Nearly 20 years after his classic debut album Fear Itself, Hieroglyphics emcee Casual is a certified Bay Area hip-hop legend. Now, he's joining forces with veteran beatsmith J Rawls (producer for Black Star, J-Live, Stalley, Count Bass D, John Robinson, and more) for a brand new album, Respect Game Or Expect Flames. The project will be released physically and digitally on August 28th via Nature Sounds.
Both Rawls and Casual agree that the album came about organically. "He had a lot of beats that moved my pen," explains Casual. "We worked on a couple tracks together and decided that our chemistry warranted an album's worth of material." On the production, J Rawls wasn't afraid to test his limits. "I changed my style a lot for this album," he says. "I'm known for having a jazzy sound, but some of these tracks are more edgy. It fits Casual's style and attitude." The result is an album that stands out in Casual's already impressive catalog. "This project is different because of the production. J gave me a more universal sound than I've had on any of my past albums," says Casual. "I think it's my best work to date," adds Rawls.
For the first episode of The Rebel Life, we catch up with the VA Smoke Ambassador and leader of the Star Life crew, Young FP. We speak on everything from him being in prison, new projects, the Star Life brand and much more.
After having composed tracks for the likes of Tragedy Khadafi, Termanology, Blaq Poet and M.O.P., among others, the French production team known as Alterbeats deliver their debut producer compilation album _The French Revolution. Including guest features from the likes of both legendary and underground mainstays, such as Sadat X, AG, Chief Kamachi, Block McCloud, Reef The Lost Cauze, Bekay, Red Eye, Shabaam Sahdeeq and more, Alterbeats unleash their soundtrack to the human and individual struggle to live free. The French Revolution_ is now available to stream in its entirety, or you may purchase as either a digital download, or CD (via UGHH).
Few artists have reigned over their hometown market the way that Cool Nutz has in Portland, Oregon. The rapper, who has since expanded into running his own label and management company, has been releasing records for over 20 years, and through the process has forged relationships and collborated with a who's-who of West Coast hip-hop royalty.
Now, with a soon-to-be-announced LP slated for release this fall, Cool Nutz is prepping a new free album, PORTLAND NI%$A, which will be released on July 24th and includes features from Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, The Grouch, Messy Marv, Bosko, and more, including Mistah FAB, who is featured on the tape's lead single, out today, "Know God."
"Know God" was written on a flight to London, as Cool Nutz was prepping to tour Europe. "I was inspired by recent events in my life, where I was looking for direction with certain decisions that needed to be made," explains Cool Nutz, urging fans to really spend time with the song's lyrics. "The track brought out the words, and while I was sitting on the plane it felt like God was telling me to write this song."
As for the song's feature, when you have a rolodex as expansive as Cool Nutz', choosing collaborative partners becomes solely about who can bring something special to a track - and for "Know God," Mistah FAB was the perfect addition. "Being good friends with FAB, I was aware of the loss of his mother and how painful that was for him," says Cool Nutz. "I knew he would be able to come up with something that would be perfect."
BEHIND THE SCENES FOOTAGE OF ARIEZ ONASIS'S FILMIC MUSIC VIDEO FOR HIS SONG "VICTIM." CHECK OUT ARIEZ, J. CARDIM AND CO. AS THEY TRAVEL TO ATHENS! LOOK OUT FOR THE "VICTIM" MUSIC VIDEO, DIRECTED BY DAN MORARU AND JONAS AREQUIPA, COMING VERY SOON!
Video: Strong Arm Steady x Statik Selektah - "Premium"
Following their 2010 collaboration with Madlib on In Search of Stoney Jackson, Strong Arm Steady have teamed up with Statik Selektah for their 2nd Stones Throw release, Stereotype. The album is produced exclusively by Statik Selektah and will drop on August 14th.
Today, the video for "Premium" debuts. The video has already been featured on Complex, NahRight, 2DopeBoyz, and more. For this track, Strong Arm Steady emerge from a cloud of smoke with hazy vocals and the grinding production of Statik backing them. The video is a smoked-out kaleidoscope of colors and iconic pop culture images.