Sunday, October 31, 2010

Listen to Gilles Peterson

I was talking to someone yesterday, and when they said all they hear on the radio was bubblegum pop I paused to think about the last time I had really listened to the airwaves. I can't remember, but I do know that I've tuned into the BBC online for a show hosted by this guy Gilles Peterson.



A few years ago I didn't miss one of his shows, and those hours listening are a huge factor on my ears today. Gilles has been an international DJ for years, while he is definetly a radio DJ his knowledge, crates and insatiable appetite for new music has kept him at the forefront of forward thinking music explorers. The above song, a Roy Haynes tune called "Quiet Fire" was selected by him for the BBE comp The Kings of Jazz, couldn't of woke up to a better song this morning.

Gilles show on the BBC is called Worldwide, you can catch it Wednesday mornings from 2-4 AM. Recently he has hosted DJ Shadow, in a show where they both break out vinyl and discuss music like only two seasoned diggers can. Kon & Amir also made a recent visit. Don't worry too much about when it's live, you can listen to the most recent show for a week, and if you want to hear archived ones check this out!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gangrene "The Sickness"



In an alternate apocalyptic reality Oh No and Alchemist would be the perfect pairing to create music for chaos. They decided not to wait and are about to deliver their collaborative album Gutter Water under the guise of Gangrene next month on Decon Records. The first single, "Not High Enough," featured trademark Alc keys and an overall spooky kind of vibe. This track right here is full of Oh No's signature odd sounds that only he could compose into something that makes you nod your head.

Friday, October 29, 2010

One Time @ Bandcamp With... Crispus McFly

Alright, by now y'all should know the deal. On Monday I wrote about Crispus McFly's EP The Wake Up! and now it's time for the conversation with the man. If you still haven't given him a listen, check out this new track he gave us for the interview, it's called "Flavius Valerius."



First up who are you? Where do you live? How old are you? How long have you been making tunes? What are you working with?
I go by Crispus McFly. I'm a 26 y.o. beatmaker in Boston, and I've been makin beats for about 3 years.

Samples sound present in your music, are you a digger/vinyl collector?
Yeah, I dig records.

What music did you grow up on? Who are you listening to today?
I grew up listening to a lot of Moments, Little Sister, Breakwater, mainly Funk, R&B and Jazz with some Gang Starr. I still listen to it and Dilla, Jeru the Damaja, etc.

Do you have a musical background? Play instruments?
I used to play the drums, but stopped after my first year.

What's your day job?
I work in a record shop, buying and selling records.

What kind of downloads are you seeing off the bandcamp? Are you doing this for fun or is it something you are trying to make a career out of?
I make beats for fun, but if it leads to profit, I'm down for that too.

Are you interested in getting vocalists on your tracks? If so, singers rappers? both?
I'd be nice to work with some artists, but I'm good right now on my own.

Do you DJ or perform you tunes out in some capacity?
Naw, I haven't really done any of that yet.

How did you find Choclate Chuck's Goodnight EP? What made you want to reinterpret it? Has he heard your take?
I found Chuck on myspace. We talked through some emails and he liked my beats. So, we did remixes of eachother's EPs. It was good times.

What are you working on today?
Just beats and my job.

Favorite pizza?
Pepperoni

Favorite drink?
Beer.

Favorite book?
Reason: The Manual

Domo Genesis "Kickin It" (Fan Video)

Domo Genesis - Kickin It from Ska Azaro on Vimeo.

I'm fully on the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All skateboard . While they are gaining some Internet praise nationally and got heads talking their name around town they are still just at the beginning of something.

I gave Domo's album Rolling Papers a spin today walking to work. It's pretty awesome. It's also the first album from the crew I've listened to in it's entirety. This track stands out with it's reversed beat and Domo's stoned flow. They posted this fan video up on their site and had this to say:
Some Fanmade Video For Domo Genesis ”Kickin It” From his Rolling Papers Project. Produced By Tyler Creator. We Rarely Post Shit Like This, But The Video Fits The Mood of The Song So Well, We Had To Give Respect To The Person Who Put These Clips Together.
It's not like any of the videos Tyler himself has done, but it's pretty spooky in it's own way. What is going on with that clock? It's some highed up shit for sure. Fuck with it, and Kill Them All.

Pill talks housing



Unlike my big bro Swerve, I haven't jumped on the bandwagon for Pill. He and gangster Gibbs get it in together, and he has a few cuts that have kept me paying attention. If this is an indication of the kind of message and work he wants to get involved with as he climbs the ladder that is success in the music industry I'll be supporting dude quick fast. Speaking from his home that is no longer present Pill asks some great questions.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Onra "Long Distance"

Last.fm is an awesome site for countless reasons, if you aren’t on it I highly recommend getting down with it! Directly after having a conversation with my partner dj100proof about the site and how he uses it to discover new music (an application I had yet to explore) I log into my account and find out that Onra, an ill Parisian beat maker, is coming to town next week! Gotta love the internet.


He has been on the road for a little bit now, hitting some big cities and spreading his brand of electro-boogie-funk-hip hop to the masses. I don’t even remember how I got hip to Long Distance - his full length release on All City records that he views as his official debut. He has a few beat tapes in circulation, much in the vien of what Dilla gave us with Donuts. Long Distance is aptly titled as it’s well beyond anything someone would want to say is biting Mr. Yancy.

It is however certainly inspired by much of the same sounds that another Stones Throw representer, Dam Funk, is pulling on. More Hip Hop than boogie however, Onra crafts his own brand of jams here sometimes featuring vocalists like Oliver Daysoul, Reggie B and SV alum T3. All the tracks feature bouncy bass lines that inspire movement, and synthesizer sounds that just feel happy!

Throughout this record a feeling is perpetuated. It’s a good feeling. A feeling of good times. On the track “Send Me Your Love” he features quiet vocals in the background. No singer is credited, I’m guessing it’s off a record he dug up and incorporated, much like DJ Shadow has been doing with his newer work. The Hip Hop influence is definitely present in Onra’s music, heard largely through his drums.

Onra - The One feat. T3 from Slum Village from Onra on Vimeo.

The album really is a beautiful merging of so much. No two tracks are alike, yet everything is sequenced just right. The minimal beat of “Don’t Stop” opens with sounds that remind me of his fellow Paris dwellers, Justice. But then it eases out and turns into a slow burning smooth jam that is incredibly sensual. This is baby making music for the year 4000.

Long Distance should appeal to lovers of many kinds of music. Their are tunes here for everyone. I can’t even hear my mom saying that his electronic sounds and sampling have no soul. Their is a depth in these cuts that you can get lost in. I can’t wait to hear what he plays in his set next week (Tuesday Nov. 2nd at the Lo-Fi for Stop Biting - major props to @introcut!), while I do hope he gives us some jams off the album I’m more intrigued by what secrets his crates might hold. Either way it's gonna be a filthy show!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Around the World in 80 Minutes


I don't even know where to begin... The collective known as Dublab blows my mind once again. An online radio station that's been operating since 1999, Dublab is based in LA and has a vast network of volunteers from the cities music scene. They are always streaming something, never not worth checking out.

Recently lab rats (the affectionate term for volunteers) Carlos Nino & Frosty called up some of their friends and fellow rats to contribute to a mix that is a journey around the world. Nino opens the show with some music that sounds straight from the islands and inspires the feeling of smoking a big fat spliff. He drops a few more tunes and hands the reigns over to Boss Harmony. Fom their it's Gaslamp Killer, Mahssa, Rob Sevier (from the unfuxwitable Numero Group camp), Dina J, Frosty and Daedelus closes it out.

Of course GLK hits us with some real heavy tunes, some of which I'm almost certain are from Turkey. Daedelus brings in some electronic music that sounds perhaps from Paris (?) circa the late 70s. You are guaranteed to be sucked in, and shown a lot of brilliant music most of which no one has probably ever heard. This is what I think DJs and radio stations should do, expose the people to new music constantly. You can read the tracklist and download it here.

OFWGKTA = HARD AS FUCK

I've recently become slightly obsessed with OFWGKTA or Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. They are young cats around 10 deep creating a signifigant buzz through personality and volume of material. In the last couple years they have released 10+ projects, most with orginal production and zero support from the "big hip hop blogs". I don't understand all of their slang (Why they gotta say Fuck Steve Harvey all the time), I don't understand their videos (which are cringe worthy), and I don't understand why Sweatshirt is in trouble (I can guess though). Nevertheless I am very excited by their brand of in your face, all or nothing, with us or against us, insanity.

Here are some flicks from the crew:



Earl Sweatshirt is very talented for his age, anyones age for that matter. He isn't even a legal adult and he is out rapping half of the mainstream right now which has got him some notice from the mag Rolling Stone. This vid gives you a little insight into his personality.



Tyler, the Creator is the defacto front man of the Odd Future crew, he is the oldest, he does much of the production, and he is brutal in his wordplay. When I first saw this vid the first thing out of my mouth was "Why is he doing that with his eyes". The opening line resonates is a very Rossian manner, the bass knocks hard and he is off on a lyrical sprint filling everybar with outlandish verbiage. His laugh after saying he is gonna fuck Mary in her ass, and the rape of Goldilocks and eating all the bears' motherfucking porridge slays me everytime. Tyler is very savvy and knows exactly what he is doing or at least I hope he does.

I am very interested in seeing where these kids go, and based on the Rolling Stone and Pitchfork coverage it could be far. I hope they make it to Seattle once Earl is of age so we can see them tear up a stage the way only people who don't give a fuck know how to.

Free Earl!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chi-Town Footwork



I love how this video pulls from decades of dance footage and splices it with shots of kids who are doing this thing called Footwork in Chicago. I was first introduced to the music via DJ Nate.



From what I've gathered this stuff has been being produced for some years now growing out of Chicago's rich electronic music history and I imagine merging some with the Hip Hop that's always been their coupled with young peoples own artistic desires to try new things. Add with this their obvious appreciation for dance that requires a certain kind of energy.



You aren't getting down like that to just anything!

The profile of this music has elevated to outside it's region thanks to the interests of Planet Mu. A label with a long history of forward thinking electronic sounds. They released DJ Nate's project Da Trak Genious in September, DJ Roc's The Crack Capone this month and have a compilation scheduled for release December 6th, Bangs & Works Vol. 1 In the below video you can hear clips from various tunes on it.



I'm excited to hear this collection. Right now I'm still devouring Nate & Roc's records. My initial thoughts make me feel partial to Roc as his tunes feel more complete and full to me. Nate plays with more minimal effects and sounds that may prove to be far more conducive to rocking a club but don't offer me as much while sitting here listening in my room.

Another thing that pulls me to this stuff, like most electronic sounds I'm feeling today, is the growth I see in it from Hip Hop. Both of these guys are weaving sounds left and right. Nate relies on a lot of very hollow drums that I don't enjoy as much as the dusty ones Premo and his ilk dug up. But elsewhere you can hear vocal bits cut to pieces, synthesizer chords, piano keys, guitars and anything else. I don't think a song of any kind would be safe from these guys.

I'll leave you with the opening cut off DJ Roc's long player "One Blood."

DJ Roc - One Blood by gardenparty

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crispus McFly "The Wake Up! EP"

It seems fitting that as I wake up on this cold Monday morning I review an EP called The Wake Up! Produced by a young beatmaker who resides in Boston, it’s a quick album that features 9 songs, none clocking in at more than a minute thirty.

One great thing Dilla’s release of Donuts, and to a lesser degree the unoffical release of his ‘05 beat tapes that freely float around the internets, is the inspiration they’ve provided to producers the world over to not hold back. Today we see cats everywhere dropping mini albums, EPs, and beat tapes such as this. I’ll never be one to complain about music being released!

As for the music contained in this .rar file? Well Crispus McFly is hot. He works in a record store which proves to be very fitting as his jams are full of ill chops and well chosen samples. Somtimes he loops things, sometimes you can hear him pounding out the sequence on the MPC - although in reality he could be making this on anything.

The guitar chords on “Rooster” will have you nodding your head without any communication between your neck and your brain - it just happens. He doesn’t construct anything here for an emcee, although I would love to hear the forward thinking rapper who decides he can spit to this... Jay Electronica?

Somtimes the tunes here remind me of the “Chillwave” phenomenon that has swept college students off their feet and got everyone thinking they can create atmospheric vibes via sound collages. Crispus McFly feels a little more schooled on Hip Hop than your average dorm room producer and his ear for finding the right sample is proven impeccable. Wake up to some new sounds.

Give The Wake Up! EP a listen below and come back Friday for a One Time @ Bandcamp conversation with they guy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

MO Podcast Vol. 1


Woke up this morning with a desire to compile a few tunes together into a little podcast. To be honest I'd only listened to a few of these prior to mixing 'em up a little bit. The guy Grillo remixed Gonjasufi nicely and has a new tape out inspired by the Streetfighter Ken. Wiz hit us with a collaboration he has been trying to make happen for a minute last night via twitter, gotta love how that works. Prodigy gets illy with their classic remix of Mr. Mef's "Release Yo Delf." Got some smoking jams in there, some randome electronic sounds and a little funkyness too. Thanks for rocking with us y'all!

Download the MO Podcast Vol. 1

Tracklist:
Rustie "Beast Nite"
Wiz Khalifa ft. Juicy J "In My Car (Puff Bus)"
Freddie Gibbs "On My Way"
Gonjasufi "Candylane (Grillo Remix)"
Illum Sphere "One For Dimlite"
Jim Jones "Blow Your Smoke"
Method Man "Release Yo Delf (Prodigy Remix)"
Kendrick Lamar "Growing Apart"
John Legend & The Roots "Our Generation (J. Period Remix)"
Flinch "Midnight Hustle"
Melo-X "Mirrors In My Mind"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mr. Finley "Blowin That Indo"



Something new for y'all to smoke with, Mr. Finley repping the city of sin. Thoughts?

An #Almost Famous Conversation w/ DJ Platurn


This weekend we have DJ Platurn of the Oakland Faders joining us at HG Lodge for Almost Famous. The Faders are one of the most respected DJ crews on the left coast and Platurn is well known for his killer party rocking blends and pushing the limits with his creative live sets. I will be joining him on the tables for the opening set so expect nothing but the best jams on party mountain.

For booth and guestlist reservations hit us at: membersonly206 [at] gmail [dot] com

Had to bring this back to the top as I chatted with Platurn this week and wanted to give y'all fence sitters that added push to realization that Platurn is not to be thought about lightly. Come out tonight! Get a booth and go ham to a soundtrack you won't find playing at another club in the town.

Have you played Seattle before? If so do you remember where, who with, any details?
I have, a few times. Mostly at The War Room but some other joints with the homie Marc Sense. Always a blast up there and the food and digs are excellent.

Do you make time to dig for vinyl when you hit new towns? Do you go out when you are home looking for vinyl?
Always. #1 priority - i've been collecting records for 15 years so at this point it's not a daily occurrence like it used to be but I still try to go almost every week, usually to the flea markets around the Bay or to Amoeba Records.

Do you ever play vinyl sets these days?
Most definitely. Pretty frequently actually. I also throw an all 7" monthly called "The 45 Sessions" at The Layover in Oakland. Amazing party and we've had everyone from Kon & Amir to Shortkut come rock it. The 1-Year anniversary is next month and i'm very proud of its success.

You are originally from Iceland, when did you come to the states? Was you exposure to Hip Hop and DJin something that happened when you made the move? Does Iceland have a hip hop scene?
Came to the States for the first time back in '83 and officially in '88. Def exposed to Hip-Hop on a real level when I moved but the culture has existed in Iceland since the mid 80s. Interesting to keep in mind that Iceland is one of the first inhabited countries just out of NY when crossing the Atlantic so a lot of the trends and music landed there before it even hit mainland Europe. They have a thick scene nowadays too.

Who were the first DJs to inspire you and make you get behind the tables?
JAM.....MASTER.....JAY!!! Then Jazzy Jeff, Aladdin, DJ Scratch and so on...

How did you and DJ Spair join forces? Are you guys still collaborating?
I've known the homie Spair since '95 and we started the Faders in 2000. We are still holding down the collective and have some things in the works but he's killin' shit in Vegas these days so it's not always as easy to collab when you're states apart.

Tell me about the Scion mixtape and what that did for you guys?
Got us a lot of exposure for sure. Good amount of press and half a million copies of the CD we made helped get the name out there quite a bit.

What will be playing in your ears on your trip to Seattle?
I actually don't listen to music much when traveling - not the car either. Not sure why that is - prolly cuz i'm around music constantly because it's my work/life that I take little opportunities like that to get some peace. If you're asking what i've been listening to as of late, well i'm loving these "Back To Peru" comps, Moses Hightower from back home and a bunch of random Steel Drum joints i've gotten my hands on.

What can the crowd expect from a Platurn set in 2010?
Hard to say - I'm all over the place these days. I tend to lean towards the obscure but energetic and funky remixes, edits and blends but it really has to do with the crowd and the vibe -- classic Hip-Hop and samples, etc. I played a bunch of house in SF the other day - haven't done that in hella long.

Are you excited by modern music? Do you find yourself more inspired by tunes that are older?
I like a lot of the stuff coming out but it is and always has been the music that pays homage to and recognizes the past that I dig the most, even the newer Electro stuff. I love a bunch of the new funk and any Rap or new Disco with a sample in it is gonna perk my ears up rather than something that doesn't. It all depends - there's good and interesting music from every genre and time period. I guess if it sounds genuine and soulful then i'm widdit -- a nice funky breakbeat always helps too.

Last words? Advice? Shout outs? Rants?
Big ups to the Members Only crew for having me out and to the homies Marc Sense, Zac J. and Mike May for taking care of a brother when I roll to town. Oh, and be sure to check out djplaturn.com & oaklandfaders.com on the regular for all things funky. Peace and all that!

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Time @ Bandcamp With... Fresh Daily

If you haven't heard the name Fresh Daily before you may very well be living under a rock. Having gotten steady exposure from the likes of 2DopeBoyz and all their biters for the better part of two plus years now he is now making waves via his FREE mixtape Mothership/Land. You can download it at his bandcamp page here. You can read an interview with Fresh recording partner Benamin here. And you can read my thoughts on the project here. Or you can skip my shameless self promotion and just read what Fresh had to say about life, music and the pursuit of happiness!

Introduce yourself? Where are you from, how long you been rapping?
I'm from Brooklyn, NYC and I've been rapping for about 9-10 years now.

What was your mindset going into the lab to make Mothership/Land?
Well, a big point for me was to really make something that made my fans culturally aware. I had also just gone through a break-up which made me question how I approached relationships since I have a few that haven't worked out quite the way I would have liked them to. So to combine those two mindsets and really explore if there was any effect on people of color regarding our social structure and how we go about building relationships and friendship. Especially in regards to our history in this country as a people.

Did it turn out how you envisioned it?
Honestly it did, I only wish I'd have gone into more depth and been able to express some thoughts I left half spoken on. It turns out however some things I felt I didn't fully expound on turned into great conversation starters and sparked dialogue with people listening to it.



What were you listening to growing up?
I was listening to Christian radio and spanish christian radio, my mother is a strict pentecostal Puerto Rican mother. As soon as I got my hands on hip-hop in my teens my first albums were Arrested Development, Fugees The Score, Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes and Cru The Dirty 30.

You rock over maybe my favorite Flylo cut from Cosmogramma, did the beat inspire the rhymes? To your knowledge has he heard it?
The beat inspired me to dance. I wish they played more of that type of stuff in clubs. But really when I heard it it might've been one of the hottest tracks I've heard in a while and I knew nobody was really ready to rock on it but me. I don't know if FLYLO has heard it. I love that guys stuff but I get the impression that he's super selective with what he listens to. Maybe it got on his radar. I met him once, shortly after I rocked over one of his beats for my track "WinterFresh" and introduced myself, his eye widened in recognition and said "ah, wassup man". Could be he heard of me, could be I misinterpreted that.

In 2009 you and a bunch of others got the internet in a frenzy with the release of "Super Friends" - talk about the session or sessions behind the song? Will their ever be another cut or maybe more?
I don't know honestly. I helped organize that posse cut and I also leaked it to the blogs but the steam fell from it once the video director dropped the ball after shooting the video. It's not my song though, its from Chris Faust who used to rhyme under the name "Print". His project was called Comic Books and it was dope. If one of us blows up don't be surprised if that video magically re-surfaces. Everybody on that record is a dope emcee I've worked with. I don't know about doing another posse cut just yet though. I'm all for it, I'm just not gonna be the one to organize it.

How did you connect with DJ Spinna?
You know, for YEARS I wanted to work with DJ Spinna but couldn't somehow make that happen. It so happens Sucio Smash who runs High Water Music is good friends with DJ Spinna and linked us. It turns out we have similar tastes in sound and beats so it was a very natural process.

Talk about "Space x Time" from you, the emcee's, perspective...
"Space x Time" was fun to write because your mind reads "Space x Time" in a very science fiction-y way. But in relationships sometimes you need both space and you need time so the challenge really was to let the beat be space-y and synth-y and write about a relationship and time management. I'm NOTORIOUS for being LATE everywhere. TreZure the Empress who sang on that trakc came up with the idea. She's ILL.

Thanx (Fresh Daily) from Nicolas Heller on Vimeo.

Have you ever been to Seattle? Are you listening to any music, hip hop or otherwise, from our city?
I like the beat scene I was put up on by now defunct Seattle based blogsite-turned event FreshSelects. I believe producers DevonWHO and Hi-Res are from Seattle. I've never been. I'm dying to come out there though...somebody book me! I have a live show for yall!

Is there camaraderie among the young rising talent in NY?
Slightly. NYC has a history of being more competitive than helpful. Its a tiny city of over 8 million people all trying to succeed many of which are doing precisely the same thing. It's a situation that has sufficient pressure to create a competitive environment. There are some kindred advanced souls however that realize we can succeed together however and to those I salute.

Last Words? Advice? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
ADVICE: Humbleness counts. Be signature. Smile when you rap.
SHOUTOUTS: AOK, HIGH WATER MUSIC, Benamin, Pacool, Jinesis & A. Bell

---

Thanks to Fresh Daily for hitting me back with these responses, thanks to Benamin for doing the same and forwarding my questions to Fresh. Lastly a HUGE shout out to @ParkerJoe for hooking me up with Benamin to make this week happen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Paul White, Skeme, Jarv Dee & Ced Hughes: Catch Up

So many jams, so little time. I’ve got on some one's radar as a person blogging about the hippity hop that’s out here. You may have already seen some of these goodies, maybe you still need some convincing to press play.

Paul White has been making beats and capturing my ear briefly for the last few months. Getting in with Stones Throw is never a bad idea and for the latest volume of their stellar podcast series - number 62 for those counting - he delivers an awesome mix of his own production. It’s quick but you won’t be disappointed in the vibe throughout. Add to this a few verses from the likes of Guilty Simpson, Marv Won & Talib Kweli and you got a dope little modern beat generation mixtape. Download here.

The young emcee out of Inglewood that goes by Skeme apparently has seven mixtapes under his belt (time to do some Internet diggin) and is now delivering his latest project Pistols & Palm Trees which has quite a bit of hype behind it considering his lack of stature online. That being said he has production from current pop hit maker Boi-1da, and features from Dom Kennedy and Kendrick Lamar. I’m excited to give it a spin, if any of yall have let me know your thoughts on it! Downlaod it here.

Ced Hughes keeps dropping gems this time via a stray tune “Shoot Down The Stars” that may or may not be on his upcoming album One Day We’ll Wake Up. Over a bouncy beat produced by a cat out of Dallas who goes by PicnicTyme. Ced also wants people to know that the 10 piece wing dings at Food Lions are the business. Haha. Vibe to this yall!

Finally bringing it back home to wrap this little catch all post up, our Cloud brethren Jarv Dee dropped his first official single with “I Just Wanna” produced by Bladerunner. Also included in the zip is a remix by Mr. 10-4 Rog. If you aren’t hip to these individuals download it.

Nine "Make Or Take"


Late night blunt smoking music. Shouts to the guy 100proof.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

14KT "The Inside"


Catching up on some things from the inbox, caught wind of the guy 14KT dropping his first video for a tune off his The Golden Hour LP. This guy hails from Michigan and was down with the Athletic Mic League. What you know about that?!

A conversation with the Engineer: Benamin

A lot of people are involved in the creation of a record. Of course the artist and his guests, the producers to a lesser extent, are the stars of the show. They are far from where the process ends however. On Monday I ran a review of Fresh Daily's latest offering Mothership/Land and on Friday we will be hearing from the man himself. Today I want to shed some light on the guy who rarely gets the exposure yet puts in just as much work on a record: the engineer.

Towards the end of the summer Parker of SOTA took a little vacay out east to visit NYC, catch up with friends from college and just relax. Benamin was a peer of Parkers in school and while blowing some dutches in the Zoo it became clear to P that their was some music being made he wanted to see exposed in Seattle. Upon his return he hipped e to Fresh Daily's album. The rest could be called history I suppose. I chatted with Ben via email about what he does, his involvement in the project and more.

Introduce yourself? What do you do? How long have you been at it?
I’m Benamin, a music producer/engineer/mixer. I was born and raised in New York City on the Upper West Side. My passion in life has always been creating and sharing my creations with people. It began with visual art, but I quickly realized (at some point in high school) that my passion is more fulfilled by music.

I have been making music for about 8 years now, and actively working fulltime as a producer/engineer for 2 and a half years.

Was production on your mind prior taking on the technical side of recording?
Yes. I definitely was more in the creative side of music before discovering how music was even made. Prior to attending NYU where I studied recorded music, I had no idea about the world of engineering, mixing etc.

I began making beats when I was about 14 using garageband and quickly realized I was meant to be a producer. Then I learned about all of the other aspects of music production, aside from beat making, and realized it could be a real profession.

How did you and Fresh meet?
I was working on my capstone, thesis project at The Clive Davis Dept. of Recorded Music and was having a really hard time locking down rappers for an album I was trying to create, which I was to be produce, record and mix.

Most of the rappers I was trying to work with flaked on the studio time I booked at the state of the art studios we had at the school, and it became evident that finding an artist who is easy to work with is half of the battle.

I contacted a friend, Alice “Wonderland” Grandoit, of Homebase, because I knew she worked with a lot of rappers.

At the time she was managing Fresh. So I went to a show he had at the Blender Theater to check him out. He smashed the show and I thought he had great stage presence, he could definitely rap, and his image, (fresh streetwear, colorful style and what not) was strong. So I approached him after the show and said I was going to set up a meeting with Alice.

We met at the studio at my school and immediately hit it off. He was looking for production that happened to be the exact direction I was going with my music. Spacey, laid back, synthy, hard drums etc…

I played him a bunch of beats but it wasn’t until our first session, when I played him the beat for "Apollo 13" did he really realize that he wanted to work with me. From there we recorded the whole project “The Times E.P.” at the school and that became my Capstone/Thesis.

Having recorded Mothership/Land, what was your roll if any in the creative process w/ him?
Fresh would bring me a beat, that he may or may not have written to yet, but he would always have the song planned out to the t, making my job a lot easier in that I only had to translate his ideas to a recording. We would play the beat so he could run through the song a couple times (if he hadn’t written anything) and then would record whatever he had. He usually laid the verses in one take, rarely I would give some input and help him arrange the verse.

My input into the creative process really came with mixing and arranging the songs. Because I was responsible for the way the entire project sounded, Fresh and I would talk about the song structure and figure out the type of song is was. Usually with a stereo track of the beat I would do drops here and there to accentuate different lines or to differentiate hooks from verses. In mixing every song I tried to allow his voice to sit in the beat, adding delays in gaps and attempting to fully recreate his vision for the song through the sound of his voice, blended with all the ill beats he had lined up.

Talk about "Space x Time" from you, the producer's, perspective...
I made the beat using logic, it was one of the first beats I made using the software. I used my own drum sounds and first had the drum pattern to which I made a different beat completely. The next day I came back to the drums and added the wider synth pad. I gave fresh the beat and the next time he brought it to the studio he already had the concept/verses written. He explained the Trezure the Empress was going to drop by The Zoo (the recording studio in the Bronx where we recorded the entire project) to sing the hook.

She arrived before Fresh and we had some time to build/brainstorm. She wrote the hook and by the time Fresh arrived she was already recording. The key was mixing the many layers she added. She has a super dope style of using non-traditional, funky harmonies, which made her fun to work with.

Fresh’s verses were recorded soon after and we had the first mix finished by the end of the session.

Will you and Fresh be working on music for the foreseeable future?
ALMIGHTY! Is the name that we take on when we come together as the entity that will be bringing you new music soon!

We are working on a project which I will produce, with Fresh co-producing some tracks.

For the first song we have “Supreme Imperial” Fresh brought me an ill drum loop, which I proceeded to slow down, chop, sequence and then flip. I recorded some epic strings/synths over it and Fresh’s verses came the week after. It’s a smash, but we’re holding off on releasing it until things are more solidified.

Are you employed by a studio? Interning? Is it your own space?
The Zoo recording studio in the Bronx has become my home for the past few months. I recorded, mixed and mastered the entire project, Mothership/Land, there. The environment at this studio was one of the crucial factors that allowed us to finish this in a timely, yet creative manner.

Are you living off music related endeavors? If not, what is your day job?
Im doing music full time. However I work for a marketing company part time where I do everything from street promo to events. I find ways to make money, and will never settle for working an unfulfilling job out of fear that I cannot do what I am passionate about.

You went to college with Parker from SOTA, he keeping you hip to some sounds from out here in Seattle?
Yeah, he sent me the SOTA mixtape, which was really dope.. Since Sophomore year at NYU people were telling me about his beats. It was only closer to the end of the college experience did we meet and realize our common interests.

What's the hip hop vibe like in NY today?
Theres a lot of fucking music going on in NYC right now.

It feels like everyone and their mothers are starting a band and trying to be more different and cutting edge than the rest. There’s even more rappers than bands, but most of them will never get any exposure or recognition, partially because the majority of them are wack. But many of the dope people are underrated also. There is always hip hop shows to go to and it seems as though people are becoming more open to new sounds and innovations rather than expecting a uniform style/sound.

However, it is a very small few right now in NYC that are considered well known throughout various circles and many aren’t even from NYC. New York has always been the breeding ground for millions of emcees daily.

Last words? Shout outs? Advice? Rants?
Mothership/Land will be released in its album form soon and hopefully everyone will cop it to hear the new joints Fresh has sprinkled on as well as the original remixes of songs that initially had unoriginal beats.

There are also some doooope Mothership/Land t-shirts and custom flash drives available to cop designed by the man Fresh To The Every Day himself.

ALSO…

I have been consistently working on my own personal project for the past year or two, in between projects and thangs. It will feature songs I have composed entirely on my own as well as many songs that feature lyrics and various collaborations with other artists.

To anyone in Seattle, or reading this anywhere in the world, follow me TWITTER.COM/BENAMINMUSIC in order to stay updated on my latest music.

I feel a rush of creativity, of songs that have been in my head for months, that need to come out; of beats, drums, chord progressions that will be translated into the first music you will hear that is entirely my vision.

Just stay tuned, promise you won’t be disappointed.

---

Thanks to Benamin for the time, peep Mothership/Land here! Stay tuned for the final piece of this weeks Bandcamp investigation - an interview with Fresh Daily!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ski Beatz & The Senseis ft. Nesby Phips "Blue & Green"


ILL.

And apparently Ski has the rights to re-work Miles classics. I can't wait to see what else is cooked up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fresh Daily "Mothership/Land"

Hip Hop has been seeing a lot of changes and growth this year. The music has stayed flowing with a constant stream of free “mixtapes” being dropped online everyday. Fresh Daily is a young kid from Brooklyn who raps, and does it well. He dropped an album earlier this year called Mothership/Land. On the cover Fresh is their looking suspiciously like Afrika Bambaataa and the spacely feel that Bam so often infused into his early visions of Hip Hop music is here loud and clear.

“Space x Time” is a great tune that captures the dichotomy of time passing and how we choose to spend it. TreZure The Empress sings with an awesome voice the hook, contemplating what is a waste of time and what you as a person have to decide is important. Freshes verses will provoke you to consider that lateness you are running with today.

Elsewhere you will hear a cross between original production and some beats you might have heard before. Flying Lotus “Do The Astral Plane” is flipped into “AstralDance” fitting considering it’s the most dance friendly cut on all of Cosmogramma. If you aren’t familiar with FlyLo, do that. Fresh rides this beat of his to perfection, sounding crisper than ever and truely on his way to living his name should he consistently stay fucking with sounds like this.

The original production on the tape is nothing to bat an eye at. While he did choose to use a few others tracks, overall it’s all exclusive to this project and you will have plenty to digest. Like any NYC raised fan, there has to drums and Fresh doesn’t have an ear that appears to let him miss much. Tracks knock when need be, they float in the ether sometimes, and even feature the most aggressive duo’s vocals sampled over a beautifully subdued beat with a hook that says “Throw your guns up in the air.” Hearing it over the mellow soundscape makes me smile.

Electronic influences are obvious here, and help support the notion Hip Hop’s relationship shouldn’t be as fractured from the forward thinking producers of those styles. Both creators use the same or similar tools to make what they do. Hip Hop tends to be heavier on the drums and funky samples, while much of anything in the electronic realm will feature faster paced tunes that sometimes can feel hollow, sometimes full and mind bending and sometimes harder than the most grimiest of Primo bangers.

Lyrically Fresh covers a lot of ground here. Sometimes he gets lost in his abstractness but for the most part he is conveying passion. Feeling. His life put to ones and zeroes. He addresses love, only giving us a snippet but that two minutes of “Starshine” should be enough to have even LL Cool J approving. “Feel Me” is a powerful track about exactly that. He spits “They say Fresh how you feel man/I say with my fingers nigga whats the deal fam” which is the kind of real world slap in the face listeners need sometimes to feel.

I’ve been playing Mothership/Land for the last month off and on, digging deep, comprehending what he was getting at. I’m not one to say everything has a deeper meaning. You might find one in this album, I found some great rhymes that made me think about life, some beats that made me move and a young emcee who isn’t afraid of his own ideas. Get on board with this audio spaceship, expand your mind and listen to something that will remind you about what you’ve been missing yet also give you a sound unlike that which rappers have yet to truly explore.

Give the album a listen below and download it for free here!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Conmen: The Complete Series

Us here at MO are huge vinyl nerds. We also happen to love pretty much anything funky. Give us that swing and we won't deny it. Good music is what we love and Seattle always accommodates, be it via our huge array of talent across genres or the ever so deep crates our area record stores house just waiting for us to get our hands dusty looking for the right sound.

Two locals who have never ceased in their digging game and will always be held in high regard by vinyl connoisseurs worldwide are Jake One and Mr. Supreme. Supreme's history is long in this town, partnering with Sub Pop almost 20 years ago for Conception records. The run was short lived but through that he met a young kid named Jake One. They united as one for the Conmen starting in 1997 with their first tape Smooth Criminal Beat Breaks full of old records, some you've heard sampled years ago, some people still ain't hip to.

The songs don't stop though and the Conmen kept coming with it dropping a tape a year through 2001. Five volumes in all full of the funkiest breaks, smoothest grooves, and rarest of tunes. Don't even sample this!








So the covers aren't all the same size, the funk is all heavy and that's what matters! Download all the Conmen tapes now.

Vol. 1 - Smooth Criminal Beat Breaks
Vol. 2 - The Masters
Vol. 3 - Jelaous Toys Die
Vol. 4 - Veteranos
Vol. 5 - Don't Even Sample This

Saturday, October 16, 2010

#AlmostFamous w/ DJ Babu


The second edition of #AlmostFamous goes down tonight at HG Lodge and we aren't holding back one bit! We have the world famous DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples and the Beat Junkies coming through to play nothing but that good shit you probably won't be hearing at any other "clubs" around Seattle.

We are bringing it back to the basics and letting the DJ do what the DJ should do...read the crowd and play his shit! No b.s. just a good ol' fashioned dance party.

Come get wild and who knows, you might get your 15 minutes in before the end of the night!

Curren$y & Fiend "Flying Iron"


Loved this song when it dropped, Spitta and Fiend together is beautiful. All this talk of Pilot Talk 2, I want this shit to happen so much more. Don't forget Curren$y's roots.

Friday, October 15, 2010

1982: A conversation with Statik Selektah


Termanology and Statik Selektah came into the world in 1982 and both developed a love for Hip Hop. Their careers developed on their own but the connection never faltered. As Term climbed the ranks as an east coast emcee worth watching via sharp punchlines and vivid depictions of the ills society has to offer. Statik was busy impressing everyone with his monstrous beats that bring back to mind the days of old when NYC ran this rap game and boom bap was the name of the game.

Statik dropped his third solo album, 100 Proof: The Hangover, full of his production with verses from a who is who of the rap biz. Term makes a few appearances and has stayed on his mixtape hustle since the release of his debut album Politics as Usual. The time was finally right for them to do a collaborative project. But when you have history like these two, a love for the culture and skills to back it up you don't just throw something together. You join as one, they call it 1982.

I chatted with Statik Selektah this morning about the music, their history and some other things, check it.

Tell me about the album?
It’s about me and Term’s chemistry. We got an all star line up, but we wanted to take it back to what we grew up on, Black Moon, EPMD, dynamic duos of a producer and emcee.

When did you two meet for the first time?
1997 or 1998 north of Boston, 16 or 17 years old. I was DJin at a club Term would come rock the open mic, battling anyone.

So from the jump you two were collaborating on music?
We were just kids enjoying it. I started to take production more seriously, he started to do his thing rapping.

Term has said he feels Hip Hop is in desperate need for an album like this. What do you think he was getting at?
It comes together as one album, a whole vibe. Just bringing back that classic sound. That’s what i think he means.

You two have been playing a lot of dates building up to the release is there plans for a nation wide tour after the album drops featuring you two together?
Well we are kinda on one right now, we’ve been playing dates. And we'll be playing a few shows in New York, and hitting Salt Lake City, LA and Boston.

Tell me about the new mixtape series?
Taking it back to the streets. I’m partnering with a guy who gets all the dealers on the streets. But you go down the block and you don’t see any of the independent stuff. No Skyzoo’s, 1982’s, etc. I’m gonna bring the independent hip hop back to the streets. But mix it with the mainstream stuff.

Shopping a lot of beats?
I’m looking at probably about 40 songs in the next 6 months. Sheek Louch, Nore, Styles, Consequence, Evidence, Nas.

How did you hook up with Nas?
I DJ’d for him in Hawaii. I played him stuff and he picked the beat in the first 10 seconds. I don’t know what he’ll be putting out first, I got a couple with him.

Are you going out and digging some still?
Yeah I try. Don’t have a lot of time. Sunday afternoons. I’m pretty close to the LES so i can hit A1, Sound Library, check things out.

Got another solo record lined up for 2011?
Yeah. It’ll be all new cats. Freddie Gibbs. Mac Miller.

So you are watching the blog rappers?
Yeah, I’m always looking for the new cats. I was the first one to put Mac Miller out there putting him on the radio show.

What’s you favorite restaurant in Boston?
It always changes. Bill and Bobs roast beef, they make the best roast beef sandwich.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wizdom "The Washington Wizard"

I've never been too hip to Wizdom, what I'd heard was never anything that captured me. Swerve has always repped for dude and with the release of their tape The Washington Wizard I decided to sit down and really pay attention. It's good. He can be funny, he's always honest and he flows next to some of the towns best throughout the project. Download it here!

Meet Aleon Craft

ALEON CRAFT X INSIDE THE MUSIC X STANKONIA STUDIO 10.28.10 from Jeron Ward on Vimeo.

Hearing dude on the latest Nappy Roots album had be hooked, still need to peep out a project from dude but he is def an ATLien doing his thing, an artist on the verge. And he drops this cold 16 for y'all straight out of the legendary Stankonia studios where they are hosting a show! Let me just jet down to Atlanta real quick... Peace!

Teebs "Ardour" + Interview

Ardour is music to fly to. Music to ride the bus home late night with. It's music that has depth and feeling, doesn't overwhelm with power and intensity. Sometimes you need loud and in your face, but sometimes subtle is better. Take a track like "Lakeshore Ave." where all you got is a repeating loop, but it's beautiful and you don't mind listening to it fade in and out for a minute and fourty five seconds.

Teebs lived with Flying Lotus and Samiyam for a period of time. I can't even imagine what kind of devastating sounds you would hear on the daily being around those two. Teebs seems to have taken it his own way crafting distinct pieces of music that scream bright colors, kinda like much of the artwork I've seen by him.

Instrumental music is tricky to capture people with, some people have to have words. Some can hear words in the colors of sound. Teebs paints with a brush and he paints with his music. Ardour is epic and cool. Unlike anything I've heard all year. His crew stays elevating, why should he be any different.

Teebs will be rocking Neumos with GLK and Daedelus Wednesday the 20th. It's bound to be a night to remember. I recently chatted with Teebs via email, trying to get to know the man behind the art. Take what you will.

Who is Teebs? How long have you done what you do? What is that? Do you have a musical history or background?

Teebs would be me. I've been living for roughly 23 years now. Living. Besides listening to it, nope.

How old are you? Where did you grow up?

Few seconds older then before. Grew up in a number of places but I've been in Chino Hills for the longest now.

Do you create tunes expecting them to be used strictly as instrumentals? Do you want to work with vocalists? Emcees?

Yeah for the most part it's instrumental stuff. I'm always open to work with people if I find something I like in a voice or person.

Break down your history with Brainfeeder and Low End Theory?

Used to frequent Low End and then played it a few times. Kev is a great person and the whole Low End Family.

I joined brainfeeder in late 08 I think. Still happy and here today :)

Who were you listening to growing up? First record bought? Latest record bought?

Lots of people... My mother for one. First record wasss.... hmm some crappy indie band. I bought it for the cover and it was terrible. Last record wasss... Shuggie Otis maybe. I'm not too sure.

The first time I listened to Ardour it was on a late night bus ride home, it was pretty haunting and fit my mood perfectly. Do you make your tunes at any particular time of day or for a particular setting?

I usually start making my music in the morning when the sun comes up... Usually between 8am-12noon. And its rare that i start out with a mood in mind. Whatever comes out comes out.

I recently interviewed Kendrick Lamar who is a young emcee out of Compton. I asked him if he had heard of FlyLo, Low End Theory, etc, etc and he hadn't . Have you heard of him? I listen to much of the stuff from your camp in the same vein as hip hop, it seems like what emcees should be rapping on, to me. Is their an interest their for more collaboration or is it more self contained by choice?

Never heard of him but I think with every producer its different. If I happen to meet a great rapper to my ears and he likes my stuff I'll instantly work with him. I'm just not looking for it... to me its not a necessity.

What do you try to do with your live set to make it captivating for an audience?

Jump through hoops of fire.

Favorite book?

Don't have a favorite but I do enjoy this short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called Light is Like Water.

Can you talk about Dublab? What is your roll within the collective?

Dublab is amazing. A creative hub that streams so much good music its scary. I DJ for them, help with events, make art when they need it. It's a nonprofit so it's a very special thing we have here.

Are you rocking any music coming out of the northwest today?

At this very second no but there's a lot of great producers coming outta there. I've had moments hooked on things.

TEEBSmochilla.com



Teebs, Gaslamp Killer & Daedelus at Neumos October 20th. Ardour is out on the 18th. Cop it at the show!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Meet Oliver Day Soul


One of my favorite voice of 2009 is finally dropping a project! After singing on both Hudson Mohawke and Dam Funk's records I was scratching my head wondering who this guy was and where his album was. Well the EP drops Friday and it's produced by the MO homie Oddisee! You know it's gonna be hot.

La Melodia "Give It Up"


Just watched this for the first time, don't know anything about these two but the beat is seriously funky with a strong Dilla vibe hanging over it. I'm not mad at that. Based in Amsterdam the duo of I.N.T. on beats and MC Melodee have been working on their art for a decade. They got two albums out and if this video is any indication they aren't dropping out the game anytime soon. Find more about them here.

Shouts to Strange Fruit for the heads up!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ced Hughes "Vitals/Nitefalls"

Ced Hughes - Vitals / Nitefalls (Music Video) from Charley Feher on Vimeo.

Ced Hughes has been on my radar off and on for a minute. We did a phone interview a couple years ago that I lost the audio to before I could ever do anything with... #Fail. Earlier this year he dropped an EP rocking over beats from Butter the awesome debut from Hudson Mohawke. My love for the Beat shit coming from overseas and LA among other places stems from my love of Hip Hop. Hearing emcees finally getting busy on some tracks by the likes of Flying Lotus, Samiyam and HudMo is something that needs to happen more and more.

Ced dropped off these visuals to today, I got the mp3 from him as well. The first half is off an upcoming LP. The song is called "Vitals" get it here!

State of the Artist ft. Champagne Champagne "What You Asked For"

SOTA isn't slowing down one bit! With a free show popping off Thursday at Chop Suey with Mad Rad we all figured it was about time to give the people a third jam off Seattlecalifragalisticextrahelladopeness.

<a href="http://stateoftheartist.bandcamp.com/track/what-you-asked-for-ft-champagne-champagne">What You Asked For ft. Champagne Champagne by State Of The Artist</a>

Made in the middle of the recording process, this was the only song off the album I was in the studio to watch be made. Over a stellar beat from the LA based Ski Team SOTA and the Champagne gang let loose of some emotions about the weight of being honest with their fans and the effects it has.

Pearl had come through the lab days earlier and dropped his verse via his typical improvised writing in his head. I was walking up to Slap, Crackle and Pop just as Sir Thomas Grey did - you know we quickly got to blowing. TH were already chillin on the couch, Parker dropped the beat which Thomas had only heard Pearl speak on. A smirk came to his face as the wheels started creating.

One of my favorite observations from being there that day was seeing everyone's method of writing. Parker wrote in his phone, TH wrote on his laptop and Thomas relied on the old technology of pad and pen. Hyphen8d laid his verse down during another session.

Us at MO were hype on the track from jump. We all love Champagne Champagne and they gave us stellar verses once again. We didn't really know how Gajamagic was going to invovle himself in the collaboration but he asked for the song so we sent it along. What we got back blew our minds. Hearing his "solo" kick in at the start of Thomas' verse had us all with dropped jaws. The journey still wasn't complete.

One voice that hasn't gotten near enough public credit, engineer's never do, is the big homie Sebino in LA. Some may know him as D Mello. Mixing and mastering wasn't enough for them man, he used his own techniques and placed his production flourishes throughout the album. On "What You Asked For" he out did himself manipulating sounds and adding effects brilliantly. Gajamagic gave him a lot to work with and the result is stunning. Big ups to Sebino, Champange Champagne and of course them SOTA boys!

Download the track!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eighty4 Fly "1st Class in Fly World"

Eighty4 Fly isn't slowing down. As the Eighty4 Fly Project just starts to cool off, he comes back this time with a "mixtape" hosted by DJ B Mello. 1st Class in Fly World is for all intents an purposes a debut album that's mixed by a Northwest legend, can't be mad at that (maybe slightly mad at the drops, just sayin...).

This project continues what we saw with the EP, that is a voice from Seattle aiming squarely for the attention of the masses. His beats beg to be played in the club, his lyrics lack much substance - but believe they are delievered in excellent style and he is never short a clever couplet.

What emcee do you know is going to do an entire song with his vocals screwed? Eighty4 Fly does it on "Break Lights to great results. Over a beat that is subtley hypnotic he tells a story about late night partying. This is a common topic. That and weed smoking. Ladies are mentioned more than a few times too. Overall Eigthy4 Fly shows he is about having a good time and if you can't get with that get out of his way.

Spac3man shows up on "The Fly" and continues to hold the crown of best guest emcee in the town. While I'm tempted to give his tape a listen off the strength of the new video I'm not quite there, this might be the incentive i need. Anyway he does his thing here, but Fly isn't to be forgotten as he sounds pretty clean over this sparse beat.

Elsewhere we hear beat selections from Eighty4 that show he has a precise sound he is looking for. A sound influenced as much by the tradition of Hip Hop as it is his own desire for something a little spacely. Some tracks have a full sound with lots of instruments, some are bare. Most are cause for celebration and smiles, a few might make your flight just a bit more elevated.

After years of listening to Seattle hip hop that always felt distinctly Seattle it's exciting to hear artists from the town making tracks that just scream "play me." The EP worked at showing some diversity from Eigthy4 Fly, the tape is more one minded but we all need something to spark up too thats knocking.

Download 1st Class in Fly World here!

He couldn't hold onto this jam! "Like Planes" finally has a home with the release of this album, why not bring the video back.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wiz Khalifa "Black & Yellow"



When it dropped Swerve told me he saw what Wiz was doing, I think i do too today. It's growing on me. I'll always love the blunt smoking young Wiz. Best believe our conversation next week is gonna be one to remember.

Freddie Hubbard "Open Sesame"

When I was back in the 308 I discovered a lot of music. Some of it was Jazz, some was Funk, some was Hip Hop. My Sunday mornings almost always were spent flying high through the bins of one of the many record shops on the Hill - Capitol Hill to anyone confused, I’ve learned it’s not universal.

The bins more often than not had some CTI gems in them and being a beginner that was something I looked for religiously. Hell I’ll still pull any CTI jawn out and give it a thorough examination, consideration. But consideration is the name of all my diggin these days. I’m spending more time trying to excavate the crates of my own that I recently was reacquainted with anyway to go and buy out EM’s dollar bin - although I’m certain a find or two is waiting.

A name that I got stuck on quick when devouring Creed Taylor’s productions was Freddie Hubbard. First Light was my introduction to him and I was hooked. Playing trumpet with ease and grace, I enjoyed his classic style that only hinted at his free jazz exposure via Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane among others.

Windjammer was one of the few releases by him I ever picked up that wasn’t on CTI, of course it’s a latter day record that remains funky featuring some nice spacey synths that really kind of make you feel like flying through wind. His Blue Note work, like mosts, is hard to find. The label that produced more classics than I can count can’t stay on the shelf. Reissues sure, but I’m talking about that vintage, smells like the sixties black piece of wax with the classic label and beautiful design work. Everything about Blue Note screams CLASS.

Open Sesame is awesome. Playing it on this Sunday morning I’ve been entranced. It’s Hubbard’s debut, he was 22. The band is tight! They keep the groove and play together beautifully. McCoy Tyner is here on keys doing what he does best, his playing is always so pronounced. Listen to him with Coltrane, here or on his solo jams and he is always moving. Sometimes he plays it loud, somtimes he lets the keys just float underneath it all. I’m sure this was all part of the composition but 50 years after the fact I can’t help but be enchanted by it.

This album can’t really be praised enough. If you love jazz you have probably heard it already. I’m certainly sleeping just hearing it now, but hey it’s here today and in my ears. Get it in yours one day.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Starlito Loves You

In March I got hip to a guy named Starlito aka All Star, I wrote about his then new tape at the time - read it here. Renaissance Gangster will not be forgotten anytime soon, it's certain to be on my top 10 list for the year. But right now I'm here to drop another tape on you from the man. If you have been able to lay off the Peanut Butter crack or it wasn't your cup of tea here's a nice alternative. It too can prove to be good atmospherics for your weekend, if your days off consist of smoking the finest of ganja's and rolling it in tobacco leaves. Haha. I'm just playing, Startlito is much more accessible than that!

Hailing from Nashville, this one time Cash Money signee raps with a distinct southern drawl spitting slow and precise. He is very clever, often making me laugh. Just as often he provokes some deep thought. He disguises intelligence under a veil of gangster swagger. This isn't to say he hasn't been influenced by his surroundings. On the contrary it seems that he is taking the Nas route a step further having participated in some things and now advising those like him how to avoid the trap.

I was gonna write some more, but it's Star's music I'm trying to convince you on. I let him tell you how it is:
I'm a bad muthafucka by design
And by the dollar sign I will go Columbine
I apologize no cause I'm not a mime
A lot of times my rhymes make me seem out my mind
I gotta get out and get it that's right I gotta grind
Gotta problem with you must don't got a problem damn
I'm such a gangsta that I don't do dirt in front of people
So like my bitch when your alone I might just come to see you
I fill my tank with unleaded and my lungs with diesel
Eleven times out of ten I'm doin something illegal
Wake up to breakfast and a blunt and for lunch that's equal
I follow Kingdom Come I used to bump the prelude
Niggas beats is bangin but their lyrics still don't do it
Stuck on stupid we're stuck on singing
Is that artistic or audio autism what world do yall live in
The music I vibe to isn't all rhythm
Isn't it all sing and dance
I'm sorry children
Yall keep buying into it yall trippin
I got so cold from being left in the cold i'm frostbitten
Luckily I ball space jam Jordans like I'm takin some time off pippen
Pissing you off faster than a over active bladder
I'm just a hustler turned over active rapper
We decided to say fuck you when you thought you mattered
So I went back to pitchin 8 balls like I walked two batters
I caught you thought this all for rappers
Recycling my shit in such awkward patterns
please stop it... I beg of you...
you know you get kicked out of school for plagarism
Yeah. He makes it sound effortless. Download the damn tape, Live From the Back of the Class!