Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
If you didn't catch my video footage of Brother Ali performing two unreleased songs from Street Preacher at Soundset 2009, check that out now.
Guante and Big Cats!: "1 10 20 200" + "One Of These Mornings (Remix)" + "Old English Letters" (Live)
While I'm at it, Justin has tons more great videos, so although I'm late in finding them, I'm going to post some of my favorites anyway in the next couple of posts.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Fresh off sets at this year’s Soundset both Kristoff Krane and Just.Live will be performing at the B.U.M. Radio showcase on June 1 at Father Hennepin Bluffs Park in Minneapolis. The free showcase is being coordinated by a team of local students who are creating a new (streaming) radio station in the Twin Cities which will focus solely on local independent music.
Unfortunately, I don't have names for either of the tracks yet. The first song features a very bouncy, horn-dominated beat, and Ali spitting an uptempo flow pretty much nonstop for 3 minutes. The second song was a very fun live track. It's another thumping, soul-sampling song featuring a self-affirming, joyful Ali rapping and singing about his ever-increasing satisfaction with his life. It looks like Ali may have even been rapping at my camera during that song, but there's no telling. Overall, it looks like, unsurprisingly, Ali is busy cooking up some incredible material for Street Preacher. You can stay updated with all his progressions on the album by following his Twitter.
I opted not to get a press pass, and spent the entire day in the thick of the crowd watching the shows on the main stage. My biggest regret is not seeing a couple of sets on the Fifth Element side stage – mainly One Be Lo, Unknown Prohpets and Cunninlynguists, as those are the main acts I had never seen before. However I also regret not catching Sims, Blue Scholars and Heiruspecs, who are all great live. The reason for me not catching those shows is that during P.O.S.'s lively set, in a moment of pure serendipity, my friends and I ended up getting pushed to literally the front row. Although in retrospect, Sage Francis, El-P, and much to my dismay, DOOM, were all arguably "skippable" performances, we decided it was in our best interests to not sacrifice our great crowd position to see the shows on the side stage. While, I was up there, I tried snapping a few "point and shoot" photos with my low budget camera. I'm no professional, but they ended up half decent. If you want to see some great photo coverage of the day, though, go to Jules Ammel Visuals or the Rhymesayers Flickr. I'll leave you with a few thoughts I had about Soundset 2009, as well as my photos.
- Toki Wright was one of the better pure performers of the day. He reallys pours his heart out in his shows: jumping and dancing around, using the entire stage, working the crowd, etc. Great stuff. If only the fans were more familiar with his songs.
- As per usual, DJ Abilities was the true star during E&A's set. While Eyedea gets a little quirky during live shows, Abilities spent a solid five minutes amazing everyone with his technical prowess on the wheels of steel. The guy nevers slips up.
- Speaking of never slipping up, Mr. Dibbs absolutely put it the fuck down during his turntable sting during El-P's set.
- P.O.S. may be on the verge of breaking through the Rhymesayers ranks, approaching Slug and Brother Ali's levels of stardom. Maybe.
- Sage Francis seemed to be legitimately enjoying himself up there.
- In the biggest disappointment of the day, DOOM's set was pretty terrible. First off, 75% of the crowd didn't seem familiair with DOOM's Rock The Bells scandal last summer, and thus didn't understand his whole imposter joke. DOOM's hype man was overbearing and annoying. The sound was all distorted, and the bass was overbearing, making it impossible to decipher his lyrics unless you truly knew them word-for-word. He seemed unconcerned with hammering home a truly special performance, and more worried about getting his set over with and getting back in his SUV. Because his set was one of my top three most anticipated of the day, I couldn't have been more let down.
- Why the fuck did Freeway and Jake One not play a one of their songs from White Van Music. It was the perfect opportunity to bring out Brother Ali for "The Truth," and he didn't even do "How We Ride!" Although I still loved Freeway's set, that was discouraging.
- I loved Brother Ali's quote: "Jay-Z put of Freeway's first album, 50 Cent put out his second album, and Rhymesayers is putting out his third album." Although it's technically going to be his fourth, Rhymesayers have established themselves as indie heavyweights in this rap game.
- One of my top three songs of the day happened when Slug came out during Ali's set and they did "The Believer."
- The Pharcyde were the opposite of DOOM, and were one of the biggest highlights of the day. Great show. Great.
- I've seen Atmosphere perform about six or seven times, on multiple continents, and I can now say this confidently: No one, with the exception of Jay-Z, can control a crowd better than Slug. It may be because Atmosphere's audience is incredibly loyal, and it may seem like that because I was watching an Atmosphere concert in Minnesota, of all places. But, Slug had 15,000 hands in the air waving side to side, and probably every other person in the crowd knew at least some of the lyrics, if not most. And I saw him do the exact same thing in London. Slug can officially rock a show with the best of them.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In this video, a few members of the Doomtree collective get down to "Low Light Low Life," off P.O.S.'s Never Better. The crowd went nuts when Dessa started rapping. Got it from Mind Inversion.
Yes, I know it's been a long time coming, and I've seemingly been talking about it forever, but today is the day that Tim and I are unleashing it to the world. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you The Fake Shore Drive Mixtape.DOWNLOAD - The Fake Shore Drive Mixtape
Now you can finally see what actually made the final cut, and how Tim sequenced and mixed the mixtape, that blends and cuts nicely. We have new and unreleased material from Bump J, The Cool Kids, Lupe Fiasco, Mikkey Halsted, GLC, Naledge, Twista, Rhymefest, Really Doe, Sly Polaroid, Pugs Atomz, J. Ivy, Que Billah, Big Wiz, Skooda and more.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It's been a long time coming, but Flyover Land, Vol. 1 is finally available for free download. I won't weigh this post download with excessive anecdotes or sentimental thank yous — I can save those for later. However, I will say that I think this is a legitimately outstanding project, and I'm confident that you will enjoy the music on Flyover Land, Vol. 1 as much as I do. Some of the most talented emcees and producers from the Midwest have contributed songs for this mixtape, most of which are entirely exclusive to this project and have not been heard before until today.
Furthermore, if you take any message from this release, I hope that you realize that Midwest Broadcast is for the people. Excluding the intro track, this mixtape features no shout outs for this site. I hate it as much as anyone when a mixtape's flow and rhythm is absolutely ruined by overbearing DJ drops — I did not want that for Flyover Land, Vol. 1. Just sixteen consecutive tracks of uninterrupted, high-quality hip-hop. I appreciate every reader of Midwest Broadcast, whether you check the site daily or stumble upon it irregularly. Readers visiting this site and showing love is what keeps me working on this blog, and I don't take it for granted. Thank you.
Finally, I want to close on a couple of notes. First, I want to give one huge shout out to Jonah Miller at High Top Productions. Jonah did the artwork for Flyover Land, Vol. 1 (as well as the website's banner design) and was extremely cooperative and patient with me in the creation of the album's covers. Secondly, I want to remind you that Midwest Broadcast will be coming back with Flyover Land, Vol. 2 in a matter of months. The artist feedback for this project was so great that I had to expand the series to multiple volumes. I already have several tracks collected and big plans for the next volume, and I encourage you to keep checking back at Midwest Broadcast for the next release in the Flyover Land series (as well as all other daily updates!). Without further adieu, I present to you Flyover Land, Vol. 1. Enjoy. Share it with friends. Peace!
DOWNLOAD - Midwest Broadcast Presents Flyover Land, Vol. 1
The tracklist features nothing too exclusive, but is a good introduction if you're not familiar with all the artists on the Soundset bill. The likes of Brother Ali & Jake One, Atmosphere, P.O.S., One Be Lo, The Pharcyde, and more contribute tracks. Shouts to Jake Money, who I snatched the link from as well.
DOWNLOAD - Soundset 2009: The Mixtape
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Scratch: "Ready To Go ft. Kanye West & Consequence" (Post and link via Nah Right)
In other Slug news, City Pages (via Decider's recent interview with Slug) reported that Slug and Murs are preparing to release Felt 3. However, we don't know who produced it, and we don't know which female celebrity this edition is dedicated to. Any guesses? A special, yet-to-be-decided prize will be awarded to anyone who correctly predicts the dedication in the comments section.
Naledge: "Dark Giangreco Freestyle"
I'm going to be spending a portion of my day on a Greyhound back to Saint Paul, so pardon me for the likely lack of posts today. Soundset in 4 days!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Now, I'm sending out my last leak from the project, the previously unreleased track "Yes Sir," by Muja Messiah of Minneapolis. This Che Vicious produced track features Muja rapping uninterrupted for nearly 3 minutes — no hooks, just his characteristic street-smart lyricism, complete with drug, economics, and government-related punchlines. The download to the track is featured below, along with the official back cover and tracklisting for Flyover Land, Vol. 1. Once again, all praise on the artwork is due to my man Jonah at High Top Productions. Remeber to check back on Thursday, May 21, for the official release of Flyover Land, Vol. 1!
Muja Messiah: "Yes Sir" (Prod. Che Vicious)
A duo thoroughly steeped in hip-hop accolades, the Minnesota-based duo Eyedea and Abilities have returned with their brand new album By The Throat, out July 21st on Rhymesayers Entertainment. Their first album since the breakout 2004 release E&A, By The Throat's songs range from intensely personal topics to the more esoteric (quantum mechanics). The end result is leaps and bounds beyond what MC Eyedea is perhaps best known for, his prowess as a battle rapper (winner of HBO's Blaze Battle, Scribble Jam and several others). DJ Abilities, also a well-known battle vet and contributor to El-P's now-classic Fantastic Damage, adds heavily to the sonic soundscape of this album, which advances beyond boom-bap hip-hop into rock-fueled guitar riffs, gritty production and melodic songwriting.
Eyedea and Abilities were instrumental in the wave of independent hip-hop that includes Atmosphere, El-P, Aesop Rock, Living Legends and several other seminal acts. By The Throat is their most progressive and refined effort to date.
E & A will be performing at Rhymesayers' Soundset '09 on May 24th and will be headlining a tour in the fall of 2009. They have also been confirmed for the following Rock the Bells dates this summer.
06.27 - Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheater
06.28 - Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
07.05 - Toronto, ON @ Molson Amphitheater
07.12 - Washington DC @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
07.18 - Boston, MA @ Comcast Center |
07.19 - New York, NY @ Jones Beach Amphitheater
08.01 - Vancouver, BC @ Deer Lake Park
08.06 - Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheater
08.08 - Los Angeles, CA @ San Manuel Amphitheater
08.09 - San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheater
Jet Audio: "I'll Let You Know ft. Naledge"
Here’s the latest and greatest from producer Jet Audio’s upcoming project, “Jet Audio’s Stand Alone Complex”, due out on June 16th. The song is entitled “I’ll Let You Know”, features Naledge (Kidz In The Hall), and production, of course, by Jet. Check out how he flipped the popular Phoenix track “If I Ever Feel Better”… Artwork by ARTEKnyc.
As for this track, I saw on Big Jess' Twitter that they dropped a new song on their Myspace page. I more or less begged him for an mp3 to post on Midwest Broadcast, and he kindly obliged my request. This sanguine song, featuring New MC of Kanser, will be on their upcoming album, Le System D, which should be dropping sometime in the fall of 2009.
Unknown Prophets: "Fresh ft. New MC"
Guilty Simpson: "Stress" (Prod. J Dilla)
Abzorbr: "Early Bird"
Zone: "Clap ft. Illogic & Illpoetic"
Sunday, May 17, 2009
In support of the 2nd season of the Minneapolis based, hip hop influenced weekly podcast-ListenToMPLS.com is releasing a free mixtape entitled "The Quick & Dirty Mixtape" which technically is a FranzDiego.com release but also features the talents of his co-hosts' and creators' of the show DJ Noam The Drummer and Alicia Steele. The mixtape functions as both promotion for the podcast and promotion for FranzDiego.com's album release this summer. Also featured on the tape is production by PC of Creative Sorts Collective, Mavin MC and Freez of Illuminous 3, Alissa Paris and Greg Grease of The Usual Suspects and Grips of Syrup.DOWNLOAD - Franz Diego: The Quick and Dirty Mixtape
For those unfamiliar with the Listen To MPLS podcast, it is a weekly talk show focused mainly on Twin Cities urban music and culture featuring weekly guests and no censorship. The cast is well versed in the scene, politics and culture of Minneapolis hip hop and youth culture featuring DJ Noam The Drummer of Radio K's The Beat Box Radio Show and member of the all-star beat-collective Fam Feud. Alicia Steele who is a local youth worker, organizer, artist and blogger and FranzDiego who is a member of the South Minneapolis based rap group Illuminous 3, past radio DJ, organizer, youth worker, blogger and all around renaissance man.
Some of the past interviews featured on the site include: P.O.S., Mike Mictlan, Big Zach of Kanser, Medium Zach of Big Quarters, Mux Mool, DJ Mike 2600, local poets, organizers, producers, directors, painters, personalities, etc. Which give a new and often undocumented view of what the Twin Cities really have to offer. Listen to it while you fix your breakfast or passing time at work, just make sure the boss or kids aren't around for them to here the effects of uncensored hip hop folk.
I also made the video to leak the Heiruspecs song on the mixtape, "Same Thing." Twinkie Jiggles was kind enough to cooperate with me for the project. He let me have "Same Thing," which was a track that the band recorded for their latest album, but didn't make the final cut. Midwest Broadcast world premier!
Kero One is, for better or worse, hip-hop’s Burt Bacharach — easy listening to the core. Nearly every song on Early Believers sets the perfect mood for any sunny summer day. “When The Sunshine Comes,” “Let’s Just Be Friends,” and “Love and Happiness” are a few song titles that help reinforce the notion of “easy on the ears” hip-hop present throughout Early Believers. There are no in your face battle raps or diss tracks to be found here. Although that’s not necessarily always a bad thing, Early Believers can get a little too overbearing in its joviality.
It should be noted that Kero One can flow, too. With a voice eerily reminiscent of Del Tha Funky Homosapien, his laid-back rhymes can be defter than it seems. On “Welcome To The Bay,” Kero One provides a thorough and skillful assessment of his hometown and upbringing. “Stay On The Grind” typifies the “do it yourself” mentality that Kero One has used to approach his music throughout his career.
Overall, Early Believers is a fun, mellow album. It may only be enjoyable to listen to on situational occasions, but what album isn’t? Kero One is probably just as influenced by his surrounding as every other rapper. It’s just that he doesn’t have as many tales or hardship or struggle embedded in his music, which is why Early Believers is an album to listen to when you want to lift your spirits (or go lie down in the sunshine).
Friday, May 15, 2009
M.anifest: "Rebel ft. Muja Messiah"
Thursday, May 14, 2009
V-Stylez: "Clash of the Titans ft. Royce Da 5′9″, Elzhi, Rapper Big Pooh & Phat Kat"
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
In the meantime, how about a little Add-2 to tide you over? The Chicago rapper graciously obliged my request to submit a track for the mixtape, and even brought along a few of his friends for the ride, Neak and Sincerely Yours. So check out this Slot-A produced cut, "Whatchalike," and keep checking back this week for the final leaks before Flyover Land, Vol. 1 is released early next week!
Add-2: "Whatchalike ft. Neak & Sincerely Yours" (Prod. Slot-A)
So Prof and St. Paul Slim just today released their special collaborative album to help us get through these tough economic times. The album can be downloaded at the Recession Music website. I've already posted a couple of tracks, "Is This Mic On?" and "Fire." The album also features some pretty impressive contributors. It was executive produced by Ant of Atmosphere, features production by Ant, Mux Mool, as well as work by Prof and Slim themselves. P.O.S. has a guest verse on this online download version. Finally, if you actually buy the hard copy of the album at CalSurf or Fifth Element, there are a couple bonus tracks, one of which has a guest verse from none other than Slug, and another has Big Zach of Kanser spitting some bars. Good stuff.
DOWNLOAD - Prof & St. Paul Slim: Recession Music
Quest M.C.O.D.Y. just put out this freestyle over some instrumental called "Back On The Block," which I've never heard before. I tend to be grossly out of touch with what's happening in the popular rap scene. So sue me. Quest spits better than 85% of them anyway. Shouts to Michigan Hip-Hop.
Quest M.C.O.D.Y.: "Back On The Block (Freestyle)"
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
It’s clear from the EP’s opening song that F. Stokes is unabashedly honest in his songwriting. The a cappella track, “Too,” assess some of the social handicaps Stokes has had to deal with (“Too skinny, too fat, too black, ain’t black enough”; “Offspring of a dope head”). The track transitions into “Jeremiah,” another one-verse opener on which F. Stokes effortlessly rides a bouncy, soul-sampling beat from Lazerbeak and raps about the problems of being an African-American in modern society. “Fresh out the womb, got penitentiary memberships,” he raps, criticizing our country’s criminal justice system. Lazerbeak offers up an absolute gem of a beat for “Hang On,” a track on which F. Stokes kicks knowledge about the struggles of inner-city living, notably the omnipresent conflict between living legally and doing what’s necessary to make ends meet (“My niggas be hustlin’/ trying to get that bubble Benz,” and “Them Chi streets cold, when your baby need clothes”).
These conflicts dominate the thematic landscape of Death of a Handsome Bride. F. Stokes’ lyrics tiptoe the fine line between the blues and gospel impulses. Some tracks are all about acknowledging the burdens that dominate our lives, and finding some way to deal with those pains (“Pretty Shit” evaluates the vicious cycle of domestic violence in relationships). Other songs concern unification, community, and finding ways to overcome life’s difficulties and issues (“Blessings,” on which Doomtree rapper Mike Mictlan lends a nice verse, and “So Into U”). In the end, though, F. Stokes reminds us that the dichotomy between blues and gospel, pain and joy, isn’t as separated as we believe. His opening lines of “Hang On” help to demonstrate that concept: “Who would have thunk it?/ The kid who sold crack for Dunk kicks/ Would get his opportunity and punch it out the ceiling/ And it didn’t take an A&R or labels frontin’ millions/ It’s motivation for my nappy-headed ghetto children.”
The EP does have its knocks, however. Clocking in at less than 30 minutes, Death of a Handsome Bride is over when you are just starting to get an understanding of who F. Stokes is. Minus the opening a cappella, which doesn’t have much replay value, and the bizarre, electronic “Tickle Me Mars,” the EP’s song selection runs thin at times.
Nonetheless, Death of a Handsome Bride is a testament to the determined, “do it yourself” mentality in underground hip-hop. F. Stokes deserves praise for his introspective and forthright, yet still evocative lyricism, and Lazerbeak once again validated himself as the one of the best producers in hip-hop that no one knows about. Death of a Handsome Bride shows that listenable, thought-provoking hip-hop is out there, it just might take a little extra work to discover.
Johnnie Taylor: "At Night Time (My Pillow Tells a Tale on Me)"
Friday, May 8, 2009
Kid Cudi: "Day N Nite (Live)"
Thursday, May 7, 2009
This video never got played because I refused to remove the titles on it. They said people will think a TV show is going off and I said that's the whole point. Wow... even only 3 videos in to the game.... I refused to compromise my vision.Not sure why it appears so small. Sorry.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
The rest of the album features guest spots from the likes of Bun B, Jay Electronica, Mickey Factz, Rhymefest, Mick Luter, GLC, and more. I've heard good things, to say the least.
Naledge: "Star Struck ft. Rus-Soul"
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Also, Big Quarters' sophomore album, From The Home of Brown Babies and White Mothers is in stores TODAY. Get it. You'll like it. I promise.