Thursday, December 14, 2006
ShellBe RAW - Do You Like It Raw? (A.R.S. Entertainment/DJ Radio)
I haven't posted much about ShellBe RAW on this site, aside from a track here or there, mainly because I never heard her previous mixtape, although I first took notice of her on Hamsterdam and a mixtape by the group she first started rapping with, 360. And she's always been cool to me when I run into her at shows or get an e-mail or MySpace message, and she seems pretty down to earth on her blog. Still, I was kinda surprised at how quickly her profile has risen in the past year, the City Paper in particular being really supportive with a feature, a Best Of Baltimore award, a trading card, and then this week a spot in the 2006 local music top ten.
The most significant co-sign she's gotten, though, would have to be that of Architects Recording Studio. You can find A.R.S. in the liner notes of a huge percentage of Baltimore hip hop releases, and they've started releasing a series of mixtapes in the past couple years. But this new ShellBe RAW mixtape, which she threw a release party for last month that I wasn't able to make it out to, is the first solo project that A.R.S. have put their weight behind, and that kind of endorsement speaks volumes, considering the clout they have in this scene. It's kind of easy to forget, amongst all this, that she only moved here from Boston and started rapping a couple years ago, which makes her growth that much more remarkable.
I wasn't sure what to expect out of this mixtape, mainly because I hadn't yet been hooked by much of her music (although "Damn Shellz" is still my jam), but it's definitely a high quality product. Only handful of original beats but most of the freestyle tracks feel like real songs, too. And there's a ton of great features, this might have the best guest list of a Bmore hip hop solo CD I've ever seen, including Ogun, Skarr Akbar, D.O.G., EJ, Che Ray, I'm sure some people I'm forgetting. This is the kind of CD I want to see more of, serious unity among artists and quality collabos, and someone relatively new to the scene getting co-signed by people who've been in it forever.
ShellBe RAW - "Give It To Me Raw" (mp3)
Great use of a Method Man sample on the hook, and a few months ago on her blog ShellBe told a great story about meeting Meth and giving him a copy of the song.
ShellBe RAW f/ D.O.G. and EJ - "Big Business Freestyle" (mp3)
A posse cut with D.O.G. and the super underrated EJ over one of my
favorite beats of the past year, Lil Wayne's "Hustler Musik." No
relation to D.O.G.'s song that also has the title "Big Business."