Mar 9, 2013

Listen: International Hip Hop Concert in Brooklyn

For those fans of rap that think that the messages of Public Enemy, Dead Prez and Immortal Technique will never get the exposure it deserves or impact the world at large, then you should check out the work of the artist's featured at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) event entitled "Mic Check:Hip-Hop from North Africa and the Middle East".

Though the event is featured only one day in March 9 (RIP Biggie), the movement of each artist from their respective countries shows the global power of hip hop. These emcee's fight real social unrest in their countries where bombings and murder happen without consequence under dictatorships and oppressive powers, yet they stand in the face of those incidents and speak loudly in their native tongue to deliver messages of outrage and progressive empowerment. The main artists are Amkoullel (Mali), Deeb (Egypt), El Général (Tunisia), Shadia Mansour (Palestine/UK), who will be featured alongside more traditional musicians Brahim Fribgane and Yacouba and introduce music born from radical social and political change to the good folks in Brooklyn and the US.

Check out videos of each artist below and the website for more info:


DEEB (note the ill BB King flip in the sample)

El Général


Mar 8, 2013

Fine Art Friday: Logan Hicks - "Thin Veils and Heavy Anchors" Show

Logan Hicks has been featured on the site before, but gets another nod for his recent "Thin Veils and Heavy Anchors" show in LA currently. Logan is a master stencil artist and is known around the world for his meticulous detail of cityscapes and subterranean environments like subways and tunnels. Some of the images from the show are posted below but rarely do photos do the work justice, as the fine details of the etched metal and plexiglass are hard to capture. Check the samples below and if you are in LA, then go see a master at work.

Video: The Legend of Cool "Disco" Dan

When I was living in Washington DC, I came to know many of the graffiti crews in the area through my work with Words, Beats and Life.  The preview below captures the true legend of one of the OG graf writers in the nation's capital. Cool "Disco" Dan had no agenda and managed to "get up" for years before anyone really thought about piecing or doing murals. He marked his travels with a simple but memorable tag and finally get's some world wide exposure from this documentary. Hosted by fellow DC natives Roger Gastman and Henry Rollins, the film has been in production for years now and with recent screenings in DC and Maryland, hopefully it will get the shine it deserves.


Mar 7, 2013

Listen: Melaz - "Jazzy Trip 3" Compilation

Sonic crate digger and avid blogger Melaz Cosmo has consistently compiles smoothed out, obscure, super slept-on tracks from instrumental collections from around the globe and packages them in volumes of digital downloads. He always provides ill liner notes, giving all the info you need about the source material, and takes the time to design quality album covers and artwork to present his work as a labor of love. I am always quick to download his collections and rock the min my daily train rides across NYC. Dope selection as usual in the "Jazzy Trip 3" that just dropped. Plenty of brain food and chilled out hip hop grooves to zone out with.Check the free download below:


Mar 6, 2013

Listen: Illastrate - "The Henny Loggins Show" Remix Album

Proving that rap in Atlanta is not all trap, all the time, ATL producer Illastrate recently dropped a remix album of mostly underground vocals from tracks by Boog Brown, NAs, J-Live, Roc Marciano and many more. He mixes lots of instrumentation, some samples, scratches and other elements to re-invent the music with new vibes throughout the project. For those who enjoy beats, there is an instrumental version of the album as well (both versions linked below). Check it out below and help shine a light on some enthusiasts of the art form that are trying to make a name for themselves down south.



Mar 5, 2013

Read: Adam Mansbach - "The Rage Is Back"

If you are like me, it takes me about 3 to 6 months to finish a book, as I typically read it on the train for 2 pages at a time and easily distracted by my iphone from following the story closely. However, every once in a while I pick up a book that I tear through quickly like a magazine article and the latest book from Adam Mansbach "The Rage is Back" was one of these books. He does an interesting job of twisting graffiti history, unique characters that mimic modern NYC politicos and vivd descriptions of tunnels and seedy environments that keeps me paying attention from chapter to chapter. Family and drama and an artists struggle should be familiar to all walks of life, so check it out.

To add to the experience, DJ J. Period released a mixtape in support of the book and you can rock it on it's own or in addition to help get the mood of the book. If you like anything other than comment sections on blogs or production credits on albums, try to use this book to expand your knowledge of the secretive life of graf writers in NYC.


Mar 4, 2013

Video: Ruby Ibarra - "Guess Who"

One of the busiest and most substantial female MC's you've never heard, Ruby Ibarra, keeps dropping gem after gem for tracks from her latest mixtape "Lost In Translation". She just dropped the video for the track "Guess Who" from the album and drops knowledge about the stresses of life from a female perspective (abusive relationships, self image issues, unwanted preganacy, etc) over a smooth track about the power of appreciating your self. Deep messages and concepts are a mainstay in Ruby 's music and if you are looking for a break from the dubstep, techno, party-life songs on the radio, help shine a light on some hip hop that will make you think.


Mar 3, 2013

Throwback: BT - "Love on Haight Street" ft. Rasco and 50 Grand

The story of the first time I heard this record is as bizarre as the collaboration itself. Upon the records original drop date, I was working at a record store in Madison, WI and working a shift with a co-worker who was heavy into house and techno music. I was pretty open minded to other peoples taste, even if I didn't rock it in my collection, so she picked this album by BT, a California-based electronic music producer and DJ, called "Movement in Still Life".  Though I clowned her about the cover looking like a flyer for a "Men Seeking Men" night club, the music was mostly uptempo, spacey electronic dance music that I was "hit or miss" about until the final track on the album changed everything for me about my pre-conceived notions of BT's work.

This track was called "Love on Haight Street", cleverly named after the infamous street in San Francisco. I noticed Rasco's voice immediately and remembered 50 Grand's voice from the the second DJ Honda album "II". Whatever BT did to the track with the spaced out vocals, throwback scratched samples from PB Wolf, and picking two dope verses from these underground standouts, it was a perfect blend at the time and I still rock it to this day. I'm not sure what happened to 50 Grand, but everybody on this song has yet to match the long-lasting vibe that I get from this song. Still dope, still slept-on and still deserves a real video ten years later.