Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
My show reviews on the City Paper's Noise blog this month: the Scribble Jam preliminary @ Sonar (winner A-Class pictured above), the Bow-Legged Gorilla/Magical Beautiful/Beans @ the Windup Space, Kirby Adams/Nothingberryplasma/Brendan Sullivan/Bbop Doons @ the Ottobar, Apollo Sunshine @ DC9, The Meat Puppets/Built To Spill @ Rams Head Live, and Little Feat @ the 9:30 Club.
(photo by Al Shipley)
Labels: A-Class, Baltimore City Paper, DJ P-Funk, Noise, Ottobar, Shaka Pitts, Sonar
Pro & Reg - Life Of A Vagabond (Pro And Reg Records)
Regulus and Proton are a rap duo who I reviewed an EP by in the past, and I recently listened to a free podcast they put on their website in advance of their new album. But even after listening to that stuff, as well as this album, Life Of A Vagabond, a couple times, I'm not totally feeling their sound. I dunno, it probably seems like I almost never give props to white rappers, in Baltimore or otherwise, maybe I come across as one of those self-loathing white hip hop fans, but I'm just going by what I like to hear, and these guys have totally different tastes, all that talk about "the elements" and those kind of blocky, halting old school flows, it just doesn't resonate with me. There's a couple real strong tracks on here, a few moments where I kinda connect, but overall I wasn't really rocking with this album.
Pro & Reg - "Loly Gag" (mp3)
I like this one probably the most, nice low key beat and relatable concept, good flows in the 2nd verse.
Labels: mixtape/album review, mp3, Pro and Reg
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Next Friday the 2nd annual Baltimore Crown event is taking place at the 5 Seasons, and there's a lot of performances scheduled as well as an MC battle, which will be judged by the crowd, and a producer battle, for which I've been asked to serve as one of the judges. This year there's also going to be awards voted on by the public for various categories, and info on voting is here (there's a "Best Blog and/or Website" category, hint hint).
Labels: 5 Seasons, A-Class, announcements, B-Fly, battle, Dirt Platoon, flyer, Kane, Minlus McCracken, Ogun, Sean Toure, Shaka Pitts, Sonny Brown, Symantyx, UnReal
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Kane Mayfield - Prelude To BladeRunner/Dealer EP (Mania Music Group)
Mania Music Group has been running its "Month of Mania" campaign all October now, putting up free mixtapes and EPs on its official website, and now the month is almost over and each of the label's three MCs' solo EPs are now up. The first one that went up a couple weeks ago was by Kane, who is a ridiculously sharp and funny dude and one of the most interesting people I've met in the Baltimore rap scene over the years, considering that a lot of rappers tend to be surprisingly devoid of personality or a sense of humor. My City Paper piece about Mania kind of touched on the fact that his music in the past has been really serious and political, and that they've been trying to get him to put more of himself into the music. But after the goofy label sampler tracks like "Party In Ya Face," this EP is kind of him going back to more serious, message-driven music, though the production goes in a whole different direction with all these thick Blade Runner-inspired Vangelis synths and loud-ass drums, which makes it a lot bolder and more textured than anything he's done before. There's some more levity on the last couple songs, "Dealer" and "Your Fired" with Midas, but for the most part it's a really dark, ominous record, and I like how Mania's produced just committed to that sound and vibe. Go to the Mania site or Kane's MySpace to download all 6 songs.
Kane Mayfield - "The Code" (mp3)
This one's my favorite right now, nice piano/drums loop.
Labels: Kane, Mania Music Group, Midas, mixtape/album review, mp3
Monday, October 27, 2008
Labels: Bedrock, flyer, Minlus McCracken, Wordsmith
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Mullyman f/ Lady D - "True Man Story" (mp3)
The title track to Mully's upcoming album, produced by DJ Booman. Check the name drop of yours truly in verse 2. Nuff said.
(photo by Al Shipley)
Labels: DJ Booman, mp3, Mullyman
Saturday, October 25, 2008
A quick post of Baltimore club music news:
- This week Unruly Records officially announced the deal it signed with the country's biggest independent record company, Koch Entertainment. As had been reported at the time of K-Swift's death in July, the Koch deal was just about to happen when she passed away, and now the first Unruly/Koch release will be her final mix CD, due out on December 12th.
- Last week Michael Byrne wrote a great review in the City Paper of the new 410 Pharaohs and Labtekwon albums.
-Mass Appeal ran a Blaq Starr feature recently which includes his recipe for quiche.
- No Trivia recently began a Baltimore Club Week with a post about DJ Excel but cut it short after Blogger took down another post because of some copyright infringement shit (I recently had the same thing happen to a couple posts on my other blog, Narrowcast, but just re-posted them without the mp3 links).
Labels: announcements, Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore club, Blaq Starr, DJ Booman, DJ Excel, K-Swift, Labtekwon, magazines/newspapers, Unruly Records
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wordsmith - The Revolution Begins With a Takeover Vol.1 (DJ Furious Styles/HipHopDX.com)
Wordsmith has, probably more than any other MC in Baltimore over the past couple years, made the internet his territory, the place where he promotes and distributes his music and makes fans and alliances. And while I respect that, and I'm of course online a lot and wish more artists had his web savvy, I'm also at heart a pretty old-fashioned guy, and tend to pay way more attention when I have a physical CD in my hands or see someone perform live or otherwise encounter them around town. So all the while he's been making a lot of big moves, I've been kind of sleeping on him, partly because he's a shameless spammer, and that always turns me off. I get an average of 8 or 9 Wordsmith-related e-mails a week, over a hundred over the past year, and when there is some content or writing in there beyond links and plugs I haven't really gotten much of a sense or who he is or what his music's about, or really been given a reason to feel curious. Lately he's been including a long list of websites that support him in his e-mails and mixtape covers, and mine hasn't been mentioned in there, although I've posted flyers for his radio station and his shows several times, so who knows, maybe he feels like he's been neglected by this site compared to other Baltimore MC's, who knows, but if he does I can't blame him I guess.
So Wordsmith has a lot of mixtape online, and I keep meaning to check for them and have been falling way behind. I got one a while back, but it was all one long track, podcast-style, which made it kind of impossible for me to review. So this is the 2nd one I've checked out, and I like it a little more. He has a partnership with HipHopDX.com, who offered the whole mixtape as an exclusive download. The sound on here's pretty slick, pretty professional, lot of original production. He's got kind of a raspy voice and earnest delivery that reminds me a little of Talib Kweli, not a really automatically interesting rapper that makes me want to listen closer but when I do he's got some hot lines, and sometimes some pretty generic lyrics. As often as he drops new mixtapes, though, obviously I need to hear a lot more before I get a handle on his music, though.
Wordsmith - "Corrupt Justice" (mp3)
I kinda feel like this is the best showcase of his skills, on this mixtape at least, nice detailed storytelling joint where he sticks to one theme.
Labels: mixtape/album review, mp3, Wordsmith
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Labels: D.O.G., flyer, Huli Shallone, Paula Campbell, Skarr Akbar, Tim Trees
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Labels: EJ, flyer, Minlus McCracken, Sean Toure, Turntable Club
Bear - All We Got Is Us 2008 edition (For The People Entertainment)
Last year, I wrote about the original version of Bear's All We Got Is Us album, and was told at the time that it would be re-released later on. So when I finally got the re-release recently, I kinda put it to the side thinking it was more or less the same CD with some minor changes. And after I saw Bear open for Beatnuts at the Ottobar, I decided to listen to this and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not only almost a completely different album, but also a far superior one. It keeps three songs from the original, as well as a few of the archival freestyles by Bear's late friend Young Jit, but everything else is new, and this really might be my favorite album from For The People Entertainment to date. The label's production team is just getting stronger and stronger and Bear's got this kind of thoughtful, low key personality that comes across really well here with the right songs, the right concepts, the right beats. EJ guests on the track "We Bosses," although he's not credited in the liner notes.
Bear - "Don Cornelius Shit" (mp3)
The fact that his 2 nicknames are "Don Cornelius" and "Bear" kinda makes me wonder if he's a fan of Achewood.
Labels: Bear, EJ, For The People Entertainment, mixtape/album review, mp3
Monday, October 20, 2008
Labels: 5 Seasons, DJ Booman, flyer, Team Fifty
Labels: Baltimore club, Debonair Samir, flyer, Verb
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Rest in peace, Khia "K-Swift" Edgerton. She would have turned 30 years old today.
Labels: announcements, Baltimore club, K-Swift
Saturday, October 18, 2008
DJ Mic Marvelous - Deja Vu (@ttic Records/H. Ent)
Last year I interviewed DJ Mic Marvelous for my Club Beat column, and around the same time got this double CD he put out, which is one disc of throwback Baltimore club, and one disc of newer stuff. I talked about the mix in my contribution to XLR8R magazine's Baltimore insert a few months ago, but somehow I never got around to posting about it on here until now. I have to say, I've heard a lot of throw back mixes of old school Baltimore club (or, at least, several), and disc 1 of Deja Vu is by far my favorite. The selection and pacing is just perfect, I rocked the fuck out to this. If someone wanted to hear what Baltimore club sounded like in the 90's, before all the Lil Jon samples and gunshot sound effects, this is the mix I'd play for them. Here's a track each from the two discs:
DJ Class - "Bombin' Cock" (mp3)
This one's from the throwback disc, serious classic.
K-Spin - "They Fight" (mp3)
This one's from the new disc, K-Spin's definitely becoming one of my favorite club producers these days, love the MJG sample on here.
Labels: Baltimore club, magazines/newspapers, mixtape/album review, mp3, Noise
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Baltimore Crown Awards 2008 VOTING FORM
Please take a moment fill out this form as a public voter. If you are a promoter/business owner/club venue owner and would like to be listed as part of the voting panel on our page and in our promotions, please enter your information below:
If you know that you are qualified to win one of these awards, please have your fans and/or supporters email your name along with the category title to email@example.com or through myspace. com message (www. myspace. com/baltimorescene)
The results will be announced at the Baltimore Crown 2008 at The 5 Seasons, 830 Guilford Ave. Baltimore, MD on November 7th, 2008. Doors open at 8pm.
Thanks for your support,
The Baltimore Scene Staff
“OUR space on myspace”
www. myspace. com/baltimorescene
connecting and celebrating the Baltimore Scene
**please vote in spaces below**
Best Hip Hop Venue_____________
Best Poetry Venue_______________
Best Live Music Venue____________
Best Hip Hop Open Mic______________
Best Poetry Open Mic________________
Best Live Band Open Mic______________
Golden Pen Award________________
Awarded to poet and/or author whose artistic contribution to the scene has paved the way for other writers. Also awarded to a poet/writer who has created avenues/opportunities for fellow poets to perform and grow as an artist.
Golden Mic Award_____________________
Awarded to Hip Hop artist who has contributed to the scene either as a promoter, supporter, or grinder on the scene.
Golden Stage Award:______________________
Awarded live band and /or group who has taken the underground scene to a new level through their hard work, dedication, and contribution to the scene
Artist Most Likely to Succeed:_____________________
Awarded to a Baltimore artist who will be the most likely to put bmore on the map through their talent and success of their artistic career
Best Baltimore Scene Photographer____________________
Awarded to photographer who has best covered the underground scene through their works either at live venues or as a studio photographer
Best Graphic Designer_____________________
Special Appreciation Award:_________________________
Awarded to promoter/artist/writer/organizer/event planner/media personality etc. who has worked tirelessly to promote the underground artistic scene____________________________
Outstanding Contribution Award:
Awarded to any individual who has started an organization, project and/or offers a service that benefits the Baltimore Scene (and/or surrounding areas)
Best Blog and/or Website:______________________
Artist Hall Of Fame Award:______________________
Awarded to veteran Baltimore Artist that make the rest of us proud
Under the Radar award_________________________
Awarded to artist that people need to take notice of
Best Newcomer award
Awarded to best new artist on the scene ____________________
Producer of the Year_____________________________
Awarded to the winner of The Baltimore Scene’s Producer Beat Battle (includes $700.00 Cash Prize)
Best Urban Designer:________________________
Categories that you'd like to see at next year's Baltimore Crown ____________________________________________________________
*Special Awards to be presented by The Baltimore Scene Staff
Most Supportive of the Baltimore Scene
Special Recognition Awards
Thank you again
See you at the Crown
November 7, 2008
@ The 5 Seasons
Labels: 5 Seasons, announcements
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Labels: DJ P-Funk, Pro and Reg, Sonar, Sonny Brown
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
PenDragon - "Internet Going Nuts" (mp3)
I've posted new music from PenDragon a few times now since his last mixtape, and I'm not really trying to overexpose certain artists since I figure regular readers only need to hear someone's music every now and again to figure out if they really like them and wanna hear more. But Drag keeps hitting me with music and he went and did an internet in-joke song (with the obvious Paul Wall sample) and shouted me and my sites out a few times in the first verse, so of course I gotta post it, because you know us bloggers are suckers for that kind of shit.
Labels: Baltimore Sun, Darkroom Productions, Deep Flow, Internet radio, magazines/newspapers
Monday, October 13, 2008
Labels: Baltimore club, Blaq Starr, flyer, Ottobar
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Labels: Baltimore club, DJ Booman, flyer, KW Griff
Saturday, October 11, 2008
various artists - WMMG Presents Mania Takeover (Mania Music Group)
If you read my City Paper feature on Mania Music Group a few weeks ago, you may recall that they mentioned that October would be the "month of Mania," and they'd be releasing a new project or mixtape once a week for the whole month on their official website. I think the whole label is a bunch of cool, talented guys so I think it's great that they're putting out so much music and doing it in a kind of different and ballsy way, I just hope the gamble pays off and people really check these records out. This one kind of a low key mixtape, just throwing a bunch of industry beats on and letting all 3 MCs take their turn on each track, straight up spitting and goofing around, and it's kind of a good change of pace after all the kinda out-there stuff some of them did on the sampler. I'm looking forward to seeing what they drop next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.
Ron G., Kane and Midas - "Shook Ones Pt. II Freestyle" (mp3)
Most of the beats on here are more recent and/or obscure, but they start the tape off with a stone classic, and actually handle it pretty well. Ron G. really shines on here in my opinion, maybe because I hadn't heard as much of his stuff before as the other guys so I'm just starting to realize how good he is, his voice is kinda the same timbre as Styles P. but he has his own flow, his own way with language.
(photo by Dave Barreiro)
Labels: Kane, Mania Music Group, Midas, mixtape/album review, mp3, Ron G.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Labels: flyer, Turntable Club
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Little Clayway f/ Backland, Comp and Tim Trees - "Want To Be A Millionaire" (mp3)
This week in the City Paper I wrote a feature about Little Clayway (and also his sister April Love). He's always been one of the more interesting guys in Baltimore rap as far as I'm concerned and was a good interview, he really said some honest and perceptive things about the city and the scene. This posse cut is a track from the promo version of his upcoming album A New Beginning, which should be dropping officially sometime soon, maybe November.
I also have a couple movie reviews in the paper this week, a longer one of The Express and a shorter one of How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (which is not online).
(photo by Rarah)
Labels: Backland, Baltimore City Paper, Comp, Little Clayway, magazines/newspapers, mp3, Tim Trees
Labels: 5 Seasons, DJ Booman, flyer, Team Fifty
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
OK, here's another random links post of stuff I've been meaning to put up on here:
- Metromix Baltimore has an interview with Labtekwon about his new album Di Na Ko Degg, which I haven't heard yet but is supposed to be really good. Thanks to Rob for the link.
- I didn't catch this until recently, but the April issue of The Urbanite had a really good Baltimore club article by Stephen Janis, which included interviews with Rod Lee, Shawn Caesar and Scottie B. As many club music features as there have been over the years, this is by far one of the best and most insightful and accurate I've seen.
- DCtoBC.com is now doing a monthly online DMV mixtape series showcasing hip hop from the whole D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. They asked me for some contributions to represent Baltimore a while back but I didn't wanna submit other peoples' music without their knowledge so I'm just throwing it out there for folks to take the initiative themselves. The August edition had a Blaq Starr track and the September edition had XO and Articulate, but in general there's not nearly enough Baltimore stuff on them so hopefully there'll be more to balance out the Washington stuff on future editions.
- Jamal Roberts of Darkroom Productions now has a blog, and he's been writing some good stuff about music and posting Darkroom tracks here and there.
- Brandon Soderberg posted a Ron Rico track on his blog a little while back.
- DJ Adam Gonzo recently sent me this zshare link for a dance music mix he did a couple years ago, which features a few Baltimore club tracks by DJ Technics, Debonair Samir and DJ Frie, among others.
- Here's a Bossman interview on YouTube where he speaks on K-Swift and some other topics.
- A couple I know has an adorable daughter named Lily, and here's a YouTube video of Lily dancing to Rod Lee's "Can I Rock" that cracks me up.
Labels: announcements, Baltimore club, Blaq Starr, Bossman, Darkroom Productions, K-Swift, Labtekwon, magazines/newspapers, Rod Lee, Ron Rico, Scottie B., XO
Labels: Bedrock, flyer, Minlus McCracken, PX
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Raphael Saadiq f/ Stevie Wonder and CJ Hilton - "Never Give You Up" (mp3)
Back over the summer, I was on Raphael Saadiq's MySpace page, looking into the new album he was getting ready to release, when I heard an impressive song on his page by someone named CJ with a voice that was strongly reminiscent of Marvin Gaye. So I clicked over to CJ's MySpace page, and realized that he was this amazingly talented teenager from Baltimore signed to Capitol Records who I'd somehow never heard of. Then, Saadiq's album, The Way I See It came out in September and it's pretty fantastic, one of the best R&B albums of the year, and CJ is featured on one of the best tracks, singing lead on half the song and playing drums and piano on "Never Give You Up," which also features Stevie Wonder on harmonica. I haven't been able to find much more info on the dude, but this 2006 article from The Urbanite says that he was 17 at the time, and was signed to Capitol Records in '05, so he's probably 19 now, which is still really amazingly young for someone with his kind of talent, who gets to record with people like Stevie Wonder. I sent him a MySpace message months ago requesting an interview and never heard back, so if anyone knows him and can let him know I wanna do a feature for the Baltimore City Paper on him or something, let me know how I can get in touch.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Labels: Baltimore club, Bedrock, flyer, Steez Promo, Unruly Records
Sunday, October 05, 2008
DJ Diamond K - K-Swift Tribute (High Rolla Records)
Diamond K was one of the first people in Baltimore to put together a dedication track for K-Swift after her death in July, and now he's got a mix CD tribute to her. It's really just that one song and a few others at the beginning of the CD that are about or for K-Swift, and the rest of it is kind of a regular mix of new and old Baltimore club music, including tracks by Rod Lee, D.O.G. and DJ Booman, with occasional shout outs to K-Swift. It's a nice gesture, though, hopefully people will be making tribute projects like this for years to come, and hopefully donating any profits to Swift's family. You can get this on Diamond K's website, which also has a DVD of a K-Swift documentary, which I have not seen yet.
K.W. Griff - "K-Swift (Griff Mix)" (mp3)
This is one of my favorite K-Swift tribute songs that I've been hearing on 92Q a lot over the last couple months.
Labels: Baltimore club, D.O.G., Diamond K, DJ Booman, K-Swift, KW Griff, mixtape/album review, mp3, Rod Lee
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Labels: Baltimore club, DJ Booman, flyer
Friday, October 03, 2008
Labels: Brakefast Records, Dirt Platoon, flyer, Jade Fox, Minlus McCracken, Ogun, PX
Thursday, October 02, 2008
D.O.G. - G Pack Music (7 Entertainment/Invisible Set Entertainment)
Two and a half years ago, D.O.G. remixed Blaq Starr's "Ryda Gyrl," and while it wasn't the first hip hop version of a Baltimore club song, it was by far one of the biggest, and in a way its popularity was the main catalyst for my City Paper article Best of Both Worlds about the crossover between rap and club music. One of the things mentioned in that article is that D.O.G.'s main in-house producer, Sean "Mocca" Banks, was teaming up with Booman, who's also D.O.G.'s tour DJ, as the Baltimore Boys to do more club-type beats, the first of which was the mixtape track "Look In My Eyes." It was all pretty exciting, but then D.O.G. got signed (I guess he's still with Universal?), and his whole camp seemed to go quiet for a year or two, which was a bummer, and I figured that idea was dead.
Then, last December around the time I posted about D.O.G.'s last mixtape, The Feeling - Bring It Back, I saw a flyer for this G Pack Music album he was releasing, which turned out to be the club music-themed project he'd been working on. Supposedly it was out in Downtown Locker Room, but I looked for it a couple times and never found it. So I didn't get a chance to finally hear it til D.O.G. hit me up about the new video and free download of The Feeling and I asked him for a copy, and it's pretty damn good. Booman isn't credited on it, but Mo Banks is, so I guess he did the beats, and if so, he's pretty good at club tracks. It's just 9 songs and a half hour long, so it's kind of an EP or a street album, but it's 9 dope tracks, all pretty much club tracks with D.O.G. rapping on them. Ironically, the only one that's at a slower tempo is "Automatic Lover," a remix of Blaq Starr's club track of the same name with pretty much a completely different beat. This album should've been a monster local hit, but I never really heard even "Automatic Lover" on the radio more than once or twice, I hope it ain't just that they missed the right moment to drop it. Between this and the 410 Pharaohs album there's some exciting stuff going on with club/rap fusion right now.
D.O.G. f/ Paula Campbell - "Back In The Club" (mp3)
Oh man, speaking of people who disappeared as soon as they got a record deal, good to hear something from Paula again, here's hoping she gets to release another album in this lifetime.
Labels: Baltimore club, Blaq Starr, D.O.G., mixtape/album review, mp3, Paula Campbell