Thursday, April 30, 2009

various artists - Miami By Way Of Baltimore Vol. 1 (Orange Karma Records)

I got sent this mixtape back in January, been meaning to listen to it for a minute but didn't really get around to it until they sent me the 2nd volume more recently. It's kind of a weird concept, a random assemblage of recent music from 2 cities that couldn't be more different. I mean there are definite parallels, if you factor in the way Miami bass and Baltimore club have been long intertwined both with each other and with hip hop from both cities, but there's no attempt to draw that link here. More likely some folks with roots in both places just wanted to do something to represent, and I can appreciate that. There's not a whole lot of Baltimore artists here: just 4 Bossman tracks, 2 NOE tracks, and a Comp track. But I haven't heard some of those tracks before so it's still cool to hear those. I'm generally a fan of Miami rap, but I'm not really into any of the Rick Ross or Flo Rida or Plies selections here. You can download the whole thing off

Comp - "Embrace Me" (mp3)
This is a really weird-sounding song! I love how Comp just seems to get more into his own world as the years go by.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kneel Knaris - "Never Gonna Make It" (mp3)
I've had Going Sane In A Crazy World, the solo album from one half of PX (Parts Unknown), for a minute, but the street date is May 19th and since that's a ways off, I thought I'd run a quick little post until then. Here's one of my favorite tracks, and 41yo also recently posted some audio from the album along with Kneel's thoughts on a few songs.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

DJ Rod Lee presents Club Work Out 2009 (Club Kingz)

The last time I was in Rod Lee's Club Kingz record store, I noticed that he had a new mix CD on sale, which kinda surprised. More than any other Baltimore club DJ, Rod Lee's always seemed to put out CDs more as albums to showcase his production than as just DJ mixes, and some of his albums have nothing but his own tracks. But maybe running the store motivated him to get more into the whole mix CD grind and showcase new tracks other producers are doing. Either way, this is a pretty dope mix, mostly tracks from Say Wut and Scottie B. and King Tutt, with some DJ Class and Blaq Starr and other producers. At the end there's a few bonus cuts not credited to anybody, I'm assuming those are some new Rod Lee songs that are gonna be on an EP or something, if they aren't already, and on the outro Rod calls this 'volume one,' so I'm assuming there'll be more Club Work Out mixes in the future, which is pretty cool.

Say Wut - "Hands Up" (mp3)
Almost half the tracks on this CD are Say Wut tracks, so there's a nice big block of his music on here, and this is probably my favorite one he's done lately.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Next weekend, from midnight May 1 to midnight May 2, WEAA 88.9fm's Strictly Hip Hop will take over for 24 hours for its 19th anniversary, just as it does every year. And for the first time, this year I will be participating in a panel discussion about this year's theme, classic albums. I should be on air sometime that afternoon, but hopefully people will be tuning in all day. There's also a classic hip hop album survey you can fill out ahead of time.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Get 'Em Mamis - "Work" (mp3)
Here's a new G.E.M./Darkroom Productions collaboration that there's apparently a video in the works for. There's another new Get Em Mamis track, "Roc Wit Me" produced by DJ Booman, that's been getting a lot of attention out there lately, too, on 41yo and the Fader blog.

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This week in the Baltimore City Paper I have a feature on hip hop pioneer Chief Rocker Busy Bee Starski, who's been living in Bmore since 1989 but just recently started presenting shows here at Sonar with DJ P-Funk (who also gave me some quotes for the article).

(photo by Jefferson Jackson Steele)

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baltimore producer Fusion Unltd. recently released the video for the first video from his upcoming album Cold Fusion, it's called "The Sun" and features Little Brother, Nickelus F., Hall of Fame and Skillz. I've been meaning to post it for a minute, already spotted it on 41yo and a few other sites.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

41Yo.Com Presents Soul Food & Sushi: A Mania Music Group Mixtape

It's funny, a couple weeks back when I was writing my live review of Mania Music Group's show at the Quarter, I was listening to a playlist on my iTunes of all the music the label's released for free on the internet in the past year (three artist EPs, two group compilations, and a handful of one-off tracks and singles), and I was thinking how all that music distilled into a best-of would be pretty killer. Evidently, Brandon Soderberg of had the same idea but actually acted on it, and compiled his favorite Mania material together, stringing it together with some interview clips and exclusive audio, for this 70-minute downloadable mixtape. If you've been keeping up with the label there won't be much new to you here, but if you've managed to read this site in the past year without hearing their music yet, this is probably the best introduction you could get. The cover art makes use of Rarah's great photo from my City Paper feature last year.

RapMan Ron G., Kane Mayfield and Dappa!!! Dan Midas - "Gotta Believe It" Freestyle (mp3)
Brandon's big article about Mania last month opened with a few paragraphs describing this track in really close detail, and he really summed up why it's so entertaining and how it represents a lot of these 3 MCs' different strengths and unique qualities. Ron G. has some of the most hysterical ad libs I've ever heard.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

My latest live reviews on the City Paper's Noise blog have been: Tha Profitt/Skarr Akbar/Ogun/Comp/Shy/Hots @ Black Hole Rock Club, 1st Family/Bossman/Huli Shallone @ Black Hole Rock Club, Mania Music Group/Jade Fox/Wordsmith/Minlus & McCracken @ the Quarter, Impossible Hair/The Caribbean @ the Black Cat, and Asobi Seksu/Thrushes @ the Ottobar.

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This is a video for "Our All" by ScholarMan, a song that I posted here in January having no idea that it was a single or he was shooting a video for it. It's really visually impressive, and he directed it himself, apparently. ScholarMan's relesed a couple EPs since that album, I need to post about those sometime soon.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shy Lady Heroin - Queen Of The Streets (Money In Da Bank Ent.)

Shy Lady Heroin is a female MC that's in Go Hard Clik and on B.O.M.B.'s Money In Da Banke Ent. label, and she won the first 'Queen Of The Mic' competition at Sonar last year. I've seen her live a couple times lately, and the last time I saw her at the Black Hole she gave me this new mixtape, which is kind of a quick little 35-minute release, and has most of the songs she usually performs. She's definitely got some lyrics, but I dunno, her delivery gets a little bland and monotonous to me, like she's doing all this bragging and talking shit but I don't really hear it in her voice, she almost sounds too nice, y'know? There's a ton of drops on here of various local folks co-signing her, to the point that at the end there's just a bunch left over that play all in a row, from Ogun, Shaka Pitts, Stevie Stay Hi, Huli Shallone, Comp, etc.

Shy Lady Heroin - "The Finer Things" (mp3)
This song knocks, love that beat.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

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Friday, April 17, 2009

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Skarr Akbar - The Mind Of A Maniac (Akbar Enterprize/Mid-Atlantic Mafia/Global Ent./Tommy Boy Entertainment)

It's funny, even though I go back with Skarr and see him out around town performing all the time and catch up here and there, it seems like I can never keep up with all his movements. It seems like for every mixtape of his I get there are a couple others I never hear, and I didn't even realize until I picked this one up last time I saw him at the Black Hole recently that he's now signed with Tommy Boy Entertainment (formerly Tommy Boy Records). They're not as strong in hip hop as they once were and I don't think they have a major label affiliation anymore, but it's still pretty cool for him to be with a national company with that kind of history, it'll be interesting to see if they can do anything to take Skarr to the next level, especially since "Scholarship Chick" is kinda shaping up to be his biggest single to date. This mixtape is pretty good, first half some really good original tracks and the second half mostly remixes of songs by popular artists. There's an official remix of the Mz Streamz single from the Debonair Samir Club Crack album, and Skarr raps in AutoTune on that and also on the track "She Lonely," and I dunno, don't think it's really a good look for him. But then, I think 99% of all people messing with AutoTune the last couple years sound terrible with it, including in Baltimore (with the exception of DJ Class and maaaaybe one or two other people). The Gritty Gang also makes an appearance.

Skarr Akbar - "Money On Ya Head" (mp3)
This song is tough, as long as every Skarr Akbar mixtape has a few songs like this I'll always look forward to them.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

MySpace Records officially released Bossman's single "Break Me Off" on iTunes and Amazon MP3 this week. 92Q's been playing the song daily for months, and it's been one of the most popular downloads in Government Names history since I posted it in December, and MySpace is putting a bit promotional push behind the song all over the site, since he's signed to their label. So it should be interesting to see if all this translates to the song going national and selling enough to show up on any charts. As I understand it, Bossman's deal is basically that MySpace Records is releasing his singles and if they do well then Interscope will take over and start setting up an album release, so there's a lot riding on this, hopefully Baltimore will turn out to put up 99 cents and buy this one to get the ball rolling. There's also a series of videos he's doing for MySpace soon to kind of introduce himself and tell his story.

Bossman is also opening for Jim Jones at Rams Head Live this Sunday, April 19th, along with 100 Grandman, Smash and Young C.

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PenDragon - "Amen" (mp3)
Some new Drag, produced by Mark Shotta, I like this one. 41yo also recently posted a new collaboration between PenDragon and Articulate, "Short & Sweet," that's pretty good, too.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Swizz Beatz - "I'm Cool" (mp3)
Day26 f/ Jermaine Dupri - "Need That" (mp3)
Here's a couple new signs of Baltimore club's increasing mainstream presence in 2009: a new Swizz Beatz track over Debonair Samir's classic "Samir's Theme," and a Jermaine Dupri-produced Day26 song that's unmistakably influenced by club music. Swizz ain't the greatest rapper so obviously he doesn't add a lot to the track, and "I'm cool like some ice cream with them cherries on the top" is a pretty dumb hook, but hey, it's good to know there's another hitmaker who's got club music on his radar. I asked Samir if he'd been approached about clearance to release the track officially, and he said he hadn't, so it's probably just gonna be a little mixtape track. Samir recorded the original beat in 2002, and it's been remixed countless times by other Baltimore producers (Say Wut's "Horn Theme," Chris J.'s "Chris J.'s Theme," etc.), but just in the past few months it's been used for a Claire Hux track and for a Mr. Vegas track on Samir's own B-More Club Crack album. "Need That" is on the new Day26 album that's out this Tuesday, and J.D. takes full production credit, which I guess is alright since it doesn't sound like a direct bite of any specific Baltimore track, but since he recently jumped on "I'm The Ish" it's pretty obviously he's listening to the stuff and decided to get some of that vibe himself. None of this is as exciting as Kanye on a club track or anything, but it's still pretty interesting.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

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Friday, April 10, 2009

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Time for a new update on DJ Class's "I'm The Ish," because the song made its first appearance on a Billboard chart this week, entering at No. 25 on Hot Rap Tracks:

25 NEW 1 I'm The Ish, DJ Class Featuring Lil Jon
Not Listed (D.Woodis, Jr.,J.H.Smith ) Unruly/Classheat Universal Republic

Looks like its main chart listing will be the Lil Jon version, although I think the Kanye remix is what a lot of people are picking up on right now that's getting it on the chart. I think the original solo Class record is still my favorite, though, I'm kinda hoping that if/when the song really takes off and gets a video and major airplay it'll be that one.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bigg Patch - Diamond Life Don: Return of the Space Cowboy (Diamond Life Records)

Bigg Patch has a new album on the way called Aries Rising, and he's been floating some music out there in anticipation of its release. There's a couple tracks from the album that 41yo recently posted, and new video for the song "Diamond Don" that I posted last year, and this mixtape. This is just a quick little teaser release, though, only 22 minutes long and heavy on freestyles, but it's still pretty decent, good beat selection, some encouraging original tracks. He still does a lot of the stuff that's always kind of annoyed me about his music, like repeating his name and certain phrases in his verses over and over, and using choruses from popular songs instead of writing hooks (on one track he just does the "Duffle Bag Boy" chorus for no apparent reason), but once you get past those things he has some good music.

Bigg Patch - "Gangsta" Freestyle (mp3)
This is over the beat from the Bun B/Sean Kingston track that was out about a year a quick aside, I remember seeing a bunch of MySpace bulletins from a different Baltimore rapper who had a freestyle over this track on his page, but he was trumpeting it like it was his own song, like "NEW SINGLE FEATURING BUN B AND SEAN KINGSTON," I always thought that was really funny and kinda pathetic, like...why even bother fronting like that?

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

various artists - Shittin' On The Competition (Profitt Productions)

Tha Profitt is a kid that really grinds hard in this scene, puts out music constantly, has artists signed to his label and collaborates with a lot more other artists, and runs a studio. He's doing a big show on Wednesday for his birthday and the bill's looking good, should be a fun show, so I thought I'd dig up one of the CDs he's sent me that I hadn't posted about yet. This is a compilation he put together, I love the title and the cover art, some funny shit, and there's some good music on here. The lineup has some pretty well known people (Skarr Akbar, Ogun, TestMe, Hots) and some people I'm less familiar with that sound pretty good (Young Mann & Chuck, Young Mell, Chill Mike, Bloc), a lot of times various artists compilations can just go on forever but this is a nice concise hour of music with a lot of variety.

Bossman, Reap, P, Evol & Profitt - "Currency Of Da Kings" (mp3)
This is a pretty nice posse cut, real fast frantic beat. It's just a bonus track on this CD because it originally appeared on Tha Profitt's Concept Art, which is probably my favorite project from him to date.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

April 16 and every Third Thursday of the Month

Baltimore's #1 ultimate open mic formally at the TurnTable Club is bigger and better at it's new location Club Reality!

Every Third Thursday of the Month
w/your host
Shaka Pitts

Come out to Baltimore's Premier Open Mic

Every Third Thursday of the Month!



Drink and food specials all night!!
Drink and food specials all night!!

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Tonio: From Da Top - "U Mad?!?" (mp3)
This is the new single by Tonio: From Da Top, who's an artist with Da Bloc Inc. (the label that brought you Los, formerly Skarr Akbar, etc.). It's a weird-sounding song but there's some genuinely funny punchlines on here, he's kinda on some other shit, reminds me of the trend of kind of deliberately obnoxious rap coming out of Atlanta these days, just dudes making the most ridiculous voices and the most ridiculous jokes possible, for better or worse. And I must say, I'd like to see more of these kinds of random long rapper names with extraneous punctuation. You don't even have to copyright that shit, nobody else is gonna come up with a name like that.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

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Friday, April 03, 2009

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Aaron Lacrate & Debonair Samir present B-More Club Crack (Koch Records/E1 Music/Milkcrate Records)

Aaron Lacrate and his whole "club crack"/"gutter music" thing have never sat well with me, but I've kinda explained all that on this site before, so I'm not gonna get into all that too much again. But this album, which was mostly recorded 3 years ago and features a lot of dope Baltimore rappers like Tru Bill and B. Rich and J Wildz over hip hop and club beats by Debonair Samir, is pretty good, and I was really happy to hear that it was finally coming out nationally when I interviewed Samir a couple months back. The kinda breakout MCs featured on multiple tracks are Verb, who's on the single I posted a few weeks ago, and Mz Streamz, who I saw compete at Queen Of The Mic 2 recently.

Bret McCabe's City Paper review kinda summed up how I feel about the album, which is that it's good but kind of consistent to a fault, because it's just one party-oriented banger after another. It's fun and well-produced, and I especially like D.O.G.'s "Talkin' Ish," but it gets a little monotonous over the course of a CD. Plus I mainly like the older tracks from the original version of the album they made 3 years ago; the newer tracks feel a little too trendy to me with the AutoTune and "A Milli"-type beats, I think they might've tried too hard to sound current. There was an article by Rashod D. Ollison in the Baltimore Sun this week about the renewed interest in club music, centered around DJ Class and the release of B-More Club Crack. It's a good article, but I'm disappointed that it makes the same mistake as a lot of other media by focusing on Lacrate, who's mentioned almost a dozen times, and downplaying Samir, who's mentioned exactly once. This is really Samir's record and his beats, and I've never gotten the impression that Lacrate's contributions were ever really musical rather than on the business side, especially given that some of these songs were made before they even met.

Tim Trees - "F.I.R.E." (mp3)
Some of the songs on this album original appeared on local Baltimore releases by the artists, like Mullyman's "The Real Is Back" was on Industry Invasion in 2007, and Verb and J Hussein's "Post Up" was on the Dirty Hartz mixtape It Is What It Is Vol. 2 in 2006. But this one is practically ancient, and first appeared on the Tim Trees mixtape Too Gangsta For Radio in 2003 or 2004. It's kinda cool to hear it included on here, too, because I think Rod Lee's beats on the first couple Tim Trees albums were really kinda the blueprint for a lot of what Samir does on this album. Trees said in my 2005 City Paper article that this song would be on his 3rd album, but here we are almost four years later and as far as I know that still hasn't dropped, which is a shame, I was really looking forward to it. I guess it could be like B-More Club Crack and just drop outta nowhere eventually, though.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jade Fox
Lost Art
Fresh Competition and the NETwork
Mania Music Group
Minlus & Mccracken

@ The Quarter at Bourbon Street
316 Guilford Ave
Saturday, April 4th
$8 admission

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