Indy Hip Hop World

"A setback is just a setup for a comeback." --from Bebe Moore Campbell's "72 Hour Hold"

Thursday, February 23, 2006

...sort of like Hip Hop

It has been a crazy week; productive though I don't have much to show for it...consequently, I did not get to check out a lot of new hip hop. However, I am stuck on one group in particular. The Audio Bullys fall into a multi-genre classification, at least from my perspective. I have seen them labeled as RnB (though I think that tag is a bit improper) and I believe that they classify themselves as electronica. So let me weigh in on this non-debate. When I first listened to their latest cd titled "Generations," I immediately thought they were dance with a hint of techno. But there is more than a tinge of hip hop mixed in there. So to recap, this cd crosses genres and it is all good.

So, here is part of the Audio Bullys story - and I am not the expert: they are from the UK and have been on the scene for some time. This new cd is filled with some catchy storytelling: life in general including the UK club scene from back in the day and a track that includes guest vocals from Nancy Sinatra "Shot You Down" (which I understand is a remix of Sinatra's "Bang Bang"). Love that track mainly because it fluctuates between a slow pace to uptempo numerous times in the four minute duration of the song and again, the story is interesting. Other tracks worth listening to are "Keep On Moving," "EQ-ing" and "Made Like That."

Call me a lover of the British accent because that too adds dimension to the entire project, in my opinion. Maybe because it is not everyday that I have a chance to hear a couple of blokes spit rhymes in a different cadence, vernacular and tone. "Generation" is rhythmic, uptempo and fun. So cool...oh, I failed to mention, that this one is a good listen from front to back, yeah, worth your Euro and your dolla.

Oh, well, I'll be back to the task at hand of sharing my music tastes for all the world to see. just a few days.

stay true...kfox

Thursday, February 16, 2006

New on the HIp Hop Horizon

Here is the dilly-yo.

Modill is all good. His project is call "Midnight Green". what I like is his flow. With lyrics that are fun and with beats that are jazzy and laid back. He goes for 18 tracks (including several requiste skits) including a track w/Dave from De La Soul.

Next up is Colossus. Whoa! this is a monster cd. I did not see this one coming in that it packs a great deal of musical ingenuity. Colossus has some music history to stand up, according to his bio, he's toured with Roy Ayers, Gil Scott-Heron, James Brown and others. Thus this double disk is broken into a pair of genres - jazz infused hip hop and jazz infused and remixed hip hop. I favor the remixed cd with its deep beats and guest lyricists and comic tells from the hood. "Brotha's Tryin' To Be" and "The Tribute" are two of my favs.

Develop[mental]1 is an exciting complilation. Some known undergrounders are there like Lunar Heights. Right alongside some true hip hop ballers namely Paul Wall. There is a remix on one track that is so incredibly stacked, that you will listen to the track on loop for several rotations. Then there is Bavu Blakes. He has several tracks on the disk including "Nobody Leavin" which has a crazy catchy hook as well as the stand out track "Play the Role" the line that is sung and rings to true is 'just because you play the role, doesn't mean you get the part'...another outstanding lyric is 'you fake, you phoney, you falsifying'. whaaaaaaaaadddddddddd?

Finally, the Psyche Origami promo disck came across my desk late last year. I immediately listened to it and liked it. I thought I caught a running theme throughtout, but dismissed it. Then I read the cd jacket when the final pressed edition arrived. Sure enough, there is a theme. The cd is called "The Standard" and there is a focus on gas stations/convenience stores. It is one part humorous; two parts thoughtful and any many parts creative. I would not thrust this one in the novelty bin though. It is refreshing an pleasant to listen to from front to back.

The last word is on J Dilla. Probably not familiar to many - at least in name. But a well sought out producer and extremely talented! Additionally, he was a founding member of Slum Village. His contributions to the hip hop genre is extensive. J Dilla's latest cd was recently released to radio "Donuts" (should be available for purchase now). When I heard it, I thought, this is way cool...31 tracks from 35 seconds to nearly three minutes...just mixin it up. Good stuff. Well, the bad news is J Dilla passed away this week. Apparently, he was a workhorse and would work for extended periods of time without eating properly. He will be sadly and sorely missed.

Ah-ight hip hoppers...stay true...kfox

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blue Scholars and Junk Science - Yeah!

For many people, including those I spend quality time with, hip hop is a genre of music that they do not subscribe to. Their reasons vary: too negative; too aggressive; the artists don't have anything to say, etc. But they don't know the hip hop that I know and love.

I am a self-professed hip hop head. I will travel to a hip hop show - alone - because that is my thing! For me, I often find the positive in the negative induced hip hop commercial world. I seek out the creativity, which is paramount as well as seek out the socially conscious lyrics. I encounter the good stuff on a regular basis primarily because I handle the hip hop music for WMCO 90.7 at Muskingum College. I am blessed with exposure to numerous independent hip hop artists who have something to contribute to the artform. It is my belief that in many cases, the hip hop artists that are played on WMCO have produced a product out of passion and not for other, more material reasons.

I take much pride in the music that is aired on my weekly hip hop show. It is, indeed, the best three hours of radio that you can pick up in east central Ohio (Sunday night @ 9 p.m.). You know that I am #1 in my mind and in my world, right...?

This week I plan to play some tracks from two artists who I've consistently listened to over the past few days: Junk Science and Blue Scholars.

Both have a little bit of profanity, which is what it is, but that alone forces me to listen with a keen ear because I often have to perform meticulous audio edits on each track that I would like to have aired on my show and/or on the radio station in general.

Blue Scholars is one dj and one emcee. The project is is cool and smooth and is infused with jazz, but it still has a great deal of tempo to it. Most importantly the lyrics are creatively and purposefully strung together (and believe it not, not all lyricists flow with something to say).

Junk Science's "Feeding Einstein" did not grab me at first - the first few tracks just did not seem to stand out and the profanity threw me for a loop. But I persevered and gravitated to several tracks near the end of the disc.

Both duos have some tight lyrics and on several tracks the beats are deep and slow; in some cases, slower than I prefer, but I really like both cds as a whole. Both projects are worth whatever you put other there to obtain them for your personal collection. I promise that listening to either of these will not run the neighbors away (depending on who your neighbors are...and even then, maybe you shouldn't be neighbors with them anyway, eh...?).

That's it for now...and for the non-hip hop heads: follow my lead not only for what I believe will be a pleasant surprise, but an ear opening experience as well. For the folks who already know what is good...much love.

My Grammy awards recap is forthcoming...aha!

stay true...kfox

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Hot Hip Hop

this is an audio post - click to play
These are the hip hop chart toppers at WMCO 90.7/Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio.
We chart with CMJ, the College Music Journal.
Listen and enjoy!
stay true...kfox

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How about this: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the movie "Hustle and Flow" has been nominated for an Oscar. This was the movie to see this past summer.

The category that the song received a nomination for is Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song). The songwriters, Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard, have a one in three chance of taking home the Academy Award since there are only three nominees.

The question is: will the song be performed during the Oscar telecast? Wouldn't that be a come up for hip hop...?

I failed to mention that Terrence Howard received an Oscar nomination for his role in the movie, but I thought that memo had already been circulated.

Also, check out this interview with Howard from NPR.

Stay true...kfox