It's the 2010 Super *BLEEP* edition of Hip-Hop Shop. Super what? You know, that big game that only comes around once every twelve months, an athletic contest pitting two teams named after animals against each other - like Rams, Colts, Bears, you know that sort of thing. If you're tired of listening to the same old you know WHO, then crank this up and get with the brand new! You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about sponsoring the show. Hip-Hop Shop features podsafe music, so give a copy to your friends and tell them to check us out every week at RapReviews.com!
* Bekay f/ Push! Montana, Sha Stimuli - Brooklyn Bridge Pt. II * Diamond District - Who I Be (Marco Polo Remix) * Oddisee - Chicago * Wordsmith - Slanguistics * Shady Nate f/ E Da Sanga - Planes Trains & Automobiles * DaVinci - It's On Me * Magr Blu - Laminated Looseleafs (Small Pro Remix)
It should come as no surprise that more and more artists and record labels are embracing the iPhone and iPod Touch as a new means of marketing themselves to today's generation of heads who are either covertly or overtly electronic geeks. In December we took a look at the Delicious Vinyl DJ application, and now to kick off February 2010 we're taking a look at the RJD2 Mix application to see whether or not it's something you'll want to throw down $2.99 for!
RJD2 Mix is a bit obtuse at the start, as you're offered the screen pictured at the right with no explanation what you should do next. Fortunately it's a loading screen so if you simply do nothing a menu pops up with one big blue button in the middle that says Start To Mix, and well below it you are offered three other non-game options: RJD2 on Twitter, RJD2 on iTunes and More Touch Mix - the latter being a whole series of iPhone app made by Future Audio Workshop similar to this one. In the press release accompanying this game FAW says that "RJD2's iPhone remix app finally (gives) fans and tinkerers alike the chance to experience a bit of what it sounded like in RJ's studio as he worked on upcoming LP The Colossus." That's a bit daunting given RJ has to have tens of thousands of dollars of equipment in his studio - how could a $2.99 touch screen app possibly even come close to reproducing that?
The bad news is there's no chance in hell you're going to get that kind of value out of this release - the good news is that you're certainly getting well more than $2.99. RJD2 has pre-loaded this app with five different tracks from his catalogue, ranging from "Iced Lightning" off "Since We Last Spoke" to "Ghostwriter" off "Deadringer," stripped to their instrumental essence and conveniently chaptered into sections that start at each break. Your touch screen essentially functions like two 1200's and a fader, with a stripped down MPC to add in effects. It takes a little getting used to going back and forth between the "A" side and the "B" side, but this was a necessary and honestly clever way of getting around not being able to display both tracks at once even though both are playing at once. Oh and don't worry - the songs RJ and FAW selected are BPM matched already. There's no need to work the variable pitch control - not that there is one to work mind you. They had to simplify things a little for the non-DJ's out there. There's a short demo video below showcases how all these elements are operated during actual gameplay, although with more proficiency than I managed during this review (practice will make perfect).
One of the most innovative features of the app is the MPC effect slider can also be operated using your iDevice's built in level sensor. Push down with your finger on the "tilt" button and simply turn your wrist one way or the other to produce the modification. This might look totally ridiculous in public, but if you're jamming to the game walking around your home there's no reason not to give this a try instead of having to have one finger on the screen at all times. Then again you might want to because there's one other thing the demo video really doesn't show off - you can actually scratch the beats by moving your finger up and down the track. Unfortunately since you can't manipulate the fader and the record at the same time (I need one hand to hold my iTouch and the other to play) you really are going to lose something in translation compared to standing in the booth as a DJ, not to mention the whole "A" side and "B" side means you can't "look" at both records at the same time even though you can hear both and fade between them. There are also times the app randomly just won't let you scratch, and even reloading the records into your virtual turntables won't give you control back.
Overall these are minor gripes given how much fun it is to manipulate the instrumentals of an eccentric (and sometimes reluctant) hip-hop producer like Ramble John 'RJD2' Krohn, and the surprisingly deep amount of features that they managed to squeeze into the tiny amount of space there is to work with on the screen. Even though I think the iPad is an overpriced and gimmicky tablet computer, I have to admit I imagined how much more fun this application could be on it, with an almost lifesized turntable spinning under each hand and a full array of MPC effects at your command. In a way this takes the DJ Hero concept and gives it a (no pun intended) really clever spin, because instead of trying to recreate somebody else's mix to score arbitrary points, it's an open-ended experience you control to create your own - you "win" when it sounds good. For $2.99 it's really hard to go wrong with this app.
* Design: 7.5 out of 10 * Replay: 8.5 out of 10 * Overall: 8 out of 10
"It is difficult to determine Themselves' target audience. On the one hand, their atypical style is a deliberate critique of traditional rap. As such, it is near impossible to appreciate Doseone and Jel, the MC and producer comprising Themselves, unless one has a deep appreciation for rap in the first place. On the other hand, if one truly loves rap for what it is, then something this far outside of the norm loses its appeal. Thus, this Anticon duo fills a strange niche; to consider Themselves innovative, you can't appreciate their innovations. "
"The production is strong throughout, Producers BMoC, Arsenic T. Larsen, Dmitry Killstorm, ECID Nineteen80three, Kattrah Quey, Spanphly, Orikal, and Vividend all contribute beats to the album. I was surprised to see so many different producers in the credits because all of the songs have a similar jazzy feel to them. Listening more closely you can hear that Arsenic's beats are both built around guitar lines and Katrah-Quey's beats both lean in an R&B direction, but the songs all work well together. It's a good sign for hip hop when you can have seven unknown producers on an album and all of them are making above-average beats. Their beats are the real strength of the album, carrying Analyrical's rhymes over fourteen tracks. "
Busta Rhymes :: E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event) :: Flipmode Records/Elektra Records ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace
"Remember Y2K? I think most of our readers are old enough to recall the frenzy that most of the world was in at that time. The entire planet seemed to be up in arms about an impending doom that so many had predicted would come down on the world. There were tons of films and television shows that raked in tons of earnings by playing the "world's gonna end" card, but in the world of music, no one did it better than Busta Rhymes. This may be due to the fact that he had a bit of a head start on everyone else. His solo debut "The Coming" was released in 1996. He then followed with "When Disaster Strikes" in 1997. By the time 1998 began to wind down, the rest of the world had hopped on the train to inevitable demise. "
DJ Signify :: Of Cities :: Bully Records as reviewed by Patrick Taylor
""Of Cities" by Brooklyn producer DJ Signify came out last year at this time, but I only heard about a few weeks ago from one of the many year-end lists floating around the web. I not only slept on his last album, I've slept on his entire career. It's not entirely my fault, however. There's not exactly a wealth of information about him on the Internet. His Wikipedia entry is two sentences ("DJ Signify is a hip hop producer from New York City. He is a member of the 1200 Hobos") and a discography that only goes up to 2005. He has a blog at djsignify.blogspot.com, but it hasn't been updated since October 2007, and his website, www.djsignify.net, is just a promo page for his record, with links to his Myspace page, which is also several years out of date, and his record label. "
"Loose Logic is not to be confused with underground rapper and one-time Demigodz member Louis Logic. In fact they couldn't be more opposite geographically OR stylistically as Loose Logic hails from Los Angeles and cites Snoop Dogg and DJ Quik as his influences, while his similarly named East coast counterpart sat at the learning tree of Vinnie Paz (Jedi Mind Tricks) to develop his distinctive style and flow. Aside from the obvious differences, there's also an important one - Loose Logic has a new album out right now, while Louis Logic was last seen as part of the Spork Kills' "Beaches Love Us" EP in 2008. The metallic musical mashup got Louis some notice for creativity, but in terms of straight up rap music, Loose Logic may just steal his name and his spot on "Logistics." He's even brought back a blast from the past in the form of iconic Death Row rapper RBX on the track "Turn to Dust": "
"Mowgli brings the same mysteriousness to the lyrical content of his debut album "93," an album that has been a long time in the works, being a mixture of tracks the British emcee recorded between 2005 and 2009. Throughout the length of "93," he spits without seeming to take a breath and delivers, in his own words, "speckles of gold action packed with meaning." The results are long chains of images hooked loosely together in stream-of-consciousness rhymes, with Mowgli supplying his visions at such a rapid clip that he often does not even bother to speak in complete sentences. In "Splinter," Mowgli jumps from one idea to the next, leaving a dense spider-web of symbolism. "
Red Pill :: Please Tip Your Driver :: Red Pill Rap as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes? You already know how to do it - you take the red pill. If you were born yesterday this might not make sense, so without trying to steal Laurence Fishburne's shine, here's a brief synopsis for the know-nots: the life you're living may be an illusion you're not even aware of. In the blockbuster science film "The Matrix" the protagonist Neo has two choices - take the blue pill and accept the illusion, or take the red and dissolve the illusion to discover reality. East Lansing, Michigan native Red Pill is already awake and holds no illusions about the real world - he delivers sandwiches by day and struggles as a rap artist by night. "Please Tip Your Driver" isn't just the title of his album, it's his advice to hungry Michigan State students getting their footlong subs from him - don't be a cheapass. "
"With apologies to MC Requiem, this review was cursed. We assigned this album out several times for coverage and each time there was a snafu with getting it back for one reason or another. Requiem politely but passionately asked that RR write up this review before the end of January if at all possible, and personally provided me with a digital copy to replace the physical CD that had long since been lost. It's hard to say no when someone's been both that nice and that persistent, so I've taken up the torch of getting this long overdue review done myself so Req can catch wreck. That said Requiem's treatment shouldn't be considered "favorable" per se given there are some things about "Grassroots Anarchy" that are immediately accessible, and some that will stump even the most diehard of Aussie hip-hop fans outside of Australia. "
"Here's what we do know about Evan Roberts - he's a singer and songwriter from Orlando, Florida. He gained some degree of fame and notoriety for his contributions to the Birdman song "Written On Her" featuring Jay Sean and Mack Maine. Had the song not become a single he might have remained in relative obscurity, because "Written On Her" was only included on the deluxe edition of Birdman's last album. Since the song's success he has parlayed his fame into launching his own career as a singer, culminating in the "Outta Here" EP featuring production from Oddz.N.Endz (who produced "Written On Her") and Starkiller, along with cameo appearances from Ya Boy, Cory Gunz and DJ Khaled. "
Sadat X :: Wild Cowboys :: Loud Records ** RapReviews "Back to the Lab" series ** as reviewed by Matt Jost
"With the exception of early '90s Tommy Boy recording artist Apache, however, black rappers didn't identify with Native Americans to the point where they would have made certain characteristics part of their image. There's Cesar Comanche, but his identification pretty much ends with the name. I'd wager that as an icon, the cowboy left a bigger mark on traditional rap music than the red man, Redman the rapper notwithstanding. Maybe that's a reflection of cowboys being more present in the country's collective consciousness, maybe it's because rappers like to carry guns, too. And let's not forget Mario van Peebles' 'The Posse,' which pretty much legitimized the idea of black cowboys, translated to rap by Tragedy's theme song for the film, "The Posse (Shoot 'Em Up)." "
Diamond District - "Who I Be" - Marco Polo Remix + European Tour Dates
Diamond District's debut In The Ruff made huge waves last year - ending up on countless year-end lists including heavyweight websites KevinNottingham.com, PopMatters.com, and more, and also continued the avalanche of well-deserved attention to the previously underrated DMV hip-hop scene. Considering the impact that the album made, remixes of some of the cuts were inevitable. A reworking of "I Mean Business" by yU (1/3 of Diamond District) surfaced in late December, and now, Canadian producer Marco Polo, who contributed tracks to Masta Ace's A Long Hot Summer, Sadat X's Black October and various Boot Camp Clik projects, including his own Double Barrel project with Torae, is the latest to add new flavor to one of the tracks - reworking one of the album's top songs, "Who I Be."
In addition to getting the track out early for fans, Marco Polo's "Who I Be" Remix will be appearing on Mello Music Group's Diamond District Remixes album, as well as Duck Down Records' The Stupendous Adventures Of Marco Polo. Even before hearing the track, the pairing of Marco Polo's patented boom bap with Diamond District's own break beat heavy sound is a logical match. Marco Polo's new flavor is apparent right out of the box, as he drops the low end and adds a serving of catchy keys that give the song a fresh and more bouncy feel. On enlisting Marco Polo for the remix, Mello Music Group founder and Director of Operations, Michael Tolle, says, "Given the success of In The Ruff, we wanted to keep the remixes in a few select hands. Oddisee reached out to Marco on the strength of his Double Barrel release with Torae. and Marco came thru with a big radio friendly remix that made fresh use of the original ODB sample." Keeping the remixes in ready supply, in the coming weeks fans can also expect a remix of "Streets Won't Let Me Chill" by Detroit's own Apollo Brown.
In other news, Diamond District, along with label mate Trek Life, will be making their way across seas for a series of European tour dates in the coming weeks. Kicking off the 10-date tour February 11th in Mainz, Germany, Diamond District will also be making stops in Belgium, France, Italy, and more before closing things out February 27th back in Germany at club Kassablanca in the city of Jena.
European Tour Dates:
Thursday, Feb 11 - Red Cat - Mainz, Germany Friday, Feb 12th - Blue Funk District - Brussels, Belgium Saturday, Feb 13th - Skaters Palace - Munster, Germany Monday, Feb 15th - La Bellevoise - Paris, France Thursday, Feb 18th - Kapu - Linz, Austria Friday, Feb 19th - Acrobax - Roma, Italy Saturday, Feb 20th - Paci Paciana - Bergamo, Italy Wednesday, Feb 24th - Halleo2 - Heidelberg, Germany Friday, Feb 26th - Bohannon - Berlin, Germany Saturday, Feb 27th - Kassablanca - Jena, Germany
The group Diamond District is comprised of emcee/producer Oddisee, and emcees X.O. and YU. Greatly influenced by their surroundings and love for 90's east coast hip-hop, Diamond District is on a mission to bring back the sounds of old with a new twist and represent for the DMV. X.O. who was born & raised in the North West quarter of D.C. defines what it is to be a black male raised in the district. With lyrics that depict street life and harsh surroundings, X.O. has a way of philosophizing that raw, gutter reality of DC life that is rarely looked at or spoken about when we discuss our nation's capitol. Oddisee defines the experience of growing up in black middle class Maryland. Bordering the poverty that his and many other families fled to escape, they found out over time that the troubles of the inner city came along with them. Oddisee’s soulful, haunting samples over bass-heavy beat breaks create the perfect instrumentals for Diamond District to match the street savvy, politically conscious lyrics that capture the dynamic of being from the DMV. Y.U., having been raised in the district, Maryland & Virginia, brings that extra variety to the group and shows that D.C. culture has a huge influence beyond its 10 mile radius. Being that YU has lived in all areas of the DMV, his lyrics and stories compliment the rest of the group and define what it means to be from the DMV. In The Ruff, is available now via Mello Music Group.
About Mello Music Group:
Like Lao Tzu in hip-hop, Mello Music Group provides music for the soul, from the heart of American culture, opening the realm of the intelligent hip-hop experience through melodic evocations, beats that corroborate the truth, and voices that roar above the rising void and impose order on the terrible & triumphant moments of everyday life. This is the compelling sound of Mello Music Group. Industry newcomer Michael Tolle founded MMG in 2007 and is acting Director of Operations. MMG will be releasing projects from Oddisee, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Kenn Starr, Finale, Trek Life, Dudley Perkins, Sareem Poems, and YU in 2010. http://www.myspace.com/mellomusicgroup .
New York Rock/Rap Group Shinobi Ninja Attacks Stale Music-Biz Models with New iPhone Video Game App
“Shinobi Ninja Attacks” video game drives deeper fan engagement, with free music downloads, videos, merchandise;
Smartphone GPS capability to locate concertgoers who have installed the app, so they can be rewarded with more free music and other promotion
NEW YORK, NY, February 1, 2010 – New York City-based independent rock/rap group Shinobi Ninja, today introduced their first music-focused gaming app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Part cartoon video game, part music video, and part music/video player, “Brooklyn to Babylon: Shinobi Ninja Attacks!” integrates digital music and video into a classic eight-bit video-game environment. Players get immersed in the band’s imagined cartoon world and are rewarded for playing with free music downloads, music videos, and promotional merchandise.
In a first for music and gaming iPhone apps, “Shinobi Ninja Attacks” also leverages smartphone GPS tracking capability at concerts to locate and reward fans who have installed the app. A “lite” version is available free from the App Store on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; the fully loaded retail version sells for $3.99, but through February 4, 2010, the retail version will sell for just $0.99.
“We had already built up a formidable Web presence, using Twitter and other social media; so to get to the next level with the band, we knew we had to vault over the cutting edge and just start hitting people over the head with a retro-animated beat-‘em-up iPhone app,” said Stephen Sternschein, Shinobi Ninja’s manager and the game’s co-creator. “It’s a whole new way to introduce people to Shinobi Ninja, and to drive deeper fan engagement with our music.”
“Shinobi Ninja Attacks” -- The Convergence of Music, Video Games, Videos with Real World GPS Interaction
Within the virtual world of the “Shinobi Ninja Attacks” game, players choose a Shinobi Ninja band member as their avatars. As Shinobi Ninja’s music plays in the background, “Shinobi Ninja Attacks” players fight their way through the streets of Brooklyn to the L-Train, until they eventually reach the mythical Club Babylon. Along the way players beat up evil hipsters, knock down douchebags from the Jersey Shore, and subdue angry subway riders, as they earn points and treasure.
The game comes pre-loaded with four Shinobi Ninja music tracks and two music videos that can be unlocked for free, as gamers reach higher levels within the game. “Shinobi Ninja Attacks” also rewards fans for making the real world journey to a Shinobi Ninja show. The app uses smartphone GPS capability to locate concertgoers who have installed the app, so they can be further rewarded over-the-air (OTA) with more free music and other promotions. According to bandleader and game co-creator Dave Machinist, “the app helps us monetize our music and hook in fans live at our gigs; plus, it keeps them engaged, listening to our music and playing in our imagined virtual world when we’re not around.”
Innovating the Digital Music Business Model; Applauded at CES
“‘Shinobi Ninja Attacks’ replaces the tangible experience people used to have opening a record sleeve or CD jewel case, poring over the liner notes, and looking over the artwork while listening to the music play,” Sternschein said. “It harkens back to recorded music’s glory days, because it helps music fans recover something that was lost with digital music -- the ability to interact physically with the music product itself.”
As interactive multimedia experiences become the norm, music fans are beginning to listen more with their eyes. Shinobi Ninja’s coordinated and immersive use of music, video, video games, and mobile technology was highlighted at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in a presentation given by The NPD Group’s, Russ Crupnick. According to Crupnick, “Shinobi Ninja was able to integrate all of the elements in terms of the music experience, in terms of engagement, in terms of creating fans, in terms of rewarding fans; it’s a whole immersive experience.”
Developed by Shinobi Ninja Video Game, Llc., a partnership of Shinobi Ninja and Heard Games, “Shinobi Ninja Attacks” was designed and animated by Interbang Entertainment, with software programming by Cerulean Games.
About Heard Games
Founded by Stephen Sternschein, Heard Games is a software development company specializing in developing interactive media products with musicians by building branded digital environments that deliver content in innovative ways.
About Shinobi Ninja
Shinobi Ninja, is an independent rock/rap group comprised of six New York City performers: lead singers DA and Baby Girl, bassist Jonny on the Rocks, drummer Terminator Dave, guitarist Maniac Mike, and DJ Axis Powers. Inspired by acts as diverse as Nirvana, Janet Jackson, Faith No More, Sublime, and the Beastie Boys, Shinobi Ninja crafts their own brand of party music into an eclectic mix of musical styles designed to appeal to a wide variety of music fans. Shinobi Ninja recently debuted their latest extended-play (EP) single, “Brooklyn to Babylon,” and they recently released their first video game app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch “Brooklyn to Babylon: Shinobi Ninja Attacks.” Their latest music video can be viewed here. Shinobi Ninja’s next album is scheduled for release Spring 2010. Join Shinobi Ninja at www.Twitter.com/shinobininja . For more information, visit www.shinobininja.com .
Digiwaxx Co-Signs Ty Fyffe's Raw N Uncut Competition
As we conclude week two of promo for Ty Fyffe's Raw N Uncut project hosted by DJ Kay Slay, Digiwaxx Media co-sign the competition that could uncover the 21st centuries first urban legend. Check out what CEO of the NY based company CL had to say below!
According to Yo! Raps magazine, all criminal charges against Kanye West and his manager Don Crowley were dropped last Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The charges stemmed from an incident two years ago at the LAX airport where some cameramen got too close to Kanye West and Mr. West responded to his personal space being invaded aggressively. Equipment was damaged, the cameramen received minor injuries, and TMZ was there to cover the whole thing. West and his manager had worked out a deal with the court where if they performed 50 hours of community service and took anger management courses, the charges would be dropped, and on Friday lawyers for Crowley and Mr. West provided the court with the necessary proof. West had already worked out a deal with the cameramen involved to avoid going to civil court, making restitution for all of the damages, so with this dismissal the issue is now completely moot and Mr. West can get back to recording hits and going on drunken tirades at awards shows.