These guys have been making big waves in the underground hip hop world with their aphotic, grimy, boom bap, throw back to the 90s style production. Recently, one of their tracks was featured in the latest video to drop from Starvin B’s “Everybody Shinin” and they have more projects cooking up as we speak. I met up with these guys at The American Oldies record shop in Newport News, VA, which is a gem of a store for all you producers out there.
Ms. Anita: So if you guys can introduce yourselves.
NoNDescript: I go by the name of NoNDescript. I’m a 26 y/o producer from Newport News, Virginia, ½ of JMProductions. Connoisseur of hard drums and a HUGE hip hop fan.
Emphatic: I am Emphatic (laughs). Na, but seriously though…I’m 27 y/o producer from Newport News Virginia. I am very strongly opinionated and a stubborn bastard. I like dirty drums….that pretty much sums it up.
Ms. Anita: You two have been friends for quite some time. When and how did you all meet?
Emphatic: I believe it all started in what..1992 or 1993 or some shit. We actually met through a mutual friend. I had a super soaker 150 and used to fuck NoNDescript up with it (laughs).
NoNDescript: You did used to fuck me up with that super soaker…bitch ass nigga (laughs). But na, I remember when you came by. We had just got outta school…walking home and you slid up on a bike, skidded and lit a firecracker. I thought Who the FUCK?! We had to be like 7 or 8. (laughs)
Ms. Anita: THAT is hilarious (laughs). Yall go back for real. So when did it dawn on you two that your musical style and taste was mutual, therefore leading to the creation of JMProductions?
NoNDescript: Funny thing is he didn’t even listen to hip hop like that when we met. I kinda introduced him to everything I was listening to. So I guess it was immediate. And I was listening to hip hop as early as 7 or 8 years old. As, far as the creation of JMProductions, like a lot of our friendship was based off of music. Our fascination with production was always apparent. We actually had a friend who’s dad made beats, so growing up I always wanted to get in there and make beats. One day we just gave it a shot, like in 2004 or something. A larger group of us at the time were trying to figure out how to use the equipment…loading samples off of floppy drives and shit (laughs), sound modules and what not, older stuff. I remember like 3 of us lined up on the keyboard each playing a separate sound. Just pathetic.
Emphatic: Yea I think we kinda clicked on that early on. My brother had me listening to Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang and NoNDescript just opened the doors wider. I still at the time had been listening to metal and punk. I just like real music. As we got older our taste pretty much stayed the same while a lot of our friends started listening to ….well….bullshit. Um, as far as what he was saying about the creation. I kinda saw we had a different spin on a lotta shit even then. We kinda wanted to do our own thing and were limited because of having to go there and do it. NoNDescript bought cakewalk and we started making terrible beats thinking we were good. I mean I didn’t even use kicks (laughs). I was composing THEE worst beats and actually letting people listen to them. We graduated to sampling and FL Studio and things changed. The mixes were bad, but ideas were flowing and by that time it was just us. Overnight we were making beats and wanted them posted so Soundclick was where it was at. We had to come up with a name. JMProductions made sense…J for Juan and M for Mike. It was far later that we came up with NoNDescript and Emphatic.
Ms. Anita: When you all are not making music, what are you doing?
NoNDescript: What the fuck am I doing (laughs). Um…regular shit man…work, going to the gym, hangin out with friends…have a drink or 6 (laughs). But the funny thing is I’m mostly talking about music or doing something music related…I don’t do much of that other stuff really.
Emphatic: For me..um..chillin with my son and wife. Work. I’m not a party animal kind of guy anymore. I’d rather stay home, eat, watch a movie. I’m usually doing some variation of that while still arguing on twitter about music. Music just comes up a lot in a day (laughs).
Ms. Anita: Yall get it in on Twitter with the hiphop debates (laughs). Well, the first official instrumental project you all dropped was Elevator HipHop and The Left Side, that I’m proud to say I featured in the early days of my blog, and you guys have been on the roll ever since working folk like StarvinB, OSAN, Big Hop, AMSOC, Azon Blaze. Who else have you all worked with that we not be aware of?
Emphatic: Cordova and Skratch Zilla (Dozilla), Beef, Foul Monday, Kizzy Krew, Joe Mafia (Wu Syndicate), Proseed, J Relentless, Ghrimm, Rob Supa, ummm….. Rampage (Flipmode)…Antagonist Dragonspit, Royal Entry, and Cast Troy.
Ms. Anita: So what’s on the horizon for JMProductions? Who are you working with now, and what’s coming for 2012?
NoNDescript: Tons of shit. A follow up project with Starvin B, an EP with Kizzy Krew, an LP with Beef, an LP with Joe Mafia, and some mixtape features, a project with Cordova and Skratch Zilla, of course “NoNDescription” (Nondescript’s solo instrumental project), possibly a JMProductions instrumental project. The main thing we are working toward actually is forming our crew. We want to unite with dope local artists and really tighten things down at home. Shows, showcases, videos, that kinda stuff.
Ms. Anita: And what is your hope for HipHop?
NoNDescript: Whew (pause)... that it continues to grow and the culture becomes more respected. I’d like to see this boom bap hip hop in the forefront. A lot of people don’t but I actually like where hip hop is right now. It’s headed in the right direction. I would like to see more focus on the actual music and not all the bullshit surrounding the actual artist. I’d like to see record sales increase. I’d like to see the younger generation respect the older generation and where it came from because a lotta cats don’t. I’d like to see the spotlight on our area. There is more talent out here than what is ever mentioned.
Emphatic: I want to see all these gimmicks and outside influences fade. It seems like all of what you see on TV or hear on the radio is fancy and bedazzled. There’s always a dance or some weird persona…a gimmick. Where’s the hip hop, the raw talent? Well, that other stuff is great and all. I just want to get our music out. I think our style, our sound, that type of hip hop is coming back. Although I am a fan, I don’t care as much about what else is going on as much as I care about what NoNDescript and I are doing. So yea, I hope we get heard…that’ll be a great day for hip hop. Oh…and #NOPUSSYASSDRUMS
Ms. Anita: Dam right! (laughs)
And feel free to check out the additional interview footage below that my daughter and I shot while hanging out with JMPro.
Darrion Taylor is a 16 year old artist from Chicago that's unknown and new to the hip hop scene. He unleashes his first visual for a piece of work he calls "Terry Sawchuk".
Darrion has a unique delivery, off beat wordplay and tends to record his music/art a little different then the norm. He's not interested in trends or following in others footsteps or even doing it the way others have told him to do it, he just does it from the heart and let it flow. He calls his music art which is what music is, ART.
I’m so excited about this female right here. I saw her do a little impromptu performance at this past Krush Groove, and I bout lost it. I felt down right groupie-ish actually, but I couldn’t believe we had a femcee of her caliber right here in the 757.I’m so glad that she agreed to sit down and answer a few questions for me.
Ms Anita: So Rosemarie, I’m just finding out about you, and I’m sure this interview will be your introduction to quite a few folk as well. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Rosemarie: Sure! My name is Rosemarie, though on stage behind the mic I insert the word femcee as my title; Femcee Rosemarie. I’m an up and coming artist in the local area, (born in Japan, raised in Virginia Beach) pursuing a passion of mine since learning to write poetry at age 12-13 years old. If I’m not rapping, I’m singing. I love music, all genres, because we all have a story to tell and it’s born with music. I would consider myself very competitive, hard-working, and dedicated. I grew up an athlete into every sport, went to the Junior Olympics for track, was on a travel ball team facing opponents from all around the country, played varsity four years as a starter for softball and basketball in high school, and then continued playing collegiate softball for two years at NSU and Aiken Tech, SC. I’m used to being the center of attention, “entertaining” a crowd with my efforts, at times under pressure; therefore I respect any artist who willingly puts themselves and their art out there for others to judge. I’d say my music influences started with Lauryn Hill and Angie Martinez, then later was inspired (to start sharing my music) by Pharrell. I believe in myself as a person, I am culturally sound and have had experience in marketing, sales, finance, payroll, event planning, ministries, office and client management, telecommunications, floor technicians, and coaching/instructing. I’m currently in school to become a registered nurse, and work part time at Buffalo Wild Wings as a server. Free fight nights and games! (Laughs). I’ve been passionate about rapping since 13 years old and have delved into different paths to truly find who I am and what I want to do in life. This is it, music. Because I believe in my craft, I want to become a well-known femcee on Nicki Minaj’s level, however, authentic to my life story.
Ms Anita: Well if we didn’t know you before, we know you now (laughs). I’m going to make sure I hit up BWW for that hook up. I’m not the biggest fan of Nicki’s music, but you have to respect her grind so I wish you that much success and more. So you’re experienced rhyme style is an indication that you are not new to this, but how long have been putting yourself out there as an emcee?
Rosemarie: I only recently considered myself an emcee after a 2011 new year’s resolution to put forth effort towards creating a platform to be heard; so about a year and some change now.
Ms Anita: And apparently you have other talents as well. Can you elaborate on those?
Rosemarie: I have a talent of remaining true to my spirit, realizing and accepting defeat, returning focus to task at hand, then recovering. I like to see myself as a gypsy spiritualist, no matter how far fetched the description would seem, it suits my lifestyle and frame of mind. When considering my ventures, I would say I’m pretty talented to some degree. My hobbies consist of blogging/writing short stories, biography of me and my thoughts, poetry, and songs, along with pen/pencil sketches for pleasure and/or tattoo designs, sewing (just started embroidering), thrift shopping, jewelry design and beading, hairstyling/cosmetology, co-ed slow pitch softball games, walking/jogging on treadmill, pick-up basketball scrimmages at the recreation center, ping pong, spades, chess, cooking, and food tasting!
Ms. Anita: I see you! A Jackie of all trades if you will. And you can definitely see the poet seeping out in that statement. So you recently shot a video for “I Fooled Myself”. What else are you working on for the 2012?
Rose Marie: I am currently working on another video from my mixtape that will be dropping soon right after “I Fooled Myself” video releases. Also, I am organizing a video and mixtape release party for family & friends, colleagues, and those interested in my work, to gather and network in addition to watching the video premiere and listening to the official mixtape.
Ms. Anita: I’ll be waiting on my invite for sure. If my readers want to find out more about you and listen to some of your music, where can they go?
Rosemarie: I have a promo page with wix.com, which is a free web hosting site, for right now, because I have yet to finish my videos and mixtape. After the completion of those, I plan on creating my own website. For now, anyone interested in demo tracks can go to www.wix.com/12053spracklin/femceerosemariepromo
Ms Anita: And this is my Brown Sugar Sydney question…what is your hope for hiphop?
Rose Marie: I hope for a higher level of appreciation when it comes to the art form (song lyrics/content/performance), the mediums involved, as well as more enlightening lyrics without egotism, plus more reliable and stable paths/opportunities for dedicated artists who would like to be, and/or should be, heard on mainstream levels.
I wasn't feeling the first single I heard from this guy called 'Swivel'. Even with the interactive 360 video that came out for it, I couldn't make myself like that song. But this one I can get with. It goes pretty hard if you ask me. Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree.
Although the media would want us to believe that the only thing female MCs are good for is visual appeal, we continue to discover hidden gems buried under ground, waiting to be unearthed like the fine lyrical diamonds they are. Female MCs have all but faded away as far as Hip Hop is concerned. Ok, I understand that “technically” the one with the multiple personalities and Lady Ga Ga(ish) outfits is considered Hip Hop, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to female MCs that flash you back to when MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, and Bahamadia, were all names that sparked your interest and it was less about how many clothes they took off, but more about how many MCs they took out.
Fast forward to 2012 and there are several “femcees” picking up steam and being recognized for their lyrical ability instead of their ability to look good in a pair of fishnets and a corset. One more name is definitely poised to be added to that list; Lyric Jones.
Not only does she rhyme, but she also sings, plays drums, bass and also writes songs. If there ever was a “full package female MC”, she is it. Jones released her debut CD earlier this month and like finding a twenty in the back pocket of last week’s jeans, her maiden voyage into the seas of Hip Hop is nothing short of unexpected joy. The Jones St. LP is highlighted by flawless production, beefy appearances from veterans in the game, such as J-Live and Phife, as well as help from strong newcomers like Esparanza Spalding. Jones clearly attempts and proves that she is a lyricist to be reckoned with and not just a spin off of one of her male counterparts or a label puppet engineered strictly to make dollars.
Jones St. LP has so many high points that it would probably take an additional review in order for you to feel the entire depth of the project, so I DO NOT feel as if I’m selling you sand at the beach in saying that it is definitely a needed addition to your rotation if you love authentic Hip Hop. One of my favorites on the CD is Trapped In City Lights. This track shows us straight from the jump that Lyric is not interested in pretty pink overly fluffed wordplay when she approaches a beat. She goes in with an aggression over this dirty track that puts you in the mind of a 1994 Heather B banger. In listening to this track, I kept waiting to hear Billy Danze or Lil Fame pop up on the hook. Next up is 23rd St. which is a perfect display of bridging the gap between generations of the female MC. The reason being is the actual scratching being done on the hook and the voices of MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill and Sweet Tee as the ingredients. You can’t get much better than that while proving that you belong in conversations right along side of those legendary names. Loss On Repeat is a record that is bound to hit the airwaves heavy in the next month or two. This combination of Jones and Spalding (Esparanza) reads just like a powerful law firm and definitely raises the bar as far as collaborations go. Trust and believe that none of your time will be lost while this track is on repeat. (Pun intended) It’s almost impossible not to listen to it at least 3 times before moving on. Lyric shows off her pipes on Tin Can and the transition between Hip Hop and R&B are as seamless and effortless as her more popular double threat counterparts like Phonte or Aloe Blacc. Rounding out my list of favorites is MiddleOf The World. All I can say is that if it were not for the laws of grammar and my understanding of what a review is supposed to be, I would simply just say WOW seven times and let you figure out the rest. I’ll just say that this phenomenal mixture of track, content, and lyrics immediately channels every Hip Hop song that you’ve ever referred to as beautiful and automatically turns this into a soundtrack for your soul if you’re like me and just want to feel good about music again.
Needless to say, I am impressed and now a die hard fan of Lyric Jones. Please check out The Jones St. LP and judge for yourself, but I promise you will see that I’m not off the mark in labeling it outstanding.Until the culture calls y’all, WriterJones…Out
Who does not remember Robert Kelly when he was front man of Public Announcement? I'm appreciating this one right now. Had to go look up Honey Love just because. They thought they were doing something with all that gyrating and pelvic thrusting. Anywho, the Black Mamba EP drops Friday.
For my old school heads, you will enjoy this one. Classic hip hop tracks with some new lyrics performed by Fokis, Sadat X, Living Proof, Shorty Black, and more. Loving the graffiti inspired cover art and DJ Chonz did the dam thing on the mix.
You may want a good 30 mins to get through this post. I got some info on this guy via email submission. I get excited when I see a name in my inbox that I’ve never heard of before. I get even more excited when I start skimming through music and videos and like what I hear and see.
So Devine has been doing this for a while. Visit his Bandcamp page and you will see that he has projects dated back to 2007 (didn’t even know Bandcamp was around that long). He’s a father of 2 girls and reps Lexington, KY. Check the video below to learn more about him and what he has going on currently.
As far as his music is concerned, he’s most certainly reppin Hip Hop! The real deal indeed when it comes to lyrics, flow, rhyme style, substance, wordplay, etc. The latest single he released is suitably titled “Brown Sugar” featuring Jalin Roze. Check that out.
And the following video was released in 2010 actually, but I feel it embodies who he is as an emcee and hip hop artists. “Hang Onto The World” is a single from “The JewelzTape”. Check that out too.
If you’re feeling this cat as I am, I have added some more links for him below. He has project in the works now called “Heart of a King” due to drop next month (as mentioned in the profile video) so be on the lookout for that.
Big up Fredrick Elliot who produced this track. The Doom sample is a definite plus. This single will be on the upcoming Blue Flowers LP. Don't let the first 35 secs of the video fool you. Song is dope!
New comer to the Chicago hiphop/music scene, 17 year old high school student Marty Brown @_MartyBrown_ drops "My Thing" as a formal introduction. He's a bit different from most rappers his age, he's more interested in looking for a college to go to once he graduates from high school and looking for a tall glass of orange juice compared to looking for Kush and beverages he’s not "legally" old enough to drink yet lol....just a fat kid that loves hiphop, orange juice and school. The video for "My Thing" will be dropping Friday directed by WRITERS WEDNESDAY.
This song is about the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Things we all go through no matter how young or old, rich or poor. Sometimes you just need a moment to "Breathe." Iron Solomon presents the second single from his debut album, 'Monster,' out March 27th on Royal/3D. "Breathe" is produced by Iron Solomon with co-production from Isaiah.
"The Collection” is music produced by TreTracks between 2007 and 2012. The project features unreleased instrumentals, collaborations, and remixes of some of his favorite hip hop artists blended together by Dj Silenze. TreTracks has been producing since mid-2004, and released a limited press instrumental album entitled “First Name Is Warren” in 2007. In 2011 he did his first digital album production for emcee Quotes Dawson entitled “Making Due". His production can also be heard on two of J. Nolan's albums "Broken Dreams", and "Chaos Theory". The main goal of the project is to introduce the body of work and range involving TreTracks's production to the listener. In 2012 he will be releasing an EP entitled "100 Styles and Drummin" and a full length album "Ohio Soul".
Check that out and make sure to rate, comment, and share if you like.
Two more singles released from Billy Danze's RUN project. It's good to see Serius Jones is still doing his thing. Remember him from all those rap battles? Does his freestyle skill transfer to record? I guess we will see. And tell me what you think about the the joint with XL and Torae. Tracks are listed in same order described.
Thanks for this one partner! Ladies of HipHop REPRESENT!
"Part of her inaugural Sound & Style series, media personality Simone "Boss Lady" Amelia hosts The Freestyle, the Reebok Classics-sponsored first all-female rap cipher — Round Two featuring Audra The Rapper, Lady Luck, Nina B and Rapsody." From Youtube
“Clean innovative production. Lyrics that complement tracks instead of reaching for a connection. Popular movie interludes that lead the project in the direction that the artist intended. Man this is really needed right now.” Oh, what’s up people, don’t mind me, I’m just speaking out loud about what I’m thinking when I listen to Supreme Supreme by TV.
In my opinion, this mixtape should be the blueprint for new artists these days. I really hate to sound as if there is no good music being created right now, but I NEVER saw this one coming. Without any indication that it’s trying to fit the mold, Supreme Supreme rivals certain mainstream artists’ attempts at putting together a sound project that pushes Hip Hop to the limit and leaps outside of the box in terms of production and lyricism.
TV brings a clever nonabrasive flavor to the game without coming off soft or corny. With guest appearances from the likes of A. Driver, Intalek, Jane Doe, and a sole production effort from Dante Lewis, this mixtape is definitely a work of art and not just some throw-together-I-need-some-music-out CD. Supreme Supreme bolsters a slew of high points and maybe only one or two lows, but the highs are so strong that even the lows become contagious; as they’re placed so snugly between the gems, that you don’t want to fast forward and miss something that could possibly be embedded beyond the first 30 seconds of the song.
A few standouts on the CD are the lead off track called Dopeage ft.A. Driver. A hypnotic track with a mellow hook add strength to already potent lyrics that are far, far from mellow, yet the marriage between the two creates a solid composition that will definitely catch a rewind after its initial listen. Another one is Michael Young History Jr. which sends us on a trip through a few chapters and the end of a misguided young man with an eye for the streets and driven by his affinity for wanting to be just like pops. Great story telling ability by TV effortlessly gives a visual appeal to the track and will make it unfairly easy for any video director who might want to knock out a storyboard in seconds and provide the visuals for this one. Bxtch Stewie ft. Intalek is a prime example of just how out of the box this mixtape really is. Beyond the potent battle rapping, this extra large track with a mystical piano instantly causes the “ugly face” and head nod once the rhyming starts. Lastly, TV shows his versatility by hitting us a dope spoken word piece on the Outro that serves as the dessert to an already satisfying meal of music. I’ve seen and heard a few MCs attempt spoken word before, but it always ends up being a prerecorded rhyme just performed a capella; and that, my friend, is NOT spoken word. TV attempts, executes, and sticks the landing with his stab and with that alone, he is winning in the category of showing range.
With that said, I say bravo Mr. TV, yourself and Mr. Lewis have created a lane that the underground has been missing now for a long time and hopefully more artists (and not just Virginia artists) will turn on that blinker and hop on over for the ride. Maybe there is still hope for the true purpose of Hip Hop in 2012. “Two thumbs up, dope, necessary, man look…” Oh, yeah, as you can see, I just turned Supreme Supreme back on for another listen. Like I said earlier, don’t mind me….I’m happy with Hip Hop right now because of this joint. As always, until the culture calls y’all, Writer Jones…Out
Been sitting on this one for a minute. Was waiting to get some additional info on the guy, but couldn't wait anymore. LOL. What I can tell you is that the project features production from Oddisee, Slimkat78, yU, The Gyfted, Nomad, and Decomposed so that should tell you something about the beats and quality if you recognize any of those names. I gave it several listens in the meantime and its DOPE. Definitely slept on. Cortez is an emcee of high caliber for sure. Check out the project and feel free to comment.
"Mic Pro's" is the 3rd release off Grant's upcoming project Giant dropping Spring 2012. The project will feature new music from Sadat X of Brand Nubian, A.G. of DITC, Phil G, Pugs Atomz, Add-2, Lumba Blackwood & more! Cuts on this track are courtesy of DJ Hush.
Rashid Hadee releases second video for the POV (Point of View) track from Aural Sex. If you read my review on the album, you know that I LOVE this joint! If you haven't read the review, click on the Rashid Hadee label to pull up everything Rashid Hadee related. You will find it there.
Fresno’s finest unite! West Coast veteran Planet Asia and promising Fashawn are probably the two best-known MCs to emerge from Fresno, California. On Planet Asia's new album Black Belt Theatre, the two unite with Michigan up-and-comer Willie The Kid for the posse cut "Fuck Rappers." Check out the single below.
Also check out their live performance in Fresno. They gets it in!
To pre-order Black Belt Theatre go to either one of links:
The Promise is comprised of MC/Producer duo Squair Blaq and Mulatto Patriot respectfully. This here is their new joint Soundcatcher which features Neak and Pugs Atomz. I was going to say something about the displays of Black Love at the end but I don't think that last chic was black. lol. It's all good though. Enjoy!
For the 2nd installment of the 2dopeboyz.com assisted
"Fear Not Failure" series, QuESt enlists the help of rising indie
group "Foster The People" for his latest lyrical slew over "Call
It What You Want", directed by Crooked Engine. The Miami bred artist is
gearing to release his upcoming project "Fear Not Failure" sooner
than later. Till then, sit back and enjoy as he does what he does best. Loving this one too. Can not wait for this project to drop. A breathe of fresh air indeed.
Oh, if you missed part 1, click on the labels below to listen and watch vid for Ten Cent Pistol.
“Following his last single Morning Breeze, Toronto based Producer/Emcee Mazaman is back at it again with his new single "Black Is". Mazaman sheds light on his rendition of the word black while celebrating the history and legacies of the world's first people.” From YouTube... And if I could add, in light of the whole Nicki Minaj fiasco on the Grammys last night, this is nice to see. Sometimes we need a reminder of those who blazed the path for us. We should live more by their example.
THIS is the first official release from the Columbus, Ohio emcee Copywrite's God Save The King: Proper English Version album, due to drop April 30th. The video was shot in the United States and in London, the latter courtesy of Dirty Media and Despa of Stay Fresh Digital. Production for the track is courtesy of Stu Bangas and cuttin and skratchin is courtesy of DJ Drastic.
Antagonist Dragonspit (Norfolk,VA) and Dublohskytzo
(Manassas, VA) collaborate on this new track called "Axis of
Evil". The concept is simple. The Axis of Evil that Bush referred to is
right here in VA. Antagonist drops some
street knowledge laced with his usual barrage of punchlines and disses to wack
Imperial is a producer based in Cambridge, UK . He has recently been signed to Illect Recordings in the States. Currently he's working on an album that will feature a host of dope MC's and will drop later this year. The first single 'Raw' from the album has been released just last week and is available at the usual spots (iTunes, HMV digital etc.) and here: http://illect.bandcamp.com/album/raw/. 'Raw’ features verses from Sivion, Sintax The Terrific, muzeONE and JustMe.
Before the ruckus with his upcoming effort Fear Not Failure
begins, Miami's QuESt debuts the first video from his four-part weekly
freestyle series, presented by 2DopeBoyz. For the first release, QuESt tackles
Black Keys' "Ten Cent Pistol" with clean cut visuals showcasing his
delivering in elegant style, and crisp grace. Video directed by Crooked Engine.
Freestyles from the series WILL NOT be on Fear Not Failure.
QuESt is a 21 year old MC from Miami FL, who's diversity,
message, & and lyrical capabilities set him apart from the average plethora
of rappers that have saturated the media world. Known for his alias "John
Q", QuESt prides himself on speaking from the heart, and pushing his
universal mindset called "N.E.A.T.O" (Never Ever Allow The Obscene)
to the masses to encourage people to steadily move forward towards your ambitions
by not allowing negativity to stop you from achieving. With a strong head on
his shoulders, a talent for making great music, and a humble attitude, QuESt is
definitely somebody you should be checking out sooner than later.
Toronto up-and-comer CALiPH, released his debut LP, The
Resignation, in January and since has received tremendous radio-play in the
“Maple Leaf State” thanks to his versatility and the projects diversity, as
CALiPH nimbly shows his range by melding old-school soul, smooth R&B and
classic boom-bap rap into one cohesive project. The Resignation features
production from Rich Kidd (Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Fashawn, Colin Munroe, Chase
N. Ca$he, Tona) and M-Phazes (Slaughterhouse, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch,
Emilio Rojas, Sean Price, Royce 5’9, Elzhi, Redman, Amerie, Skyzoo).
I can’t even lie, after reading the description of this EP, I was perplexed. With the seemingly static line being toed by most Hip Hop acts lately when it comes to creativity, I couldn’t grasp how Rock & Roll could be fused with Hip Hop and interpreted successfully, without being too deliberate in its delivery. Well, Brooklyn MC Local North and Canadian Hip Hop producer hunkE have accomplished this with the Northern Lights EP .
Feeling more like one continuous composition with 5 different movements, these two artists succeeded in their mission to chef an acceptable introductory announcement for their careers. Larger than life tracks and ultra-personal lyrics make for a movie soundtrack-like project that leaves you wondering when, not if, you will hear this production team’s work again while the preview for the latest Mark Wahlberg flick flashes across the screen.
In my opinion the production is considerably stronger than the lyrics (at times Local North loses you in where he’s trying to go with his verse), but in a Preemo/Group Home type fashion, it works well enough to make for a decent project to check out while just riding or hanging out satisfying that “think music” craving that we all get at times. The standouts on the EP are the leadoff cut Dream, which sets the mood with a seductive female voice that serves as a perfect undertone for this heavy metal guitar sampled track. Also peaking as rewind worthy is All You Knew. This one caught my attention, again, due to production and the perfect location of a sample that fits, but once more it’s rather hard to decipher what North is getting at in his rhyme. After a couple of repeats, I believe I pinned it down, but I enjoyed the track so much that I really wasn’t concerned after about the first 4 spins. Overall, the production on Northern Lights really carries the project and the lyricism I feel will get better with time, but right now it’s just not there. I still recommend giving the EP a listen though, especially if you’re the type who likes to bless your Hip Hop palette with a fresh and different flavor every now and then.
I was anticipating this one. Rashid Hadee always comes with the beats and rhymes. And based on the title, I was mad curious to see how the story was going to unfold.
’Aural’ is defined as ‘of or relating to the ear or the sense of hearing’. Pinky Tuscadera was the girlfriend of the Fonze on Happy Days. You know Pinky had to be a bad mamma jamma if Fonze chose her. I googled that info, but then saw that all of that information was in the email blast anyways. Thought I was doing something when I found that info. Anywho, put that together and you can probably guess that the concept of the album is about Rashid’s search to finding his Pinky and more than likely all the situations that happened during his journey.
The production on Aural Sex is incredible. In the interview I did with him, I was impressed to find out that he can actually play some real instruments. He truly displays those additional talents on Aural Sex, playing guitar and keys on several tracks. You know what, let me just get right into the tracks.
1. Back On My Grind – What a way to start the album. Drums and snares are kick ass, and that electric guitar just sears through the song. I think the title speaks for itself.
2. POV – When this song started, I was like I know he’s not going to attempt to flip the same sample Kanye used on Common’s Break my Heart from the Finding Forever album. Yep, he did. But he took it and ran with the damn thing. It still has that same feel and groove of the Common song, but it’s sped up a bit and with the added instruments, the bassline melody, the keys, and those damn symbols, he takes that sample to another level. Sorry Kanye but Rashid got this one. Oh, guess y’all want to know what this track is about. It’s equivalent to that first meet, that first impression. He sees what he wants, but doesn’t want to step to the lady sideways or else she may take his approach the wrong way.
3. Something Special – I don’t even want to tell y’all what this one is about because it may give away the ending, but let’s just say he in fact gets something special in the end. SMH, men.
4. She Ain’t Coming Back – Things happen. You think something is going to pop off with a special someone, but folk flip on you and you don’t know why. I fux with this beat hard. *2 step*.
5. The All – It takes a minute, literally, for the beat to drop on this one, but it comes in real smooth like like a thief in the night. Features Augustine and Melatone. Lyrics are poetical.
6. Temperatures Rising – A little birdie told me that this is a sample free track. Not bad at all. Nice tune and he’s expressing loyalty, whether it be for your girl or your stick man. Features JV.
7. Let Me Be – Impressed with this song. It’s not often you hear a man talking about being the side jawn, but wanting to be the main jawn. He’s in love with a lady who’s in a bad relationship. The ending is not pretty.
8. Man’s Best Friend – Now if he’s metaphorically comparing his relationship with a lady to an owner/dog relationship, I can’t get with that. I guess this song would balance out the album, and maybe I missed something so an additional explanation is welcomed. [Place government name here], you have some explaining to do.
9. The Greatest Mother Ever – Now this one I can do. This track is drenched in satire and truth. It’s quite common now to see a woman post pics of herself half naked on a social network even though her bio says she’s a mom. Or what about the ones that choose to spend a grip on some hair as opposed to buying her kids some clothes or throwing that money in a savings account. I can go on for days about that ratchet behavior, but Rashid addresses that creatively in this song.
10. The Coolest – So Rashid has come to the conclusion that all he wants is a chic that’s cool. Someone who’s there for him, someone with a positive attitude, someone who’s loyal, attractive, good head on her shoulders, etc. Has he found it? Guess we will find that out with the next project.
So with the exception of one song (even though I still liked the production), I say this one is a winner. It’s musically intoxicating, and it flows like a storybook. Did y’all peep the album cover though? It’s a face that clearly says ‘are you F’n serious?’ LOL