[rock the dub Interview]: Tim Exile

Tim Exile is one of a rare breed of producers in the electronic music scene who not only understands where the music has been, but has a driving urge to explore where the music can go. He has gone from toning down his eccentric DnB tracks to going full on, balls to the wall and not apologizing for it at all. He has created software to help expand on the live DJ experience, turning the art of mixing tracks into a free-form, hands-on collage of sound and personality. He released the critically acclaimed Pro Agonist last year, and now introduced us to the Gabba Lounge. We got the chance to bug him about his past, his present, and a peek into his workings... pull up a chair.

khal: Some people only know you from your recent string of releases, from your output on Evol Intent, Frequency right up to your Planet Mu excursions. You actually had quite a few releases out on Moving Shadow and Beta as well. Were you content putting out “safe” (or as safe as you can get) DnB tracks on those labels? Is that something you might get to in the future? Why or why not?

Tim Exile: For a short while I was yes. Although my first single on Beta (Fatal Exception) was actually pretty extreme for the time. John did ask me to tone it down a bit. From then on John encouraged me to keep other singles a bit more down the beaten track… same as Shadow, and I followed suit. There was a time when I regretted this, but I don’t now. Holding back has forced me into a very critical way of listening when I do let rip. There’s so much electronica out there now that ‘lets rip’ and is very mangled but I think a lot of it lacks fidelity… not necessarily production fidelity, but musical fidelity. I’ve always had a tension between wanting to make accessible music and wanting to make much more personal, less accessible music. There are merits for me and the listener in both. I may or may not return to ‘safe’ dnb. I can never seem to predict what my next musical whim is going to be. At the moment it’s tweaked out pop.

khal: You’ve had a critically acclaimed album, Pro Agonist, and your live shows have become an experimental treat to many heads across the globe. What made you decide to turn your live show into the Tim Exile’s Nuisance Gabbaret Lounge album?

Tim Exile: It made sense. I wasn’t really writing much in the studio at the time. It seemed so laborious after I’d made a machine which allowed me to improvise. The stuff I was making in the studio seemed to lose colour for me in comparison to the vibrant life I was leading travelling around and improvising on stage. It had to go down on plastic in some form. I realise there was no point trying to fight Pro Agonist with another Pro Agonist so I did something totally different. I think this is the best way to keep yourself alive as an artist.

khal: How much of your time is spent programming new and interesting programs/patches for Native Instruments and the other outfits you do work for? Is there anything new you are trying to accomplish that you’d like to share?

Tim Exile: It depends on what’s going on at the time. I’ve been doing the odd bit of sound design & programming for NI recently. Sometimes I don’t touch any programming for a while. I programmed the Bass Boxing game for Glade Festival during the summer. Earlier this year I spent weeks making live machine mk2. It turned out to be a little beyond Reaktor’s capabilities and drove me close to career-killing RSI so I had to downsize. I’m just about to get back into incorporating the progress I made on it into a new live show. It’d be nice to be able to programme in a more powerful language so I really can make the tools I want to, but I’d need a second life to do that. Right now I’m young and need to be a little more frivolous. For the time being I’ve accepted that the tools I want to use don’t exist, and that I don’t have the time or expertise to make them.

khal: When I’ve heard your live performances, I hear you mix in some very familiar tunes, like tracks by Krust and others, into your beautiful chaos. What are some tracks that you always keep in your PC to throw in and manipulate in your sets?

Tim Exile: I don’t know most of them. They just have random file names. I don’t even know who wrote them. Apart from the obvious ones of course…

khal: You don’t just produce DnB and fuck with programs, though. In reading up on you, as well as listening to Pro Agonist, you also produce breakbeat, house, and other types of music. Are there any non-DnB releases out there that people can check out, past or present?

Tim Exile: There are a few errors in the discogs.com discog actually… a couple of breaks tracks that I didn’t write. There’s a techno release that’s worth checking out though on Mosquito the ‘Hanzo Steel Cuts’ EP, if you can find it. The label’s stopped and the distro’s gone down the pan though, so you’ll be pretty lucky to find a hard copy! You can download it from bleep.com I believe. I have a bunch of tracks of lots of different styles on BMG production music compilations as well but you can’t buy these commercially. They’ve been used all over the world on TV though which is quite interesting to see when the PRS statement comes through. One of my tracks has been used loads on Newsround apparently.

khal: Your website mentions something about “Gabba Boxing”… what is this and where did it come from?

Tim Exile: It’s boxing with boxing gloves that trigger gabba kicks. It’s now changed name to Bass Boxing. It debuted at Glade Festival in July this year. There’s a mini documentary about it forthcoming on the Native Instruments website which will explain it in greater detail than I have time to go into here, not unlike the one about my live patch which appeared about this time last year.

khal: I’m also reading that you have a Gabbaret Lounge radio show forthcoming. What made you want to start your own radio show? Are there any surprises you have in store for the listeners? How can people check it out?

Tim Exile: I did the first one for Resonance FM in London. It was to be a run of 6 shows, once a week. Unfortunately the first one took me about 2 days to put together, which I realised I didn’t have time for so I had to pull the rest. I’m now going to do Gabbaret Lounge shows as and when I feel like it and have the time and put them up for download. The second one which is shorter and I spent more time on is up on my website at the moment. The idea is to make it more of a strange variety show with sketches and weird shit and other general headphuq antics.

khal: When looking at the electronic music scene, many see you as a brilliant musical mind that is out there really doing some forward thinking things, technology wise. What would you like to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

Tim Exile: I think it’s up to people to remember me for what they want to in an age of unfettered media. I’m acutely aware of how impossible it is to dictate to people what they should think or remember about what you do. It’s very healthy that way. If artists had complete control not just of their work but the way people reacted to and interpreted it we’d all go insane. It’s hard enough keeping a sane mind manipulating sounds… attempts at manipulating public opinion could send me over the edge. I’ll leave that to the press. In ideal world everyone would remember me for everything I do being amazing but that’s just childish and unrealistic.

khal: Out of all of the tracks you’ve produced that have been released, which one/ones would you consider your best, or your favorites? Why?

Tim Exile:
The most perfect and detailed piece that’s seen the light of day is called Emergence. It was on a free CD of competition shortlists for the 2003 Jeu de Temps composition competition released jointly between Sonic Arts Network and some Canadian organisation. A track called Peristalt on the Hanzo Steel Cuts EP is a close second. Soulwise Slime on Pro Agonist is no 1, as is a track called There’s Nothing Left Of Me But Her And This which was released recently on Si Begg’s Noodles label.

You mentioned in your Q&A on DOA’s “The Grid” that there is a lot of “turd polishing” going on in DnB, in terms of producers wanting their tunes to sound engineered perfectly, all the while losing something in the creativity and feeling. With each passing year, this trend seems to get worse. Do you think the scene will ever get out of that mode?

Tim Exile: I don’t really know much about the scene these days as I’m pretty distant from it, but from an outside point of view it seems to have cemented itself in its own bunker away from outside influence. If this is the case its unlikely to offer a fertile ground for invention if people who make it only consume the excrement of others. It’s probably a slightly naïve view though as it’s impossible to police the fringes. Some new ideas will undoubtedly leek in through the back door.

You seem to tour a lot, whether it’s a club night or a big festival. What setting is your most favorite, something massively huge or a more intimate setting?

Tim Exile: I used to prefer the intimate settings as it’s easier to get a rapport going with the crowd in a small venue, but as I’ve got more confident and been playing to bigger crowds I’m beginning to enjoy the challenge of connecting with them more. The idea of playing to 1000 now really appeals to me. You need to be way more theatrical which is great fun. It really appeals to my attention-seeking nature.

Where do you see yourself, music wise, in the next couple of years?

Tim Exile:
I’m never sure what I’m going to want to do next, but at the moment I’m into writing songs and singing, with tweaked out production. There’ll be a bit more of that I’d imagine. I also want to work on some crazy stage shows, possibly working with other musicians.

Do you have any tips for budding producers or DJs out there?

Tim Exile: Be careful who you listen to. Make yourself the person you listen to most. Keep at it, don’t lose hope. Don’t try to be original, if you’re an original thinker it’ll just happen. Don’t disregard ideas because you don’t they they’ll work or they’re not allowed. Don’t be bound by your roots. Don’t get a day job.

We would like to thank Tim for answering our questions. Check out more info on him below...

here is a clip from Tim performing live at alt ctrl, circa June 2005:

related links:
Tim Exile on MySpace
Tim Exile's official website
Exile Ensemble for REAKTOR 5
DOA Mix Aug. 2005

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Nia sings the hits!

Apparently, this little girl Nia is either a gigantic music fan, or her parents really want her to be a star! Check her out doing "Can't Hide Love" by Earth, Wind & Fire:

That video is how I first heard her perform. You like that attitude, right? Now, I seriously think her parents are trying to bank on her talent... hell, has she/will she be on GMA's YouTube Video of the Week? Peep her resume:

Mary J. Blige "Enough Cryin'", "Ain't Really Love"
Alicia Keys "Fallin'", "If I Ain't Got You"
Billie Holiday "Strange Fruit"
Earth, Wind & Fire "Reasons"
Joss Stone "Dirty Man"
Rick James "Mary Jane" (something about this girl singing Rick James is just not right...)

Brighten up your day watching homegirl shake it and strut with attitude... enjoy!
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The good folks over at CBS have set up a doozy of a 13th Season of their popular reality competition show, Survivor, pitting 4 teams, separated by race, against each other -- which in turn has caused many differing opinions throughout the world. (Check out the teams HERE)... Being the race-conscious person that I am, I HAVE to find out what you guys think about this. I mean, I don't have a problem with it; I'm actually astonished that this has not happened sooner. They can talk all of that "social politics" hoopla, but we all know we want to see who the superior race is! Vote on this on the poll below, and in the coming weeks we will chart the progress of this new season. I still think the White People are going to win, because they normally do on this show. I love my Black People, but I just don't think they have it. That nigga Osten QUIT, after he proved himself to be one of the more athletic jigs in Survivor history. In any case, please vote (once!) and we'll chart how it flows. Season 13 of Survivor starts on September 14th, 2006.

Which race will win the next Survivor season?
White People
Black People
Asian People
Hispanic People
Free polls from Pollhost.com

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TEKDBZ West Coast Commercial

Supporting the TEKDBZ Army Here's a commercial promoting their upcoming shows next month (Sept. 15th and 16th) in California (more info HERE). Photek, Craze, Mental Sharp, Infiltrata, HoChi, Messinian... ROUGH! Cali heads, support!

Get this video and more at MySpace.com
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[rock the dub Interview]: Spec Boogie

Your boy is back on his grizzly. I heard that On My Grind tape and was kind of floored as to the skill of Spec Boogie. He's able to say what he wants how he wants without the use of too much dumbing down, which is a big plus these days. He can give it to you raw, as well as on some thinking man shit. He's a stellar MC, and a very humble guy. He is one of the founders of Loosie Music, an independent for the working man, as well as an emerging artist in his own right. khal got a chance to wax poetic with Spec, kicking game about how he started and what he's about. What's really in his mind? (Shoot me, I had to!)

khal: Aside from the On My Grind mixtape, many heads out there might not know too much about you, Spec. Can you give us a brief tour of how you came from a shorty growing up in Brooklyn to an MC who helped found Loosie Music, and is on the verge of putting how his own album?

Spec Boogie: Okay. Well, I was born in Los Angeles California, my mom was from out there and
my dad from Brooklyn so he moved us out here in ‘83. When we first moved out here we lived in a building that my grandmother owned and my older cousin Glen lived right upstairs from us. He’s around the same age as my brother who stayed in LA so I hung around him a lot and he was the neighborhood DJ, always coming through with wax, watching videos and dancing all that. He’s the one who got me into writing back in ‘88/’89. He saw how much I loved KRS-One’s “My Philosophy” and pushed me to rhyme -- but I didn’t think I was any good at it so I wasn’t really into it. I was more into drawing until Junior High in ‘93. Wu Tang had just come out, Midnight Marauders came out, 93 'Til, Redman was out, it was crazy. My friends and I decided to start a group and one of them named James really sat me down and taught me how to write bars and stuff. I went to a different high school than my friends and I didn’t know anyone so I stepped back for a while and watched the older cats at the lunch tables before I started up again. Around that time I started hitting up open mics around NY. That’s kind of where I started to find my voice. I named myself Spectrum the Oracle in high school cuz I was big into science fiction movies and Octavia Butler novels. When I went away to college in Philly my focus really became more humanistic. This was right after Diallo and I was learning about things like M.O.V.E. and I wanted to get my head out of the clouds musically, so to speak, so I shortened the name to Spec since that’s what most of my friends called me anyway. I added the Boogie when someone called me that in a bar one day and I liked it.

khal: How did you and your crew start
Loosie Music? What was the initial idea behind starting your own independent?

Spec Boogie: A loosie is a single cig you get from the bodega for a quarter when you can’t afford a pack, though I think they went up to 50 cents. I don’t know, I don’t smoke. We named the company Loosie because it’s something that’s known among working class people everywhere. It’s a name that as soon as you hear it you think of blue-collar workers, hustlers, survivors, pretty much broke mutherfuckers and that’s who Loosie speaks to, that’s who we are, how we came up. Loosie was started by Bennie Guinness and I because we wanted to make the music we want to hear. Personally, I don’t do well with dependency, having someone else -- in this case a record label -- to blame for your failures or take credit for your success just doesn’t sit well with me. Being independent means that your fuck ups as well as your victories are on your shoulders alone. I can’t say that we’ll never consider a major label situation but we’re smart enough to know that there is a time for all of that and now, even almost 5 years in, just isn’t the time for it. But we’re not going to sit on our hands and wait either.

khal: With Loosie, as well as in conjunction with other companies, you’ve put out singles (“
Grow”) as well as compilations. For cats who are trying to get down on that level, how did you build those relationships?

Spec Boogie: Just knowing the right people, being in the right place. We hooked up with
Staple through a guy named Sean Tucker who worked there at the time. He heard “Grow” through a mutual friend and approached us about putting it out. The only advice I can give through that experience is make sure you have something in common with companies you attach your name to for sponsorship or collabs. Whether it be in ideals, image, whatever, don’t try to link with someone whom you have nothing in common with just because it’s a hot company or a popular name. We’ve been lucky enough to work with companies like Staple and Digital Gravel who see what we’re doing and support what we’re trying to put out there.

khal: Word is that you have an album forthcoming called Introspective. Can you delve into what type of LP you will be bringing the people?

Spec Boogie: Introspective is an album that’s been about 5 years in the making, before we even started Loosie. It's a record that pretty much stays true to its name; it’s 12 songs that pretty much say, “Hi, I’m Spec Boogie”. It’s not all about me in a diary sense, because no one really wants to know all that, but rather songs about where I come from, what I’ve learned, things I’ve been through, things I like that. It really showcases my storytelling side that I don’t go into often on the mix tapes. I have no excuse for that since I primarily consider myself a storyteller.

khal: Now, onto the On My Grind project. What made you decide to rip those instrumentals?

Spec Boogie: Availability. Just the luck of the draw. If I was online that day and saw the Big Bang instrumentals or Blood Money instrumentals we might be here talking about that. I really didn't care who's beats they were, I just had the itch to write and a batch of fresh beats fell on my lap so to speak.

khal: That track “Best Friend” flipped the script on Pharrell’s original, taking a track about family lost to your exclusive sneaker love. What is your most cherished pair of kicks? How much have you plucked down on one pair of sneakers? And are there any pairs you are trying to get your hands on?

Spec Boogie: I don’t know if I have a favorite or most cherished pair. I’m more of a sneaker whore than anything. I’m definitely not a collector, I just buy what I like and I wear everything I buy. It’s mostly about design and color for me rather than brand or exclusivity (although that’s a plus). There are some that I wish I didn’t dog out as much as I did so I could still wear them, like the
Haze Dunks or the AF2 Escapes, which I don’t think are hard to get so I have to re-up on those. The most I ever spent on shoes was around two-something, which isn’t a lot for most serious sneaker heads. I’m not a full-on head like some of my friends and I flat out refuse to be caught sleeping outside some store for kicks so I miss out on a lot of really dope shit sometimes. Every time I see something fly and I run to go cop I’m late and I either can’t find my size or I can’t find them at all (like the Staple Pigeons or the Alife Pumps). I usually have around 80 or so pairs at a time because I get new ones and give old ones away or throw them out. I couldn’t imagine how many kicks I’d have if I’d held on to all of them.

khal: Speaking of song ideas, you have a wide range of topics, from that straight up gutter flow to some more bedroom-eyes type shit to the more underground, lyrical massacre type stuff. Do you consciously try and flip the script with each track? What about when you get down with your fellow MCs – do you come up with a topic/subject in the lab or do you come to the lab with something fleshed out?

Spec Boogie: The one thing I’ve always loved about Hip-Hop is it’s limitless potential. I came up
thinking you can pretty much rhyme about anything you want, so I might as well. I can’t imagine not making a song about sneakers just because I made a song about AIDS in Africa or not being able to rap about pussy and politics. Plus I’ve always been a fan of just writing so I’ll rap about whatever, it really doesn’t matter it’s not a conscious effort. As far as collaborations go, I prefer to come up with the song concept with whoever I’m on the track with though it doesn’t always happen that way. I don’t like to have anything fleshed out before hand unless I know the artist that well and the only artists I know that well are Von Pea and Elucid.

khal: When you moved out to Philly, how did you link up with ?uest and The Roots? Did you learn anything from those cats when you spent time with them?

Spec Boogie: I linked up with them through
Okayplayer-dot-com. I was on the street team when I moved down there for college and they hired me for an internship because I did graphic design as well. I don’t know why I hate to admit this, but the foundation of everything I do these days from design to business to music I learned during that time in Philly from Okayplayer and the people behind it. I got nothing out of school. It’s like when I went down there I found a mentor for everything I wanted to do. I was a teenager away from home for the first time and I was a sponge. It was the perfect place for me at that stage in my life.

khal: You’ve done shows with the Okayplayer heads, and shared the stage with cats like MF Doom, Melle Mel, and Little Brother, just to name a few. What was your best experience on stage and why?

Spec Boogie: My favorite ever is still my very first open mic performance at the Nuyorican Poets Café in ‘97. It was my first time performing in front of people I didn’t know (I rolled there for dolo) and I was scared to death. I thought I was gonna get booed or laughed out the building. There was a live band there as always: drums, bass and two guys sitting at a keyboard, one young, one older, who the host (Bobbito) kept talking about. I got up and did pretty okay, nothing special. You could probably tell that it was my first time but the crowd gave a lot of love so it was great for my first time already. I strike up a couple of conversations with people afterwards and someone is like “Do you know who the older gentleman on the keyboard is?” and I say no. And they say that’s Weldon Irvine and I’m like okay…so? When they explained who he was, I really didn’t know how to react. Like earlier when I said in ‘89 my cousin got me to rhyme and in ‘93 my boys did, “My Philosophy” and “Award Tour” are the definitive records of those times for me respectively. Those records made me want to be a rapper, period, and I didn’t know who they sampled much less that they sampled the same dude. So when I found out that the man responsible for two of the most important records in my life played keys for me my first time out was mind blowing. I don’t consider myself a strong believer in fate but some shit you just can’t ignore. He was a cool dude too, got to build with him a few time before he passed and he was one of the coolest people you could meet, always willing to teach and share his experiences. The younger dude was Mos Def but I didn’t know who he was at the time either. I don’t think any show is topping that one any time soon, maybe when I play the Garden.

khal: Where do you see your evolution as an artist and entertainer going in the next couple of years?

Spec Boogie: Who knows? What I do reflects where I am in life. I can’t say where my life will be in the next couple years so I can’t say where my art will be. God willing I’ll be doing what I’m doing now, just better and for more money.

khal: It seems that every couple of years, the game gets changed to the point where the MCs who were hot last year are fighting to be head the next. Do you think this situation helps or hurts the artist? Why or why not?

Spec Boogie: It helps in some ways and hurts in others. A lot of artists find themselves washing away in the tide because they came into notoriety riding a trend. When that trend fades, so does the artist, so they have to reinvent themselves, step their game up or fall off. I think that’s great, the only downside I see to it is the fact that what’s ‘hot’ nowadays has nothing to do with the quality of the music. It’s all image driven now. A hot song doesn’t have to be a good song, a hot artist doesn’t have to be talented, just marketable.

khal: Thanks for letting me pick your brain. Do you have any final shout outs or thoughts for the massive?

Spec Boogie: Yeah thanks for taking the time to put people on, plug plug plug, be on the look out for the Champion Hoods mixtape featuring Von Pea, Elucid and myself, my single & video “No Knock” is out right now, Introspective is coming this fall along with another single and video. Be on the look out for
Elucid and Von Pea’s solo projects in 2007. For any info you can visit Loosie, Loosie Music on MySpace or Spec Boogie on MySpace.
Shouts out to Spec Bizzy for the interview. Keep grindin', mang.

related links:
Lessondary Crew on MySpace
Aeki Tuesday Interview

BONUS! Check out the video for Spec's single, "No Knock", right now!:
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photos... blogger beta... woes.

Well, well, well. Ya boy khal has been trying to make sure rock the dub is on the cutting edge, and I updated my shit from the regular Blogger setup to their new "beta" setup. Thing is, pictures aren't uploading to my posts properly, being all some-timey. Sucks for me, b/c I took pride in the images that went along with my posts. Especially my interviews. You lot probably don't give a shit, but it irks me that my shit won't work the way it should.

If you have any ideas or solutions to this problem (aside from dloading FireFox), let a niggy know.
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"it's been too long, and i'm lost without you"

Do you remember where you were when you heard that Aaliyah died? I do...

I was in North Jersey, Woodbridge to be exact. I was helping get my friend Krissy's friend's attic set up. I was getting paid in free food, alchohol, and other stuff. It was a good time. Anyways, whilst working, we had Hot 97 on, and the news came... Aaliyah dies in a plane crash. Say wha!?!?! One of the true shining stars of our generation, gone in an instant? A girl who was so mysterious, so talented at both singing AND dancing (as well as a burgeoning acting career), just taken from us like that? I won't get into the fury I had over the now infamous "joke" that Star and that crew would make (plane sounds, other ignorant shit), but I had a hole in my heart from that.

The thing about Aaliyah is, she was just a genuine good soul. Her music was true, whether she was singing about heartache or just having a good time. I wish there was more I could do, but there isn't. I will just show my love and appreciation in a post like this... and share with the world my favorite Aaliyah tracks. Yes, most of these are singles, but those are the moments when she shined most.

I won't go into detail explaining what the deal is, track for track. If you are reading this post, damnit you know what the skill is. There's a few exclusives or never before heard (by many) mixes of the tracks, so those will be explained. Let's get it on!

related links:
Aaliyah on Wikipedia
Official Aaliyah website
I Care 4 U website

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A-Sides: DOA Exclusive

One of the true dons of DnB (and one of my FAVORITE producers), A-Sides, has an interview AND a mix up on DOA (shouts to EXODUZ on the interview). He gives his views on the DnB scene, the Eastside DIAMOND Series 12"s (vol. 1 was the Remixes of classic Eastside tracks "Crazy" and "Tear"), as well as other odds and ends. He's a good guy, a phenomenal producer (check his track record), and a great label head. The mix is on point, chock full o' dubs. Peep the tracklisting:

1 - kick push - bootleg
2 - bounce back - nu balance
3 - moving on - a.i (marky & bungle remix)
4 - pervert - g dub
5 - feature creep - dkay & sonic
6 - fingerprints - gridlok
7 - orchid - the spirit
8 - back like dat - bootleg
9 - corinthians - nu balance
10 - situations - atlantic connection
11 - embalmer - taxman
12 - yes - break
13 - suicide bomber - amit
14 - annexed - gremlinz
15 - creeper 2 - outrage
16 - fire like dis - sebadox
17 - the fix - fatal
18 - cronk - break & survival

That "Kick, Push" bootleg is a dope intro to this set, and it rolls along nice. Taxman's "Embalmer" is another rough cut... as is the Outrage tune, and Amit's "Suicide Bomber". Nice mixture of dancefloor fun and heavier, deeper tracks; I've had this on all day and can't keep turn it off! Big up to A-Sides for giving the Dogs some hot mixing. True professional on the decks. Check it out, and poke around DOA... we won't bite!

related links:
A-Sides on MySpace
Eastside Records official website
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HIp-Hop is alive.

Today J Dilla's The Shining was released. If you want that real, do yourself a favor and cop the disc (or 2 copies of the vinyl if you are a TRUE DJ).

Also, Wise Intelligent and Scienz of Life have a show in NJ coming up September 7th, 2006. Peep the flier:

Gotta love that; get more info at Wise's MySpace page. Not much else you really should cop on this New Music Tuesday, unless you like a scatter brained album by 2 guys who haven't been on point for years now... that's on you.


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Spec Boogie remakes an album!

In the never ending search for quality music, aka "finding that new shit", I got an e-mail (like many other bloggers did) from Loosie Music in reference to an MC named Spec Boogie. It is called On My Grind and has Spec (and friends, including Che Grand) spitting venom over the instrumentals to Pharrell's In My Mind. How'd he get those, you might ask? Well, neph was smart enough to BUY the album on iTunes --- Pharrell made those instrumentals included with that purchase... how ill is that?!

In any case, I
doubt many bloggers listened to it, doesn't seem like it anyways. Well, I can't let that shit ride.

To be honest, I had heard of Spec before, but never heard him flow before. He's a Brooklynite, so he is able to flip tales of crack sales as well as just kick ill verbal barbs with ease. The one thing I liked is the face that he didn't really double up his voice: he has a nice, deep voice, and his ad-libs are just that, ad-libs, not too much re-emphasis on certain words. The tracklisting might use the same titles, but the situations get flipped: "Show You How To Hustle" goes from Pharrell speakin' on situations he's heard to Spec really giving you some Clipse-esque darts (the line about "moving whites in ya hood like gentrification" is a personal favorite)... "Best Friend" went from a heartfelt ode to family and friends to an ode about custom kicks
that would make Dallas Penn proud. "Baby" started out as a seductive come-on track, and gets warped into a theme song for Maury's "Paternity Test" shows. There are some that seem to miss the mark... the first couple of tracks seem to kind of drag for me; this truly didn't pick up until "Best Friend", where Spec showed more of his skills. And his back and forth with Che Grand on "Keep It Playa" is dope, that's my pick for best track of the CD. Spec even goes straight off the dome at the end and let's you know that the true freestyle is NOT a lost art.

Does this CD succeed? Yes. Spec is on his grizzly, and letting this release do the talking. You get to see him go from Mr. Loverman to the block hugger to the everyman to the kick fiend to the straight up rhyme slayer. This really makes me want to get into his skull and find out more about him. And I will, in the very near future... check this shit out, and see for yourself.

Peep the tracklisting:

01 Got It Like That 2:03
02 How Does It Feel? 2:14
03 Raspy Shit 3:33
04 Best Friend 4:22
05 Number One (f. Von Pea) 2:54
06 Show You How To Hustle 3:34
07 Baby (f. DonWill) 2:12
08 Stay With Me (f. Elucid) 2:50
09 Take It Off 1:42
10 Keep It Playa (f. Che Grand) 4:02
11 I Really Like You 3:13
12 Young Girl (f. Takenya Quann) 3:09
13 You Can Do It Too (f. Cyren Young) 5:22

And you can get this FREE from these links: Sendspace, Rapidshare and Megaupload. Those are provided by Loosie... if you can't get with those, scream at me, I might be persuaded to up a yousendit link.

EDIT: I have uploaded this mixtape to mediafire. You're welcome.

Spec Boogie @ MySpace.
Lessondary Crew @ MySpace.

rock the dub interview with Spec Bezel comin' soon. Uno.
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big bushy sweater

i love you
place no one above you
wish i could devote more time to just kissing and hug you
snuggle with the best woman, my best friend
'til death do us part, living life from end to end
regret when i can't spend more time taking you in
loving to hear your laugh, dying to make you grin
making my head swim, your love is intoxicating
you're my one and only, and on that there's no debating
no hating on what you do, i married you for you
carried you through the dark and into the light, where our love is true
beside you i plan to spend all of eternity
or at least until we leave this earthly habitat and our souls will run free
come see me for me, my heart's your heart
our life's one life, 3 kids and a fresh start
hot like pop tarts
sweet like those icies coming off the spanish man's cart on hot days
love to spend more lazy days just being with you, i cannot say enough
i just want to touch
take in every breath and exhale all of the bad stuff
times get rough, but we still stick together
no stormy weather could sever this ark we're building
tougher than leather
you're warm like a big bushy sweater
my love's not pleather
it's true blue like those panties that i used to love on you
used to adore you from afar, than you chose me
and i began to see
emerged a man from my kid seat
still learning how to live life truly free of heartache and pain
daily scuffles don't ruffle our feathers, and we're never vain
i know that i'm truly blessed to have a you right beside me
keeping me in line all the time, and if you can't find me
just stick out your hand, i'll grab it On Demand
walk with you until we hit the white sand
life with you is an extended vacation in a beautiful land
my ace, my dime, my only companion
i regret nothing except not being able to give you more
you're giving me a son
i could at least give you a door...
car, house, new job, walk-in closet
i wish i could live life in rewind, never pause it
except to prolong the sweet song we make when we meet
i'm walking on air, clouds at my feet
and you're my angel, the only one i'm glad i did meet...

i love you, baby. from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. i love you more now than i did yesterday, and will love you more each day. this is it for me, without you, i'm 1/3 of the man i should be. you complete me.

what, you guys don't get mushy? you gotta show your lady you care about having her there...
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Christina Aguilera "Back to Basics" [review]

Who woulda thunk it: Christina Aguilera has put out an LP that is more Hip-Hop than DJ Shadow's latest release. She is also this generation's Madonna (sorry, Britney). This, all on the strength of a 22-track opus, Back to Basics, which has Christina revisiting the music she was brought up on: classic Soul, Jazz, R&B, all mixed in a Hip-Hop mindset (CD1), and a plethora of older sounds (Swing, ragtime Jazz) on the 2nd disc. You can essentially break down the CDs like this: disc 1 is helmed mainly by DJ Premier, who makes the album that Nas wishes he could make with Primo; Linda Perry (writer for Xtina, Pink, and many other artists) has the reigns held tight on CD2. She digs down deep, going from many tracks dedicated to her new husband, while others highlight her love for artists we have all grown to love and emulate (Aretha, Etta, Marvin, etc). And in doing all of this, Christina has done what Justin Timberlake did with Justified: she has set herself apart from the rest, and shown that she is more than just a Mouseketeer who can rock a summer-long tour.

The first single, the Primo-laced "Ain't No Other Man", is her first ode to her hubby. Over a faster paced bevy of dusty breaks and bright horns, Xtina proceeds to let her man know that ain't no one else doing it for her, and he should let everyone know she's on lock. This track, and the accompanying video, are the first hint of true Madonna-chameleon style: Christina threw away the chaps, turned up the soul, and just belts out. And she sounds like she's truly enjoying herself. I keep referring to Madonna because she is the best example of a pop artist reinventing themselves on each album. And this even feels more genuine that Timberlake purchasing crazy ghetto passes. There's an article in Rolling Stone where she talks about her grandmother's help in shaping her voice, playing her a load of older records, and Christina being able to channel their songs perfectly, and that's something you can hear in her songs, then and now. It's just that she is wearing those influences right on her forehead, as opposed to hiding them underneath cheeseball production. No other producer could have done it like Premier, either. "Back In The Day" has me reminiscing of the Gangstarr track from the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack in its feel and appreciation for the old school. For those who think Xtina doesn't still get grimey, she let's you know that she still has those tendencies on tracks like "Still Dirrty" and "Here To Stay". They are hot tracks, both freaking hot horn loops, but seem kind of out of place compared to some of the subject matter: "Oh Mother" is a somber love letter to her own mother, detailing a tough situation in their life. The gospel-flowing "Makes Me Wanna Pray" takes it right back to the church, full of wicked organ flourishes and what sounds like the whole state of Alabama on backing vocals, all professing her love for the man that has basically saved her from wallowing in despair. And this wouldn't be a Christina album without a lil' drama: "F.U.S.S.", whether she wants to admit it or not, is directed to Scott Storch, whom she had a falling out with during the making of this album, something about plane expenses or some nonsense. He fucked up though, this CD is gonna do numbers. The standout track on this disc, for me, is "Thank You (Dedication To Fans)", which does exactly what it says on the tin: with an awesomely cut intro of "Genie In The Bottle" over a vintage Primo boom-bip, Christina shouts praise to her dedicated fans, even letting their recorded voices shout praise back to her. It can sound like the oddest pat-on-the-back, but the lyrics are too sincere to feel like a Kanye-esque swollen head moment.

The second disc is where Christina and Linda Perry delve into even murkier territory, producing some true diamonds in the rough. The twisted intro of "Enter the Circus" is a bit too eerie for me, but it is a perfect lead in to the episodes that come forth. "Candyman" is a straight up swing track, funked up with a bit of the Hip-Hop, complete with her boppin' vocals. It's a sly number, for this Candyman does not deal in chocolate or murder... he does make her "cherry pop", if you catch her drift. My favorite track, "Save Me From Myself", finds Christina going very blues-y over just some beautifully plucked guitar strums and strings. Her voice is so soft, and the words just hit you right in the ticker. The next track, "Mercy On Me", sounds more Fiona Apple than blues, but she holds her own on this lazy number. The filter on "I Got Trouble" really transports her sound to the early 1920s, when the turntables had large cones to project the sound and the singers had more soul in their pinky toe than most of these new jack fakers have in their entire budget. The only qualm I have with disc 2 is that while the first disc sets itself up as a running theme throughout the 13 tracks, this disc seems to be a bunch of outtakes, or rather singularly themed tracks. This takes nothing away from their power or quality, but it is a bit disheartening when you get off the high of that beautiful 1st disc to a sort of mish-mash of sounds and styles on the 2nd.

While there are some missteps (too many "Fighter"-sounding cuts on the 2nd disc, and a few tracks on the first that mimic Mariah a bit too much), Christina has taken her career into her own hands, which grants her much respect and is a plus if she is truly trying to have her name uttered with the same passion as people say "Aretha" or "Billie". Can she continue this quality? Will her fans take well to her change in sound? How will she pull this off on tour? No matter how the chips fall, something tells me she will land on her two tiny feet, polished and ready to take us on another wild ride.

rock the dub gives this album an 8 out of 10: a surprising turn for a gifted artist, Christina is stepping out onto uncharted territories, and gains crazy respect with each twist and turn.

Back to Basics is out NOW. Check it out on Amazon. If you want to get more info on Christina, check out her official website.
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Logistics "Now More Than Ever" - LP of the Week!

Just letting you guys know, another one of my reviews is up on DOA as Album of the Week. Check this link.

Don't know who Logistics is? Check out his page on Hospital Records.

Check Logistics out on MySpace.

Also peep his discography on rolldabeats.

And now for a dope mix:

Logistics B2B Nu:Tone - Hospital Radio (May 25th, 2006)
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rtd forthcoming...

What's up world? Just marinating right now, really...

Been a crazy last couple of weeks... sometimes it feels like I'm gettin' it at all angles, people slingin' shit and I'm trying to dodge it while getting other shit done... it can be hard work, but I'm still here.

Just wanted to let you guys know... watch out for a new interview, hopefully I'll get the answers back soon. We'll see...

Also got some things brewing with the Horizons Music Group. Loads of newness forthcoming from them...

Finally (in the forseeable future), I'll be doing a review of the Back To Basics album of Christina Aguilera's, forthcoming next week. I think I'm gonna stick to a Monday schedule with new release reviews... how's that sound?

Keep it locked...
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You gotta love when rappers contradict themselves... here's a few glaring examples:

Method Man (in Part II of his xxlmag.com interview) speaking on the "Say I" single, and how he would speak about it on the radio...

"They’re saying I went to the radio stations discrediting the single. How could I discredit one of my own fuckin’ songs that I spit on?"

And now, from the same interview, is him talking about when the "All I Need" single came out...

"I did everything in my power to discredit that fuckin’ song and the shit still went platinum as a single."

So he doesn't discredit the track when it sucks and gets no spins, but is willing to discredit it if its doing well? Something's gotta give, Meth.

Now, on to Kanye West, and his views towards homosexuals. He went on MTV talking about how the word 'gay' is now perceived to be the 'opposite of Hip-Hop', but then on DJ Khaled's "Grammy Family", he's all "Used to hit the radio them faggots ain't let me on"...

Just gotta love those double standards. It's fucked up until you can use it, right? This might be a developing idea... keep it locked.
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, , ,

[rock the dub Interview]: Wise Intelligent

You know I have to rep for my hood; Trenton, NJ is where I was born and raised, and when I was a shorty, there was one video that Ralph McDaniels and other outlets would blast: "Rock Dis Funky Joint". There were scenes shot in projects not too far from my childhood home, as well as ill shots taken on the Trenton Makes bridge. The group was the Poor Righteous Teachers, and the standout MC of that crew was a man by the name of Wise Intelligent. He had a mixture of the rapid fire flows of that time, as well as lacing his darts with intelligence and social commentary. Many fans only knew "Rock Dis Funky Joint", and didn't realize that PRT pretty much helped pioneer (uncredited in many circles) the true conscious Hip-Hop movement of that time. They dropped 3 slept on albums, and at this point, Wise is out doing his own thing with his Intelligent Muzik movement. With a new mixtape and album set to come out, khal got a chance to question Wise on where he came from, where he's at, and where he's going.

khal: First and foremost, thanks for the opportunity to let us re-familiarize ourselves with one of the unsung heroes of Hip-Hop. For the uninitiated, can you please let us know who Wise Intelligent is, who you are affiliated with, etc?

Wise Intelligent: I’m one third of Trenton, NJ’s and Hip-Hop'sPoor Righteous Teachers; Holy Intellect, Pure Poverty, Black Business, The New World Order and all uh dem ting. Lyrically, I’m your favorite rapper's favorite rapper! Not only did MC’s get knowledge of self from PRT album’s, but they also found a lot of their flows in these same albums. So in a nutshell, I am the progenitor of a lot of what’s HOT today!

khal: Do you think that growing up in Trenton, NJ, has shaped your style differently than if you had grown up somewhere bigger like NYC or Philly?

Wise Intelligent: Maybe, and maybe not! The people, the surroundings, and experiences is what adds on to a man, the way he perceives his environment and develop ideas concerning the world around him. Through my travels abroad I have come to the understanding that every “black community” with exception to a few catch phrases are identical in their poverty, oppression, suffering, decay, etc. I’m not one to follow what the masses are doing either, so I would definitely have brought something new and original to Hip-Hop regardless to where I was from. After all I’m “The Talented Timothy Taylor!”

khal: Let’s take it back to 1990, when PRT dropped Holy Intellect. What was going through your mind back then? Were you just happy to be signed, or did you know exactly what you were doing back then? Do you have any regrets in regards to choices you made back then?

Wise Intelligent: The manifestations brought forth on that particular album represent a young black male in America coming into knowledge, the first steps toward righteousness. You ask “what was I thinking?" That’s just it, I wasn’t thinking at all. Not in an ignorant since of the statement, but rather the fact that, I am at most times a vessel being used to convey certain truths. My responsibility in this role is not to think, but to choose and except. The thoughts already exist in the Universal Sub-Conscious Mind of God. We just choose, and the thoughts we choose to accept will become our reality. In other words, such thoughts will find their author. Thus, HOLY INTELLECT. As far as regrets, there’s only one; if I had Another Chance at Life, I’d listen to me a bit more!

khal: There are some who believe that a lot of the 5% ideas, as well as your heavy social commentary, were slept on back in the day. When people think of consciousness in Hip-Hop, they seem to skip over you and PRT. Why is that, do you think? Does that upset you at all?

Wise Intelligent: 90% of the people of this world don’t and won’t know shit if it is not marketed to them! This is the west we are living in. Don’t you remember, the leaders of Europe (the Emperor and the Church) would teach the masses only what would influence public opinion in whatever way favorable to their agenda? America is an extension of Europe, and the people only believe what they have seen and/or heard on BET, MTV, VH1, Clear Channel, VIBE, XXL, SOURCE, ABC, NBC, etc. So while PRT was not being marketed, groups who were being marketed could take “pieces and bits of all my hip hop hits” (to quote Rakim) and claim it for themselves. I’m not ever upset about it, my goal is not to be the “king of rap.”

khal: There is a lot of patois and Jamaican flows throughout your work, from 1990 to now. Is that part of your lineage? Do you feel any kinship to cats like the Marleys, or prophets like Capleton?

Wise Intelligent: Well no, I’m not Jamaican, my mothers root goes back to Barbados. And of course I feel kinship with all of Jamaica and the Caribbean. We are ONE people in a deeper since than slave-ships. But, that’s another interview.

khal: Can you break down the “Back to School” project you talked about on All Hip-Hop previously? I know The Talented Timothy Taylor project was the 1st of the reportedly 5-CD box set? Please explain your motivation behind this project, and what you hope to accomplish.

Wise Intelligent: The “Back 2 School” box set is actually 7 albums; one disc for each period in a school day. The First Period which is “WISE INTELLIGENT IZ….The Talented Timothy Taylor” will be followed by WISE INTELLIGENT IZ…The Unconquerable Jezus Jonez (7/7/07), and WISE INTELLIGENT IZ….El Negro Guerro, and so on…The concept behind the box set is that we are living in a severely dumbed-down, anti-intellectual environment, so I have decided to go against the grain and take hip hop Back 2 School! She’s truant, she’s “in the trap”, she “in the mall” she’s “in the club” she’s “going down” because she’s everywhere except where there is knowledge. That’s why the cover has the scantily clad sister (Hip-Hop) on a bike and we’re headed “Back to School.”
Hopefully when school let’s out I would have left a sound catalogue of knowledge, wisdom, ghetto-political social-commentary, style and substance.

khal: What’s going on with Intelligent Muzik? Is this just a label, or is it deeper than that? Do you have any other projects on the horizon under that umbrella?

Wise Intelligent: Intelligent Muzik iz by all means a movement that focuses greatly on the unknown element of Hip-Hop which is activism. Intelligent Muzik's mission is to become the first community owned and operated label in the form of a not-for-profit that trains urban youth in careers in and surrounding the muzik industry. Starting with how to own and profit from your talent.

khal: I know it’s gotta be hard to pick just one, but do you have a favorite track from your catalogue? Is there any project you wish you could redo, and if so, why?

Wise Intelligent: I haven’t made my favorite song yet. I guess that’s what’s keeping me sharp. I would like to do Black Business over, simply because I could have expounded on many more relevant matters pertaining to the title than I did. Facts like blacks account for less than 1% of all the business receipts in the country, how in 1860 90% of all blacks worked for whites and today the numbers are the same. So that’s the one I’d do over.

khal: I have heard guys like Saul Williams say that Hip-Hop has gone Republican; Cam’Ron has even called himself Bush when speaking about his rap battles. Why do you think that the mainstream is not pushing more conscious Hip-Hop? Who do you think is truly pushing that sound?

Wise Intelligent: I believe that we are getting “conscious Hip-Hop”, just conscious of what is the question. Today’s rap music is “money-conscious” and or “street-conscious.” Some have argued that the lack of positive images and lifestyles in mainstream “black” music is because positive rap don’t sale! I am not one who subscribes to this belief. PE sold, Fugees sold, Kanye sold "Jesus Walks"? Again it’s what’s marketed and made to look attractive to the masses. When you follow the links between The Bush administration, the Prison Industrial Complex, Clear Channel, Viacom and the Major recording companies you’ll begin to understand the “bigger picture.” But that’s another interview. Check out “The Globe Holders” track on BLESSED BE THE POOR?.

khal: Who or what is a bigger problem for the ghetto youth of today: the music that promotes ignorance or the government that keeps their feet on the back of the ghetto?

Wise Intelligent: Which is the “bigger” problem is not the question we should ask, rather “what is the biggest problem?” The music we listen to is a problem but is it THE problem, NO! The government has always dealt with blacks as sort of a second class pseudo-European populace, so we should expect their neglect. The problem for black youth in America whether rich or poor, free or slave is when their own so-called leadership i.e., their teachers, preachers, politicians, businessmen, authors, directors, athletes, and entertainers, are afraid to be BLACK! When we make decisions based on whether or not our words and/or actions will or will not offend white-folk! When we are afraid to teach our youth the truth about themselves, their culture and heritage and our gift of civilization, science, math, languages, medicine, etc. contributions that pre-date white man we create the problem. The problem is that our youth are being taught to envy their oppressors. This is why so many rappers assume positions of power in this muzik industry and take on the ways actions and characteristics of the oppressor. We have a desire now to be like this oppressor when the movement should be to replace him!

khal: I hear you’re still living in Trenton, NJ. I grew up in North Trenton; in fact my mom still lives in North Trenton. Do you think there’d ever be a time when you would move out of Trenton? Why or why not?

Wise Intelligent: Yes I will move out of Trenton soon enough. I need a farm land around me, at least the distance of 100 yards between myself and my closest neighbor. I love the people of Trenton, I just think that we all deserve better!

khal: Lead by Busta Rhymes’ “New York Shit”, there seems to be a brewing resurgence for the Tri-State area to try and re-claim the crown of this Hip-Hop thing. Do you think that this is possible right now, with so many fans loving the tracks coming from the South?

Wise Intelligent: Anything is possible but my attitude is and has always been, why can’t more than one style of rap music be marketed, promoted, positioned, played, consumed and exist simultaneously? Why must there be soooo much “tribalism.” We still haven’t learned from our past. We were divided on the continent of Africa into tribes (Yuroba, Mandinka, Songhai, Igbo, Hausa/Fulani, etc). The “Slave-trade” was supposed to bind up the divisions amongst us. On those boats we became one to deal with the common threat and experience. Today we don’t know what tribe we came from and rightfully so. We are suppose to be ONE people with many flavors!

khal: When you’re not making music and building your Intelligent Muzik foundation, what else do you get into? How does Wise Intelligent wind down?

Wise Intelligent: I’m a VERY family oriented man. My bride and my sons are my peace of mind, nothings more relaxing than time spent with them.

khal: Do you have any shout outs or words of wisdom to drop on the masses?

Wise Intelligent: Yes, The problem with the ghetto, the suburbs, the hood the government, the churches and everyone in the whole wide world is this; We all need to listen to MORE WISE INTELLIGENT, more INTELLIGENT MUZIK, MORE POOR RIGHTEOUS TEACHERS! So the INTELLIGENT thing to do would be to log onto
Intelligent Muzik and my MySpace page and cop that “Blessed Be the Poor?” The Un-MixTape.

Big up to Wise and his people for setting this interview up. If you still haven't gotten enough Wise Intelligent, peep this interview that noz put up on Cocaine Blunts. Peep those links, check out his work, and try to do your homework on true Hip-Hop knowledge, as well as true life knowledge. Be easy.
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