Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pale Spring's Emily Wenker Talks Pale Spring EP2, Aaliyah & Chelsea Wolfe's Influence, 3-D Printed "Proud of Your Poison" Action Figures & Classical Music Training (The Witzard Interview)

Baltimore-based singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and web/multi-media designer Emily Wenker has recently released her second, aptly-titled Pale Spring EP2. Wenker is a classically-trained pianist and has been tickling the ivory keys since she was five. She mostly played Beethoven and Chopin for the better part of her musical upbringing and took guitar lessons in high school, but always felt like she was "bad at it." It took several years, but Emily Wenker says she had to essentially un-learn everything she had amassed during her classical training in order to be able to make her own music. It wasn't until Wenker met frequent collaborator and fiance Drew Scott about two and a half years ago that she learned how to use ProTools and attained a new outlook on the world of music-making and production. Since first meeting Scott, Emily Wenker has recorded and released two now-removed Anna Notte albums (her rapping alter ego) and two EP's-worth of "genre-fluid" Synth-Pop-minded material as Pale Spring, as well as a scattered back catalog of material recorded with Baltimore's finest: Jumbled, Joy Postell, Hemlock Ernst AKA Future Islands frontman Sam Herring, JPEGMAFIA, Toyomansi, and made extensive contributions to Drew Scott's recent ILL VESSEL as both Anna Notte and Pale Spring. Wenker has now returned with her second—and might I add, rather progressive—Pale Spring effort, Pale Spring EP2 on which she handled guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming, vocals, production work, composition, lyric-writing, and recording; while Drew Scott is credited with drum programming, co-production, mixing, and mastering throughout EP2 and was admittedly "just in the room sometimes." Pale Spring EP2 is now available to stream and download on both Bandcamp and Soundcloud with proceeds benefiting Baltimore Youth Arts.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Synth-Pop/Pop Art Enthusiast

I. What was your typical writing, recording, and production process like behind your Pale Spring EP2? Soundcloud credits you (Emily) as providing vocals, guitar, synthesizer, keyboards, drum programming, lyrics, composition, co-production, and recording; Drew Scott is additionally credited with mixing, "some drum programming," and co-production throughout.

To be honest, it varies from song to song. I feel like I have a really disorganized way of making music; the only constant in my song-writing process is that I'll usually write, like, five songs that I spend tons of time on, then trash them because I think they’re bad... for whatever reason. Then, I make one song that I like that will only take me two hours start to finish. Then, I do it over again. Like "Waiting Time," for example, I was just messing around and finished that in a day. "Suffer Soft" was the same [scenario]. I was proud of a drum pattern I did and then, just thought it would be cool to use my voice, as if it were a synth and then, just made the entire song around that. I also really like finding weird ambient sounds on The Internet to put under my beats, like storms, wind, people who think they’re hearing UFO's, but it's probably just the sound of tectonic plates moving, etc. When I’m stuck and don't know what to do for the drums, I just hand it over to Drew and I'm like, "here, I'm going for weird, minimal, sexy." And then, he does exactly what I was thinking. Then, in post-production we usually sit together and keep coming up with cool ideas for the songs for a while. The other constant is that I almost never have lyrics, before I write the music. That's usually the last part.

II. What would you likely cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while recording Pale Spring EP2? It's credited on your Soundcloud as "Synth-Pop, Experimental, Electronic, Electronic Pop, Indie-Pop, and Indie."

I think I use those tags because I'm hoping that people who typically might like those genres could potentially vibe with my music. I don't like the idea of fitting into a genre. I hate answering the question, "what is your music like?" I dunno, I just call it Synth-Pop; I don't know if that's accurate or not. The musicians I look up to and respect most are Chelsea Wolfe, Patsy Cline, CocoRosie, Aaliyah, The Knife... all of those artists, in my opinion, defy/defied the bounds of their genres. Although, I'm usually most influenced by my own dreams or by books I've been reading... not so much music.

III. We previously spoke about Pale Spring EP2's "dream-like" lyrical content, which often references both Catholicism and religion. Would you care to further detail these underlying lyrical themes present throughout EP2?

I've had crazy, intense dreams, since I was a kid. I love waking up on Saturday mornings after a night of terrifying dreams and making music. I think that's when I write best... those times I was talking about, when I can make a song in two hours, are almost always under these circumstances. I reference Catholicism and religion a lot, but I was never Catholic or religious. I'm Italian, so my family definitely pretends to be Catholic, at least for funeral mass. One of my parents was an English teacher and was raised Catholic, though. I grew up in a very literature-based household. I think for this reason, I've always loved examining Biblical archetypes within texts. I think that these allusions, while perhaps, overdone within literature, are really strong and effective symbols for burden and self-sabotage. I've definitely carried that into my own writing. This album is not about faith, at all. It’s about how "blessings" can often be distractions and how the great burden of life is surely the personal battle between good and evil.

IV. How would you say your overall sound, style, approach, etc. has grown and progressed since Pale Spring EP2's 2016 predecessor, Pale Spring EP(1)?

I've definitely learned how to use the TC-Helicon to my advantage since the self-titled [EP]... I listen back to that album and I'm like, "wow, I could have toned it back a bit." I think I'm more confident about my singing, too. Maybe. I go back-and-forth on that one. My stuff is less guitar-driven on this EP. That isn't necessarily the direction I'm going in, though. I still don't want to fit into a genre. I still feel like I'm just messing around and figuring out what I'm doing. Overall, I can say that I definitely have a lot more fun with music than I used to. I used to make a song and like, sh*t on myself over it for hours. I don't do that anymore. I actually really like making music now. I think coming from a classical music background, kind of trained me to sh*t on myself. It took me almost a decade to get over that.

V. You mentioned you have a video for EP2 track "Proud of Your Poison" coming sometime in September. Now, would you mind going a bit into its overall concept and background?

I am very excited about the video. It's directed by Jeff Rettberg, who works on House of Cards; he was responsible for JPEGMAFIA’s videos "The Southern Strategy" and "I Might Vote 4 Donald Trump." I want it to be a bit of a surprise, but I can say that I gave Jeff complete artistic control to do whatever he wanted and it's going to be awesome. Jeff and Elena, who is his film partner and wife, worked with this amazing artist Jeffrey Gangwisch to make me into 3-D printed action figures, which are going to be filmed within a model of decimating landscapes... might just have to wait and see it. I know as little as you do, honestly haha.

VI. I remember a while back, @DrewciferScott mentioned something about collecting Pale Spring EP2 left-overs and re-using them as "samples" on his/your future releases; would you mind going into that potential concept a bit? Sounds like a pretty interesting and practical idea!

"Practical" is definitely the word. He has an arsenal of like, at least 20 songs that I made, while trying to finish this album, which I encourage him to just flip into a beat. I'll make a bunch of songs and be like, "I hate this. You can strip the synth pattern off, if you want." Two hours later, he's make a sick beat from it and I'm like... "sh*t!" He’s coming out with a Pop project eventually, too and has used some of the EP2 left-overs for that. Of course, he totally messes with them and makes them their own thing. Sometimes, you need a new set of eyes/ears on a song that just isn't working. He can literally make a beat from anything. Like, I took a joke video of him slapping a giant 40lb. block of cheese the other day... now, he's f**king using it as an Industrial sample. He doesn't even know how insanely creative he is.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to Fail at Everything: A Practical Guide for Coasting Through Life... Author Free Tillman Unleashes Tidal-era Fiona Apple & J Dilla Mash-up Mixtape, Red Dillicious (self-released)

"This project came together organically. I had just bought some new equipment and wasn't really comfortable with my drum sounds, so I decided to loop someone else's... and who has better drums than J Dilla? I was looking for samples from my music collection and came across Fiona Apple's Tidal," beat-maker, writer, and social media personality Free (Lee) Tillman wrote within a recent email. "Throughout my life, I have been a recording engineer, a journalist, a rapper, a stand-up comedian, and a music video director. And I have had recognizable success in exactly zero of those things," Tillman writes within the Amazon description to his 2016 Kindle book, How to Fail at Everything: A Practical Guide for Coasting Through Life. On his Soundcloud page, Lee Tillman simply proclaims: "I make videos, I take pictures, I write Tweets, I write books," complete with links to his various platforms. Red Dillicious is billed as, "Dilla Drums + Fiona Apple Piano = Red Dillicious" and in addition to J Dilla and Fiona Apple samples, features intertwined vocal snippets from TV shows like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Search Party, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Documentary Now! While it's currently unspecified as to where the Dilla drums breaks were sourced, Tillman used nine tracks from Fiona Apple's critically-acclaimed 1996 debut, Tidal—with the exception of opener "Sleep to Dream" ("Sleep")—as well as Apple's Blake Mills-produced "Container" penned for Showtime's 2014 drama series, The Affair. It ends up sounding like something to the effect of an imagined Dirty Projectors album produced by ?uestlove and Soulquarians off-shoot The Ummah AKA J Dilla and A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip & Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Red Dillicious, as well as Free Tillman's 30-track follow-up PRIMO, is currently available on Soundcloud and Bandcamp on a Name-Your-Price basis.

"I've been a fan of hers since that album debuted in '96. I always loved her piano playing and how she used her voice, so I knew I could find some great sounds. First, I chopped up the piano from her solo at the end of "Sleep to Dream." It sounded pretty good, so I moved on to the next song. I looped up the next Dilla drum track and thought to myself, "I can't just keep sampling Dilla;" then, I thought again, "what if ALL I did was sample Dilla?" I though about a mixtape Black Milk put out a couple years ago called Music from The Color Purple, where he used nothing but Prince records. So, as an exercise, I tried to make a beat from every song from Tidal using nothing but J Dilla drum beats. In the end, the first song I made didn't make the cut, but I felt like everything else was worth sharing, so threw it up on Bandcamp and other people seem to like it, too. Go figure."

- Free (Lee) Tillman

Monday, August 14, 2017

Roughneck Jihad Talks New Album The Wretched of The Verse, Orchids & Corpses Re-release, The Current State of "Mumble Rap," Top 10 Emcees & The Wretched Producers (The Witzard Interview)

While he still might be a relatively unknown "underground emcee," Roughneck Jihad—formerly known as Jihad The Roughneck MC—has been spittin' fresh rhymes since high school, 1988; over the years, he's formed countless Hip-Hop crews including Un Cut Poets, Third Sight with DJ Du Funk, Smooth Tone, and D-Styles, The Incredible Torture Show (T.I.T.S.) with Trailer Trasher & Maestro Gamin, The Language Mechanics with Insomniac & Raggedy Andy, The Tarantula Brothers with DJ Du Funk, Disco Sinisto with Turin, Italy-based producer IL Torsolo, newly-formed Echoes of Oratory Music, The Darc Bros. and currently runs label imprint Disgruntled Sounds. There's also a vinyl and cassette re-release of Third Sight's 2016 Orchids & Corpses compilation album originally recorded to 4-track between 1993-96 scheduled for this upcoming September. Aside from his just-released second solo album, The Wretched of The Verse (A Microphone Murderer's Extended-play Response to Unabridged Wackness In Hip-Hop Music Today) Roughneck Jihad is currently working on anywhere from 8-10 additional projects with a wide array of beat-minded collaborators including, but not limited to those listed above.

Prior to its August 3rd release, I've heard at least two versions of Roughneck Jihad's The Wretched of The Verse through various stages of completion and I can assure you, it's one Hell of a single-emcee Hip-Hop album! Jihad collected hard-as-nails beats from the likes of Abomination, Pryvet Peep Sho, Waxsmith, Frank John James, and BOOKS1. I would say The Wretched is stylistically reminiscent of Sean Price's Mic Tyson, Madlib & DOOM's MADVILLAINY, Wu-Tang Clan, and DOOM's Danger Mouse-produced [adult swim]-themed THE MOUSE AND THE MASK. I've been speaking with Juan (Roughneck Jihad) over the course of the past few months through The Wretched of The Verse's various stages of completion and as a quasi-follow-up to our previous The Wretched Sampler breakdown, he was kind enough to sit down with The Witzard for a comprehensive 10-question interview, which you can now peruse through below, while streaming Roughneck's new album. The Wretched of The Verse is currently available to purchase in a number of limited edition formats: 300 gold vinyl LP's available on German-based EXPANDED ART RECORDS, 100 cassette tapes, and of course, unlimited $12 digital albums all available from Jihad The Roughneck MC's Bandcamp page.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Saturday Morning Cartoon Enthusiast

I. What was your intended message behind sub-titling The Wretched of The Verse: "A Microphone Murderer's Extended-play Response to Unabridged Wackness In Hip-Hop Music Today?" Who exactly, if anyone, is that particular statement aimed towards?

The sub-titling was a creation of the cover artist Raggedy Andy and he was simply riffing off of the book cover of The Wretched of The Earth by [Frantz] Fanon. He needed to change the words a bit to make it fit the mood and direction of the LP. We have been working together since before E. Pluribus and he knows I hate wack emcees, so it all worked out. He didn't have any particular emcee in mind, as far as I know. The industry is full of wackness in Mainstream Rap, but it's always been that way for generations.

II. The Wretched of The Verse has an underlying Hanna-Barbera cartoon-type feel and vaguely reminds me of Sean Price's Mic Tyson, MADVILLAIN's MADVILLAINY, DANGERDOOM's THE MOUSE AND THE MASK, etc. How intentional (or unintentional) was this running "Saturday morning cartoon"-evoking feel?

The cartoon sample has long been an element in the producer's repertoire. DOOM and Ghostface [Killah] went hard on the cartoon samples. Men of our age grew up on cartoons, so those samples bring back those days of our youth. Only real heads can pick out the source material they come from. It takes some digging. [Pryvet] Peep Sho is younger than the rest of us, but he's a true comic book cartoon nerd, which is evident on the tracks "Phantom," "Toys," and "Blowhard." He tries to keep the listener guessing what he used and how he flipped it. Nobody has figured it out yet. The other producers did not use cartoons.

III. Who exactly hand-crafted and produced the various beats showcased throughout The Wretched of The Verse and how did you initially go about contacting and attaining beats from said producers?

There are five producers on The Wretched: Pryvet Peep Sho, Waxsmith, and BOOKS1, who also did tracks on Third Sight IV. The two new-comers are Frank John James and Abom 1. I met Peep Sho years ago through The Ruckazoid and we have been recording since 2012. He gave me a beat CD back then and we just connected. We had done a few different songs along the way; he did "Jeepers" on Chillin' and "Nerd" and "Cuckold Crush" on IV. We have many unreleased songs other than the five on this LP. Waxsmith used to DJ for a good friend of mine, Nate Mezmer. He sent me some beats, which I really liked and we have been working together [ever] since. BOOKS1, I linked up with through my mix engineer, Jerry D. He is a protege of DJ Hen Boogie from The Derelicts. We have a few mutual friends. I met Frank John James through Clockwize. He's part of the Echoes of Oratory [Muzik] crew that took me in. He gave me a super-soulful beat CD at a show. He has hundreds of beats, I just picked a few and ran with it. Finally, I met Abomination through my homeboy and rhyme partner, Maestro Gamin and he was kind enough to slide me some tracks. I met them all through my network.

IV. In addition to The Wretched of The Verse, what else are you currently working on that may see an eventual release within the coming months; any projects of particular note?

The main projects arriving this year after The Wretched are Orchids & Corpses and The Tarantula Brothers. Orchids is already available for digital download on my Bandcamp, but we did a deal a couple years back with Omar at Sanctimonious Records for a physical release. So, we're dropping the songs on an EP, 7-inch, and cassette tapes pretty soon. Tarantula Brothers, my LP with DJ Du Funk is being mixed now, but might not be out until January.

V. What exactly is the tentative release schedule for The Wretched of The Verse in its various formats? I know you had previously mentioned it will be available on vinyl, cassette, and digital album formats.

The digital download is out now. The vinyl and tapes will be out at the end of August.

VI. Now, did you make an intentional decision to keep The Wretched of The Verse a one emcee and a microphone-style album with absolutely NO features? Let's just say you had and unlimited budget and unlimited means... who would you ideally, get for features, producers, etc. on The Wretched?

Sometimes, a producer just wants you on a track. Unless they tell me otherwise, I don't feel at liberty to add guests. It just kinda turned out that way with these tracks. I have a bucket list of people I'd like to work with in the future. If I could pay them, I'd do it now: DJ Premier, DOOM, Breezly Brewin, Scaramanga, Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, Saafir, Gift of Gab, Myka 9, Jehst, Sylabil Spill, [André] 3000, [Pharoahe] Monch—a huge list, really.

VII. Do you have any current plans to release any additional singles, music videos, 7-inch singles, etc. during The Wretched's initial album roll-out phase?

We are definitely going to do some videos for The Wretched real soon. I'm working on that now.

VIII. What would you say were some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while writing and recording The Wretched of The Verse?

The Wretched songs were not conceived as a single project and they were recorded over a period of years. The beats are what inspires me the most. I go off of the producers' creativity and see where that takes me, for the most part.

IX. What's the current status of Third Sight, Tarantula Brothers, The Incredible Torture Show (T.I.T.S.) Foul Mouth Cringe, and any of your additional pre-existing groups? Can we expect to see releases from any of them any time relatively soon?

The only projects that are sure to drop soon are Orchids [& Corpses], Tarantula [Brothers], and Disco Sinistro [EP with IL Torsolo]. I hope all of them see the light of day, but collaborative efforts need to fire on all cylinders to get finished. Disco Sinistro and Juan Sequitur will be coming in 2018. The Torture Show (T.I.T.S.) is dead in the water and there will be no more music from that group.

X. What is your opinion on the current state of Hip-Hop and "Mumble Rap?'" Who are your Top 10 Favorite Rappers today?

I think that the term "Mumble Rap" is a little harsh. I know some of these new emcees mumble through freestyles but that's not why some of their songs seem so unintelligible. Auto-Tune is the main culprit that makes them hard to understand. They have their own jargon and they are essentially, rebelling against more complex forms of rhyming. They have taken to extreme minimalism and unlike emcees before them, they do not have any positive progressive messages or humor to their songs. Major and mid-major labels that sign these acts are not investing much money into the current acts and as a result, they cannot sample or hire bands. Their music is often badly played on keyboards to save money. Terrestrial and digital radio are not acting as gate-keepers or quality controllers. Whatever sells gets the spotlight and the underground is truly "underground" now, more than ever. They have taken party music to the extreme and they have unprecedented access to the infrastructure. Fans of real Hip-Hop have to dig, not only at stores, but online, in order to find the music they like the best. This is the price of this new form of Rap being mainstreamed. I like to call it "Fast Food Rap" because you consume it and it passes through you faster than a Taco Bell taco and then, you wipe your a$$ and move on. It seems each generation is growing up on increasingly simplistic, destructive anti-social styles of Rap. When I started all those years ago, I had superior role models to emulate, but the youth have grown up on lesser emcees. Some of them, too young to even remember Biggie Smalls and it has been downhill since his passing. There are some stand-out younger emcees out there like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and A.F.R.O. but they are the outliers in a sea of people who shun lyricism and embrace singing Auto-Tune and über-simplicity. My Top 10 emcees right now is tough; I like a lot of emcees back in their primes, but I haven't liked their more recent releases: 1. MF DOOM, 2. Ghostface [Killah], 3. Rakim, 4. Big Daddy Kane, 5. Kool G. Rap, 6. Kool Keith, 7. KRS-One, 8. Del [The Funky Homosapien], 9. Nas, and 10. [Pharoahe] Monch.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman Return with Third Lice "Infestation" TRIPLE FAT LICE EP & Homeboy Sandman-penned Triple Fat Lice Poem (Stones Throw/Rhymesayers Ent.)

Triple Fat Lice (Poem) By: Homeboy Sandman

"Triple Fat Lice is similar to Die Hard with a Vengeance in that it is a part 3 that gets very busy. It's also like A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 3 [Dream Warriors] in that regard the dream warriors kicking Freddy’s a$$ with all their special powers.

Triple Fat Lice is not at all like Halloween III [Season of The Witch] that didn't even have Michael Myers in it and was about roaches or something I don’t even really know. It might have been a great Horror movie, in it's own right, but I was so appalled Michael Myers wasn't even in it. Triple Fat Lice is also nothing at all like Beverly Hills Cop III which to me was almost like sacrilege but no disrespect that’s just my own personal opinion.

Even though Back to The Future Part III and Terminator 3 [Rise of The Machines] are not as sensational as Triple Fat Lice (something they share in common with every other movie in this poem as well as everything else that has ever existed) I feel like they get a bad rap. Seemed like people didn't give Back to The Future Part III a chance because they were put off by the old west setting just like people for whatever reason don't give Westerns in general a chance even though there are definitely some amazing Westerns (including but not limited to The Outlaw Josey Wales, Bone Tomahawk, and 3:10 to Yuma.) [Aesop Rock] actually put me on to Bone Tomahawk which we agree is fantastic even though we often disagree on films particularly on the Mad Max [Fury Road] that just came out with Tom Hardy I love Tom Hardy but that sh*t was so absurdly boring to me with the exception of that scene where he fights Charlize Theron which was early in the movie so I got hyped like the rest was going to be good but then basically the rest of the movie was a bunch of scenes that were exactly the same. To me.

In closing, my father thinks that The Godfather Part III gets a bad rap because it exposes corruption in The Vatican and that may be true but I actually authentically just don't find it as good as the first two. Andy Garcia is hard [though].

Triple Fat Lice."

Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock have returned with the third installment of their ongoing Lice series, TRIPLE FAT LICE EP on Stones Throw/Rhymesayers Ent; released just shy of a year after Lice 2: Still Buggin' TRIPLE FAT LICE features production from Israeli beat-maker Cohenbeats, Oh No (Madlib's brother,) Ben Boogz of 2 Hungry Bros. Mello Music Group rapper-producer Quelle Chris, and All That I Hold Dear producer M Slago. TRIPLE FAT LICE EP is currently available to stream and download, as usual, for FREE from Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman's Lice Bandcamp page. Although, they strongly suggest, "should you feel inspired to cough up some dough after receiving the gift of digital song free of charge, here are some places we've mentioned in the past that could use your help: Maritime Youth Alliance, CITIZENS OF SKATEISTAN, City Harvest, and PREP for PREP." Homeboy Sandman & Aesop Rock's TRIPLE FAT LICE is additionally available for pre-order in vinyl format from Stones Throw and Rhymesayers' Fifth Element web-store; TRIPLE FAT LICE AKA Lice 3 is available in either single-LP format or 3-LP "Lice Pack" containing Lice EP, Lice 2: Still Buggin' and TRIPLE FAT LICE. Rhymesayers & Stones Throw vinyl pre-orders are expected to ship by or before October 27th and come with immediate digital download upon purchasing. Not to "too my own horn" or anything (well, maybe a little) but feel free to scroll back up to the top of this very post and ch-check out a nifty little side-by-side edit I did of TRIPLE FAT LICE's Jeremy Fish-designed EP cover and his apparent inspiration, Simon & Garfunkel's 1964 album, Sounds of Silence.

Friday, August 11, 2017

GRAMMY-nominated Wiz Khalifia, Yo Gotti & T.I. Producer & Song-writer David Versis Unleashes "Made for Me" from Forthcoming EP (self-released)

"'Made for Me" was actually one of the last tracks I added to the EP I hope to release later this year. I remember walking into the studio and hearing Mikhail (my producer) messing around with two different cuts of the same sample. One was very down-tempo and in the pocket, while the other felt lively with a real bounce to it. We went back-and-forth, debating which of the two we rocked with the most, but couldn't justify separating the sounds," Canadian rapper, producer, and song-writer David Versis wrote within a recent email. Upon first hearing his latest single, "Made for Me," I wrote a quick, semi-tongue-in-cheek "review" on Twitter which read: "'Made for Me" sounds like John Mayer meets Drake and it's actually pretty awesome!" Versis is a GRAMMY-nominated producer, who contributed to Wiz Khalifia's 2014 album, Blacc Hollywood and produced Yo Gotti & T.I.'s collaborative single, "King Sh*t." David Versis has recently been transitioning into becoming a featured, top-billing artist in his own right; quietly releasing a string of Mikhail-produced singles over the course of the past month including "Invictus," "Touch Yourself," "Totally," and now, "Made for Me." In addition to sounding like something to the effect of a stylistic mix between John Mayer and fellow Canadian Drake, I would liken David Versis' sound to recluse Jai Paul's Electro-Pop stylings, soulful crooner Frank Ocean, and sharp spitter Pusha T with a cadence and swagger reminiscent of Kung-Fu Kenny AKA Kendrick Lamar. David Versis' debut EP is expected to be released before year's end.

"We started arranging the beat and joked around about how nonsensical it would be to start with one vibe and abruptly switch to the next, but the more we played it back, the more we fell in love with it. I began writing and immediately knew I wanted the song to be as blatant as the beat was. The record felt like a love song, but I didn’t want it to be filled with all the subtle nuances and metaphors found in most loved songs. I wanted it to be stripped, direct, and to the point. It’s not hard to find songs with lyrics that shoot game to females or even love songs drenched in overly emotional tones, so I set out to make a song that feels smooth but is punctuated with a transparent proclamation, "Made for Me." Even though it was the last song added to the EP, I feel "Made for Me" really encompasses what my team [and I] set out to accomplish with this body of work, which was to take listeners on a playful ride with soundscapes constantly changing and with each track differing from the next."

- David Versis

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rocky, iLL-Omega, Alien & Adam Politis Present: Rocky's House Podcast Episodes #1-2 with Special Guests DJ Say Whaat, DJ It's Just Ahmad & Punk-Rap Emcee Ray Strife (Cap City Ent.)

Darnell "iLL-Omega" Storey (@illomega) is a friend and frequent collaborator of The Witzard; he hand-crafted the beats for Ray Strife's recent The Witzard-premiered Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, he's one half of rapper-producer duo A Mankind Complex, founder of Trenton-based label Cap City Ent. and recently assembled a producer-selected Beat-maker Bedrock playlist. iLL-Omega's latest endeavor is Rocky's House Podcast hosted by Cap City Ent. signee and collaborator Rocky (@rockythepromoter.) Alongside Rocky & iLL-Omega, Rocky's House Podcast's panel of co-hosts additionally features Hip-Hop artists and lyricist Alien (@bonafied_alien) and Princeton-bred improv actor and comedian Adam Politis (@smokinpolitis) as well as a variety of special guests on each month's episode. Rocky himself describes Rocky's House Podcast as a unique online platform wherein they're able to "shed light on local/mainstream Hip-Hop music, art, and events and also discuss the cultures that drive society then and now." Rocky's House Podcast's inaugural July episode featured guests DJ Say Whaat & DJ It's Just Ahmad discussing JAY-Z's latest culture-rattling album 4:44, the growth of Hip-Hop, and what made them initially get into DJ'ing, as well as a rundown of upcoming events.

For Rocky's House Podcast Episode 2, Rocky, iLL-Omega, Alien & Adam Politis invited fellow Trenton Punk-Rap emcee Ray Strife into "their house." Strife and the Rocky's House Gang discussed a wide array of topics including Crust Punk, Juggalos, iLL-Omega-produced Preface: I Will Never Be Beautiful EP, how Ray first got into rapping, high school teachers, and upcoming tours and events. Rocky's House Podcast's third episode is expected to be released at the beginning of September and can be streamed and thoroughly enjoyed on iLL-Omega's CapCity TV YouTube channel, as well as Rocky's House Podcast's 5-star Facebook page. Rocky's House Podcast's contributors Instagram handles, as well as a number of recent projects, are linked through this very post, in addition to CapCity TV's channel. If for whatever reasons, you're not into the video version, Rocky's House Podcast Episode 1 is also available in strictly audio format on Cap City Ent.'s Soundcloud page, where future episodes will be uploaded, as they're released.

Monday, August 7, 2017

"THE TIME OF DOOM IS AT HAND, ONCE AGAIN:" [adult swim] Announce 15-week THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES & Unleash Sean Price-helmed "Negus" (CRUMMIE BEATS Exclusive)

"Well, the track was inspired by one of the original titles to Sean's album. He was going to name the album NIGGLETUS! at first, so I was going off that vibe. When we were making the beat, I wanted to make something that could stand next to "Bar-Barian" (which is one of my favorite songs by Sean.) That track is one of, if not the first, track he recorded for the album... we had no idea that DOOM would end up on it," one half of Crumzville, VA-based production team CRUMMIE BEATS, Fonkstarr, wrote within a recent email. Fonkstarr & .45, collectively billed as CRUMMIE BEATS, produced five tracks included within Brooklyn emcee Sean Price's posthumous fourth album, Imperius Rex. The track in question, "Negus" AKA "Notebook 00 - Negus," is the first release from [adult swim]'s just-launched THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES weekly series; essentially, between now and 11.14.2017, [adult swim] & Gas Drawls will be collectively unleashing "15 STRAIGHT WEEKS OF ALL NEW DOOM JAMS." "Negus" is just the first of what [adult swim] Senior Vice President & Creative Director Jason DeMarco has dubbed the return of the Metal Faced Villain "featuring all sorts of special guests"—as well as an unspecified DOOM & Jay Electronica collaboration, as part of [adult swim]'s annual, newly-extended 52-week 2017 singles series.

"These missing notebooks were last seen at the METALFACE [Records] LA office, when DOOM was denied entry into the US seven years ago. If you have any information on the whereabouts of these notebooks, please contact," DOOM. ALL CAPS. (@gasdrawls) cryptically wrote within a recent Instagram post. THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES, which after November 14th, may or may not be re-packaged as a proper full-length "album," will be DOOM's first solo release since his 2009 Lex Records album, Born Like This, not counting Keys to The Kuffs as JJ DOOM with Jneiro Jarel (2012) and NehruvianDOOM with rapper-producer Bishop Nehru (2014.) "We met Sean P in LA few years back; gave him a beat CD at a Raekwon show. He liked what he heard and reached out to us... unfortunately, soon after, we lost contact. A friend of ours knew Illa Ghee and put us in contact... we started doing songs with Ghee, who happened to know Sean Price. He heard what we did with Illa Ghee [and] asked us to send him some beats... we emailed them at 9PM [and by] 4AM [the] next day, he sent us two songs. It was on from there," .45 AKA RASZ KING of CRUMMIE BEATS wrote within an email. "Negus" is now available to stream, via [adult swim]'s newly-launched THE MISSING NOTEBOOK RHYMES playlist site. DOOM's second release will drop next week, Wednesday, August 16th and will continue through November 14th. Sean Price's long-awaited posthumous album, Imperius Rex is now available in a number of formats from his former label home, Duck Down Music Inc. "We did five songs on Imperius Rex and still have more unreleased songs with Sean Price. All the songs were recorded from Jan. 2014-July 2015," .45 continued.