Tag Archives: Crate Escape Records

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2012 (Part Five) – Brother Ali / Soundsci / Timeless Truth etc.

Beneficence – “Concrete Soul” (Ill Adrenaline Records) – This veteran New Jersey emcee’s latest album boasted enough featured golden-era talent to make true-school enthusiasts think they’d woken up back in the 90s, with the likes of Lord Tariq, El Da Sensei and Da Beatminerz all making solid contributions to this impressive release. But Beneficence didn’t allow himself to become a guest on his own project, ensuring his forthright lyricism kept him centre-stage throughout.

beneficence cover

Brother Ali – “Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color” (Rhymesayers Entertainment) – The Minneapolis-based Ali has long been one of Hip-Hop’s most interesting and inspiring emcee’s, with this fifth full-length project finding the lyricist teaming-up with Seattle producer Jake One to delve into politics, economics and spirituality, resulting in a rousing soundtrack for society’s everyman to struggle to.

brother ali cover 2

Juga-Naut – “Battle Of The Bulge” (Juganaut.BandCamp.Com) – The talented UK emcee delivered some serious verbal darts on this self-produced EP which also featured fellow Nottingham wordsmith Vandal Savage, with the pair expertly wielding vivid imagery and metaphors to paint potent pictures of lyrical excellence.

battle of the bulge cover

Craig G – “Ramblings Of An Angry Old Man” (Soulspazm Records) – Irrespective of the actual music contained on this project, the former Juice Crew member would have still gotten props for one of the year’s best album covers. The ever-reliable Queensbridge emcee did, however, also have the beats and rhymes to add extra weight to the sentiment expressed in said artwork, with Craig executing non-stop lessons in timeless lyricism over production from the likes of Marco Polo, Jake One and Da Beatminerz.

craig g cover 2

George Fields – “From The Sticks” (GeorgeFields.BandCamp.Com) – With influences ranging from Pete Rock to D.I.T.C., this young producer from Dorset, England concocted a soulful mix of heavy drums, filtered basslines and floating horns on this instrumental release which only appeared to hint at the quality to come from Fields in the future.

george fields cover

Soundsci – “Formula 99” (Crate Escape Records) – Combining the transatlantic talents of UK producers Jonny Cuba (Dynamic Syncopation) and Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser) with Stateside emcees Audessey (Mass Influence), U-George (Hemisphere) and Oxygen (Sputnik Brown), this polished underground gem was packed with quality beats, entertaining rhymes and all-round good vibes, with the group’s far-flung members clearly proving themselves to be on the same sonic page throughout.

soundsci cover

The Doppelgangaz – “Beats For Brothels Vol. 2” (Groggy Pack Entertainment) – Fresh off the cult success of their 2011 “Lone Sharks” project, NY duo Matter Ov Fact and EP returned with this largely instrumental project, compiling a head-nodding selection of atmospheric, dusty-fingered tracks perfect for late-night strolls shrouded in one of the Ghastly Duo’s trademark black cloaks.

beats for brothels cover

Murs & 9th Wonder – “The Final Adventure” (Jamla Records) – The Living Legends emcee and Little Brother producer ended their successful musical partnership on a high-note with this final release in their series of collaborative albums. Choosing the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it route, the project contained typically soulful production from 9th matched with Murs’ own unique brand of personal reflection and entertaining story-telling.

murs cover

Meyhem Lauren – “Respect The Fly S**t” (L-R-G.Com) – Having spent recent years building a reputation via various mixtapes and collaborations with homie Action Bronson, 2012 will go down as the year Queens, NY’s Meyhem Lauren truly stepped into the spotlight in his own right. Recorded in a Texas hotel suite over two days during the SXSW music conference, this spontaneous Tommy Mas / Harry Fraud-produced project contained plenty of Lauren’s obligatory clothes and food references over a choice selection of samples, with the likes of Roc Marciano, Thirstin Howl and AG Da Coroner bringing new meaning to the term ‘room service’.

meyhem lauren front

K.I.N.E.T.I.K. – “The Kinesis Thesis Vol. III” (Kinetik.BandCamp.Com) – A shining example of an artist who has consistently striven to perfect his craft, this latest intalment in his “Kinesis Thesis” series found London emcee K.I.N.E.T.I.K. delivering his finest creative moment to date, wrapping up his positive, thoughtful rhymes in melodic soundscapes which perfectly matched the emotional tone of his subject matter, which ranged from the plight of inner-city youth to pondering the responsibilities of fatherhood.

kinetik cover

Timeless Truth – “Rock-It Science” (RTTNC) – Having kick-started 2012 with the brilliant “Brugal & Presidentes” EP, NY duo Solace and OPrime39 ended the year by making good on their promise to release their official debut long-player. A punchy collection of boom-bap bangers, the pair evoked images of graffiti-covered subway trains, Timberland boots and Polo gear as they travelled back-to-the-future, bridging the gap between the Rotten Apple’s Hip-Hop golden-era and the present day. Queens get the money.

timeless truth rock-it cover

Ryan Proctor

Check Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.

DVD Review – Beat Diggin’

“Beat Diggin’ – The Original Diggin’ Documentary”

(Busybody Films / CrateEscapeRecords.Com / 2012)

Filmed in 1997 during a visit to the Hip-Hop mecca of New York City, this documentary from Danish film-maker Jesper Jensen is a visual time-capsule that captures a handful of the East Coast’s most revered producers demonstrating, explaining and celebrating the craft of beat science at the tail-end of Hip-Hop’s golden-era period.

In today’s digital age, the collecting of vinyl, obsession with beat-digging and idea of spending hours inside cramped record stores may seem like alien concepts to some, with more and more music now being consumed and created online. But regardless of how much technology may have influenced the way some of today’s Hip-Hop is made, the importance of preserving the culture’s history and studying the original methods of the greats is as critical as ever, with “Beat Diggin'” providing an insight into the love shared by some of your favourite producers for the simple pleasure of sifting through stacks of vinyl to find that one perfect sample just waiting to be turned into Hip-Hop gold.

Included here in both its original, rawer 1998 version and an expanded 2003 re-edit, the film finds Jensen following the likes of Da Beatminerz, Showbiz, Diamond D, Buckwild and Godfather Don in the Rotten Apple, both record shopping and in the studio, as they continue on their endless search for the perfect beat.

Mr. Walt talks through his process of finding potential sample material, which includes smelling the vinyl, whilst Godfather Don discusses his dislike of what he calls “pick-up truck production”, which the talented individual defines as a technique used by producers who try to take drums and sounds from too many different sources, leading to a cluttered, disjointed product rather than a cohesive collage of music that is able to stir particular emotions in the listener.

John DeSalvo of NYC’s legendary Bleecker Bob’s Records describes the sometimes complex relationship between vinyl vendor and Hip-Hop production clientele, explaining how the purchases of dusty-fingered diggers influenced the type of music the store would look to stock, as well as admitting his surprise at how some of the best beats sampled by customers were found on some of the least impressive records.

With the documentary being filmed at a time when the unique, secretive sampling practices utilised by those seen here to create classics from the likes of Black Moon and O.C. were starting to be overshadowed by the radio-friendly loops of the Puffy-led shiny-suit era, questions regarding the integrity of some of the music coming from the East Coast at that moment are met with respectful yet forceful answers. Evil Dee explains how much of his enjoyment in making music is to be found in the challenge of finding new, inventive ways to sample in order to disguise and change the original material, whilst Showbiz states that he always follows the advice given to him by DJ Premier when it comes to making beats, which is simply to keep it Hip-Hop.

Another highlight is studio footage of Mr. Walt  working with independent favourites Shadez Of Brooklyn on their album which, unfortunately, would never get to see the light of day. Yet the passion and ferocity heard in the voices of the crew as they spit their rugged rhymes over bass-heavy Beatminerz production stands as a reminder of the hunger that can always be found in the Hip-Hop underground.

Both interesting and entertaining, “Beat Diggin'” stands as an important snapshot of the drive, creativity and dedication shared by many at a point in Hip-Hop’s history when true heads were striving to keep the essence of the culture alive as the music started to feel the tight grip of mainstream commercialism.

Ryan Proctor

“Beat Diggin'” DVD Trailer

Beat Diggin’ Documentary Trailer – Showbiz / Da Beatminerz / Buckwild etc.

Trailer for the upcoming limited CrateEscapeRecords.Com DVD release of the 1997 documentary “Beat Diggin'” filmed in NYC and featuring Showbiz, Godfather Don, Da Beatminerz and more.

New Joint – Soundsci

Soundsci – “CandyLand” (CrateEscapeRecords.Com / 2012)

Taken from the multi-talented collective’s new album “Formula 99” which dropped today.

Album Review – Soundsci

Soundsci

“Formula 99”

(CrateEscapeRecords.Com)

Having received critical acclaim for their 2009 EP “Dig For Victory”, the undeniably gifted Soundsci crew return to burn once again with both a new album and some official changes to the group line-up. Joining the original team roster of producers Jonny Cuba (Dynamic Syncopation), Ollie Teeba (The Herbaliser) and Atlanta emcee Audessey (Mass Influence), Georgia-based wordsmith U-George (Hemisphere) and NY’s Oxygen (Sputnik Brown) also bring their lyrical skills to the table this time around, natural additions to what was already a talented underground collective.

Picking up where the previous EP left-off, “Formula 99” is full of quality production and impressive wordplay. With the group building on the true-school foundations of their golden-era influences, yet seeking to innovate and not just emulate what has come before them, simply labelling “Formula 99” as being a throwback release would not be doing justice to the creativity that has gone into this project.

Keeping the thirteen-tracks included here relatively short and to-the-point, the potency of “Formula 99” isn’t diluted by throwaway interludes or meandering self-indulgence. Soundsci cover a lot of ground, both musically and in terms of subject matter, resulting in an album that manages to achieve the difficult balance of being succinct without appearing to be rushed or incomplete.

“Hey Hey” offers political insight over bursts of funky sax and classic James Brown wails as guest John Robinson joins the proceedings to highlight the “stealth movements” of those in the corridors of power, whilst “CandyLand” wraps up the potentially gritty topics of drug addiction and street crime into a deceptively playful and light-hearted sonic package, with Audessey utilising popular nursery rhymes and fairytale characters to tell stories of urban woe.

Having proven their abilities to dabble in social commentary, Soundsci soon launch themselves back into the business of showing and proving their superiority over the competition with braggadocious rhymes over boom-bap beats. “Ill Dialect” finds “the Strong Island deriver” Oxygen dropping a particularly impressive verse, bobbing and weaving with b-boy bravado over the track’s purposeful production, punctuated by sharp piano stabs and a superbly scratched Fat Joe vocal hook. The self-explanatory “Rhyme 4 Rhyme” featuring Canada’s Ghettosocks and former Raw Produce member Cadence also stands as one of the album’s highlights, sounding like an undiscovered gem found in a dusty pile of random late-80s rap singles with its timeless Rakim sample, rattling drums and larger-than-life boasts.

The soulful Jaisu-produced “Change” offers listeners a moment of reflection as the crew address the “cycle of life” over lush strings and a warm bassline, injecting the soothing track with life-affirming rhymes and inspiring sentiments (“I got a purpose now, This I vow, I spit to move the crowds, Like I’m pulling a plough…”).

The bongo-driven “End Game” is a relentless slice of fist-pumping Hip-Hop, with the track’s frantic breakbeats, deft cuts and dramatic breakdowns likely to leave listeners caught between wanting to pay close attention to the group’s fast-paced verses and the urge to pull out a sheet of lino to attempt a windmill.

A brilliantly executed display of Hip-Hop mastery from a passionate group of individuals who clearly love both the music and its culture, “Formula 99” is another certified Soundsci sureshot that is guaranteed to satisfy the sonic appetites of true heads everywhere.

Fresh for 2012, you suckers!

Ryan Proctor

Ollie Teeba’s “Formula 99” Album Megamix

Formula 99 Album Sampler – Soundsci

Sampler for the forthcoming Crate Escape Records album release from the Soundsci crew (Ollie Teeba, Jonny Cuba, Audessey, U-George and Oxygen) which also features John Robinson, Cadence and Ghettosocks.

Formula 99 Album Sampler – Soundsci

Preview of the dope new Soundsci project featuring production from Ollie Teeba and Jonny Cuba with lyrical gymnastics from Audessey and Sputnik Brown’s Oxygen plus appearances from John Robinson, Ghettosocks and Cadence – peep the flavour here.