Friday, May 13, 2011

TML Radio. 5.10.11

More radio goodness for y'all to rock too! This week I started out with some funk, took it back to some 90s NY hiphop, and jumped into the sounds of the future. Killer Mike, Jeeks, Stevie Wonder, Terror Danjah, Jay-Z, Charles Bradley, Rick James and of course a SOTA tune just to name a few of the voices making appearances in this week's edition of TML Radio.

Download Part 1.

Download Part 2.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TML Radio 5.3.11

Making it two weeks in a row! Wahoo. Back again, this week on the air at KSUB I kicked it off with Shigeto, Eskmo and some Butterz jamz before dropping heavy into some hiphop goodness. I rocked with one of the new SOTA jams and went back in time to Eminem, RBX & Sticky Fingaz "Remember Me." It was a fun show and I unfortunately dropped the ball a few times, with some dead air and the cutting off of the last song in the first hour. Oh well, I'm keeping at it and the music is what really matters. Download below.

The Musik Lounge On KSUB (5.3.11) Part 1

The Musik Lounge On KSUB (5.3.11) Part 2

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TML Radio 4.26.11

It's been far too long. I'm gonna try to post up my weekly radio show. It takes place every Tuesday from Noon to 2 PM. Check it at www.ksubseattle.org. This week I was all over the place, opening with some electronically re-tweaked Eric Dolphy tunes to Austin Peralta and Teebs. Kendrick and Tech N9ne, ST and DaVinci, UGK, Shabazz, Aaliyah, Fabolous, Addison Groove, Scuba, The Dramatics and more stuff I'm not gonna bother listing. Download and rock out to some wild sounds.

Part 1

Part 2

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Q & A with Avatar Young Blaze



With his latest video Avatar Young Blaze takes some time away from the streets and relaxes off that fine Cali Kush before taking some aggression out on the bloggers who just don't seem to buy dude's stories. You should.

I first started hearing about him sometime last year, maybe once prior to that but he has been out here in Seattle making a name for himself in two circles. The streets will never let Avatar's name be smeared. In rap circles he is starting to capture more attention and with just cause.

I hit up his manager about doing an interview, discovered that he no longer calls Seattle home, but was invited to converse via email. If you thought this was just your average 21 year old knuckle head you are only kidding yourself.

TML: Who is Avatar? Where were you born, when?
Avatar Young Blaze: Avatar is the embodiment of a concept, being music, destined since birth. I was born in 1989 in Tallin, Estonia although my mother is full Russian & father is full Ukrainian.

TML: How long was Seattle home? Where did you live here?
Seattle has been home since I was a toddler, my family moved to New York, which was suppose to be our destination, but then they decided to follow some relatives and move to Seattle. I lived in surrounding areas outside Seattle up until 8th grade when my pops passed away, my mom moved to the inner-city. I grew up in the Central District, went to Garfield high.



TML: When did you get into rap? Who were you listening too?
I got into rap around the age of 9 years old, the first CDs I listened to were Bone Thugs N Harmony's Eternal E. 1999 & Eazy E's Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin Compton.

TML: You father was a painter, was this his livelihood? If not what did he do? Your mother?
Yes my father has been an artist since he was a kid, he went to art school in St. Petersburg, Russia & practiced art everyday. It was definitely his passion & livelihood. I think that's where I get a big portion of my creative side. My mother started as a bank teller & worked her way up, she is still in the banking industry.

TML: When was the last time you were in Russia?
The last time I visited Russia was about 4 or 5 years ago, although I've been to Ukraine & Estonia in the last couple years. I was actually booked for a show in Moscow this past April but the ash cloud didn't permit that. I plan on going back very soon.

TML: How did you get down with Oldominion? Did you ever record verses on any OD associated projects?
I first got introduced to Oldominion through Sleep. I went to one of his shows because I was always a fan & he spotted me out the crowd & randomly pulled me on stage and I started rappin. I was like 13 years old. OD showed me alot of love and taught me alot about not only music but life... Shout out to Bishop I, Anax, Snafu, Pale, Barfly, Karim, Onry just to name a few.



TML: What Seattle rap are you fucking with today?
As far as local kats, I'm fucking with my dudes Reese, Carey Stacks representing that Shadow Company. Framework, 151 (free 151) and Eighty4 Fly.

TML: Prefered chronic strain? Prefered blunt wrap?
You can't really beat that OG Kush, but lately I been on that Alaskan Thunderfuck, that shit is crazy. When I went to Amsterdam I smoked some Super Silver Haze which exceeded new heights. Far as preferred wrap, I usually smoke them one layer swishers but lately I been on them papers just to switch it up an give my lungs a break.

TML: What was your first released mixtape or album?
The first project I ever dropped was called The Russian Roulette Mixtape, I was about 14 or 15 years old, only pressed 200 copies.

TML: How long have you been operating out of LA? What's your network like out there? Do you view Seattle as your home town?
I been in LA since the beginning of the year, definitely been getting my network on. Seattle will always be my hometown no matter if I'm in Cairo, Egypt or Atlanta, Georgia. Seattle made me who I am today.



TML: Have you and MTK worked together in person?
Me & MTK got a couple joints in the archives, you'll be hearing them soon shout out to MTK he get it the fuck in

TML: What did you want people to walk away from Warm Blooded Cold Heart thinking?
I wanted people to get a more in depth understanding of me, to see that I have another side to me, not just the street shit. I'm a well rounded person and my music is commonly put in that gangster rap category when I can make any type of music and still remain true to myself.

TML: Do you see yourself in the tradition of gangster rap?
I don't want my music to be labeled or put in one category. I'm Avatar. My own genre.

TML: What was your introduction to the street life, how would you characterize your activities?
I been in the streets ever since I was about 12 years old, my uncle Oscar (RIP) was doin' his thing & I basically got introduced to all that at a very young age, it ran in the family. By 14 I was packing pistols & selling drugs, hangin & bangin'. My pops was gone & mom was always out of town so I looked up to dudes I seen in my neighborhood. I was definitely misguided, and my fathers death affected me so tough I kind of went to a dark place.

TML: How did your brother get a 17 year bid? How old were you when this happened? What is his name?
Dave Blaze, he's in Clallum Bay, been down about 4 years so I was 16 when the situation happened. Long story short he shot somebody in the head, but it was out of self defense, we were at a Franklin High dance, an issue presented itself & what happened happened. He's working on his appeal right now, so I'm preying he gets some time cut off, because he got hit with a whole bunch of enhancements that he shouldn't have got charged with.

TML: How old were you when you first were arrested? Where did you spend your time in jail?
In 8th grade I was going to a middle school in Bellevue, I got arrested for 2nd degree robbery in front of my whole school, they took me to juvy and I spent about a week in there, my mom bailed me out and got me a lawyer, I ended up getting the case dismissed. She said she would never bail me out again, and she wasn't lying.



TML: Is rap a medium you feel can convey a message about a way of life misunderstood and misconstrued to create fear?
Yes. To me, Rap is modern poetry. It's first and foremost emotions expressed by the artist through lyrics and music. There is a lot more pain than fear. Fear is just a derivative.

TML: Can your experiences in the streets provide you an opportunity to speak to other people in similar situations across urban america and worldwide?
Yes, Definitely. I would also like to add that I've been in the rough neighborhoods beyond the borders of America, and believe me, the ghetto's of Kingston, Jamaica and Kharkiv, Ukraine have lots in common with the streets of U.S. in terms of human experience.

One thing I really want to get across is, the streets are in no way shape or fashion sweet... unless you legitimize yourself, there's only two ways out - that cell or that casket. I am in no way shape or form trying to glorify.

Man I've been asked this before. Im here to tell my story. Not only my struggles. My ups and downs. I just choose to escape through music. The problem is there's been more downs than ups in my life. To answer your question I'm not here doing this to save muthafuckas I'm here doin this to save myself and my family. Thats all I got. What I tell others when they ask me how can I be as clever and hard working as you is huff gasoline, it ensures they never will be.

There were many artist, I'm not talkin about rappers - I'm talkin about artists, growin up in my world you had to have something to turn to, something that would take your mind off reality. My father escaped through the canvas, my mom was a singer. I'll tell you right now. Art is everything. Art is all around us. The way you walk, dress, talk. I don't let people I don't know or respect influence me. I live my own life, I speak my own life. This shit is just natural to me. I've been doing this rap shit since I was 9 years old before I even knew what rap was to rock and jazz beats. Its just my way of poetry, my way of expression. This is real shit. This is no chosen way of life. He deals the cards. I play them. I'm just releasing my thoughts my everyday life. I got nobody else to talk to. This ain't rap or hip hop, r&b or rock. This is Avatar Young Blaze, Avenue Avatar whatever the fuck you want to call me, I do what I like, I say what's on my mind, and that's it. It is what it is.

---

I wanna thank Rico of Shadow Company for helping make this happen and Avatar for the time! You can download Avatar Young Blaze latest mixtape Russian Revolution here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tunes from the Whip: Bob James "One"

One night while playing “Nautilus” on my radio show at KSUB a listener hit me up asking if it was some new DJ Shadow. Bob James was way ahead of his time! The much sampled and at times unfindable record in any diggin spot has lost much of it’s luster since it’s hey day being pilfered by a laundry list of classic 90s boom bap producers. It is simply titled One and it bangs.

Opening with an epic, spooky jam the music here is ready for the big screen. Sounding like the perfect sequence for an amazing car chase that is choreographed perfectly, Bob James conducts an array of players to create the ultimate in explosive feelings. Bombast doesn’t even begin to capture the horns here. HUGE.

Track two sounds like it might have been right at home at my co-workers country concert this weekend. No vocals are present but it’s certainly bluesy. I’m not mad at it actually. Listening to it while riding the bus (more on that in a bit) made me appriciate the slow moving beauty placed in the strings.

Bob James doesn’t hold himself back though and One is right back at, killing fools with beats and breaks for days. While he isn’t using a drum machine and the tunes play out like the songs they were written as, I still think an adept emcee could take this album (or any of his first three) and construct an amazing piece of Hip Hop history over it.

Of course the jam here that everyone always looks for is “Nautilus” and for good reason. Everyone always talks about it’s underwater, aquatic feel and I don’t know what it is that he did but it certainly has that about itself. I believe I’ve heard that this feeling is what prompted the name. It’s got great drums (all the tracks here do, see CTI) and Jon Faddis (Madlib’s uncle) is on the horns.

As I stated, I’m now riding the bus. This will be the last Tunes from the Whip. I’m contemplating continuing it as Tunes from the Bus, maybe View from the Bus? Let me know what y’all think. I got some more interviews coming, don’t think that one rapper turned singer will keep me down!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

August Heatrocks


Download the August Heatrocks here!

Emotion in a verse is a powerful tool. It can make a weak verse sound dope. But if you are actually spitting, and displaying some real passion about those words - game over. Don Trip kicks off the August Heatrocks with “Letter 2 My Son." Sounds like his son's mom is putting him through some bullshit and he couldn’t handle it anymore. The dude just wants to be their for his child.

Big K.R.I.T. has stormed the rap world in 2010 dropping K.R.I.T. Wuz Here early on and not letting up, connecting with Def Jam, Curren$y and that camp things just seem to be falling into place for the Mississippi representer. He has been at it for awhile though and their is a lot of fresh work to dig through if you so desire. I’ve done my hardest to find as much as I can and start that process. Here is one jam I found that displays a little more hunger than on much of what I’ve heard as of late.

I had a random song for a long time that I loved by a guy named Rozewood. I never heard or saw anything by him. Recently I saw an album in my iTunes by a Rozewood. It’s rap, it’s a dude. It could be the same guy. I’m really not sure. That song I loved isn’t here but 2012 holds cuts. “Hennessy Afterparty” is a good jam that anyone who has ever kicked it on the late night after hours tip would have to enjoy... maybe this should be our theme song?

I believe Sene is an LA rapper coming up right now. Haven’t given his tape a spin but this track “Workflow” came on in shuffle and it stuck with me. The beat is AWESOME! Up beat and fun, Sene rides it and feels like he is just loving life, enjoying himself. Passion.

A James Brown anything is pretty much perfect and probably gonna move anyone, thus why he is the most sampled artist of all time. Someone named Parker (not of the SOTA Boys) regrooved “It’s A Man's World” to pretty dope results. Laying some real clean congo drums underneath the classic track, dropping in random rap vocal snippets and a few other tweaks here and there you have an awesome reinterpretation of an unforgettable song.

This instrumental slow jam by The Clonious called “Hang On” might just make you feel that way. Feeling like some free jazz straight out of NYC circa 1968, it’s probably not what everyone is looking for but it’s quick and awesome.

Starlito is by far the best artist I’ve discovered this year. Ok that might be an overstatement but he is DOPE and his back catalog is just as on point. Over a haunting beat Lito tells us about his “Homies.” Some he’s lost, some he’s fallen out with, some have left him. The stories he tells are honest and he holds nothing back. It’s eye opening.

Theophilus London is a brilliant artist from Brooklyn who is merging so many styles of music I would never try to place him in one space. He does it all. Seeing him open for A-Trak last year solidified my already high suspicion that he was a secret talent. As he progresses in his career and refines what it is he does it’s going to be awesome for us to hear. His latest mixtape already hints at even bigger things to come. He kicks off the tape with an awesome Marvin Gaye cover for the song “I Want You.” Rapping the first verse over sparse drums and then letting the track fill up and singing us out, it’s glorious.

While down in Oregon packing my room in a house I never lived in I was messaged by Matson asking if I listened to Lil B. I had only recently been hearing the name but didn’t pay any attention to him. Matson directed me to a few youtube clips and then said “proceed at your own risk.” His lazy flow is great and the beat here on “Birth of Rap” is pretty dope spaced out production. I feel like he is a product of Lil Wayne. He strikes me as just being incredibly creative and never wanting to stop. He has the money to do it so he is. Can’t be mad at it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever dig into the thousand or so songs he posted on his website but if they come on here and there I’ll take notice.

Slugabed is pretty ridiculous in my eyes. He concocts some crazy shifty, beat shit for the year 10,000. Being introduced to him via his banging remix of “Super Freak” I’ve been on the watch ever since. From the EP of the same name “The Moon Zoop Jam” is slower and more of a composition. Featuring numerous change ups and multiple synths and squeeks you will not be bored nor unmoved.

Wiz has put his city on and I for one have been trying to find as much as I can from Pittsburgh. Divine Seven has a mixtape out entitled LISTEN!!! - this track “Reachin” is off of it and every other song from it that’s come on has made me look to see who it was. He’s good. The ‘burgh has some talent I think. This features a mellow jazzy beat with a dusty drum loop and a simple 2 bar violin sample, the perfect canvas for Seven to talk about working for more out of life.

Terror Danjah took the cue from Wiley and let loose two free projects. Hardstrumentals is a project of beats he has made. This one with it’s repeating high pitched “So Real” vocal sample over a cool piano line and some serious bass seems ready to be rapped on. I love that artists are just making stuff and putting it out there for their fans to enjoy. I’m personally finding great music all the time and it’s being released by the artist on their own terms. Here is one example.

July was Curren$y month, but it didn’t really slow down in August. The song I found myself coming back to a month after it’s release was this Stalley featured jam “Address.” It’s great, I felt it as I was moving into my first real home in almost a year. The beat feels like life to me, it’s like a breath of fresh air caught on wax. Stalley is far and away a better emcee than Spitta but they almost compliment each other. “Ain’t nothin changed but the address... Ain’t nothin changed...”

More of that electro party music for ya! Seriously this shit is the new Hip Hop beat in my eyes. I love dusty NY, 90s boom bap but this is the future, time to make something new. Rusko’s album is pretty hit and miss with me but this track mashes. Just big time, loud, full, funness. Get down!

I’m not really sure where this MF Borat album emerged from but this song is a remix of one of my favorite songs ever. Wale Oyejide released “This is Dedicated To...” on his debut solo album. Here it is remixed with an almost as stellar beat that features celebratory drums that make you wanna dance. Doom’s verse is included and they add vocals by another chick who does a good job, but I’d still take Wale’s version, gonna have to dig it up.

Smoke DZA is another in the current line of weed rappers. He does his thing, but I do agree with my guy Thad that he doesn’t really distinguish himself. This cut is hella fun and his whole album (free!) is def good music to sit back and burn to. Enjoy and roll up!

The Widdler was unknown to me until the album came on and I decided to let it ride through. I liked it from what I remember. Here on the tune “Long Gone” you get an up beat groove with spacey synths, stuttering drums and a repetitious vocal refrain. I like the deepness to the bass in the background and the vocals are totally awesome.

Download the August Heatrocks here!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An update...

Some of you may have come to The Musik Lounge looking for an interview with Lace Cadence. It has been pulled down. I'm in the process of meeting with other people involved in the Seattle Hip Hop community at the same time as him and hope to provide more insight into another time in the town when the rap was just as cracking. I apologize to my readers and promise not to make this a trend.