Friday, November 28, 2008

Jake One: "Glow (Demo Version) ft. Elzhi"

Well, I just threw up one Detroit post, so why not another? I had this gem sitting around for a while, but for some odd reason never let it loose online. Before Royce was added on Jake One's final version of "Glow" for White Van Music, it was just a solo Elzhi track. This is the original demo version.

Jake One: "Glow (Demo Version) ft. Elzhi"

Behind The Beats, Vol. 1: Brother Ali's "Mr. President (You're The Man)"

Due to my affinity for the old school soul music that gets sampled so often in hip-hop, I've decided to start a new feature for Midwest Broadcast: "Behind The Beats." In this section, I'll be highlighting some of my favorite sampled tracks for you all. Today's inaugural edition of Behind The Beats focuses on the recent, self-produced Brother Ali track, "Mr. President (You're The Man)." As a dedication to President-elect Obama's recent electoral college victory, Ali couldn't have picked a better sample to flip than Marvin Gaye's similarily titled track, "You're The Man, Parts I & II." Gaye's sultry singing and the funky guitar loop at the beginning were perfect selections to chop up, and Ali did so masterfully.

Marvin Gaye: "You're The Man, Parts I & II" 2008 Finalists (Video)

Minneapolis rapper Knonam is a finalist in the contest to win a record deal.

Mac Lethal, Grieves, & Soulcrate Music: "Black Clover Posse Cut" (Video)

A couple of years ago, Rhymesayer and Kansas City, MO native Mac Lethal co-founded Black Clover Records. The label features Mac Lethal himself, fellow friend Grieves and the group Soulcrate Music. I'm a little late on posting this video, but those artists released a recent video for "Black Clover Posse Cut."

Royce Da 5'9'': "Verbal Intercourse (Detroit Remix) ft. Guilty Simpson & Elzhi"

This was a pleasant surprise. The DetroitBoyz generously unleashed this gem of a track, on which three Detroit monsters go in on Raekwon's "Verbal Intercourse" instrumental from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. The D is pumping out great music right now. It's great to see everyone in that scene unite behind a common cause.

Royce Da 5'9": "Verbal Intercourse (Detroit Remix) ft. Guilty Simpson & Elzhi"

Kanye West: Hot97 Interview (Video)

This is pretty good, otherwise I wouldn't post. You've likely heard enough about Kanye/808s lately. Well, you will once I finally write my review. That album takes a while to digest.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Freeway & Brother Ali: "The Truth" (Video)

Yeah, it's Thanksgiving and I'm still grinding away with MB! Don't forget who's hooking it up with this Midwest hip-hop for ya'll. The big blogs stay jackin' material without linking their sources. Believe that. But anyway, Freeway came through to the Element in downtown Minneapolis just last Thursday to put on a little show. Wish I could have been in town for it, but I wasn't. However, Brother Ali stopped by to show his support, as well as perform "The Truth" with Freeway, and Rhymesayers was there to get a little footage. The track goes hard. Definitely one of my songs of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slum Village: "Drop The Drums"

T3 of Slum Village recently got up in the blog game (check his site). Via his site, T3 dropped a vintage demo SV track from back in the day.

Slum Village: "Drop The Drums"

Illa J: "We Here" & "R U LIstening? ft. Guilty Simpson" (Videos)

Illa J drops two videos at once, both off his recently released Yancey Boys. To read my review of the album, click here.

Illa J: "R U Listening ft. Guilty Simspon"

Illa J: "We Here"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jake One: "The Truth" ft. Freeway & Brother Ali (Music Video)

Rik Cordero directed the video for one of 2008's song of the year candidates. This video is censored, I'll try to replace it with an unedited version when that drops. Nice to see some Minneapolis visuals in Ali's sections: The Premium Grain Belt sign, First Avenue, the Minneapolis Skyline. Rik Cordero definitely does a good job capturing the essence for this track.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brother Ali: Interview w/ M.anifest & "Good Lord" (Video)

The homie M.anifest recently posted this up at his blog site, The Birds & The Beats. It's a little video that M.anifest shot after a Brother Ali performance in what presumably is a high school gymnasium. Shout out to Rhymesayers! Still performing those really local shows, haha. But the interview is simply copmrised of Ali & BK-One chopping it up, and Ali giving his cosign to M.anifest's lyrical talents (Word!). Then, there is also some special footage of Ali performing one of his newer songs, "Good Lord." It should be coming on in relatively early 2009 on his The Truth Is Here EP. I'll keep you posted with any other updates.

Bonus: I wanted to hit you all with a download for "Good Lord," but I haven't yet been able to find any links. I'll definitely get that up for you once I find one. Meanwhile, here's a Youtube video featuring the song, as was first released during an appearance Brother Ali made on Radio K. I usually won't post these kind of YouTube clips, but it's Ali, man! I have to.

Muja Messiah: "Tha Madness" (Video)

The video for Muja Messiah's "Tha Madness" was shot and posted at Vimeo about four months ago, but then got inexplicably taken down. Finally, it has surfaced again on YouTube. Shout out to Six-Ton Productions for this ill video. Twin Cities hip-hop is going places! This cut is one of my favorites off of Thee Adventures of a B-Boy/D-Boy, which has recently been re-released to national distribution. So go cop that!

For those of you in the Twin Cities, Muja will be performing at the Switchblade Comb anniversary party on this Friday, November 28, at the Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis. It's 21+, and only costs $5, so I suggest you go support one of Minnesota's rising hip-hop stars.

Doomtree DVD Release (Video)

This video thoroughly explains everything. What am I even here for?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kanye West: "Street Lights" (Unofficial Video)

Blogger Dallas Penn created this fan-made video for the track off 808s & Heartbreak, "Street Lights." Kanye-mania is reaching an all-time high right now!

Krukid: "David Hasselhoff"

Just woke up and got this new Krukid jam in the inbox; solid start to the weekend, I'd say. This humorous track is off an upcoming mixtape, to be titled The Broadcast.

Krukid: David Hasselhoff

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rhymesayers Entertainment Update: Upcoming Releases

Rhymesayers Entertainment recently announced their first two releases for the upcoming 2009 calender year. First, on January 20, 2009, Atmosphere will be rereleasing their third studio album, GodLovesUgly, complete with a bonus DVD:

Repackaged, remastered and uglier than ever, the critically acclaimed third official studio release from Atmosphere, GodLovesUgly, is back after being out of print for over a year. The GodLovesUgly re-issue also features a FREE bonus DVD.
Originally released as the limited Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 (The Godlovesugly Release Parties) DVD, it features 2 hours of live performance footage, backstage shenanigans, several special guest appearances and music videos for "Godlovesugly", "Summersong" and "Say Shh". Out of print for years, this DVD has been repackaged in a custom sleeve that comes inserted in with the re-issue of GodLovesUgly.

Next, on February 3, 2009, P.O.S. will be dropping Never Better. Following is the lengthy press release from Rhymesayers:

P.O.S. returns with Never Better, February 3rd on Rhymesayers. It's the follow-up to 2006's critically acclaimed Audition. Most of P.O.S’ new album was written in a moving car. On it, he raps at full-clip to ride rolling drums and revving distortion. There’s an urgency that he keeps in careful check, and then unleashes for spring-loaded verses that represent his best work. P.O.S built his reputation as an innovator, with an unlikely punk rock past and expressive, honest content. He re-earns the accolades with every release. His records capture his charisma—they’re driving and sincere, the dark moments counterbalanced by some giggling banter with the engineer. On Never Better, the new disc, he conjures get-away cars, racing chariots, the pursuit of sirens, and the occasional rueful nighttime drive.

P.O.S. himself made more than half of the beats on Never Better, and the production bears his unmistakable signature. The album enters a room like bombshell with a black eye—badass, noisy, impossible to ignore. Feedback and relentless drum rolls are only occasionally tempered by sung choruses and clean, chiming guitar lines. Some critics will be eager to categorize the album as a hybrid—some kind of crossover project. But it’s probably not. P.O.S is a rapper with range, he’s a real musician and an unstoppable performer. For him, genres are as they ever were: permeable.

The packaging for P.O.S's new album Never Better is a one of a kind four panel transparent plastic Digipak that holds 16 solid and 6 Transparent inserts. The solid inserts have artwork on the front and lyrics/credits on the back. The Transparent inserts have artwork that when placed over the various solid cards, enhance and change the look of the art underneath, hundreds of combinations are possible. Look for P.O.S. to embark on a headlining tour for the month of February and he will stay on the road through the summer, where he's confirmed for the entire Vans Warped Tour.

I'm not sure what that all means, but it sure sounds impressive. Lastly, here is the tracklist for Never Better:

1.Let It Rattle
2.Drumroll (We're All Thirsty)
3.Savion Glover
5.Graves (We Wrote the Book)
7.Get Smokes
8.Been Afraid
9.Low Light Low Life
10.The Basics (Alright)
11.Out of Category
12.Optimist (We Are Not For Them)
14.Never Better
15.The Brave and the Snake

Kid Cudi: "Day N Nite" (Video)

Kid Cudi performs his song, "Day N Nite," at the Glow In The Dark Tour, which continues to take over the world. Apparently right now they are in the UK. But if you don't know about Kid Cudi, you should do some investigating. The Cleveland native is a breath of fresh air.

Props to HERFection.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Common: "I've Been Pimp'n"

Here's an older Common track that's been unleashed from the vaults by The Hip-Hop Project, for a mixtape they put together. This track was produced by J Dilla.

Common: I've Been Pimp'n

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Knonam: "Tilt The Brim"

As long as I'm posting the winner of the Rhymesayers contest, I might as well throw up the contest entry of Minneapolis rapper Knonam. He was one of the finalists with his remake of the Freeway/Jake One track "How We Ride." Knonam's version is titled "Tilt The Brim." Also, make sure to check out his latest album, Length Of The Blade.

Knonam: "Tilt The Brim"

Longshot: "Hip-Hop is... Still Alive" (Rhymesayers/Jake One Contest Winner)

I mentioned the Rhymesayers/Jake One contest a while back. Well, the voting has culminated and Chicago emcee Longshot won the competition, going in over the beat for "Oh Really." Congrats to Longshot.

Longshot: "Hip-Hop Is... Still Alive"

GLC: "Big Screen ft. Kanye West"

This leaked to the radio in Chi-Town and inevitably made its way to the blogs.

GLC: "Big Screen ft. Kanye West"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

J.Loonz: "Oh Really"

Photography by Andrea Brubaker

So I mentioned in a previous post about how J.Loonz entered the Rhymesayers/Jake One contest. Unfortunately, he didn't make the finalists. However, here is the track that was submitted to Rhymesayers for review. Check out the seven finalists in the contest at HipHopDX, and see how Loonz's track matches up. I'd say it was pretty damn good for being recorded in Amsterdam, without any real opportunity for mixing or mastering.

J.Loonz: "Oh Really"

Illa J: Yancey Boys (Album Review)

It is important to differentiate between theory and actuality. Theoretically, Illa J had one of the most intriguing and appealing records of the year. His recent debut release, Yancey Boys, paired the singer/emcee up with long lost instrumentals from his older brother, who just so happens to be the late J Dilla.

Dilla was working with the Pharcyde for their 1995 album Labcabincalifornia, but many of the leftover tracks ended up collecting dust. The legendary producer had some old, unused beats sitting around at the Delicious Vinyl establishment. Enter Illa J. The artist relocated from Detroit to California, took those beats, and started working on Yancey Boys. The big question was whether the conceptually strong album could materialize into a solid finished product.

“Timeless” is the album’s first track, and features a contemplative Illa J crooning over Dilla’s smooth piano loops and deep baselines. The lead single, “We Here,” is a celebratory track also featuring Illa J’s first rap of the album, and he manages to impress with strong wordplay and diction. The second single off Yancey Boys is “R U Listening,” featuring Guilty Simpson. The Detroit spitters successfully represent for the 313, and all of the Motor City, on the album’s best track.

However, the album begins an unfortunate decline after that opening trio of songs. The problem is that Illa J’s songwriting has no build-up, no progression. His lyrics can be likened to a dog running in circles, chasing its own tail. There may be occasional illusions of progress, but in the end, it's just not going anywhere.

Take the chorus on “Swagger,” for instance. Illa J sings, “Yes I’m a singer slash rapper / And I does my thing / And yes I swing my bling / It ain’t related to the music / And yes bees they sting / But I love smelling good, yes I do, ‘cause that’s what I do.” These nonsensical lyrics plague the remainder of the album. Not to mention an additional guest appearance from Affion Crockett (Word?).

Not too much time should be dedicated to dissecting the production on Yancey Boys. This is Illa J’s album. But, for as underappreciated as J Dilla was while still alive, he was sure ahead of his time. These beats were crafted in the mid-nineties, yes they sound as polished and contemporary as anything coming out today. J Dilla’s work is, as expected, simply superb.

Yancey Boys is a great album to bump on a summer afternoon; the kind of situation where you aren’t too invested in the lyrics, and can just vibe to the musical backdrop. Would this have been a predominantly listenable album without J Dilla’s production? Likely not. The foremost issue with Yancey Boys is not that Illa J lacks talent. He surely has the capacity to be a gifted and versatile artist. Despite that, it is clear that he has not utilized his many faculties to the fullest extent. Yet, if given time, he may evolve to be a prominent singer/rapper in the music business. So, even though Yancey Boys was not as tremendous an album as it was theoretically, Illa J is an artist to check back on in the future.

Rating: 5/10

Bonus: Illa J performing at Fat Beats.

Mic Terror: Jugrnaut Freestyle (Video)

What's with hip-hop culture and the tendency to intentionally spell words wrong?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lupe Fiasco: LupEND Freestyle (Video)

I am at work right now, and can't listen to this, so I have no idea if it's good or not. I suppose it could be a huge piece of shit. My apologies if it is.
Update: So I've finally had the chance to watch this. You may notice he doesn't really spit many bars here. What he's saying is "I'll be everywhere, I'll be nowhere but I'm really down here." This is in reference to his rumored third and final album, LupEND, which has been news for a while, but I'm not sure if I've mentioned it yet. Lupe claims it will be a three-disc release. The first disc will be called "Everywhere," the second "Nowhere," and the third "Down Here." This concept could be dope if he puts together enough good songs (No Blueprint 2). I also doubt it will be his final album, as Lupe has grown in to one of the bigger acts in hip-hop. The suits at Atlantic Records will never let him get off so easy.

G.O.O.D. Music After Party Cypher (Better Quality Video)

Here's a lot of the same footage but with waaayy better sound a picture quality. Legendary. Via DJ Semtex.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kanye West: Freestyle (Video)

Kanye's Glow In The Dark Tour stopped through London town the other day, and Kanye did a long and epic freestyle session. That man knows how to put on a show. Believe that I'm pissed that I couldn't catch the GIDT in the states because I was in London this summer, and now that I'm back he's doing his Europe section. Damn! At least I saw Jigga, and Atmosphere and Brother Ali.

kanYe freestyle in london from Mr.Londoner on Vimeo.

This video below is footage of the afterparty, and features the incredible all-star lineup of Nas, Mos Def, Consequence, De La Soul and KiD CuDi. But beware, it's extremely poor sound quality.

Black Milk: "Give The Drummer Sum" (Video)

Black's back at it, dagnabbit.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Really Doe: "My City"

You may recognize Really Doe as the dude who appeared on Kanye's track, "We Major," off of Late Registration. Well the Chicago rapper is back. His debut mixtape, First Impressions, is schedule to come out in December. This is the first leaked track, "My City."

Really Doe: "My City"

Kanye West: 808s and Heartbreak Commercal (Video)

This is more of a post just to let you all know I'm not dead. My bad, everyone. I've been really busy and have been slacking on the whole blog scene, but I'm about to get back on my grind tomorrow (Hopefully). At least you guys didn't miss much; besides a couple new Kanye tracks that leaked (check them out at 2dopeboyz), there wasn't too much notable Midwest hip-hop in the past few days. Also, I'm not gonna be posting many of these Kanye leaks (hence the link) unless they're official, because the suits in the industry are threatening to eliminate my blog whenever I post that stuff. Anyone notice how the post on the recent Jigga track just got deleted? Yeah. That wasn't me. Whatever, I don't need to go off on some lengthy diatribe about that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Self Devine: Freestyle / "Cold World" (Live Concert Footage)

So my college institution, UW - Madison, put on this Homegrown Hip-Hop Festival, a concert featuring lots of the Midwest's underground hip-hop talent. Some really dope artists showed up to perform, including Muja Messiah, I Self Devine, and Doomtree. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch the Doomtree or Muja shows, for a variety of reasons. I was rather pissed about that one, but I did catch I Self Devine.

Despite a really poor showing on the student body's part to actually come to a damn hip-hop show (STEP YOUR GAME UP MADISON), I Self did his thing. He played a lot of new material, from his upcoming album, that I was not able to catch the title of. If I remember correctly, though, it will be released in July 2009, so exercise your long term memory for that joint. I Self Devine also played songs from his excellent album released by Rhymesayers, Self Destruction. Those, along with some assorted freestyle sessions, made for a very entertaining show.

I Self Devine: Freestyle of the "Letter To The King" instrumental, from The Game's recent album, LAX

I Self Devine: "Ice Cold"

Kanye West: "Heartless" + 808s and Heartbreak Commentary (Video)

First up is an animated video to (I'm sad to say) one of the few songs I'm feeling thus far on 808s and Heartbreak. Whatever.

Update: So the iron fist of YouTube went and snatched that video off their servers. I had to jack the WorldStarHipHop posting, which is complete with that annoying smoking bullet hole logo. Because, you know, that's what hip-hop is all about. Sorry, guys.

Also, as a bonus, Kanye is in Singapore for the Asian leg of his tour, and he sat down to conduct a rare interview, where he speaks on his upcoming album. Props to NahRight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicago Double Dose: Common + Lupe Fiasco

A new Common track off of Universal Mind Control appropriately leaked today. It's called "Changes" and is another Obama dedication. My prediction is starting to look better and better. Link via OnSmash.

Common: "Changes"

Next up, Lupe Fiasco was performing in Chicago on Halloween last weekend, and he took a break during his set to speak about Obama, Chicago, and various other topics.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Cool Kids: "Delivery Man (9th Wonder Remix)"

Of course I had to throw up that Cool Kids/Obama pic. But anyway, 9th Wonder got busy and remixed the Cool Kids' single via Mountain Dew, "Delivery Man." Check it out.

The Cool Kids: "Delivery Man (9th Wonder Remix)"

Brother Ali: "Mr. President (You're The Man)"

Ok, so I was wrong about the election signifying the end of politically-themed hip-hop songs for a while. Dead wrong. In fact, I'm willing to bet this is the first of many (post-election) Obama dedication tracks.

Brother Ali was apparently so overcome by the results of the presidential election that he went straight to the booth and put this track down. "Mr. President (You're The Man)" was also produced by Ali, which is only further testament to the fact that he's one of the most talented artists in hip-hop right now. Act like this rap isn't better than 99% of the ish out there right now. And Ali did it in one night! He's on tour right now out East, but let's hope when he finished that up we can get another classic from Brother Ali. Rhymesayers is in the building right now! Best label doing it!

Brother Ali: "Mr. President (You're The Man)"

GLC: Vimby Interview

Gangsta L Crisis speaks with the good people at Vimby about coming up in Chicago and spits some raps as well.

Homegrown Hip-Hop Festival (Madison, WI)

Starting tomorrow and lasting throughout the weekend, the University of Wisconsin - Madison is hosting the second annual Homegrown Hip-Hop Festival. If you read this blog and are going to be around campus this weekend, I suggest you hit it up. Here's the lineup:
Thursday, November 6
Student Union - Great Hall, 7PM - Midnight
Doomtree (Headliner)
I Self Devine
Big Quarters
Muja Messiah
Chosen Few

Friday, November 7
Tripp Commons, 8PM - 11PM
OMAI presents Just Bust A Move! Open Mic Night

Saturday, November 8
Student Union - Great Hall, 6PM - Midnight
Kid Sister (Headliner)
Yea Big & Kid Static
Tru Ruts Crew
Fall Guys
Kid Cut Up
Quest McCody
Hyder Ali
As you can see, there will be plenty of dope artists from Minneapolis, Chicago, and various other areas throughout the Midwest. Midwest hip-hop is holding it down right now! I'll likely be there both nights, so be on the lookout for some foolish-looking college undergrad with a camera. It might be me.

For further information, check out the article that I wrote for the Badger Herald on the festival:

Badger Herald - Festival with 'Homegrown' Talent

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mikkey Halsted: "Betta Than This"

Chicago's Mikkey Halsted drops off a track that continues with today's election theme. The time is starting to near. Keep your fingers crossed people. And if you haven't heard Mikkey's Uncrowned King mixtape, check that out, via FakeShoreDrive.

Mikkey Halsted: Betta Than This

Monday, November 3, 2008

J.Loonz: "Like That"

Photography by Andrea Brubaker

So Rhymesayers hosted this contest involving producer Jake One, in which rappers could submit a track they record over any instrumental from White Van Music. I let J.Loonz know about this contest, and of course he was able to put down a couple different tracks for the competition from over in Europe. Now, I'm not gonna unleash the song we submitted just yet, but I'll give you guys a taste of the absolute destruction that took place. Here, Loonz gets down over the "Trap Door" instrumental, renaming the track "Like That."

J.Loonz: "Like That"