Monday, August 31, 2015

Lupe Fiasco Rhymes Over J Dilla, Robert Glasper, The Weeknd & Flying Lotus on Farenheit 1/15 Quasi-sequel, "Pharaoh Height 2/30" (Soundcloud)

"Peep my bro @LupeFiasco's new FREE mixtape!!! The track "Valleys" is my Dillalude #2," Robert Glasper Experiment/Trio frontman and founder @robertglasper exuberantly Tweeted late Saturday evening. Glasper is of course referring to Chicago emcee Lupe Fiasco's latest 6-track mixtape EP, Pharaoh Height 2/30; a clever allusion and quasi-sequel to his own 3-volume career-boosting Fahrenheit 1/15 mixtape series (2006). When arranged in descending order from #1-6, Pharaoh Height 2/30's tracklist cryptically reads: "IN... VALLEYS... OF... KINGS... PYRAMID... SCHEMES." Not entirely unlike his Thanksgiving 2011 mixtape freebie, Friend of The People: I Fight Evil, Pharaoh Height 2/30 showcases an eclectic sampling of production work culled from the likes of Glasper, J Dilla, The Weeknd affiliate Daheala, Flying Lotus, and even a Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain E3 commercial. Pharaoh Height EP's Grade A choice cuts include "VALLEYS" and "OF," which are two Donuts-era Dilla selections, one being an instrumental "remix" hand-crafted by Robert Glasper himself. "2 down. #TYPH Tetsuo Youth... Pharaoh Height 2/30," @LupeFiasco Tweeted over the weekend, complete with attached album art and companion hyper-links to his two most recent Atlantic Records/1st & 15th-released projects. Stereogum head-scratchingly reported Monday afternoon that "[Lupe Fiasco] now says he wants to "unmake an album," and he's offering to accept any used physical copies of Lasers that fans want to send him and to destroy those copies with an actual laser;" if Fiasco's The Return of Lasers Redemption fiasco (pun intended ha) is indeed successful, he says he'll destroy the amassed lot of Lasers copies on New Year's Day 2016.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Anderson.Paak & Knxwledge Raisin' Hell in a Pontiac LeMans within Nxworries' CALMATIC-directed "Suede" Video (Stones Throw)

"["Suede"] featured the LA-based vocalist's signature rasp and slick talk over a chopped up sample of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Bottle" courtesy of buzzing beatmaker Knxwledge, his partner in the duo collectively known as Nxworries," NPR diligently reported late Tuesday afternoon. Nxworries is Stones Throw's latest Jaylib-style rapper-producer concoction, consisting of Dr. Dre's R&B crooning Compton-assisant, Anderson.Paak and prolific New Jersey/Philly-bred LA beatsmith Knxwledge. Their lone February-released single, "Suede" is an undisputed Snoop & Dre-influenced creation that's almost reminiscent of George Clinton's own unique G-Funk-inspiring Parliament-Funkadelic sound. Stones Throw founder and label-head, Peanut Butter Wolf actually briefly appears within Nxworries' newly-minted "Suede" video as his Alyssa Milano-obsessed, Prince-esque alter ego, Folerio. Like-minded LA-based director CALMATIC ingeniously has Anderson.Paak covertly sneaking out of Folerio's second story patio window following an apparent one-night stand during the clip's introductory scenes.

Then, we catch a glimpse of Paak swiftly hopping into Knxwledge's cherry red Pontiac LeMans just as a leather-clad Folerio begins to passionately race outside; "Smoother than a motherf**ker / suede on the inside / candy paint, candy paint / I ain't gotta tell you what the rims look like / Look, I'm gripping wood like a motherf**ker." Immediately following Anderson.Paak's "I'm a coach, I'mma teach these b*tches how to layup" line, CALMATIC smoothly cuts "Suede"'s sun-drenched footage into some old school 1980-90's-reminiscent footage from one of those corny "How to Dunk Like Mike" VHS tapes. Knxwledge pretty much just sits there and looks exceedingly cool doing nothing, in a Raisin Hell shirt sporting sandals with socks, while Anderson.Paak somehow manages to seduce two young ladies with the head-scratcher of a 'pick-up line:' "If I call you a b*tch / it's cause you're my b*tch / and as long as no one else call you a b*tch / then there won't be no problems." Nxworries are currently working on a full-length, which should likely be expected by either late 2015 or early 2016, and are opening for former Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt on the remainder of his The 2015 Ready to Leave Now Tour (through September 19th).

Friday, August 21, 2015

"I'm done fantasizing on what the Hell the Eight of Wands means:" Asher Roth & Black Milk - "The Hierophant" (Hash Wednesdays)

"Hit the HASH [button] at to uncover secret raps over @black_milk madness..." @asherroth somewhat cryptically Tweeted late Wednesday afternoon, accented by a "#hashwednesday" hashtag; a trend which can be attributed to the bulk of Roth's recent post-RetroHash activity, consisting of fully fleshed out non-album tracks haphazardly uploaded to his Asher Paul Roth Soundcloud account. Hash Wednesdays roll call additionally includes Chuck Inglish-produced "That's Cute," "Oren's Not Sure," Fat Tony-assisted "Sushi," "Taking My Time," and Nottz-produced "Blow Yr Head" amongst other questionable non-album loosies. Although many of Asher Roth's one-time fans and detractors might have quickly written him off as a mere "one-hit wonder" during the five years between "I Love College"-featuring Asleep In The Bread Aisle and his nearly flawless second album RetroHash — I've relentlessly stuck with him through it all over the years and honestly, always knew he would become the witty, sharp-tongued emcee that he's morphed into today. Albeit, in his defense, Asher Roth has remained far from inactive over the gestative years between Bread Aisle and its then tentatively-titled, and ultimately scrapped, Is This Too Orange? Def Jam follow-up.

Unbeknownst to most casual fans, having unleashed a number of impeccable mixtape-albums like Seared Foie Gras with Quince & Cranberry, Pabst & Jazz, The GreenHouse Effect (Vol. 2), and nearly an entire album's-worth of hit-and-miss non-album singles. "I'm done fantasizing on what the Hell the Eight of Wands means. The Hierophant, pulling from the sky my guide's a higher one," Asher Roth ferociously rhymes on "The Hierophant" atop Black Milk's glitchy, spaced out bell-accented production work. Hierophant dates back to the late 17th century and is rooted in Latin from the Ancient Greek word "hierophant─ôs, from hieros 'sacred' + phainein 'show, reveal,'" as per a quick Google Definition search, which additionally defines hieropant as "a person, especially a priest in Ancient Greece, who interprets sacred mysteries or esoteric principles." 2dopeboyz seems to speculate that "The Hierophant" acts as an airing of grievances for Roth's feelings towards corporate America or more specifically, his disdain towards business dealings within the record industry; I'm guessing quite possibly even his oft-delayed and finally released sophomore album Is This Too Orange? aka RetroHash.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Legendary Roots Crew Presents: Black Thought, Truck North & STS - "Mad Men Jam Boys" (Money Making Jam Boys) RJD2 Re-work

"After dropping "Trunk of My Computer" video from the #STSxRJD2 album, STS, Black Thought, and Truck North put [their] MMJB twist on RJD2's classic Mad Men theme song, "Beautiful [Mine]."

Produced by The Wurxs for [their] Wurxs of Art project coming soon," Philly emcee Sugar Tongue Slim (STS) wrote Tuesday afternoon on his Soundcloud accompanying "Mad Men Jam Boys." The Wurxs-produced remix of RJD2's Mad Men theme, "A Beautiful Mine," is the unofficial return to form of Roots affiliated crew, Money Making Jam Boys, which consists of Roots emcee Black Thought, STS, Truck North, Greg P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw (who are noticeably absent here). MMJB's first and only release thus far was their Denzel Washington-approved 18-track debut, The Prestige: Jam Boy Magic way back in 2010.

Its members have remained far from silent in the five years since The Prestige: Black Thought & The Roots have effortlessly transitioned from The Late Night Band to The Tonight Show Band, STS has released a 3-volume sample-flipping GOLD RUSH mixtape series, as well as his recent RJD2-produced project, STSxRJD2, and Truck North has unleashed two critically-acclaimed EP's, his album Murder By Mourning, and his recent mixtape compilation, In Case You Missed It. Black Thought kicks off "Mad Men Jam Boys" with nearly 2-minutes worth of ferocious wordplay, effortlessly surpassing your standard 16 bar runtime; "I'm just a hard act to swallow / my thoughts is too dark to follow / left my heart in Chicago where the tips on the ammo be hollow / with a Kung Fu grip like G.I. Joe..." The remaining three minutes are evenly split between STS and Truck North, who arguably hold their own against a seasoned Philly emcee like Mr. Trotter. While there are currently no plans for Money Making Jam Boys proper The Prestige follow-up, we might know more very shortly, as I'm currently working on an as-yet-unpublished interview with Jam Boy Truck North.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Guilty Simpson & Quakers Producer Katalyst Recruit Fat Ray for Rock-leaning DETROIT'S SON Stand-out, "Fractured" (Stones Throw x Drip)

"Worked with Guilty on Quakers through [Stones Throw]. Then we met when he was here in [Australia] on tour. Hung out with [him] and Phat Kat in the studio. Those guys were digging the new beats I had, and when Guilty went to LA to do the video for "Fitta Happier," he mentioned that we were vibing in the studio and he was into the beats and working together," Katalyst recently wrote within an emailed conversation. "We recorded "War Drums" while Phat Kat and Guilty were in town for that tour. Stones Throw thought it could be a great fit for his next album and hit us up and I was into it," Australian-based producer Ashley Anderson then continued, concerning his relationship with collaborator Guilty Simpson. Katalyst produced the entirety of Simpson's Psych-Rock-tinged DETROIT'S SON at Quakers band-mate and Portishead founder Geoff Barrow's local Invada Studios. Stones Throw unexpectedly dropped DETROIT'S SON to subscribers this past Wednesday, as Guilty had previously hinted, ahead of its world-wide September 11th release, although its currently available for pre-order in a variety of formats. It's Simpson's third album to be released on Stones Throw, following Ode to The Ghetto and Madlib-produced OJ Simpson, as well as assorted projects recorded with Black Milk and since passed emcee Sean Price as "Random Axe," Apollo Brown, Oh No, and Small Professor.

"Detroit's Son distills the essence of what made Ode to The Ghetto an underground classic. With the subject of life in the Motor City placed front and center, Guilty's uncompromising rhymes fit seamlessly with Katalyst's hard-hitting beats. The raps are every bit as gritty as on Ode or OJ, but there's also a little light relief on tracks such as "Smoking," probably about as close as Guilty will get to a summer anthem," Stones Throw wrote in a mini-press release accompanying DETROIT'S SON's sudden unveiling. "Fractured," which was preceded by non-album loosies "Vanguard Organization" and "Animal," almost harkens back to Link Wray & His Ray Men's formative guitar-centric 1958 Rock "N" Roll single, "Rumble" and even No Doubt's New-Wavey "Hella Good" drum break, neither of which I'm entirely sure Katalyst intentionally sampled. While I was busy working most of Wednesday day, I managed to upload DETROIT'S SON's 17 tracks onto a flash drive that very night and let me tell you: it hasn't left my car stereo for a mere second since! Guilty Simpson is a talneted hard-as-nails, yet surprisingly approachable, rapper and he sounds right at home over Katalyst's slightly off-kilter beats; I'm currently hard at work assembling a forthcoming beat-centric interview with Anderson himself, but until then, you're welcome to read, actively share, and thoroughly enjoy my recent all-inclusive interview with Mr. Bryon Simpson.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Lonely Island Presents: Joanna Newsom's Paul Thomas Anderson-directed Divers Lead Single, "Sapokanikan" (Drag City)

"We are excited to announce that a new Joanna Newsom song was released this morning! Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson," read an uncharacteristically serious Tweet from GRAMMY-winning Comedy-Rap triumvirate @thelonelyisland, which just so happens to showcase the rhymin' talents of Newsom's husband, Andy Samburg. While I'm vaguely familiar with Joanna Newsom's beautifully fragile harp-assisted melodies, I'm gonna be completely honest here: the only time I've ever actually "heard" her music was on Asher Roth & Nottz Raw's reflective "Sprout & The Bean"-sampling RAWTH EP cut, "Break Bread." Newsom's first album in nearly five years, Divers, features lush string arrangement composed by "a total murders' row: Newsom [herself], Nico Muhly, Dirty Projectors frontman Dave Longstreth, and Ryan Francesconi," as Stereogum reports. Divers' string arrangements were additionally recorded by legendary Nirvana In Utero (1993) producer Steve Albini along with her former The Pleased band-mate, Noah Georgeson.

Joanna Newsom's aforementioned new song, "Sapokanikan" was accompanied by a music video filmed by her former collaborator and Inherent Vice director, Paul Thomas Anderson. It's a simple, yet effective treatment that features Newsom wandering and joyously frolicking around the snow-covered New York streets whilst "Sapokanikan" nonchalantly plays in the background; a track which instantly reminds me of an uncanny hybrid of Fiona Apple's pained Jazz-laden melodies juxtaposed against frantic Tune-Yards frontwoman Merrill Garbus' unhinged spontaneity. Joanna Newsom's long-awaited follow-up to her critically-acclaimed triple album Have One On Me (2010), Divers is set to arrive on Drag City this upcoming October 23rd "...further along and down the road apiece from where she took her leave of us, Joanna Newsom plays on. Breathe deep and equalize your today-ears to the new world of..." Divers!?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey, Black Thought & King Los Challenge Young Emcees to Now-cancelled Three-man "Battle Rap" Cypher (G.O.O.D. Music?)

It seemed lie a pretty blatant, clear-cut call to arms to me when Brooklyn rapper-turned-actor-turned-stand-up comic Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def suddenly challenged any brave three-man posse up for the challenge to a battle rap-style cypher between himself, King Los, and Roots emcee Black Thought this past weekend; "me, Black Thought, and King Los vs. anybody e'erybody... battle anybody. [...] I'm tired of these dudes pretendin' like they dope. You alright, but relax. The dope n***as that think they dope — you ain't as dope as you think. You cool, but you ain't that deal. And we don't have to make no back-and-forth corny records about it." Although, for reasons unknown, Bey has since reneged his previously-incited battle rap challenge, which happened to fit right in, in light of Drake & Meek Mill's recent well-publicized beef. He's more of less accusing YouTube user and apparent affiliate rrvid718 of uploading said call to arms video message without, and even against, his consent. "Kick, Push" rapper and former Pharrell affiliate Lupe Fiasco was amongst the first emcees to offer to jump in the ring toe-to-toe with Yasiin Bey; "If Mos [Def] wanna battle, he can get a whiff of the wraith. And I'm behind all these bars don't need to tap Miller for some genuine drafts."

"It don't got nothing to do with Lupe [Fiasco] — Lupe, you're cool. Do your thing, man. There's no conflict over here, man... or bonanza... or spectacle that I'm going to provide in that way. I'm not interested in that at all, but much success to you," Bey recently phoned in to A Country Called Earth "activist, critic, and social media phenom," Ferrari Shepard. Full disclosure here: Mos Def is arguably one of my all-time favorite rappers and The New Danger is easily amongst my 'Desert Island Albums,' but I really don't understand why he called off his battle rap challenge so quickly... especially being such an experienced, veteran rapper. Let's just say, even if the initial Mos Def Battle Challenge "leak" was a pure accident or misunderstanding, I'm just a little curious as to why he wasn't able to keep up the charade long enough to battle against a few eager home-grown rappers, even if simply just for sheer sport. For what it's worth, Mos Def's long in-the-works G.O.O.D. Music "debut" has seemingly been completed and imminently shelved, along with his Zamrock-centric Madlib project and Mannie Fresh-produced OMFGOD(BKNOLA); "I played [Kanye] some new material and the whole song played and there was no words... he goes, "let me hear that again.'"

Friday, August 7, 2015

Lil B & Chance The Rapper Unleash Stream of Consciousness "Based Freestyle Album," Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape)

"Nothin' leftover so I came back to the land with my homie Lil B and half of my bands... No sleep, stayin' up real late with my mans and out in Chicago droppin' sh*t off the top. They thought after Surf this sh*t would just stop. What's their problem? What's, what's their problem?" former Kids These Days affiliate and Kanye-influenced Chi-town emcee Chance The Rapper ferociously rhymes on "Last Dance"'s introductory bars; having previously described his 6-track Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape) recorded with eccentric Internet personality/rapper and motivational speaker Lil B as a "full-fledged album... it's a classic... it's a masterpiece." Free was supposedly recorded in one marathon day-long session, prior to Chance's performance at last month's Pitchfork Music Festival, with completely off the dome bars and absolutely no pre-written verses "made the moment [they] met." "@chancetherapper HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE. BE THE FIRST TO LISTEN!!!" @LILBTHEBASEDGOD exuberantly wrote upon Free's surprise Wednesday afternoon release, which has been self-described as a "based freestyle album."

It almost plays out like a laid-back, stream of consciousness collection of random, yet well-assembled on the fly ideas, which I would compare to a perfect organic mixture of Chance The Rapper & Lil B's individual styles; there are components lifted from Chance's mainstream, but still vaguely left-field, Acid Rap and Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment-assisted "debut" Surf mixed in with Lil B's seemingly infinitely prolific, self-empowering weirdo "based" rapping style. Urban Dictionary effectively defines Lil B's positively reclaimed term based as, "when you don't care what people think; it's a way of life; doing what you want; how [you] want; wearing what [you] want." While little is know about the mysterious production work and features within Free, like-minded Chicago femcee Noname Gypsy appears on album intro "Last Dance" and Chance The Rapper's Social Experiment affiliate Nate Fox seems to have contributed production to "Amen." Lil B & Chance The Rapper's history-making Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape) is now available to collect... err, I mean, download for your "chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool" summertime listening pleasure on Soundcloud and in turn, Twitter.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Detroit State of Mind: Danny Brown & Clams Casino - "Worth It" vs. Guilty Simpson & Katalyst - "Animal" (Stones Throw/Adult Swim)

While tough-as-nails emcees Guilty Simpson & Danny Brown don't seemingly have much in common (aside from mutual collaborator Black Milk), the two like-minded lyrical wordsmiths are surprisingly cut from the same battle-worn "cloth." Simpson & Brown both just so happen to have unleashed newly-minted material yesterday, August 3rd: "Animal" produced by Quakers beatsmith Katalyst and "Worth It" produced by Lil B affiliate, Clams Casino, respectively. Late Monday afternoon, I curiously Tweeted @guiltysimpson, whom I recently had the opportunity to interview for this very site, inquiring if he and Mr. Brown had ever worked together; to which he quickly replied with a video still of Elzhi's "Fire" Remix featuring Black Milk, GUILTY SIMPSON, Fatt Father, DANNY BROWN, and Fat Ray. Lest we forget, Guilty & Danny additionally teamed up way back in 2010 on Quelle-produced Detroit State of Mind 4 mixtape cut, "Murder Game" [listen below]. Without a doubt, two of Detroit's finest home-grown emcees, Guilty Simpson & Danny Brown are quite arguably, amongst the most talented rappers in all of Underground Hip-Hop... but that's right about where the comparisons end.

Danny Brown's inaugural collaboration with New Jersey-based producer Clams Casino, "Worth It," is a "Nautilus"-sampling self-destructive track, which was commissioned as part of Adult Swim's annual summer singles series. It seems to be a one-off non-album track, although Brown is currently working on his "almost" finished Old follow-up, which "[he] took a break from it cause [he's] so ahead of schedule with it, knowing it ain't coming out no time soon." Guilty Simpson's Katalyst-produced "Animal," on the other hand, "puts racist cops in the cross-hairs, as the Detroit, Michigan native looks at recent events as an awakening to a long-time epidemic of law enforcement treating minorities like creatures during interactions." Simpson's soon forthcoming Stones Throw album, DETRIOT'S SON, which stems from his Quakers collaboration "Fitta Happier," will supposedly be released to the masses before the end of August. "Animal" was preceded by non-album track, "Vanguard Organization" and Guilty recently told me, "my album features Steve Spacek, Cysion, Elzhi, Phat Kat, and Fat Ray. I will definitely have visuals for quite a few songs on the album."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hudson Mohawke Unleashes CD-quality Live Staple, "Amen" guy_fieri_mix, Praising Pusha T, Kanye & Young Jeezy (Very G.O.O.D. Beats)

"Buy Lantern here... Support King Push. Happy anniversary to Jeezy. And get tickets for all live dates with The-Dream here:," reads the description accompany G.O.O.D. Music producer Hudson Mohawke's latest Soundcloud upload; an apparent allusion to the recent 10th anniversary of Young Jeezy's critically-acclaimed major label "debut," Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101. While low-quality live rips have supposedly been floating around for a number of years, the Scotsman's newly-unleashed G.O.O.D. Music sanctioned CD-Q cut is in fact, "Amen" RMX's first official release. "The album's second single, the follow-up to [Pusha T's] Tyler, The Creator collaboration "Trouble On My Mind," was the Kanye & Young Jeezy-assisted "Amen" — a scripture-nodding exploration of many of [Fear of God II: Let Us Pray]'s recurring themes," reads Complex's intricate, multi-layered description of Shawty Redd's original, and now completely gutted, "Amen" production work. Although "Amen" guy_fieri_mix might seem like Pusha T & Hudson Mohawke's first collaboration, @HudMo actually contributed production to Pusha's proper solo album, My Name Is My Name, having previously worked on Rick Ross-featuring "Hold On" and "No Regrets" as part of G.O.O.D. Music's collective in-house executive production team.

Lest we forget, Pusha T additionally appeared on Hudson Mohawke's pre-Lantern Apple MacBook Air single, "Chimes" RMX alongside like-minded emcees Future, TraviS Scott, and French Montana. He's effectively managed to strip "Amen" of any minute traces whatsoever of Redd's brooding, rattling drumline-esque snare embellishments, instead replicating a Yeezus-reminiscent eerie, EDM-Rap hybrid sound complete with Tribal drum hits and minimal, yet effective sound effects. Hudson Mohawke's recent Eric Yue-directed "Warriors" short film stars Pusha T as its "titular warrior escaping authorities in a not-too-distant future," in lei of Mohawke himself or featured artists Ruckazoid & Devaeux. Hudson Mohawke's aforementioned Lantern, his first album in nearly six years and first since he and fellow TNGHT production partner Lunice announced their indefinite hiatus back in December 2013; "people [were] expecting it to be a rap record — and it would be so easy to make a record of 10 rap songs — but I [didn't] necessarily want to hear that. I wanted to go back and put the focus on myself for this record," Hudson Mohawke told Pitchfork within their gripping, all-inclusive Lantern-centric piece.