JOVM belatedly celebrates what would have been Jam Master Jay’s 56th birthday.
JOVM celebrates LL Cool J’s 53rd birthday — belatedly.
DMV area hip-duo artist and production duo Kev Brown & J Scienide recently released their sophomore effort together Stray From the Pack — and the album is an organic effort that celebrates — and harkens back to — many of hip-hop’s classic collaborative albums, while boldly pushing the genre’s sound and approach forward. “Stray From The Pack, to me, is the perfect title. Like a pack of wolves running together in stride. Sometimes you have to be those lone wolves and go in your own direction,” J. Scienide says of the album’s title.
Sonically, the album finds the duo’s production deftly coloring outside the lines of boom-bap as they pair off-kilter syncopated beats and left-field samples with clever wordplay and straight-talk about their place in hip-hop. The album’s latest single “Out the Safari” is centered around a lush, forward-thinking production featuring neck snapping, hard-hitting beats, and a twinkling McCoy Tyner-like piano sample. The duo spit some dexterous bars full of bravado, braggadocio and mischievous wit.
The duo linked up last fall to shoot the remarkably stylish visual for “Out the Safari” — and visually, it seems to nod at film noir while following the duo walking around a suburban town while spitting rhymes.
Born Allah is a grizzled veteran of Los Angeles’ hip-hop scene. The Los Angeles-based emcee had been quietly enjoying retirement, when German-born producer Zpu-Zilla contacted Born Allah and sent him the beat for “Dedication.” The “Dedication” beat inspired the Los Angeles-based emcee to rethink his retirement — and ultimately, the end result wound up being Born Allah’s latest EP Analog Baby. “After we talked about it, I sent a stack of beats and Born was hyped,” Zpu-Zilla recalls. “I’m so glad I could take him out of retirement for this project, and I hope it was worth it.”
Analog Baby not only reflects the talents and passion of the Los Angeles hip-hop vet, but it lovingly captures the era of hip-hop that Born Allah comes from. “I recorded on four-track recorders, reel to reel, and analog gear,” Born Allah says. “I wanted to tap into that energy, feeling and love I had for rapping when utilizing that equipment.” “This is me having fun spitting again,” Born Allah continues, “I’m an analog baby in a digital world.”
The EP’s latest single, opening track “Dedication” is a golden era-inspired banger centered around tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap, a soulful gospel choir sample, thumping low end and some dexterous scratching from DJ Nu-Mark. Throughout the track, Born Allah spits some witty, grown-ass folks lyrics that mesh swaggering braggadocio and hilarious, self-deprecating and self-loathing: the track essentially finds the Los Angeles hip-hop vet saying “yeah, I made be a cantankerous old head, who talks too much about the ‘good ol’ days’ but my old ass can teach you a thing or two!” (Personally, there’s something about this track that I can really associate with. As I inch further into my 40s within an industry that seemingly values youth at all costs, I’ve kind of felt the same!)
Directed by GuapCityProductions, the recently released video was shot in Downtown Los Angeles — and it captures the bravado and swagger of the song by following Born Allah as he cruises through town and hangs out with his crew. And while the crew does feature some young bloods, they seem to pay the old timers one and respect — in a way that seems all too uncommon.
YNG Nine is an emerging Haitian-French emcee, who can trace some of the origins of his music career to when he was in elementary school. Since then, the emerging Haitian-French emcee has committed himself to honing and perfecting his craft — while conveying a multitude of emotions to his listeners. Throughout his growing catalog, his work has featured songs meant to turn the fuck up to, songs meant to make you feel melancholy and others meant to make you feel energetic. And as a result, his work stylistically runs the gamut — with the French emcee bouncing between screamo, melodic and rhythmic flows. But importantly, his work comes from his own lived-in experiences.
Recently, YNG Nine has had tracks receive airplay on independent college radio stations across Canada and here in the States. Building upon a growing profile, the French-Haitian emcee closed out last year with “Observations.” Clocking in at a brisk 80 seconds, “Observations” is centered around skittering trap beats, wobbling and rubbery synths and YNG Nine’s dexterous and melodic flow, describing his hungry, take-no-prisoners mindset on taking over the game. Simply put, the track is a hook-driven, radio friendly banger.
JOVM celebrates Grandmaster Flash’s 63rd birthday.
JOVM’s annual tradition: DMX performing the Christmas classic
“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
JOVM’s annual tradition: Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.”