"New York rapper/producer J-Zone has been making hip-hop since the late nineties, so he knows a thing or two about rap music. He released albums steadily until 2007, when he retired, wrote a book about his experiences. Like all great retired rappers he only lasted a few years out to pasture before the allure of the mic drew him back. In 2013 he released "Peter Pan Syndrome," and he also put out albums in 2014 and 2015. His latest "Fish-N-Grits" is an examination of the current state of the music industry, and J-Zone is having none of it. "Fish-N-Grits" is presented as a battle between two rappers from different generations. In one corner, hipster rapper in skinny pink jeans Swagboi Blog Lover; in the other, old school Purist Generation Xer, who "always types his social media posts in capital letters so his message can be heard loud and clear." J-Zone and his sped-up alter ego lay it all out in opening track "Shut Up, Make Music": "Generational debates have reached a boiling point, and both sides fail to realize that in the grand scheme of things, nobody gives a f#$k. So for the twenty-year-olds jumping on the lets bastard 90s bandwagon, you weren't even born yet. And to the forty-eight-year-old, worrying about what fifteen-year-old kids are listening to, worry about your cholesterol, please. The moral of the story is there are only two types of music: Good and Bad. So make good music or shut the f#$k up." "Fish-N-Grits" is funny, but beyond the humor J-Zone is making some real points about the state of the record industry and hip-hop in particular, and how pointless old school nostalgia is. Has-Lo, Al-Shid, and Swagmaster Bacon are featured on the album, but the majority of the rhymes are performed by J-Zone and his Quasimoto-like alter ego."
"One could if they wanted sum up the Venture Bros. series on [adult swim] as "a parody of the 1960's cartoon Jonny Quest" and leave it at that. One could - but one shouldn't. Even if the source material and inspiration came from Quest, the series has reveled in sending up all manner of comic book superheros, spy movie supervillains and secret agent trops over the years. Each fictional organization that comes along is more absurd and their relationship with each other more inscrutable -- the Office of Secret Intelligence (OSI), The Guild of Calamitous Intent, S.P.H.I.N.X. and The Doom Factory just to name a few. It's perhaps fitting that the late avant garde music icon David Bowie, voiced not by himself but James Urbaniak, was a super villain on Venture Bros. - it's just that kind of show. My personal favorite voice actor on the whole show is Patrick Warburton - he brings just the right level of over-the-top insanity to the muscle bound blonde-haired agent Brock Samson. I think it's clear at this point I enjoy the show, and one of the many reasons I'm fond of it is the music of James George "J.G." Thirwell. Perhaps David Bowie became an arch-villain in the show simply because it would have required too much chutzpah to cast the show's musical composer, but he certainly displays a talent for subterfuge and disguise that even The Sovereign would envy. If I took the time to talk strictly about Thirwell's alter egos and side projects it would take up the rest of the review, so let's cut to the chase and say his best known may be Foetus. He's had a very eclectic and inventive career, and like the aforementioned Ziggy Stardust he's never been one to be held to one musical style. His ability to tap into any genre and make it his own breathes life into the scenes of the Venture Bros. show, giving it a score to rival your favorite Hollywood blockbuster films."
"It's kind of hard for me to fathom a Kottonmouth Kings without Johnny Richter, but the two sides parted ways in 2013 when the Kings left Suburban Noize Records and Richter stayed behind signed as a soloist. I'm not sure there's any animosity and I'm certainly not trying to paint the picture that there is. There's nothing on "School's Out (Still Laughing)" I can point to as a diss track. He's not the only person to leave the group over the years - DJ Bobby B and Saint Dog also parted ways at various points - so it's more than likely a change in philosophy for everybody involved about artistic and creative direction. Richter certainly sounds like he's getting philosophical and thoughtful on "Insanely Amazing," an opener where he reminisces over dead homies in the first verse then gets deeper on the second section. It's a good look for Richter, but try as I might listening to "School's Out" I can't help but notice that unlike his last full-length solo there are no cameos by Daddy X or Dirtball. Even if there's not open animosity between Richter and the group, there's not any collaboration either now that the remainder of the Kings are on United Family Music. Richter didn't even seem sure he wanted to keep rapping once they parted sides. As he says in the outro of "Kill It" he had to "take a little break (to) get that fire back (and) remember why I do this music." I'm not sure if that fire included making the tracks too as the "one sheet" isn't clear -- it says the album was recorded in San Diego and "mastered in the marijuana mecca of Humboldt, CA by Underrated from Potluck." One other reference I can find online says Underrated was the producer though and since Potluck has a guest appearance on "Burb Words" I'll go with it."
"T-Nutty is a phenomenal rapper. The opening sentence of this review was a given since even before I heard "Blue Venom." The question is how can such a claim be proven? How does T-Nutty's awesomeness manifest itself on his latest outing? First things first, Sacramento's T-Nutty has been active for almost twenty years, emerging in the regional spotlight in the early '00s with features for hometown heavyweights Brotha Lynch Hung and X-Raided. If he's had any noteworthy hits or influential releases, they haven't traveled too far beyond his turf. Nothing really points to him being anything special (unless you attribute any particular significance to his appearances on more recent Tech N9ne releases), he seems like any other minor fixture in NorCal rap with a string of albums and collaborations. Who - which is more than a trivial fact - after all these years still thinks he has to rep his set (he's a 24th Street Garden Blocc Crip). Not necessarily the stuff of great careers. At the same time T-Nutty is a proper microphone technician, known to adorn himself with flowery nicknames like 'Last of the Floeheakinz' and 'FlowmasterMouth'. He's proof that creativity and gang affiliation aren't mutually exclusive in rap. Drawing attention to his words by proceeding fastidiously with a punctuated flow, he's maybe not in a class with but somewhere in the vicinity of showstoppers such as Twista or Busta in their prime. At a time when vocalists outsource emphasis and emotions to computer programs, T-Nutty's accentuations are completely deliberate, and they come with that typical tongue-in-cheek undertone made famous by the likes of Mac Dre, the Luniz, Mistah F.A.B., E-40 of course, and yes, also Brotha Lynch Hung."
FK: As I head westward to perform at Shambhala Music Festival for the 3rd consecutive year, I'm hitting Canadian cities along to way to rock some shows, alongside the 2015 World DMC Champion DJ Vekked. https://www.facebook.com/events/915001371955498/
DMV: The talented Maryland emcee BFG (@BFG301AMC) just dropped a dope new track on us, "Just Another Day". The song has been receiving a great response since its premiere on DMVLIFE.com. BFG combines his smooth delivery and an old school style to create an audio treat for the listener.
AKW: "Z-Ro makes music that people connect to on a deeply emotional level, that is honest to the point of discomfort (a Drake song with the gender politics of Z-Ro’s “I Hate U” or the newly released “Baby Momma Blues” would set the internet on fire)." - "Noisey"