Best known as a jazz drummer and hip-hop producer, Karriem Riggins returns with Headnod Suite. The album is the follow up to 2012’s critically acclaimed debut Alone Together. With 29 instrumental hip-hop tracks, Headnod Suite places Riggins’ beatmaking chops front and center. It’s a testament to why Riggins is the producer of choice for artists like Kanye West, Common, Erykah Badu, and The Roots.
Limited to 250. If there’s anyone who lives up to the concept of “Supply and Demand,” its veteran producer, K-Def. With 4 full length projects and an EP with rapper K.A.A.N. all released in 2016, he’s back with his first offering for 2017; In The Moment. So much has been and can be said about K over 2 plus decades in the industry as one of hip-hop’s elite producers. What else is left? Well, honestly K is not stuck on the accolades of his past and he prefers to look at his art as “his best work is yet to come”, even after so many monumental career accomplishments. Recently, he was featured in Mass Appeal’s viral web series, Rhythm Roulette, to great appreciation from longtime fans and newfound acclaim reaching a younger audience previously unaware of his brand. Capitalizing on buzz, K realizes that mass abundance is never a bad thing as long as your product is good. So he continuously assembles project after project, adding new chapters to his legacy. A man of many tricks who guards his secrets, peers and record nerds are often dumbfounded by many of the techniques K-Def exhibits in his well constructed tracks. Never one to shun new technology, many of his latest works show what can be done with sound when software and a complex mind meet. However, as advanced as K-Def evolves, he’s never abandoned his fundamental approaches to beat production no matter what tools he applies. He’d rather make room for both. With the invention of Akai’s MPC Renaissance, as advertised, it put K in a tactile headspace of hardware before the software it controls. Why stop there when K had bags of diskettes he accumulated from his work on the classic MPC 60ii and the MPC 3000? The nostalgic process inspired K to incorporate all this weapons to make timeless current day music regardless of perceived limitations. Creatives often refer to their optimal stride in coined terms like ”The magic hour” or ”In the zone”. Using all the tools and experience at his disposal (mainly MPC’s), K captured his stride documented in these generous 23 tracks. When asked about the album’s background and composition, he said simply, (he) “was in the moment”. It resonated and there you have it. K-Def’s new LP is titled “In the Moment” so you’re “in luck” if you’re “in the know.”
First Word enters 2017 with a bang: a 28-track album courtesy of Eric Lau. This, his third instrumental album, is a veritable tapestry of vibes, ranging through Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, Funk & Brazilian beats. A mere taste into the genius production skills of London's Mr. Lau, it's easy to understand why he's so revered by DJs, artists and producers across the world, including Rich Medina, 9th Wonder, Bobbito, Dam Funk, Gilles Peterson, James Poyser (The Roots), Phonte and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest), amongst others. Eric has had previous outings for First Word as part of the Record Store Day beat-challenge trilogy, along with Tall Black Guy, Kidkanevil and Mr. Thing, and was recently initiated into Jazzy Jeff's star-studded annual Playlist Retreat. As a producer, he's worked with a host of artists, including Kaidi Tatham, Oddisee, Yussef Kamaal, Guilty Simpson, Dego, Tawiah, Rahel and Fatima, to name a few, whilst his DJ skills have seen him tour the globe with luminaries such as Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper and Questlove. Additionally to three instrumental LPs, he previously released his debut-proper for Ubiquity, 'New Territories', and the acclaimed 2013 sophomore album, 'One Of Many'. 'Examples' really provides you with what it says on the tin - a mere taster of this man's talents. Kicking off the new year with a bounce, it's unnecessary that we tell you that you shouldn't sleep on this.. Don't sleep on this.
On the heels of his recent brand new album Vignettes, Redefinition is repackaging and reissuing Damu the Fudgemunk’s critically acclaimed debut EP that has long been out of print. Updated with new artwork, the project includes all 5 vocal tracks that feature MC, Raw Poetic in their entirety with selected instrumentals, bonus outtakes and previously unreleased material all presented on one disc of vinyl. The title, “The Essential Kilawatt Sessions” is more than adequate being that numerous bits and pieces of Kilawatt related tracks have been shared with fans over the years. This latest installment definitively ties all of the essentials across 2 sides and gives fans the opportunity to own a quality piece that has been out of circulation for almost 8 years since its original release (Import) on Kilawatt Music UK (Thanks Simon!). The music packaged in the project is some of the finest hip hop crafted in the last 2 decades. All fundamental characteristics are timelessly executed at a very high level from Raw Poetic’s lyrics and rapping to Damu the Fudgemunk’s production and scratching. A visual example of the chemistry between the artists is showcased in the popular video for the single “Hole up,” which captures both Damu and Poetic in an energetic b-boy inspired vamp, complete with flawless rapid fire rapping and cuts. This is quintessential for Damu and/or Raw Poetic fans alike. Make sure this music is your collection.
Limited vinyl LP pressing. 2017 release from the West Coast rapper. Devised as a two-part album to mark two decades since the release of his classic début Soul On Ice, Intellectual Property is the first slice of Ras Kass' crowd-funded vision. Since this offering is supposed to invoke Ras' original masterpiece it's hard not to compare it with his first album, but when you do that, you're putting a classic next to a classic. The features list and producer list speak for itself. If you are a fan of Ras Kass you will get Ras Kass on Intellectual Property plus much more.
The Muggs Presents The Soul Assassins (Chapter 1) album was originally released in 1997 and is produced by DJ Muggs. It features tracks from a veritable 'who's who' list of rappers like Dr. Dre & B Real, Mobb Deep, RZA/GZA & Genius (Wu-Tang Clan), Krs-One (Boogie Down Productions), Goodie Mob plus contributions from his Cypress Hill fellow band members B-Real and Sen Dog. DJ Muggs is Cypress Hill's official DJ and producer and the leader of LA art collective Soul Assassins. He also produced tracks for Funkdoobiest, House of Pain, Dizzee Rascal, U2, Depeche Mode, Die Antwoord and more. The apocalyptic grooves on Muggs Presents The Soul Assassins (Chapter 1) steal the show, while the street beats and stark lyrics bring an eerie trip-hop feel to the whole album. Earning critical praise from the hip-hop community, fans and censors, the Muggs Presents The Soul Assassins (Chapter 1) album reached #86 on the Billboard 200. Highlights of this diverse LP are "Puppet Master" by Dr. Dre & B Real, "Third World" by RZA/GZA & Genius plus the hidden gem, only to be found on the European release, "Runnin' Wild" from the LA Art Soul Assassins crew.
Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage is a collection of delicately rendered passages of silence and sound that invokes – and invites - consciousness. The foundation of the duo’s second album is gently poured upon the ground their musical predecessors explored, using the materials of chance operations, MIDI “translation,” and other generative principles that favor inclusive musical environments over the narrowly constrained. In 2010, Spencer Doran, one part of Visible Cloaks alongside Ryan Carlile, prepared the first volume of Fairlights, Mallets, and Bamboo, a mixtape indicated by Doran as “an investigation into fourth-world undercurrents in Japanese ambient and pop music, years 1980 - 1986.” These mixes contextualized the outré orbit of Yellow Magic Orchestra-related solo projects and their abstract, radiant forays as forever futuristic modes of music. Reassemblage evokes similar musical futures celebrated on the Fairlights mixes, but does so observantly rather than reverently. The title Reassemblage, for example, is taken from a film essay by Trinh T. Minh-ha, which explores the impossibility of ascribing meaning to ethnographic images. The author aims to “speak nearby” rather than “speak about.” In other words, to embrace lapses of understanding, and realize that the impulse to map direct meaning across a cultural gap often results in further disconnect. In an effort to “speak nearby” rather than “speak about,” Visible Cloaks filters and forms source material to become young again. Often the duo strip tonal elements of their specificity or randomize melodies so they become stirring and lucid. Essential patterns emerge, conscious experience heightens. In these moments, the musical language of Reassemblage finds unlimited resonance and presents a path to uninhabited realities. The origin of this language could be described as translingual or polyglottal, working within the eastern / western feedback loop of influence, Fourth World ambiguity, and the universality of human emotion. Incorporating an international array of virtual instruments to advance the idea of panglobalism through digital simulation, tones and colors cohere into a living, breathing pool of sensorial experience in Visible Cloaks’ environs. Beyond embracing the fluidity of worldly musical influences, Visible Cloaks works fluently between mediums. The contribution of stalwart digital and installation artist Brenna Murphy’s dream dimensions to Reassemblage’s cover artwork and surrounding videos extends the album’s exploration of global headspace into a visual, visceral reality.
While writing FORGET, Xiu Xiu released the lauded Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, collaborated with Mitski on a song for an upcoming John Cameron Mitchell film, and scored an experimental reworking of the Mozart opera, The Magic Flute. All of this frantic, external activity lead to a softly damaged dreaminess and broadened intent that has not been heard before in other Xiu Xiu works. Standout track, 'Wondering' is one of the catchiest boogie pop gems in the Xiu Xiu catalog, but like much of FORGET, it still bears an underlying tension that manifests differently in each piece. FORGET was produced by John Congleton (Blondie, Sigur Ros), Greg Saunier of Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu's own Angela Seo.
Caught somewhere between the clouds and the depths of the underground club scene, Kingdom's music embodies moments of both tears of joy and anxious suspension. Tears in the Club is his debut album and features collaborations with SZA, Syd from The Internet, and Shacar, is an 11-track collection of left-field pop songs and Kingdom's most complete vision of his club R&B microverse yet. The music is a journey through Kingdom's psyche- enchanted, darkly atmospheric instrumentals and a crystalline femme sound scape - simultaneously erotic, melancholy and resilient. Recorded and mixed entirely by Kingdom himself, the sonics of Tears in the Club establish a mix of polished R&B and sample-based DIY production Kingdom pioneered on previous releases on Fools Gold, Night Slugs and his own imprint Fade to Mind. After the success of those projects as well as in producing records for alt-R&B mainstays Kelela and DWN he was able to strike a balance with collaborators that matches his unique tone and vision. Tears in the Club features two collaborations with TDEs rising star singer SZA, the angular uptempo banger "Down 4 Whatever" and pillowy companion song "What is Love". Tears in the Club includes two mixes of "Nothin", featuring The Internet's Syd. The original mix is an intimate confession of inadequacy floating over digital west coast R&B, while the East Coast Club Mix moves on from regret to celebration, referencing the booty bass aesthetic of So So Def club mixes from the late 90s.
Dirty Projectors, the beloved, decade-plus-long recording pursuit of producer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist David Longstreth, presents the eighth full-length album in the band’s wildly varied and fascinating discography. As with previous Dirty Projectors albums, the forthcoming release sees Longstreth lead a group of hugely talented contributors, including Solange Knowles, Tyondai Braxton, Mauro Refosco (Atoms For Peace, Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Dawn Richard (D∆WN and Danity Kane), in realizing his creative vision.
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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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