Wednesday, April 30, 2008
James Nasty - Jump Off (Club City Records)
James Nasty is a producer from Baltimore that I was contacted by recently about some club tracks he's been making lately. I guess his previous experience was mainly in hip hop, and he's just now trying to make a name for himself in the Baltimore club scene, but judging from the tracks I've heard, he's definitely got a handle on the classic breakbeats and the whole tempo and vibe already, which a lot of newer club producers don't seem to have mastered yet. Jump Off is a single he's released or is going to release soon on vinyl, and his label Club City Records already has a website with a Snocap store selling mp3s of some tracks. The a-side of the single, "Jump Off," features sampled vocals by SkillRaw who had collaborated with James Nasty extensively before passing away last year, and there are several different mixes and remixes of that track on the single, along with another song called "You So Hawt."
James Nasty - "You So Hawt" (mp3)
This track was also on the first release James Nasty sent me, an EP he put together, Nasty Girls, before deciding to release this single instead, and it was the first track that really grabbed my attention even then. The main sample is T-Pain's verse from Chris Brown's "Kiss Kiss," but the track really adds a lot around that vocal loop, little horn riffs and layered breakbeats, I could really hear this one working in a club with all the big Bmore hits of the moment, DJs might pick up on this one quicker than the a-side.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
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Fri May 2
SONAR CLUB & LOUNGE
10 PM DOORS - ALL AGES
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Mullyman - "Party Walk" (mp3)
I heard this on 92Q (I guess Mully ain't "banned from the radio" anymore?) last night, and had to hit up his MySpace today and download it, and apparently he's got a whole new mixtape called The Return either out now or dropping soon. This is Mully spitting over a straight up Baltimore club track (I believe he says at the beginning that it's a DJ Booman production), with chopped up drums from Lil Mama's "Lip Gloss," and he even sings a little of the theme song from The Wire ("Way Down In The Hole" by Tom Waits) at one point, really sick song.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
For The People Entertainment
performing live at the Baltimore Green Week Ecofestival
@ 3pm, Saturday April 26th
Druid Hill Park
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Ab Rock - The Mid Midlife Crisis (Rockmics Entertainment)
I don't like to throw around phrases like "long-awaited" when talking about an album, but I really have been waiting on Ab Rock's second album for a good long while, considering I was posting flyers saying it would drop in Fall 2006 on this page way back then. But after all the waiting and a teaser mixtape and a collaborative EP with J.S.O.U.L. the album finally dropped earlier this month. The joint Ab Rock/E Major album release party at Fletcher's a few weeks ago was really one of the best local rap shows I've seen lately, they really did their thing with the live bands and made it feel like an event.
Ab Rock's a real talented dude who brings his own kind of semi-grown folks perspective to his music, which ties together the whole title and theme of this album together. More than half of the tracks feature an R&B singer, usually Marc Evans or Che Ray, so there's a pretty heavy melodic element to the album, but it's not too soft or commercial. Guest MCs include Ogun, Sean Toure, Chuck Maddox and E Major, who produces a track, in addition to other producers like Ms. Tris Beats, G Major and Zukeeny. The tracks that you might've heard already are the single "Who (Do You Think You Are)" and still one of my personal favorites, "With Ease" from Breaking Ground, Vol. 1. Ab Rock performs at Eden's Lounge for Organic Soul Tuesdays next week on April 29th.
Ab Rock - "In Ya Area" (mp3)
This one's produced by Jankin and I like it, really different kinda vibe.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It's been a while since I did a post full of short news items and links, but here's some interesting stuff:
- Baltimore Club Classics Vol. 1, the first in a series of vinyl reissues that came about as a result of my Government Names post that Crosstalk was looking for club music vinyl, will be available soon, and I have an interview with Dukeyman on Noise about the record. Soon there'll be more records in the series by Diamond K, DJ Technics, K.W. Griff, DJ Chuck, DJ Class, K-Man and others.
- OkayPlayer.com has a favorable review of E Major's Majority Rules.
- Yet another magazine did a scene profile of Baltimore, this time Blender, which talks about Blaq Starr, among others (link via Midnight Sun). There was also a post on the Rolling Stone blog that went a little more in-depth than the article in the magazine and features audio of the Ogun and G.E.M. singles off of the forthcoming Darkroom Productions album. Michael Byrne also wrote a reaction to the Rolling Stone piece on Noise, and Brandon Soderberg wrote a reaction to the Baltimore zine in XLR8R on his blog, No Trvia.
- The Fader blog had a recent throwback post about DJ Technics' The Main Event EP.
- The Chavy Boys Of London, the new side project by Scottie B., Sean Caesar and King Tutt, was featured in a recent City Paper article by Michael Byrne about side projects by Baltimore musicians.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
80'z Boys - The 80'z Made Me
The 80'z Boys are part of the Dirt Platoon crew, and when I saw them perform at Suite a couple months ago, this was one of the two CD's they gave me, along with one by Raf a.k.a. Mr. Marcus. The members of Dirt Platoon are Blac Spill, Tiz a.k.a. Time Iz Money, Raf and Snook Da Crook, I think just Tiz and Snook are the 80'z Boys but I'm not 100% sure about that. This CD is sick, though, definitely one of my favorite local releases I've heard lately, although I have no idea how recent it is. If the beats are all original and done by members of the group then these are some real talented guys. I thought that with the name they'd be on some annoying Juelz Santana shit, or some retro Run DMC tip, but the vibe it gives me is more of a gritty 90's Boot Camp Clik vibe, which is pretty great. Pen Dragon did the artwork for this CD, although I didn't see the cover anywhere online when I looked (edit: OK, he just e-mailed the cover to me, thanks!).
80'z Boys - "Spit On Your Grave" (mp3)
Really tough picking a favorite track, but right now it's this .
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Slick Vic Low, the MC and poet also known as Lyrical Leviathan, Slangston Hughes, or Thelonious Coltrane, announced this week that he'd be retiring from performing, with one final show on April 23rd at Warm Wednesdays @ 5 Seasons, and is also appearing tonight, April 19th, at The Art Of Conversation @ the Yabba Pot. And just a couple days after he made that announcement, he showed up at the Word War 1 poetry slam at 5 Seasons last night, and ended up taking home the top prize. That's a hell out of a way to go out, congratulations to him. I'll have a full report on Word War up on Noise probably on Monday.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I just saw, via Midnight Sun, that Rolling Stone magazine's Best of Rock 2008 issue is out, and the city of Baltimore is featured as the Best Scene. Since it's obviously a rock magazine and a "best of rock" list, there's only a couple local hip hop mentions, for Deep Flow Studios and Amotion, and Darkroom Productions and their work on The Wire, who were both also featured in a previous RS issue in 2006.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Yuk - Music Is My Life EP (For The People Ent.)
Yuk a.k.a. "Mr. Live Wire" is an artist on For The People Entertainment, which I profiled in the City Paper a few months ago, and has in the past primarily performed as a member of the duo Yuk & Cut. He's got a full-length album due later this year, but this first solo project is just an EP -- 6 songs on the tracklist but 3 more hidden tracks, including some familiar ones from previous FTP releases like "Lower Than Yours" with Ace and Lil Shank. So it's just kind of a little sampler but it's enough to really get a sense of his voice and personality that you might not entirely get from the Squadre Committee or Yuk & Cut material. I'm supposed to be getting some more new FTP releases from Cutthroat and Bear soon, looking forward to those. Check out Yuk on MySpace.
Yuk - "What Are You Waitin' For (The Time Is Now)" (mp3)
People hate on later Van Halen but fuck it, I kinda like some of that Van Hagar shit. They picked a cool bit of "Right Now" to loop up for this track, not too obvious but still works as a hook.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
My latest show reviews for Noise at http://noise.citypaper.com: Dru Hill auditioning for, and choosing, their new 4th member @ Suite (a happy ending to that whole YouTube mess), Ab-Rock and E Major's joint release party @ Fletcher's, Wye Oak/Deer Tick/Musee Mecanique @ the G-Spot, Enon/Squaaks/Impossible Hair @ the Ottobar and Butt Stomach/Daniel Francis Doyle/Seth Sherman @ the Talking Head.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
K-Swift The Club Queen - Jumpoff Vol. 12 (Unruly Records)
I'm pretty late on covering this, since Vol. 13 in this series has been out already, but 12 really jams so I wanted to write something about this one before getting to that later. Like all K-Swift mixes, it's sold at Downtown Locker Room, and also on her new online store and the Unruly Records mp3 store, all the latest Baltimore club hits, you know the deal. This one has tracks by the usual suspects like Rod Lee, Say Wut, and KW Griff, but also a lot of the lesser known cats coming up that I've interviewed in the past few months like DJ Pierre, Mic Marvelous, and DJ Chris J. I like where club music seems to be going these days, a lot of producers are finally moving past the Lil Jon samples and trying different things but there's no real obvious trend that everyone's following, it's interesting. The only part of this CD that I wasn't really feelin' is the section where K-Swift put 3 different Soulja Boy remixes in a row on tracks 10-12. I mean, it's a nice thematic idea, but that's a long-ass 5 or 6-minute stretch of "Crank That" and it gets pretty annoying.
J Roc - "If It's Beef Remix" (mp3)
This has been one of the coolest-sounding club hits of the past few months, in my opinion, not sure if J Roc did the original too but I like this remix.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The Pornstars - Dirty Work (Pornstar Productions/Bird City Entertainment)
The Pornstars are a duo of MCs named Al Steed and Big Steve who also produce their own material, and I first heard their work as producers on two mixtapes by their Bird City labelmate Ckrisis, including the awesome song "Down For Whatever" that I included on my year-end mix for Idolator a few months ago. Sometimes I wonder if my taste in hip hop is predictable, because I always hate on CDs that have too many freestyles over industry beats and tend to praise stuff with more original production, but honesty, these guys make seriously dope beats and crafted an album with consistent but varied production, and it's by far one of the best things I've heard out of Baltimore in the past few months. That's not to take away from them as MCs, because they have this nice laid back, arrogant, pissed off vibe that really suits the music, but I have to admit it's mostly about the beats. Someone should be laying out serious money for their tracks.
The Pornstars - "High" (mp3)
Yeah yeah, every rap album has a weed song, but this is one of my favorites on this one.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
G.E.M. aka Get Em Mamis had a premiere party at 5 Seasons on Saturday for the video for their collaboration with Darkroom Productions, "When You See Us," from Beyond Hamsterdam: Baltimore Tracks From The Wire, and the video is now up on YouTube. Juan Donovan from Darkroom said in an e-mail a couple months ago that the video would be aired on 106 & Park and MTV Jams, but I don't know if/when that's going to happen. G.E.M. have also released their single from the Darkroom Productions album due out in June, it's called "Cold Summer" and it's on their MySpace page. And they've been getting some press lately, with an interview on Baltimore music website Aural States, and in the new issue of The Fader, which you can download as a PDF file. They're featured on page 64 (page 34 in the PDF) and page 146 (page 76 in the PDF).
Monday, April 07, 2008
I must have really gotten good at fooling people into thinking my opinion matters, because hot off of my stint juding the "Show Me What You Got" MC battle, next Friday I will be one of the judges at the "Word War" spoken word/poetry slam competition, along with Labtekwon, Olu Butterfly Woods and others. Spoken word isn't really my area of expertise, but the folks from The Baltimore Scene asked me to do it so I'll try to take it seriously and make the right decisions.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Kane f/ UnReal - "Turntables" (mp3)
A couple months ago at the benefit for Sonny Brown, I was on the corner outside the club bullshitting with Ogun and a few other dudes after the show. And one of them was this guy Kane who I'd never met before and was just a hysterical, quick-witted guy, and I was like shit, if this guy raps half as slick as he talks, his music's gotta be worth checking out. I mean, let's face it, even some great rappers haven't, shall we say, mastered the art of conversation. His MySpace blog has some pretty thought-provoking stuff on it, too. I haven't really heard anything yet by him besides the songs on his MySpace page, but my favorite of those is the one with UnReal. Kane is a part of this new label that Midas and a few other people are putting together and I'm pretty interested to see what comes of that. And UnReal invited me over a while back to listen to this new mixtape he's getting ready to release that I think might be his best work yet, so hopefully there'll be a lot more to hear from both of these guys in the near future.