Wrecking Crew x PremRock x DJ Halo on Shots Fired Podcast

shots fired

For their latest episode of errant gunfire, Nocando and Jeff welcome Zilla Rocca, Curly Castro, and Prem Rock for a discussion on Philadelphia hip-hop, noir-rap, their “otherground collective” and the occasional reggaeton digression.

In addition, Nocando and Jeff talk about what they did for New Year’s and pour out a little hummus for James Avery of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and Benjamin Curtis of The Secret Machines.


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


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

Overlooked Jawbreakers from 2010

I’ve contributed many words before the Christmas break at Passion of the Weiss and Metal Lungies on my favorite and/or best pieces of music in 2010.  Here’s a few overlooked great hip hop songs from this past 365.

Hell Razah “Kids in the Street”

Slum Village f/ J Dilla, Posdnous, Phife Dawg “Scheming”

Inspectah Deck “The Champion”

Nocando “Exploits and Glitches”

Naughty by Nature “I Gotta Lotta”

Dumhi f/ Elucid “No Redemption”

DJ Muggs vs. Ill Bill f/ Sean Price, Sick Jacken, OC “Trouble Shooters”

yU “Fine”

Danny Brown “Re-Up”

Big Boi f/ T.I. and Khujo Goodie “Tangerine”

Greenhouse “Spin Cycle”

Nocando is Enjoying a Lovely Morning in Bali

As our homie Nocando invades to the actual Shaolin on tour (not the Wu-Tang’s honeycomb hideout in Staten Island) with his metal jawed vocab from years in Project Blowed and the ass spanking beats from Low End Theory and Alpha Pup Recods, he felt inspired to wake up hungover and freestyle for our delight.  Even in that stage, unaware of his surroundings and the concept of time, he will still annihilate you if you ever hiccup a battle rhyme in his direction.

Make sure you pick up his LP Jimmy the Lock if you haven’t.

And if you have some time, allow him to Learn You Something right here at Clap Cowards.

Curly Castro & Zilla Rocca’s Str8 Westcoastin’ Mix

Artwork by Adam LaMonaca

Instead of just shooting out to Phoenix and Los Angeles this week and bombarding you with needless Tweets, Facebook pics, and food poisoning from Carl’s Jr as updates, myself and Castro decided the best look for everyone would be free music, specifically our favorite hip hop songs from the land of weather, women, and weed (not so much the Arizona Diamondbacks, traffic, John McCain, astronomical gas prices, and $9 grape spritzers at juice bars in West Hollywood).

Plus, incorporating 1995’s Devil in a Blue Dress into the cover art is apt — Don Cheadle had his breakout role as Mouse, a gold toothed goon who could kill a man with an ashtray , and Denzel did Walter Mosely proud as the well known LA private eye Easy Rawlins. I’m pretty sure it was the last time Tom Sizemore had all of his teeth too.

You can stream and DL the mix over at Mixcloud


You can download the mix as one long MP3 complete with 2 bonus MP3’s: Curly Castro’s new backside smackin’ single “West Indian Rum” (prod. by Margel Overton of Sela) along with “It’s Always 5 O’Clock Somewhere” by 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers off the Broken Clocks EP


1.  Zilla Rocca’s Hellafied Intro
2.  “Mix Tapes” The Nonce
3.  “Exploits and Glitches” Noncando
4.  “Critical (Madlib Remix)” Zion I f/ Planet Asia
5.  “Killin’ It” Tha Alkaholiks f/ Xzibit
6.  “Made N*****” 2pac f/ Outlawz
7.  “Ditty” Paperboy
8.  “Doggy Dogg World” Snoop Doggy Dogg f/ The Dogg Pound
9.  Curly Castro’s Brooklyn Dodger Lament
10.  “Still Cruisin'” Eazy E f/ The Game
11.  “Place of Birth” Planet Asia
12.  “Mr. Dobalina” Del Thee Funkee Homosapien
13.  “Tell Me When To Go” E-40 f/ Keak Da Sneak
14.  “She Swallowed It” N.W.A.
15.  “Soul On Ice (Diamond D Remix)” Ras Kass
16.  “Otha Fish” Pharcyde

Let Me Learn You Something: Nocando

Most rappers who get their name from battling usually make albums rivaled only by Kobe Bryant’s “K.O.B.E.” single and/or B-Ball’s Best Kept SecretIt’s not that they are terrible albums (they are), it’s just that we as consumers and audience members have already assigned these folks to one task and skill set.  We are not eager to divert from that agenda, whether it be assigning MC’s to an eternity of verbally undressing fools off the top of the head rather than hook masters and conceptual storytellers,  or casting Gary Payton as The Glove and not “Living Legal and Large”.

Los Angeles and now Oakland-based emcee Nocando made his bones as a breathless lyrical peacemaker–NATO style.  Coming up from the legendary Project Blowed camp in LA and handing out L’s  in Cincinnati at Scribble Jam like he was promoting lesbianism on Showtime, it’s safe to say Nocando wasn’t expected to do much but wow hip hop crowds with indestructible battle credentials and flawless freestyles.  Supernatural has been paying the bills like that forever.  No risk, high reward.

Jimmy the Lock, his debut album via Alpha Pup Records,  goes against the safe bet every which way possible.  Songs about (gasp!) women take up more time than songs about rappity rap rappin’.  Beats that would make your kid sister cough up ringtone money make you forget about true school boom bap ethics.  There are actual hooks and tight concepts instead of self-indulgent 105 bar odysseys.

In short, Nocando made an album that acts as if his famous pedigree never existed.  And he won.

When I met Nocando in LA for Passion of the Weiss’ Spaceland show, he turned out to be humble, funny, and a lover of the word “hella”, something you’d expect from a west coast artist more versed in Suga Free than 36 Chambers (something blasphemous to even consider being a lifelong east coaster).  He is concerned with being great in all facets of The Emcee.  From rhyming while running wind sprints to build up breath control as a young bol, to peppering his live sets with beats like “On to the Next One”, Nocando talks it, backs it up, and then gets even better.

It’s time for Nocando to learn you something. (Apologies ahead of time for the italics on questions 1 & 2–Wordpress is acting real bitch right now)

1. At what point did you realize music was what you wanted to do?
I realized it slowly over time. After every open mic night, studio session, battle, cypher, concert, mixtape and ep. The deeper I get into it the more it becomes a reality that wraps me up socially and adds purpose to what would be a very run of the mill so cal experience.2. How has LA (and now Oakland) shaped your sound or molded you as a MC?
L.A. Made me aggressive and quick to the point where my style bordered impulsive and scatterbrained. The Oakland made me more introspective and calm. They both make me progressive and rebellious as fuck!!

3. Who are the people you look up to and learn the most from?
Rhyming Ridd from CVE was my first rap mentor and he helped make me such a rap nut. We would freestyle and record when we kicked it. Never any other bull shit.

4. With everything you’ve learned thus far, what do you wish you could have told yourself at the beginning? Would you have done anything differently?

I would have told myself to balance the scene and the studio a little better @ a young age and get business savvy now boy!!

5.  What’s hard for you?  What do you struggle at?

I really don’t find anything bout the art hard. I’m a Husband and a father of 2 so being a teen dad was hard and trying to keep an immature relationship together for the sake of strong family values is hard. Making music is fun.

6. Here’s a scenario: tomorrow you become the CEO of a major label. What are the first 3 things you would do as the boss?
First thing would have to be is to find out why the last guy was let go and never make his mistakes. Second thing would be to look over the artist roster, staff, stats and figures then see what improvements can be made and the third thing would be throw a cracking ass office party after I fire all of the dead weight. That was my favorite thing about the old 9-5 ahh office parties.

7. What are some of your favorite albums?
Nocando Jimmy the Lock
Rakim and Eric B Paid in Full
Dj Quick Safe+Sound

8. What is inspiring your work right now?
Fans are inspiring my work. I had fans before but it was all people that I have personally met. Now I am loving the fact that strangers appreciate my work. I know there is very little bias there.

9. What advice would you offer to someone getting in the business at this time?
No rules!!!!!!!! Do whatever you want fuck popular opinion and unpopular opinion. I repeat no rules!!!

10.  Any words to live by?
No I’d like to live by actions.


Nocando Primer

Nocando vs. Franco.  2007 Scribble Jam Championship Round.  Please do not battle this man.

Nocando “Exploits and Glitches” from Jimmy the Lock

Nocando f/ Busdriver “Two Track Mind” from Jimmy the Lock

Download the remix for “Hurry Up and Wait” Nocando f/ MURS, Intuition, Mike Eagle, and Dumbfoundead

Follow Nocando on Twitter

All things Nocando related at Alpha Pup Records

Tonight Live at Spaceland: The Knux + Nocando + The Holloys + 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers

Here it is.  This is why I flew cross-country on Southwest with screaming kids in front and behind me, throwing tantrums and kicking chairs, eating lightly salted peanuts and drinking 6 oz. cups of Diet Coke: to perform with some of the freshest cats in the city of angels.  Here’s some flicks past and present:

The Holloys live:

The Knux “Fire”:

Nocando “Exploits and Glitches”:

5 O’Clock Shadowboxers “High Noon”:


Outtake from The Knux interview with Jeff Weiss to promote tonight’s show.

Pics from rehearsal at DJ Kid Fish’s pad, The Fish Bowl:

Nocando and Kid Fish.


Kid Fish and Zilla Rocca.

Kid Fish in deep concentration

Zilla Rocca gearing up for promo video.

The Knux.

The Knux doing promo.

Al of the Knux doing a still impression of Slash.