On the heels of his debut collaborative LP with Evidence, Lord Steppington, and production on Directors of Photography, the latest from legendary L.A. outfit Dilated Peoples, comes a new chapter in the Alchemist’s Rapper’s Best Friend instrumental series. The third in its series, Rapper’s Best Friend 3 is comprised of instrumentals of tracks produced by the Alchemist for artists such as Schoolboy Q, Styles P and Mobb Deep.
Following two acclaimed solo albums in the last four years, Hempstead, Long Island MC/producer Roc Marciano embarks on a new feat. Having almost exclusively showcasing his slick, gritty narratives over self-produced sparse, nostalgic beats, the former Flipmode Squad member and U.N. co-founder is opening his unique sound to some of his friends and respected peers for Marci Beaucoup. Since early 2011, Roc plugged away at what he calls, "An album that wasn't all about me, but more of a project that was about how other artists sounded on my beats." Those guests include Cormega, Freeway, Guilty Simpson, Boldy James, Knowledge The Pirate, longtime affiliate KA, as well as AG Da Coroner. The last is Marci's first signing as VP of A&R at Man Bites Dog Records, the same respected imprint responsible for the third album in Roc's solo franchise. Marciano hopes to gain recognition as the latest in a long line of championed MCs and beat-providers. "It's the music I grew up loving," he says of self-contained Hip-Hop. "Q-Tip, EPMD, Rakim, Ultramagnetic MCs-all of those artists, they weren't just rappers. They were involved in their sound and production. So I'm just pretty much following tradition." With his cold accounts of "Pimpstead," and a vividly-described metropolitan underbelly, Roc's dusty sources, film dialogue, and subdued basslines sound made for each other. However, after two albums that topped year-end lists, and prompted a reported debate between Jay Z and The Roots' ?uestlove over which was better, Roc says he has even more to offer in number three. "Now, when I listen to stuff that I've done a while back, I want to flip it a whole different way. Lately, I feel like I have no style: I do what I have to do. Back in the days, I stuck to a four-bar loop. Now, I don't have any rules." The unconventional approach comes to life on Marci Beaucoup, through Roc's personal highlights, including "Squeeze" with Random Axe's Guilty Simpson, and longtime collaborator, Brownsville's KA. In honing his craft, Roc is deliberately hands-off with artists. "I don't come to people with concepts, unless we have to follow the guidelines of the track," he admits. "If I'm workin' with somebody, I want them to do what they feel. I don't want to govern a project too heavily. I'd rather just everybody do what they naturally do." Additionally, the Los Angeles-based New Yorker also only makes music when he's compelled. "The only time I really listen to music is when I'm about to do some creating," he says, referring to music beyond the N.W.A., Max B, and Erick Sermon in his current car stash. "That's when I start doing my digging. I did some record shopping today. I'll listen to the records tomorrow, or whenever I feel. I make the beats as I get the samples. I gather samples and push 'em aside to track the record." With the third LP, Roc looks forward to offering an array of videos. "It's important for people to see records come to life. I'm trying to do more of that," said Roc, who hopes this project awakens more of his peers in addition to the growing fan-base. "People can now see how I do albums, and become more comfortable with it. Hopefully, more artists I respect can ask me to produce." In his trademark dry nature, the double-threat looks ahead and says, "I don't only just wanna be rappin'."
Following up Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Pinata – this EP contains exclusive tracks not available on the album. “Knicks,” in remixed form, now features a new verse by Gibbs alongside Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$ and Ransom. The b-side, “Home,” features BJ The Chicago Kid – the velvet voiced vocalist from the duo’s earlier “Shame” – and Madlib’s two-part soul-flip carries Gibb’s narrative about a traveling man’s disregard for his woman at home. Both sides are completed by previously unheard Madlib instrumentals.
Longtime contributing editor Andrew “Monk” Mason interviews Blondie cofounders Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and chronicles the band’s rise from New York’s DIY art-rock downtown scene to worldwide airwaves with the disco hits “Heart of Glass” and the Giorgio Moroder–produced “Call Me.” But perhaps their real legacy is tied to the then burgeoning hip-hop movement; after meeting “Fab 5” Freddy, Blondie would record “Rapture”—the first pop song to incorporate a rap—and help bring the nascent artform to a larger global audience. SZA feels like she’s an anomaly in the music game, an outcast. But she’s not trying to be anyone but herself. As she creates her highly anticipated sophomore album, SZA is finding her voice and learning to actualize her own vision. While he’s known as a ’60s counterculture icon for his raunchy yet brilliant comics, illustrator Robert Crumb’s heart lies in the ’20s and ’30s. His love of old 78s and the songs of the original blues men, rural string bands, and obscure jazz musicians makes Crumb one of the leading experts on early American music. During the golden era of hip-hop, Onyx, a group of bald-headed, angry youth from Queens, attacked the music industry like a pack of vicious pit bulls with the hip-hop anthem “Slam,” inspired by the slam-dancing video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” During the first series of solo Wu-Tang Clan releases, Raekwon the Chef, with the help of his childhood pal and Wu cohort Ghostface Killah, created 1995’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, an album rife with crime narratives taken from real-life experiences growing up in Staten Island as well as gangster films like Scarface and The Killer.
Disparate producers with complimentary sounds, Evil Needle and Sivey met in an online beat community 6 years ago and to this day have never met in real life. Here, they present their first official EP, 'Constructive Interference', to the world. 'Constructive Interference' was created over the span of 3 years and embodies the unique soundscapes of each producer. Evil Needle, based in Strasbourg France, just on the border of Germany] pulls inspiration from traditional hip hop, neo-soul and trap music while seamlessly weaving in open synths and chunky chord progressions. Manchester, UK-based Sivey incorporates soulful beat-oriented music with what he calls "emotional highs and lows that are still musically stimulating" adding a beautifully uptempo sensibility.
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It's next to impossible to put down the creative genius that is Cookin' Soul. With nearly a decade of remixes, and mashups under their belts, the Spanish duo have proven to the world that they have a knack for bringing out the best in any artist they decide to sonically reconstruct. But what would happen if they took a direct flight to Queens? On the Big Noyd, Large Professor and Kool G Rap featured street banger, "Naturally Born," that's exactly what happens. After recently appearing on Coalmine Records' decennary compilation LP, Unearthed, the original Ayatollah produced head nodder, provided a nostalgic backdrop for the trio to do their thing; this time around, Cookin' Soul have taken the track to new heights by giving an Uprock-themed overhaul to the original, connecting more to the era of Shell Toes and dookie rope chains, than the time when Timbos and gold medallions reigned supreme. Both versions are now available through Coalmine Records as a limited edition 7-inch 45, exclusively for Black Friday. For more hard hitting, innovative remixes, make sure to check out Coalmine's forthcoming remix compilation, Remineded: A Collection of New & Old Remixes, which includes features from the likes of Blu, Royce da 5'9", Heltah Skeltah and Guilty Simpson, and includes remixes from Large Professor, Diamond D, M-Phazes, Audible Doctor, and more!
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In Bloom showcases a beautiful mixture of lush soundscapes layered with soulful rnb vocals and swirled in live instrumentation, in large part performed by the project's creator, DPAT. "Above Us" represents DPAT's soft, yet intentional beat structure full of dreamy keys, rnb charisma and Sango-infused bass lines. Angelic vocals from Austin-based Isles are weaved throughout the track making it a realistic glimpse into the sound story of In Bloom. 23 year old, Houston, TX native, DPAT, started his journey in formal music production a few years ago and has already garnered a most impressive resume including collaborations with Wiz Khalifa, The Weeknd, Sango and JMSN to name a few. With one self-released EP, Blurry, under his belt, DPAT takes In Bloom to the next level and departs from a heavy sample-based sound replacing it with live guitar, piano, and vocal collaborations. "The album atmosphere is dark, contemplative, enigmatic and embodies a nocturnal vibe" -DPAT
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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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