Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This week, the annual Big Music Issue of the Baltimore City Paper hits the streets, and I'm really excited about this one, because I have a couple pieces in there, and because pretty much the entire issue is dedicated to Baltimore's hip hop scene. This was Jess Harvell's first BMI since becoming CP's music editor last summer, and I really have to give him props for putting together a hot issue and focusing on hip hop so much in a paper whose readership doesn't necessarily want to read that much about hip hop. Hopefully the City Paper will get enough positive feedback from this issue to balance out the inevitable hatemail. This is one that you should really just pick up a copy of and read from cover to cover, but I'll give you a breakdown of some of the great stuff in this issue:

* The Best Of Both Worlds is my baby, my big article about the history of fusion between Baltimore club music and hip hop. I did a lot of interviews and research for this and I think it came out pretty good, although honestly I'm too close to it to be objective yet. I focused primarily on club producers who also make hip hop, including Booman, Debonair Samir, Blaq Starr, Dukeyman, Rod Lee (who I didn't get a chance to interview), DJ Ron Rico, and Say What (who I did interview, but unfortunately the stuff about him got left on the cutting room floor, so apologies to him). Harvell deserves a lot of credit for greenlighting and editing the piece, and adding his two cents to a lot of the article and helping it take shape, a lot of the turns of phrase and perspectives in there are his. Over the next couple weeks on Gov't Names I'll have posts about each of the producers spotlighted in the article to really share some music and show people what I'm talking about if they're not familiar.

* Baltimore Hip-Hop Trading Cards is an interesting bonus thing that seemed to pop up at the last minute and turned out really nice, with myself, Harvell, and Jason Torres contributing vital stats about some of local hip hop's biggest names to accompany illustrated portraits by Alex Fine of folks like Mullyman, Labtekwon, Huli Shallone, Bossman, Tha Plague, B. Rich, Ms. Stress, Ogun, ShellBe RAW, Tim Trees, Skarr Akbar, and D.O.G. It's definitely a cool little primer for scene outsiders.

* The Come Up by Jason Torres is a thinkpiece about local hip hop that features quotes from a roundtable discussion with DJ K-Swift, Ogun and Wink from Real On Purpose Records, C Love, Mike Mcintosh from Architects Studio, Victor Starr from 92Q, Shawn Caesar from Unruly Records, Ahk from 88.9, Golden Seal, Brown F.I.S.H. and Sekani Williams. It's a really good piece and there's some serious food for thought in there.

* Spitting Game by J. Bowers is a profile of local human beatbox Shodekeh, who I saw perform a few months ago and was really talented and entertaining.

* Stream Of Consciousness by Harvell is about Timmy Grins and TheBreakdownTV.

* Turning The Tables by Jaye Hunnie is about DJ Spontaneous

* And finally, the Big Music Thing is a downloadable mixtape of local music, featuring mp3's by Dirty Hartz, Mullyman, Barnes, Cooli Hi, Rod Lee, and my friends Private Eleanor.

(photo by Frank Hamilton)

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great job, al! the club music piece was excellent and the trading cards were adorable. i know "adorable" isn't the most common adjective in discussing hip hop, but i felt like reaching in and pinching everyone's

overall, it was a great look on the part of the city paper to dedicate their big music issue to hip hop. congrats on being a big part of it!

thanks, y'all!
AL, congrats on your contributions to the Paper, I haven't gotten to read them all.......but I will today when I pick up my 20 copies.

I love the trading cards, I got people asking me where they can get them....Courtney/Kelly..let's make some money! (wink, wink)
i just copped an issue and it's soooo good. i have to say, you all are KILLING it! al, jess, jason, man The City Paper is my favorite read right now. also, i'm always looking forward to Jess' stuff as well. thanks a million.

ps. the trading cards are so official. baltimore stand up and do the dang thing!
Great Article!- Kenneth!!!
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