Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tim Trees was the first rapper in Baltimore to get a beat from Rod Lee, back in 2000, which is in effect the starting point for the current era of Bmore hip hop. Club music had already been dominating the city for a decade at that point, and there had been plenty of attempts at club/rap fusions, but it wasn't until Tim and Rod got together and set the standard with "Bank Roll", which was a huge hit, that people had a successful template to work with, club drums slowed from 130bpm way down to 90 so you can flow on it. And people hate on the Baltimore sound, especially in D.C., but fuck it, Rod Lee's drums don't sound any cheaper than, say, David Banner's. Tim's first album was produced roughly half by Rod, and half by another club producer, Dukeyman, who produced "Whoa Now" for B Rich 2 years later. But mostly it's been Rod Lee running the city since then, with monopolies on both sides of the game, club beats and hip hop beats. Countless local MCs got their first or biggest or only hit from Rod (off the top of my head: Bossman, Nature's Problem, Q, Mullyman, Little Clayway, Live Wire, Tyree Corleone, Pork Chop), and Tim and Rod teamed up again in '02 and '03 to do some big local R&B hits with Davon and then Paula Campbell. Tim's first album sold something like 10 thousand, 20 thousand, maybe more, but the 2nd LP didn't do as well, and he never got signed like everyone thought he would, so in the past couple years he's kept a relatively low profile. But he had top billing on both of The Movement mixtapes, including the standout on Vol. 2, "No Club Shit", and last fall he did a record with Paula on the "Breathe" beat that sounded like he wasn't planning on going anywhere. Plus he got a shoutout on Comp's song on the Johnson Family Vacation sdtk ("roll Tim Trees up" - "Rollin'").

Tim Trees - Dalton... Vol. 1 (BDAMORE RECORDS, 2000)

(I'm not sure what the title's about, but on a couple tracks he refers to himself as Timothy Dalton, so I guess he's shouting out his favorite Bond or something)

"Spit" f/ Manny
Pretty awesome intro, starting with nothing but cavernous bass drum pulse, and then Tim bringing a ridiculous double time flow over some of Rod's pizzicato strings like on that Q song "No" that he did last year.

"Yo, I'm So High" f/ Contact
Ridiculous beat by Dukeyman, maybe the best video game sample beat I've ever heard, 8 bit lazer guns going off everywhere with a squirmy 12th note melody.

"Green Eyes"
One of my favorite lyrics about Baltimore ever: "I mean I love my city, but this a cruddy ass town"

"Bank Roll"
"My necklace got me a nickname: treasure chest"

"We Don't Love 'Em"
His biggest hit besides "Bank Roll", probably my favorite. I love the fact that there's an entry for Tim Trees that quotes the opening lines of this song. The mp3 I put up is actually the clean version that's a bonus track on the 2nd album, basically a whole re-recording of the vocals with a lot of the really nasty stuff taken out or worded differently. I used this version so as not to offend your tender sensibilites, and because I like this way this one sounds a little more. My favorite part is how in the first verse he starts out talking trash, I don't need y'all chickens, y'all chickens need me, etc., but then he starts getting a little personal and vulnerable with "I put my trust in a broad and got scarred deeply/I be chillin' with my girl, and that girl would beat me", like he's got some serious baggage behind all his anger against women that he didn't even mean to let on.

Tim says he's "footloose like Bruce Springsteen", I think he's a little confused here. The last line of the last verse is "fuck you, Tim buck two at the same time/bullets rip through you, hit ya man, flatline", which is the hook for a song later in the album, "Timbuktu". He seems to do a lot of that stuff like Cash Money used to do all the time, taking a hot line from a verse and then turning it into the hook of a new song.

"Murder Scene" f/ Contact and Dirty Shawn
Fake newswoman "Sarah Bdamore" voice over: "special report from the 2500 block of Preston St. where police are attempting to abdicate a murder suspect known on the street Dirty Shawn, the scene is horrific. I now hear more bodies have been found, a hell of a price to pay for niggas talkin' too much shit". At least I think she says "abdicate", I guess she means "apprehend".

"Ya' Mean" f/ AE and Bassie
"if i don't represent hard then who will, Dru Hill? I mean they doing they thing, but they sing, I'm too ill"

I love how all the skits on this album are just people talking in some room with terrible acoustics, voices nowhere near the microphone, not like major label skit with fake scenarios reenacted in a vocal booth. "What Bdamore stand for? they got a nigga kidnapped, they know he got dough, so what do you do to him? you beat 'em more!"

Tim Trees - Dalton vol. 2 (BDAMORE RECORDS, 2002)

Tim's manager or whatever Manny: "yo...what the fuck's goin' on, my niggas? yeah, Dalton volume 2, nigga, we ain't clownin' around, know what I'm sayin'? Bdamore Records's gonna do it this year, y'all, Tim Trees will be signed this year, 2002, what the fuck, my nigga? hold it down for my man, know what I'm sayin', fuck the bullshit, fuck that bootleg shit, we on the rise my niggas, stop motherfucking hatin', clown ass niggas, sell units, nigga, holla at us, we might even help you motherfuckin' homos, nigga, do your motherfuckin' job to sell your shit, nigga, stop talkin' bout my man, keep my motherfuckin' man's name out yo motherfuckin' mouth, and that's what's up, nigga, holla"

"Family" f// Tony Boscoe, Stee and S.N.L.
Produced by Stay Getting, who have 2 or 3 tracks each on both albums, and almost the only tracks on this one that aren't by Rod Lee. This starts off with a way sped up helium chirpy sample from Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" that sounds absolutely ridiculous, and doesn't reappear for the rest of the song.

someone: "Baltimore has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest rate of AIDS within the black community, the highest rate of, um, teens killing teens, the highest rate of teenage suicide, and the highest rate of blacks killing Baltimore, Maryland. And this is where we chose to live."

"410" f/ Little Clayway and Skarr Akbar
Posse cut putting up the area code, with two other local stars. Skarr Akbar has a big local reputation and is one of the only Baltimore MC's that's really gotten into the national mixtape circuit, appeared on some Streetsweepers and DJ L mixes, did some songs with the Heatmakerz, even did some acting and had a recurring role on The Wire, but due to some kind of politics he hasn't been able to get on local radio. I haven't heard much by him, but his song on the first Movement mixtape was really good, and he has the nicest verse on this.

"yo wassup, yo, this ya man Tim Trees, yo, I wanna take this time out to show my fans some love, ya' mean, cause I appreciate all the love and support, y'all give me you feel me, but um, if you listenin' to this shit right now through a bootleg CD, break this shit up right now, go to the store and cop the real joint, right. But I wanted to address these faggot ass hatin' ass niggas out here, man... I mean, these promo ass niggas, cuz, nah mean, I'm talkin' about all these niggas ain't even on my level, you feel me? how many albums is you sellin', g? ya' mean? who's sellin' albums out this motherfucker, that's what it all boil down to, ya' mean?"

"Never Ever" f/ Rod Lee
The track before this, "Did You Miss Me" was supposedly the single but I never really heard it before copping the album, this is the only song I ever really heard on the radio. Starts with Rod's favorite synth horn patch, and has the most amazingly sick revving up bass sound leading up to the beat.

I'm not sure what the title means but it has nothing to do with the guy from Atlanta, who wasn't really famous in '02 when this came out anyway. One of the hottest beats on the album, though, Rod Lee claps in a weird choppy rhythm.

"Spit part II"
Another great doubletime flow like the first "Spit": "I know ya heard of me, young nigga named T with the big D-I to the C-K, N-I-N-E and a half, they call me Calgon cause I take ya chick straight away, oh your man don't like me, what you wanna fight me? split 'em to the white meat with a AK". I never even noticed that line until Lil Jon started saying "white meat" all the time, how far back does that go?

Paula Campbell f/ Tim Trees and Rod Lee - "How Does It Feel"

The song that got things jumping off for Paula in '03 and set her up to release an album in '04 and have a few more regional hits. The only time I've ever seen Tim in person is when Paula opened for Kanye at UMBC last year and he jumped onstage to do his verse. Probably one of my favorite TT verses, too. The whole song, she's on the phone with her ex, played by Rod, telling him off, and by the bridge he's begging "Paula please, pick up the phone". And then in comes Tim picking up on the line: "homeboy, here's the biz, I'm in the crib where you once lived, layin' on ya bed, playin' Playstation 2 with ya kids", while Rod helplessly sputters "who is this?" over and over.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Props to Fader for the article on Baltimore hip hop in their current issue, and to Catchdubs for pointing it out (and for acknowledging GN's own extensive coverage in this field). The article doesn't appear to be online anywhere, but check for it on newsstands. Part of me is tempted to gripe ("they got someone from New York to write this?") or pick nits (and certain parts give me a very strong impression that GN was drew on as a resource, which is fine with me, that's one of the reasons I do this; go ahead and Google a lot of those artists and this is one of the only sites you'll come up with), but for the most part it gets the details right and rings true, Eric Ducker did a good job. It's especially good to see them balance out the background on Baltimore club with its role in hip hop. Local rap has practically always been a bridesmaid to club music (in the local marketplace and in whatever national perception there is), but it finally feels like the scales are tipping or at least balacing out a little more. And I can't be mad at a national magazine dedicating 6 pages to pictures of and quotes from Rod Lee, Bossman, Mullyman and Q, more quotes from Pork Chop and Debonair Samir, and namechecks of Tim Trees, B Rich, Huli Shallone, Nature's Problem, Comp, Dukeyman, C. Miller, Paula Campbell, Davon and K-Swift. I can't be mad at that. As it happens, I have a big Tim Trees post that ties into a lot of stuff in the article that should be going up soon. And this year I'm going to be putting in some serious work to further expose this music to out-of-towners.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Jae Millz - "Who"
Beat by Ron Browz of "Ether" fame, flailing crash cymabls like the "Lean Back" intro alternating with siren squeals, "you can't find a nigga in the city that's tougher/I got a three year run like TS at the Rucker/don't tell me nothin' bout who the next to pop/cause everybody who's supposed to been hot done flopped"

112 - "My Mistakes"
Trackboyz being maybe the last producers I like that I'd expect to make the jump to R&B gracefully, but this comes together nice, with their griminess creeping in with the backwards kick drum and the ding dong melody but otherwise it's just smooth and melancholy and pleading like Slim and them do so well.

Youngbloodz f/ Mannie Fresh - "Brand New"
I think I'd like Mannie's "ladies, gentleman, barnyard animals" intros a lot more if he didn't do them on every other song. I half expected dude's solo album to have a "Old Mcdonald had a farm" track. And for some reason him producing for people outside CMR always seems like a good idea but so rarely turns out to be any good. But this is at least better than the song on the T.I. album. I like how he repurposes the booming "Real Big" chorus drums as just a texture in the background of this.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

K-Swift CD release party this Sunday for Club Queen Vol. 6

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

T-Dogg f/ Trick Daddy and Suave Smooth - "Take It 2 Da Streets"
T-Dogg from Ft. Lauderdale heads down the coast to Miami to hook up with TDD and Righteous Funk Boogie (hottest Slip N Slide producer, did most of Trick's early hits but wasn't on Thug Matrimony at all). T-Dogg's voice kinda reminding me of David Banner but with a flow like Trick, annoying shrill hook but the beat is nice and they save Trick's verse for last and he steals it with the old gangsta shit, "fuck niggas and snitches ain't feelin' me homes, but I ain't gonna shoot up ya home, I'd rather shoot off ya face, gon' get you out of the way, SK's, AK's, ok, y'all fuck niggas betta not play, ya better get ya young fuck ass out the way, or get 6 in ya chest and ya boy do the rest"

Ying Yang Twins - "Wiggle Then Move" (snippet)
Another little piece of United States of Atlanta, just 90 seconds. Starts with a woman screaming and then the beat has high pitched violin stabs that seem to be intentionally resembling the shower scene from Psycho. I love the way the girls on the beginning pronounce the g's in "Ying Yang". It's kinda crazy how much "Wait" has taken off but the new neutered "wait'll I show you this/you will never get enough" radio edit is terrible. I sorta hope they come with a more traditional Ying Yang single like this instead of going all the way with "Wait", which would sound great at the end of a split video.

Will Smith - "Mr. Nice Guy"
No seriously Will Smith seriously you guys!! Here's the little hyped up splash back at Eminem and all the haters (what about Jay-Z, though? "Volume 3 still sold more records than Will Smith"). "Sometimes y'all mistake nice for soft so before I go off", calling out radio hosts like Wendy Williams and Larry Elder. Intentionally funny and unintentionally funny at the same time. He shows some of that old Fresh Prince wit, "Will's a nice guy, why he's so nice I'd/let him date my daughter like he was a white guy", but the hook and the beat are pretty cheesy and he could've done it a lot better. He doesn't even really say anything to anyone except that he can buy and sell them, which isn't that impressive re: anyone besides Eminem.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Juvenile f/ Wacko - "Sets Go Up"
Probably old news to the real NOLA heads, on Southern Smoke 17 already, but I don't really see anyone else talking about it and it's killing me. Clicky but hard-hitting drums, those high synth blips that sound like maybe just noteless pings at first but then turn out to have a tune, the string swells at the beginning and the foreboding "U...T...P". Juve's life after Cash Money looking good considering neither of his big hits last year were produced by Fresh and I didn't really like his new slightly more enunciated style on nu-Mannie beats anyway, but his voice sounds perfect on these UTP beats. PD posted some real talk the other day about N.O. voices and especially Juvie. Wacko almost upstages him with that last verse, almost.

Joe Budden - "I'ma Hustler" freesyle
"I'm a grown man, I don't have to say 'no homo'/cuz in the real world most niggas Karamo". Why am I not surprised at all that Joe Budden watches the Real World?

Mullyman f/ Freeway and Black Lo - "From The Heart"
I've written about this song before but haven't posted the mp3. Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage has "Buck On Em", which is a remix of this track that appears on the Clinton Sparks LP coming out on Koch next week. CS is from Boston and heavy in the NY mixtape scene but he has a weekly show on 92Q so he's up on a lot of Baltimore shit and I'm happy to see him put Mully on his album.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Huli Shallone - It's My Turn (Hit 'Em Hard Records)

The cover (not anywhere online, unfortunately): Huli standing in the middle of the street with rowhouses on either side, holding stacks of bills wrapped in rubber bands in each hand, wearing a white-on-red LRG jacket with matching hat. Solo jumpoff from Nature's Problem, representing Baltimore with traditional east coast street hustler lyrics about how there's nothing worse in the world than a snitch over mostly southern-sounding beats with a grunty heavily accented flow. Album in every CD store and chain in the area since last month. For a long time only heard him referred to as Hulio Shallone, on the radio and even on the 92Q website, but on the cover of the album it's just Huli, no O.

Sample of one of those "Prayer" tracks from DMX albums, the one that starts "it's 2 o'clock and I'm about to hit the streets" etc.

Better Get 'Em
One of my favorite verses on the album: "here goes another one, another bit, another nigga goin' down, facin' 30 plus from the mouth of a cruddy snitch, they on that dumb shit, whole clique you run with, bout to tell them ass niggas, snake in the grass niggas, pile on me cause I got figures, I wish you would, same nigga you grew up with in the neighborhood, backstabbin', not the ones that got habits, I'm talkin' about the ones claimin' they poppin' them guns, you see 'em, they always braggin' on capers, soon as they get out, come home without no papers, always an excuse or some fake explanation, niggas in the hood still embrace him, I don't know why, they back on the block again, done picked up some work, scrambled up a few friends, now they on, done punched in the clock for the cops, lookin' for the next nigga to watch to snitch on"

This Is My Hood / This Is My Hood (Remix)
Huli's first big solo hit, one of the biggest local songs in '04, and the remix that ended up maybe even bigger than the original that jacked the beat from Pitbull's "Dammit Man".

My Testimony f/ Nel
Beautiful fluttering trebly sad melody over clicky drums, heavy-hearted hook: "I'm tired of seein' homeys at funeral ceremonies, moms are cryin' on me, this is my testimony, my life, my struggle, my pain, some of us made the most addicted to the game"

Soakin' Wet f/ Keisha
The previous track ends with a porn soundclip, 30 seconds of moaning and slapping sounds, and then one of those X rated sex jams where even the chorus is dirty as hell, chick singing: "fuck my mouth, nigga, work my neck, ooh I know this pussy's wet, I'm just dyin' to see see how many nuts you can bust for me". I'm wondering if the Keisha on this song is the same Keisha Diggs who's done vocals on a lot of Rod Lee club tracks like "Come On Baby" (Remix) and "Sweet Candy".

Don't Give A Fuck
Has the same sample as Freeway/Young Gunz "Full Effect". I'm kind of annoyed at how sparse the liner notes are, no samples or even producers credited. I like knowing who did the beats on local albums, sounds like the same producer on most of the tracks but Huli never shouts them out.

Take Ya Girl
I wrote about this song a minute ago but just finally figured out where I recognized the sample from, it was also used in LL's "Hey Lover".

Smooth Criminal
No relation to MJ, but one of the hottest beats on the album, feels like a hit but it's too short, barely 2 minutes long.

The World Is Yours
When the album first dropped it looked like the song w/ Paula Campbell would be a hit but now this is the one that's starting to get spins. I really never have gotten sick of chimpmunk samples, and I love the blaring YOOOOOOOURS on the hook. Although, there are so many club joints and R&B tracks on this album that when he says "I came to talk to the ladies for a minute" it's kind of insulting.

Hit 'Em Up
Creeping ominous beat with shouting hook that reminds me of "Throw It Up". At the end of the first verse when he switches his flow up he kinda sounds like MJG.

It's B-More f/ Nature's Problem and 2 Hood
Big finale hometown pride posse cut, but no wait, it's a gooey soft sentimental beat, worse than any of the other ones earlier in the album, with too much singing, and the rapping way too low in the mix, and it goes on way too long.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 11, 2005

Jadakiss - Checkmate
"I ain't mad, I don't wanna sound mad, I feel marvelous." By far the most entertaining thing about the last few messy weeks that wasn't also depressing and overdiscussed was Jada's interviews in the initial Piggy Bank fallout, coming off completely delighted by the whole thing, laughing it off and rubbing his hands together thinking out loud about how this is gonna get him in the news more and how he can milk it for sales. I wish I hadn't deleted the DJ Clue interview mp3 I had, it was hilarious how excited he sounded. Probably had the song done for days/weeks and just added the intro congratulating 50 on the 1.1 million before sending it off to Flex. Hyping the "real response" as being on the Styles album, kinda off the cuff, not as fire as all the message board dudes are making it out to be, no knockouts but he gets in some good jabs, "picture Kiss not come out swinging, it's like going to see 50 at a show and he don't come out singing"/"never the king of New York, you live in Connecticut"/"I did real songs with Big, no made up shit"/"most likely ya new CD is a weedplate, bunch of love songs, 100% pure garbage, just something to break buds on, you should just sell clothes and sneakers, cuz outta your whole camp your flow is the weakest".

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Do Or Die f/ R. Kelly - "Magic Chick"
D.O.D. trying to follow in their po pimp homey Twista's footsteps for the Chi-town path to the mainstream, first with the Kanye single and now the R. single. They even kinda jack some "Overnight Celebrity" rhymes/flow on the first verse. I love Belo's voice but he never uses it that well. Kells still milking the asian melody thing and doing another ridiculous doubletime verse like on the "Get This Money" rmx on Unfinished Business.

50 Cent - "Get In My Car"
I want you to listen to the sound that 50 makes at the beginning of this song, and I want you to tell me that it doesn't sound like the sound that Scooby Doo makes when he's confused. Seriously. Hi-Tek sure is getting some shine off this album, didn't people know he's been with Aftermath for a while now?

Mariah Carey f/ Fat Joe - "It's Like That" (remix)
Scott Storch re-does the melody from the original beat with his tiresome trademark string swirls (well ok the new Busta song is hot but seriously find a new style!), and another fat man scoops in with a genial guest spot. Joey even drops a Ying Yang reference and whispers for a couple lines.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

the top ten most ridiculous samples/references in Baltimore club music

When it's not original synth riffs and vocal chants, most of the samples in Bmore club music are current rap hits (mostly crunk since the classic "I Don't Give A Fuck" remix; these days you're as likely to hear Lil Jon's voice on a club track as Rod Lee's, which is kind of annoying) and occasionally ancient R&B/pop ("Please Mr. Postman," "Charlie Brown," etc), but a lot of producers have odd senses of humor and make club tracks out of the weirdest/silliest pop culture detritus. It's hard to keep up with who does what, most of the time I hear it on the radio, and even on a lot of mix CD's the producers of the individual tracks aren't credited, but I put the artist/title for the ones I know:

1. Morris Day saying "let's have some asses wigglin', I want some perfection" in Purple Rain

2. the Barney "I Love You, You Love Me" song

3. Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling" (Technics - "Ding-A-Ling")

4. a little girl singing to the tune of "Get Low": "to the window, to the kitchen, I put hot sauce on my chicken, aww yo breath is kickin'"

5. a guy re-singing the Big Pun "Pakinamak" skit (King Tut - "Back of the Ack")

6. "Uncle Fucker" from the South Park movie (Samir - "Uncle Fucker")

7. the guy from Chappelle's Show saying "I'm rich, bitch" (Technics - "I'm Rich")

8. Redd Foxx saying "you big dummy" (Rod Lee - "You Big Dummy"

9. William Hung singing "She Bangs"

10. that Eamon song

Labels: , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?