A month or so ago I was at a show with former Artist Of The Week Deep of 2 Hungry Bros and he handed me a CD by Jav aka Rapmononov, recommending I give him a listen. The album turned out to be dope, which really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise. As a member of the AOK Collective Deep works with some of the best artists around, so clearly he knows what he’s doing when it comes to assessing talent. Of course, I wasn’t going to leave things at just a listen, I had to hit up Jav aka Rapmonanov for a feature. This week I caught up with the multitalented artist to find out more about the man behind the music, including everything from his inspirations, to why he feels his work will connect with people, to how a classical musician influenced his name.
Heads all over the world, are you in the mood for free music? That's a dub and obvious question because I already know the answer's yes. But I can give you something better, a dope and free music from someone you've never heard. As y'all may know that the writers here in RapReviews doesn't just give away any free music from any type of rapper. This one here is from one of the nicest ladies in rap that we have ever seen in a while. Note that she is not only the nicest on the mic but she was also nice enough to present me a free mixtape to help spread the word.
Ladies and gentlemen, her name is Mahogany Jones - a fly rapper-ess to come from from East Pointe, Michigan. Her album "Morphed" is in stores now, but here's a mixtape to help give y'all a preview to what her style's about only for the price of free ninety-nine (Sorry, I had to steal that line, Pedro). Sit back, listen, and enjoy.
It’s 4:30am on Saturday, December 20th. Rakim and Black Thought are long gone as the final Hip-Hop show at the Knitting Factory in NYC ended nearly an hour earlier. Now the only people left are the staff, a few select friends, and me. Chaz Kangas and I decide to give ourselves the grand tour of every corner of the legendary club.
Although 2008 is a year we can remember, it's also a year we can mourn the great losses of talented individuals of hip-hop. RapReviews would like to use this editorial to introduce the readers who may have heard or never heard of these artists/DJs who were gone before their time. We would also like to send our condolences to the families, friends, crews, and fans worldwide. Rest in Peace, we'll see you all when we get there.
Eric "O.G. Style" Woods (1970-2008)
Who is He: Eric Woods b/k/a O.G. Style is a Houston native who have been rapping since 1986. His first stage name was Prince Ezzy-E before he changed it to what the world would know today as O.G. Style. O.G. Style would form a group with the late producer DJ Big Boss while changing his moniker to Original E. The duo then signed to Rap-A-Lot Records to release their debut, and only, album "I Know How to Play 'Em," which had their hit single "Catch 'Em Slippin," in 1991. After DJ Boss left the group, Woods changed his name back to O.G. Style while releasing many solo albums and works until one week before his untimely death in January 2008. On January 2, Woods suffered from a sudden brain aneurysm and has passed away a day later at the age of 37. His recent album is still being completed by his son, Eric Jr., and a local rapper named Smurf. His influence in Texas is highly significant in rappers such as Bun B and other Houston artists. His memory and his music will be kept alive by fans nationwide.
Songs Recommendation: "Catch 'Em Slippin'," "Ain't We Funky," "Gangsta," "Steppin' On Toes"
Stephen "Static/Major" Garrett (1974-2008)
Who is He: Stephen "Static/Major" Garrett is one of the most talented artists in the music industry, being a protégé of DeVante Swing of Jodeci and a member of R&B group Playa. But Garrett is more known as a talented songwriter penning hits for artists such as Ginuwine ("Pony"), Aaliyah ("Are You That Somebody?"), Diddy ("Tell Me" featuring Christina Aguilera), and Pretty Ricky ("On the Hotline"). Static/Major also appeared on hits such as Jay-Z's "Change the Game," David Banner's "Crank it Up", and posthumously on Lil Wayne's "Lollipop." Static/Major was working on his debut album "Suppertime" early in the year until he felt ill for unknown reasons. He was then taken to his hometown in Louisville, Kentucky to a nearby hospital where he would eventually pass away at the age of 33 on February 25, 2008. The official cause of death varies from cerebral aneurysm to complications from a medical procedure, but Static's musical presence never changes as he is always remembered for his then-underrated flair that will be heard forever.
Songs Recommendation: "I Got My," "Bus Stop Breezy," "'Til The Wheels Fall Off," "Deeper," and "Your Valentine"
Kenny "KL" Lou (19??-2008)
Who is He: KL was a member of the Queensbridge, New York rap group Screwball. They were remembered for their hits "H-O-S-T-Y-L-E" and DJ Premier-produced "F.A.Y.B.A.N." from their album "Y2K the Album," released on Tommy Boy Records in 2000. Along with the other members, KL was known form rhyming aggressively that is rarely duplicated by others. The group followed with two albums between 2001 and 2004, "Loyalty" and "Screwed Up." They also worked with many legendary producers such as Pete Rock, the Beatnuts, Marley Marl, Ayatollah, and A Kid Called Roots. KL continued recording until his asthma attack got the best of him as he passed away on March 28, 2008. The group members keep KL's name alive by continuing to release songs together or individually, further spreading the mission of unity for the late KL.
Songs Recommendation: "H-O-S-T-Y-L-E," "F.A.Y.B.A.N.," "Loyalty," "Seen it All," and "Street Life"
Tero "Camu Tao" Smith (1977-2008)
Who is He: Tero "Camu Tao" Smith is a rapper and producer who was signed to the Definitive Jux label. He was ½ of the S.A. Smash duo with rapper Metro, a part of the underground hip-hop supergroup The Weathermen, a member of the music collective Cardboard City, a member of the Central Services production team with El-P, a part of the MHz crew, who made one album during the three-day creative session, and was a solo artist, as well. On May 25, 2008, Smith died after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Despite going through such hefty challenge, Smith still kept rhyming and doing what he loves the most, making music. His name is remembered in the underground hip-hop community as his name is also introduced to those who are curious to hear his unique style.
Songs Recommendation: "Hold the Floor," "Oxycontin," "Wireless," "Homesickness," and "Magnetics"
Khia "DJ K-Swift" Edgerton (1980-2008)
Who is She: Khia Edgerton, a/k/a "Club Queen K-Swift," is known as the first Baltimore's female DJ and the first female mix show coordinator in America. K-Swift began DJing at the age of 11 and she would eventually catch the attention of Baltimore's 92Q Jams radio station as they offered her an internship position at the age of 18. She then began producing for radio shows such as "The Mark Young Show" and "Neke @ Night Show" Two years later, she became the first female DJ on the "Q," as she would play at all of the hottest clubs and parties in Baltimore. She created her own production and management company "Club Queen Enetertainment" while also selling mixtapes on her website and stores across America. On July 21, 2008, K-Swift was pronounced dead after she was found drowned in an above ground pool during a pool party she hosted. After her death, communities in Baltimore and nationwide mourned over her and also remembered the legacy she has made for their city and the history of DJing.
Isaac Hayes (1942-2008)
Who is He: Due to the inheritance Hayes has created in hip-hop music, I figure his music speaks for itself.
Songs Recommendation: "Walk on By," "The Look of Love," "Shaft," "Do Your Thing," and "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic"
Johnny "J" Jackson (1969-2008)
Who is He: Mexican-born and Los Angeles-raised Johnny "J" was known as a talented producer, songwriter, and occasionally a rapper. J got his first taste of fame after producing the 1990 platinum single "Knockin' Boots" by rapper Candyman. Years later, J met up with the late rapper 2Pac and produced "Pour Out a Little Liquor" for 2Pac's group Thug Life. He then produced on many of 2Pac's multi-platinum projects, including "Me Against the World," the majority of "All Eyez on Me," and the posthumous "Until the End of Time," carried by the title track single which he also produced. J also had time to create his solo album "I Gotta Be Me" in 1995. After 2Pac's death in 1996, J stayed close with his label Interscope and Death Row, producing unreleased tracks and remixes of the slain rapper's works. He later produced for numerous artists such as the Outlawz, Bizzy Bone, Tatyana Ali, Tyrese, and CJ Mac. On October 3, 2008, Johnny J died of an apparent suicide while serving a sentence for DUI in California. He allegedly jumped off an upper tier in prison and fell to his death. Although Johnny J. is physically gone, his music is still present today in airwaves worldwide. Johnny J. will be forever known as the talented producer who was gone too soon.
Songs Recommendation: "Hit 'Em Up" (2Pac), "Knockin' Boots" (Candyman), "Get Away from Me," "Until the End of Time" (2Pac), "Thugz Cry" (Bizzy Bone)
Chris "Jax" Thurston (19??-2008)
Who is He: Chris "Jax" Thurston was a protégé of the legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg. Thurston was a well-respected rapper from the Atlanta underground hip-hop rap scene, as he was also a member of the group Binkis Recs, which included their famed member DJ Drama. On November 4, 2008, Thurston suffered a cardiac arrest and died while performing in Atlanta. Thurston isn't well-known on the mainstream tip, but is always kept in memory by fans and mainstream rap artists, as well.
Who is He: MC Breed is known as the first commercially successful rapper from the Midwest. This Flint, Michigan-based MC is known for his 1991 debut album, "MC Breed and the D.F.C.," which spawned the hit single "Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontin'." He is also known for his 1993 hit "Gotta Get Mine," featuring the late Tupac Shakur, off of his album "The New Breed." He would go on to have a very extensive discography and an extended career that was at times successful, but he never fully broke into the mainstream. However, his impact in rap is deeply rooted in many rappers' influence, truly revering him as "your favorite rapper's rapper." On November 22, 2008, Breed reportedly died from kidney failure in his sleep at his friend's house in Michigan. Before his untimely death, Breed was said to be working on a documentary DVD entitled "Where is MC Breed?" and a new album titled, "The Original Breed: Swag Heavy," which is half-finished as of September 2008.
Songs Recommendation: "Ain't No Future In Yo' Frontin'," "I Gotta Get Mine," "This is How We Do It," "Guerrilla Pimpin'" and "Rule No. 1"
Party Arty (1977-2008)
Party Arty is remembered for first appearing as a protege of A.G., of Show Biz & A.G., then appearing on many D.I.T.C. releases. He later released singles with his partner-in-rhyme D-Flow as Ghetto Dwellas on Get Dirty Records. Arty has worked with many well-known and legendary producers such as DJ Premier, Madlib, Show and Lord Finesse, as well as appearing on many albums by Fat Joe and O.C. Arty is the second member of the D.I.T.C. to have untimely passed away. The first is the late Big L, with whom Arty has appeared with alongside Lord Finesse, Microphone Nut, Y.U., Grand Daddy I.U. and Jay-Z on "Da Graveyard," from L's 1995 critically-acclaimed album "Lifestyles Ov Da Poor and Dangerous." He has passed away on December 4, 2008, from unknown health complications.
Songs Recommendations: "Da Graveyard," "Mott Haven," ""Everyday," "Shine My Way," and "Born to Live"
Other notable late non-hip-hop individuals:
Sean Levert Bo Diddley George Carlin Andre Young, Jr. Bernie Mac Norman Whitfield
Resident staff writer Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania posted a RAPREVIEWS READERS AWARDS 2008 survey for the readers of RR to participate in, and now we've got the results! Read on to find out who won what!
THE RAPREVIEWS READERS AWARDS 2008
After the numerous year-end reviews you have, no doubt, already read on the site, I'm sure that you have gained some specific insights into the minds and personal tastes of the staff. But what if you wanted to know more about other RR readers? What if you wanted to ordain certain songs, albums or artists yourselves? Well, here are the results of the FIRST EVER RapReviews Readers Awards!! Oh shit! The world just shifted axis!!
That's right, we invented an entirely new method of awards ceremony: asking the readers to pick their favourites. OK, that clearly isn't a new invention, but it is a first for this site. More than that, the results were incredibly fascinating, honestly.
So, without further ado, here are the results for the Top Singles, Albums and Artists of 2008, as voted for by YOU! RAPREVIEWS READERS AWARDS - TOP SINGLES OF 2008
As voted for by you (with a huge turn-out, FYI) here are your Top 10 singles of the year that was 2008. Perhaps it wasn't as solid as '07 ended up being for hit songs, but there were still quite a few excellent moments. In the "Other" section - where you could name any other choices - Atmosphere fared particularly well, but the votes were split by four different song choices. It also appeared clear that if "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco had been released this year, he would've won by a mile. Not the greatest Top 10 singles list ever, but not a bad one.
10) Kanye West - "Heartless"
Mr. West discovered singing, Auto-Tune and 808's. Whatever the results, this track was an undeniably catchy little number.
9) Elzhi ft Royce da 5'9" - "Motown 25"
A stunning modern day hip hop classic from three Detroit boys, Elzhi and Royce on the rhymes, and Black Milk on the soulful beat. The genre doesn't get much better than this. One of greatest tracks Detroit has ever released (yes, including Motown).
8) Jay-Z - "Jockin' Jay-Z"
A somewhat surprising choice, but a solid enough track: cool throwback Kanye beat and Jigga on autopilot, riding high from his virginal Glastonbury experience.
7) The Game - "My Life" Perhaps not on par with his previous career highlights, but a decent track that was timed well to capitalise on Lil Wayne's success.
6) Lil Wayne - "A Milli"
This will probably go down as a classic - many will question that, but it grew into a genuine monster. Either you "get" it or you don't - RR readers seem to either love or hate Lil Wayne, but at least he is on your radar.
5) T.I./Kanye West/Jay-Z/Lil Wayne - "Swagga Like Us"
A nice throwback to the mid-90's posse cuts, before everyone started beefing. Excellent militant beat - the verses were good, not great, and T.I. probably dropped the best 16. Sampled the following track to clever effect.
4) M.I.A. - "Paper Planes"
An all-time classic song, ironically popularised by a pretty forgettable film. It really has become one of the defining anthems in the most recent era of rap. And Maya doesn't even rap on it. The chorus even samples "Rump Shaker" - which THE NEPTUNES originally wrote (ah-hah, you didn't know that shit, did you?).
3) Q-Tip - "Gettin' Up"
I've tried to describe this song accurately in words, but always failed. Without doubt, the most lush and welcome Dilla-esque soulfest of '08, and another timeless number that will explain to future generations WHY we love hip hop. For Q-Tip to be out the game for so many years and drop this, well that's just phenomenal.
2) Nas - "Hero"
Yes, Nas is a hero. But this song might not be his best effort - allegedly rushed out as a commercial single for the LP - and faded pretty quickly after his "Untitled" album dropped. Solid enough, but perhaps more indicative of how highly RR readers rate Nas.
1) Lupe Fiasco - "Hip Hop Saved My Life"
A deserved choice, a wonderful ode to the genre that we all love so much. The beat is simple and melodic, helping Lupe to drop a narrative dedicated to Slim Thug about the rise of a rapper. If any song has ever described the aspirations of a hungry MC as well as this, I have yet to hear it. You voted this the best single of 2008, and proved just why you have such great taste. You also voted Nelly's "Party People" the worst single. Now there are 2 reasons why you're so clever!
RAPREVIEWS READERS AWARDS - TOP ALBUMS OF 2008
As voted for by you, here are your Top 10 albums of the year that was 2008. It was certainly better than the abysmal crop of 2007, but how many classics made it through? In the "Other" section - where you could name any other choices - Atmosphere fared particularly well, again, as did Black Milk's "Tronic." As for Jean Grae's "Jeanius" - well that is a few years old, even if it got officially released this year. It was clear that if "The Cool" by Lupe Fiasco had been released this year, he would've won by a mile. Not a Top 10 albums list to threaten either Golden Age, but one of the strongest years this decade, for sure.
10) Atmosphere - "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold"
Incredibly, this wasn't on the list but managed to crack the Top 10 just voters ramming it through the "Other" box - that is impressive, and shows just how much RR readers rated the LP. It was dope, that's why.
9) Kanye West - "808s & Heartbreak"
A pretty controversial Mr West discovered singing, Auto-Tune and 808's (recycling is good). Whatever the results, this album got people talking. It also pleased and disappointed people in equal measure, but even the staunchest Kanye fans failed to vote it in the top spot. It provided something a bit different, though.
8) The Game - "L.A.X"
A solid enough album, but one that was ranked fourth or fifth by most readers. It certainly sank soon enough, even if there were a few great moments on there, like "A Letter to MLK" - but the LP didn't provide as many memorable flashes that The Game normally gives us. Maybe he needs to get angry again.
7) Elzhi - "The Preface"
It is safe to say that this is the type of album that many RR readers simply feast upon. With a bit of tweaking, it may well have been considered a real classic, but it just fell short, and had to settle for being for being plain wicked. Black Milk's production seems to be approaching brilliance, and this album will prove a useful marker in years to come.
6) Ludacris - "Theater of the Mind"
For such a well put-together album, it didn't really make much of an impression - sales, legacy, hits... Even the Nas/Jigga collabo didn't really pan out too well. Yet, Luda is such a charismatic and talented MC. He really is a great all-rounder, and should relish his role, whilst quietly accepting that he will never be considered a legendary album-maker. So stick to making hits, and being popular - there are far worse things in this life.
5) T.I. - "Paper Trail"
Sandwiched between Lil Wayne and Ludacris, is there any doubt that this was a real and true coming of age for the South? If last year belonged Chicago, this year belongs to the South, and T.I. has finally broken out as an international superstar with this album (make no mistake, he is way ahead of Lil Wayne in that respect). Even if "Whatever You Like" was a bit mindless, there were many moments when Tip flipped the turbo switch. It is thrilling to see him go top speed.
4) Lil Wayne - "Tha Carter III"
Probably the biggest love/hate album in the history of hip hop. It still sold over "A Milli" first-week, and frankly, it just about deserved to. Clearly, RR readers hate him, whilst RR readers love him. A year ago, I barely knew where he was. But hey, he got you talking, and he provoked a reaction - which is more than I can say for "rappers" like Nelly.
3) The Roots - "Rising Down"
The Roots just keep coming back album after album with quality, and clearly "Rising Down" was amongst their best work. Why haven't they cemented their place in the top echelon of hip hop? It is surely going to go down as one of the enduring mysteries. With stunning live shows and top-notch music, might the fault lie with Black Thought? Even if he is an amazing MC, he never seems to have permeated pop culture. Controversial, sure, but the puzzle will never be solved. Either way, RR readers (and staff) hold The Roots in high regard.
2) Q-Tip - "The Renaissance"
This just lost out on top spot by a handful of votes - and most were in agreement that this was a smooth and graceful return to the major leagues for Q-Tip, nine years since his last solo effort. Well, "The Renaissance" was certainly one of the most enjoyable efforts this year, and I'm sure that even Lupe Fiasco will be bumping this one for a while to come. Will I ever stop going on about "Gettin' Up" being one of the greatest hip hop singles of all time? Probably not.
1) Nas - "Untitled"
A somewhat controversial choice by you, the RR readers, since most of the world agreed that whilst the lyrics were stunning, the music was average. Yet, Nas always rises to the top and did so again this year. We have now come to expect little musically from his albums, but in such an historic year (you voted in a black President, FFS!!) race was an issue, and sweeping the word "NIGGER" under the carpet seemed pretty ridiculous. I can see why they would want to limit the damage the word could do, but I prefer to quote Chris Rock: "Hey, I love Flavor. Loving him for 20 years. But Flavor Flav must be killed. In order for black people to truly reach the Promised Land, Flavor Flav has to be shot. These are important times! We got a black man running for President! We don't need a nigger running around with a fucking clock around his neck and a Viking hat on his head!" You think that the word "nigger" is ready to be retired? Nas and RR readers think you're fucking delusional.
RAPREVIEWS READERS AWARDS - TOP ARTISTS OF 2008
Here are the Top 5 artists that you voted for in 2008. It is as interesting choice, and displays the problems that Lupe Fiasco posed. If "The Cool" - pretty much a cast-iron classic - had been released 3 weeks later, it would have almost certainly swept up this year. As would "Superstar." However, his artistry managed to get him the bronze medal, whilst, the ubiquitous Lil Wayne netted the silver. Out in front, Nas proved himself. Except it didn't quite work out like that. Lil Wayne actually shaded Nas for top spot. Yes, YOU voted Lil Wayne as YOUR top artist of 2008! Don't fucking email me about this, email each other!!
5) T.I. - He has had one of those Diet Tupac Shakur years, and came out on top.
4) Q-Tip - A real Renaissance for Kamaal, and such a welcome addition to the list.
3) Lupe Fiasco - If this motherfucker retires with a triple CD, he is insane. He is too good and hip hop actually needs him.
2) Nas - He is like that crazy uncle of yours that always knows what buttons to push, just to get an appropriate reaction.
1) Lil Wayne - Hey, buddy, don't look at me; I'm just the messenger. Still, congrats to Mr Carter, and lets hope he doesn't explode into a ball of flames. Next year will be harder for him, what with Jay-Z, Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent and a rapping Kanye West. Hey, 2009 looks good on paper.
The Hip-Hop Shop is the precursor to Kayfabe 4 Dummies every Sunday night, and this week The Cancer from K4D joins us with big news about their show! We also have a lively debate about whether hip-hop is alive or dead in 2008, and play THE WORST TRACK IN HIP-HOP SHOP HISTORY, a song that nearly proves it is dead! Thankfully we've got Rapper Big Pooh and Wordsmith to make the save on this show. Join me, McFly and Big D for 30 minutes of hip-hop tracks and talk! Tune in every Sunday at 9:30 PM EST, 8:30 Central via blogtalkradio.com/angrymarks and if you miss the live show be sure to look for the replay here on RapReviews or via our sponsor thecancerandmrob.com . The shows are 100% podsafe so distribute to your friends and tell them to visit RapReviews.com. Enjoy!
Influenced by everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Lauryn Hill, Farchild is an artist who defies categorization. Her debut album, Chivalry Has Died, is a testament to what can happen when a person refuses to allow themselves to be boxed in by genre specifications. According to Farchild, “I’d be as happy as a clam if someone popped my CD into a player and said, ‘wow, this is absolute madness, a Farchild kind of madness!’” The former University of Florida volleyball star was getting ready to fly to Puerto Rico to compete in a pro league this winter when I caught up with her to find out more about her music, the life story that inspired it, and why she hid her work from her friends for so long.
In the realm of holiday hip-hop there's little doubt that Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" is king. What many folks may not realize is that it is only one of many holiday-themed rap songs that have come out over the years. In fact, there's a little something for everybody, no matter what genre of hip-hop you may enjoy. There's hood Christmas music, booty Christmas music, even horrorcore Christmas music. In other words, there's no reason for your holiday office party to be so damned lame.
Chamillionaire's Mixtape Messiah 6 featuring: Crooked I, Lil Keke, Lil Flip, Trae Tha Truth, The BossHogg Outlaws & Chalie Boy.
Dropping Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Chamillionaire will release Mixtape Messiah 7 before his upcoming 3rd major label album release VENOM.
For daily updates you can call Chamillionaire at 832.514.4730 and stay logged on to Chamillionaire.com
TRACKLIST 1. Best Rapper Alive 2. Love of Money Feat. Trae Tha Truth 3. Throwdest in the game 4. Mixtape Murder 5. The Evaluation 6. One Day Feat. J-Dawg 7. That's You 8. Track Wrecka Feat. Lil Flip 9. Everything Feat Crooked I 10. Switch Styles Reloaded 11. Murder They Wrote Feat. Killa Kyleon & Lil Ray 12. Roy Wood Jr. Outta Jail Skit 13. For the Moment 14. Shawty Feat. Chalie boy 15. Venom on the Way 16. Shine So Clean Feat. Lil Keke 17. Expensive Crack Pipe 18. Judge Judy 19. Nothin Else to Say
New York, NY - Universal Indie Records has partnered with FrostWire to offer Cartel’s album ‘Tha Throwback’ for free through Frostwire's peer to peer application. For a limited time, when the FrostWire application is launched, Hip Hop producer, Cartel's album will be available for download with a single click. In addition, FrostWire is also running an interview with the upcoming producer at:
"Everyone talks about how the internet is the great equalizer for indie labels trying to compete with the major labels but companies like FrostWire are helping to really make that a reality." states Cartel. "This is not only a good look for Universal Indie Records but for the indie community in general."
Following the successful debut of last year's digital-only LP, "Prepare For Glory", underground hip hop producer Cartel, releases his follow-up album, "Tha Throwback", as a free download on Universal Indie Records. Tha Throwback is produced entirely by Cartel and features some of the most promising, upcoming MC's in the game right now.
In late 2005, concerned developers of LimeWire's open source community announced the start of a new project fork "FrostWire" that would protect the developmental source code of the LimeWire client and any improvements to the Gnutella protocol design.