The death of Tupac marked the decline of West Coast hip-hop. As the early 2000’s rolled around, the power in Hip-hop shifted from the West Coast back to the East. As the West lay dying through the mid 2000’s, a new group of artists and producers began to revive West Coast hip-hop. The late 2000’s saw a new group of West Coast artists, effectively black hippies and backpack rappers. The West Coast, once heralded for the hardcore, gangster rap of N.W.A., Eazy-E, and Snoop, became a safe haven for the new wave of rappers. This generation of rappers, using more laid back beats and progressive lyrics, helped usher in a new era in the West Coast rap saga. Ironically the new age rappers saved the West Coast rap game. I, along with guestspots from my roommate, will give you my 12 favorite underground West Coast artists, groups, and producers in a 12 part series entitled the West Coast Revival. Pop the corks and lets get this party started people.
Hip-hop is full of characters. Often times that can make a difference between a good rapper and a great rapper. Rhymefest is character. A man who co-wrote “Jesus Walks” and won a Grammy for it, met with the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron of the Conservative Party to discuss violent lyrics in rap and how the positive side of life needs to be portrayed, defeated Eminem in a rap battle at Scribble Jam, and flat out helped Kanye West develop his style of rapping on The College Dropout, is still unknown to most of the world.
He has released two albums, Blue Collar and El Che, and several mixtapes including Man in the Mirror, where every song sampled Michael Jackson. Personally, Blue Collar is one of my favorite albums. I remember when I first listened to it, I couldn’t stop. Songs like “Brand New,” “More,” “Sister,” “All Girls Cheat,” and “Bullet” are amazing. It certainly helps when you have all-star producers in Kanye, Cool & Dre, Just Blaze, and No I.D, but Rhymfest has the lyrical schemes and concepts to paint the picture. Truly an underrated rapper and I hope you go out and listen to his music.
Go here to snag some of his music. Below are a couple songs from Blue Collar. (First two are mediafire, last one is direct)
Hip-hop’s favorite Jews (well, two of them at least) are back around with their new album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. It’s dropping May 2, so make sure to show love to one of the greatest rap groups of all time. First leak is out and it’s called Make Some Noise. My reaction is that I’m about to listen to Check Your Head and Licensed To Ill (two albums you should listen to if you haven’t yet), so this song is snappin’.
For this week’s Take It Back Tuesday, I present one of my favorite albums, Attack & Release by The Black Keys. Attack & Release is the 5th studio album from the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. The Keys are a Blues/Rock Band based out of Akron, Ohio. This album is actually the first to be produced by someone other than Patrick Carney. DJ Danger Mouse covered all the production for the album. Without further ado, my interpretation of Attack & Release.
Hopefully you got around to downloading Asher Roth & Nottz project Rawth. If not, here’s a link. You should really listen to it, excellent production with great rhymes. Here’s music video for Gotta Get Up featuring D.A. of Chester French. Check it.
Sam’s Note: This is essentially an alcoholic’s anthem. The sequel to “I Love College”?
A couple years ago, John Legend and Stephen Colbert sang Michael Jackson’s The Girl Is Mine (my favorite Michael song). I forgot about it so thank god for shuffle. I love it and hopefully you do as well.
SXSW (South by Southwest) is a film, interactive, and music festival in Austin, Texas. It happens every year in March, just in time for some beautiful weather in Austin. I hope to go at some point in my life, but for now, here are some treats.
Janelle Monáe performed there this year and more than likely, put on a good show. Thanks to her, we have a live set list for our listening pleasure. Enjoy.
As a front note, I’m not sure what the rules are regarding “blogger credit,” but I found this one from fellow Columbus music lovers The Music Sprawl, one of my loved blogs. Be sure to check them and follow them, they deserve it.
“Smokey” is a term I apply to music that I like often. Akin to the similarly over-used and probably-vague “late-night,” it carries more of a feeling for me than a particular sound. It’s the kind of music I’d expect to hear in a situation like that of our header, Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” The kind of music that captures the mood of a late night ending, a smokey bar with a few patrons and a light tinkering of music. Everything calm from the craziness of before. It’s not an image I can relate to any particular instance in my life, but it’s a powerful one that’s served as a grounding for much of the music I love. Apples to Earth are another band that hits the nail on the head of this feeling.
Apples to Earth seems to be a fairly small outfit. I had to find their information on their Facebook page, though they’re thankfully pretty thorough–though there were no good pictures to speak of. The project of duo Darren Emanuel and Scott Garden, Apples to Earth was “an experiment in making organic analog and non-electronic music using electronic production methods.
This wildly successful work method produces some great sounds. From punchy, “crusty” drums to layers of guitar and synth, the whole project is just thick. Drawing influences from jazz, trip-hop (think Cinematic Orchestra with UNKLE) and even shoegaze, these guys achieve music that serves as another perfect addition to my “late-night” collection.
Embarassingly, I wasn’t aware that Ben Sollee was even recording a new album. And I’m a huge fan of his–he did, after all, write my favorite song of last year. I mean, it’s one of those things were you assume it’s happening even though you haven’t heard any definitive facts on the subject–but that it’d be out in a month and change? I had no idea. Thankfully, it’s a welcome, happy little surprise. Inclusions, Sollee’s first solo bent since his 2007 debut Learning to Bend, is coming out May 10th.
I’m not sure when the video for “Embrace” was released, though it’s upload date on Vimeo is 24 days ago. It’s a gorgeous, slow song built primarily on Sollee’s easy voice and long, drawn out cello strums and about the regrets of youth. “Hurting” was released today via My Old Kentucky Blog and features a more familiar plucked cello from Sollee. His ability to write straightforward-but-poignant lyrics continues on this one.
This is an album I’ll be picking up for sure based on the strength of his previous work alone. These two tracks only help push that sentiment. Sollee’s also hitting Cincinnati on June 5th. I’m going to try my damnedest to go, but it lands just before my finals week. We’ll have to see.