Indy Hip Hop World

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

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Oh Noooooooooooooo ...

Whoooooaaa ... I must say, I thought I knew about producer Oh No, but I really didn't know jack - not enought anyway, and now I'm tryin to get down wit the get down and get it right this time. There is a good amount of info in the press release that accompanied his latest release. So let me share the knowledge and cut down the leg work for you - buy the cd! That's right pull up on the dollar bills, the plastic or break the bank for this baby! Do dat and your life and those around you will improve exponentially (but you won't know if you don't get a chance to listen to it ... now will you?).

Oh No's "Exodus into Unheard Rhythms" is phenomenal! Nothing short of that, for real. It is little more that 57 minutes, but you will come away having been schooled in street life, the record industry and just have a complete feeling of 'yeah, I'm mad at the world, and rightfully so ...' but the feeling will be euphoric. Aaaah, the thought ... The guest list on this project is exceptional - Wise Intelligent, K Jay, Wordsworth, Aloe Blacc, LMNO, Vast Aire, Wildchild, Murs and others. All tracks contact beats from the Galt MacDermont catalogue. How fly is that?

Tracks to loop on your player ... "To Be An MC" f/K Jay and "Beware" f/Cali Agents. And btw, Oh No is down with the Stones Throw crew - whad you think? And another footnote, he is the sibling to another incredibly talented producer/artist, Madlib. Yeah ...

It hits stores (or whatever place you get your music these days) on August 8, so get wit it hip hop heads ... you know what they say, "don't just talk about it, be about it!" Check out this recent interview.

Stay true ... kfox

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Record labels I'm lovin right now ...

You know, a lot of the artists that I am fond of often come from some of the same camps. So here are a few that are on fire right now, in my humble opin.

--their cache of quality artists is deep: Atmosphere, Soul Position, P.O.S., just to name a few. Newest release: Psalm One

Stones Throw
--definitely on the map with the likes of Aloe Blacc, J Dilla, Madlib, MF Doom and many more. Newest release: Oh No

Def Jam
--this mainstream label manages to keep it real even as they throw around their weight. The latest Ghostface is Killah and the Roots are on deck; don't forget that Nas is now in their line up too. Newest release: Lady Sovereign

Definitive Jux
--this def j is off the chain/chart and unfortunately not on as many radars as they should be...several artists have huge fan bases and are on the bubble like Aesop Rock, Murs, Cage, the Perceptionists and others
Newest release: Mr. Lif

Nataural High Records
--this label has some incredible talent including Bavu Blakes, Lunar Heights and Spank Pops. Don't sleep on them! Newest release: Jern Eye

The cd I can't wait to check out (other than The Roots' "Game Theory" - there are some new cuts the preview on myspace) is Lupe Fiasco's "Food & Liquor" disk. Should be nice. He is so against the grain and not in the rebel kind of why - just his nature. He appears laid back and respectful and that "Kick Push" joint is hot! The full project doesn't hit the stores until September 19! Damn. Damn. Damn. It'll just be something to look forward to, huh? Well, to tide you and me over, check out "I Gotcha" on Fiasco's myspace page.

That's all from the belly of Ohio ... stay true, kfox

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Feedback on "Feedback" and then some

Just a quick note, I have received the new Jurassic-5 cd. It is called "Feedback." I've listened to a total of five tracks including the single "Work It Out" w/the Dave Mathews Band. But let me tell you, I got stuck on track #4 "Gotta Understand" because it is a stand out track. After listening to it several times, I finally deferred to to the cd jacket for some background info. I felt as if the track had a D'Angelo vibe to it - very soulful. There's a simple, heavy bass beat along with a sample running throughout. The delivery is stuccato and quite crisp. After nearly going blind trying to read the notes about the track, I learned that the sample is from Curtis Mayfield's "Mr. Welfare Man." It's hot.

On deck for my cd player is a new project from JernEye. JernEye is/was part of Lunar Heights - which is a part of the Nataural High family. From what I've listened to thus far, this is a nice one - solid beats and the rhymes are strong; I can feel his enthusiasm.

The latest from Cut Chemist is out there for all to see and hear "The Audience's Listening." Should it be "The Audience is Listening?" or "The Audiences Listening?" or possibly "the Audiences' Listening?" Unfortunately (or fortunately) this is a forum where punctuation ranks low, so what does it really matter? CC's debut disk features a track w/Mr. Lif and Edan, and that matters. I'm still a mad fan of "What's the Altitude" f/Hymnal.

The other disk that I just received is Superiority Complex's "Stand Up." Don't know much other that the brief background info that's on the cd, but they are on Bru Records. More to come about this one.

I am still diggin Kelis' "Bossy." I've been trying to make some sense of it, but that's just taking it too far, now isn't it? I'll just leave it alone and appreciate it for what it is - a classic summer jam!

I'm diggin the heat too, aren't you? Stay true hip hoppers and don't feel bad about compromising, kfox.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

...the hip hop stop in cleveland

It has been several days since I checked out the Dabryre (pronounced DAUB-bree) show @ the Grog Shop in Cleveland. There were two opening acts on the bill including Percee P. I can't recall the name of the first act, but I was diggin them. It was a multi-media turntablist deal with two guys. The on screen images appeared a bit weird to me - it was some sort of Asian flick, but since I caught this act toward the end, I may have missed the commentary about the accompanying film short.

The middle act was Percee P. I must admit, I'd never heard of Percee P before last Thursday evening, but he's been out there for a bit. I really enjoyed his set. He gave enough background info about himself and he was truly pimpin his cds; he was truly gettin his hustle on. I did purchase his "Throwback Rap Attack" cd. It only has three tracks on it and they are all remixes, but I like them all. His full cd is called "Perseverance," but I don't think it is complete and it has not release date.

Percee's dj was pretty cool too. He was getting his dance on while Percee throw out his rhymes. Unfortunately I can't remember his dj's name, but he did give me a complimentary cd called "Kan Zulu AKA Presents Bored in the Crates Homage." I have not listened to it yet, but he tells me that it is all beats and I likes me some beats.

Oh, about Percee P's set, it was really nice. He seemed to perform snippets of his tracks, but I liked his delivery. Sort of reminded me of Rakim; very much old school and you know that everything old is new again ... ?

Now on to the headliner, Dabrye. He was good. He had Kadence as his frontman. It was a nice set, but it was a bit anti-climatic and Dabrye did not come off as the headliner. He seemed a bit reserved and as a result the show seemed to be missing something - like excitement and enthusiasm. However, Kadence is off the chain! He really knows how to command the stage - not to mention that he is a bit burly physically. I absolutely love his lyrics. He puts much thought into what he says and how he says it. I wish I could give you an example, but he says his cd is still in the works with no release date in sight. You can check him out on track #4 of Dabrye's disk, "Encoded Flow." Kadence is on my radar.

My final note about the Dabrye show in Clev, is/was that it was sparsely populated. Where in the hell is the support for true hip hop? I guess if you are not talking about the size of a woman's ass or your grill, folks will not pay $8 to see you perform live! And people in Cleveland wonder why they get a bad rap ... whatever!

Oh, but let me tell you ... I did check out a club after I went to the Dabrye show. It was 'crunk' and just plain ole out of control. I have not seen a sight like this in some time, heck since I was commandeering the mic back in the day. It did remind me of the Club Squeeze days in Buffalo - the club wall to wall mainly with young people who could care less if they reek alcohol the next day at work. The women show alot of skin; the men gawk at you when you try to meander past them; everyone wobbles out to the club at closing time ... Then there was the 2 a.m. car show complete with 'the booming systems' - crazy! It was not my scene at all, but it was a scene to be seen and that's not a bad thing, just the way things went down on a hot summer night in downtown Cleveland. There is nothing like free entertainment. And btw, who says young people are irresponsible. I overheard one visibly drunk female state to her friend, 'can you drive? I'm too drunk.'

That's all for now ... embrace a hip hop show near you and stay true, kfox

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

... the stars have aligned

Well ... in a bit of a surprise, I received not one, but two nice music packages recently - just as I was, sort of, complaining about not getting the new Jurassic 5 disk. Come to find out, the drop date was moved back. However, I did receive the single "Work it Out" that features the Dave Matthews Band. I like it. I think DMB brings something to the table and not just their noteriety. Seems I may have the complete "Feedback" cd by the end of next week. That, my friends, is true hip hop love from the hip hop gods - I am grateful. The disk will be in stores/online on July 25th.

The other package that I received caught me totally off guard. I tried to decipher the label - to make sure it was not a suspicious sender. It did not take me long to figure out it came from Def Jam - "The Roots" poster at the top of the heap gave it away - the legal sized 'coming soon' poster features the sextet at a poker table dressed to the nines. Love that - very, very easy on the eyes. It has already found a home on my office wall - not far from my vintage Miles Davis poster.

Enough about the poster, eh, there was so much more in the box. All sorts of cd singles, lots of vinyl including "The Roots" first single, and ...... drum roll, the latest and critically acclaimed "Fishscale" cd from Ghostface Killah! Happy, happy, joy, joy for me! Now, I've heard so much about this cd, that I thought that it might be overkill. I really needed to hear for myself. And though I'd been intending to purchase the disk, I just had not gotten around to it. So it was a pleasant surprise. My thoughts on "Fishscale ... ?" It is worth ALL the hype. Yes, I mean it - because I am not a bandwagoner. Meaning, I won't hop on the rig just because everyone else is on it. So I'm not just saying I like it because that's the latest trend, oh-no ... I have not singled out the titles of the tracks that stand out to me yet - I've listened to it in its entirety so far and I was groovin along to it each time. So, the beats are there and the rhymes are stand out. Storytelling is the key to this here winner.

Before I dip out, I do have a hip hop show or two on my summer schedule - and I thought that I would not make it to any this summer. I hope to check out Dabrye @ the Grog Shop in Cleveland. I might also catch Fatlip and Omni later this month. But I should surely be attending "The Roots" w/the Pharcyde and Miri Ben-Ari when they are in Cleveland next month. I will probably have a "Roots" marathon listening party in preparation for that show. Did mention that "Phrenology" is possibly my favorite "Roots" disk? I know some people will want to question my reasoning on that one, but I am not going there today.

Later hip hop heads ... stay true, kfox

Monday, July 03, 2006

... it's all brand new

What is good? I could venture off into many sidebars about miscellaneous events in my life, but this hear blog ain't necessarily about me, it's about the music, right?

So while I was on my pseudo-vacation in G-dub's domain - okay one sidebar ... I almost stayed in the disctrict another night when it was brought to my attention that Aceyalone, the Procussions, Ugly Duckling and others would be performing at a local venue, but I was feeling foul and made great haste to exit the Chocolate City ... back to the task at hand - lots and lots of brand new hip hop arrived in my office - how wonderful is that? Smiles for me all around and for weeks to come.

I'm gonna have to give you this in chunks. First, I will give you a break down of what is new, then in a couple of days, I will further break down the break down and if you follow along, you too will be able to ... break it down.

I've been hearing about Dabrye and the cd is pretty damn fly. It is certainly not traditional hip hop as we know it from our local commercial radio (and cable TV) outlets. But even from a alt/indie/underground hip hop perspective, it just stands out and sounds refreshingly clean. On my brief review, track #4 demanded my attention. It has Kadence doin a guest and it is, as the kids say, 'on fyyyyyyyy-yah!' - that's fire for those who need the translation. And oh, the track is titled "Encoded Flow" and Dabrye's disk is "Two/Three." The project also features tracks with Doom as well as the legendary Jay Dee. And you, my newfound bff's, should cop that!

The sky must be fallin because I have a disk by PsalmOne which caught me off guard. It was another case of my blind listening habit - I take the disk out of the cd case w/o reading anything and I try to listen w/o any preconceived notions. Well, low and behold PsalmOne is a female MC. She's got it yall. Well, yeah, she's on the Rhymesayers label too and they don't deal in garbage. Love the title track "The Death of Frequent Flyer." Can't wait to listen to this one with my full attention.

Ooooooooooooh, my new fav is certainly Cut Chemist. I received a sampler from his soon to be released disk "The Audience's Listening." Again, who's happy? I am. There is a track called "What's the Altitude?" f/Hymnal - don't know how to describe it. The rhymes are sort of elementary, at least in arrangement - though I enjoyed the simplistic delivery. Chemist used to be down the Jurassic 5 - btw, J5 (and not Michael and 'nem) has a new one out, but count me amongst the ones they do not love because my package containing "Feedback" has not arrived in my office and probably never will. But I'll fix that ... just you wait an see thankyouverymuch.

Does anyone remember Kool Keith formerly of the Ultramagnetic MCs? Hhhhhhuuuuummm, those who do recall may not want to affirm that as it could date you substantionally. I know because I read it on the press material - wink, wink. Back to the task at hand, Keith reinvented himself (sometime ago) as Dr. Octagon - actually this is his second Dr. Octagon project. Point is, I absolutely love it! Love it, love it, love it. It just vaguely reminds me of Gnarls Barkley. Dr. Octagon's "The Return of Dr. Octagon" takes hip hop down another less traveled road and it works.

I have way too much music, so here is a brief mention:
Roc 'C', the Dolemite soundtrack (lovely, and did you know that Rudy Ray Moore used to live in Cleveland ... ?), Lady Sovereign's "Size Doesn't Matter", Aloe Blacc and not totally immersed in the hip hop genre, but sometimes in the peripherial is Michael Franti and Spearhead - I like what their music says - heck, it's just darn good music, okay?

Now, why did I not have the new Outkast single in the cd stack? I love Atlanta too, y'know?

So much for my short post, huh? Hope that you are enjoying your summer.

Stay true ... kfox