Archive for 2017

DJ Franchise Returns With A New Mix, 'Know Me Well'

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Image via DJ Franchise
DJ Franchise has been one of the better DJs I've met via the internets, especially when it comes to shared interests. Dude just gets it. I hadn't even realized he'd been taking care of himself over the last few years, sadly, until he released his latest mix, Know Me Well.

After a triumphant return after a two-year hiatus, DJ Franchise tells a self-reflective journey of infatuation, disappointment, & love again through dancing drums and piano chords.

Franchise is truly back like he never left, dropping a dope mix featuring the likes of Prince, Chance the Rapper, Kaytranada, Kanye West, and others. You need this; it's good for the feet and good for the soul.

J.Lately and Creature In The Woods Serve Up Their 'Nachos' EP

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Image via Helena Banks x Creature In The Woods

One cat we've always rocked with here is J.Lately, primarily because he's always been on some consistent shit. Instead of trying to be on some extravagant madness, Lately finds ways to engage listeners over the simple things in life, which is what the Nachos EP is all about.

Word is that J and Creature In The Woods met while playing soccer in middle school, but it took until they got separated that they finally realigned to create this beaut of a project. This is one of those projects that you can kick it with the squad to, blunt in hand, and just coast to the melodies of life to.

You can stream the full project below; it's also available for free download via SoundCloud.

NAAFI Returns With the Fourth Installment of Their 'Pirata' Series

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I promise you I don't know what a NAAFI is or that they had three Pirata compilations before this. Lowkey, this feels like something I'd download because someone like Walmer or DJ UMB at Generation Bass would tell me to.

Truth be told, I only saw this because Jubilee tweeted about having a bit on this. Her refix of DJ Laz's "Red Alert" is a banger, and fits in perfectly with the ultra-hyper, Latin-infused bass sounds of this compilation.

Don't take my word for it, though; stream the 30+ refixes below, then download the full pack over on NAAFI.

Black Collar Biz Reads From 'The Book of Job Ali'

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While he might not be as active as he was even a year or two ago, Black Collar Biz is still here. If you're friends with him on Facebook, you've no doubt seen that he's changed his username to "Job Ali." That's not just a catchy tag; he's been going through it, hence why he's been trying to figure out where he stands right now.

I ran into Collar at 1911 a few weeks ago, and was excited to hear that he'd been working on new material, as well as picking up on some projects he'd been working on previously. While he has a lot more work to give you, he unleashed this four-track EP, The Book of Job Ali, via SoundCloud on his birthday. He digs a bit into what he's got going on, while letting you know that it's far from a game.

You can stream and download the full Book of Job Ali EP down below, and if you like what you can hear, you can catch Black Collar Biz on the Levitt AMP Trenton stage on August 10th opening up for Bad Rabbits.

The Alchemist Shares Previously-Unreleased Mobb Deep Collaboration "Try My Hand"

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Out now is The Good Book, Vol. 2, a two-disc release from BAUEWYK that tasked producers The Alchemist and Budgie with one thing: make a grip of fire using religious source material. Across the project you'll hear guests like Royce Da 5'9, Action Bronson, Your Old Droog, Meyhem Lauren and others going for theirs on the mic, but on ALC's disc, you get a dope cut featuring Havoc and the late great Prodigy going for it.

P, who recently left this Earthly dwelling, dropped a dope verse, featuring some of these magical bars that need to stay as far away from your Sunday school class as possible.

She never heard talk like this, I capture your attention
My gat is a gift from God for you to listen

You can stream the full track down below, and be sure to cop the release. It's lit.



[Pigeons & Planes]

All The Perceptionists Want Are Some "Dirty Drumz"

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Back in 2005, El-P's Definitive Jux imprint released Black Dialogue, the debut album from The Perceptionists, aka a trio comprised of two of my favorite spitters (Mr. Lif and Akrobatik) and DJ Fakts One. While Fakts is no longer in the picture, Lif and Ak are back with a new release, Resolution, which is due out on July 28.

According to their release, the two of them have gone through some insane struggles in the dozen years between this album and the last; Lif survived a tour bus falling off of a 38-foot cliff, while Ak had to deal with open-heart surgery. They made it back to each other and crafted an album that works through their individual issues.

That's not what we're going through today, though; today, we just get some "Dirty Drumz." The Lif-produced track is all about bars, with the two just doing what they do best: spitting over fire beats.

You can grab "Dirty Drumz" for free via Bandcamp, and if you're smart, you'll find some other gems Resolution after the jump.


rockthedub radio 037: A New Beginning

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Did you know that rockthedub radio began 10 years ago this month? It's been a wild time exploring the world of making a "radio" show with a bunch of music, some rudimentary skills in audio software, and no real skills. It's been modest at best, but I know that those of you who rock with the kid REALLY rock with the kid.

I have some plans that I'm working on, which mean taking things to the next level, so expect more episodes of rockthedub radio to be like this: my voice(!) on the mic, more structured segments, and MORE. Just fucking MORE.

This episode was recorded about a week after 4:44 was released, so we open with the title track but touch on a number of sounds, ranging from a Prodigy tribute to a number of bass and footwork tunes from DJ Rashad, Lunice, EPROM, and more.

Shouts to anyone who's checked for the series, anyone who's sent music that ended up on the show, and anyone who still rocks witcha boy. If you're a DJ and want to send a mix that could be featured on the show, or are an artist that would like to be featured, shoot me your details: rockthedub@gmail.com.

Stream below, download via iTunes, and check the tracklist down bottom.


The Jersey Fresh Jam 2017 Needs Your Help

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Trenton's Jersey Fresh Jam is coming up on its 12th year, and is in need of your help. The event is one of the only hip-hop festivals in the state of New Jersey, and is a hype way for multiple elements of hip-hop to converge. Hell, some of my favorite hip-hop relationships have been fostered at this event.

For 2017, the Jam needs $3,000 for paint supplies and sound equipment. They've opened up a Kickstarter to help them get it moving, and have some dope perks for people who pledge, ranging from exclusive t-shirts and a dope mix from DJ itsjusthahmad to getting your name tagged on the wall and even being able to rock a piece of your own at the event.

Check out the video below, which features JFJ organizer Leon Rainbow breaking down what the Jam needs this year, and if you are down to help keep this event going, please pledge. The sooner the better, as this Kickstarter ends on the 29th of July. For more details on the Jersey Fresh Jam, hit up jerseyfreshjam.com.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and MICK Soundtrack Your Summer '17 With 'Summertime 8'

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Image via graphatik
As they are wont to do during this time of year, DJ Jazzy Jeff and MICK link up for another sun-soaked mix of throwback jams perfect for any cookout or kickback you have going down this summer with Summertime 8.

The massive mixtape (we're talking 39 tracks) features everyone from Soul II Soul, Kenny Loggins, Beanie Sigel, Mobb Deep, Gang Starr, Bernard Wright, and many, many more. It's really that damn lit, and available to stream below (although if you want the download, grab it for free via summertime.fm).


Mousey Drops First of Three Summer '17 Mixtapes

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Image via Mousey

About a year ago, I fell in love with Mousey's mix for Beat Cinema. The California-based artist has a way of blending R&B, hip-hop, footwork, and other styles with her own sultry vocals. On that mix, she had a number of gems that she sang live to, including an impressive En Vogue x Flying Lotus mash-up of "Don't Let Go" that had me going crazy.

The other day, she announced that while she was doing a number of gems live, she's not got a lot of these gems out, so she had three mixtapes planned for this summer. Here's the first.



The tape is 10-tracks deep, and features the aforementioned "Don't Leg Go" cover, as well as Mousey flipping Jill Scott, Karol Conka, Erykah Badu, and more. What's better, she's asking for producers to remix her vocals. Word is the best will be featured on a Beat Cinema compilation that'll drop this fall. Grab those for free via Bandcamp.

RTDMIX011: itsjustahmad

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dj-itsjustahmad
Image via Jimmy Giambrone

Back in October of 2016, we put the world onto why DJ itsjustahmad is Trenton's hardest-working DJ. Today, via the RTDMIX, we'll show you.

It's actually dope to see others recognize his talents; during this year's Art All Night - Trenton, I had a few people praise his skills one the 1s and 2s, especially when it comes to digging in the crates for sample sources and throwing them up against the tracks of today. He does a bit of that here, but this set features some supreme selection. We're talking everything from Trenton-based acts like Black Collar Biz, Agudos Clef, and Hustle Emcee thrown into a set alongside Run The Jewels, Oddisee, Joey Bada$$, Evidence, and many more.

If you like what you're hearing, and want to see him throw down live, come down to Trenton for the Jersey Fresh Jam on August 12, as itsjustahmad will be one of the many DJs doing the damn thing alongside a bunch of emcees and acts.

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


Chris Read Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Gang Starr's 'Daily Operation With A Special Mixtape

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You know me and these kinds of mixes, right? Any time I can hear the original material that was used to craft some of my favorite hip-hop tracks, I go ape shit. Shouts to Chris Read (along with WhoSampled and Wax Poetics) for celebrating the 25th anniversary of Gang Starr's Daily Operation with this mixtape that features the samples that built these bangers alongside the cuts they ended up in. Perfect Fourth of July sounds, trust.


DJ Concept Pays Tribute to Prodigy In The Mix

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Surprisingly, I haven't seen many DJs going in the mix to pay tribute and homage to Prodigy, who recently passed away at the age of 42. The Mobb Deep-repping, Queens-born emcee was one of the coldest to ever put pen to paper, and inspired a generation (or two) of hip-hop lovers.

To pay tribute, DJ Concept dug into his bins and pulled out a grip of original samples from Prodigy's catalog, turning that digging into a 23-minute dusty-fingered mix for P.

“It’s my homage to Prodigy and his soundscape, which was very influential to my sound as a producer,” Concept explains. “Banging joints like ‘The Realest,’ ‘Keep It Thoro,’ ‘HNIC’... I remember thinking, ‘This is the sound I wish I could make.’”

You can stream the full mix below. Hopefully a downloadable version is available at some point, but either way, blast this LOUD and remember one of the best to do it.

KC Slater Lit Up The Art All Night - Trenton 2017 Main Stage

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Image via Instagram
I hate losing shit. I legit had like seven minutes of footage of KC Slater's awesome performance at Art All Night - Trenton back in June, and for the life of me I can't find it on my phone. I legit just had a major panic attack, and forgot that I was smart and dumped the footage to my external hard drive so I didn't lose it. Anyways, here's eight minutes of KC Slater live at Art All Night - Trenton 2017 (forgive my cellphone camera).



To celebrate his performance at Art All Night - Trenton, KC decided to release two projects: his Cry 4 The World EP and an album, Soapbox. I've covered his work as half of KC Slater & Shy The Duke, but it's dope to see him doing the damn thing on his own, especially because he's from The Town. While he isn't Black Collar Biz, he reminds me of Collar's spirit. There's a definite grown ass man vibe to it, with a homage to the hip-hop that grew us, but with an ultra-woke sensibility to the topics he speaks on.

If you like what you see in the video up above, definitely check out his new releases down below, and get ready as he's set to touch down on that Jersey Fresh Jam stage as well in August.

DJ Priority and Eloh Kush Get Into Some Serious 'Tut Talk'

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With Jersey SZN officially upon us, it's time to take a look at Tut Talk, the recently-released EP from DJ Priority and Eloh Kush. Peace to New Brunswick, peace to the real god tough talk on this one. If you're down for that new-school knowledge and wisdom told through the hip-hop scope? Tut Talk is what you need, trust. Priority on the beats is always a must, and Eloh's massacring leaflets with his ginsu sword of a pen.

For a glimpse of the release, check out DJ Priority's promo mix for the project.



And if you want to learn even more about the release, check out this short documentary on the making of the EP.

Tone Liv Rocks 'Penguin Slippers' In The Booth

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tone-liv-penguin-slippers
Image via Tone Liv

At least, I assume he does. If Tone Liv didn't name his latest album Penguin Slippers because he wore penguin slippers in the booth, why would he do it? Maybe that doesn't matter; with the 2017 edition of the Jersey Fresh Jam going down on August 12, it might be JERSEY SZN right now, and Penguin Slippers is a dope way to celebrate NJ hip-hop.

Think about it: Tone Liv, aka the Rap Mayor, has a number of Jersey's finest on this project, including Sol Zalez, DJ Absurd, DJ Priority, DJ MentPlus, and others, along with mainstays like Dibiase and Tab. It maintains the swagger that is resonant throughout most of Tone's material, from the Tall Can Anthems like "Tallcan Llama Stretch" to the deeper, more immersive nerdier side like "Millenium Falcon." You have to love how Liv and Dibiase craft a chilled ode to what happens when a fire producer hands a dope emcee a fire track. If you don't get with "The Beat," you might need to get away from me.

Dude's just a terror on the mic, and Penguin Slippers exhibits that. You can stream Penguin Slippers in full down below, and grab it for whatever you want over on Bandcamp. And if you want more from Liv, grab his last release, Catching Flies With Chopsticks.

You Can Legally Download Jay Z's '4:44' For Free. Here's How

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Jay Z's '4:44' cover
Image via Tidal/Sprint
If you're like me, you spent a good chunk of the wee hours of Friday, June 30 listening to Jay Z's new album, 4:44. Truth be told, I'd just gotten off recording this week's edition of blackrasslin and realized that it made more sense just to stay up to do a shit load of work on Hov's 13th studio album. I've listened to it so many times on repeat that I'm legit tired of hearing it, but as the days have gone by, I realize that, because of the Tidal/Sprint exclusivity on the album, a lot of people still hadn't gotten around to hearing the release. The thing is, you don't necessarily need Tidal to own the album; it's available for free FROM TIDAL, you just have to work the angles.

If you head over to 444.tidal.com, you will see that it says "Download Album," and if you scroll down, it asks for a voucher code. Just enter Sprint, your e-mail address, and complete the CAPTCHA, and boom, you can download the album (in MP3 and FLAC format), for free! (Shouts to Ketchum for the hat tip.)

Now I know, I know, "I already got this for free a minute after it dropped," because that's how it goes. And Tidal probably sorted this out to combat the rampant piracy of the release, but again, this is what happens when you ask consumers in an internet age to switch streaming services (and phone plans!) to listen to a 35 minute album. Fair play to them for allowing people to get the release. Sure, this probably means you're going to get Tidal emails in the future, but that's what burner accounts are for.

One of the album's crowning achievements is "The Story of O.J.," which also got its own video. It's important, and should be viewed outside of a Tidal paywall, so here it is.

rockthedub radio 036: The Purge

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Crazy to think one of these hasn't happened since Christmas 2016. Actually, it isn't that crazy; shit's been busy around here. I did make a move recently that'll manifest itself on this here podcast...and beyond.

On this set, I did two things: one, I took my love for certain black YouTubers and constructed a narrative in the first chunk of this podcast, featuring material I've loved from Roc Marciano, Quelle Chris, Deal - The Villain, DANGERDOOM, and others. One the flipside, I felt the Purge of the first section was complimented perfectly by Son Raw's RTDMIX, which is a headfuck of a trek through the '90s hip-hop sound, but in a more underground lens. Trust we.

Stream below, download via iTunes, and check the tracklist down bottom.


Cymarshall Law Releases ' The Rhythms & Poems of Solomon Prince'

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Damn near as long as I've been blogging, I've been rocking to Cymarshall Law's music. Part of that is because we rep Jersey on the regular over here, but the flip is that he's just nice, and his new album proves it. The Rhythms & Poems of Solomon Prince is written and produced by Cy himself on some Spike Lee shit, and if you need a heavy dose of that real, he's got you covered.

No, forreal. If your zone is to get crazy blunted to refreshing loops and crispy drums all day errday, Cy's got you covered. If you need those hype lyrics, full of powerful punches with a raw delivery, Cy's got you covered. And if you want all of this for the free, Cy really has you covered.

You can download The Rhythms & Poems of Solomon Prince for free via Sendspace, or grab it via Bandcamp. Stream the full project below via SoundCloud.

Deal - The Villain Returns With 'Beards x Beats x Kicks' EP

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Over the years, artists that have been featured on this site have come and gone. And while I fuck with a fair number of them, jokers like Deal - The Villain always stand out as my favorites. Dude's whole steeze when it comes to putting pens to paper, fingers to pads, is right up my alley, and I'm amazed that he can just slide right back into the pocket like it's nothing, unleashing his Beards x Beats x Kicks EP earlier today.

Sadly, I fucked around and didn't recognize the beauty of the EP's lead-off track, "Legend Blue," when Deal dropped the video earlier this month.



Yeah, this will already be one of my favs of 2017, trust. Deal produced that track, along with a couple of others on the project, alongside S1ncere (who you should remember from his debut project, EPic), although DTV also found inspiration from the material of Knxwledge and Flying Lotus. DTV did hit me on the jack to let me know that he's going to be producing the forthcoming Beards x Beats x Kicks ALBUM from top to bottom, making this a proper "extended prelude."

To keep it a buck, I've been waiting for "Emerald Preference" since December 2015, so I'm glad this is out now. It's also refreshing to see cats know how to evolve their sound without totally sounding like some other artist. Dumb refreshing, actually, and Deal says you can expect more of the full length project to sound more like "Legend Blue" and the EP's closer, "Entrada."

You can stream the entire project below via Bandcamp, where it's available for whatever you want to pay. Shouts to the EA crew and all of the real from the Garden State. JERSEY!

Jubilee Returns With Her Third 'Magic City' Compilation

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This time last year, Jubilee was releasing the second in her Magic City series, which finds producers replicating the sounds of her youth (which are heavily steeped in the bass-infused sounds of the Miami music scene), and in 2017, she's back with the third Magic City compilation.

Featured in this set are low-end friendly cuts from the likes of Ikonika, Burt Fox, Proper Villains, Doctor Jeep, Untold, and others. Any of you pining for a proper rave-y turn up for your holiday weekend, you need to hit play on this compilation then stay transfixed with your bassbins.

Once you're done, you should check out Jubilee's 2016 release After Hours if you're not up on it. You won't be disappointed. Download Magic City III for free via WeTransfer.

RTDMIX010: Jaxtella

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We know, it's been a few months since the RTDMIX blessed you, and just like we did in January, we've got another mix from the mysterious drum & bass mastermind known as Jaxtella.

We've actually been sitting on this mix for a little bit; we don't know who the hell Jaxtella is, so it made sense to try and figure out what his situation was. Of course, we couldn't find a fucking thing, so we just have to unleash this supreme drum & bass mix on you. Featured in this set is new material from Goldie, Klute, Submorphics, Dave Owen, and others, including a Frank Ocean remix from Jaxtella! It's a perfectly thumping mix for those of you who want to vibe out on this Memorial Day.

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


Some Idiot Tried Passing Off Big Makk's Work As His Own

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Image via Orlando Weekly

In August of 2016, the bass music community took a major loss, as Big Makk passed away after a horrific car accident. While his sound lives on in the music from artists like Palmer Reed, there are still some idiots who don't know how to a) make their own material and, more importantly, b) love to steal music and say that its theirs.

I'd seen a tweet from G Buck go up earlier today, but because I was on the clock, I hadn't gotten into it that deeply. Shouts to Nappy for enlightening me to the fuckery, which involved someone who goes by the name GRIF8 trying to pass a Makk tune off as his own.



At this point, it sounds like dude deleted whatever he posted on SoundCloud that was Makk's so there's no trace aside from the disdain that folks who actually fucked with Makk feel for him, but it appears that at some point, he tried passing off a "remix" of Big Makk's "Imma Rock" off as some original idea.



At the time of this writing, GRIF8 hasn't said anything about this fiasco, but with the caliber of DJs who are pissed off at him, he might need to just hang it up and find another profession.









This situation's gone from bad to worse for GRIF8 since people found out about his fuckery, and I for one love it.













Some folks will never learn. Sadly, I just gave dude's name some shine.

DJ Craze Murdered Respect LA

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Back in 1999, I knew of DJ Craze because he was a murderous turntablist, owning any turntable competition he brought his crates to. Somehow, he got bit by the drum & bass bug, and on his debut album Crazee Musick, he had a track—"Mogli"—that found him recreating a thumping jungle track using nothing but vinyl and his turntable. After that, he went on a dnb tear, dropping mixes, incorporating drum & bass sounds into his turntablism sets, and all-around being a G with it.

I remember the dubplate politics souring him on the genre, but he's been a fan, and recently, he took a trip to Los Angeles where he tore down Respect LA with a thunderous mix of drum & bass anthems new and old, as well as some BEATS, that got committed to tape. You can stream this gem (which features Armanni Reign on the mic) below. Enjoy your holiday weekend.

Trackstar the DJ's Solid Steel Mix Features His "Rare Appetite In Rap"

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Those of you who've been rocking with us for the longest should be up on Trackstar the DJ. He's gone from an internets phenom to being named the official tour DJ for Run the Jewels, including being the DJ behind the WRTJ shows on Apple Music.

This week, he contributed one awesome hour-long mix for Solid Steel, and it's amazing. No, seriously, it's the truth, but let him tell it, he had a totally different idea for the mix.

"Originally I had other plans for a more conceptual mix," he starts, "but as I was telling The Gaslamp Killer about my ideas on our tour date in Belgium, he told me not to bother with any of them and instead do a mix displaying what he called "My Rare Appetite In Rap". I trust The Gaslamp Killer (as you should, too), so I immediately switched gears and started putting together a playlist of songs from the last half-decade or so that I love that many rap fans may have missed. It features some names you'll recognize as well as some that you may not… Hopefully you enjoy these tunes as much as I do, and maybe pick up a new favorite artist or two."

Featured artists include Killer Mike, Rockwell Knuckles, A$AP Twelvyy, Tef Poe, Vince Staples, and more. Stream and download the full mix, and check out the full tracklist down below.


Commix On Dubplate Culture and Drum & Bass' Unpredictability

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commix

I've been a fan of the drum & bass scene for over two decades now, and no matter what new producers come along, I will always have a group of names who's released are "buy on sight" to me. You know, the producers who's tunes you always have to check for, and nine times out of 10 end up loving. Commix has been one of those names, for me, since the early 2000s.

While I don't remember the first tune I'd heard from Commix, I do remember being blown away by the then-Cambridge-based trio's "Satellite Song," as well as cuts like "Together" and "Talk to Frank." Their sound design was second-to-none (IMHO), but it was the energy that resided in their tunes that really captivated me. I was hooked, and not surprised when they became the first group to have an artist album on Goldie's legendary Metalheadz imprint, releasing their impeccable Call to Mind in 2007.

After some changes in both the group's dynamic and the different phases within the dnb scene, Commix is now just one man: George Levings. Since his return in 2016 with two Generation EPs, he's been working on the follow-up to Call to Mind, which is set to drop on Metalheadz as well. Before we get that, Dispatch Recordings snagged three Commix dubs (four if you count the digital-only exclusive "White Trash") for the sixth release in their Dispatch Dubplate series, which is out now.

We got a chance to speak with George about the tunes featured on this release, his thoughts on dubplate culture within the drum & bass scene, as well as how his sound evolved from what people loved in the early 2000s to now. He also gives us some thoughts on the direction he's heading with his next LP. Check out the full interview down below.

Here's How Maffew Ragazino Celebrated Cinco de Mayo

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While I don't really get into insane Cinco de Mayo celebrations, I normally do have a few things to drink on a Friday night. Somehow, my alcoholic intake was down to zero on a Friday that doubled as the 5th of May, but if I was sipping on some adult beverages, I would've had Maffew Ragazino's Cinco de Maffew on. It's pretty damn dope; the ground hasn't been broken 'round here, but both Maff and his boy Easalio coast over these bottom-heavy bangers. Stream the full project below.

JR & PH7 x St. Joe Lous ft. Roc Marciano - "Driven"

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jr-ph7-st-joe-louis-roc-marciano-driven
Image via Below System Records
I love how these things come together. Being a fan of the production of Germany's JR & PH7 and the rhymes of cats like Jersey trio St. Joe Louis years ago is feeling like a wise musical investment now that they are returning for projects like Coral Cadavers (which St. Joe Louis member Michael Cardigan calls a "neo-noir psychological thriller about a woman’s descent into moral ambiguities against the backdrop of Los Angeles") and getting everyone from Rah Digga to Roc Marciano on their joints.

For "Driven," we get to see this woman doing some of the illest shit to herself for the loot. The production is a hazy, jazzy daydream, with Marci adding an edgy vibe to the proceedings. You can cop "Driven" today, and look out for Coral Cadavers, which is said to be dropping sometime this Spring.

Hannibal Buress and Killer Mike Spent 4/20 Recording A Podcast

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What did you do on 4/20? If you're a pot-loving pot smoker, you probably smoked pot with other like-minded pot smokers. If you're Hannibal Buress, and have your own podcast, you do the same thing alongside Killer Mike, MC supreme and 1/2 of Run The Jewels.

In their almost two-hour sit down chat, the fellas talk everything from why he and Big Boi played foxes on HBO's Animals ("I sent a note back saying, ‘Dear White Friends of Mine, never ask your fucking black friends to play a raccoon in any fourth grade play or television production’") to flight attendant fuckery. If you're high right now, you might want to just press play, laugh a lot, and, I dunno, get more high.

Ray Strife and iLL-Omega Are Doing Their Best to Do More Than Just Live

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Image via Ray Strife

That headline is a part of the first verse that Ray Strife spits on "America," the opening cut from his five-track EP with iLL-Omega, Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful. Along with "Never Cease," Preface is part of their prep for Go For The Gusto, which is due to drop this summer.

Gotta say, with the way I can be so in my own head sometimes, it's dope to hear someone like Strife express his own inner turmoil over these bass-heavy beats. And I will also put this out there: Ray and Omega are a pretty impressive rapper/producer combo. You might need to down a six-pack before listening, then drink another while listening. By the start of your third six-pack, this could end up being the soundtrack to the rest of your day.

Stream Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful below, and cop the full release via Bandcamp. For more information on this release, check out The Wiztard.

Kemba Gets Dark On "Greed"

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kemba-john-tashiro
Image via John Tashiro

You have to love how the visual elements from Kemba's Negus match the songs perfectly. He could've easily made his clips feature 5011 niggas sitting with him on a couch getting blunted on some Kids shit, but he found a way to match the dark, lonely vibe that a track like "Greed" has with this video. The clip finds Kemba alone, in a dark ass room, pouring his heart out into his mouth, spitting his innermost thoughts (and fears) to Frank Drake's hypnotizing drone of a track.

It's lovely.

Kemba's wrapping up the No Ceilings Tour in California, with a show tonight (April 29) in Santa Ana before the final stop, May 2nd's gig at The Roxy in Los Angeles. Be there.

5 Releases You Need to Buy On Record Store Day 2017

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Saturday, April 22, 2017 marks the 10th annual Record Store Day, which is celebrated by hitting your local independent record store and actually buying music. It's a novel idea, but if we want these mom & pop spots to stay in business, we need to frequent their businesses, you smell me?

As I did with the Black Friday Record Store Day 2016 releases, we wanted to help you diggers out there with a quick look at some of the hip-hop-related releases out there. We have everything from a classic song being turned into a children's book to an iconic soundtrack getting a vinyl release. Check out our picks below, and for the full list, hit up the Record Store Day website.

JR & PH7 x St. Joe Louis ft. Rah Digga - "Duck Duck Goose"

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It's been a smooth five years since JR and PH7 dropped their My Favourite Demons EP with Jersey rhyme sayers St. Joe Louis and Brokn.Englsh, so it's dope to see JR, PH7, and the trio of SJL linking up for a new one, especially since the mighty Rah Digga drops a dynamic feature.

This appears to be taken from the forthcoming Coral Cadavers album; you can cop the single via Bandcamp, and stream the single while watching the video down below.


DJ Cable Turned 'More Life' Into a Proper Mixtape

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Off the rip, Drake made sure that people knew his new release More Life wasn't called an "album." Most people thought that meant it was a mixtape, while he was calling it a "playlist." It has a mixtape feel, but isn't mixed, so our UK bredren DJ Cable decided to actually mix it, turning More Life into More Mixed. Smart.

And truth be told, this is what we need until OG Ron C and The Chopstars release More Chops, their chopped not slopped take on More Life. Until then, you can stream Cable's More Mixed down below, and snag a download of it while you're at it.

'Wölfe Presents' 11 Bangers For In:flux Audio

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Growing up, I used to hate house music. If it wasn't Daft Punk or something with fat basslines and crunchiness all over, I wasn't that into it. I needed breakbeats, which spawned my love for drum & bass. As I got older, and more styles of house emerged—as well as the hypnotic sounds of UKG and grime hit my stereo—I eased up on my "no house" stance, but I still need a chunky bassline to keep me interested.

Props to labels like In:flux Audio, who pride themselves on what feels like a bass-first campaign. They also love collaborating, allowing artists to essentially guest-pick tuns from artists they are feeling for their 'Presents' series. For their latest in that project, which hits shops on March 27, 2017, they let the trio known as Wölfe step up for a lethal dose of bassline badassery.

The release is 11 tracks deep and features a number of my favorites, including Kozee, who's following up her Untitled EP with the long-awaited "So For Real." GHSTGHSTGHST is back like he left something, and Dr. Cryptic's "One Of Those" is a personal favorite from this release, which you can preview down below.

You can grab this via Juno on March 27; if you're looking for the post-SXSW, pre-Miami Music Week audio assault, In:flux Audio's got you covered.

Talking My Favorite Diss Tracks On The 700 Block Podcast

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I don't normally get invited to do much in the way of press; I believe the last time I was even interviewed was almost two years ago, after DoAndroidsDance? folded into Complex.com. I like talking; must be why I do so many interviews. Whatever the case may be, shouts to Flaw 700 for having me on The 700 Block Podcast to talk about my Top 10 diss tracks.

While I wouldn't call myself a dramatic person, I love the drama and competition of a good hip-hop beef, so this was fun. We also spoke on our favorite Notorious B.I.G. tracks, some of my favorite interviews while I've been at Complex, and some talk about Drake's new playlist More Life and Rick Ross' recently-released Rather You Than Me.

You can stream and download the full episode down below, and make sure you vote in the poll about Nivlac Lemaj's "Thoughts I'm Thinking," which is this week's "Dope Or Nope" track. If you like what you hear, please subscribe. And if you like the hoodie I'm wearing, you can grab something just like it.


HI$TO Wants You to #GetPSYCHD About His Forthcoming 'PSYCH'D OUT' Project

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Image via HI$TO
When it comes to my normal music selections, it's been a dope rotation of hip-hop, drum & bass, Jersey club and the infectious footwork sound, which has roots in Chicago but has turned into a legit worldwide phenomenon. One of the producers that hit my radar during the DoAndroidsDance? days, HI$TO, hit me with a new mixtape of his, #GetPSYCHED, which is a primer for his upcoming project PSYCH'D OUT, and I'm highkey floored.

If you like to hit the dancefloor and feel like you're immediately transported into the middle of the bassbin by some kind of voodoo trickery (or a dope hit of LSD), that's what HI$TO's sound is going for. It's dark, it's dynamic, and it's trippy. His #GetPSYCHD mix is a trek through that sound, featuring material from PSYCH'D OUT (which drops in April) as well as material from future releases.

Stream the full project, and check the tracklist down below.


Kozee Unleashes Long-Awaited 'Untitled' EP

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If you're not up on the Left Coast bass master known as Kozee, you better get to know. I pegged her as a woman to watch in the electronic music scene a few years back, but truth be told, she's been putting in work for well over a decade. She's recently dropped gems via Moveltraxx and Influx Audio, but today she's finally sorted out a three-track EP that I've been salivating for.

I feel like she first hit me with the dubs of these back in 2015, and I was instantly hooked by the Minnie Ripperton sample she threw in there. Her Untitled release is three different takes on this riddim. The main mix is a bit more garage-y; it's hypnotic but isn't as thunderous as the "Detroit Edit" of "Untitled," shouts to WhatupDetroit. To round things out, she laced the Detroit Edit with some vocals from Tinchy. It's a banger.

You can grab the full release via Bandcamp for whatever tf you want to pay, and if you're down in Austin for SXSW, we highly suggest you keep it locked to Kozee's Twitter and her Facebook page, as she's set to be pretty busy while she's down there (although truth be told, you need to be following her anyways). WHEEL!

Tone Liv Is Out Here 'Catching Flies With Chopsticks'

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Every time I see Tone Liv in the wild, he tells me he has a grip of material going down. I think the last time I saw him was in Trenton last summer. I don't know if he mentioned this project to me, but just based on the talent on the release alone, this one is a who's-who of fire producers. We're talking DiBia$e, DJ Priority, The Custodian of Records, A-Sharp, Divine Drummah, and Ment-Plus, as well as rhymes from Pace Won, El Da Sensei, and others.

Liv is always Liv—dope and untouchable—and you really need to rock with this. Grab it for whatever you want to via Bandcamp, and stream the full release below.

Rukus Returns On A "U.F.O."

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Feels like its been forever since I heard new material from Rukus; it's been even longer since I've posted new stuff from him. On his latest single, "U.F.O.," he's back with a more conscious vibe to his material, which is all kinds of necessary. Check out the full video for his latest banger, and keep it locked for more material from the Texas-based emcee.

Life After Death: Download These Tributes to The Notorious B.I.G.

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While it's customary that we at rockthedub pay tribute to The Notorious B.I.G.'s legacy by sharing this now-nine-year-old mix that we did, today is a bit different; today marks the 20th anniversary of his death. It's a big one, and should be recognized properly.

That said, check out some of these tribute songs, mixtapes, and more to the memory of one of the greatest to ever do it. Rest in peace, Biggie.

J-Live Is Releasing The Instrumentals To Some Of His Illest Productions

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Image via J-Live
One of my favorite things about the legend J-Live is that he's a triple threat. There are a number of rapper-producers, and DJ-producers, but it's rare that you see a rapper who is just as talented of a producer as he is a DJ; hell, have you seen him perform "Braggin' Writes" live on the decks? Phenomenal.

Live has recently released Actual Tracks Vol. 1, the first in a series of self-produced instrumentals from his previous works. We're talking from his 16-year, nine-release catalog. It's structured like a mixtape, and is a DOPE time capsule of how one of the nicest emcees ever to do it gets busy on the boards.

I think I really got into his work via his All of the Above album, which featured a cut entitled "Whatever." It's a parody of rappers building themselves up to start rhyming, but never getting to the end. Finally, 15 years later, he's dropped "Whatever Revisited." AKA the wait is over!

You can stream Actual Tracks Vol. 1, and grab the full release via Bandcamp.

KC Slater & Shy the Duke Take On The Perception of Black Women In "Black Mona Lisa" Clip

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I love the movement going on in hip-hop right now. When Black Collar Biz was really on his grind a few years ago, you saw the worlds of hip-hop and the arts scene in Trenton, NJ coming together, and last weekend, I got to see KC Slater & Shy the Duke take it to the next level.

They held a premiere for their "Black Mona Lisa" music video at Artworks Trenton, which was dope because they shot the video for the Rell Gambino-produced track at the local art gallery as well. It's dope to see them give back, considering they lit up the Art All Night - Trenton 2016 stage last summer.

The spot takes a look at how black women are perceived in America; it reminded me of that scene in The Birth of a Nation where Nat Turner essentially made his master buy the woman that would become his wife. I hated that scene, but it's a mirror of how things can be seen in real life, so it was dope to be able to have an open discussion about these kinds of things during the post-premiere discussion at Artworks.

Hopefully more local acts start bridging gaps like KC and Shy are. Word is they both have projects set to drop some time this year; if you rock with this track, grab their Adderall Rx album.

RTDMIX009: Dusty Ohms

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One of the things I love about the RTDMIX is realigning with old favorites. I remember the homey DJ Cable putting me onto Fused Forces, with whom he made a number of bangers with, including the massive "Flocka Riddim." After a while, one-half of Fused Forces struck out on his own, calling himself Dusty Ohms, and while he still worked with Cable, he also started to stretch his wings a bit.

Dusty's been putting in work ever since, leading up to the release of his Trap Door EP alongside SupaSaiyan on their new imprint Smho Wal. The nine-tracker was pressed on a limited run of white vinyl, and if you like what you hear, there are some bits still available. He also recently put out "Grip Fo's" with Saturate, and touches down monthly on Fly High Society.

Like his bio says, Dusty is a "hip-hop outlaw, straddling the no mans land of electronic music." His RTDMIX fits that description perfectly, finding the likes of Champagne Drip, Om Unit, JD. Reid, Etch, and others thrown into one lit stew of electronic-drenched hip-hop beats. Proper pre-game mix for you dames and gents out there.

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