Indy Hip Hop World

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

KiD CuDi's "Day 'N' Nite" Video

Oh, how I love this KiD CuDi "Day 'N' Nite" video. Love the creativity; love the illusions. I do like the song too. Just a nice slow beat and cool lyrics too. And it's all good that he's a Clevelander. Right, right.

The lonely stoner loner. Yeah.

Whaddaya think hip hoppers? Should this one get an A+? kfox.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Chef is back in the Kitchen

Raekwon (sometimes known as Raekwon the Chef) has released a number of mixtapes since the release of the widely successful "Build for Cuban Linx" in 1995. But apparently he's back in the studio and near ready to release "Built for Cuban Linx 2". We won't complain about the not-so-fresh title, that is, if the vibe from the track "Back from the Slums" is any indication of what we're in for. You'll be excited to know that this track features Wu-Tang's Method Man as well as Ghostface Killah. Nice.

It's cool to hear the guys flow in this mini-Wu reunion.

You can download "Back from the Slums"

This track will have you itching for the full length project and you'll just have to wait. You know how these things go: there's usually a release date (in this case April 7th), then it's either pushed back or it gets leaked.

Also, here's "Criminology 2" (again, lacking creativity on the title), but this is that killer combo of Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. You already know.

Other Raekwon resources:

So all of you hip hopper's w/that old school nostalgia, this is for you. kfox.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Roots Tour 2009

If you know even the slightest bit about me, then you know that I sort of, kind of, like The Roots alot. In particular, I like to see them perform live (check out this post too). Unfortunately I recall just last year when I had several near misses w/Roots shows, but I never got to see them perform in 2008.

Welcome a new year and hopefully a chance to balance things out. Yeah.

I hope that you also know that The Roots are the house band for Jimmy Fallon's new show. That is good news for me. Not so much in that I could see/hear The Roots perform nightly (not going to happen because I won't stay up that late to watch and I don't have a DVR). However, the good news is that they are taking up shop in NYC and thus giving me a chance to physically see them perform live. Ah ha.

You see, I have an incredibly weird work schedule and I am typically off on Monday and Tuesday. According to the most recent Roots tour sked, they have several shows on Monday night. I am already getting excited because I have friends who have recently relocated to the City and it is all good.

You know, usually this blog is all about you, and this post is too, just more about how I will enjoy this opportunity.

Check the sked ... maybe we can troll the Chelsea district, Greenwich Village or something:
The tix for the NYC shows @ the Highline Ballroom are $10 in advance; $12 the day of the show. Now that's a price the budget conscious can get down with.

So how about it hip hoppers ... a little roadie to the Big Apple? Remember, it's all for hip hop. kfox.
NOTE: image from Plug One

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Friday, February 20, 2009

"When Rap Music Had a Conscience"

I was at the library recently and I saw this book, "When Rap Music Had Conscience: The Artists, Organizations, and Historic Events that Inspired and Influenced the "Golden Age" of Hip-Hop from 1987-1996", in the Black History Month display area. It seemed right up my alley after I briefly flipped through it.

This book is a Cliff notes to the bigger volume - that does not exist. I know that the author, Tayannah Lee McQuillar, knows this. She has to know it just in the way that the book is structured.

The book has a simple design: paperback, not too bulky and a nice sized font. Oh and there are headings throughout the book and summaries to compliment those sections. Makes for easy reading ... though the contents just meaty enough, yet not too heavy. Sort of designed for you to nod along and/or she dangles just enough information for you to want to do some further research on your own.

Here are some of the topics:
  • Droppin Science and Planet Rock
  • The Sacred Scrolls
  • The Rant Tape
  • Hip-Hops Underground Railroad
This is good stuff. The groups that she references throughout the book have left an indelible mark on my life: Public Enemy, Afrikaa Bambaataa, KRS-One, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, De La Soul, Gangstarr, Eric B & Rakim and so many more.

But she goes on to validate what many of us already attest to and that is the culture of hip hop. She addresses the influence of hip hop in films - many of those references are to Spike Lee Joints.

And in terms of the conscienceness, McQuillar weaves in some historical orators and academics and just plain ole 'folks you should know about' ... if you don't already know. Scholars like Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Yosef A. A. ben-Jocahannan, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and others. Just those three could keep you busy for the next 12 months. She mentions them as the jumping off point for many hip hop emcees as they chose to educate their listeners.

Here are the folks that are listed in the "Hip-Hop Underground" section:
  • A-Alikes
  • Dead Prez
  • The Coup
  • The Perceptionists
  • Zion-1
This is good stuff. So get to gettin hip hoppers. There's going to be a test on when hip hop had a conscience ... because at one time, it did. kfox.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

February is J Dilla Month

J Dilla was born in February and passed away in the month of February as well.
February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006

So while getting your Black History on ... you can also consume some J Dilla. As a tribute to Dilla's incredible life, Stones Throw, his record label has announced that February is J Dilla Month.

Who was J Dilla? To put is simply, he was an extraordinary producer. But that definition pales in terms of what he accomplished; you need audible examples to illustrate his capabilities and even then it's not enough.

Check out this article and story from NPR's Day to Day:
Also, check out this Dilla playlist on Imeem:

J Dilla

Go ahead hip hoppers and jam out the rest of February w/Dilla. kfox.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Give Thanks" Video :: Raashan Ahmad

I have been a fan of Om Records for a bit. Their cache of music and the genres that they cover is extensive. They have a hip hop division, but it's just a little something - quality, not quantity.

Well, I was scrolling through one of their newsletters and saw a post on Raashan Ahmad. The brief article included a link to the video so I went with it. Good thing too. The lyrics are inspirational but not too cheesy. But the vid was so cool. Nice graphics throughout and just kind of carefree. It's a good vibe. Love that.

More on Raashan Ahmad:

That's all for now hip hoppers ... just "Give Thanks". It's that simple. kfox.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ghostface Killah: Hip Hop for Valentine's Day

This is a quickie because it is a bit late. Just found this and since I am a fan of Ghostface Killah and the list is both interesting and has some humor ... I thought I'd share.

Sad Rap: Hip Hop Laments for Valentine's Day

So let's couple up hip hoppers. There's more love than you think out there. kfox.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

John Forte + Talib Kweli "Homecoming"

Okay, so I am a bit late on this one. This vid has been out for a few weeks. I spotted it on Okayplayer. Let me tell you, you will always find something fresh and new to you on Okayplayer.

Some of you may know the story on John Forte. That is not the focus of this post, so homework hip hoppers.

At any rate, Forte is right at home on the mic w/Talib Kweli. Nice. This video is kinda cool. I'm liking that Forte is using his Blackberry to spit his lyrics. Talib goes w/the traditional notebook paper.

"Homecoming" John Forte + Talib Kweli from The ICU on Vimeo.

The video quality was super clean. I like that too. Let me know what you think of this one hip hoppers. Give a little feedback every now and then, ah-ight? kfox.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Paid Dues Festival :: 3.28.09

Wow, this one is coming up quick and that means that others are right behind it. And who the heck has the cheese to one if any of the fine festivals that are scheduled for this year.

I'm going to hit on the Paid Dues Fest since it's up first. If you are going to spend your unemployment cash on a show, this is the one. Just because you don't have a job, doesn't mean that you can't enjoy yourself. Besides, it's not like you are laying down $70 bucks for one act ... oh, no ... you will get some bang for your buck here, baby.

I won't elaborate on each artist ... but I'd foot the bill for Brother Ali, Atmosphere and Grouch alone; oh and Cage is a beast! Tickets start at $40 and that does not include any fees. Also, it's a Cali show ... I know, I know, it's looking more and more like me and you won't make this one, right?

Hoping though that someone makes it and shares the love: some Twitter updates, some YouTube vid ... give a dog a bone!

Here's the complete Paid Dues Festival Lineup ... and it's backed by Murs 3:16 and Guerilla Union:
Tech N9ne
Living Legends
Brother Ali
Grouch & Eligh
Eydea & Abilities
BLU & Exile
The Bayliens
DJ Val the Vandle
Hosted By: 2Mex

Well, there will be other festivals hip hoppers ... let me know what you're getting into. kfox.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Here Come the Grammys

In just a few days, the Grammy Awards will be handed out.

I'm excited in general because I like the spontaneity of awards shows. But it used to be that I'd get all hyped about the rap/hip hop categories for the Grammy's. I guess that was a time when it was a new and fresh category and now it seems just the opposite.

Here are the current rap/hip hop categories - nice to see that Lupe Fiasco is nominated in 4 of the 5 categories:

Category 31

Best Rap Solo Performance

(For a solo Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)...


Track from: American Gangster


* A Milli

Lil Wayne

Track from: Tha Carter III

[Cash Money/Universal Motown]

* Paris, Tokyo

Lupe Fiasco

Track from: The Cool

[1st & 15th/Atlantic]

* N.i.*.*.e.r. (The Slave And The Master)


Track from: Untitled

[Def Jam]

* Sexual Eruption

Snoop Dogg

Track from: Ego Trippin


Category 32

Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

(For duo, group or collaborative performances of Rap only. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Royal Flush

Big Boi Featuring Raekwon And Andre 3000


* Swagga Like Us

Jay-Z & T.I. Featuring Kanye West & Lil Wayne

[Roc-A-Fella/Grand Hustle/Atlantic]

* Mr. Carter

Lil Wayne Featuring Jay-Z

Track from: Tha Carter III

[Cash Money/Universal Motown]

* Wish You Would

Ludacris Featuring T.I.


* Put On

Young Jeezy Featuring Kanye West

[Def Jam]

Category 33

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

(For a Rap/Sung collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

* American Boy

Estelle Featuring Kanye West

Track from: Shine


* Low

Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain

Track from: Mail On Sunday

[Poe Boy/Atlantic]

* Green Light

John Legend & Andre 3000

[Columbia/G.O.O.D. Music]

* Got Money

Lil Wayne Featuring T-Pain

Track from: Tha Carter III

[Cash Money/Universal Motown]

* Superstar

Lupe Fiasco Featuring Matthew Santos

Track from: The Cool

[1st & 15th/Atlantic]

Category 34

Best Rap Song

(A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.)

* Lollipop

D. Carter, S. Garrett, D. Harrison, J. Scheffer & R. Zamor, songwriters (Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major)

Track from: Tha Carter III

[Cash Money/Universal Motown; Publishers: Young Money Publishing/Warner-Chappell Music, Herbalicious Music/Blackfountain Music/EMI-April Music, JimiPub Music/EMI Blackwood, Three Nails And A Crown Publishing, Roynet Music]

* Low

Tramar Dillard, M. Humphrey, Faheem Najm, Korey Roberson & Howard Simmons, songwriters (Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain)

Track from: Mail On Sunday

[Poe Boy/Atlantic; Publishers: E-Class Publishing/Sony-ATV Music Publishing/Universal Music Z Songs/Top Quality Publishing/NappyPub Music/Zomba Songs]

* Sexual Eruption

Calvin Broadus, S. Lovejoy & D. Stewart, songwriters (Snoop Dogg)

Track from: Ego Trippin

[Geffen; Publishers: My Own Chit Publishing/EMI Blackwood Music, Shawty Redd Songs/EMI April Music, Pimpin Tha Pen]

* Superstar

Lupe Fiasco & Soundtrakk, songwriters (Lupe Fiasco Featuring Matthew Santos)

Track from: The Cool

[1st & 15th/Atlantic; Publishers: Hey Lu Chill Music (Heavy As Heaven/Universal Music), 1st & 15th Publishing (Mr. Lopez Music/Universal Music Publishing)]

* Swagga Like Us

Jeff Bhaskev, D. Carter, S. Carter, Clifford Harris, Plain Pat & Kanye West, songwriters (M. Arulpragasam, N. Headon, M. Jones, J. Mellor, T. Pentz & P. Simonon, songwriters) (Jay-Z & T.I. Featuring Kanye West & Lil Wayne)

[Roc-A-Fella/Grand Hustle/Atlantic; Publishers: Crown Club Pub./Warner-Tamerlane/Please Gimme My Publishing/EMI Blackwood/Carter Boys Music/EMI April/Young Money Pub./Warner-Tamerlane/Hollertronix/Domino Publishing/Universal Z Tunes/Univ. Polygram Int'l]

Category 35

Best Rap Album

(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

* American Gangster



* Tha Carter III

Lil Wayne

[Cash Money/Universal Motown]

* The Cool

Lupe Fiasco

[1st & 15th/Atlantic]

* Nas


[Def Jam]

* Paper Trail


[Grand Hustle/Atlantic]

Interesting how M.I.A. got listed on the Grammy nomination for "Swagga Like Us" in the Best Rap Song category, but not in the Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group category ...

Oh, well, the Grammy Awards are Sunday night, February 8, 2009 @ 8 p.m. on CBS. Let's watch together hip hoppers. kfox.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's New, It's P.O.S., It's "Never Better"

"Never Better" is the first project from P.O.S. since 2006's "Audition". I am a huge fan of "Audition" so I was anxious to hear something new from P.O.S.

His punchy/angry delivery is still ever present. He viciously attacks his lyrics. The punk rock edge from previous albums ... it's there. And you know what? I like the punk edge. I like my beats and one some tracks there are beats and on others there is other instrumentation to work around. But the punk edge, yeah, I can do that. The only track where the punk rock influence was not my most enjoyable was "Drum Roll". But I think I'll give it another listen.

On "Goodbye", there's a catchy hook and it's just a likable track. Kind of a motivating too. Another track that stood out for me was "The Basics". It reminded me of "Half-Cocked Concepts" and "Stand Up" from "Audition". It has a crazy humming chorus and heavy drums.

There are 15 tracks on this one ... and worth the three year wait ... I'd say so.

I'd also bet that P.O.S. will be performing at Soundset '09 - a huge outdoor hip hop festival. Of course he'll be there - it's in his home town of Minneapolis, oh, and it's hosted by Rhymesayers. Mark you calendars for Memorial Day Weekend. But if you can't wait that long, then you won't have to as P.O.S. is set to tour starting at the beginning of February. Catch him at Skully's Music Diner in Columbus or The Grog Shop in Cleveland.
P.O.S.'s "Never Better" is just that, but you'll never know hip hoppers if you don't check it out. kfox.

NOTE: Thanks to the folks at Spectre for letting me get a peak at this before the release date.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lady Sovereign "Jig-Raw!"

Lady Sovereign's next cd is "Jigsaw" and it has an April release date. The first single "I Got You Dancing" is already out there.

Since her first release, "Public Warning" heralded "Love Me or Hate Me", "Random" and other tracks, I think that there is some build up for this Lady Sov project.

I've had the pleasure of listening to "Jig-Raw" - a mashup of Lady Sov material by Jack Beats.

It's pretty cool. I don't know that I can hear much growth in her as an emcee and her style pretty much remains the same. I can dig that. It's a damn if you do and damn if you don't kind of thing. If she changes or adapts her style, people get critical and the same if she doesn't change a thing. What's a girl to do? I'm hoping down the road that she does go in a different direction or she will be here today and gone tomorrow.

I know that I should save my comments for when the full project drops, but I think I have a pulse on this one hip hoppers. kfox.

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