"Blitz the Ambassador may hold the distinction of being the most familiar artist to RR readers to NOT have already an album reviewed. That may seem contradictory until one considers that Adam B interviewed him back in 2007 and that thanks to an active publicist he winds up on our newsfeed regularly. Even I your humble writer was a bit stunned when I looked through the RR archive and discovered that he had NO albums reviewed before now. I had seen the name Blitz the Ambassador so many times it seemed to me we had covered "Native Sun" before now, and I was actually checking to make sure I wasn't writing an unnecessary duplicate. As it turns out it's quite the opposite - it's a necessary and wholly unique inclusion. By way of background for those who don't know the Blitz name already, this international hip-hop artist was born in Ghana and hails from the capital city of Accra, a growing urban center of 4 million plus which has blossomed in vitality and importance ever since the country first shed its Gold Coast colonial roots. It's an international city at the heart of a cultural and economic boom, which is also reflected in a demographic which as of this writing pegs almost 60% of the population as being under the age of 24. "
"Seizing the moment is one of the trickiest tasks the people responsible for a rap act's career (label staff, managers, publicists and last but not least the artists themselves) have to tackle. Chiddy Bang's "Opposite of Adults" was a song that didn't resonate too deeply with the rap industry but that did garner attention and airplay on the internet and abroad. The song became commercially available as a single in the first half of 2010, charting in various countries and almost cracking the UK's top ten. Intially titled "Kids," it had begun to made the online rounds roughly a year earlier, turning heads with its sampling of indie rock sensation MGMT. The initial resonance of "Opposite of Adults" likely took Chiddy Bang by surprise as they hadn't released as much as a free mixtape. Naturally, the song was included on their '09 debut tape "The Swelly Express." But "Opposite of Adults" still had untapped potential, so then came the video and the official digital release. Later in 2010, the song finally wound up on a CD. The title of the EP, "The Preview," suggested that the main event was still to come. "
"In Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania's review of the 2009 Ciecmate & Newsense duet "A Tale of Two Cities" he offered equal parts praise and criticism for the Australian tandem. While generally a fan of the production and Australian pride the Melbourne and Canberra emcees had respectively, he somewhat controversially suggested that a lack of black immigration had caused Australian emcees to not develop the character of their counterparts worldwide. As EIC it fell to me whether or not to disperse this theory to the masses, and as I do 99.99% of the time I sided with giving the writer the forum to express his opinion regardless of whether or not I agreed. There's not much point to soliciting a diversity of opinion for a review site and then arbitrarily silencing any of them that don't match mine. That being said as a long-time listener of Aussie rap I honestly couldn't disagree with him more. To me Australian emcees have plenty of the TONE and CHARACTER he so vehemently suggested that they lack. Oddly enough it's Ciecmate's latest album "Game Over" that I feel makes the point about what Aussie rappers are like. "
Hieroglyphics :: 3rd Eye Vision :: Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Mike Baber
"When most fair weather hip-hop fans think of the West Coast rap scene, names such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and Ice Cube are among the first that come to mind. In the late 80s and early 90s, these artists laid the foundation for an emerging "gangsta rap" scene coming out of California, which is carried on today by artists such as Game. What fewer casual hip-hop listeners realize, though, is that beneath all the talk of drugs, guns, and gangs in West Coast rap, there exists a strong alternative hip-hop scene that has produced classics such as The Pharcyde's "Bizarre Ride II" and Souls of Mischief's "93 'til Infinity." As my taste in hop-hip has changed over the years, I have found myself increasingly gravitating toward this underground alternative community, and as I quested for more in order to satisfy my appetite, I struck gold when I came across Hieroglyphics. Founded in the early 90s by Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Hieroglyphics is an Oakland-based hip-hop supergroup featuring Del, the four members of Souls of Mischief, and several other local artists including Casual, Pep Love, and Domino. I was surprised to find that, despite covering every other Hieroglyphics album, RapReviews left their debut album untouched, and I set out to pick apart "3rd Eye Vision.""
"With the death of Nate Dogg comes the realization that only a handful of singers are naturally at home in hip-hop. Still rap and R&B can look back on a long and fruitful relationship that resulted in hundreds of high-profile collaborations. The groundwork for the fusion of the two genres was laid even earlier, but the landmarks were erected in the 1990s. Iowa trio J Trey wears the '90s influence proudly on its sleeves on "Blue I Soul." Comprising 19 tracks, the album is divided into a reimagination of earlier material through the remix lens and a second part presenting 12 new songs. The "Can't Drop the Mic" remix represents the R&B lineage with funky bass licks, padded drums and warm keyboard layers joining to create a soft, slow bounce as the three vocalists allow themselves to be magnetized by the mic. It seems early on J Trey developed an unapologetic temper that really fits their status as an indie act. Says rapper JT on "Can't Drop the Mic": "We got a hot mic, pass it around, still tryina get down / The difference is we don't give a shit now / about what them stupid labels say / And radio play, no way / pigs'll fly 'fore we see that day." "
Junk Science :: Phoenix Down :: Modern Shark as reviewed by Susan 'susiQ' Kim
"UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A... yes, it's the Konami code! As a throwback to classic video games, Junk Science lets loose on a new label with a definitely new sound in "Phoenix Down." With Def Jux going on "hiatus," Baje One of Junk Science started his own label, Modern Shark, and thus creating new projects with an original sound. As they stray away from the classic Def Jux sound, Junk Science (Baje One and DJ Snafu) teams up with producer Scott Thorough from Nuclear family and pays homage to video game instrumentals. Scott Throrough's production takes advantage of the use of 8-bit synthesizers to authenticate the classic sounds that resonate throughout the album as Junk Science says, "Phoenix Down" isn't ABOUT video games per se, it's more like games are the backdrop, the influence behind the music." "Phoenix Down" commences with "Box Art," an introduction to the steadily growing world of technology. The minute you hear the track, there is no doubt that the sounds are reminiscent of your childhood days sitting in front of the television with a game controller in hand."
"The opening track "For the Outlawz" proudly proclaims the Moonshine Bandits to be some good old boy, hard liquor drinking and hardy partying country rappers. Most members of this hip-hop subgenre hail from the rural South, but the Bandits come from Los Banos, California - population 35,000. By California standards that's fairly country, especially compared to a sprawling metropolitan area like Los Angeles; so we'll de facto accept that it's as rural as any small town in Georgia, Arkansas or Alabama for the purposes of this review. Rappers Tex and Bird describe themselves as "blue collar (and) built with American pride." Their song titles reflect that attitude as well - by way of example let's name just a few out of the 14 total here: "My Kind of Country," "Whiskey River," "Moonshine on Me," "Dash Fulla Cowboy Hats," and of course "American Pride." If you had any doubts about the "hard drinking" part, their bio goes on to state that their favorite tour venues are "smoke filled dive bars" and that they love to play at "Harley Davidson events" and "beer festivals." They're so ernest about being countrified they almost come across as parody of rural stereotypes. "
"If you're familiar with the artists involved The Silversmiths have actually been around for over a decade, dating back to when they were known as the White Collar Criminals of hip-hop. It wasn't a bad idea conceptually and showed potential lyrically, but owing to a relative lack of experience and an overall lack of exposure it didn't go that far. Years later Jon?Doe and Sankofa updated their name and their sound to release "The Algol Paradox." It's not as though both weren't busy in the interim producing and recording, and Sankofa in particular has received praise and critically acclaim for his solo releases, but putting the two together seemed to raise the bar for them to challenge each other creatively. "A Tandem of Giants" represents an opportunity for them to reach an even higher plateau, even as their humorous and self-deprecating press kit refers to them as "old and stuff" while noting that "Charles Bronson faked his own death just so rabid fans and Playboy bunnies would leave him alone long enough to listen to this classic rap album in its entirety." Let's put as fine a point on this as possible without being overly verbose - The Silversmiths take hip-hop seriously but don't take themselves seriously. "
It's time for another new edition of The Hip-Hop Shop and since it's Episode #123 we rock it like this - One to the Two and Three, which means today's songs number sequentially. Check out Termanology, DaMansion, Sean Hines & Edo.G among others and if you like what you hear Google them for more! For compliments or feedback hit me on Twitter @angrymarks. Artists please send your podsafe 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 it out every Tuesday on RapReviews.com!
* Has-Lo - Untitled #1 (Hold On) * DaMansion - Easy 2 Find * Three the Hard Way & White Flash - Hyped * Trackademicks f/ Josie Stingray - Check 1 * Sean Hines f/ Edo. G - I Got 2 Have It 2011 * Termanology - 3 AM Freestyle
As a totally independent artist (no Management, Record Label or Outside Funding) Mr ShaoDow (pronounced Sha‐Ow‐Dough) is no stranger to knock downs. At age 18 he traveled alone to China in order to learn Shaolin Kung Fu & fulfill a long held dream. Whilst studying the art of fighting he also discovered the art of music. "Over 4,000 CDs sold across the UK on his own." Unwilling to sit around & wait for success to come to him, he began a journey that would span the whole of the UK. Armed only with a bag full of his CDs, his lyrical skill & passion he has single‐handedly sold over 4,000 copies of his CD across the country.
More than just a good salesman, ShaoDow is known for his range of musical styles & his unrivaled performance. He has headlined the O2 Academy in Oxford, supported the likes of Chase & Status, Devlin & Skepta, appeared on Tim Westwood's 1xtra show & was recently asked by Wiley to perform at the Manchester leg of his tour. "A totally independent release from a totally independent artist."
Produced by Mr SnoWman & engineered at NLT Studios 'Get Stronger' is a hard hitting, bass heavy blend of Dubstep & Grime with skillful, high energy lyricism from both ShaoDow and Ghetts as they deal with a topic that everybody can relate to. Released on Friday 3rd of June, the digital single will include the more commercially tuned 'Get Stronger AK Remix'; a Dubstep/Rock/Drum & Bass invention created by talented artist/producer AK. The third track on the release entitled 'Stay Away' is a Mr SnoWman produced banger featuring lyrics from Mr ShaoDow, Ghetts & Birmingham's very own 'Vader'.
MP3: Roach Gigz "Wild Child" Ft. Lil 4Tay (Prod. By C-Loz)
Last week, Roach Gigz made a vow to his fans: If they helped vote him to victory in mtvU's Freshman 5 video contest, then he would release a new song from his forthcoming Bitch I'm A Player mixtape. His fans delivered, driving him to victory with over 70% of the vote, and now, standing firm by his word, Roach is releasing the latest track from BIAP with "Wild Child" featuring Lil' 4Tay, Roach's longtime friend and collaborator, and daughter of Bay Area rap legend Rappin' 4-Tay. For true fans of Roach, this song is extra special, and marks a reunion of sorts for Roach and Lil' 4, who first got their start in music together, forming the group B.I.G. (standing for Bitch I Go) while the two were still in high school, and earning their first local hit with the song "Get It."
With "Wild Child," produced by C-Loz, who handles production throughout the mixtape, the song came about after hearing a few bars from one of Lil' 4's verses. "The whole inspiration for the song was the hook, it just sounded perfect," explains Roach. " I just started remembering little shit I did when I was too young to be doing it, and I turned it into a story. It was only supposed to be a 16 but I just rapped until the story was done, so it ended up being like 40 bars." Lil 4 delivers equally compelling tales with her own verse, offering a quick reminder of the chemistry the two share. "People haven't heard a new song from the both us together in a minute," says Roach, "so I think this is a perfect comeback song, especially since we've been rapping together since we were young"
Roach Gigz' Bitch I'm A Player mixtape, produced by C-Loz and featuring Lil' B, Husalah, DB The General, and Lil' 4Tay, will be released this June.
Listen up, students of hip-hop, because Kyle Rapps has just dropped his latest single, "Rapps 101," the third and final single from his debut, Re-Edutainment, an EP based on his personal take of Boogie Down Productions' classic record, Edutainment. While previous singles have ranged in topic from dealing with the struggles of high rent and city living ("Rent Remix") to making his self-introduction ("Me"), Kyle's new song, as ODB would say, is for the kids.
"Part of Re-Edutainment is paying attention to what the newest and freshest generation is vibing with," says Kyle, who brought on hip-hop duo U-N-I for this track. "I wanted to work and showcase with a younger group of artists that really has things on smash. U-N-I came to mind immediately. Incredible flavor on all fronts, lyrically, vocally, and fashion-wise." Kyle and U-N-I teach by example on "Rapps 101," spitting clever lines like, "I'm the shit, you smellin' me?/ My life Is-real, even though I never been to Tel Aviv." Producer extraordinaire Kev Brown, who handles production throughout the EP, provides a bouncy, neck-snapping concoction for the young guns to drop some knowledge on, as they drive home their key message: "If it don't sound like this, then it ain't rap."
Bay area-based duo Rel & JBillion (Rel on production, JBillion on vocals) are preparing their debut release MVMNT as a free album dropping on May 17th.
Today, the group is releasing the title track from the album "The Movemnt" featuring Bay area legend Jacka on the hook. The song represents the burgeoning new hip-hop movement bubbling in the Bay area. Both Rel & JBillion are mainstays on the Bay area hip-hop circuit alongside DaVinvi, TiRon, Keelay and more.
AKON'S LABEL, KONVICT RECORDS, FINALLY RELEASES GRAMMY-NOMINATED R. CITY AKA ROCK CITY FROM THEIR DEAL
DUO TO RELEASE "FREE AT LAST" ALBUM THIS SUMMER
Atlanta, GA ~ It's been five years since Virgin Islands songwriter/performer duo, R. City aka Rock City signed to Konvict Records/Interscope under Akon; five years, eight mix tapes and a string of hits written and released for the albums of others; Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Jennifer Hudson (Grammy nominated), R. Kelly and Akon to name a few. Yet despite all of that success, a release date for their own album was not forthcoming, causing the guys to launch a very public campaign they gallantly called PTFAO (Put the F**king Album Out) to make the industry aware of their plight. Finally, in March 2011, after two years of campaigning, Akon met with the duo and offered them the option of remaining with the label and working towards dropping an album or being released from their contract. Grateful as they were to Akon for the opportunities afforded them, the guys snatched the chance of finally gaining their freedom and are now officially free agents, able finally to PTFAO. R. City aka Rock City's debut album, "Free At Last" is set to drop later this summer on their own label, Rebelution Records.
Immediately upon leaving that meeting with Akon, R. City aka Rock City's manager, Ray Daniels, called long-time friend Wendy Day, who has made a name for herself assisting artists with the release of their own projects and within 5 hours the team was strategizing the drop of the album. After years of writing hit songs for other people, R. City aka Rock City is, at long last, able to showcase their amazing talent in the first person. "We On", the first single from "Free At Last", was serviced to mix show just last week and is already at over 30 spins a week. With its unmistakable bounce, expect the song to make its way to every club deejay's playlist nationwide within weeks.
These guys have all of the ingredients for stardom. They are already proven songwriters. Their live show is second to none. All they wanted was a chance. Now that they are ‘free at last' the sky is the limit and there's not a dark cloud in sight.
WEBISODE "No Days Off" Part #1 in which the guys talk about what it was like to sign with Akon and why they decided they wanted out.