Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dirty Hartz - It Is What It Is Mixtape Vol. 2 (Dirty Hartz Ent.)

Dirty Hartz (Verb, Slixta and J Hussein) have become probably my favorite rap group in Baltimore over the past year (although Slixta is from D.C.), after seeing them perform at least a dozen times. If I'm about to leave a show and Verb jumps on the mic and starts freestyling, I'll turn around and stay until he's done, he's just that good. If you check the bio on the S&M Management site, you'll see how many freestyle battles Verb and Slixta have won.

Bmore club producer Debonair Samir hosts the mixtape and produces most of their tracks, and I didn't even know until I interviewed him recently that they've been working together since 2002. DH's buzz has really been building lately, though, with the singles "That's Da Sound" featuring Mullyman and "Slow Down" featuring Joe Budden, and Verb's appearance on 106 & Park's Freestyle Friday. There used to be 5 MC's in the Dirty Hartz, but two members, Dave and Meechie, have left the group since last year's It Is What It Is Vol. 1 (which Jaye Hunnie reviewed in the City Paper a few months ago). Verb kind of explains the history of the group on "Verb's Story" from this is new mixtape that's just about to drop. It's a little less focused on freestyles and has more original material, including most of their best known songs, like "The Hartz Is Here." They've even got Skinny Suge rapping on here!

Dirty Hartz - "Post Up" (mp3)
The label that Samir's been working with lately, Milkcrate, recently signed a deal with Koch Records to distribute an album called Baltimore Club Crack that's coming out later this summer. The album, produced entirely by Samir, features Tim Trees, B. Rich, Mullyman, Choppa from Da Band, and some other Bmore artists, but there are gonna be several tracks by Dirty Hartz, and "Post Up" is the first single from the album. It's a hot song, but I remember the first time I heard it, when Samir played it for me in his studio, I had to tease him a little about the fact that they're dropping a song that shouts out Hammerjacks a bunch of times right after the club closed down. I wasn't really sure what to think of this fashion designer guy Aaron Lacrate that runs the label Samir's been doing all these projects with, because the records Lacrate's been putting out have some sketchy cover art with drawings of vials of crack and the Orioles logo with the eyes X'd out. I don't know about you, but that shit doesn't look right to me. You don't have to ignore Baltimore's problems with crime and drugs, but that seems to be almost making light of it. I asked Samir about that stuff and he said he hadn't seen that artwork until recently and he didn't initially like the Baltimore Club Crack title, so I'm not gonna give him a hard time about it, because I think it's cool that he's involved in a project that's getting national distribution. I've heard most of the album and it's hot, hopefully people around here will get behind "Post Up" and make it a hit.

Verb - "Down Tha Hill" (mp3)
DJ Manny's "Down The Hill" is a classic Baltimore club track and there have been a lot of variations on it, various tracks about being from down the hill or up the hill, and I have to admit, I still have no idea what it really means. I mean, Baltimore is full of hills and neighborhoods named after hills (Cherry Hill, Druid Hill, Butchers Hill, Federal Hill), but I don't know if "down the hill" refers to a specific part of town. Anyway, this is Verb doing a more gangsta flip on that whole theme.

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in baltimore...there is a lot of words with implied meaning...combine that with black people's need to shorten anything...we like to cut time - ya dig!


down the hill is like around the way or many others we say..can't think off hand!

its crazy because it may not even be a hill that you can physically feel the incline. UP the hill may be if Im on Edmondson and Poplar Grove...up the hill might be Cook's Lane or the Village. Down the East Balttimore is a specific area tho...& ever heard of "Deekyland"...LOL!

I could go on an on about this crazy ass city and its charming little quirks.
Yeah, I always kinda figured it was a relative term, but in the back of my head I wasn't sure if it had its roots in a specific location. Thanks.
Thanks for the support Al!! I wish Sami would have told you about the MTV interview that they did too!!! They were interviewed by MTV for a possible "My Block" episode. Along with other talent from the area. D.O.G, Young Leak, and Hulio. From what the producer told us!! I will keep you informed!!
yeah, Samir mentioned that to me, I'm curious to see how that MTV stuff turns out.
for the person who tried to define "down the hill". please stop. when you hear people throwin up they sets "AYE DOWN THE HILL" refers to the eastside of the city. thats monument, milton. patterson park, rose st, biddle st, all that. please...dont get it twisted.
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