Tag: Black Thought

New Audio: J. Period Teams Up with Dave Chappelle, Black Thought, and Tiffany Gouché on a Soulful Banger

jJ. Period is a Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based producer and DJ best known for working with the likes of Q-Tip, John Legend, Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, The Isley Brothers and Mary J. Blige on official mixtapes — and for developing an “audio-biography” style that incorporates interviews with these artists into his “Best Of” complications. He has also made original productions and remixes for film trailers for American Gangster and Street Kings. In late 2008, the Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based producer and DJ became the first DJ/producer ever commissioned by Activision to score and producer an entire video game soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Motion for Nintendo DS. And before I forget, he worked on The Hamilton Mixtape — while serving as Music Supervisor for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based producer and DJ’s debut album Story to Tell is a trail-blazing musical journey in three acts — with the first installment, Chapter One slated for an April 30, 2021 release through Truelements Music/RBC Records. Narrated by Dave Chappelle, Story To Tell (Chapter One) is a collaborative endeavor that blurs the lines between song and story; between hip-hop, R&B, jazz, reggae and salsa. Collaborating with an All-Star cast of Grammy-winning writers and musicians, Story To Tell reportedly will create a vibrant world of connections — between artists, songs, stories, genres, cultures and generations in the acclaimed production’s genre and convention defying style.

Story To Tell (Chapter One)’s first single “All In Your Head” plays with the classic audio storybook format with Dave Chapelle serving as a mischievous tour guide, explaining the set up to the proceedings, quickly followed by a slick yet soulful production centered around tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, glitchy vocal samples and shimmering Rhodes serving as a warm bed for an inspiring manifesto to overcoming self-doubt and being fearless featuring Tiffany Gouché’s silky crooning and Black Thought spitting red hot bars. Sonically speaking, “All In Your Head” effortlessly blurs the lines between neo-soul, R&B and hip-hop in a crowd-pleasing fashion.

New Video: Public Enemy Teams up with Run-DMC and Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Ad-Rock on an Animated Visual for Boom Bap Anthem

Earlier this year, the legendary Public Enemy — Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and DJ Lord — released their critically applauded 15th album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? The album which features guest spots from a who’s who list of just about everyone who’s truly dope — including Nas, YG, Rapsody, DJ Premier, Black Thought, Questlove, Cypress Hill, Run DMC, Ice-T, PMD, Daddy-O, Jahi, The Impossebulls, Mark Jenkins, the S1W’s Pop Diesel and James Bomb and Beastie Boys‘ Mike D and Ad-Rock — marks the act’s return to their longtime label home, Def Jam.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you may recall that I’ve written about two of What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?singles:

“State of the Union (STFU),” a righteous and much-needed DJ Premier-produced tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap condemnation of the Trump Administration. Naturally, the track continues their long-held reputation for boldly speaking truth to power with teh track urging the listener to get involved and fight systemic racism, injustice and oppression with their voices and through collective action — but most importantly, through their vote. So far about 1 million New Yorkers have voted in early elections, but you still have election day. If you haven’t voted or thinking about not voting because you think that your vote isn’t important, think of it this way: if i’m not mistaken, Trump won a state by less than 100,000 votes. So go out there and vote like your life depends on it — because it does.
“Fight The Power: Remix 2020.” an updated version of their seminal 1989 anthem “Fight The Power” that features inspired guest verses from Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. The original may have been released 31 years ago but it still manages to be relevant and necessary until there’s equity and equality for all.

What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?‘s latest single “Public Enemy Number Won” is a much-needed blast of tweeter and woofer rocking, old-school boom bap featuring guest verses from a Hall of Fame crew of beloved, hip-hop legends: Run DMC and The Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock and Mike D. The track should serve as a much-needed reminder that the pioneers of the music we love so much are still as relevant and as important as ever.

“The song is an homage to ‘Public Enemy No. 1 and that moment in time,” Public Enemy’s Chuck D explains in press notes. “The Beastie Boys and Run-DMC were playing it all the time and Rick Rubin kept coming at us to sign with Def Jam. So it’s my way of bringing it all back together again.”

The recently released, official video for ‘Public Enemy Number Won” features an animated version of each emcee spitting bars paired with archival concert posters, photography, footage and more as some amazing visual easter eggs.

Lyric Video: Public Enemy Teams Up with Run-DMC and Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Ad-Rock

Earlier this year, the legendary Public Enemy — Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and DJ Lord — released their critically applauded 15th album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? The album which features guest spots from a who’s who list of just about everyone who’s truly dope — including Nas, YG, Rapsody, DJ Premier, Black Thought, Questlove, Cypress Hill, Run DMC, Ice-T, PMD, Daddy-O, Jahi, The Impossebulls, Mark Jenkins, the S1W’s Pop Diesel and James Bomb and Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Ad-Rock — marks the act’s return to their longtime label home, Def Jam.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you may recall that I’ve written about two of What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? singles:

“State of the Union (STFU),” a righteous and much-needed DJ Premier-produced tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap condemnation of the Trump Administration. Naturally, the track continues their long-held reputation for boldly speaking truth to power with teh track urging the listener to get involved and fight systemic racism, injustice and oppression with their voices and through collective action — but most importantly, through their vote. So far about 1 million New Yorkers have voted in early elections, but you still have election day. If you haven’t voted or thinking about not voting because you think that your vote isn’t important, think of it this way: if i’m not mistaken, Trump won a state by less than 100,000 votes. So go out there and vote like your life depends on it — because it does.
“Fight The Power: Remix 2020.” an updated version of their seminal 1989 anthem “Fight The Power” that features inspired guest verses from Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. The original may have been released 31 years ago but it still manages to be relevant and necessary until there’s equity and equality for all.

What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?’s latest single “Public Enemy Number Won” is a much-needed blast of tweeter and woofer rocking, old-school boom bap goodness featuring guest verses from a Hall of Fame crew of legends: Run DMC and The Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock and Mike D. And for that added blast of nostalgia, the hip-hop legends released a lyric video featuring classic 80s Def Jam footage of all of the artists.

Along with the release of the video, Public Enemy announced their support of Election Super Centers’ Make History Here initiative. The non-partisan group has been working with local election authorities and more than 70 NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL and MLS arenas, stadia and teams, as well as prominent artists and athletes to inform communities that their local arena or stadium is open as a polling location, ensuring safe, socially-distanced voting.

New Video: Public Enemy Teams Up with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG, and JAHI on an Updated Rendition of “Fight the Power”

Last week Public Enemy — Chuck D., Flava Flav and DJ Lord — released a fiery DJ Premier-produced anti-Trump banger, “State of the Union (STFU),” a track that simultaneously continues the act’s long-held reputation for hard-hitting politically charged work, and their legendary frontman’s reputation for addressing and challenging Trump’s policies and rhetoric. 

Last night, the legendary hip-hop act helped kick off the 20th Annual BET Awards with an updated rendition of their seminal anthem “Fight The Power,” that features guest verses from a who’s who list of dope emcees that includes Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. 30+ years  have passed since its original release and the members of Public Enemy are middle aged but the song is still relevant, necessary and power — and will be until there’s equity and equality for all. 

The video which features each of the performers in various locations is intercut with protest footage. The clothing may have changed a little bit but the protests and the sentiment is still the same: BLACK LIVES MATTER! 

Live Footage: Royce da 5’9″ Performs “Thou Shall” and “Overcomer” on Vevo’s Ctrl

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary (and aforementioned) DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The Roots‘ Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. 2014 also saw Royce da 5’9″ team up with Eminem on the posse cut “Detroit vs. Everybody.” 

Since then, the Detroit-based emcee released 2016’s solo album Layers, 2018’s Book of Ryan, which featured another ongoing collaboration with Eminem “Caterpillar,” that year’s second PRhyme album Phyme 2 and a guest spot of Eminem’s surprise release Kamikaze. 2020 continues a recent period of incredible prolificacy with the release of his eighth album, the 22 track The Allegory, which features guest spots from Westside Gunn, YBN Cordae, Benny the Butcher, and a boatload of others. 

Vevo’s Ctrl series highlights the work of hard-hitting, cutting-edge artists making an impact in today’s music scene with a focus on both emerging and established artists. The artists Vevo’s Ctrl series features are artists that the video platform believes demand attention, and the series is a way of shining a deserving spotlight on those artists. Recently, Vevo’s Ctrl invited the acclaimed Detroit-based emcee to their Brooklyn studios to perform two tracks off the album — “Overcomer” and “Thou Shall.” “Thou Shall” is centered around an eerie, RZA-like production: stuttering beats, a sinuous bass line and a looping string sample and eerie atmospherics while Royce da 5’9″ of bold and swaggering pronouncement of being doper than anyone else out there, full of pop cultural references with Kid Vishis slamming the door on anyone who may challenge them. “Overcomer” is centered around a looped and seemingly ancient soul sample and thumping beats while Royce da 5’9″ rhymes about blessings, the wisdom he’s earned, sociopolitical observations and more.

The performances that Vevo’s Ctrl captured are swaggering, passionate within an intimate yet minimalist setting.  

Live Footage: The Midnight Hour and Black Thought Perform “Noir” at The Lodge Room

A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, a Los Angeles-based composer, arranger and producer teamed up with a 10 member ensemble, The Midnight Hour, which features vocalists Loren Oden and Angela Munoz and guitarist Jack Waterson to compose and record the score to the acclaimed Netflix series Luke Cage. Last year, the ensemble released their self-titled debut which further established their sound: jazz and orchestral-inspired hip-hop that recalls David Axelrod, Quincy Jones and Jazzmatazz-era Gang Starr. 

The act has been and will continue to be rather busy:  Linear Labs has already released Jack Waterson’s psych rock solo album Adrian Younge Presents Jack Waterson and albums from the act’s Oden and Munoz, as well as the act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album are slated to be released over the coming months.

The Midnight Hour will be embarking on an extensive fall tour across North America with  collaborative opening sets from Oden, Munoz and Waterson. The tour includes a stop tomorrow night at Brooklyn Bowl — and if you want to check out the rest of the tour dates, as well as ticket information, check out the following link:

http://www.artdontsleep.com/2019/07/20/tmhustour19/

In the meantime, Linear Labs and The Midnight Hour released live footage of the band performing “Noir” with The Roots’ Black Thought. The track originally appeared as part of Amazon Music’s Produced By series that Younge curated, produced and recorded to collectively celebrate the spectrum of Black Music — with the series appropriately being released during Black History Month. Interestingly, the live footage was filmed this past month at Los Angeles’ Lodge Room that featured collaborations with Estelle, Gallant, Georgia Anne Muldrow and a long list of others. 

Of course, the live footage will give you a great sense of what you should expect of the Brooklyn Bowl shows and onward. But just as important, it’s a reminder of a few things — if you’ve forgotten about them: 

Black Thought is fucking dope. 
All dope emcees should record an album with a live jazz or orchestral ensemble. 
When I rule the world, I’ll make sure that’s a law. 
As far as the track, it’s a gorgeous and crafted take on hip-hop that’s sophisticated and cinematic while still being gritty street shit that raises the proceedings to a transcendent, Curtis Mayfield/Issac Hayes soundtrack-level artistry. In an age where a lot of hip-hop is mass produced product, we need to be reminded that it can be a transcendent and powerful art form. 

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The RootsBlack Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. PRhyme 2, the duo’s long-awaited sophomore effort is slated for a March 16, 2018 and the album’s latest single “Rock It” features a swaggering production consisting of shimmering synths, twinkling keys, boom bap beats, some of Premier’s classic sampling and scratching which Royce da 5’9″ waxes nostalgic over some of his favorite artists, while reminding listeners that he’s one of contemporary hip-hop’s sadly under-appreciated emcees; but perhaps more important, in an age in which most mainstream artists increasingly sound the same, real hip-hop that I remember  — dope emcees spitting bars over slick and thumping production still exists and is still absolutely necessary.

 

 

 

New Video: Soulive Returns With Soulful and Psychedelic Genre-Defying Composition from Forthcoming Film Soundtrack-Inspired EP

Consisting of Eric Krasno (guitar) and siblings Alan Evans (drums) and Neal Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet), the renowned genre-defying funk/jazz New York-based trio Soulive can trace their origins back to when the Evans Brothers began performing in a number of regionally known acts including the jam band Moon Boot Lover and a brief stint with rap act The Elements, which featured Edreys, a.k.a. Billy Drease Williams before they began looking to start a traditional jazz organ trio. And as the story goes, in March 1999, the Evans Brothers invited their high school pay Eric Krasno to jam and record some tracks with them at their home studio in Woodstock, NY, and those sessions wound up comprising their debut EP Get Down! 

Shortly after the release of Get Down! the newly formed band hit the road touring to support it. During that first tour, the trio recorded their full-length debut Turn It Out and the effort, which was released in 2000 through Velour Recordings featured and impressive array of guest musicians including renowned jazz guitarist John Scofield, multi-instrumentalist Oteil Burnbridge, best known for a lengthy stint in the Allman Brothers Band, and saxophonist Sam Kininger, who has collaborated with Lettuce, Dave Matthews Band and others. For an independent act, their full-length debut went on to sell over 65,000 copies, which quickly established the members of Soulive as one of contemporary jazz and funk’s most exciting, new acts. By the fall of 2000, Soulive had signed a record deal with Blue Note Records, with whom they released their sophomore effort Doin’ Something, which featured horn arrangements by the legendary Fred Wesley; their third, full-length album Next, which featured guest spots from Dave Matthews, Amel Larrieux, Talib Kweli and Black Thought. They also collaborated with singer/songwriter Goapele Mohlabane.
Building upon a growing profile, Soulive went on five national tours over the next three years, opening for The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, John Mayer and others, while making appearances at Monterey Jazz Festival and Bonaroo, as well as tours across Japan and the European Union; in fact, one of their Japanese tours wound up becoming their eponymous and highly acclaimed, self-titled live album, released in 2003. And before leaving Blue Note Records, the members of Soulive released the Turn It Out Remixed album, which featured Jurassic 5, DJ Spinna, DJ Krush, J-Live, Wordsworth and The Beatnuts.

2005’s Break Out, the New York-based jazz/funk act’s first album with new label Concord Music Group found the band experimenting with their sound and approach, as they eschewed extended and free-flowing jams for beat-driven instrumentals; but along with that, they collaborated with the legendary Chaka Khan, Ivan Neville, Living Colour’s Corey Glover, Robert Randolph and comedian and multi-instrumentalist Reggie Watts. 2006’s Stewart Lerman-produced No Place Like Soul featured Boston, MA-based reggae/soul artist Toussaint as their lead vocalist; however, after that tour the band decided to return to being a trio. In fact, 2009’s Up Here was something of a return to form for the band with the material mainly being instrumentals with the members of Soulive collaborated with The Shady Horns — the aforementioned Sam Kininger (alto sax) and Rashawn Ross (trumpet) — and Nigel Hall.

Now, I personally became familiar with Soulive with 2010’s Rubber Soulive, an effort that comprised of jazz and funk-inspired renditions of the Beatles catalog — and their annual multi-week residency Bowlive, which featured the band collaborating with an incredibly diverse and dynamic array of artists. Interestingly, the members of the band have been busy with their respective projects — in particular Soulive’s Eric Krasno has been with Lettuce, an increasing production load and his own solo work; however, the members of the band reconvened at Alan Evans’ Iron Wax Studios in late 2017 with a few loosely-sketched ideas and no overarching concept in mind, and began fleshing out ideas as a band. “We trust each other to bring our voices to each other’s ideas,” says Alan Evans, while Krasno adds, “I think Soulive creates our best material using that method.”

The end result is the trio’s long-awaited Cinematics, Vol. 1 EP, which the band will be releasing through their own label Soulive Music on February 23, 2018. Although it’s the first new material from the renowned act in over six years, as you’ll hear on the EP’s first single “Kings March,” Soulive further cements their reputation for a genre-defying sound — in this particular case, the composition draws from 60s funk, psych pop, psych rock, hip-hop and jazz and it finds the band doing so in a fashion reminiscent of El Michels Affair and Wu Tang Clan; but with an incredibly cinematic fashion, as though it could have been part of the soundtrack of a rainy, spy thriller set in Eastern Europe and Miami.

Reportedly, the cinematic quality of the music arose from the trio’s collective instincts writing and recording together. “We didn’t have to talk about anything,” Alan says. “It all unfolded as we were working on it; one song influences the direction of the next, and soon you find yourself going down this path. We want this music to take people on a little journey.” Adds, Eric Krasno, “A cinematic piece of music creates a mood. Film composers like Jerry Goldsmith, David Axelrod, Ennio Morricone and Melvin Van Peebles were all influential in the concept for Cinematics. The idea is to use soundscape and melodic interplay to enhance the feeling and sentiment of a visual and to amplify the emotion that it’s relating.”

The recently released video features rather black and white intimate footage of the band, along with some appropriately psychedelic imagery.