Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The video for DJ Gemini’s “D.M.V. Dream Team” featuring Mullyman, Bossman, Skarr Akbar, Smash, DC Don Juan, Gerreddi, Whitefolkz, and Kingpen Slim is finally online. There was a premiere party for the video in D.C. almost 2 months ago, and I saw it the next day when I was interviewing Mully and the director, The Grench from Sleepin Giant Media, came over and played it on his laptop, but the video wasn’t available to watch on YouTube or anything until this week.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Los - Zero Gravity: Intent To Deliver (DJ Head Debiase/The Aphilliates/After Platinum)
I've been bad about keeping up with all the mixtapes Los has released in the last couple years, but I think this is the most recent one and that another, Shooter, is dropping soon, unless it's out already and I just haven't seen it yet. But I gotta say, it feels like dude has really been building some momentum lately and it's exciting to see, he's always had obvious talent but I was never sure he had the grind to get his career going until this run he's on. A lot of industry beats on this mixtape, but he makes it work with some good lyrics, and this has that single "Sexy While You Chillin'" featuring Mario if you're after that. One thing that I noticed about this mixtape is that it's like 70 minutes long, and nobody really makes long mixtapes like that anymore and try to max out the CD length, since a lot of people just cop them online now anyway. In a way I like shorter mixtapes and like the trend towards shorter running times, but I feel like the length of this is kind of a good example of how Los just always has a ton of music to give away, speaks to his work ethic and that he can just rap for days and always sound inspired. Download Zero Gravity at Allbmorehiphop.com.
Los - "Never Landing" (mp3)
It's funny, I was just saying something recently about how I hate the airplane-themed inspirational songs that B.o.B. and Wiz Khalifa have out this year, but this song is kinda on the same vibe and I totally love it, definitely one of the best original beats on this mixtape and a good way to kick off the CD.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Here's Dirt Platoon's video for "Pennsylvania Ave." from the album Deeper Than Dirt that they're dropping with Brake Fast Records on September 15th. Profitt directed the video, Tom Delay and R. Taylor produced the song and this shit is great, you need to watch this.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Some recent live reviews I've written for the Baltimore City Paper's Noise blog: the Rap Round Robin with Mickey Free/Rapdragons/Height With Friends/AK Slaughter/PT Burnem/etc. @ Floristree, J Roddy Walston & The Business/Tommy Tucker & The Supernaturals @ The Ottobar and Casual Curious/Andrew Weathers Ensemble/Us And Only Us @ the Hexagon and Tears For Fears @ Rams Head Live.
(PT Burnem photo by Al Shipley)
Si-Notes - Cash On Delivery (Gritty Gang/ARS Productions)
The past couple years I've been paying attention to Si-Notes as one of the newer female MCs in Baltimore to watch, good guest spots on NOE and Gritty Gang mixtapes and performances at Sonar and the Black Hole. But this is my first time finally hearing a full length solo project from her, and while as usual I'm tempted to complain about all the freestyles and relative lack of original production, but there's a good beat selection and she's definitely got some flows and some charisma. Architects and Ogun executive produced this and Skarr Akbar did the artwork. The song "Going Down" with Chyna Doll, Cash and Shy Lady Heroin that I posted a few months ago is on here, and there are also guest appearances by Caddy Da Don, Mykeey and others. You can download it on allbmorehiphop.com.
Si-Notes - "Throw Dat Money Up" (mp3)
This is cool, pretty anthemic track.
Friday, August 27, 2010
A few days ago I interviewed Trey Songz for my first Baltimore Sun article, which is in today's paper to promote his concert at Pier Six Pavilion tonight. I also wrote a sidebar article about Trey's collaborations, including hits by Twista and Drake, and his remix of DJ Class's Baltimore club hit "I'm The Ish."
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Backland f/ 100 Grandman and Hunit Stacks - "All I Need" (mp3)
I was just making a joke on my Twitter recently about how it's kind of confusing and redundant that there are 2 rappers in Baltimore named 100 Grandman and Hunit Stackz (who used to be just called Stackz), but I have to admit it's kinda dope to see them on a track together and know they're cool with having similar names. I've probably posted more music from Backland's Block Work mixtape here now than in advance of any other release in the history of Gov't Names, but fuck it, he keeps trickling out these joints, and I like this, kinda has a "Rubber Band Man" vibe.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I wrote a review of Dru Hill's new album InDRUpendence Day in this week's City Paper.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Mz Streamz - It's Alive (Milkcrate Records)
Mz Streamz is a young female MC from Baltimore, I think she's only 19 or 20, but she's been working with Debonair Samir and Aaron Lacrate and getting a lot of publicity lately. You might have heard her on their Club Crack album last year or you might have heard the remix of her single with Skarr Akbar, or you might have seen her in the Baltimore Sun or at last year's Queen of the Mic battle. But she finally released her first mixtape this year, and although I think she's got a decent flow, I'm not totally sold on her, she comes off a little anonymous. And, like Bret McCabe noted in his City Paper review, the pacing and variety of the mixtape is a little over the top, going from hip hop beats to Baltimore club to Go-Go to '80s pop to Miley Cyrus and back, and while she's versatile enough that she can rap over pretty much all of it, you don't get much sense of her, and her personality, whatever it is, gets overwhelmed. I always say I like fast-paced mixtapes that don't let you get bored, but I feel like I finally heard a counterexample that convinces me that it's possible to go too far over the top, because this CD is kind of exhausting to listen to, there's no breathing room between tracks and it just gets annoying after a while, plus you've got Fatman Scoop yelling over it all.
Mz Streamz f/ DJ Class - "Fo'real" (mp3)
This is a cool collab, as usual Class makes dope tracks.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Here's "One Time (Hustlers Plight)," the latest video from Billo's new mixtape Falling Off Into 1st.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Smash - "My Dummy" (mp3)
This record's kinda wrong but I gotta admit it's one of the better records that T-Mac has done to date.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Ron Rico f/ Mike Malachi - "This Is What I Live For" (mp3)
Ron Rico's had an interesting career, going from doing Baltimore club tracks, to producing for MCs, to doing kinda spacey instrumental hip hop, to now putting an emphasis on his own rapping with the upcoming solo project This Is What I Live For. Here's the title track and lead single, and clearly his homie Mike Malachi's gonna be a big part of this, as he usually is with Ron's music.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Bossman f/ Cleo-Merlo - "Jockin' My Cool" (mp3)
Bossman recently picked this as the 3rd single off The Re-Up, don't know if it's one of my favorites off the album but it seems like a good choice, I definitely like it more than "Break Me Off" or "All Over U."
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Next week the first Baltimore Independent Music & Arts Festival will be holding showcases all over the city from August 26th to 28th, and there's some good Baltimore club and hip hop artists among BiMA's announced performers: Comp, Ogun, Mullyman, DJ Booman, Soul Cannon, Mickey Free, Scottie B., Little Clayway, April Love, Checkwun, and Prenz Bilal, among others.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Rome Cee & Justin Ambush - Street Scholar
Rome Cee's Tunnel Vision (FreEP) really knocked me out a few months ago as easily one of the best Baltimore releases I've heard this year, so I was excited to hear that he had another new record out. This one, a collaboration with producer Justin Ambush, I'm not as into, but it also confirms for me that Rome Cee is definitely a rapper worth checking for, really talented, kinda plainspoken cat who doesn't throw a lot of crazy ideas or gimmicks out there and just makes you listen to what he's saying. It's 8 songs, 30 minutes, so it really kinda makes its points and gets it over with quick, which is one of the things I also liked about Tunnel Vision, brevity is really underrated in hip hop. I'm not that crazy about Ambush's production, some of the live guitar and bass is cool but some of the more rock-sounding beats don't sound that great. Now and then he has a banger, though. Download Street Scholar for free at Rome Cee's Band Camp page.
Rome Cee & Justin Ambush - "Hangover" (mp3)
This one's one of the more mellow cuts on the record, really lets you focus on the lyrics.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Here's Backland's video for "10 Weed Commandments" off the upcoming Block Work: None Better mixtape.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
The Black Sunn - "Hip Hop's Lament" (mp3)
Here's a new Black Sunn track he did for a mixtape from DJBooth.net.
(photo by Rarah)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
It's been about a month since I hit my Kickstarter funding goal for my book, Tough Breaks: The Story of Baltimore Club Music, but I just wanted to post a quick reminder that the official site ToughBreaksBaltimore.com will continue to be a source of updates about the book and about club music in general. In the past few weeks posts have included thoughts on Debonair Samir's new single, a comprehensive overview of my freelance writing about Baltimore club prior to beginning work on Tough Breaks, links to video of Scottie B. at Whartscape and the Washington Post article by Chris Richards about 92Q and Baltimore Club, and other posts about events and media. I'm still kinda slow going with it so far, but eventually I hope the site will be as much a resource for Baltimore club as Gov't Names has been for Baltimore hip hop, and will be posting about new music more frequently soon, so keep checking for new posts.
Here's KG's video for "All About Tha Money," directed by Smitty Robinson.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Los - "Baltimore 2 Step" (mp3)
New joint from Los's upcoming Shooter mixtape, not sure if it's kind of annoying or if it really bangs. I do hate how Los pronounces "how you doin'" like "hi you dern," like he's hollering at Jurassic Park co-star Laura Dern or something.
(photo by Rarah)
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
John Regan f/ Ill Bill and Juganot - "Devil's Eye" (mp3)
This year I've been getting sent some music by this cat from Baltimore named John Regan who's dropping an album in October called Sorry I'm Late that's gonna have a lot of fairly big name guests (Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5'9", 88 Keys, etc.), and this outtake from the album features some well known guests too. It's not really a style of underground hip hop I listen to much, but I can respect what he's going for, looks like he's kinda doing it big with this project.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Every September, the Baltimore City Paper releases its Best of Baltimore, and for the past few years I've been involved in picking some of the awards, including a lot of the music-related ones. And every year, after the issue comes out I hear all the complaints about who SHOULDA gotten this award or that award. While the public is never going to be invited in on the CP's decision-making process, I will urge anyone who cares to vote in the reader poll, where their opinion CAN make a difference. Be honest, and don't try to stuff the ballot box, but vote.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Rapdragons - Featuring Baltimore (Ltd Comp)
Ever since I interviewed these guys last year, I've been intrigued by their plan to feature a different Baltimore band on every track of their 2nd album; I talked about the record in my WYPR spring music preview and also posted a live version of one of the tracks. Then the album finally arrived, and is available for free download at the Ltd Comp site, but it took me a minute to getting around to checking it out. It was worth the wait, though, and I definitely feel like it's a far better album than their debut, really shows their ability to chop samples interestingly, and all the different kinds of bands they sample give them a really broad sonic palette to work with. If you follow the Baltimore rock scene at all, you're probably familiar with some of these bands, like Beach House, Ponytail, Double Dagger, Arbouretum, but even if you're not, this works really well as just a laid back stoner rap album. Rapdragons will perform at the Baltimore Rap Round Robin this Saturday, should be an awesome show.
Rapdragons f/ AK and Hanna Badalova - "Rap'n'Roll" (mp3)
This song samples the Art Department, a band I really like that are also about to release a new album. In a weird way it makes sense to me that Rapdragons would sample the Art Department because I interviewed both groups in the same year, at the same bar. AK from AK Slaughter guests on this track, and they'll also be at the Round Robin.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
This video's been out for a minute but I hadn't seen it, a song by a group I've never heard before called TRP featuring Bossman, "B4LT1M0RE," directed by The Grench for Sleepin Giant Media.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Mullyman - Harder Than Baltimore (Major League Unlimited)
By now hopefully you know Mully's 2nd album's been out for a few weeks, maybe you read my City Paper feature on him, maybe you heard that he leaked the album himself and it's out there for anyone to download (on DatPiff, plus a hundred other sites if you look), and if you really like it you can go to a store or iTunes and cop it officially. I already kinda said all that I can say about the album and a lot of the songs on it, which I've been posting here for the past year and a half. But I will just say, I think this is a big improvement on his first album and a good foot to put forward for anyone who's still on the fence about Mully or hasn't checked out his music yet, hopefully it'll get some good buzz going for him. This albums got a few features, the joints with Smash and Sean Paul that I've posted before, the big song with Bossman, also Nik Stylz and Lady D.
Mullyman f/ C.R. Da Show - "Fast Or Slow" (mp3)
This is one of two hooks by C.R. Da Show on the album and this is probably my favorite of the songs I hadn't heard before, kinda hits this nice vibe of being hip hop and R&B and club music but really just a dope song period.
Monday, August 02, 2010
Here's the video for "Bright Sound" by UllNevaNo, from his upcoming Under Sound Music mixtape The Color Brown, featuring him rapping over Kev Brown beats.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
The Boy Blesst - Show-N-Prove (Reign Music)
Blesst released one of my favorite Baltimore albums of last year, Charmicidle, and the first leak from this new record, "The Difference," was dope, so I was definitely anticipating this. I don't know if it's quite on the same level as the last album, but Blesst is just a really solid rapper, always has a really listenable flow and a good ear for beats, so anything he does is worth checking out. I get a little bored with how much of his music is about success and getting famous, that kind of thing is kinda why I wrote that Might Don't Make It article. I don't think rappers realize that rap stardom isn't actual that interesting a topic for lyrics, even when actual stars like Drake rap about it all the time it's kinda boring, let alone someone who's still underground like Blesst. There's some good songs about real life shit on here too, though, so it's alright. Guests on here include Barnes and C.R. Da Show, and you can download it on AllBmoreHipHop.com.
The Boy Blesst f/ Brian Ennals - "The World Don't Stop" (mp3)
Brian Ennals is kind of a newer rapper I reviewed a CD by a while back, cool to see him linking up with other good artists.