Record Label: Brick Records
Official Army Of The Pharaohs and Demigodz emcee Blacastan has been steadily staking his claim to the title of ‘savior of underground rap music’ since his debut mixtape Me Against The Radio and its key cut and video "Life Of A Tape" became an underground cult classic in 2007. The rapper turned his attention to the mic after the Hartford, CT street life, and his strong-arm style of handling business, left a then 16-year-old Blacastan serving a bid in the mid-'90s. He emerged from prison with a remarkable skill set, a throwback style, and an unrivaled drive. His 2010 debut album Blac Sabbath boasted production & vocals from the likes of Statik Selektah, Blue Sky Black Death, Mr. Green, Esoteric and Celph Titled, and 2012’s The Master Builder Part II, which was mixed by legendary DJ Doo Wop, had features from Slaine and Reef the Lost Cauze, among others.
He has since also racked up appearances on Jedi Mind Tricks Violence Begets Violence, the Army of The Pharaohs albums In Death Reborn and Heavy Lies The Crown, the Demigodz Killmatic album, Apathy’s Wanna Snuggle?, Mr Lif’s Don’t Look Down and Czarface’s A Fistful of Peril, plus toured extensively across Europe, North America, and Australia with Celph Titled and Block McCloud.
2014 saw Blac teaming up with producer and longtime AOTP and Demigodz collaborator Stu Bangas for the first installment of Watson & Holmes, which featured Esoteric, Apathy, Celph Titled and Vinnie Paz. Stu has been in the trenches since the early 2000s, producing heatrocks for Slaine, Esoteric, Tragedy Khadafi, Heltah Skeltah, Jedi Mind Tricks, Vinnie Paz, Blaq Poet, Copywrite, Chino XL, Cappadonna, AOTP and Sean Price, including the lead single “Definition of God” from Sean Price's upcoming posthumous album Imperius Rex.
The duo is back with The Uncanny Adventures of Watson & Holmes, a sophomore effort that improves on the first in every way. Stu gets completely brutal with the beats, and Blac ups the ante on the rhymes. Plus, they’ve enlisted Ill Bill (Non-Phixion, La Coka Nostra), Nutso, Apathy (Demigodz, AOTP) 7L & Esoteric (AOTP, Czarface), and Tragedy Khadafi to lend their talents to the project.
Blac explains that this time around, he “really dug in and executive produced it: every sample, every transition, every edit.” He adds “People might not realize it, but this album took 4 years to make! I also worked closely with engineer Eddie Sancho on crafting the actual sound of the album... Stu and I are so familiar with each other’s process that we already know what the other is thinking before he thinks it.” Stu elaborates, saying that “this time around we tried out different tempos, different vibes for songs, and Blac played around with different rhyme patterns, so it shows how we have both grown as artists.”
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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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