Sunday, August 6, 2017
Baltimore has been a virtual warzone for many years, so it comes as no surprise that the citizens of this great city are tired of the violence that has permeated its 92 square miles. A 72-hour ceasefire by activists was devised to not only put a pause on gunplay in the city, but to also bring attention to the various factors that have multiplied to put B-more in this precarious position. I'm so glad that the B-more Hip Hop community stood in unison to bring something positive to the table with this multifaceted collaboration aptly titled "Baltimore Cease Fire". A who's who of lyricists and artists participated in this dope venture: Von Vargas, Greenspan, Femi The Drifish, Josh Lay, Smallz, TT The Artist, Blaqstarr, Ill Conscious, Preme, Martina Lynch, The Boy Blesst. Take a listen at this joint effort and continue to support Baltimore Cease Fire as a real movement, not just a weekend adventure.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Friday, June 30, 2017
I've been looking forward to the official video for "Chill N Smoke" ever since DUB (my son and a dope emcee) told me about this joint with fellow rhyme spitter DREWSKII DOE. I try to stay impartial on matters of familial creativity (I shy away from nepotism and allow each individual the opportunity to shine on their own merits). Looks like that premise is out the window for this video and song. Even though I am a purist at heart with Hip Hop, I have been humming the chorus and refrain constantly since seeing a draft of "Chill N Smoke". Not quite trap and off the peripheral of boom bam, this song is more a vibe and anthem than anything else. I pride myself on the lyrical side of the artform, and there are gems sprinkled throughout this summer cruiser. This song is more than a banal ode to puffin' trees but a depiction of a young Black male living day to day in Harm City. Listen closely and you can decipher deeper meaning behind the coded language. False relationships built on dividends, survival on the gritty streets, easing continual pain via medicinal means and ultimate triumph. The title says "Chill N Smoke", yet you will soon find that there is much more depth and purpose with these two artists bubblin' on the B-more Hip Hop scene. With dope visuals provided by EBAN Films (Dir | @StevenQSpeilberg) you have the makings of a song poised to make noise everywhere.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
T.I., for all the seemingly negative press he has been receiving because of his marital issues being played out for the world to see via VH-1 and social media, is surely making his presence felt on the socio-political tip (no pun intended). His Grand Hustle release of the full-length Us or Else: Letter To The System on December 16, 2016 (as a follow-up to the EP similarly named Us or Else) signaled a slight departure from the ATL veteran. He has always sprinkled nuggets for consumers to grasp lyrically, but his most recent work is showing great depth and maturity for the highly-regarded emcee. If you haven't seen the short film Us or Else, then you NEED to see where T.I. is taking the listener and viewer. It is not just a trip through the sometimes rough streets of Atlanta, but a trek throughout our concrete jungles, suburbia and Middle America. Mere words on WISDOM SEEKER will not do justice to this dope piece of art, but hopefully REAL justice will be served when it comes to the perpetuated persecution, prosecution and execution of people of color across this vast land. Salute to T.I. for taking a stand with his art, for this is going to open the doors for others to do the same and make a real difference.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
The Triangle's very own SkyBlew has teamed up with SublimeCloud for a follow-up project to Destined: The Rebirth! entitled Destined: The [R]Evolution. This release is a prelude to the exciting news for SkyBlew to work with anime giant Funimation. The twelve song release is a musical journey, with a layered sound, produced by SublimeCloud, catered perfectly for the mellifluous voice of SB. Lyrically, you get a feel that is years beyond the two-plus decades of existence for SkyBlew. He definitely has a soul that is one part 90's emcee and one part bohemian jazz musician. Combine those dope traits with his love for anime and you have a multitalented as well as multicultural individual. Make sure to support this dope project. And as always, remember to "paint the sky, blew"!
Don P. Bandana P. Prodigy. Albert Johnson. For the better part of two-plus decades he, along with partner in rhyme Havoc, brought us some of the most visceral, dark and reality-laden music the genre of Hip Hop has ever witnessed. They started their careers as Poetical Prophets (go back to The Source Unsigned Hype, July 1991 issue), but the reinvention as Mobb Deep forever forged their place in the pantheon of our culture. In retrospect, The Infamous was the template for many a hip hop release for years to come. In 2012 Wes Jackson (@westothejack), a Hip Hop historian and curator for The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, conducted a series of interviews with Prodigy and Havoc, centered around the seminal classic The Infamous. Produced by Red Bull Media House and Rooster Films, this documentary gives a more candid glimpse into what prompted the two powerhouse artists in Mobb Deep to delve into the darkness that is Hip Hop culture. What we get is a snapshot, an artistic slice that can never be replicated again with the passing of Prodigy. Rest in power dunn. Forever will we in the Hip Hop community be hooked on Mobb phonics.
Mobb Deep "The Infamous" documentary from Wes Jackson on Vimeo.
Mobb Deep "The Infamous" documentary from Wes Jackson on Vimeo.
Back in my production and beatmaking bag for 2017. "Soundwaves" is a newer concoction that I designed with my son and budding MC (Dub) in mind. Hoping to hear this on an upcoming EP or mixtape later this summer. Check this and my other aural elixirs to cure your sonic ailments via Soundcloud (link below).
L.A. based emcee F.Y.I. recently released ameriBLACKKK, a creative venture that allows the artist to vent and venture into conscious and woke territory. "These The Times (Don't Judge)" is a dope piece of artistry built upon a Bob James sample (for the crate-digging contingent). It's a positive slice for Black Americana, so to speak, and is an uplifting sonic treat (produced by Sir John Lee and featuring vocalist Kaye Fox as well as horn player Ryck Jane). Once you listen to this song, check out the entire ameriBLACKKK release to get a feel for F.Y.I. and what he is bringing to the table. The Left Coast is definitely at the forefront of bringing dope emcees and Hip Hop to the masses. F.Y.I. is someone to pay attention to for '17 and beyond.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Blastmaster is back with arguably his best release sonically in a good while. Lyrically KRS-ONE has NEVER been at a loss for words or flow; however, his beat selections have been less than stellar, akin to Nas. Definitely no shots thrown at either elite lyricist. It appears that KRS has found his footing this album from a musical standpoint. This album bangs from beginning to end, and I am definitely recommending this as one of the best releases for 2017. Fifteen tracks at 43:38 should keep the attention of our ADHD culture. Hit the Bandcamp and/or website to listen, download and support.
Official Website: https://www.krs-one.com/
Saturday, March 11, 2017
For those that have never experienced a Boiler Room set with world-wide acclaimed spinners from various genres, it is an absolute treat. With the dj front and center the listening audience is bombarded with hours of music spanning different avenues. Of course the best to showcase a Boiler Room set would have to be my personal favorite behind the wheels of steel (or Serato), DJ Jazzy Jeff. Adding more panache to the golden moment in January 2017 is DJ Jazzy Jeff transferring that energy to a Philly crowd. What we have hear is close to two hours of non-stop music that only Jazzy Jeff could bring to life on an intimate yet vibrant scale in his hometown. With his resident sidekick and artist Dayne Jordan accompanying him as official hype man, DJ Jazzy Jeff puts on a performance for the ages. Please don't hesitate to play this during some downtime, at work, or whenever you get the opportunity. You will surely be satisfied yet yearning for more. Make certain you also check out the very dope Vinyl Destination series, where you get a peek into the touring lifestyle that Jeff and company endures for the culture.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Ill Camille has been making a very huge impact on the SoCal/City Of Angels Hip Hop scene for a hot minute. The Pre Write was her debut joint, released October 18, 2011, and it paved the way for Ill Camille to get acclaim from other LA-based artists such as Kendrick Lamar (who utilized her vocals for his extremely dope reflective piece "Sing About Me/Dying Of Thirst"), Terrace Martin, Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Battlecat and others. Illustrated, her second official release offered to the masses December 18, 2012, gave more of a glimpse into the mind and soul of the Cali spitter. We've waited patiently for the newest release, entitled Heirloom, to bless our ears, and it doesn't disappoint in the least bit. Guest appearances from luminaries such as Camp Lo, SiR, Iman Omari, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Punch add an eclectic flavor to a dope project. Heirloom is already an early fav for one of the best releases in 2017. From the sounds of it, it will still be considered for that acclaim December 31, 2017. Peep the sixteen song release and support an artist whose time is now!
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Produced by K-R.O.K, this MURS banger from the upcoming Captain California is both a cautionary tale and ode to the trials and tribulations of Kanye. What we have here is a captivating visual that fits the theme of the song and brings the struggles of a young Black male in America in crystal-clear view. "Everyday he puts his backpack on, his headphones on and he plays that song" is a caption that many of my peers can relate to, living in the hood, suburbia, or any area for that matter in today's time. Time and time again MURS is able to capture the mindset of whoever he is portraying lyrically, allowing the listener a visceral experience. He is definitely one of the most slept-on lyricists in Hip Hop, dating back to his days as a part of the Cali-based Living Legends. Captain California is slated for release March 10, 2017 on the Strange Music imprint, and I'm certain this will be another feather in the cap for MURS. In the meantime enjoy this new video, and of course support dope music!
Friday, March 3, 2017
The PLAYlist is a listener's dream. This collective of well-respected Hip-Hop and Soul/R&B artists have banded together to create arguably the best project of this "Orange Julius era" (I won't mention 45 by name). DJ Jazzy Jeff gathered a dope assortment of artists, ranging from names such as Glenn Lewis, Dayne Jordan, Muhsinah, Maimouna Youssef, SiR, Eric Roberson, James Poyser (and many others) to deliver a high quality piece of artistry. If you are a fan of the musical stylings of The Foreign Exchange (Phonte, Nicolay and crew), this project is right up your alley. I've known about Jazzy Jeff and The PLAYlist for a hot minute, and hearing this project come to fruition is a blessing indeed. Please take a listen and enjoy the music that will kiss your ears and bring happiness to your heart!
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Masta Ace has been blazing trails for Hip Hop since his artistic debut on the classic "The Symphony" back in '88 (when high tops ruled). The BK representative has carved out a dope niche as a no-frills lyricist, a wordsmith of the highest caliber that has remained sharped for almost 30 years (and counting). The discography for the Golden Era emcee is impressive, with Disposable Arts leading the way for its conceptual content, lyricism, and solid gold boom-bap production throughout. The 2001 release was met with critical acclaim, and it still has an impact to this day. Please take the time to not only view this dope documentary, but visit (or revisit) this classic Masta Ace joint.
Inspired by the now infamous Sean Spicer/Kellyanne Conway "alternative facts" debacle, this is a new aural creation depicting this newest "faux-reality show" episode. With sampled vocal snippets ranging from Aaliyah, Big Daddy Kane and "The Wire", you have something that will entice the ears and open the senses. Produced by yours truly, I hope you enjoy the creativity and thought process associated with making this gem. Trust when I say my beatmaking approach is more cerebral than most. Visit my Soundcloud page for more boom-bap creations.