Indy Hip Hop World

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

Thursday, March 30, 2006

No apathy, just lots of good hip hop!

Back in action...only not all that is happenin in the indy hip hop world. Well, that's not quite the way it is, but that's what I'm going to call it because I don't have a wealth to report on this week.
Just a handfull of music from Apathy and Up Above Records as well as the ever popular WMCO Hip Hop music chart.

First, Apathy: A few weeks ago, a package arrived in the mail with several cds from Apathy. His latest project is called "Eastern Philosophy." It is HOT! As Randy from "American Idol" would say "We got a hot one, bay-bee!" Enough hype, let me tell you what is real. The Apathy cd deserves props because he comes correct. Good rhymes, good beats with sort of a jazzy, but definitely old school vibe. Tracks I'm lovin right now are the title track, "1,000 Grams," and "All About Crime."

The Up Above Records compilation totally took me by surprise. I don't know why I finally listened to it (keep in mind, I get about 60-75 cds delivered to my office on a weekly basis - so if a cd does not stand out and I don't receive a call about it sometimes they get trapped as a part of these mini cd towers on my desk), but is truly the shiz-nit! Shut up and listen. The strength is in the lyrics. But there are so many plusses. They have some crazy talent lacin up the joint...Prince Po, Visionaries, and tons of others. Just go to and put in a request to get that joint when it is available to all in the next few weeks.

My last item, which needs no real explanation is the WMCO 90.7 Hip Hop Chart for this week. If only the residents of east central Ohio knew what a sweet treat they have for their listening pleasure right in their backyard...

Here are the current hip hop chart toppers @ WMCO:











yo hip hoppers ... stay true, kfox
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

The producer and the dj

Alright...the task at hand this week is to spotlight Soul Position and DJ Cam. What we mainly have here is a producer, an emcee and a dj and it won't stop, don't stop...

First up is Soul Position: Nice cd; titled "Things Go Better with RJ and AL." This Rhymesayers duo of RJD2 and Blueprint is just right. Columbus, Ohio native RJD2 has a long history as a producer (though he has two projects of his own). RJD2 provides some nice beats here and not all are predictable. Blueprint really impressed me on "The Cool Thing To Do" where he previews his lyrics for his niece/nephew and they dialogue. The track comes correct in its message for young people to stay true to who they are and to not be foiled by the peer pressure lest it lead to mistakes that will shadow you forever. On "No Gimmicks" the guys go after commercial hip hop - or just commercialism in general. If you despise what commercial hip hop has become, you will enjoy "No Gimmick." Other outstanding tracks include "I'm Free" and "Keys." "Keys" stands out because it consistently defies the rules of hip hop - it's just telling a story whether it rhymes or not and whether it is on beat or not. The cd is scheduled to drop on April 4, 2006.

For Ohio hip hop heads, here's your chance to see them in real time (I know that it will be like butter on pancakes):

Apr 14 2006
Little Brothers
Columbus, OH

Apr 22 2006
Grog Shop
Cleveland Hts, OH

DJ Cam is doin it on his latest cd. It contains lots of remixes but that's what djs do, eh? Well, I just love the label's home page...they've got some love for the sistas, yeah! And oh, the cd is titled "Revisited by." Of the 13 tracks there are several versions of the same songs like "Success," "Innervisions," and "Meera." The legendary Guru lends his skills to "Espionage," but it is "Love Junkee" that is da bomb! It's a J Dilla remix featuring Cameo and if you say who's Cameo, then you just better exit the blog, oh-kay...?

I gots to break out ... books and papers to read, yall!

stay true...kfox

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Block is hot...

I am still giddy about "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" and the truth is I am not really into movies, let along concert movies. And although I have only seen "Block Party" once, I am destined to see it at least one more time before it is released on DVD. Have you heard about the recent movie distribution plan where they release the movie to theatres, DVD and Video on Demand (VOD) all on the same day? Well, I wished they'd done that with Chappelle's Block Party. Why is this movie my drug of choice this week? And I am feeeeenin' for it! Why? Loved the humor; enjoyed most of the performances and really liked Dave's antics from his hometown in southwest Ohio to interviewing some of the neighborhood folks prior to the concert. Again, the only thing for me that would be better than having the DVD is if I could have attended the performance (though I am indeed a concert snob in addition to being very picky about who I will see perform live and more particular about the venue).

One more thing related to "Block Party" - I had planned on attending the Common concert in Cleveland (because the venue and the artist were affable), however, I also managed to book a much needed holiday - in Portland, Oregon, no doubt. Now, I've heard that I did, fo sho, miss a good show in Common, but...well, there are no buts about it. I did not see a comparable show in Portland; it did not go down like that. However, Portland does have a healthy hip hop scene, it just was not flowing to the max during my brief stay. I did check out a hot lil hip hop spot though...don't worry PDX, I'll be back in about four months.

Meanwhile, I need to get my live hip hop performance fix on - NOT me performing, though I have a mean flow. Yeah, it's all in my dreams! I think I want to check out The Roots. But again, it has to be the ideal performance venue. I need to check their concert sked.

No music reviews this week. Been listening to Colossus, Chappelle's Block Party and John Legend.

One final note...can you believe all the discussion behind Three 6 Mafia's Oscar win...? Seems there are a wealth of disappointed folk out there...yes, yes, yall. It seems the backlash focuses on not just the lyrics from the song, but the group's performance at the Oscars. As for the lyrics from the actual song: Having seen the movie and the song in that context, I empathize with the content. And I say that, NOT endorsing the pimp lifestyle because that, my dear, is what it is - a lifestyle and a lifestyle choice at that. The performance: not much to say about the Three 6 Mafia Oscar night performance because I don't have a recommendation on what else they could have done...

That's all for now...stay true hip hoppers, stay tried and true...kfox

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

...and the winner is

...Three 6 Mafia! How awesome is that...? Too many folks are befuddled after that one. But I believe that seeing the making of the song, as was witnessed in the movie "Hustle and Flow," gave many in the Academy a look at how the meat is made... Who would've thunk that a real tried and true, thugged out group like Three 6 Mafia from Memphis, TN would have an Oscar in the cache? Love that, yeah....

Oh, and their performance...! The performance had to have the tight suited near strangulation, eh? But it is the Oscars and that's what they do: have the nominated songs performed by the nominated artists. Good stuff...

One more note...this year's Oscar host, Jon Stewart was on Oprah the day after the Oscar's and when she asked him what was his fav moment, he said, when Three 6 Mafia won! He said they brought some much needed exuberance to the show. I had a chance to see some pre and post performance footage where the guys were threaded up in their Armani suits with their platinum grills - they clean up quite nicely. It's true, I'm thrilled for their achievement.

What else is good...? "Dave Chappelle's Block Party." I had read some reviews and I thought that folks were merely blowing up the spot. I am typically leary when the masses give props to almost anything. However, folks were on the mark with this one. Though no one quite prepared me for Lauryn Hill's performance of The Fugees classic "Killing Me Softly." Freaking outstanding! Chappelle is crazy. His humor is endearing and his presence leaves me anticipating what is next for him. I am soooo feenin for the DVD right now. I already have the soundtrack, which is cool, but I am hopeful that the DVD will have lots of the ever popular 'never-before-seen' footage. The groups that are spotlighted in the movie are all my favs - like Chappelle: Mos Def, Common, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, The Fugees, Kanye West, Cody Chestnutt, Big Daddy Kane and a few others. Really good stuff. I only wish I could have actually attended the performance in Bed Sty in September, 2004. That joint needs an encore.

Enough for now...much love and hip hop for life, bee-...!!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hip Hop Explosion

The hip hop offerings are plentiful...and I am lovin it!

First of all, yes, Three 6 Mafia will be performing on stage at this Sunday's Oscar awards. Their song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" was nominated for an award. It is the first time that a hip hop group will perform at the Academy Awards. Let's hope they bring home the award.

Sergio Mendes’ latest cd is titled “Timeless”. It takes the hip hop genre in a totally different direction. Good stuff. Mendes secured the assistance of the Black Eyed Peas’ primary front man, who appears on several of the cd's tracks. Cool website too - lots of interesting information.

Stand outs on the disk included “That Heat” and "Mas Que Nada".

The project includes collaborations with Jill Scott, Q-Tip, Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, The Roots' Black Thought and many others.

It is a wonderful blend of latin flavor and hip hop.

Since producer J Dilla passed away last month, his most recent project “Donuts” is getting lots of love…and how nice is that? The disk includes mostly snippets – tracks that are about 30 seconds in length - non-traditional stuff, but cool nonetheless. Dilla is already missed immensely.

Dilated Peoples are back on the scene (not that they ever left). Their latest is called “20/20”. According to the Okayplayer website, Dilated Peoples are currently on tour with Little Brother. That’s hot, eh? The first single is “Back Again”, so maybe they have been somewhere…but their last project was, what, not “Expansion Team”, but …I’m trying to think off the top of my head knowing that I have nearly as bad a memory as former General Oliver North. But their last project was just last summer, right? Whatever, I'd down with this trio. Love what they stand for - sometimes gritty, oftentimes thoughful in their messages. "Kindness for Weakness" enlists the talent of Talib Kweli and it is a smokin track! Also, check them out on

I finally got my hands on the Lady Sovereign cd. What a ball of fire she is. For those who don’t know, there has been a wealth of hype surrounding this teenage female rapper from the U.K. The disk is titled “Vertically Challenged” and is packed with eight tracks several of them with some pretty catchy hooks. However, I must admit that the cd is just alright, in my most humble opinion. She spits at a rapid pace and along with the British accent, it’s often difficult to understand what she is saying.

Finally, I did not get the memo that the infamous Public Enemy was in the studio, let alone releasing a new cd. Yes, people, one of hip hops most socially conscious groups is back on the scene - and just when I thought Flava Flav's five minutes of fame in multiple reality TV shows was up...I have not had an opportunity to fully review "Rebirth of a Nation" featuring Paris, but it includes calbos with MC Ren, Dead Prez, Conscious Daughters and more. Can't wait to get some real food for the brain, hip hop style.

That's plenty...until next time, stay true...kfox