Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here's Billy Lyve's video for "If You Ain't Happy," featuring Street Scott and produced by Imahj.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Here's the video for Wombat55's "Baltimore," directed by Keston De Coteau and featuring a cameo from Pork Chop. Not a bad song, but we don't need anyone still sampling the Nina Simone joint 5 years after Mullyman did it first.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Here's the new Dirt Platoon video for "Almighty," my favorite track off of their album on Brake Fast Records, Deeper Than Dirt.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Backland - Block Work: None Better (DJ Jabril/Block Boy Music)

I’ve posted so many songs and videos hyping up this project since it was announced way way back around January, so when Backland’s contribution to DJ Jabril and AllBmoreHipHop’s Block Work series finally dropped last month I wasn’t even in a huge rush to cop it since I felt like I’d already heard so much of it. Like a lot of folks in Baltimore, I will forever check for Backland just off the strength of how classic his 106 & Park Freestyle Friday rhymes were, but I definitely have enjoyed his last couple mixtapes too. Like a lot of successful battle rappers, he’s probably not trying to let that reputation cage him in, so sometimes you get a little less of that humor and cleverness and a little more kind of standard mixtape rapper bravado, but he carries it well and the beats are pretty solid. I do hate the song "Who Da Fuck Are U" where it sounds like Backland is doing an OJ Da Juiceman impression, though. DJ Jabril hosts it, Skarr Akbar did the artwork, and 100 Grandman, Hunit Stackz, Caddy Da Don, Comp and B.O.M.B. drop verses on it.

Backland - “Do You” (mp3)
This was already my favorite song on the mixtape when DJ Jabril came in at the end and shouted out "Al Shipley, Government Names." I love when shit like that happens.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here's E Major's latest video for "Feature Presentation" featuring Cynthia Hawkes, off The Major Major Mixtape on Under Sound Music.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PenDragon - DRAG Vs. LMS (Team Arson MSX/GRP)

LMS was a hip hop group in Baltimore in the mid-’90s that I’ve mentioned on here a couple times this year, first when DJ Booman picked their song “Pure Necessities” for my summer jam piece in the City Paper, and then when reviewing a new mixtape by former LMS member Forbidden. And apparently the prolific PenDragon, who’s put out several kind of small experimental projects in the last year or two, like a mixtape created in 24 hours and a EP of remixes of the indie band Sleigh Bells, was a fan of LMS back in the day, and got ahold of the instrumentals for a couple of their old songs and decided to put his own stamp on them. I think it’s a pretty cool way for him to show his appreciation for Baltimore hip hop’s older generation, dude is clearly just a music fan to the core. There are four tracks on here, two each based on “Pure Necessities” and “Harm City Slaughter.” Drag rapped on the instrumental of each, and then put the vocals from the original over his own recreations of the beats.

PenDragon - “It’s A Slaughter” (mp3)
This is Drag’s rap over the “Harm City Slaughter” beat, I kinda dig the verse that goes “I’m a foreign author, like Kafka, like Chaucer, but I’m harder.”

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

This week the Baltimore City Paper ran its annual Top Ten Issue and as usual I submitted a ballot for The Year In Music and The Year In Local Music lists. Nothing from my ballot made it onto the former list, but four local albums I voted for got onto the latter, and I wrote the blurbs for three of them: Dirt Platoon’s Deeper Than Dirt, Los’s Shooter and The Art Department’s Paperwork/Birdwork. I’m also happy to see Labtekwon, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and Dustin Wong on the list. Later this month I’ll be posting my full year-end albums list on Narrowcast and my Baltimore hip hop year-end list on Government Names.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ogun - In My Spare Time (Architects Studio/Real On Purpose)

Recently did kind of a clever promotion to hype up the release of this Ogun mixtape and Skarr Akbar’s The Pursuit Of Happyness 2, dropping them the same day, contrasting their very different images and personalities by casting Ogun as ‘the hero’ and Skarr as ‘the villain’ and asking fans to pick their favorite of the 2 releases. Obviously they’re friends and peers, and Skarr even did the artwork for this tape, but it’s kind of a friendly competition thing. I thought that was a real smart idea, although to be honest I’m not even sure which one I like more -- they’re solid releases from both artist but not the best I’ve heard from either.

Ogun’s been doing his thing for a long time but where Skarr’s kind of always been a ‘mixtape artist’ and has kind of stayed in a particular lane for a long time, Ogun started out his career making a couple of really cohesive albums with a specific viewpoint and persona, and in the last few years he’s turned more to mixtapes and has kind of toyed with his delivery and his subject matter more. I’m not totally in the camp that thinks Ogun’s old stuff was more ‘real’ or ‘conscious’ or that his new stuff is too commercial or anything, but sometimes it does feel like he’s reaching outside his comfort zone, and not necessarily in a good way. Like his flow on “Get It How You Live” is just too different, almost sounds like he’s doing an impression of Smash and it’s just awkward.

Ogun f/ Sonny Reddz - “Real Life” (mp3)
Dope introspective song produced by Traum that uses the same sample as one of my favorite introspective Jay-Z songs, “You Must Love Me.”

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Here's Los's great video for "Freedom of Speech" and "The Next Black President," the two kind of ambitious, political songs that close the Shooter mixtape.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Singodsuperior - “Bulk Mail” (mp3)
I've long followed the work of Born King aka Killa Fifth and his younger brother, producer Singodsuperior, and got to interview them both for the City Paper over the summer. Recently Singodsuperior sent me an e-mail giving me a heads up that their label, Mad Thinkah Productions, will be re-releasing Born King's back catalog as well as releasing new music in the coming months, and some of it's already up on the label's new Band Camp page. Singodsuperior has some mostly instrumental stuff on there now that's pretty far out, like the "Bugs Bunny & Coronas" single and the Ballad Of A Skinny Man 4-track EP, but I think what I like best so far is "Bulk Mail," which he kinda raps on but is just as weird as the other stuff.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

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