Tag: 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

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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.

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: 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.

 

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 Records terminated 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 Koala in 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.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based producer, DJ and remixer Rhythm Scholar, who has developed a reputation for his crowd-pleasing, slickly produced, effortless and imitable mashups and remixes of hip hop, classic soul and pop. The JOVM mainstay recently released a remix of Bill Withers‘ beloved classic “Use Me Up” featuring a backing band,  which features Marcus Horndt contributing soulful blasts of Fender Rhodes, Jason Spillman contributing a 70s soul and disco-inspired bass line, Sami Turune, contributing some bluesy guitar paired with Withers warm vocals and rhythm guitar, and some insane scratching and production from Rhythm Scholar.

In my mind, what makes this remix interesting is that it’s a lovingly anachronistic take on it that manages to walk a difficult tightrope between the 70s and contemporary production while retaining the orignal’s effortless soul and thoughtful, deliberate attention to craft.

 

New Video: Introducing the Badass Ladies of Toronto’s The Sorority

Comprised of Phoenix Pagliacci, Lex Leosis, Haviah Mighty and Keysha Freshh, The Sorority are a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based hip-hop act that can trace their origins to when the quartet first collaborated together at a 2016 International Women’s Day cipher that quickly received attention from the likes of Noisey, The Fader and others. And since then, the act which features four individual artists, who contribute their own unique styles, personalities and energies have focused on empowering, entertaining and educating through the release of several singles and shows alongside The Internet, Jidenna, Miguel, Joey Bada$$ and A-Trak.

The Canadian hip-hop act’s full-length debut, the aptly titled Pledge is slated for an April 13, 2018 and the album’s first single “SRTY,” features each of the act’s four emcees rhyming about unity, body positivity, sensuality and resilience — and of course, being the baddest, best emcee on the face of the earth in a way that reminds me of the old schoolers I grew up with — in particular, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and others, complete with a self-assured swagger; but paired with a hyper-modern, minimalist and ominous production consisting of skittering snares boom bap drums, wobbling and woozy synths; it’s a slick synthesis of the old school with the new school in a way that’s both radio friendly and unique. 

Directed by Composite Films, the recently released video features the ladies of The Sorority being badass, kidnapping and fucking with four presumed fuckboys, subverting hip-hop tropes in a mischievous and very smart fashion.