Tag Archives: Soul Khan

Album Review – DJ JS-1

dj js-1 cover

DJ JS-1

“It Is What It Isn’t”

(Ground Original)

As a deejay, graffiti artist and member of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, it’s safe to say that NYC’s JS-1 is no stranger to the foundation elements of Hip-Hop culture.

Having made a name for himself during the 90s through battles and mixtapes, the Queens-based turntable technician has spent the last ten-plus years putting his production talents to good use, working with mic icons such as Kool G. Rap, Masta Ace and Pharoahe Monch on his own series of album and single releases.

Suffice to say, when anything drops bearing the name DJ JS-1, it should immediately be on the radar of anyone who considers themselves to be a supporter of quality underground Hip-Hop.

With his latest release, “It Is What It Isn’t”, the Rotten Apple resident’s musical formula remains unchanged – uncompromising, sample-based production coupled with  impressive lyricism from both veteran artists and more recently renowned rhyme-sayers, which, in this instance, includes KRS-One, Ras Kass, Torae and Fashawn.

Given his deejay-ing background, it’s no surprise that the album opens with the brilliant “Turn The Tables”, a dedication to deck-wreckers everywhere featuring Diggin’ In The Crates legend O.C. shouting out everyone from Kool Herc and Roc Raida to Jazzy Jay and Boogie Blind, paying homage to all those “chirping with (their) fingers like birds very early in the morning” as he flexes his potent lyrical muscle to break down the science of turntablism from a variety of angles.

Ominous pianos accompany the raw five-borough wordplay of Spit Gemz, Wes and Nutso on the rugged “Forgotten”, whilst Brown Bag Allstars member Soul Khan lashes the heavy drums of “Pay Attention” with an acidic tongue until the beats are close to bleeding (“If you’ve never heard of me? F**k it! You’ve got moves like Jagger, But the blood of Freddie Mercury”).

X-Clan’s Brother J can be heard continuing to take it to the East, Blackwards with the help of trademark ad-libs from the late Professor X on the relentless “Higher Level”, which is followed by Bronx wordsmith C-Rayz Walz utilising a “flow like solid gold”  on “Groom Lake” as he manages to gain lyrical access to Area 51, peppering his gruff rhymes with references to digital clones, time travel and alien abduction, all the while keeping one foot planted firmly on the streets of New York and the other on the rings of Saturn.

Clocking in at a lengthy 21-tracks, jaded consumers might be forgiven for expecting “It Is What It Isn’t” to suffer from a quantity over quality approach, but JS-1 pulls off a masterful sequencing stroke here, with some of the album’s most impressive tracks closing the project, ensuring the listener’s attention is retained until the moment the final cut fades out.

Golden-era greats Kurious, Craig G and Smooth B breathe new life into Common’s well-worn “I Used To Love H.E.R.” metaphor over the jazzy swing of the entertaining “Love Me Not”, whilst Brooklyn’s PackFM paints vivid images of his NY childhood on the feel-good “My Neighborhood”, with his memories including old-school block parties, listening to Red Alert’s radio show on the weekend and chasing ice-cream trucks.

“Soo Real” features Rasheed Chappell and EMC’s Wordsworth dropping thoughtful, heartfelt verses over melodic boom-bap, with the pair displaying a chemistry that suggests they should perhaps consider doing more work together if the opportunity ever presents itself.

The project’s penultimate cut, the dusty-fingered “Sample Abuser”, is arguably the best track on an album which is impressive throughout. A.G., Sadat X and Neek The Exotic each take a turn to reminisce on the producers who’ve had an impact on their respective careers, with the likes of Diamond D, Buckwild, Pete Rock and Large Professor all receiving well-deserved props for their ability to turn an obscure loop into sonic gold.

With “It Is What It Isn’t”, JS-1 has produced yet another solid collection of subterranean sure-shots, simultaneously showcasing and celebrating the undiluted essence of true-school Hip-Hop.

Ryan Proctor

New Joint – Soul Khan / Arthur Lewis

Soul Khan ft. Arthur Lewis – “Rusted Ghosts” (SoulKhan.Com / 2013)

The NY emcee gets personal about his ink on this mellow Abnormal-produced track from the “Psalm” EP.

New Joint – Brown Bag Allstars

Brown Bag Allstars – “BRWN – J57 Remix” (BrownBagAllstars.Com / 2013)

Taken from the NY crew’s recent “Brown Label Part 2” release.

New Joint – Soul Khan / Akie Bermiss

Soul Khan ft. Akie Bermiss – “The Machine” (SoulKhan.Com / 2012)

Visuals for the recently released single from the Brown Bag Allstar’s new solo release “The Psalm EP”.

New Joint – Rediculus / Soul Khan / Sadat X / The Day Laborers

Rediculus ft. Soul Khan, Sadat X & The Day Laborers – “How To Hold A Mic” (Rediculus.BandCamp.Com / 2012)

Dope posse track from the Chicago producer’s forthcoming project “The Morning After – 2012 Remixed And Revisited”.

New Joint – Soul Khan / Akie Bermiss

psalms cover

Soul Khan ft. Akie Bermiss – “The Machine” (SoulKhan.Com / 2012)

Heartfelt rhymes from the Brown Bag Allstar’s forthcoming EP “Psalm”.

New Joint – Soul Khan

Soul Khan – “Not Like That” (SoulKhan.Com / 2012)

Deejay Element-produced track from the “Psalm” EP.

New Joint – Soul Khan

Soul Khan – “Not Like That” (@SoulKhan / 2012)

Abnormal-produced bonus track from the Brown Bag Allstar’s forthcoming “Psalm” EP which is the fourth and final part of Khan’s “Love Supreme” series.

New Joint – Brown Bag Allstars / Akie Bermiss

Brown Bag Allstars ft. Akie Bermiss – “Say It Now” (BrownBagAllstars.Com / 2012)

Produced by J57.

New Joint – Brown Bag Allstars

Brown Bag Allstars – “406 (Fat Beats Tribute)” (BrownBagAllstars.Com / 2012)

The BBA crew deliver a heartfelt tribute to NYC’s now sadly-closed Fat Beats store with this track from their forthcoming EP “Brown Label Pt. 2”.

New Joint – Soul Khan

Soul Khan – “Khangregation” (@SoulKhan / 2012)

Lyrics of fury from the Brooklyn-based emcee’s latest release “The Wellstone EP”.

 

Bag It Up – Soul Khan / Koncept

Hip-HopKings.Com interview with Soul Khan and Koncept of NY’s Brown Bag Allstars following their performance in Leeds as part of their “King’s English Tour”.

2011: A Year In Review Mixtape Download – Brown Bag Allstars

Following a very productive twelve months, the Brown Bag Allstars crew have put together this retrospective of some of their best moments from the past year featuring material from members such as Soul Khan, Koncept and J57 with appearances from Action Bronson, Blacastan, Rasheed Chappell and more – download here.

52 Best Albums & EPs Of 2011 (Part Five) – Maffew Ragazino / Prose / Quelle Chris

Maffew Ragazino – “Rhyme Pays” (Cash In Cash Out Records) – Brownsville, Brooklyn representative Ragazino stormed the underground Hip-Hop scene with a brilliantly orchestrated online promo campaign and then dropped this polished set that bristles with thoroughbred NY attitude. Backed by production from the likes of DJ Clark Kent, Vinyl Frontiers and Sha Banga, Maffew took his first step towards his name being added to the long list of BK rap greats.

Prose – “The Dark Side Of The Boom” (BBP) – Following up last year’s excellent “Force Of Habit” album, UK duo Steady Rock and Efeks delivered another accomplished set of quality homegrown Hip-Hop that put a slightly moodier twist on their trademark boom-bap sound.

General Monks – “Each Step Becomes Elevated” (Wandering Worx Entertainment) – Teaming up with Gold Chain Music artist TriState for this release, West Coast emcee Planet Asia further solidified his reputation as a lyrical giant amongst midgets, with the duo launching verbal missiles over hardcore production alongside the likes of Ras Kass, Krondon and Montage One.

Muneshine & Vinyl Frontiers – “Larger Than Life” (Vinyl Frontiers) – Canada’s Muneshine definitely shone on this EP of upbeat bangers which found the Toronto wordsmith dropping both reflective rhymes and sarcasm-laced lines over the Vinyl Frontiers’ soulful production.

Praverb The Wyse – “Professional Hobbyist” (Praverb Dot Net) – An honest account of both the triumphs and frustrations facing underground artists who are forced to fit their musical aspirations around the day-to-day grind, this album from Virginia’s Praverb was a breath of fresh air from an emcee unafraid to really let listeners into his world.

MCM – “The Gospel : The Missing Gems Of MCM (1994 – 2011)” (I-Innovate) – As frontman of 90s UK Hip-Hop favourites Caveman, MCM’s place in British rap history is secure. With sporadic periods of solo activity since the group’s break-up, this epic collection of over thirty tracks mixed new MCM material with unreleased treats from the last two decades. Featuring production from the likes of DJ Devastate, Si Spex and DJ Nappa, “The Gospel” brilliantly showcased MCM’s positive lyrical message.

Raekwon – “Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang” (EMI) – Aside from a few sonic mis-steps, The Chef’s most recent solo opus continued the momentum gained from 2009’s “Cuban Linx” sequel. Dropping his usual blend of coded crime rhymes and street-related wisdom over mostly solid production from the likes of Kenny Dope, The Alchemist and Bronze Nazareth, Raekwon once again proved himself to be a true master of his craft.

Common – “The Dreamer / The Believer” (Warner Bros) – This particular Windy City wordsmith may no longer be the posterchild for underground rap that he was during the 90s following the release of his classic “I Used To Love H.E.R.”, but Common can still tap into that same pure Hip-Hop spirit when he chooses to. After 2008’s limp “Universal Mind Control” the Chicago native had a lot to prove, so he teamed-up with longtime collaborator No I.D. to record an album that balances commercial sensibilities and progressive lyrical messages with moments of raw rap attitude.

yU – “The Earn” (Mello Music Group) – Capturing a variety of moods reflecting the struggles, dreams and aspirations of a young man attempting to find his place in the world, this sophomore solo effort from the Diamond District emcee is as inspirational as it is entertaining. A modern-day masterpiece.

Soul Khan – “Acknowledgement” (Brown Bag Allstars) –  The first in a four-EP series the Brooklyn-based emcee began early in 2011, this DJ Element-produced project found the former battle champ exploring the idea of self-worth in rousing fashion, delivering confident verses brimming with personality over a selection of drum-heavy, sample-driven soundscapes.

Quelle Chris – “Shotgun & Sleek Rifle” (Synergy Works) – Stalwart of the underground Detroit scene Quelle Chris has something of an eclectic musical background that covers Hip-Hop, rock and electronica. With this project, the Wasted Youth member embarked on a beautifully blunted musical voyage, blending the grimy feel of a basement tape with the soulful shimmer of interplanetary cosmic funk. A truly unique listening experience.

Ryan Proctor

New Joint – Soul Khan

Soul Khan – “Hold On” (SoulKhan.Com / 2011)

The Brown Bag Allstars emcee gets in the festive spirit in this new video from his EP “Pursuance”.

New Joint – Koncept / Soul Khan

Koncept ft. Soul Khan – “Aspirations” (Soulspazm Records / 2011)

Produced by J57 and taken from the NYC artist’s forthcoming album “awaken”.

New Joint – YC The Cynic / Soul Khan / Von Pea / Sene

YC The Cynic ft. Soul Khan, Von Pea & Sene – “More And More” (YCTheCynic.Com / 2011)

Produced by J57 of Brown Bag Allstars and taken from the “Fall FWD” project.

New Joint – Soul Khan

Soul Khan – “Alec Baldwin” (SoulKhanMusic.Com / 2011)

The Brown Bag Allstars-affiliated emcee drops some spiked barbwire rhymes on this cut from his EP “Acknowledgment”.

New Joint – Soul Khan

Soul Khan – “Lost Ones Freestyle” (SoulKhan.Com / 2011)

The Brown Bag Allstars member drops some stinging battle rhymes over the classic Lauryn Hill instrumental.

New Joint – Maticulous / Reef The Lost Cauze / Soul Khan

Maticulous ft. Reef The Lost Cauze & Soul Khan – “Once Invented – Remix” (Maticulous Music / 2011)

The original version of this track appears on the NYC producer’s release “The Maticulous EP” which also features R.A. The Rugged Man, Ruste Juxx and Rock of Heltah Skeltah.