"Do I need to introduce the ATL's own Killer Mike? He's been putting out consistently good albums since 2003's "Monster." His last album, 2011's "Pl3dge," made at least one RapReviews year-end best-of list (and would have made mine if I had made time to listen to it last year). His music combines the hilariously crass rap that the Dirty South is known for with the kind of intelligent outrage that Ice Cube perfected twenty years ago. On his sixth album, he teams up with El-P, the New York producer/Def Jux founder/architect of many essential millennial underground hip-hop albums. This isn't exactly a partnership that was at all inevitable or predictable. Killer Mike is pretty damn Southern, not the kind of rapper you'd think to pair with El-Producto's dystopian industrial noise. Is the result going to be like chocolate and peanut butter or milk and grapefruit juice? All doubts are immediately set aside with "Big Beast," a punch in the face that opens the record. Over staccato blasts of noise. When the beat finally kicks in, it hits like a megaton bomb, full of rattling snares, synth whines, moans, and Middle Eastern flourishes. It sounds like Rick Rubin trying to do Southern hip-hop in 1986, all 808s and glorious noise. Bun B and T.I. are featured on the track, and it's one of T.I.'s strongest verses in years, bragging about being "Amerikkka's nightmare/trap nigga fantasy." It's one of the best songs of the year, three minutes and fifty-five seconds of fire. Mike takes it down a notch on "Untitled," setting up three of the main themes of the album: the idea that everyone is out to get him for spitting the truth, how the politics and policies of the past forty years have led to the current state of African-Americans, and the spiritual connection he has with rap music. "
"Global. International. Worldwide. All of these words have been used in reference to the the art form of hip-hop music. It was supposed to be nothing more than a mere passing noisy fad back in the 70s and early 80s, but now it's an instrumental tool that has become a major point of influence when it comes to fashion, politics and the world's economy as a whole. I'm not sure if Dutch filmmaker Bram Van Splunteren ever foresaw hip-hop getting to its current status in the world, but he saw something. After hearing The Beastie Boys' (RIP MCA) "She's On It," he was convinced that rap music was the "rock music of the future." In his native Amsterdam, amid resistance from many, he would scour the streets for imports of the latest and greatest in rap at the time to play on his radio show. This included Sugar Hill Records joints like "The Message" and "Rapper's Delight." He would also play jams from KRS-ONE and Schooly D. Splunteren's friends were less than impressed by the American rappers and their materialistic bravado calling it "guys boasting about themselves using stupid drum computers." Bram received the opportunity to help change that perception when Dutch station VPRO Television commissioned him to produce six music-based documentaries and gave him carte blanche as far as choosing the subjects. Naturally, hip-hop was his first choice and he decided to head to the place where everything started, New York City. Armed with a three-man crew and a list of contacts facilitated by Rush Artist Management & Def Jam's Director of Publicity, Bill Adler, Van Splunteren hit the ground running and shot the documentary over six days in the Fall of 1986. "
Leaders of the New School :: A Future Without a Past... :: Elektra Records ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"It's hard to go 'Back to the Lab' on "A Future Without a Past..." without the album affecting me personally, so for at least one paragraph I'm going to have to be frank with you the reader - this album is VERY meaningful to me. This album came out right in the middle of my time in high school, at a point of turbulence in my life where the only thing I was sure about was how much I loved hip-hop. Everything that Charlie Brown, Dinco D and Busta Rhymes had to say on "A Future Without a Past..." seemed to ideally reflect some aspect of my life. "Sobb Story" encapsulated my car woes as I tried to be cool with a hand-me-down hooptie for a ride. "Case of the P.T.A." spoke to my frustration with a hidebound school system that seemed like it was constantly out to get me. "Feminine Fatt" described the kind of girls I was most attracted to, and "Teachers Don't Teach Us Nonsense!!" perfectly summed up why high school seemed like a big waste of time - I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there.Twenty some years later, I look back on "A Future Without a Past..." and realize this album among others helped me hang on to what precious little sanity I had. Even if everything else seemed wrong, I could put my headphones on and pop in this album, and feel for a moment like things made sense again. The irony here is that Leaders of the New School (commonly then and henceforth now abbreviated to LONS) was a group doomed from the start. The exuberant personality of Busta Rhymes was evidence on track after track, and once the songs received video treatments, his larger than life persona only grew further. Even as things in my own life made more sense, for this Long Island group the "Future" was bleak. The success of the first album made them stick together long enough to record and release a second, by which point the rising stardom of Trevor Smith had irritated the other rappers to the point they had an embarrassing public fight on Yo! MTV Raps that is now an iconic moment in hip-hop history. "
"It's a genuine pleasure to hear from Requiem again, both figuratively and literally. Last time around on "Grassroots Anarchy" he was incredibly patient with us as we worked through technical difficulties getting his review done, showing a humility and humor that many far more veteran emcees wouldn't have in the same situation. Once we finally got down to brass tacks and took a look at the CD, it got a favorable 7.5 score overall, highlighted in particular by the strong hip-hop beats which are more and more the rule rather than the exception in Aussie rap albums. The biggest drawback to him becoming a crossover international success would unfortunately be the accent, which even for someone like me who follows entertainment in Britain and Australia regularly was pretty hard to understand. Let's start by throwing a shoutout to Beat Butcha, who has a marvelous ear for the quality rap music fans like to hear. The title track of "Digital Blues" is the kind of chunky music you could hear Lil' Fame and Billy Danze screaming "BROWNSVILLE" over at the top of their lungs, and DJ 2Buck's scratching is the perfect complement. "Worldwide" featuring Rival MC blends a haunting and echoing background voices with sped-up soul samples and a tight drum break. "'Til Death" makes me think of another East coast rap group, but this time I'm fooled into thinking of Vinnie Paz & Stoupe as DJ Kilo cuts it up. "
"That exchange between young Scottish junkies in the 1994 film "Trainspotting" is one way to see aging artists. They all get old, and at a certain point they can't hack it anymore. Certainly, the world of hip-hop is full of legacy artists who have been offering diminishing returns with each successive album: Ice Cube, Ice-T, Public Enemy, even Rakim have all gone from making essential albums to putting out work that, while not bad, isn't that great either. The problem is, while it's easy for two 20-somethings to dismiss the output of anyone over thirty, it's an awfully shortsighted and lazy way to view the world. While a 40-year-old can't match the fire and passion of his or her 20-year-old self, they can bring a maturity and wisdom to their art that no young kid can match. 2012 Jay-Z might not have the bravado of 1998 Jay-Z, but with age has come a perspective that he never approached as a young kid fresh from the streets. Jay-Z in his twenties was confident because he was too dumb to know better; Jay-Z in his forties is confident because he knows so much. Which brings me to the latest album by Pep Love, aka Paolo Peacock, aka one-half of the Shamen, aka part of the Hieroglyphics crew, aka the guy who put out the excellent "Ascension" 11 years ago. Pep Love has matured since first coming on the scene in 1993 rapping alongside Casual. He's a spiritual dude who is a vegan and does motivational speaking gigs when he isn't rocking the mic. The question is, can this maturity translate into good hip-hop music?"
"If the name Roddy Rod rings a bell, you're either a long-time fan of The Price Is Right (though that would actually be Rod Roddy) or a long-time Maspyke listener. His best known successes as a producer have been with this underground Massachusetts hip-hop favorite, though quiet as kept he's also created beats for everybody from Q-Tip to Planet Asia. He might also be an ideal example of the "big in Japan" concept, where the previous volume of "Oakwood Grain" was available exclusively - until now that is. Buyers of the physical version of "Oakwood Grain II" are in for a special bonus, and that's a copy of "Oakwood Grain I" stuck inside one of the sleeves. At first it might seem like this would make a huge difference in writing this review, but having listened to both albums individually and collectively, I can say that it really doesn't thanks to this being a largely instrumental project. The key here is to experience Roddy Rod's production techniques. It's all about how he chops up samples, layers instrumentals, works in different percussive sounds and mixes down the whole thing to result in a harmonious melody. To keep things simple this review will comment only on the second disc. Experentially one could compare "Oakwood Grain II" favorably to the late great J Dilla's "Donuts," although the average length of instrumental would be a bit longer, and Rod does occasionally allow an emcee to bless the beat - though the frequency is few and far enough between we can easily name all of the examples here."
"It was easier for Rahim Samad to find us than the other way around, as he first sent us an album for review in 2008. If you go to the VaultClassic website Jay Soul linked, it's gone. If you go to the Facebook site the "Broken Barriers II" press kit suggests is the new home VaultClassic Records, it has apparently either been removed or deleted. He also gets confused in Google searches for a "telecommunications religious authority" and Discogs.com doesn't list any albums for him more recent than 2004. The one and only place I guarantee you'll find him is on Twitter as @RahinSamad. Feel free to drop him a tweet and say this review is up. (You can also follow the site @RapReviews.) The host of this release is "Miami's mixtape champ DJ 2Nen." I confess to being entirely unfamiliar with this Floridian kingpin, but as noted we're not unfamiliar with Samad, as his last album got an 8 out of 10 from Jesal. That made me hopeful about this new release, especially given the title would lead one to believe Samad is the kind of emcee who wants to reinvent hip-hop instead of conforming to cliches. He's clearly serious about his craft and the culture as a whole, seeking to educate listeners with "Hip Hop 101" "
Sylk-E. Fyne :: Raw Sylk :: RCA/BMG ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Matt Jost
"She's rapped alongside 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E, Too $hort, E-40, Ras Kass, Suga Free, Bad Azz, Dru Down, Spice 1 and other West Coast luminaries. She had a single in the Billboard top ten. But with how many rap fans does the name Sylk-E. Fyne (spelling varies) actually ring a bell? Her latest random appearances were on Too $hort's "No Trespassing" album, back to back on "Boss" and "Hey," singing on both tracks and rapping on the former. Legend has it that Sylk-E. Fyne was part of a girl rap group named G.B.M. Eazy-E signed to Ruthless Records in the mid-1990s. While there were no official releases, a couple of bootlegged songs have surfaced over the years. In 1998, however, a notable cameo on her mentor's "Str8 Off Tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton" already three years behind her and having graduated from college and given birth to a son, homegirl went solo on that ass. She did so with the help of original West Side Crip turned community activist Michael Concepcion, responsible for 1990's "We're All in the Same Gang" project. Production was handled in-house by the duo of Gerald 'Big Yam' Baillergeau and Victor 'Vino' Merritt, who therefore also have a gold plaque hanging on the wall for "Romeo and Juliet." Like other '90s rap hits, "Romeo and Juliet" samples from an '80s R&B hit, in this case René & Angela's "You Don't Have To Cry." In terms of its slower tempo, it's very much in tune with the West Coast sound of the mid-to-late '90s. Since Sylk is from South Central and her guest Tha Chill is from Compton (he used to be in fact in a group called Comptons Most Wanted), one might expect some Shakespearean set-up where lovers find each other across enemy turfs or something like that."
PR: Wordburglar - "3rdburglar" & "Rhyme O'Clock" Video
A strong contender for the most likely-to-be-quoted rapper at the water cooler, Wordburglar’s lyrically potent oeuvre runs the gamut from thoughtfully casual to ridiculously ludicrous. There’s just something about the way he puts words together that keeps people nodding their heads and smiling their mouths. With finely constructed whimsical lyrics, a sharp sense of humor and a dedication to true-school rap, ‘Burg has carved a niche for himself with audiences across Canada and beyond. Showcasing a wide variety of concepts and styles, the new record “3rdburglar” has something for everyone and everything for someone. If you’re a person who enjoys things, don’t sleep on Wordburglar.
Aside from tearing up 10 tracks on 2011's Backburner: Heatwave album, its been 2 years since Wordburglar last dropped a full-length solo album (2009's underground hit Burgie’s Bassement) and it’s with great pleasure that we’re preparing to unleash 3rdburglar, Wordburglar’s third full-length release of all-new material. Featuring 14 tracks of original lyrics, beats & cuts blended meticulously with ‘Burg’s patented style, every track is a stand-out. 3rdburglar also features production from Juno-nominated producer Fresh Kils & long-time collaborators Beatmason, Timbuktu and Uncle Fes, with guest appearances from Canadian rap cohorts More or Les, Chokeules, Garthim-Master and Timbuktu as well as Los Angeles underground rap legend Riddlore (Chillin Villain Empire/Project Blowed). We’re looking forward to sharing.
http://Jrhodes.bandcamp.com/ Artist/producer J.Rhodes is no stranger to the Dallas Music scene. From his early pioneering efforts with the 808 studio, to his creation of 80's Baby Ent... J.Rhodes has built his name by providing grade A soundtracks to some of your favorite acts. His previous solo project "The Talented Mr. Rhodes" was released 2 years ago and well received.
After almost 15 years, the Florida-bred Diamond Princess shows she is still the baddest chick in the game. Check out her latest hit here! TRINA "I'M BACK" (BACK 2 BUSINESS) Produced By. @SnatchanGrab @KParn
Video: BJ the Chicago Kid Interview (Part 1) by SCKNOWS
During this past SXSW Festival (Austin, TX), Grant & SCKNOWS were given the opportunity to do their first Artist-to-Artist Interview with Detroit Recording Artist, Scolla, set as the interviewer and Singer/Songwriter, BJ The Chicago Kid as the Interviewee. In this two part interview, they enjoyed breakfast and discussed BJ's new project "Pineapple Now-Laters", tour life, his love for New York women and his vices among many other things. Enjoy!
New Music: The One (feat. Knightstalker, Praverb the Wyse, Cira, Dj Fejm) - Year of the Dragon
Polish beatmaker The One contacted me (Praverb the Wyse) about this song a few months ago and we agreed that the title "Year of the Dragon" would work. We recruited the insanely talented German emcee Knightstalker, Polish emcee Cira, and Polish Turntablist Dj Fejm. The international vibe continues as Dichter 2 Productions completed the mixing and mastering of this song.