Tag Archives: Music


Empire State of Mind

shot7.com Jay-Z in Toronto for ACC concert and press photos 2009

In light of the mad amounts of press Jay Z has been getting lately, it seemed fitting that we give him a post.  Hova’s been on tour in Canada lately, and has been wowing people with his new album. 

One of the better moments in the career of Jay Z has to be the opportunity to perform at the World Series.  He and Alicia Keys got to perform their track Empire State of Mind at Yankee Stadium (the new one, obviously) and that resulted in the Yankees beating the Phillies.  Well, maybe not resulted, but it’s a nice coincidence that a song about New York pride accompanied a Yankee victory.  That must have pissed of Phillies fans everywhere.  Still, the Phillies can probably dig the line that Jay “made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can”. 

Speaking of that (like that segueway?), Pitchfork is reporting that Beanie Siegel (a Philly resident) is unimpressed with the jigga man.  Apparently Beanie released a diss track called "What You Talkin Bout (I Ain’t Ya Average Cat)".

According to Pitchfork, on the track Beanie talks

“about how Jay allegedly "snitched" on him and basically won’t return his calls. Unlike most Jay-Z disses, though, this one isn’t just petty and attention-grabbing. Beanie is clearly torn up by the falling out, as shown by a long, ranting outro during which he seems to be near tears.

Check out the video for Empire State of Mind, (via Nah Right and Pitchfork)


If you’re curious about the diss track, check it out here:

Awareness Cool

CBC’s Great Canadian Song Quest

CBC cars, 1970s

For all you Canadian readers (and hopefully even those of you outside of Canada) CBC Radio 2 is running a contest called the “Great Canadian Song Quest.”

You should take a look at the website for the contest.  It lets you select each province and look at a few select artists (including checking out a short sample by each one).  If you can’t see that, or you get annoyed by the Flash stuff, you can check out the Artist Press Kits here.

For you hip hop heads out there, both Shad and Dragon Fli Empire are featured in this contest.  Shad is obviously under Ontario, and Dragon Fli is out in Alberta.  If you go province by province, you’ll see some pretty awesome acts no matter what you’re musical taste is.


Another Youtube Collabo

inbflatThe Internet is a crazy place sometimes.  You can literally find anything you want.  This, project lets all you laptop DJs play around with mixing a variety of samples together.  Might be just the thing to whet your appetite and encourage you to get into making music for real.

In B flat has been making the usual internet rounds, and frankly we’re a little late in the game on getting to this one.  Gizmodo posted this back in May, and I’m sure others were there before them.

The basic premise is this.  Someone laid together a ton of youtube videos on one page, each containing a short instrumental riff.  You start/stop them as you want (you can play them all together, even) and somehow it just works.  You can see if their FAQ answers your questions.

If you dig it, try Audacity to record the mix you make.  Here’s some tips on how to make it work.


Zee Avi

zee300NPR has finally run a piece on Zee Avi.  Zee’s a lady that we have been repping for a while now on our YouTube Channel.  Quite frankly, the channel’s not too much besides us favouriting videos that we dig and trying to promote artists that we really think should make it.

Listen to the NPR piece here:

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.

Zee was one of these, back when she was known as KokoKaina, and well before her signing to Brushfire Records.  Yes, I completely agree that it’s annoying when people try to pull the whole “I was into ___ before he/she/they were famous”, and that’s totally not what I’m trying to do.  I just want to say it’s about time.

NPR does a good job of describing her art, and the interview is definitely worth listening to.  You can stream some of her songs too, so head over there and check it out.  Guy Raz, the writer for NPR, describes her by saying

Avi also has a distinct musical trademark. Her music possesses a mischievous quality, both in her lyrics and in her style of performance.

I completely agree.  Her songs have this strong sense of innocence to them, but in a  way that doesn’t come across as naive.  There’s something about the way she sounds that almost sounds ancient, like music from decades ago.  And yet there are songs that come across hauntingly sad as well, which shows a remarkable range for an artist so young.

She’s been building up steam over the last little bit, and her brand new album is available on iTunes.  Please go buy it, you won’t regret it.  Here’s a taste of her older stuff:

Here’s Just you and Me, a song I dig a lot.

Here’s her cover of Charlie Chaplin’s Smile.

And for her new stuff:



The Story


Black Star Reunite For Two Hometown Shows

Black Star Reunite For Two Hometown Shows.  XXL Mag has just posted a story that literally made my entire week.

Black Star, one of the dopest and shortest-lived hip hop duos of all time has decided to reunite for 2 shows in NYC this summer.

Mos Def and Talib Kweli together are just amazing, and frankly a lot stronger than either of them when they are apart.  I love Mos, but Kweli hurts me sometimes with his solo stuff.  It just doesn’t sound…right.

Either way, be prepared for greatness.  Both shows take place on the same night.  One show will be at 7 p.m. and the other at 11:30 p.m on May 30th.


RIAA to stop suing file sharers

Some of you may have noticed our penchant for following the RIAA while they pursued a ridiculous plan to sue as many people as they could in America to try and discourage downloading.  At last count they had filed 35,000 law suits.

Finally, the evil behemoth has come to its senses.  CBC is reporting that they have announced a new plan to stop suing people and instead will focus on working with ISPs to try and cut off internet access to those they think are downloading.  Personally, I don’t think this plan has any chance of success.  Providers are not going to want to monitor their customers or their usage more than they are.

But we shall wait and see.


New Ugly Duckling album is so-so

Ugly Duckling is a group that we here at 4080 have covered before.  In fact, I even went so far as to say this:

Ugly Duckling is one of the the dopest hip hop groups around. They definitely don’t get anywhere near enough credit, often being disregarded as “silly”. As three dudes from Long Beach who definitely don’t take themselves too seriously, I think they’re exactly what hip hop needs to appeal to a wider audience.

With all of that still being said, I must say with some trepdiation that the new UD album Audacity is not nearly as good as I hoped it would be.

For the most part, UD struggles to find good balance between the stellar production of Young Einstein and the lyrical styles of the emcees Andy Cat and Dizzy.  In previous albums, no matter how weird a concept they get into (Look up the whole Taste The Secret album), they still pull it off.

Not in this case.

They struggle and often fail in their quest to find this perfect balance.  However, it’s not all bad.  The track Falling Again is really reminiscent of their earlier days, and I won’t Let it Die is pretty good too.  I think without those two tracks, the album would be a flop.  Einstein Do It is a traditional scratch demonstration by Young Einstein so there’s definitely some old-school credit to it.  But it’s still not overly original.  Worse still, It Never Mattered is a cluttered track where the flow just never seems to find its balance.

But thats just my opinion, check out some samples of the tracks here and it may change your mind.

Cool Music

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

I can’t tell you how much I love the internet.  It’s the eternal time-waster, but it also lets me get exposed to things I never would have seen otherwise.  Playing for Change is just one such example.

This movie (brought to me courtesy of Metafilter) is fascinating.  The filmmaker went to a variety of different countries all over the world, and had different musicians sing/play along to the song Stand By Me.  He then layered the tracks together and created a pretty amazing song.  Check it out below.


LastSharp lets you jack music from Last.fm

Lifehacker has run a post on a program called LastSharp.  At a glance, LastSharp will let you download those Last.fm tunes that you so greatly admire.

Not that we endorse it, of course.

Use it here.


Death Row Records NOT sold

As a quick update to a previous post, reporting that Death Row Records had been sold at auction, it turns out that the sale has been annulled.  AllHipHop.com is reporting that the deal failed after a lawsuit by trustees of the label and members of Suge Knights estate.

I guess the argument is that the company that promised to buy the label hasn’t yet paid anything, and instead has just been asking for extensions.

The crazy part of the story is that shortly after the judge granted the annullment of this contract, the “backup bidder” mysteriously withdrew their bid.  So now Death Row is again languishing, and they’re going to ask the judge to allow them to start negotiations all over again.

So now, dope hits from the 90s are on the auction block.  If you’ve got a few spare million around, I suggest you buy it.  In fact, I’m surprised none of the big hip hop stars (or some movie people) have tried to snatch this  up.   I think owning a back catalogue that includes hits from Pac and Dre and Snoop would be a worthwhile thing.

[Source: AllHipHop]