Monthly Archives: June 2011

Music

Frankensteez ft. Edo G – Humble Haters

This track, from an upcoming mixtape called Mister Jason Presents: FRANKENSTEEZ, sounds like the music Ugly Duckling would make if Ugly Duckling woke up tomorrow as a posse of hardcore rappers. The bouncy beat, the humorous references to the good ‘ol days (“Everything I’ve heard in the last decade/Got me begging for change like kids in arcades/Flavor meant something you could actually taste”), it’s all there.

Humble Haters feat. EDO G. by FRANKENSTEEZ

To be fair, the real story behind this project is interesting, too. Produced entirely on Mister Jason’s MPC-2000 – “the iconic drum machine of choice for 90s legends like Pete Rock and DJ Premier” – the mixtape includes a posse cut featuring 26 (!) rappers each spitting four lines, with each rapper representing one letter of the alphabet. Sounds amazing.

Props: HipHopDX

Music

MF Doom – My Favorite Ladies (Equal Remix)

I’ve never heard the original, unfortunately, but I’d be impressed if it’s as good as this remix. Capturing the crunchy drums and jazzy essence of much of Doom’s work (thanks mostly to Madlib, I’m guessing), Equal’s version of “My Favorite Ladies” is impressive. Doom’s verses are surprisingly coherent, too, and possess a rare emotional salience: “Every time I see you / It’s like the first time I meet you”.

MF Doom – My Favorite Ladies (Equal Remix) by Equalibrum

Props: World of Underground Hip Hop

Music

Chip Tha Ripper – Plural

This beat is driving me nuts. It’s almost too mellow.  But I like it mostly because it uses a drum break I flipped for one of my very first productions, way back in like 2004 or something. Beautiful:

Chip Tha Ripper – Plural by Sneakhype

(Image cred: Dana Beveridge)

Music

Chef’Special

Chef’Special, another Dutch hip hop group has been making some small waves recently. They’ve definitely put in some time on the scene, and while their sound is a little John Butler Trio-esque, they’re still worth checking out. Here’s Too Far Gone to give you a little taste. More available on their YouTube channel or their main website.

Funk Friday

Funk Friday: Slave – Slide (1977)

When looking at the great soul music geographies of the past quarter century, perhaps the most criminally overlooked is Ohio, the breeding ground for a generation of hot funk acts that came into their own in the 70s and early 80s, including the Ohio Players, Heatwave, Zapp, Lakeside, Midnight Star and Dayton.  One of the premiere Ohio groups of this era was Slave.  Formed in Dayton in 1975, Slave originally consisted of  bass guitarist Mark Adams, trumpter Steve Washington, drummer Tim Dozier, guitarist Mark Hicks, sax players Orion Wilhoite and Tom Lockett,  trombone player Floyd Miller, keyboardist Carter Bradley and vocalist Danny Webster.

The group signed with Cotillion Records for their self-titled debut album and immediately scored with the blazing funk track, “Slide,” which hit #1 on the Soul charts and earned Slave a Grammy nomination for best new artist.

-Chris Rizik at SoulTracks

(Also, RIP Slave bassist Mark Adams, who passed away this March, and guitarist Mark Hicks, who passed away in June.

Awareness

Rappers vs. Asthma

20110624-095241.jpg

Asthma isn’t exactly the first thing you think about when you hear the names of legendary emcees like Pharohe Monche and Notorious BIG. But, they are but a few of the hip hop community that are (or were) drastically affected by the disease.

It limits their delivery, makes it tougher to keep up a grueling schedule and forces them to confront their own image. Perhaps it’s less concerning these days than back in Notorious’ time, when rappers carefully cultivated their image as gritty, tough, street kids.

Either way, HipHopDX/ Soul Culture has a pretty fascinating interview with Pharohe:

“The asthma forced me to really go against the issue and push the envelope in terms of breath control and doing runs that I wouldn’t probably try if I didn’t have asthma,” he explained. “If I didn’t have asthma, I’d probably rhyme like the Hip Hop rock-the-spot [style]. But the fact that that shit is an element that I was fighting against, I was like, ‘Fuck that, let me make that battle, lyrically [speaking].'”

It’s an oddly human glimpse of celebrity.

Underreported News

Lil Wayne is pondering retirement

20110623-113747.jpg

According to our family over at Nah Right , Weezy is considering hanging up his microphone after his latest album is released.

“I’m bowing out still on top,” he says. “I’ma make y’all want me when I retire. I’ma make y’all be like, ‘Nooo!’ I ain’t leaving out this bitch when y’all be like, ‘Yeah, it’s about time, dawg.’ Carter IV might be my last one. I’ma make y’all be like, ‘Fuck!’ Yeah, nigga, I’m gone.”

I think i might be happy about this.

Music

The Cool Kids – Swimsuits ft. Mayer Hawthorne

From The Cool Kids’ upcoming album When Fish Ride Bicycles, “Swimsuits” is anchored by an irresistible drum break, hints of hyphy, and a saccharine hook courtesy of Mayer Hawthorne.

The Cool Kids – “Swimsuits” (Featuring Mayer Hawthorne) by greenlabelsound

Props: The New Halifax

(Image credit: Matt Kleinschmidt)

Album Reviews

Rapsody – Thank H.E.R. Now (Mixtape)

This mixtape by North Carolina rapper Rapsody is getting mad love on Twitter. With production by 9th Wonder and Khrysis (among others), and blazing guest appearances by Phonte, Mac Miller, Jean Grae, MURS and Raekwon (!), Thank H.E.R. Now may be one of the finest free albums I’ve heard in a long time.

Rapsody, a relative newcomer, is absolutely brilliant on the mic, dropping intricate and emotional rhymes on a range of tracks – from smoothed out, down tempo jams to minimalist, East Coast boom bap. Such easy versatility is rare among young rappers. Combined with Rapsody’s evident passion for her music, it’s impressive to behold. And the guest spots, all of which are solid, make every verse worth listening to.

Beat wise, the mixtape is blistering. Ninth comes correct, as usual, but so do the other producers. Nearly every track is well crafted, with the exception of “Out Tha Trunk”, which has an errant snare in the hook. But that’s a minor critique; the album otherwise glides smoothly across a nice mix of East Coast and 9th Wonder-ish beats, giving it a professional polish sorely lacking on most mixtapes.

Overall, Thank H.E.R. Now is a seriously impressive effort, and definitely worth a download. And if you don’t trust me, believe Tribe’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad, who co-signed it on Twitter. Here’s further proof:

Rapsody – Star Warz ft. Murs and Sundown (Thank H.E.R. Now)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the album here.

Music

J. Rawls ft. Casual – Find A New

This smooth, jazzy new track by J. Rawls is niiiiiiiiiice. It perfectly captures that late night, laid back vibe, and Casual delivers a couple of clever verses (“What’s better than this? We manifest elegant bliss”). The video is dope, too.