Oct 26, 2013

Listen: ValhallaBeats - "Acoustic Bumpin"

I recently met the instrumental producer Valhalla Beats at a producer showcase in NYC and was impressed with his work and wanted to share it here. His work reminds me of Nicolay (of Foreign Exchange) and a bit of Amp Live (of ZION I). Valhalla Beats is based out of Astoria Queens and relocated to NY from New Hampshire where he got his start making more focused music in college. Originally, he started making albums of original music for friends and handing them out under made up band names when he was 16 and later played in different bands at the University of New Hampshire to mild success on campus.

Valhalla moved to NYC 4 months ago with the hopes of owning a studio in the next 6 years or to be producing/running sessions/recording bands or vocalists or rappers full time. Currently, he promotes his work for free through various online sites in hopes to show his range of production and quality of material. He uses live instruments coupled with software like Protools 10, Reason 7, Komplete 9 Ultimate, AKG 414, and Shure SM7b to mix/master/record everything by himself. Check out his Soundclodu page below and help shine a light on some slept-on talent outta Queens.


Oct 25, 2013

Fine Art Friday: Peter Beste - "Houston Rap" Book

Well-traveled photographer Peter Beste recently published the book "Houston Rap" which documents his time following the Houston (Texas) rap scene and the culture of the often ignored music scene that birthed notable figures in rap history The Geto Boys, DJ Screw, UGK and many others. According to Beste, he spent nine years with "full immersion into the everyday life of the Houston Hip Hop community". The 272 page book offers profiles on local music fans, community leaders, music producers, local businessmen, "Sizzurp" chefs, family members and profiles new cats and veteran artists like Bun B, Z-Ro, Willie D, Paul Wall, DJ Screw (RIP), Pimp C (RIP), and Big Hawk (RIP).

To make the book even more notable, the Slipcased Exclusive version is packaged alongside a Fat Pat/DJ Screw 7-inch and the Deluxe Bundle is the book with limited edition slipcase, a Fat Pat/DJ Screw 7-inch, a Fat Pat “Ghetto Dreams” DVD, the Houston Rap Tapes companion handbook and DJ Screw’s musical opus, All Screwed Up, pressed to wax as a 2LP vinyl for the first time ever.

Though I typically don't feature much of the Houston music on my site, I do respect the grind of the Houston rap crew and industry. From artists like Scarface to more recent Slim Thug, I do keep an ear open for underground and mainstream stuff coming from the area and this book seems to pay homage to all of it. Hoping to score one for myself!



Oct 24, 2013


Because of the old school-esque cover of the album, I clicked on the latest project form My’Key Iso for the album "The Appetizer" and was pleasantly surprised at the jazzy and more laid-back songs on the album.  Originally from Houston, Iso is a bit of a curveball from the Suave House sound that H-town is known for, but I appreciate cats who go a new direction and aim for a more mellow and personal vibe. With a few features from his NWTHGHTMVMNT crew, My'Key holds down the bulk of the album with honest lyrics and stories. Check it out and help shine a light on a slept-on talent from Texas.


Oct 23, 2013

Video: Koncept - "Not For Nothing"

On the heals of dropping the collabo album with producer Numonics, Brooklyn emcee Koncept just dropped the visuals for the track "Not For Nothing" from the "Live On" EP. Showing Kon rolling through Brooklyn streets and chilling on rooftops to a more chilled out soundtrack about everday struggles and how to cope. Check out the project for free at the link below and see what the Brown Bag Allstar has been up to.


Oct 22, 2013

Listen: DJ Pings - "Dusty Platter Guest Mix Series Part 4"

Though I had not heard of the Dusty Platter Guest Mix Series by the UKs own DJ PINGS until the 4th installment posted here, I enjoy the selections he gathered for the newest mix and will check for the rest soon. Known as a producer and record label owner, DJ Pings runs an independent record label called KingUnderground Records that has worked with notable acts like Lewis Parker, Cappo and Nappa, Planet Asia, Mr Brown and many more. For this fourth mix, he mixed a blend of his personal favorite underground tracks from the last few years for a solid 47 minute playlist. Check it out and catch some slept-on tracks from around the globe.


Oct 21, 2013

Read: W. Michael Schuster II - "Fair Use, Girl Talk, and Digital Sampling"

Fair Use, Girl Talk, and Digital Sampling: 
An Empirical Study of Music Sampling's Effect on the Market for Copyrighted Works

To switch speeds a bit here,I wanted to share a recent paper published by W. Michael Schuster II, which digs into the concept of sampling in hip hop and how it can often boost sales for both the artist and the sampled artist as well. It can be a bit of a heavy read at 74 pages, but the paper uses the famed sample-based and mash up artist GIRL TALK to frame the argument.  Though it can read like an academic paper, there are interesting points about the argument of "fair use" and "copyright" in music that may help pave the way for improved laws that favor both parties. Download the paper below and get your learn on. It may help you argue with the purists of the world that think sampling has no merit and educate a proven, creative resource that many artist, including myself, continue to use as a muse.


ARTWORK CREDIT: Dutch illustrator and fellow crate digger Stefan Glerum