When soon-to-be-renowned Boston hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric collaborated with the Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck on the title track to 7LES’s debut EP Speaking Real Words in 1999, the timing was perfect. The upstart duo was building a serious buzz on the East Coast and beyond, while Deck was still winning praise for his gold-selling solo disc Uncontrolled Substance. As flashy pop-oriented rap was pumped on commercial radio stations, their natural chemistry and simpatico skills shone as a beacon to real hip-hop fans, a base of listeners who were soon asking about their next musical summit. Not surprising, respect for real hip-hop runs deep, and CZARFACE brings an army with it — consider the star-studded guest list which includes Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, Vinnie Paz (Jedi Mind Tricks,) Oh No (Gangrene,) Mr. MFN eXquire and Deck's fellow Wu-Tang Clansmen Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna. Aside from one track blessed by the almighty DJ Premier, production on CZARFACE belongs exclusively to DJ 7L, who provides the musical backbone which holds the album together. His ability to craft a hip-hop sound that's current and exciting with a classic feel left Deck impressed: “This is one of the first albums I've heard in a while that gives you so many different feels. You hear the ‘80s hip-hop style, ‘80s R&B and rock combined with what's going on now. That’s creating something new, in my opinion.” A collaboration this big is bound to catch some attention, as it has from MISHKA NYC artist Lamour Supreme, who penned the eye-popping Jack “King” Kirby inspired cover art for CZARFACE.
Wu-Tang founding MC Inspectah Deck and veteran Boston duo 7L & Esoteric – isn’t concerned with the glitz and the B.S. that modern consumer culture is pushing. And neither are the group’s fans. In 2013, the trio appeared relatively unassumingly with their self-titled debut, which was chiefly produced by DJ 7L and included guests ranging from Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna to Vinnie Paz, Action Bronson and Roc Marciano. The soon-to-be acclaimed group found out quickly that there was a groundswell of hip-hop fanatics thirsting for the lunchpail, lyrics-above-all-else rap they fell in love with in the ‘90s. Several pressings of the album on CD, 2-LP and even cassette later, they are back and ready to up the ante. This time around the group is the same, but it’s fair to say that all three men have stepped up their game. “We knew how we felt about the last album, but weren’t sure how it would be received by listeners,” explains MC Esoteric. “But people really responded to it, even more than we had hoped. That gave us the confidence to really spread our wings and let loose on this one. The chemistry is even tighter this time around. We know exactly what lanes we are cruising in and what weight class we are fighting in for Round 2.” Inspectah Deck adds, “Czarface is like the Danger Room for the X-Men, I can use all my weapons on there. When I’m in Wu-Tang, I have to come a certain way because we have a certain style of fan, when I’m here doing the Czarface projects, it allows me to actually be an MC, it allows me to actually just spit…I love that. I love when i can just spit freely and just be an MC.” The fighting analogy – whether drawn from pugilism or ‘80s wrestling, both which figure into Every Hero Needs A Villain – is an apt one, considering the unrelenting lyrical attacks that Deck and Esoteric unleash on track after track, each trying to one-up the previous verse. Best of all, it is friendly camaraderie, based around a loose theme of renegade mutant MC talents running wild. DJ 7L explains, “All three of us are influenced by comics, sci-fi movies, TV, wrestling. Czarface encompasses all of that, and it helps with the visuals as well.” On the production side, 7L shows yet again – as he did with the group’s debut – that he remains a formidable yet underappreciated musical force, constantly providing hard, funky and alternatingly ominous backdrops for the assembled MCs to use as lyrical luge paths. Standard, jewel case issue of Czarface's new album.
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's CZARFACE & MF DOOM! Who better to team-up with the boom-bap hero de jour CZARFACE, but the super-villain himself...the masked man known as MF DOOM! "Ka-Bang!" accomplishes just that, and is taken from the bestselling 'Every Hero Needs A Villain', the sophomore album from CZARFACE, the collaborative stylings of Wu Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and indy rap vets 7L & Esoteric. On it, the three MCs assemble for some clobberin' time over a hypnotically sparse and bass heavy track from DJ 7L. The picture disc 10" also contains the lyrical krypton of "Deviatin' Septums" (only available digitally until now), plus the mighty "Ka-Bang! (Suckface's Swine Mix)", which is exclusive to this release! The B-Side features Instrumental versions to all three tracks. All of it is pressed on high quality 10" picture disc vinyl featuring the amazing comic-book-inspired art work of L'Amour Supreme of Mishka NYC fame. Side A depicts CZARFACE tangling with MF DOOM, and Side B has CZARFACE exposing his inner workings. With great power comes great responsibility! CZARFACE embraces that head on, and crusades against wack MCs across the universe!
Brick Records is proud to present the REKS & Hazardis Soundz collaborative album 'Eyes Watching God'. This concept album has the duo showcasing a contrast between good and evil beginning with a God side and finishing with a Devil side. The CD artwork features a dual-image cover- showing both the 'good' and 'evil' sides, depending on what angle you view it from. The Massachusetts lyricist linked up with the Queens native in South Florida to complete the album during the past year, and they enlisted N.O.R.E, Saigon, Fredro Starr, Termanology, Ruste Juxx, Dutch Rebelle and others to add to their cause. The result is a highly conscious and fiercely political album. "Working with Reks on this project has been a great experience. The creative process was organic and effortless. We were in the studio together for every song on the album and it was as simple as me showing Reks a beat and him picking up the pen and writing. Nothing was ever forced. Really proud of this body of work and I'm very excited for the world to hear it." says Haz. REKS adds, "It felt natural working with Haz. He has a great ear for music and was interested in me trying beats I am not accustomed to spitting on. It helped me diversify myself a bit". The chemistry between the two is evident throughout the album.
To say Reks took the underground rap scene by storm would be an understatement, as over the course of his first decade on the scene he was the definition of consistent, unleashing three consecutive albums that firmly established him as one of hip-hop's most revered new artists: Along Came The Chosen, Grey Hairs (primarily produced by Statik Selektah with additional production from DJ Premier & Large Professor), Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme (which debuted on the Billboard charts and included production from Statik Selektah, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Hi-Tek, Nottz, Sha Money XL & Sean C & LV). Rather than resting on his laurels, Reks choose to take his artistic direction and vision in another direction, devoting his time and energy to embark on a new mission working on passion projects (REBELutionary, Revolution Cocktail & Eyes Watching God); all of which foreshadowed many of the societal ails that we as a country and now fully embroiled in. While Reks' The Greatest X (pronounced as The Greatest Unknown) is not a comeback album, it is a return to force for the Boston wordsmith. As he did on his previous stand-out efforts, REKS is back working with the industries elite producers (Large Professor, The Alchemist, Evidence, Statik Selektah, Nottz, Apollo Brown, Black Milk, Buckwild, Streetrunner) as he sets out to take the next step in his progression. Reks has already set things in motion with the release of videos for the Streetrunner produced "Hands Up" (Wink Wink), the Nottz produced "The Recipe," "Jump Shots" (produced by Buckwild) and "Bitch Slap" f/ R.A. The Rugged Man, which have all been favorably received.
The first single of the Mega Ran & Storryville 'Soul Veggies' project, "React" is the Soul Veggies' tribute to jazzy B-Boy anthems like "Don't Sweat The Technique," with a slick 2015 twist. The track is guaranteed to cause a raucous reaction from dive bars to festivals, with a taste of 1990's hip-hop bravado ("This is creation, not Kreayshawn") and the downright silliness ("I'm crazy in the cranium, maybe, I'm crackin' up/Or maybe I got mania baby, I'm friggin nuts!") that you've come to expect from the duo of Ran and Story. "I pictured b-boys popping and locking to this all over the place, doing the most outlandish moves" says Ran. "I always think it's important near the beginning of a new project to let people know that despite the changes, nothing has changed." Story adds. This is what "Soul Veggies" is: two guys who know their roots, but aren't afraid to turn the heat up and take it to another level. React. Move, don't hold back the motion. The b-side is an unreleased Soul Veggies track, not available on the album, entitled "Another World." It is a fun story, loosely based on the hit Super Nintendo game "Out Of This World," released in 1992, which is all about a man's journey to a strange world where he encounters danger and an alien friend. In the song, both Ran and Story venture to another dimension due to Story placing Plutonium into a microwave -- yeah, it gets weird. The two encounter warp zones, death rays and and 12-eyed space aliens in this rap tribute to classic cheesy Sci-Fi flicks. The track is produced by London native Cigadeemus, who Ran met on his latest UK tour. The two became really close and decided to work on some music, which was completed after the Soul Veggies project was finalized, so the track rematerializes as a bonus b-side on the "React" single.
In 2008, Termanology began making a real name for himself, he had several highly-acclaimed singles in rotation and when DJ Premier laced him with one of his signature, scratch-laden beats on "Watch How It Go Down," the hood conscious anthem became an underground classic; and with it Termanology thrust himself onto hip-hop's international radar. Soon after, Term released his solo-debut, ‘Politics As Usual’, a project that included a Mount Rushmore like array of producers; DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Havoc, Alchemist, Hi-Tek, Buckwild, Easy Mo Bee & Nottz. ‘Politics As Usual’ was one of those rare projects which managed to merge the best of both worlds for Hip-Hop fans; meshing classic boom-bap production from a virtual who's who list of production royalty with Term’s lyricism, swagger and bravado. A lot has changed since Termanology released his debut, but in hip-hop, just as in life, everything comes full-circle. He’s back with ‘More Politics’, which, similar to his debut, brings together the elite of the elite in beatsmiths, as Just Blaze (Jay-Z, Beyonce, Eminem etc), Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), Buckwild (DITC), Hi-Tek, Nottz, Dame Grease (Nas, Fat Joe, DMX, Kelis, MGK, LL Cool J, T.I. etc), and the Grammy Award winning J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League (Rick Ross, Mary J Blige, Wale, Drake, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Tech N9ne, Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz etc), plus his brother from another mother Statik Selektah, all contribute production. Not only does the production mark Term’s current focus on creating top-tier songs, but he also enlisted the best-of-the-best to bless the mic on ‘More Politics’, including Joey Bada$$ (Pro Era), KXNG Crooked (Slaughterhouse), Bun B (UGK), Sheek Louch & Styles P (The Lox), Saigon, Westside Gunn, Ea$y Money, Conway, Chris Rivers, Your Old Droog and others.
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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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