Archive for 07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016

rockthedub radio 033: Electronic AF

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This week, we do things a little differently. Instead of being two hours of wall-to-wall hip-hop, we take things into more of a electronic lane. Why? Well, I'm hoping people haven't slept on the RTDMIX series that started earlier this month. Also, I've been on a grime kick.

For the first half hour, I drop in a bunch of new material, featuring Kemba, ScHoolboy Q, and Desiigner, but then dipped into more of a grime ting with Trim, The Bug, and Flowdan, before rounding things out properly. I then slapped on the new mixes from Dev79 and Reid Speed, and I want more of you to get acquainted with our other podcast series. Sue me.

When you're done suing me, subscribe to rockthedub radio on iTunes.


Soundcrusha's 'Pyramid' is a Magical, Mystical Ride

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Cap City, the same crew that brought you A Mankind Complex's Destination, is back with a new EP from Soundcrusha!.While this crew is more well-known for their rapper-lead projects, this five-track opus from Soundcrusha! is all about the beats.

There's a mystical vibe to this; "Birth" sets things off like an intro track should. Not too overbearing, definitely airy, signalling things to come. Deeper house tones are the name of the game with "The Ankh," while "Fifth Element" takes things into a more magical arena with a slightly higher BPM. "Eden" / "Pineal Gland" slows things down, with more hypnotic, downtempo vibes, and the closer "Journey" is the kind of trap-like dream that closing credits are made for.

I personally don't know much of Soundcrusha!'s previous work, but this one right here? It's something to lounge to on a chill summer afternoon. Stream and download below.

Leon Rainbow and Will Kasso Talk the History of Jersey Fresh Jam

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This week, Trenton365 had Leon Rainbow and Will Kasso on the program to talk about the Jersey Fresh Jam, which will be back again for its 11th annual event on August 6 at TerraCycle in Trenton. They not only break down the history of the Jam, but the importance of Graffiti in both the art world and the culture of hip-hop. Trenton's been doing this, but it's always good to sit down and look back at the journey. I personally make it a point to hit the Jam for a bit every summer, and I think you should as well.

For more details on this year's event, hit up jerseyfreshjam.com.

Trackstar the DJ Pays Tribute to DJ Shadow With Impressive 'The Mountain Will Fall' Megamix

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After interviewing DJ Shadow for Complex, I hit up Trackstar the DJ, the STL-based selector who is also Run the Jewels' DJ. Why? Because Shadow was rocking one of Trackstar's SKRATCH FAN hats. We had a quick back and forth about it, and I realized that Track was a bigger Shadow fan than I knew. It looks like he's such a big fan that he sorted out a megamix in the vein of Q-Bert's "Camel Bobsled Race" mix from years back for Shadow's new album, The Mountain Will Fall.

As Track tells it, "A couple of weeks ago, while walking around in the woods and listening to his new album The Mountain Will Fall, I thought about the incredible DJ Q-Bert megamix Camel Bobsled Race, which was a mashup of Shadow tracks released alongside Pre-Emptive Strike in 1997, and decided to try my hand at making a similar megamix. I thought it came out pretty dope, so I nervously sent it to my idol. Amazingly he dug it."

That mix is embedded below. If you still haven't checked for the album, give this a twirl, then cop it immediately.



[The Smoking Section]

RTDMIX002: Reid Speed

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I don't know if Reid Speed knows this or not, but it feels like most of my life as a fan of electronic music has involved seeing her name somewhere. She's been doing the damn thing for the last two decades, but I think I really started seeing her name out there around '98/'99, aka the time when I really started understanding what raves were. Being in New Jersey, it's nothing to know who's doing the damn thing in New York City, and Reid's definitely been a force both here and on the West Coast.

Drum & Bass heads definitely know what time it is with Reid; her dnb roots in the NYC scene go back, doing everything from working at the legendary Breakbeat Science and being a part of the Direct Drive crew to spinning at damn near any dnb event worth its weight in acetate. She's one of the first here in the States to really champion speed garage and 2-step, and over the years she's stayed on the cusp of the bass music scene, primarily through her Play Me and Play Me Too imprints, which dabble in everything from trap to dubstep.

When you're talking about women not getting theirs in the electronic music scene, I hear you, but then I think of women like Reid Speed. She's not waiting for a hand out or help from ANYONE; her mentality appears to be "I'll be over here doing my thing; catch up when you're ready."

For her RTDMIX, Reid told me she went more "vibey" and less obvious, going all over the place in BPMs. When you see the tracklist, it makes sense; she's dropping material from Joker and Skepta alongside cuts from Stareyes, UZ, Big Dope P, and RL Grime. You can turn up, you can vibe out; do what you want. Reid's going to be doing her, waiting for the world to catch up.

You can stream this mix below, and if you're so inclined, subscribe to the podcast.


D-Nice Talks the History of BDP, DJing, and More on Juan Epstein

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I don't know about you, but Boogie Down Productions will go down as one of my favorite groups of all time. I think I was into hip-hop at the right moment (hip-hop blowing up, especially with all of the rap video shows on TV), and KRS-One and company spoke to me. I was a fan of DJs, and something about D-Nice appealed to me as well.

If you're a fan of the man who went from the younger guy who put in work with BDP and struck out on his own as an artist to seeing him at corporate events with either a camera in his hand or working the wheels of steel, this podcast is what you need. They go IN on the history, covering D's time working with Kid Rock and the story of Scott La Rock being killed to producing a number of early BDP cuts (along with the classic posse cut "Self Destruction") and where his career is going today. Hit play ASAP.


Swindle's Back With Some More of His Mood Music

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About a year ago, I spoke with Swindle before the release of his Peace, Love& Music album. It was dope to hear him talk about a project that's theme is based on the different places he traveled to as a musician and DJ. If you thought that was out of his system, think again.

On August 12 he kicks off his Trilogy in Funk project, a three-part series of EPs that finds he collecting tunes based on one particular theme or sound, on Butterz. His first, Connecta, was made in Brazil, and the title track is down below. You'll get the idea. He worked on a second EP, Purple Walls, in Los Angeles, and it's said to be a P Funk project (during our project, he mentioned digging Thundercat and being asked why he doesn't work with Dam-Funk, so maybe they will  be featured on this project). The third piece of this puzzle is Funk & Grime, an EP with London-based MCs. You should already KNOW what time it is.

Judging by the product he's released over the last few years, this sounds like the different pieces of his musical personality being able to flourish on their own. Check out "Connecta" below, and be on the look out for its released; DJ Q did a remix of the title track! And it looks like Swindle will be touring the States in September, so be on the look out for that as well.


Kemba Bears His Black Soul on His New Opus, 'Negus'

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"Please don't call me conscious, don't call it political/please don't deem this lyrical, these are Negro spirituals"

With that, welcome to Kemba's Negus. Over an intoxicating array of Frank Drake beats, Kemba cuts open his chest, pulls out his heart, and squeezes his essence onto the pad. He didn't say much in the note he sent over with the project (which he'd been working on for three years), although he did mention that he's "excited and nervous to share it, especially in the times we're in today."

If you're looking for your hip-hop to help you understand where you are as a black person in America in 2016, this 12-track opus should be your guide. Or at the very least, your starting point. Stream this one below, and grab it for free over on Bandcamp, or on iTunes.


Dub Phizix Gave Away 12 Exclusives From His 'Fabriclive 84' Mix

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Last November, the Fabriclive mix series welcomed one of my favorite drum & bass producers, Dub Phizix, to their fold. Dude's just got a darker, murkier, dancehall-ier vibe that he brings to the proceedings that always does me in.

The mix included a serious batch of unreleased tunes, and in an effort to create a mailing list, Dub sorted out a batch of 12 exclusives that you can grab for free of charge. Here's his note about the release, which you can stream below.



Mr. Carmack Gave Away His Massive 'Yellow' EP

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I saw some EDM blogs that shall remain nameless going insane over Mr. Carmack giving away something like 50 tracks. Seeing as I love keeping up with odd shit going down in the world of electronic music, my ears perked up, but I quickly chilled out when I realized that Carmack had just uploaded his massive Yellow EP, which had been floating around Al Gore's Internets since April of this year.

The EP is actually something Carmack released on USB at a pop-up shop in Los Angeles to coincide with a new line of merch, and the heads on Reddit had a field day reconstructing what was actually on the release. There's a LOT on here, including remixes of artists like Ol Dirty Bastard, Beyonce, Drake, Aaliyah, and many, many more. If you dug Craze's "BEATS" mix, you'll love this.

This week, Carmack's site acknowledged the release, giving heads a full playlist with all of the tracks being uploaded to Carmack's SoundCloud account. No word on how long they'll be up, so grab this ASAP.

DJ Earl to Drop His Long-Awaited Album, 'Open Your Eyes,' Via TEKLIFE [UPDATE]

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Photo Credit: TEKLIFE / Shepard Fairey

Today, I woke up to info I'd been waiting for for the longest. DJ Earl, one of the younger and more prolific TEKLIFE affiliates, is finally dropping his album Open Your Eyes as the second release on the TEKLIFE imprint on August 19th.

While there is no audio for these as of yet, as you can see the TEKLIFE crew is locked in, with Manny, Taye, and Taso making appearances alongside MoonDoctor, Suzi Analogue, and Oneohtrix Point Never, who is all over the albums (like he mentioned back in March).

TEKLIFE has all of the info, including pre-order links. Full tracklist for the eight-track project down below, and the Shepard Fairey-created cover is up above.

UPDATE Open Your Eyes is out NOW. It's goddamn intoxicating, too. Everything you love about the TEKLIFE sound is all up in here. Stream the entire project below.

The Perfect Mixtape For When You Need to Say "Fuck The Police"

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Photo Credit: Lambo

I won't front; I was really about to make another mix featuring some true "fuck the police" tracks, but realize that I've already kind of done that...twice. Shouts to the Passion of the Weiss crew, who put together this Fuck The Police Tape, which is tracks featuring nothing but middle fingers at the law.

Why? Because fuck 'em, that's why.

The Black Hippy Crew Tore Up ScHoolboy Q's "THat Part"

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THere are probably bigger fans of Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, and tHe TDE/Black Hippy crews, but wHen Q, K.Dot, Jay Rock, and Ab-Soul get togetHer? It's perfect as Hell.

I've been rocking to a buncH of cuts off of Q's recently-released album Blank Face, and of course the original "THat Part" (with Kanye West) gets 'nuff play, but tHere's sometHing about How Lamar styled on tHis Black Hippy remix. Q blacked, too. It's also wild to tHink tHat tHey must've, like, just recorded this, considering tHat Q raps "WHite nigga witH a badge, you gon' let tHat slide?/Tell me How tHey sent tHat footage off and slept tHat nigHt." Life is real af.

Turn tHis one UP.

"Your favorite blogger? I'm his big homie..."

Black Collar Biz Asks "Do You Reminisce Over You?"

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Yesterday morning, I helped Black Collar Biz drop Black Friday 3 (Pete Rock Edition), which found Collar spitting over a bunch of tracks from Pete Rock's Petestrumentals 2.

While you never expect an artist of Rock's history to promote a project like this, Collar did end up hitting Pete back in March to let him know that this was going to happen. It's not like they hadn't met before; there's a picture of the two of them meeting. When Collar hit him in March, Pete didn't respond. When the project finally dropped? Pete wasn't happy, primarily because he felt that Collar was trying to use his name to promote a project. I get that; I've seen so many "produced by J Dilla" submissions in my own inbox, knowing full damn well an artist never met Dilla. Problem is, this project wasn't being marketed as something that Collar and Pete Rock did together; all of the mentions of Pete were that he just spit over some Pete Rock beats. You'd think, if it was to be pushed as some "Pete Rock and Black Collar Biz worked together" shit, there'd be a much bigger push for that...right?

Either way, Collar shared Pete Rock's texts on IG yesterday. Check them out:



It looks like, at one time, Collar was going to pull the project, but then he thought about it. Feeling he did nothing wrong (because how many other rappers have just spit over instrumentals, primarily to pay homage to a producer or artist they love), Collar not only decided against pulling the project, but grabbed the "T.R.O.Y" instrumental to voice his own frustration over this situation.

"I tried to do it justice..but you weighing in with a blindfold..."

Boogie Voices His Frustration on The Keyel-Produced "Hypocrite Freestyle"

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I've been on some "I don't even know what the fuck to say about the fuckery this week" shit. And I write for a living. Truth be told, my thoughts are just for my son's future. He isn't even 100% aware of the fuckery going on in this world, because he's such a bright soul and optimistic. He gets that from his mother.

It's dope to have people like Boogie voice the frustration and confusion of being a father who knows the fuckery and is looking for his son or just trying to find a way to deal with this shit. We really should be in the shit, not writing songs or blog posts about it. Maybe we ain't shit.



[Pigeons & Planes]

Black Collar Biz Returns With Some Pete Rock Beats For 'Black Friday 3'

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This has been a hard week for black men living in America. Seriously; like, do we just teach our children to never venture out of the house? With the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile still so raw and frustrating (and manifesting itself in those cop killings in Dallas during a peaceful protest last night), one tries to look towards the future. Bring something brighter during these dark days, you smell me?

I say all of that to say that it's frustrating when the music being pumped in the media isn't about much. We're all to blame; those cuts we get turnt to don't necessarily nurture the need for mental stimulation; 808s only go so far. That's why we need producers like Pete Rock and emcees like Black Collar Biz, who made a similar point on Facebook about the music we're being fed and how it's anti our feelings. As the saying goes, though, Trenton Makes, so instead of turning off the radio, Collar picked up the pen, selected some choice Pete Rock instrumentals, and sent over this seven-track EP, Black Friday 3, which follows in the conscious tradition of his previous Black Friday releases.

Collar only wants a little bit of your time, but in the ~12 minutes that it takes for Collar to express himself, he paints a number of pictures. It's pro-Black (but not anti-White), all in the spirit of being better for himself, his family, and his community. It's the vibe of a grown-ass man who's still connected to the hood but knows that there's more to life than the heat in the concrete jungle. What's even iller is that, from his comments on "ForTheFxckOvIt," this project was birthed rather quickly...like the span of a few days from idea to this post.

Hopefully Pete appreciates. Hopefully those who are living the struggle can hear this and be inspired by it. Hopefully hip-hop fans who are looking for something more than what's being handed to them will download this and recognize that if you don't like the situation you're in, you can always make your own way, for the better. Our Friday might be Black, but our future is as bright as we want it to be. A Penny 4 Ya Thoughts coming soon!

Dom O Briggs - "LITrell Sprewell"

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Dom O Briggs is one of those cats who I think I will always dig, and cuts like this are why. Over a beautifully lit track from Qu'ality, Briggs just picks up the pen and vibes out. You can't really fuck up a bassline, but the "Billie Jean" bit, the sing-song vibe in some of the lines? It's a wrap. Turn this one UP.

KC Slater & Shy The Duke ft. DJItsjustAhmad - "Kings"

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With their Adderall RX LP due out on July 12, KC Slater & Shy The Duke attack a jazzy bassline to talk speak not only on the fuckery in the cities, but who's still a threat and why. It's all done with a '90s flavor that has me more open than some of these other jokers who are infatuated with that era.


J.Lately Releases His 'Good Panda' EP

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With so much nonsense going on in the world, it's dope to have guys like J.Lately dropping EPs like The Good Panda, which has me wanting to kick up my feet and just chill the hell out. Once I hit play on the opening track "One Time," I'm transported into a super laidback zone.

The project's production is split by Space Cadet and O.P.P.S., making the vibe consistent throughout. You might need to roll something up or drink something cold to this.

Phace Returns With His New Album, 'Evil P'

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Hah I'm loving this. I hadn't heard from the homey Phace in a minute, but his new album Evil P found its way into my inbox, and I'm digging it. Raw, blunted Jersey flavor right here. Feels like Evil P is Phace's Slim Shady; not on some super scienfitical rah rah, but more on some uncut microphone abuse.

Production on this project comes from DJ Bazooka Joe, Aurc, TruMentillz, and more, with Sol Zalez, Gentum, and Agonyze among the featured MCs.

You can snag Evil P via Phace's website for free or a donation. If you're digging this, give the man some cheddar. Stream the full project below.

Tommie Chase & DJ Priority Urge You to 'Shut Up And Rap'

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Now THIS is what I'm trying to hear. DJ Priority has been a beast with his, as has Tommie Chase, but the two of them linking up and showing the world what Jersey is really doing? All about it. Shut Up And Rap shows and proves that instead of spending a grip of funds to have people tell you why you need to fuck with good music, just give the world good music.

If you're a longtime RTD reader you'll recognize EA cats like Deal - The Villain, Elete Wright, and the Brokn:Englsh crew all over this. Respect to Chase for being even angrier and more ornery than I am; it makes his bars iller.

Craze Kicks Off a New Mix Series Chock Full of "BEATS"

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One of the things I've loved about Craze has been his constant search for the perfect beat. I noticed it when he decided to incorporate more of a drum & bass spin into his turntablist sets back in the late '90s, and ever since he's just gone where the sound has taken him.

In this new mix series, Craze is just dropping some fire BEATS. I'd typify it as the sound you hear everyone from Mr. Carmack to Ivy Lab going in on. There's no tracklist, but this is more about mood than trainspotting: "The first of many mixes with this kinda sound … When I asked one of the producers who are spearheading this movement what to call this genre he said “That’s the thing … there’s no name to this genre … they’re just beats” ….. So there it is."

Oddisee Talks Artists-As-Brands on "Getting Over"

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Shouts to Marcus K. Dowling, a writer that Nappy put me onto that did a lot of work for DoAndroidsDance. He's started a new podcast, Getting Over, that celebrates "those talented people who have found truly unique ways to achieve their successes." For the first episode, he brought on the homey Oddisee to talk the idea of an "artist-as-brand," and more.

Washington DC area-born and Brooklyn-based emcee Oddisee has established a standard of excellence as an artist that is largely defined by his level of global awareness and digital age savvy. By cultivating a loyal following around the world, he’s been able to thrive as an independent artist during an era when the record industry’s restructuring economics have dimmed the careers of other creatives.

For this inaugural episode of Getting Over, he and I spoke about how a rapper evolves into an artist-as-brand, and how that allows for skilled craftsmanship to become sustainable entrepreneurship.

RTDMIX001: Dev79

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Photo credit: Heather Schwartz
We've been fans of Dev79's for a bit. I feel like we first spoke via MySpace, when Dev was looking to place a refix of Nappy's on a project he was putting together. Due to our shared interests (aka insane electronic beats with a hip-hop flavor), we've been in close contact, and while I've never actually met Dev IRL, he's always been a homey.

Dev's not only one of the heads behind critically-acclaimed imprints like Seclusiasis and Slit Jockey, but himself is a talented producer and DJ. There's something about his tracks like "Smoked Salt" that always seem to hit me at first...but upon repeat listens, really develop into tunes that hit me hard and keep my finger on the rewind button. Proper "high replay value" types of cuts.

It's been about three years since I secured an exclusive mix from Dev, and in this 33+ minute throwdown, he goes through an intoxicating array of Street Bass bangers. Not only do a few of his own slick productions make the mix, but he also drops heat from Sh?m, DJ Cable, the don Starkey, Conrank, El Carnicero, and many more. If you like your electronic beats with a tinge of hip-hop swagger, this is the mix you need.

You can stream this mix below, and if you're so inclined, subscribe to the podcast. This is only the beginning.


DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK Return With Their 7th 'Summertime' Mixtape

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When Jazzy Jeff and MICK link up, it's a problem. For the 2016 summer season, these two link up for their seventh Summertime mixtape, bringinga number of R&B, hip-hop, dancehall, and other flavors to the forefront. It's lit (like your charcoal grill should be), and essential.

Download and stream today!