In a small city on the eastside of Pittsburgh called Larimer one will find Boaz, one of Pennsylvania's hardest working MCs. Boaz has a long and storied history in the Steel City. "I grew up here," he explains, "and I've never lived another place a day in my life." Coming up in Larimer became his inspiration to start rapping as, according to Boaz, living in Larimer provided more than enough to talk about. This week Boaz shares some of those stories with me as I sit down with him to discuss the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop scene, recording with Sean Price and Trife da God, and what listeners can expect from his latest work, The Phenomenal.
Last month I posted up a story titled How to Ruin Your Rap Album. The point of it was to show the tired clichés being used far too often in rap music today and how the vast majority of albums have become nothing more than cookie cutter - fill your name in the blank - affronts to the brain. Quite a few message boards picked up on the article and PackFM hit me after reading it to ask if I could follow it up with a post on what qualities I feel make for a great rap album. Well, since it was asked for, and since I love being on the positive tip whenever I can, here goes.
If Kats were to write a memoir it might be titled From Russia With Rhymes. Born in Moscow, Kats didn’t move to the US until he was 12 years old. After attending high school in Albany, New York, he headed even further upstate for college, spending his dormitory days at Syracuse University. Kats’ interest in rapping started during his freshman year in college and now, over eleven years later, he’s two full length albums deep into his career with Kats The Musical (2006) and Almost Fameless (2007), and he’s readying his third release, Katskills, for January of 2008. Now residing in Brooklyn, Kats sat down with me this week to discuss what it means to be an MC in New York City, the definition of being almost fameless, and what he hopes will someday happen during one of his concerts at The Pussycat Lounge.
Over the past few weeks a number of artists have come up to me with the same very interesting question of “what do you think I should do next?” These artists have websites, MySpace pages and numerous videos on YouTube. They have followings within their local communities, perform constantly, and are clearly working their way up to bigger and better things. I mulled over the question a bit and now I want to share with everyone the advice I shared with them; if you’re an artist you need a blog, and I mean a real blog, not just a MySpace blog. Let me explain.
This past Saturday former Artists of the Week The Makeout Party held an album release event for their Spell Check… 1…2 EP at Lit Lounge in New York City. Already a fan of their music, at the show I learned that when The Makeout Party performs, unless you are incredibly uptight, and by uptight I mean the kind of person who didn't like Pootie Tang, you have no choice but to have a good time. Fun was on the menu and The Makeout Party were serving it up fresh.
T.I. & The Grand Hustle K.I.N.G. Foundation be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need at Club Crucial on Thursday, Nov. 22nd from 6pm to 9pm.
400 turkeys will be delivered to the Atlanta Parks & Recreation Center to be donated to 400 families throughout the Atlanta area. T.I. reached out to celebrity friends to help raise 150K for the Hosea Williams Feed The Hungry Thanksgiving Day Dinner Event.
Club Crucial 2517 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, NW Atlanta, GA 30318
Brought to you by the good folks at HipHopDX.com. After years of being in the hip hop game, Brian Daniel Carenard, F.K.A. Saigon, has called it quits to the music industry. "No more interviews, no more mixtapes, no nothing," he quotes in his MySpace Blog, putting the whole blame on the media for tearing up his interviews apart, and putting the spotlight on his current beefs and subliminal (or direct) disses towards other rappers. "NO MORE ASS KISSING FOR ME."
With Saigon gone from the music business, there is a great possibility that his soon to be released album The Greatest Story Never Told will forever remain shelved. Atlantic Records or Fort Knocks Entertainment have not yet released a statement on his retirement, but as always, RapReviews will continue to keep you posted.
As most people know, haiku is a syllable-based form of Japanese poetry. Many people are now also discovering HiCoup, who is a rapper hailing from New Jersey. While he may be poetic in his own right, that’s about all HiCoup has in common with the form of poetry he shares the pronunciation of his name with. Born in Brooklyn, but raised in New Jersey, HiCoup has been making a name for himself with his powerful lyrical ability and impressive live shows. He currently has two full length albums circulating the streets, the mix-CD Ghetto Factory Supreme and a collaborative effort with female emcee Devynity titled Domestic Violence. Recently I ran into HiCoup at a show in New York City and we discussed the reasoning behind the unique spelling of his name, how he avoids the pitfalls a lot of lyrical MCs fall into when they attempt to create albums, and what it’s like repping a state that’s produced so much talent but still flies under the radar.
(Brooklyn, NY, 14 November 2007) Rap veteran Musab, recently signed to famed label Hiero Imperium for this year's release Slick's Box, has recorded a half hour long episode for the label's Hierocast. The podcast includes songs from Musab's 2002 classic, Respect The Life, in addition to newer tracks. Musab introduces each with the same laid-back swagger his fans have come to recognize. In his own words, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it - nobody said it like me before."
Opening with three tracks from Respect The Life and followed by three more from Slick's Box, the Hierocast not only pulls from some of Musab's musical highlights, but it gives newcomers to his alter ego "Minnesota Slicks" a sampling of his style. These include the two singles from Slick's Box, "Baaang" and "Hat & Shoes," and the album track "Please Do Not Assume." Slick's Box, released in September, found critical acclaim in the hip-hop underground, and signaled a comeback for the Minneapolis native.
The Hierocast is one of the first podcasts started by an indie hip-hop label. The first episode, which launched in 2005, featured Souls of Mischief member A-Plus. Since then, various members of the collective have hosted their own episodes, including Domino, Del the Funky Homosapien, and newcomers O.C. and Knobody and more. Over the past two years, tens of thousands of hip-hop fans have downloaded the Hierocast to get a more intimate look at their favorite artists' background, in-depth commentary, and the secrets behind their recording process. Iconocastic.com produces each episode, which is the media division of entertainment and lifestyle marketing firm Audible Treats. Musab's Hierocast marks the10th episode.
Musab, who signed to Hiero Imperium this summer, co-founded Rhymesayers Entertainment as Beyond. His new album Slick's Box is a look into his personal life, detailing his life as a father, a Muslim, and a pimp.