Planet Asia helped jump-start the West Coast independent hip-hop movement, releasing a slew of popular 12-inch singles on upstarts like Stones Throw and ABB Records in the late 90s that established him as one of the leaders of a crop of talent that included the likes of Dilated Peoples, Madlib, Murs, and Jurassic 5.
Now a 15-year veteran, the Cali-based MC (born in Fresno, he's spent most of his career living in Los Angeles and San Francisco) shows no signs of slowing down. The first decade of the new millennium saw Asia briefly sign with major label Interscope, go independent again for his debut album The Grand Opening, release full-length collaborative projects with both Evidence of Dilated Peoples (The Medicine) and DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill (Pain Language), form his own label (Gold Chain Music), and work with everyone from Linkin Park to Bun B to Ghostface Killah. Now, Planet Asia is back with his first retail album in four years, the star-studded Black Belt Theatre, which hits stores everywhere via Daddy Real/Wandering Worx/Greenstreets on February 28th, 2012.
Named after a 1980s Saturday-afternoon TV show and inspired by Planet Asia's favorite films, Black Belt Theatre combines the violent precision of classic kung-fu flicks with the calculated cool of classic blaxploitation movies. "I wanted to make the album like a movie, something you would see in a theater," says Asia. "That's why it has so many features. All the guests feel like different characters in the movie." These guests include veterans like Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Paul Wall, Ras Kass, Camp Lo, and Strong Arm Steady, as well as newcomers like Fashawn, Willie The Kid, Torae, and Nio Tha Gift. "They're basically just all people I thought were dope," says Asia. "Both young cats I'm feeling and veterans I've always admired."
Unlike on his albums with Evidence and DJ Muggs, Asia also got to determine the sonic direction on Black Belt Theatre, resulting in a soul-heavy, blaxploitation-influenced sound. "It was fun because I got to reach out to guys like Oh No and Khrysis for beats, find the best tracks and put together a masterpiece," explains Asia. "It's some esoteric gangster shit…a full plate for the listener."
The Beastie Boys, known for their distinctive style and unique sound, released the iconic single Sabotage in the early 1990’s to rave reviews. In 2011, Dia2ill, an artist equally as unique and enigmatic puts an modernized touch to the classic pop classic. An ardent Beastie Boy fan and a fan of the classic song himself, he crafted the track to perfection; adding his own lyrical and melodic touch to make it something all his own.
Dia2ill wasn’t alone in the process of updating this classic. With production headed by Innerloop Record’s own J-Scrilla, Dia2ill captured the same energy and sound which sent the original song to icon status and added his own unique flair in the process.
Both J-Scrilla and Dia2ill consrtucted the new track from scratch. Later, live guitar would be added to the track by producer Miggz. Dia2ill wanted to catch the listener off guard. He accomplished this task by having assistants of Johnny 3 Legs perform the songs intro. Johnny 3 Legs also assisted with back-up vocals alongside Death Metal singer Ogre. To add an old-school sound to the new-age track. DJ Trayze incorporated the sound of records scratching in the chorus. Engineered by 2Face Ya Wild Boy, the finished product would be sent to Wise so that the final touch of adjusting the track’s instrumentals could be made. Miggz would also be the one to master the final product. With the buzz of the track being remade and the careful time put into the song, Dia2ill is confident this song will be just as big a success as the original before it.
Video: L.E.P. Bogus Boys - "WGCI Big Jam Performance"
Courtesy Audible Treats.
With the holiday season comes gawdy Christmas sweaters, interesting family gatherings, and big-time concerts hosted by some of the country's most powerful important radio stations. Chicago's 107.5 WGCI is one of those stations, and this past December the station hosted their very own Big Jam, a gathering of some of hip-hop's and R&B's most popular names, including Young Jeezy, Wale, R. Kelly, Miguel, Ace Hood, and more.
As the city's fastest rising stars, the L.E.P. Bogus Boys were invited out as the only independent artists to grace the Big Jam stage, and this latest video from Count and Moonie follows the duo behind the scenes, as they make their way to the arena, sit down for interviews with WGCI and MTV, kick it backstage with Wale and Jeremih, and take the stage to perform for a packed – and rabid – crowd of hometown supporters.
South Florida's Knowledge Medina & Numonics team up with Showoff Records' REKS for "Dead Or Alive"; the new single from the duo that is featured on their collaborative album "Never Enough". The song finds Knowledge and REKS trading verses on the resurrection of Hip Hop over a Numonics instrumental packed with sample chops and lush backgrounds.
Knowledge Medina and Numonics' album, "Never Enough" will be released on February 7th and features guest appearances from Co$$, J NiCS, REKS, Chi Knox, Jon The Barber and VIP.