Tag Archives: Strong Arm Steady

Steady Strains Sampler EP Stream – Phil The Agony & DirtyDiggs

phil cover

Veteran West Coast emcee and Likwit Crew / Strong Arm Steady member Phil The Agony returns to grip the mic in a haze of weed smoke for this DirtyDiggs-produced EP.

New Joint – Strong Arm Steady

Strong Arm Steady – “Classic” (Stones Throw Records / 2012)

Taken from the West Coast crew’s Statik Selektah-produced album “Stereotype”.

Stereotype Album Sampler – Strong Arm Steady / Statik Selektah

Click here to preview six tracks from the West Coast crew’s forthcoming Statik Selektah-produced album “Stereotype” featuring Chace Infinite, Planet Asia, David Banner and more.

New Joint – Strong Arm Steady & Statik Selektah

Strong Arm Steady & Statik Selektah – “Premium” (Stones Throw Records / 2012)

Taken from the West Coast crew’s forthcoming Statik-produced album “Stereotype”.

Members Only EP Download – Strong Arm Steady

The West Coast crew dig in the vaults for some unreleased material and drops this free EP featuring input from Nottz, Obie Trice, DJ Khalil and Lee Bannon – download here.

New Joint – Strong Arm Steady

Strong Arm Steady ft. Kobe – “Gangstas” (Blacksmith / 2011)

Featuring footage of the Magic Wheels Bike Club and taken from Strong Arm’s recent album “Arms & Hammers”.

New Joint – Strong Arm Steady

Strong Arm Steady ft. Marsha Ambrosius – “When Darkness Falls” (Blacksmith Records / 2011)

Reflective track from the West Coast trio’s recent album “Arms & Hammers”.

New Joint – Strong Arm Steady

Strong Arm Steady – “Klack Or Get Klacked” (Blacksmith / 2011)

Taken from the West Coast crew’s album “Arms & Hammers”.

Best Albums Of 2010 (Part Two) – Ghostface / The Left / Kashmere etc.

Ghostface Killah – “Apollo Kids” (Def Jam) – After the mixed reception to 2009’s R&B-driven “Ghostdini” project, Toney Starks, still Wu-Tang’s most consistent member, returned in full Iron Man mode on his ninth solo album. Featuring Ghost flipping his usual unique stylings over dusty, break-beat-fuelled production, “Apollo Kids” revisited the classic Clan formula without sounding tired or recycled.

The Left – “Gas Mask” (Mello Music Group) – Adding a further dimension to the traditional Detroit rap sound we’ve all come to know and love, producer Apollo Brown teamed up with lyricist Journalist 103 and DJ Soko for this well-executed lesson in intelligent, hardcore Hip-Hop. With the likes of Kool G. Rap and Guilty Simpson along for the ride, the Motown trio crafted an album that went one-step beyond the standard “rap sucks today” rhetoric and actually made you feel their passion for the music and its culture.

Nottz – “You Need This Music” (Raw Koncept) – Rooted in a love of Hip-Hop’s drum-heavy boom-bap sound but displaying a variety of musical styles, this album found Grammy-award winning producer Nottz flexing his production talent with supreme confidence, supplying soundscapes for a diverse line-up of artists (Joell Ortiz, Snoop, Bilal) that might’ve looked strange on paper but worked brilliantly on CD.

Blacastan – “Blac Sabbath” (Brick) – Raw is the only word that can be used to sum up the music of Connecticut’s Blacastan. On his official debut album, the gritty lyricist showed himself to be a true student of Hip-Hop’s golden-age without resorting to old-school cliches or predictable throwback imagery. Mixing savage battle rhymes with imaginative concepts, Blac proved that rap’s backpack underground definitely still has some sharp teeth when required.

DJ Muggs Vs Ill Bill – “Kill Devil Hills” (Fat Beats) – Following the underground success of his one-producer / one-emcee projects with Wu-Tang’s GZA and West Coast favourite Planet Asia, Cypress Hill’s Muggs teamed-up with Rotten Apple resident Ill Bill for this dark, moody and, at times, claustrophobic gem of an album. Packed with brooding beats and conspiracy-fuelled lyricism, “Kill Devil Hills” also boasted hard-hitting appearances from the likes of Sean Price and Vinnie Paz and added further weight to the argument that Muggs should be mentioned amongst Hip-Hop’s beat-making greats.

Kashmere – “Galaktus: Power Cosmic” (Boot) – Kashmere has always been one of the UK’s most imaginative artists and this latest project (produced by Diversion Tactics’ Jazz T and Zygote) found the ever-entertaining wordsmith combining his love of comic books, sci-fi and Hip-Hop into one inter-stellar package featuring British homegrown heroes such as Jehst and Ramson Badbonez. A cosmic blast, indeed.
Kashmere "  Galaktus: Power Cosmic"
Ultramagnetic Foundation – “Ultra Laboratory Stories” (Black Pegasus) – Going some way to erasing the memory of the last Ultra album, 2007’s extremely mediocre “Best Kept Secret”, this TR Love / Moe Love-helmed return to Bronx science form introduced new members of the extended Magnetic family, such as Fred Beanz, dropping rugged rhymes over boisterous beats, and also dusted off some vintage unreleased Ultra joints.
Prose – “Force Of Habit” (BBP) – Wearing their Gang Starr / Pete Rock & CL Smooth influences on their shared sleeve, UK duo Steady and Efeks shrugged off the pressure to conform to any current trends and crafted an album that could sit comfortably alongside other quality releases in the UK rap discography from the likes of Guttersnypes and Caveman. Jazzy, boom-bap beats and honest lyricism were the order of the day here, resulting in one of the year’s most satisfyingly solid albums.
Force of Habit LP Cover Art
Hell Razah – “Heaven Razah” (Nature Sounds) – A true lyricist if ever there was one, Sunz Of Man member and Wu affiliate Hell Razah gave listeners no easy options on his second solo album, packing his verses with dense imagery, obscure historical references and urgent social commentary, which meant that this wasn’t a release to be played as background music – this was some heavy mental Hip-Hop that actually made you think whilst nodding your head.
Strong Arm Steady – “In Search Of Stoney Jackson” (Stones Throw) – Possessing the overall vibe of an extended rap jam session in someone’s basement, this album from Left Coast trio Phil Da Agony, Krondon and Mitchy Slick benefited from some soulfully drum-heavy  Madlib production and appearances from Talib Kweli, Chace Infinite and Fashawn. Unpredictable, amusing and extremely entertaining, “In Search Of…” bumped from beginning to end with sharp rhymes and knocking beats.

Steady Rockin’ – Strong Arm Steady

Footage of Strong Arm Steady in NYC recording with Statik Selektah and discussing their forthcoming album “Arms & Hammers”.

Kwelity – Talib Kweli

SoulCultureMedia interview with Talib Kweli in London.

Bonus Clip: Kweli & Strong Arm Steady at Brooklyn Bowl.

Eat To The Beat – Strong Arm Steady

Strong Arm Steady performing “Chittlins & Pepsi” from their “In Search Of Stoney Jackson” project at the Gold Chain Military album release party.

New Joint – Krondon

Krondon – “For A Fee” (StrongArmSteady.Com / 2010)

Produced by The Alchemist and taken off Krondon’s new mixtape “Let Em Live”.

Album Review – Strong Arm Steady

Strong Arm Steady

“Stoney Jackson”

(Stones Throw)

There was a time in rap history when it was common place to hear artists working largely with one particular producer to record their latest creative opus. N.W.A had Dr. Dre. CL Smooth had Pete Rock. The Juice Crew had Marley Marl. Guru had DJ Premier. On their sophomore effort, ‘Stoney Jackson’ (strangely named after one of the dancers from Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ video), West Coast team Strong Arm Steady return to that same golden-era approach to music, with unpredictable genius and underground hero Madlib manning the boards for the entire project.

With third of the trio Mitchy Slick taking something of a backseat this time around, it’s left to Krondon and Phil Da Agony to carry the lyrical weight here, which they each do with character and flair. Proudly flying the West Coast flag over beats grounded in the sample-heavy heritage of classic East Coast boom-bap, Strong Arm Steady run through a myriad of topics, ranging from relationships (’New Love’), the importance of female dental hygiene (’Smile’) and the stresses of big city life (‘Pressure’). The breezy Sunday afternoon soul of ‘Best Of Times’ finds Krondon, Phil and Little Brother’s Phonte each putting their own spin on what the track’s title means to them individually, whilst the greasy funk of ‘Chittlins & Pepsi’ gives new meaning to the term ‘hungry emcee’, as Planet Asia joins the crew in a celebration of good eating that leaves everyone involved licking their lips “on some LL Cool J shit.” The Fat Boys would be proud.

‘True Champs’ is a posse cut of obese proportions, with SAS enlisting the help of Montage One, Evidence, Oh No and Roc C to verbally batter Madlib’s hypnotic mix of hard drums, chopped strings and dusty pianos. Cali vet Defari ponders life’s never-ending paper chase over the persistent sonic pulse of ‘Get Money’, whilst Self Scientific’s Chace Infinite splits syllables with razor sharp precision over the lumbering menace of ‘Ambassadors’.

Although the guest list on ‘Stoney Jackson’ is long (Talib Kweli, Guilty Simpson and Fashawn also appear), it doesn’t take anything away from the cohesion of the project. With many of the featured artists being extended Strong Arm / West Coast family and Madlib maintaining a spontaneous, sometimes Dilla-like musical vibe throughout, the album plays like a lengthy crew jam session. Listening to ‘Stoney Jackson’ it’s easy to imagine Madlib manically skipping through beat CDs in the studio, with Krondon and Phil Da Agony in the booth rhyming through a cloud of weed smoke, and visitors being encouraged to spit a verse or two before they leave just for the fun of it.

Quality independent hip-hop has definitely seen a resurgence in recent times, and with ‘Stoney Jackson’ Strong Arm Steady prove yet again that, irrespective of which latest here-today-gone-tomorrow artist is being championed by the mainstream, there’s always something worth listening to in rap’s underground.

Ryan Proctor

New Joint – Evidence / Krondon

Evidence ft. Krondon – “Solitary Confinement” ( Decon / 2008 )

More new music from Ev’s current release “The Layover EP”.

On The Decks – DJ Revolution

Footage from DJ Revolution’s “King Of The Decks” album release party featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff, Dilated Peoples and Defari.

Steady Rockin’ – Strong Arm Steady

Official SAS EPK featuring the West Coast crew’s new single “Can’t Let It Go”.