It’s sad that hip-hop fans seem to cater to the era where they were first exposed by the music, so its history is not multi-generational. If my old-school is considered “way back” by some, then the current generation must feel the music I first got into is ancient or prehistoric. It’s sad because to me, Stay Up by Chokeules is the type of hip-hop that was popular in the mid to late 90’s, where you may shades of Dilated Peoples, Fat Joe, E-40, King Tee, and The Beatnuts. In other words, even as labels were trying to push an agenda by supporting what solely made a huge income, the music we liked was the stuff that was appreciated by a wide range of fans. Even if you didn’t like it because it wasn’t part of your coast or region, you could still find a reason to appreciate it. Chokeules is someone who sounds like he makes music so that everyone can appreciate it, with powerful lyrics, effective choruses and hooks that are meant to be remembered and become slogans… it’s essentially timeless music for all times. On the outside, some may hear this as dated because no one is doing these styles, but good music is good music, and it holds up very well, especially in tracks like “Anonymous Tip”, “Electric Jesus”, and “Leftorium”, the latter featuring Wordburglar, More Or Les, and Mighty Rhino. It goes back to a time when even the self-proclaimed superstars were still amongst everyone else, when every rapper was on the same level, before the egos were believed by the artist getting the shine. Stay Up is a way to insure that this type of hip-hop isn’t sleeping and that it lives on, even if it doesn’t have the shiniest jewelry or brightest cars.
D.O. is not a reference to the 90’s group Digital Orgasm, but a rapper out of Toronto whose initials mean “Defy The Odds”. He has released a new single from his Home For The Summer album, and this one features D-Sisive and Aspektz alongside, so check out “Old Habits” and see what is habitual about the situation.
The formerly elusive D-Sisive is out from the cold once again to warm up the microphone with cooperation from Tone Mason, and together they’ve created an 8-track EP called Raging Bull. The reason for the title of this release is perhaps a part of the force behind its creation was rage. A bit of anger was turned into something more powerful and satisfying. Now you can hear what rage can sound like when put to good use.
D-Sisive continues to find inspiration from the cup that is Jonestown 3: The Dream Is Over, and he has created a brand new video for the song “Friend Of Mine”, going back to childhood and remember what once was and what could’ve been. The video was directed by Briin “Briin?” Bernstein and Daniel AM Rosenberg.
DL Incognito has a decent album in his hands with Someday Is Less Than A Second Away (URBNET), yet as I listened to it in full, then again, I found myself wondering if this was all that he had to offer. This Toronto MC definitely has skills and knows how to write a song, but from afar it seemed that he found himself locked in one style of rapping and a certain lyrical structure, and kept going with it throughout the entire album. On top of that, his voice stands out but to hear those same tones say words in the same exact way over and over gets a bit old by the time the halfway point of the album comes along. It’s not until the second half where things change just a bit but by them I found myself concentrating more on the production and less on DL Incognito himself. Not a good thing. I found the guests on the album, including Adam Bomb and the great D-Sisive, did better than the star attraction. DL does have something to say, and listeners should pay attention to his stories. For my tastes, I would have liked a bit more variety in how he said these things. Where things hold up strongly, I wish there was more focus on those elements so that these songs could have had time to shine.
Ever since he has removed the mask, D-Sisive has been coming out strong with great music and videos, and here’s yet another. This one, directed by Davin Black, is called “When We Die We Die Together”, perhaps a salute to brother- and sisterhood or… maybe not. Then again, maybe it’s about saluting the power of community, wherever you go. Take it to heart. D-Sisive did, and it’s a winner. Also a winner: the album the song is from, called Jonestown 3: The Dream Is Over.
D-Sisive’s lyrically rich “Don’t Turn The Lights Out” brings him together with fellow Canadians Neverending White Lightsa>, who are adventurous in what they do in the same way D-Sisive is with hip-hop. The song can be found on the deluxe edition of D-Sisive’s Run With The Creeps, available via Bandcamp.
D-Sisive has been quite busy in the last year. His music has always been revealing, whether it’s metaphorical or otherwise, but of course now you can see his face. Like all of us, a mask is always nearby in times of shame, but no shame in the game… okay, I’ll stop. I’ll just say that D-Sisive has made a new video (directed by Dan Jardine) for his forthcoming album, Run With The Creeps (The D-Luxe Edition). You can listen to it in full with the Bandcamp player below, as well as pre-order it for your permanent pleasures. Go ahead.
At the moment the mainstream used hip-hop music for its selfish benefit, it was when one half of the music stunted its own growth. The other half went to college, decided to experiment, try new substances, smell new smells, explore culinary delights, and went out of its way to show that entering new school meant truly opening the new book of knowledge. URBNET‘s brand new compilation, Underground Hip-Hop Vol. 07 is a perfect example of the energies of MC, DJ’s, and producers who may have the energy of youth but are ready to take on the mic as adults to show and prove.
The artists here are not the sole example of what underground hip-hop is about, but merely a slice of some of the best that is out there today. There’s incredible work here from D-Sisive, Moka Only, Declaim, Rel!g!on (whose “Classical Musical” is an optimistic view of how this music will one day be discussed in high regard in 2000 years, with Ras Kass, Torae, and Planet Asia offering their testimonies), Emay, Noah23 & Krem, Animal Nation, and many more.
If there’s one stand-out verse, it has to be that found in Pigeon Hole‘s “Loop Tape”, which will definitely bring back memories for those who will listen to this album and understand exactly what they’re trying to do:
“I grew on the classics, The Chronic‘s, Illmatic‘s
36 Chambers, even Ill & Al Skratch shit
back when we used to laugh how ugly Craig Mack is
when Del still did acid and Hiero was massive
Southernplayalistic Outkast Cadillac shit
Something for my Walkman, I could sing along and rap with
Doggystyle was a favorite
Even though mom and dad probably just hated me for playing it
Sayin’ shit like “G’z up, ho’s down”
And biyaach, we would watch Rap City soul out
Don’t front, don’t front, you know I gotcha opin
I would read The Source for all the verses they were quotin’
When Stakes were High and 5 mics with no lie
Scarface had the diary and Bushwick had no eye
Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Shimmy yeah, shimmy yay
Used to love H.E.R., still do, just in a different way
Stuey Kubrick is the man behind the video for “Light Show” by Pigeon Hole, featuring the one and only D-Sisive. If you haven’t heard this song, do so now. It’s from Pigeon Hole’s album Age Like Astronauts (Sweatshop Union Music/URBNET), so as you let that ponder in your head, let the sounds ponder as well.
Those of you in British Columbia will be happy to know that you’ll be able to see them on tour throughout February (with one stop in Canmore, Alberta) as they brave the road with Sweatshop Union supporting:
Feb 3: Revelstoke, BC @ River City
Feb 4: Golden, BC @ Rockwater
Feb 5: Elkford, BC @ Sneaky’s
Feb 6: Canmore, AB @ The Drake
Feb 10: Victoria, BC @ Club9one9
Feb 11: Salt Spring Island, BC @ Beaver Point
Feb 12: Cumberland, BC @ The Waverly
Feb 25: Squamish, BC @ Ocean Port
Feb 26: Pemberton, BC @ Pemberton Hotel