Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who's Next? Pt. 4: Dom Kennedy

Dom Kennedy embodies everything that these posts are about: solid, progressive Hip Hop. Hailing from Leimert Park, CA, Dom grew up listening to all your standard West Coast greats such as Ice Cube and DJ Quik. Yet, his style is completely different than theirs. With a flow reminiscent of a smoked-out Southern MC, Dom comes with all kinds of provocative subject matter that captivates and keeps you entertained all the way through. He's put out three top-notch mixtapes including The 25th Hour, the excellent FutureStreet/DrugSounds, and most recently Best After Bobby. He hasn't gotten the press that other up-and-coming MC's have gotten, but hopefully that'll change soon. The dude is way too talented to go unheard of for this long.

The 25th Hour, Dom's first mixtape, is a definite heater. Unfortunately, I just found out about it, so I don't have a whole lot of information. But having listened to it once, I can see why he's steadily gaining the buzz that he deserves.

This is the mixtape that put me on to Dom Kennedy. Top 5 mixtapes of '09 no question, it's that good. Chuck Inglish (1/2 of The Cool Kids) produces the first song on the 'tape, and the other 10 songs are just as good. I've had this in rotation for about 3 weeks now and haven't gotten tired of it yet.

Best After Bobby is the most recent mixtape, released in conjunction with the Los Angeles Leakers. Rich Boy, as well as newcomers Pac Div make appearances. Check it out...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everybody Hates Chris

As much as his fan base as fallen, Chris Brown is back to bring the masses another album, but I'm sure there are still some fans out there, contrary to popular belief. Regardless of his past, I can see his new single getting it's fair share of radio airplay. The album, Graffiti, is expected to come out sometime early 2010, but the first single Transformer has already been released.

The new single will mark CB's return to the biz since his incident with then-girlfriend Rihanna. I guess he's not only on his studio grind but bangin out his six months of community service as well. This tracks roster is strong, with Lil' Wayne doing his thing and Swizz Beatz coming with it on the production, and my first impressions are positive. It's an upbeat track that I could definitely get down to on the dance floor.

"Swiss on the Beat, Chris move ya feet, and we can transform a good girl to a freak."

Without further ado:
Chris Brown ft. Lil' Wayne, Swizz Beatz - Transformer

Voice of an Angel

You may or may not remember the group Floetry, which released their album Floetic back in 2002. The single, “Say Yes," was one of my favorites of the year and reiginited my love for R&B/soul like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Maxwell, and Jill Scott among others. Marsha Ambrosius, who is one-half of Floetry, has created quite a buzz on her own.

Marsha has been featured on various Hip Hop songs over the past few years including “Get You Some” off of Busta Rhymes’ 2005 album, The Big Bang, as well as “Why You Hate the Game” off of The Game’s 2006 album The Doctor’s Advocate. She has one of the best voices in music, and is a phenomenal songwriter. About a year ago, she signed to Aftermath and has been working on her new album with producers Dr. Dre, Focus…, and Just Blaze. Although it may be awhile until we hear her debut, recently she released a mixtape called Yours Truly, compiled by Don Cannon, and produced by former Aftermath in-house producer, Focus... MC's such as The Game, Busta Rhymes, and Phonte and Big Pooh of Little Brother make appearances. Definitely worth multiple spins!

Yours Truly

Alice Meets The Hood

Three Six Mafia is a rap group hailing from Tennessee made up up DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Lord Infamous. They are best known for their songs Stay Fly and Hard Out Here For A Pimp, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.

I saw this unofficial video a little while back on DCtoBC and definitely thought I should share it with the masses. I've seen videos like this before, but this one is definitely top notch quality. Not only is the Three Six song, Smokin' On The Dro, dope but the video just fits too perfectly.

Here's the video:

And the track:
Three 6 Mafia - Smokin' On The Dro

Who's Next? Pt. 3: Bishop Lamont

Although Bishop, has been doing his thing for a minute now, I still gotta put him on the "Who's Next?" list. This dude has released mixtape after mixtape and all of them have been hot. And we're not talking about mixtapes with re-used beats, we're talking brand new material with production from the likes of DJ Khalil, Black Milk, Scott Storch, 9th Wonder, Dr. Dre, and more.

Bishop, who hails from Carson, CA, is one of the premier artists working on Detox. One of the reasons you may not have heard more from him is because he's signed to the 'black hole' known as Aftermath, which is Dr. Dre's label. Aftermath has gained the reputation (and rightfully so) of being the 'best practice squad in Hip Hop' thanks to a roster that includes Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Bishop Lamont, Slim Da Mobster, Marsha Ambrosius, and once had Joell Ortiz, Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, and Rakim. Dre, being the perfectionist that he is, rarely puts out music until he deems it 'ready' (case in point with his mythical album, Detox). The last few years, Bishop has been hard at work on his debut LP, The Reformation. Thus far, he's released two Dr. Dre produced songs, 'Grow Up,' and 'Hallelujah.' Both are dope, especially the sinister-sounding 'Hallelujah,' which features Xzibit on the hook. In true Aftermath fashion, information regarding The Reformation has been kept seriously low-key. But we do know that a virtual 'murderers row' of producers have worked on it including RZA, Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, DJ Khalil, Scott Storch, Focus..., and Battlecat. Like Dr. Dre's Detox, I hope The Reformation gets released sooner rather than later, but for now we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed.

'Hallelujah' was leaked online about four months ago, and received a large amount of acclaim from bloggers and Hip Hop fans alike. The song was one of the hardest/hottest songs out, and still is four months later. Dr. Dre finally decided to step up his game from behind the boards. Hopefully the rest of the album can live up to the hype.

'Grow Up' is the kind of song that Hip Hop needs. Basically, the moral of the song is... grow up. Whether it's Hip Hop, or everyday life, you gotta grow up. Armed with a real smooth Dr. Dre beat, it was definitely a breath of fresh air when it came out.

One of my favorite Bishop Lamont mixtapes is the Black Milk produced Caltroit. Released back in '07, it has features from Stat Quo, Dr. Dre, Guilty Simpson, Busta Rhymes, Royce Da 5'9", Glasses Malone, and other MC's as well. Definitely one of the top mixtapes released in '07.

Back when Don Imus said the infamous "Nappy Headed Hoes" quote, it created quite a firestorm. Bishop, like many other artists, decided to address this issue with his own controversial mixtape known as N*gger Noize. With production from Focus..., 9th Wonder, and Scott Storch, this mixtape was better than most albums...

Another heater, The Confessional was a gem that could have been an album if it were a bit more polished. Lamont recruited heavyweight producers like Denaun Porter, DJ Khalil, Mark Batson, Nottz, Danja, Scott Storch, Bink!, Focus..., and Tha Bizness.

Pope Mobile is another banger. The similar cast of contributors shows up like DJ Khalil, Focus..., 9th Wonder, Scott Storch, and Nottz, but this time legendary R&B producer Teddy Riley, Danja, and Dready Beatz put in work as well.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Still Got It 4 Cheap

As November 10th approaches, my anticipation builds more and more for the new Clipse album, "'Til the Casket Drops." With production from The Neptunes, DJ Khalil, Diddy's production crew known as The Hitmen, and features from Kanye, Drake, and Cam'Ron, the album is set to be one of the finest of the year. The latest issue of Complex Magazine, which is quickly becoming my favorite music/lifestyle magazine, has a great feature story on the Clipse.

Anyways, in case you missed them, I wanted to post the three singles that have been released thus far. The DJ Khalil produced, Kanye West assisted, "Kinda Like a Big Deal," is armed with a fiery lead guitar, and the usual lyrical finesse that we've come to expect from Pusha, Malice, and Kanye. The song is a banger! Next up is the club-ready "Eyes On Me," which showcases a much different sound from the Clipse. With it's shiny synthesizers, and Keri Hilson on the hook, it's clear that the Thornton Bros. are aiming for radio. I'll admit that I was skeptical when I first heard it, but after hearing it in a few clubs of late, my opinion has changed for the better. It's definitely a good look for them, but best of all may be "I'm Good." With Pharrell adding his signature falsetto, it's beginning to climb higher and higher up the charts.

There are some haters out there that aren't feelin' the new direction the Clipse are goin' in, but for what it's worth, it's a great change of pace. Especially after the incredibly dark, but phenomenal "Hell Hath No Fury," which was my favorite album of 2006. I expect big things from the Thornton Bros. on November 10th.

Kinda Like A Big Deal ft. Kanye West

All Eyes On Me ft. Pharrell and Keri Hilson

I'm Good

Who's Next? Pt. 2: J. Cole

Long before his coming out party on the song "A Star Is Born" off of Jay-Z's Blueprint 3, J. Cole created quite a buzz by releasing his two critically acclaimed mixtapes, "The Come Up," and "The Warm Up." Once Jay-Z heard the song "Lights Please," J. Cole became the first artist to get signed to Shawn Carter's new label Roc Nation.

J. Cole graduated from St. John's University in New York City, and has stated that the reason he went to school was that he felt it was the only way to gain access to NYC. His goal was to get signed, and felt the best place to make a name for himself was in 'the big apple.' Originally, he had his sights set on producing for Jay-Z, even going as far as printing t-shirts that said "produce for Jay-Z or bust." Although he hasn't had the opportunity to produce for Mr. Carter just yet, he'll have plenty of opportunities as the premier artist at Roc Nation. To find out a little more background info about him, Complex Magazine had a great interview with him recently, and there's plenty to read about on J. Cole's website.

The first mixtape to discuss is his debut, "The Come Up." If it weren't for "The Warm Up" (which I consider to be the hottest mixtape out right now, although it's been out for a minute), "The Come Up" would be in near constant rotation. Not only is J. Cole's lyrical prowess on display, but he also showcases his production abilities on many tracks including the touching, "Lil Ghetto Nigga." Check It Out!

"The Come Up"

Now comes the mixtape that everyone seems to be talking about... "The Warm Up." I can honestly say it's the hottest mixtape of the year, and that's saying something with all the heaters that have been released of late. There are just too many gems here to speak of, whether it's "Lights, Please" or "'Til Infinity," the mixtape is fire through and through... an absolute must-have!

"The Warm Up"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Put You On The Game

If you're anything like me, you've been yearning for some new Game. He has been putting out some mixtapes, such as Code Red (Level Six), and although I haven't heard the whole thing, I got some tracks that I was put on to.

It's not the hottest Game work I've heard recently, but I figure it's something to hold me over until he comes out and wows us all again, like he did with My Life with Lil' Wayne. Take a listen to these gems below.

American Dream


These tracks are short, but sweet. American Dream is pretty solid, typical Game, but NBA 2K9 has a different sound to it, that I enjoyed.

Burn After Rolling

It seems like these days, especially with all the buzz about Drake's rise, people miss out on many young artists putting in the time and work to try to make it big. Or at least make a name for himself.

Some of you may remember Wiz Khalifa from his successful single Make It Hot, but several mixtapes and hopefully an upcoming album later, he's still doing his thing. Wiz is preparing to put out another mixtape, Burn After Rolling, and songs from the mixtape are already starting to show up.

B.A.R (Burn After Rolling)
:: This is the smoothe, mellow raps that I've come to expect from Khalifa man. Definitely a perfect song to light it up and kick it to.

Airborn :: I just heard this yesterday and it's been in rotation since. Definitely worth the listen.

Let me know what you think. His mixtapes seem to be hit or miss and the original Star Power Mixtape is what turned me on to him in the first place. Hopefully this next collection of tracks he releases keeps me interested.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Used To Have Hood Dreams

Drizzy Drake just released the video for his acclaimed cut, Forever. It is the final release of this song, that originally featured another Toronto artist, Kardinall Offishall. This version of the song is also featured on the upcoming Lebron Jame's documentary More Than A Game.

The video for this song is pretty dope, Lebron clips and all, and definitely fits the track. The versus on this song get progressively better so it's definitely something you should listen to all the way through. Drake does his sing, Kanye thankfully isn't singing, Weezy even impresses me, and Eminem is back on his grind, post-Relapse.

The video also features cameo's by Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, Joe Budden, and Royce Da 5'9" of Slaughterhouse, as well as producer The Alchemist, and Birdman.

Check The Video Here:

And if you have yet to cop it, here's the song itself:

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Official Sequel to Madvillainy... Coming Soon?!

As a fan of pretty much every artist on the Stones Throw roster and indie/underground hip hop, I am ecstatic to announce that Madlib and DOOM are back in the studio. Word from is they're currently working on the followup to their 2004 classic, "Madvillainy." I remember when Madvillainy came out, I had no clue what the big deal was regarding the crazy looking dude with the gladiator mask. There was quite a buzz surrounding the album and everyone was telling me that DOOM was one of the hottest MC's out. I'll admit I was reluctant to check for it at first, but I'm glad I gave it a chance. The album did not disappoint, and to this day it's on my top 10 favorite albums list. I have no doubt that this new project will live up to the hype.

Dear Moleskin...

As I told ya'll before, Jay Electronica is one of the brightest up and coming stars in hip-hop. Word is he's currently in the studio with Just Blaze "on the reg" (thanks, Kenny Powers) working on his debut CD. If the mixtapes I posted in the Pt.1 segment of "Who's Next" weren't enough for you, here's a little teaser trailer that should add some fuel to that anticipation. It's a 1:45 second clip that apparently was filmed during one Jay's spiritual trips to Nepal. The beat is produced by Just Blaze, and it's right up Jay's alley: real different, real spiritual, real soulful... check it out!

"Dear Moleskin"

P.S. The rest of the "Who's Next" series is coming soon...