Category: hip-hop

 

 

Now, throughout the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based collective Red Baarat, and as you may recall, the act, which derives its name from baraat, a wild South Asian wedding procession that often features the groom riding a horse, an enormous group of extended friends and family, singing and dancing to music led by a brass band with drummers, and what the color red symbolizes in both Indian/South Asian and Western cultures — fiery, red-blooded passion. And with the band, they view it as the passion they have towards creating and playing music, as well as the passion they inspire and elicit from fans and others, who catch them live. Led by Rochester, NY-born, Brooklyn-based bandleader, dholi, drummer and composer Sunny Jain, and featuring John Altieri (sousaphone), Ernest Stuart (trombone), Jonathon Haffner (saxophone), Sonny Singh (trumpet), Chris Eddleton (drums), Rohin Khemani (drums), and their newest member Jonathan Goldberger (guitar), the collective originally formed in 2008 — although it wasn’t until the release of their critically applauded and commercially successful sophomore effort Shruggy Ji that the band received widespread attention for a seamless and genre defying sound that draws from Indian classical music, bhangra, hip-hop, rock, pop and New Orleans brass. And as a result of Shruggy Ji‘s critical and commercial success, the collective has made appearances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festivals in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, have played sold out headlining shows at the Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Bowery Ballroom and have performed at the request of The White House, TED and the Olympic Games.

Slated for release at the end of the month through Rhyme & Reason Records, Red Baraat’s Little Shalimar and Sunny Jain co-produced Sound The People reportedly continues the band’s exploration of South Asian culture and music but while placing in within a larger context of an increasingly globalized generation, reflected by the diverse background of its individual members. Adding to the global focus, the album features guest spots from Pakistani singer and writer Ali Sethi, Das Racist’s Heems, American poet and activist Suheir Hammad and American humorist John Hodgman. “With the migration that’s happened, there is all this varied and expressive music that has erupted from the South Asian Diaspora,” says Jain. “Sound The People is a shoutout to, and celebration of this community around the world.”

Jain began writing Sound The People‘s material a few short weeks after Trump’s election victory, and as she says in press notes, “the record is a call to action against the various inequalities and injustices that we’re seeing. We desperately need citizen engagement in response to those injustices.” Earlier this month, I wrote about album single “Kala Mukhra,” which featured Ali Sethi contributing his sonorous baritone — but as Jain explains, the song is ” . . . our take on a Punjabi folk song called ‘Ghora Mukhra.’ I first heard this song a couple of years ago when Ali Sethi shared a 1950s recording with me, featuring the acclaimed ghazal singer Iqbal Bano, with a brass band. I’ve heard very few Punjabi brass band recordings featuring a vocalist and so when Red Baraat was gearing up to work on a new album, it seemed fitting to try and see what we could do with this song. The meaning of Ghora Mukhra literally means “white face.” There’s a fetishization in South Asian culture about being fair-skinned or light-skinned, something that is pressed upon women. It’s ridiculous, but this kind of nonsense is witnessed throughout the world to varying degrees. So while we loved the melody and brass band flavor of this song, we needed a different narrative. I asked Ali if he could come up with some lyrics that are more aligned with our beliefs and also reflective of the times we are living in.” And while being a propulsive and densely arranged song, the song manages to be a boldly and proudly defiant and danceable track that will remind listeners that music holds a profound and true power.

Album title track “Sound the People” which finds the acclaimed collective collaborating with Heems is a swaggering, hip-hop inflected take on their sound; but it’s also the most overt politically charged song they’ve released to date, as the song touches upon race, the connectedness of the South Asian Diaspora despite the age-old differences in religion, culture, regional or nationalistic identities and so on. The song brings up a key fact that despite the fact that the listener may be Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Afghani, Bhutanese, Muslim, Christian, Hindu and so on and so on, that in the age of Trump and other right wing nationalist/nativist movements, that they’re brown — and that unity and empathy among other people of color and other marginalized communities is the only way that to ensure survival in our dire and frightening times.  But along with that it’s an urgent call to arms that says “time to unite and fight through music, dance, art, love, humor, empathy and everything else you can throw. All hands on deck!”

“Heems and I met several years ago when he was still doing Das Racist,” Red Baraat’s Sunny Jain recalls. “When Red Baraat started working on the new album, there were various ideas I had about [the] South Asian Diaspora, migration and Trump’s disconcerting victory, but it hadn’t all been tied together just yet. I shared all of this with Heems and also sent him a couple of songs I had composed specifically thinking about his flow. The band was tracking for a few days at Studio G in Brooklyn and I asked Heems to come in and lay down a rap. He turned up in the studio and did his thing and that’s when we all realized, ‘Holy crap! This is the title track!’ He pulled the whole album concept together with those words.”

The members of Red Baraat have a long-held reputation for being relentless road warriors and they’re about to embark on a lengthy world tour that will include a June 8, 2018 stop at Flushing Town Hall. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES:
6/8 – Flushing, NY – Flushing Town Hall
6/11 – Camden, NJ – Sunset Jazz Series at Wiggins Waterfront Park
6/22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Satellite

6/25 – Mill Valley, CA – Sweetwater Music Hall

6/26 – Oakland, CA – The New Parish
6/28 – Saskatoon, SK – SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
6/29 – Saskatoon, SK – SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
6/30 – Victoria, BC – TD Victoria International JazzFest | Centennial Square
7/1 – Vancouver, BC – TD Victoria International JazzFest | David Lam – Park Main Stage
7/25 – Reno, NV – Artown
7/27 – Denver, CO – Clyfford Still Museum Summer Series

7/28 – Basalt, CO – The Temporary
8/11 – Greensboro, NC – Lebauer Park
8/13 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
8/16 – Madison, WI – The Central Park Sessions
8/17 – Detroit, MI – The Cube at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center

Comprised of Jace ECAj (emcee) and Felicia Loud (vocals), the Seattle, WA-based duo Black Stax are set to release the first album of a live recording series ILL-US-TRAIT, and the album’s first single is a forward looking and crowd-pleasing live version of “Unexpected Shots” that features producer and DJ Shingi creating a a psychedelic, swirling palette centered around a shimmering sitar sample, while ECAj spits some impressive bars with complex rhyme schemes and Loud contributes a soulful hook; the second half of song features a mischievous call and response section with the duo interacting with the crowd as they move from the song’s hook to the chorus. Interestingly, much like Shabazz Palaces, Clipping, TheeSatisfaction, Chimurenga Renaissance and others, the up-and-coming Seattle-based duo are part of a growing collection of artists, who have actively been pushing hip-hop in new directions sonically and creatively.

New Video: Evidence and Strong Arm Steady’s Krondon Team Up to Wander Around a Desolate Los Angeles in Visuals for Nottz-Produced “Bad Publicity”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based emcee and producer Evidence, and as you may recall, he’s best known as a member of the renowned hip-hop act Dilated Peoples with whom he has released four full-length albums — and as a producer, the emcee and producer born Michael Taylor Perretta has worked with Beastie Boys, Linkin Park, Swollen Members, Defari, Planet Asia and has a co-production credit on Kanye West’s Grammy-winning, full-length debut The College Dropout.

Perretta’s 2007 full-length full-length debut The Weatherman was released by ABB Records, the long-time label home of Dilated Peoples and featured tracks produced by Perretta,  The Alchemist, Sid Roams (the production team of Joey Chavez and Tavish “Bravo” Graham), Jake One, DJ Babu, and DJ Khalil, as well as collaborations with the Dilated Peoples crew. By 2009 Evidence signed with Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hip label Rhymesayers Entertainment, who released his 2011 sophomore effort Cats & Dogs, an album that wound up being among his most commercially successful as it landed at #64 on the Billboard 200. Perretta’s fourth album Weather or Not was released earlier this year, and the album is the first catch of new material from the Los Angeles-based emcee and producer since the 2014’s The Alchemist-produced Lord Steppington.

Weather or Not’s third single, the  DJ Premier-produced “10,000 Hours” was centered around a  swaggering and strutting West Coast hip-hop meets menacing, old school, boom bap, old school East Coast hip-hop production paired with one of contemporary hip-hop’s criminally unheralded emcees, rhyming about the time he has spent practicing, developing and honing his skills to become one of the very best — or in other words talent ain’t shit, if you don’t work very hard at it. The album’s fourth single “Powder Cocaine” continued Evidence’s ongoing collaboration with The Alchemist, who contributed an atmospheric yet soulful production consisting of boom bap beats, warm blasts of bluesy guitar, a chopped up choral vocal sample and a soaring hook and the production managed to be roomy enough to allow Evidence and Slug to trade bars full of diverse metaphors and descriptive symbolism.

The album’s fifth and latest single, the Nottz-produced “Bad Publicity” much in the vein of its predecessors as it’s golden era hip-hop inspired, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap hip-hop, complete with some dexterous scratching — and the production manages to be roomy enough for Evidence and Strong Arm Steady’s gravelly-voiced Krondon to spit fiery, braggadocio-filled bars. Directed by Todd Angkauswan, the recently released video for “Bad Publicity” is shot in an deserted, almost post apocalyptic Los Angeles, featuring the city’s most prominent locations.

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Currently comprised of Gilbert Elorreaga, Mark Gonzales, Greg Gonzalez, Josh Levy, Sweet Lou, Beto Martinez, Adrian Quesada, John Speice and Alex Marrero, the Austin, TX-based act Brownout was formed ten years as a side project featuring members of the Grammy Award-winning Latin funk act Grupo Fantasma, but interestingly enough, the project has evolved into its own as a unique effort, separate from the members’ primary gigs. Over the past few years, the act has garnered critical praise — they won their third Austin Music Award last year, while composing and arranging work that’s unflinchingly progressive while evoking the influences of WAR, Cymande and Funkadelic. Unsurprisingly, the members of Brownout have been a highly-sought after backing band,  who have collaborated with GZA, Prince, Daniel Johnston and Bernie Worrell, and adding to a growing profile, they’ve made appearances across the major festival circuit, including Bonnaroo, High Sierra Music Festival, Pickathon, Bear Creek Musical Festival, Utopia Festival, Pachanga Fest, and others.

Throughout the course of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Austin-based act, and as you may know, the band has released five full-length albums: 2008’s Homenaje, 2009’s Aguilas and Cobras, 2012’s Oozy, 2015’s Brownout Presents: Brown Sabbath and 2016’s Brownout Presents: Brown Sabbath, Vol. II — with their last two albums Latin funk interpretations and re-imaginings of the legendary work of Black Sabbath. Of course, during their run together, Brownout has released a handful of EPs, including 2017’s critically applauded Over the Covers, their first batch of original material in some time.

As a child of the 80s, hip-hop was a nothing short of a revelation to me and countless others. Every day after school, I practically ran home to catch Yo! MTV Raps with Ed Lover and Dr. Dre and BET’s Rap City and during the weekends I’d catch Yo! MTV Raps with the legendary Fab 5 Freddy  — all to catch Run DMC, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Biz Markie, Das EFX, A Tribe Called Quest, X Clan and Public Enemy among an incredibly lengthy list. (Admittedly, I didn’t watch Rap City as much. Even as a kid, I hated their host and I found their overall production values to be incredible cheap. Plus, I really loathed how they almost always managed to either cut to a commercial or the end credits during the middle of a fucking song — and it was always during your favorite jam. Always.) 28 years ago, Public Enemy released their seminal album Fear of a Black Planet, and unsurprisingly, the album wound up profoundly influencing the future founding members of Grupo Fantasma/Brownout. The band’s Greg Gonzalez (bass) remembers how a kid back in junior high school hipped him to the fact that Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” was built on James Brown samples. As a teenager, Beto Martinez (guitar) speaks fondly of alternating between hip-hop and metal tapes on his walkman (much like me). And Adrian Quesada remembers falling in love with Public Enemy and their sound at an early age. “When I got into hip-hop, I was looking for this aggressive outlet . . .,” Quesada says in press notes, “and I didn’t even understand what they were pissed off about, because I was twelve and lived in Laredo . . . but I loved it, and I felt angry along with them.”

So as true children of the 80s and 90s, the members of Brownout, with the influence and encouragement of Fat Beats‘ Records Joseph Abajian have tackled Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet — with their own unique take on the legendary material and sound. And although they were eager to get back to work on new, original material, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pay homage to one of their favorite acts. As Abajian says in press notes “I thought their sound would work covering Public Enemy songs.” He adds “it was good to know they were P.E. fans . .  We came up with a track listing and they went to work.”

Understandably, translating sample-based music to a live band turned out to be more challenging than everyone anticipated. Quesada tried to get into the heads of the legendary production team the Bomb Squad in order to reinterpret Public Enemy’s work. “Imagine the Bomb Squad going back in time and getting the J.B.’s in the studio and setting up a couple analog synths and then playing those songs.” And while some songs closely hew to the original, other songs use the breakbeats as a jumping-off point for Mark “Speedy” Gonzales’ horn arrangements, synth work by Peter Stopchinski and DJ Trackstar‘s turntablism. “Our approach is never in the tribute sense,” Adrian Quesada explains. “We’ve always taken it and made it our own, whether it’s the Brown Sabbath thing or this Public Enemy thing.”

Fear of a Brown Planet comes on the heels of several Brown Sabbath tours, and while being an incredibly tight and funky band, the members of the band are incredibly psyched to bring revolutionary music to the people, especially in light of both the current   social climate and that they’re not particularly known for having an overt political agenda. “If there’s any way that we can use the already political and protest nature [of P.E.’s music], we would like to try,” Beto says. “The album’s title, Fear of Brown Planet is definitely a relevant idea today and we’re not afraid to put it out there, because we want to speak out.”

Fear of a Brown Planet‘s first single is Brownout’s take on “Fight the Power,” and while retaining the breakbeats that you’ll remember fondly, their instrumental take is a funky JB’s meets Booker T-like jam, centered around an incredible horn line, bursts of analog synth and sinuous guitar line. As a result, Brownout’s take is warmly familiar but without being a carbon copy; in fact, they manage to breathe a much different life into the song without erasing its revolutionary sound or its righteous fury. Check out how it compares to the original below.

New Video: MF Doom and Czarface Release a Wildly Experimental Yet Accessible Single Paired with Cartoon Animated Visuals

Daniel Dumile is a British-born, Long Island, NY-based emcee and producer, who has  gone through a number of stage names and personas throughout his lengthy and wildly influential recording career, which began back in 1988 when as Zev Love X, he founded KMD with his younger brother DJ Subroc and Rodan, who was later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid. A&R rep Dante Ross learned of KMD through the members of 3rd Bass and signed the group to Elektra Records. Now, if you were a child of the 80s and a voracious music listener as I was (and still am), you’d remember that KMD’s debut was with a guest spot on 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face.” Their 1991 full-length Mr. Hood was a minor hit as a result of the success of “Peachfuzz” and “Who Me,” which received regular rotation on Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City. 

Slated for a 1993 release, KMD’s sophomore album Black Bastards was reportedly shelved because of its controversial cover art, which featured a cartoon of a stereotypical pickaninny or Sambo character being hanged from the gallows and because of its lyrical content and themes. Tragically, before the album was completed, Dumile’s brother DJ Subroc was struck and killed while attempting to cross the Nassau Expressway, and within that same week, KMD was subsequently dropped from Elektra Records. Reeling from grief and bitterness, Dumile became a recluse, retreating from music and performing between 1994 and 1997 before emerging as MF Doom, a masked character he created and patterned after the Marvel Comics super-villain Doctor Doom, as a way to seek revenge “against the industry that so badly deformed him,” he has famously claimed.

Around the same time, Black Bastards had become bootlegged, building a sense of intrigue and buzz around Dumile in underground hip hop circles. Since then, he has developed a reputation for an imitable flow, full of surrealistic abstractions, centered around comic book violence, an obsession with all things pop culture and wry observations, as well as a highly sought after collaborator and producer, who has worked with Madlib in Madvillain, Danger Mouse in Danger Doom, Ghostface Killah in Doomstarks, Jneiro Jarel in JJ Doom and Bishop Nehru in NehruvianDoom among others.

Speaking of collaborative  projects renowned underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck are the members of hip-hop supergroup Czarface, a character the trio created that’s also patterned after comic book villains that represented aspects of each individual members. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when the trio toured together, which lead to “Speaking Real Words” off 7L & Esoteric’s 2001 album, The Soul Purpose and “12th Chamber” off their 2010 album, 1212, and a number of other singles. And since the group’s formation back in 2013, they’ve released three critically applauded albums — their 2013 self-titled debut, 2015’s Every Hero Needs a Villain and 2016’s A Fistful of Peril.

You’re probably thinking — well, that’s nice and all, but why are you getting into all of this? Simple: MF Doom and Czarface have teamed up on what I think may arguably be one of hip-hop’s most highly-desired collaborative effort Czarface Meets Metal Face. Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the album’s second single “Bomb Thrown,” a perfect example of what to expect from the album: the members of Czarface spitting much more straightforward and explosive gangster shit verses — and they alternate with of the genre’s most admired wordsmiths and technicians, as he fires off surrealistic abstractions and non-sequiturs, pop cultural references, insane punch lines and wildly complicated inner and outer rhyme schemes over a soulful production featuring a chopped up chorus, twinkling keys, looped Spaghetti Western-like guitars  and tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats. And what makes the collaboration work, is that it’s an effortless meeting of the minds, in which each one challenges and pushes the other in a track full of witty, pop culture references, ridiculous, cartoonish violence, insane word play and rhyme schemes with each artist throwing haymakers at their competition.  Unsurprisingly, Czarface Meets Metal Face’s latest single “Meddle with Metal” continues in a similar vein with the super team rhyming over a menacing production centered around a looped sample consisting of buzzing arena-like power chords and arpeggiated organ reminiscent of Jay Z sampling The Doors “Five to One” with thumping beats — but adding a weird sense of whimsy is ethereally twinkling synths in a track that manages to be completely out of left field in its mind-bending experimentalism with a radio friendly accessibility. 

Directed by James Reitano for TFU Studios and animated by Boris Zhitomirsky, Brett Johnson and Kyle Greener, the recently released visuals for “Meddle with Metal” continues with the cartoon and comic book obsessed vibe and tone of its predecessor as it has Czarface flying in to save his captured partner DOOM, and once united they battle some baddies near old ruins. As a child of the 80s, the video reminds me of countless afternoons and evenings watching GI Joe and The A-Team.

New Video: Dr. Octagon’s Surrealistic Take on Kung Fu

Known as a co-founder of renowned and legendary hip-hop act Ultramagnetic MCs and for a lengthy and uncompromising solo career in which he has taken up a number of aliases and personas, while collaborating with an array of emcees and producers, Kool Keith is arguably one of hip-hop’s most idiosyncratic and eccentric personalities and artists — and throughout his incredibly prolific recording career, he has continually perfected and expanded upon his inimitable flow, full of surreal and fantastical tangents, grimly violent and nightmarish imagery, sexual and pop cultural references while effortlessly and frequently switching perspectives, moods and points of view within the same song.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you know that I’ve written quite a bit about Kool Keith and his various solo releases, reissues and collaborations but interestingly, the imitable emcee along with collaborators Dan The Automator and DJ Qbert have teamed to revive his alter ego Dr. Octagon 20+ years after the critically applauded, revolutionary debut effort  Dr. Octagonecologyst. “Octagon Octagon,” the first single from the trio’s long-awaited Dr. Octagonecologyst follow up, Moosebumps: an exploration into modern day horripilation is a bit of a return to form for the trio — but possessing a frenzied urgency that could only come from marathon 24-hour recording sessions at Dan The Automator’s studio. Kool Keith reprises his lecherous and hopelessly incorrigible Dr. Octagon, who has insane sexual exploits, performs even odder surgeries but with an impossible, outlandish surrealism that’s at points absolutely hilarious, flat out weird and other times horrifying, sometimes within the turn of a phrase; in fact, Moosebumps: an exploration into modern day horripilation’s first single “Octagon Octagon” was wryly intelligent and absurdly satirical commentary on capitalism, branding, advertising and free, as Kool Keith rhymes about Dr. Octagon being shamelessly opportunistic and greedy, putting his name on rice and beens, gasoline, tampons and anything else that would pay him over a minimalist yet menacing production, which emphasizes the Kool Keith’s imitable, almost Dada-esque flow.

“Flying Waterbed,” Moosebumps’ latest single features a slow-burning, production that’s oddly reminiscent of Scott Walker’s Scott Walker 3 as it features soaring strings, a sinuous bass line, a looped and shimmering guitar line, a mournful yet regal horn line and stuttering drums, and as a result it possesses a hallucinogenic, dream-like air. Throughout Kool Keith rhymes in absurdist non-sequiturs to create punchlines with surreal imagery — “busted kneecaps like Kobe,” “nasal so big I can fly aircraft up your nose,” references to space ships, “I’m a Martian with a Stephen Curry face” “tube socks, looking like Dr. J.” It’s drugged out as fuck, yet strangely mournful and sexy — and perhaps even more so with Interpol’s Paul Banks singing the hook.

Directed by Joel Knoernschild, the recently released video for “Flying Waterbed” is centered around the imagery of old Kung Fu movies; in fact, it features Roy Chen performing Kung Fu with a tea kettle, much to the annoyance of two unimpressed customers and in several gorgeous yet urban setups.

New Video: The Vivid and Surreal Visuals for Del the Funky Homosapien’s and Amp Live’s Swaggering and Mind-bending Collaboration

Born Teren Delvon Jones, Del the Funky Homosapien is an acclaimed Bay Area-born and -based emcee and producer, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he wrote lyrics for his cousin Ice Cube‘s group Da Lench Mob, which initially included the legendary West Coast emcee, filmmaker, screenwriter and movie star before they broke off into a distinct group of its own.

With the assistance of his cousin Ice Cube, Del released his 1991 solo debut album I Wish My Brother George Was Here, an album that was a commercial successful largely due to the popularity of album single “Mistadobalina.” Del wasn’t pleased with the limited musical range of the album and severed his production-artist relationship with Ice Cube for his sophomore album No Need for Alarm, an album that introduced the Oakland hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics, which featured Souls of Mischief, Casual, Pep Love, Del and producer Domino while bringing the Oakland sound to a larger audience. Interestingly, the album is also considered instrumental for expanding what would become the freestyle-based golden era of hip-hop.

Although Del didn’t produce another solo album for about five years, he collaborated on the Hieroglyphics crew’s 1998 debut 3rd Eye Vision; however, by the time he was about to release his third solo album Future Development, his label Elektra Recordsterminated his contract. Initially, the album was only available as a cassette through the Hieroglyphics website before being re-releassd through the Hieroglyphics Imperium label in 2002; but before that, he collaborated with Dan the Automator and Kid Koalain hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 and their critically applauded, 2000 self-titled debut and along with his Deltron 3030 collaborators on two singles on Gorillaz‘s eponymous, smash hit 2001 self-titled debut — “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock the House.” He followed that up with his fourth solo album Both Sides of the Brain, and Hieroglyphics 2003 sophomore effort Full Circle. 

Since then Del has managed to be incredibly prolific releasing albums both through tradition labels, as free downloads and with pay-as-you-wish efforts with specific incentives for those who pay certain prices for the album, including a chance to collaborate with Del in the studio and so on.

Amp Live is a Texas-born, California-based producer and DJ, who is known as one of half to the hip-hop duo Zion I, and for critically applauded remixes of material by Radiohead, Tokyo Police Club and Jamie Lidell. And as a solo artist, he’s released two albums and an EP — 2010’s Murder at the Discotech, 2014’s Headphone Concerto and 2017’s Atmosphere EP and 2011’s Therapy at 3, a collaborative effort with Eligh.

Interestingly, Del and Amp Live will be teaming up on the forthcoming album Gate 13, an album that sonically draws from and mixes hip-hop, funk and electronica while finding two of hip-hop’s most inventive artists collaborating with Goapele, Eligh, Simi, Zyme, Adult Karate, Mr. Micro and James Melo, essentially creating a “portal into something progressive, futuristic, and fun,” as the duo says in press notes. Interestingly, the album finds the renowned emcee evolving his imitable style, as he studied both comedy and battle rap, with Del making a concerted effort towards conciseness. “I told Amp about it, and he kind of showed me what his interpretation of what that would be,” Del says in press notes. “When I heard it, I thought it was tight. I didn’t even know he was going to do it.” Amp Live adds “Del has been talking about doing more straightforward, aggressive writing. Everything that I was messing with kind of had the same theme,” the producer says of the album’s tracks. “Even when I flipped them after, I tried to stay true to the original feeling.”
“Wheel of Fortune,” Gate 13‘s first single begins with a thumping, boom-bap beats and arpeggiated synths and Del’s imitable flow, complete with some of the most ridiculous word play, complex rhyme schemes and insanely funny punch lines you’ll hear in some time, as he throws massive haymakers at any and all who dare to battle him. About halfway through the track Amp Live drops a dub reggae break, which he follows with a manic tempo — and throughout Del effortlessly and dexterously handles it in a free flowing, almost mischievous fashion. Dope emcees being challenged by dope producers is what all hip-hop should aspire to, no matter what the era.

Shot and edited by Spencer Groshong at Ineffable Music Group, the video employs neon bright visuals and the sort of special effects reminiscent of a wildly psychedelic Sesame Street and 3,2,1 Contact.

New Video: MF Doom and Czarface Team Up on Highly-Anticipated Cartoon and Insane Rhyme-Fueled Collaboration

Daniel Dumile is a British-born, Long Island, NY-based emcee and producer, who has  gone through a number of stage names and personas throughout his lengthy and wildly influential recording career, which began back in 1988 when as Zev Love X, he founded KMD with his younger brother DJ Subroc and Rodan, who was later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid. A&R rep Dante Ross learned of KMD through the members of 3rd Bassand signed the group to Elektra Records. Now, if you were a child of the 80s and a voracious music listener as I was (and still am), you’d remember that KMD’s debut was with a guest spot on 3rd Bass’ “The Gas Face.” Their 1991 full-length Mr. Hood was a minor hit as a result of the success of “Peachfuzz” and “Who Me,” which received regular rotation on Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City.

Slated for a 1993 release, KMD’s sophomore album Black Bastards was shelved because of its controversial cover art, which featured a cartoon of a stereotypical pickaninny or Sambo character being hanged from the gallows and its lyrical content and themes. Before the album was completed, Dumile’s brother DJ Subroc was struck and killed while attempting to cross the Nassau Expressway. KMD was subsequently dropped from Elektra Records that same week. Understandably, Dumile became a recluse, retreating from hip-hop between 1994 and 1997 before emerging as MF Doom, a masked character he created and patterned after the Marvel Comics super-villain Doctor Doom, as a way to seek revenge “against the industry that so badly deformed him,” he has famously claimed.

Around the same time, Black Bastards had become bootlegged, building both a sense of intrigue and buzz around Dumile. Since then, he has developed a reputation for an imitable flow, full of surrealistic abstractions, centered around comic book violence, an obsession with all things pop culture and wry observations, as well as a highly sought after collaborator and producer, who has worked with Madlib in Madvillain, Danger Mouse in Danger Doom, Ghostface Killah in Doomstarks, Jneiro Jarel in JJ Doom and Bishop Nehru in NehruvianDoom among others.

Speaking of collaborative  projects renowned underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck are the members of hip-hop supergroup Czarface, a character the trio created that’s also patterned after comic book villains that represented aspects of each indivudla members. Interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when the trio toured together, which lead to “Speaking Real Words” off 7L & Esoteric’s 2001 album, The Soul Purpose and “12th Chamber” off their 2010 album, 1212, and a number of other singles. And since the group’s formation back in 2013, they’ve released three critically applauded albums — their 2013 self-titled debut, 2015’s Every Hero Needs a Villain and 2016’s A Fistful of Peril.

MF Doom and Czarface team up on what may arguably be one of hip-hop’s most anticipated and highly-desired collaborative efforts, Czarface Meets Metal Face, which is slated for release next week. The album’s second and latest single “Bomb Thrown” is a perfect example of what you should expect from the album — the members of Czarface more straightforward and explosive rhyming trading verses with the surrealistic abstractions and wild inner and outer rhyme schemes of one of hip-hop’s technical geniuses over a soulful production featuring a chopped up chorus, twinkling keys, looped Spaghetti Western-like guitars  and tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats. And what makes the collaboration work, is that it’s an effortless meeting of the minds, in which each one challenges and pushes the other in a track full of witty, pop culture references, ridiculous, cartoonish violence, insane word play and rhyme schemes with each artist throwing haymakers at their competition. This is what listening to and watching old masters is like, and all those young cats need to sit back and learn.

Based on a concept by Esoteric and Kendra Morris, and directed by Kendra Morris, the recently released video employs the use of paper collage, classic cel animation and stop-action animation, as two young kids, begin reading a Czarface/Metal Face crossover comic book, and get thrown into the world of the comic book they were reading. Much like the artists behind the song, the video is wildly inventive and incredibly funny.