Wednesday, September 26, 2012


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.


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:  You can also follow Stanza on Twitter:  @iamstanza. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012


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


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.


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

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?'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!



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


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,, 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:

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