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In the group’s first phase, they offered us Gutter Water. In 2012, the proof level is going up with a hybrid that will make it much rougher to consume, but that’s the point. The Alchemist and Oh No have united once more for a new album, and this hybrid spirit is called Vodka & Ayahausca, and joining them on this sonic exploration will be Evidence (of Dilated Peoples fame), Roc Marciano, Prodigy (Mobb Deep), and Kool G. Rap.
The first single, “Dump Truck”, features Prodigy and will make its presence known to the public on or around November 21st, while the full album will be released by Decon on January 24th. Save up.
It’s a song that sounds holier than thou, and maybe that’s because those sounds mean something to you. Listen to the lyrics and they’ll mean something too, if not more. This is Rakaa with “Crown Of Thorns”, bringing in Aloe Blacc. The video was directed by Jason Goldwatch, and while you’ll see a number of clips of special guests in the video, it also seems like a subtle tribute to Apple and Steve Jobs, perhaps unintentionally offering respect to someone whose creativity and intelligence allowed many artists and musicians to share their creativity and intelligence with the world.
Cats & Dogs is the forthcoming Rhymesayers album from Evidence, and this is the first video in support of it, a track that puts him in Malibu with Fashawn. It’s a nice one, bust out your wallet and buy the vinyl or CD.
The idea of having a Rakaa solo album might seem daunting, especially for some hip-hop fans who may be diehard supporters of Dilated Peoples but are uncertain of any solo project. If you are a Rakaa fan, you don’t have to worry about this one being a disappointment, or at least I wasn’t worried.
Crown Of Thorns (Decon): I mean look at the title right there. Is it a metaphor to suggest that he knew and expected to be put up on a metaphorical cross, to risk exposure and ridicule, or shameless praise? Or is it a means of honor? Regardless of how you read the title, it’s an album where the man known as Iriscience is able to keep one foot on the side of that “real hip-hop” but another to continue on with a more accessible side that Dilated Peoples attempted to do with their last album. By being accessible does not mean he’s trying to make sellout music, whatever that may mean in 2010. What you do hear is someone who knows he can’t remain true to one person’s view of what hip-hop should be, but one must be diverse, just like Rakaa himself.
I’ll put it this way. While the attitude that Kanye West has shared in his music is nothing new, there’s a bit of that swagger, sans ego, in some of Rakaa’s delivery, and the thing about it is that it works. When he hits us up with some dope rhymes over incredible beats, it does not sound dated one bit. There’s an old school feel, without a doubt, but it’s very much in the now, the same way Slug (of Atmosphere) and Blueprint do it. You still have the top notch clever rhymes, there’s still the deliver you know and love, that one that may have made him your LL Cool J or Rakim or KRS-One.
I’m from the school where rappers were heroes because we honored their voices, rapping techniques, and level of intelligence, we were down with the flow from someone in the know. While Rakaa is someone perhaps too humble to call himself a hero, he is someone who takes pride in what he does and shares that with the world. To rock the mic means not only wanting to be heard, but knowing you have the capabilities on how to be heard. There’s a level of confidence on Crown Of Thorns that comes from someone who knows and loves what he’s doing, and the one thing I love about the album is that he sounds like he’s having fun. A perfect representation of what hip-hop music is.
Crown Of Thorns is the name of the forthcoming solo debut album from Rakaa, and this is the first single from it. The single has been out since this Spring, and the album is scheduled for release next week Tuesday. You can pre-order your copy by clicking one of the boxes below.
Beat Tape Vol. 2 (Nature Sounds) is a new beat tape of solid instrumentals, consider it like a resume tape so possible clients can say “oh shit, falakaians, I want to work with the bungbungbalangoan DJ so he can wreck damage on the ping pong”, you know what I mean? The DJ I speak of is the tuktuluk man known as DJ Babu, and this thing has 39 tracks of potential hits, anyone can manipulate this shit talit and make it work malerk, from sped up samples going through echo chambers, fantastic horn strokes, and solid funk that comes from someone who is an expert in this. C’mon, you never heard of Babu? Fool.
While people will go out of their way to take these songs and rhyme over them, I hope the truly gifted will contact him in order to make new tracks. Babu has spread the wealth, now make it mutual.
When he’s not busy watching professional boxing matches, DJ Babu is tearing it up on the 1′s and 2′s, and yet he was able to take some time to put together a brand new album. This one is The Beat Tape Vol. 2 (Nature Sounds), an all-instrumental album, and it will be released on February 23, 2010, already a day packed with new music releases (i.e. Sade, Toro Y Moi). Here’s a preview of the album with the song “Lil’ Juanito” (Free Mp3 Download, 2.14mb).
Brooklyn to Brooklyn, when you can have an artist based from a borough work together with a record label within the same borough, it can be helpful for both parties. Such is the case with Bekay, who is now down with Coalmine Records. Bekay’s own name comes from one of the many nicknames Brooklyn is known as, and if you’re an avid hip-hop fan, you’ve heard of BK from spending time on 106th & Park and maybe the Rawkus 50. But now Bekay is ready to take things to much higher levels with the release of Hunger Pains (Coalmine), and the title explains it all: the man is hungry.
First off, the anger. Some may known him as a battle rhymer, so by doing battle raps one has to ask what is he battling? In one of the tracks he condemns those who feel a need to constantly compare him to Eminem, from the way he flows to the shock value of some of the lyrics. But what does Bekay do? To make a point, he rhymes exactly like Em and does it with a fervor in his voice that you’re wondering if you’re hearing something from Brooklyn or from 8 Mile. That’s the purpose, to strip away the similarities in skintone and make blanket statements based on that.
The rest of the album is a nice attack of the senses, people who love nice rhymes and flows will be comfortable with the way Bekay sounds. In “Bloodsport” he confronts anyone who thinks they can step up to him and cut up Bekay’s shtyles. What is interesting is that he isn’t afraid to be in-your-face, so he’ll be saying words that normally one wouldn’t expect for an MC to say these days. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t give a fuck what anyone says, but then again, that’s Brooklyn. You’ll hear a sound that is very much not only a Brooklyn thing, but an NY thing, so he goes out of his way to use hip-hop traditions for his own benefit, without taking away anything from who and what came before. The battle rhymes are a nice kick to the teeth, but he’s capable of proper song construction, something some battle rhymers tend to have problems with. Bekay doesn’t. When you also have artists like Heltah Skeltah (in the great “Crazy”), Inspectah Deck, Masta Ace, and R.A. The Rugged Man helping you out, it doesn’t hurt. These guys could easily say “I’m getting money to be on this track, let me rip you open” but it’s not like that, each of the contributors are here to show support and say “now check out Bekay”. It’s a good thing, and Bekay is in full swing.
If you’ve been listening to DJ Honda for the last few years, you’d think he was born and raised in the United States with the kind of productions he creates. But he is from Japan and has gained a reputation for making some of the best music that will move any and all crowds. Honda is back with IV, a self-released album that brings a number of MC’s to his world, including Ras Kass, EPMD, Heltah Skeltah, Kool G. Rap, Iriscience, Lord Tariq, and the return of Mos Def, who unites with Honda once again with “Magnetic Arts”.
The album has a classic feel to it, or the way hip-hop is and will always be, it slams in all the right ways and Honda knows how to control his tracks in a confident way. Why this album isn’t on a proper lavel, I do not know, but this should let people know that real hip-hop can be found anywhere, and this time it’s in the land of the rising son.
He goes by the name of Evidence and for years he has been one-third of the almighty Dilated Peoples. Well, they’re almighty to me even though over the years they have managed to sell under a million records. Nonetheless, he has done some cameos over the years and dropped a solo album two years ago. But as of now, Evidence calls Rhymesayers home, for he has been signed to the label for a 3-album deal.
The deal will begin with the 2010 release of his sophomore release, Cats & Dogs, which he is working on right now. From now until then he is sheduled to open for Brother Ali for his Fresh Air Tour. With luck, it will also mean more collaborations with other Rhymesayers artists.
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Discovered this book review blog when someone had posted a review of a music book. Went through it and saw a number of books I immediately put on my want list. Created by Maria Popova and features a number of contributors.
Cool slew of goodies from books and diaries to T-shirts, bags and soaps. Now based in Portland.
The show is no more, but you may explore the archives of this great Portland-based podcast while you can. You may now listen to Cort & Bobby in Welcome To That Whole Thing, listed below.