Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2011

Snail Mailbox: Death Grips - "Ex-military" (cassette)

"I don't wanna take my time going to work. I got a motorcycle & a sleeping bag & 10 or 15 girls. What the Hell I wanna go off & go to work for? I got all the money in the world. I'm the king, man... I roll the nickles. The game is mine; I deal the cards." - Charlie Manson (2006?) After watching "Beats, Rhymes & Life" (Michael Rapaport) this fine evening, I soon realized that A Tribe Called Quest and Death Grips are actually 2 very similar entities: Pioneers of the new sound - Simple as that. Now, I could try to compare Death Grips' overall sound to some over-saturated commercial bullshit like say, M.I.A. Odd Future, DMX, Beck , [insert additional clichés,] etc... or attempt to slap some sort of half-assed genre tag on it. But that really wouldn't do either party a lick of justice whatsoever; With that said, it's damn near impossible to sufficiently describe the sounds [barely] contained within Sides A-B of the FRESHLY-presse

Cancer for Cure: El-P - "Rush Over BKLYN" (Mr. Dibbs Initiative)

El-P -"Rush Over BKLYN" Released in conjunction with the like-minded people over @ Legitmix, "Rush Over BKLYN" is, for all intensive purposes, an artistic re-imagination of El-P 's own recently-released track, "Drones Over BKLYN." Effectively assembled and released with Legtmix 's * state-of-the-art fair use-age [sampling] technologies, the remixed track successfully melds fun, charity, Hip-Hop/Rock "N" Roll , and experimentation. The pair of tracks will reportedly appear on El Producto 's upcoming album, Cancer for Cure (Fat Possum) . All proceeds from "Rush Over BKLYN"' s sale(s) will be donated towards Mr. Dibbs' ever-growing hospital bills... as the Cincinnati DJ is currently laid up, undergoing liver treatment. Money can also be donated directly to his wife, Kristin Rose @ or via snail mail: Brad Forste 4830 Poplar St. Cincinnati, OH 45212. * "When a consumer purchases "

Ryan Adams, Night Sweats Co-Host: "Halloweenhead" (2007)

Ryan Adams is one of those dudes that you can never really predict what he's going to do/say next. But not in the same sort of mildly "threatening" way as say, a guy like... Charlie Sheen . But you can always bet that it's going to be unique, fun, and quite memorable - Maybe that's what makes an expectedly "dull" Alt. Country Rocker like Adams so utterly compelling. Take a look @ Ryan Adams' varied covers selections, for example: Vampire Weekend , Iron Maiden, Alice In Chains , and Oasis . Since first appearing on the music scene in 1991, Ryan Adams has managed to release somewhere between 13-20 studio albums, solo and as a member of assorted bands. (This excluding a gaggle of un-cataloged randomly released tracks and collections.) Even @ age 36, Ryan Adams seems to have quite the affinity for Halloween; "Halloweenhead" was a stand-out track on Easy Tiger (2007) - The track is seemingly about drug addiction, die-hard fans, and/or h

First Listen: The Black Keys & Danger Mouse - "Lonely Boy" ('94 El Camino)

All jokes aside, The Black Keys record and release albums @ a[n unfathomable] Led Zeppelin -esque pace. Preparing to unleash their 7th album to Zeppelin's record 9, El Camino will see a Dec. 6th, 2011 release. The Black Keys recently re-emerged with a pseudo-used car spot in toe, advertising a 1994 wood-paneled van El Camino in Ohio's own Akron Beacon Journal ; Soon thereafter, full album details were imminently revealed... well, somewhat. First we got a cheese-tastic car dealer infomercial, then pre-order package(s) with tracklist, and now a proper taste of the lead single - "Lonely Boy." Backed with "Run Right Back," the 2 album cuts will be released as part of Record Store Day 's Black Friday 12" series (Nov. 25th). During the 2010-11 El Camino recording sessions, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney were said to be heavily influenced by pioneering Punk Rockers like The Clash and The Cramps .

The Big Pink - "Stay Gold" (Fool's Gold) x Black & Brown EP: Stream

Danny Brown is far from shy about his love affair with prescription drugs and is often coincidentally referred to as "Adderall Admiral." Since releasing his 2010 debut project: The Hybrid , Brown has constructed a joint street album with Tony Yayo (G-Unit) , liberated a loose concept mixtape - XXX , dubbed up a RELAX ing verse for Das Racist , and appeared within Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire 's posse cut [remix]: "Huzzah!" Motor City Brown 's latest contribution to the world is... some appended bars to an alternate remix of AraabMUZIK's flip of The Big Pink 's come-back lead single, "Stay Gold." Come Nov. 1st, Fat Beats will unleash Black & Brown EP; A collaborative 10-track effort... a sequel of sorts, between Detroit "Boom-Bap" pioneers, Black Milk and Danny Brown . Thanks to a tip provided by the lovely PR wonder Rosalinda Ruiz, I was directed to an easily accessible full stream of said joint EP. With the excepti

Summer Camp & Chris Doyle Assemble 50 Halloween-Themed .gifs for "Down"

Initially formed for nothing more than shits, giggles, and friends' sheer enjoyment, Summer Camp has morphed into quite a prosperous passion project band. Active on the Indie Rock scene since Fall 2009, Summer Camp was erroneously mistaken for "a group of seven Swedish friends, who made timeless, doe-eyed Lo-Fi Pop ." [Music Journalist] Elizabeth Sankey & Jeremy Warmsley 's debut long-player as "Summer Camp," Welcome to Condale , will see a Nov. 8th release; Like the majority of the group's compositions, the album's central story is set in the fictitious quaint, little suburb of Condale, LA . Welcome to Condale is the eventual follow-up to Summer Camp 's 2010 release, Young EP . Thusfar, a string of sample tracks have been release from the record: "I Want You," "Better Off Without You," and now... "Down." The Chris Boyle -directed music video accompaniment for the latter was released just the other day.

#BASED HALLOWEEN: Lil B & SALEM - "Slangin' Yayo" (Witch-Hop)

In an effort to spread the often-forgotten warm, creative spirit of Halloween ... Gouls & gals, it's my pleasure to present to you: Lil B & SALEM - "Slangin' Yayo." Essentially, an expanded version/sequel of Red Flame (mixtape), Evil Red Flame was quietly liberated to DatPiff on Thanksgiving Day 2010 along with this cryptic message: "This Is The Closing To The RED FLAME GENRE AND CLASSIC COLLECTORS ITEMS, EVIL RED FLAME IS THE KEY PIECE TO COMPLETE YOUR RED FLAME LISTEN... YOU MUST PEACEFULLY DOWNLOAD BLUE FLAME TO UNDERSTAND RED FLAME AND EVIL RED FLAME MIXTAPE!! COLLECT THEM ALL!" SALEM is in fact, a Michigan -based band made up of 3 creative 20-somethings: Jack Donoghue, Heather Marlatt , and John Holland . While originally jokingly conceived by Travis Edgy as a pseudo-genre, the members of SALEM have fully embraced and embodied the signifying "qualities" of Witch-House ... hence, fortifying it as a legitimate reality; Co

A-Trak & Armand Van Helden (Duck Sauce) Are a Couple of Giant D*¢kheads: "Big Bad Wolf"

"[The concept behind] "Big Bad Wolf" is pretty simple, and it can mean anything, really, so we wanted the video to have its own narrative," says A-Trak , one-half of the dance duo Duck Sauce , along with DJ Armand Van Helden . "Remember when dance music videos used to actually be creative? Like when you think back to Aphex Twin , Fatboy Slim, and Daft Punk ... I don't know why the genre's videos became so generic in recent years." - Alain ("A-Trak") Macklovitch "When Keith [Schoffield] came up with this idea of "crotchfaces," we just thought it was hilarious," A-Trak continues. "He started coming up with all these gags and describing the characters living in this sort of parallel world, and we were sold. He wasn't sure if we'd be down to play the leads. But our take on this was, if we're going to do this, we need to go all the way. So, we played the dickheads, essentially."


Completed and released just the other day (Sat-Sun. night), after a Tiger Blood -fueled 11-hour final recording session... Zombie Gang's landmark release: The Hair & The Hather is not unlike Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) . A division of the larger group, Awkward Silence is moderately comparable to Method Man & Redman . To be honest, my opinion is slightly skewed because Dylan A.K.A. "Dolla" and Pauly Patey are a couple of my buddies; But this mixtape is a great introduction to the crew - Housing features from the likes of James Vagabond, Squid , KiD CuDi, and Joe NO Say . Sound-wise, I'm reminded of The Cool Kids, Lil B, Atmosphere , Odd Future, Asher Roth , and early Beastie Boys . After a few complete listens, a few of my early favourites are "Swedish Fish" [UP], "Fer'shur" [DOWN], and "In for The Roux." In a nutshell, the sum of their amassed Greatest Hits can be described as: Cold Hard Hip-Hop, Anti-Auto-Tune

Buddy: So Nice You Gotta Say It Twice - "Awesome Awesome" (Pharrell)

18-year-old Simmie ("Buddy") Sims is a FRESH Compton -bred rhymesmith; One of the premier editions to Pharrell's newly-formed up-start label, i am OTHER . Sims has already managed to lace up a beat or 2 from the master chiefs themselves, Pharrell & Chad Hugo: The Neptunes . Legend has it that late one fateful evening, music supervisor/friend, Scott Verner randomly strolled on through "Star Trak Studios." Verner proceeded to show Pharrell a self-produced music video of a FRESH, up-and-comer, Buddy [then 16]... brutally massacring Craig Mack - "Flava In Ya Ear" (Instrumental) . Skateboard P. was reportedly so blown away, that he instantly set up a meeting with Buddy a mere few days later. Right off the bat, Pharrell saw something "special" within the young rapper, offered to become his mentor, imminently inked a recording contract... and the rest, as they say, is history [in the making]! Buddy's debut single, "Awesome Awe

Philly's Finest: Has-Lo - "Maxell UR" (Remix)

"As for Conversation B , It's a bit of a re-visioning of In Case I Don't Make It (ICIDMI). Some people tuned in to ICIDMI without any problem, but there were others it didn't really connect with. Conversation B pushes the picture that I created with In Case I Don't Make It through these other producer's filters. That changes the tone of the album but it also lends itself to a number of new interpretations. While I produced ICIDMI in it's entirety, "Maxell UR" is the only song I produced on this Conversation B . The rest of it was taken on by Exile, J-Zone, [Kev Brown,] Eric Lau, Oddisee , and [Apollo Brown] . It all takes on a completely separate feel this time around. Conversation B may be a good primer for people who were maybe blind-sided by how dark In Case I Don't Make It was. I hope that if this is your first time hearing a Has-Lo record, it'll make you want to go back and experience ICIDMI. That's part of the reason I mad

Cocaine 80s Share Some More Stashed "R&B Coke Tracks" (GhOSt LaDy EP)

This cryptic message was packaged along with the 10/20-21 after midnight release of Cocaine 80s - GhOSt LaDy EP : " ...but one of the many had their soul forced from where it was once was, and realized it wasn't so scary floating there, just outside the norm... " Thus building off the loose story arc initialized with Cocaine 80s' 2 previous June 2011 efforts: "...and he sang softly to them, and told them that though their noses may bleed, there would always be tissue... (The Pursuit EP) ...and when they returned only a short while after, they were warmly welcomed back with promises of more dope...oh, so much more..." (Like a Fool - birdsong) . Once again, the gang's all here; A slew of earnest session musicians, singer-songwriters, studio engineers, etc: Common, No I.D. James Fauntleroy, Kevin Randolph, Rob "The Mixer" Kinelski, Steve Wyreman , and Makeba . Employing a similar Tweet -for-download promotional campaign, GhOSt LaDy EP is no

Rihanna & Calvin Harris Have Indeed "Found Love"

For nearly as long as I can remember, I've been an aficionado of any and all things Pop Culture : music, fashion, cinema, comic books, food, art, travel, etc. Rihanna has without a doubt been a Pop Culture mainstay since first assaulting the Billboard charts with "Pon de Replay" (2005). Since then, the Barbadian [Bajan] beauty has somehow managed to record and release 5 studio albums, 25 solo singles, and countless chart-topping features. A few of my personal favourites include: "Shut Up and Drive," "Disturbia," "Man Down," "Hard" and "Live Your Life." Gradually evolving and growing with each collection, Rihanna is now a mature Hard Rocking club hopper; She has surely seen her fair share of adversity, but always manages to prevail! With "We Found Love," Rihanna bravely explores the previously untouched genre destinations of Electro-House and Dance-Pop . The simple, Calvin Harris -produced tune is a h

Gonjasufi Recruits Blu & Mainframe for 9thinningEP

Gonjasufi is a true "gypsy" in all senses of the word - A yoga instructor by day, rapper by night. He has been actively involved in the music industry in various facets for an un-disclosed period of time. Prior to releasing A Sufi and A Killer (2010), Gonjasufi somehow managed to quietly assemble and circulate a limited number of mix CD's. Released under his government name Sumach [Ecks-Valentine] , 4 hand-made CD-R's were spread throughout the San Diego, CA area between 2002-07. Upon its release, A Sufi and A Killer was widely praised by critics and Indie Hip-Hop fans alike; Due in part to its unique mix of Hip-Hop, Middle Eastern stylings, and 60's era Psych/Acid Rock ... all the while, skillfully blended with Gonjasufi 's signature chant-like vocal touches. The bulk of the record was produced by The Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus , and Mainframe under Ecks-Valentine's own artistic direction. Contrary to popular belief, Gonjasufi has been far fr

The Big Pink - "Stay Gold" (AraabMUZIK Edit)

While stylistically, Indie Rock and Hip-Hop really don't have all that much in common, the 2 genres are actually fairly similar... aesthetically. Since their now "ancient" inceptions, Indie and Hip-Hop have always been marked by D.I.Y. roots and word-of-mouth promotion; It also seems as though the various musicians and fans of the respective genres maintain a mutual respect for each other's craft. All the while (since about 1980), they've somehow managed to co-exist and thrive as separate, yet similar entities. So, when Indie/Hip-Hop just so happen to intertwine, it usually isn't THAT much of a shocker. Speaking with NME back in August 2011, The Big Pink mentioned that Hip-Hop was shaping up to be a major influence on their upcoming sophomore album, Future This ... more specifically, Dr. Dre . A few months later, Cordell-Furze and 4AD then proceeded to recruit MPC Instrumentalist [beatsmith], AraabMUZIK to re-work lead single, "Stay Gold."

Dicing It Up "In The Kitchen" with Asher Roth & Chuck Inglish (The Cool Kids)

"For the past couple years, Asher Roth and Chuck Inglish have been 2 artists that we've been eager to create music videos for. The first time we heard Ash rock over a Chuck beat was in 2008 when The GreenHouse Effect (mixtape) was released and the remix to "Black Mags" was recorded. Here we are now, both artists have released albums since then, and what a better time for the 2 to team up and create [some] new material. When Chuck Inglish first sent ["In The Kitchen"] over to us, we knew a video had to be shot immediately. From kitchen to kitchen, we ran around New York City creating the above visual which we find as the perfect representation to the bass heavy banger. Look out for Asher Roth's Pabst & Jazz to drop soon on ILLROOTS ... Get excited!" - Waxx, Carson & Williams

Anthony (M83) Gonzalez - "Midnight City:" Short, Mutant-Based Film

Frenchmen, Antony Gonzalez has been artfully crafting Dream -tinged Pop music as "M83" since roughly 2001; Averaging nearly 1 full-length album every 1.66666666667 years. That would mean that this most recent M83 commercial offering (Hurry Up, We're Dreaming) is essentially Album # 6-7. "Midnight City," a track pulled from the Justin Meldal-Johnsen produced album, has been effectively pushed as lead single. Since intercepting the music industry in 1993, Meldal-Johnsen has flexed his bass-playing abilities on a string of Beck albums between Mutations-Sea Change ... Jamiroquai - "Black Capricorn Day" (1999), Black Eyed Peas and Michelle Branch 's respective breakthrough albums - Monkey Business/Hotel Paper , and Nine Inch Nails' 2007-09 Tours. While recently speaking with a few media outlets, Anthony Gonzalez has publicly cited a number of classic [double] albums including: The Beatles ("White Album") , Smashing Pumpkins

"Girl, You Know It's True:" Milli Vanilli, Original Posers (1990 Grammy's)

Yonas Michael Wants to Be a "Surf-Hop" Superstar

"It's provocative, new, Surf-Hop , edgy & not safe. But yet oh so sexy for the women," says Yonas Michael of the ideology behind his newly-crafted Surf-Hop sound. The artist formerly known as "Y-O" of U-N-I is putting the finishing touches on his debut solo project, Lost In Hollywood . So far, eager fans have heard a handful of assorted album tracks: "House Full of Women," "Scorpio Lover" (Preview), "Open the Door" [below], and "PUNKS." The latter will be the last official album advance until it's quickly-approaching Halloween (Oct. 31st) release date. While actively creating Lost In Hollywood , Michael acquired beats from Ro Blvd. Mainframe, Faahz, Tony (Crimekillz) , AJ Subat, Polyester, Tae Beast, Alejandro Chal, and Klutch. In a recent emailed exchange, Yonas Michael stated that the primary focus throughout was to make a classic, great album... and that the signature "Surf-Hop" sound was

BALAM ACAB - "videogamesrmx" (Lana del Rey)

Yes yes, like the majority of Web 2.0 World , I have indeed fallen delightfully in "love" with one Lana del Rey ... and I'll be the first to admit that I've indeed posted my fair share of assorted tracks and remixes centered around the sultry songstress. But as a die-hard Indie Rock/D.I.Y. fan, this most recent BALAM ACAB -produced "Video Games" re-work is by far the most interesting, compelling, and buzz-worth take presented thus far. It was mysteriously uploaded to the artist's personal Facbook account sometime over the course of this past weekend. The man behind the "BALAM ACAB" moniker is in fact Alec Koone , a 20-year-old Pennsylvania native, who was partially responsible for the ever-rapid rise of "Witch-House" as a LEGIT[imate] musical genre. Since breaking onto the Indie music scene in 2008, Koone has released 2 EP-LP's worth of J Dilla -inspired Experimental tunes to widespread acclaim: See Birds EP and Wander/W

"Bad Boys" Really Don't Belong In Pacha, †onigh†

Affectionately [genre] classified as "House/Club/Gym," We Don't Belong In Pacha is the latest source of musical output for Londoner, Johan Hugo . Very much like the Popular rhythmic stylings of Hugo's primary effort, The Very Best (Radioclit) , Pacha is undoubtedly groove-heavy and without a doubt highly dance-able. Since forming We Don't Belong In Pacha in 2010-11, Johan Hugo has somehow already managed to assemble assorted remixes for the likes of Britney Spears, Lana del Rey , CSS, and Coldplay . The collective release(s) of "Arab Spring" and "Bad Boy †onigh†" mark Hugo's initial foray into the world of originally-composed, proper "solo" material. The latter's primary sample was lifted from "Bad Boy for Life" - The lead single from P. Diddy & The Bad Boy Family 's 2001 joint-crossover album, The Saga Continues... It seems as though Johan Hugo just returned from Malawi; Where he was busy recording

"Dia de los Muertos" with Kendrick Lamar

"Rigamortis" essentially serves as one of the final movements of Section.80: Kendrick Lamar 's 2pac -inspired concept album, centered around the alarmingly high [substance] tolerance level of Reagan Era Youth . Serving as Track #12 of 16, "Rigamortis" marks that last leg of the album. More often than not, a segment that ends up being a bit lackluster - Nope, not here. In addition to fitting in with Section.80 's overall concept... I personally believe that Kendrick Lamar 's original composition almost signifies him metaphorically "murking" [murdering] the entirety of Rap game's meager competition. Filmed and directed by The ICU, "Rigamortis"' companion music video basically features Lamar walking through New York City streets, stepping over bodies, rapping... backed by a small The Roots -esque pick-up band/funeral procession. Read a few Top Dawg fan reviews and purchase a copy of Section.80 over @ Amazon . Kendrick L

Chairlift Craft Something Weirdly Interesting for "Amanaemonesia"

I bet that many of you may be fairly familiar with Chairlift and don't even know it. For example, the Boulder, CO Synth Pop group's 2008 track, "Bruises" was used in one of the initial iPod Nano [Chromatic] commercials. Chairlift have been noticeably inactive since the release of their debut long-player, Does You Inspire You? (2008) and lost a founding member, Aaron Pfenning - Now in pursuit of a solo career as "REWARDS." Chairlift 's remaining 2 members have also been focusing on a number of side-efforts, as of late: Songstress Caroline Polachek appeared on Washed Out 's recent lead single, "You and I," in addition to Popular tracks from Flosstradamus and Acrylics . Multi-instrumentalist Patrick Wimberely seems to have struck up quite the friendship with the boys of Das Racist; PatrickWHAT produced 5 individual tracks [this including "Michael Jackson" ] and went on to Executive Produce the entirety of their debut alb

Lil B for #BASED President, 2012 A.D.

I recently found myself describing Brandon McCartney as, "[ Lil B ]'s TOTALLY "mental," yet fucking genius! Like if Biz Markie was off his meds." With that said, let me clarify that I'm a long-time fan of both Biz and Lil B . I harvest a certain amount of respect for anyone who's able to get that un-hinged, honest, and revealing. 9 times out of 10, Lil B employs the "#BASED" [stream-of-conscious] rapping technique throughout his original compositions. Since the June release of "street album," I'm Gay, Lil B has somehow managed to release 2-4 mixtapes - Roughly one every 2-3 weeks. The Silent President is the latest mixtape liberated in this string of on-going releases. Highlighted here, for your listening pleasure, are "Great China Sea" and "Beat the Cancer:" Freestyles over Kanye/Jay-Z and Metallica -driven beats, respectively. If that sounds like it just might pique your interest... or if Lil B 

Silky Johnson Takes "Advantage" of Lana del Rey

Full disclosure: This is like a "Dream Post" for us here @ The Witzard , as it includes 3 of my absolute favourite things... Indie Hip-Hop , voluptuous women [redheads], and cutting-edge sample sources. I really hope that all of my fellow Hip-Hop heads and crate-diggers , and of course our array of female fans thoroughly enjoy this assortment of tracks, too. The blending of Lana del Rey's sampled vocal riffs and go-to Hip-Hop stylings makes more sense than you might think... since Lana del Rey is in fact, a self-proclaimed Hip-Hop aficionado: "You're so fresh to death & sick as ca-cancer. You were sorta Punk Rock , I grew up on Hip-Hop ." I must admit that I'm really looking forward to seeing/hearing what this seductive songstress has in store next for the music industry! For starters, it should be noted that up-and-coming producer "Silky Johnson" is in fact named after Dave Chappelle 's infamous character of the same name, who ap

10 Years of Rap As Journalism: sole - "Dispatches from The American Fall"

While I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from being labeled "politically active" and/or "politically conscious," I harvest a great deal of respect for people who are passionate about political issues. My friend and fellow [Pseudo-]Music Journalist-rapper, Tim Holland (sole) on the other hand, delivers passionate, lyrically-driven rapped tales; In essence, re-telling the gradual downfall of the nation. More often that not, sole somehow manages to convey these urgent messages in a slightly playful, yet genuine manner. All the while, always coming off fairly information-driven, thought-provoking, and never too "preachy." This most recent effort, Dispatches from The American Fall ... is more of a compilation album than a proper mixtape - As it spans the bulk of sole 's 10-year career, highlighting some of the more crucial issues. Aside from a batch of newly remixed tracks and "I Think I'm Ben Bernanke," the remaining 18-20 t

Black Noi$e & SKYWLKR Detroit-ize Death Grips "Ex-military" (mixtape)

Spent this past Columbus Day Weekend in Ocean City, MD with some friends; (W)reckless, little mini-vacation! Saw a fair share of sweet-ass classic cars, Hooters girls, Yuenglings , food dishes, surfshops , delectable legs, etc. While nestled away with 8 comapdres in a "3-person hotel room," [sans computer] I was still able to research a few solid leads... receive an advance zip file, random Indie Hip-Hop track, and learned about "what the kids are listening to." Without a doubt, a weekend for the books, if I do say so myself! One of those formative [rough] stories: Black Noi$e & SKYWLKR - "exexmilitary." For all intensive purposes, a Detroit -fueled Remix CD version of Death Grips' mixtape (Ex-military) . Making good use of Flat-Lander, Zach Hill , and MC Ride 's recently supplied Black Google stems, the Straight-Edge Rocker and Bruiser Brigade beatsmith created this here 8-track EP... often re-arranging, tweaking, chopping, extendin

Lana del Rey - "Video Games" (Jamie Woon Remix) & "Blue Jeans" [Acoustic]

"[That's] what you do when it's time for your second record. I'd written everything I wanted to write. I'd liked what I'd done, I'd liked my first record; [Lizzy Grant] was autobiographical and beautiful. "Video Games" is a 5-minute ballad with no instruments... It was a downscale from what I'd been doing with a fucking live orchestra. It was synthetic harps and no drums. It was a perfect melody for me, I thought it matched me. When people liked it, it was my least commercial song, it wasn't even a song anyone wanted on the Internet . It was a baby." - Lana del Rey , speaking with Sean Fennessey (GQ) .

Yasiin Bey & Talib Kweli Are "Black Star" (Madlib)

Ladies and gentlemen of This Fine Green Earth, Dizzee Rascal has in fact "made it!" While Rascal has without a doubt experienced a moderate amount of past success(es)... I think we can all agree that being sampled by Madlib and then interpolated as the sole element of a Black Star hook is a whole 'nother level of "industry success." So it seems that the one and only "Beat Konducta" (Madlib) listens to Dizzee Rascal ; For what it's worth, I'm really not all that surprised. "Fix Up, Look Sharp" originally appeared on London 's very own Grime posterchild's 2003 debut, Boy In da Corner . The self-produced beat for Rascal's break-out hit notoriously samples segmented portions of Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (1980). Following the truly senseless 1996-97 deaths of both Biggie and 2pac , up-and-comers Mos Def and Talib Kweli courageously banded together in an effort to spread a message of "peace and love.

Boogie Down BBQ with The [Legendary] Stepkids

Once upon a time, I had a "Summer Kick-Off" Memorial Day 2011 BBQ. In preparation, I invited a motley crew of close friends including Wyatt Cenac , The Stepkids , and Kurt Braunohler . But of course, the last few additions to the guest list didn't end up showing; I'm sure they were probably off doing something better... like making the people of the world laugh infectiously. The Stepkids are made up of 3 multi-talented singer-songwriters: Tim Walsh, Jeff Gitelman , and Dan Edinberg . Together, they craft a unique blend of Hip-Hop, Psych-Funk , and Pop music - Sounds which can now be heard and enjoyed by way of The Stepkids' self-titled debut long-player (Stones Throw) . Tom Scharpling 's finely executed music video concept is in fact, fairly simple: It opens with a CD-peddling New York City street vendor (Wyatt Cenac) selling The Stepkids album to an off-duty "suit," Kurt Braunohler . Once the CD is unwrapped, a hazing purple mist steams up, o

Drake: Making "Headlines," Since 2006

Honesty is key in life, blogging, and music. With that said, I've been a moderate fan of Aubrey "Drake" Graham since the beginning; Keeping up to date with his assorted releases, for the most part... But I must admit, I strongly favor a handful of songs over the bulk of Drake 's backcataloged entries. I just wish that Mr. Graham would either stick with rapping or run with singing R&B stylings - As I, and other fans, would then indeed garner a lot more respect for him as an artist. From the looks of this newly-released Lamar Taylor & Hyghly Alleyne -directed video, it seems as though Drake has fully embraced a SWAGGER -filled "Rap" persona, as of late. Excluding "Over" (2010), "Headlines" is by far the strongest original Drake composition I've heard since So Far Gone 's break-out hit, "Best I Ever Had" (2009). Universal Republic is pushing this hard-hitting Boi-1da/Noah "40" Shebib -crafted ban