Black Star Friday (New Music From Talib Kweli & Yasiin Bey)
Courtesy Matt B.
In the spirit of the Holidays, Black Star is treating fans to new music on what they're coining #blackstarfriday.
Talib Kweli & Yasiin Bey have their latest single, "Fix Up," available for purchase at iTunes: http://bit.ly/t6Bjet.
The track is produced by Madlib.
Black Star is also working on a mix cd tribute to Aretha Franklin, entitled 'Black Star Aretha.' Fans can visit http://www.blackstarhub.com to download a free MP3 of the group's first song off the mix cd, "You Already Knew," produced by Oh No.
Riz drops a new track featuring the legendary Prodigy of Mobb Deep titled "Never Scared" off his upcoming "Kiss the Ring" mixtape which drops December 6th. The mixtape also features Fabolous and French Montana among others.
So once again, I am back to present to you may latest labor of love, "Black Soul"... "Black Soul" is a project that manifested after researching different forms of Black Liberation Theology, and the history of Black American music as a form of rebellion. I personally feel that it is my best work to date, as I worked extremely hard on stepping up my craft in terms of lyricism, depth, and delivery. The production is the most "traditional" sounding beats... When I say traditional, I mean "eastcoast/boombap/sample" esque production, the type of Hip-Hop a child of the early 80's would be raised on. This project is for the people in general, and the "heads" specifically.
MP3: Monstaville Leak - Playa Rae "She Keeps Callin'"
Courtesy Monstaville Music.
ope you're having a great Holiday everyone. We decided to leak an un-released track from Playa Rae titled "She Keeps Callin'" produced by Nickel N' Dime Productions. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to burn it and or pass the link around. Happy Holidays!
Video: Mr. Green Live From the Streeets #6: Shanghai, China
"For this episode we wanted to do something completely different so I used a bunch of footage that I shot using two cheap handheld cameras while i was in Shanghai earlier this year. First, I chopped up the sounds I got from a construction site near Taikang Lu . Next, I added some audio I recorded of the Chinese army marching by on Huaihai Lu. After that I put in the sound of a little bird chirping. Then, I put in a short clip of some music I got off of a karaoke bicycle (which is something you can find very often in Shanghai). Next, since it wouldn't be a Mr. Green beat without some hard hitting drums and a baseline, I threw those in there. Finally, I recorded the sound of a pirate who was encouraging me to chug my beer in front of the Shelter (which is probably the dopest venue I've ever performed at) and scratched him into the beat."
"Actor Donald Glover raps as Childish Gambino, a moniker tellingly spawned through a Wu-Tang name generator. Given his stage name and role on NBC's "Community," it's easy to expect comedic parody rap, and while his concepts and punchlines incorporate a heavy dose of humor, the generalizations end there. Glover's quick wit is more frequently lent to deep confessionals, and the bulk of "Camp" comprises an examination of a conflicted psyche and the circumstances which led to its development. Gambino leaves no stone unturned as he weaves the listener through blow-by-blow accounts of significant childhood events, offers startlingly poignant racial commentary, and delves deep into the core of personal relationships over "Camp"'s thirteen tracks. It's a demanding listen, but that's by no means to say that it can't be fun—his heartfelt purges are punctuated by references to his own nerdiness and penchant for Asian women. Following a procession of contemplative downtempo songs, Childish proves his versatility on "You See Me," a hilarious banger laden with countless one-liner gems ("Forget these white girls, I need some variation / Especially if she's very Asian") culminating in an impressive triple-time third verse. "
various artists :: Grandpa Funnybook's Mix-Tapingly Arranged Rapping Song Album :: Hand'Solo Records as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez
"As you can probably tell from the title of this "Mix-Tapingly Arranged Rapping Song Album," Hand Solo Records is a bit more lighthearted and care free than your typical rap label. In fact, this album was a limited edition for the Hand Solo Records booth at the 2011 Fan Expo, Canada's version of ComicCon. You most likely wouldn't find Def Jam or No Limit setting up shop at ComicCon at any point, but Hand Solo Records doesn't take itself too seriously. Their laid back and humorous approach to rap music is refreshing and this collection of tracks does a great job of giving the listener a feel for what the label is all about. The format here is easy to digest and effective. With 20 tracks, after subtracting the intro and outro, the songs rarely exceed three minutes. The short tracks allow you to experience all the music without feeling inclined to hit the skip button too often. The main thing that stands out when spinning this album is the references to sci-fi/comic/video games. Backburner's "Phantom Ghost" samples a video game (though the name evades me) and the emcees drop rhymes referencing everything from "throw a quarter in the slot" to "floating dope like hovercrafts covered in grass." One has to wonder whether "Wookie Boots" was Toolshed's nerdy response to Wale's "Nike Boots," though the lack of a hook on this track hinders its replay appeal. "Metal Man" by Random is one of many Mega-Man inspired tracks Random has dropped in the last few years and while not new is certainly at home on this mixtape. The Star Wars references continue on "Dude Where's My AT-AT at?" and the combination of Star Wars and Ashton Kutcher's cult movie hit is really impressive and entertaining."
"In July RR received a press release promoting The Academy, billed as a new compilation conceived and organized by Kurupt that would be "a bi-coastal merging of the minds that provides an undeniable unity" in the world of hip-hop. I dutifully posted this news, but given it's one of 50-100 e-mails I get every day promoting singles albums or projects, I quickly forgot about The Academy. The only lingering evidence this album existed on my radar was an unopened zip file labelled "Kurupt exec produced" sitting in a folder full of potential albums to review. As I was compiling what to work on for this week's update, that old press release came to mind and I double clicked the folder to find out what Kurupt came up with. I think it's safe to say "The Academy" turned out to be something of a pleasant surprise. This is quite a weighty project by any measure you like. 21 songs are a ton of tracks, and at over 75 minutes it's got plenty of kilos for your ear as well. Kurupt didn't pick out no-name rappers for this comp though, which means the rappers themselves are at least extra large if not XXL. The selection runs from popular mainstream emcees to hardcore underground favorites, often on the same track, such as Styles P rapping with Agallah and Canibus on the first full song "Mashout." "
"I first mentioned Birdy Nam Nam on this site when I covered DJ Mehdi's "Red Black & Blue" in 2010. On September 13th 2011 DJ Mehdi tragically passed away at the age of 34 due to a fatal accident at his house in Paris, a week before Birdy Nam Nam released their third album "Defiant Order." Both acts, while having switched to the electronic stage, have their roots in hip-hop. Mehdi laid down beats for the French rap elite for close to ten years (mid-'90s to mid-'00s), while Birdy's Crazy B and Pone have acted as radio, mixtape, tour and club DJ's and individually worked with renowned French rap acts such as Fabe, Rocca, Alliance Ethnik, 113, Triptik, or Svinkels. Pone and Crazy also secured the team title in the ITF World DJ Championships in 2000 with Skratch Action Hiro, while the newly formed Birdy Nam Nam (sans Pone) triumphed in 2002 at the DMC World DJ Championships. At one point, however, DJ Mehdi and Birdy Nam Nam bid the competitive environment of hip-hop goodbye. Their albums in the new millennium may reference the genre to varying degrees, but they also make it clear that they are treading different territory now. Nevertheless, with their background BNN might prove an interesting outfit for hip-hop listeners who also lend electronic music an ear. "
Brown Bag AllStars :: Live From The Roc :: Act Live Music as reviewed by Mike Baber
"Live hip-hop albums are either hit or miss. While it is impossible to fully replicate the environment of a concert, there are a fair share of live albums that come close and make the listener feel as if he or she is there in the audience. On the flip side, though, the sound quality on a live album is not nearly as good as that of an actual performance or a traditional CD, and often times the result is a garbled and static-filled listen where the artist's speeches in between songs are more audible than the instrumentals and lyrics themselves. Until I heard "Live From The Roc," my only exposure to the Brown Bag AllStars was group member Soul Khan's debut solo album "Soul Like Khan," which I reviewed back in January of 2011 and found to be a polished and well-crafted release that showcased his strong delivery and witty lyricism. After doing some background research on the New York-based group of underground affiliates, there was no doubt in my mind that that Brown Bag AllStars was a talented group of emcees and producers, but I was skeptical as to whether or not their style would transfer over to a live performance recording. Reviewing "Live From The Roc" like a typical album simply does not do it justice. For starters, at only seven songs in length, some of which feature a good 30 seconds to a minute of the artists addressing the crowd, it obviously does not have the depth necessary for a full-length release. "
Hectic Zeniths :: Hectic Zeniths :: Bandcamp.com as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"Hectic Zeniths is the alter ego of Adam Morgan Pierce, a high school math teacher by day and composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist by night. "Hectic Zeniths" is an album of instrumental hip-hop built around live instruments and original compositions. According to his bio, the name Hectic Zeniths is an anagram for Zeitschichten, a German word that means "layers of time." It's a fitting name for an artist that uses multiple layers of sound in his music. Pierce uses contemporary classical music as his jumping off point for his beats. His main tools are piano, cello, vocal samples, drums, and a drum machine. "Then and Now" features a piano with backwards strings backed by live drums, all punctuated with a chorus of a man singing "close your eyes." "I Might Drown" also works with a piano, and but is much more effusive and upbeat than the rest of the album. It's not all piano, either. Things get switched up on the psych-rock workout "Why Shoot Debris About It?, and the guitar comes back in a more subtle fashion on "Zeitschtichen.""
Lloyd Banks :: The Cold Corner 2 :: DatPiff.com as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"There was a time not that long ago, in fact I'd say within the last ten years is when this changed, that mixtapes still cost REAL money. You had to go to places like Sandbox Automatic or UGHH.com to find out what had dropped between mainstream retail CDs, then plunk down $10-$15 apiece and shipping for your order. Alternatively if you lived in a large metropolitan area like New York City, you could visit a Fat Beats store and see what mixtapes they had in stock, or you might just have an entrepreneurial fellow on your block manufacturing and selling them (with the recording artist being left out of the loop). Either way you made investment - you took the time to look it up, the time to track it down, then you handed over physical or digital cash. That model of mixtape distribution seems so archaic in 2011. It used to be that only up-and-coming emcees gave away their music for free, just hoping that it would get them a buzz "in the streets" or a foot in the door at the label. Now e'rybody does it, e'ry e'rybody does it and it takes no money and little time at all to get entire free mixtapes from well known rappers. You need look no further than a website like DatPiff.com to find a plethora of free downloads by the likes of Drake, Ludacris, Jim Jones, Kid Cudi and the subject of this review - Lloyd Banks. That's not even the strangest part. Back in the day when you shelled out $15 for a mixtape, there was a strong chance it could be a disappointing experience. "
" "Crickets" is the culmination of a cooperation that began in 2008. Canada's Moka Only and Switzerland's Chief have collaborated before, but this is their first full-length after Chief helped release "Lowdown Suite 2" yet only contributed one beat to it. For Moka Only's second longplayer on Feelin' Music, Chief handles the entire production, a fact thankfully acknowledged by the ever productive Moke on "Relief" when he says, "Chief gave me relief from the beat duty." Chief knows how to accomodate his guest by serving funky hors-d'oeuvres, jazzy dishes and soulful delights. Compared to Moka's self-produced albums, the tracks on "Crickets" have the polish of thoroughly produced hip-hop. The arrangements fit, the timing is right, the sound library is stacked with classy tunes. Despite the improvisational nature of Moka Only's music, the 16 tracks are altogether tight. In return, Moke comes across fresher than on other projects. Still it's clear from the jump that when two such like-minded spirits meet, they won't travel too far outside of their common comfort zone. The contentment of both artists is felt, and in terms of quality their music sounds all the better for it, the rapper's solid, relaxed flow spinning smoothly "drenched in the Chief sound dimension." It's hard not to give in to the neo soul thump of the opening title track, the zen-like centeredness of "Mess Around," the jazz jam session vibe of "For Always," the mythological dub backing "Form the Future," the down-home charm of "Relief," the etheral yet grounded "In Here," the combination of strong '90s drums and elusive vibes of "What to Do," the sweet '80s sax that leads "Show," etc." "
"After last week's Hasan Salaam interview by Adam Bernard, I was intrigued enough to delve more deeply into the New Jerseyite's rap career. While "Music Is My Weapon" doesn't actually hit stores until December 6th, a call to the same publicist who set up the interview got us an advanced promo copy of the album for review. Salaam proves to be just as outspoken on the beat as he is in print. It's not long into the opener "1911" before he busts a verbal cherry and leaves the blood stain everywhere. The jazzy sounds in the background are both compliment and contrast to the vitriol he has for today's era of hip-hop. A cynic would suggest that V-Nasty is an easy target and that calling out the White Girl Mob is a quick way to get attention since they're popular right now. There are two problems with that theory. The first is that he's calling out whack rappers in general including everybody who says "no homo" in their raps, and the second is that there's nothing incorrect in his point about V-Nasty - she's ignorant as hell and proud of it. I'm not saying that's not occasionally entertaining, because the same can be said of a dozen other dumb rappers, but most don't cross a well established cultural line in the sand and then act like they'll get a free pass for it by virtue of having a pair of tits. So early on in "Music Is My Weapon" Hasan Salaam has got my attention. He's got the rhetoric of a young Chuck D, without having the commanding baritone of Carlton Ridenhour. "
Slim The Mobster :: War Music :: Aftermath Music as reviewed by Matthew 'Matt G' Gutwillig
"As far as hardcore rap is concerned, Dr. Dre has the golden touch. The development of Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent into international superstars makes up just a few of his many accomplishments as a record producer and hip-hop mogul. All those platinum plaques combined with his successful line of headphones, Beats by Dr. Dre, and the highly anticipated (and delayed) "Detox" record prove Andre Young won't be slowing down anytime soon. Despite this success, a number of emcees like Rakim, Stat Quo and Bishop Lamont have failed to release Aftermath albums either as a result of creative differences or Dre's own quest for perfection. As the D-R-E's latest protégé, Slim The Mobster understands that his work on "Detox," along with his own street mixtape, "War Music," will ultimately determine his fate on the record label. Released in November, "War Music" chronicles Anthony Johnson's life growing up in South Central Los Angeles as he attempts to cement his status as the new face of West Coast gangsta rap. Staying true to his name, Slim The Mobster pulls no punches when it comes detailing his former life as a member of the Crips. Like any good gangsta rapper, Slim's tunes feature a steady lyrical dose of violence, misogyny and hedonism combined with his own original swagger and sly voice."
Young General :: Hip-Hop 4 Adults, Vol. 1 :: younggeneral.com as reviewed by Eric Sirota
"UrbanDictionary.com defines 'to hustle' as to make money however one can, often in an illegal way. During a recession, though, the shady connotation assigned to 'hustling' seems to evaporate. Since the advent of the Great Recession, a lot of people are hustling, and not by selling drugs or pawning hot jewelry, but by doing whatever they can to find a job or keep a job, by walking away from their mortgage and beginning to rent, or by cutting off their wireless and getting internet at a local library. The Chicago-based up-and-comer, Young General, is hustling for sure, but he doesn't front as a drug dealer or pimp. On the approrpiately-titled "Hip-Hop 4 Adults, Volume 1," Young G is hustling like so many others: he's trying to make it while toeing the line between working class and middle class. As G states on the Nicki Minaj-sampling "Moment for Life," "I've been at the register while ya'll been in the kitchen . . . . No need for baking soda." Make no mistake, it's all about the Benjamins for YG, but in a not-so-different way that it is for the rest of us just trying to live comfortably in these trying times. Indeed, as Kanye's "College Dropout" was in part so refreshing because it honestly addressed 'Ye's striving to survive as part of the still-emergent Black middle class, "Volume 1" succeeds because it approaches Young's economic and personal circumstance so candidly. "If you getting right, that depends upon what lane you in/If you from the Chi, that depends on what game you in," speculates General over a crawling organ on the album's cocky but melancholy opener, "Lyrical Gymnasium." It's this mix of eager swagger and cautious optimism that makes the mixtape both individualized and universal."
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop. Episode #149 is Cyber Monday Meets Podcast Tuesday! While you're checking out the great Cyber Monday holiday deals being offered this week (cause Monday alone isn't big enough for Amazon.com) you can enjoy some sweet treats from Random, Kosha Dillz, Soul Khan and more! Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check it out every Tuesday on RapReviews.com! Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS newsfeed so you never miss a new episode.
* hasHBrown f/ Dannie Walker - This Is It * Kosha Dillz f/ Rapper Big Pooh - West Coast Flavor * Arsun F!st - Solar Magnetic * Soul Khan - Lord Knows Freestyle * yU - If U Down * Mega Ran & DN3 - 'Twas the Night Before Christmas