Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dilla, Nas, Pun & Some Musings

I saw someone promoting a Dilla night in Philly rechristian the town Dilladelphia. I liked that. Bullshitting with Swervewon one evening we came up with Dillauary, definetly not as cool but the point remains the same. Anything we can do to keep James Dewitt Yancey's name alive and in the mouths of the public the better everything will be. This mans beats have been praised by far sharper tongues than I but his beats truely can be anything. He flips styles no one fucks with in ways people never would of found imagineable before him.

With his passing we all lost. Music lost. Heveans band just got a little bit stronger. Just think about what he and Marvin are cooking up? People hold Dilla in high regard for this very reason, he was supremely dope. This has led to posturing from people wishing they had been part of the band wagon and it inevitably leads to a person being asked what their relationship is with Jay Dee's music.

It doesn't matter. People are listening and that's what matters. I took from Dilla a desire to find new things. New sounds, sounds I wouldn't think about getting down to. How has Dilla affected you?

To honor Dilla in this, what could only be called his month, Cookin Soul and Squeak Boogie both dropped blend tapes using the mans beats. The trio from Spain (Cookin Soul) pulled double honoree duty by chosing Big Pun's rhymes as the words to grace the music. It's a great choice. Squeak Boogie slected Nas and it is also a great choice.

Both of these emcees have never rocked a Dilla beat (to my knowledge) and both of them sound pristine over the slected tracks. These kind of blend tapes are always a risk but thankfully they were done with taste and class rarely seen. These are both projects I will returning to. Cookin Soul only loses a a few points due to their use of stamps but it's understandable, brand yourselves fellas!

Aside from this minor infraction the production team demonstrates their ear by digging deep into the Dilla vaults and match not only tempos but timbre and delivery, energy and the overall vibe. Although Pun's legacy may be slightly more slanted towards his lady loving player jams, Capitol Punishment is one of the quinetessential 90s NY Boom Bap albums. What NYC was then Detroit was and has reamined, if not deteoriated to an even worse state of affairs. Musically Jay Dee is a compatriot of that era but he wasn't afraid to diversify and expand upon that base. Needless to say you hear some hard core knockers with Pun's ferocious delivery shredding it. Something tells me these two are looking down proud. Don't sleep on the interview interludes either, some great stories about the man!

When it comes to the Nas mash up, it only serves as yet another reminder of how poor an ear Nasir Jones has when it comes to selecting a beat. I'm generally pretty tolerant of an artist making their choices for their own reasons but hearing this it just pisses me off that a voice so talented has been wasted on more than a few cheesey, lame, unmoving pieces of hot trash. Squeak Boogie is a saving grace.

Selecting a varied array of verses from Nas' catolog this tape sees songs from across his career used and a number of guests as well. "Affirmative Action" is here giving the Firm comrades a shot on that Dilla magic, AZ gets another shot with the always great "Lifes A Bitch." Olu Dara's trumpet is missed at the end but given that you will probably be rewinding it before the end multiple times just to hear both of them straight slaughter Dilla's stuttering sampled piano melodies, you probably won't notice to much. This tape is another great example that when done right Nas blend tapes are better than his albums.

If you want to hear the Dilla Dawg, Nas & Big Pun just on some raw and pure Hip Hop shit then this is that uncut straight for your vein. Download and inject.

Download Dilla x Big Pun "Big Dilla"

Download Dilla x Nas "DillMatic"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Q & A with Helladope

Towards the end of January I took a drive south to Beacon Hill to meet up with Tay Sean and Jerm along with assorted other members of the Cloud Nice posse. Helladope emerged on the scene with a sound and style very much their own while at the same time complimenting much of what else is emerging in Seattle right now. They have been talked about by everyone and starting this Wednesday embark on possibly the biggest month of their career. Opening for Goodie Mob at Neumos on the 24th, Snoop Dogg on March 5th at Showbox Sodo and then releasing their full length self titled debut on the 12th of March at Nectar. The guys are hustling.

TML: Can you guys introduce yourselves, where were you born and raised, how long have you been making music?
Tay Sean: My name is Tay Sean, I'm 22 years old, born and raised in the Seattle area and I've been making music all my life.
Jerm: My name is Jerm, born and raised in Seattle. Been actively making music for 13-14 years.
Tay: And our powers combined to form Helladope!

TML: How did that formation come about?
Tay: It's a funny story actually, do you remember this story about how I met you? August 4th 2006. Me & Blake (now their manager) and the homegirl all moved in and it was her birthday and so it was the first big party we ever had at the crib. That's the first time I'd ever seen Jerm and he's freestylin outside with a bunch of the Alpha P heads. At the time I was hella eager and I was like hey man I got some beats you should hear. So they came into my room and started freestyling to some beats, I musta been what 19 at the time. That was how I met Jerm. It was probably another year before we made our first song.

TML: How long was this album in the making?
Jerm: We were working on the album like a year and a half before it was completed, that was like almost two and a half years ago.

TML: Were you hanging out in the lab writing or was he giving you beat discs?
Jerm: I just started coming over, I know other cats from BYC, homies that he got. He just start playing shit.
Tay: After we did a couple cuts I kinda had a good idea of what the sound was that I at least was aiming for with the album, it was kinda that more techno pop shit which seems hella popular in the town right now. At the time I thought I was doing something different (laughs) but apparently not. There was definetly a few beats that Jerm was not fucking with but I think together we were like yeah this is the direction we are gonna go with this as far as the production.

TML: So was the electro pop sound what you had been doing for years prior to this?
Tay: No, definetly not. That was something else specific to the HellaDope project.

TML: I've heard that the title is changing to self titled, is that true?
Tay: Yeah.

TML: What inspired that change?
Tay: "The Return to Planet Rock" is just a corny name (laughs).

TML: What was the first beat you remember hearing when you were a kid?
Tay: You mean like a hip hop beat though?

TML: It could be a drum break from a James Brown song, not necessarily a Hip Hop beat, whatever.
Tay: Oh, Michael Jackson. Yeah I used to want to be Michael Jackson
Jerm: I think mine might be Michael Jackson too.
Tay: I think the first song that I really tried to remember lyrics to was "Bad" and then I got the Moonwalker on VHS and it was over.

TML: Is there a history of muscians in your families?
Jerm: My mother is an actress and a singer. My brothers sing. I pretty much grew up in church doing alot of singing an performances.
Tay: Yeah, my whole family plays, at least on my daddys side. They all play piano, guitar, my grandma is really good on piano. My great uncle, my grandpa's brother, was in a group called Brownstone back in the day and I heard some of his music, I like it. But yeah, on my daddy's side.

TML: Have they heard your music? Are they fans?
Tay: Well, you know on my daddy's side they are all Jehovah's Witness. My Dad is not and he's heard my music and he is definetly a fan and his wife is also a fan and they like a music. My Momma and my brother are probably the most supportive people besides the imeeadiet team here. My grandparents though, because they are like Jehovah's Witness i haven't really exposed them to some of the more explicit content that they would probably find rather immoral thats in our music but ah that's more for them and not for me.

TML: What do you guys see Helladope contributing to the current Seattle scene?
Jerm: I think a lot of raw talent. A lot of fearlessness in their approach to music and a lot of experience of doing this.

TML: What is your persepctive right now on the scene here in Seattle Jerm? You've been doing this for a long time here in the town. Are you excited for it?
Jerm: I'm excited, I think it's well deserved. I don't think it's understood yet and exposed as much as it could or should be. But I'm pumped for it alot of people putting in a lot of work are getting respect that they deserve and that's whats up.

TML: What was the first record you bought?
Jerm: Doggystyle... I bought it as a Christmas present for my older brother knowing that he wouldn't like it so I could keep it. It was tight.

TML: And he didn't like it?
Jerm: Naw.
Tay: So as far as Hip Hop record I think the first Hip Hop record I bought was DMX Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood.

TML: Were you into diggin prior to that and beat making?
Tay Sean: Absolutly not. I mean I was definetly making beats but that album came out when I was 10 or 11. I was only making beats so I could rap on them. And it was hella wack. Wack ass beats. I didn't start digging, I didn't really understand Hip Hop at that point. Not til I was 12 or 13 and my little sisters daddy put me onto golden era type shit and more stuff from his era. I realized that this is a much bigger culture than just the Jay-Z and DMX and the things I had been exposed to through KUBE 93 and shit like that. That's when I started digging, sampeling, stuff like that.

TML: The beats on the album just convey this happy, feel good vibe. Is that a concentrated effort or is that just what comes when you sit down to make a beat?
Tay: I think it's more so the later. That's kinda my natural position when I'm making music, I'm a happy cat. I like pretty things. I like to make beautiful music. I think it takes a little more effort when I'm trying to do the opposite, trying to make the grimey beat, or the street beat, that takes a little more effort, I have to like, really specifically do something about that but I think that more happy shit is more natural to me.

TML: Is Cloud Nice a collective or are you guys expecting to do a project as a group?
Tay: We all work together. Jerm is on a bunch of our cuts, Mikey is on one of the songs on the album. I'm also on some of Mikey's shit, and Mikey does production for Jarv. So we all kinda cross with each other. But as far as a Cloud Nice project as a band it would probably be more of a compilation thing. That's just kinda functioning under too many cooks in the stu.
Jerm: There are alot of strong solo artists on Cloud Nice.
(Room breaks into laughter)
Tay: Maybe, never say never. I don't know. Just do what's natural for now.

TML: You guys have collaborated with a lot of people, have those all been pretty organic? People you have relationships with outside of music?
Tay: Absolutly. Rarely do we fuck with people solely based on their musical merit. We fucks with people we already fucks with. Not to say I wouldn't fuck with people based only on their musical merit, but most of the time I like fucking with people who are already family. Would you say the same is true?
Jerm: Hell yeah.

TML: Is Goodfellas one of your favorite flicks?
Tay: Chucky and Rudy, who are two of my roommates threw it up, don't know whose it is but it seemed to be a good fit for the wall.
Jerm: It's a dope movie though. The movie is real.

TML: Is this where you recorded most of the album?
Tay: No, we only did the last couple of songs here. We did most of it at the other house, we was living 37th & Barton, deeper south in Beacon Hill. Before may, most of that shit was done before may.

TML: How does growing up in Seattle shape the album?
Jerm: Seattle defiently shapes me as an artist just cause of how diverse it is. From education, to rich and poor, different cultures, definetly makes me who I am as an emcee and I think when we start doing this album, not only did we want to focus on some music that was gonna be more lively and make people have fun, still say some slick shit and some real shit, but we wanted the people to have fun and really try to represent Seattle. I think that really comes out on the album. Just some different shit, different topics, spices of life.

TML: Are there any collaborations that we can be expecting and or looking forward to in the near future?
Jerm: I'm gonna start ghost writing for my manager, Gangsta Grillz: Asian Cribs, Stay True, Wear Blue. It's gonna be a real dope album. (laughs)
Tay: I don't know if I'm entirely at liberty to about all of them. I'm working on something with Isabella Du Graf, we have just a couple bare bones things. I think that Krispy from Hi Life Soundsystem and Godspeed is also gonna be invovled in that project to some extent. I'm defiently working with Thaddius a lot aka Young TH from SOTA Boys, State of the Artist. I've been working with him a lot and it's kinda figuring itself out.

TML: The cut "ExtraHellaDopeness" has been popping off at shows, can you talk about that session?
Tay Sean: A lot of people get it twisted and think that I made that beat, Parker made that beat and when he sent it over to me... Like they got that Members Only 206 project popping off and that was all they idea. I guess every track has a feature on it and I've heard a lot of it and it's fucking dope. But yeah as soon as he sent the beat over to me I was like fuck it, they actually came over and I had wrote something but I scrapped it. Parker had a studio in his moms crib in West Seattle looking at the whole city with a beautiful view. We laid it down on the early morning mission and it came out really bomb.

TML: What is your favorite Hip Hop album of all time?
Tay: I would say, I'll give it up to something like the Love Below.
Jerm: I'd say, of all time shit that I'd listen to from begining to end 100 times probably be some local shit. One of the Merm & Mal compliations, i just got vol. 4, thats my shit!

TML: Were you guys paying attention to the Tribal shit?
Jerm: Yeah that's when I was a shorty, first coming up. That was definetly some dope shit. That was when Vitamin was first coming up. that was the shit.
Tay: I'm a little bit younger, I was living in the north end Everett, Mill creek, then Renton, didn't really settle in Seattle until 14 or so I wasn't really a part of that.

TML: What are you guys listening to right now?
Jerm: I'm on some throw back shit, trying to find some old school No Limit, Young Bleed, Rap-A-Lot, our shit. Local shit too.
Tay: I would say the majority of shit I listen to is not new music. But as far as new music that i fucks with I'm really into that Dam Funk shit. Sa Ra Creative Partners.

TML: Do you play any instruments?
Tay: To what extent I can, I'm not a guitarist or pianist but I use it for beats and shit.

TML: What's it feel like to be opening for Goodie Mob?
Jerm: It's pretty dope.
Tay: It's a dream come true.
Jerm: That was in heavy rotation back in the day.
Tay: Soul Food all day.
Jerm: Anything Outkast/Dungeon Family released is pretty hard.
Tay: It's crazy to be sharing the stage with people I idolize so much.

TML: Got any last words?
Jerm: Local shit. Local shit is dope. Merm & Mal, Alpha P, Hi Life, Cloud Nice, SOTA Boys, south end/CD shit Northwest, Broken Mic foundation. Blak & them, Jace & Blak. Hip Hop Congress.
Tay: What he said.
Jerm: 206 Zulu, we fucks with you.

---

Many thanks out to the Helladope team, Tay Sean & Jerm as well as Blake Diamond (their manager). Be sure to get your ass to Neumos this Wednesday (2/24) for the Goodie Mob reunion show and you might as well roll early to catch these cats!!! Support that local music y'all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

TML Radio, Vol. 8

If you weren't at the Admirals Club last night for Members Only shame on you! Kicking it hard with the fam last night. Great! But before that all went down me and B.A. Baracus got busy over at SU holding down KSUB with the funkiest and freshest cuts. As always we get caught up on things and drop some knowledge as well. Check the track list and download the podcast!

DOWNLOAD TML Radio Vol. 8 HERE

Vol. 8 Track List:
Neil Landstrumm "Schlump Funk"
Hudson Mohawke "Gluetooth"
The Heavy "How You Like Me Now? (Joker Remix)"
Cymande "Dove"
Ike Turner "Ghetto Funk"
Miles Davis "Minnie"
Black Monk & Ras G "Hummin' In The Sun"
Black Monk & Ras G "Cool Out Factor"
Black Monk & Ras G "Watch It!"
Black Monk & Ras G "Dwights Joint"
Black Monk & Ras G "Juju"
Black Monk & Ras G "Yeah..."
Black Monk & Ras G "Outro..."
Sly & The Family Stone "If You Want Me To Stay"
Dyme Def "Get Down"
Dyme Def "Cheers"
Dyme Def "Fresh2Def"
James Brown "King Heroin (Instrumental)"
James Brown "King Heroin"
Georgia Anne Muldrow "Nothingness"
Desdomony "Triple Godess"
THEESatisfaction "Moonday School"
Sol Uprising "Solar Love"
Swiff D "Intro (Sing Children)"
Swiff D "The Lesson"
Swiff D "Girl Next Door"
Jay-Z "The Prelude"
Presto "Searching"
L.V. Johnson "Dancing Girl"
Panacea "Star Life"
Kurput "We Can Freak It"
Psalm One ft. Brother Ali "Stand By"
Zomby & Gucci Mane "Pillz"
DarkTimeSunShine "The Wrong Kids"

DOWNLOAD TML Radio Vol. 8 HERE

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Q & A with OC Notes, Pt. 2

If you missed part 1, check it here. Picking up where we left off, Otis just revealed that he is a chef, this took the conversation in a whole new direction.

TML: How'd you learn to cook?
Just having to work. I use to just work, I didn't graduate from high school I always worked food service jobs and I think I got conditioned to be a food service person cause I can not be a server. Or even a buser is difficult for me. I hate when people, if someone is like an asshole to me, I don't give a shit, I'm not fucking with you. I can't be a server who has to deal with assholes, naw it's not gonna happen. I can't help it.

TML: The kitchen is a good place for that.
Otis: Plus cooking is hella fun. it's fucking dope.

TML: I love cooking. What is the Otis signature meal, signature recipe?
I don't really have a signature meal, I like to make pasta. It's quick, it's easy and it's fun. You can just do little shit just to change it up and give it a whole nother name. It's like i added some (whatever you like) to this so we are gonna call it something something whatever. I'm actually just really good at following directions. This is probably the first kitchen job where I've had to make, where we change shit all the time and I'm used to just the same shit all the time. I worked at hella pizza places that shit was fun, i got sick of that.

TML: Where do you get your drums from?
What do you mean?

TML: Do you sample them, do you find them on reason?
I do everything man.

TML: Or do you play it live?
Yeah.

TML: Can you record it down here?
I don't have a drum kit. I had an electronic kit in Phenoix going to school, i had an electric kit in my living room. But i don't have that anymore. If I had one I would use it. There are times when you have it. Things come and go, you know what i'm saying.

TML: Absolultly
I've actually really been into getting the patches on here (Reason) cause they have a lot of old drum kits in here and just playing them out so that everything sounds just some live shit, play some guitar over it.

TML: I've been playing "Icing" at work, it's such a dope song.
For real? That's so crazy. I'm glad man that cats like that shit. That shit kinda blows my mind.

TML: Was it an old beat, or did you make it for that purpose?
Naw it was old, it was just so random. we were just in the lab, it didn't take that long at all. We was in the lab chilling, it just kinda came together I said some shit and all of a sudden like boom.

TML: You got a track.
It was wild I just didn't expect it to be so huge. Everyone is like oh it's so tight and I'm like it is, it's hella tight. It's a dope track. It's hella short.

Otis takes a phone call, I turn off the recorder. When it was turned back on Otis is struggling with a broken keyboard.

TML: Technical difficulties.
That's how it goes. A lot of my shit just broke recently.

He swaps out keyboards and gets things working. The sample resumes playback on loop while Otis starts digging through drum kits again.

TML: Do you listen to Flying Lotus?
Naw, not really. He's cool though. I like his stuff. I don't really listen to a lot of cats. I mean I do but I don't. I listen to a lot of the same shit. I listen to shit i like. But mostly I just try to make shit, my own shit. I listen to my shit.

TML: Does listening to your shit help you in making new records?
Yeah. Well just, I don't know. I just like it a lot. I listen to a ton of other shit don't get me wrong but as far as newer shit goes, like i heard some Flying Lotus shit and it's like, I don't know, I just don't be bumpin it hella. I do listen to a lot of Madlib. Always have. I love Madlib and like Stevie Wonder and shit.

TML: Do you like Madlib's Yesterdays New Quintet shit?
Oh yeah i love all of his shit. He can do no wrong to me.

TML: Did you hear his record with the dude from Azymnuth? Jackson Conti.
Otis: Oh the brazialin dude, yeah that shit was incredible. That shit was mind blowing. He ah, crazy bro. He just does whatever he wants. that's why I like him so much, that's how I am.

He has selected what drums he wants and while we continue talking it's sporadic as he plays his keyboard laying down drum patterns.

TML: I heard that there are other studios in this building. Do you collaborate with any of them?
Yeah I've collaborated with some cats. Vitamin is over there, The Physics are back there. There's these cool ass dudes from Oklahoma that are across there, they actually do stuff in Tacoma, they have an ill ass studio across the way, like it's really nice. There is a couple random cats. Some artists and shit. This cat has a lot of cool guitars around the way.

Me: Is this a little artist community here at the OK Hotel?
Oh no man, just cats doing their thing.

Me: How did you and Rik Rude link up?
Man, a long time ago at Westlake, not even that long ago, he used to work at Nordstrom and there was this cat, he lived at this one complex and this other cat who lived in the same complex and it was just kinda a magnet of engergy, mad fools would always be up in this dudes crib and shit. Rik lived in the same complex and I just met him through that whole situation just through you know being in the town and shit. You know, I be out here and we linked up and shit. Boom. We just wanted to always do a project together and I had all these old instrumentals and dropped it on him. We came up with an idea a long ass time ago and he picked like 5 of those out of the whole CD and I went to school and I came back, and when I came back I was all super serious, cause I went to school for music, felt all motivated and shit. We just knocked out all the rest of the tracks, we only chose 3 out of those original 5 and just made a whole new shit. Just put it together and it's hella filthy bro.

TML: Is it done?
Yeah it's finished. We have a special, we want to release it, it's gonna be crazy. It's a collectors piece. It's not gonna be like oh you can go get your CD at Easy Street and blah blah blah.

TML: Like what Ish did with the Shabazz release?
Naw that shit was tight, the Shabazz shit was hella filthy bro. But it's like, boom. We have a big idea for the release.

TML: Is it gonna happen this year?
Oh yeah, it's gonna happen this year, soon. Very soon. We gotta get funds, trying to just get that shit, balance life. I'm all about it bro cause it's so good, Cats are gonna love it man, so it's motivating.

TML: You come up with some pretty crazy album titles, where do they come from?
I don't know, I should play you some shit. They are just names of records dog. I just have hella shit. Most of that shit is hella old. From when I was like 17.

TML: How old are you now?
I'm 24 now. I got a lot of shit man. Alien Taxi Service was made in Arizona. I made that while I was at school.

TML: What School did you go to?
The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Scienes, it's like a recording school. It was cool, little six - eight month program it was tight. Yes it Hurts, have you heard that one? This is like my acoustic album, I made this in Arizona too. A lot of it was for projects and shit.

TML: For School?
Yeah. We'd have to do all these crazy recordings with different mic set ups and shit so like I'd write these songs. I didn't like to record other people, there wasn't very many ill people down there. My homie Easy was hella ill, and some cats were ill. But we were like fuck it we make music might as well record ourselves. So everytime we had a project we recorded each other, got our shit done. I love this record, it's slept on.

TML: Is it on the site?
Yeah but you have to pay for this one. (laughs)

TML: How much is it?
Five bucks, I think you can name your price seriously. You gotta buy music though. I feel like if it's good enough man people will buy it. People don't want to buy it, ok. One day people will buy it. I don't really be tripping on it bro. I just want people to listen to good music. I don't really care. I like to cook bro. I'd be satisfied.

TML: You are happy cooking?
I would be happy doing that, because I'd still make music. As long as I can always make music. I might get upset seeing hella wack cats get hella far but it's like there is a business side to this shit. Cats want to play that game that's cool, get that money. I'd like to get that money but I'd never sell my soul for that shit. I'd never sacrifice my family, some shit that is important just for some fake niggas to kiss my ass. I'd rather, you don't have to do that. That's a gift.

He begins just playing random beats, some of which ended up in the folder of freebies in yesterdays post.

I did this shit with the good life crew when I was like younger bros, hella old rap songs. They are way filth, just some random cats. No one will ever hear them. Greatings From ... did you get that one?

TML: I don't think so.
That's an older one, that's a good one.

As tracks play the show from the night before at Chop Suey comes up.

Tay Sean was here last night.

TML: After Chop?
I heard it was poppin. I'm so happy. When I go to shows now folks are actually psyched in the crowd. People are having fun. For the lognest time people been like you go to the show and cats are just (shows a mean mug face) - cats are letting loose again it's so inspring. I remember ill ass house and loft parties, the craziest types of people around and everyone was partying until 6 in the morning. After the show is the after party, it's still like that but now I can see it being like all the time. People have tried. Cats just want to get down. Cats is shining man. Cats is tired of being assholes. Thats how I feel. I just want to get down with everyone. I smoke weed, get my drink on, i eat, sleep, shit, let's party!

TML: Make music and party.
Yeah that's what it is, you only live once.

TML: What do you think of Bandcamp?
I love it. Cause it doesn't cost you anything. I like the fact that it's hella simple. They only let you put your album cover and the music and maybe a little picture in the background. Now they let you sell your merch and they give you stats and shit. It's all so basic, I get tired of, like on myspace people have all sorts of shit on there. Honestly it's about the music. It's like boom -just a way to get your music out there for free.

TML: Do they take anything from the stuff you do sell?
Nope, they don't take any money. I've sold a couple joints. It's funny I've been on bandcamp for hella long. People really don't buy music. But they do buy it if you put in the work. Casue I now the more I get out do a show, like off this "Icing" shit, I've performed it a few times with Stas and Cat. After that I would see the stats and shit. That's the crazy thing about life, you put in work and you can see the result of your work.

TML: Do you have a fair amount of downloads on the free stuff?
I don't even have 100 downloads of the free stuff bro. I have like 500 something listens in a month, people don't really download shit wich is mind blowing. This shit is on iTunes (Dap Confuser) and I've been selling that shit on iTunes and it's been blowing my mind. This dude hit me up from Berlin Germany like, "I love this record." From Berlin, I'm like that is tight!

TML: How many sales you got?
I don't know yet. I just have gotten facebook comments and messages on my mailbox people telling me they like it. It's crazy to me.

TML: How many did you press?
I pressed about 20. I have 15 left i think. I pretty much just did them for promo. Then when i get my dough up, which I actually came across some shit, i'm gonna press some more.

Remembers left over wine from the night before, start chatting about music he has playing in the background.

I talked to a guy who said I need to get my shit out. He's right.

TML: Yeah I would say the same thing. I like how you are doing whole projects with an arist.
It's cool to do songs, but I don't really like doing songs. then that whole experience , I don't know, it's more like a party and shit which is cool, I like to party. But this music shit is important to me. I want the outcome to be something that is filthy. Not to say that that doesn't ever happen.

TML: You are doing exactly what you want to do.
If I make some songs and I'm like really, what's gonna happen with this song?

TML: Is There A Le'Roy album coming?
Otis: One of these days, I guess. We are gonna record some shit. I want to play Bumbershoot or something like a big show. Like that shit is so much fun, it's hella crackin.

Starts up a brazilian sample in the background then flips through more sounds, heavy bass sounds.

You got the LNHE (Linus Aristotles Hydroponic Explosion) album?

TML: Yeah that and the Nathaniel (Nathaniel Nathaniel True Tales of A Narcoleptic) album.
Tight. That came from my mom, she calls me Nathaniel even though it's not my name. And I'm a Narcoleptic. I'm tired all the time.

TML: What's your family think of your music?
They love it bro. For the longest time, I've always been on music. But they never wanted to hear that, they are hella educated, go to college. Man I've done everything wrong. But now that they see my shit on iTunes, they saw a couple years ago cause i had Greetings From The 9th Dimension and i put that up for free on torrents in like '06 or something and that shit has been downloaded like 15 thousand times after i added it all up. I'm like damn, that shit has been downloaded so much. That's a lot of people who have at least heard it. It's cool and so that made them very happy, and they support me. Now they support me big time. My moms saw the Stranger first time she was excited, my sister was excited. I told my other family and they all bought it on iTunes and were hitting me up, my cousins like "I didn't even know you did this." This is all recent shit. My family is getting back together, or at least the family I've never really known. The power of music.

Me: Bringing families together.
It's cool man, I'm not doing anything bad. I've been making music, this is what I do. My family is kinda square. I always been like this is what I do up here, now they are like damn this is what he's been doing. Very cool man, I feel very blessed.

He pauses for a moment, beats play. He resumes.

I want to drop this record called Doo Doo cause it's gon be funky. It's gonna be hella filthy, cats are gonna dig it. I'm pretty excited about it. Me and Rik Rude, Lord Vintage and THEESatisfaction, I am most excited about. All those cats are hella talented. There's so many sides to Rik, i don't think cats be knowing. And THEESatisfaction, those ladies are so talented. They can't make wack shit it's impossible.

TML: Are you gonna be doing a whole project with them?
Oh Yeah. We got the BPA you the know, Black Power Arrangers, that's a whole thing in itself. That's kinda a collective.

TML: Who's in that?
Shit, me, Stas, Cat & Chuck - CC, that's it. We are gonna make songs, it's not THEESat and OC Notes anymore its Black Power Arrangers. They are so good at making songs, I love it. It's hella inspiring. It's enjoyable, you know your shit will just turn out great. If the song isn't going cool we'll just vibe out and do it another time. Nothing is forced. A lot of cats force themselves in the lab, like ok i gotta write this 16 bar rap, smoke a thousand blunts and drink a bunch of booze oh I gotta focus. It's not like that, a lot of cats can't do that, can't just naturally make a song, they have to force themselves to do that. The process is awkward. It's never like that with THEESatisfaction. And CC.

TML: Who is CC?
Otis: Choclate Chuck, i just like to say CC (laughs)

TML: Would you ever consider taking the a cappella's and putting those verses over your beats i.e. Jay-Z remix tapes?
I thought about it. I used to be interested in stuff like that years ago. Like when dangermouse did the grey album. I was like that's cool, but i like to make my own shit. I have ideas I want to get out, like maybe one day I'll have an idea in a song and I'll do that. But as of right now i don't really have any interest in doing that cause Jay-Z did his own shit. I know hella cats who are ill, have hella ill raps, just need an exposure an outlet to rap. I'll put them on because I benefit from that.

TML: I like that Black Diamond & Blueberry Blunt Mix
I like that one, might be the best one I made.

We've moved from beats to random tunes, one catches my attention.

TML: What is this?
This is an Antonio Carlos Jobim song, I have it written down somewhere.

TML: Do you rap for fun?
Man... I was rapping before I made beats. I used to just, when I lived in Puyallup, I think it's funny when I talk about Puyallup because it's like such a weried place in my life, but it's like when I lived there I did what I did - it was cool. But um, I used to rap hella. There really isn't any black people there. Me and a couple other cats. I was that dude who rapped. A large part of that was why i started making beats instead of rapping because I got sick of just being, oh this guy raps. Yeah I rap shit is tight, I could be so much more. It got to a point where people didn't even pay attention to that. Now it's like an art yo, an instrument, so it's like, I always rap, but I feel like it has it's time and place. If I'm out sometimes I don't feel like rapping. I always see cats getting called out, like oh man lets cypher. I feel like sometimes cats might be uncomfortable but they feel like they have to cause they are a rapper - naw dog, do what you want do. Sometimes I feel like rapping, sometimes I dont. I do know that cats exercise that shit everday. Those are emcees, I mean shit I'm an emcee, but I'm a muscian first. That's just part of what I do. There's some filthy cats in the town though dog.

---

Again many thanks to Otis (and Audioasis!) for letting me invade the studio for an afternoon and pick his brain. Along with the assortment of tracks in yesterdays freebies folder he also gave me a folder titled Smoke Shop Sessions - I think you know what to do after you download this. It's short and sweat but so enjoyable. It played on repeat this afternoon for awhile.

Get IT.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Q & A with OC Notes, Pt. 1

OC Notes is a man that those who know about swear by and those who don't shrug their shoulders and stare at you blankly. He doesn't seem to mind though, as he maintains a laid back demeanor pretty much always and is happy to make his music and have a good time. Towards the end of '09 his name started popping up more thanks to a huge collaboration with THEESatisfation, "Icing." I caught up with him at Jet Set and exchanged numbers. One Sunday morning I rolled through to his lab in downtown Seattle to see what he has cooking right now.

TML: Introduce yourself, what you do, how long you been doing it, where you're from?
I'm Otis, i've been making music my whole life. That's it man. I've been making music since I don't know.

TML: What instruments do you play?
Guitar, bass, keys, drums, and shit. That's pretty much it. Whatever, I'll try to play anything. Just figure it out. But I'm really good at that other shit though. I guess that's what you could say my main shit is.

Otis begins to deal with his computer which had frozen up and my attention began to drift around the room. The walls are covered in posters and my eyes lock on an old They Live! poster from Feb. 11, 2009.


TML: That old They Live! poster is tight.
Otis: That shit right there? That was at Neumos. Were you at that one? It was Le'Roy, that's me & Way Styles group, and then Larry and shit and ah, who else was there? Helladope & THEESatisfaction, that show was pretty tight.

TML: That's a pretty good line up.
Otis: There wasn't that many people there, that kinda sucked.

TML: That was like right at the start of all those cats gettin bigger.
Otis: Yeah it kinda was, cats were like huh? What's this?

TML: Le'Roy played the Mayer Hawthorne show at the UW, how was that?
Otis: That shit was crackin. The sound was like, I don't know what their sound is like but I imagine it's students who do it and it was hella loud. It was so loud. It was so loud dog. It was tight, I could dig it. It was great. Our set, the moniter speakers were blowing my ears out dog. That shit was hella fun, just cause I like any time i can play shit live and with that shit we can pretty much do whatever we want, we can improvise and shit. Shit was fucking crackin bro. I had so much fun. And then being able to, I really like James Pants a lot. Mayer Hawthorne is cool and shit, i dig what he does, but I think James Pants is super cool.

TML: You listen to that new James Pants album, Seven Seals?
Otis: I've heard some cuts off of it, I haven't listened to the whole record. I liked what i heard. It reminds me of that old 80s shit.

TML: The press for it is saying it's a soundtrack to a cult or somthing?
Otis: Yeah, man the record cover is fucking crazy. It's like fucking this cliff with fire and hell and a big ass demon.

Otis begins replaying a sample. Audioasis, his labmate, has stopped working on his tune and turns to listen to what is playing.

Otis: This is some shit I chopped up right before I went to Bellvue today. I've been mediating on this for a minute. I heard this shit yesterday and was like ahhhh I gotta make a beat with this but I was way to fucked up to do anything.
Audio: What is it?
Otis: It's fucking Willie Bobo, that record right there.
Audio: I saw that.

TML: I never see Willi Bobo records.
Otis: For Real? I love Willie Bobo records. You know who his son is? The fucking dude who plays percussion for Cypress Hill bro is Willie Bobo's son. Like their family is just raw on the percussion tip. And I guess Bobo is like, like there is hella percussionist called Bobo and shit it's like a name, i don't know what the origins are but it's like what they call a percussion player, i don't know.
Audio: He's from LA?
Otis: I don't know.

He resumes playing the sample, like he didn't miss a beat. Upon my arrival to the studio I was offered and poured a Mimosa.

TML: Can I score some more of that champagne?
Otis: Have as much as you want, it's the begining of the day. Yesterday I started with red, ended with white. Today we start with champagne.

TML: I like how you roll Otis.
Otis: Hell yeah bro, you gotta enjoy life.

TML: I was talking to Buffalo about that last night.
Otis: Yeah, that dude is crazy. He is a cool cat though.

TML: It was the first time I really had a conversation with him, but it was a pretty dope conversation.
Otis: He's crazy bro. I totally misunderstood that dude. I learned a big lesson from those dudes because I couldn't really stand their music or their performance when I first seen them. But I never talked to them as people, then when I actually talked to them I was like, whoa these guys are fucking cool bro! The same thing with Radjaw, that cat is cool. They are some cool cats dog. I was like why am I, I got caught up in that same bullshit everyone else in this town be caught up in, that snap judgeing shit. Fuck the music and all the other bullshit, as humans, we're all people. I have a daughter now. We are all someones son or daughter. We should all just be like, give everyone a chance to... You know what i'm saying, can I live! I can't believe I got caught up in, I can't be caught up in some bullshit like that so now I don't try to be like that cause those cats are cool. I might not be the biggest fan of their music, but as people man those guys are cool cats.

TML: And performance wise they are on a whole other level.
Otis: They get it crackin bro, I respect the shit out of that.

TML: Are we gonna see any OC Notes & P Smoov collaborations?
Otis: I'm trying to, I wanna do some shit with them. He wants to do some shit with me. We've talked about it but that cat is so busy, I'm hella busy. It'll happen one day. I really want to make a dance record. Let me give you one of my joints that just came out, here take this one. I'm really into, I like house music alot. Dance music, making people dance is filthy. Like I love Hip Hop that's like me too, but bro I love like good, like daft punk is cool, there is other cats though that are way filthy like Acufin, that Dam Funk shit is tight, thats kinda housey to me. That's funky, but it's like tempos, you could play that and motherfuckers will dance, that's what I like.

TML: I saw him play in Portland, he came out on stage w/ a keytar.
Otis: For Real? Oh man! Man if Dam Funk comes up here I want to open up for him, put that shit on the record if that cat comes up here OC Notes needs to open for him, we'll make it funky dog.

TML: He is such a good dude too.
Otis: He is one of the only cats on twitter who actually had some decent shit to say. And this is also what made me upset about that twitter, people wanna talk shit about people who like saying positive shit like cats are like "if you are gonna tell me some positive shit, or some trying to change my life I'm gonna delete you" so you just want people to say negative dumb bullshit all day? I don't wanna here that, I appriciate it when some one tells me to let my light shine, you know what I'm saying? Just some cool shit. He is a fucking cool cat. I wish I could grow my hair out like that. I'd do some crazy shit to.

At this point he has the sampled worked out how he likes and he has begun looking for drum sounds and play with what patterns he wants to lay down.

Otis: Man i love latin soul, dog (laughs). Straight up man, that's like I think the illest shit. That's like the most pimp shit. Joe Bataan and shit.

TML: I've been listening to the Arthur Verocai record.
Otis: Yeah man cats! Who else is flithy? Brenten Wood. Cats man.

TML: Stan Getz did some dope shit.
Otis: Fuck yeah man, hell yeah.

TML: Are you completely self taught? Or have you had people throughout your life that have helped you, mentored you?
Otis: I've definetly had people in my life teach me some shit that's for sure. As far as instruments go I'm pretty much... like when I was a little kid I had a cat, the first time I ever played the drums, this cat Ernest Henderson showed me how to go like (plays drum pattern with mouth and hands & table) and then he gave me a little piece of paper with like frame tabs and that's as much as I got and then I would just play at my house on cardboard boxes and shit. You know when you are in elementary school you have music class and shit, like I did that shit but I've never had a teacher teach me for a long ass time just people dropping jewels and me sitting in my room trying to figure that shit out.

TML: Taking a little bit of wisdom here and there. What grade was that that Ernest Henderson taught you that?
Otis: Third grade I think? Second or third grade. That dudes fucking sick bro. It was at St. Johns Baptist church who Stasia from THEESatisfaction actually went to the same church as me bro. We went at the same time, new the same people, and are invovled in the same shit and never new it until a couple months ago.

TML: Is that how the collaborations came about?
Otis: That shit was random bro, naw, it was hella random. I just really liked their music and then we got down in the lab and we were just talking about some shit and that shit came up and we were like whoa that's trippy, you know what i'm sayin, that shit is just random. It's cool though.

TML: Do you remember what the first beat was you ever heard was?
Otis: Like the first beat ever? Like ever in my whole life? Um, damn. I'd almost have to say , I don't know man. I'd almost have to say, cause I think the first Hip Hop shit I heard I'd probaly have to say something like Cameo or Blowfly and that's not even Hip Hop that's just like, i remember when i use to hear Cameo in my moms car and shit. Or just like, even like Funkadelic and Sugarhill gang cause my mom had all those records and she would play them and shit. That shit was filthy, i guess that's not really considered Hip Hop though.

TML: But it is though.
Otis: Yeah, technically pepople be like it's modern soul - it's funk.

TML: 80s precursor to Hip Hop.
Otis: Fucking genres, I don't like genres dog.

TML: Yeah genres are...
Otis: Yeah it's like limiting. I mean it can be helpful like if you are gonna DJ or something or you are gonna try to make a library.

TML: It's for categorization.
Otis: yeah exactly, cats take that shit way to serious.

TML: Do you listen to much dubstep shit?
Otis: Rusko and shit? My homie, his name is Thrills - Devlin, I consdier him my brother. He gave me my first beat program. He used to live behind my best friend when I lived in like Puyallup and he was like this legendary guy, this cool DJ guy who you could smoke weed at his house in the basement out of his 3 foot bong and his mom doesn't care. He was hella cool. He lives in the town and he hooked me up with my first copy of Reason and he made hella Hip Hop makes crazy music, proly one of the filthiest DJs ever and now he makes a lot of dubstep and electro. He's crazy man, he's really good at that shit.

TML: Last night I was listening to one of the '07 beat tapes you have on bandcamp and it sounded like you had some electro influence in there.
Otis: Yeah that was just like, them cats put me up to a lot of that game. I used to hate on that shit cause I never heard good shit and I didn't know there was good shit and then I met them cats and they have a crazy record collection of just ill music, it's all mostly dance music, that tempo. Their shit is filthy though. Like they got crazy shit like white label Basement Jaxx, shit that like so funky you know what i'm saying. Just crazy shit, shit that people don't have, shit that if you heard it and you don't like it you must have no soul.

TML: Do you know the first record you got?
Otis: My moms used to work in a record store when she was in High school and my moms side of the family has always been big into music and collecting records. So when we were little kids they divided my moms record collection and gave half of 'em to me and half of 'em to my sister and we both had like record players in our rooms. So like the first records I can think of were Funkadelic One Nation Under a Groove, Prince, Ms. Piggy's workout record, straight up like werid shit bro, stupied werid shit (sings song) my mom used to rock that shit all the time.

TML: Did that transform into diggin for records?
Otis: Man I just, I used to go to my grandmas house she always has hella records all over the place, like under the bed, in closests. So I always like to go to my grandma's house to just be able to look under the bed and shit because she has hella crazy shit and I'm not allowed to have any of it, I've took a couple joints, I pretty much just listen to it now. I used to get money I'd try and get records, just little thrift stores and shit. I look back at it now I just got crappy recors mostly but I used to be hella happy about it. I found hella jewels and shit you know what i'm sayin. that's just life.

TML: Do you not go much anymore?
Otis: I'm hella broke man so I can't really buy. It fucking sucks man cause I got homies like oh look at this record. I went to the one homies house and just like, this guy has the craziest record collection, it's tight cause i get to listen to it all there but it's like, i wish i had, i'm trying to get my bread up bro to be able to go record shopping like that. I stil cop shit, but not in the volume I'd like to.

TML: I pretty much took all of 09 off, but I miss it. It's fun.
Otis: Yeah, I got to many bills. Things are getting better.

TML: Thats good. What's your job, where do you work?
Otis: I work at a resturant on Mercer Island, I'm a chef. It's hella cool bro, yeah it's tight. I'm very grateful for my job.

TML: Pricey menu?
Otis: Yeah, I guess so. To me it is, I wouldn't pay the amount of money for a lot of the stuff. But people like, you know it's Mercer Island you have to charge or people won't even go there. It's a great job man I work with a crazy group of people.

--

Come back tomorrow for part two of my interview with OC Notes. For now download this set of exclusives Otis was nice enough to let me give y'all a peak at.

Get IT

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gonjasufi "A Sufi & A Killer"

I hate writing about people I know nothing about. Perhaps it's because it forces me to focus solely on the music. Gonjasufi's debut album A Sufi and A Killer solves that problem by being across the board the most eclectic album full of disparte sounds I've ever heard. It's heavy, melodic, soulful and moody just at the surface. Digging deeper will only make you sink further into the maze of musical styles prevalent here.

Gonjasufi is a dreaded man and sings hauntingly poetic verses over LA beat scene canvases that sound as though they were made specifically for the man to make his own. The album opens with a recording of chanting, while the title references an acient Indian dancing tradition. "Ancestors" was the first song to leak from the project and it's a great choice as it's one of the most straight forward and melodic songs on the album. Over a chopped guitar and piano sample along with gritty and stuttering drums Gonjasufi sings about those that came before us.

The lyrics throughout this album are always worth paying special attention to. Sufi has a delicate voice that seems to dance on top of the music perfectly. This gives extra weight to his words and draws you into what he is saying. His topics are spiritual, philosophical, and life like. Sometimes the music and studio effects are utilized to great effect on the words, adding an additional element to the already sonically forward thinking album.

The album plays like and audio mind fuck. The music is spectacular. As many instruments as you can name can probably found on at least one track here. Vocals are layered and chopped as are sounds of distortions. Samples are prevalent on some tracks. Static is on more. His voice at times screams, at times harmonizes and always delivers a message. He has an impressive range and isn't afraid to push his limits. With a lesser talent that can be devestating but Gonjasufi is not new to this, I bet he has spent his whole life developing his craft giving his voice a warmth that conveys a peacefulness and calm.

Sometimes it's too much though as witnessed on "Holidays." Over a stuttering but repetative and slighlty boring keyboard beat he belts out some great lyrics but his high notes conflict with the synths to a cringe worhty effect on the ear. Not all is lost, the following track is more of his spoken word style delivery behind a coat of dust and a looped drum break.

Dabbaling in more sounds than any one person should ever include on one project was a huge risk that pays off quite well for Gonjasufi. While he misses on a few attempts here and there overall this projet is more proof that the Low End Theory beat scene in LA can spawn vocalists to take their tracks to the next level. With cat's like NoCanDo and Gonjasufi hearing the future and writing to sounds we aren't accustomed to they are developing and furthuring a sound that has been brewing. I welcome it with open arms. I wish more artists would.

Check out a few songs from the album and support it on March 9th!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

January Heatrocks

Yo I don’t know where to start dog, check it out. Music is my total existence, dog straight up. Everything in my life revolves around music. It’s like I can’t get in a relationship because I’m still with my first love, music. You know what I’m sayin for real, it’s the reason I’m here. J Dilla it’s like that, peace.

Rest In Peace

A little late but just consider it a Valentines day treat. Here were the tracks from January that kept me warm at night. Before you get into this go ahead and grab the tunes!

Download January 2010 Heatrocks

OC Notes is Seattles biggest musical secret. Blowing both those who were familiar and were not away with his late '09 smash with THEESatisfaction "Icing" - the song proved that the narcoleptic from the basement of the Okay Hotel should not be ignored. Sitting down with him for an interview (watch for that to drop soon!) opened my eyes to just how much work this man has done and excites me to think that their is so much we have yet to hear. Enjoy this trippy little jam from who knows what project or when, but it sure is funky.

I know very little about Lord Newborn & The Magic Skulls other than the fact that it's a collaboration with some very talented individuals. Money Mark has been making sounds funky since the Beastie Boys moved to LA and while I've never listened to Tommy Guerrero or Shawn Lee I've heard many a good thing about the former and together they delivered an enjoyably psychedelic mind trip of an album. This particular track with it's happy guitar melody and doo wop style vocals made me smile, perhaps it will bring you some happiness as well.

It's a little late for a new year's song but it is the January edition of the Heatrocks and what can i say, I heard this song on New Years and was in love. The fact that it's by the Black & White Affair, a seattle funk institution, is only icing on the cake. Spark one up and ring in 2010 one last time.

Speaking of blowing clouds, how about those Helladope dudes Tay Sean & Jerm? Congrats on the Goodie Mob and Snoop Shows - y'all are about to be superstars! Tay sean dropped this little gem on the internet and it's filled with what sounds like some live instrumentation, the track is mellowed out, smooth and breezy. Missing the spacey synths Helladope has built a rep on, this shows a whole other avenue the young producer is capable of exploiting to his benefit. I say let's hear anything Tay Sean wants to grace us with.

Nosaj Thing takes Drakes horenduous vocal performance and transforms it into something hauntingly poetic. The snap of the lighter in the background is a great sound effect that shouldn't be so important but here almost works like drums. It's an inventive use of sound and proves why the brainfeeder camp is killing the game right now: outside the box production ideals lead to musical concepts we haven't been bombarded by for the last decade plus, we are ready for "something new" ((c) fresh espresso). For more of my thoughts on this track check out this post.

I don't know much about this dude Ka$h, I think he might be down with or in Pac Div (if anyone has info hit me up!), but he dropped a solid mixtape inspired by the show you love to hate 24. Say what you want but I'm a fan and this season just got even more ridiculous. But enough with that. This track speaks for itself, either you dig it or you don't - I don't see why you wouldn't though.

Big Sean is an up and coming talent to watch for sure. Kanye knew what was up by signing him to G.O.O.D. but it has yet to yeild an album. He dropped a top 10 mixtape last year with UKnowBigSean and "Desire, Want & Need" was my cut from jump. Recently I found myself craving the track so here it is. I think we can all relate to what he has to say, perhaps not always literally but that's the beauty of art, translation varies person to person. Let me know your thoughts, are you working in some way towards your dreams every day?

I guess a big part of January is sifting through the remnants of the past year. While U-N-I certainly were never forgotten about "My Life" is just one of a multitude of reasons they found themselves in my top 10 of the year. Ro Blvd. delviers one of his best beats here with a beautiful vocal sample chopped to perfection, excellent use of explosive synth and drum build ups coupled with silence - sometimes you don't need anything, just let the people recover. An awesome horn finds it's way in towards the end. I haven't even touched on the vocals from Y-O & Thurz, if you know how they do, even if you don't, you shouldn't need any coaxing get the song and get the album.

Sa-Ra Creative Partners are some of the most forward thinking modern musicians continuing in a Sun Ra styled tradition and Shafiq Husayn's solo album is something to sit with and really digest. I'm not there yet, but I'm not mad at that. It's a tough but beautiful listen in it's complexity and depth. Dig in.

I'm asuming Stenchmen made this slowed down B.O.B. dubstep remix. It's actually pretty dope hearing the slightly deeper vocals from both Big Boi & Dre, they've always had bars but this is certainly one of their defining moments. Not only does he let the beat rock for a second time around but drops the vocals again, guess dude really loves the song. It's all good, the beat is a very nasty tune with heavy intentions and some hard woboly synths. It's a well chosen matching and should find it's way into any DJ's late night party rocking folder.

One day, maybe it'll be this week, I'll get myself to write this Killer Mike review for his recenetly rereleased for free on the internet street album I Pledge Allegience to the Grind Vol. 2. "Bang!" is hard from the jump with the sparse kicks, handclaps and the arrogant little synth in the background. Mike comes out spitting like he does every time he opens his mouth. There is litterally no reason you shouldn't have this mixtape on your computer. No free space, I garuntee you anything you delete you will not be thinking about after one listen to this. Plus you can always find it again... (google blog search...).

The already mentioned HellaDope pop up here again this time for their work as a group rather than Tay Sean doing his production thing. They are preparing to drop their debut album in March and everyone should be incredibly stoked for this fact. "Shine On" proves the name, get it and get familiar or refamiliar, whatever the case may be.

Cody Chesnutt made a two disc Headphone Masterpiece and disappeared to live off of "Seed" royalty money. Good for him. I bet one day he appears again with another sprawling opus. Until that day replay what you got from the man as much as you can. "Can We Teach Each Other" is a song for every person in or has been in a relationship i.e. the whole world. You are an alien if you don't get this and with his beautiful backing vocals and poetic guitar melody how can you not just love it?

I'm fitting to make all my readers NoCanDo fans, by force if I have to. This dude is righteous. Knowing that a battle rapper can't come out with a debut full of battle rhymes he took his time and found the right camp to give him beats that suit his off candence flow. It's great that Low End Theory, Brainfeeder and everything else in the LA beat scene is getting emcees on their tracks as their tunes are exaclty what more people should be rocking over.

Last Valentines day I saw Nappy Roots kill it at Nectar. I wish they were playing tonight. They are about to be dropping a new album and you know I'm already drooling at the prospect. This lead off leak is a perfect mellow tune for them. They make country rap tunes with the best of them. They have never left or forgotten their Kentucky roots. Join them for "The Ride" and get into what they be about.

Enjoy the cuts, let me know what you like!

Download January 2010 Heatrocks

Saturday, February 13, 2010

TML Radio, Vol. 7

Another good show this week. BA Baracus came through and we played some cuts. Peep out the tracklist and watch the space for more info about our soonish transition over to iTunes and getting offical in this bitch. Thanks for rocking with us let me know what cuts you would like to hear or artists I should be looking for, artists - hit me with music! I'll play it if you are on point.

Download TML Radio Vol. 7

Tracklist:
Stark Reality "All You Need To Make Music"
Kool & The Gang "Fruitman"
Fresh Espresso "Elegant"
The Game "Dreams"
Jerry Butler "No Money Down
Born From Another ft. Rebel "Dukes of the Ghetto"
NinjaSonik "All Our Friends"
Take "Lie-Twerx"
Oddisee ft. yU "Traveling (NYC Remix)"
Flying Lotus "Quakes"
Bell Biv DeVoe "Poison"
Wax Tailor "The Tune"
Willie Hutch "Tell Me Why Has Our Love Turned Cold"
RJD2 "The Horror"
Grieves "Bottom of the Bottle"
Gil Scott Heron "New York Is Killing Me"
Smoke "You Will Always Be A Part of Me"
Willie Isz "The Grussle"
Dam Funk "Brookside Park"
Dam Funk "Hood Pass Intact"
The Notorious B.I.G. & Dam Funk "Going Back To Cali (Kon Edit)"
K-Os "Electric Heat"
Freeway & Jake One "Never Gonna Change"
They Live ft. Spaceman, Tay sean & Ronnie Voice "Up Early in Em"
Mad Rad "Donut Truck"
Fred Wesly & The JBs "Damn Right I Am Somebody"

Download TML Radio Vol. 7

Monday, February 8, 2010

Curren$y "Smokee Robinson"

Curren$y has been consitently dropping free albums on the web for anyone who cares to download and join his movement. From being someone who looked like he would be the next one from Young Money to blow, to abandoning the man that has since become the biggest rap star on the planet so he could shine on his own, Curren$y has done nothing but with an offical album dropping late last year catching people up, The Jet Files plays just how you expect something from the man to play - smooth and funky.

Early this morning Curren$y and Don Cannon let loose the latest free project from the young spitta. While most of his free projects from the past were DJ free, teaming up with a name like Don Cannon will help increase his presence and those beats are never bad. Luckily Cannon was talked to, or maybe he had the presence of mind to not fuck up a good thing, and he lays back on the Smokee Robinson tape. Very little in the way of rewinds (which isn't the case for the first track, making one weary, don't worry!) or tags and he choses where to place the ones that do exist wisely.

Cannon's relative lack of presence is so important because this tape is GREAT. These track don't need to be talked over or hyped up, they will convey all that and more on there own. Curren$y has a terrific ear for beats that are varied in style, tempo and creativity. Of course weed is a constant but he continues to show a maturing array of subject matter. He picks some known beats to rock over to great effect, closing the tape with a stellar set of bars over an old Roc beat - which only fuels the recent presence Curren$y has had around Dame Dash, what do these two have in the works? After Dame organized the BlakRoc project I'm excited to see if his comeback can become a reality.

Elsewhere you hear Spitta rock over "Maybach Music" and some classic west coast jams. He connects with Nipsey Hussle and Wiz Khalifa for the awesome "I Don't Fucks With Em" where Wiz demonstrates one of his best traits, hook singing. It's nothing glamerous but he can do it to great effect and he still holds his own rocking a 16 with the others. He makes another appearence along with Nesby Phips on "Mazaltov," featuring a haunting and repeating vocal sample that is louder then the rest of the beat and compliments the subdued snares and hi hats in the background. Along with some well placed other sound effects and you are in for a joyous and celebratory track.

The biggest stand outs here are when Curren$y pulls out the monster bangers for us to rock out to! "Smash on O'leary" is the second track on the album and is such a ridiculous success. Curren$y rides it to perfection and makes you want to only press rewind (See Cannon, we will do it ourselves when you give us that heat) and hear the whole thing again and again and again. Dom Kennedy rolls through for "Racing Stripes" and while it's got a smooth Cali feel it's up tempo and has that feeling of doing 80 on the freeway into the sunset of the LA beaches.

Smokee Robinson is a great adventure and lives up to the hype that it was generating prior to it's release. It's blunted and slow. Fast paced and celebratory. While Curren$y hasn't skyrocketed to the fame that some of the newer Young Money signee's have seen recently he is laying a foundation in solid beats and rhymes with a consistent work ethic and a strong team around him. While these flash in the pan artists fizzle out and watch their royalty checks steadily become smaller, Curren$y is gonna be continueing on his path to a career.

Download Smokee Robinson here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

TML Radio, Vol. 6

Another week in the studio and things continue to just get better. Started the show off without feeling rushed for the first time since being back on the air. I stayed in a more Hip Hop lane for most of the show, dropping in and out of other genres as I pleased. You know how we do around these parts. Peep the track list, give it a listen with the player if you like and download the podcast!



Download TML Radio Vol. 6 (2.6.10)

Tracklist
OC Notes "Studder Step"
Jose James "Code"
Curren$y "Smoke N Maintain (In & Out)"
Exile ft. Blu, Donel Smokes, Cass & Jontel "Maintain"
DJ Muggs "Smoke (Interlude)"
Dibia$e & P.U.D.G.E. "Smoke It Over"
House Shoes "The Makings"
Marv Won "Axel Foley"
Obie Trice "On & On"
Flying Lotus "Sangria Spin Cycles"
Gonjasufi "Ancestors"
Flying Lotus "Quakes"
Al Green "Going Away"
Mark Morrison "Crazy (Ital Remix)"
Mr. Chop "For Pete's Sake"
Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon "Our Dreams"
B.o.B. ft. Asher Roth "Fuck The Money"
Erykah Badu "Window Seat"
Metronomy "Radio Ladio"
Freh Espresso "Vader Rap"
Take "Stepping Over Buildings"
Take ft. Dutchmassive "Dream Suite"
Mad Rad "Electric Sheep"
Preverlist "Yesterday I Saw The Future"
Stark Reality "Cooking"
Bun B & GLC "Happiness Before Riches"
Smoke "Rainy Night"
DTMD "Above the Clouds"
Rapper Big Pooh "Put It In The Air"
Jose James "Detroit Loveletter"
Omar-S "Polycopter"
Omar-S "Flying Gorgars"
Res "For Who You Are"

Download TML Radio Vol. 6 (2.6.10)

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's the D!!! A few projects you may have missed...


Reginonal Hip Hop exists across the country. Some regions gain some media attention, some gain record label attention. Detroit has gained both over the years, with just cause. Since the passing of J Dilla in 2006 the town has seen an increased presence in the national Hip Hop scene. With aritsts like Black Milk, Guilty Simpson and Mayer Hawthorne all representing for the 313, and legends in the scene like Royce Da 5'9" linking up with the Slaughterhouse crew and touring relentlessly to spread there brand, which by extension is spreading the Detroit sound to further unknown locals.

Given the history of the city, be it the music, the politics, the industry - or down fall of, it's no suprise that this city has been and continues to be a hot bed for influential music. Going through some new music that's been gathering digital dust on the hard drives around TML brought me aross a handful of releases that slipped through the radar and shouldn't have.

Dilla ambassador and DJ extraordinare House Shoes put out a little 10" project in the beginning of January featuring spaced out LA Dilla Beat disciple Flying Lotus continuing to demonstrate his forward thinking ideas on wax on the B-Side joyful ride "Sangria Spin Cylcles" - if this is any hint at what Cosmogramma is going to deliver we should all be rejoicing. House Shoes delivers on the A-Side with a terrific Curtis Mayfield sampling melancholy jam that succeds as "baby making" music without any actual vocals.

House Shoes was busy in other areas to, helping Marv Won with his mixtape in late December The Way of the Won. With 11 concise tracks, if this is your introduction to the man as it was mine, you will get to know him intimatly. He is honest and tough. His flow is classic and he picks Detroit styled beats that fit his deep voice and slow cadence. Mr. Porter contributes three tracks, House Shoes gets down on one and Black Milk laces him with a heater to close the album out. Bilal does his thing on the hook for "Need to Know" to great effect - he sounds pristine over Porter's strings. No bullshit tags or rewinds, just the music for y'all to enjoy. Get this.

One time major label success, Obie Trice, has seen better days but he isn't letting his lowered status hold him back. He teamed up with Moss for Special Reserve and delivers a great project that demonstrates why Em stood behind him in the first place. Moss is a genius beatmaker, who makes one wonder if there is a deeper connection to his business with Works of Mart. Throughout the album Obie tells us some great stories, talks about his life and sometimes just attacks the mic with pure aggression. It's great and entertaing. Another shorter project. It's quick. But it leaves a bite. Get it.

And in more recent Detroit music news, Guilty Simpson is preparing his album with Madlib - OJ Simpson, which could prove to be supremly aweseome. In advance of that dropping, for the first volume of what Madlib says will be a once a month thing all year the Medicine Show: Before the Verdict tape dropped at the end of January and was in many ways the inspiration for me to give these Detroite joints a few spins. I'm a fairweather Guilty fan and I'm not sure why. Perhaps this new album will sell me, maybe it won't. This tape does a decent job of getting me to want to check out the ablum. Job well done Stones Throw.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Q & A with Annu

Discovering new music is one of the few reasons I spend hours on end online every day and it's because of cats like Annu that I keep going back and digging deeper, searching the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies I can find.

If you haven't heard the name or the tunes get over to his bandcamp page and familiarize yourself with the man who makes ghostly hip electro jams perfect for a late night drive home from the club, or as background music to the session.

His debut album Def Vibrations caught my attention with it's cohesiveness which left me with an urge to keep pressing play upon it's completion. He builds songs up, chops things left and right, utilizes a wide range of drum knocks for different effect and emphasis on the selected spaced sounds vibrating in your ear. Basically, if I were an A & R at Brainfeeder I'd be knocking down the door to get at whatever he has on tap.

Over the last month and a half or so I've corresponded with the man behind one of my favorite releases of the last year. He is a great dude, easy going and very relaxed. He offered up a collection of some songs from the last year that didn't make it onto the album but he still wanted people to hear. If you need any convincing that you need to spend the 5 bucks to get his album check these cuts out first!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Planet Annu.

Can you introduce yourself? How did you get into making tunes, how long? Is Annu your first incarnation as an artist?

My name is Leland Jackson, I'm originally from Misawa, Japan and I've been living in Virginia for the past 11 years. I got into making music around 14, I was in sort of a rock band with a couple of good friends. When I entered high school my tastes started changing. I had FL studio for a while and was experimenting with it on and off during my time being in a couple bands. After various failed attempts I just decided to do my own electronic music full time. I started making music and playing my songs at shows under the name Alamdia. Annu came about after I left high school and it was basically when I started to get into sampling and putting more of a Hip Hop influence on the music. After a while, I felt I was holding myself back and I eventually decided to put my old influences as Alamdia into the mix. So I'd like to think Annu is a fusion of my past and present tastes.

What were you influences growing up? What are your influences today?

My main influences growing up was just exploring new avenues of music, hanging out with close friends, trading and listening to music. My influences nowadays come from being around people who are trying to push the envelope of music, mostly just listening to a lot of what's being circulated on the internet. There's an insane amount of people I feel connected with through the music they are making. It's fresh out the oven music.. and it's redefining the future of music for all of us, right under our noses. It's a beautiful thing.

What current music are you listening to?

A lot of different types. It always depends on my mood. I can be getting up in the morning and I'll put on some Dwele or Slum Village or be going to sleep and throw on a Harold Budd and Brian Eno record.

Does vinyl and digging play a roll in your music making? What is in your studio?

For a short period of time I was digging to find some serious vinyl. I kinda grew out of that when I realized I can get almost anything digitally if i needed. I also wanted to keep my piano interest up. It just ended up not being relevant to my process. If I go and try to pick out vinyl now, it's strictly for my own listening pleasure. In my studio.. haha my studio consists of a low quality laptop, an even lower quality laptop, a beat up mpd24, a nanokontrol and a dying edirol midi keyboard. I'm hanging in there.

Where do you reside? Are you a part of the music scene there if there is one?

I'm currently residing in Richmond, VA. I'd say yes I am part of the music scene here. Although I can't really say there is an official 'music scene' in Richmond unfortunately. There is an immense amount of talent in Richmond, but it is suppressed in many different ways; some of which we can blame others and other ways in which we can only blame ourselves. Nevertheless, Richmond tries to enjoy its small beacons of hope for a brighter future.

Do you bother with classification of your music or with music in general? Is it better to just consider it as sounds constructed for listening pleasure then to be trying to place it in a box?

Well I don't personally classify my music for the sake of keeping my interest true. Although there's nothing wrong with discussing genres as a way to dive into the trends or history of music in my opinion. But I try not to take the genres too seriously, I'd like to think in more progressive terms, but they are both valid I suppose.

Do you see yourself continuing the tradition of Hip Hop production?

I'd like to think so, even though my view of hip hop has changed considerably over time. I feel I'm speaking for a new generation. Music is evolving and I think that we're heading in a very interesting direction.

You speak about music evolving and it heading in a very different direction. Could you elaborate on your thoughts of what this evolution and new direction is, in your opinion?

From my point of view, it definitely has a lot to do with the power of the internet. The flow information is rapid, and this leaves a lot of room for new music to catch on quick. If someone decides to upload a song or photograph for public view, it's automatically available on a worldwide scale, at all times. I'm finding myself being inspired by new artists everyday, and revisiting artists I've found that are keeping their listeners up to date on their work. The internet as a medium for promotion is only progressing, and large networks of underground artists are using this as platform to gather. Whether it's done consciously or unconsciously, it's redefining the movements of art.

Listening to your music I hear elements of music that is coming from London & LA. Is this a conscious influence?

I'm definitely liking a lot of what is going on in those parts of world, I think they inevitably find a way into my creative process. I choose to embrace whatever comes to mind at the time.

Are you a DJ? What is the live Annu set like? Are you playing many shows?

I wouldn't say I'm a DJ, I've tried a couple times to DJ shows but I have a lot to learn haha. It's definitely an art of its own. I'm still working out different ways to play live, but most of all I try to leave a lot of room for improvisation. I'm playing a decent amount of shows, at least once a month. I'm comfortable with having a lot of time between shows, I need that down time to come back and have something completely new to share.

What is your opinion of bandcamp as a method for artists to distribute their music and make money off their art?

I'm a fan. It's another outlet for musicians to push their music, and it takes it to the next level by organizing their releases and making available for purchase or free download. I think it only helps a musician who's trying to promote themselves.

Are you collaborating with other electronic musicians or players of any instruments? Do you hope to eventually get vocalists on your tracks?

I have a couple projects in mind. I've currently been working with my close friend John from Eachothers, and other endeavors as well, with Tyler Newbold, from Coald Toast. I'm really interested in working with more vocalists in the future. We'll see what stirs up this year.. I'm very excited for 2010.

What is your day job?

I'm working with a non profit called Art180 in Richmond. I help teach and mentor various art programs for inner city youth. It's really awesome.

What is at the top of your wish list for next addition to your production set up?

Man that's hard to decide, I'm still trying to concentrate on what I have now, but I've been considering using Ableton and getting a new laptop.

How does Richmond influence your sound?

It's a number of things. There isn't much of a beat scene established here, Richmond is more known for band oriented music.. so It's a little strange for some people when there's someone behind a laptop attempting to play something other than 'party' music. I've been taking on a lot more pop aspects to my music to make it more accessible. At the same time, I'm trying to make music that invokes a feeling that is outside of the world of what people in Richmond might hear on the radio or at dance parties. I've found a lot of comfort on the internet as far as being able to share my music without any thought of restricting myself to a certain genre. Here I have to be a little mindful of how I approach a live setting, but I think with time something can grow here.

What's your favorite record?

That's hard to say but lately I've been listening to Bulles Bubbles by Kenlo and Vlooper... it's some really great stuff.
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I wanna thank Annu for taking the time out to chat with me and for the tracks, get them here if you didn't already - how can you say no to Free99?

Check him out on the web at these sites:

http://www.myspace.com/planetannu
http://www.twitter.com/planetannu
http://planetannu.bandcamp.com