"Trust me" is the first single and video off T.Calmese' official solo debut "A Will of Fortune". The song is the excellent result of an collaborative effort with fellow Detroit native & super producer Nick Speed.
With the release of "New Jack Kings" in 2010, a collaborative project with Vaughan T of Athletic Mic League, T.Calmese has been constantly building his brand. Releasing "Audio Drops" a collection of songs he would make available every Tuesday for free download, in recent months he significantly increased his following and a demand for an official solo release, which brings us to "A Will of Fortune". With backdrops from producers such as Dibiase, Nick Speed, Decompoze and more, T.Calmese (formerly iLLiTe) gives you his re-introduction. And so it begins...
@IamShizzie is a 20 year old artist hailing from the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury who has a lot of talent and great delivery. Shizzie started writing his own lyrics at the age of 9 and by the time he was in middle school he created a group called "Street Status", alongside S.B The Real Souljaboy in 2004. "Err Day" is a leak off of Shizzie's upcoming mixtape "Reality Check" which features the members of Street Status making a new hustler's anthem.
On September 6th, Metermaids, the Brooklyn-based duo of rappers Sentence and Swell, will release their latest album, Rooftop Shake via Strange Famous Records. Rooftop Shake is Metermaids' most ambitious project to date, with production on the 10-track LP split between 9th Wonder and Matt Stine and cuts provided by DJ Rob Swift of the legendary X-Ecutioners. Sage Francis, who signed the duo to his Strange Famous Records, guests on two tracks while fellow underground favorite Buck 65 provides his perspective for one track. As the release date for Rooftop Shake quickly approaches, Metermaids are excited to debut the first video from the project for the song "8mm."
Following the grit of 9th Wonder-produced lead single, "Graveyard Shift," which was released two weeks ago, "8mm" shines a different light on Metermaids, one that pulls from Matt Stine's soulful, string-driven production and reflects the nuanced grainy and saturated texture of the old school film medium from which the song draws its name. "The song is about how life seems to look better and more hopeful when shot in 8mm," Swell says, "because 8mm film most closely resembles how, at least to us, the human mind captures reality."
Fittingly, photographer and videographer Norman Nelson filmed the entire video, which captures snapshots of their recent travels to San Miguel de Allende and shots of them reflecting while on a rooftop in Brooklyn, using an 8mm film camera.
PR: Block Starz Announces Waffle House Protest Rally
Courtesy of Block Starz Music.
Hip-Hop Stars Coming Out To Support J.R. Bricks' "After The Club"
(ATLANTA) -- In response to the controversy surrounding recording artist J.R. Bricks' debut single "After The Club" (formerly "Waffle House"), the rapper's label will stage a mini-rally on August 28.
German-American digital imprint Block Starz Music LLC, www.blockstarzmusic.com, has reached out to Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and veteran Atlanta entertainment attorney Kendall Minter to help organize a peaceful demonstration to protest cultural discrimination and show the economic solidarity of the Hip-Hop community in light of a cease and desist letter issued by the Waffle House restaurant chain which claimed trademark infringement over use of its name and logo.
Waffle House's legal action sparked controversy and national headlines earlier this month, prompting a company spokesperson to deny allegations of discrimination in Billboard saying Waffle House "embraces all cultures" and point to the chain's involvement in films starring T.I. and Queen Latifah.
"This rally isn't about racial discrimination," says Block Starz Music President and Co-Founder Bayer Mack, who declined offers to involve civil rights advocates like Al Sharpton and the NAACP. "It isn't even really about Waffle House. It's about recognizing and respecting Hip-Hop's economic impact."
Some in the Hip-Hop community, however, have sided with Waffle House in the controversy, including producer Just Blaze and rapper Killer Mike, who tweeted "Waffle House Loves Ni**as in Atlanta".
In addition to the rally, J.R. Bricks will also be shooting the official music video for "After The Club", with cameos expected by Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka, Lex Luger, DJ Sense, DJ Scream, and Drumma Boy among others. The video shoot, which was intended to be held on location at an area Waffle House, has been moved to The Atrium in Stone Mountain, GA (5479 Memorial Drive) and now centers around a fictional restaurant called "Waffle Place", with original set design and waitress uniforms.
"We're really excited about the director's vision," says Mack, who describes the concept as a cross between Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" and Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" music videos. "We want to encourage the Atlanta Hip-Hop community, and youth culture at large, to come and show support."
Video Times and Location
PLACE: The Atrium DATE: August 28 TIME: 2pm - 8pm ADDRESS: 5479 Memorial Drive Stone Mountain, GA 30083-3247
"It's here. "Watch the Throne" has caught your attention: the anticipation, fuelled by no advance copies or leaks… It's a welcome throwback to the "old school" days of album releases. It's also a rare coming together of two of the biggest rappers (and artists) on the planet on the same team. We are told that this is an "historic" occasion for our beloved genre, but be warned, dear Reader: history is written by the victors, and just because Jay-Z and Kanye West have finally made "Watch the Throne," it is still only the quality level that will dictate whether it makes it into the books as a truly memorable moment in hip hop. So, once you press play, how does it fare? Your first impressions won't be all too favourable – BUT persist, as the album improves at a swift pace on each subsequent listen. It clocks in at a relatively lean 46 minutes, with only 12 tracks, but it is a densely packed work that takes time to reveal itself. Perhaps not so much musically (although WTT does contain many a twist) but more so lyrically, as there are "frequent blink and you'll miss it" lines and clever interplays between Jay and 'Ye. There are no guest verses from other rappers, just choruses from singers, and relative newcomer Frank Ocean manages to bag two spots on the album. He blesses the superbly understated opener "No Church in the Wild" with an almost Mos Def-like treatment (matching the moody beat effectively), and both rappers come in hard with visually-depictive verses that put the listener right firmly with them (plus at times, it's almost like a clever piece of wordplay by Ocean, as he seemingly sings "No church in a while" which feeds into the agnostic decadence). "
"Bad boys in rap may be forever associated with the 1990s, when a music industry upstart created a veritable brand out of the colloquialism for non-conforming male minors. But not only were there at least two (albeit small) Bad Boy Records releasing hip-hop in the '80s, rap music's rebel image originated some crucial years before Biggie yelled "I'M A BAD BOY!" on "Party and Bullshit." Schoolly D, Ice-T and Eazy-E were at the forefront of bringing bad boy behavior to the young genre. On a local, independent level so-called gangsta rap spread slightly faster than in the mainstream, sometimes affecting acts who already had been on the scene some time. In Boston, The Almighty RSO Crew adapted a harder stance on their 1988 single "We're Notorious." The cover showed six young men standing on the Cambridge side of the Charles River, the Boston skyline behind them, all clad in Adidas track suits and shoes, two of them defiantly gripping guns barely tucked into their waistbands. The 12" likely served to distinguish the crew within the Boston scene, after less intimidating songs like "The Greatest Show on Earth" ('86) or "Call Us the All" ('87). But it was still a long way to national notoriety. "
Andre Nickatina (Dre Dog) :: The New Jim Jones :: In A Minute/I-Kahn/IODA ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"First off, there are two versions of this album. One was released in 1993 under the name Dre Dog on In A Minute Records, a Bay Area label which was also home to R.B.L. Posse, I.M.P., and some of Too $hort's early work. The In A Minute version, which both Amazon and Amoeba Records in San Francisco have for sale, has a picture of a Dre Dog crucified on the cover. The album was re-released in 2006 on Mo Beatz Records with a different cover. I found it on Emusic on what I believe is Andre Nickatina's own label I-Kahn. Dre Dog is still named on the cover, but it was filed under Andre Nickatina, which is what Dre Dog changed his name to after two albums. I'm going to refer to him as Dre Dog for this review, but you'll find most of his records under the Nickatina moniker. The Jim Jones referenced in Dre Dog's 1993 debut is NOT the Harlem rapper. Andre "Dre Dog" Adams chose to proclaim himself the second coming of the late Reverend Jim Jones, founder of the Peoples Temple in San Francisco, and ultimately responsible for the death of 900 people. The church started out as an idyllic multicultural community,but turned into a cult that moved to Uganda to set up a new paradise on earth, called Jonestown. "
Bad Brains :: Bad Brains :: ROIR ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
"I went to go see the Canadian punk band Fucked Up a few weeks ago, and the influence of the seminal DC hardcore band Bad Brains was everywhere. Their self-titled 1982 debut was playing in between sets. Several kids were wearing Bad Brains t-shirts, including a kid in a tie-dyed shirt emblazoned with the band’s logo who nearly landed on my head from stage-diving. I was struck by how much Bad Brains resonates with the current crop of hardcore kids, none of whom were born when the band released their debut. Which is only right, given that they helped to invent hardcore. Not bad for a group of African-Americans who started out as a jazz-fusion band. The Brains got their start in the late seventies in DC playing a mix of rock and jazz. After hearing what was coming out of the burgeoning punk scene, the group quickly got on board. Their first single, 1980s "Pay to Cum," was seminal in many ways. "Pay to Cum," along with the early EPs by Black Flag and the Germs, set the template for hardcore, and there are literally thousands of bands who essentially play different versions of that song. It was much faster than the majority of punk that preceded it. Guitarist Dr. Know belts out the riff at a lightening pace, and bassist Daryl Jenifer and drummer Earl Hudson jump right in, laying down a song that is simple, melodic, and powerful."
Coolio :: Gangsta's Paradise :: Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Pete T.
"Coolio managed to straddle the line between pop success and rap legitimacy as well as anyone who preceded or succeeded him. The pop culture lexicon is likely to recall him as somewhat of a West Coast Fresh Prince—a squeaky-clean rapper with mega-hits and a massive television presence. Coolio recorded the theme song for Nickelodeon's "Kenan and Kel," rapped with Kermit on "Muppets Tonight," and guested on "All That," "The Nanny," and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" during his superstardom, cementing his status as a family-friendly MC with gravity-defying braids and a rather loud wardrobe. As fans will be quick to point out, though, he was far from a corporate creation, first gaining fame as a member of WC and the Maad Circle, an acclaimed Los Angeles outfit prior to WC's success as a member of Westside Connection. With his contribution to Ras Kass' 1995 debut "Soul on Ice," he became his coast's Method Man—the sole guest rapper on his coast's most lyrically conceptual masterpiece. The dichotomy between street credibility and commercial success is tenuous, well-explored, and hard to formulate. Coolio's balance could probably best be labeled a product of his reaching a hip hop audience before a pop one, unlike, say, Skee-Lo and Paperboy."
"It's easy to forget that, despite their 2008 EP "The Bake Sale" and several subsequent mixtapes, The Cool Kids did not release an official album until just a month ago. This is due mainly to the fact that "The Bake Sale" had the depth of a real album, catapulting the duo into the spotlight and introducing the hip-hop game to their unique production style featuring sparse, percussion-heavy instrumentals. I myself was worried, though, that a label switch to Green Label Sound meant that the group was selling out for its debut LP and sacrificing the authentic feel of "The Bake Sale" for a more mainstream sound. And at a quick glance, it might seem as if this the case, with a slew of guest emcees and production credits from Pharrell and Travis Barker. Fear not, though, as "When Fish Ride Bicycles" strikes a balance and manages to stay true to The Cool Kids' roots while delivering a slightly evolved, more polished sound that makes for an entertaining listen throughout. The album starts off with more of what fans of The Cool Kids have come to love, and the opening track, "Rush Hour Traffic," features a simple kick and snare pattern along with a short, pronounced synth and a slow electric guitar chord."
"Building a fort or a castle is inherently paranoid. It suggests a level of fear from the occupants within - they expect to be attacked by some opposing (possibly savage) group who will take anything of value within. It doesn't matter what's inside really - it could be gold, it could be food, it could be royalty, it could be women and children. All that matters is that it's worth protecting at all costs. Build the lookout towers higher to survey the landscape for invading forces. Build the fortress walls higher so they can't easily be scaled. Dig a moat around it so that attackers have to ford the water to reach you. Wood is good, stone is better, and steel is the shit. The more you have, the more paranoid you can afford to be. That's why rich people live in secluded enclaves like The Hamptons and Greenwich and keep their money hidden in Swiss bank accounts. That's paranoia personified. Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your assets because they takin' every dollar out there. "
"Diving once again into the deep ocean that makes up Australian hip-hop, I surfaced in the Tasman Sea and hailed a passing vessel for a lift to Sydney, and from there made my way to the suburb of Newtown. In need of a pint of beer to get the salty taste of seawater out of my mouth, I hailed a cab and made my way to South King Street. By this point it was fairly late on a Friday evening, and the nightlife crowd were making their way into pubs and clubs to get the weekend started. Pleased to hear the strains of what sounded like a local rapper spitting over live music to an enthusiastic crowd, I wandered in to a local establishment. Thankfully the patrons were too busy bobbing their heads to notice I looked and smelled like a wet muskrat. Breaking a soggy tenner for a Guinness, I got a handful of $2 coins back and an earful of local hip-hop artist par excellence going by the name Thundamentals. It seemed my journey was turning out quite well. Ahem - back to life, and back to reality. My true introduction to this hip-hop crew came through Patrick Taylor's fine review of their debut LP "Sleeping On Your Style." Technically this was not their first release though, as they had dropped a critically acclaimed EP earlier than this CD, but this was the next and larger evolutionary step in their ascendance to Aussie hip-hop prominence. "
"Here's a little disclaimer for this CD: if you see a TV ad or hear a radio spot claiming this is "the long awaited, first ever solo album from Timbo King" that's only about half true - maybe even 25%. While it wasn't actually a solo album per se, Spark 950 & Timbo King did an album called "United We Slam" in 1994. I point this out because despite being labelled as a tandem, all 950 did besides take top billing was provide the hooks and the beats. Timbo King did the yeoman's work as a rapper. I'm not saying this isn't an obscure album that even die hard Wu-Tang fans wouldn't remember 17 years later, but I did, so promoting "From Babylon to Timbuk2" as "the long awaited, first ever solo album" is stretching the truth a bit. If there's one thing you can glean from that opening paragraph besides my stubborn refusal to ignore the facts, it's that Timbo King has been around the hip-hop scene for a fuckin' LONG time. By virtue of his association with the Wu-Tang Clan, he's wound up a member of several different spin-off groups including Black Market Militia and Royal Fam, and he's made too many cameo appearances on first or second generation Wu Familia albums to list here. "
"Right away the picture is clear for Unity Lewis. He's not just a self-made hip-hopper making his name in the Bay, he's the sum total of two generations of activists and teachers who came before him. He's not just a promising up-and-coming rap artist, he's a MOVEMENT. Behold - Unity Lewis is going to be a fount of wisdom and philosophy not seen since the days of Boogie Down Productions and Arrested Development. This is going to be a game changer. Unity Lewis is going to spark some knowledge and light a fire in the collective mindset of the whole hip-hop nation. Love, peace and wisdom will emanate forth and the world will never ever be the same again. This shit is real. Word up, the fuckin' shit is real. That's the wisdom that emanates forth from Unity Lewis. That's the problem with press releases and one sheets sometimes - they set up unreasonably unrealistic expectations. What I'm hearing on "Audio Veve Pt. 1" in general, and on the above quoted song "Vodou" in particular, doesn't strike me as a higher form of consciousness. I expected to hear that the body was a temple, the mind was all powerful, and the flow of energy from it was the source of all creation. I wanted to hear about knowledge, wisdom and overstanding. "