Banned from KBXX 97.9, Trae tha Truth takes his case courtside. By Shea Serrano Thursday, Jun 24 2010
July 22, 2009 was the second annual Trae Day, a day devoted to honoring Trae tha Truth, one of Houston's own rappers, known as much for his philanthropic efforts as for the menace in his lyrics.
It was started the year before by then Mayor Bill White and the City of Houston — Trae became the first rapper in the city's history to earn his own day. A full-on family festival was organized by Trae's camp to crown the occasion, more than 10,000 people showed up to pat him on the back. It was a complete, unexpected success.
2009's Trae Day was to follow suit. And it mostly did. Mostly.
The second Trae Day was held in a TSU parking lot, this time with the attendance reaching up past 15,000. There were free pony rides, school supplies, moonwalks, HIV testing, immunizations and more. Trae financed a bulk of the event. Acclaimed rappers Rick Ross and Shawty Lo showed up to lend their support. So did Bun B, Slim Thug and a whole host of others.
The one flicker of disruption that occurred — a few kids tugging at a backpack that had been tossed into the crowd from the stage during one of the performances — was quickly snuffed out by Trae himself. For five and a half hours, there was no anarchy anywhere. And then it was everywhere.
At approximately 8 p.m., the fire marshal called a premature end to the celebration because of overcrowding. A snarl of traffic congested the surrounding streets. A sizable crowd, thick with children and teenagers, stood waiting in the parking lot for the traffic to die down. That's when Albert Walker Mondane and an unspecified number of others opened fire on them. Everyone scattered. Eight people were shot. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 21 years old.
Trae was both heartbroken and irate.
"I really hurt the most when I found out what happened," says Trae. "To see them kids' faces before, to know what it meant for them and to know what that meant for the city to have that day, for that to get overshadowed...I knew that's what was gonna be put out. I was pissed, but hurt more."
Trae spent the evening and following days conducting a hailstorm of interviews regarding the unfortunate ending to what was an otherwise fortunate day of communal merriment and pride.
He inevitably made his way in front of the DJs at the Madd Hatta Morning Show, the weekday morning team on KBXX (a.k.a. The Box), 97.9 FM, a Radio One-owned company operating as the only hip-hop and R&B station in Houston. The interview quickly grew cantankerous when on-air personality Nnete Inyangumia implied that Trae was at fault for the shootings, contending that acts of violence were inherent in his music.
Now, this isn't exactly an altogether off-the-mark observation.
Trae's music is significant for any number of reasons, but mainly this: It makes accessible not only the worst parts of the guts of a major American city, but also the psyche of a man intelligent enough to thrive there. To listen to it is to live on the 8900 block of Braeswood, except you don't have to worry about getting your shit took.
There is no better long-form example of this than Restless, his third official LP. There is an ambient feeling of depression throughout the album (though it's not driven by it). Even the songs that aren't explicitly about something awful happening to someone Trae loves — the Jim Jones-aided "Coming Around The Corner," "Pop Trunk Wave" and "Cadillac" — are tinged with just enough desolation that they seem to serve only as stopgaps between bouts of depression and suffering.
And if this were the only thing you knew about the album, or Trae for that matter, you'd be forgiven for assuming it would be good for nothing more than serving as the soundtrack to blowing your brains out. But Trae presents that despondency in an artful and willfully expressive manner.
Where many Houston MCs get lost in either the trappings of the city's caricatured regional culture or hard-life talk, Trae can talk about both worlds. He possesses the authority to talk about street life that Paul Wall doesn't have, as well as the unreserved cockiness to talk about fancy cars and jewelry, things street-talk legend Scarface has always avoided.
Trae is a hardened man, with the vast potential to be bulldozing when he chooses. That seems inarguable. He was caught in a minor controversy when he punched rapper Mike Jones in the nose at the Ozone Awards in 2007, a situation he later publicly apologized for. And violence, or any other aspect of inner-city life for that matter, is a natural subject of his music. But it's not a natural extension of it.
The remainder of that morning's interview played out in the same tense manner in which it began. Trae called back afterwards off the air to express his displeasure with the route the interview took. Still, three months afterwards, no one on either side appeared outwardly concerned with anything.
Enter The Incredible Truth.
The Incredible Truth is a mixtape Trae released in October of 2009. One minute and 24 seconds into the tape's sixth song, Trae lobbed a grenade at Nnete, rapping about her weight, "Look at you with your bad built ass, you're trash, so far gone you ain't even in the past. It's understood when I'm rolling on glass and the world hating on me like Nnete's fat ass."
FREDDIE GIBBS TO RELEASE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED STR8 KILLA EP ON DECON AUGUST 3rd 2010
XXL MAGAZINE TO DIGITALLY RELEASE ACCOMPANYING MIXTAPE STR8 KILLA NO FILLA ON JULY 29th 2010
Gary, Indiana’s finest, Freddie Gibbs, has partnered with Decon to release his first official release, Str8 Killa EP, August 3rd, further inciting the raucous clamor surrounding the third coast’s most promising MC.
Hailing from a disheveled corner of the midwest, Freddie’s music is a play-by-play of block politics. The video for “The Ghetto” illustrates his existence succinctly. Gibbs speaks on behalf of a silent minority, describing a crumbling metropolis on which socio-political concern has turned a blind eye. The trap was set, but Freddie emerged. By partnering with New York taste-making label Decon, Gibbs finds himself at the crucial apex of his career.
Freddie let loose last year with two independent mixtapes, The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs and the notable midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik, the epic tome of street truths that put him on the cover of XXL’s Freshman Top 10 issue as well as the collective rap-consciousness. He then won over notoriously fickle audiences at SXSW, a critical bridge few rappers have crossed, and this is just the beginning. We’ve seen the jab and the Str8 Killa EP is the right hook that will solidify Gibbs as one of the most talented MCs recording today.
To coincide with the EP release and continue his reign as the midwest’s mixtape king, Freddie will be releasing a free mixtape version of the project titled Str8 Killa No Filla on July 29th with XXLMag.com. The mixtape will serve as a highlight of the EP, giving fans a taste of what to expect from the official release. The EP will feature two exclusive tracks that do not appear on the mixtape.
The legendary Wu-Tang Clan dropped their new album, Pollen: The Swarm Part Three, in stores last week. Released by the Clan’s own label, Wu Music Group, Pollen is the third installment in the official swarm franchise and features original Wu-Tang Clan members RZA (Bobby Digital), Ghostface Killa, Method Man (Johnny Blaze) and many more. Volumes I and II of The Swarm have sold over eight hundred thousand units to date.
Wu-Tang also just premiered the first track off of the album this past weekend: “Dirts the Boogie,” by the late, great O.D.B. The cut was recorded along with O.D.B.’s son, Y.D.B. Boy Jones, and can be downloaded via the link below.
In speaking about Pollen: The Swarm Part Three, The RZA asserted that, “these tracks are ready to prove to Wu-Tang fans that real Hip Hop is less about the bling and more about expression.”
As previously announced, Wu-Tang Clan will hit the road this summer to perform their notorious 1993 debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) live a the 7th annual rap tour Rock the Bells. Additional Wu dates throughout the summer will be announced soon. The RZA is also scheduled to produce GZA’s Liquid Sword II due to be released by Wu Music Group at the end of the year.
Rock the Bells Tour Dates:
08-21 Los Angeles, CA – NOS Events Center 08-22 San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre 08-28 New York, NY – South Island Field | Governor’s Island 08-29 Washington, DC – Merriweather Post Pavilion
01 ROLL WITH KILLER BEES - YELLOW JACKETS 02 HEADLINE - ARMEL, 12 OCLOCK, P SUNN, REV BURKS 03 ASSED OUT - WUTANG CLAN 04 DIRTS THE BOOGIE - O.D.B & Y.D.B. BOY JONES 05 YOU MUST BE DREAMING - BOBBY DIGITAL, KINETIC 06 M.E.F. - JOHNNY BLAZE 07 SMOOTH SAILING - GHOSTFACE, TRIFE, SOLOMON CHILDS 08 GET IT STARTED - KING JUST, NATE, Y.C. 09 FACED DOWN - STREETLIFE 10 THE TESTIMONY - REMEDY & KILLER PRIEST 11 ACTION - SOLOMON CHILDS 12 NO GAME AROUND HERE - KILLER BEES 13 INTO YOU - REV BURKE & RUGGED MONK 14 TRANSPORTING - REMEDY & JO JO PELLIGRINO 15 FLIGHT OF THE KILLER BEES - PRODIGAL SON & REV BURKS
Devin the Dude Concert The Waiting Room - Omaha, NE May 12th, 2010
Article and photos by Steve 'Flash' Juon
Better late than never, I'm coming through for you with a Devin the Dude concert review. A lot of things conspired against this review ever happening. First and foremost, I was feeling sick as shit the night this concert actually took place. Originally I was going to interview Devin personally, but out of respect to him and to the label I didn't want to pass him a cold while he was in the middle of a nationwide tour, so we postponed a personal session for another day and time. It's not as though it hurt readers of the site greatly though given Adam B interviewed Devin back in April so this would have simply been an extension of what he had done as an exclusive video for the website. Ironically me being too sick to do the interview worked out though as my camera crapped out that night at the show, so getting any usable video footage would have been near impossible. Let's give credit where it's due to the venue in this case, because the bass in my face standing front row at the show is probably what shook my shit to the point it went South. Last but not least the crapout OF said camera caused me to switch up at a moment's notice and take pics with my cell phone instead, but then I had two different types of files stored on two different devices to combine together. Perhaps this article should have been titled "Lessons on what NOT to do when covering a rap show." Learn from my mistakes people. Still since I toughed out illness, rain, parking, a capacity crowd AND a broken camera it's time to make use of what I've got and give it to you the readers for your enjoyment.
If you've ever heard the phrase "one fight card" to describe a boxing or MMA PPV where the only reason people bought it or showed up was for the main event, that phrase suits this night's Devin concert equally well. People in the crowd talked about nothing but Devin, and nobody performed who was not affiliated with Devin or in his crew. I fully expected the Coughee Brothaz to open the show as a result, but I was there at 9 PM CST and the stage didn't start filling up with smoke until 10:20. Normally at the hip-hop shows I've been to from the Midwest to the East, the venue puts on at least one if not two local acts trying to make a name for themselves to kill time once the doors open - no such luck tonight. Also it seems that the Coughee Brothaz have now branched out and started forming crews in other areas, because the DJ kept playing a loud drop to remind us these were the Coughee Brothaz NORTH, not to be confused with the originals I had seen in concert before. Okay, whatever. I was just glad someone had finally jumped on stage.
CBN kept things rolling for a good 30-40 minutes, and after a short delay The Dude himself hit the stage. The smell of chronic in the air was fairly strong even before this point, but Suite #420 took this shit to a whole different level. Normally dudes crush the stage for two reasons - the first is a bunch of hot girls just started stripping at the behest of the artist, the second is when someone on stage says "the craziest motherfucker in here gets to party with me tonight." I can now add a third item to that list - WEED SMOKER HERO WORSHIP. You've never seen so many people try to hand one rapper a joint or a blunt at one time just to take a puff. It's not very intoxicating to have it in the air around me after going to shows for over 17 years, but I'll be damned if a first-timer wouldn't have gotten a contact high from that shit. Devin's posse had to literally smoke/soak up the extras for him as there was just no way in hell he could smoke every single thing that came his way. NORML should put this man on tour with Cypress Hill to promote legalizing weed - they'd do box office business.
As for his performance, well I can't say it was EXTREMELY different to past experience with the Dude in concert. He's a very energetic and charismatic rapper, prone to sing or scat a freestyle at any time between songs, and probably does as much or more vocal turntablism than Scratch from The Roots - which he usually emphasizes by putting his hand out and pretending to flex on some invisible Wheels of Steel. While some songs from Suite #420 did make their way into the mix, Devin's set was largely the "greatest hits" his fans already know and love. As such it's a given he's going to do his verse from Dr. Dre's "Fuck You" and his verse from Scarface's "Fuck Faces" along with blunted solo classics like "Doobie Ashtray" and make the crowd sing the chorus to "Lacville 79." Let me be clear - there AIN'T nothin' wrong with that. A live Devin set is always entertaining, but aside from who he brings with him to open and who hangs out on stage with him (occasionally performing a song to give Devin a breather) one show is almost exactly like the other - only the date and time changes. Die-hard Devin supporters will keep coming back to each show (no doubt I will) and if you're a casual fan you might wait until he's part of a larger festival or tour.
As a "one card fight" Devin is alright, but be warned that he generally starts late and goes on past midnight, and if you've seen him before it's virtually the same (charismatic) show you've already seen. If you're fighting a cold too and smoke is in the air everywhere it's a challenge but he's a consistent enough performer to make it all worth the effort. If you've never seen his performance before, you owe it to yourself as a hip-hop fan to go at least once - and cop that Suite #420 album while you're at it.
Dyme Def Bring Innovative Music, Marketing, And A Bit Of Raunch With Sex Tape 06.29.2010 Partnering with Clothing Giant T.I.T.S. Brand, Dyme Def Releases Sex-Themed New Album
(June 29, 2010-Brooklyn, NY) Dyme Def, the North-West trio of Fearce, SEV, and Brainstorm, is excited to release their sophomore full-length Sex Tape, a highly visual and blatantly sexual project released in a collaborative effort with clothing company Two in The Shirt (T.I.T.S. Brand). Dyme Def's Sex Tape is available now via 800 LB.
Sex Tape breaks away from the Dyme Def that many underground fans have come to know. "None of our albums have sounded the same," says SEV. "That's how we intend to keep it. Keep 'em' guessing." The sound is lustrous and the lyrical content risqué placing Dyme in a prime-time position to make moves into the prevailing pop culture. "They came down from outer space and had to get their grown man shit on," says T.I.T.S. Brand Owner Marek Grubel. "Any career progression is to make it into the mainstream. They have the talent and sound that will crossover and reach millions."
Sex Tape boasts eleven sinfully seductive tracks that range from stimulating R&B soul soothers like "Wet Dreams" to amplified orgasmic audio clips to dark and stormy boom-bap bangers like "Do Something," the album's lead single, which was accompanied by the Gianna Michaels-starring video. "The concept behind this project was to mainly reach out to the opposite sex, creating a new way to listen to hip-hop in Dyme Def's world" explains SEV about the album's direction. In stark contrast to their provocative prose, the production on Sex Tape is highly diverse, delivering a wide range of instrumentals and sounds, courtesy of frequent collaborators Tha Bizness, BeanOne, and Tryfe.
The collaboration with T.I.T.S Brand and Dyme Def is unique in that creates a complete sensory experience by providing audio, visual, and tangible feeling to consumers. Each single off of Sex Tape has it's own exclusive and titillating t-shirt created by the erotic entrepreneurs at T.I.T.S. Brand. "It was fun working with T.I.T.S.," says Brainstorm on working together with the Seattle-based clothing company. "There were no boundaries." To make matters even more appealing T.I.T.S. will be offering a free digital download of singles off of the Sex Tape with the purchase of collaborative shirts from www.shoptits.com .
The Sex Tape project complete with audio, visual, and T.I.T.S. textiles is currently available via 800 LB. Please post buy links: http://www.shoptits.com/dymedef.aspx http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sex-tape/id372690848 .
Fresh off the success of the PANIC EP, Dyme Def releases their second full length project Sex Tape, a collaboration with the provocative clothing company Two In The Shirt (TITS Brand) . The trio consists of rappers Fearce, SEV and Brainstorm with production from Tha Bizness, Brainstorm, BeanOne and Tryfe. Dyme Def has received critical acclaim since their 2007 debut Space Music and has built an incredible following on their way to being crowned the kings of the NW. Sex Tape is a departure from the Dyme Def sound that many underground consumers have grown accustom to, but the change will come as a pleasant surprise to their old fans and new.
Black Sheep Celebrates New Album With A Video And A New Single That Considers The Life Of Hip-Hop
In celebration of the new album, From The Black Pool Of Genius, Black Sheep is releasing a new nostalgic single called "Come Back Home" featuring the new dynamic R&B duo P&V. The track opens with a monologue, "Oh word. Ain't seen you in a hundred. Oh, come on now, I'm chilling; you can listen to the music and tell that." The song delivers on the promise of hang-out music with a bittersweet but accepting vibe and a slow beat using a soft keyboard with reverb to spit over. But listening closely to the lyrics, it isn't just another hang-out song nor is it a song about the romance of a woman. It is really a metaphor for the desire of more significant hip-hop in contemporary culture. "'Come Back Home' is in the vein of Common's 'I Used To Love H.E.R.', and perhaps skewed a bit to my perspective," says Dres. "It speaks of the want for a more sincere meaningful hip-hop, but attests the willingness to accept what it's become and move forward."
Dres of Black Sheep also celebrates with a video for the song, "For The Record" from the new album. Shot on a rooftop at sunset in New York City, it brings a sense of peacefulness over the song. Especially with a clear and pleasant piano melody on top of the beat, one would believe that it is just a quiet song with little to say. However, says Dres, "'For The Record' is a quiet song that speaks loudly and also is me giving a little backhand to the powers that be," continuing, "I don't see them moving in the best interest of the people. I'm just shining a little light on the situation."
Look for the album, From The Black Pool Of Genius out today via Bum Rush Records.
It all began with a thundering baseline and an unmistakably classic phrase - "this or that." One of the most widely recognized songs in rap music history, the 1991 classic "The Choice is Yours" was hailed by VH1 in 2008 as one of the best rap songs of all time. The highly respected Queens emcee Dres, along with DJing partner-in-crime William "Mista Lawnge" McLean took the music industry by storm in the early 1990's as part of the groundbreaking collective Native Tongues. Penning such Billboard standouts as "Flavor of the Month" and "Strobelight Honey" for the duo's platinum-selling debut album A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing in 1992, Dres would continue to crank out the hits on the group's second release, Non Fiction. After a brief reunion with Mister Lawnge in 2000, Dres again set his sights on recording. He released the innovative online-only album 8WM/Novakane in 2007. Now he's back in the studio, writing the next chapter of his storied career. Dres' highly anticipated new project, From the Black Pool of Genius, out now, promises to pair thought-provoking lyrics with astounding beats constructed by a corps of new and established beatmakers. They include Bean One, Showbiz, Tough Junkie, P. Locke, Urban Soul Music Group, and Willie Evans. He's also got an impressive line-up of guest stars, including De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Rhymefest, AZ, Jean Grae, Rosie Perez, Psycho Les of The Beatnuts, and Tough Junkie, among others. Leading up to the release of his next full-length, Black Sheep have released a precursor EP, From The Black Pool Of Genius: The Prelude, available now. From The Black Pool Of Genius is also available now.
Awhile back i had a friend of mine ask me, "what if an outside artist wanted to get some production from you, how do you make that happen?" It was a great question, and at the time it made me realize that i should try and facilitate the artists i occasionally get asked to work with online which as a result, lead me to incorporate a widget for buying beats on the "Services" page of Neosonicprod.com
The timing was too perfect, as I'm in the process of switching my main production HUB to Native Instrument's Maschine & retiring my beloved MPC 2000XL, which served me very well over the last decade... thus i have A LOT of unused beats that i always envisioned someone either rhyming or singing on. SO, now those beats, which were all produced on the MPC as potential Panacea joints, can hopefully become songs by anyone willing to purchase one. I am charging a flat rate of $300 per track, with each being exclusive as in once its bought = it's GONE! (*Discounts applied if more than 1 beat is bought). The homie Kev Brown has done something similar in the past by selling 2-track mixes "as is", but i am also offering the bonus of me mixing down the final recording of any beats purchased the same way i do ALL my other productions... hell, if the artist who cops the beat lives close enough or would even want to venture out to "Studio Champloo" in Maryland, i'll record them as part of the deal too!
For any interested beat-makers looking to also sell their productions, i used the above site to set-up my store. Even if you don't wanna buy, you can still listen HERE & feel free to contact me with any questions if need be...