May 2, 2014

Fine Art Friday: Yung Lenox - "Rap Covers" Paint Series

Despite a name that sounds like a Trap rapper and despite the fact that all of the artwork is created by a seven year old white kid from Seattle, the painted illustrations by the artist known as Yung Lenox are pretty interesting if for no other reason than a trip down rap memory lane that he recreates out of pure intrigue for the original source material. The bulk of his work are homages to original rap album covers and famed portraits of rappers from the 90s (and some from the 2000s and beyond). The scribbled lines and bleeding colors are pretty typical of "little kid" drawings, but the more controversial part of the drawings is just the subject matter and the "why" behind his interest in this set of images.

The process behind them is described by Lenox's father as this: "Some are freehand, and with the others he traces an outline using a light board. As he draws we go over shapes and color choices, usually listening to the rapper or artist he's drawing. The irony of it all is that there is no irony. He doesn't have an opinion on the subjects. He doesn't care about Guccci mane or Juvenile. My dude doesn't have an opinion about pre-Rollins Black Flag versus post-Rollins Black Flag. It's just a puzzle to him. He draws to solve."

Though there seems to be a forced effort to create an intriguing back story from the father for marketing purposes, the resulting images are fun to look at, simply as a reminder of the evolution of fashion styles in recent rap history to portray a certain "image" and how the often-wild colors and dated props translate when created from a kids markers. Pick one up for $25 and support the talents of a young art sensation.


May 1, 2014

Video: Illmaculate - "Woodstock" ft. OnlyOne

Battle rap vet and Portland emcee Illmaculate recently dropped the official music video for the track "Woodstock", with a guest feature from fellow emcee OnlyOne, from the album "Clay Pigeons". Ill Mac is always willing to push the subject matter a bit, and brings a bit of a throwback with the topic of an upset masses fighting for their rights, but in the form of rap in the era of 2014. Check it out and support one of the few battle cats who can make legit songs and albums.


Apr 30, 2014

Listen: Big Ben X Kostia - "STRAIGHT FROM DA COUCH"

Deeply influenced by the 60’s and 70’s Soul and Jazz music, as well as the boom bap era, the beats presented by French production duo Big Ben and Kostia are paying tribute to these Golden Era artists through the educational and magical "Diggin In The Crates" process of absorbing old and forgotten music and musicians through constant vinyl listening. According to the crew, this collection came together after "spending so many hours on the couch listening to their record collection, talking about music and of course beatmaking". As a result, they wanted to share their work and passion by dropping this LP featuring some freshly cooked beats and classic flips of more famed samples. Check it out and support some true students of hip hop history all the way from France.


Apr 29, 2014

Video: GRYNCH - "Carry On"

Seattle true school emcee and First Wave college alumni, Grynch, recently dropped the visuals for the track "Carry on" from his upcoming album "Street Lights". Constantly battling the "image" problem of the hip hop industry, Grynch continues to release honest music with a positive spin in the face of the trap music and EDM fest dominating the radio airwaves. He reminds me of a West Coast version of Brother Ali at times, never shy about his struggles and willing to put in the work to collaborate with some of the underground greats like pre-fame Macklemore and production master Jake One. Check out the video above for a good introduction to his style, if you're not familiar, and support a hip hop underdog who still rocks his famed, clunky Volvo.