[rock the dub Interview]: DJ Motive

With a genre as worldwide as DnB, it's always a great thing when a dynamic new producer starts to show signs of creativity, as well as injecting a different feel and aesthetic to a scene that can breed stagnant releases. With a handful of releases to his credit, DJ Motive is one of those artists that truly tries to strike out on his own, and has been getting tracks out on dsci4, Dispatch, Soundtrax, and has his future shining bright ahead of him. khal got a chance to prod Motive with questions, and Motive, with his dry humor and honest attitude, stands firm and drops some nuggets of knowledge...

khal: Your track record in DnB is kind of short, but very impressive. How did you get into DnB production?

DJ Motive: Short but impressive - sounds like I'm a wrestler. I got into production thru the usual channels really, I've been DJing since about '97, but there comes a point for many DJs where you can't find the exact sound you're after. So you have to try and do it yourself.

khal: Australia wasn’t initially known as a spot where ill DnB was coming from, but as of late, guys like yourself, Pendulum, Shock-One, BaD RoBoT, Greg Packer and others have really started to make noise. Do you guys get together at all?

DJ Motive: I know Pendulum and Greg Packer - but all the artists you've mentioned are from Perth - the world's most remote city - so it's a fair way from my city (Melbourne). About 5 hours via plane, or about 4 days by train.We usually try 'n get together for a drink if they are in town, which is a few times a year, but we've never tried to make a tune together.

khal: Would you say there is a certain “sound” that Australia brings to the DnB scene as a whole?

DJ Motive: From an international point of view, it's pretty heavily slanted towards the Perth sound, the hyper rave sound of Pendulum, Shock-One, BaD RoBoT. On the east coast there's more of the dubwise thing, which I guess people will put me, Ritual, and Vice Versa in to that category - but we don't sell any records so no-one has heard of us.

khal: Who are some of your major influences production wise, and why?

DJ Motive: Ummm.... good question, I've answered this one a few times and I'm pretty sure my answer changes all the time. But I'd say that my influences are Jonny L, Seiji, Switch / Solid Groove, Timbaland, old school jungle especially the '96-'99 era of Moving Shadow and Metalheadz, some reggae & dub - in particular I'm really into some of Sly & Robbie's stuff, some of King Tubby's mixes, some dubstep like Toasty. Optical, Photek, Dom, Jonny L, and Boymerang stuff from '96-'99. To me, all the above have kind of got similarities in their use of bass, beat & sample that I really like - I like good production, I like fuzzy bass, spacious beats and kick-heavy production, a touch of melody (but not too much).

khal: For the production heads out there, can you break down what kind of studio setup you have?

DJ Motive: Yeh I've got a really cool set-up these days that I love working on. It's actually really cheap, entry-level sort of stuff. At the heart is an iMac G5 running Ableton Live 5.2 and Logic Express. I don't really use Logic that much tho, it's all about Ableton Live which I've been using for about a year or so. I don't really run very many plug-ins, TCNative bundle does most of it, ummm what else, Ohmboyz Delay is essential. An M-Audio Firewire card is connected to the G5, running to a Soundcraft Compact 4 mixer, and out from that are the Tapco S8 monitors. On the outboard I've got the Electrix Filter Factory analog filter, the Electrix Mo-Fx rack, which is a flange, tremolo, delay unit with overdrive, and a Focusrite Focus EQ (courtesy DJ Trace). You need some outboard, otherwise you'll have no flashing LEDs to look at, no knobs to twiddle, and that's no fun.

khal: How do you work? Are you just vibing off of instinct in the studio or do you go with a certain sound or plan you want to flesh out?

DJ Motive: hmmmm.... how do I work. Lemme see, well, one thing I do is I pre-produce all my beats. I might just do a whole day of doing beats. I master each beat so that it's sounding as loud and clear as possible.Then when I've got an idea for a tune, I just go in and choose which beat is best. I don't cut or Recycle my beats, I do them in audio not midi. I usually get an idea from hearing tunes, usually old school ones, so sometimes I'll do a DJ mix for a while and eventually, something will come to me. Like maybe I'll hear a bassline from someone's tune, and I'll try and write an answer or counterpoint to it, so if I had it in the mix it would complete the phrase, does that make sense??

khal: Definitely. From hearing tracks like that dsci4 12" from 2006 to your releases on Soundtrax, as well as the smashing "Domino" on Dispatch, you exhibit a few different styles of DnB, from the more mellow side to full on dancefloor destruction. For a genre where there are tons of styles and loads of producers who stick to one style, why do you choose to flex different sounds and types of DnB?

DJ Motive: Yeah I actually don't understand how people can write their own niche style in such a niche genre like DnB. To tell the truth, it's probably because I haven't actually found exactly what I want to do or sound like. "Domino" is probably my favourite so far, I felt like I came up with something there that was mine. But generally, say if I do an amen tune or a liquid tune, I won't go back the next week and write another one just like it, even though it seems that's what the industry wants you to do. I listen to a lot of different music, I write different types of music, I DJ different types of music.

khal: From checking your MySpace page, there’s audio up for a Remix for a Big Bud tune that you did. You also Remixed a DJ Trace track for dsci4. How does this work; do the labels come to you, or do you create these remixes and then submit them to the labels? What are you looking to do when you Remix a track --- update it or recreate it?

DJ Motive: I really like doing remixes, one of my favourite things to do. Labels haven't come to me yet, I'm trying to make a name for myself as a remixer, so in the case of "Final Chapter" I asked Trace if I could do a remix. I've also done a remix of "Babylon Boy" on Shout Records - and I approached them and asked to do a remix. With the Big Bud "Children Of Jah" track, it was more that Big Bud wanted me to do one. I took a risk with that one, and turned it from a mellow, strolling reggae flavoured tune into a heavy amen & old school reese tune. An old school Dom & Roland influence on that tune. I was a bit nervous about Bud's reaction but he loves it. When I remix a track I just look at what the original track is, if it's a deeper track, I'll try and do a dancefloor thing. If it's already a dancefloor thing, I'll try and do a deeper thing. There's just no point to a remix if it sounds like the original.

khal: I also saw that you were recently in the US playing a few dates. What do you think is different about spinning for crowds in different countries? Would you play the same set for a crowd in Australia that you’d play in the US? Why or why not?

DJ Motive: Well I wouldn't change what I'd take, but I do notice that certain things go down better in some places than others, so if the crowd was to react one way then I'd keep going down that route. I think it's to do with what the local DJs have been pushing for the years prior. So it pretty much seems to change from city to city. I know that in Australia each city is different. Perth wants the most up front anthems, Adelaide love epic tech tracks, Sydney gets into the liquid and dubwise.

khal: What’s forthcoming from you? I know you have a few things done that are awaiting release… does that wait make you want to start your own imprint up?

DJ Motive: No, definitely not starting my own imprint up. You've got to be really keen on lots of hard work and very little reward if you want to start your own label. Yeh I've got some tunes that have been with labels for 2 years with no release, it's frustrating but it's just the way it is. As for forthcoming, I've got my remix of Big Bud's "Children Of Jah" coming out on Soundtrax, a 12" on Blindside called "Give Your Heart" with "After Hours" on the flip, and a remix of "Babylon Boy" on Shout Records.

khal: There was a thread on DOA that delved into the idea of there not being enough fans in DnB; basically, that everyone wants to be “down”, andt here are no pure fans out there, seemingly. Do you feel this is the case?

DJ Motive: Ok, good question. Ummmm... yeah sometimes you go to a party and everyone is a DJ, everyone is a producer, everyone is a promoter - no one is actually paying to get in and just enjoy it. But I've met some fans, and to be honest they're a bit scary, who are so into it - but they really care about the music. They're good to meet cos they remind me that people care and are listening. Nice people to visit but you wouldn't want to live there.

khal: Is this part of the reason why the scene as we know it today seems to be slumping sales wise, and arguably production wise?

DJ Motive: There really aren't many sales of DnB, but it's kind of caught in a difficult position. The art of making "listening" DnB has long since died. And the dancefloor stuff these days, who's really going to buy it and listen to it - it's not really available in a convenient format for people to buy. DnB producers are in a difficult position. Basically the only money in DnB is from DJing. After getting a decent reputation on vinyl, a DJ can earn in a weekend what you would earn from releasing 12" -that is if the label paid you - and it usually takes a year to get paid after release. Given that it usually takes about 8-12 months for a record to come out, you won't see any money for almost 2 years. So producers are writing disposable dancefloor music which gets them a reputation and gets them gigs, but alienates people who were there since the start and love the sound, the people that used to buy the music. I think that's one of the reasons why we've seen the music go the way it has. And why artistic producers have migrated to other genres.

khal: I also know you’ve put a few mixes up online, showcasing your turntable skills. Do you have anything on that front coming soon?

DJ Motive: Well I have my radio show on straightup.com.au - I've missed my show since I've been in UK & US, but all my previous shows are archived. And there's lots of my own unreleased tracks in those sets. As for a proper online mix, it's been a while since I did the Saviour Mixtape last year, I'm in the middle of sorting a mix at the moment.

khal: Can you hit us off with a current top 10 of yours?

DJ Motive: Cambridge 4 - When Pilots Eject - Hospital
Tactile - Aldabra (Commix remix) - Dispatch
Jonny L - This Is Hardcore - Mr.L Recordings
Solid Groove & Sinden - Overbooked - Atlantic Jaxx
Motive - Stop Playing Games - unsigned
Concord Dawn - Man For All Seasons - Uprising
Bungle - Human Poison - Critical
Shapeshifter - Bring Change - TrueTone
Motive - Screw Top - unsigned
Roni Size & Die - It's A Jazz Thing remix - V

khal: If you have a day off of DJing or producing or just any type of DnB related work, what would you be doing?

DJ Motive: I'm a graphic designer by day, most days that's what I'll be doing. I try to travel when I can. I like watching football, or playing it via FIFA06. Now that I think about it I really don't know what I do in my spare time. Big up The Least Jiggy One...

Shouts to Motive for letting me pick his brain. If you want to check out more of his music, hit up his MySpace page. Peep this link for a list of his releases. There are also mp3 links to his Sound Trax releases here. "Babylon Boy" Remix, eh? Sounds sick! Big up ya chest, Motive!
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Jay-Z "44 Four's"

As you guys may have known, Jay-Z performed his 10 year Anniversary show for Reasonable Doubt (AKA his baby) up in NYC at Radio City Music Hall this past Sunday. Reports say: Jay killed it (both nights, arguably). There are links to lots of photos, cracks on (big) Sauce Money, and even talk of how he switched up from doing "22 Two's" to this new joint, "44 Four's". Spine Magazine hooked up the mp3 of this, and here's the video, courtesy of the good folks at YouTube:

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Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure [review]

If you know me, you know I get infatuated with a video game for a bit and then just turn it off, for whatever reason. Most games I can just put down and leave for a while. This game, Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, is just not that game. If you are into Graf, you will be into this game. If you are into loads of action and free roaming environments, you will be into this game. If you are into Hip-Hop's 4 (5?) elements, you will be into this game. It's not for the casual gamer, but it can be. It definitely got me moving, and I'll let you know why...

In this game, you play the character Trane (voiced by Talib Kweli), a graf writer who has gotten a bit too deep into the scene. He lives in a city called New Radius (which seems to be modeled after NYC), a place where not only is graf a CRIME, but you will get stomped the kcuf out for even being SEEN with fat caps. You get drawn into the lovely intro, showing Trane today, ducking the CCK (the crew that patrols New Radius), speaking about the good ol' days. This game works just like a movie, with Trane narrating certain pieces. You get dropped at the beginning of his ascension, as a "toy", or a writer with no real recognition. You encounter the Vandals of New Radius, a crew headed up by some cat named Gabe (voiced by legendary MC Serch), who does not take to "toys" painting over his pieces. Once they embarass Trane, he goes loco and makes it his mission to get back at THEM! Along the way he forms a crew (SFC - Still Free Crew), and makes a serious name for himself, meeting tons of legends -- T-Kid, Cope2, Smith, the dude who did the "OBEY" pieces, Futura, SEEN... the list goes on and on. You pick up different abilities and techniques that help you further your progress. You go on a journey, hitting "heaven spots" (aka spots that are really hard to find, usually way up on buildings and train tracks)... it's a dreamer's true dream. I've been into graf ever since I was little, and always wanted to do what they did, but alas, my lettering sucked, even though I have a hot lil tag name. This game makes it possible for me to live out my dream...

The action in this game is fast and can be furious. You can tag with spray paint, markers, and later on, stencils and big wheat paste pieces. The game is good with letting you know where you can throw up pieces and murals, how big you can do them (the bigger, the more REP you attain), and other things. The controls are easy to pick up -- all you need is one level of practicing how to put up a tag and you will be a pro. The fighting engine is good to, with you being able to pick up different combos and "insult" moves to use on the various cats who will try and cramp your style. And the graphics? INSANE! Did you hear me? INSANE! There are spots where you get caught on camera and the whole screen morphs to what it would look like on a security cam monitor... nice, nice. The majority of the environments are free to move, and you can climb gates, ladders, walk on edges, dangle off of things, jump off walls... and all to attain certain missions objectives. The gameplay can be frustrating sometimes, but you will pick up on what you need to do relatively quickly. Once you hit a check point, you can go back to it if you make a mistake and die on a level. If you have common sense, you can get a grasp for what you need to do, which makes diving into the game very easy.

One of the strongest points in this game is the attention to detail. The click/clack of the spray can, the sounds of the slums and alley ways, right on to the music used in each scene. At times when you are running away from the law, you get a nice rock-influenced track on there... other times, you are in murky underground lairs, and the right, moody tune just accents the feel so perfectly. With heavy hitters on the voice work (which includes Charlie Murphy, Diddy, Brittany Murphy, The RZA, and others), as well as the different musical talents on the soundtrack (from Nina Simone to Pack FM to Talib Kweli and Rakim to Jane's Addiction to Mobb Deep, as well as tons of beats and original tracks from RJD2), you are treated to great aural pleasures to ride longside the beautiful visual experience. This game was obviously created to be a sort of mini-movie, and each piece makes the whole package and concept gel.

All in all, if my words don't inspire you to go out and check this game, this will: Amazon has it for $20 for the PS2. You can pay more, and you will get a package that includes tons of goodies, but it's not too necessary -- all I would really want is the Soundtrack, and well, I have no problem getting that (wink). Lovers of action and graf; Hip-Hop and good stories; art and passion... you all will find something to latch onto in this game. You don't believe me? Ask Gamespot.

rock the dub gives this game a 9.5 for attention to detail, overall gameplay, and the entrancing story.

Want more info on this game? Check out the official website. And for more graf-specific sites, check out Bomb The World, Art Crimes, Style Wars and Graffiti Warz.
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Sunday YouTube Madness: Black Comedy

I say "Black" because I am a big fan of Black comics. I've watched everything from Robin Williams to Rosie O'Donnell (remember the old VH1 show she hosted?)... I'm a big fan of George Carlin and Dane Cook and a lot of other White comedians... but Black comedy is my shit. Pryor, Eddie, Chappelle, Rock... list goes on. So, let's check some hilarious stand-up from some of my favorite Black comics...

#1: Dave Chappelle on Def Comedy Jam (peep Martin's lil chuckle)...

#2: One of Bernie Mac's FUNNIEST sets ever. "I Ain't Scared Of You Muthafuckas", courtesy of Def Comedy Jam...

#3: Chris Rock's "Niggas Vs. Black People".. being Black, this shit is the TRUTH!

#4: Not much D.L. Hughley on YouTube (my boy D Habs thinks that his TV show killed his rep -- convincing argument); he is funny no matter what. Peep game...

#5: Richard Pryor vs. Chevy Chase on SNL... classic.

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Amit "Never Ending" [review]

[Note: This review is based on the CD version of this album. The vinyl version is cool, but I don't buy vinyl, I buy CDs, and all of those vinyl tracks are on the CD.]

Here's one package I have been waiting for. Ever since I heard Amit's "Erazer" on L-Plates, I've wanted to delve deeper into his sound. There are some fanboys who assume that the tracks he produces are not DnB because there's no heavy emphasis on the drums. That's a decent argument, but the tempo and pace of each tune fits perfectly with any DnB set you can throw together. And Amit tends to eek more feeling and emotion out of tracks that don't have much going on. While other soundboys cry over the lack of minimalism in modern DnB, they totally neglect the vast spaces that Amit leaves inside each and every new tune that gets released. It's almost as if he has a limit of tracks on each production, and then leaves it up to the listener to fill in the space, which all but enhances the experience for heads like myself.

This being Amit's first full length album, there were some initial thoughts going into this: can you truly listen to "half-time DnB" for almost 80 minutes? Will the "Eastern" sounds that he was coming with, tune after tune, be prevelant throughout this disc? Is he just a one trick pony? Well, in order, the answers are Yes, No, and Hell Fucking No. The fact that he can throw some slick political undertones to tunes like "Live In India", with it's random pull-back sounds and "fascist" sample towards the end, to the aggro-march of "Swastika", which sounds like Alec Empire-esque fury on slow motion, is pretty ill. The samples overtop "Swastika" are spoken in almost a chant, sounding almost like a call to arms against whichever government is fucking up that day. "Too Many Freedoms" skanks along with a call-and-response feel of the bass and the echoed chime sounds. The bass and kicks drive the track into a spacefunk zone that not too many producers are willing to cross into these days. Outrage steps in on the CD opener, "Unholy", to assist Amit in an epic roller. My favorite dub sounds run red throughout this track -- distorted vocal samples, THICK bass, random snare hits, and that feeling of despair... it's a perfect way to start this journey of a disc.

For cats like me who don't buy vinyl for whatever reason, we are treated to some of Amit's previous releases on here. His most recent, the heavily rinsed "MK Ultra", the aforementioned Eastern-vibes of "Village Folk", and "Erazer", which sounds a tad dated compared to how far Amit's sound has progressed in the last 4 years, but it is a good reminder of how solid and singular he truly was in his beginning stages. This CD has 3 tracks that are previously unreleased: "Live In India", "True War" and "Night Shift". Each track provides a different side to Amit's talents, and they all stand out for different reasons.

In the end of the day, if you want your sound dubby and to the left, this CD is where it's at. It shows us that a) Klute is the fucking man at spotting talent and b) Amit is no fluke. I can only hope that this not even the start of the race; funny thing is, if Amit were to perish tomorrow (God forbid), I could grow old listening to this CD. You pick up new things upon each listening, and there is just enough variation that you will truly not get bored.

rock the dub score: 9 out of 10 for consistency and leftfield production.

For more information on Amit, check out his page on the Commercial Suicide site. If you want to purchase this album, check out this link, this link, this link, and try this link right here. One.

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OK so Nas is saying Hip-Hop Is Dead. Not a new boast at all, so we can leave that alone. Yet, the God MC does what for the album he is helming, due out this September? Nothing. You mean to tell me, in resurrecting Hip-Hop, you enlist the people who helped kill it? I mean, I can understand you want "bangers", but Timbaland and Scott Storch? And fucking will.i.am?!!?!?! I don't get why Nas needs to try and go pop again. Remember "Hate Me Now"? Diddy spitting out Cr*stal?? Yeah that helped you go NOWHERE. And this is on the heels of the leaking of "Where Y'All At", which is catching mixed reviews. I give it an 8 for lyrics alone; the beat is kind of sparse (Salaam Remi on the beat?), lacking almost. I still knock it though.

I saw all of that to say this: where is my NAPU (Nas And Premier United) album? You guys talked about it in that issue of Scratch Magazine... sheeeit, you graced the cover together! Don't fucking play with me. I mean hell, at least Primo is making some hot shit with Christina...

Nas, don't fuck this up man. You got a lot riding on this... if you fuck this up, it's going to be a WHILE before some fans let you come back inside. Truth be told, many of your hardcore fans don't want you in their kitchen now. These are "One Love" niggas. Don't shut the door on us. Please don't.
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weird dream...

I woke up from a weird dream... I don't know the specifics of the main chunk, but right before I got out of bed, I dreamt that Jay-Z stepped down as president of Def Jam... he said he knows he was trying to do right, but his failure with Bleek's last album was a low point, and he was disappointed.

Is that
an omen or a wish?

For shits and giggles, check out the HP commercial Jay-Z did:

I like that whole "retire" comment... man. Must be nice.

Now peep this video... Phish bringing out Jay-Z back 2 years ago... imagine that. Back in HS, I knew Phish fans who hated Jigga! And I was never a big fan of Phish so this kind of odd...

Jay flowing on Rap City. He goes from "PSA" into some straight freestyle over the "Stand Up" beat.

HAH! Classic Jay-Z video... "I Can't Get With That". Check the fast flow. He doesn't really do that anymore though. Classic.

I'll end this with some classic '96 shit. B.I.G. coming out during a Jay-Z set. Peep the Video Music Box intro. HOLLA!

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Busta Rhymes appreciation

Since The Big Bang is in stores today (peep my review), I figured I'd give some praise to my boy Busta. I've been a fan of his since the LONS days, and have followed him throughout his career. He was one of the guys who would steal your shine with his bombastic guest appearances, and he helped shape the way Rap videos looked in the 90s. Check out these clips, via YouTube, of some choice Bussa Bus moments.

#1: Peep Busta at his old high school, doing it with the kids. Battlin' this lil nigga who holds his own...

#2: Some SOHH shit...

#3: His first eye-poppin' video, the clip for "Woo-Ha Got You All In Check!" (peep the "Everything Remains Raw" clip intro... one of my fav tracks he did. Don't be around me when that comes on -- shouts to Easy Mo Bee!)...

#4: ...And the Remix ft. Ol' Dirty Bastard (RIP)...

#5: A Tribe Called Quest ft. LONS "Scenario" video... one of the first times Busta really showed his shit. Hot video all around.

#6: Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear" Remix ft. Busta, Rampage, LL Cool J and Biggie Smalls (RIP)... CLASSIC!

#7: Versatile Bus on the mic... "Gimme Some More"

#8: Busta doing Woo Ha live in 2004. His live shows are hot. Never seen 'em but he bring it live.

#9: Who's the greatest poet: William Shakespeare or Busta Rhymes?

#10: LONS classic "Case of the PTA"

GO COP THAT ALBUM! The more I listen to it, the more I like it. "Goldmine" is still the jawn, though. Big up, Bus. Shouts to Bol for saying some nice words. One.
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knee drops

I wrote this poem back in March, half joking, half just writing, about this video* that was linked on the DOA forum. I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm still writing... got a new piece I'm working on. Check it out...

knee drops
1, 2
falling down on dick
stabbing necks means
broken specs
irregular breathing clouding my
bloody vision
30 minute dirt naps
perhaps my
felony fight was
figuratively unbright
i mean
my dim bulb is now cracked
broken on the floor perhaps
kind of like my nose
my chin my
knee drops
1, 2
who felled the tatted up brew swiller
in through nose
mexican lied
not his first fight i suppose i
should have thought before..
ah fuck it my
internet fight franchise has just been birthed
eat the earth head plunged into the ground by those
knee drops
1, 2...

*[NOTE: if you don't like watching fights online, especially ones that end with guys having a hard time breathing and getting brutalized, don't watch that video! You've been warned!!!!!]
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will.i.am thinks he can...

I just got the latest issue of XXL, and they have a feature on the Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am, who produces and does the main Hip-Hop shit for them (check out a partial piece of the article here). Later on in the article, this nigga starts talking about the different endorsements that the BEPs get, from Apple to the NBA and all points in between, saying that he doesn't get why people say they sold out when ATCQ, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and a slew of other MCs used to do the classic Sprite commercials, which is a good point... and he also has a point about being called a sell out. Thing is, this is the same nigga who was back-packing back when their first hit came out ("Joints and Jams", I like that track), back before they got as popular as they are now. Now, it's tracks with Justin Timberlake, and some "lady lumps" nonsense. He doesn't get this though...

Nigga, let me spell it out for you: you didn't sell out by getting endorsement deals, you sold out when Fergie got added to the group. You sold out when you got all the other bullshit put into your tracks, the NSYNC shit, the Humps shit, the fucking "Let's Get Retarded" being turned into "Let's Get It Started" for the video. Come on, dog. I don't care if you rock the bohemian style, but you come out at niggas like you are hot in the hood! The hood isn't feeling what BEP does, you know why? It's b/c you guys are MTV poster-kids! And not Direct Effect, dog... fucking TRL! Do you guys even do BET? I don't watch 106 and Park so I wouldn't know...

And now you are corrupting Busta's album with that "I Love My Bitch" shit?! I can't wait to hear your album... fake ass, bummy looking Pharrell ass nigga.

Speaking of Busta Bus, check out this funny ass video I found you YouTube... apparently, a whip ran into Scott Storch's property, and some back and forth talk goes on... funny!

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The History of the Amen

This post is dedicated to the Amen Break, my favorite piece of breakbeat history. From NWA to Remarc, this sample has been twisted, stretched, or just used straight up, it just has an intense, ill sound inside of it. This video runs a lil over 18 minutes, and is very informative. It really showcases what a lot of jungle and DnB producers are doing with the break... I love that shit.

Gotta love
The Winstons! For more information on this piece and Nate Harrison, check out this link.

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The Sopranos, Season 6: "Kaisha" [recap]

I know a lot of you Sopranos fans and critics were disappointed with last night’s “finale” (I can’t call it a finale, seeing as though reports say that the final 8 episodes starting January 2007 are still considered to be a part of the 6th Season), but I am not really upset at all. I feel as though some major issues got brought up in this episode, some interesting shit that will come to light in those final 8 episodes --- hopefully. Let’s take a minute to break down those issues:

+ Phil, who is now in the hospital over some heart problems, was plotting on taking out a member of the Soprano family. From Dom getting murked (nice shot of his head being kicked down that ditch), and Phil almost getting blown up, there was some trouble brewing… lil’ Carmine tried to smooth shit out, but he brought up Phil’s cousin, which was the DUMBEST thing he could do. Phil stalked out, and started scheming. There was no final determination, but they kept mentioning that it would need to be someone close to Tony, and I think that someone is going to be Christopher…

+ Christopher is back on the junk, and realizing he might have jumped into his marriage a bit too quickly. He admitted to his new girl, Julianna (yes, THAT Julianna), that he was not ready for a family. How did he meet her, you ask? Well, she’s a smackhead too, and they met at an AA meeting. Crazy, right? Tony found out and was visibly upset, but played it off in Chrissy’s face. With Dr. Melfi, he kept making sarcastic comments, “this is my reward”. Funny thing, this episode is called “Kaisha” b/c that’s the black girl Chrissy is telling everyone he is seeing, while being with Julianna…

+ Carm got her spec house. After poking around and mentioning to T that she would be trying to hire a private investigator to check out the Adrianna situation, T leaned on Silvio to lean on the board to get her shit approved. She is now, once again, the happy homemaker, loving life and counting her blessings.

+ Tony, on the other hand, heard from the FBI agent (neph who is now working in terrorism) that New York wants him dead. He seemed a bit frazzled, but kept his cool nonetheless.

+ AJ got the poonani from the HR girl over at the construction site. She has a kid, and I SWEAR she is the same mami who Paulie was dealing with back in Season 2. I have to revisit that. AJ even brought home girl over to the house for Christmas, which was kind of crazy. My mother’s boyfriend brought out an interesting point: it’s kind of funny how Carm wigged out b/c this girl is of Latin descent, but was fine with Meadow dealing with Noah.

+ We got to catch a glimpse of Uncle Junior at the old people’s spot. Bobby Bacala came over to give him back the $$$ he received from June as a gift. June was upset, but needs to realize that Bobby even communicating with him is bad for business, due to him plugging T in the stomach. It’s fucked, but Bobby is right…

As you can see, the drama is laid on thick. Not too much action, not too much gruesome, gritty murkage, just a lot of fucking relationship talk. Sticky relationship talk. And that’s one of the big things in the Sopranos… it’s not a show about the mob @ all. Yes, the mob is a big part of it, but the show is about the family relationships, just like any HBO show. It’s about how the people interact in that situation. As much as OZ was about prison life, it was about the people DEALING with that life. I think that’s what people get hung up on --- the ominous expectations that they build up in their heads (peep this MSN article which might explain that better).

All I can say is, I know where I’ll be in 6 months. I’m placing bets on who you guys think will get murked. I think smart money is on Chrissy, but with The Sopranos, smart money never got anyone anything.
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[rock the dub Interview]: Kyle Rowland

[Ed. note: this is an interview that was slated to be published for The Flow, but for whatever reason, that site is M.I.A.; it is the first of many I plan on posting, just to get them off of my HD and onto the web for many to consume.]

The world of Jazz is a varied world. On one side, you have purists like Wynton Marsalis and others, who are very firm in their beliefs, training, and keeping their sound as close to the forefathers who birthed them. On the flipside, you have performers like Wynton’s brother Branford, Boney James, etc., who like to spread their wings and adapt their style of Jazz to other genres of music (Hip-Hop, R&B and the like), all the while still keeping their own identity. In a class by himself, Kyle Rowland is charting a different path: he is melting Electronic Music and Jazz into one big pot. His trumpet has a tone reminiscent of Miles, but his beats will keep your feet tapping and your hips shaking to his cool grooves. Already releasing his first experiment in this Techno-Jazz fusion, Ideas, he is currently working on getting his own imprint, as well as completing his next opus, Stand Back, Train Approaching. We catch him in the middle of these two projects, discussing where he comes from, his views on the current state of popular music, as well as his belief in God, technology, and Miles, of course. Watch out for that train…

khal: Thanks for granting us this interview. First off, for those out there who are unaware of you and what you do, could you please let us know?

Kyle Rowland: You’re welcome, and I appreciate your interest in my work. I am a musician in Southern New Jersey. I have a deep passion for music; over the last few years I have been experimenting with blending technology and improvised music. I write, arrange, and record my material in my home. To date, I have not had any one else involved in creating the music, but that will change with upcoming projects.

khal: Where did you get the idea to fuse House music and improv Jazz?

KR: Well, it happened kind of naturally – I got a majority of my music education in public schools, and part of that was listening to and playing jazz – which I really grew to love. I was also naturally drawn to electronic music. Recently I began thinking: there are not many jazz musicians out there who explore too deeply into the electronic genres. Most jazz musicians probably think that they will alienate their fan-base. When Miles Davis began to explore mixing Jazz and Hip-Hop (check out his album Doo-Bop), many people thought that he was doing just this. Likewise, there are not a whole lot of artists in the electronic genres that use more than small hints of Jazz; a nice horn loop here, some cool organ riffs there. So I figured that this is an area where I can maybe make some headway and get people from the different genres to think a little differently about their music.

khal: I know you are a self proclaimed “computer geek”; what is your setup at home? Do you strictly use PC or are you incorporating live instrumentation into your pieces as well?

KR: The concept of live instrumentation gets a little fuzzy for me, because I mostly record my material by myself. So one minute something is live, the next minute it is part of the big picture that I’m trying to bring to life. I do try to blend whatever kinds of musical elements that I can get my hands on. On my project Ideas, which is available on my
web site, I include trumpet, piano, and harmonica. I use a couple of synthesizers to provide the more unusual sounds as well as drum programming and pattern looping. My next project, which is tentatively being named Stand Back, Train Approaching, has a track that features some nice guitar work provided by a friend of mine, Grant Reitzel.

khal: Who are some of your influences?

KR: Miles Davis (of course) – I love the sound of his trumpet, the nuances in every performance. I love his attitude – that he always sought to play what he was hearing. If there is only one album that you ever buy, it should be Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. John Coltrane, Blank & Jones, Alanis Morissette – I absolutely love her melodies and her voice, The M-People, Snap, Wynton Marsalis, and lots of others.

khal: In speaking to you on various occasions, I know you have had some trials and tribulations in trying to get your music heard by labels. Do you think there is still a market for Jazz in today’s world?

KR: The short answer is yes – real, authentic, quality music will always have a market. The long answer is – I think that Jazz has a couple of serious problems to deal with: 1) Today’s Pop music has trained the average listener to be very low on patience, and very high on expectations for the level of excitement that a piece of music generates. I mean, mainstream songs are always 3.5 minutes long, there’s almost no dynamic variation, and the emotional content seems to be controlled by fairly precise formulas designed to optimize excitement and minimize any possible boredom. Not that there’s anything wrong with this – but it makes music more like a cup of coffee that you use for a specific effect, rather than the deep emotional experience that it can be. 2) Many Jazz musicians are comfortable in their little niche; when people get comfortable, they can become irrelevant. I try to deal with these in my music, which is another reason I try to meld high energy music and improvised music, to try to get the best of both worlds, if that’s possible – we’ll see.

khal: I know you have been following/playing Jazz for a while now; are all of your projects like the Ideas series?

KR: My latest one, which I referred to earlier, is similar, but much different – it is not quite as mellow and it is produced better – my production chops have improved since the last project. Some of the arrangements in the newer project are also a bit more interesting – again, because I’ve learned so much through the entire process.

khal: Your website mentions that you play for the New Life Assembly in New Jersey. How much of a role does God play in your life, as well as your music? Also, do you play out anywhere else?

KR: Well, really it’s all about God. He’s made such a difference in my life in so many ways – he protects me from myself, he provides me with everything I need, and more. I see my music as a gift that came straight from his hands, and I really want to see how far I can run with it in the time that I have here. I am actually in the process of working on a live act – my recorded music started out as an experiment, so I’m working on evolving my creative process to a live environment; which is challenging. There is some great technology that has emerged recently that is really promising for my kind of situation.

khal: Where do you envision your music going (creatively and commercially) in the future? Do you WANT major success/a record contract, or are you just trying to get heard?

KR: Success is a good thing, generally. Though I think most of all I would like the opportunity to play for as many people as possible. Creatively, I just try to play what the stuff that I feel inside of me – I think that’s what’s really important – so many people try to play and sound like others – because they think that is what makes someone successful. Really, I think success comes from playing the song that’s inside you, even if it’s a little different.

khal: Are there any intentions on updating your website with some of your newer work?

KR: The new project (tentatively titled Stand Back, Train Approaching) should be ready by the end of the year.

khal: Do you have any insight you could give our readers who might be looking to get involved with making music via PC? What programs/equipment would you suggest they purchase?

KR: Absolutely – there is SO much incredible technology out there today, and more importantly, the prices are becoming more and more reasonable. Probably one of the best places to start is to get your hands on is Propellerhead’s Reason. Reason runs about $400 and contains everything you need to produce music minus the ability to actually record external audio. It has a drum machine, a pattern sequencer, two different types of synthesizers – you can arrange full songs just with this piece of software. If you want to complement that with some audio recording software, one of the greatest deals out there is Steinberg’s Cubase SE – which has everything you need to do audio recording, and integrates nicely with Reason through a protocol called ReWire. You can record your Reason tracks straight into Cubase, and then sing, speak, or play over whatever you have put together. There are two primary pieces of hardware that you’ll probably want to get a hold of. A MIDI controller keyboard – this allows you to control/play PC Based synthesizers such as Reason. These range in price between $150 and $500. An audio interface – this is to plug in mics or other external audio sources to your computer. You can pay $60 and up for these, depending on the specifics of the device. Any other questions about this stuff, I’d be glad to answer via email.

khal: Do you have any last bits of advice?

KR: Again – one of the hardest things in life is discovering who you really are. Each one of us is created differently but similar, and we operate most efficiently when we’re being the people that we were created to be. And really doing this is impossible without the help of the One who did the creating in the first place. So – get connected with God – and then follow that ancient proverb – Just Do It! (If there are any questions about getting connected with God – please feel free to email)

khal: Thanks for your time, Kyle, and good luck!

KR: Thank *you*! :)

If you want to check out more info on Kyle Rowland and his Jazz, slide on over to his website, Kyle Rowland Music. He is also working on his MySpace page. You can download his tracks at either of those sites, as well as here. Watch those spaces, because his next release, Stand Back, Train Approaching, will be coming out in the near future. We again would like to thank Kyle for letting us pick his brain.
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Sunday YouTube Madness: Turntablist Edition Round 2

Another fix of cuts and scratches. I went into this wanting to specifically highlight juggling (the art of turning 1 song into a completely new song using 2 records), but found some other treats at 1AM. Check out my spoils...

#1: DJ Shortee clip from some how2dj.com tutorial. Give you a basic idea of the beginning of a juggle...

#2: After that tutorial, check out A-Trak live in China, showing you what you can do with some advanced juggle techniques...

#3: Grandmaster Roc Raida working out the classic Run DMC "Sucka MC's" instrumental...

#4: Roc Raida again, doing some live shit at the legendary Fat Beats. I believe this routine was used on his track from the Return Of The DJ compilation... check out his freak.

#5: Roc's boy Mista Sinista working out the decks at Fat Beats. It's hot, give it some room to breathe.

#6: Check out Roc and Sinista's boy Total Eclipse work the shit out of Tribe's "Scenario". One sick routine, I love when he uses his belly on the fader.

#7: P-Trix works out some classic De La Soul on this routine. I'm loving this one right now.

#8: D-Styles and toadstyle just doing some abstract, live turntable instrumentation. Not sure about all that's going on in here, but it's hot nonetheless. The cheap video transitions have got to go though!

#9: Forgive the awful video on this, I just found it. DJ Craze in full battle mode. I love the intro --- but checkout this video around 5 min 08 seconds... he rocks the full on dnb in this. He even throws in some shit off of Q-Bert's album, which I thought was unique.

#10: To put an end-cap on this, here's the mighty Q-Bert doing his thing at Tableturns. The set is about 7 mins, and he does some ill shit. From rocking a hip-hop to dnb tempo, showcasing this scratch called "prism", and even works out scratches without a mixer! Must be seen.

If you guys know of any Turntablist shit that I am missing, scream at me. Until next time...
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the shuffle. [6/3/06]

What's good, family? I watched Poetic Justice with the Mrs. not too long ago... forgot how much I loved that flick. Surprises me how talented 2Pac was. Janet's great too, but her style is more melodramatic. John Singleton needs to bring it back to the essence...

Busy week over here. Pregnancy is taking it's toll on my wife, and being 6 months now, it's hard for her to get proper care. It's OK with some things, but cracked ribs are no joke. Lil' man is going to hear about this come September LOL.

Entertainment news this week has been kind of touch and go. Brad and Angelina had a baby girl, but really, is that any concern of your's? I bet Jennifer Aniston is kind of pissed, with her new movie coming out this past Friday and all... lil Brangelina baby sucked up all the publicity!

For Dubstep heads, you might want to check out this Burial album. I just grabbed it, and the sounds are kind of intense... not too overbearing at all, and really pushing the edges. It's not even Dubstep, really, but I hear it's lumped into that category. Hell, the shit is all Dub to me in the end, so what difference does it make...

Never mind the bullshit, onto the shuffle!!!!

1> Rumor has it that Raekwon is signed or signing to Aftermath. XXL had it up as a headline, but abruptly took it down an hour later. Lots of fans are championing this signing, but I think it might be a little risky. Rae's last couple of albums didn't do so hot, and having Dr. Dre foot the bill doesn't sound like success to me. Some of these '95 niggas might need to go back and just revisit that era instead of claiming prevelance these days. I'm just saying, if shit like Yung Joc is #1 everywhere, how can he expect to be relevant to the legions of ignorant teens supporting that garbage?

2> Some guys is suing Justin, N'SYNC, Nelly and the Neptunes over that "Girlfriend" song. Why? Because he can't get a deal, I'm guessing. He should take note, though, Luda and Kanye just got off on their lawsuit. I really don't get it. It's like "wow, those guys MUST have heard my shit, why would they jack my music?" How many times are these lawsuits valid? We'll see what the deal is in the near future...

3> For all of you Destiny's Child/Beyonce fans, rejoice. Not only does Jay's girl have Dreamgirls coming out later this year, but her new solo album, B'Day, is set to come out the day after her birthday in September. Good for B. I guess. I mean, the first single is slated to be with Jay, entitled "Deja Vu"... how fucking corny is that? Must artists like Beyonce and Eminem always come out the box with the same type of single? We aren't that fucking dumb...

4> Speaking of Em, the guy who shot Proof is said to have acted lawfully, according to prosecutors in Detroit. Did we have any doubt? I mean, did Proof let off during a fucking pool game? That's kind of hostile... God rest the dead. Proof, RIP, but that's just not hot. Unnecessary violence must cease.

5> So Comedy Central couldn't wait, huh? They already have plans in the works to release a new DVD of unreleased Chappelle's Show material (aka Season 3). I wanted to see this on TV, but I guess this is the route they are taking -- the "let's make mad loot" route. The price is looking to be damn near $30 for 70 mins of material... something ain't right. Dave, come back and stop this madness. We need your show on fucking cable TV, not some bootleg sounding DVD. Fix up!

6> Your boy The Game is really trying to do it big, huh? He has that fuckin' movie with Tyrese coming out, where he rocks the weird eye, and now he is trying to take this Black Wall Street shit to Aftermath himself? Aside from Charli Baltimore and nigga who writes Kevin Federline's raps (what a job), who else does he have signed? And with all this hoopla about what he did on his 1st album, in terms of the majority of his hit singles having 50 on the track and/or on the chorus, should he truly be focusing on some no-names? Organize, nigga...

7> John Muhammad, aka the D.C. Sniper, got hit up with 6 more convictions. This story is wild. I mean, Lee Malvo stood up and really spoke his mind. He let us know that after all of these shootings, which was supposed to go from a few random people to mad police, was to culminate with John trying to get his kids? What a fucking role model! Now John is already facing death, plus 6 more life terms? Just kill this dumbass right now. Or go rent the USA movie about this fiasco.

8> So what do you do when someone is pissing you off and you are in need of someone's spot in the play? You spike their drink with bleach, that's what! WTF is going on here, people? WTF...

9> I'm not sure if anyone remembers, but before his mother died, Bernard Hopkins said he was going to be retiring soon. Two years later, and mad millions richer, he is making good on that promise. And, for some odd reason, he chose Bun B to escort him down ringside. I think this is cool, don't get me wrong, but isn't The Executioner from Philly? Why not get Beanie Sigel to spit some sizzurp flows down the aisle? Just a thought...

10> If I had the loot, I'd cop a Razr phone. Why someone needs a blinged out Razr is anyone's guess, but it's out there.

11> Some more Wu-Tang related news: RZA is scoring some animated Kung Fu show with Sam Jackson as the lead voice. I would be behind it if the word Afro wasn't in the title... also, peep Method Man dishing shit on his last album, Tical 0, and talking about his forthcoming opus. The bootlegs I've heard are decent, but nothing too exciting. Who knew he worked with Diddy on that last garbage album? Strange times...

12> Did you guys hear about the Asian kid born with 3 arms? How crazy is that?!?! It looks like a psychodelic poster or some shit... too nutty to be real, but it is! Good luck to him.

13> I told you I would link you with more info on this B.I.G. lawsuit oddness over in LA. Apparently, the lawyers reppin' BIG's estate say "we ain't lie". Not much else info there, but they need to find some closure for Ms. Wallace. Please.

14> Peep Def Jam's fall release schedule. No Redman, no Joe Budden (whattup with no NJ love?!?!)... but fuckin' Rick Ross!? That nigga is gonna brick, hard. Jeezy will do good... The Roots will do normal record sale #s, but will make mad loot on the road... Nas? I don't know... Lady Sovereign? ROFL that chick isn't going to do too well over here. Sorry, the US ain't ready for grime (whattup Dizzee Rascal!?!?)...

15> How the fuck are grandparents gonna order a hit on their grandkids? These fuckers need to be castrated and hung for that shit... that's the worst right there.

16> Surprising Ignorant Rapper News: Da fucking YoungBloodZ have been arrested for drugs and guns!

Another end to a crazy week. I'm going to smoke a lil Black and call it a night. Mavericks vs. Heat starting June 8th... can't wait! Night to ya...
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Busta Rhymes "The Big Bang" [review]

So Busta, the world has not ended as you so proudly proclaimed on your previous efforts. Also, the world of Hip-Hop records has changed a lot... it's really a young man's game, and while your style is very bouncy and fun, you have shown how much older you are. This is not a diss at all... your fans have grown up with you, from the young man with the LONS to the big, muscle bound mastadon you grew into, so it's only right that you echo your fanbase's "Hip-Hop is Dead" ethos on your first album for the good Doctor, The Big Bang. There's a lot of good in this album, but also some that is not so good... needs more bang and less big, if you ask the kid.

Now I'm a pretty avid fan of Busta; I have The Coming on cassette somewhere in my basement, I own various albums, as well as your Greatest Hits collection. I love how you switch your flows, and mimic certain elements of the beats... thank God, you kept that intact on this disc... it just seems like you tried to do too much. Was it necessary to have Stevie Wonder AND Rick James bless choruses? It just doesn't sound necessary to me... sounds like you are casting lines to the same fans who dug your work on Luther's last album. Both tracks highlight your past, from your parents migration and intergration into the American culture ("Been Through The Storm") to living in the slums ("In The Ghetto") and trying to make a better life for yourself. I applaud you on that, because most of your past albums have been thick with party anthems and smack-you-in-your-face bangers. That's not bad, but it's good to see you pour your heart out over the beats.

Speaking of beats, that's the main saving grace on this album. The Big Bang showcases many interesting ideas... from Timbaland's "nuttin'-but-percussion-and-crickets" sounding "Get Down" to Dr. Dre's piano ad organ laced "Goldmine", which features Raekwon calling himself a "Gangster Republican" (???). Dre even incorporates shoveling dirt into "Legend of The Fall Offs", which also executes an interesting idea -- the POV of a Grim Reaper for Old School MCs. No names were named, oddly, but it was executed well, even though it evokes that scene with the Bride from Kill Bill, vol. 2 and other "buried alive" movies. There are these hits, but there are some misses as well, sadly...

Hearing the Nas collabo "Don't Gey Carried Away", it sounds like you guys picked a B-beat from Dre, and worked out a shitty chorus overtop. That's another big downfall. The choruses on many tracks either seem too boisterous ("Get You Some" featuring Q-Tip and Marsha Floetry going back and forth for what seems like forever, as well as the odd-bar filling "They're Out To Get Me", which is produced by D-12's Kon Artis) or just down-right silly ("Cocaina", which just sounds lax). And why does Missy Elliot have to ruin any track she is on? The tit-for-tat shit on "How We Do It Over Here" is just, well, pointless. Could have left that one off the LP all together.

Another question: why was "Touch It" out back when I was wearing a coat? Was there a previous album drop date that got pushed back, b/c that track just seems old as hell? And why no inclusion of the Remix? People would like to get their hands on it sans illegal Internet downloads... In any case, I know many fans are salivating for DJ Scratch's Diamond D biting "New York Shit". Many NY niggas are "bringing it back to NYC", but this track does the best job at it. J. Dilla blesses Bussa Bus from the grave with "You Can't Hold The Torch", revisiting classic ATCQ vibes, and again touching on the Hip-Hop Is Dead ideals. Touched on too much, but with as much ignorant shit that there is out there, it is not without warrant. I am also feeling "I'll Do It All", with it's looped melody and floating flutes riding on top of that beat that's a slow nodder one minute, and then kicks the kicks kind of quick in it. And hearing Bus lay his mack game down is always hot to hear.

In the end, the only thing I am completely pissed off at is "I Love My Bitch", which is the new single out on MTV right now. I mean, featuring Kelis doing a retarded chorus is one thing... having fucking will.i.am produce a track on your album, that' s GOTTA be a new low. Fuck the bullshit, this is not acceptable.

Bus, where's all of the underground heat you had out there? I miss some of that. I need a Big Bang - WMD Edition or something. Tracks like "I'll Hurt You" with Eminem, or your OTHER Nas collaboration, "Rough Around The Edges", or even "Psycho" ft. Papoose and Cassidy, we need more of that. Speaking of Papoose, if you are working on his career, why isn't he on this album?!? Why do you have Q-Tip on 2 tracks, but no tracks featuring any Flipmode family? Just sounds odd... do your thing though, dog. Maybe the next go round?

khal gives this album a 7.5 out of 10 stars --- hot beats, nice flows, but lacking on original ideas and horrible choruses. In the end, it's good to hear new Busta out there, but the maturity leaves some big question marks on the whole Aftermath signing.
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