Archive for the ‘Kidz in the Hall’ Category

Order restored

May 31, 2008

With the addition of a new network card, via a new computer, and the inclusion of an Apple Time Machine to my world, I’ve finally restored some normalcy to my own WWW. No more manipulating the rabbit ears to check my email.

My inconsistent WWW over the previous month has left me feeling a bit out of the loop. I’m not sure how accurate my own perception is, however. I’ve still managed to procure Tanya Morgan’s The Bridge, Kidz in the Hall’s, The In Crowd, Al Green’s Lay It Down, Jackson Conti’s Sujinho, and most recently, Common Market’s Black Patch War. I’d say that’s a pretty good yield for a month. Isn’t it interesting that there’s an apparent correlation between my WWW access and music acquisition? I can’t say I saw this coming in 1998, when I was still racing to Music in Your Ear on Thayer St. with my boy Skillz to cop Blackstar and The Love Movement.

Thanks to WTR for throwing that Common Markets track out there. I’ve been listening to Black Patch War for literally 24 straight hours. Sabzi’s production is a subtle throwback. Kind of reminds me of late 1990’s Shawn J. Period, employing lots of floating horns, flutes, scratches, etc. And RA Scion makes me think of Talib Kweli without the nasal congestion. Feel of album is akin to the contemporary-old school-feel goodness that has been coming out of the Pacific NW, see Blue Scholars & Ohmega W-W-Watts, Watts. (Note: I’ve also added Common Market, conveniently located on the WWW too).

Al Green’s Lay It Down. Talk about a throwback. Maybe I’m an ageist, but I usually don’t get too amped when old school cats come out with new albums. It’s a long story I suppose, but in short, it has something to do with the given, now-aged artist, attempting to contemporize their style in a new context. It’s a tough task. Or…maybe I am just an ageist…(or maybe I just have the bad tastes of Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige in mind). Whatever the case, Lay It Down exudes the familiar Al Green of I’m Still In Love With You…30+ years later. Much of this credit of course is due to the man himself. His voice is as smooth as ever. Green’s adlibs are fresh. The man is soulful. The title track, featuring Anthony Hamilton, has Green all over the musical scale, but it works just as it did on “Call Me.” On the production side, The Randy Watson Experience (James Poyser & Questlove) continue to make amazing music. The backdrop they provide Lay It Down preserves Al Green’s soulful crooning. Some how they manage to capture soul of Green’s early days within a 2008 context. At points through Lay It Down, it’s difficult to date the song. That’s the definition of timeless.

Sujinho brings together Madlib and Brazillian drummer/percussionist Mamao, as Jackson Conti (their respective last names). Sujinho is Madlib doing his homework. This isn’t him simply diggin’ through some crates and putting a YNQ spin on some old standard, or concealing some 1964 drumline in some far-out, Quasimoto-Monk Hughes amalgamation. This is Madlib, as Otis Jackson, being the music fan and doing his homework; traveling to South America; eating local cuisine; and kickin’ with an old-school drummer. The result plays like a jam session. Sure, it’s got that now-classic YNQ style to it – the indiscrete shifts in tracks, the occasionally discordance of sounds – but this time, you can hear that more than one person and his imaginary friends are playing together. Madlib and Mamao have made what I presume all jazz-fusion albums of the 60’s and 70’s were like. A few dudes getting together and trading industry secrets, and experimenting. This is nicely demonstrated on “Brazillian Sugar.” Honestly, I’m still digesting the final product. While I’m not a music theorist and cannot dissect the the technicalities, I can judge feelings sounds provide; the overall sound is dynamic, feel-good, & is a perfect Spring-Summer soundtrack.

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The In Crowd

May 6, 2008

It’s been a tough two weeks around my crib. Internet is acting a fool…or some related apparatus is. Whichever the case, my access to the WWW has been limited and unpredictable. I feel like one of my Constitutional rights is being violated here. I’m not sure how the Founding Fathers would have anticipated the Web, though.

At any rate, I feel like I’ve relegated to the Dark Ages. As far as I’m concerned, the Earth is flat; and the epicenter of the universe. That’s how I feel about music right now. Being that I refuse to listen to the radio, the internet has, for several years now, been my primary source for reading about and listening to new music. I DID actually try to listen to the radio today while I drove to a meeting…I made it through about 17 seconds of what I presume was a Lil’ Wayne song featuring some up-and-coming crooner who I don’t know about.

I don’t know where to start. I’ve spun through my ATCQ discography this week. I still maintain that Erykah’s New Amerykah is the hottest album of 2008. Max Kelleman of ESPNRadio (one of my other brief radio stops today) talked about Mobb Deep as “Shook Ones” played in the background. Him and whichever guy hangs in the studio with him curtly discussed what one has to do to be an “official Queens Bridge murderer.” Good question Max.

Okay. So new music. I just purchased Kidz in the Hall’s The In Crowd. I’ve yet to listened to it. Based on their first album, School Was My Hustle, and the two “mixtapes” that hit the internet, I’m looking forward to getting into this. Re School Was My Hustle – honestly, while I like it, only a portion of the album has any replay value for me. I’m hoping their second offering shows some learning/growth from their debut. I think Double-O has it in him to be a GREAT producer. Anyone who has copped it, thoughts?

CLE @ BOS. I’m out.

Peace and happy listening. Here’s to me sorting this internet out.

NOTE: I was just reminded that Al Green’s Lay It Down drops this month!

UPDATE, 05/08 – “The Black Out” is bangin’ inside my ear drum right now.

Spring Mix

April 22, 2008

Just a brief list of tracks I’ve become cozy with:

1) Tanya Morgan – “Waiting for You,” Tanya Morgan is a Rap Group – Soulful production. Entertaining tale. Ilyas continues to come up with the hilarious verses/delivery. Although, I am underwhelmed with the other TM mix that came out this year, Tanya Morgan presents: Beat Thieves 2, Tanya Morgan is a Rap Group is one of my favorite 2008 releases; I’m really looking forward to their next album.

2) Buckshot f/ Talib Kweli & Tyler Woods – Hold it Down,” The Formula – 9th Wonder taking it back to The Listening days on this. I’m nervous about The Formula, however. Through a few previews, I’ve noted a handful of tracks that feature a female singer on the hook who can’t sing/sounds like she’s 12. What’s the deal with that? (Check De La’s “Much More” feat. Yummy from The Grind Date to get my drift).

3) Kenny Segal f/ Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, Busdriver, Dr. Oop, & Nocando – “Backyard BBQ,” Platinum Dreams – Platinum Dreams is a mix released from 88-Keys, presumably as a primer for the release of his Death of Adam project (due out soon I think). It’s a potpourri of artists, instrumentals, etc. I love the guitar sample in this. Reminds me of something that would have been on ATCQ’s Beats, Rhymes, & Life. And, Aceyalone is awesome.

4) Kidz in the Hall – “Work to Do,” Geniuses Need Love Too/Kidz in the Hall & Mic Boogie Present: Detention – Subtitled Obama ’08. I know this technically came out in 2007, but it’s a dope track.

5) Black Spade – “Evil Love,” To Serve With Love – Chopped up beat. Black Spade sings and raps his way through this love gone wrong plot, “Why do we make up just to break up like this beat here, here…” His stutter delivery is reminiscent of Dilla. A great track off a great album.

6) 100dbs and Ryan O’Neil – “She Got a Body,” The Adventures of The One Hand Bandit and the Slum Computer Wizard – Again, this album/track came out in 2007, but I love this track. Nothing groundbreaking as far as the story goes, think Mos Def’s “Ms. Fat Booty.” 100dbs’s production is solid through the album. I love the subtle horns and keys on this one.

Morning cuppa Go…

January 17, 2008

Been meaning to compile a list of morning tracks that get me going on my 5 mile commute to work. Kyle and I have traded tracks for years now, when our sleep cycle is stoked by a particular “morning” track – I think I’d be doing a good service to share them, you know, in case anyone is looking for a musical pick-me-up in the morning. Please feel free to post your own in the comments, I’m always looking for a new morning cuppa go…(these aren’t presented in any particular order) “Okra” by Olu Dara (from 1998’s In the World: From Natchez to New York) – Olu does is damn thing here, with this sense-sational track that awakens more than the eyes. This laidback, breezy track reminds me summer days sitting in my uncle’s apple orchard, eating fresh strawberries and plums; and that cornet…like coffee teasing the olfactory sense. “Grazing in the Grass” by Hugh Masekela (from Still Grazing) – probably one of the more recognizable trumpet melodies, Masekela’s “Grazing in the Grass” is one of the most invigorating tracks in my music collection and man, you have to love the cowbell. If I were a producer, I’d make the cowbell my signature piece. I would say this could be considered a standard, as it’s been covered by several artists, since it was first written in the mid-1960’s; if you prefer the harmonica, check out Eivets Rednow’s version from 1968’s “Alfie.” (yeah, that Stevie Wonder). I can’t think of anything off-hand that has sampled this, other than this from Nice & Smooth’s Ain’t a Damned Thing Changed. “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield (from Curtis) – Kanye did us all a service by bringing a much-deserved light to this gem. Mayfield actually has a few candidates for the A.M., but the horns on this certainly move it up the list. “Work to Do” – Kidz in the Hall – ill soul-sample; empowering message; beat that instills optimism. This is a great track to pump when you know you’ve got a contentious meeting waiting for you. “I Was Made to Love Her” – Stevie Wonder (from I Was Made to Love Her) – What can I say? I love Stevie and I love how Stevie seemed like he was always singing for the last time ever. This is a great example of why soul of the 60’s and 70’s trumps the majority of “soul” or “R&B” today – you can’t help but believe Stevie loves Susie; most contemporary cats don’t get this aspect of singing. Thank God for cats like Dwele. “Starlite” by Panacea (from Ink is My Drink) – love the pace of the beat and the effervescence of the melody. “Jaimerais” by Hocus Pocus (from 73 Touches) – it’s in French, I have no idea what he’s rhymin’ about (or if he’s even rhymin’), but I reckon it’s some tale of lost love (?). The melody and chorus create a care-free sound, and the horns put the nail in the coffin for this being a morning classic. I swear, that singer sounds like Vinia Mojica…but I have nothing to back it up. “Me, Myself, & I” by De La Soul (from 3 Feet High and Rising) – if you don’t know, you better ask somebody “Won’t Do” by J Dilla (from The Shining) – there are a slew of Dilla-produced tracks that make their way into the A.M. playlist, e.g. SV’s “Raise it Up,” but this is one of my favorites. Great sample! And Dilla, on the hook! “Whatever You Say” by Little Brother (from The Listening) – if this beat doesn’t conjure buds, bees, and birds, and all things related to the seeds of amorous feelings, the good old vernal equinox, then I’m through. Phonte’s non-rhyming verse is classic in my book, and 9th killed this…as with the majority of tracks on that album.That list is not exhaustive of course, but it’s a good start to any morning. Throw them on a playlist, and enjoy better days in 30 days or less…Peace

Spotlight on Kidz in the Hall…

December 10, 2007

I had to throw this up cause I’ve been really feelin’ “Work to Do” from Kidz in the Halls’ mixtape, Detention. This is one of the most feelin-ess-good tracks out right now and I had to give props to Ivan over at hiphopisread for bringing light to a great track. What a sick theme song this would be if Obama strolled out for debates with this bumpin’.