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|Thurs, October 15, 2015 at 2:32 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
According to many Hip-Hop Heads, one of the most complete, cohesive Rap albums of the 2000s is Little Brotherâ€™s The Minstrel Show. Released by Atlantic Records, the LP is a bittersweet moment for its makers and its legions of fans. Ten years ago yesterday (September 13, 2005), 9th Wonder, Phonte, and Rapper Big Pooh made their final studio album as a trio. Their highest charting appearance in a group career that spanned 2001-2011, the North Carolina-based trio delivered the kind of album that fans hoped would follow debut The Listening.
In the decade since The Minstrel Show, much has changed for Little Brother and the complete Hip-Hop landscape. While that moment in musical time produces a lot of questions, what-ifâ€™s, and warm general sense of nostalgia, one thing is true: all three group founders are making great music still.
Although Phontigallo, Pooh, and 9th rarely go backwards these days, theyâ€"joined by former group manager Big Dho, Atlantic Records exec James Lopez, and Soul Council/Away Team member Khrysis, honored the groupâ€™s lone major label LP with reflection. Watch Loud spoke to the men, and gathered some information that makes the remembrance all the sweeter.
This comprehensive feature by Jerry Barrow recalls the storied (and sudden) meeting with Lyor Cohen, Big Pooh forgetting lyrics twice in one day (circa 2003), and the growth the group and its members made between 2001 and 2004.
Looking specifically at The Minstrel Show, it is revealed that Kanye West, Just Blaze, Method Man, Sean Price, and Yasiin Bey (among others) were present for many of the album sessions (Dho provides photographs of the studio and the master DAT tapes). The famed cover art was shot at the label (by Dho), by mere happenstanceâ€"on an out-of-the-box camera.
â€œWeâ€™re coming off the heels of Rawkus Records and that term â€˜backpackâ€™ was really thrown around and it was us against the ones we thought were too commercial,â€ reflects 9th. â€œI can honestly say us being on Atlantic [Records] we went in trying to be social misfits. We werenâ€™t trying to fit in in anyway shape or form.â€
|Thurs, October 15, 2015 at 1:40 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The Brooklyn, New York MC and one of the groupâ€™s onetime leaders joins Method Man (Tical, Tical 2000) and Ghostface Killah (Ironman) with last monthâ€™s platinum certification of Liquid Swords, as confirmed by RIAA.
Released on Geffen Records November 7, 1995, the Words From The Genius follow-up work featured the title track single, followed by â€œCold Worldâ€ and â€œ4th Chamber,â€ all produced by RZA. The first two singles both cracked the Top 100, despite rugged beats and dark lyrical themes. Beyond featured Clansmen, the LP was a breakthrough for would-be Sunz Of Man MC Killah Priest. The album would be certified gold in January of 1996.
In 2002, GZA would release Legend Of The Liquid Sword, an homage to the style emphasized on his sophomore. This album followed his only other gold-certified LP, 1999â€™s Beneath The Surface. Presently, GZA is at work on Dark Matter, his first solo effort since 2008.
Although GZA has been one of the quietest Wu-Tang Clan members, is this moment an awakening of his greatness and commercial viability when high profile members such as Olâ€™ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon, and RZA have not achieved this feat? Perhaps more evocatively, is Liquid Swords truly the strongest Wu solo LP
|Tue, September 29, 2015 at 5:02 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
No matter what you think of his ego, we can all agree that Kanye West is one of the greatest hip-hop producers of all time. One of his best qualities is his ability to reinvent his style and find new forms of expression. Although Ye's production style of production has evolved from album to album, he's most famous for changing the game with soul samples. If you like that aspect of his aesthetics, then you're going to like the producers on this list.
J. Dilla -
1. J Dilla
Rakim influenced Nas (lyrically that is), just as J Dilla influenced Kanye West. Before he died from lupus-related complications on February 10, 2006, Dilla was well known as the man who pioneered the soul-hip-hop fusion that Kanye West and others later adopted. In the tradition of Pete Rock, Dilla tweaked, turned and transformed soul, funk, and blues samples into a realm that few producers could visualize.
Choice Cut: The Pharcyde - "Runnin'"
Essential Album: Donuts More Â»
2. J. Cole
J. Cole will be the first to admit that he gets his soulful style of production from Mr. West. You can see Ye's fingerprints all over the atmospheric sound of Cole World and Born Sinner.
Choice Cut: "Hi-Power" (Kendrick Lamar)
Choice Album: Born Sinner More Â»
When Oddisee joined Halftooth Records as a producer/MC, one of his first tasks was to breathe some soul into labelmate Wordsworth's already poignant album, Mirror Music. Oddisee's version of the album yielded a superb ten-track CD, forcing Halftooth to re-package Mirror Music as a 2-disc album. Production-wise, he's probably the closest to Kanye West on this list.
Choice Cut: Wordsworth - "Gotta Pay"
Choice Album: The Good Fight
Hip-hop has always been universal, transcending time and space with minimal restraints by the day, and Dutch producer Nicolay is a testament to this. Mainly recognized for his internet-stanchioned collaboration with Phonte (of Little Brother), Connected, Nic often employs plush piano loops and booming basslines to create melodious soundtracks.
Choice Cut: Foreign Exchange - "Sincere"
Choice Album: Connected
Producer/DJ RjD2 is one of the most effective at amalgamating soul, funk, and rock 'n' roll into one sound template. The Ohio native raised eyebrows with his stellar debut, 2002's Deadringer, before following it up with the solid Since We Last Spoke two years later. The alt-rap beat maestro recently teamed up with his Soul Position partner, emcee Blueprint, for their sophomore LP, Things Go Better With Rj and Al.
Choice Cut: RjD2 - "Smoke & Mirrors"
Choice Album: Deadringer
6. 9th Wonder
Even if you've never heard of Little Brother producer 9th Wonder, you've probably heard his boardwork on Destiny Child's "Girl" and Jay-Z's "Threat." 9th has a signature sample-infested and bass-laden production style that has garnered him collaborations with the likes of Pete Rock, M.O.P., Buckshot, Murs, Memphis Bleek, and even Kanye West.
Choice Cut: "Still Lives Through"
Choice Album: The Minstrel Show
7. MF Doom
Metal Fingers Doom is another soul-jacking predecessor of Kanye West's. His beat-making style ranges from dark and nostalgic to stouthearted and gritty. Like Kanye, Doom works the mic as effectively as the boards, but his lyrics may come appear esoteric to new fans. Doom, hip-hop's favorite multiple personality disorder patient, has also dropped gems as Zev Luv X, King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn, and DangerDoom
|Tue, September 29, 2015 at 4:54 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Common is an open book. He's never been one to shy away from tough, personal issues on wax. If you listen intently you could probably name most of the women in his life. His rough childhood and some of his questionable career (and fashion) choices have all graced his albums. But if you think you know the Chicago MC from his music, you're mistaken. On the heels of a memoir that boasts untold street stories among other things, I sat down with the elder statesman of G.O.O.D..
At what point did you realize that you've made it?
Common: I had different points where I felt like I had made it. But, um, one of those points was when Prince invited me to perform at his birthday event. It was myself and Erykah Badu. You know, he's such an incredible musician and a genius and a tastemaker in music. For him to select me, that was a moment when I felt like that I've made some steps from coming from Southside Chicago.
Another moment when it really struck me, like 'Man, I'm making progress' was when I got to perform in Cuba. And, it was representing the United States, but at the same time it was representing hip-hop and African-American culture and everything that I am. It was really a political and spiritual event to be a representative of that.
Many of the rappers who came up around the same time you started out are no longer in the game. If you could name one reason you've lasted this long, what would it be?
I know it sounds like traditional response, but I will have to say it's believing.
Have you ever doubted yourself or career decisions?
Yes, I've doubted myself. There are times I question myself like, 'Why doesn't my record get played on the radio?' And whoever is a hot radio artist at the time would raise doubt in you.
Like, when I did the album Electric Circus. Not only was it not commercially received but even the critics and hip-hop community was like, "What is this?" At that moment, I could've been written off. But I had to believe because I really love what I do. I'm passionate about it. If 12 million recognize it, that's beautiful. If 12,000 do, that's beautiful. But I'm always going to put my heart and soul in it and I'm going to shoot for the stars and go for the highest levels of recognition and creativity. I definitely doubted myself at the time. But it always come back to believing what I do.
Speaking of believing, that's also the title of your new album. So, you've got The Dreamer, The Believer coming out, but you also have a TV show, Hell on Wheels, and a book on the way. Busy year for Common?
Yeah, man. I love these years. These are the years that I live for. For me, it's part of who I am. To have the album coming out and participate in the TV show which is really a great role...I'm loving it. I'm also working on some new film that's on the table.
What was the hardest story for you tell in the book?
I think it was the story of...you know, your dad not being around and...you know, really dealing with that and recognizing that that it's had an effect on your life. Some people who've heard my albums know that my father is present in my life now. But...you know, growing up as a kid, you yearn for that fatherly love. That was hard to deal with, man. Also, being able to be pure and honest about my love relationships and all the ups and downs I've had to conquer. Just showing everybody everything.
I wanted to be as honest as I can be. The book is meant for people to grow from. It's not just a memoir. It's kinda like: these are the ideas of things that I've used to help me in my life, things that were passed on from my mother and my uncle. And this is what I want to pass on to my offspring. When you read it, I hope you can get the vibe
|Tue, September 29, 2015 at 12:18 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Troy Ave is currently working on a new mixtape titled "Major Without A Deal."
Earlier this Summer, Troy Ave released his long awaited debut album called Major Without A Deal, which unfortunately didnâ€™t do too well on the charts as it only sold 4k copies in its first week. Since then, we really havenâ€™t heard much from the Brooklyn rapper after he was slandered on social media for those weak album sales, but it now looks like heâ€™s taking another stab at a new project.
Taking to Instagram on Monday, Troy revealed that heâ€™s been busy working on a follow up mixtape called Major Without A Deal: Reloaded. No word yet as for when weâ€™ll get to hear the project, or who we can expect to hear on it, but he did say that itâ€™s for â€œthe streets, fans, & 4 the REAL.â€
|Tue, September 29, 2015 at 5:16 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
A rally for school equality is proving to be a star-studded affair as Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson is set to headline the event at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, N.Y. this week. Hip-hop legend DJ Jazzy Jeff and â€œThe Manâ€ singer Aloe Blacc are also slated to spin and speak as well, respectively.
â€œIâ€™m standing for education equality because every child deserves access to a great school,â€ said the Dreamgirls actress, whoâ€™s expected to sing at least four songs, according to the New York Daily News.
An estimated 15,000 parents, students and educators are expected to fill Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn on Wednesday (Sept. 30) to â€œcall for an end to New York Cityâ€™s separate and unequal schools.â€
The event, titled â€œStand for School Equality Rally to End the â€˜Tale of Two School Systemsâ€™ in New York Cityâ€ will also bring education leaders, elected officials, staples in the community and student performers to join the celebrities on stage in the rally for justice.
Activists are also planned to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan until they reach the steps of City Hall to hold a press conference.
This wonâ€™t be Aloe Blaccâ€™s only good deed this week. The â€œI Need A Dollarâ€ singer will also perform to fight poverty at the Robin Hood Rocks Festival on Friday (Oct. 2) in New York City.
DJ Jazzy Jeff isnâ€™t new to activism either. The famed producer is known for boycotting the Grammy Awards with his counterpart, Fresh Prince aka Will Smith, in 1989, after they refused to televise the two getting their award. Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeffâ€™s â€œParents Just Donâ€™t Understandâ€ was the first rap song to win a Grammy Award.
|Tue, September 29, 2015 at 5:11 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Just when we thought there couldnâ€™t be another artist to match the unstoppable force known as Drake on the cover of The FADER, the music and lifestyle magazine wows us by unveiling the flip side featuring Rihanna. The double feature will coincide with The FADERâ€˜s 100th issue.
On the cover, RiRi dons an AWAVEAWAKE front slip dress layered over ROCHAâ€™s short-sleeved varsity knit. She completes the look by sporting her Fenty Puma design pink fur slides.
Although itâ€™s been three years since the Rihanna Navy got a full album from the bad gal, thereâ€™s little argument to be made against the 27-year-oldâ€™s everlasting influence. Along with voicing the main character in Pixarâ€™s Home, the entrepreneur released her seventh fragrance, RiRi, and dropped one of 2015â€²s hottest bangers, â€œBitch Better Have My Money.â€ Not to mention, she has all of Instagram drooling over every post from her risquÃ© fashion choices to her winding at the Kadooment Day parade in Barbados.
Unlike Drakeâ€™s cover story, readers get no quotes from the singer. The FADERâ€˜s Mary H.K. Choi calls Rihanna â€œmedia trainedâ€ and explains in length on why interviewing her can be more than difficult. The magazine was allotted a total of five questions to ask her, but she remained mum.
However, the Roc Nation artist did let her creative muscles flex with photographer, Renata Raksha. The two collaborated to capture photos of the â€œAmerican Oxygenâ€ singer â€œas she sees herself.â€