Friday, January 6, 2012

2012---What Does It Hold For Hip Hop?

With 2012 upon us, expectations are naturally high for new music from established and newer artists.  2011 was a cool year from a hip hop perspective, with high profile releases such as Watch The Thone, The Carter 4, Cole World, as well as under the radar gems such as Charity Starts At Home, The Wonder Years, and countless others that may or may not ring a bell within hip hop circles.  I was excited because hip hop did not stay contained within the box; hip hop matured a little more in 2011.  Kanye had us excited in the first quarter of the year with his most recent solo release, while Common closed out the fourth quarter with an excellent offering that harkened back to his hungrier Windy City days. 

On the local front, a wide range of talented wordsmiths ripped microphones and showed what the art of mastering ceremonies was all about:  Gods'illa, Last Born Child, OOH from BrownFish,  Los, Mullyman, Jay Mills, Jay McGraw, Oddisee, Si-Notes, Caddy Da Don.  These names and many more showed the diversity that the Baltimore-Washington region offered.  Some were strictly underground, some reached for a broader audience.  The common thread  with this diverse listing was the desire to be true to what he or she brought to the table within the hip hop realm.  I, along with many others, welcomed this musical diversity.

I had the opportunity to witness many a performance during 2011.  Controlling the stage seemed to be a lost art over the past few years, but I noticed that creating that aura from a performance standpoint was something that was being sought by artists nationally and locally.  Royce Da 5'9", Lauryn Hill, Phonte, 9th Wonder, Rapsody, The Away Team, Median, Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price, Smif N Wessun showcased what true, authentic performance skills are all about on the stage when I witnessed their unique appearances.  Here in Harm City, NowChild Soundstage was the proving ground for many up and coming artists and emcees, with the soon to be famous Judah's Juke Joint taking center stage on Thursday evenings.  As the coined phrase goes, "Thursday Is The New Saturday".  Thursday evenings did much to heighten expectations for a Baltimore and beyond hip hop scene.  The aforementioned Gods'illa, DMV royalty in my humble opinion, brought a 90's aesthetic to the 409 E. Preston Street location.  Others took turns breaking molds and creating new ones at Judah's Juke Joint, the brainchild of Mr. Baltimore City Slicka himself OOH, a staple on our burgeoning hip hop scene for the better part of two decades.  Last Born Child, one of the dopest artists here AND abroad, time and time again showed what true hip hop and mic mastery was all about.  UllNevaNo, Golden Seal, Si-Notes, The Bangladesh Project, Eazzie Da Tattman, Greenspan, and so many others made their separate and collective spirits known within the cavernous walls of the creative hotbed at NowChild.  There are so many other artists that I have seen at Judah's Juke Joint (including my sons A-Dub and Coppa, known to the hip hop community as Flight Squad).  To me, that has been THE high point of creativity in 2011, because of the communal vibe that was, and still is, present.

So what does 2012 hold for us as a hip hop community?  I envision new releases by Rick Ross, OutKast, Jay-Z, Kanye...the list goes on and on.  I see the boundaries of this artform expand to a limitless area, where cats won't be necessarily judged by pop culture OR the underground circuit.  I want to witness much respect for artists that paved the way for the newer breed of emcees.  I believe that we are going to be in for some surprises, so stay tuned.

Lab Sessions (Hosted By Last Born Child)

Courtesy of BluVision Productions we have Lab Sessions 5 and 5.2, filmed on location at The Fish Den.  This cypher-based series allows an assortment of emcees to do what they do best:  SPIT.  Hosted by B-more Renaissance Man Last Born Child, these two videos showcase the talents of some of the best in the region.  The initial video features talented artists Last Born Child, Voice, Kae Fields, Akkillis, Prime Zeggy, and Eazzie Da Tattman trading vicious verses.  The second segment is a collection of varied artists Akhi Mandriq, M.E., Lonnie Moore, and OOH from BrownFish spitting flames.  Don't forget to visit for more information about this dope series.  Enjoy blogosphere!

Part I:

Part II:


Directed by NC stalwart Kenneth Price we have the visuals for "Dance In The Reign" by the incomparable Phonte.  I've been anxiously awaiting this video, because if there is a song from Charity Starts At Home, this is indeed the track.  In my opinion, "Dance In The Reign" set the stage for CSAH to be the acclaimed success that it is, at least from a true musician's standpoint.  As Phonte so eloquently stated at the beginning of the song, STAND CLEAR...

"DANCE IN THE REIGN" (directed by Kenneth Price)

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Happy New Year and Happy Hip Hop my blogosphere family!  Wisdom is back to illuminate the true tenets of hip hop culture, be it on the turntables, microphone, canvas, dancefloor, or in the heart.  2012 promises to be a year of growth, development, and renewal.  Whatever your endeavors this year and beyond, be productive and positive.  With that being said, to start off my Wisdom Seeker for this year, I bring to you this gem found on YouTube.  KRS-One will always be an upper echelon emcee to me, someone who can COMPLETELY show what the art of mastering the ceremony is truly about.  Courtesy of The Archivest, you have a very dope introspective into the artistry, creativity, activism, and insight of Mr. Parker.  For more than an hour, you will hear AND feel the passion that KRS-One has for the very culture of hip hop, a culture that I live and breathe on a daily basis.  When he says that "he is hip hop", he is indeed the living embodiment of an artform that has completely transfixed and transformed our landscape.  I thoroughly enjoyed this enlightening piece of documentary, as I am sure you will!