Tag: Guilty Simpson

New Audio: Two More from Acclaimed Canadian Producer Harrison

This past weekend, I was busy covering the fourth edition of The New Colossus Festival. I managed to cover roughly 32.5 — 32.5! — sets of music in some way or another and interview two up-and-coming artists. And for my efforts, I managed to catch a terrible cold that has knocked me on my ass for the past couple of days. I’ve had odd bursts of energy here and there, and when I’ve had one, I’ve tried my best to get some work done. The show must go on, right?

So let’s get to the business at hand.

Harrison Robinson, best known as the mononymic Harrison is a 27-year-old, acclaimed Toronto-based jazz and R&B composer, musician and producer got his start making beats and uploading sample-heavy songs on SoundCloud, where he found a following and global community of like-minded producers and collaborators including Ryan HemsworthStar Slinger, and a list of others. 

His first two critically applauded albums, 2016’s Juno Award-nominated Checkpoint Titanium and 2018’s Juno Award-nominated Apricity, which revealed his versatility as a musician and producer, lead to him producing for some of Canada’s most forward-thinking, boundary-pushing artists including al l i eDaniela AndradeDijahSBSean Leon and Juno Award-winning artist TOBi, among a list of others. 

Over the past couple of years, the Toronto-based musician, composer and producer has been busy: He has released a string of standout songs, including last year’s “Outta This World” with TOBi. He also released a couple of instrumental singles, “Around You’ and “Like When We Were Kids,” which amassed over 3 million combined streams globally. The acclaimed Torontonian has also been busy with compositional work with Nintendo Switch’s LOUD and commercials for NERF and Play-Doh.

Harrison started off 2023 with two singles:

  • “Float,” feat. Kahdja Bonet, a slow-burning, Quiet Storm-meets-throbbing funk number built around tweeter and woofer rattling boom bap-like beats, a sinuous bass line, glistening synths paired with Bonet’s ethereal and sultry cooing. Fittingly, “Float” is a seemingly effortless love song that captures the dizzy swooning of new love but while subtly acknowledging the inherent uncertainty and fear we all feel. 
  • “A View From The Sky,” a  J. Dilla beat-tape-meets-bop jazz instrumental rooted in a swinging arrangement of twinkling keys, stuttering yet propulsive drumming, fluttering synths that’s simultaneously meditative and head banging. 

Both tracks see the acclaimed Canadian musician, composer and producer boldly pushing his sound into new directions while retaining the elements that have won him acclaim. Fittingly, the Canadian producer, composer and musician’s highly-anticipated, self-produced, third album Birds, Bees, The Clouds & The Trees, which is slated for an April 28, 2023 release through Last Gang Records, will reportedly continuing to demonstrate the evolution of his sound and approach over the past couple of years. .

Drawing from his artistic roots, love of old cartoon and musical influences ranging from instrumental hip-hop beat tapes to American jazz piano, like Vince Guaraldi’s Charlie Brown scores, the album is reportedly a nostalgic ode to the music that Harrison dreamed about making as a kid. But much like his previously released work, the forthcoming album sees a collection of guests seamlessly stepping into the acclaimed Canadian producer”s technicolored world.

Yesterday, Harrison shared two more tracks off the album:

“Bump,” a funky pimp strut built around twinkling Rhodes, a soulful and strutting bass line and stuttering boom bap that’s roomy enough for MED and one of my favorite emcees Guilty Simpson to trade coolly swaggering bars focusing on the endless hustle, keeping hackstabberrs and deceitful people out of your life, and so on.

“‘Bump’ Is a love letter to some of my favorite rappers growing up,” Harrison explains in press notes. “MED and Guilty have been huge influences on me since I was 16. Understanding their beat choices on producers they worked with was a really helpful growing tool. The instrumental for ‘BUMP’ was actually originally different. They found the pocket I was looking for on this new joint. I’m floored that they were kind enough to join me on this album.

“Inthecoupe” is strutting and funky bop with a playful air. Rooted in layers of fluttering and brassy synth arpeggios and twinkling keys, “Inthecoupe” recalls Dam-Funk and Cy Gorman‘s Carmen, “‘Inthecoupe’ is a reminder to myself to not be so serious all the time. My love for jazz is very deep but I still love making fun dance music. A playful song revolving around a brass synth and a bounce.”

maticulous is a Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based producers ho can trace the origins of his own music journey and career to being an on-air DJ at Indiana University of Pennsylvania‘s WIUP‘s The Underground while in college. Soon after relocating to Brooklyn in 2004, maticulous landed an internship at beloved, New York-based underground hip hop record store Fat Beats. The Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based producer quickly moved his way up the ranks, first as a buyer managed by DJ Eclipse and then later as an A&R/sales rep for Fat Beats Records/Distribution.

Being fully immersed in hip-hop wound up cementing the Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s true passion and desire — to create and release his own music. maticulous’ debut effort, 2011’s The maticulous ep featured the critically applauded “Body The Beat,” a collaboration featuring Ruste Juxx, R.A. The Rugged Man and Heltah Skeltah‘s Rock. The accompanying video eventually amassed over 130,000 YouTube views.

Between 2011-2014 maticulous was extremely busy: The Pittsburgh-born, Brooklyn-based producer released a handful of instrumental/beat efforts — and he produced material for MF DOOM, J-Zone, Shabaam Sadeeq, and yU.

maticulous’ full-length debut, 2015’s The maticulous LP saw him collaborating with Masta Ace, M.O.P.’s LIl Fame, Rah Digga, Guilty Simpson, Blu, and Your Old Droog while highlighting his versatility as a producer. In 2017, a chance meeting with Justo The MC at SiriusXM led to a series of collaborations that began with 2019’s Mind of a Man, an album that was named one of Bandcamp‘s Top Albums in the month of its release — January 2019. The album also landed on a number of year-end lists. The pair then collaborated on the Bonus Room EP, which was released that summer. And they continued their collaboration with 2020’s County of Kings.

Continuing to cement a reputation for being wildly prolific, maticulous’ forthcoming album no caps is slated for an October 1, 2021 release. The album features guest sports from Homeboy Sandman, Skyzoo, Breeze Brewin, Uptown XO, yU and others. The album’s first single “Home Goin'” is a gritty head banger, centered around tweeter and woofer rattling beats, glistening and choppy synth arpeggios serving as a menacing and uneasy backdrop for Guilty Simpson telling the tale of attending the funeral of a local pimp/player. Throughout the song, vividly Simpson describes a cast of characters and their thoughts of the deceased OG, revealing a snake pit of deceit, greed, hypocrisy and violence.


Musings: A Decade of JOVM

I started this site 10 years ago today. . .

There aren’t many things in my life that I’ve done for every single day for a decade that I’ve loved as much as this very unique little corner of the blogosphere. When I started this site, I  didn’t — and couldn’t — imagine actually having readers, let alone readers across the US, Canada, the UK, the European Union, Australia and elsewhere. After all, this sort of work is deeply rewarding and yet strangely isolating.

I couldn’t have imagined the over 1,000 shows I’ve covered all across the New York Metropolitan area. I definitely couldn’t have imagined it being possible for be to cover shows for JOVM in Chicago while on a business trip for a day job; nor would I have dreamed of the possibility of covering M for Montreal last fall.

I couldn’t have imagined being a panelist on a Mondo.NYC Festival panel on PR and promotion for indie artists.

I couldn’t have imagined having a cameo in a JOVM mainstay’s video several years ago. (It’s a noticeable and prominent spot towards the end of the video, too. No one has called me up for acting gigs, so I may need more work on that. Or I need to stick to the writing and photography!)

I couldn’t have imagined photographing Patti LaBelle, Snoop Dogg, Charles Bradley  Sharon Jones, Nile Rodgers, Roky Erickson, Philip Bailey and so many others, as well as this site’s countless mainstays.

What will the next decade hold? I don’t know. If you asked me that question last November, I’d probably discuss my the very real possibility of repeated visits to Canada for festivals like Canadian Music Week, Montreal Jazz Fest and M for Montreal — with the hopes of building a deeper Canadian audience. I’d talk about my interest in music from across the African Diaspora. I’d spend time talking about my interest in covering acts outside the US. I’d also speak about my interest in wanting to cover more artists across the diverse LGQBTIA+ community  — particularly those of color. I’d probably also mention my deep and abiding interest in covering women artists and women led acts.

Live music won’t be a thing for quite some time to come. And whenever it does, the landscape will be different — and something we’ve yet to envision. So far, beloved venues have been forced to close because of economics. That will continue for the foreseeable future. What will happen to bands, who no longer have a place to play, where they can hone their sound and their live show? Who knows? After watching an industry-based panel, I don’t feel particularly optimistic about things in the short term. Some of us will figure out a way to adapt and survive; others sadly, won’t.

But in the meantime, JOVM will continue. It’s only the first decade, as far as I’m concerned!


I also wanted to talk a bit about some of my favorite albums of the past decade. This is by no means a comprehensive list; but I think that they might give some insight into the inner world of JOVM. And

Montreal-based DJ, production and electronic music artist duo The Beat Escape — Addy Weitzman and Patrick A. Boivin — can trace the project’s origins back to a short film they collaborated on when they were both in college. “We made a short oddball work; a video piece that followed two characters through a psychedelic waking dream,” the Montreal-based said of their initial collaboration together in press notes. Interestingly, since that collaboration, Weitzman and Boivin have continued working together on a series of creative endeavors that have combined their interests in music and visual art, including a lengthy local DJ gig, which eventually led to the creation of The Beat Escape.

Released in early 2018, the Montreal-based duo’s full-length debut Life Is Short The Answer’s Long thematically and sonically found the duo returning to their origins — somnambulant, atmospheric art that feels like a half-remembered waking dream. Personally, the album’s material evokes a weird two-and-year period of international and domestic travel, in which I’d wake up in a hotel room and briefly wonder where I was, what time zone I was in and if I was even in the right place. Additionally, it evokes that weird sensation of everything being the fundamentally the same, yet different. If I’m in Grand Central Terminal, I think of Frankfurt-am-Main Hauptbahnhof and of Amsterdam Centraal Station. If I’m traveling underneath an elevated train, I’m reminded of the Chicago loop and so on.

I obsessively played Life Is Short The Answer’s Short through my time in Montreal. And now whenever I play it, I can picture specific locations, specific paths I took to get there, certain Metro stations with an uncanny precision.

Throughout the course of the site’s decade history, I’ve written quite a bit about Superhuman Happiness. The act has managed to survive through a number of different lineup changes and sonic departures necessitated by those lineup changes — and from the act’s core members following wherever their muses took them, Hands though is a joyous, mischievous yet deeply intelligent work that will make you shout and dance. Considering the bleakness of our world, this album may be much more needed than they ever anticipated.

Deriving their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a traveler, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spend his life then but who cruelly  gets dragged back to brutal reality, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake — currently Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass), Brendan Doherty (drums), and a rotating cast of collaborators, friends and associates — received attention with 2014’s self-released debut EP Dandelion, an effort that firmly established the act’s uniquely sound: deeply influenced by and indebted to  Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the Irish act pairs McAuley’s tender and soaring falsetto with cinematic arrangements and expansive song structur es.

Released in 2018, the act’s Rob Kirwan-produced debut Malingerer is an ambitious, challenging and breathtakingly beautiful work that’s part film score and part cosmic meditation, full of aching yearning.

A couple of years ago, I caught the Irish act play at Rockwood Music Hall, as part of the Lower East Side venue’s monthly Communion showcase — and their set was met with awed and reverential silence.

Stockholm, Sweden-based garage punk outfit Sudakistan — Michell Serrano (vocals), Maikel Gonzalez (bass), Carlos Amigo (percussion) Juan Jose Espindola (drums) and Arvid Sjöö (guitar) — have one of the most unique and perhaps most 21st Century backstories of any band I’ve ever written about: four of the band’s five members emigrated to Sweden from South America with the remaining member being the band’s only native Swede. With the release of their debut album, 2015’s Caballo Negro, the members of Sudakistan received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that draws from Latin-tinged garage punk rock with lyrics sung in English, Spanish and Swedish. Interestingly, the alum is arguably hardest and most mosh pit friendly of the band’s albums to date, the album’s material found the band expanding their sound through the incorporation of non-traditional punk rock instruments — seemingly inspired by the band’s desire to make each of their individual roles to be much more fluid. . “It was much more of a collaboration between the five of us,” the band’s Michell Serrano explains in press notes. . “Things flowed differently. Carlos sings on two or three songs, and Mikael sings on one. We swapped instruments quite a lot, and because we had access to everything in the studio, we were able to use some piano, some acoustic guitar and some mandolin, too.”

Additionally, the album’s lyrical and thematic concerns draws from the band members’ everyday reality with each individual member contributing lyrical ideas. “Our first album was made over five years, rather than five months, so the themes on it weren’t as heavy as this. Now, we’re talking about a lot of the things that we’ve gone through together since we started the band, as well as personal things – like, why do I keep repeating the same mistakes. We talk about pursuing our own Swedish reality, but that’s just because we’re living in Sweden – it’s relatable in any other country, I think,” Maikel Gonzalez says in press notes.

The album’s material resonates in an age of divisiveness, xenophobia, fear mongering and strife because its an urgent and passionate reminder of what’s possible with cultural exchange, empathy and curiosity —  bold new ideas, new takes on the familiar, as well as equality for all with everyone’s story behind heard, understood and championed. One day that will happen but we will have to work our asses off to get there.

Several years in the making, the highly-anticipated and long-awaited collaborative album from the late and beloved Brooklyn-based emcee Sean Price and acclaimed Philadelphia-based producer Small Professor86 Witness is slated for a February 8, 2019 release through Coalmine Records and Duck Down Records. The album’s latest single “John Gotti” is centered by a moody and noir-ish  RZA-like production featuring tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, twinkling and arpeggiated keys that’s roomy enough for an All-Star squad of ringers that includes AG Da Coroner, JOVM mainstay Guilty Simpson and Your Old Droog and Sean Price to spit rhymes full of wildly inventive wordplay, complex rhyme schemes, amazing pop cultural references that include 80s movies, old-school cartoons, childhood games — and murderous intent. Simply put — this is some pure street shit without silly shtick or gimmicks.


Both as a solo artist, who released four highly acclaimed albums during his life — 2005’s Monkey Barz, 2007’s Jesus Price Supastar, 2012’s Songs in the Key of Price, and as member of Boot Camp Clik and of one half of hip-hop duo, Heltah Skeltah, and as a member of Random Axe with Guilty Simpson and Black MilkSean Price established himself as one of underground hip-hop’s most beloved and renowned emcees.  Since his death in 2015, there has been quite bit of material release posthumously, including Coalmine Records’ Record Store Day, Black Friday release, “Refrigerator P,” a collaborative effort between Philadelphia-based producer Small Professor and Sean Price that features Price’s Heltah Skeltah partner Rock. Of course, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout it’s almost eight year history, you’d know that I prefer my hip hop to be rough, rugged and raw street shit — and this track is arguably one of the most rugged tracks I’ve heard this month, as Price spit bars full of references to the Super Bowl XX Champion Chicago Bears over an enormous and menacing production featuring a looped string sample and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. The hook features Price teaming up with his longtime Heltah Skeltah partner Rock while renowned turntabilist DJ Revolution scratches. Certainly, this track should stay as a reminder of Sean P’s incredible talent and how sorely its missed.





Over the past 12-18 months, I’ve written quite a bit about Therman Munsin, an up-and-coming New Jersey-born emcee, who has had a long-time collaboration with Hempstead, NY-based emcee and  producer Roc Marciano, which has resulted in a number of blogosphere attention grabbing singles. And as you may recall, “Plastic Surgery Face,” an album single off Munsin’s full-length debut Sabbath featured a guest spot from one of my favorite, contemporary emcees,  Guilty Simpson trading gritty, gangsta shit bars full of murder, mayhem and braggadocio over a menacing production featuring a looped, twisting and turning organ sample paired with stuttering beats. “I Ain’t With the Evil Empire,” Sabbath’s latest single features the up-and-coming New Jersey-based emcee trading gritty, NYC area gangsta shit bars with Infamous Mob‘s Big Twins  over a warm,  70s blues-inspired production featuring a looped wah wah pedal-based guitar sample paired with big, tweeter and woofer rocking beats.



Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you may recall that I’ve written about Therman Munsin, an up-and-coming New Jersey-born emcee, who has a long-time collaboration with Hempstead, NY-based emcee and producer Roc Marciano through a number of singles and Munsin’s full-length debut SabbathSabbath‘s latest single “Plastic Surgery Face” features Munsin and Marciano collaborating with one of my favorite contemporary emcees Guilty Simpson — and in fact, the single features the two emcees trading gritty, gangsta shit bars full of murder, mayhem and braggadocio over a menacing production featuring a looped, twisting and turning organ sample paired with stuttering beats.


As an obsessive music fan and as a blogger, I become a fan of particular labels, frequently admiring their rosters and their overall output — and over the years, I’ve become an enormous fan of Stones Throw Records, a Los Angeles-based indie hip-hop label, who have released the work of an impressive array of artists across hip-hop, soul and funk including the imitable Homeboy Sandman; Dam-Funk and his various collaborations with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Slave‘s Steve Arrington and others; the great Mayer Hawthorne, whose Impressions: The Covers EP landed at number on this site’s Best of List several years ago; Detroit‘s and arguably the country’s best contemporary emcee Guilty Simpson; hip-hop’s most beloved producer J. Dilla; Vex Ruffin; and counties others. The renowned label has recently started a subscription service: for $250 USD plus a one-time, flat-rate shipping fee, subscribers will received every new Stones Throw Records vinyl album released throughout 2017 as soon as the label receives them — and this includes singles, double albums, 12-inch singles, 45s, box sets and special edition reissues.

2017’s first vinyl release will be Madlib and J. Dilla’s Jaylib Remixes for the first time ever on vinyl — and it’ll include a previously unreleased track “Da Ruckus,” which was originally recorded back in 2002. Additionally, the first vinyl shipment will also include a bonus LP Oh No‘s Ultimate Beats & Breaks, a 17 track instrumental hip-hop album, which also marks the long-awaited return of the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series, a series which can trace it origins to the original series of DJ-friendly compilations that was released between 1986-1991 or so. Created by Lenny Roberts, a Bronx-based record collector, and studio editing partner “Breakbeat” Lou Flores, their Ultimate Breaks and Beats series came about as sampling was beginning to take shape. And as you can imagine, the series was instrumental to the increasingly sample-based hip-hop of the period; but also managed to influence electronic dance music and pop as DJs and producers started using the series to help them create some of their genre’s seminal works.


“Breakbeat” Lou Flores is reviving Ultimate Breaks and Beats — this time as a producer series, debuting with an album by renowned producer Oh No, which was made entirely from samples from the original UBB series. Check out the  first single off Oh No’s Ultimate Breaks & Beats, “The Troubled” a swaggering track that features twinkling piano chords, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, warm but distorted blasts of horns and vocal samples coming out of the ether. And while nodding at J. Dilla,  the track possesses a cinematic quality just underneath its crowd-pleasing hook.