"This album is about influence, inspiration, perception & reality. Every song was written in an outside environment, so that I could observe the subjects that would become my subject matter. All too often in Hip Hop, reality is limited to that of the artists own, actual experiences. People Hear What They See is my attempt to liberate the MC from those constraints & allow reality to be penned other than my own. Listening to congressmen & lawyers converse on the steps of the supreme court inspired 'American Greed', Watching a couple argue over the phone in a bar inspired 'Maybes'. By having a visual representation of my subject matter, my hopes are that the listener will see them through the worlds & melodies of my songs."
Harlem’s Finest: A Freestyle History is an unofficial compilation album featuring American rapper Big L. The album was originally released on vinyl only. The cd version was released in 2003 under the label Corleone 530 Records. It includes some of Big L’s freestyles and unreleased tracks.
In California, 80’s funk and 90’s west coast hip hop have always been clearly intertwined,” says CA native producer/funkster XL Middleton. “If you were into one, you were almost always into the other. As the modern funk movement has grown worldwide, I’ve seen a great interest taken in 80’s funk, or boogie, as some people refer to it. A lot of them don’t realize the connection - in the 90’s, when funk as a genre fell largely off the radar, west coast hip hop kept it alive by sampling it so heavily.” It’s this connection that XL seeks to reestablish. It’s something he feels has become forgotten because, as he puts it, “so many new fans of boogie and modern funk are coming from house or underground hip hop backgrounds. They’re going from J Dilla to D-Train; from 9th Wonder to Midnight Star. It’s an interesting transition. What I seek to do is to change the perception of what people consider ‘g-funk.’ I don’t want it to be thought of as threatening, unfriendly music. The production was often very sophisticated, and that feel - the sun shining, top down, riding past the palm trees feel - is something that’s still prevalent in funk today. I want people to see those roots.” To that effect, XL’s “From The Vaults Vol. 2” is a collection of previously unreleased songs that run the gamut of all things considered funk. Some of the songs feature XL’s signature rapping style, while others find him singing notes in his unpolished, yet undeniably funky tone. Other songs on the album are fully instrumental, allowing XL to let the synths speak instead. Songs like “Standin By Yaself” effectively retool the slick, danceable sound of boogie, circa 1984, while more midtempo jams such as “I Can’t Be Cool” decisively channel the mood of a Warren G production from the mid-90’s. None of it is pastiche, however. Middleton generally avoids what he calls the “84 Style,” a label that can applied to new funk that seeks to imitate the old, without innovating or elevating the sound at all. “We know where our blueprints come from, and so does everyone who follows the genre. It’s not doing much for modern funk as a movement to just be duplicating our favorite records from the 80’s. You’ve got to put your own, fresh twist on it. That’s why it’s called ‘modern’ funk.
New York artist AWAR and Producer Vanderslice showcase their sharp sound & chemistry for their new album The Winning Team, the first full length effort from the emcee/producer combo. With previous projects AWAR- The Laws Of Nature and Vanderslice- Everything’s Awesome respective albums receiving acclaim, The Winning Team’s individual members are established heavyweight artists in their own right, collaborating with an all-star lineup of artists and producers throughout their catalogue.Engrained with strong features from Freddie Gibbs, Roc Marciano, Troy Ave, BJ the Chicago Kid, Latoiya Williams, King Los, Has-Lo and more, with production from Vanderslice, along with production partner Green Steez and guest producers Jaisu and Trox, The Winning Team packs a punch, taking you on an narcotic audio journey of an underdog team becoming world champions.
Fresh off his strong showing on the new Army Of The Pharaoh's album, "In Death Reborn", Blacastan is looking to continue his strong push to the top of the genre. Meanwhile Stu Bangas aims to follow up last year's collaborative LP with Esoteric, "Machete Mode" with an equally impressive album. Hailing from Hartford, CT, the Demigodz and AOTP member Blacastan brings his throwback, gritty, story telling style to the project, seamlessly dropping gems over Stu Bangas' hard hitting production. Whether it be braggadocios punch lines, found on the standout cut "Nubian Metal" (featuring Vinnie Paz and Celph Titled) or introspective life experiences, found on the song "Change", Blacastan sounds at home over the albums grimy soundscape. Stu Bangas' resume reads like a hardcore, indy rap producer's dream. Having produced on albums for Vinnie Paz, Sean Price, Ill Bill, Chino XL, Cappadonna and more, he is now focusing on pushing his label, Brutal Music to the head of the class. Watson and Holmes is the imprint's first salvo, and it's quite simply a home run.