J-Zone "Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullsh*t and a Celebration of Failure"
Courtesy Matt B.
Yawn. Another book from another musician. Let's guess: He rose from the depths of hell with his talent and went big time. He changed the face of music and made millions. Yeah, a few drug addiction, arrest, and STD stories are sporadically sprinkled throughout for excitement and authenticity, but at the end of it all, he finished his ride a musical legend. He finally gave up dressing room groupies and nose candy; he currently resides with his wife and the children that aren't illegitimate in Calabasas, CA.
Who can really relate to that shit besides other successful musicians?
My name is J-Zone. If you actually know who the hell I am, either you listen to way too much rap music, you're a Tim Dog fan, or you stood outside my distributor's warehouse the day my CDs and records were destroyed. I was on the hip-hop come-up, then I came down - hard. Splat. Some critical success, incessant praise from pop stars and hip-hop legends alike, and then...abysmal commercial failure. I did tours on Greyhound buses filled with wide-bodied, Jheri curled women and knife-wielding gang members. I witnessed my life-long passion for music dissolve in 12 hours and my final album sell a whopping 47 copies in its first month for sale. I left my little-known spot in a small, niche quadrant of the hip-hop world and joined my fellow overqualified stiffs with useless college degrees in the world of dead end jobs. For some sick reason, I find all of the above hilarious and have made an omelette out of any egg that wound up on my face.
I pin my cross-hairs on everyday bullsh*t just as accurately as I do the dysfunctional ways of the music biz. I ask the public at large questions like "Are men the new women?" and "Is going out on Friday night worth it when you're a socially homeless man in a deceptively segregated New York City?" Chapters dedicated to cassette tapes, defunct record stores, the SP-1200 sampling drum machine, hip-hop recording studios of the 1990s, and overlooked rap artists like The Afros, Mob Style, and No Face all point to my fascination with the obscure. You may also enjoy this book if any of these eight statements speak to you:
1. You feel it's perfectly acceptable to wear a clip-on tie with Master P's face on it to a corporate job interview.
2. You have a college degree that got you two choices in the real world: the broom or the mop.
3. You had the opportunity to work with the legendary musical heroes of your childhood; then your broke ass got sued by one of them for copyright infringement.
4. You've stuck a fork in dating in America and are now looking into blow-up dolls due to their low maintenance, low noise level, and low cost (an air-body beats an airhead).
5. You're sick of "couple accounts" on Facebook (Fellas, if you allow your girl to create one page for the both of you, her dick is bigger than yours.)
6. You're sick of hearing all this bourgeois "Eat, Pray, Love" bullshit on dates. I want NYC's crime rate to return to the 1990 statistics for a week; then you'll really be praying to travel someplace expensive to "find yourself".
7. You've considered returning to using the pay phone because you're sick of 35-year-old women sending you "LOL"s and emoticons via text message.
8. You don't stand a chance in life doing anything that doesn't involve purchasing a Mister Softee ice cream truck, but truly believe that one day you will run for mayor and win.
So yeah, Root for the Villain is a book about the music biz and everyday bullshit, but it's anathema to books about the music biz and everyday bullshit. A collection of memoirs and think pieces written by a curmudgeonly commercial failure who is somehow laughing hysterically at both himself and the stupidity of the world large probably won't become a New York Times best-seller, either. Be honest though, you need something to place drinks on when you have company; at worst, my book is a perfect cocktail coaster.
J-ZONE is a connoisseur of humbling reality checks, lesser-known rap albums from the early '90s, self-deprecation, and full-fledged lampoonery. His primary hobby is assailing our daily acts of bullshit. Throughout his decade and change in the music business, he’s worked with the likes of Gnarls Barkley, The Lonely Island, Biz Markie, E-40, and Prince Paul, to name a few. As a writer, his work has been published in the Common Culture pop culture textbook series, SLAM Magazine, The Source, and London’s Hip-Hop Connection (HHC), among others. He’s a regular contributor for ego trip NYC and moonlights as a high school sports reporter in the New York Metropolitan area. J-Zone has also taught music classes in the SUNY (State University of New York) system. He’s an insubordinate curmudgeon and a New York native who will invoice you if you send him emoticon and acronym-laden text messages. He lives in Queens, New York with his beloved grandmother, "Evil E".
With the 2011 A3C Hip-Hop Festival commencing this Thursday, October 6th, iHipHop Distribution is excited to finally release the A3C Volume 1 compilation album, which is now available for purchase on iTunes. iHipHop and A3C are excited to celebrate the release with a new music video and single. The twisted yet humorous video for the song "Skitzo" comes from Atlanta MC Jarren Benton who is no stranger to the A3C Hip-Hop Festival, and along with the video comes a gem of a single from Freddie Gibbs entitled "Executive Decision" and featuring El Prez. Both Benton and Gibbs, along with many other artists, will perform at the seventh annual A3C Hip-Hop Festival, taking place this weekend from October 6th - 8th at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia.
The seventh annual A3C Hip-Hop Festival will take place October 6th through 8th at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information on the Festival and the A3C Volume 1 compilation, please visit: www.A3Cfestival.com .
Mackinly Elie Aly (born March 31, 1989) who records under the moniker Intro, is an American Rapper and Producer. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in the Flatbush section. Being from a Haitian family music was a big part of his culture and soon became a big part of his life.
Intro developed a skill of rapping at the age of 14 in his freshman year of high school. After graduating Sheepshead Bay High School, Intro then pursued his dream in being in the music industry by attended the Institute of Audio Research ( IAR). There he learned about the music business, song structure, beat making, producing, and the list goes on. While in IAR Intro wanted to further his chances in getting his foot in the door so he had help from a good friend who aided him in getting an internship at Emi music publishing at the A&R department. There he learned about copyrights, publishing, songwriters, producers, managers, and how placements are made all under the direction of Omar Grant who was the Director A&R of Hip-Hop and R&B at that time. Soon after he left Emi he start interning for Chris Styles at his studio as an assistant engineer to later became a head engineer. There he worked with Lil Mo, Fabolous, Maino, Uncle Murda, Charlie Baltimore, The DEY, Dj Kast One, Sha Money Xl, Violator Management and many more.
Intro has also started his own movement which is called Crackmazterz and is establishing Crackmazterz Productionz. He has released countless mixtapes since 2006 from Crackmazterz vol.1-3, My Introduction, The Intern vol.1 and The Intern Vol. 2 which let the streets know that he is here to stay.
DTMD (Dunc & Toine Makin' Dollas) released their debut album everywhere last week. Today they are giving away the fan favorite RAW feat. Godly MC & Kev Brown. This Saturday (10/8) they'll be celebrating the album release at the Durkl store (443 Eye St NW) in Washington DC at 8 PM w/ DJ Underdog spinning a set. For now download their new track, then head out and cop the album!
About The Song:
Dunc lays the beat down for Toine, Godly MC, and Kev Brown to spit to on Raw. Godly MC starts the game off with some lyrical wordplay about chill city nights and the gritty life, before Toine lays the hook and his verse. The legendary Kev Brown lends his Bob Ross vocal picture painting skills as well, and adds lyrical gems like: "sound so purty, but dunc still keep it dirty / my raps the opposite of perjury". In the end you got 3 raw verses and an ill beat.
About the Album:
Dunc's rich, full-bodied production serves as a natural backdrop to Toine's technically astute rhymes, layered deep with smooth instrumentation evocative of such luminaries as J. Dilla, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Pete Rock, each of whom shaped the classic hip hop sounds of Dunc's childhood. Toine's energy and bright delivery belie wisdom beyond his years, inspiring deep reflection as easily as sharp battle fare and complex rhyme schemes. Maintaining a close working relationship with PG neighbor Oddisee and assuming a strong presence in the collective atmosphere of the DMV's hip hop scene, DTMD appeared separately on MMG's "Helpless Dreamer" compilation, Toine rhyming on "Different Now" and Dunc producing Stik Figa's "From the Top." The album Makin' Dollas is in stores now!
MP3: A.Dd+ - "Insomniac Dreaming" (Prod. By Black Milk)
Courtesy Audible Treats.
It's safe to say A.Dd+ is on a roll. Even if you put aside their debut, When Pigs Fly (a project, we might add, hailed as "The best rap album that Dallas has ever seen, front to back."), the string of music from the duo of Slim Gravy and Paris Pershun over the past months, largely freebies given away as a gesture to loyal fans, has been remarkable. And that string of music continues with this latest loosie, "Insomniac Dreaming," a song produced by Black Milk.
"We went to Detroit to work with Black Milk on a few joints for our next project," remarks A.Dd+, while hinting at their forthcoming EP. "We wound up recording four songs in less than three days; one will be the EP intro, and the rest are joints, like this one, that we'll release along the way."
Playing off the track's title, "Insomniac Dreaming" pulls inspiration from the internal conversation borne of too-late nights, endlessly pushing towards greatness. "This song is us dreaming in reality," say Slim and Paris, "the things we think but can't always express in regular conversation." And, often, those thoughts are more civilian than superhero, with lines like, "I don't want to be famous; I just want to be well off." And speaking of directing the track, Black Milk does so masterfully, a mix of crackling guitar plucks and piano keys layered over Black's always-sturdy low end that provides a hauntingly reflective melody for A.Dd+'s tales.
Video: Rocky Rivera f/ Davinci - "SF City Retrospect"
Courtesy Beatrock Music.
Rocky Rivera teams up with another San Francisco-based emcee, Davinci, as they pay homage to their respective neighborhoods in the City by the Bay. Produced by Digital Martyrs and presented by Just Bombin and Beatrock Music, it features a side of SF that most don't get to experience themselves.