"What is Volcanic Sunlight? Revolution. The rise of the underground." Saul Williams
Multi-talented artist, musician, influential poet, and award-winning screenwriter/actor, Saul Williams will occupy all streets November 11, 2011 with the release of his fourth album, Volcanic Sunlight. Volcanic Sunlight is a luminous turning point for his unique and artistic career, and a new chapter in his musical journey. Recorded in Paris (Williams' newfound home), and produced by Renaud Letang (Feist, Manu Chao), Volcanic Sunlight is an eclectic album blending electronic, hip hop, and rock elements. In 13 tracks, Saul Williams gathered all of his energies and has created his brightest, most rhythmic and danceable opus yet.
Saul Williams' open-mic escapades with the Nuyorican Poets peaked at Sundance when Slam won the Grand Jury Prize, and the art world celebrated the arrival of a whole new kind of talent. Volcanic Sunlight sees the breathless-spat attacks of his early slam poetry reduced to the exultation he was always chasing. He maintains his ferocity and ups the percussion, while losing the frown. Williams has also dropped his trademark verbal traffic jams in favor of more concise emotional outbursts. "There is a lot of fun to be had when you try and fit as many words as you can within a three-minute song," he recently told Dazed Magazine, "but there is also a lot of fun in trying to get that message across in three words, or better yet when the music can overpower the words and convey something really pure and perfect...It's as simple as wanting to lift the spirits."
Saul Williams has bounced from Morehouse philosophy scholar to cerebral street sermonizer to breakout indie actor, from hallucinatory hip-hop alchemist to dreadlocked mohawk rockstar, vibing Nine Inch Nails, scurrying across tones, modes and media to defy categorization. He has read published-poetry volumes to opera house audiences with full orchestral backing. He has contributed to the New York Times, and voiced Jean Michel Basquiat in Downtown 81. His early success led to collaborations with the likes of Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots and Zack De La Rocha and he has cut records with Rick Rubin and Trent Reznor. Throughout all these chaotic ventures, Saul Williams has been one steady thing: an uncompromising voice determined to tap the adrenaline center of his existence with any tool he can get his hands on.
Representing quite a substantial fan base around the world, Saul Williams is currently touring in Europe with dates in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Lithuania, Netherlands and France. The US will discover him on stage soon, with a line up designed to highlight all the different aspects of Saul's talented personality.
1 Look To The Sun 2 Patience Album 3 Explain My Heart 4 Triumph 5 Diagram 6 Girls On Saturn 7 Give It Up Album 8 Dance 9 Volcanic Sunlight 10 Rocket 11 Fall Up 12 Innocence 13 New Day 14 Dance (King Britt Remix)
The Raw is back! Babygrande Records presents the lead single, "Get Yours" from M.O.P. & Snowgoons upcoming LP, "Sparta," which will be released on 11-22-2011.
Hailing from Brownsville, Brooklyn, Billy Danze and Lil Fame have solidified their reputation as iconic lyricists through their years of hard-hitting rhymes and unparalleled tenacity. Never compromising their style and having shared the mic with industry greats such as Jay-Z, Jadakiss, Styles P, Guru, ODB, Busta Rhymes, and Redman, just to name a few, the duo has rightfully earned its status as one of the most revered acts in hip-hop today.
In Late July 2011, Billy Danze took to Conspiracy Worldwide Radio to break the news that M.O.P.'s upcoming LP would be a collaborative effort with German & Danish production team, the Snowgoons. Speaking on the album, Danze said, "[Snowgoons] just sent us some fire…those dudes are incredible…when you hear this project, you're going to be satisfied as an M.O.P. fan and a Snowgoons fan." Ensuring fans around the world that this will be one of their most diverse sounding albums, the Mash Out Posse member went on to praise the Snowgoons, proclaiming, "they've got everything…they're blazing through and coming from different angles. These guys providing us with that dramatic sound, with those theatrical sounds, with that hard hip-hop…they supplied us with everything. I'm really psyched about this project." Further, listeners can prepare for what Danze and Lil' Fame consider "their best project in 10 years."
Now that tour is slowing down, this leaves time for more updates, and of course, more music.. We're in the final stretch, and many of you know that I have some musical projects coming up after, with the first being "Mega Ran 10."
(under 20 more copies of that available, btw)
BUT, do you remember that I'll be dropping an album with my homie Mr. Miranda, called The Memorandum?
"Planet Silk" is a tribute to the smooth, flashy styles of some of our favorite artists, from Big Daddy Kane to Camp Lo and beyond. It's produced by AZ's own Mute, and has scratches from the great DJ LES735.
The Memorandum album will release on December 20! so get yo' preorder on!
Block Starz Music recording artist and YouTube sensation Lega-C remakes Kanye West and Jay-Z fourth single, "Ni**as In Paris", from their collaboration album "Watch The Throne". This freestyle remix is the first in a series of ten YouTube clips from Lega-C's new video mixtape "Who Got Tha Heater?". A new video clip and free audio MP3 download will be released each Monday at www.blockstarzmusic.com from now until the end of the 2011.
Sunday, Oct. 30th come thru the Vibe in Riverside, CA to catch a rare I.E. performance by Los Angeles' own Sahtyre. He'll be joined by some of the Inland Empire's dopest local acts in CafexGutz, Skeem Price and J. Rebbell in the 3rd Annual "Villains Night" at the Common Ground hosted by Noa James, Curtiss King, and BrickToYaFace.com. The event is 18+ and it's only $5 at the door so stop being cheap and slide through. Check out the event on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=220672547998469 .
Drumma Boy in Studio with T.I., B.o.B, Jeezy, Trey Songz, Waka Flocka, Wiz Khalifa & More
Courtesy Helio PR.
Named by USA Today, NY Times, Billboard and VIBE as one of the hottest beat makers in the South, multi-platinum Grammy nominated producer Drumma Boy receives accolades at 2011 BET Awards & BET Hip Hop Awards for his platinum selling #1 charting single "No Hands" (Waka Flocka, Roscoe Dash & Wale) and new records for T.I, B.o.B, Nelly, Jeezy, Ludacris, Waka Flocka, Trey Songz, Wiz Khalifa, Johnta Austin and more.
(Los Angeles, California – October 24, 2011) The past three years marked some of Drumma Boy's most significant accomplishments to date. His production work was nominated at the 2009 and 2011 Grammy Awards, he was hailed #2 Producer of the Year in Billboard Magazine, nominated for "Producer of the Year" at the 2010 BET Hip Hop Awards and 2008 Ozone Awards while taking home the accolade for "Producer of the Year" consecutively at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Southern Entertainment Awards.
Drumma Boy merges his unique musical influences ranging from German composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach to Jazz icons Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis all the way to Academy Award winning Three 6 Mafia and Scarface, combining classical chords with urban street sounds to create an ingenuity worthy enough for The New York Times to name him one of the four hottest producers "driving the city" in Atlanta, describing his sound as "a busy bee swarm of synths overlaid with brash bass injections that's equal parts Memphis and Atlanta."
This past year Drumma Boy provided Waka Flocka with the monstrous thumping beat that would engender the chart topping single "No Hands" featuring Roscoe Dash and Wale with the latter even going so far as to shout out the Memphis native, "Drumma on the beat let me take my time." Drumma's reputation for transforming and sequencing sounds into the musical archives of classic hip hop tunes has made him an alchemist of sorts. "No Hands" reached #1 on the Billboard Rap Songs Chart and #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Charts, while peaking at #13 on Billboard Hot 100 Charts and receiving 40 million Youtube views to date. The single has since been certified as Gold by the RIAA and received over one million internet downloads. The song was nominated as "Best Collaboration" at the 2011 BET Awards alongside tracks from B.o.B, Chris Brown, Rihanna and Kanye West.
Receiving song shout outs has become commonplace for the self described "Conductor." In 2009 Canadian newcomer Drake opted to use the producer's status as inspiration to urge women to dance, "Get to shakin' something cuz that's what Drumma produced it for." The track was "Money to Blow" off Birdman's fourth studio album Pricele$$ also featuring Lil Wayne which blazed the internet, landing at #2 on the Billboard Rap Songs and Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. With 20 million Youtube views and peaking at #26 on Billboard's Hot 100 it has become the Cash Money Co-Founders most successful track as a lead artist to date.
In 2008 Drumma Boy teamed up with Atlanta superstar T.I. on his 2x platinum selling Grammy nominated album Paper Trail, boasting the tracks "Ready for Whatever," "You Ain't Missing Nothing," "My Life, Your Entertainment" and the hit single "What Up, What's Haapnin" which went on to assist in making the project T.I's most successful of all time. His midas touch continued pushing thru the award show circuit with Young Jeezy's platinum selling "Put On," an anthem for city patriots and appeal for economic change featuring the auto-tune vanguard himself Kanye West. The song hit #1 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop charts, racked up 4 million Youtube views, garnered a 2009 Grammy nomination for "Best Performance by Rap Duo" and an accolade at the 2009 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award.
Recently Drumma Boy's repertoire has diversified even more with hands in everything from Reggae to R&B. His musical dexterity has given rise to distinctive music for Damian & Stephen Marley ("On de Grind"), Wiz Khalifa ("Slow Grind"), Ciara ("We Can Get it On"), Plies ("Lose My Mind"), Kandi Burruss ("Fly Above"), Goapele ("Right Here") and R&B heartthrob Usher Raymond ("Stranger") while current 2011 hits include Gucci Mane f/ Birdman ("Mouth Full of Gold"), Tinie Tempah ("Till I'm Gone"), Wiz Khalifa ("Phone Numbers"), Rocko ("Goin Steady") and DJ Drama f/ Roscoe Dash, Fabolous & Wiz Khalifa ("Oh My")
You can look forward to hearing new beats from Drumma Boy on forthcoming albums from T.I, Nelly, Wiz Khalifa, B.o.B (Strange Clouds), Trey Songz (Chapter 5), Waka Flocka (Triple F Life: Friends, Fans and Family), Ludacris (1.21 Gigawatts), Young Jeezy (Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition), Rick Ross (God Forgives, I Don't), Johnta Austin (Love, Sex & Religion), Rocko (One on One), Goapele (Break of Dawn) Yo Gotti (Live from the Kitchen) and DJ Drama (Third Power) to name a few.
"Long-time Yonkers, New York artist David Styles, better known as Styles P, knows more than what it means to be an emcee. After all it would be hard to have a 15+ year rap career without at least knowing one or two things about what it takes to be a "Master of Ceremonies." For the man of many monikers (Holiday Styles, S.P. and The Ghost among them) those things can be boiled down to two essential qualities: keep putting out product constantly, and always keep your core fanbase happy. The latter means a Styles P album/mixtape has a few consistent themes each time: I ride a lot, I smoke a lot, and I don't mess with people who aren't as G as me. The former means despite only having four official studio albums, the last of which was "Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman)," you can hear a new S.P. LP every year. 2011 means it's time for The Ghost to materialize in a studio and lay down something his label E1 Music can press, shrinkwrap and ship to stores worldwide. "Master of Ceremonies" is the results of those efforts, a 12 song album coming in just about 90 seconds short of 45 minutes total. That might lead some wary consumers to complain that he and his D-Block affiliates have dropped longer mixtapes, but there's a quality difference here which can be bottom lined as "you get what you pay for." You can have a free download any time you want, but can you have a free track produced by Pete Rock with guest vocals by Pharoahe Monch? Not likely. Songs like "Children" prove a studio album was worth the wait."
Abstrakt Soundz :: When Hip Hop Was Fresh :: Bandcamp as reviewed by Matthew 'Matt G' Gutwillig
"Though 1990's rap music did not necessarily share the same critical acclaim in comparison to the golden era of the previous decade, it nonetheless contributed highly to the popularity of hip-hop culture today. A few artists like The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Nas and groups like Outkast are in many hip-hop aficionados list of top 10 greatest of all time. Prominent rappers from this age were able to carefully balance complex lyrics along with commercial sensibilities in a manner that catapulted the art form to new heights. With the release of his new mixtape "When Hip Hop Was Fresh," producer Abstrakt Soundz of Custom Made celebrates 1990's hip-hop culture by remixing 11 popular tracks (with the exception of De La Soul's "Oooh.") from that decade. Boldly the California-based producer chose to remix songs that for the most part define the various artists and groups. Listening to the tracks in a new light is a very tough task while trying to understand how the interpretation of the song may work (or not) for a particular song. Tunes like the Abstrakt remake of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy," O.C.'s "Time's Up" and Skee-Lo's "I Wish" are very effective since the producer approaches these songs in original ways, while staying true to 1990's hip-hop style. For example, "Juicy" incorporates a classic boom-bap sound along with a cleverly flipped soul vocal sample that may not have the same commercial appeal of the funky original, but illustrates Biggie's rags-to-riches story just as well."
"The liner notes to Backburner's new album are probably the funniest hip-hop liner notes ever: "Dozens of albums have been released by groups and individuals flying the Backburner flag, and the dream has always been to squeeze our enormous personalities back into one tight package, and blast that package into space like Zod and that chick and the big dude in Superman II.
Heatwave: Fourteen tracks, sixteen rappers, seven producers, and one DJ. Even these liner notes are the most amazing liner notes of all time, and the CD itself is made of a radioactive compound that reverses aging and improves sexual confidence by up to a factor of nine. So basically I hope you like getting your face melted off." "Heatwave" may not be the most amazing album of all time, but it is definitely comes close to living up to its tongue-in-cheek hype. With sixteen rappers and seven producers, there are some 1,792 combinations Backburner could take at any given time. So it's not a total surprise that they don't always hit sonic paydirt, but they strike gold more often than not. On "Lifers," Chokeules, More Or Les, Timbuktu and Wordburgler trade rhymes over a funky break curated by Timbuktu. "
"I don't want to describe the Northwest Hip-hop scene as "burgeoning" or "growing". It's true that the Northwest hasn't contributed a superstar name to the rap game since Sir Mix-a-Lot, but it's a scene that has been grinding and putting in work for the past few decades. Enter Cool Nutz, who has been putting pestle to the mortar for Northwest Hip-hop for close to two decades. If there's anything I learned about the Northwest, many of its people have a fierce pride in independent development. Things are to be done their way and grow with their people. It's pretty similar to Cool Nutz's game plan in Hip-hop, to put the Northwest on his back and showcase it to the rest of the world. The title of Cool Nutz's album could refer to a couple things. "The Cook Up" could refer to the traditional street terminology of making crack rock from coke and baking soda. "The Cook Up" could be a metaphor for the well-simmered mixture of mostly Portland-origin producers and guest rappers. The culinary symbolism could be furthered as a sign of Cool Nutz's 20 years of marinating in the game. "The Cook Up" is a culmination of all these things. It's a street record that places as much emphasis on gangsta shit as it does with putting Portland on the map, and Cool Nutz's flow and delivery definitely show a seasoned approach in creating a rap record in today's Hip-hop market. "
DJ Concept :: M99: Dexter Beat Tape :: Bandcamp/The Bash Brothers as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"His name might be Concept but the meaning behind this album is not too complex. In fact there's no disguising or hiding it - we're celebrating fictional serial killer Dexter Morgan on this one. Now if you haven't followed the show and/or don't have a subscription to Showtime, don't worry, there's only one key thing you need to know for this review. Our producer slash DJ may not have made the concept complex, but that doesn't mean our protagonist Dexter is a simple man. In fact as TV characters go he may be the epitome of complicated, ranking right up there with Dr. House, and not entirely dissimilar in their sociopathic and self-centered tendencies. Dexter believes he kills for a cause, and justifies his bloodlust by the wickedness of those who he knocks off. Now you're screaming "House doesn't take lives, he saves them!" You'd be wrong. House saves those he deems WORTHY of being saved, but his moral compass allows him to turn a blind eye as his subordinates kill an African dictator "for the greater good," then participate in a cover-up after the fact. In each case, the character portrayed has what can ultimately (but perhaps somewhat too easily) be called a "God complex," that they are endowed with the inalienable right to decide who should live and who must die. "
"While not the most original of concepts, using the instrumentals of a well known producer to showcase your own skills in the vocal booth is a method that has and will continue to get rappers over. It happens on mixtapes all the time but for this outing, Austin via Virginia Beach MC Ced Hughes has cherry picked a handful of the beats from RJD2's most recent offering, "The Colossus", to pay tribute to the former Def Jux man while hopefully making a little noise for himself. This EP serves as both an introduction and a reintroduction for myself. I, like most, am more than familiar with the work of RJD2; former member of MHz and now with four solo albums to his name, he is one of hip-hop's most recognised beatsmiths. I fell in love with his debut, "Deadringer" and it still gets plenty of play although I've not really given his following albums the listening time that they deserve. In fact "The Colossus" only lasted two or three spins before it found itself gathering dust next to several other forgotten albums. I have to hold my hands up and say that I know very little about the rapper on display here. I tried to do a little research on Ced Hughes but Google was giving very little away except his twitter account, his area of residence and his website where you can help yourself to free downloads for all of his releases. Since I can't give you too much information on the man, I guess I'd better get down to the music. "
"For those not in the know, Lowkey (real name: Kareem Dennis) is the infamous 25-year-old rapper from London, of English and Iraqi descent. He's packed a lot into that quarter of a century, and has built up an impressive head of steam going into the release of his sophomore album, "Soundtrack to the Struggle" - the buzz in the UK is simply deafening, and he's not even signed to an established label. It would also appear that the timing is dead-on, for Low's rhymes are heavily slanted towards political activism, shining a light on the dark factual underbelly of the superpowers and governments who are, from his point of view, effectively riding roughshod over the majority of the world. Think the London riots, think Occupy Wall Street, think the backlash against bankers with the backdrop of recession. His words couldn't have been more better timed, as he speaks fearlessly upon any subject matter he wishes to address. STTS is twenty-six tracks long and clocks in at over ninety-five minutes long - let's just rewrite that numerically, in case the impact was dulled… That's 26 tracks and over 95 minutes long. So it would be fair to assume that he's got a lot to say, and even the six skits included are carefully chosen - in fact, he may even have written certain songs based on some of the skits themselves (perhaps "The Butterfly Effect" was sparked off by "Skit 6"). Throughout the album, Lowkey's aim is to make you think, spark you into action and reframe your seemingly cast-iron definition of who the "bad guy" is. "
"They waste more time debating what the nature OF Hell is in one skit than most philosophy students would in an entire semester, but I digress. The Devil/Mr. Chandler/Killian gives our hero Chris Ward one chance to escape his fate, and that's to be a contestant on an overbooked game show called G.T.F.O. that makes "The Running Man" feel small by comparison. There's just over hour's worth of material on all three EP's combined, and the skits take up an excruciating half hour total. At the end of "Part Three," when announcer George Lowe promises an "exciting new episode" next time, I really can't think of anything I would rather tune in for less (except Tim & Eric's Awesome Show). The saving grace of any of these short releases is the actual songs by Mr. Ward, and thankfully this third installment has four. Like the other volumes, the songs here are produced by Andrew Futral, who understands the need to give this squeaky voiced rapper his own distinct sound rather than try to fit him a traditional boom bap mold. Songs like "Hipster Hunter" work as a result as they reference hip-hop traditions and styles, while simultaneously poking fun at himself, yet still maintaining a strong flow. "
"In a day and age where hip-hop is overpopulated with a slew of online mixtape releases and digital albums, it is becoming harder and harder for aspiring emcees without a big label backing them to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack. One can argue that this is due to the lack of promotion that underground rap receives, but the truth remains that, save for a handful of artists who are able to bring something fresh to the table, there are simply too many emcees claiming to be original that are in fact recycling the same lyrical subject matter. Thus, I was skeptical when I learned that "Rule By Decree" featured Mikey Mo the MC rapping about "the present conditions of society and the struggling economy," as detailed in the promotional release for the album. With so many other rappers also choosing to tackle the same issues, I wondered whether Mikey Mo would be able to add anything to the mix. After a quick intro track, the album starts off with Mikey Mo establishing himself as the "Hood Politician," representing the people and serving up tales of the street life. Unfortunately, a foreboding set of piano keys and creeping violin strings are plagued by a stale drum loop and unoriginal lyrics from Mikey Mo, and I feared that my initial suspicions were correct. "
Rekstizzy :: Fake It Till You Naked :: Bandcamp as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Newcomer Rekstizzy is counting on making a statement with the artwork of his album before you even hear the statements on his album. While in the old days that would work to his detriment on "Fake It Till You Naked," given the modern era of digital distribution he might do just fine. Many people will only look at that hairy photo only once for about five seconds when they get the download then completely do away with it. I'll go one further - you know that Biz Markie service they keep advertising on TV to tune up your iTunes playlist and fill in missing song names and cover art? Nobody's going to use it for this one. In fact if you like use the alternate cover I created for this review if you download his album - it comes from his official press kit. Nonetheless I applaud the artistic statement he chose to make even if I don't find it aesthetically pleasing. The music of "Fake It Till You Naked" is much easier to appreciate. The album is an East to West collaboration, pairing Queens native Stizzy (whom we'll refer to that way to avoid confusion with Boston rapper Reks) with California producer YoungHoon Beats. I confess complete ignorance of either one before being sent this project, but quickly found myself drawn into Stizzy's absurd world. Try to picture the self-confident pimp swagger of J-Zone meeting the laid back stoner humor of Harold & Kumar and then taking an Alkaholik left turn, and you're pretty close to getting the steezo of Stizzy."
"Not shy about styling himself as a hip-hop renaissance man, Sean Toure' is described as "emcee/producer/musician" in his official bio. If you were to swap "musician" for "deejay" he could even bill himself as a "triple threat" a la J-Live. His bio further goes on to state that from his earliest days breakdancing on the streets of Baltimore, "Sean has quickly developed a reputation as one of Baltimore's and underground hip-hop's best [artists]." As a wise man once said though, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If the man who states he's shared the stage with everyone from Little Brother to A Tribe Called Quest is that ill, his album "Soundchanneler, The Invisible Man" will be that proof. One thing is certain - "Soundchanneler" is not an insubstantial album. The pre-release copy I received comes in just under the standard limit for a CD at normal compression rates, meaning it's almost 74 minutes long. Since there are only 17 songs, that means some of them are quite long as well, with 8 clocking in at over 4 minutes and half again of those being over 5. There's also no shortage of guest stars to be found on "Soundchanneler." In fact songs WITHOUT a guest are the exception rather than the rule, making Toure's album more of a compilation and less of a solo project. The only songs that don't bill a guest of any kind are "For the..." at #2, "Hustle and Grind" at #8 and "Keep It Simple" at #15. There are some pretty notable names among the homies that check in: J. Sands is on "That's Not Me," yU cools down "In the Heat of the Night" and both Ab-Rock and Kev Brown are on "A Day in the Life." "