Archive for 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
In late 2005 Ghostface Killa and MF DOOM were both recording over tracks from J Dilla's instrumental opus, Donuts, which saw release the following February. Some of these were released on Ghostface's Fishscale in 2006, while others, including a Dilla-Doom project, were postponed indefinitely after J Dilla's passing. Two of these tracks, “Sniperlite” and “Murder Goons,” will be released digitally, exclusively through Stones Throw's webstore, due to launch in late June.
Raekwon ft. Mika "Once In A Lifetime": New Rae is always a blessin'. Nice Hip-Hop Soul vibe to this one, even if it seems like hoemgirl is doing a bit too much singing in it. Late night creep music.
On a related note, for all of you New Yorkers, Rae and Cappadonna will be performing at BB King's on June 19th at 8PM. Make it out there!
Big up Alex and the Killer Beez Promo crew.
So one of the most anticipated Hip-Hop albums of the last 5 years or so is finally here. Does Lil' Wayne finally make good on his "greatest rapper alive" claims, or does he just die slow?
It's not really sensical to call a track "3 Peat" when you didn't get the ring on the first two.
"Mr. Carter (ft. Jay-Z)"
Oddly enough, Weezy can't even be saved by a decent Jigga verse and a decent Just Blaze beat. You'd imagine that trio would come with some serious fire, but this is worse than "Hello Brooklyn 2.0".
Can't help it, I love this beat. I love it so much that I have Wayne's ridiculous lines committed to memory, like "tougher than Nigerian hair", and my favorite, "I can turn a crack rock into a mountain". What kind of boast is that, and how is that possible? Why would you want a crack rock that big?
"Got Money (ft. T-Pain)"
Such a ridiculous use of computerized voices over electronic beats. I didn't think niggas could niggerize computers this bad.
"Comfortable (ft. Babyface)"
What the fuck is Babyface doing on a Weezy album? This track is pretty dope for what it is, except with Wayne's dumb lines ("I got game like EA"). Kanye is mad subdued on the beat, but it works.
Cold, cold beat. I wonder how much Swizzy got paid for this one. I do find it odd that Wayne is the doctor trying to resurrect Hip-Hop, when he's arguably one of the reasons the shit is dying.
I always thought this nigga was an alien. Now he admits it.
"Tie My Hands (ft. Robin Thicke)"
I actually like this one. I was a fan of "Shooter", oddly enough. I can get with this sly Robin Thicke beat. Lovin' that smooth bass.
"Mrs. Officer (ft. Bobby Valentine)"
Why follow up a dope R&B collab with a fucked up one?
"Let The Beat Build"
This beat sounds like Kanye from 5, 6 years ago. I kind of wished this didn't have the drums in it; that sample is cold enough. Dude is getting saved by dope beats, though. EDIT Props to 2DB for uploading the instrumental to this one.
"Shoot Me Down (ft. D. Smith)"
I guess Wayne is going introspective on this? I can't take this anymore...
"Lollipop (ft. Static Major)"
"La La (ft. Brisco & Busta Rhymes)"
David Banner is a fool for this beat. I do not like Weezy's "I'm richer than y'all, I got a bank full of pride" line. What kind of dizzy shit you spoutin'? This should've been a Bus-A-Bus solo cut. I love this beat!
"Playing WIth Fire (ft. Betty Wright)"
How much did he pay Miss Wright?
"You Ain't Got Nuthin' (ft. Juelz Santana & Fabolous)"
Fab's verse is the truth. The rest of it? Not so much.
"Don't Get It (Misunderstood)"
The only way we misunderstand Weezy is depending on how much lean he drank before he wrote his joints. Why is this track damn near 10 minutes? And is all of that Al Sharpton hate really necessary?
I don't see the point in even trying to bring up Weezy's rhymes. While dude can keep a flow throughout a tune, he isn't the best writer, especially when people try to compare him to a Jigga or Nas. He's not even in that realm. And with albums like this, that contain some hot beats and some dope rhymes, dude hasn't gotten that one classic album yet that's sorely needed to solidify his spot within the game as a true entity. He's just a glorified mixtape rapper, period.
rock the dub gives Tha Carter III 2 out of 5 stars. While there are some dope beats, and Weezy can trip up on a decent line every now and again, there's no way that this is his classic album. Maybe the best album out of his catalouge, but that's not saying much at all.
Burn Deez: "A Milli", "Dr. Carter", "Let The Beat Build"
Tha Carter III is in stores NOW. Boo Goo Doo Boom has also reviewed Tha Carter III, and gave it a more favorable rating than I did overall.
01. 95 South - Wet N Wild (DJ Laz Booty Bounce Mix)
02. N.E.R.D. - Everyone Nose
03. DJ Assault - Bitch I Ain't Yo Man
04. DJ Khaled - I'm So Hood
05. DJ Cable - Kisses So Hood
06. Dexplicit - Bullacake
07. Wideboys Feat. Shazney Lewis - Daddy O (Bassline Mix)
08. Squarepusher - Red Hot Car
Damn, haven't heard that Squarepusher tune in a MINUTE!
Cable's also set up his own podcast, so if you missed any of the previous 20 mixes, or want to make sure you don't miss the others in the future, get on it!
02 Gangsta Rap (rmx) (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
03 Cops Keep Firing (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
04 Hero (prod. Polow Da Don)
05 Black President (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
06 Association f. stic.man (of dead prez)
07 Legendary (Mike Tyson).. (prod. Salaam Remi)
08 Ghetto (rmx) f. Joell Ortiz (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
09 Seen it All (Green Mix)
10 Esco Let’s Go (Full Song) (prod. Dj Khallil)
11 N.I.G.G.E.R. (Slave and Master). (prod. DJ Toomp)
12 Be a Nigger Too (rmx) f. Dante Hawkins (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
13 Surviving the Times (Original Cool and Dre Version)
14 Nas Timeline (mixed by Statik Selektah) (Nararated by Nas)
15 Outro f. Richard Pryor
I told y'all on Friday that this was coming. It's been a bit, and I've gone batty trying to get this paired down perfectly, but I am happy with how this came out, overall. This is my testament to the talented artists who hit my inbox on the regular, who stay hungry and, whether it's imeem or MySpace, Facebook or CDBaby, these guys are not letting their talent go to waste. Look at this as a celebration of the dope MC, the dope producer, and the true Hip-Hop that's still alive and well...
01. Cyrano aka Cy Yung "Reel Hip-Hop": This was the first track I received for the compilation, and it was always the intro. I envisioned this comp as a one CD thing, and this was always track 1. Just has that ill intro appeal, with the way the piano was flipped, and that message, basically trying to let the mainstream know that there's more out there than what Clear Channel gives you. Representing the BPA, Cy Yung is an ill emcee that has gotten love on this site ever for a bit. I know him and J. Slikk have some ish going on in terms of a collaborative LP, as well as the Y'All Soon Gonna C-Y EP with Toronto producer Cynergy Soundz (which is where this track comes from), his Cyrano's Edict EP, the Rosie Perez project, and a bunch of other things I can't reveal as of yet... BPA is coming on like a bullet train, y'all.
02. Tech Supreme ft. Ajunel "Famous Flavor": And this track was always #2. Tech was voted Best Hip-Hop Producer by the St. Louis Riverfront Times back in 2007, and if you listen to this horn-driven banger, then peep his remix of Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop", you can hear the diversity. I know he is working on an album, and I am pretty sure this cut is on it, which should be a great primer to what he has dropping in the future. The 'Lou is much more than Nelly and Murphy Lee. I love that Delorean line - this is def. some back to the future shit, just has a cool vibe that Tech attacks perfectly.
03. R.O.E. "Can't Help Myself": This is my jam, forreal. A magnificent beat cooked up by the one like J. Slikk, who has become a fast friend, is the perfect bed for Rising Over Envy's flavorful flows. It's hard to come wack on this beat (J. Slikk is a beast on the boards), and R.O.E. has the perfect flow and poise over this track. The bass in this takes me back to the mid-to-late '90s, just that back-of-the-whip, dutch-passin' vibe. R.O.E. has an EP on deck that should be coming sooner rather than later, but for now, grab that Return of the Soulstar for more fire, and revel in how R.O.E. coasts on this beat. Another BPA representative.
04. Hustle Simmons ft. 84 & Fel Sweetenberg "The Rundown": For you Johnny-come-latelies, I interviewed Tha S Ence back in '06, and this Philly-residing producer has been working on some fire, including the forthcoming project with Dave Ghetto under their Hustle Simmons guise (their LP drops on iTunes on June 24th - I've heard snippets of the jawn, and its something serious). This cut screams boom-bap, with some wicked horns hopping on top of those cripsy drums. With the 215's 84 and NJ's Fel Sweetenberg providing the perfect compliment to Dave's bars, this track is a certified heat rock for your block.
05. Brokn.Englsh "TCBY": Had to get some more Jersey on this comp. Brokn.Englsh rep Hillside, NJ, and come with the heat (peep the video for this jawn here). This beat is infectious, with that weird ass vocal in there - ultimate rewind material (it was produced by Dert, who I can't find a valid MySpace URL/website for). And those punchlines in this one? Potent. I've been quoting a lot of the lines in my head, including this personal favorite: "I'm a killer with text like anthrax messages..."; probably not the most politically correct line, but being a writer myself, I love those cold ass lines about your craft. Watch out for these cats - Myk Dyaleks is already working on some new ish, and I imagine the others are following suit. Infinite respect to J-Dub for putting me on to these cats.
06. Genesis Elijah "Hard": Genny (AKA the Voice of the Angry Black Male) is an MC from the UK that I interviewed for the now-defunct e-zine The Flow, and I am glad to hear he is still creating fire. This track begs you to question: what can truly be considered HARD? One answer is, that BEAT, with its thick, woofer-beating bassline, and those crazy sounds overtop? Whoa. Dude has 'nuff knowledge, and now with what seems like the right people behind him, I can only hope we get to hear more from this gifted MC. You also have to respect how much the UK appreciates real Hip-Hop, even though I imagine their mainstream still has the "money cash ho's" tracks that so densely populate American Urban Radio. Props to Nina and Escape Route Music for the hookup.
07. Muja Messiah ft. Slug & Hap "O'Silly Me": This is from Muja's MPLS Massacre mixtape, which is just pure dope. Atmosphere's Slug is featured on here, and they all take to task these chicks who are on your jock when you are making it... but seem to ignore you when you're low. The other thing that killed me was the pro wrestling lines in here - sorry, been a fan since the early 80's, and any reference to Jimmy Snuka kills me. You know how it goes. Minnesota in this! Muja's LP drops on July 29th - keep it locked!
08. Nov Gannon "Epiphany": This is actually one of the latest additions to the comp, but I had to put this one on here. Just has that ill vibe I was looking for to mix up this disc. That old school sample just works so well. Nov's one of URB's Next 1000, and also represents over at Flew Humble Martians. He classifies his brand of Hip-Hop as "Hip-Hop Fusion", and while that name makes sense, its just pure Hip-Hop to me.
09. Che Grand "Swing": Dear Che - I interviewed you back in July 2006, and Everything's Good Ugly is still not out. I know, I know, by hell or highwater it will be out on your born day, but I want it now, especially with tracks sounding as dope as this club-ready cut you allowed me to drop "Swing" on this comp. Let me, and the world, know when this is coming. Tracks like this always get me, because people think underground or backpack Hip-Hop, and think "this shit won't pop in the clubs", but I guarantee if someone like DJ Khaled dropped "Swing", it'd be a wrap - panties would drop, Patron would get bought up, and Che would be on TRL, cheesin'.
10. Junclassic "The Promo": Jun is one of two Monster Island Czars on The Lighthouse Project (he goes by the AKA Gabarah when with the MIC), and he flips a breathless, hookless stream of consciousness flow on this reworking of a Jungle Brothers classic. Just a dope track that might require multiple rewinds before you really hear what he's saying. Pure unadulterated, raw Hip-Hop - dope beat and dope rhymes, no nonsense. No frills fire.
11. L.E.G.A.C.Y. ft. Sean Boog "That Me Shit": Exclusive shit. Out of all of the Hall of Justus niggas (as well as the Rawkus 50 heads that L.E.G.A.C.Y. is grouped with), Leg has been my favorite. Dude just has those wild lines that make you stop midtrack and just... think. Really captivating writer, especially when he goes introspective. This is not on that flavor, though. With Sean Boog on the hook and Khrysis on the boards providing a heavy track, Leg gets on his mixtape shit and just comes with bars bars bars. Watch out for his forthcoming Suicide Music album, as well as the S.I.N. Music Group.
12. Aych "She's Cheatin'": This is one of two Wally Clark-produced cuts on this compilation, and this one is pure comedy. The title says everything, and fans of the show Cheaters should be up on the premise of this track. Aych is coming with some fire, please believe - lyrically, dude is creating some ill tales, and he does it without compromising his steeze. You don't find that too much these days.
13. Bun B "That's Gangsta (The Amps Remix)": Wow. Not only do L.A.'s The Amps provide a serious dubby-feel to the beat in this one, but they completely axed Sean Kingston's hook (aside from the "yeah!", which sounds dope). Bun's fierce flows sound so perfect over this big beat. They've already been featured producers on mixtapes for cats like the Clipse and Ray Cash, and are working on a plethora of remixes for artists like Weezy, Rick Ross, Eightball & MJG and others, so keep your eyes peeled for these talented cats.
14. Styles P ft. Swizz Beats "Blow Ya Mind (Benja Styles Remix)": For those paying attention, I dropped this weed-soaked anthem on the 19th edition of rock the dub radio. Benja Styles throws a throwback beat underneath Styles' latest ode to the greenery, and this actually sits much better than Swizzy's original. Has that blaxploitation vibe to it, which is something I'd love to zone to if I was still chiefin'... and don't get it twisted - Benja is more than just a Hip-Hop remixer/producer - he has many styles!
15. SIN "Last Night": SIN is a dope North Carolina spitter, with an everyman-appeal and some wicked flows. He's not super flashy, just real, and when he's in the pocket, he's murder. SIN beasts on this banger of a beat, bridging the stylin' from the old school with the aggression of today, this cuts a sleeper. This is another cat I interviewed for The Flow who's kept in touch, and kept making heat, getting love stateside as well as in Germany. How does that work? Consistency... pick up his Warning Shot mixtape to get more fire like this.
16. Both Nice ft. Jelani "The Cuchifritos Groove": Those Notherground cats are working on a ton of stuff, from Jelani's forthcoming Wait, You Can Rap?!?! album to a ton of other stuff. "The Cuchifritos Groove" is some slick shit, something to lean and rock to. Bang this one LOUD in the whip, and feel the windows shake off that bass. Oh, Both Nice = 6th Sense + Wildabeast, so you already know!
17. The Homebodies ft. Cool Breeze "Cool (Remix)": The Homebodies = A-Bomb & Wes Green, and this keeps you on that slinky, groovin' vibe we're on right now. And yes, it's that Cool Breeze. Get your lighters out for this one - all of you peeps who just KNOW you're cool, here's your anthem. ATL is definitely in the house. Check out their recently-released video for "Know Me Foe", and definitely be on the lookout for these cats.
18. Tef Poe "Niggas Ain't Brolic": Tef is another St. Louis rhymer, and this just has me open. "Niggas Ain't Brolic", aside from being a hot title, is also full of punchlines, and doesn't get old. Manifest Destiny should be out at some point this year (right, Tef?), but for now, keep up with dude - he's an interesting cat.
19. 5th Flow "The Reign": Yes, these three Texas spitters are just warming up for their album, but this banger, which was on their Quarter To A Half mixtape, is more fitting as an end-cap on this chapter, with some fierce bars and a bombastic beat. Pink Slip up in this, forreal...
So that's that, for now. You can grab this as one complete .rar, or hit up the mirrors over at mediafire. Shouts to beatplexity and openeyesconnect for the hosting. Shouts to all of the heads who allowed me to include their music on this compilation. Big ups to all of the heads I converse with on the regular, those who give honest critiques and insight into how I might want to do things. Props to all of my fellow bloggers for filling in the gaps on my musical journey. Much love to my wife, who always has a supportive ear. And one love goes out to Hip-Hop.
Disc 2 drops on June 23rd... keep it locked!
Back in March, my boy Enigmatik brought you the first edition of his Boom Shottas mixes. He's back, fresh for the summer, with round 2, hitting you with some hot Dancehall & Reggae vibes. CIRCLE!
1. BGDB Intro
2. Mus Come A Road - Mr. Vegas
3. Doh - Serani f/Bugle
4. Pussy Informer - Mavado
5. Doh Be No Pussy - Bugle
6. Champion Sound - YT Million Stylez, Mr Williamz, Blackout, Ja Iverse, Jah Knight
7. JA News Investigative Reports
8. Broad Daylight - Vybz Kartel
9. Duppy - Demarco
10. Ghetto Story (remix) - Cham f/Alicia Keys
11. Welcome To Jamrock - Damien Marley
12. JA News Nuh Irie
13. Dem Nuh Build Great Man - Jah Cure f/Fantan Mojah
14. Overcome (Brighter Day) - Mavado
15. BGDB Outro
Blaze a tree and cool out to this one.
Jadakiss, Cassidy, Lil' Mama, Jay-Z & Lil' Wayne "A Millie (rock the dub Mega Mix)": Really simple. You know a shit-load of MCs have been rippin' up Weezy's "A Millie" instrumental, here are all of my favorites in one MP3, including that (no DJ) Jay-Z "A Billie" freestyle that Young Sav placed in my inbox (forever greatful). Fire, forreal. Spread the love.
From what I understand, Tyga is the cousin of Gym Class Heroes' Travis McCoy, and is signed with both Lil' Wayne and Pete Wentz' labels. Must be nice to have friends/fam in the industry...
"Diamond Life (ft. Crash)"
Wow. Big beat with some odd female on the hook. There's a shitload going on in this beat. In his lyrics? Not so much.
"Coconut Juice (ft. Travis McCoy)"
You ever been drunk on keg beer at someone's house party, and the DJ put on a track that you didn't particularly feel, but you saw all of the ladies getting really suggestive with their dancing to the joint? That's what "Coconut Juice" sounds like to me. Drunken college slut bangers. Travis' verse is so short, it's unnecessary. I guess you gotta sell units some way.
"I stay puffed like the Marshmallow Man"? No thanks. Dude really sounds like everyone and no one at once. Patrick Stump produced this. That's probably not a good idea, no matter how cheap his in-house beats might be.
"Don't Regret It Now (ft. Patrick Stump)"
This beat sounds like the one previous, with weaker synths. Dude goes in a bit lyrically, but his voice and that synth make the message get lost in the sauce. I could do without that hook, too, but you know.
This beat puts me to sleep. I'm not sure if that was the intention, though.
Dude sounds like crap over hi-tempo and mid-tempo beats. I can imagine him in the booth, really getting into his flow... and it makes me laugh.
I could see this being a decent single for the cool summer nights, with that guitar and laid-back beat. Nice summer love cut here.
Wow. I'm surprised cats are still saying "no homo". Loads of cartoon mentions in here. I'm head-nodding to this beat, but it's definitely not that hot.
I guess this is dude trying to be the Fresh Prince. Only he's underage and packing Patron.
You gotta love how semi-decent tracks get ruined by that nasal white boy singing on the hook. Not that this track was that great or anything. I'm just saying, the hook takes it from a -4 to a -24.
I wonder what the extra 'w' is for. Dude said this is a new sound. Then he says "I can make a style out of nothing". Dude says "wow" like Kia Shine does, so I guess that whole "new sound" shit is bogus (especially when he says "I don't think nobody sound like this"; maybe he didn't cop that Kinfolk CD).
Hey Tyga! You wish you were in a coma? Listen to your CD, it'll be the perfect sleep-inducer for when your life's troubles are too much for you, dog.
"Est. (80's Baby)"
His "I"m an 80s baby" track. Punchy kicks in this beat, but again, too much going on in here.
At the end of the day, I am just not feeling this. I didn't have high hopes or anything... and that's probably for the better. I can't even imagine someone actually buying this, unless they felt "Coconut Juice" was REALLY THAT FLY. Which it wasn't. Anyone got Pete Wentz' number?
rock the dub gives No Introduction a 1.5 out of 5 stars. Not much going on here, which is sad, considering the company dude keeps. Whomever greenlit this needs to be fired.
Burn Deez: "First Timers", "Cartoonz"
No Introduction is in stores June 10th. You can preview the entire LP right now over at The Leak via MTV.
Nas ft. Keri Hilson "Hero" (prod. by Polow Da Don): I love when I hardly get anything in the e-mail, then when I get off work, I get some new Nas. Props to Young Sav for the drop. Looks like Nas' new album drops on July 15th? How do you guys rate this one?
Pic jaked from Eskay.
Elemental Zazen's The Glass Should Be Full was released on May 20th, and it was a seriously long-time coming. Most artists take four years to complete their albums because they hit writer's block. Most of them are not fighting brain tumors and house fires. Then again, Elemental Zazen is not most MCs...
khal: How did you get started rhyming?
Elemental Zazen: Well, like most kids in the early 90’s, I was listening to Hip-Hop. The first Hip-Hop tape that I fell in love with was the first Naughty By Nature album. Then came perhaps the record that influenced me the most, Apocalypse ’91 by Public Enemy. I was a 5th grader living in Al Taif, Saudi Arabia, signing along with songs like “By The Time I Get to Arizona” and “Lost At Birth.” I had no idea what Chuck D was talking about most of the time, but he was saying it with such urgency I knew it had to be important. From there I started writing little rhymes when I was bored in class and eventually started writing verses. After moving to China in ’96 I started freestyling and doing shows - pretty much by myself (Hip-Hop wasn’t omnipresent back then).
khal: Listening to your music, the term "revolutionary Hip-Hop" definitely comes to mind. I've also read that, while you are in the Boston area now, you have traveled the world as a youngster. What about your life has drawn you to speak out on the injustices worldwide?
Elemental Zazen: Growing up in the third world and coming back to the states is eye opening for several reasons - some of which you wouldn’t expect. For example, the socio-economic inequality in China or Egypt is more visible than it is here, but in actuality it is very similar in its pervasiveness. I knew there was something wrong when I saw people living on the streets when I was kid, and after hearing all of this “America is perfect” propaganda and returning here to the same situation, I felt a need to put my two cents in. I’ve always been sensitive to the needs of people, even strangers. I don’t know. I guess I just have an appreciation for humanity. I would feel like I was failing if I wasn’t doing whatever I could to make the world a better place.
khal: Your debut, The Adolescence Weapon, dropped in 2004. Now you're on the brink of the release of The Glass Should Be Full. Can you talk about what you've gone through in the last 4 years, and how these events have helped shape you as both an artist and a man?
Elemental Zazen: I could write a novel about the last 4 years. So many ups and downs: from finishing the record to getting a full scholarship for my PhD to house fires to brain tumors. Nowadays, I try to look back on the positive things that have happened to me in the last few years. Thinking about all of the things I have had to deal with can be depressing, and to be honest there are plenty of people that have had it worse. That being said, I feel like, if anything, I am increasingly apathetic about my own circumstances. I don’t get too excited about anything, or too down either. Music is the one place where I still feel I can express myself without having to wear the mask of personal tragedy.
khal: How is your personal health these days?
Elemental Zazen: I’m feeling better every day, though I have to be on the lookout for seizures. I had a slight one the other day, and that scared me pretty bad. I’m doing my best to stay away from alcohol and things like that…easier said than done, especially for a musician who’s at shows all the time.
khal: Break down your new album, The Glass Should Be Full, for us: who did you work with, what can people expect when they hear it, etc.
Elemental Zazen: Honestly I don’t know how to categorize the new record. There are some political songs, and some more introspective songs. I guess I’d have to sum up the album as “personal”. I was lucky enough to work with some of my favorite producers, such as Joe Beats, Kno, and Maker. I think the album is too dense to really get a lot from in one listen, but repeated listens will reveal the motifs prevalent throughout the album: dealing with death and insignificance, frustration with the state of the world, and coping with an altogether imbalanced existence.
khal: What would you say is the most intriguing thing about your MC skills? While, lyrically, your tracks are more focused on world issues, do you have tracks where you just let loose and flow?
Elemental Zazen: Yeah, I have tracks where I just flow but I figure I might as well try to say something while people are listening. If someone decides to check out my music, I want to leave he/she with more than just “that beat was hot.” Having some meaning in a song gives it much more depth. That’s what makes the early Outkast records so tight. The beats were on point, and Andre was killing it on the mic AND speaking about relevant issues besides drinking, smoking, girls, etc. When I first heard ATLiens, I wasn’t head over heels for it, but after taking the time to hear what was being said on the record, it stayed in heavy rotation for years.
khal: Who are you backing in this year's election? Are there any issues you'd like to see the candidates/American government focus on?
Elemental Zazen: I don’t trust politicians. It may sound contradictory, but the reality is that progressive minds are actually more in agreement with traditional republicans (NOT neo-conservatives like Bush, McCain, etc.) than contemporary democrats. This is because traditional republicans have one major focus, and that is keeping the government out of everyone’s shit. People like Ron Paul are tapping into this constituency. Being untrustworthy of politicians, philosophically I would lean more to that concept (limited government) with the caveat of believing is social welfare and universal healthcare. That being said, I’m not backing any of the major candidates. Pat of me thinks shit really needs to hit the fan before the fundamentals of the system change. Who knows though…technology may be conducive to reform change.
khal: The Boston area seems to breed some fine Hip-Hop talent, at least on a more non-commercial level. How rich is the underground Hip-Hop scene in the Boston area?
Elemental Zazen: I swear the top ten emcees in Boston could go toe to toe with the top 10 from any city. Most people just know about Lif and Edo G but there are a bunch of talented emcees and producers here, several of which I am lucky enough to have on my record (J.Ferra, Confidence, Gnotes, Afro DZ ak). The problem with the scene here is that artists always feel like they have to move in order to make it. It’s not like I can say much, though. I’m moving to Seattle this fall.
khal: Will you be going on tour in support of your new album?
Elemental Zazen: I have a few shows scheduled in the northeast in the next month or so, and then I am heading to Europe for a little over a month this summer. After that, I will be moving out west so I am sure I will get something set up out there for the late summer/early fall.
khal: One thing I recently read on the 'Net was a post asking where the revolution songs in Hip-Hop were. Why do you think so few artists speak on more concrete and "real" issues, as opposed to sticking to some of the fodder that is played on the radio?
Elemental Zazen: It seems to me like it is trendy now to speak out against the government, which is both a gift and a curse. I obviously want people to keep their eyes open about what is happening in the world, but if all of that energy goes unorganized, it will die out like what happened in the 1970’s. As far as popular music goes, the radio is slowly sinking into irrelevance…not a moment too soon. Artists obviously avoid speaking out on record if they want serious radio plays, because the idea of being against the status quo is exactly the opposite of what radio stations want to promote. When things change, they will no longer be able to pimp artists and labels in exchange for plays.
khal: What do you think Elemental Zazen's place in the Hip-Hop history books will be?
Elemental Zazen: Honestly, I think I will leave a larger mark on academics and class struggle than music. I love music, but my goals are bigger than simply making an album. I just hope that when people pick up an album of mine, they might feel inspired to change something about their life; whether it’s a viewpoint about something or an approach they take to an issue.
khal: Do you have any plans on a follow-up album?
Elemental Zazen: Of course. And the next one won’t take nearly as long as this one. I’ll be dropping the follow-up next fall, at the latest. I have been feeling inspired lately.
khal: How do you unwind?
Elemental Zazen: No different than the average man, although I party much less than I used to. I like to exercise and keep my thoughts clear. Besides that I go to a lot of shows and make music.
khal: Do you have any final thoughts/shout outs?
Elemental Zazen: Shout out to Gnawledge Records for putting out my album. A big thank you to Gnotes and Canyon for all of their hard work. Also, check for my label mate Afro DZ ak’s record Elevation which hits stores this fall.
Check out Elemental Zazen's video for "Handcuffs":
Props to Canyon Cody for hooking this interview up.
Jasira, a 13-year-old Arab-American girl, navigates the confusing and frightening path of adolescence and her own sexual awakening. When Jasira's mother sends her to Houston to live with her strict Lebanese father, she quickly learns that her new neighbors find her and her father a curiosity. Worse, her budding womanhood makes her traditional and hot-tempered father uncomfortable. Lonely in this new environment, Jasira seeks friendship and acceptance from her neighbors Mr. Vuoso, an Army reservist, and Melina, a meddling but caring expectant mother. Thrown into an unfamiliar suburban world, Jasira must confront racism and hypocrisy at home and at school - and at the same time struggle to make sense of her raging hormones and newfound sexuality. Her boyfriend, Thomas, though a few years older, provides some comfort - but even that relationship causes problems when her father discovers that Thomas is black. Surrounded by adults who are just as lost as she is, Jasira yearns for understanding, even amidst often brutal acts.
Sounds interesting... in theaters this August.
Stateside Drum & Bass, sadly, seems to be a term that Internets users like to frown upon, as if the tracks coming from American soul are, for lack of a better term, crap. With a crop of producers who, over the last few years, have been stepping up with some sick releases, it's good to dig in and chat with some homegrown talent. Genr8 is one of these producers; reppin' both coasts, Genr8 has gone from a guy who is just "fucking around with equipment" and seeing what happens to being acknowledged by veterans like the EZ Rollers, Maldini & Vegas, and a host of others, and is part of the new breed of American producers. I got to fling some questions at him, and he vollyed with precision...
khal: EZ Genr8, thanks for taking the time out to chat. Can you first introduce yourself: give us your affiliations, where you’re from and all of that?
Genr8: Whatup man, thanks for having me. Well, I started out in Miami Fl. DJing and eventually got into making tracks. I’ve worked with labels like Intercom, Bad Company Presents, Cartel, Incite, Human/System, Nemesis, Evol Intent and most currently with Project 51.
khal: How did you first get into Drum & Bass? Do you remember the first tape/CD/vinyl DnB release that you bought, and why?
Genr8: I used to go to raves to listen to breaks mostly; Drum & Bass started becoming the "other" room where shit was popping even harder than on the main floor. The first mixtape that strongly influenced me was from LP of the Soul Providers. From that same lot I later picked up on DJ Element's mixtapes, as well as events. Then I herd the infamous A.W.O.L. Live CD. That was the first time I heard a “massive”; it blew my mind. As far as production, some early names that pop to mind are Kenny Ken, DJ Rap, Mickey Finn & Aphrodite, Metalheadz, Hype & Zinc, Trace, Ed Rush & Nico, Ray Keith, Roni Size, Dillinja and Shy FX.
khal: I know you’ve been billed as being from Orlando, but your MySpace has you listed as being out in Los Angeles. In terms of DnB scenes, how similar/different is the Orlando scene from L.A.? Do you prefer one to the other?
Genr8: I've been setting up fort in L.A. the last few months. I've only been able to make it out to a handful of parties. The few that I have been to have been very cool, some serious junglists out here. Orlando was more of a small, intimate core of friends that just happened to also be die hard DnB lovers. I do miss Orlando sometimes, but I am very exited about my future here in LA and abroad.
khal: When did you start getting into producing? What is your setup like these days?
Genr8: I started off taking basic MIDI classes in college; then I got an MPC2000 and started fucking around with that. Eventually sorted a PC, updating to faster processors and better software. It has pretty much been the same until now. I recently had to sell most of my setup cause it was gonna be too much to ship it cross country so I am just starting to build it all back now. I work mainly in Nuendo on a PC. Before I sold everything I had Mackie 624 and JBL LSR43 monitors, Soundcraft FX16 Console and a PC. Some of the programs I’ve used in the past to produce Drum & Bass include Protools, Cubase and Reason.
khal: Many first heard your output from the work you did with Alliance and The Chosen. How did those crews come together, and what did you pick up from them?
Genr8: Both were incredible growing experiences as well as strong bonds with some unique individuals. Alliance was born out of a chance encounter at a local music gear shop where I went in to purchase my first serious studio setup. Ivan, who became my Alliance partner later, was the guy that was there to sell me the rig. Long story short, we decided to link up to fuck around with some beats and about 12 tunes came from that =). The Chosen happened a few years after when I took up a job in Orlando instructing audio at Fullsail. I met Darren SST and a few other DnB heads there. We very quickly gravitated into a group of four very motivated operators. These projects gave me the chance to experiment with other sides of DnB. Although we’ve hit rough patches, for the most part it was really fun and fulfilling. I would not hesitate to work with
any of these guys again in the future.
khal: You got some of your first good looks, release wise, from the EZ Rollers remix you completed as part of Alliance. How did it feel to tie for the top prize in that contest a few years back?
Genr8: It was a great opportunity to showcase not only our talent but many others that I’m sure went on to make quality music. It was an awesome confidence boost for us to know that we had just been singled out from countless others around the world. It was also very cool to know that we where selected by the people instead of just a few judges. Up until then we where just amateurs fucking around with beats to play at parties.
khal: Now, what’s ill about you is that you went from being virtually unheard of to collaborating on tracks with the likes of Craze, Infiltrata and Counterstrike. How does it feel to make that leap, having tracks out on labels like Evol Intent, Cartel and Bad Company Presents?
Genr8: Well, I had already been rolling the ball strong under Alliance so it was easy to work with these cats from there. With the help of AIM, it was pretty simple to directly hit up the people that I was interested in working with, as well as have people hit me up to collab or sign a tune. I've also been lucky to have a small but influential group of people that dug my music and wanted to see me succeed. People like Mr. Mendez, Jae Kennedy, Vegas, Craze, Infiltrata, Suga-B, Influx Datum and most recently Peer Pressure. I’m very grateful to you all.
khal: What do you have on the horizon in terms of releases? You working on any EPs, albums or any special remixes?
Genr8: It’s been a bit tricky to stay in the game with the big move to the west and having to get rid of all my gear, but I managed to get some studio time in with my laptop and make a few things happen. I got in the studio with the Koldfront trio (Jae Kennedy, Karl K, & Kaos) and will be putting out a 12” early next year on their own Saints & Sinners imprint. I also just finished a tune titled "Counter Culture" for Gridlok's P.51 label, for which I am also putting together an EP for. From The Chosen lot we got our long awaited "Faith of the Fallen" coming out on Ohm Resistance this fall. On the remix tip, I’m looking forward to working on a
“Vice” remix for the Koldfront guys and an undisclosed remix for the forthcoming Bad Taste Remixes EP.
khal: Do you have any favorite tunes that you’ve created?
Genr8: "Thru My Eyes" from Alliance and "Faith of The Fallen" from The Chosen are the two that stand out in my mind.
khal: You’ve recently mixed the latest DnBTV podcast. Can you tell us a bit about this mix – was there any running theme? Is this an accurate example of your DJing in the club?
Genr8: Basically some of the tunes that I am digging at the moment combined with some of the work I've done this year. There's a little bit of each tip that I am interested in developing at the moment. The mix has its progression from start to finish with a few ups and downs throughout. As far as comparing it to the live experience, I would have to say yea, its pretty much what you would hear from me for the exception that in the club it would be more based on the immediate feedback I receive from the crowd and perhaps more top secret shit that I am not allowed to post online ;]
khal: Do you have a current top 10 for June?
Gridlok - The Media Is a Joke
Atlantic Connection - "Soul Musiq"
Alliance - "Jive" (GENR8 VIP)
State Of Mind & Concord Dawn - "The Deviants"
Quadrant & Cease - "Blood On Our Hands"
Gridlok - "Lab Rat"
Genr8 - "Invaders"
Koldfront & Genr8 - "Broka"
Origin - "Nonsense"
Jade & Matt U - "Cracks In the Ceiling"
khal: Before we wrap this up, do you have any shout outs or words of advice for the massive?
Genr8: Yea, keep focused on your goals but don’t determine your ultimate happiness on them. Thanks to every one that has supported what I do over the years. Hold tight for the next phase ;)
For more info on Genr8, including audio and further info on his budding carrer, hit up his MySpace page, www.myspace.com/djgenr8. Shouts to Matt PPR for the hookup, and one love to all DnBTV crew (Grayfox, I see you)!
- Jadakiss "From Now 'Til Then (DJ Premier Mix)" [Bonus Beats: Jadakiss "A Millie Freestyle"]
- Lil' Wayne ft. Jay-Z "Mr. Carter" (prod. by Just Blaze) [Bonus Beats: Lil' Wayne "Dr. Carter" (prod. by Swizz Beats)]
- N.E.R.D. "Time For Some Action" [Bonus Beats: N.E.R.D. "Everybody Nose (Sammy Bananas Remix)"]
- LL Cool J ft. Trey Songz "Girl If I" (prod. by Tha Bizness) [Bonus Beats: LL Cool J "Hi Hater Freestyle"]
- G-Unit "Straight Outta Southside"
- Nas "Black President" (prod. by Green Lantern)
- Rick Ross ft. Shawnna & Triple C "Money Make Me Cum (Remix)"
- T.I. ft. Yung Joc "No Matter What (Remix)"
- Lil' Flip (ft. Jay-Z?) "Deep In The South"
- Lil' Mama "A Millie Freestyle"
- Papoose "A Milli Freestyle" [Bonus Beats: Papoose "Dats Bitch Ass Ness"]
- Royce Da 5'9 "Done Talkin'"
- DMX ft. Freeway "Where You Been"
- Lupe Fiasco "Cold World"
- Young Chris ft. Peedi Crakk "Kill Me"
- Peedi Crakk "Dey Know Freestyle"
- Plies ft. Keyshia Cole & J. Holiday "#1 Fan"
- The LOX "Close Your Eyes"
- Nu Jerzey Devil ft. Sheek Louch "Chain Snatcher" (prod. by Cookin' Soul)
- DJ Doo Wop "Go DJ 2008 (Lil' Wayne Diss)" (prod. by Cookin' Soul)
- Remy Ma "If You Only Knew" (prod. by Certifyd)
- Chris Brown "Heart Ain't A Brain"
- Ciara "Supernatural"
- Macy Gray ft. The Game "Only In The Dark"
- Dru Hill "Get Loose"
- Sean Garrett ft. Pharrell "Patron" (prod. by The Neptunes)
- Nicole Scherzinger ft. Britney Spears "Do What You Want To Me"
- Res "You Know What" (N.E.R.D. Reference Track)
- Hot Stylz ft. Mya "Faucet"
- Team Blackout "Lights Down Low" (prod. by Rockwilder)
- Nappy Roots "No Static"
- Robin Thicke "Magic"
- Novel ft. Joell Ortiz "Put On (Remix)"
- Elucid "Step Careful" (prod. by Waxwerks11701)
- Che Grand "Crash"
- Tanya Morgan "How Low"
- Donwill & suhBURB "All Right"
- Soulbrotha & Kay "Go Left"
- Donny Goines "I Am Moving" (prod. by Dame Grease)
- Crew54 ft. Donny Goines "Ghetto Is Our Home" (prod. by Dichter2 Productions) [Bonus Beats: Crew54 "Therapy" (prod. by Parr Beats)]
- Black ELement "Ama Tell It Like This" (prod. by Rami Afuni) [Bonus Beats: Black ELement ft. NAV "Folks Don't Cost A Thing" (prod. by Rami Afuni)]
- AC ft. Skyzoo "The Healing" (prod. by Rain)
- J The S ft. Skyzoo & Lord Touch "Pump"
- Jelani "Wait You Can Rap?!?! (Intro)" (prod. by 6th Sense)
- Alfamega ft. T.I. & Nitti "Uhh Huh" (prod. by Nitti) [clean / dirty]
- Invincible ft. Locust "Finale" (prod. by House Shoes)
- Trae & Hurricane Chris "Pushin' Buttons" (prod. by I.N.F.O. & Nova)
- Agallah ft. Empress "Voices In My Head" (prod. by Agallah)
- Boxie ft. Juelz Santana "Let Me Show U (Remix)"
- Vic Damone ft. Rick Ross "Go Hard"
- Bacon "Chancez" (prod. by Anthony "Scoe" Walker)
- Ben One ft. Shawnna "Never Leave My Girl"
- Hawk ft. KC "Automatic" (prod. by The Runners)
- Big Lou "Glow (Mister KA)"
- Culture VI ft. Joe Budden "Dangerous"
- Lil' Wil "Bust It Open"
- Kartoon "Paper Plates"
- Tricky "Council Estate (South Rakkas Remix)"
- Ludachrist "Ghost Busta Rhymes"
- Bezel ft. David Banner & Bone Crusher "See About Ya (DJ Nappy THUGSTEP Refix)" (mirror)
GETCHA LATE PASS:
- Wordsmith The Mid-Year Review Mixtape
- rock the dub radio: episode 021
- DJ Cable's Weekly Mix #19
- Caps & Jones - Backyard BBQ Mix
- Trackstar the DJ Presents John Hill 3:16
- donwill + suhBURB = Suburban Sprawl
Don't ask me, but yesterday Trackstar and I got into a convo about Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and it reminded me of this classic video from, oh, 8-9 years ago:
Will Smith ft. Biz Markie & Slick Rick "So Fresh"
Enjoy your weekend!
It's been a long time coming... well, try 5 months or so, from when I broached the initial idea (and subsequent updates) to today, 4 days before the release of The Lighthouse Project. I look at lighthouses as a beacon, a light in the dark that will signal the course you need to go. In expounding on that idea, I try to make rock the dub a spotlight, helping you see the future of Hip-Hop with dope acts who get shine but aren't "there". Or need to be there.
This project has aggravated me at times, but as with anything you are passionate about, that's par for the course. I got so many submissions that I loved that I figured, why not split the release in two; so, Disc 1 drops on Monday, June 9th. It will feature heads like L.E.G.A.C.Y., JunClassic, Hustle Simmons, Cy Yung, Che Grand, Black ELement, R.O.E., Aych, as well as remixes from The Amps and Benja Styles. Among others, of course. It's a bit harder, while Disc 2, which drops on Monday, June 23rd, gets a bit more soulful and introspective, with joints from the likes of Elucid, Amanda Diva, Cave Precise, Praverb and a shitload of others I can't think of at 8 in the morning. It's a deep CD, and DJ Cable is working on the mixtape, so I would imagine that once that's done, it will be an even iller look at the tracks I've compiled (with some exclusives thrown in to boot).
One thing to note: this project is split between tracks that have been released (either on someone's album or on the 'Net) and tracks I got exclusively. Some are new, and some might be new to you. They are all tracks I feel, from artists I feel, and hope you, the listener/blog reader/hater/big upper/peer are into it.