Friday, January 28, 2005

Joe Nice is reppin' dubstep big down in Baltimore, and this mix from Sonar in November is chock full o' heavyweight press! Complete with the able wordplay of MC Twisty, great crowd noise in the mix, and even a random girl getting on the mic to spit some terrible Salt N Pepa flows. Tunes by all the scene's heavy hitter: Digital Mystikz, Loefah, Toasty, and lots more...

Joe NIce & MC Twisty Live at Sonar

Big ups to Blentwell for hosting.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Throwing down on dubplate.net...
Monday, January 24, 2005

Listen Live

I take back everything I said before about them blocking the live stream. All is forgiven. Big big shout to the whole Rinse crew! BIG! Filthiest sounds on road - real pirate bizness from the streets of London...
NYC massive, don't front!

Crunk Up For Tsunami Relief
Friday Jan 28th  /  Rothko 116 Suffolk NYC
$6 admission, to be donated to humanitarian relief in SE Asia & Sudan

DJ /Rupture (Barcelona, Soot Records, Tigerbeat6)
I-Sound (NYC, Full Watts, Transparent Records)
Shadetek Sound System (NYC, Warp, Sound-Ink, Shockout)
Mode Raw (NYC, Change Agent)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

and other isht..

Today was a day that many people have been eagerly awaiting for some time now. The reigning champ of all London pirates, Rinse 100.3 FM, launched a revamped website today, complete with the promise of finally fixing their perpetually non-functioning live stream... and wouldn't ya know, I head on over to the site and... dead end! The Listen link doesn't work!

Now for those of you who have managed to track down some of the low-fi, cut-off-in-the-middle, 6-month-old, and still completely BONKERS clips of Slimzee, Wiley and Roll Deep, Plasticman, and other heroes of the UK underground garage scene absolutely tearing up the London airwaves with some of the darkest, grimiest, most terriblest sounds you've heard in years, you know the magic that is Rinse FM. But for some reason, the live web stream promised on the Rinse website has, mysteriously, never functioned. All this seemed about to change with the long-awaited Rinse relaunch. Not quite.

Am I being paranoid or is Rinse selectively blocking other countries from picking up its live feed? Maybe only the U.S.... Maybe only me. Rinse FM is selectively blocking ME from listening. That's it.

Anyway, will somebody please tell me if you are able to get Rinse online? I'm going to lose my shit if I don't get to the bottom of this soon.


Big ups to these blogs, which I've been feeling recently (hitting just the right blend of hip hop, grime, reggae, and miscellaneous other...):
Mudd Up! (from the man like DJ/Rupture)
Ghetto Postage
Razorblade Runner

There's been 'nuff chatter (as Rummy would say) suggestin' the imminent dropping of new Clipse material. Let me just say, I'm on the case. I'll be promptly patronizing my local guy on the corner selling mixtapes out of the trunk of his rimmed up Mitsubishi to see if this matter can't be hastily addressed.

I simply have to get the absence of mp3's on this blog sorted. Hopefully the resolution of this issue is forthcoming, possibly coinciding with the acquisition of said new Clipse material.
Friday, January 14, 2005

Just as I was in the process of writing an apology of sorts for lambasting hip hop in '04, this bomb drops on the radio, courtesy of an up-and-coming MC from Chicago named Bump J. Wouldn't ya know, Kanye's on production... Large!

Bump J - "Move Around"

aka - Don't call it a top ten list.

+ M.I.A.
The superfreaky first lady of British worldbeat dancehall delivered an unstoppable juggernaut on the dancefloor in the form of "Galang," the one tune this year guaranteed to deliver any dancefloor into smiling, swiveling bliss. Lotsa folks are expecting big 'tings from M.I.A. on the hype of her Diplo-mixed "Piracy Funds Terrorism" mixtape session.

+ Rephlex Records Gets Grimey
I gotta hand it to the one like Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, whose Rephlex label had the balls to release some of the deepest, darkest, most bassbin-vibrating underground dubstep records of the year, call them "Grime," and in the process dare the global IDM massive to report to the dancefloor.

+ Reggaeton
The island of Puerto Rico happens to be situated culturally between Latin America, the Caribbean, and the USA. As such, it seems only natural that urban PR has produced a streetwise synthesis of the sounds of those places to create something truly original: the sound of young Puerto Rico is REGGAETON, and chances are it's already pumping out of car stereos in a hood near you so don't sleep.

+ Kano, Davinche, Tinchy Strider, D Double E,...
Too many great MC's and producers to name, but let there be no mistake: 2004 belonged to the streets of London, where GRIME ruled supreme. Grime really hit its stride in 2004, on the heels of Dizee and Wiley, a seemingly endless number of talented artists created some of the most original flows and dopest beats I've heard in years.

+ Digital Mystikz
Running parallel to grime like it's paranoid alter-ego, dubstep also came into its own this year, letting its Rasta flag fly led by the amazing, prolific Mala and Coki, aka Digital Mystikz. The Mystikz raised the bar high this year for all who dare follow down the path of the dread bass, the skunk-blunted riddims, and the echo chamber. In that vein, respect is due to Horsepower/Tempa, Kode 9, Loefah, SLT Mob, Mark 1, Plasticman... Leading the Ongy Boingy massive ever Forward...

+ The Next Wave: Vex'd, Search & Destroy, DJ Distance...
I'm leaving a bunch out here, but the main sentiment is that a number of promising producers have been rearing their heads at the tail end of '04 who look to be set to make serious noise in the dubstep/grime underground. More to come...

+ The Return of Clipse
"Pussy" got like 2 spins last year then disappeared. No album. No followup. Not even any rumors. Then "Definition of a Roller" pops up without fanfare on the Diplo/M.I.A. mixtape. It's heavvvy. Clipse, where are you??? I can feel it, you're gonna blow up the coke spot again this year! Prove me right!!!
Thursday, January 13, 2005

Hey, Funkmaster Flex, are you there? Hot 97, Power 105, Mr. Pharrell, Mr. Timbaland, Mr. Manny Fresh, Mr. Nas, anybody out there? Can somebody please tell me what's the matter with hip hop? If it's ill, or injured, or otherwise indisposed, please do let me know so I can try to do something to help it back to its feet.

2004, I'm sorry to say, has been a mostly forgettable year for mainstream American hip hop. A general degree of mediocrity has marked most of what gets played on hip hop radio lately, with producers coasting by on old formulas, and MC's droning on in a post-50-Cent slumber. Really, the MC's score the most disgracefully low marks in my book. I can't even think of a rhyme worth remembering all year.

The aforementioned Mr. 50 spent the better part of the year with his over-hyped G-Unit in the same R&B territory over which he neutered Ja Rule the previous year. And poor Ja and his Murder Inc. were nowhere to be found, which I might not have minded if his and Ashanti's sugary pop hooks from the previous year weren't feeling so much better than most of what passed for hits this year.

Lil Jon and his legions of crunk had a little something to offer, I'll concede. But let's face it: Mr. Jon's Hoover basslines and Dirty South syncopations - not to mention his signature "What"s and "OK"s - were stretched pretty thin in the absence of anything else to get excited about in '04.

The reasonably catchy "Laid Back" - a decent Middle-Eastern tinged beat with Fat Joe and his "Terror Squad" delivering calculated commercial hooks - was probably the most-frequently-banged-at-loud-volume-in-the-Escalade this year. Which wouldn't be a terrible thing if Joe wasn't slaying sucka MC's with some of the craziest flows this side of 139 and Lenox back in the 90's with D.I.T.C. (that was Big L's crew and you need to check that if you don't know). I have this freestyle with Big L absolutely slaying Jay-Z in embarassing fashion around 94/95, so one could only imagine what Big L would be up to if he was alive today.

Jay meanwhile has been in the process of reminding us of his supposed retirement all year. I will give him credit though for the bangin Rick Rubin-produced "99 Problems" and especially for putting Rubin in the video. That beat is straight Run DMC flavor, if biting a little on Dizzee's "Fix Up Look Sharp" from a year ago.

Respect also to Mobb Deep and the Alchemist for "Got It Twisted," a Thomas Dolby-sampling slice of lovable darkness which is probably my favorite tune of the year. Mobb Deep are like rap's Technical Itch: consistently evil, never quite breaching the upper echelon, but consistently delivering the goods when everybody else starts slacking. Moreover, "The Infamous" still stands as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.

I can't talk about hip hop in 2004 without mentioning Kanye West, whose signature helium vocal samples and motown-mining beats were everywhere this year. Kanye had a certified missile in "Slow Jam," which reintroduced Jamie Foxx to the world in R&B singer form, and which also debuted lightning-fast MC Twista. Kanye's "College Dropout" LP was one of the few full-length hip hop albums worth mentioning this year, although the Kanye West formula, like most everything else this year, was already feeling tired by year's end.

The year dancehall took over kinda petered out towards the end of the summer with the ubiquitous "Move Ya Body" by one-hit-wonders Nina Sky. Sean Paul of course had a few memorable tunes earlier in '04 with "Like Glue" and "I'm Still In Love With You," and the Beyonce collaboration "Oh Boy" or whatever it's called, but that feels like a long time ago and dancehall seems to have receded somewhat from mainstream airplay.

What else? Let's see. Of course Pharrell and Snoop Dogg teamed up late in the year to deliver the massive-for-a-lack-of-anything-else-to-get-excited-about "Drop It Like It's Hot." The Snoop-Pharrell linkup is admittedly always deadly, and Pharrell doesn't disappoint on the beats for this one, if only hinting at possible directions for his sound to move into 2005.

The Bone Crusher / Sizzla mashup of "Never Scared" was pretty ill (was that this year?), but a distant memory seemingly from another era. Same goes for the reggae remix of Alicia Keys's "You Don't Know My Name."

Oh, and I have to give a shout out to the Puerto Rican dancehall / Latin / hip-hop hybrid genre known as REGGAETON for making inroads on hip hop radio this year. More to come on that soon, but for now, let's bid 2004 an unrepentant "Sayonara!"

And lastly, final respects must go out to the one like Old Dirty Bastard, who died this year and who I hope is getting himself some nasty nasty in heaven.
3am brooklyn radio waves

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