I Showed You Your First Tec On Tour With Small Professor

He’s worked with Has-Lo before the papes.  He’s reworked 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers turning bottomfeeders into kibble.  He’s got 2 bullets on Wu-Tang Pulp, a handful of joints on Curly Castro’s next LP Fidel, and the last joint on my next EP Nights & Weekends

Small Pro gets busy.  Here’s the first sound mission before the storm doors get blown off. 

New BLKHRTS – SX, DRGS, VLNC, MNY, DTH

Besides sex, drugs, violence, money, and death, the only thing you can depend on in 2011 is the vowel-deficient powerhouse trio BLKHRTS to merk everything they touch with a spiked bat.  You’ll hear them later this year burning up Russel Jones’ nostrils on Wu-Tang Pulp.  Until then, peep the new battlecry

Or stream it at the BLKHRTS tumblr

And pick up their nasty EP BLK S BTFL at Bandcamp.  You’ll need it when you get in a bar fight with Black Landlord.

Life Under the Shuffle: Has-Lo, Nex Millen, Rock the Dub

 

Collage by Greg Trout

I struggle with instant access to every single whim that pops into my cabbage.  With the iPhone aka the Pants Computer, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, forums, Hulkshare links, promo MP3’s, etc the world is beginning to run out of mystery — everything we miss or forget can be found instantly.  I love ingesting music, memorizing where the horn stabs hit on a record, knowing who produced track #9 on a given rap LP without looking for liner notes on Wikipedia, remembering where exactly I was when I heard a song for the first time. 

Technology, will progressing rapidly to make our lives easier, erases actual emotional connections.  Convenience breeds more consumption.  Standards are lowered.  Quality is compromised for more more more more more content.  All to feed that machine that eviscerates our attention span while keeping us constantly engaged and entertained.  If you have internet access in 2011, you can literally spend 18 hours a day never having to face the quiet plague of boredom.

I say all of this because three releases this week play to or against the new music consuming culture.  Has-Lo’s new LP In Case I Don’t Make It is available for paid digital download on Bandcamp, iTunes, etc but they are not the right mediums to relish the album.  The key word here is “album” ; we don’t have patience anymore to follow one artist through 30+ minutes in a row.  This recent article in Slate titled “Wall of Sound: The iPod has changed the way we listen to music.  And how we respond to it” backs that up painfully. 

As Jeff Weiss pointed out, In Case I Don’t Make It isn’t built for Shuffle mode: it’s a “suffocating walloping listen, like baking in a sauna or waiting in the car with the windows rolled up in in August. Rap to make dogs die.”  In other words, you can’t soundtrack your P90X workout to the album–you need to sit, relax, and walk through Has’ mind.  You can’t multitask with it.  And downloading the album then trashing the 3-4 records that don’t strike a chord within the first 10 seconds of the beat dropping erases important pieces to the story. 

As my Shadowboxer partner Douglas Martin once articulated, albums are like books — you don’t go ripping pages out of books because the first 3 paragraphs aren’t as good as the last page.  In Case I Don’t Make It is a heady listen like how The Wire was an unsettling visual — anit-comfort food for your anti-boredom state.  Nurishment doesn’t taste like Yoo-Hoo. 

Peep “Utero” off the LP then “The Quiet Things” off Has’ last EP Small Metal Objects:

A middleground to the Shuffle Age (2004-present) and the Old Days of Listening to Full Songs (1863-2003) is Nex Millen’s latest podcast I Love Hip Hop Vol. 3.  Nex is a master of the groove before Serato made Pauly D a screenwatching “deejay”.  Nex is a slave to the rhythm, not the soundwave BPM reader.  His ear for pockets in the wax, whether live on-stage or rocking a filthy basement party or in his JLab Studios making beats, is masterful.  His podcasts combine the recent jamdowns with the unseen crack slippers, like new Pharaohe Monch with Connie Price and the Keystones.  His responsibility to the hyper hip hip consumer of today is the same as any great cassette mixtape impresario of the early 90’s — putting you up on the shit you like, the shit you’re not sure if you like, and the shit you just never heard in your life.  In 2011, this would be a Concentrated Shuffle, a purposeful blend, the common room sitdown of artists with different voices, styles, and beats, consolidated by someone who understands the almighty  Skip button and the undetectable power grip of the Neck Snap.

Here’s the tracklisting for I Love Hip Hop Vol. 3

Kill Bill- Epidemik
Different Now- Odisee f. Twan
Classic- MED f. Talib Kweli
Utero- Has-Lo
Songs- Kaimbr and Kev Brown
Clap(One Day) Pharoahe Monch f. Showtyme
Palookas- Talib Kweli
Disturbed- Blame One f. Sean Price
Thought About It- yU
International Hustler- Connie Price & The Keystones f. Percee P
Motor Music- Finale f. Black Milk
Grown Folks Music- NXPW f. Cee Knowledge

Stream and download it here

The last leg on the barstool is Rock the Dub’s 5 year anniversary compilation FiF.  Khal, the site’s resident runner and internetian pipe bomb planter, gives his readers unlimited options to stock their smartphones and Nanos every day.  And like those of us now completely enraptured in the Age of the Shuffle, he does not subscribe to one genre or musical identity.  Hip hop, dubstep, drum n bass, R&B, and other subgenres I could probably just make up (Oatmeal Wave, ThunderStep, SwagMopHop) all pop up on Rock the Dub without any comprehension or agenda. 

Khal boils things down to the interest of the modern online music consumer: this sounds good and I want it right now.  He’s put out projects from just about every phylum of hip hop-related offshoots the past five joints.  Life in the Shuffle Mode has no apprehensions, no limits, no concern for running time.  Take what you want, love it, then come back for the re-up.  And Khal’s new compilation FiF is that Marlo Stanfield cut.

Tracklisting:

01-Heist ft. Zilla Rocca – I Need Killers (and Thieves Like You Wouldn’t Believe)
02-Che Grand ft. Elucid vs. Artificial Intelligence – Deaf Ray Dub (Disc Jockey Nappy Refix)
03-P.L.O. ft. Ralph Rip Shit – Hold That
04-AWKWORD ft. Y-Love – Mr. President (The Wisconsin Song) (prod. by The White Shadow)
05-Cyclops – You Don’t Understand (prod. by Razorsharpe)
06-Brown Bag AllStars – In His Shoes (DJBrace Remix)
07-J NiCS – Slumber (Numonics rockthedub Remix)
08-Pugs Atomz & DJ Vadim ft. Stahhr Tha F.E.M.C.E.E. & Jabee – Shoot’em Down
09-Rickie Jacobs ft. Artic – Malcolm X (prod. by Clay Hilman)
10-Jefferson Price – Hip Flask (prod. by Tranzformer)
11-Elucid – My Blank Verse (prod. by Small Pro)
12-The Two. Fifteens – Cloudy. Got Em’
13-Scripts & Screwz – Highway
14-Whygee – What Love Is (prod. by Nofrendo)
15-K. Vincent – Ain’t A Thang Change (prod. by  Nabs, add. prod. by Alex Cruz & Black Lion Beats)
16-Mario Dones – Mars Attacks (prod. by Buscrates 16 bit Ensemble)
17-Assorted Anonymous – Roll By My Lonely (prod. by NVious)
18-Elucid – Heavy Metal (prod. by Screwz)
19-Do Ear – Soul Dealers
20-Shawty Lo ft. Rick Ross & Jim Jones vs. The Two. Fifteens – Foolish (Disc Jockey Nappy THUGSTEP Refix)
21-Curly Castro – Down With Batista (prod. by Happ G)

Grab it here

Fab Five, Mad Live, Blow Up the Spot

They still get the props

Last night I watched ESPN’s outstanding documentary The Fab Five.  Here’s some random observations on the breakthrough Wolverines who shaped everything after them while scaring the bejezzus out of everyone in their path:

-Chris Webber was a man child in college.  Absolutely vicious.  I remember how much hype he had his rookie year in the NBA and when you watch footage of him as an 18 and 19 year old ballplayer, he was downright terrifying.  It seemed like the first Modell’s we ever had in South Philly carried every jersey C Webb wore from 1992-1995: the blue and yellow #4 Michigan jerseys, the Golden State uni that only lasted for a year and a half, and finally the kinda meh #2 Washington Bullets jersey.  He was like Shawn Kemp and Blake Griffin in terms of ability, hype, and marketability to kids.  By the time he ended up on the Sixers in 2005, he was a $20mill jump shooter on bad knees who could post one 20/10 a week.  But good Lord…he was downright scary at Michigan.

-One of my buddies growing up in South Philly was the biggest Jalen Rose stan you’d ever meet.  He had a Fab 5 Jalen jersey and a #5 Denver Nuggets jersey immediately after he was drafted.  His fandom was so strong that I ended up gravitating towards Jalen during the Fab 5’s soph year and ended up rooting for Jalen in the pros.  I never thought about how mentally tough Jalen was in college; he points out in the documentary that in those days, if you had a tattoo people thought you were a thug or in a gang, if you had a baldhead you were insane, and anybody wearing black socks were 70 year old mail carriers.  Jalen wore all three, almost purposely putting himself and the guys under the crosshairs for ridicule by the stuffy pundits and whitebred Michigan alum.

-20 years later, when asked about their thoughts on Christian Laettner, four of the 5 guys said he was “soft”, “a bitch”, and a “pussy”.  I laughed out loud on my couch.  Laettner stays losing.

-Ghetto Boys, Compton’s Most Wanted, Ice Cube, EPMD, Public Enemy–that was contemporary rap music to college kids in the early 90’s.  Today, Dwight Howard smiles and does the Dougie. 

-Did you know Juwan Howard has made over $150mill in the NBA over 17 seasons?  Career achievements: 1 All-Star team (1996), All-Rookie 2nd team (1995), All-NBA Third Team (1996).  Now that he’s on the Heat, he should pour Pat Riley’s coffee everyday for overvaluing him by a good $50mill during the ’96 offseason when the Heat tried signing him to a $100mill deal which was rejected by the league since the deal would put them over the cap.  The Washington Bullets decided to throw in a pound and signed Juwan to a 7 year $105 mill deal instead.  It reminds me of the $1mill advances given to Shyne and Papoose —wait, you gave THAT guy that much bread? 

Among the top 50 eligible high school recruits in 1992 alongside the Fab Five were Lamond Murray, Donyell Marshall, and Calbert Chaney.  That same Modell’s in South Philly that was flush with Webber jerseys in 1993 also sold #42 UConn Donyell Marshall jerseys.  I don’t know why, but I owned one.

-It’s crazy that at 6’5” 210 lbs. Jimmy King never caught on as a good role player in the NBA, though he was traded once for Popeye Jones.

-What did the Fab Five call their rivals at Ohio State? THEE Ohio State Fuckeyes.

-When Heltah Skeltah and OGC toyed with the idea of forming a supergroup known as The Fab 5 around the time of each group’s debuts on Duck Down, their styles and personalities perfectly matched up with their ballin’ counterparts

 Rockness Monstah was Chris Webber at the 5, the most dominant skillset and charisma.  Ruck/Sean Price was Juwan Howard at the 4, less flashy but steady and the perfect #2 option.  Starang was Jalen Rose at the 1, brash, cocksure, trashtalker (Jalen terrorized any and all on the court while Starang took shots at Biggie), and never became the superstar he was pegged to be.  Louievilla Sluggah was Jimmy King at the 2, moments of pizzazz here and there, probably a bigger force elsewhere, an underwhelming career that no one felt too bad about.  And Top Dog was Ray Jackson at the 3.  Ray had a solid CBA career and was lucky to be a part of a bigger entity that has lasted the test of time.  Like Top Dog, he was the least talented in the squad but he thankfully never referred to himself as “The Big Kahuna”, an alias for Top Dog and Frankie Avalon. 

The Fab 5 “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka”

Flashback to 1991: ESPN Introduces the Fab Five

Has-Lo: The God Stay Dipped

When I’m not plugging Curly Castro’s Winston’s Appeal or my recently released EP Bad Weather Classic, you might catch me spreading the word on Has-Lo via Twitter.  In case you didn’t notice from “No Resolution 2”, “Cock Diesel” or even our “Forever Freestlye (Nike Run)” joint, me and Lo are twin gunmen.  He’s the one rapper I know who most reminds me of myself and probably my favorite pure writer today.  We both worship at the altar of Marcberg and Shallah Rae.  And we both hate Nasir Jones.

His new album In Case I Don’t Make It, which I’ve studied and marveled over secretly in my whip the past 2 months, drops via Mello Music Group shortly (March 29th–pre order it on UGHH.com here).  Its certainly influencing the themes behind the next Shadowboxers LP.

Anyway, before all the jibbing and jabbing increases in the coming weeks, here’s a slick lil’ chandelier Antelopes & Lions for you to hang in your labbo, culminating some choice works from Has’ past EP’s, remixes, and guest appearances mixed by Sonny James of the highly regarded Philly DJ sect Ill Vibe Collective:

1. The Commentary (pt.1) remix (Produced by DeeJay Tone)
2. Black Rose (Gumshoe Remix) (Produced by Culture I)
3. Divine (Produced by Culture I & Has-Lo)
4. Nas – Shootouts (Has-Lo Remix)
5. Darkness (Produced by Culture I)
6. 5 O’clock Shadowboxers – No Resolution 2
7. Common – Chi City (Has-Lo Remix)
8. FUCWITDAT (Produced by Has-Lo)
9. The Undisputed (Produced by Culture I)
10. Kindness 4 Weakness (Produced by Has-Lo)
11. Build Jewelz (Produced by Has-Lo)
12. Dogma (ft. Awar) (Produced by Has-Lo)
13. Allegiance (Produced by Has-Lo)
14. Small Metal Objects (Produced by Has-Lo)
15. Fiber Optics (Produced by Has-Lo)
16. The Quiet Things (Produced by Has-Lo)
17. Royce Da 5’9″, Elzhi, Supastition – Best To Do It (Has-Lo Remix)

Download it here for free

Here’s Has-Lo kicking it about for my Let Me Learn You Something series last year

A View From Phoenix Part Deux

When you fly to Phoenix in February, you expect to be greeted with lizards, burritos, and margaritas.  Really, anything but the blankets of arctic wind, snow, and soul sucking gloom that typifies the first 60 days of a new year on the East Coast. 

When we got to Phoenix last month, we got rain.  According to the locals, two days of rain is rarer than a GZA guest appearance.  It causes people to panic.  The city is not equipped to deal with precipitation on this level.  Puddles everywhere.  Parking lots become reservoirs.  It’s not like walking by Broad and Market where the rastas sell $5 umbrellas on stands next to incense, bootleg tees, and mix CD’s (still).  No one has an umbrella in that entire town. 

Fortunately, Curly Castro and I once again found comfort in turkey sandwiches at The Main Ingredient, a hip lounge that plays Grand Puba, Pete Rock, Grand Agent, and old Heiro for its dining customers.  Back in September, we feasted with Random aka MegaRan and our host Kevin Murphy from So Much Silence.  This time we debated the joys and pain of Common (mostly pain) with Nocando and Open Mike Eagle with a side serving of Jeff Weiss, all three Los Angelenos who escaped All-Star Weekend to kick it in land of Jared Dudley for our show at the Hidden House.  Below are some pics I took, followed by video from the show.  I do wish I shot video of the bar we hit in Scottsdale — first time I ever heard Insane Clown Posse in public.

Open Mike Eagle

Nocando

Deck the walls with 90's vinyl at The Main Ingredient

Curly Castro, Mike Eagle, and Kevin Murphy at Main Ingredient

Nocando and his retro cola, Jeff Weiss, and Kevin Murphy at Main Ingredient

Click here to see more photos from our first trip to Phoenix in Sept. 2010 

Spit Suicide, Nocando, Curly Castro and Open Mike Eagle freestyle at the Hidden House

Open Mike Eagle freestyle

5 O’Clock Shadowboxers feat Curly Castro “High Noon” live

Living That Rap Life with Has-Lo

[vimeo 20380777]

This is the best feeling in the world….getting the first physical copy of your own LP.

Has-Lo’s In Case I Don’t Make It drops March 29th via Mello Music Group.  Outside of being good friends with Has, this is one of the best rap LPs of 2011.  Really making me step my game up for the next Shadowboxers LP

Pre-order your copy right now at UGHH.com and live that nutrious rap life