Saturday, October 31, 2009
But neither of these fine acts are taking centre stage today; instead, the spotlight is shining on the ominously named Ghetto Brothers (would you tell a group called The Ghetto Brothers that they can't have the spotlight? No. Neither would I.)
The Ghetto Brothers started out as a gang in New York City's South Bronx in the late 1960s, before eventually spreading throughout much of the Northeastern United States. They had strong political ties, but don't confuse this with some Mob-style business; this ain't the Sopranos. Rather, the gang focused their efforts on Puerto Rican nationalism (now you know), and were associated with the then-new Puerto Rican Socialist Party.
The group also worked for peace amongst NYC gangs. According to their website, they "were instrumental in achieving a moderately successful truce among South Bronx and other New York-area gangs at the Hoe Avenue peace meeting which occurred December 8, 1971. Among those present was Afrika Bambaataa, then a 14-year-old Black Spade warlord known on the streets as Bambaataa."
It wasn't all about political manoeuvring and peace keeping for the Ghetto Brothers, though; they made some good music too. Founder Benjamin Melendez (a.k.a. Yellow Benjy), who left the GB organisation in 1976, was a guitarist. He led a band, who were also known as the Ghetto Brothers, whoch included his late brother Victor Melendez on drums. The group released one album in the early 70's, Power Fuerza, which never got the shine it deserved at the time due to shonky distribution (sounds like some back of the trunk business to me).
In the past ten years Power Fuerza has fetched quadruple digits on eBay, and according to the bods at Truth & Soul, it has "become one of the most sought after New York records of all time." But fear not; T&S, being the kind folk that they are, are releasing a 7" of the 'Ghetto Brothers Power' off the Power Fuerza LP, b/w another album cut, 'I Saw A Tear'. And you know what? It's smoking.
You know what else? As I'm writing this, it's after midnight... and I'm old, and need my sleep. So I'll just let the Truth & Soul press blurb sum it all up (lazy, I know, but they say it well).
According to T&S, "'Ghetto Brother Power' is an anthemic powerhouse that reminds us how strong and influential the Ghetto Brothers message was. Complete with wah-wah guitar, gang vocals, congas, and hard-hitting drums, this tune has been on constant repeat at Truth & Soul for a long time now. Side B, 'I Saw A Tear' is a heart wrenching ballad that has that classic Ghetto Brothers sound." Boom!
You can download 'Ghetto Brother Power' here, courtesy of Truth & Soul. To buy the 7", click here.
For more information, you can visit the Ghetto Brothers website, or the Truth & Soul website.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This, of course, all goes down before the awards have been handed out - but they usually don't hold too much interest for me either. Call me crazy, but I don't really care who took out the 'Hustler of the Year' category at a music awards.
But lo and behold, BET decided to throw up a little curveball this time around, getting all hip hop history channel on it by staging three 'cyphers' (or is that 'cypha'?) with a bunch of M.C.s 'freestyling' (maybe, maybe not) while DJ Premier manned the 1's and 2's.
The line-ups for each cypher were pretty impressive too, bringing together a good combination of the old and new, and the classic and obscure.
The first cypher features Nicky Minaj, Raekwon's main man Joe Budden, Buckshot, and youngster Crown Royyal.
Cypher two features KRS-One, Nipsey Hussle, an angry looking Wale, and Tanzanian MC Gsan, who sounds dope even when his rhymes are subtitled in English (although I get the feeling that "I will rap everywhere even if it's the wrong place" might have lost a little something in translation).
You can watch both clips below:
It's the third cypher that really stands out to me, though: Eminem; Black Thought of The Roots; and Mos Def. That's a pretty tough line-up to beat in anyone's books. All three do the damn thing, too. Check it below:
Oh, in case you do want to know who the Hustler of the Year was (alright, so I was fronting before - I do care a little bit), and all the other awards winners, you can find out here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
According to Jazzy's website, He's The King, I'm The DJ "is a combination of popular favorites and rare gems from the King of Pop. It takes listeners on a musical journey by opening with slow grooves like 'Lady in My Life', followed by a smooth transition into more uptempo favorites." Snazzy.
Jeff might have taken a minute to put this out, but the quality really shows through; in my humble opinion and after a quick listen, it's by far the best of the slew of MJ tribute mixes that are floating around. Jeff's also got busy in the studio by creating some exclusive remixes especially for the project, so it's well worth the download.
Visit the UNDRCRWN web site to check the tracklisting, and to get your free download on.
JJ and UNDRCRWN have also teamed up to create a special limited edition t-shirt based on The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) and Dj Jazzy Jeff's He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper album artwork available for purchase. Visit the UNDRCRWN web site for more details.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Just imagine it... DMX in his slippers studying his pre-World War 2 stamp collection; Ghostface spending an evening on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and a sudoku puzzle; or 50 Cent working on a self help book (oh, hang on - that last one is true).
One hobby that's always been a favourite past time for hip hoppers is sports. From Jay-Z's stake in the New Jersey Nets and N.O.R.E's body building efforts to Phife of A Tribe Called Quest swapping his mic for a whistle after becoming an assistant coach for a high school basketball team, the connection between the sporting and musical arenas is a strong one.
Now, you can add Juice Crew legend Masta Ace to the bunch. When he's not touring or recording, the man responsible for classic cuts like 'Born To Roll' pulls on football boots (of the American variety, that is - cleats, apparently) and coaches teenage kids at Brooklyn's Canarsie High.
In a new video interview with Gasface Media, Ace speaks on how he doesn't tour during the football season so he can give a little something back to the kids. So, do Ace's players know they have a bonafide hip hop legend in their midst? If they do, they better keep it on the down low, warns Ace.
"Some of them know and heard, and did little internet searches and stuff like that, but we don't talk about music at all," he says. "Like when I'm (coaching), I'm specifically being into football, and if a kid brings up the music, he gets in trouble. I don't discuss it."
Despite his tough stance on talking music shop with his team, Ace obviously gets a lot of satisfaction out of working with kids. As he puts it, "...to see the transformation of them as players, and then them as people... because a lot of these kids come in, they have troubled lives or issues at home, but then they mature, and some of them go on and get scholarships and go to college, and that's always fun and a good thing to see." Awww... what a good c**t.
During the interview, Ace also talks about recording 'The Symphony', and how he hooked up with Juice Crew linch pin and production legend Marley Marl after winning an open mic contest in Queens, which offered a first prize of a studio session with Marley.
"We was supposed to meet (Marley) at his mother's house in the Queensbridge projects," remembers Ace. "Took the train out there, we was supposed to meet him at like 12 o'clock... Marley pulled up around 6 o'clock, 6:30... I recorded with Shan in another room, but in the living room, in the main room, Kool G. Rap and Polo recorded 'It's A Demo'; that's was there first record, they recorded that right there while I was watching."
You can watch the full interview below:
While we're on the subject of Masta Ace, head over to Spine Magazine to download a couple of cuts from his upcoming album with Edo G, Arts & Entertainment, which drops November 3rd. The cuts on offer are 'Fans' featuring Large Professor, produced by DJ Supreme One and 'Good Music' featuring Posdnous of De La Soul, produced by DJ Spinna.
Finally, in Juice Crew-related "news" (it's actually old news, but watching Ace got me to Googling), the rumoured motion picture that was being lined up to tell the JC story - entitled 'The Vapors' - looks like it's not going to get off the ground. Shame... 'historical' hip hop films are usually so good. You can read more about it here.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
For those that don’t know, The Do Over is a weekly summer Sunday session which has been taking place in L.A. since 2005. There’s booze; there’s BBQ; it’s outdoors; it’s free. What more do you need? Okay, maybe a plane ticket to L.A. But aside of that, it sounds like a ready-made party to me.
The Do Over is the brain child of Golden State trio Haycock, Strong and Blacc, who host proceedings throughout the early afternoon before wheeling out a string of surprise performers. And they’re normally pretty surprising; guests this year have included Dam Funk, DJ Revolution, The Beat Junkies, Neil Armstrong, Gaslamp Killer, Kon & Amir, DJ Vadim, DJ Craze and Flying Lotus. Niceness.
Having seen video footage of A-Trizzle playing at The Do Over a few months back, I was more than happy to receive a link to his full set from my main man Matt J. (holding it down, Phnom Penh style). You can check the action below:
As you’d expect, Trak pretty much destroys his 40 minute set, slicing and dicing hefty doses of funk, hip hop, soul and a little disco in an action packed mix which is well worth checking. You can download A-Trak @ The Do Over here.
After doing a little more digging (if sitting at a computer and googling ‘The Do Over’ is considered digging) I’ve now managed to uncover a gold mine of Do Over mixes. The boys being kind enough to post links to each week’s sets on their website; that’s a whhhhole lot of mix tape action right there. Isn’t that nice?
You can find out more about The Do Over and download mixes from The Do Over website.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Mawhinney's collection, which is now stored in a 16,000 square foot climate-controlled warehouse, is estimated to be worth more than 50 million US dollars. It covers everything from rock, jazz and R&B to country, blues and Christmas records - and it's all for sale.
You want to know what sort of gold is in Mawhinney's vaults? This might give you an idea. According to the man himself,"the Library of Congress did a study on the merchandise that I have in my collection, and from '48 to '66, they decided that only 17 percent of that music is available to the public on CD. Now you think about that for a second; that means 83 percent of the music that I have on those shelves, you can't buy at any price, anywhere."
Some of the rarest pieces in the collection include what Mawhinney describes as "the world's first flat record" (I didn't know there was any other kind) which was manufactured circa 1881, and a rare, unreleased Rolling Stones record. The price tag for the Stones LP? Well, it's worth "anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 dollars (US)," according to Mawhinney - and he has a brand new copy. Cha-ching!
Mawhinney says his collection really grew when he was working as a travelling salesman. While away from home, he'd take the opportunity to meet with other collectors to make sure that he "could get the records that I didn't have or that I loved; I did that for years and years."
After amassing a monumental stash of tunes, Mawhinney eventually started his own record store, Record-Rama, after his wife gave him an ultimatum. As she says, "after he had about 60,000 or so records in my basement, I said 'look, here's the deal; either you go open up a store, or get rid of the records."
With three million-plus pieces of vinyl in his collection, Mawhinney is an unashamed fan of wax. He says: "Music is a hundred times better on a vinyl album... just imagine this; they move the music by computer; they chop off the highs, chop off the lows, and then they compress everything. How could that possibly be equal to the open sound that you get on a record, with the basses and the highs, and the fullness in the middle?.. there is no comparison to what they're selling for music these days."
Now, Mawhinney is reluctantly selling up. With his health deteriorating (he suffers from diabetes and is legally blind), he's been looking for a buyer for the last few years (an E-Bay auction last year didn't achieve the desired result). The thrill of music clearly hasn't died for him just yet, though; watch the video below and check his reaction at the 6:17 mark. Music lovers will know what he's feeling - the love is still strong.
Although Mawhinney's collection is worth US $50 million, he's willing to consider offers around $3 million. I'm good for a couple of hundred quid... any one want to go in with me? You can read more about Mawhinney and his collection here, and watch a short documentary on him below:
Friday, October 16, 2009
While all the pieces are of interest, it's the spotlight on the US - and in particular the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop - that really hits the nail on the head.
For the State-side section, the BBC's Alexis Akwagyiram tracks down New York City-based photographer Joe Conzo (pictured, below right), whom the New York Times has labelled as "the man who took hip-hop's baby pictures", to wax lyrical on the effect that hip hop has had on New York and wider American society.
In an article and video interview, Conzo - who has released a book of his photos, the excellent Born in The Bronx - offers his two cents worth on a range of subjects, including the early days of hip hop, and how he got his start shooting the genre's rising stars (with a camera of course - easy now) after two high school friends from pioneering group The Cold Crush Brothers invited him to an early gig.
Conzo also takes the Beeb on a tour of some significant spots in hip hop history, including 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, where Kool Herc planted the seeds of the hip hop movement through his legendary block parties.
Conzo doesn't get all gusy for 'Rapper's Delight's 30th birthday, though; instead, he offers a very frank opinion of the group behind hip hop's first hit record. "The Sugarhill Gang had no respect in the streets," he tells the BBC, "because they were a nobody group put together by Sugarhill Records." There you have it, folks. Hip hop has never really been a place for people who mince their words, has it?
The BBC's coverage also includes an interview with Master Gee and Wonder Mike from The Sugarhill Gang, and a clip where Yale University students discuss why they're studying hip hop in school.
Visit the BBC website to read/view the coverage.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In order to fan the flames surrounding A Strange Arrangement, Stone's Throw - the label behind the good ship Mayer - has released a couple of videos; but it's the latest one for album standout 'Green Eyed Love' that really takes the cake.
So, is 'Green Eyed Love' a tribute to one of Mayer's special lady friends? Well, no, actually, it doesn't seem like it. In fact, it appears to be an ode to hallucinogenic booze, with the emerald eyed beauty in question being an absinthe-like liquid.
Mayer shows that multi tasking isn't an issue for him as he croons away on screen while distilling a tasty cocktail, mixing said liqueur with a flaming sugar cube before downing it rapidly. Oprah would be proud.
This is when things start to get a little freaky, though; cue a sweaty looking Mayer, stuffed barn yard animals with dilating pupils, multi coloured dancers and talking lips sprouting out of bathroom tiles. Oh, and a green eyed lady - although she might by a figment of Mayer's absinthe-enhanced imagination by the looks of things.
You can watch the video for Mayer Hawthorne's 'Green Eyed Love' below:
Following on from Mayer's first single, 'Just Ain't Gonna Work Out', which was released on a red, heart-shaped 7", 'Green Eyed Love' will be released as a green 12", complete with remixes from Classixx and Wajeed of Platinum Pied Pipers. You can pre-order the 'Green Eyed Love' 12" through Stone's Throw now. But if you can't wait to get your hands on the Classixx remix, the good folk at Stone's Throw are giving it away as a free download through their website. Get in there.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
'Want It' is anchored by a head nod-inducing beat crafted by producer Relic, who combines some brass and bass with a swirl of keys and other assorted atmospheric accompaniments to create a solid beat.
Wio puts in a solid performance on the vocal front too, representing his Jamaican roots by dropping some reggae-tinged rhymes, with a little help from guest Grim. You can to listen to and/or download it below:
Want it Wio-k ft Grimace Love by wio-k
'Want It' is another sneak peak of what to expect from Wio's upcoming EP The Craftsman, following on from earlier leak 'An Ting'. Here it is again in case you missed it:
Wio-K (Feat. Serocee & Ty) - An Ting by GOMWAB
Make sure to check The Craftsman when it drops - not that I'm 100 percent sure when that is, mind you, but you'll be the first to know once I know. Regardless, it's sounding like a top shelf release based on these two cuts alone.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Cidadao is the handy work of Bobby Brazuka, a selector par excellence who represents the musical stylings of his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil and adopted home of Auckland, New Zealand through his varied DJ sets.
Disc one of this two disc set sees Bobby representing his roots, offering up a killer selection of some of the finest Latin and Brazilian-inspired musical treats you'll hear anywhere, while the second disc covers some sweet future funk and downtempo business, including tasty offerings from the likes of Wild Cookie, Julien Dyne, and Electric Wire Hustle
Cidadao do Mundo 2 will help spread a bit of sunshine through your speakers as the temperatures drop. No tracklisting for this bad boy, but if you're of the trainspotting persuasion, maybe you could try hunting down the tracks - might give you something to do over the colder months.
You can listen to and/or download both discs of Cidadao do Mundo Volume 2 below:
Bobbito Brazuka - Cidadao do Mundo - Volume 2 by Bobby Brazuka
1- Bobbito Brazuka - Cidadao do Mundo - Volume 2 - Disc 2 by Bobby Brazuka
If you like what you hear, you can check out more through Bobby's MySpace page, or listen to his shows online on George FM or Base FM.
Friday, October 09, 2009
The EA Sports NBA Live 10 mix features songs from the soundtrack of the game’s latest edition, including new and reinterpreted music from Afrika Bambaataa, De La Soul, Dead Prez, Pete Rock, Snoop Dogg, David Banner, Murs, Xzibit, B.o.B. and a bunch of others.
Fear not though, if hoops or video games aren’t your thing; the subject matter seldom touches on geekery from either domain, guaranteeing listening pleasure for the non-sporty/gamey ones in our midst.
As an added bonus, EA have also decided to release three exclusive cuts from the mix for all the DJs out there, or for those folks who like their music without the standard mix tape stings, shouting and zigga zigga all up in the mix.
The individual tracks on offer include De La Soul’s ‘La La La’, Mickey Factz and B.o.B’s ‘Mind Got Blown’, and ‘Class Of Our Own’ by Mick Boogie himself, with a little help from. Kidz In The Hall, Daytona, and new Fools Gold recruit Donnis. Nice at twice the price (which is still free...but you know what I mean).
Check the track list below, and get your legitimate download on here.
DJ Mick Boogie - EA Sports NBA LIVE 10
1. Mick Boogie –‘Intro’
2. Mick Boogie featuring Kidz In The Hall, Donnis & Daytona – ‘Class Of Our Own’
3. 88 Keys featuring Colin Munroe – ‘Wake Up Call’
4. Dead Prez – ‘Still Bigga Than’
5. Afrika Bambaataa featuring Why G, Mickey Factz & The Fort Knox 5 – ‘Zulu!’
6. Snoop Dogg – ‘Lodi Dodi 2010’
7. Pete Rock – ‘When I Need It’
8. Matt & Kim featuring De La Soul – ‘Daylight’
9. De La Soul – ‘La La La’
10. Mickey Factz & B.o.B. – ‘Mind Got Blown’
11. B.o.B. – ‘Champion’
12. Zion I – ‘Go Hard’
13. Murs featuring Kurupt & Jay Rock – ‘We Ballin'’
14. Laza – ‘Crank It Up’
15. Grand Puba – ‘Get It’
16. David Banner & GQ – ‘S.P.I.T.’
17. Xzibit featuring BJ The Chicago Kid & Poo Bear – ‘Fanatic’
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The fundraiser, which is being hosted by renowned UK DJ crew Tha En4cers in association with Vibe Bar, features a ton of big names from the local and international DJ and turntabilist community. DJ’s Pogo, Biznizz and Cutmaster Swift (who boast a bunch of solo DMC honours between them, as well as team honours under the banner of Tha En4cers) will be joined by the Scratch Perverts and Mr Thing in what is shaping up to be a fitting tribute to a true DJing pioneer.
Others fronting up to perform on the evening include DJ 279, Big Ted, Boogie Bunch, DJ Inka, DJ Bad Medicine, Joel Ranks, Tiger Style, Dare Devil, Mat Man, The Steel Devils – and you, if you’re that way inclined. If you feel like laying down your own personal tribute to Raida, get on down to Vibe and ‘Pay For Play’ – the floor will be open to anyone who wants to spin on the night, in exchange for a donation towards the cause.
This is a great chance to show your support for a man who influenced so many DJs. As Tha En4cers put it, “on a DJ level, Roc Raida brought a lot to DJs lives with his skill and he did the same as a good friend to all that knew him. May he live on through us all.” Word.
All proceeds and donations raised through this event will go directly to Raida’s wife and his three children. The fundraiser is on 7 October from 6 p.m. to midnight, and is only a fiver on the door. Visit the Vibe Bar website or the Roc Raida official UK benefit fundraiser Facebook event page for more details.
Monday, October 05, 2009
After successfully resisting the alcohol-fuelled urge to hit the dance floor and demonstrate how the Lean Back should really be done (you know that would have been something special), I briefly pondered what had become of the Scott Storch, the man responsible for producing 'Lean Back's speaker-shaking beat, as well as some of the biggest hip hop and R&B records from the late 90's and early noughties.
Storch has been somewhat conspicuous by his absence from the music world over the last few years. This makes a little more sense now after reading a recent article published on Men.Style.Com that covers what he's been up to recently - namely blowing his estimated fortune of US $70 million on cocaine, Lear jets and Bentleys.
After going through rehab for his cocaine addiction, Storch is now trying to get himself back on track. During the interview, he outlines the levels of his excess to Men.Style.Com's Matt Hendrickson, recalling how he became hooked on coca in 2005, and how he'd go on two day benders that would regularly involve him shelling out for luxury cars or flying to Las Vegas on a whim.
Storch also discusses how he struggled to make good music while high on coke, pointing to efforts he turned in for former girlfriend Paris Hilton and wrestler Hulk Hogan's daughter, Brooke. I'm guessing he must have been doing a whole heap of blow and suffering from 'Scarface' syndrome when he decided to take on fellow producer Timbaland by recording this diss record:
Storch is now trying to re-ignite his musical career. It's not going to be easy, of course; the extent of his fall from grace is perhaps best illustrated by his admission that he had to beg former collaborator Chris Brown - another artist on the outer as a result of recent indiscretions - to work with him. But regardless of how much work and/or begging Storch has to put in, it's good to see that at least he's doing his level best to get back in the race.
You can read the full article on Men.Style.Com. Thanks to Dam-G for the tip.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Now, Quest, BT and the boys have dropped a new video for the cut, which you can watch below. As you'd expect, it's a pretty slick affair too, helping to add a little more context to the song (images are good for that sort of thing, aren't they? Something about a thousand words, I think):
The final version of How I Got Over (LP, not single) hasn’t been turned in to the label apparently, so don’t bet the house on it seeing the light of day by the latest scheduled date of mid-November, but as the release of this video shows, it can’t be too far off now.
Friday, October 02, 2009
A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory is a perfect example. It's one of my all time favourite albums now, but I wasn’t a major fan when I first laid ears on it as a young, yet grumpy and bearded 13 year old. Sure, it was good, but it didn’t stand a chance against the cassingle of Naughty By Nature’s ‘O.P.P.’ that I bought at the same time, did it? (give me a break…13!). Fast forward a month down the track, however, and I was hooked – and hooked, I have remained.
When I first got hold of Electric Wire Hustle’s self titled debut a month or so ago, I found myself in a similar situation, sans competition from ‘O.P.P.’ of course (if I'd bought my cassingle collection with me to Engerland, it might be a different story, mind you).
On first listen, Electric Wire Hustle sounded like a solid album to me, but if I’m being honest, it didn’t jump out of the headphones. But all good things take time, don't they; on returning to EWH a few weeks later, lightening struck... the penny dropped... (insert every other epiphany-style cliché you can think of here). Now, a month after first laying ears on Electric Wire Hustle, I’m already chalking it up as one of the best albums of 2009.
The track that began the turning of the EWH tide for me was ‘Perception’, which, funnily enough, flips a sample that ATCQ fans will know well. It speaks volumes that EWH have managed to turn something tried and trusted into something bright and new – but that’s exactly what they’ve managed to do with ‘Perception’. Check the video out below for the proof:
'Perception' gives you a good idea of the Electric Wire Hustle vibe. The Wellington, New Zealand-based crew – made up of David ‘Taay Ninh’ Wright, Myele Manzanza, Mara TK and engineer Benny Tones – fuse wonky, off kilter hip hop and electronic beats with some sweet, sweet soul, with Mara TK's stunning vocals representing what is a rather large cherry on top.
TK's voice conjures up images of a new school, antipodean version of Marvin Gaye. I’ll admit that’s a somewhat outlandish call – there’s only one Marvin, after all – but just take a listen to album cuts ‘Tom Boy’ on the group's MySpace page and you’ll see what I’m getting at.
Electric Wire Hustle also features contributions from Dr Shruman (a.k.a. Dudley Perkins). Georgia Anne Muldrow and Stacey Epps, and is well worth hunting down... or you can just buy it on iTunes if that’s your bag. EWH have also released ‘Perception’ on vinyl via Japanese label Wonderful Noise, with non-album cut ‘Longtime’, featuring Steve Spacek, on the flip. You can buy it here.
If you like what you hear and you find yourself in London this week, you can catch Electric Wire Hustle, playing at Vibe Bar on Brick Lane on Thursday evening, and then supporting The Black Seeds the following night. They’re also hitting Europe for a handful of dates, too. For more information, visit the Electric Wire Hustle MySpace page, or visit their website or blog.