Archive for April, 2007

Shawn Lov – Waiting For A Ghost

Shawn Lov

Millions Download
Sunrise Download
from Waiting For A Ghost (2007, Nuffsaid Records)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Stream from RealNetworks / Rhapsody

Waiting for a record to come out that even comes within a short distance of a 90s classic is like waiting for something that has died to return to the world.” �— Shawn Lov.Shawn Lov knows what time it is. In the mid-nineties, the Trenton, New Jersey rapper was a hair’s breadth away from a record deal that would have made him the next big thing. As it turned out, Shawn’s unerring artistic ideals didn’t gel with the record company people. The clock kept ticking and Lov stayed on the grind, recording and releasing music independently. His new lease on rap life came when he inked a deal with revered Melbourne label Nuffsaid in 2004 and the subsequent album, The Blackout of 1977, became the first album to be released by a US rapper on an Australian label.

An underground sensation, Blackout was guaranteed a follow-up, but no one expected the product that Shawn Lov has delivered. Waiting for a Ghost is a personal and timely testament to art and life. Rarely has a rapper revealed such an insightful take on humanity while maintaining the highest standards of lyricism. “If we, as artists, are not communicating our most personal, most sincere and vulnerable truths, we are merely tap-dancing,” says Shawn Lov. “And I am fresh out of bottle caps.”

Waiting for a Ghost features guest appearances from Pace Won, Lin Que (Isis of X-Clan), Tony D, Prowla (Nuffsaid Records, Melbourne) and more.

Linguistics – The Writes of Passage


Glory Download
Mozart’s Finest Download
Where Did Hip-Hop Go? Download
from The Writes Of Passage (2007, AcropolisRPM)

A new breed of MC’s, Liguistics is here to entertain you with true real hip-hop, amazing rhymes and beats, along with intense cuts and scratches by DJ’s like Dj Step 1, Dj Solo, and Dj 3rdi.

Linguistics consists of 3 MC’s – Kasper, IQ, and Entity. All solo acts, Kasper and Entity joined together with a very talented group of MC’s called Kastlevania in the 1990’s and early 2000. They won the San Diego music award for best new hip-hop, but soon the group started breaking up and going their own ways. IQ was busy working on a mix CD with his company “Intelligence Records” that he founded with his cousin Jay War. Jay was a long time friend of Kasper and hit him up to see if he wanted to get involved with the Intelligence project, the mix CD featuring some of the best up-and-coming hip-hop artists around Southern California.

Eventually Kasper and IQ we’re creating many songs together and decided to put one together with Kasper’s old friend Entity. At that studio session, they realized how strong they were as a group, and decided to make an album together. 3 different styles from 3 different places in Southern California. Entity from Texas originally bringin the southern style, Kasper growin up with east coast hip-hop and IQ growin up with west coast influence somehow combine to form the ultimate group with a unique sound that is sure to appeal to any true hip-hop fan. Add to that the amazing ground-breaking producers and you have something truly special to listen to and enjoy. It’s all about the hip-hop. Check out this hot album.

A Plus – My Last Good Deed

A Plus (Hieroglyphics)

Patna Please Download
Good Time Charlie
from My Last Good Deed (2007, Hiero Imperium)
Stream from RealNetworks / Rhapsody

A-Plus, (aka Plee or Adam Carter), was a founding member of acclaimed underground hip hop groups Souls of Mischief, and later The Hieroglyphics. Souls of Mischief (A-Plus, Opio, Phesto & Tajai) released the classic 1993 album ‘93 ‘til Infinity’ before being dropped by their record label Jive in 1995. From there, the Souls joined Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Snupe, Casual, Pep Love, Jaybiz and Domino to officially form The Hieroglyphics and the Hieroglyphics Imperium Records label. ‘My Last Good Deed’ is A-Plus’ debut solo record, after he released a mix album ‘Pleemix, Vol. 1’ in 2005.

What’s noticeable about this release and most other releases under the Hieroglyphics imprint is that the crew is a crew first and foremost. Crew members regularly appear on each others albums, and this one is no different. Enlisting the services of Casual, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Pep Love and the Souls of Mischief, A-Plus has released a competent album, but one that isn’t overly reliant on its guests.

On ‘The One’, featuring Major Terror, A-Plus pays homage to his roots, not only in the Hiero and Souls crew, but also to his Jamaican Heritage. Here he spits, “This my first solo effort / I hope you get it / If you don’t then it’s copasetic / but no disrespectin’ / I done earned my stripes / dude made, my dues paid”. ‘A-P-L-U-S’ seems like it would be one of those self-indulgent ego inflating efforts, but this isn’t exactly the case. A-Plus has always been a high achiever, getting his name from his father because of his good marks on his report card. After being dropped from his record label along with Souls, the decision for The Hieroglyphics to form their own independent label speaks volumes about the attitude of A-Plus.

Casual makes an appearance on ‘A Beautiful Thing’. Here they bounce off each other in a fast pace, spitting about being independent and strong. “Never let nobody tell that you can’t dream / It’s a beautiful thing”. A-Plus takes a slower approach on the title track ‘My Last Good Deed’, incorporating a piano and other instruments. ‘Nothin’ Fake/The Ultimate’ features Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, and is almost like a song in two parts. The first part has a staccato piano section in the background that sounds a little serious, but when it gets to the second part, it has an almost lighthearted feel to it. The point of the track is a little difficult to get, but Del is adamant when he says “I know you and you know me / and somebody told me that we OG / so if you feel that shake and bake / my boy A-Plee ain’t nothin’ fake”.

‘Kiss The Sky’ featuring Jennifer Johns, is arguably the most personal track on the album, a tribute to a murdered friend who gave A-Plus the confidence to break out of a group dynamic to create a solo album. “Life goes on if you lucky ‘cause my homeboy’s dead / but I’m alive so I be on my shit / you gotta rock rock on / keep keep it on’. Johns’ vocals lend a sombre mood to the song, which reveals quite a lot of what is going on in A-Plus’ psyche.

With most production handled by A-Plus and AAGEE (as Compound7), A-Plus has shown that he has what it takes to be a successful rapper, without having to be signed to a major record label. With fierce beats, strong rhymes, and a ‘can do’ independent attitude, A-Plus has created a very personal record while still incorporating his roots and remembering where he got his start. –sickbuoy

Escape From The Pigeon Hole


T-Ode Download
Pedal Pusher
Abdominal Workout
from Escape From The Pigeon Hole (2007, Do Right! Music)

Andy Bernstein grew up in Greektown, East End Toronto on a steady diet of skateboarding, souvlaki, art, punk rock and hip hop. Rocking the name MC Abdominal, he formed his first rap crew with the now legendary DJ Serious as a teenager, and started recording, honing his freestyle chops, building an astounding lung capacity, and developing into one of the most lyrically gifted and charismatic performers ever to grace the shores of Lake Ontario.

A chance meeting in 1998 at a downtown party lead him to first cross paths with DJ Fase. The two hit it off immediately, they paired up as Abs & Fase, began recording together, and a limited run of “Vinyl Frontier” records made its way into the hot hands of DJs, radio hosts, and record collectors around the globe. One of them was picked up by UK producer DJ Format, who was floored by this unknown Canadian emcee, and invited him to England to collaborate.

Abdominal’s raps became a standout feature on Format’s first two full-length releases – Music for the Mature B-Boy and If You can’t Join ‘Em …Beat ‘Em – selling upwards of 65,000 copies in total worldwide, and spinning off into several highly acclaimed international singles and video releases. The duo hit the road for three years, and from 2003 to 2005 they toured as part of Jurassic 5’s European tour, toured with Ugly Duckling, spent a month touring Australia with the Good Vibrations Festival (alongside Lyrics Born and Handsome Boy Modeling School), opened for Roy Ayers, De La Soul and Blackalicious, and rocked the revered stages of the world famous Glastonbury Festival, Leeds Festival, and Reading Festival twice.

Escape From The Pigeon Hole, the first solo record by Abdominal, featuring production by DJ Format, Cut Chemist (from Jurassic 5), Young Einstein (from Ugly Duckling), DJ Fase, DJ Serious, Circle Research, cuts by World DMC champion DJ Dopey, and a special appearance by local jazz phenom Elizabeth Shepherd, the record promises to be Abdominal’s richest, most vibrant, most artistically diverse project to date. “My goal is to show a more complete picture of who I am.”

The tracklisting is filled with concept songs, ranging from stories about being a bike courier, open relationships, not giving a f**k, and his cat. Strong lyricism, detailed imagery, plenty of humour, and the illest of flows carry through the album beautifully, from start to finish. Abdominal is not only escaping the pigeon hole – he is leaving it far behind in his pedal-pushing dust.


Sacred Hoop

No Category Download
Moe’s Lullaby Download
9 Days Download
from Bring Me The Head Of Sexy Henrietta (2007, The Hoop LLC)
original albums released in 1996/1997 on Miasmatic Recordings
Stream this album from Rhapsody

Sacred Hoop’s original uncut masterpiece is a monumental epic. The project itself was as big as its Mountain View locations, as grand as its fine, distinguished cast, and as tough and bawdy as everybody imagines the raw life to be. Luke plays the dusted-est, and yet most innocent, character of his long career, and he’s utterly convincing as Moe Sicka, the hapless, drunken psychopath who suffers severe conscience pangs after annihilating an entire suburban area. Fon-douglas is the DJ justly accused as an accessory to the abstract slaughter. Vrse Murphy plays The Man, who remembers that only the acid and dank smoke know how the sound was so expertly and savagely tortured. Brilliantly produced by Murphy, this glorious album established the Hoop’s significance to hip-hop art.

Joell Ortiz

Joell Ortiz

Hip-Hop (Remix) Download
Modern Day Slavery (feat. Immortal Technique) Download
from The Brick (Bodega Chronicles) (2007, Koch)

Brooklyn’s own Joell Ortiz just dropped “The Brick (Bodega Chronicles)”, a hyper album which features Immortal Technique, MOP, Ras Kass, Noyd, Graph and Stimuli, plus production by The Alchemist, Showbiz (DITC), Fame of M.O.P., Moss and many more. Ortiz’s single, “Brooklyn”, got hella play on radio stations and mixtapes from NYC to Japan. The Source highlighted Ortiz in its “Unsigned Hype” spot, saying, “Joell Ortiz is well on his way…” while XXL recently wrote “His future is looking anything but so-so.”

Ortiz says, “I love this album because I made it while I was going through the industry bullshit of trying to get signed and some tough times, personally. It’s full of pain and rage and you can hear it. It’s a soundtrack to the hood version of David vs. Goliath. That’s the best way to describe it. If you’ve ever gone through some rough waters, this album is for you. It’s the common man’s music. Industry people, so-called ‘cool guys’ and ‘posers,’ don’t get this music and they never will. It’s not for them. It’s for us.” Check out these cuts! Joell is the truth.


Hip Hop

125 Grams

Brooklyn Bullshit


MF Doom

It Ain’t Nuthin (The Chapter Remix) Download
from MM..Leftovers (2004, Rhymesayers)

Doper Skiller (feat. Kool Keith) Download
from Viktor Vaughn – Venomous Villain (2004, Insomniac)

Now that my introductory article has been boring you all for like a month, Lets talk about Hip Hop. To focus on one artist we start with one of the most memorable joints from back in the day, Gas Face – 3rd Bass featuring a very impressive figure in the history of hip hop. Zev Love X, of KMD, showed up and made a subtle wave, he didn’t particularly stand out next to the two white guys and all the cameos in the video. For those of us who became KMD fans, we remembered.

KMD died due to a controversial second album cover and the passing of Subroc, Zev Love became Daniel Dumile and disappeared (from west coast ears at least) for a few years. In those years we (KMD fans) missed and discussed the group, we got black bastards any way we could, download, bootlegging and studied it as if it would give us clues to what happened or where Zev was. Now I’m not quite sure why I picked it up but in 2k, picked up Operation Doomsday by MF Doom. My friends and I gathered around the stereo like it was a campfire and the debate started immediately,
“That sounds like the guy from KMD.”
“Nah, it doesn’t.”
“He sounded younger.”
“Listen to the flow, it kind of sounds like him.”
“Put in that KMD; let’s see if it links up.”

MF Doom was Zev, but not, he was like this insane genius he was trying to be. He goes by three alias names: MF Doom (his commonly known lyricist form), Viktor Vaughn (his criminal lyricist form), and King Geedorah (his producer form). His flow was consistent and eerie and contemplative which match his beats most of the time. I was addicted, I missed a few albums and gems and remixes myself and I’ve been trying to cop all of his albums, EP’s and singles ever since he first appeared. Listening to MF Doom / Viktor Vaughn / King Geedorah is like getting bopped in the back of a head with popsicles as hard as possible and its 120 degrees outside. Its kind of edgy and funny but it’s ridiculous and feels like it only lasted a second and when its over you wish you had another one. The most comparable feeling to MF Doom is Quasimoto, and the most comparable persona is Ghostface’s Tony Stark, but the persona is carried much like Dr. Octagon. Now what’s really interesting about those comparisons in retrospect is that he works well with all of those people professionally.

Now we get to it, why am I bringing this up? There isn’t currently a new album, right?

Over the course of the years that he has come back and started putting out massive amounts of music. I’ve been aggravated by the fact that I keep letting them slip through my fingers and I have to go scrape for them or special order them, or order them online from strange companies in Canada that scare me. I only copped Madvillain this year, I couldn’t find it anywhere. And King Geedorah albums are worse. Where I live there’s no lack of hole in the wall stores who have good distribution contacts, but still. They’re just too obscure. This is a post that urges a preemptive strike. There is a second Madvillain album coming and a Ghostface / MF Doom collaboration. I haven’t heard anything about another King Geedorah, but I know it’s probably in the works. Keep your eyes open, and don’t miss the good stuff.