Indy Hip Hop World

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My plate is full ...

. . . what you know about dat? Yeah, I've been listening to 'The King', T.I., so forgive me for my brazenness. I try to post a lil sumpthin at least twice a week, but I spent the latter half of last week in St. Louis attending the National College Media Convention. You tell me what are the chances that I'd end up in a city hosting MLB's World Series??? Not to mention being in said city when they clinch the title??? Good stuff. Lots of positive fun was had and much sleep - not had.

So, I'm a bit off kilter as a result. Oh, and CMJ is taking place in NYC this week, so alot of the artists I've been discussing in this here blog are in the Big Apple doin what they do. I'd say that leaves me with little or no music to listen to, but that just ain't the case.

I've got new beats from:
  • The Green Brothers "Everybody's Green"
  • Trek Life "Price I've Paid"
  • Mobb Deep "Life of the Infamous ... The BEST of MOBB DEEP" (which clearly states "FCC Warning on All Tracks"
  • K-os "Atlantis - Hymns for Disco"

I've checked out about four of The Green Brothers tracks and I like what I've heard so far. And it is a relatively short disc with only 30 minutes of material.

So this is all you get for now ... back in a minute hip hoppers - I need to prepare for my weekly Wednesday evening hip hop show. Trying to dig up a real classic Old School Hip Hop Jam. Right now I'm leaning toward an old Kid N Play joint - makes you want to kick-flip, eh?

And yes, I am still listening to music on cds ... you got a problem with that? I have a mailing address where you can send, say, a more modern piece of technology. I must admit though, I am primarily content with my current set up.

Stay true ... kfox

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Monday, October 23, 2006

What you don't know about ...

Here's a lil sumpthin about five indie hip hop groups that I think you will enjoy. Each of the artists does their own thing in a different way. But what rings true on each is the lyrics! Lyricism lives yall.

Loer Velocity - "Ready for a Renaissance"
Label - Embedded Music
--incredibly tight project

Zion I & Grouch - "Hereos in the City of Dope"
Label - Om Records
--love most of this; need an edit version for radio play

X:144 and SPS - "m.e."
Label - Nonsense Records
--stand out tracks: The Call Out, To Self, Last Voice

Now On - "Eye Level"
Label - A-Side Worldwide
--this one was ready for radio play and sounds nice all around

AG - "Get Dirty Radio"
Label - Look Records/Tha Ave Records
--heavy on the 'n' word; excellent production

That's it for now hip hoppers - hold it down and stay true, kfox

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

...a lil sumpthin to tide you over

Hey folks,

I'm trying to trudge through some, what I believe to be 'good music', and a load of other things (things just don't stop showing up on my desk, in my office, under my door, in my mailbox - the heck with voicemail though because I rarely check that ...).

So this here is a lil posting to keep you company until I can fully give an attentive and thorough posting. It's still good stuff, yo and it should give you an idea of what my weekly hip hop show sounds like (I've been meaning to post the playlists of my three hours in heaven, but, well, you know how the story goes ...)

Game Theory

...And The Summertime Pool Party

Food And Liquor

The Shining

The Outsider



Blue Collar

Heroes In The City Of Dope

Chrome Children

Later hip hoppers (and stop telling - and listening - to those tall tales ...), kfox

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Roots Discography

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Summer ain't over yet, games and food ...

I'm still reminiscining about the pair of Roots performances that I caught about a week ago ...

Okay, so I've sort of not been listening to what I should be listening to ... right? I don't want to say I've been feeling slumpy, but I've certainly been attached/attracted to something other than what I promised to check out.

So here's what keeps loopin in my music player:
  • Pigeon John, "...and the Summertime Pool Party"
  • The Roots "Game Theory"
  • Lupe Fiasco "Food & Liquor"

I've already given you the low on the first two, but now is the time to school you on the guy who everyone has been talkin about - Lupe Fiasco.

I caught the buzz on this one some time ago - I can't pinpoint the exact time, but I believe that it was sometime this summer (well, of course it was, that's when "Kick Push" was released - and that is such a cool song).

And on a side note, just let me say, I am NOT a fan of the cover art on Lupe's latest. It does not seem befitting of his personality. So let me give you a brief description because I refuse to post it on this here blog. It is a bit shiny and intergalactic; notice how I did not say 'bling' because that, it is not. It seems like he is in outer space w/laser's behind him, he has an old school boom box and what appears to be some other digital devices ... He is also sporting what looks like a pleather bomber jacket - an NO, I am not trying to clown him. At any rate, maybe, you should check it out yourself ... come to your own conclusion, why don't you ...

Anyway, a few weeks before the official drop date for "Food & Liquor," I received a copy of of the "Chi Town Guevara Mixtape." There were some familiar tracks on there like "Touch the Sky" and "Kick Push." Acutally, there is not a great deal of overlap from the mixtape to the current project. But the mixtape was hot! Lupe's skills are bonafide. There was an edge to his delivery accompanied w/DJ Envy's mix skills, it was a good listen. Lupe's good at storytelling. I like that. What I did not like was his constantly dropping the n-bomb. What is w/that...? I know you'll say that's the way of the street and it is a mixtape, right...? Whatever is my response. The mixtape was so heavy on the n-bomb that I did not even bother to try to edit it. One reason I did not try to edit it was because I thought that the same tracks would appear on "Food & Liquor" - wrong. It seems the mixtape includes some previously recorded material and/or some exclusive material for the mixtape - you know how they roll...

So why am I peeved about Lupe and the n-bomb, well, you see, from what I'd read about him I got the impression that he was a cool dude - conscientious, positive, a skateboarder, somewhat nerdy and of the Muslim faith - in other words, I truly did not anticipate that he would so comfortably drop the n-bomb, but I guess that's where my misjudgment is just another poor assumption, eh?

Once I get over that bit of disappointment, I trudge through and am mostly pleased w/what I hear/heard. His style reminds me of someone, but I can't place it right now... Here's what I like on the mixtape: "Outty 5000," and "Switch."

Then there is the "Food & Liquor" disk; Lupe has some uptempo tracks like "The Instrumental," which I really like. But he also goes mellow on several cuts including "Daydreamin" w/Jill Scott. He goes on to enlist the skills of Def Jam Pres Jay-Z on "Pressure." I'm not so crazy about the second single "I Gotcha" - it just seems like it is missing some umph and it's a bit non-descript. But, oh ... there's the 12 minute "Outro" where he gives 'shout outs' to everyone - everyone but me, but he does say that if he forgot anyone, he'd shout them out on the next one - I guess I'll start my email campaign started now so that I can get mine on the next joint ...

I won't promise to listen to anything in particular in the near future, but you can count on me to give you some perspective on what I love most - hip hop culture, from the not so known world.

stay true ... kfox

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Roots "Here I Come"

The Roots "Here I Come (LIVE on Letterman on 8.29)

**so YouTube took the video down - that happens. I still have a copy on my DVR, baby!

I am so fond of The Roots and their live performances. I checked this one out a few weeks ago(because I am also a Letterman fan). The fellas do look sharp in their suits ... What do you think (and not just of the guys in their suits)?

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Square Roots ... here is how it all went down

Well hip hoppers ... it went down and I was there to witness it. The Roots, indeed, performed for not one, but two LIVE shows in Cleveland on Saturday, September 30, 2006. It was one of those rare evenings and your girl was there to witness it all - with comp tix for both shows, no doubt.

I'll have to give you the details in snippets because I am short on time.

@ Case Western Reserve University's (CRWU) Adelbert Gym
@ 7:30 p.m.

@ the Mirage on the Water (Cleveland's premier niteclub for the crunk crew; i.e. not me)
Doors opened @ 10 p.m.
**this show was sponsored by Tanqueray and they bought the club out for the evening; complimentary beverages were flowing

So here is how it all went down - FIRST SHOW:
  • arrive in Clev around 6:30 p.m. (after toiling around Akron w/the fam)
  • it's raining, but there's a parking lot right across from the concert venue (can I call it a venue, when it is truly - a gym...?)
  • My Roots groupie friend was running just a bit late, but no prob
  • He arrives ready to get his party on ... we get carded @ the door and are told we do not look nearly as old as we are ... huh?
  • The Case kids are lumbering around while the opening act - Scratch Track gets down; I like that group which includes an acoustic guitarist and a beat boxin-singin-and rhymin front man (it may sound lame, but it really was on point); Scratch Track does a full set; about an hour
  • The Roots take the stage @ about 8:30 p.m. with Black Thought coming on strong with "Web" from "The Tipping Point" cd. Then they came with "Here I Come" (I can't recall the exact order; that's what I get for leaving my reporter's notebook in the car)
  • They go on to perform "Star," "Don't Feel Right," "In the Music," "Long Time," "The Seed," "You Got Me," "The Next Movement" and several others.
  • The highlight of the night for me was the Capt Kirk solo during "You Got Me." And after seeing him perform that twice in one night, I concluded that he is one of the best musicians living today - that is a lofty statement, but he is above the shiznit. Not to mention that it was his birthday. He plays the guitar so intimately and with such passion and vigor. Now, I've seen him perform this before and he is consistently intense and visually and aurally expressive. dayum.
  • When the show was over after a encore of classics and popular tunes, I was physically exhausted, but no time to rest, I needed to make an attempt to get one of those much coveted drum sticks that ?uestlove tosses out after their sets.
  • The short story on the drum stick scenario is that I did not get one, not even close. Those college kids really showed The Roots some love and they deserve to take home a prize. Besides, I had another show to catch, right...?

So here is how it all went down - SECOND SHOW:

  • Arrive @ the second concert venue/club around 10:45 p.m.
  • Not much of a line, but I'd been in touch with others who were already there and they assured me that it was all good; parking was even easy to find
  • After being told that I am NOT VIP (are you kidding me? I am sooooo VIP that I can't talk to the girl who was merely hired by the hour for this function ... yeah ... I maintained my confidence and sashayed into the club (that is not arrogance, that is just 'what is w/the VIP b.s. ...?'; who care? What, they get a Tanqueray lanyard, a photo and more free drinks ...?)
  • There are not a lot of folks @ the club yet, but the stage was set and I confirmed in my head that it was true - I'd get the rare opportunity to see my fav band perform LIVE in a city that doesn't get a good look too often.
  • I mingled with friends while djs Mick Boogie and Terry Urban tried to get the crowd to get hyped (the crowd did eventually warm up)
  • Meanwhile, I began to get a bit sick; I had not eaten, but had a nice dose of caffeine; lil ole me thought that there'd be food, but I guess that goes hand in hand with me thinking I was VIP, huh? With no grub, I had to make several trips to the restroom to get my composure; I even turned in my free drink ticket for a glass of gingerale
  • Funny thing is when The Roots hit the stage @ about 12:30 a.m. I was very near the front of the stage and hyped as hell! It was back to party mode - HARD.
  • The Roots were just as energetic as they had been two hours ago across town; Black Thought came out again with "Web"; that is one hella way to get things goin because he delivers the lyrics for what seems like five minutes w/o taking a breath; then the other guys take the stage and it is on!
  • They perform a similar set w/songs from "Game Theory," "Phrenology," "The Tipping Point" and "Things Fall Apart" along with some others
  • I think the crowd got it, though The Roots LIVE is not about performing tracks as they are on disk (I think a lot of concert goers are disappointed to hear live versions of songs for that reason).
  • I was so close to the band that I felt a rush; I must admit, I did feel like a true groupie, but I don't want to embrace that title - not yet
  • So the show is over and I'm geeked because there is a 99.9% chance that I will come away this evening with a drum stick from ?uestlove. The crowd immediately began to disperse not knowing the old ritual and I sauntered to the front of the stage while looking for my boy. As I had my back to the stage, I got hit in the head with a towel from who knows who, but I took it and went for the big prize; I stood there for a few minutes before watching ?uesto make his exit stage left - what? You've got to be kidding ...? No f-in drum sticks for the club crowd? Oh, this is a travesty! I am positioned to be 'handed' a drum stick and what happens ... the show is over and said drum stick giver is gone. I stand there appalled for a while telling my friends over and over how wrong this is ... and oh, how wrong it is!
  • I was otherwise hungry and tired and obviously agitated and what I could not do was stay in the club whose demographic had changed exponentially while I was busy sulking. No longer were the stylish and chic in attendance, but a more, let's say, casual and crimpin type had infiltrated the scene - I won't elaborate. It was time to go.

This is a lengthy post and there is so much missing:

  • ?uestlove's and Knuckles drum and percussion solo @ CWRU
  • ?uestlove's dj gig @ B-sides on Friday evening
  • Paying to pee
  • Why college kids are soooo damn rude
  • and when will I see The Roots perform again

I am out ... need some much needed rest. But you, you keep your eyes open hip hoppers ... kfox

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