A brand new track from Creed Chameleon has him getting into the festivities of the holiday season with help from DJ Jaba. The track is called “Bad Santa”, which has him rhyming over Bob Power’s Full Mix of De La Soul’s “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”. He removes the sadness of the De La remix and turns it into his own thing, and I think it works quite well.
Brand new from Creed Chameleon is the Abomination-produced “Dead End”, and this is easily one of the best songs he has done in his career. Is this a sign of what’s to come, and what exactly is this “dead end” he’s talking about? Talk to the hand, and all you get is profanities? Is it that, and/or something deeper? Creed has talked about dropping casual songs here and there that has nothing to do with a specific project and/or theme, so take it as is. He dropped “The Dilemma” last month, so maybe a song for December and perhaps a gift for the holidays? I’m being greedy.
Creed Chameleon currently resides in Arizona, but there are still close ties to the place he’ll always call home, Hawai’i, which I can totally relate to. Creed has been hard at work in life and music, and he’s about to release a new album called Putting Life On Mute, and he has allowed for me to share a track from the album called “Empty World”. Download it now (9.53mb).
There are a number of Hawaiian music festivals throughout the U.S., and as someone who is Hawaiian, it is great to see and hear the traditions passed on. However, there has always been a different side to music from Hawai’i, and sadly, if it’s anything but traditional Hawaiian, at times it seems it has been passed off, if not completely ignored. Yet somehow, reggae music was able to get a pass. Why not jazz, soul, funk, rock, or hip-hop? I know very well that there are tons of fans back home who love these styles of music, communities that show love and respect but at times feel isolated from the rest of the world because of their interests and at times what they are. It leaves people confused. In a previous website I had, I called it Altered Aloha, as a way to say it’s the exact level of love and respect, but different from assumed norms. This forthcoming hip-hop music festival in Los Angeles is very much about going against the assumed norm, even though hip-hop music has been a part of Hawai’i since “Rapper’s Delight”. I know, because my 4th grade school year was made great due to this song that borrowed from Chic‘s “Good Times”. Now, a group of people are about to share those good times with Los Angelinos.
The concert is called L.A. Got Aloha, and this show will feature a number of Hawai’i-based artists, both those who are coming in from the show and also transplants who now call the mainland home, but still have tight connections to the 50th state. Mixed in are a number of different artists, friends, and associates of the artists involved.
People scheduled to perform at L.A. Got Aloha include Creed Chameleon, Tassho Pearce, Analog Dive, Justin V, Free Will, DJ Jimmy Taco, Trek Life, Dae Zhen, Besatree & KSerious, Beat Ventriloquists, and much more. There’s a huge Hawaiian community throughout California, including Los Angeles, and as you can see by the line-up in the flyer below, it’s not just exclusive to people from Hawai’i. There remains a strong HI-CA connection, one that involves all people of the Pacific Rim, so as you enter, keep in mind that you will be with good people.
L.A. Got Aloha will involve not only live performances, but DJ sets, graffiti art, b-boys & b-girls (dancing), tattooing (permanent and otherwise), and… what Hawaiian gathering could go on without food? Everyone will be catered to, so come in, enjoy some music, get down with the music community there, and have fun.
Look at it this way. I had made a suggestion last year to someone that maybe one day, SXSW could have a spotlight show dedicated to hip-hop from Hawai’i. It would be great to bring together the artists, the supporters, the community, and the vibe as a way to let people know that the music created by MC’s, DJ’s, and producers there are real, and the artistry is merely a fabric of the community that has existed for years. This may not be SXSW, but this looks like it could be the next best thing. Where good music and people gather, good people will want to follow, so with luck, this will become an annual event.
L.A. Got Soul will be held on Friday, March 9th at The Dragonfly (6510 Santa Monica Blvd.) in Hollywood. It’s a 21 & over event, no exceptions.
For more information, head to RSIWreckon
Creed Chameleon continues to make some exceptional music and videos, and this is proof of this, a brand new video called “So Far”, directed by Pete Ulatan. If you like it, spread the word. His latest project is The Vanishing Act, which I reviewed in August and I recommend for any fan of quality hip-hop.
There’s a word that Creed Chameleon says on this album, one of many, that I can use to describe his music: heart. Some will say that a lot of today’s hip-hop has a lot of heart, but I will tell you: it doesn’t. Give me something with heart and soul, and what you’re doing is giving everyone a part of your time and effort, but your talent. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or whatever: give me that in multiples and you will be able to pull it off.
I’ve been a fan of Creed Chameleon for awhile and I will admit, a part of it has to do with him being from Hawai’i. I don’t want anyone to think “oh, local pride, he’s going to gloat over this guy, let me go elsewhere”, that’s not the case here. There’s a part of that local pride, whether you’re from there, living there, or had to move. Creed now resides in Arizona but that does not and will not change my views on his music. Of course the reader is probably saying “you already went through two paragraphs in this review without mentioning a damn thing about the music, except that it has heart. You need to tell me why” and if you made it this far, then here you go.
The Vanishing Act may or may not be Creed’s sly way of saying he pulled one in his move from Hawai’i to Arizona, or maybe it has to do with his approach to the music, or maybe it has nothing to do with anything. It’s an assumption. But what I do not assume is what I hear here and what I’ve heard from him over the years. Creed is someone who applies a level of knowledge and skill into his music, never going beyond his capabilities nor does he try to add a bit of “extra” for the sake of doing so. He could, but what he does is him, this is his style. What I like is his storytelling, I could use a word like “poet” but anyone who writes and rhymes well doesn’t have to be a poet, even though he’s poetic. He reveals a bit of vulnerability in “Unforgiven”, driven with a Metallica song that pushes the point even further, but he shows that he’s not a machine but very much human, with the same kind of emotions that isn’t above hip-hop.
There are so many highlights on this mixtape, and let me say this before I continue. When one mentions that it’s a “mixtape”, it technically means it’s not a proper album even though the material here is just as good as a proper album. Consider this a sampling of what Creed can do and does, but instead of creating a mess of songs under a one project umbrella, it’s simply a collection of songs that feel and sound good. His work with producer/MC Osna are a highlight, including the Kanye West chipmunk funk of “So Far”, “In Life’s Summary”, and the smoothed out “Special Smile”, where Creed speaks about making music without limits, even though the means of obtaining music was not as free (figuratively and literally) as it might be today. When he brings on Mic Phenom from Seattle and the incredible Tassho Pearce into the scene, you are hearing some of the best hip-hop this year, as they take it on like superfriends and just deliver.
It’s hard to say which are the best songs, because the whole thing is just sharp, with little that I could call filler. The main man Trek Life rips shit up with Creed in “9 To 5″, as they share their opinions about putting their time in to make things work, as DJ Packo delivers some fierce scratches. This could easily be a hit song if it was pushed this way. Need another reason to hear this? DJ Babu handles the production in “Sarah”, and it’ll be a track that’ll make you stop in your tracks, lift up your hand, and celebrate.
Before I wrote this review, I had made a post on Twitter on how I felt two songs on The Vanishing Point reminded me of the chemistry shared between Method Man and Redman. I made this comparison to the two songs on the album where Creed brings in Prie. I’m a huge fan of Prie, and while both have unique styles on their own, together they come off like a team who are united. After I made the post and it was RT’d, someone was irked and felt that all comparisons were a bit foolish. Now, even when I said that my comparison does not suggest that Creed and Prie sounded anything like Meth or Redman, the reply I had was more or less “eh, same thing”. My thought was “aah, but my comparison was a lure towards you to respond, didn’t it?” That’s what my suggestion is about. There is something about a 2-man team in hip-hop that works, or a 3-man, 4-man, an egoless team that focuses on the word “teamwork”. Yes, you’re going to throw in your all to make you sound good, but for the same of team work, you’re going to make it work, and that’s what these two do in “The World Is Cold” and “Still In Love”, and I’m thinking yes: less ego, more of an emphasis on making damn good music.
On top of that, some fine production from Bad News, Guidebook, and Maineframe, and Osna’s work on this continues to impress. If Creed and Osna ever work together on a full project, even a 5-song EP, it could be ridiculous. My point in saying this is that regardless of who he works with, Creed shows he has heart not only in how he writes and how he performs, but how he brings that on with who he works with to help him make these songs. You want some hot quotes from lines or verses, nah, go listen to it yourself. It’s free, but allow his music to be a lure towards you wanting to hear more. Make an effort, and Creed will too, although he does this by default because it’s from the heart.
(The Vanishing Act can be downloaded for free by heading to 2DopeBoyz.com.)
Hip-hop is a good thing, I don’t have to tell you that. But good hip-hop from Hawai’i: yes! Creed Chameleon keeps on working hard and remains passionate about his music, and here’s a brand new one from him. What exactly makes this a song about groupies? You have to listen to find out.
Prie is an MC out of Hawai’i who to me represents optimism in hip-hop. He represents a scene that is hungry and ready to be heard outside of their own circle, and I feel Prie is someone who is ready to invade your comfort zone. Prie (pronounced “pree”) puts his life and personal struggles into his work, those who have heard him know he’s someone who is not to be messed with on the mic. He has been talking how February 27th will be the day for new music from him, tempting and teasing fans and onlookers about what is to come, and now it’s here.
He has just unveiled a new mixtape called We Fly HI 2: Still Flying, 26 tracks of quality hip-hop as you want and expect to hear, this one featuring cameos from Creed Chameleon, Tassho Pearce, Siryruss The King, and more. It’s free, so you can’t have an excuse to not take a listen. To download, click here.