this is the official urbansmarts.com news section!

April 08, 2005

newsflash: April 8th, 2005

Cosmo Galactic video
Make sure you catch this video before it’s gone. It’s of a track that’s going to be on the Cosmo album due out on Domination Recordings sometime this year. And damn that track is hot - amongst the best I heard this year so far. So watch the video here.

3rd Annual Malcolm X Consciousness Conference To Take Place at Laney College
Press Release: Club Knowledge of Laney College, BAY LOC of National Political Hip-Hop Convention, Colored Ink, and Alameda College Black Student Union are proud to present the 3rd Annual Malcolm X Consciousness Conference starting on April 29 at Laney College in Oakland, CA.
The 3 day event will bring together student organizers and local activists who will decide and vote on issues most important to the African and Black Student Organizations across the state of California. Topics such as police brutality, education and the state of hip-hop are among the issues being talked about during the 3-day event.
“In order to change the conditions in our community we must organize and act,” says Danae Martinez , Conference organizer and one of the Club Knowledge leaders. It is imperative that all colleges are represented in order to organize the community to make effective, long lasting practical change.
Keynote addresses at the conference will include Chuck D, Yo Yo, Jeff Johnson (also known as “Cousin Jeff” from Rap City on BET), Fred Hampton Jr., Munyiga Lumumba, and Gail Ortega. Hip-hop, Soul, and Spoken word Performances by artists such as The Coup, Ise Lyfe, The Attic, HAIRDOO, Amir Sulaimon, and Ga brilla.
Activities and highlights include:
- A lively Debate: To vote or not to vote
- True Conscious Hip Hop/Spoken word concert
- The Children of Malcolm Awards
- Pan African Fashion Show and dinner
- The Malcolm X Oratorical Competition
The 3-day conference is $75.00 (which includes meals and conference) but scholarships + home stays are available. But you must Apply now!
Club Knowledge is group of conscious activist students who strive to manifest concrete changes to our communities through promoting political awareness, education, and direct action. For more info log on to unlockyourroots.com or call (510) 997 0075 or email clubknowledge1@aol.com.

Thaione Davis “April January” re-release
It’s however only a re-release for those that were lucky enough to get the original version, which came out in Europe. Domination Recordings is giving this now a US push and you may now find out what this URB’s next 100 for 2005 has been doing on this wild mix and match of organic rhythms. Oh yeah, and read the review of the original release here .

Paris Zax "Unpath'd Waters" is out.
Paris Zax is one of the most interesting and best producers out in LA right now and “Unpath’d Waters” is his first release on his own. He has worked with anybody in the book, like Bus Driver, Neila and maybe most notably Met Fly. So make sure you get that record and find more information on: alphapuprecords.com

People on tour in Europe
R.A. The Rugged Man, Black Market (Killah Priest, Hell Razah, Timbo King)
April 8 - Haarlem (NL), Patronaat
April 9 - Münster, Skaters Palace
April 10 - Copenhagen (DK), Lobben
April 12 - Oslo (N), Bla
April 13 - Nürnberg, K4
April 14 - Basel (CH), Sommerkasino
April 15 - Wil (CH), Remise
April 16 - Pardubice (CZ), tba
April 17 - Linz (A), Kapu
...
Edo.G feat. Insight, Scaine & Jauwsan
May 4 - Wien B72 ITF Qualiying
May 5 - Weinheim Cafe Central
May 6 - Koblenz Subkultur
May 7 & 8 - spanien TBC
May 11 - München Backstage
May 12 - Freiburg Zett TBC
May 13 - Zürich Rote Fabrik
May 14 - Mattsee(A) Postkutsche
May 15 - Graz (A) TBC
May 16 - Amsterdam Melkweg
May 17 - Nijmwegen TBC
May 19 - London Ballroom
May 20 - Aarau TBC
May 21 – Sursee (CH) Kulturwerkstatt 118
...
Expansion Team Soundsystem (DJ Babu, Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples)
April 21 - Bern (CH), Dackstock
April 22 - Wil (CH), Remise
April 23 - Aarau (CH), Kiff
April 24 - Lyon (F), La Marquise
April 26 - Leipzig, Conne Island
April 27 - Aarhus (DK), Voxhall
April 28 - Gothenburg (S), Scratch
April 29 - Stockholm (S), Nymble
April 30 - Bergen (N), Bergen Fest
May 1 - Copenhagen (DK), Vega
May 3 - Berlin, Sternradio
May 4 - Münster, Skaters Palace
May 5 - Madrid (ES), tba
May 6 - Paris (F), Nouveau Casino
May 7 - Köln, Stadtgarten
May 8 - Freiburg, Jazzhaus
...
Airborn Audio
April 18 - Düsseldorf, Unique
April 26 - Berlin, Sternradio
April 28 - Dresden, Downtown
April 30 - Linz (A), Crossing Europe Filmfestival
...
Tim Dog
April 30 - Biel (CH), La Coupole
...
Platinum Pied Pipers
May 2 - Düsseldorf, Unique
May 4 - Köln, Stadtgarten
May 5 - Hamburg, Prinzenbar
May 6 - Berlin, Kaleidoskop @ Cafe Moskau
May 7 - München, Ampere
...
Masta Ace
May 14 - Schaffhausen (CH), Orient
May 15 - Duisburg, Hundertmeister
May 16 - Braunschweig, B58
May 17 - Berlin, Bastard
May 18 - München, Backstage
May 20 - Basel (CH), Kaserne
May 21 - Apeldorn (NL), tba
May 22 - Hamburg, tba
...
Bahamadia
May 20 - Berlin, Live Demo
May 23 - Kiel, Luna
May 25 - Düsseldorf, Unique
May 26 - Zürich (tbc)
May 27 - Bern, Reitschule

Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA
Press Release: Musicians Institute, in Hollywood, California, offers a comprehensive, hands-on education in contemporary music performance, recording, guitar making, music business and film. MI offers student's access to real artists, labels, studios and managers with their "Hiring Hall" where artists and labels handpick MI students for their projects. For more information check out their web site at www.mi.edu

Josh Martinez returns with “Midriff Music”
Canadian Josh teamed up with San Diego’an samix who is affiliated with the Cali-based Lost & Found Generation crew to release “Midriff Music” on Camobear Records. It’s somewhat of a ‘summer special’ record, not really meant to be more than that. And you can listen to the songs here:
1. Intro
2. Cheers
3. Regular Day
4. Tranzar (instrumental)
5. Come & Gone
6. Tour is War
7. Time Alone (instrumental)
8. Just a Dood
9. One More Sucka (instrumental)
10. Played Out ft. Kunga 219
11. Nightmare (Remix)

Currently played in the office:
- 2 Black 2 Strong MMG “Doin’ Hard Time On Planet Earth”
- Chief Groovy Loo & The Chosen Tribe “Got ‘Em Running Scared”
- Death Cab For Cutie “Transatlanticism”
- D Of Trinity Garden Cartel “Game Done Changed“
- Dynamics Plus “Dynamic Universe Vol. 6”
- Ice-T “Home Invasion / The Last Temptation Of Ice”
- Mum’s The Word “Constant Evolution”
- Sev Statik “Slow Burn”
- Sylk Smoov “Sylk Smoov”
- The Landlords “5-Day Notice”




March 04, 2005

recordsroundup: March 4th, 2005 (part one)

Hezekiah “Hurry Up & Wait…” (Soul Spazm)
Not just the title of this record is rather clever, but the whole project really holds its ground and achieves to be interesting. Especially for the ones that like this new vibe and style that’s coming from the Beat Society people. Hezekiah does not depend on many outside producers, but still gets M-Phases on one song, Illmind on two and Anthony Accurate on one. Guests are Aaron Livingston, Chief Kamachi, Richard Raw, Keziah, Scratch, Grand Agent, Santi White, Eleon and Bahamadia. The vibe is mostly smooth, the lyrics are never overtly ignorant (can be kinky though, like on “Photograph”), and don’t be surprised to hear this record in the summer more often than in the cold months. For more information check soulspazm.com.

DJ Juice “Hip Hop Mixtape Volume 13” (Double Impact Productions)
This little mixcd basically showcases everything that’s wrong with rap music – none the least that they dare to put ‘hip hop’ in the title. Cause what we get here is a selection of the currently popular songs, along with a couple of freestyles. And while the club and the thugs and everybody that started to listen to rap after 1998 will be impressed, those that remember the good old days will cringe and refuse to admit that they are rap fans too. Cause you don’t want to be associated with this music, those horrible keyboard stabs, those simple and blah lyrics. Seriously now… come one… right? But you cannot blame DJ Juice for it, who pulls together the not so good, the bad and the ugly, i.e. Lil Scrappy, 50 Cent, Game, T.I., Young Buck, Mannie Fresh, Lil Jon, Dem Franchise Boys, etc. And while some stuff is catchy, some might even be okay, that doesn’t change the fact that just a couple of years ago people would have laughed about such mediocrity and lack of skills and bump. So yes, get this mixcd to know why you may, can and must dislike all that horrible, uncreative, simple, basic and boring mainstream rap. Know your enemy. For more information check djjuice.biz

Knickerbocker “Knickerbocker” (Knickerbocker)
There’s not much to say about this record, apart that it’s a Jazz Band from Switzerland, who carry a couple of tunes and a couple of styles. Sometimes the whole thing swings, sometimes it’s more mellow and on one song we even have one dude rapping. The good news: he’s not even that bad. And nor is this EP. Check it if you come across it.

Mattr. and friends “Consequence Of Thoughts” (Ramadan)
Don’t be surprised if some time during the record you catch yourself saying: “why can’t those geezers just shut up?” The rappers on here, like The Mole, Ancient Mith, Terms None and Demune are not really bad – sometimes a little simple and tiring with their rhetoric maybe, but not bad. However, the true quality is in Mattr.’s beats. Thankfully there’s occasions where you can fully concentrate on his dense and dramatic compositions like the great second half of “Confusion” or the equally appealing “Down w/ The Cause”. Mattr. really is quite a find when it comes to this style and thus the record is definitely quite a pleasure. Thus this should also come with the instrumental version slapped to it. So petition this request by going to zhark.de and motionrecordings.com

Josh One “Narrow Path” (Myutopia)
This is an interesting package, as you get the album on CD and you get a Bonus DVD with the entire album in Multichannel Surround Sound and Stereo, plus video and the CD-Rom contains seven bonus instrumental tracks. But the album itself is worthy your attention as Josh incorporate live instrumentation that are used well enough to keep a certain grit and dirtiness to the whole offering. Oftentimes he lets someone sing or rap, like super emcee (who does too much singing and producing instead of rapping lately) Aloe Blacc on “Risin’”, Micah 9 on “Afterhours”, Rashaan Ahmad on “Less Traveled” or singers Lili De La Mora and Jule Walehwa on the smooth, almost Acid Jazzy “Day Dreamer” and “Contemplation” respectively. But there’s also the instrumental and very jazzy “Grey Skies” and more Acid Jazz on “Midnight Samba” with singer Kandace Lindsey. And finally a great vibe on the instrumental “Narrow Path”. Certainly not a boom bap album in any sense, but a great musical exploration into different fields and open areas.

Copperpot “Chapter 7” (EV Production)
He’s a producer from Chicago and he worked with Edo.G, Diverse, Mr. Complex, Pace Won, Iomos Marad, Akbar, Earatik Statik, Braintax (from the UK) and Longshot on this record. Nuff said, right? Right. So check him out on evproductions.net

J-Zone “Gimme Dat Beat Fool” (Old Maid)
One of rap’s funkiest and funniest – J-Zone – did a little treat for y’all. He grabbed a bundle of acappellas and put his own flashy beats behind ‘em. Who got the treatment? Folks like Redman, M.O.P., De La Soul, Project Pat, Capone-N-Noreaga and Tash. However, that’s not all, J steps up to the mic himself for “Late Greatness” with Devin The Dude and for “Rockaway And Crenshaw” with Eazy-E; all the while commenting what’s happening. Yes, this is a must get for every J-Zone fan, a dope record for every rap fan and a should get for all those that don’t know just yet. Check zonesite.net for mo’ information.

Lyric District “Souliliquies EP” (Lyric District)
A couple of years ago we reviewed the LD’s album “Morlock Modernisms”. And while we weren’t exactly thrilled with it back then, listening to it now, it sounds actually quite good. The LD’s return with a six song EP, including two bonus tracks. And this little platter is proper. All three members, Ban Alpha, Mr.Rha.Gers and Kenny Keys have stepped up their respective contribution. And if you say: damn, Kenny Keys rings a bell, then it better does. Cause that’s the man who hooked up the supreme “The Connection” by Thaione Davis. So, plenty reasons to check this out, as Chicago is again solidifying its place as the most happening city right now. Check lyricdistrict.com

DJ Fisher & DJ Jon Doe present “The Domination Mix Vol. 1 – Family & Friends” (Domination)
Domination
is quite busy right now with putting mixcds out. What we don’t mind, cause they are doing things right. The Dooley-O one was funkier than a construction site worker’s armpits and DJ Cade Money’s gave us more rare songs than, than, well, just gave us a lot of rare songs. This little project here now gives us a selection of new songs from the Domination universe - not all Domination artists, but all Family and Friends. Things go from 4Zone to Braille, to Majik Most feat. louis logic, to Cadence feat. Esoteric to Supastition, to Sev Statik, to J-Zone feat. Celph Titled who give you the previously heard “Spoiled Rotten”. And that’s just track one to nine, leaving out the two UJ Empire cuts “Motivate” by Surreal and the super nice “These Eyes” by Blakout. To round out the full UJ experience there’s Xodus Ph.D “Feeling Great” and the very fresh “Determination” by Tzarizm, and you know that the Urban Jungle galaxy is something to watch out for too. There’s more though: we also have I.T. (Infinito2017 and Thaione Davis), we have O.U.O feat. Cadence, Time Machine, Dutchmassive, Lost N Found Department, Shorty Raw and Count Bass D. But not less important is DJ Jon Doe’s excellent mixing, reminding us what a mixtape used to be about: dope tunes with dope turntable trickery. This here has both, so get it now. More information on dominationrec.com and meetjondoe.com.

Emanon “The Waiting Room” (Shaman Work)
Finally we get more Emanon material, heck, took ‘em long enough. But around the time you read this, you should be able to buy this album in stores. And it gives us all that we always liked about the twosome: Aloe’s incredible rhyming and Exile’s just as nice beats. There’s exactly that on here, plus if you shove the CD in your computer, you should get a whole lot more, if the final version includes everything this little promo does. The everything being a bundle of videos (including a solo Exile performance where he shows how good a rapper he is), a gallery (where you might find the mug of yours truly) and some hidden MP3s from Emanon’s crew. Sure, we’re still a little hesitant about Aloe’s singing, but hey, this cat must blow up. He must be rap’s next superstar. So catch him now and brag about how you already know him for years. More information on shamanwork.com, essdub.com and emanonhiphop.com

Dub-L “Day Of The Megabeast” (Day By Day)
This record is so star studded, it’ll take us the whole duration of this short write up just to give you an idea on who’s on here. So let’s start: We got X-Clan’s own Professor X, Jemini The Gifted One, Fivefeet:Perspectives, Pack FM, open gay rapper Soce The Elemental Wizard, Ivizabul Man and Lord Scotch of the MIC, Windnbreeze, Karniege, Rayna Shine, GM Grimm, C-Rayz Walz, Poison Pen, DJ Js-1, Percee P, Razhel, Breez Evaflowin and a couple of more cats. Actually a surprise appearance by Jer of the Party Fun Action Committee and Hangar 18 provide the best song on here with “World Premier”. Dub-L does the beats and a host of skilled rappers do the raps, so this can’t and does not go wrong. Now check it out on daybydayent.com and dub-l.com

The Perceptionists “Black Dialogue” (Definitive Jux)
A new super group appears on the horizon, but you already know about it, right? Well, Akrobatik, Mr. Lif and DJ Fakts One are The Perceptionists and have teamed up for a full length album. And this thing is rather proper. The song “Blō” (produced by El-P) is a killer and while some songs like “Breathe In The Sun” and “5 O’Clock” are a little ‘sweet’ they are still good. The latter especially with a great topic and with Phonte of Little Brother crooning the hook. And even though “Party Hard” feat. Guru and Camutao and produced by the latter is desperate for some club play, hearing Humpty Hump on “Career Finders” will make up for that slump. Add to that Akrobatik sounding better than he has ever sounded before, actually really coming through with his verses, and Mr Lif sounding as dope as he always does, add production by Fakts One, more El-P, Willie Evans Jr, and you have a record that just might blō up. More information on definitivejux.net

Ambidex “The Great Potato Famine (Pass The Freedom Fries)” (Early Spotter)
This probably has one of the most stupid titles in quite some time, but don’t let that have you pass this by. Cause this thing is actually good. It’s very political – what the little ‘freedom fries’ bit suggests – it talks about “the economic and cultural differences that reside in American Society” as the bio says. It features beats by Joey Beats (of Non Prophets fame), by Jerm The Just One, Tommy Hearns and El Tripps. Plus it drops on Early Spotter, which is a new label (you’ll soon learn) that stands for quality. Cause their other releases include Access Immortal’s “Shades Of Reality” (featuring production by J-Zone, Insight, and Low Class Productions and guest appearances by Breez Evahflowin, Karniege, Wordsworth, Insight, Loer Velocity and Oktober) and maybe even more so Shed Light “Perseverance” (featuring Cadence, Alias and Access Immortal, as well as the funny “Everyone And Their Mother Wants To Be An MC”). So make sure you bookmark earlyspotter.com




recordsroundup: March 4th, 2005 (part two)

Grand Agent “Under The Circumstances” (Soul Spazm)
Yes, the rumors are true: Grand Agent has teamed up with OhNo for an EP that’s exclusively produced by the latter. Dropping on the ‘making moves’ Soul Spazm label, the two have recorded ten songs, combining their talents. Liv L’Raynge drops by on two songs and Hezekiah on “Reluctant Rapper”. You can only hope that this will have other rappers remember the good old days of having one dude produce their whole record. Heck, hope dies last, right? Check soulspazm.com for more information.

DJ Cade Money aka Cadence of Raw Produce “Built For The 90’s” (Domination)
Mixtapes come a dime a dozen (well, maybe a little more expensive than that), but every now and then, there’s one that’s actually just a tad bit nicer. This is one of those. So what’s so bravo about this? Well, Cadence got his fingers dusty and rummaged through his collection to rediscover some ‘rare, remixed and overlooked joints from hip hop’s second best decade’ as he says himself. So we get music by KRS-One, Common Sense’s “Funk Shit”, Showbiz & AG, Organized Konfusion, Pete Rock & CL Smooth (“It’s Not A Game”), Kool Keith, A Tribe Called Quest (“Stressed Out (Vinyl Reanimators Remix)”), Kwest Tha Mad Lad, Edo.G and folks you might have never heard of, like Freshco & Miz, Supreme Nyborn, Resident Alien and Fong Sai U. This ditty is twenty two tracks deep and full of cuts you want to listen to. So check dominationrec.com and rawproduce.com for more information.

V.A. “The Rub – It’s The Motherfucking Remix”
Well, actually it’s not. It’s the mf blends, baby. But blends this does well. Heck, just hearing Mobb Deep’s “Got It Twisted” over the Ghostbusters Theme tune is a lot of fun. Or hearing The Beatles over Kelis “Milkshake” is quite something too. On top of that we get Digital Underground over The Neptunes, we get Eminem, OutKast (partly over Run-D.M.C. and Franz Ferdinand), Prince, Eric B & Rakim, Jay-Z, Nancy Sinatra, Lil Flip and just so much more, you have to listen to this yourself to believe it. Why? Cause the truckload of people, including Cosmo Baker, DJ Eleven, DJ Ayers, Mark Ronson and Diplo created precise and surprisingly funky blends. So check itstherub.com for more information and get this thing.

Idris Goodwin “s/t” (Naïveté)
This here is an interesting combination of spoken word, rap, old school aesthetics, deep content, good beats and all bundled up in nine songs. Idris Goodwin is a do it all, he worked with a bundle of not really knowns and created something a small write up can never do justice to. So we shall not say much more than urge you to go and check out idrisgoodwin.com and naiveterecords.com and listen yourself. Don’t miss this.

Cryptic One “The Blender Vol. 1” (Centrifugal Phorce)
Okay, this Atoms Family member did himself a couple of remixes. Excited? You better. Not yet though? Well, if you read the interview with him, then you know that he also remixed Jay-Z. And his version of “Moment Of Clarity” is actually one of the best you’re ever going to hear by anybody. This song is incredibly nice. Not too shabby though are Cryptic One's own songs “Willow” and “Intricate Schemes”, more Jay remixes (“Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and “Change Clothes”) as well as remixes of “Beat Slope” and “Keeps It Movin” by Hangar 18, “Life’s Ill Pt. 2” by Vast Aire feat. Breezly Brewin & Vordul, as well as “FM” and the very, very good “All Y’all” by MF Grimm. You can get this record at cprecords.net, along with the past Atoms Family catalogue. So make sure you visit the site and stack up.

The Presence “Members Only EP” (Uncommon)
This came out some time ago and we wanted to tell you about it for some time (then again, didn't we already?). Not just because our good friend ArcSin is on here, but boy is he on here. He produced the posse cut “We Are” featuring Nasa and Cirrus of The Presence, but also Stacs Of Stamina and Centri. Equally excellent is “Members Only” a song apparently taken from the forthcoming album “Common Man’s Anthems”. This Nasa beat is incredible. And even the usually infallible Johan of Stacs Of Stamina can’t live up to the original version with his remix of the same song. Further we get a bundle of new songs, we get “Pandas Killing Each Other” from The Presence’s 2001 “Advance Bloodbath” EP, we get “Razor Fund Remix” featuring Vast Aire and Alaska and we get a preview of the “Common Man’s Album” which features production from Nasa, El-P, ArcSin, and Aesop Rock, Masai Bey, Karniege and Rob Sonic as guests. So this is a good appetizer and you can find more information on uncommonmusic.net.

Aeon Grey “Marionette Work Bench” (Aplus9)
This here is good. Aeon really knows how to create a certain vibe for himself, be it that he produces the beats himself or has friends like Workerbee or Dustcollectors do that for him. This is eleven songs deep, features more insight than peephole the size of a window with a view, and once again, you better listen to this yourself. So check softfocusart.com and aplus9records.com for more information.

Infinit EVOL & B. Will “The Professor & The Mutant” (Complex Sound Design)
This is some gritty ish. This takes lo-fi and grit to new lengths and it’s one of its main qualities. The lyrics are spoken in a very straight forward fashion, the content is harsh and void of sugar coating shish. The beats leave all them fancy tricks to other people, making this some pure bread, basic, in your face rap music. There’s a million MIC fans out there that should better listen to this here, cause they’ll enjoy it. More information on daybydayent.com

MeccaGodzilla vs. 007 “Soundclash #1” (Backwoodz Studioz)
Heck, let’s face it: battling is the fifth element of hip hop. All four elements battle. Now two producers from the metropolis town of NYC battle too. But this is a friendly brawl, and if anything it’s just to show off their skills. So more shadow boxing than full contact K1, MeccaGodzilla (aka Ravage) and 007 step up to do a bundle of beats for a bundle of artists to rhyme over. Them being – of course – Billy Woods, but also Vordul Megallah, Rodan, Divine Mind, King Ra, Spiega, Kong and Ravage steps himself to the plate to spit some verses. So yes, they all do exactly what they promise and the infallible Backwoodz Studioz give us another winner. More information on backwoodzstudioz.com.

Serge Boogie “True Indeed” (Wrecluse)
Years ago Serge Boogie already did an EP and that thing was actually pretty good. After a long break he returns with nine new songs, partly self produced, partly done by his partner in crime Eric. And the verdict? Oh well. The flow is still offbeat, very fast and if you could be bothered to really listen to what he says, you’d probably hear some dope lines. But he really takes the offbeat rhyming to exaggerated levels, as this is just a continued stream of words. As for the beats, we do get some ‘this is kinda nice’ offerings, like “Solitary Man”, “Dunno” (where Serge had the opportunity to adapt his flow and make this great), the very good “Whirling Dirvish” and “Fresh Produce”. So there’s actually quite a bit right about this EP, but Serge really needs to do something about his flow. Sure, the speed is impressive, how he can do it without slipping is probably too, but none the less, there’s very little personality in it. Personality we get with his singing on the last song. A little soul searching on that delivery, and we’d have another great artists no one has ever heard of. Check wrecluse.com for more information.

Sentence “There And Back” (Voicebox)
This album starts with a bang, cause the “DJ Thought Intro” features a funky beat and some serious scratching. Heck, if the whole album is going to be like this, then we have one supreme release in our hands. He keeps the formula of low and funky basses, sampling like it’s still 1992, and the speed of the songs is also pleasantly uptempo. Sentence only leaves few songs to other folks to produce (them being Do-Right, EarthFireMusic and AES), a song like “Harpoon City” must get every crowd in a frenzy and makes a song like “Sleep Walking” (produced by EarthFireMusic – who also does the better, while not very good “Escalate”) sound boring in comparison. Also a little too subdued is “5th Floor”, even though the thoughtful lyrics are good. The album really starts to becomes unfortunately less exciting towards the second half. AES’ “Perspective” is also a little ‘eeh’ (his “Never A Next Time” is dope though) and it takes “Won’t Stop” and Sleep’s guest appearance on “Hey Everybody” to regain lost ground. So yes, the album starts with a bang, continues to fire heavy artillery for the first half, then slumps a couple of times on some of the second seven songs. But ends this properly again with the really good “Never A Next Time”. And Sentence really has something to say throughout the whole album, and we have not more to say about this record, apart from that you can find more information on voiceboxrecords.com

Ominus & DJ “S” “Ominus Odyssey” (Family The Label)
Okay, we have had records reviewed from South Africa, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, France, the USA (duh), Germany, Canada, probably Italy, certainly Australia and Austria, and probably some other places too. But so far never from Greece. Yip, that place of culture and togas and where North Europeans like to take their summer vacations. Enter Ominus & DJ “S” and their album “Ominus Odyssey” Or “Ominus Oδύσσεια” If you want to write it with a bunch of letters you probably remember from math’s class. Lyrically, they are saying something. What? Ask someone that speaks Greek. However, Ominus rides the songs properly and while the language sounds harsh, he finds a flow and that’s good. As for the beats, whoever done them likes his keyboard. So we get somewhat commercial beats, that sound like typical European rap songs that might actually get into the charts, i.e. quite unspectacular and lacking character. What makes this sound like one of those projects you support because it’s from your neck of the woods, and not really because you love it. Even though track ‘six’ (please don’t make me write everything with Greek characters) is actually quite neat, ‘seven’ sounds quite carefree, and ‘thirteen’ is pretty nice too. So the album is not as bad as we just declared, and as a real rap fan, you should be interested in what other countries are doing anyway. So check this and their older album called “PHSH” and find more information on familythelabel.com.

Still Catchin Wreck “The Greatest That Never Made It” (SCW)
They slap Colorado Hip Hop big and right on the front of the CD, just in case you’re wondering. But you’re probably wondering how good this record is. Actually this is some pretty damn proper rap music right here. Sure the three dudes that make up the team are not reinventing the wheel, but you can tell they are at it for quite some time (they say ten years) and there’s a certain effortlessness that comes with their rhymes and their beats that sounds like a couple of years ago. And sometimes both are just very good, sometimes they are quite solid and sometimes they just are. But a song like “Me And My SP” is just dope and in many silly ways rather silly too. And good. Heck, there’s plenty of good on here, so give these mountain dwellers some time of your day and check ‘em out on stillcatchinwreck.com.

Pugslee Atomz “Playing With Matches” (Audio8)
The CD says it is the 5th CD and we have no reason to not believe what the CD says. So you already had four chances to know and start to appreciate Pugslee Atomz. And for all the extra slow people, here’s number five and it’s another treat. We have the very creative “C I A” with a very special V Traxxx beat, there’s the funky and excellent “Griffin”, there’s “Control” with Binkis Recs over a Kato beat, “Vandal Squad” featuring Seel Fresh and Maker on the beat, the dope “Props”, the drum-n-bass like “Michael’s” produced by Polyphonic The Verbose (who did most of the songs on here) and finally “All City” by Mike G. Oh, and this is an enhanced CD, so for once you’re encouraged to put this CD into your computer. A CD that’s simply good, heck, really good if not to say great. Lyrics are creative and Pugslee sounds comfortable over them, shining right. So check audio8.com for more information on the record and for more videos check barbershophiphop.com. And damn, is Chicago putting out any wack records right now?

Artson “Save The World Pt. 2” (Death Valley)
While most think the Rock Steady Crew is only B-Boys breaking, they have always added musicians to their line up, like the Arsonists, Tony Touch or Swollen Members. Add to that line up Arton from Las Vegas Nevada. But he’s not your ordinary rapper, also calling himself a poet, a b-boy and a graffiti artist, having done almost all there is to do. His record features fifteen songs, features tracks with Craig G, Tash and Zo, Planet Asia and Lowkey, Verbal E of The Chapter, Q-Unique, Mr. Wiggles, Wildchild, A-love and Street Sweeper, while Quali-D, J Dirt, Quincy Tones, DJ Ammbush, D-Tunes, S-Groove and Profile handle the production. “No Pressure” is loud, the guitar on “Still Shining” and “Cool Out” is Latino, and for “The World” Artson teams up with the UK and Australia respectively. But what’s the verdict? As decent Artson is, as oftentimes unsatisfying to horrible his beat selection is. “Memory Lane” is pretty much as bad as it gets on the beat tip, while the lyrics are too honest to dismiss. On “Rosemary” and “Hijo De Santo” he tries his spoken word thing, but not even that can truly save the rather disappointing album. More information on mindspider.com and deathvalleyent.com

besides all that, we’re also listening to:
- Bent “The Everlasting Blink”
- Centa Of Da Web “Beyond Human Comprehension EP”
- Coco Rosie “La Maison De Mon Rêve”
- Craig Armstrong “Original Motion Picture Score – The Bone Collector”
- Death In Vegas “Scorpio Rising”
- Fluke “Oto”
- Milanese “1Up”
- Morcheeba “Big Calm”
- Villain Accelerate “Maid Of Gold”
- vyle “Post-Paleaeontologist”




O.U.O Remix Contest Winner

In late December pH Music and Domination Recordings put together a remix contest to support of the upcoming O.U.O full length album. The label provided an acapella of the song “It’s Time” via the web site for producers to download. “It’s Time” is a high stakes tale of intrigue and adventure in which emcees Pep and Dumi Right trade verses reminiscent of duos from the golden age of hip-hop.
After sifting through all the entries and a week of careful and painstaking deliberation the panel of 6 judges weighed in with the final decision. The esteemed panel of judges included Domination Recordings President DJ Fisher, urbansmarts.com chief editor and founder tadah, Producer Extraordinaire and Domination Recordings artist Cadence, Gameplan PromotionsMr. Lawson and Pep and Dumi from O.U.O.
Domination Recordings is proud to announce producer DaSunOfGod from the 7th Dimension as the winner.

Click here for an exclusive listen to the track laced by DaSunOfGod.




February 23, 2005

ArcSin's debut album now available...

Please support this incredibly talented young man and hop on over to the Definitive Jux webpage to buy ArcSin's album "Resonant Murk Tactics". It's the first record on the list. Thank you.




February 03, 2005

ArcSin's debut album to be released on Definitive Jux

we have some great news (and you've heard it here first!): mega producer ArcSin's debut album "Resonant Murk Tactics" will drop February 22nd on Definitive Jux. it's even the first of its kind: Definitive Jux will release a couple of records exclusively on their online store called Pharmacy. and the ArcSin album is DRX1.
to get a little taste of it, we can offer you an exclusive opportunity to listen to one song off the album, "Infanticide Bday Bash" (click the title)
now, you might have heard beats by the insanely talented ArcSin on The Presence EP, heard 'em on a k-the-i??? song and the Despot and C-Rayz Walz songs on "Definitive Jux presents III". but if you want to really know what he's about, you gotta listen to this instrumental album. heck, it's hard to describe exactly what this guy is doing, but he must be the next big thing, or this music world is even more messed up than we dare to think it is. so, note that day red in the calender and get that album. and watch this space for information coming soon.




December 31, 2004

little year end gift...

I hope you guys are all avidly reading our year end wrap up lists. if not, make sure you do and click that link, so you know what people like Kutmasta Kurt, Mike G of the Jungle Brothers, Nicolay of The Foreign Exchange and many, many, many more liked and disliked about 2004.

as for the soundtrack while you're reading, we might suggest these two offerings that were dropped on our desk. they are:

- Daz Dillinger, Soopafly & Chops "I Get Around"
- Ol' Dirty Bastard w/ Blahzay Blahzay "Go Go Go" produced by Chops

with that said: Happy New Year to you and yours. see you next year.




December 12, 2004

Dälek, Norbert Möslang, Göldin and more in St. Gallen

now, tadah is going to be at this show. if you wanna buy him a beer, holler at the man:





November 24, 2004

recordsroundup: November 24th, 2004

Special Ed “Still Got It Made” (Semi)
Disclaimer: I – tadah – am somewhat of a Special Ed fan. I love “Revelations” and the older albums. And I buy everything that has this guy on it. Thus I was excited to hear that he has this new album coming out, and rushed do buy it. And now, now I’m about to throw it out the window, because it’s so horrible.
I don’t really issue warnings on albums you must avoid, but this is one of them. Do you remember that Special Ed used to have this dope flow? Well, he still does it, but now minus the ignorance, irony and I’ma-mess-you-up cadence. Now he does it lackadaisically and it does not work. Plus he got chubby. So he’s definitely not hungry anymore and you can tell in his music and his voice even. The photos in the artwork show him to be this smooth cat, and that’s the persona he brings across on the album. But who wants to hear Special Ed romance the ladies on a "Kryptonite" or get all mushy on "So Long, Goodbye"?
The album is badly mixed, so Ed often doesn’t meet the beat but hovers above it. The beats are often really bad, and sometimes really good, but don’t match Ed. Like "Special", "Dying Young" and "Smile", they are pretty good, for anybody but Ed. This is a style that does not fit him. It gets really bad with "I Know You" and "Somebody Gotta Bleed", both horrible attempts at commercial club music. All of that makes “All Night, All Day” with The Dogg Pound to be the best song on here, and Ed is so bad that he makes Snoop sound good on "We Gon Ride".
So this is really horrible. Yes, I usually don’t use words as harsh as this. But this is truly horrible.

MaD SoN “Peace Amongst The MaDness” (N.E.Time)
MaD
is half of the Minneapolis based Unknown Prophets who made some noise back in the days with “World Premier”, not just because they had Sluggo on their record. Years have passed now, and the team steps up with a couple of new releases. MaD keeps it in family, letting Big Jess, the other half of Unknown Prophets, do all the beats. Which are not always very impressive. They are sample based but lack a certain charm. They sound too much like 1999 beats by a dude back just learning his trade. Even though a “Unimpressed”, “10 Days Left” and “Don’t Cry” really sounds good. But when you listen to a “Rise Up”, these orchestra are just kept too close to the original and are probably not meant for a rap record. MaD on the other hand keeps it very conscious, forwarding strong messages like on “Times Like Those”. There’s actually no stupid babbling on here, with the lyrics reaching a depth the beats struggle to follow.

Team Demolition “Yo! TD Raps” (Depth Charge)
Can we please get the old “Yo! MTV Raps” episodes on a DVD or something? I’d camp outside the store to get that shish. I’m pretty sure the Team Demolition would join me. Building their album around old snippets of Fab Five Freddy interviews, the guys then break into the album with take-no-prisoners raps. There’s four people in TD – Zechariah Wise, Jady Experience, Lord Op aka J Cosell and DJ Dialtone – and they each sound different, adding a lot of shades to this pretty good record. Heck, listening to them scratching the surface of a really accessible mainstream-ish vibe, this is better quality than what you have to endure on any given BET program. The songs range from funky to old schoolish to straight up gritty to also some moments of humor. Heck they even let the DJ shine on two interludes. So yes, for all those that like a little street in their music, go check this out.

The Foreign Exchange “Connected” (BBE)
I’m pretty sure everybody knows about this already, so no reason to say much but: don’t be surprised if this appears on several ‘best of 2004’ lists. Heck, this is much better than Little Brother. So, make sure to get this. Play it for your woman. You’ll get a smooch for it.

Various Artists “Kingston 5 presents The New Sound Of Reggae” (Kingston 5 / Sony)
This is probably a good record, if you like this type of sound. I hate it. So I don’t like this record. But if you wanna discover what this ‘new sound of reggae’ is, and what people like Vybz Kartel, Tubby T, Ms. Dynamite (yes, that Ms. Dynamite), Lady Posh, Junior Reid, Buju Banton, and Mile High do. Now, if anything Flava feat. Macka Diamond “Crazy Thing” and Tyla “Far Away” sound kinda good. But that’s because they’re the least Reggae on here and actually just pure good old soul. The Hiites “The Dream” is at least kinda interesting and Buju’s “My Pen” and Alaine Laughton’s “Deeper” are good because they’re more traditional reggae.

Jacki-O “Poe Little Rich Girl” (TVT)
Hmm….what to say about this? Well, it features Jazze Pha, the Ying Yang Twins, Ghostface (doing “Tooken Back” that was already on “The Pretty Toney” album) and Trick Daddy. You wanna hate this but “Living It Up” is actually pretty nice. Sure Jacki is no impressive rapper but you don’t listen to this because of the lyrics. You listen to this because it plays in the club. Even though Jacki actually has a nice way to deliver her rhymes, a certain effortlessness and acting twist to, it and a good voice to back it up. What she says is still forgettable. Sure, all the 14 year olds will get a snigger out of “Pussy (Real Good)”, but anyone older? Not really. Production comes from Timbaland (who cannot/does not go wrong with “Slow Down”) Red Spyda, Cool & Dre, Jazze Pha, Gorilla Tek, Beat-in-Azz, Young Hollywood (like on the nice “Pretty”, but isn’t this a bastardized “Waterfalls”?) and Nottz. Oh, and the “Fine” music video is on here too.

Unknown Prophets “The W.E.T. (WhodaEverThought) EP” (N.E.Time)
MaD SoN and Big Jess of Unknown Prophets return after their 2000 album “World Premier” which featured Brother Ali, Slug and DJ Abilities of the Rhymesayers massive. Only nine songs, ranging from songs with braggadocio content (“Warning”), to reminiscing (“Look At Us Now”) and more braggadocio on “Shit Talking Material”. Best song is “Writer’s Block” which features a dope piano hooked up Jess. “So Live” feat. Tek is also kinda nice, with the rappers honing their bragging and boasting personas. All in all there’s a lot of promising moments, but you still cannot fully grasp these artists, who they are and what is exactly them. They still need to find their own personal sound and it’s hopefully along the lines of “Writer’s Block” which both musically and lyrically is really good.

Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz “Cunk Juice” (TVT)
The list of people on this record will be reason enough for some to pick up this album. For others to avoid this album. But we got the following on here: Ice Cube, Chris Rock, Lil Scrappy, Gangsta Boo, 8 Ball & MJG, R. Kelly, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Suga Free, Ying Yang Twins, Pharrell Williams, Nas, Bun B and Jadakiss. We even get a “Yeah” part two, as Usher, Ludacris and Lil Jon team up again for “Lovers And Friends”, a balladesque snooze song. The tracks all sound very similar, both amongst each other but also compared to the last album. They come with the same tired way to scream hooks. Even worse though is that Jon struggles to really do something new and exciting. “Contract” is kinda interesting, on “Bitches Ain’t Shit” he recreates a cool westcoast vibe. But in general this would flop without all the hype that’s currently surrounding this Crunk phase.

Muph & Plutonic “Hunger Pains” (Obese)
On Muphin’s last album “More Than Music” things always got exciting when Plutonic Labs was behind the boards. So we’re very happy to get a full album by the two entities teaming up. And we’re not handed a disappointment but a great release, with Muphin sounding very comfortable over these most of the time splendid beats. We go from “Work Hard” to “Beer Goggles” (one of the best songs) to the double timing of “The Jason Chapman Sway” to the very dope beats on “Hunger Pains” (feat. Raph Boogie) and “Paracetamol” to “You’re Choice ‘Kings’ ” which features no other than The Grouch. Good album; really good album.

Various Artists “Definition: The Hip-Hop Compilation” (Neblina)
The Carolinas are really hot right now. Not just since the success of Little Brother. Nope, nope, nope. And the quality doesn’t end with Little Brother either. This compilation digs a little deeper than what you’re likely to be force-fed by all those scratching the surface cats. So we get dudes like Chapter 13, K-Hill, Medinah General, Mercury Waters, Manov War, Cpectac, L.E.G.A.C.Y. and Rockwell. With beats by 9th Wonder, K-Hill, DJ Forge, Rashid Hadee, Nick the 1da, Chopy Chop-E and Rockwell. There’s a hype bubbling about this record right now, for all the right reasons. So get with the program, this is some good rap right here.

Jedi Mind Tricks “Legacy Of Blood” (Babygrande)
Now, the JMT fanbase is already quite big. And finally with this album, there’s reason for it again. As reluctant as I was to really sink my teeth into this (I’m one of the ‘ignorants’ who wasn’t too impressed by “Violent By Design”), but just a couple of spins really impressed me. Vinnie is still spitting hard, of course with repetitive subject matter, but over excellent Stoupe production. They get help from GZA/Genius, Sean Price, Des Devious and Killah Priest. So give this a chance, even if JMT hasn’t been your thing so far.

49 Stories “Blind Faith” (Voicebox)
Straight from one of the heartland Red States comes this collective. It’s a three people team up of Gollum, Once and Paradox. The last two spit over the Gollum produced beats, who must like the Mood album “Doom”. You get a similar darkish, esoteric vibe, what can be as good as “Arms Bend”, “Hardcore”, “Hypochondriac” and “Drop The Drums”, but as boring as “Together” (the posse cut with Sentence, NottheSame, Effort, Bantar, The Fool, AES and DJ Thought) or bad as “Fake Pain” and “Escape”. Lyrically the cats are secure behind the mic, but say far too much on one song to not exhaust you by the third track. The ignorant amongst us could describe this as ‘typical’ white guys rap, along the lines of an Adeem. That’d be a little bit unfair though. Because the rappers and especially the producer are too good for being labeled that; as accurate it may be. Worthy of a try, but definitely not for everybody.

Various Artists “Silvertab: Harambe Dope Sessions” (DIY)
Various Artists “African Dope Soundsystem” (African Dope)
Kalahari Surfers “Muti Media” (African Dope)

Straight from the motherland, or more precisely: from the country of South Africa come these three CDs. All three albums are interesting, just because of where they are coming from. But even if some of the rap sounds kinda clumsy (like MC Einaar & DJ Cool Guy “Milk And Cookies”), the standard is actually surprisingly high. People like Crisis (“Taking Over”) are really good and people like Hymphatic Tabs (“Come”) really creative. And even if we don’t understand what people like Ozone (“Monate”) say, we can still really ride with this nice beat. And well, then there’s of course the plain bad, like “Kasi Soul” by Gciwane, Gzus & T-Klep. These songs are all on the “Silvertab” record.
“African Dope Soundsystem” does another misplaced music genre, considering that we get Reggae on here. But it’s still a little more ‘locally’, as there’s much more of an expected African influence on these songs. Starting with “Big Trouble” by Black Dillinger, going to the pretty good second Black Dillinger song “Black Repatriation,” to the drum-n-bass of Juan Thyme feat. Crosby “Mo Fire Mo Presha (Funky Love Mix)”, to the excellent dub on “Pump Da System” by Juan Tyme, who happens to be the most interesting artist on here. And having heard this, the Kalahari Surfers are a little less of a surprise. They give us a really good dub-ish, electro, pop, trip hop hybrid. So while this is not just widening adding new geographical areas to the music that you’re listening to, this might actually also widen the spectrum of music you listen to.

Automato “Automato” (Coup De Grace)
We already had an interview with the guys (read it here). So basically everything is already said. Apart from: is this any good? It often is. Like on the opener “Focus”, the great “Capes Billowing” (which should have been kept entirely instrumental) and the funky “The Let Go”. Sure, they struggle sometimes with getting rid off the live-ish vibe (like on the not so great “Walk Into The Light”), but often the beats are gritty enough to work, like the background drum on “Cool Boots”. Yes, they do much better than the majority of other live instrument rap groups. So check this out.

Dooley-O “The Beat Segment” (Female Fun / Domination)
Many have done it before: grab a bundle of old break records, put them in a mix and call it a day. Sure, many have done it and often it’s been good too. This here however is beyond good. Why? Well, for one because the casual listener will not recognize most of these songs. Heck, Dooley digged deep into his private stash and pulled out some gems. Sure, those ever in the know folks that dig themselves, will know some, but whateverAnd second, this is a bag full of surprising, severely funky joints. You gotta play this loud too. Play at your next party and while doing private dances around your apartment. Yes, this is very, very good and belongs in everybody’s collection.

Jennifer Johns “Heavyelectromagneticsoularpoeticjunglehop” (Nayo Movement)
Yes, this is a gimmicky title. But it’s still an appropriate summation of this ten song limited edition EP. And the thing is: whatever Jennifer does, she does it well. Be it the smooth singing of “Beautiful”, the bonus track “Afraid Of Me” or the Sade song “Cherish The Day,” which takes minimalism to new depths. She can however also do the aimed straight forward song “Heavy (808-Jungalistic Afro Freak),” with a dope bassline, not much of a beginning, but quite possibly no end. Or there’s the jungle in the ‘what have you done lately’ song “Do You Believe In Love”. Of course her versatility will be her downfall, as this is hard to market. There’s just no market for ‘simply good music’ anymore. So they’ll emphasize the finally-some-good R’n’b of “Never Give Up”. And who produced much of this? Remember Spontaneous of “Spur Of The Moment Musik” fame? You know the album on GoodVibe? Well he did these beats. Now make sure you give this a listen.