September 28, 2010 :: Acclaimed lyricist and hip hop veteran Skillz joins forces with two of the world’s premiere DJs, Jazzy Jeff & J.Period, to present “Infamous Quotes” -- an exclusive new mixtape celebrating the release of Skillz’ upcoming album, The World Needs More Skillz (Oct 25). With an infamous history of ghostwriting credits for many of hip hop’s most famous MCs, lyrical legend Skillz is back to demonstrate the lost art of writing on the conceptual “Infamous Quotes.” With assistance from pop-culture icons like Will Ferrell, Katt Williams, Alan Iverson and Liam Neeson, and original production by Alchemist, Nottz, Jazzy Jeff & Don Cannon, "Infamous Quotes" provides the perfect forum for Skillz to illustrate what the world needs more of... OFFICIAL SITE:http://www.jperiod.com/skillz
Two unsung heroes from 2 of Michigan's most influential crews combine forces to author a coming of age story inspired by the infamous era of high top fades, eye brow parts, and house parties. The album revolves around life, love, women and fashion as a solute to artists such as Teddy Riley, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson, New Edition and Kid n Play who made songs that everyone could relate to.
In addition to being conceptually refreshing, the album is just as musically intriguing as producers Vaughan T, 14KT, Nick Speed, ZO!, and Forkcast sample and “flip” classic new jack swing records in a way that keeps listeners engaged.
Features and contributors include: Buff 1, Mayer Hawthorne, Big Tone, 14KT, Ro Spit, Nick Speed, Aloe Blacc, Zo!, Ella, and Sole Deacon. And even better, its available for FREE DOWNLOAD.
"What does Lawrence Franks Jr. need to be redeemed from? Perhaps it's from being released by Jive/Zomba after his first album "Notebook Paper," although in his own words "You might be telling the truth/but really I released myself." Maybe it's from being perceived as too junior to be taken seriously, given his first album referenced schoolwork and the cover saw him sitting at a desk with a blackboard in the background. Education certainly isn't his focus on "Retarded" though, as Huey takes obscene amounts of pride in being materialistically shallow, bragging "I look blind but this money make me see things ... I'm handicapped but this money make me walk straight ... I get my retarded on when it's about cash, I get my retarded on with my retarded ass." Maybe he needs to be redeemed from feuding with Nelly, because it doesn't seem like St. Louis was big enough for both of them. There's little doubt that if the careers of the two were measured side by side, Nelly's about 20 million albums ahead. "
Black Milk :: Album of the Year :: BlackMilk.biz as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania
"And that is what Black Milk has decided to do with "Album of the Year" – not a boastful, ill-advised title, but simply THE album of HIS year, describing his past 365 days. That it also happens to be the album of his career is a bonus, but AOTY is halfway between throwback and unique. The first couple of listens are bemusing, polarising and, to an extent, disappointing. However, persevere, dear Reader, and you will be rewarded with an LP that, through looking inward, almost faultlessly details the outside world that so many of us face right now. It is an album that feels like it could not have been released at any other point in the timeline of this illustrious genre. "Album of the Year" doesn't always work flawlessly, and one could strongly argue that it trades in thrilling one-offs in favour of consistency. For example, there isn't a single effort that matches the stunning sonic genius of a track like "Bounce" from his last LP, "Tronic." However, this time round, we are gifted a much more even listen, with virtually no peaks and troughs. "
"Right around the time RR was covering Camu Tao's final album "King of Hearts," the people at Definitive Jux decided to release a free EP in support of the album called "Forever Frozen in Television Time." The EP was the result of a collaboration between Camu Tao and his long-time friend El-Producto, which they had intended to release as a group under the name Central Services. For whatever reason, the EP got shelved and never worked its way to fans of either rapper/musician until this year - but better late than never as they always say - and besides it's free. Much like "King of Hearts," the Central Services EP features a side of Camu Tao which veers away from traditional hip-hop rhyming and jumps into heavily overproduced crooning, complete with echo effects, distortion and reverb up the wazoo."
"Das Racist is a very polarizing group, and that's without even taking their name into account. Though the spelling might be considered a tribute to Das EFX, it's more of a play on the background of rappers Himanshu Suri and Victor Vasquez, who are probably hip-hop's first ever Indian-American meets Cuban/African-American duo. If they aren't, well they're certainly the first to ever get recognized in the mainstream, as evidenced by the success of their single "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell." No, I'm not joking, but you can never be quite sure whether these two emcees really are or not. Their last album "Shut Up, Dude" had listeners scratching their heads trying to figure out if Suri and Vasquez were serious about rap music or whether it was all a big goof by two Wesleyan students who grew up in Brooklyn and felt familiar enough with hip-hop to be able to mock it. "
"Skillz to Take Brazil" is a collaborative effort from a group of very diverse people. Hired Gun and Rabbi Darkside are emcee/educators hailing from Brooklyn and handle most of the emceeing duties on the album. Zajazza is a French DJ/Producer who handles the production. The trio met up in Brazil for what originally was meant to be a tour. That tour led to late night recording sessions and collaborations with Brazilian emcees. Those recording sessions are collected here, a project born out of love for and exploration of the Brazilian culture. The album presents the age old question – Are other people's vacations really that interesting? "Skillz To Take Brazil" is filled with jazzy, head-nodding beats thanks to Zajazza. "Visas" is driven by a simple bass line and choppy piano sample. The combination isn't complex, but the result is dope."
Kam :: Made in America :: EastWest America/Elektra ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Pete T.
"It's no secret that West Coast rappers, in many cases, can trace their hip hop lineage like a family tree. In fact, gangsta rap's bloodlines have produced some of the genre's most celebrated collaborators—had Snoop Dogg's buddy Warren G not been Dr. Dre's stepbrother, who's to say to what extent the Compton and Long Beach connection might never have occurred? In that case, Snoop might never have had the chance to put on his cousins Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Butch Cassidy, RBX, and Lil 1/2 Dead, themselves forming a hall-of-fame hip hop clan. That said, rare is the superstar MC who hasn't at least attempted to hook up his friends and family in the record industry, and all too often the case is that the apple falls outside spitting range from the tree—need anyone be reminded of Nas' next-of-kin the Bravehearts or Master P's efforts with Tru's second generation, namely Lil Romeo? "
"At first glance, Lil' Prophet's latest CD gives no indication it is in fact Christian or Gospel rap. The cover features Lil' Prophet in baggy T with a big platinum chain around his neck. The back lists songs with titles like "You Don't Want Me," "Stupid Crazy Crunk," and "Never Scared." An adventurous consumer might purchase the CD expecting the next big thing in southern rap; precisely the goal of Lil' Prophet and Real World Records. Everything about Lil' Prophet, from his presentation to his music, is made to mimic the current trends in rap music. To that end, "Versatile" is a resounding success, but whether that is a good or bad thing is debatable. Production on the CD is handled mostly by Pettidee, an established Christian rap veteran. The beats are for the most part the trunk rattling, crunk beats that have been popular for the last few years. K-Drama produces a slightly generic, but very bumping track on "You Don't Want Me." Hard hitting bass, stuttering snares, and a smooth guitar make for a catchy beat. "
"Jamaica, Queens rapper Vic Damone was apparently getting tired of being confused with the famous crooner of the same name. He changed his name up to Vic D but that still didn't solve his problems, as some people undoubtedly confused Vic D with one hit (to date) wonder V.I.C.. What's a young rapper to do to make his name stand out in the world of music? Well Vic finally found the solution and took the last syllable of his original name and flipped it - now he's known as M.O.N.E. pronounced like MOAN. According to his new mixtape from DJ OnPoint and DJ LGee, the acronym stands for "Music Only Needs Ears." That's true and (at least slightly) catchy too, so maybe M.O.N.E. can finally break out."
"If you're wondering how it could possibly be over ten years since the last Rah Digga album, consider that when she blessed us with "Dirty Harriet" in April 2000 Bill Clinton was president, Barry Sanders was on the cover of Madden, and Dr. Dre and Black Rob each had albums on the Billboard Top 10. At that time, the Newark native claimed affiliation with both the Outsidaz and the Flipmode Squad, but she would never be labeled either crew's token female rapper—in fact, her vicious rhymes and rugged technique made her a star of both outfits regardless of gender such that her Elektra debut was more heavily anticipated than any member of either collective not named Busta Rhymes. Nor did "Dirty Harriet" disappoint—both a commercial and critical success featuring production by Busta, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, Rockwilder, Mr. Walt, Nottz, and others, Rashia appeared to be on the path to a stardom that only few females before her had attained. "
"There are a few things Billy Woods and Priviledge a/k/a the Super Chron Flight Brothers are familiar with - in no particular order they are video games, Saturday morning cartoons, hip-hop rhymes, super-sized helpings of marijuana (whether bong, blunt or joint) and pop culture TV shows. Their 2007 hip-hop debut "Emergency Powers" only hinted at the blunted adventures to follow. What could have been a sugar puff packed bowl of crunchy green goodness was according to RR contributor Arthur Gailes held back more by the beats than the rhymes. "The production is spare, metallic. Most of it is very good, very dark, and definitely unique. It's not quite bass-first, but it almost uniformly lends itself to big, booming speakers. As a quiet listen, it is much more underwhelming, even somewhat boring." It seems that S.C.F.B. took those words to heart on their sophomore album "Cape Verde." "
DJ Smallz :: The Future of Alabama :: Southern Smoke as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon "The title of his latest mixtape "The Future of Alabama" caught my eye because I've always felt that the 'Bama hip-hop scene is a little slept on. Recently Gadsden, Alabama's own Yelawolf has been starting to blow up nationally, but before that you had Rich Boy out of Moline, the group Dirty out of Montgomery, there's G-Side out of Huntsville, the list goes on and on. Gucci Mane is from Birmingham if you want to count him too - I don't but YMMV. ANYWAY talent runs deep in the heart of the South, in a state with well over 4.5 million people, one which has had the kind of tumultuous social and racial issues since its founding which for better or worse coincides with a strong artistic and musical culture. In other words Alabama has a lot to offer the world AND hip-hop music, and if DJ Smallz and his partner DJ Frank White want to shine a spotlight on that I say more power to them. "
Adam: "Fall is here, and with the new season upon us you need new tunes. I understand that, which is why I packed this month's 35+ minute edition of The Adam B Experience with nine songs, including three ABX artist debuts. There's also the usual amount of me being an idiot thrown in for good measure. It's good music and a good time all wrapped up in one podcast. Enjoy! Hit me up with feedback at AdamB@RapReviews.com." The Adam B Experience is 100% PODSAFE and TOTALLY FREE so tell your friends to download ABX right here at RapReviews.com!
One week ago, the Dream Nightclub on the West Bank of Cleveland's Flats District was the place to be as the 5th Annual Ohio Hip Hop Awards & Music Conference's main event took place. The award show is designed to recognize and showcase the best of the best in Ohio hip-hop. The show was hosted by Big Eddie Bauer, Robyn Simone and City. Toledo's DJ One 1X TyMe held down his position as the house deejay.
By the end of the night, forty OHHA plaques had been handed out to recipients in various categories that touched all aspects of the culture. For example, 2 Live Music was the winner in the Best Retail Outlet category, while Skully's Music Diner won for Best Live Venue. Blessed Label came away with the hardware for Best Clothing Line and Jada Stacks won for Best Model. There were also awards given out for Best B-Boy/B-Girl and Best Turntablist, with Billie Bad Ass and Scratchmaster L walking away with the honors, respectively. The Daymon Mumford Humanitarian Award was given to Al Porter and TJ Chapman & DJ Lyte-N-Rod were both named as Lifetime Achievement Award winners. For a look at all of the winners, click here.
Aside from the recognition, some of the awards came with more than just an Ohio-shaped plaque. Take Machine Gun Kelly, who won in the Best Live Performer Category. In addition to his award, he also will receive placement in XXL Magazine, a write-up in The Source magazine and a $2,000 promotional package from Digiwaxx.com. Toledo's Cuntry won the OHHA Industry Showcase the following Sunday, and with that he also won a feature on the OHHA website, their newsletter and also the radio shows that are affiliated with OHHA such as "The Playa's Ball" and the "Go Gettas Show." He also gets trips to Atlanta and Detroit for a free recording session at HotBeats Studios and to attend the Red Bull Big Tunes producer competition.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony member Bizzy Bone also made a special appearance along with Portia "Lady Rerun" Berry. You can currently see her in a regional advertisement for Safe Auto Insurance. There were also several performances from the likes of Ray Cash, Status Flo, Gotta Hustle, Erica P, Jola, Freeway Boyz, ADD, Desi, BCE, Mz Nikki, Freezy and Britni Elise. The show was closed out by a performance from Young Mook.
While a great amount of work goes into putting together an event of this magnitude, each year the execution of the Ohio Hip Hop Awards ceremony seems to be criticized and the show itself often negatively referred to as the "Cleveland Awards" since many of the artists that win are Cleveland-based. In its current format, once the categories are set and voting begins, people can vote for their favorites once per day for a nearly a month prior to the ceremony. In the world of social networking, this creates a torrent of "vote for me" action via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and any other platforms the artists feel will be effective.
At the end of the day, the OHHA committee just counts the votes and crowns a winner based on that. However, the approach that some refer to as a "popularity contest" has rubbed many people the wrong way over the years. Some have suggested that a change in host city might change the way the Awards are perceived, others feel like a change in the way winners are chosen may do the trick. In any event, what seems to get lost in all of the commotion is the fact that there is an entire weekend filled with activities to enrich and educate artists on the ins and outs of the industry. Too many get hung up on the pomp and circumstance of the main show that they fail to capitalize on the opportunities that are within their reach.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the Ohio Hip Hop Awards & Music Conference, and while possibly flawed, it still manages to motivate hundreds of artists to put large amounts of time and effort into their work in hopes of being recognized...and it's pretty hard to knock them for that.
Photos from the event can be viewed here and here .
Every weekend we air a new edition of Hip-Hop Shop on BlogTalkRadio like the one you're about to hear - Episode #92 - A Return to No Discernable Theme. Don't try to make any sense out of this one - it's as Random as the artists we feature this week including Pigeon John, Soul Khan and Tiff the Gift. Send your feedback, podsafe (RIAA free) music, and advertising requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check out the replay every Tuesday on RapReviews.com!
* Pigeon John - Before We're Gone * Soul Khan - Suck My Dick * Hell Razah - Cinematic * Tiff the Gift - Celestial Sunshine * Thinktank - Badguys * Random f/ Phil Harmonic - Look Around * Marvell - We Don't Speak Americano (Marvell Remix) * SL Jones - Turnt Up (No Expiration Date)