Record Label: Fat Beats Records
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With this Summer's release of their debut album Things Are Getting Too Casual, CSC Funk Band charges 11- deep from the formidable Brooklyn underground to forge an unforgettable path that leaves no ass unshaken and all ears aflame. This is funk in the sense of blistering backbeats and sweaty, selfless abandon, of all senses colliding and all minds melding. This is instrumental get-up-and-dance music from planet nowhere.
CSC's muscular groove assault belies an opium-tinged underbelly that performs perfectly at both backdoor loft parties and starry Summer-night drives. Rocking saxes, synths, guitars, trombones, drums, trumpets, a bass, and an oboe, the band is a random, diverse, and eclectic collective. The psychedelic avalanche that the band effortlessly induces can be traced up the musical mountain to firm roots in technical mastery, avantexperimentation, and noise-punk ethos.
Hot off his collaboration with Madlib and MED (Bad Neighbor), SoCal ambassador Blu has teamed up with the Paris-based production team UNION to present “LA COUNTING”, the lead single off their forthcoming album Cheetah in the City. Featuring remixes by Exile, Dibiase, and Yann Kesz, this limited edition picture disc 10” delivers Blu’s lyrical love letter to Los Angeles while UNION’S synth-soaked production marks a stylistic sea change for the Below the Heavens MC. Rippling with 808s and cinematic strings, LA COUNTING is an organic evolution from the signature keyboard-driven sound that put UNION on the map in 2012 with Analogtronics, their debut album featuring Talib Kweli, MF DOOM, Elzhi, Guilty Simpson, and more. Cheetah in the City will be released later this year on Fat Beats Records, but until then the world will have to keep LA COUNTING.
Tronic is the third Solo album by Detroit MC/Producer Black Milk, originally released in 2008. Considered by many to be the LP that elevated Black to a new level after previously releasing solo efforts Popular Demand and Sound of The City. After being out of print for over six years, the deluxe silver edition reissue of Tronic is pressed on double silver vinyl, with a bonus 7” featuring five unreleased beats.
As one of the most-celebrated auteurs of his generation of hip hop artists, Black Milk has conditioned fans and critics to always expect the unexpected each time he releases new music. Few producers have earned the notoriety and respect he has as a musician, and when that is coupled with commanding talent as an emcee, it’s no surprise that his solo releases are met with exalted anticipation. The new full-length album “No Poison No Paradise” continues Black Milk’s trend of releasing material that maintains his signature sound while pushing it into new territory. Musically, each of Black Milk’s releases have kept one foot dipped in classical boom-bap and the other stomping with a fierce originality and willingness to expand his listeners’ sonic palate. “No Poison No Paradise” leaves behind the density and heavily- layered sounds of his 2010 release “Album of the Year” in favor of a more stripped-down approach. Some tracks showcase the raw sample-driven styles that helped make him one of Detroit’s hottest young talents nearly a decade ago. Others flex some of the sophistication and musicality that have helped to make his live show among the most-acclaimed in hip hop. Whichever direction he decides to take it, all of the trademark characteristics of Black’s music are fully apparent throughout the album: hard drums, melodic synths, and nimble flows. Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of “No Poison No Paradise” is the evolution of Black Milk’s lyrical style. While he’s never been shy to get personal on the mic, Black introduces a refined ability as a storyteller on the new release, mostly told through the dreams of a character named Sonny. The album’s songs are steeped in autobiographical themes and construct rich visceral imagery of everything from the experience of growing up in a rough working-class neighborhood of Detroit to the struggles of maintaining one’s inspiration and success as an artist. Even with his lyrical progression, Black’s rap styles are unquestionably sharper and more varied than ever. “No Poison No Paradise” is another accomplished full-length solo release for Black Milk, and a return to form for one of hip hop’s most versatile talents. The album features guest appearances by Grammy-Award winners Black Thought (The Roots), Robert Glasper, and Dwele, as well as long-time collaborators Will Sessions, Mel, and Ab.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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