Tag: Pete Rock and CL Smooth

New Video: DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz Return with Gorgeous and Meditative Visuals for Album Single “Forward”

Over the course of the past summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Massachusetts-based hip-hop duo DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz, and as you may recall the duo have collaborated together in a number of ways through the years; however, 2014’s Private Stock was the duo’s debut as a cohesive, collaborative unit. 

The duo’s sophomore effort together, The Loops was released earlier this year, and the album was intended to be a bold reintroduction to the duo, whose sound draws from soulful, golden era hip-hop — all while avoiding mimicry. Interestingly, The Loops’ latest single “Forward” finds Louie Gonz, putting aside the braggadocio and rhyming with a sober and sincere thoughtfulness on the struggles, demons and difficulties he’s faced both as a person and artist, including haters, naysayers and critics, the deaths of dear loved ones and friends, alcohol, depression, the possibility of an empty life without music and even Satan — but throughout it all, the message is that Gonz and Manipulator have always focused on their dream of creating music, which has kept them moving forward. Gonz’s lyrics are paired with a soulful and meditative DJ Manipulator production that subtly nods at Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

Shot in a cinematic black and white and co-directed by DJ Manipulator and Louie Gonz, the visuals follow nearly every element of Gonz’s lyrics, as it follows Gonz through daily life in his hometown, spending time with his beloved family and loved ones, struggling with alcohol (with the bottle of rum he can’t seem to put down); in fact, the video reveals a humility and honesty that can sometimes be all too rare in hip hop, before closing with a dedication to Gonz’s late father, Luis A. Gonzalez, Sr. 

 

Initially formed as a trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant under the name of Urban Atmosphere, almost 20 years ago, the Minneapolis, MN-based hip-hop act Atmosphere have a long-held reputation for having an indefatigable commitment to relentless touring and for 8 critically and commercially successful albums that have pushed the boundaries of what indie hip-hop should sound like, released through renowned indie hip-hop label, Rhymesayers Records. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM for a while, you might recall that I’ve written about Atmosphere a couple of times in the past — in particular about the release of the “Ear Blaster” video off their long lost Headshots crew compilation and the Pete Rock and CL SmoothThey Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” channeling single “My Best Half,” written and dedicated to Slug’s wife and to hip-hop in general.

Atmosphere’s latest single “Salma Hayek” channels swaggering boom bap and G funk era hip-hop as tweeter and woofer rattling beats and low end are paired with twisting and turning synths and a dope emcee full of braggadocio spitting dope rhymes with tons of pop culture references and incredibly adept inner and out rhyme schemes — including a reference to Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” among others. But more important, it should serve as a powerful reminder that real hip hop — real emcees spitting fire over dope beats is still important and still can be found if you make a true effort to find it.

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates

2.29 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues – Tickets
3.01 – Lubbock, TX @ Wild West – Tickets
3.02 – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls – Tickets
3.03 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s – Tickets

Atmosphere is also playing the following upcoming festivals and headlining show:

3.17 – Chandler, AZ @ Pot of Gold Festival – Tickets
5.27 – Monterey, CA @ Cali Roots Festival – Tickets
6.04 – San Bernardino, CA @ Blaze N Glory Festival – Tickets
9.02 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks (Headlining) – Tickets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been following this site at any point during its almost 6 year existence, you would know that I champion an incredibly diverse array of independent artists and labels from all over the world. And as a blogger and music critic, the ease that independent artists and labels can distribute and promote their music has been both wonderful and terrifying. It’s wonderful because independent labels often are at the forefront of reintroducing sadly forgotten yet influential artists or sadly forgotten artists, who were ignored because they were decades ahead of their time — and there are a bevy of artists, who are creating some incredible music that mainstream radio and media outlets just wouldn’t pay much attention to. Shame on them for not providing listeners and fans with the diversity and meaning that they so desperately seek. Let me make it clear, I have nothing wrong with the mainstream or mainstream artists. Jay Z is one of the greatest living emcees in hip-hop and no one can deny that. Beyonce has an incredible voice — and is one of the world’s most beautiful and desirable women. Adele has an incredible voice and I would pay to hear her sing the White Pages. Kanye West is one of the most influential artists and producers of contemporary music, not just hip-hop — and in my mind he’s a lock to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. But let’s be honest here: those artists receive enough press for their music and exploits and my attention to them doesn’t really matter much.

Personally, I feel a responsibility to shed light on those artists that I think you as a reader would love and would have heard about if mainstream outlets and other sources were much more diverse. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over some time, you may recall that I’ve written about hip-hop act Atmosphere. Initially formed as as trio featuring Slug, Spawn D and Ant, the trio had been a part of the Headshots crew, a collective that also featured acts like The Abstract PackPhull Surkle, Black Hohl, Beyond. Back in the mid 90s, the collective’s profile was growing around hip-hop circles and building on the buzz that the Headshots crew was receiving, a much-anticipated compilation featuring tracks by each artist of the crew was slated for release.  Sadly, the compilation was never released and an opportunity for many of these artists to receive greater attention was squandered; however, to be fair, Atmosphere, in particular are beloved in indie hip-hop circles and they’re still quite prolific.

Atmosphere’s latest single “My Better Half” was written as a tribute to Slug’s wife, who he says he actually met at a German bar on a Wednesday. And as much as its about stumbling upon someone who perfectly complements you and understands you — to the point that you have your own language and rhythms; the song is also uses the same metaphor for how it feels to stumble upon something that’s your life’s calling. And much like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth‘s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” the song possesses a deeply introspective feel — subtly thrown in is the sweet sense of amazement, wonder and gratitude that some larger force bestowed luck on you, as well as an acknowledgement that finding real and meaningful love is lucky and rare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F.Y.I,’s musical career began in the middle part of this past decade as the co-founder of Los Angeles-based rap act Those Chosen, with whom he recorded over 100 songs, a number of mixtapes and a critically praised EP, 5IVE, which was produced by Grammy winner IZ Avila best known for his work with Usher, Janet Jackson, and Gwen Stefani. And with the release of his debut solo effort, Yo! The Places You’ll Go, which featured a collaboration with Rass Kass and Ab-Soul, the Los Angeles-based emcee’s album landed at #1 on WPTS, which won an MTVu Woodie Award for Best College Radio Station. And as a result of sharing stages with renowned artists including The Game, B.O.B., Big Sean, Curren$y, Slick Rick, De La Soul, Pac Div, Dead Prez, Little Brother, Black Milk, Pete Rock and CL Smooth and Boot Camp Clik and playing at music festivals such as CMJ, A3C and the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, F.Y.I. has quietly developed a national reputation as an emcee to pay attention to.

The Los Angeles-based emcee’s debut sophomore effort, Age/Sex/Location was released earlier today and the EP’s latest single, EP opening track “One Thang” pairs F.Y.I.’s confident and dexterous flow, rhyming lyrics about looking bravely forward and striving and accomplishing your goals without fear and without doubt. And he does so over
over a glitchy and soulful production consisting of boom bap beats, distorted vocal samples, whirring electronics. It’s swaggering yet upbeat hip-hop which shows how influential Kanye West, Outkast and Common have been to contemporary hip-hop.