Category: hip-hop

Throwback: Happy Belated Birthday, Chuck D!

JOVM belatedly celebrates Chuck D’s 61st birthday.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Genesis Owusu Returns with a Pulsating and Uneasy Banger

2017’s debut EP Cardrive found Ghanian-born, Canberra, Australia-based, 20-something artist Genesis Owusu — born Kofi Owusu-Anash — quickly establishing himself as a perpetually restless genre-blurring chameleon with an ability to conjure powerful and deeply personal storytelling in diverse forms. Cardive EP eventually garnered an ARIA Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Release and praise from Sir Elton John (!), NME, i-D, mixmag and others. Adding to a growing profile across Australia, Owusu has opened for Dead Prez, Col3trane, Sampa The Great, Cosmo’s Midnight, Noname, Animé, Ruel and others. 

Last year, the rising Ghanian-born, Aussie-based artist released a handful of highly-celebrated singles including the fiery mosh-pit friendly banger “Whip Cracker” and the ARIA Award-nominated smash hit “Don’t Need You,” which quickly became the #1 most played song on triple J radio — and since then has received airplay in the UK on both BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 and here in the States on KCRW, KUTX, The Current and Alt98. Those singles prominently appear on Owusu-Anash’s critically applauded full-length debut Smiling With No Teeth.

Smiling With No Teeth is performing what the world wants to see, even if you don’t have the capacity to do so honestly,” Owusu explains in press notes. “Slathering honey on your demons to make them palatable to people who only want to know if you’re okay, if the answer is yes. That’s the idea, turned into beautiful, youthful, ugly, timeless and strange music.” Each of the album’s 15 tracks can trace their origins back to studio jam sessions with a backing band that features Kirin J. Callinan, Touch Sensitive’s Michael DiFrancesco, World Champion‘s Julian Sudek and the album’s producer Andrew Klippel. 

ver the course of the past six months, I’ve written about three of Smiling With No Teeth’s singles:

“The Other Black Dog,” a mind-bending production that meshed alternative hip-hop, industrial clang, clatter, rattle and stomp, off-kilter stuttering beats and wobbling synth arpeggios that was roomy enough for Owusu-Anash’s breathless, rapid-fire and dense flow. Managing to balance club friendliness with sweaty, mosh pit energy, the song is a full-throttled nosedive into madness that reminds me of the drug and booze fueled chaos of ODB, and the menace of DMX.
“Gold Chains,” a brooding yet seamless synthesis of old school soul, G Funk and Massive Attack-like trip hop centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths, stuttering boom bap beats, squiggling blasts of guitar and the rising Ghanian-born, Canberra-based artist’s Mos Def/Yasiin Bey-like delivery, alternating between spitting dense and dexterous bars and crooning with an achingly tender falsetto. “‘Gold Chains’ got me thinking about the flaws of being in a profession where, more and more, you have to be the product, rather than just the provider of the product, and public misconceptions about how luxurious that is,” Owusu-Anash explains in press notes. “Lyrically, it set the tone for the rest of the album.” 
“Same Thing,” a jolting and uneasy future funk banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering beats, bursts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a propulsive bass line and infectious hook serving as a silky bed for Owusu’s alternating dexterous and densely worded bars and soulful crooning. But at its core is an unflinchingly honest — and necessary — view of mental health struggles.

that take the already established world-building groundwork of the album, and expand that universe into new and unexplored places. These are all tracks that I felt were special in their own right and needed to be shared. This is music without boundaries.”

house, hip-hop and future soul centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, synth arpeggios. industrial clang and clatter paired with Owusu-Anash’s silky falsetto. The track conveys a restless and uneasy energy while being a pure banger.

Directed by directing duo VERSUS (Jason Sukadana and Tanya Babic), the recently released video or “The Fall” was shot in Australia’s Phoenix Central Park, an innovative space for collaboration and live exchange. Throughout the entire video, we see Owusu-Anash bound, restricted or hemmed in. At points we see him desperately attempting to escape and at others, he accepts it. But you can’t help but observe the rising Aussie’s larger-than-life energy and intensity. “There was a real sense of symbiosis on this project, when we first met with Kofi our ideas for the film meshed perfectly with the themes in a track he had just recorded,” VERSUS co-director, Jason Sukadana says. “When Kofi is in the room, you know you are in the presence of greatness. He’s truly one in a billion. His immense talent and groundbreaking vision will resound for generations,” co-director Tanya Babic adds.

New Video: Paris’ Ligne Quatre Releases a Feverish and Nightmarish Visual for Woozy “A Trois”

Deriving their name from one of the busiest lines of the Paris subway system, Ligne Quartre, which starts in the Porte de Clignancourt section towards the north, passes through the the heart of the city and ends in the Mairie de Montrouge section, just outside its limits, the rising Paris-based hip-hop collective — Dr. Lulu, Pif Au Mic, Koco and Exil — are inspired by  Nepal, Sopico, NTM, Saian Supa Crew, Pablo Servigne and the films of Wong Kar-wai and Jim Jarmusch. Interestingly, the individual members of the French hip-hop collective can trace both the origins of their careers and the collective to over a decade ago: Koco and Dr. Lulu started rapping about a decade ago in Rouen while Pic Auc and Exil started rapping in Brittany.

Bonding over their mutual inspirations, the act eventually moved in together, living in an 18th century home, off the Chateau Rouge stop of Ligne Quatre. Last year, the collective released their debut EP Arrent Demande, which featured, the Jurassic 5-like “Trop de Temps.” Thematically, the EP touched upon lost loves, failure, global warming and a series of other concerns.

Building upon a growing profile, the act’s follow-up, sophomore six-song EP is slated for an early September release. In the meantime, the forthcoming EP’s first single “A Trois” features each of the collective’s emcees spitting effortlessly dexterous and densely worded French over an uneasy and woozy production centered around skittering, tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats, a looped, plucked guitar figure and rumbling low end paired with an enormous hook.

Directed by Le Labo — Lucas Le Roux, Elsa Milovanovic and Yann Omnés — the recently released visual for “A Trois” is a gorgeously shot yet surreal fever dream that finds Ligne Quatre’s three emcees seemingly lost in an unforgiving terrain that they all try to desperately escape, only to be trapped. Their hell is constant, infinite and renders each of them small and vulnerable.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Evidence Looks Towards an Uncertain Future in “Where We Going From Here”

Los Angeles-based emcee, producer and JOVM mainstay Evidence — born Micheal Taylor Perretta — has established himself as one of hip-hop’s most accomplished emcees and producers: as a solo artist and as a producer, Perretta has worked with Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Defari, Planet Asia, DJ Premier, WestsideGunn, Prodigy, Rapsody, Aloe Blacc, Action Bronson, Atmosphere’s Slug, Cypress Hill and a lengthy list of others. He won a Grammy for his co-production on Kanye West’s critically applauded, breakthrough debut album The College Dropout. He also has won two Juno Awards for his production work for Canadian hip-hop act Swollen Members. But he’s arguably best known for being a member of beloved hip-hop act Dilated Peoples with Rakaa Iriscience and DJ Babu. 

Evidence has recorded and released five albums with his Dilated Peoples bandmates. And as a solo artist, the Los Angeles-based emcee and producer has released three full-length albums, including 2018’s critically and commercially successful effort Weather Or Not and an EP. He has also released an album with The Alchemistas Step Brothers. Managing to remain extraordinarily busy, Evidence released this fourth solo album Unlearning Vol. 1 the other day through his longtime label home Rhymesayers Entertainment. 

The 14 track album pairs Evidence’s own production work with the likes of The Alchemist, Nottz, Sebb Bash, Animoss, Mr. Green, V Don, Daringer, Khrysis, and QThree [EARDRUM] showcasing the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay’s ability to collaborate with a wide and eclectic array of producers while still crafting a cohesive album. Additionally, the album features a small cast of guests that includes Boldy James, Conway The Machine, Fly Anakin, Navy Blue, and Murkage Dave. Recently Evidence offered insight into the transition from Weather Or Not into the writing and recording of the material that would become Unlearning Vol 1: “I don’t feel like I’m Evidence, the character. I feel like I’m me,” he told DJ Booth, adding “I don’t mind evolving publicly.” 

During the build up to the album’s release, I wrote about two of the album’s single:

“Pardon Me” an example of grown shit hip-hop, centered around a soulful Pete Rock-like production that serves as a warm and comfortable bed for Perretta’s contemplative verses reflecting on mortality, hard-won lessons, adulthood and being a parent and artist — and how those particular roles can be contradictory and difficult to manage.
“All Of That Said” found Evidence collaboration with Boldy James. Prominently featuring a soulful and cinematic sample featuring soaring strings, buzzing guitars and chopped up vocals, the song sees the JOVM mainstay and Boldy James reminiscing on the long and hard journey to achieve what they’ve achieved both personally and professionally. And while seemingly a bit world-weary, there’s a profound wisdom within both emcees bars — the wisdom that comes from struggle, setbacks and victories small and large. Like I said before, this is adult shit coming from adult places. 

Unlearning Vol. 1’s fourth and latest single “Where We Going From Here” is centered around a dusty and woozy production featuring boom-bap beats, lurching synths. Over that uneasy sounding production, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay effortless rhymes about where he’s been while wondering what exactly is next for him. For all of us, who have suffered and lost so much, the clouds have seemed to clear a bit and we’re all wondering what’s next — both positively and negatively. May it be more positive than negative for us all.

Directed by frequent collaborator Stephen Vanasco through a hazy filer, the video follows the JOVM mainstay walking through his hometown of Venice, evoking the uneasy feel of our our moment.

New Video: Mil Beats Teams Up with Vic Spencer Willie The Kid and DJ DJAZ on a Menacing Banger

ustic instrumentation to create a warm and cinematic sound. The Paris-born, Brussels-based producer is the house producer for EFFISCIENZ Records — and he has worked with an impressive array of internationally recognized talent including Sean Price, Ghostface Killah, Twista, Roc Marciano, Denmark Vessey and a lengthy list of others: he was featured on Twista’s 2017 effort Crook County, Sean Price’s 2017 effort Imperius Rex. He ontributed a track to Denmark Vessy’s 2018 Earl Sweatshirt-produced Sun Go Nova. And adding to a growing profile, Mil Beats worked on an EP that featured Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Eto.

lated for a July 23, 2021 release, Mil Beats’ forthcoming album Brainstem Factory finds the Paris-born, Brussels-based producer collaborating with Chicago-based emcee Vic Spencer. Brainstem Factory’s latest single “Situation OG”is centered around a brooding and menacing production featuring twinkling keys, buzzing guitars paired with boom bap beats and dexterous scratching from DJ DJAZ. Interestingly, the production is roomy enough for the Chicago-based Spencer and the Grand Rapids, MI-based Willie The Kid to trade self-assured and hard-hitting bars which displays each emcee’s unique gifts.