Video: Zilla Rocca “17 Days in VA”

The first video (directed by Dave Hall) from Zilla Rocca’s blue tape Neo Noir is the Blakroc jux move “17 Days in VA”, a slice of life in the sticks when the getaway falls apart, the craft beer is lacking, and the thirst for the city starts making you batty.

As seen as Passion of the Weiss, the video finds the “Philly noir-rap originator slant[ing] in the shadows, sneaking behind graf-scarred walls and thickets that threaten to engulf him…[Zilla Rocca] continues to evolve into one of the most unique and best-writers in hip-hop.”

“17 Days in VA” is available on the limited pressing of Neo Noir on dark blue cassette (less than 50 available) along with an exclusive cocktail coaster for $8.

You can order Neo Noir on cassette, along with discounted t-shirts woven from the finest criminal cloths, at the online merch table via Three Dollar Pistol Music on bandcamp


Dame Dash is Dame Dashing Hip Hop

It was only a matter of time...

I plan on ordering the BlakRoc album tomorrow — listening to the leak, it’s not as great as I hoped.  However, I couldn’t really get into the album with the hyper compressed shitty MP3’s that made up the leaky leak.  The audio on the BlakRoc page (still a brilliant piece of cinematography for an online-only hip hop record) from the HiDef video pumps up the value/volume tenfold.  Plus, the Black Keys never make a bad record.  RZA and Jim Jones both rapping on two tracks, though, might not have been the best of ideas.  Regardless, great musical ideas with plenty good results should be rewarded with PayPal duckets.

I am talkin’ about Dame: outside of the artsy direction Dame Dash has inhabited post-Roc-a-Fella, with movies, clothes, and music projects captained by two scraggly white guys from Akron, the man is still a fly ass money makin’ boss from Harlem.

Need proof?  I present to you the BlakRoc Chevy Camaro!

Knowing Dame Dash’s track record, it’s obvious he looks at all the angles before investing and promoting a product.  And this is where the BlakRoc Chevy Camaro comes in to play.  Tying an album release to an exclusive tricked out ride would be a great idea for someone like Cam’ron during he and Roc-a-Fella’s Come Home With Me days.  Sure, it’s only a Chevrolet that probably retails at or below $20,000.  But I’m not sure what demographic of present or future BlakRoc fan is meant to take advantage of this.  Maybe Chevy stepped to Dame and/or the Black Keys previously.  Maybe the gritty authenticity BlakRoc  is gunning for by eschewing failed rap/rock projects of the past is what Chevy is trying to swagger jack for the ’10 Camaro.  Maybe Dame is crafting his “anti-record label” record label approach by getting capital from massive corporations down on their luck who will try anything to get out of the red (it’s a shrewd business move on Dame’s behalf if that is the case — almost like SpongeTech’s takeover of in-stadium advertising with declining ticket sales forcing pro teams to lower ad rates). 

Maybe Jim Jones is ballin’ in a two door domestic now.

If you check out the store on the BlakRoc page, you’ll see the upcoming album for sale on CD (nifty) and vinyl (authentic) next to a BlakRoc logo t-shirt (standard operating merch) and a confrontational BlakRoc philosophical tee (“Did you ever really fuck with rock n roll?” — Answer: FUCK YES, BLAKROC!).  

I looked at these pieces of merch as smart, post-internet pieces of marketing and branding.  Instead of flooding us with mixtapes and free downloads, Dame Dash created a new identity for music that implied a fresh approach which, most importantly, should garner value.  The high quality promo trailers promote an experience, not flipcam hijinx to impress Nah Right commenters (I want to live in that studio–for real).  Tying in the Black Keys suggests authenticity — they are a blues garage rock duo who critics and bloggers and musicians and fans all seem to adore (and with good reason).  Nabbing verses from Billy Danze, ODB, Phaorohe Monch, Mos Def, Raekwon, and Q-Tip are a wink to 90’s New York rap: brutal, raw, melodic, hazy, and experimental.  There are no blog rappers or industry hyped novices; the only newcomer is NOE, who eerily sounds identical to Jay-Z ( maybe Dame decided to take Jay up on his “make another Jay” challenge or maybe he’s discovering the joys of millionaire irony). 

Dame Dash knows plenty of rappers more high profile then the current roster that fills out the tracklisting of BlakRoc; the fact that BlackBerries for the handlers of current billboard hotseekers did not get a text to slide past DD1972 studios to smoke somethin’, drink Hennesey, and chill with thousand dollar lesbians is no accident.

However it shakes out, BlakRoc (the album) will not live or die with a Chevrolet co-sign; though the project isn’t perfect, it’s a good starting point for what the Black Keys could do down the line in a strict hip hop setting adjoined by (mostly) strict hip hoppers.  BlakRoc (the brand) has its eyes set on the big picture (corporate sponsorship) and a new business plan to, get this, charge money for a piece of music that has been promoted and marketing almostly exclusively online.

Why you think me and Dame cool?  Well, I’m not a verbose asshole but I do appreciate the vision and hustle of a guy who sips Chardonnay with Chevy in the morning and sips Brooklyn brown liquor with William Danzini of M.O.P. in the evening.

Dame Dash is Saving Hip Hop

Who saw this coming?

First, the awesome looking (and sounding) Blakroc project with the Black Keys dropping later this month.

Now, it’s the Center Edge Territory with Jay Electronica, Mos Def, and Currensy.

Dame Dash is in a unique position: pretty good with the coin and no compromising investment/partnership with the music industry.  He’s almost what George Clooney has become: a near elder statesman content with past pop glory and bored with the current shape things, so what the hell?  They got money to burn and weird people to give it to.

What separates Dame from Jay is that Jay is still in the business of (among other things) selling records as Jay-Z The Brand.  Dame is no longer in the spotlight.  He’s dabbed in film and retro kicks.  He relinquished the Roc-a-fella name years ago.  This freedom from asinine meetings with record execs and appeasing homogenized radio playlists and fading retailers and fickle fans is almost too much to handle for a guy used to hustlin’ and conquerin’ and letting everyone know that while he’s at it.

What do you do when you conquered the game and got out before it all crumbled? 

And you happen to be a brash tastemaker from Harlem?

To quote Wu-Tang Financial, you diversify your portfolio, n****! 

Groups I’d like to see Dame Dash pony up the cash for just for shits and giggles:

1. The Firm with Nas, AZ, Foxy, Nature and Cormega. The ultimate “fuck you” to Jay.
2. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube for the never released “Helter Skelter” album. The west coast needs more old man rap. Dame needs to pop tags at the Staples Center and/or buy the Clippers. Yay-eee-yay!
3. The Incredible Force: Common, Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch, Jeru the Damaja. once rumored to be happening via during the Lyricist Lounge era. Dame could use some Okayplayer merch money to offset State Property losses
4. Scarface and Beans are “Brad n’ Mack”. This was supposed to happen during the Roc heydays. Now it’s the premise for an all-black buddy sitcom on TV One. Dame fux with basic cable.
5. Ghostface and MF Doom. Just for the video footage of Dame in the studio bustin’ on Doom’s mask and faded ass Ewing jersey.
6. CRS (Lupe, Kanye, Pharrell). Like Vice/Pitchfork/Macy’s wouldn’t want in?