"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.
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.
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Legendary rapper John Robinson joined forces with dynamic beatmaker Chief to craft this aptly-titled intercontinental masterpiece, “We the Prolific”. After over a year of exchanges, team work and perfecting, the album is finally ready to come out on Feelin’ Music. The collaborative effort, born out of mutual appreciation both personal and musical, shows two universes collapsing into one substantial outcome, a solid album blending elements of traditional hip-hop with modern productions. Over the sinuous course of its thirteen diverse tracks, “We the Prolific” showcases the distinctive flow and lyrics of John Robinson perfectly complementing Chief’s twisted productions, an unlikely alliance pushing the boundaries of hip-hop while preserving its backbone. The album features guest appearances by both confirmed and upcoming artists such as Kyra Climbingbear, Skitslam, Cymarshall Law, ID 4 Windz, Tiffany Paige, Jocelyn Ellis, and more. “We the Prolific” truly is a refreshing hip-hop exploit by these two confirmed driving forces of the current hip-hop and beats scene.
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
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.
Sour Soul is the collaborative album from Toronto jazz/hip-hop band BADBADNOTGOOD and Staten Island rap champ Ghostface Killah. Inspired by 1960s and 70s music - taking inspiration from the recording techniques and production of that era, and eschewing sampling in favour of live instrumentation, BBNG with producer Frank Dukes have created a dramatic, cinematic musical staging for Ghostface's vivid storytelling. Sour Soul also features guest spots from MF DOOM, Elzhi (Slum Village/J Dilla), Danny Brown and prodigal new rapper Tree (Project Mayhem).
Cold Busted takes a step outside what one might expect from the label with a new self-titled release from Moodprint. Then again, it’s really nothing unusual from a label that’s never ever easy to pin. Taken in the context of beats with complex rhythms and samples derived from soul, funk, and the like, Moodprint fits right in; they just approach things from a more futuristic slant. An innovative crossover between electronic, hip-hop, bass, funk, and ambient sounds. Made up of nine tracks, Moodprint’s eponymous album is syrupy. Bright melodies, heavily sweetened synths, well-sourced vocals, and no-stone-left-unturned rhythms make it a treat to digest. Opener “Storyboard” quickly sets the pace with a folk-like -- but totally electronic -- neuroticism. “Prophet” follows with intergalactic funk swagger, only hitting the brakes for dramatic effect. The subdued maturity showed on the elegant, future R&B / hip-hop cut “Flash” is a particularly shining moment for the release. “'96 JuKnow!” and “McElove” are bubbly and emphatically chord-heavy, tip-toeing towards the beloved early post-garage work of Mount Kimbie. By the end, an impression is made as Moodprint embraces and cements their name in sound.
Legendary Brownsville duo M.O.P. released their first album back in 1994, and have spent the past twenty years building a reputation as one of the most important groups in hip-hop history. They've been signed to iconic labels like Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit, released one of the biggest rap singles ever in "Ante Up", and did it without compromising their sound or integrity. Now, Lil Fame and Billy Danze are back with their new CD Street Certified. Executive produced by DJ Premier, Street Certified is full of the raw, unfiltered hip-hop that fans have come to expect from the Mash Out Posse. Featuring Maino, Busta Rhymes, and Mobb Deep, Street Certified defines classic New York hip-hop at its finest.
Skyzoo & Antman Wonder present the collabo EP “An Ode To Reasonable Doubt”. In honor of Jay-Z’s 44th birthday, we present the orchestral remake of Jay’s finest moment. The 9 song EP shows Philly composer Antman Wonder recreating the original beats with live string sections, horns, etc, while lyrically its written from the perspective of Sky placing himself in the emotions that Jay displayed on the original, but from his point of view, as opposed to reinterpreting Jay’s life.
Joey Badass is a 19-year old rapper from Brooklyn, NY. He burst onto the scene in 2012 with the release of his 1999 MIXTAPE, which was downloaded over 2 million times. Since then Joey has gone on several worldwide tours, performing with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, B.O.B., Disclosure, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, A$AP Rocky, Big K.R.I.T & more. Joey Badass is now preparing to release his debut album, B4.DA.SS on January 20th, which also happens to be his 20th birthday. The album has production from Hit-Boy, DJ Premier, J Dilla, Statik Selektah, Kirk Knight, Chuck Strangers, and more. B4.DA.SS also features tracks with Kiesza, Action Bronson, Chronixx, Elle Varner, Maverick Sabre, BJ The Chicago Kid, & more.
The Audible Doctor has produced records for 50 Cent, Smoke DZA, Joell Ortiz (Slaughterhouse), Consequence & John Legend, Onyx, Astro, Fredro Starr, Bumpy Knuckles, Sadat X & A.G., EMC (Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth & Stricklin), REKS, Tragedy Khadafi, Evitan (Dres of Black Sheep & Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest), Neek The Exotic, Homeboy Sandman, Blacastan, J-Live & many more. This CD (produced entirely by The Audible Doctor) features Astro, Hassaan Mackey, Consequence, Bumpy Knuckles, Guilty Simpson & John Robinson and included the instrumentals (exclusively available on the CD).
Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, Ill Adrenaline's latest signee and Bakersclub member ChillxWill resurrects that typical 90's east coast flavor with his third solo release ""Almighty"". The 13-track strong full- length finds the skilled emcee rapping about various topics, while the production is throwback-sounding throughout, with Mista Izm, Figub Brazlevic, Wirez, So What?, and Mpadrums providing a constant supply of jazzy and gritty head-nodding boom-bap instrumentals, fully grounded in that timeless golden era sound. Vocal assistance is provided by Bakersclub comrades The 6th Letter, BriskInTheHoue, and P. Blackk. Put ChillxWill's "Almighty" in your dusty tape deck and get taken back to a time when hip-hop only produced classic albums.
End of year surprise - D'Angelo drops his long long awaited new album, his first for 14 years. 12 tracks, 16 page insert. Includes tracks co-written by Q Tip, and session work from Questlove, along with D'Angelo's band, The Vanguard. In the words of D'Angelo: "Black Messiah is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it's about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I'm calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It's about the world. It's about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah. It's about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It's not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man, it's a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader."
The Puzzle, Episode 1: The BIG Game was the first vinyl release in KingUnderground’s catalogue and is now available on a Jewel Case CD. 12 solid tracks all produced by Lewis Parker with features from Steele of Smif n Wesson, Tah Born, Dynas and Ace Lover.
“Never Left” is an album that celebrates Sadat X’ illustrious 25 year career. It is a cohesive collection of songs that make it a well-crafted, adult contemporary Hip-Hop album. Listeners are offered a sonic ride that feels familiar without being dated. “Never Left” Captures the feeling of New York’s Golden Era, carried forward 25 years by a man who has lived the culture to the fullest. Along the way Sadat stays in pockets with notable features by contemporaries like Black Rob, Cormega, King T, Skyzoo, Dres, Craig G & Chi-Ali. Overall, Never Left promises to surprise even the most loyal of fans while finding it’s way to new ones.
What happens when an Austrian rap producer with a history of more than 20 years in the game, teams up with some of his favorite MC's from the US? First of all, great music. But wait a second, who's that guy? Flip is a veteran producer and rap enthusiast from Linz, Austria who got addicted to hip-hop and its culture in the early 80's when he first heard joints by The Fat Boys and Melle Mel on Austrian radio. A couple years later, heavily being influenced by the sound of Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim and EPMD, Flip and a bunch of other rap-nerds founded the nationally critically acclaimed group Texta in 1993 and became the originators of the Austrian rap scene. Flip also has been organizing hip-hop shows in his hometown Linz since 1994 and started building connections to the US indie rap circuit since 2000. So as these connections grew, Flip began to record songs with the artists passing through and doing shows. Out of many tracks Flip recorded, he picked the best collabos for his "Reflections" album, with a line-up boasting artists from all corners of the US, like AG (of D.I.T.C.), Killah Priest of the Wu-Tang family, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Edo. G, Kev Brown, LMNO, Tragic Allies and many more. Flip's signature sound is deeply rooted in the classic boom bap tradition with thick and hard-hitting drums and chopped samples, but also incorporates synth sounds, deep 808 low end and unconventional song layouts that move away from the old two bar loop formula. Flip is also a DJ and record digger, and handled most of the cuts on his album himself. And yes, he is also an MC, just in case you wondered. After putting out 7 classic albums with his legendary Austrian group Texta since 1993 and a solo album in 2010, plus crafting beats for various German, French, Swiss, US and Jamaican artists, Flip's music finally gets released for a wider audience and rap connoisseurs all around the globe. As the Akrobatik cut in the outro track proclaims: ""Dope beats, rhymes and cuts, so now what!"" - this is pure, uncut, and raw rap music that has its foundation in the past but also takes a perspective into the future.