Monthly Archives: March 2008

Take It Back – DJ Excalibah / Dan Greenpeace

If you’re in London this coming Sunday and in the mood for some classic Hip-Hop beats then you might want to pay a visit to the new night from PyroRadio.Com’s Excalibah and Greenpeace (details below).


BK To UK – Joell Ortiz / DJ MK

Joell Ortiz blazes the airwaves on London’s Kiss FM with DJ MK during his UK visit last week.

New Joint – Lidget Green Project / Guilty Simpson

Lidget Green Project ft. Guilty Simpson – “Trusted” ( DMB Records / 2008 )

Official unofficial video for this dope new track from the UK-based LG Project.

New Joint – Jay-Z / Quincey Tones

Jay-Z – “I Know Remix” ( Major Notes Music / 2008 )

UK producer Quincey Tones breathes new life into what was definitely the weak link on Jigga’s “American Gangster” project, replacing the Neptune’s generic club-friendly track with a soulful bubbler of a beat.

Ghetto Boy – Guilty Simpson

The Detroit emcee talks to Vlaze.Com about working with Dilla and his new album “Ode To The Ghetto”.

Triple Darkness Interview (Originally Printed In Hip-Hop Connection 221 / Pete Rock Cover / April 2008)


“The whole essence of the group is about coming with the illest lyricism, but combining that with some knowledge as well. I’m hoping that when people start to get into what we’re talking about, it might help them change their ways spiritually, mentally and physically.” Over a decade since Mobb Deep first told us about a war going on outside no man is safe from, gruff east London emcee Cyrus Malachi is reminding HHC that the struggle still continues on the frontlines today, but Triple Darkness are here to make a difference.

Originally a duo, the “vision” of Triple Darkness began in 2003 when Hackney homeboys Cyrus and Nasheron started rhyming together, but it wasn’t until 2005 when Malachi returned home from a brief jail stint that the pair really started to take their musical aspirations seriously. Hooking-up with talented producers Beat Butcha and Chemo, the twosome also added M9 to their ranks, with the west London rapper having recently achieved some solo notoriety by releasing his own gritty but thought-provoking material.

“We are a conscious group,” says Cyrus when asked about the trio’s multi-layered references to everything from stopping gun crime on British streets to ancient Egyptian history and the Illuminati. “But conscious rap comes with its own stereotypes and can be very predictable. So we’ve tried to use everything we’ve seen growing-up around poverty and depravity to show people they need knowledge of self to survive in this world. I’m not afraid to speak out about issues I see affecting the black community.”

Although it would be easy to write off some of the more esoteric content heard on TD’s debut album ‘Anathema’ as the result of too much time spent listening to Killah Priest and Tragedy Khadafi, the group share a genuine thirst for any information that can help them make sense of the “paradoxical” modern world we live in, even if that sometimes means entering the shadowy area of conspiracy theories and unseen global powers. “When I started reading up on the reasons behind certain historic events and different secret societies it just blew me away,” says M9. “It all started to come together like a jigsaw for me and I realised that the whole idea of the New World Order is something that’s very serious. It’s such a big part of my life that it’s only natural it would also be a big part of my rhymes.”

Nasheron, meanwhile, has concerns closer to home, such as the influence of today’s popular thugged-out hip-hop on the younger generation. “It romanticises a certain lifestyle without showing the full reality of it,” begins the passionate lyricist. “I’ve yet to see someone live that street life and it be all rosy. There’s always a price to pay. These kids today doing all sorts of madness, it’s like their mental growth has been stunted because of this sh*t.”

“‘Anathema’ deals with the muck and the mire,” states Cyrus in a parting reference to the group’s unapologetically hardcore project. “But the underlying theme is that we need to rise up out of the social conditions we find ourselves in.”

Ryan Proctor

Triple Darkness – “Anathema” (Higher Heights / 2008)

NY’s Finest – Pete Rock

The Chocolate Boy Wonder speaks to 247HH.Com about his earliest Hip-Hop-related memories, personal favourites from his discography and sampling technology.

A3C Hip-Hop Festival 2008 – Biz Markie / Roxanne Shante / Clipse / Jeru The Damaja / Little Brother

Footage from this past weekend’s A3C Hip-Hop Festival in Atlanta.

Biz Markie

Roxanne Shante


Jeru The Damaja / Little Brother

Message In The Music – Brother Ali

Rhymesayers affiliate Brother Ali talks to Rock For Hunger about midwest Hip-Hop, homelessness and spirituality.

Part One

Part Two

As I Reminisce – Masta Ace

Early-90s interview with former Juice Crew member Masta Ace.

UK Raiders – Kashmere / Jehst

Kashmere hits the promo trail early (with a little help from Jehst) for his forthcoming album “Raiders Of The Lost Archives”.

Guard Ya Grill – Lil’ Wayne

This has to be the most creative response I’ve seen to Lil’ Wayne being bottled while onstage in London earlier this week – it must be good because I really don’t consider myself a Weezy fan at all and I’ve still posted it!

Bonus footage for anybody who hasn’t seen one of the million YouTube clips of the incident itself.

New Joint – Guilty Simpson

Guilty Simpson – “Get Riches” ( Stones Throw / 2008 )

Taken from the Detroit emcee’s “Ode To The Ghetto” album.

Thursday Throwback (Part 14) – Group Home

Group Home – “Supa Star” (Payday / 1994)

Some may think this is a bold statement considering the man’s musical history, but this might just be the nicest beat DJ Premier has ever produced.

New Joint – The Camp

The Camp – “Why” ( Commonwealth Records / 2008 )

Taken from the Boston crew’s forthcoming album “The Campaign” due out April 1st.

Microphone Techniques – Eternia

Canada’s Eternia gets busy at New York’s WKCR as part of Squeeze Radio’s 5th Anniversary celebrations.

New Joint – Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco ft. Nikki Jean – “Hip-Hop Saved My Life” ( Atlantic / 2008 )

New Joint – KRS-One

KRS-One ft. DJ Premier – “Criminal Minded 08” ( Smirnoff Signature Mix Series / 2008 )

New video for the recent Smirnoff-sponsored Blastmaster remake – if Nas is dragging his feet on the long-delayed collaboration album with Premier perhaps KRS should think about jacking the idea.

Akrobatik Interview (Originally Posted On HHNLive.Com Mar 17th 2008)


Ask most new artists today what they’re looking for from their music career and the chances are that longevity won’t be at the top of the list. In today’s industry climate of ringtone rappers, one-hit wonders and declining album sales, many new jacks are looking to get in and out of the business as quickly as they can whilst accumulating as much money as possible. Whereas back in the day the term ‘overnight sensation’ was viewed as somewhat of a derogatory label that suggested an artist hadn’t paid his or her dues or fully perfected their craft, cats today aspire to blow up with their first musical efforts, so they can squeeze the game for all it’s worth financially and fall back before the bubble bursts and their fifteen minutes of fame is over.

Underground champion Akrobatik, however, is someone whose career plan most definitely does stretch beyond only worrying about his next mix-CD placement. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the rapper with the commanding baritone flow first debuted back in 1998 with his rugged single “Ruff Enuff”. But it was Akro’s 2000 Rawkus release “Internet Mcs” that really caught people’s attention, with the Beantown lyricist’s sharp, satirical look at the then burgeoning online rap chatroom community raising both eyebrows and laughter. This was followed in 2003 by the release of Akrobatik’s critically-acclaimed debut album “Balance”, which saw Ak winning the International Songwriting Competition for the captivating single “Remind My Soul”. Shortly after, the dreadlocked mic wrecker joined forces with fellow Boston bomber Mr. Lif for the well-received Perceptionists project on the Def Jux imprint, an album that landed in Rolling Stone’s best-of 2005 list.

Having recently released a new solo set entitled “Absolute Value”, the down-to-earth rapper is hoping that his blend of socially-aware subject matter, competition-crushing battle rhymes and quality production will once again please existing fans whilst showing doubters that he really is here to stay.

Just before jumping on a plane to Florida, A-to-the-K set some time aside for HHNLive.Com to talk about collaborating with J-Dilla, working with his idols, and American politics.

You’ve been releasing product now for over ten years. How do you feel you’ve developed as an artist in that time?

Well, I think I’ve gotten more confident with my flow and just with my ability to hold down a song from beginning to end. I think I’m getting stronger as an artist and maturing overall as a person.

The independent rap game has changed a great deal since you first debuted. Is there anything in particular you feel you’ve had to do to evolve with the business?

I’ve had to learn as many ways as I can to make money. We all have to try to survive and create situations for ourselves to enable us to stay in the business. Like you said, I’ve been here for a long time now and that’s no easy feat to be around for over ten years. A lot of that has to do with me going out and finding opportunities for myself to supplement my income and maximize my potential as an artist. Whilst I think it’s very important for an artist to keep putting out good music, I think it’s just as important to keep your business tight.

You’ve become something of a radio celebrity in Boston thanks to your daily Sports Rap-Up. What exactly does that involve and how did you get the gig?

Basically, the Sports Rap-Up is something that I do every Monday through to Friday. I have a segment on the morning show on Boston’s JAM’N 94.5 that’s one minute long and it plays three times throughout the show. It’s basically a freestyle about the sports news from the previous night. It’s a fun thing to do as I get to talk about what’s going on in the world in real time every day and there are opportunities for me to incorporate things from outside of sports into the Rap-Up with punchlines and stuff like that. It’s definitely a cool way for me to stay in contact with the people in Boston. The station actually approached me to do it as I’ve been in the business so long now that a lot of people there were already familiar with my work. They approached me, I gave them a demo, and it worked out real well.

Akrobatik – “Sports Rap-Up 2007”

Do you ever get feedback from listeners who were unfamiliar with you as an artist, but then after hearing you on the radio have then started getting into your music?

Absolutely. I get emails every week from people saying they’ve been listening to me every morning on the radio and then maybe they went to check out my MySpace page or something like that. It’s definitely bringing me some new fans, for sure.

Your recent single “Put Ya Stamp On It” with Talib Kweli was produced by the late J-Dilla. How did that collaboration come about?

It was a label thing. Fat Beats hooked me up with the opportunity to rock over a Dilla track that they’d commissioned from him before be passed away. I was real fortunate to be able to do that.

Did you feel any pressure recording that track knowing that you were adding on to Dilla’s legacy and that any posthumous Dilla-related material could end up being critiqued harder than what was released when he was alive?

Yeah, I mean I totally understand how that all works and that people may be sensitive to the idea of an artist who didn’t actually know Dilla rhyming over one of his tracks. But the fact of that matter is, Talib Kweli and Dilla were good friends and Kweli and I have known each other for a long time. Although I only met Dilla once, I feel that we really did the track justice and a lot of people do really seem to like the song. I think it’s something that Dilla himself would’ve been into.

Akrobatik ft. Talib Kweli – “Put Ya Stamp On It” (Fat Beats / 2008)

You have features on “Absolute Value” from legendary artists such as Public Enemy’s Chuck D, B-Real from Cypress Hill and Bumpy Knuckles (a.k.a. Freddie Foxxx). How did it feel recording with such Hip-Hop icons?

It’s definitely an amazing thing to be affiliated with guys who I grew up listening to. It’s unbelievable to me to that Chuck D was down to get together and do a track because he was my idol when I was growing up. It’s been a beautiful thing, and if anything, this album will establish the fact that I have the respect of my peers and my contemporaries. If I’d have come up somewhere like LA, New York or Atlanta, perhaps people might’ve heard about me quicker and realized that I was for real. But being from somewhere like Boston, it’s a little bit harder for people to be convinced because there’s not a wave of popular artists from the region I’m from. So I think this situation might make people a little less reluctant to check me out, with me getting the co-sign from people like Chuck D, Freddie Foxxx, Talib Kweli and Da Beatminerz. But that said, I’ve worked very hard to get myself into a position where these people would even consider working with me.

The track you recorded with Chuck D, “Kindred”, has political overtones to it and politics is obviously a hot topic in America right now with the Obama / Clinton situation. Regardless of who actually gets into the White House, what changes would you like to see any new American government make?

A: Well, there are a few immediate things. Everyone talks about the war in Iraq and that’s something that’s really a life or death situation. I would love to see our guys get out of there. I think if John McCain is the President those guys aren’t going to go anywhere and will be dying over there for years. That scares me. I think Hilary Clinton would get those guys out somewhat faster, but I think Barack Obama would get them out much faster. But the Iraq situation is just one thing. We also have healthcare issues and George Bush has left us with a pretty big bill, so we’re going to have to figure out how to get out of that debt as the country’s pretty much in a recession right now. I have a lot of concerns and I’m not sure if the person who’s going to fix them is going to do it necessarily because of what political party they’re from. I think we just really have to figure out who the best person is for the job. I’m hoping that whatever happens between Hilary and Barack, whoever wins that goes on to be the President because I just couldn’t take another four years of a Republican warmonger being the President of the United States and I don’t think the rest of the world wants to see that either. Just for the country’s global image, I think we need to do something that shows people we know America needs to change and that we’re doing something about it. There might be some mistakes made along the way, but I’d rather see that than America making a ‘safe’ decision and thinking that because we’re at war we need to have another war President. I’d just like to see someone in the White House who’s not a lunatic.

Are we likely to see another Perceptionists album with Mr. Lif any time soon?

Yeah, absolutely. We’re writing songs and getting beats for that right now. We’re taking our time with it, but we’re all going to be together a lot this year touring, so the album will probably be formulated over the summer and hopefully we’ll have it out by the fall. But we’re definitely going to do it.

So what’s next for Akrobatik as a solo artist?

I’ve got a lot of things going on. I’m doing a lot of stuff in the sports world right now and am working on some endorsement deals here and there. I’m just really busy and I’m hoping that I can put together another cohesive group of songs so that I can put another album out next year. I think I’ve had my time being the best-kept secret, so now this is my time to shine and just enjoy being in my prime.

Ryan Proctor

New Joint – Foul Mouth Jerk

Foul Mouth Jerk ft. Masta Ace – “Small Town USA” ( GFE Music / 2008 )


Originally from New Jersey but now residing in North Carolina, FMJ’s debut album “Streetlight Music” is out April 22nd and features appearances from El Da Sensei, Grandmaster Caz and Murs.