Realist rapper The Good Sin has been dropping one song per week, and one video per month as part of his #FallBackSeason campaign. The latest entry "Doing Wrong, Feeling Right" is philosophical, funky banger packed with the lyrical cathartis that's become his trademark.
The last two years in February the Seattle emcee has gifted us with the hiphop perfect EP Late, and 2012's rocky relationship record The Story Of Love x Hate. I inquired as to whether there was another album coming this February and he let me know #FallBackSeason is the plan for now, with a possible album in the future. We always look forward to hearing more from him.
Get your life right and go to his website and soundcloud to catch up on all the free downloads you shouldn't be allowed to miss.
Oakland citizens Friendzone dropped a nice mix this weekend for UK publication Drowned in Sound. Friendzone, you may have noticed, is the cloud production duo making it rain joyful synth beats all over your favorite rapper's tracks. They recently stepped way out of the bedroom and into the lime light working for the green ova' boys themselves, Main Attrakionz (Squadda’s I Smoke... mixtape inspired them to start making beats), as well as one take ‘em or leave ‘em A$AP Rocky, whose stupid raps on his hit track “Fashion Killa” float by so smoothly on Friendzone’s production cloud as to go unnoticed. Thanks, Friendzone. They then reached manifest destiny working with North Carolina’s Deniro Farrar and came back home to the Bay to help out Antwon on a teaser (and probably album-worthy) track called "Automatic." Their soundcloud is a beggar’s banquet of free downloads just dying to help you fatten up that enervated iTunes library of yours.
Speaking of Antwon, do yourself a favor and go download In Dark Denim. At least once in your life you should hear a tongue twerk itself into heterosexual descriptors that’ll make your shoulders bounce and cheeks blush simultaneously. His latest tumblr raps are out on Himanshu Suri’s (Das Racist) Greedhead label. Check that stringy seventies action movie score rubbing up against thunderous synth sounds, and dude’s Biggie cadence meets Heavy D good looks. As is, I still preferAntwon’s last effort End Of Earth more, but I do appreciate dude’s lock on that early ’90s charm everyone begs for and somehow ignores while complaining that hiphop is either A) Dead, B) Homophobic or, C) Should return to that ’90s sound. Stay relevant, internet comment section experts.
Also from the bay: Kool A.D.'s most recent stream of consciousness mixtapes 63 and 19. Named after Alameda bus lines and chock-full-o' cool attention deficit style pop culture appreciation and appropriation, they’re free for download (after donation) over at Bandcamp. If you’re familiar with his work, you know what to do. If you’re not, let me just say: Kool A.D. is a rap game cubist, and when you look at a Picasso you don’t expect the pictures to straighten themselves out to look like other paintings. I invite you to jump into the rap avante-garde and hear his exploitation of your culture on jams like "Saved by the Bell," and "OK Computer." Kool stays on the offensive, straight stealing raps from Beck and declaring himself the "best white rapper" on the dis-titled "Rap Genius." Repeat offenders like Mike Finito and Amaze 88 on production make frequent appearances, as well as guest rappers like Meyhem Lauren and Kassa Overall, and personal favorite Busdriver. There’s a real production credit from Ad-Rock on a mediocre track, a fake credit (or just a sample) from Kanye on another, and even a Keyboard Kid-produced based gem titled “All Skreets.” If you don’t like his albums, maybe you prefer to buy some of his contemporary art?
I've been waiting forever (and missed two Emily Wells concerts in the last year for no good reason) but it's finally here: Pillowfight is the collusion of producer and gifted multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Emily Wells, Dan the Automator (Deltron, Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz, Cornershop), and artist David Choe. Rumors of their work together hit the internets early last year with a short video in Choe's own inimitable "dirty style."
The full self-titled album is set to be released on the 22nd of this month on Bulk Recordings/EMI. Given Wells' own body of work, from folk songstress to audaciously good violin looping rapper, and Dan the Automator's supernatural DJ skills, his patient, perfect selection of artists to produce, and the fact that he's also a classically trained violinist, this album has monumental potential.
Music is a much smaller and less significant part of many people’s lives than 10-20 years ago. There is more competition for our attention and the value of music has declined precipitously. This graphic shows the rise of digital against physical music, and the overall impact of piracy, widespread distribution and digital media on the music industry. The sad story is that overall the music business is shrinking. That is a fact that we all have to face. The silver lining in all of this may be on the horizon, but it cannot come soon enough for me. We have to do something to reverse the trend.
No reversing this trend. It began with Napster, and nothing can stop it. As for the silver lining, it may not be found in the record corporations but in the artists themselves. One of its current forms, for example, is Macklemore, who, as Larry pointed out, has achieved unprecedented commercial success by means that are not conventional but consistent with the distribution technologies of his and our moment. The recording industry should fear him more than it fears people pirating music on the web. It is wise to always fear producers more than consumers.
Chicago hiphopper Show You Suck has released his final piece in a trilogy of album/mixtapes called OneManPizzaParty.
OMPP3: Rest In Pizza is the most lyrically collected and sonically brilliant of the three. The half-mixtape-half-concept album closes in on the One Man Pizza Party idea and uses Show You Suck's flow to wrap story rhymes around the themes of addiction, relationships, food, and hiphop.
A lot of great music came out of Chicago this year. Rappers like Lil Reese and Chief Keef made amazing/disturbing music that caught national attention, though it remains unclear if superstars in ascension or collapse. The Lex Luger/Trap Rap/rapid synth snare sound Chicago has made it’s own was pushed to new limits by the likes of producers like Young Chop, and vituoso’s like MC Tree made themselves known by somehow capturing the pain of living in the clutches of a murderous city in a soulful, galvanizing way.
Among them, but distinctly different in style, is Show You Suck. More treated than trap, more hiphop than rap, Show You Suck’s advance in artistic ability can be seen plainly through his catalog of Pizza Party mixtapes. With every album the weight of his influences become imbued in his production and lyrics, but this one takes heavy advantage of this years most popular productions sounds to it's advantage. His hardcore music philosophy meets with his steady flows on a mish mash of silly songs about serious things from what's wrong with his relationships to what's for dinner. Rapping about beef, Big Gulps, pizza, carne asada, and chon chon (that’s food right?), Show You Suck finds a way to be humorous and thus, relatable, and instead of simply being relevant, has developed a unique sound through an obvious creative process.
OMPP3: Rest In Pizza is the confluence of Show You Suck's work to establish a clothing line, his rise in popularity with the blog-rap class of 2012, and his ability to understand that he’s good enough to both use that patented Chicago sound as a soapbox for his bizarre, thematic story raps, and draw attention to another less venomous side of Chicago. OMPP3: Rest In Pizza can be downloaded for free over here.
It’s Thanksgiving and you don’t want anything heavy, so here’s a delightfully drowsy snack for you: “Another Dream” by the New Hampshire-based Mmoss. Love the Farfisa meets Robitussin sound of this one, and the rich harmonies are warm butterscotch for the ears. In fact, every time it comes up on shuffle I play it louder than I did the previous time.
Not sure if/when they are coming to town, but fingers crossed!
(Tip of the hat to Captain Obvious, the blog that featured this track on their monthly mixtape. You can pick up the latest volume — which also features tracks by Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco, Tori Y Moi and many more — here.)
Go here for a free download of J. Pinder's epically slamming "Lenore." Produced by Kuddie Fresh and J. Pinder and featuring the R&B pipes of Musiq Soulchild, the tune projects the moods at end of a relationship onto a big screen.
Check out this mixtape that dropped yesterday in advance of Chimurenga Renaissance's (Tendai Maraire) forthcoming album. It's a promo piece put together by Tendai himself with help from Brooklyn DJ Chief Boima.
Both artists were born in Africa, and raised in America (Boima in Sierra Leone and Brooklyn, and Maraire in Zimbabwe and South Seattle), and the tape seamlessly merges the sounds of Tendai's hip hop with traditional and contemporary Chimurenga music. Boima goes deep into the record crates and pulls out music from Western to South Africa to include such folk heroes as Thomas Mapfumo and Youssou N'dour, and even uses some of Tendai's father Dumisani's music for the mix.
If you weren't already familiar with Tendai Maraire's lifetime of music (literally) through his family, his performances, or his production, you most definitely heard his work from under your rock on Shabazz PalacesBlack Up in 2011. His chime toned mbira solos have been salient contributions to the rest of his Shona style rhythm section, and were part of the woozy mystery that made Shabazz Palaces the stand out hip hop act of the year. They introduce themselves again to you, along with a guest spot from Palaceer Lazaro himself, on the first track of the tape A Toast To Frame and Ro.
The rest of the tour through this brief history of African revolutionary music, is guided by a Tendai himself under his rap moniker Fly Guy Dai who aggregates a lifetime of worldly wisdom on the soulful Help Me Out, and professes scornfully on the street wise F U, over the very music that he so ardently embodies. Just like the music of Africa is neither a performance nor an art but a participatory event for all, Maraire is neither proposing revolution nor pitching a cultural ideal; he's relaying his life to you in song, and on extremely personal on tracks like Boom he's the Chimurenga Renaissance incarnate.
by Mike Ramos
on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Behold the Destroyer
Half Seattle/half San Francisco production duo Blue Sky Black Death's popularity seems to have spiked over the last year or so — especially, as that official-as-hell blue check on their Twitter account suggests, among an Internet audience. Most of these newer fans don't realize that these guys have been making music since 2006, incidentally the first year a "tweet" was ever tweeted.
The whole thing flows ("Aquatic," har har) very well, and as Behold the Destroyer's typically great writeup suggests, is "a very chill and emotional listening experience that’ll put you in the right mindspace to get work done, fly, or communicate with various sea creatures."
by Mike Ramos
on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 1:16 PM
"Sir Lancelot," Thaddeus David's first single following his Apprentice EP, sounds different than just about anything else he's released in the past. Abandoning the smoother boom-bap sound present on everything from his SOTA stuff to the Helluvastate album, Thad joins up with resident Seattle rap goons Av Young Blaze and Nacho Picasso on a "trapsylvania" slap that's all death-knell bells and eerie piano riffs. The entire thing works well, but it's not too surprising given his recent "Block Business" remix and previous Nacho collabs.
by Mike Ramos
on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM
The local five-piece recently leaked the first single from their upcoming One Glove release, "Cell 44." The title is said once as "love, Cell 44," but bassist Ian Judd says it's not an intentional reference to the old Zombies song. The shifty, reverb-soaked track is just a small dose of the dextrous, "swirly," indie-rock goodness that the Erik Blood-produced One Glove—out this September—has to offer. And bonus points for that album title. RIP Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
by Mike Ramos
on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Did anyone notice the D-O-Double-Gizzle's almost-dreads in the photo from the below post? Turns out there's a reason for the rastaman look.
Snoop Lion is Snoop Dogg's new reggae alter-ego, and he released his first single "La La La," produced by Saturday night Block Party closers Major Lazer, last Friday. Billboard.com points out that "He's created a Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and has reached out to celebrities through Twitter—such as the Kardashians, Martha Stewart and Rihanna—to send them "postive vibes" and links to "La La La." Okay then.
Stream "La La La" below. It's guaranteed to have you feeling irie, or just extremely weird about whatever the fuck is going on in the world today.
My intentions, were wider than the summer reflections in the lake being sung by Stevie
Is that the Goblin kicking another comfortably awkward love jam without reaching for the duct tape? Tyler and Chaz got a bit of a heater here. Apparently it's a leaked rough, but a studio version is allegedly on its way.
The Odd Future machine is kicked into high gear again—yesterday they announced, besides upcoming release info for Domo, Mellowhype, and Tyler, a US tour (with no Seattle date, they're focusing on cities they haven't hit yet). OF currently have a classic R&B album (I really mean it) on their hands with Frank Ocean's Channel Orange, and I'm loving their moves right now—hopefully they really earn all those Wu-Tang comparisons and hit a glory run of dope. Go listen to "Oldie" again, or at least the last verse: so instead of critiquing and bitchin', bein' mad as fuck, just admit, not only are we talented, we're rad as fuck.
by Mike Ramos
on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM
Twitter and other manners of teh modern Internets are telling me that it's Squadda B's birthday, so combined with the fact that nobody (neither me nor Larry, I mean) has posted about Main Attrakionz since the colossal-bummer announcement of their 4/22 show cancellation (which I am still HELLA bitter about) I thought I would throw these up for the enjoyment of the, like, four people that should find enjoyment in them.
First, here's birthday guy Squadda linking up with Arkansas MC Pepperboy on a typically cruising Ryan Hemsworth beat for "Stop Tryin." For a guy who couldn't legally drink until today, sounds like he's led quite a life.
by Mike Ramos
on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 2:33 PM
"Block Business" was one of the grimier standout tracks from Thaddeus David's highly bumpable Maven release, and today Members Only released a #SECRETE remix done by high-ranking #Based Legend Keyboard Kid. The laid-back, cruising-speed menace of the original track adds on the local producer's signature smoked-out, deep-space electronic synths, cracking snare fills and skittering hi-hats. It fits great with Thad's effortlessly gritty lyrics, and he sounds just as comfortable on this kind of beat as he does on his normally more smooth, jazzy, sample-based beat selections. Listen to it below or over on Members Only's Bandcamp page.
by Mike Ramos
on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM
There is nothing hyperbolic about that title. Assembled by the forever up-on-it folks at Mishka NYC and Zach Moldof of Rad Reef, with a little help from Yay Area mover/shaker Dream Collabo and produced by Ryan Hemsworth, "Hyperbolic Chamber Music" is a surprisingly smooth, non-tedious listen all the way through, despite featuring an army of Internet-inclined rappers.
The breezy jazz guitar licks and splashy drum programming definitely help its case, but there's plenty of quality rap stuff to be found here. Highlights include Mondre and Squadda from Main Attrakionz setting things off, Kool A.D., Big Baby Gandhi and Lakutis going in for the Greedhead camp, appearances from Lofty and Lowercase of Miami's Metro Zu, who I have been bumpin heavily for the last couple weeks, and Seattle's own Key Nyata and Keyboard Kid puttin it down for the NW.
Listen or download below, and check the full list of the rappers in order of appearance after the jump.