Category Archives: Awareness

Awareness Headline Music Underreported News

Shad is the new host of Q

CBC’s Q Radio Program has been embroiled in controversy the last little while.  Ever since the fall of Jian Ghomeshi 4 months ago (as of the date of this article), it has been a whirlwind of a search to find a worthy successor.

And they have one.  A cerebral, excellent, talented rapper and interviewer.  Shad has been announced as the new permanent host of Q.

A Juno Award-winning musician who has been nominated three times for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, the performer known as Shad takes the reins of the show after CBC managers were impressed by his ease in speaking with other artists during a week-long audition as a Q guest host in late January, Shad interviewed a range of artists including cartoonist Art Spiegelman, opera star Christine Goerke, filmmaker and author Miranda July and actress Evangeline Lilly.

We here at 4080 welcome him.  While Shad has never reached the market saturation he deserves, his albums have been incredible.  He’s a critical darling, and one who is a worthy successor to such an institution.

And I leave you with Rose Garden:

Awareness Music

Action Bronson – New Music and More

Action Bronson
Photo by Coup d’Oreille

Off Action Bronson’s upcoming album, Mr. Wonderful, “Terry” features the Queens rapper’s distinctive flow and complex wordplay, which are complemented by jazzy production by the Alchemist.

In related news, Bronson’s Vice series, “Fuck, That’s Delicious” – whose latest episode includes a clip of Bronson in the studio with Alchemist (see below) – is coming to cable TV. This isn’t totally surprising, considering Bronson is an engaging host, and just generally a hilarious and interesting dude to follow around. His show will no doubt be successful.

Awareness Headline Music

Zion I is breaking up

Photo by Ron Henry
Photo by Ron Henry

Let me start this off by saying I have not independently verified this.  Relying on Teambackpack.net (which, if you haven’t checked them out on the web or on Facebook, you are missing out) which in turn relied on MassAppeal.com, I discovered this morning that Zion I has released what they claim to be their last project as the original duo.  The EP, Sun, Moon and Stars is 5 tracks.  An eclectic mix for an already eclectic group, it’s worth a listen (check it out below).

According to TBP, the duo is going their separate ways, but AmpLive will continue to contribute the occasional production while Zumbi continues on under the Zion I banner.  What’s unclear to me is whether Zumbi will be getting new talent in on a full time basis, or just bring in the occasional featured artist.

Awareness Cool

Hip-Hop Hamilton – The New Yorker

We’ve covered Lin-Manuel Miranda before, but we’re back with a quick update.  When we last discussed, Mr. Miranda had made an appearance at the White House and performed a rap about Alexander Hamilton.   The New Yorker has an extensive look at our friend, and how he has turned that one song into a full fledged musical that opens soon.

It’s a pretty amazing look at the the process behind creating this production, and worth a read.  Check out a snippet below:

At a workshop production in May, Miranda had delivered a final rap in which Hamilton gives an account of his preparations—“The sun is in my eyes and I’m almost giddy / As I watch it slowly rise over my New York City”—and weighs whether or not Burr has it in him to kill. Both musically and lyrically, the song hadn’t conveyed the high stakes that Miranda sought to capture, in which Hamilton’s fears about Burr’s lack of integrity extended to broad trepidation about the uncertain direction of the country. Nor had the song fully delivered a sense of tragic inevitability, in which Hamilton’s uncharacteristic reticence and Burr’s uncharacteristic forwardness ruin the lives of both men. Miranda was still revising the song, and expected to be still worrying over the scene in rehearsals. He said, “There are things that don’t exist, and that are not going to exist, until we have actors in the room, and I go, ‘Oh!’ ” Kail, who sets deadlines for Miranda, and reacts to every draft of every song, explained, “Lin’s response to pressure is to generate more material.”

Awareness Music

UK hip hop mix on Mixcloud

Mixcloud has become my new favorite hobby. I’ve now lost a ton of time surfing and listening to all kinds of excellent mixes and mashups.  Check out the one below featuring UK hip hop, from our friends over at The Find Mag.

R.R.R. (Real Recognize Real) by The Find Mag on Mixcloud

Awareness Cool Underreported News

Kobe Bryant’s failed rap career

Grantland has a great story on The secret history of Kobe Bryant’s failed attempt at a rap career.  It’s a bit of a long read, but in the best possible way.

It tracks Kobe’s path through his time signed at Sony Entertainment and provides surprisingly relatable discussions about his struggles to remain true to his original intention versus being moved towards the radio-friendly pop sound that the mainstream wanted (or that the label thought they wanted).  Here’s a quick snippet from the article:

 “You know what’s funny? He sounds dope,” she says afterward. “Compared to the rappers today, he’s dope. He sounds like an underground backpack rapper. It don’t even sound like Kobe Bryant. I would want to hear more from this kid if I didn’t know who he was. That’s funny. Nobody raps like that anymore. Yo, he came there to prove a point. He put thought into that. I couldn’t hear it for years when everyone joked about it. Now hearing it, he doesn’t sound bad.”

Clark Kent has a different take on Bryant’s performance. “He just seemed like one of those guys that wanted to be good so bad that he was trying to use the most intelligent [words] and have the sick vernacular. It was like, ‘Calm down, duke. Just rap.’ He was the lyrical-miracle-genius-type rapper.”

Awareness Music Underreported News

Jay-Z battles Republicans

For those of you who haven’t been following the news, Jay-Z has been getting some heat lately for the trip he took to Cuba with Beyonce.

While constantly ignored, America still technically prohibits non-sanctioned travel to Cuba by their citizens.  A bunch of Republicans have been questioning his trip and whether or not he broke the law.

They’ve been making such political hay out of it that Hova responded the only way he knows how.  He dropped a surprisingly good battle track going after them.

I can’t wait for Marco Rubio’s response track to drop.

Awareness

Beat By Dre: The Exclusive Inside Story of How Monster Lost the World

Beat By Dre: The Exclusive Inside Story of How Monster Lost the World.

This is a fascinating story about what Gizmodo is calling the worst deal in tech.   I never would have seen Monster as a company in that much over its head.

According to this story, Monster did the engineering, and Dre Interscope took the credit.  A cautionary tale and an interesting one, since people have strong feelings about both parties.

 

Awareness Music

RIP Donald Byrd

Donald Byrd, the hugely influential jazz and funk trumpeter, passed away on Monday. Innovative and transcendental, Byrd broke new ground in his exploration of the intersections between bebop, funk, soul and R&B. Byrd’s legacy is firmly entrenched both in the span of his critically-acclaimed discography and in his continued influence on hip-hop, his samples forming the basis for many of the genre’s best jams, including Black Moon’s “Buck ‘Em Down” and Nas’ “NY State of Mind” and Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet”. RIP.

Awareness Music

Alpoko Don – All I know

This guy is all over the place at the moment.  More than anything else, it shows what you can do with just a pen and your hands to make a beat.