The musical blueprint of both Tel Aviv and Los Angeles readily apparent in Cohenbeats’ Stones Throw release, Daily Affirmations. While Israeli samples influenced by jazz, progressive rock and Brazilian music are threaded throughout, the undeniable backbone of the album continues to be inspired by LA beatmakers.
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Stones Throw’s Vex Ruffin and legendary Yo! MTV Raps host and visual artist Fab 5 Freddy have teamed up to create new track “The Balance.” Fab’s first musical project in 30 years since “Change the Beat,” the 12-inch includes original vocal, instrumental, and two remixes. Fab 5 Freddy on creating “The Balance”: “I liked the way this idea organically developed and I began to see my involvement as a sort of art performance piece. The track reminded me of cool dance records that downtown NY DJ’s played back then in the 80’s at places like The Mudd Club, The Garage, Area, Danceteria and Nells where I hung out so I put myself in that mindset when working on my lyrics for this song.”
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.
He is Dominique Purdy, born and raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles. His first hip-hop influence was his own mother, who made jewelry and hung tight with Ice T, the Rhyme Syndicate, and Grandmaster Caz. “I remember Caz showing my mom how to freestyle on cassette, just fucking around. He was basically saying have fun with it, say something that comes from right where ever you are.” Purdy moved from corner to corner through Koreatown his whole life, drawing, writing, and developing his own brand of experimental hip-hop, fused with comedy, and impromptu performance. He wrote and starred in the independent feature Driving White Black (2016). As The Koreatown Oddity, rocking a wolf mask he bought back in high school for 70 bucks, he’s been doing shows anywhere and everywhere, whether he’s invited or not: L.A.’s The Laugh Factory, Wendy’s, and Greyhound Stations. Finna Be Past Tense is his first album with Stones Throw, following a long line of independently released cassettes. Finna Be Past Tense was produced entirely by Vex Ruffin, who met the MC after one of his public stunts. The album – also featuring Joyce Wrice, Black Moses, Tron7Seize, DJ Lala, DJ Luman – is based around a loose concept of Koreatown Oddity reckoning with life, death, and the passage of time. Finna Be Past Tense cover art by Oscar Ayala.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s formidable skills have come to fruition on Jardín in his Stones Throw debut . “This album came out of wanting to make music that reminds people how beautiful life is and how delicate their heart is,” he said. “I've always wanted to make music that is healing, comforting, and funky. I named the album Jardín hoping for it to create a space for healing when people put it on.
Compiled by Sofie Fatouretchi of Boiler Room, these 24 tracks by 26 different artists mix together the best of hip-hop and Soul underground. An enticing selection of artists that should be on your radar, the album varies from ISSUE’s (Bay-area based artist and E40’s son) space age rap on “Ferrari” to slow jams like artists Ill Camille and SiR’s heartfelt plea to never giving up on the Mndsgn-produced “Almost There.” Other artists include Mndsgn, Kutmah, Stimulator Jones, DJ Harrison, Gifted & Blessed, and more.
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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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