Monthly Archives: June 2011

It’s A Big Daddy Thing – Big Daddy Kane

Brilliant TVOne “Unsung” Big Daddy Kane documentary featuring Kool Moe Dee, Nelson George, MC Lyte, Fly Ty, Roxanne Shante etc – this dude will always be one of my favourite emcees even with the purple suits!

New Joint – Apollo Brown

Apollo Brown – “Tao Te Ching” (Mello Music Group)

Animated video from the Detroit-based producer’s recent instrumental album “Clouds”.

New Joint – General Monks (Planet Asia / TriState)

General Monks – “Bar Season” (Gold Chain Music / 2011)

Some summer music to ride to from the West Coast duo’s recent free album “Each Step Becomes Elevated”.

New Joint – Truck North / The 3rd

Truck North & The 3rd – “Brilliant” (Elevate The Game / 2011)

Philly / Ohio collaboration from the forthcoming album “Reconstruction”.

New Joint – PSC / Nutso

PSC ft. Nutso – “Boom Bap” (1010 Productions / 2011)

The Switzerland crew team-up with NYC’s Nutso for some punch-you-in-the-face music.

New Joint – Foreign Legion

Foreign Legion – “Travel Lite” (Hunger Strike / Quality Control / 2011)

“Are you wearing the wrestling mask?”

Extended comedy clip for this track from Marc Stretch and Prozack Turner’s latest album “Night Moves”.

New Joint – Maffew Ragazino

Maffew Ragazino – “Crystal Meth” (CiCo Records / 2011)

The self-proclaimed “one-man Juice Crew” puts a Method Man instrumental to work on this latest track to be lifted from the recent “Rare Gems” mixtape.

New Joint – Revalation / Mayhem

Revalation ft. Mayhem – “The Goods” (EMS Productions / 2011)

Silent Partner-produced title track from the Boston emcee’s forthcoming EP “The Goods”.

 

New Joint – Esohel

Esohel – “Bleed” (UDotFam.Com)

Sense-produced track from the U Dot Fam member’s forthcoming free digital album “Essential”.

Live On Stage – Eternia

Canada’s Eternia speaks to Brooklyn Bodega about the importance of a good live show in preparation for her upcoming appearance at 2011’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Who Protects Us From You? – Pete Rock / Smif-N-Wessun

Footage of last night’s Pete Rock / Smif-N-Wessun “Monumental” album launch which was rushed by NYPD who seemed to be showing little restraint in their use of force – with so much of this caught on camera someone is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

New Joint – Apathy

Apathy – “Check To Check” (Demigodz / 2011)

Evidence-produced single from Ap’s forthcoming album “Honkey Kong” out August 23rd.

New Joint – Rasco

Rasco – “Home” (Pockets Linted / 2011)

The West Coast underground vet and Cali Agents emcee makes a welcome return with this Cache-produced track from the forthcoming album “Yesterday Is Not Tomorrow” dropping September 6th.

Album Review – Casual

Casual

“The Hierophant”

(Fat Boy Music Group)

1994 was an incredible year for Hip-Hop. Nas broke out of the dungeons of rap with his classic debut “Illmatic”. Biggie dragged Hip-Hop back to NYC after a period of West Coast dominance with “Ready To Die”. Outkast smashed through listener’s preconceptions of Down South rap with “Southernplayalistic…”. Plus, the likes of O.C., Warren G, Jeru The Damaja and Method Man all dropped debut albums that each had an undeniable impact on the Hip-Hop landscape.

Yet another debut dropped during that same twelve month period which may not have achieved the sales or immediate widespread acclaim as some of those previously mentioned, but was no less revered and respected by the underground heads with a good ear for potent lyricism who embraced it. Coming out of Oakland’s multi-talented Hieroglyphics crew (Del, Souls Of Mischief etc.), Casual’s 1994 Jive-released album “Fear Itself” was a dope combination of jazzy, funk-tinged boom-bap and incredible displays of lyrical excellence with b-boy bravado and sharp wit in abundance.

Nearly two decades later and after something of an up-and-down career, the gifted West Coast wordsmith is back with this digital-only release, still laying lesser emcees to rest (which in Casual’s book is pretty much anyone else holding a microphone), but also delving into other subject matter that may also occupy the mind-space of a thirty-something Hip-Hop junkie.

The crisp “Mic Memorial” opens the album with Casual reasserting his rhyme superiority for anyone who thinks time may have blunted his lyrical sword. Over sharp handclaps and dramatic string stabs the Hiero emcee drops killer punchlines and boastful metaphors with cool, calculated ease (“I have to squeeze big lyrics in microphones, I need a macrophone, Your tour’s like an Apple phone, Sixteen gigs for three gs? You should’ve stayed back at home”).

The self-explanatory “Fiend For Hip-Hop” has a dusty, basement feel to it, with Casual’s battle-ready rhymes sitting tightly over chopped “Impeach The President” drums, funky guitar licks and a well-placed Nas vocal sample. Built around the same melodic Don Blackman loop immortalised on L Da Headtoucha’s 90s classic “Too Complex”, the Pep Love-assisted “Take The Time” encourages listeners to shun negative energy in our lives by expressing emotions, avoiding unneccesary conflict and seeking knowledge of self.

This theme is continued further over the live instrumentation of “Where Do I Go”, as Casual stresses the need to “find the power in you” and gain “spiritual enlightment” in order to survive in a world dominated by materialism and war.

Not wanting to dwell too much on global ills, however, Smash Rockwell goes back to his Oakland roots on the smooth “Sunday’s Best”. Boasting a Willie Hutch soundtrack sample from Oaktown movie classic “The Mack” and featuring a slick vocal hook, Casual uses the sun-splashed track to lay his OG hand down with a combination of cocky boasts and life observations.

With the exception of one cut (the sub-par “Shrimp Fried Rice”), “The Hierophant” is entirely produced by DJ Toure who does a solid job of providing Casual with a varied but satisfying selection of beats. Although clearly grounded in the traditional bass-heavy West Coast sound, Toure’s knack for lacing his tracks with old-school samples and atmospheric instrumentation gives the music here a soulful fluidity that compliments Casual’s many rhyme schemes. Only with the the African tribe vibes of “Bombs” does Toure’s production not really connect with Rockwell’s rhymes, with the end result sounding cluttered, disjointed and ultimately out of place.

Overall, “The Hierophant” is a welcome return from Casual. The self-proclaimed “West Coast champion” still clearly has a passion for the art of lyricism and a competitive edge that hasn’t diminished with age. A former student of the game who can claim to be a master, Casual is still as raw as he always thought he was.

Ryan Proctor

New Joint – Pete Rock / Smif-N-Wessun / Sean Price / Styles P

Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun ft. Sean Price & Styles P – “That’s Hard” (Duck Down / 2011)

Taken from the album “Monumental”.

Roots & Culture – Talib Kweli / Maseo

Talib Kweli and De La Soul’s Maseo discuss new book “Hip-Hop: A Cultural Odyssey”.

New Joint – Animal Farm

Animal Farm – “Down To Business” (Focused Noise / 2011)

New single from the Oregon crew’s recently released album “Culture Shock”.

Where Do We Go From Here? EPK – G. Huff & Vice Souletric Beats

EPK for the Ohio-based duo’s forthcoming album “Where Do We Go From Here?” which features Guilty Simpson, Ruste Juxx, Buff 1 and REKS.

All Blvck Everything: The Prelude Download – C-Rayz Walz

With his official “All Blvck Everything” album dropping later this year, NYC underground veteran C-Rayz Walz releases this free project featuring 9th Wonder, Marley Marl, Psalm One etc to prepare supporters and haters alike for what’s to come – download here.

01.) Blvck Genesis (Produced By Goke)
02.)
All Blvck Everything (Produced By Labrinth)
03.)
Blvck Soap (feat. M1) (of Dead Prez) (Produced By The Beatnikz)
04.)
Blvck Like Burt Reynolds (feat. MC NoCando, Outwrite, iCON The Mic King, Psalm One & Mike Eagle) (Cuts By DJ True Justice) (Produced By 9th Wonder)
05.) Blvck Blanka(Produced By Homicide)
06.)
Blvck Hole (feat. Hap Hathaway & Himp C) (Produced By Hap Hathaway)
07.) Blvck C.O.T.S. (feat. Alice The Goon) (Produced By Hybrid Grey)
08.) Blvck Rain (feat. Gon) (Produced By Isma’il Mitchell)
09.) Blvck Rosaries (Celebrate) (feat. Freddie Bunz) (Produced By The Cratez)
10.) Blvck Gifted (Produced By Marley Marl)
11.)
Blvck Rock Lockdown (Produced By Taj, Charlie-G & Hybrid Grey)
12.) Blvck Glory (Produced By LexZyne Productions)
13.) Blvck Red & Blvck (Cuts By DJ True Justice) (Produced By 9th Wonder)
14.)
Blvck Russians (feat. LoDeck & Complex) (Produced By Will Taubin)
15.)
Blvck Gangstaz (Produced By Wiley)
16.)
Blvckspot (Produced By Bronze Nazareth)

 

New Joint – Jakk Frost / Chic Raw / Kre Forch

Jakk Frost ft. Chic Raw & Kre Forch – “Dirty Rotten” (TheRealJakkFrost.Com / 2011)

The Illadelph emcee flips a classic Jeru The Damaja beat for this latest video from his recent “Throwbakk Jakk Pt. 2” project.