Archive for 2017

Cold Chillin': Von Pea and The Other Guys Break Down Their New Album, 'The Fiasco'

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We're a little over a year of Donald Trump being elected to the office of President of the United States of America; even typing that is weird as shit. And because of how weird and horrific and challenging it's been, heads cope in different ways. If you're me, you write your feelings out while downing bottles of brown liquor. If you're someone like Von Pea, you link up with the Washington, D.C.-based production duo known as The Other Guys and craft what became the 10-track album The Fiasco, which is out now (digitally, with vinyl expected to drop in January of 2018).

"Sometimes I feel like I’m being trolled by the world," Brooklyn's own Von Pea says when asked about the title of this album. "There's always some silly shit happening that doesn’t make sense to me. World leaders beefing on Twitter that can literally set off a nuclear war…and a lot of minor dumb shit.

"I realize how many things are marketing and cult of personality in general," Pea continues. "I’d compare it to a rebellious teen once their parents get a divorce. My perspective on a lot of things has changed and I’m walking in a new direction. This isn’t the guy from To: You."

What Pea's referring to is the first project he worked on with The Other Guys, 2014's To: You. While it's just as many tracks as The Fiasco, it's largely considered an EP; it's also not the first time these three have linked up on tracks. Many should remember Von and Donwill being featured on The Other Guys' 2014 single "Blow My Mind," The Other Guys actually point to Von doing the intro of their 2013 instrumental release The Week as the first time they actually worked together. Either way, it was after "Blow My Mind" that they all say was when they realized that this could be more than Von hopping on a single of theirs.



"They caught me at a good time where I was open to working on a full project," Von remembers, "not to mention I really liked the beats." And while To: You might have started out as one thing, he reflects on how it became "a group album. At first I was asked to be on multiple songs, as it was their album, but when it came together we shared the billing. I remember walking around listening to the beat that became “Chasing Amy” and saying 'yeah…this project is gonna work out'."

Mighty Joe of The Other Guys says while he and Isaiah "always set out to make something that sounds cohesive," he remembers that "Von kind of lead the project where he wanted to go and we simply allowed it to grow in that direction." For what it's worth, it definitely helped that, as Joe put it, Von is "one of the easiest artists we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. From the moment we begin the project it was an effortless affair. We’d give him the canvas and he’d paint a masterpiece."

Listening to Von describe his process, he definitely is all about substance over flash. "I focus on the overall feeling of the album," he says, "and wait to hear beats that make me want to write. I’ve turned down bangers on To: You and The Fiasco that didn’t necessarily jump out but sounded like they were made for the overall mood of the album. Overall, I tend to think those instant gratification beats don’t fit my style."

With Von and Don dropping an excellent Tanya Morgan album earlier this year, along with The Other Guys releasing their own instrumental project, it's interesting to note that while The Other Guys hit up Von about working on what ultimately became The Fiasco, this project wasn't even set to drop in 2017. Von's actually got a whole album that he self-produced follow-up to 2010's Pea's Gotta Have It (titled City For Sale) that he's set to release in 2018 (while Mighty Joe didn't want to spill the beans on future Other Guys material, he did say that they have some instrumental projects on the way). In order to make something completely different, Von and The Other Guys set to create an album that doesn't sound like a Tanya Morgan album OR Von's next solo album.

Von remembers that it was Joe's idea to work on something new, and admits that he lacked motivation on this release until he came up with a direction. Dipping back to the insanity that is Trump's Cheeto-hued America, and the time of year, this fits with the vision Von had for The Fiasco.

"I wanted the album to sound 'cold,'" Von admits, "so I’m happy its coming out when it is. I haven't gotten to walk around NY playing this in the cold yet." We have, and it's perfect Timbs and heavy coat material. The Other Guys definitely agree. "To: You was definitely more of a jazzy album," Mighty Joe confesses. "I think Isaiah and I were listening to a lot of Tribe when we were making it. The tracks on The Fiasco are harder and darker. It has a grittier feel and some of the samples on it would’ve never worked on To: You."



"Cold" vibes in a post-Trump album? That's some grown-up shit, especially in a world where the majority of the most popular tracks in the popular rap realm are turnt anthems? This is grown hip-hop, which Von acknowledges with what he considers his favorite line from the album: "rap hit a generation gap and it lost me/lil fuckers on their tour bus in a car seat." Von pinpoints when he realized that the rap game had "lost him."

"I remember watching a certain video a few years ago and saying 'wow…I’m not in this generation at all' [laughs]. Before the video was over, I felt the divide set in. It was dope, but it felt like watching Kids for the first time and not watching my contemporaries. I like a lot of the so-called 'mumble' stuff because it has that feeling or energy to it and it's perfect to drive to, but I do think a lot of the 'I’m too cool to rap like I care about rapping' is corny. That, and I don't wanna hear about what you're doing to 'my girl' for 15 songs." Facts, Pea. Facts.

Truth be told, it's shit like that that makes Von one of my favorite emcees. It could be because we're in the same age bracket, but it's more about the "everyman" quality about his pen. He's not busting out SAT words with his pen because it's more about getting the message across in a way that we all can understand. And because he's a true everyman (someone who Cardi B would probably call "regular degular shmegular"), Pea isn't concerned with comparing his pen game to others.

"I don’t worry about that," Pea admits, "because I know when I hear someone that makes me sit back and just listen. On one hand, I know I can hang with a lot of emcees out here, but on the other, I admire other strengths I don’t necessarily have. I can't do what Black Thought does, what DOOM does, what Lupe, Elzhi, or Royce does. Flows I can't necessarily do, pictures I haven’t been able to paint. I can definitely hang, though."



When it comes to "hanging" with some of the illest in the game, Von does exceptionally well with the spitters featured on The Fiasco. Not only does Donwill hop on "Oh Yeah," but Skyzoo and Rob Cave are featured on "Wires." The best example of dope rhymers linking up on The Fiasco, though, is "Talent," which features rap vet J-Live alongside Verbal Kent and Wordsworth. Mighty Joe called "Talent" a "gift from God. We were grateful we were able to fit such talented and unique artists on one track and make them all fit together nicely."

With 10 tracks on the project, there is one cut that The Other Guys didn't produce, though: "Louie BK," which features a sample that Gravediggaz lovers will remember.

"I have an unreleased project (I produced) with Elucid and it was his idea to make a new track over that sample," Pea explains. "Flipping that and trying to chop it felt useless because it's so good as is. Elucid and I stopped that album," which Von Pea teases could hit in 2018, "and I still had the loop sitting around. I had recorded something to it for myself and had it for a while, just a track I'd made to listen to myself. Joe heard it and wanted to include it on this project. It was on SoundCloud for a while."



Maybe if we're lucky af, we'll get that Pea/Elucid project. For now, we have The Fiasco, which is chock full of cold-as-hell hip-hop for the brisk season. It's also, in our opinion, one of the flyer projects to drop from heads who are old enough to have remembered where hip-hop came from, and dope enough to channel that energy in 2017 (and beyond). Or, as Von amazingly put it on his current favorite from The Fiasco ("Easy"), "my song sound like I'm in the '90s...out of 100, I ain't on no dumb shit."

With so much knowledge out there, you can't afford to be on no dumb shit. Stay woke.

Valona Denise Has to "Level Up Now"

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Feel like it's been a minute since I've heard some new heat from Trenton's own Valona Denise, and I'm loving this Beatmenace-produced "Level Up Now." Over the barely two-minute gem, V.D. doesn't hold anything back, clapping at anyone standing in her way and commenting on anything that's fucking up her day.

Sometimes, it just beez like that. Stream "Level Up Now" below, and turn this one up LOUD. Hopefully we've got some new material from Valona on the way.

Von Pea and The Other Guys Are Back With A New Project, 'The Fiasco'

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Back in 2014, Von Pea released To: You, an album that was produced front-to-back by The Other Guys. In a year that's seen projects drop from each, they've linked up together once again for a 10-track album, The Fiasco. From what I've heard, it's going to be a problem, especially if you're a fan of Von's pen.

Don't believe me? Check out these two tracks from the release. "Oh Yeah" features Von Tanya Morgan bredren Donwill on the mic, while Skyzoo and fellow Lessondary member Rob Cave drop bars on "Wires." The Fiasco drops November 24th. Pre-order today.



Skrewtape Blesses Us Effortlessly With "Simplexity"

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Been a minute since I've seen Skrewtape, it feels, and you could straight-up follow him on social media for his hilarity. His new video for the Expo-produced "Simplexity," though? It's a glowing example of one of Jersey's finest going for his over an ever-evolving instrumental. Shit gets as lit as I imagine he is. Check out the video up above.

Download 10 Songs Star Slinger Put Out For Free This Year

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Image via Facebook/Sara Rman

While the duties at my day job have gone from covering the electronic music scene to covering the world, I am still firmly checking out what's going on in the electronic music scene. One of the constants in my world has been Star Slinger, the UK house music maven that's been on quite a roll. We're talking 10 free tracks in 2017 (so far) kind of a roll.

He recently explained why he did this, and the reasoning isn't surprising. "I love to create & get things out there without the politics and waiting times I experience with record labels," he confesses. "Its just more fun & I can get feedback on my ideas quicker." If you feel like you've slept-on his output this year, he understands. "[T]here has been so many & I just put out into the world without making much noise on socials. I have been even toying with the idea of releasing music weekly!"

I figured it made sense to make a full playlist of the 10 tunes (well, nine and a dope mixtape) for those who might have missed them. You can download them all via his Bandcamp page (and, if you want to support, cop some merch). Perfect pre-game playlist, trust.

Stream DJ Manny's "Footwork Masterclass" 'Greenlight'

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Image via LIKES.THIS

I'm not sure if Fall is for footworkers, but it feels like most of the illest footwork comes out this time of the year; maybe it has something to do with footwork pioneer DJ Rashad's birthday being October 9th. Whatever the case may be, one of Rashad's proteges, DJ Manny, has unleashed what the Teklife crew is calling a "footwork masterclass" in the form of his latest project, Greenlight. I've had it on since it dropped on the 6th and have been enamored. It's the proper mixture of special Teklife bass thumps and UK jungle-leaning breakbeat editing, laced with hypnotic synths and call-and-response hooks.

In typical Teklife fashion, Manny doesn't shy from putting the squad on. Burgeoning bass beast DJ Taye (a duo who knocked out the memorable "Burnin Ya Boa") is featured on half of the album's 10 tracks, but you're also hearing from the likes of DJ Chap and DJ LUCKY, but don't get it twisted; cuts like "Like That" highlight Manny being comfortable enough on his own to churn out solo BANGERS.

You can stream the entire album below, but it's highly recommended that you cop Greenlight digitally or on vinyl. And note, you can get a vinyl album AND a Greenlight t-shirt if you cop from Cargo.

Tierra Whack's "MUMBO JUMBO" Is Far From Her Surname

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You have to love when dope music smacks you upside your head out of nowhere. I promise you I'd never heard of Philly's own Tierra Whack since earlier today, when everyone and their mother was sharing the video for her new single "MUMBO JUMBO," but I'm glad I clicked on it.

Homegirl can obviously spit, but her new single finds her flipping the script, sending up the "mumble rap" scene on its ear. The video, which is eerie as fuck, finds Tierra in a dentist's chair, getting work done on her teeth. I feel like she laughed at the thought of mumble rappers sounding like they were in the dentist's office trying to talk and took it to the next level. It's an intriguing clip that makes me love the song even more.

Check out the video below, and cop the single. You need it.

RIP Apex

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Earlier today, word swept the drum & bass world regarding the passing of Robert Dickeson, known to many as Apex. The Maidstone, England-born producer started out as 1/2 of Unknown Error, getting some major looks via Renegade Hardware and Moving Shadow, but ended up splitting from the duo in 2007 to much success for Hospital and Lifted Music, among other imprints.



As of late, Apex had been making house and techno, releasing material as Robert Oaks on Mau5trap.


Taso Picks Up Where He Left Off With 'Cold Heat Vol. 9'

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Image via Reza Iman
In 2016, TEKLIFE member Taso was looking to drop an EP a month in a series he called "Cold Heat." For some reason, he got to Vol. 8 and ended up falling off, but has picked it up a year and a month later with Vol. 9, which hit his Bandcamp page this week. He might not be there when you call, but judging by the sound of this one, he's always on time.

It's dope, because every time I feel like I'm lacking in new footwork, the universe hits me in the face with a bunch of new (and forthcoming) tracks. This EP featured collabs with DJ Earl, Sam Binga, and a posse cut called "Tired" featuring Taso alongside DJ Manny (who has a new album, Greenlight, due out in October), DJ Chap (who has a dope remix/bootleg release that you need to rock with), and DJ Boylan.

Dope four-tracker for a dope price. And if you like what you hear, check out Taso's new promo mix (and a video for "West is the Best") down below.


Black Collar Biz Released a Selection of Songs On the 'BLKMRKT'

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Image via Black Collar Biz
Back in July, Black Collar Biz hit us with his four-track Job of Ali EP. At the time, I'd mentioned that he'd been working on some new material, but I hadn't mentioned the tragedy he faced; over the summer, he lost something like four projects he had been cultivating. He's a workhouse, and if you know Collar, you know that he will be working on a project, come up with an entirely new idea, and immediately have concepts and demos sorted out for this new release.

All is not lost though (literally), as Collar took 10 of the demos he still had and turned them into BLKMRKT, which is part time capsule, part "Collar's still nastier than most of your muthafuckas." The release features some familiar faces, including Valona Denise on the French Summers-produced "Get Out Ya Feelings"—Collar fans should remember that French is the one who crafted "Blessings On Blessings." Elsewhere on the project we have Flo Frazier, Shaine Wilson, and even Collar's son, Reydio, featured.

You can stream the entire project, and download each cut for free via SoundCloud. Collar's also set up a PayPal.Me link, which he's accepting donations at.

Mousey McGlynn Released Her Third (And Final) Mixtape of Summer '17

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Back in July, Mousey said she'd drop three mixtapes this summer. Then she went ahead and did it. The thrid dropped on September 1st, and it's the shit.



Not only does it include that "Drank, Kush, Barz" flip she did that introduced me to her beautiful music in the first place, but it's got her Destiny's Child / DJ Vadim rework, and that Gucci bit that hit the internet days prior to this release. Ten gems in total; and if you're a producer, you can grab the acapellas as well.

I also realized that the second Mousey mixtape of 2017 dropped when I was on holiday, but you can still grab that (and its acapellas).

Rapsody Links With Busta Rhymes For "You Should Know"

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Always good to hear new material from Rapsody, especially when it's coming from a forthcoming project (Laila's Wisdom), which drops on September 22 via Roc Nation. As she's been linked with 9th Wonder, he cooks up a "Cell Therapy"-flipping instrumental that feels live as hell. The song then takes a turn, throwing Busta Rhymes into the mix over some more sultry riddims.

You can stream this cut down below, or check it out on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal.

Profane's Gone Wicked On The "Drughms"

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Image via Profane

I feel like it's been a bit since Profane has hit me with some material, but he's more than made up for it with the maniacal drum set workout in "Drughms." Profane comes from that Inperspective / choppage school, where it's equally about the source of your samples as it is about the rhythm you concoct with it.

For "Drughms," I'm going to assume he lifted some live gospel band (something about the organ and the kick/crash patterns that have me quizzical), but instead of giving you a straight-forward anthem, he's gone a bit tribal-ish with it. It's drum & bass, but I doubt you're cutting a rug to this. "Drughms" is one of those tunes that you drop mid-set to have the crowd standing in awe at what you're drawing.

This one is available for whatever you want to pay for it via Digital Wreka. Stream the tune below, and if you want to really get entranced, check out the video he cooked up for this tune. Pure video game bliss.


KOTA The Friend Continues to Impress With New EP 'Paloma Beach'

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"Hundred times iller than the nigga that you tucking in..."

Young KOTA did that. KOTA The Friend is my kind of artist; he's of today, but deeply entrenched in yesterday. We've been rocking with him for the last year and a half (or so), and while he's from Brooklyn, he definitely has a more chilled, Left Coast-drenched vibe to him. Probably why I dig "Sacramento" from his new EP Paloma Beach.

With summertime escaping us, it's always dope to have people like KOTA keeping us locked in the slower, more thoughtful place. KOTA's got a wicked pen, but knows how to lounge while giving you something to chew on. My kind of hype. Grab Paloma Beach today, or get your stream on via Spotify, Tidal, or down below.

R.O.E. Goes On a "Cruise" With Natalie Oliveri

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After getting word that J. Slikk had released a free instrumental LP, it was wild to get new material from Chicago's R.O.E. with the Slikk-produced "Cruise," featured Natalie Oliveri. There's a dope back-to-the-future vibe to this one, as soulful as it is boom bap-y. It's also all about riding with your lady (or significant other), and with these being the last real days of chilled summer, this might be the perfect cut to ride out to.

Stream "Cruise" below, and if you rock with it, cop it via iTunes.

J. Slikk Returns To Warn Us That 'Sometimes It Snows'

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I was going to say it'd been a long ass time since I'd heard material from Chitown's J. Slikk, but that's a goddamn lie. Slikk produced R.O.E.'s "The Race," and cooked up a heartfelt tribute to DJ Timbuck2 at the top of 2016. Thing is, when Slikk was really on his dean, RTD was following all of his moves, so it feels like he dropped off the face of the Earth. He didn't (praise Jah), as his new instrumental LP Sometimes It Snows proves, as he's got 16 free, fiery instrumentals for the taking.

There's a number of dates in these titles ("12.21.17," "2.15.18," and "3.22.18") that I'm not sure hold any meaning, but he did let me know that this is the first of three(!) albums, with two of them already done. He also said he's blessed, and it looks like he decided to bless the world with some intoxicatingly hypnotic material.

You can stream the full project below, and grab it for the free on Bandcamp.

Deep Concentration: Will Kasso

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I told you guys last month that there would be some new beginnings around here, and our brand new podcast/interview series Deep Concentration will be a new chapter for this site and my own journey. Being a lover of podcasts and conversations, my aim for Deep Concentration is to have deeper conversations that will focus on the creatives that I have crossed paths with that either birthed new energy or just excited me as a fan and lover of the visual and performing arts.

For the first episode of Deep Concentration, I had a dope conversation with Trenton's own Will Kasso, who now calls Vermont home. I've been following his work for the longest, and have grown to know him over the last six years. He's one of the beacons of the Trenton graffiti scene, helping put the Trenton scene on the map, and is the founder of the S.A.G.E. Coalition, a community revitalization project that which was a major catalyst for today's arts scene in Trenton.

With his solo exhibition Urban Legend currently up at Artworks Trenton until August 31, I got to talk to him the night before the show's reception. Kasso didn't hold anything back, sitting with me for almost 90 minutes to talk about everything from his history as an artist in Trenton, NJ, the Gandhi Garden and that Mike Brown mural to the rise and fall of the S.A.G.E. Coalition.

You can stream the full episode via Mixcloud, or download it for free via iTunes and Google Play. You can also follow Deep Concentration on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I want to send a major shout out to Deal - The Villain for letting me use "Legend Blue" on Deep Concentration. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please contact us over at deepconpod@gmail.com.

Thundercat's 'Drunk' Gets Chopped, Not Slopped

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Are you as in love with Thundercat's brilliant 2017 album Drunk as I am, but want to hear it in a new (purple) light? You should grab Drank, which finds DJ Candlestick repping for OG Ron Cand The ChopStars, bringing a chopped (not slopped) take to the entire project. Standouts like "Show You The Way," "Them Changes," and "Walk On By" never sounded so lit, trust.

You can stream the tape down below, and grab it via LiveMixtapes.

Jon Glass Created An Amazing Beat Tape In Eight Hours

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Image via Facebook


You ever hear an idea so dope that you have to figure out a way to replicate it one day? This is one of those ideas. On August 12, Jon Glass stepped into the Mass Apparel shop in Massachusetts to work an eight-hour shift. No, he wasn't stocking shelves; he was crafting instrumentals of their The Shift beat tape series. He locked in, knocking out this impressive, seven-track release of hypnotic headnodders.

The beauty of Glass' work is the variety of tracks he has here. While tracks like "Fly Shit" are more of a hazy, sloooooooooowed vibe, cuts like "D-Block" get way grittier. "Shroom" might be on some ultra chill shit, but then "This Is Hip Hop" is a dusty-fingered, double bass'd boom bap-er. Dude really knows his shit.

You can stream and download the full project via Audiomack.

Jett I Masstyr's California Dreamin' On His New 'L A X' EP

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As we head into the beginnings of a beautiful August day, it's only right to get your lounge on, LA-style. The Houston-based homey Jett I Masstyr has the perfect EP for you. On L A X, Jett produced a five-track instrumental love letter to the city of Angels.

"I love going to Los Angeles," Jett shares, "whether its to work on music or just visit. I've never spent more than a few days, and it's never long enough. Immediately after landing, I can sense it's a different world...a different vibe completely."

If you need that type of vibe in your life, you can stream L A X down below, and cop the full release via Bandcamp.

Bad Rabbits, Beautiful Music

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My appreciation for Boston's Bad Rabbits is proof that I should leave the house more often. Recently, the homey Black Collar Biz opened for them during a dope edition of the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series; I didn't get to catch Collar's performance live, but as I walked over to Mill Hill Park to take in the rest of the event, there was some futuristic funk slash rock slash R&B slash hip-hop vibes filling the air. It was everything I loved about my mom's '80s-era funk collection, mixed with a turnt, electrified stage presence, especially with their frontman Dua. When the show was over, I had to cop some of their music, which I recently just ripped for my travels.

Then I dipped over to their website and realized that, while you can (and should) cop physical copies of their music, a number of the releases are available for free (or whatever you want to pay) as digital downloads. I'm a few months behind, but the cut I included below ("Mysterious") currently has me going. It perfectly encapsulates what I dig about this outfit, and is something you need to get into...ASAP.

The Other Guys Provide A Soundtrack For 'The Working Class'

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Image via The Other Guys

I don't know about you, but the grind doesn't stop over here. When that work has to be done, you need the proper soundtrack to get through it, which is why I'm digging this new instrumental series The Other Guys are embarking on. Their new EP, The Working Class, is a boom bap-y batch of beats that will help motivate you to be great. Hell, it even features Tanya Morgan's Von Pea on the intro (and yes, that beat is included as an instrumental as well).

You can stream and download The Working Class for $free.99 over on Bandcamp, and grab that new Tanya Morgan album, YGWY$4, while you're at it.

Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman Release Their Third Collaborative EP, 'Triple Fat Lice'

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Artwork by Jeremy Fish
Back in October of 2016, Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman dropped the second installment of their Lice series with Lice Two: Still Buggin', and in a similar fashion, they shocked my world with the third installment, the amazingly-titled Triple Fat Lice. It's another limited vinyl/free download release, with five bangers featuring production from Oh No, Ben Boogz (word to 2 Hungry Bros), Quelle Chris, and more. "Pins And Needles" is a beautiful way to start ANY project, trust.

You can stream the full project below, grab a free digital download via Bandcamp, and order the vinyl release via Stones Throw.

iLL-Omega Is Back With A New Instrumental Tape, 'Omegatron'

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If you're looking for a batch sinister sounds for your Saturday excursions, iLL-Omega's got you covered. Fresh off an EP with Ray Strife, Omega's back with Omegatron, a 14-track instrumental release that's as dark as it is turnt. It's primarily of a hip-hop flex, although some of the more EDM-tinged trap tracks are nothing to sleep on.

You can stream that below; be sure to check out the Rocky's House Podcast as well, which iLL is a part of. Episode one is up now, and features DJ Say Whaat and DJ Itsjustahmad.

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.