Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
The jobless rate for black men reached a Depression-like 26 percent in the first quarter for those between ages 20 and 24, and 20 percent for those between 25 and 34. For Hispanic men, the corresponding rates were 16 percent and 13 percent. Generally, those levels were the highest since the deep recession of the early 1980s.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
01. NWA – Alwayz Into Somethin’
02. Cypress Hill – Latin Lingo
03. Black Sheep – Butt In The Meantime
04. De La Soul – Afro Connections At A Hi 5 (In The Eyes Of The Hoodlum)
05. Ice Cube – A Bird In The Hand
06. Compton’s Most Wanted – Growin’ Up In The Hood
07. Public Enemy – Shut Em Down (Pete Rock Remix)
08. Ed OG – Gotta Have It
09. The Geto Boys – Mind Playing Tricks on Me
10. Del Tha Funky Homosapien – Pissin’ On Your Steps
11. A Tribe Called Quest – Check The Rhyme
12. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime
13. Ice Cube – Steady Mobbin’
14. Gang Starr – Step In The Arena
15. MC Lyte – Poor Georgie
16. Nice & Smooth – Hip Hop Junkies (Spanish Fly Mix)
17. K.M.D. feat. Busta Rhymes & Brand Nubian – Nitty Gritty (Dog Spelled Bkwds mix)
18. Black Sheep – The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)
19. Del Tha Funky Homosapien – Mistadobalina
20. Tim Dog – Fuck Compton
21. DJ Quik – Born And Raised In Compton
22. Main Source – Live At The Barbecue
23. Digital Underground feat. 2Pac – Same Song
24. MC Breed – Ain’t No Future in Yo Frontin’
25. AMG – Bitch Betta Have My Money
26. AMG – Jiggable Pie
27. Nice & Smooth – Sometimes I Rhyme Slow
28. DJ Quik – Tonight
29. Del Tha Funky Homosapien – The Wacky World of Rapid Transit
30. Ice Cube – Doing Dumb Shit
31. Scarface – Born Killer
32. A Tribe Called Quest – What?
33. Raw Fusion – Throw Your Hands In The Air
34. De La Soul – Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)
35. Leaders Of The New School – Sobb Story
36. Cypress Hill – The Phuncky Feel One
37. DJ Quik – Sweet Black Pussy
38. A Tribe Called Quest – Buggin’ Out
39. Naughty By Nature – O.P.P
40. Poor Righteous Teachers – Shakila
41. Poor Righteous Teachers – Easy Star
42. De La Soul – Bitties In The BK Lounge
43. Gang Starr – Credit Is Due
44. Scarface – The Pimp
45. Black Sheep feat. Q-Tip – La Menage
46. De La Soul – Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa
47. Scarface – A Minute to Pray and a Second to Die
Friday, May 15, 2009
On Tuesday he dropped what will likely become a DC classic, In The Ruff, with is group Diamond District. On top of that, Oddisee’s got a ton of projects he’s working on. He’s a real dope producer a real dope MC, and a real interesting person. So check out the interview, and support DC hip hop!
JM: What’s up? Thanks for having me over.
Oddisee: What’s going on with you? Glad to have you in my house.
JM: Last year you were all over the place. You did the Rosenberg Oddisee, the Trek Life album, the Stik Figa album, and a whole bunch of other stuff… What were the highlights of ’08 for you?
Oddisee: I’d have to say my personal highlights would be the completion of a lot of projects. I start so many things that I often times don’t have a chance to go back and finish. So seeing an album from start to finish and then [putting it] out and people hearing and receiving it well…that was the best moment of 08 for me.
JM: Are these projects something you had started a while ago, or are they like 08 start, 08 complete?
Oddisee: A mixture of both. A lot of those projects I had started some time ago. The Trek Life remixes were done maybe a year before they came out. The Oddisee one-on-one was done maybe a year before it came out. The Rosenberg Oddisee joint we finished in August. I believe it came out in September or November. And then some projects were done instantly. I actually finished the Stik Figas album in 09. A couple of months ago, we did 11 tracks in four days.
JM: You’ve also been doing a lot of features. Any of those stand out?
Oddisee: As far as collabos, I did a track with Hassan Mackey from Rochester, NY and Bilal Salam, a singer from DC called “In the Jungle” which is coming out on this compilation I produced called Mental Liberation for Mellow Music. That’s one of my favorite collabs. I really enjoyed that production wise. On the mic, on that same compilation, I did a track with Stik Figa and J- Live with a song called “What’s Crazy” and I’m excited for people to hear that one too.
JM: One track in particular that I wanted to talk about was the Super Friends track. I’ve slowly been catching up with all the people involved on that track for interviews, and getting their perspective on it. So I have to get yours.
Oddisee: The Super Friends track is a real interesting story. I was supposed to just have a session with Fresh Daily that day, and the studio was scheduled to be at Print’s house. Print’s the producer and the mastermind behind the whole comic books thing. That’s kind of the concept behind his EP. So when we got there, Print and Fresh were there. And because I’m not in New York a lot, but I’ve got a lot of artists there that I’m friends with, they always take advantage of the opportunities to get up, hang out and work with me. And that kind of was how the Super Friends track was created.
Print already had Mickey Factz and a few other people on that. And at that time, I was already working with Outasight. So once they found out that I was coming to that studio in Brooklyn to work with Fresh, Outasight said “you mind if I stop in and say what’s up? I’m recording right around the corner.” So that was cool. He was working with 6th Sense, and they drove each other over there. Then 8thw1 was stopping by. Then Homeboy Sandman called me and was like, “Oh you in Brooklyn in the studio? I’m gonna come through and say what’s up.” So he came through. So really, Fresh and I were supposed to be working on another song. So that Super Friends song just came through cause a lot of other people were there at one moment, and everyone was just trying to say what’s up and get some work done.
JM: Sounds cool. Let’s backtrack a bit. When you first came out you were known mostly for your production work, but nowadays we hear you on the mic a lot. Was production something that came more naturally, or was it just an easier way to get your foot in the door?
Oddisee: I definitely started MCing first. I got into production because the cat who got me into recording my material was a producer. And I just became attracted to production. Early in my career I realized that I stand better chances of making a living from hip hop if I focus more on production than Mcing. It’s a lot easier to have my hand in multiple projects. But now that I’m in a place in my career that I’m a bit more comfortable financially, and with my fanbase, I decided to go back to my first love. Cause when I choose to rhyme and work on my own material, I’m in some ways losing out on a paycheck, cause that’s time I could be spending working on other people’s material. So I always take a paycut when I work on my own stuff. But these days I’m a little more comfortable and can do that.
JM: Ok, another big factor in bringing the name Oddisee into the public eye was DJ Jazzy Jeff. Just wondering how you got in touch with him, and what’s that relationship like now.
Oddisee: I first hooked up with Jazzy Jeff through Kev Brown. When he was working at A Touch of Jazz, he extended an invitation to myself and anyone else in the Low Budget Crew to come up and play their material for Jeff. I accepted that invitation, went up there, played him some stuff, and he loved what he heard. And that landed me a track on The Magnificent. And from that point on, we’ve always been acquaintances with each other. We sometimes go a year without speaking to each other, then randomly we’ll see each other somewhere. But the beauty of that relationship is that he always looks out for me. So when it was time to get a DJ to mix Foot in the Door, I hadn’t spoken to Jeff in like year, but he said sure. So I came up to his house, and he mixed it right on the spot. And he didn’t want anything in return for it. So, we’re not in contact on a consistent basis but we know where we stand at.
JM: Now that you’re sort of in the spotlight, I’ve seen you doing that for other people. How important do you feel it is to give back to the new up and coming artists. And who are some of the up and comers we should be looking out for?
Oddisee: It’s extremely important to give back to up and comers, and new artists in general. That’s how we can guarantee the progression of hip hop, and make sure it’s around for years to come. Personally, I feel that I have to bring new artists out because that’s like a new lifeline for myself. My career can only reach so many ears in such a short span of time before it expires or it grows stale or people start wanting something new. So any time that I bring out another artist it’s yet another outlet for my creativity.
There’s tracks that I produce and I love that just don’t fit me as an MC. And I go out to find MCs that fit all of my production styles. So that when I create something in the studio, I don’t have to worry about who I’m gonna send it to. It will land somewhere. And with the artists I’m bringing out now, Tranquil from London, Stik Figa from Topeka, Diamond District from DC, Trek Life from LA. I’m working on all their albums either exclusively or almost exclusively. I’m really a fan of regional music. So I’m putting artists out that are from different regions in hopes of capturing that region and putting it on record. It’s really a challenge, but I love it.
JM: With these artists that you’re working with, are you actually getting in the studio and working with them in person, or is this something that has been aided by the dawn of the internet age?
Oddisee: My collaborations with artists have been sort of a mixture of the internet, and being in person. I sent Stik Figa a rack of beats, and he picked some and wrote to them. But I felt there was something missing, so I told him to hold off. We ended up scratching the majority of them. And I bought him a ticket, brought him out to DC, and we recorded 11 tracks in 4 days. Right before I had to go do a tour in the UK.
And I actually prefer working in person. But if the person sees my vision, without me having to be there, I’ll leave them alone and let them do that there. I send Trek tracks often and he just kinda sends them back and asks how I feel about that. With Tranquil, he just does his own thing, and I know what his own thing is. We get into a lot of arguments and debates about beat selection, because he’s real meticulous about it. But he’s one that we do almost all over the internet. Diamond District is a mixture of both. yU lives right here, but because of scheduling, he had to do the majority of his recording at home. Whereas X.O. did the majority of his recording here. A little bit of both.
JM: So what projects should we be looking out for in ’09?
Oddisee: Definitely look out for the Diamond District, album title In the Ruff. April 14. The single should be out March 17 once I figure out what that’s gonna be. Mental Liberation: A Compilation of Mellow Music a compliation coming out May 5th. Trek Life’s second solo album, I’m not sure what the title of it is yet. Stik Figas album produced by me. We haven’t figured out a title for that yet, but that should come out in June. My solo album will come out sometime in the Summer or early Fall. The title of that is People Hear What They See. It’s nearly done, and I’m really excited about that. And then a slew of production. I can’t really say when that’s coming out, but I’ve been working with a lot of artists that people have been dying for me to work with, and a bunch of artists that people wouldn’t have imagined that I would collaborate with. So I’m excited for all those things. I don’t wanna speak on that too much cause I don’t know the finalities of it, but yeah. Should be good.
JM: What can you tell me about the solo album?
Oddisee: The solo album is a concept album. The reason I put it away is honestly due to the weather. I write everything outside, to make sure I’m looking at everything that I’m depicting in a literal sense. Sometimes in a metaphorical sense, I’ll see something that will parallel something that I’m thinking about, and I’ll use that as kind of like my ideas to pull from to write. So I literally just go outside with those tracks from my album, and walk around the city all day. I sit in benches, or the side of sidewalks and just write. And so everything you hear on the record, I’ll have a visual reference for. And then we’ll do a little documentary, re-tracing everywhere I was when I wrote that track. I’ve just been so busy I haven’t had time to continue with the theme. But it’s gonna be a great record though.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Once again paired with Foxy Brown, Jay-Z recruited Babyface to sing the hook and Hype Williams to direct the video; on paper this was a can't miss.
Although R. Kelly was nipping at his heels, Babyface was still the R&B king and Hype Williams was the hottest director in the game. Unfortunately, neither the song nor the video worked and Jay's street cred was tarnished.
A few years later, Jay-Z would took another calculated risk with the hood anthem “A Hard Knock Life", where producer Mark "The 45" King looped the main hook from the Broadway show “Annie”. This unlikely hit, crossed Jay-Z over to the pop charts and he hasn't looked back.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Judge Mental: What’s up?
Kev Brown: Not much man, just the usual. That’s about it.
JM: Recently you announced that you’re doing the $200 beats again. Can you tell me a little bit about that, and why you’ve decided to do it.
Kev Brown: Ummm, basically just times are hard right now. That’s basically all it is. Like I’m just trying to make some money. And I’m just trying to hustle my talent, rather than doing something illegal, or something that’s not cool. Just trying to do something positive, rather than do something crazy to make some money. Like some other crazy scheme I could come up with to make some money. So that’s all it is.
I wonder what a lot of other people think about it. A lot of people might be selling drugs or something. Just some other crazy weird stuff that people come up with. But it’s just husslin. That’s all. But I did it like, a year ago. And it went well, so why not do it again. It’s not throw-away beats. It’s just more like exercise beats really. I try to make beats like every day. And every beat, I don’t let everybody hear. So then I had a collection of beats that I had never let anybody hear. So I was like let me make a little cash real quick.
JM: Last time you did it, did this open up the door for any unexpected collaborations?
Kev Brown: I did work with a lot of people. A lot of people overseas and what not. It’s mainly over the internet. So there’s a lot of opportunities like that. Just from people that are out of the country, that usually couldn’t afford it. My usual beats are not $200. The same beats I’m sending these cats are not the same beats I’m sending to Busta Rhymes or De La Soul. It’s just an opportunity to branch out. To speak to people who want a beat, but can’t usually afford a beat. So it’s good for them. Which means its good for both of us.
JM: You touched on the internet, and I know you run your own blog. How important is it for you to stay in touch with your fans and being personable there. And also networking with artists over the internet. How important is that to you in this day and age?
Kev Brown: I’m not the most computer handy dude out there. Like, everybody’s on facebook, and I’m still on myspace. It’s too much. There’s just too much of the matrix to get into. And like, I don’t get twitter. I don’t want everybody to know what I’m up to 24 hours a day. I want my privacy as long as I can keep it. But with the blog, it’s cool cause, in your so-called “downtime” when you’re not dropping albums, or doing projects or whatever, it’s cool to keep people updated, and tell people what you’re working on. Just letting them know what you got going on, and future projects, and random thoughts you’re having, or what shows are coming up. Just to keep people in contact. Cause being an “underground” artist, you don’t get the publicity a guy like Lil’ Wayne might get.
You gotta kind of generate that publicity yourself. So places like myspace, and the blog help. Youtube helps. You do a video, cause you’re video won’t get played on BET or MTV. Not at first at least, unless you got a major label backing you. But you can do your own independent stuff, put it up on youtube, and BOOM. Just maintain your own little cult following before you blow up on another level.
JM: I know you also use it as an outlet to express your feelings towards the industry. Like yesterday I saw the video you did with Soulja Boy. And I wanted to talk about your thoughts there a little bit. What are your thoughts on this new generation of artists where there’s very little attention to the production value behind the music as long as you can just get it done and get it out there. He talked about making it in 10 minutes.
Kev Brown: I’m not trying to diss Soulja Boy or nobody. But if I don’t like it, I just don’t like it. Like, if someone’s gonna brag about making a beat in 10 minutes… if that beat was dope, I would be like, yo, that’s what’s up! Like I’ve heard stories of Pete Rock, J-Dilla, whoever, making beats in 10 minutes, and it’ll be classic, crazy layered, melodic, crazy stuff. So it’s all good. But if you made a beat in 10 minutes, it’s not supposed to sound like you made it in 10 minutes. And you’re not supposed to brag about how you made it in 10 minutes. But I guess he can, cause he, well he says, he made all this money from it. I guess that’s the whole point that Soulja Boy’s trying to make. For me, there’s more of a craft, or an art to it. But, it is what it is.
It’s for me also, you gotta love it. But there’s gotta be some craft to it. Like my beats don’t sound like Soulja Boy’s. But if I did do stuff like that, it would be dope. Cause I would inject some soul in it. It would be some 808 down south stuff, but it would be some type of hybrid of it. Like mixed into samples. Or even if it wasn’t samples, it would still have more soul to it. But that’s all it was. Cause the day before that, I put the $200 beats joint. And the next day, I saw that on the king crates blogspot I think. And I looked at it and I was just like, wow. So I copied it, put it up on my joint, like yo, you can’t be serious. It was funny, and it was sad at the same time, you know.
JM: You’re both a producer and a rapper, but you’re more known for your production. What do you consider your strongest suit, and what did you get into first.
Kev Brown: Well, I started off rhyming first. This was years ago, back when I was in highschool. My man Early Reed was making my beats. Big up to Early Reed. He was doing my beats, and we were basically a group. He basically just showed me how to do beats, cause I always wanted to have original stuff when I went to an open mic. I didn’t wanna just have like Black Moon’s instrumental and rhyme over it. I wanted original joints. So that’s pretty much where it all stemmed from.
So I saw how he did it. This was back when he was doing pause beats like off the tapedecks. Like using 2 tapedecks and breaking them in the process. So that’s pretty much where it came from. And like I said, I always wanted original stuff to rhyme on. From that point on, it was just a matter of getting better equipment. And you know what? I don’t even really consider myself an MC. Like, I used to, you know. In highschool, and in my 20s. But once I got more into the beats, it was way more fun for me to make beats than it was to rhyme. I still rhyme, and it’s still fun, but, it’s more fun creatively to me to make a beat. I do both, but beats is the main thing now.
JM: When you’re rapping, do you find it more challenging going off somebody else’s beat because you’re not as familiar with the intricacies.
Kev Brown: Not really. Sometimes it even feels even a little easier cause you feel like you can be a little more free. Depending on the beat though. Sometimes somebody will send you a joint, and it’s not really crazy or whatever. It’s pretty much the same, but at the same time, it seems like I can be a little more free. I can ask the other producer “what do you hear in this beat, or what idea do you have for the subject of the song?” So I take the artist side of it, instead of being a producer all the time.
JM: Ok, well let’s talk about the record you did with LMNO. First of all, I gotta say that I really like the record. But how did that all come together? I know you were sending beats for the group, what’s the story there?
Kev Brown: Yeah, this was a couple of years ago. The Visionaries were working on a new album. Key from The Visionaries had just sent me some beats, so I sent them some beats. And then LMNO hit me up… well you know what. We were all on the same label. My first album, I Do What I Do was on Up Above. And the Visionaries are on Up Above. And LMNO is part of the Visionaries, and he’s also a solo artist on Up Above Records. Was, I should say. But basically they all hit me up to send them some beats. So I sent Visionaries 10 beats, and I sent LMNO like 10 other beats. When I make a beat tape, I usually put about 10 beats. And cat’s are usually like, “Yo, I like track number 2.” Alright, we move from there. And that’s what happened with Visionaries, they picked 1 beat, and that was cool. But then LMNO hit me up after we did the tracks, and was like, “yo, ummmm…I just wanna do a whole album with you. I like all of these beats.”
And that was it. I had never had anybody really be like let’s just do a whole album. I never sent anybody a beat tape and they was like “yo I want all of these.” All I had sent him was the snippets, and it had all the Kev Brown drops in it still. But he and LD, the DJ who did all the cuts on the album, sent me back basically the whole album within a month. 10 songs, all written out, scratches and everything. But still with the Kev Brown drops on it. He had taken them, 2-tracked them and looped ‘em, and said, yo, here’s the parts where you rhyme at. I was like, “wow, are you serious!?” Nobody had ever done that before. So at that point, I was like, ok, let’s go. I was ready to get it poppin. A lot of people think it was an unlikely combination.
But it worked out. That’s the good thing about music, you can mix different people together, and you never know what’s gonna come out. That’s basically what hip hop is. Like human samples almost. Like, mix me with LMNO. The same way I would sample John Coltrane, and mix it with a Sly Stone joint. It’s just the combination of different areas coming together. And it came out dope, we did some shows, went on tour with Oddisee back in last November. We did some shows out in Cali. We working on the new one now, so it’s been a good experience.
JM: What can you tell me about the new one?
Kev Brown: The new one is called James Brown. Because his first name is James, and my last name is Brown. So we’re doing the James Brown project. I’m sampling all James Brown samples. I know you hear that and go “oh great. Hip hop, doing James Brown samples again.” But it’s not gonna be just straight looping joints, or like Funky Drummer. It’s not gonna be joints like that. It’s gonna be chopped up samples, and flipping it in a way you’ve never heard it before. If you know the Kev Brown style by now, you know I don’t just loop stuff. I take different pieces from records and piece them together like a puzzle almost. And just make it go the way I want it to go. And I’m probably gonna rhyme a little more on this one. I didn’t really rhyme a lot on the first LMNO joint. We’re gonna try and have more EPMD or like Rae and Ghost joints. Like back and forth joints.
Also, I’m trying to be more in Cali. Cause the last album we did was almost all over the internet. Sendspace, Megaupload or whatever. And this time, for the first two songs I was actually in the studio making the beat. And then we were writing to it, and working on it. And that’s way more fun than working on it at home, and sending it their way, and having them send it back. It’s more fun. Well, with some artists. With some people, you don’t wanna be in the studio with them. But with certain people it’s cool. So hopefully, for this project we can be more personal with it. And it will come across better in the music also.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
Talib Kweli married his girlfriend DJ Eque in an intimate wedding ceremony attended by family and friends over the weekend.
The pair exchanged wedding vows in a ceremony at a private residence in Bel Air, California on Saturday, May 9. Attending the intimate wedding affair were Kweli and Eque’s family and some celebrity friends, including Queen Latifah, ?uestlove, and actor Adam Rodriguez.
Talib Kweli and DJ Eque have been dating and engaged since at 2007.
This is the story of one pop song, as it travels from '60s Memphis soul to Staten Island mid-'90s rap — and almost all the way back again.
The Charmels' 1967 single "As Long as I've Got You" was honored by a straight cover from another girl-group, then sampled almost 30 years later on The Wu-Tang Clan's debut album. The RZA's production on "C.R.E.A.M." turned the melody into something foreboding, and when The Wu-Tang Clan performed live with Brooklyn's El Michels Affair backing it in 2005, a fourth permutation was born. Since then, El Michels has released a full-length album of Wu-Tang covers and recorded with Raekwon.