Jedi Mind Tricks Frontman Vinnie Paz Debuts New Video
First Music Video from Solo Debut, Season of the Assassin, due out June 22 Summer In-Stores and Tour Dates
With a career that has spanned almost two decades, co-founding the legendary Jedi Mind Tricks as well as East Coast indie supergroup Army of the Pharaohs, underground MC Vinnie Paz is venturing out on his own with a solo debut, Season of the Assassin, due June 22nd on Enemy Soil.
Aside from being in true lyrical form on Season of the Assassin, Vin has enlisted the help of a virtual who's who of artists and producers. Emcee's such as Beanie Sigel, Clipse, Freeway, Paul Wall, ILL Bill, and R.A. the Rugged Man all lend verses to Paz's solo debut. Production credits go to such legendary beatmakers as, DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill/Soul Assassins), Madlib, Lord Finesse (D.I.T.C.), Da Beatminerz, Lil’ Fame (M.O.P.), MoSS, 4th Disciple (Wu-Tang), Bronze Nazareth (Wu-Tang), JMT’s own DJ Kwestion, Shuko and more.
Vinnie unleashed the first video, “Keep Movin’ On” featuring Shara Worden, this morning on his official website, www.jmthiphop.com. The video is directed by Joe Frantz, producer and cinematographer behind Jackass and MTV’s Viva La Bam, and features cameos by Philadelphia icon Tony Luke Jr (of “The Nail” and “Invincible”) and Scott Vogel (lead singer of hardcore band Terror).
Vinnie will join Jedi Mind Tricks on the Rock the Bells tour this summer and will sign autographs at three in-stores during the week of release. Season of the Assassin is available for pre-order on iTunes now.
Metermaids' Second Single Off HELLO Uses Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" For Inspiration
Releasing the second single off their mixtape, HELLO, Metermaids, brings another indie rock remix that reworks the original with DJ Rob Swift and producer, Matt Stine. Taking Grizzly Bear's hit, "Two Weeks", Swell and Sentence of Metermaids again add their own twist, crafting an original concept, new lyrics, and a new melody utilizing piano and vocal chops from Grizzly Bear's catchy original into their own "Yellow Tape".
Expanding creatively, Metermaids have changed the message of the song from the original. Taking the perspective of a police officer at a crime scene, the "Yellow Tape" represents a line of uncertainty. "The song is about not knowing what is going on when everyone else thinks that you do," says Swell, one half of Metermaids. "None of us know what's going to happen." Even though there are apparent differences, the remix still holds the original's chorus and melody under the layers of beats and turntables, doused with a rougher finish courtesy of the track's heavy drums and Sentence's and Swell's back-and-forth rhyme style.
HELLO, mixed by DJ Rob Swift, will be out June 22nd. Metermaids Rooftop Shake, produced entirely by 9th Wonder, will be available this fall.
Hailing from New York City, Metermaids are Swell and Sentence, two emcees who met through the local underground hip-hop scene in 2006. After releasing their debut EP the same year, the duo toured with the likes of Brand Nubian, Atmosphere, Sage Francis, Fabulous, Lady Bug Mecca (Digable Planets), The Lox, and Camp Lo. After this extensive and impressive tour, the duo released their first full-length effort in 2008 entitled Nightlife, exemplifying their choice to create a new sound in crossover music, blending indie rock with hip-hop. The release was followed up with the EP Nightlife In Illinoise. Never resting, that EP was followed with their "Turn The Lights Out" video which quickly became an internet sensation. The follow-up, the critically acclaimed Smash Smash Bang EP earned the group immense industry support, and the interest of top hip-hop producers including 9th Wonder. The band's music is available for free at the group's official website.
Time again for some hot music from Midwest rap sensation Smokes aka Mr. Asian Pride who teamed up with Philly rapper Tone Trump for the track "Dollaz" -- available for download now -- brought to you by Smokes' label Imperial Music Group. Also, be on the lookout for Smokes' brand new video "Closer" featuring Oscar-winning Hip-Hop group Three 6 Mafia -- coming soon!
SMOKES BIOGRAPHY With the current development of Hip-Hop turning to the Midwest region, one rapper by the name of Smokes aka Mr. Asian Pride will for sure stand out from the talented crowd of rap artists from the Midwest.
Smokes was born in Pusan, South Korea, but currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where he is crafting his lyrical skills and musical force on a daily basis with the goal to become the next Asian rap star in the country.
The Korean-bred MC is a witty, multi-talented, and passion-filled force ready to take the industry by storm. Smokes stands to show and prove that race and/or location are irrelevant as long as you have will and determination.
"I think it's all about the passion and drive more so then the location. But if you didn't know, Wisconsin goes hard!” says Smokes, who has already performed alongside Hip-Hop heavyweights such as Lil Wayne, Petey Pablo, Young Buck, Redman, Ying Yang Twins, Three 6 Mafia, and Twista.
Smokes decided that he wanted to create music for a broad audience with no boundaries. His plan is to take his sound and his music all across the world. "I want to be an internationally superstar, of course I want state success but my goal is be universal and to be able to play anywhere in the world and get the same love I do here."
The first step was to reach out to all the Asian ethnicities that populate America. "My 'Asian Pride' movement is based around pride. I am Korean but to the average Joe for all they know I am Chinese or Japanese. See, we Asians have our own personal conflicts between other Asian cultures, you have Hmong people battling with Laotians, you have Cambodians fighting with Chinese and at the end of the day it seems so unimportant in the bigger scheme of life. At the end of the day we all are just Asian immigrants in America. My belief is we can put all our personal beefs aside and unite as group, and in doing so we can show the world we are a force. Asian people are beautiful and we can’t change our skin color or our eyes, but we can offer you beautiful culture and greats minds. To me 'Asian Pride' is a room full of Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Cambodian and all races coming together and uniting under one umbrella and showing the world that we are here and we are proud!”
"I'm in a lane by myself finding a niche in a market that is untapped and has potential to dominate the modern day music industry. There are millions of Asian-Americans that love Hip-Hop and have no one to look up to or admire, and I'm going to be their voice box," proclaims Smokes.
Smokes has developed his talent amidst many obstacles in his life. He has endured such pain as losing his mother and surviving a devastating car accident, but he has assembled a total package of musical genius, magnetic charisma, and business acumen over the years.
The future looks bright for the charismatic Wisconsin MC so be on the look out for Smokes aka Mr. Asian Pride!
"So to "Thank Me Later" – the confidently titled "debut" album from Canadian star in the making, Drake. The voices in my head whisper that he blatantly wasn't unsigned and "So Far Gone" was really just an elaborate marketing coup. He was already in bed with Cash Money and well on his way to making it. The uber-cynics would state that his lack of street-cred forced a complex bullshit back-story to be created, in order to distract everyone and let them focus on music. Either way, TML is a clear continuation from his first effort, and the first three songs are designed to lead you from that to this. (Before we get to the music, however, a small caveat: I couldn't give a flyer if Drake is black, white, mixed race, Christian, Jewish, Canadian, rich, poor, ghetto, suburban or – apparently worst of all – a former child TV star. He deserves to be judged by his musical contribution.) "
"So without further adieu it's time for the five track "Summertime Madness" EP, or if you prefer maxi-single, although there was a time when those two terms were almost interchangeable. There's enough variety on this release that I'd be willing to consider it an EP, though it would be on the shorter side of that already short format. The album purports to feature a variety of NSD affiliates - Donnie Darko, Hue Hef and Jim Snooka. Before getting in on the song I'd like to say something about rap names in 2010 - stop borrowing from pop culture and Hollywood movies already! "
The Dove Shack :: This Is the Shack :: G-Funk/Def Jam Records ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Pete T.
"An often cited example of Def Jam's inadequacies is the label's utter failure to successfully promote West Coast artists. Established and headquartered in New York, Def Jam has always been an East Coast brand, and throughout its history its most bankable stars have been from the five boroughs—household names such as LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Cam'Ron, Ja Rule, and Onyx. With the rise of young superstars such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and 2Pac in the mid-1990s, however, Def Jam watched the national spotlight shift to the West Coast and a new generation of gangsta rappers. While they may have been a little slow to the trigger initially, the label scored a surprise multi-platinum hit in 1994 with Warren G's "Regulate…G-Funk Era" and proceeded to move in on other respected acts from across California. What followed is still a matter of debate."
"Within the first seconds of "Clock Catcher," the first song on "Cosmogramma," it's evident that beatmaker/composer/spaceman Flying Lotus (Stephen Ellison to his mom and dad) has left the boundaries of instrumental hip hop. The song sounds like Super Mario powering up while a Middle-Eastern orchestra tunes up in the background, all accompanied by harpist Rebekah Raff. It's trippy, it's disorienting, and it's amazing. If Ellison was referencing hip hop on his last album, 2008's "Los Angeles," he is using jazz as his blueprint on "Cosmogramma." That's not just because his cousin Ravi Coltrane plays sax on the album, or because he references Sun Ra on "Arkestry." "Cosmogramma" is full of an intricate, controlled chaos that reminds the listener of Charles Mingus's adventurous compositions like "Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.""
"Being a fan of bay area gangsta rap in Texas, it wasn't easy trying to figure out when the latest indie release was dropping. I remember unsuccessfully trying to find a place to purchase Herm's albums in the late 1990s, only to be asked "Did you mean Herbaliser?" I did not mean Herbaliser and the resentment lead me to ignore the British production duo out of spite. Not until "Herbal Tonic," the group's greatest hits CD, can I say I am familiar with more than their name. Shame on me, really. It wasn't the duo's fault their British label had more internet presence than Herm's bay area outfit. Hindsight also tells me that those Herm CDs really weren't worth all that trouble. "
"Music that veers towards the abstract and philosophical is difficult to create, let alone make relatable. Kristoff Krane does this well on the title track. I pulled a clear message of hope and optimism from the track, though the track was still open for other interpretations. Krane successfully replicates the same effect on the bulk of the album. "Brighter Side" could be interpreted as promoting optimism and individuality. It could equally be seen as a pessimistic criticism of societal norms. The duality exhibit by Krane on each track is the album's appeal. At its heart, it really does feel Krane set out to make an uplifting, thought provoking album. Yet, Krane's natural cynicism and skepticism still shine through enough to give the music a touch of reality and humanity. "
"Yeaaaaaah! Following a short intro, "Crunk Rock" kicks off with "Throw It Up Part 2 (Remix)" which features Pastor Troy and Waka Flocka Flame, and the Soulja Boy-featuring "G Walk". These songs seem to fit right in along the lines of what I've come to expect from a Lil Jon album: deep bass, hand claps, lots of adlibs, etc. I was thrown for a bit of a loop on the Drumma Boy-produced "On De Grind". It features appearances from Stephen & Damian Marley and a toned-down (as toned-down as possible, rather) version of Lil Jon that dares to be...lyrical"
"For the most part, it's standard hip hop about driving fast in cars, getting high, getting drunk in clubs, and being a badass. Mopacino is a big, mean-looking dude, so I'm not questioning his badassness, but it's not that interesting to hear him rap about. His delivery doesn't always help. He has a slow, lazy flow, as if his vocals were being screwed and chopped or he had chugged a whole gallon of syrup. More often than not he sounds bored, as if he couldn't be bothered to bring any enthusiasm to his delivery, or any more creativity to his rhymes beyond "I'm the shit/and the toilet's broken." "
"Resilient Windy City native Pugs Atomz is back again - back from a recent European tour with DJ Vadim and back in record stores with a brand new LP entitled "Kinda Like a Rapper." The title is a curiosity we'll address in a minute but even more curious is the fact this time Pugs Atomz has a partner in crime by the name of Grant Parks. Parks doesn't have his partner's reputation as an up and coming rap spitter but he does have a who's who list of rappers he's produced beat for - A.G., Grand Puba, KRS-One, Sadat X and Twista among others. Working with one producer often adds a quality and consistency to albums, along with allowing an emcee to focus on his writtens instead of where the next beat is coming from, so in theory this move can only make Pugs even better. "
"If you were getting the impression there's a high level of testosterone to "El Che" you're not mistaken. Rhymefest trains like a UFC fighter on the plucky strings of "One Arm Push Up," noting he came from a "little crib, one room" but came so far through hard work he's got "one life limitless, one chance, gimme this." The single syllable flow of "Last Night" punctuates some very Kanye-esque samples as Che tries to put a night of debauchery together like a puzzle with a whole bunch of pieces missing. "Don't mix Red Bull wit'cho pills, you'll be seein purple trails/like mixing Henny and gin, you won't remember a thing." Always good advice. One might suspect "How High" is more of the same, but it's actually the verbal and musical high of recording with Little Brother and Darien Brockington on a track that reverberates with guitar rock and horny horn soul. "
"It's not just that a greater percentage of his new album features rap guest stars - last time 28% counting an iTunes bonus track, and this time 45% even before any iTunes extras are available. The promo copy on my desk now includes the hit single "I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)" featuring Birdman, Jay Sean and Lil Wayne along with "You Make the Rain Fall" featuring Flo Rida, "Spit in Your Face" with Wayne and two tracks featuring Three 6 Mafia. It's on the latter songs that Rudolf's transformation is evident - while he's still a singer through and through he's borrowed successfully from the swagger of his labelmates and developed a harder attitude and sound."
Z-Ro :: Look What You Did to Me :: Fisherboy Records ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Pete T.
"Although the latter could certainly be cited as a mere chronological extension of the former, Houston's Z-Ro seems to have the best of both worlds, fitting seamlessly into both categories. Often likened to Scarface for his haunting narratives, inimitable soul, and glimpses of a conscience beneath his stone-cold demeanor, he is himself a disciple of the late DJ Screw and puts on for the extended Screwed Up Click as loudly and proudly as any. Z-Ro has a massive discography, and the lack of literature on it can make it almost impossible to distinguish between albums, mixtapes, compilations, and unauthorized releases—picking up a random Z-Ro record can be a perplexing experience because you never know what you're going to get."
The podcast schedule is picking up on RapReviews as The Adam B Experience will alternate every two weeks with a brand new show - Subways & Sidewalks from Jeep Ward a/k/a DJ Halo! On his first show for RR his in studio guest is a hip-hop artist known simply as Plus. Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check out all the shows on RapReviews.com!
* Plus – Fully Loaded * DJ Ayer ft. GLC – Got Me Gone Udachi Remix * MURS & 9th Wonder – The Problem Is * Various Artists – Crowd Control Anthem * Diamond District – The PJs Remix * Bisco Smith - Morning Breath * Folk & Stress ft. GZA – New York Ginseng * Plus – Risky Business * Iron Lyon ft. Sean Price & Monsta X – On Mission * Caspa – Marmite * Donnis – Gone DJ Craze Dookie Mix * Roll Deep – Good Time * Plus – Preacher Skit * Plus – Born Again
Every Sunday at 9:30 PM EST we air a live new edition of Hip-Hop Shop on BlogTalkRadio like the one you're about to hear - Episode #78 - But Not at 78 RPM! The new ish just keeps on coming this week from old school favorites like Greg Nice to cutting edge ones like Random, with some Arsun F!st and Raekwon all up in the mix too. Send all feedback on the show to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and remember to share the show with a friend and tell them to check out the replay every Tuesday on RapReviews.com!
RJD2 Offers Deluxe Pre-Order Packages of Inversions Of The Colossus
June 22nd, 2010
Following on the success of The Colossus, producer/DJ/instrumentalist extraordinaire RJD2 returns with Inversions of the Colossus, a companion piece of its own unique nature. The “instrumental” album is a time-honored tradition in hip-hop that RJD2 has taken advantage of whenever possible (without an instrumental version of “Magnificent City”, there would be no MAD MEN theme!) However, in classic RJ fashion, he decided to create Inversions with a new twist on the idea: in essence, all 7 of the vocal songs on The Colossus appear here sans vocals. The remainder of the album is made up of 7 brand new songs, so it’s 14 tracks in all! Ranging from banging dancefloor funk to extreme psychedelia, it follows a similar “no format” approach as The Colossus did. Whatever you want to call it, it’s definitely yet another solid collection of classic RJD2.
Like he did for The Colossus, RJD2 launched a new web store today which includes pre-orders of several different exclusive packages of The Colossus. Fans can now head over to RJ’s website to purchase one of five bundles, all of which include an immediate download of the track “The Perfect Occasion.” The cheapest offering is a $9.99 digital album which comes in DRM-free 320kbps or FLAC format, with the next tier being a CD/digi package for $15.99, then a double vinyl LP and digital album for $19.99, and for $69.99 the Deluxe Package will get you CD/vinyl/digital along with an exclusive Colossus hoodie. (The hoodie can be added to any of the packages for an additional $30.00.) There’s even a Super Mondo Deluxe Limited Edition package which includes the Inversions Deluxe Package, The Colossus Deluxe package, the 2002-2010 vinyl box set and a whole lot more. That one will set you back about $186.98 though, so proceed with caution. Check out the official RJD2 store for complete details on all of the packages.
Go to RJD2’s web store to purchase an Exclusive Pre-Order package of Inversions Of The Colossus [RJ’s Electrical Connections] and get a free download of “The Perfect Occasion”:
Peace party people! I know i been M.I.A. the last couple weeks, ironically during the release of my latest project Forever Famicom, but to answer the #1 question i been getting aside from "Where the F@$% are my CDs K-Murdock?!?", i am indeed alive... and actually at the tail end of relocating my studio and, subsequently, the base operations for Neosonic Productions. I'll post up pics of the new layout for "Studio Champloo" right after i get back from rockin' LA with the homie Random next week during the E3 Expo! Details on where to see/hear Forever FamicomLIVE can be found over @ Random's site.
Above, i jokingly alluded to the fact that i have been SUPER LATE on fulfilling your merch orders, BUT its only because i been in transition. Please rest assured that i'll be putting my newly purchased electronic scale and printer to use this weekend, and i will literally need a dump truck to mail out all these CDs & Tees you all have ordered the last few weeks... btw- THANK YOU ALL FOR THE BUSINESS... makes an indie artist like me proud to call you all fans ;) ALSO, for my Kickstarter backers, i got an update on the 12 Step Programcampaign coming Monday... just bare with me and thank you all for not cursing me out... too bad.
I'll be blogging/streaming along with Ran from E3 next week, and things will be slowly getting back to normal for me post-Father's Day, which means i can get back to doing what i love most- making new music!