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”