is a compilation of dope beats that a listener can envision AZ spittin' over or fitting the mold of the BK emcee. Beatmakers from near and far submitted their joints for consideration (myself included, shameless plug). When it was all said and done, what we have is a very cohesive undertaking that gives fans of AZ aural pleasures for the rest of '16 and beyond. 30 beats, all heat. Enjoy and appreciate this dope project!
'Tis the season for dope music! 2016 has indeed been a trying time for all of us, but here's to ending it on a brighter note. The Neckcracker EP will help bring in the Christmas holiday and New Year with a bang (or banger for the beat heads). Produced by the very dope and inspirational J Filt (@JFilt), this is sure to give a different boom-bap flavor to the season. Check out the link and support the music.
Based out of The Tar Heel State, Meridian (comprised of Obsidian Blue and Mercury Waters) is a welcome breathe of fresh air musically. No trap stylings, just pure, unadulterated Hip Hop from the soul. The approach may be more old school than new, but the results are anything but dated or stale. I first encountered Obsidian Blue as a OKP head (Charter Member like myself), and I've been able to keep abreast of his music, as well as Mercury Waters, via Bandcamp (links will be listed below). Support the music, support the movement!
Here's a beat that I made that exemplifies what is going on in today's climate. "Who Really Cares" takes a vocal sample from MJ and creates the basis for a dope joint (in my humble opinion). I made this beat more than a year ago (courtesy of my NI MASCHINE MK1) and it definitely sets the tone for what we are experiencing as a people at the moment. With the President-Elect (I will NOT state his name) slated to be inaugurated January 20th, we need to make OUR voices heard even more than before. From what we can surmise, that will be a difficult thing, but we will not be swayed or dismayed. Political musings aside, listen, enjoy, and engage in positive change!
Legendary music has been created at Electric Lady Studios in NYC over the years. J. Cole is on the precipice of adding to that vaunted list with his 4 Your Eyez Only that will be released December 9th. Leading up to this joint is the documentary Eyez, directed by Scott Lazer. This is thirty-nine minutes of the inner-workings of the creative process for Jermaine Cole in the production of 4 Your Eyez Only. Over the years Cole has been giving us a peek into his process, allowing fans and critics the opportunity to see that he definitely has way more than fifteen minutes of fame attached to his talent. Make certain to peep the documentary below and support when the album drops.
Cole Season is upon us...THANK YOU JERMAINE! Here we have the dope surprise video for the new joint "False Prophets (Be Like This)" from the upcoming project 4 Your Eyez Only (December 9th release). I won't say much...I'll let the video and lyrics speak for themselves. Who is (or are) the "false prophets" being discussed in this joint? You decide.
It has been quite a long time since I've been on WISDOM SEEKER. 2016 has been such a surreal year, from the passing of so many icons, the fractured political process, to the continued senseless brutality of police. T.I. has made his militant side known with this dope joint entitled "Warzone". Produced by The Futuristiks (also known as Mike & Keys), this blistering track turns the tables on police brutality and our general disdain on how people of color have been treated by the "boys in blue". Featured on the recently released EP Us Or Else, this joint shows the continued growth and political activism that Clifford Harris is now exhibiting. Check out this powerful video and strike up some insightful dialogue with those inside and outside your circle.
It's been 18 years since ATCQ has put out an album. The time is perfect for us all to appreciate the artistry that Q-Tip, Phife (Rest In Power), Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi (along with extended family members Busta Rhymes and Consequence) have provided us over the past few decades. "We The People" is the first video from the highly-acclaimed new release We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service.
Thank you to Tribe for giving us a much-need piece of audio artwork. Rest In Power the spirit of Malik Taylor!
Rapsody has created another gem that perfectly reflects the times as we close out 2016. Crown is just that, a crowning achievement for the NC lyricist who is looking at an even brighter future under the Roc Nation/JAMLA imprint. Ten tracks comprise this delightful EP, with features from Raphael Saadiq, Anderson .Paak, Moonchild and Ab-Soul. The usual Soul Council production team blesses Rapsody with the soulful sonics (9th, Khrysis, Nottz, Eric G, Kash). Peep the stream below and support the movement that we are witnessing with music outside of mainstream.
It's been a very long time since I've graced the virtual pages of WISDOM SEEKER. We have experienced iconic loss, electoral disappointment, endless protesting, untold violence and overall quirkiness in 2016. I'm hoping and praying that the rest of '16 and the upcoming 2017 holds more promise for us all. Here is a somber joint I made a few months ago reflecting the melancholy that I believe that majority of us have been feeling during the course of this year of discourse.
Ursula Rucker has been a huge influence on spoken word and poetry for the better part of two-plus decades. Since first noticing her bless the conclusion of Do You Want More?!!?!! by The Roots (poem entitled "The Unlocking"), I have always placed her in the pantheon of spoken word artists (along with Saul Williams and jessica Care moore). This docu-movie from 2008 should shed light on the beautiful artistry from this beautiful Illadelph soul. Special shout out to Reelblack for putting this into motion and showing respect.
Enjoy this PRhyme (@Prhyme_Official) cut with Logic (@Logic301). This inventive lyric video was directed by Lanfia Wal (@LanfiaWal), and it does an excellent job of melding visuals with the seven minutes of funky Hip Hop with Preem, Nickel-Nine and Young Sinatra. This gives another meaning to "beast mode" on the real.
Royce da 5'9" is set to release another project, Layers, April 15th. This go round will be a solo effort for Mr. Montgomery (after the VERY critically-acclaimed PRhyme with DJ Premier). "Tabernacle" is one of those songs that shows the true depth of a top-tier emcee. Watch the video and listen to the dopeness and emotion evoked with the lyricism. All I can say is kudos to Royce. He is truly getting his roses while he is still here on this planet. Definitely not wishing any ill will, far from it. I just want our comrades to get their just due while they can appreciate it. Salute!
Son. Husband. Father. Sports aficionado. Emcee. Everyman. Phife Dawg touched each and every one of us as Hip Hop fans worldwide. His sudden and unexpected passing affected me immensely. I consider myself one of the hugest supporters of Native Tongues and Tribe (peep the blog name: WISDOM SEEKER---BEATS, RHYMES, LIFE). I've had the opportunity to see ATCQ perform 4 times over the years (it should be five if I wouldn't have encountered the worst traffic in my existence on US Highway 29 trying to get to Merriweather Post Pavilion August 29th, 2010 for Rock The Bells). When Tribe was on their farewell tour in '98, I witnessed an excellent show for "The Love Movement", and was introduced to Slum Village and the genius of one Jay Dee, more commonly known as J Dilla in later years. I remember Phife rockin' the dope Len Bias jersey during a performance at Artscape in Baltimore years ago. Phife always repped that sports aesthetic when he performed in a specific market. That was the everyman attitude that he carried. He identified with the listener, and the listener was brought into the Five-Foot Assassin's world. I can go on and on about the music, the legacy, the memories, as we all can. Each of us has something that will lead back to Tribe, to Phife, but it will not bring him back in the physical. 45 is just too young to leave this earthly plane, but we never know when The Most High will call us home, so we have to live each day to the fullest. Malik Taylor is (and I say that in the present tense) only a few months younger than myself, so his passing (along with Sean Price less than a year earlier) truly brings mortality for my generation to the forefront. We are components of one of the, if not THE, biggest cultural phenomenon globally. Hip Hop.
I want to say more much, but I will be rambling more than anything else. The passing of Phife is still very fresh in my mind. Finding out via social media (which is commonplace in today's technologically-savvy environment) while I was enthralled watching The Art Of Organized Noizedocumentary late Monday night. This will be one of those moments in time that I will immediately identify as a "where were you" moment. I went from heights of pleasure watching Organized Noize in all their musical glory to the depths of sadness upon confirmation of Phife passing away. Sending deepest condolences to the family and friends of Phife. He is truly loved and revered worldwide. Through his music, his energy, his everyday attitude, he will remain with us forever. Beats. Rhymes. Phife.
You have to love the true beauty of social media. I've come across many artists and creative souls via Twitter, Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and other platforms; these are individuals I may not encounter if not for the reach of technology. One dynamic individual who I've come across is a Little Rock, Arkansas emcee that goes by the name Cadeem (@Cadeem_1606). The first word that comes to mind when referring to Cadeem is humble. Be it his upbringing or his Southern upbringing, you get the sense that Cadeem has a soul and spirit maybe a decade or more ahead of his calendar age. I had the pleasure and distinct honor of interviewing this conscious, intelligent, socially aware who has a very bright future in Hip Hop and beyond.
We coordinated our interview as a very conversational, free-flowing affair. Since there is about 850 miles separating us, of course the interview would be phone-based. With me traveling to Durham for an event, I opted to travel to Duke University to conduct our interview. Looking for a relatively quiet area inside the Bryan Center, I was able to have a very dope conversation with Cadeem, touching on everything from his influences, the Little Rock Hip Hop scene, relationship status to what the future holds for this budding lyricist. With the blessings of Cadeem, I give you this slice of journalism, because Little Rock indeed has something to say.
WISDOM SEEKER: What sparked your love of Hip Hop?
CADEEM: I can safely say listening to samples. I was originally a jazz head. You could hear those elements and put them in Hip Hop. It just blew my mind when I heard a sax and it didn't sound corny. I mean, this is jazz, but he is rapping to it. You could just hear the jazz influences in the music I was listening to at the time. Music in general, to be truthful, sparked that love. My family is musically inclined, that's for sure.
WISDOM SEEKER: Name five artists that have influenced you.
CADEEM: Elzhi. Nas. This will throw you for a loop, but Ab-Soul. Dope artist. Oh my goodness, let's say Joe Budden. I'm from the South man. (laughter) He ain't done nothin' since "Pump It Up". This is difficult man. Who is gonna get this last spot?
WISDOM SEEKER: We're going to come back to that one. Name three producers who inspire you.
CADEEM: Dilla of course. Let me see who else can get this spot. 9th. Knxwledge. Do you know who Knxwledge is?
WISDOM SEEKER: Definitely! He's a dope producer based in Cali on Stones Throw.
CADEEM: I heard him on "Killuminati" (featuring Joey Bada$$ and Capital STEEZ). This is some coffee table, smooth...took the beat to a whole 'nother level. It's so many niggas that got that heat man. But just wait 'til you hear what I have cookin'.
WISDOM SEEKER: That leads me to my next question. What are you working on right now?
CADEEM: I don't want to give out the title of my new project yet. (laughter) My first tape came out on December 5th, when Mandela died. That first project I was a rapper. Straight rhymes, no chaser. I was a straight rapper. Metaphors. Deep lines. Intricate flows. My next project I was a musician, similar to a Quincy. I would love to work with him before he passes away. There were certain songs that didn't make the project, but I was happy with the result. Now this third project, I'm an instrument. I'm taking plenty people on a ride with me on this one. Over the years people that have been with me will see the growth. That will be the difference with this one. I won't be in the studio again until January. [Editor's Note: This interview took place November 2015] I will do as much as I can once I get back in the studio. I'm just telling the blogs to wait while I make more music to hear. I'm not sure when I will drop the new one, 2016, maybe 2017. When the time is right you will hear it.
"Roll it over light it up I'm never beginning wrong, is my environment worth the world that it's spinning on. Good luck with that chain of thought knowing that you won't need 'em, prisoner of the mind and a slave to your own freedom."
WISDOM SEEKER: Who are you working with?
CADEEM: There is this great instrumentalist from Detroit, Prentice Jackson. I also have a good friend Bryan Cole that I work with as well. Funny story...I stole one of Prentice's beats for my first beat! (laughter) I was in the studio and he heard it and noticed it was his. If it was just that easy with someone else! Jordo, out of Connecticut, a few of his beats ignited this project. The new project was supposed to originally be an EP. Looks like it will be a full-fledged release now. Now I've said it before on Twitter, but I grew up under Dilla. I am a child of Dilla. I planned to do a song on each project with a J Dilla beat. I wanted to do a whole project with nothing but Dilla beats.
WISDOM SEEKER: Now are there any other creative talents?
CADEEM: Truthfully, no. Like Professor X when he was younger. I focused so much on writing that my other talents kinda dwindled.
WISDOM SEEKER: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
CADEEM:In five years I will be 29. I think I will be opening for a serious legend, or someone opening for me. Opening for Rakim! Looking back at my music, I have a lot of friends that are fraternities and sororities. Hip Hop became my fraternity. Cats my age are trying to break out truthfully. You have a Rakim, you have a KRS-ONE. Can I speak on this?
WISDOM SEEKER: Of course.
CADEEM: I did a tribute to Black Moon. What's that beat? "How Many MC's...", that's it. As soon as I laid my Buckshot verse my engineer asked me if I wanted to lay it. For some reason I said no. Twitter, man. Now Buckshot is following me on Twitter! Me! That's an honor and blessing. Not even sure if he knows that yet. (laughter) Then I got turned on to Sean Price. I found out Sean Price passed away while I was in Chicago. Total shock. He was such a lyrical beast, man. Really sad day in Hip Hop, really sad.
WISDOM SEEKER: It caught me off guard completely. I was a huge fan of Sean P. Met him at a show in B-more a few years ago with Boot Camp Clik. I still can't believe that he is gone.
CADEEM: Same here.
WISDOM SEEKER: Since you talked about Chicago, where have you performed?
CADEEM: Little Rock of course. Dallas and Chicago. I'm living a double life. They both showed me much love. I'm looking to move to Dallas.
WISDOM SEEKER: Why are you relocating?
CADEEM: I want to get my music out there to the people. My girl lives there too, need I say more? (laughter) I have family members in Dallas. Now do you remember in 8 Mile how no one took B Rabbit serious until the end of the movie? (laughter) That's how I feel sometimes. I told my auntie about me releasing music on June 5th. While I was watching Inglorious Bastards, at 12:05AM she hit me up saying "it's June 5th". It's good to have some support from family, I can't even lie.
WISDOMSEEKER: When someone brings up Little Rock, the first thing that usually comes up is the HBO Documentary Gang War: Bangin' In Little Rock. Describe the Hip Hop scene in Little Rock.
CADEEM: The scene is ok, it's what you really make it. You have your gangsta rappers, of course. You have your trap rappers. There are a few of us that bring that lyrical side to Little Rock. I pride myself on my pen and being a lyricist, first and foremost.
WISDOM SEEKER: I wanted to let you know that you are a very dope lyricist and wise beyond your years.
CADEEM: It's real humbling to hear that. I appreciate it.
WISDOM SEEKER: No doubt. Now would you consider yourself a producer or more the ear when in the studio?
CADEEM: It's the latter, but I want it to be the former. I can hear guitar riffs really well. Now my girl, on the other hand, she's a producer. She is definitely musically inclined. I will keep her to myself, at least for now. (laughter) I know that sounds selfish, but it's good to have someone in my life that has that direction. I'm trying to be the first one to blow up. In college I was just "the boyfriend". I was Stedman to her Oprah. I can't wait to go to her hometown and blow up. (laughter) She's been in Dallas all her life. Call me petty. (laughter)
WISDOM SEEKER: Tell everyone where they can find your music.
WISDOM SEEKER: What do you want to tell all the readers?
CADEEM: I want to thank you for this interview. It's a humbling experience to have someone want to reach out and inquire about my music and background. I want to make sure that everyone is able to listen to the music, feel the music, like I feel the music. Thanks to everyone out there! Peace!
The EXTREMELY dope Bull City-based Art Of Cool Festival has brought a sense of class and energy to the burgeoning music community in the Triangle region. I've experienced the positive vibes of the festival first-hand (i.e. The Foreign Exchange, Cody Chestnutt, Amel Larrieux), and I can safely say that it is garnering national attention. Along with Hopscotch Music Festival (and now Moogfest), we are showcasing to the musical world that indeed the South has something to say (to quote the mighty Outkast). This region is a hotbed for good, dope music. Leading up to the third year of AOC, fans and music aficionados can get weekly teasers from a new video series documenting eleven weeks of honest musical dialogue. Week 1 features lovely ladies Chelsey Bentley (@BCGmarketing_) and Cicely Mitchell (@drcicy) discussing Anderson .Paak, The Internet, Yeezy, as well as Kendrick Lamar's grand opus To Pimp A Butterfly. I am looking forward to the rest of this series leading up to May 6th-8th. I will be there...will you? Stay tuned for more insight into the AOC experience.
The lead single from the Jumbled project Wish It Was Longer is the Ullnevano-assisted "Hampden Session". You know that when Ullnevano is involved, tried and true Hip Hop is in effect. Expect no different with "Hampden Session". I am just getting familiar with the boom-bap musings of Jumbled, and as a fellow beatmaker I give nothing but thumbs-up for his musical soundscape. His DIY approach to beatmaking is refreshing and dope, to say the least. After checking out this cut, go to the Bandcamp page for a more comprehensive list of music from Jumbled.
As many of you already know, February is now a universally-accepted month honoring the memory and music of James DeWitt Yancey, known as Jay Dee, Pay Jay, J Dilla (and other nomenclatures). Even though his fans and followers have relished any and all joints bearing his name (sometimes being disappointed because many of the songs were not the final vision of Dilla), there comes a point where we will no longer hear unreleased music from the genius behind the MPC. This should be a precursor to the final official release for Dilla-approved music for public consumption entitled The Diary (due April 15th as a collaborative effort between the Yancey estate and Mass Appeal Records).
Eighteen instrumentals deep, this collection should inspire and give a glimpse into the artistry that illuminated the skies and then dimmed too soon. Take a listen via Spotify album stream, then purchase on iTunes.
Black-Tokyo Musik is back again with a new release entitled Outta Here Wit That BullSH%T, a dope collection of joints that delivers the usual BTM-flavored boom bap for the intelligent listener. I could give the normal dissertation about the content and quality of the music, but I will allow the listener to make the proper judgement call by absorbing this EP in its entirety. Take a listen and you will understand where Black-Tokyo Musik is taking us with Outta Here Wit That BullSH%T. Dope as usual!
Hailing from Chocolate City is the talented emcee Dot-Com Intelligence. Harkening back to an era where Black pride and militancy was more the norm and not the exception in Hip Hop, this young brother brings a flair of intellect and consciousness you won't hear twenty times a day via Clear Channel (and that may not be a bad thing). His material is definitely not watered down, and he has the potential to be a potent leader in the DMV Hip Hop arena.
Peep the recently released project Resonance, twelve tracks of revolutionary and introspective music that will make you think and bop your head at the same time. Looking forward to more positivity from Dot-Com in the future. You can find the artist via Twitter: @Dotintell19.
Mr. West teased us a week ago with the snippet for "No More Parties In L.A.", and social media was ablaze with fervor over the completed project. We now have the full joint, in all its Kanye/Kendrick/Madlib glory. How does it sound as a finished product? In today's here today, gone tomorrow market it is pretty good. Truth be told it sounds like it was a track destined for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (that's another story unto itself), but whatever the case I will take it. I hope that the February release of SWISH will be more of this and not "Jumpman", but that is just me (or is it?). Nevertheless take a listen to the full, unadulterated version with Kendrick Lamar spittin' that TDE heat and Madlib diggin' in the dusty crates for "Suzie Thundertussy" by Junie Morrison as the backdrop (do your research).