‘The Jacob Theology – Book 1’ is a collage of creative license that borders on entropy. It is the initial entry in a series of releases that will chronicle the journey of Jacob (Fla-Fla) on the way to himself. The Jacob Theology is a peak into the psyche of a modern day Jacob. Love, war, gratitude, friendship, self-defense, among other things, is all jumbled up in the mind of Jacob and the tracks on this album. But do not confuse the biblical reference with any sort of Christian or Gospel rap. Although this album is deluged in Sparrow the Movement’s beliefs, it is Hip-Hop to the core. Fla-Fla says, “Chuck D didn’t make Muslim rap, he made Hip-Hop music.” The Jacob Theology is a testament to Sparrow the Movement’s Hip-Hop, as well as, religious convictions. The album’s lead track ‘Amazing’, produced by Switzerland’s best kept secret SWC (Supreme War Clique), is reminiscent of the 90’s but more like 2015. The instrumentation and drum programming make this track a smooth and attractive calamity; executed perfectly. The album’s musical landscape is fused with Jazz, Rock, R&B and hard-core Boom Bap. Rarely are hip-hop artists recognized as songwriters in the true sense of the term. But Fla-Fla’s songwriting truly rivals the likes of folk rock music artists; Dylan and all. Don’t call it a comeback or debut, Sparrow the Movement has been here for years. Fla-Fla and Dre, members of Sparrow the Movement, have been creating great music since 1996. Fortunately it was their brethren overseas that were paying close attention. Sparrow has toured in Europe the past two years and is now ready to bring their act to the Americas kicking it off with a more than solid release. The Jacob Theology – Book 1 will prove to be a musical landmark and will state their claim as one of the great rap acts of our time. If you love Hip-Hop you will love this album. It is what Beats, Rhymes and Life should sound like in 2015.
The Expanded Edition CD of The SP1200 Project: A Re-Awakening contains an incredible 9 bonus tracks of Lord Finesse Production not found on the original 2014 2xLP vinyl release. All the tracks from this album have been taken from the original floppy disks of unused early 90’s beats. Lord Finesse transferred sequenced the tracks using an E-mu Systems SP1200 and Akai S950, which were mixed by Eddie Sancho and mastered by Tony Dawsey to give them that authentic and classic boom bap sound.
New and expanded CD version of Shlohmo’s top-selling ‘Shlomoshun Deluxe’ LP, adding a further seven tracks which were first released on June’s download-only ‘Camping’ EP. While working an internship at dublab.com, 19 year old LA native Shlohmo made a free online release of his original ‘Shlomoshun EP’. Being part of the dublab community, it didn’t take long for the EP reach the ears of Friends Of Friends, who immediately approached him to combine new and old tracks with an assortment of remixes to create ‘Shlomoshun Deluxe’. First released digitally at the start of 2010, the eight original tracks and four remixes have generated huge interest among the low-end beat-heads and abstract boom-bap-strumentalists searching for their latest fix of post-modern deconstructivist thunk, with the young producer finding his sounds aligned with luminaries like FlyLo, Nosaj Thing, Ras G and Samiyam, and lauded for a diversity of sound from the overloaded synths usually sported by Starkey and Joker, to the 8bit melodies of Disrupt or Ikonika.
To Pimp a Butterfly is the upcoming third studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. The album is scheduled to be released on March 23, 2015, by Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath Entertainment, and distributed by Interscope Records.
In today’s hip-hop landscape true virtuosity on the mic is rare. So rare that when even when it’s apparent it can be quite literally unbelievable. Rapper Your Old Droog knows this first hand. In June 2014 the 25-year-old Brooklyn native released his first official project, the Your Old Droog EP, a 10-track project he cooked up in about a month with producers El RTNC and DJ Skizz. The project was good—really good. So good it got the attention of bloggers all over the web from New York Magazine’s Vulture to NahRight. The problem however, was that Droog seemingly came out of nowhere. No pictures, no YouTube videos, no Instagram account, no Twitter—no way for the entitled, deep-diving rap fan of 2014 to see what this guy was all about. All they had to go on was the music. Befuddled by Y.O.D.’s high skill level yet low profile, rap fans’ imaginations ran wild. Before long the conspiracy theories started and people began to posit that Droog was another older, legendary New York rapper in disguise. People argued about it on Reddit and made YouTube documentaries about him, while fans of his EP waited for the mysterious MC to show himself. Profiled in the New Yorker, Droog set the record straight about who he was and followed up with the first video of him rapping at his DJ’s makeshift Brooklyn studio, all before making his debut to a sold out crowd in NYC in September of that year. Given a rave review in the New York Times, the performance proved that though his identity had been mistaken by some his talent was unmistakable and his impact on hip-hop was undeniable. Droog has extended the EP for a deluxe retail version including eight new songs. The debut has already made New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica's 10 Best Albums of 2014 list and landed at No. 13 on Rolling Stone's 40 Best Rap Albums of 2014 list. See him live with legends DJ Premier and Royce Da 5' 9" (PRhyme) on their 26-date North American tour.
Restless AdventuresOn Restless Adventures, the beloved East Coast aesthetic of his influences are inverted somewhat with what seems to be a preoccupation with the sublimity of the organic green world. The effects are minute, subtle, and highly effectual. The ambient sounds of nature that Klaus organically weaves between layers of snappy drums and warped samples could be described as both psychedelic and organic ... unfamiliar, yet strangely comforting.Kudos to Klaus for delivering a brave and experimental album to be enjoyed on numerous levels; it swings right for Hip-Hop heads, has layers of exotic instrumentation on top, and potentially something else in-between for listeners who like to look for narratives in their music. Perhaps most impressively, it does all of this a lot more cohesively than the title would have you think. The (Restless) Adventures of Captain Crook continue. For The People Like UsFor The People Like Us is the latest journey into Klaus Layer’s sound; a cross-section of his musical psyche. Like any true journey there is both the harsh and the calm, with beat structures and melodical backdrops ranging from the serene to the straight-villainous, and a personal motive - these are defining beats crafted atop the shoulders of Klaus’ inspirations, and he’s inviting the like-minded to listen.
Limited to 200 copies. Project MK Ultra; sometimes referred to as the CIA’s mind control program — was the code name given to an illegal and clandestine program of experiments on human subjects, designed and undertaken by the CIA. MK Ultra: Operation Hypnosis is a timeless piece which musically is influenced heavily on the jazz/library record side of things. Each beat that Lewis Parker put forth, Eastkoast has poured his thoughts into with passion. The record describes the inner city struggles of a black man in the modern day. Guest fea- tures from El De Sensei (Artifacts), Shabaam Sahdeeq, John Robinson, Ade Something, King Malachi, & Sam Hill. Artwork by Bee. If you have some 3D glasses, stick them on!
Mr. Wonderful is the upcoming second studio album by American hip hop recording artist Action Bronson, scheduled to be released on March 24, 2015, by Atlantic Records and Vice Records. The album is Bronson's first for a major label after signing to Atlantic and Vice in August 2012. It was preceded by several mixtapes and EPs, including the Blue Chips series and Saaab Stories (2013). The album, recorded throughout 2014, was produced by several high-profile record producers, such as The Alchemist, Mark Ronson and Noah "40" Shebib. The album has guest appearances by Big Body Bes, Meyhem Lauren, Chauncy Sherod, Chance the Rapper and Party Supplies. It was supported by three singles, "Easy Rider", "Actin Crazy", and "Terry".
Another Time, DJ EFN’s first all original studio album is an ode to his mixtape past. Featuring production from the likes of DJ Premier, Buckwild and more - EFN assembles an impressive cast of legendary pioneers, buzz-worthy new school spitters and new comers on the rise. “Miami’s Mixtape King” DJ EFN and his company Crazy Hood Productions has been a pillar in Miami for the better part of twenty years. A fan of the mixtapes emanating from New York City, DJ EFN began producing mixtapes of his own because no one else in Miami was doing so. “There was no consistent mixtape DJ in Miami, no one who ever really played the music from Miami,” he said in an interview with Julia Beverly of Ozone magazine. “Everybody listened to DJ Clue or Tony Touch. It was good music, but I didn’t want to hear shouts to Brooklyn or the Bronx. I wanted to shout out Miami and help to put on the local cats.” EFN’s first Crazy Hood mixtape was issued in 1993. During the next two decades he produced 42 volumes, featuring not only Miami- based artists, but national stars. E’s particular mission has always been to represent a strain of gritty local hip-hop music that has more in common with the Boom-Bap sound than with the party music for which Miami is best known. Another Time features Royce the 5'9", Inspectah Deck, Ras Kass, Scarface, Masta Ace, Your Old Droog, David Banner, Kurupt, Sean Price, Smif N Wessun, Black Milk, Talib Kweli, Redman, Crooked I, MC Eight, Stalley, Chris Rivers (Big Pun’s son), Keith Murray, Juvenile, Troy Ave, Fashawn, O.C., Reks, Dead Prez, Cormega, Defari, Blu, MOP, Guilty Simpson, King Tee, original artwork by Skam2? (Tribe Called Quest) and more.
"Everyone can relate to being good and evil," states Nutso, who explains how his alliance with Divided Souls Ent. & DJ Pain 1, "Played on this duality by guiding the stories and topics that meshed with the overall vibe of the project." To expand on the creative process, Chris Moss of Divided Souls Entertainment details Nutso's creative process: "What's special about Nutso is that he is overflowing with ideas, and he's open-minded to suggestions to maximize the end result. This just makes it easier on us to push our own limits as well." With seven tracks that exemplify the struggle to stay on the right path while being tempted by sin, Divided Soul crafts a relatable project that captures a universal daily plight.
Features Guest Appearances And Production From DJ Premier, Termanology, Reks, MoSS, Singapore Kane, Reel Drama, Kid Called Quest and more. After trailblazing around the globe numerous times with Gang Starr as a core member of the Gang Starr Foundation, Big Shug, who has appeared on Gang Starr’s classics such as 1994’s Hard To Earn “F.A.L.A.,” 1998’s Moment Of Truth “The Militia” and 2003’s Gold-certified The Ownerz “Capture” (Militia Pt.3), follows up his last street savvy endeavor, I.M. 4-EVA (2012), with his new project, Triple OGZus. While MoSS, Reel Drama and Kidd Called Quest contribute production, staying true to the Gang Starr Foundation formula, Big Shug recreates his indelible bond with DJ Premier on the albums two singles and videos, “Off Rip,” which also features Termanology and Singapore Kane, and “I Bleed For This”. Preemo produces three tracks in total on Triple Ogzus and as Shug states, the bond the two have fostered over the years only continues to grow “Premier is my brother, and with all the technology, and changing faces, we are still the same. We are on the same page when we make songs, we still bug out. We represent the Gang Starr legacy. And we are serious about that!” Big Shug explains “Triple OGzus represents me as a street veteran, underground icon and original gangster who is always wise to the game. I love the fans and will always represent authentic hip-hop music with my soul.”
Oddisee, yU, and Uptown XO are Diamond District.
PHILADELPHIA, 2004. Random, aka Mega Ran, and Storyville met as colleagues in an underground Hip Hop collective. Ran was already known around town as one of the best up and coming emcees while Story was starting to build a buzz on the battle scene. When they first met, their musical chemistry was undeniable. It wasn't long before Storyville was showing up on Random's records in different capacities. In 2005 Storyville produced a record with a violist named Holly Fulton, and Random turned that instrumental into the song "Push". Eventually Random moved out to Phoenix and Storyville went off to New York to pursue recording and mixing. The two stayed in touch over the years but it wasn't until 2008 and when they really reunited. They both independently decided to enter the Scribble Jam Rap Battle preliminary rounds in their respective locations - Random in Phoenix, Storyville in New York. Each won a place in the final competition (and the very last Scribble Jam) in Cincinnati. The two reconnected like they had never missed a step. In 2009, Ran wrote a song with producer Samik, which Weiss engineered. That song was "Splash Woman" and became Mega Ran's most popular song to date. Fast forward to 2015, and now Random is also known as Mega Ran, the first rap artist ever to be licensed by Capcom. The world's foremost video game inspired musician. Storyville is now a leading mixing engineer, whose tutorial series "Mixing Rap Vocals" has been accessed over a million times. "It could be my most complete work ever, and I don't say that much," Ran says of the project's progress. "We're both stepping outside of our comfort zones and creating really challenging and fun music." The album will contain much of the fun that the two have exhibited on tracks like "UknowTheName," and the musicality of tracks like "Push" into one concise package. "The timing was finally right," says Storyville. "We've been so busy, but we've carved out the time to dedicate to this project, and it shows." Weiss has spent the last seven years engineering for some of the biggest names in music, including Grammy winners Arrested Development, George Clinton, and Ronnie Spector. "My career as an engineer really took off, but making this project with Ran called me back to my roots." Meanwhile, after being named LA Weekly's "Artist Likely to Be Big in 2014," Ran has made good on the projections in superhero-like leaps and bounds. He has organized successful tours of the US, Japan, and Europe, released a documentary DVD, orchestrated a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, all while releasing several critically acclaimed albums. The Soul Veggies album will include production by Storyville, Small Pro, frequent collaborator Samik ("Splash Woman") and more, and guest vocals by legendary MC Wise Intelligent of the acclaimed group Poor Righteous Teachers, among others. The album contains everything we've seen from the two, solo and collectively, from B-Boy styled park jams ("React,") humorous contemporary rap commentary ("Rappin About Rappin") to carefully constructed introspective tales ("Another Day"), and of course, video games ("Life's A Game"). Mega Ran and Storyville are Soul Veggies.
‘The Break of Dawn’, a full-length album from Japan’s Blue In Green, a composer and guitarist of Bossa Nova and Jazz, is a Downtempo soiree of Hip Hop and Jazz styles. ‘Rendezvous’ begins with the warm crackles of an analog record into beautiful piano scales, and Hip Hop beats at about 97BPM, with subtle bass, horns, cuts and melodic loops. ‘Voyage’ starts with a steady, often manipulated beat; more stunning piano along with Electric guitar riffs nicely compliment each other in a lighthearted rhythm. ‘Masquerade / The Night Watch’ features a rocking upright Bass, piano, sax, cymbal percussion and steady kick drum with relaxed undertones for a Jazzy, sexy, nostalgic and textured tune. ‘Take 3’ begins on a fly beat with an alert upright Bass, classic Hip Hop samples and trumpet snippets cut and scratched in and the low warm sounds of Tuba and organ notes. Ending with a Bonus Track is ‘Camellia’ a passionate song, a teasing piano solo and organ soulfully spilling emotions, an Electric Guitar taking the spotlight pleasingly inviting a close friendly dance. Other favorites on the 11-track album are Rainy Streets, MOTP and Get Back (To Soulful Music). An album with class, ease and the perfect soundtrack to a balmy beach or summer day, cultured with Hip Hop and Jazz elements ‘The Break of Dawn’ is an impressive debut.
Cannibal Ox is the latest brainchild of Company Flow's El-P, whose lumbering, aggro-electro production on this album is as unique as a signature. Down-tempo and discordant, the beats sound like trip-hop gone to heaven and hell--some songs, like "A B-Boy's Alpha," have an almost angelic feel to them even as El-P soils his tracks with grit and grime. Others, like "Raspberry Fields," are chaos forced into unstable order--snaking synthesizer whines struggle to break free, rhythm sections run amok. This is a taste of the apocalypse turned aural. The music of The Cold Vein is so distinctive that, for a moment, you might forget that Vast and Vordul are actually rhyming on it, which is paying El-P a compliment rather than dismissing the two MCs. Vast's commanding baritone stands out in sharp distinction to his partner's, as his deliberate flow punctuates every line. It's hard to categorize what they speak on, as their songs mix the surreal and abstract with street-level commentary. But they're definitely taking reality rap on one helluva acid trip. -- Oliver Wang
Lao Tzu claimed that, “Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” Occasionally, the universe can also stir music from the chambers of the soul. These are the songs tattooed into our memories, torn from headlines and unsettling encounters, intense anthems of immediacy. Soul music. You can hear these eternal truths on Words Paint Pictures—Big Pooh’s debut release for Mello Music Group. Over seven songs and two remixes, the North Carolina MC captures the complex agonies of the human condition—specifically the black experience in America over the last several centuries. These are tales of racial profiling and corrupt politicians, reality TV distractions, thieving preachers and rapacious exploitation—all offset by tremendous strength. They are uniquely American stories, chronicling both the damned and hopeful. From bleak circumstances, a profoundly durable human spirit emerges. While Pooh sketches in vivid detail, Apollo Brown supplies the canvas. The Detroit-via-Grand Rapids alchemist chops classic soul samples and scratches hooks into bangers—head nodding and hard, but still beautiful. The holy trinity of DJ Premier, Pete Rock and J. Dilla supply divine inspiration. As Pooh spits on “Candlelight:” “this is what they call boom-bap/when they try to find what’s in that backpack.” What’s in that backpack is as intangible as the light in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. It’s a main vein of discontent and mother lode of inspiration. Over a gorgeous antique loop on “Augmentation,” Pooh sketches the duality of the greed-choked world we inhabit, and the sacred feelings he’s bringing back. On “Stop,” he harrowingly chronicles a racist police stop and in the process eulogizes Oscar Grant, Mike Brown, and those exterminated by brutal law enforcement goons. “Promise Land” paints a haunting picture of those “hanging by gold ropes.” The guest list helps buoy Pooh and Apollo’s vision into the third dimension. Ras Kass indicts everyone from the media to Obama for the mess we’re in. Gorgeous and raw hooks come from Steve Roxx and Eric “Blakk Soul” Keith.” L’Orange contributes an unsettling remix and Detroit representative Marv Won exhales fire. But at heart, you return to the words, the pictures, and the complications inherent in the soul. You might have previously known Big Pooh best for his work in Little Brother, but this is the most powerful music he’s ever made. Mining deeply into the personal, he’s created something profound and universal.
An air of mystique surrounds the careers of Harlemites Vast Aire and Vordul Mega, collectively known as Cannibal Ox. Fourteen years after earning their status as luminaries of underground hip-hop, Cannibal Ox is set to release the highly-anticipated sophomore album Blade of the Ronin. Serving as the follow-up to the duo's acclaimed debut album, Blade of the Ronin is the embodiment of Vast and Vordul's years of creation and properly serves to provide listeners with the grimy yet futuristic soundscape that they've come to expect from Cannibal Ox. In 2001, Cannibal Ox released its debut album, The Cold Vein, which remains one of the seminal works of the New York hip-hop scene. Regarded as a cult classic amongst hip-hop purists, The Cold Vein has been ranked as #152 on Pitchfork's "Top 200 Albums of the 2000s" list. Not surprisingly Pitchfork previously concluded, "The Cold Vein is going to be on everybody's year end list of the best underground hip-hop," and that it was, as the album received perfect ratings from publications such as Stylus Magazine and HipHopDX. In November 2014, The Village Voice ranked the track "Pigeon" from The Cold Vein #22 on its All-Time Top 40 Songs About New York list ("Big Apple Records"). The Voice went on to praise The Cold Vein, remarking, "the early-2000s underground hip-hop scene in New York offered a hyper-experimental take on the culture's foundations, with the location of the genre's birthplace giving these creations instant credibility. One of the best results came in the form of Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein." Since the success of The Cold Vein, Cannibal Ox has largely maintained their independent, enigmatic persona, shying away from the glowing heat of the mainstream limelight. In 2005, the duo released Return of the Ox: Live at CMJ, a live album recorded at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York, but otherwise remained relatively off the radar as a collective with exception of Vast and Vordul appearing on each other's solo endeavors. In 2013, Cannibal Ox re-emerged with a maxi-single entitled Gotham, which included three tracks produced by a widely unknown yet remarkably talented producer by the name of Bill Cosmiq. Upon listening to the project's title track, fans were taken aback by how the duo still sounded in its prime. As Spin Magazine declared, "while it doesn't sound like a day has passed since Vein, Vast and Vordul were always spitting from the future." Gotham would go on to be re-released as a Deluxe LP Edition along with the first reissue of The Cold Vein in nearly a decade as part of Cannibal Ox's partnership with iHipHop Distribution. Blade of the Ronin solidifies the triumphant return of Cannibal Ox as the kings of underground hip-hop, as Vast and Vordul capture their trademark sound with Bill Cosmiq at the helm for the majority of the album's production. Together, this trio has created an album that personifies a sense of insightful lyricism and poignant production that has arguably been absent from the scene since The Cold Vein. The album also features tremendous guest appearances from MF Doom, U-God (of Wu-Tang Clan), Elzhi, Artifacts and more, all of whom compliment the vibe of Can Ox. Blade of the Ronin will hit stores worldwide on March 3rd via IGC Records / iHipHop Distribution.
The Ecology is the upcoming second studio album by American hip hop recording artist Fashawn. The album is currently scheduled to be released on September 30, 2014 by Nas' Mass Appeal Records. The album's production, similar to his debut album Boy Meets World (2009), will be handled primarily by his longtime collaborator and record producer Exile. In 2014, Fashawn signed a recording contract with Nas' new label Mass Appeal Records for the distribution of the album. The title and concept of the album entails exploring the "ecology" of one's environment: the people, objects, and events surrounding one's life, the things that provoke human behavior, how individual choices lead to different paths, and how everyone and everything is ultimately interconnected.
Jazzy piano loops, afrobeat percussion, breakbeat exoticism, and bounce make up Drew Dave "SynthBASED," an instrumental ride. Residing in the crux of vintage and modern techniques is Drew Dave, who's faithful to the soul that lives in his hardware, but maintains forward vision for live instrumentation and midi-synths on his latest project. Drew Dave has doodled over the original syllabi of Hiphop instrumentalism, creating ornate embellishments of prerequisite texts. Drew Dave's aspirations for musicality over straight beats, his the ability to deliver bangers that loop gravelly roars, and his smooth crisp production lead listeners on a rhapsodic journey. The new album, SynthBASED, arrives February 24th.
If the soul of hip-hop belongs to the culture, the skeleton belongs to the independent label. From Sugar Hill to Def Jam, Tommy Boy to Rawkus, Fondle Em to Def Jux, the genre''s best music has been birthed by imprints that brazenly defy the status quo, those who champion fearless artists and always prize quality over commerce. For the last eight years, Mello Music Group has lived by that ethos. If you''re reading these words, you''re inevitably well aware of its ascendance and growing legacy. But more importantly, you know the artists-those singular voices channeling the spirits of the past and spitting premonitions of the future. Boom-bap at its best: evolving and expanding the art form, capturing stories of the struggle, upholding the tradition, and keeping the crooked honest. Persona unveils the murderer''s row that is the Mello roster of 2015. Oddisee, Apollo Brown, yU, L''Orange, Red Pill, Open Mike Eagle, Rapper Big Pooh, Quelle Chris. The stars of the present teamed with timeless innovators like Phonte (Little Brother), Blockhead, Ras Kass, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), Oh No, Masta Ace, and Bilal Salaam. The result is something that binds current greats with the pioneers who paved the asphalt. It''s both a historical moment and hard as hell.If most compilations are nothing more than a loosely thrown together collection of songs, Persona boasts meticulous focus. These aren''t spare tracks, they''re potent messages and poisonous darts. "Requiem" finds Phonte and Oddisee indicting American racism and Xenophobia with fury and precision. On "Homicide," yU and Nottz leave blood dripping all over the canvas. There''s "Celebrity Reduction Prayer," where Open Mike Eagle lampoons fundamentalists and religious zealots over Oddisee''s warm Stevie Wonder keyboards.But there''s ultimately no need to do the track-by-track breakdown. This is an anthology in the most traditional well-curated sense. Turn here if you want to find the best hip-hop artists of their generation in raw and unfiltered form. The bars are brimstone; the beats force your neck to swivel. Through all the discontent, rays of hope begin to emerge. If you remember the feeling you got when you first heard Soundbombing, stop searching. The slang has changed, the style remains indelible, the latest personas have emerged. The new sound is here.
Hasan Salaam’s new album; Life in Black & White.
The new record follows 2013’s At The Back Of Beyond, which was warmly received creatively and commercially, and inspired Ntjam to perform throughout Holland and across Europe. “That was an album that was a part of me, and that needed to explore my poppy side,” she says. “I’m grounded in jazz and soul, and pop. But as a songwriter, I really needed to go through that album to learn how to play the guitar, to see and hear what kind of songs I would write, and also to put the guitar on the palette — literally being able to pick the guitar up to write.” The songs for The One were written around the time Ntjam got married, in January 2014, and was made with her regular band and engineer Vincent Helbers at her side. Martin Fondse added strings, and there are guest appearances by friends and fellow artists Pink Oculus (rap), Eric Vloeimans (trumpet) and Ronald Snijders (flute). Her graduation as a cosmopolitan, 21st century woman and musician included nominations both for Holland’s Edison Awards, twice, and the Elle Personal Style Awards; playing the North Sea Jazz Festival, and gigs from Thailand to Turkey and Estonia to China.
The second installment of the One-derful! Collection focuses on Mar-V-Lus, the teen-oriented imprint of this legendary R&B label group. Mar-V-Lus is preceded by the One-derful! Records compilation and will be followed by releases of the M-Pac!, Halo, Midas, and Toddlin' Town sub-labels. This series marks the first in-depth study of what was once one of Chicago’s most prominent African-American run labels. Mar-V-Lus Records is available in 2xLP and CD formats, and within the grooves of these 25 tracks lie classic dance numbers from Alvin Cash, pure harmonies from The Du-Ettes, soulful funk from Josephine Taylor, aching deep ballads from Johnny Sayles, teen laments from Miss Madeline & The Young Folk, and Detroit influenced uptempo floor fillers from Joseph Moore, The Blenders, and The Ulti-mations, plus 10 tracks that were never issued!
Kenn Starr sees his career at square one, despite being regarded among the elite of the DMV scene, and being in the inner circle of producers Oddisee and Kev Brown, and having his newest album signed to Mello Music Group. Eight years since his debut, Starr Status, Kenn Starr is baggage free on his sophomore album, Square One. Largely produced by Kev Brown with a nice block of production by Black Milk, and additional work by 14KT, Roddy Rod, and Kaimbr, Square One is Kenn Starr getting back to his foundation to begin anew. The laid back flow remains intact—complementary to the Kev Brown’s vintage soul-crate production—but the perspective is written with a wisdom earned through seeing opportunities that overpassed his doorstep. On “Cigarettes & Whiskey“ he addresses his history with passing fancy and a buried hatchet, “please pardon my view points / Starr Status wasn’t a classic but had a few joints,” and makes no qualms about his hiatus. Square One is the only album Kenn Starr could write in order to bid farewell to days past and move forward. With the firmest of grips on reality, Kenn Starr has kept his Low Budget Crew ties in toe, including Sean Born who makes appearances on “Product Of The Basement” and album closer, “Farewell”. Kenn also enlists Mello Music standout yU, and long time compatriot Wordsworth, as well as the lush voice of singing star Melanie Rutherford. Square One is built from the underground-up as Starr still writes from the mindset of being a product of the basement.