Archive for the ‘ Chicago ’ Category

Mulatto Patriot – Sonic Visuals Remix

Mulatto Patriot

Northern Lights feat. KaDi (Alex Agore Remix) Download
Audio Terrorist feat. Ras Kass, Casual & Prosper Jones (DJ Alo Remix) Download
from Sonic Visuals Remix (2009, Mulatto Patriot Productions)

Mulatto Patriot continues to induce eclectic soundscapes on his latest project, “Sonic Visuals Remix” LP. MP calls on Alex Agore to lace some promising sultry on this track, “Northern Lights” featuring KaDi. While the album steers more to the classic Boom-Bap Hip Hop vibe, MP always fuses his musical knowledge and talent with genres beyond the 88′ kick drums and snares. This album is scheduled for release on September 1st 2009 thru Mulatto Patriot Productions and hosts several remixes by Grant Parks, Smerz, DJ CXL, Mulatto Patriot himself and more.

Mulatto Patriot – Sonic Visuals

Mulatto Patriot

Mulatto Patriot… when I first heard that name, Not only did I laugh, I dissed and deleted the emails containing the oh-so-precious materials I now covet like some sort of drugged out hip hop junkie. This guy is ridiculously hot on the beats and this album must be copped. One thing I love as someone who writes for this site and someone who loves good hip hop is artists I’ve never heard of that are really, really, sick with skills. This album is full of them. Mulatto Patriot produced track after track of goodness. Furthermore, he combines the track with the right emcee for the job just about every time.

At the age of 29, MP prepares the debut release of Sonic Visuals, a producer’s album featuring MCs from across the U.S., Canada and Germany. Artist features include Ras Kass, Casual (Hieroglyphics), Pumpkinhead (Brooklyn Academy), Eternia. Pugs Atomz , Anacron, Decay (Molemen) and DJ Intel to name a few. He believes his music is diverse, reflecting different styles while still keeping the vibes that got him to love hip-hop in the first place. “At the end of the day there is something for everyone [on the album]”says MP. “I feel there is a lot to take from this album, but beyond diversity in the styles displayed and in the selection of beats, the obvious feeling you get is that a lot of work and time was put into making the album. I want people to know that this is 100% Chicago Hip-Hop.”

Seriously, My new favorite song is Audio Terrorist featuring Ras Kass, Casual and Prosper Jones, and I haven’t even heard the whole track because the company only sent me a sampler album!

Mulatto Patriot – Cadilac Vinyl

Seel Fresh – Street Famous

Seel Fresh

Keep It Moving Download
Street Famous Download
from Street Famous (2008, Rapstar Inc)

Seel Fresh effortlessly delivers the culture’s true essence by offering timeless material based upon his life experience of paying dues.” This is a very true statement. I haven’t heard a grassroots hip hop album like this in a long time. Seel Fresh delivers good lyrics, reminds me a lot of the straight forward style of delivery that artists like Rasco and Ice-T used back when they were making a lot of noise. This album had the weird affect of making me want to listen to more, the more I heard.

I had been digging through tons of music this weekend and during my first few minutes of listening to it, I was about to throw it over my shoulder but then it picked up. The album slowly gains momentum as you listen to it and the artist never deviates from the core of ‘real’ content. There really isn’t a club banger or anything on here that made me say like, “oh that was mad corny” or “yea right, uh huh, everybody stackin’ chips”. It’s a very good album with very good music made by a good artist.

Seel Fresh – Keep It Movin

Apoc and Rel are THE RITZ

The Ritz

Heartless Download
Its The… Download
from The Night of Day (2008, Lab-Oratory Records)

I receive CD’s in the mail rather frequently (Im A working DJ, It comes with the territory) and I put most to the side, due to lack of time and/or motivation…. One morning, I saw this CD and I decided to grab it as I went and ran a few errands before my flight to Las Vegas. I was amazed with what I heard.

This CD is titled “The Night of Day” by The Ritz, who happen to be MC’s Apoc and Rel, representing points between Chicago and San Diego equally. These seasoned rhyme slingers have shared stages across the globe with everyone from Slick Rick to Pharoahe Monch and word has it that Rel did some engineering work for Raekwon & Killah Priest, so that makes him super official. On this album, Apoc and Rel speak their minds with thoughful, vivrant lyricism over moody/haunting production reminiscent of 40’s/50’s Black & White films. I kept thinking Humphrey Bogart was going to jump in at some point (Maybe he did, I missed it the first time around). Alot of dialogue and sample play between the tracks and choruses, but the theme keeps the album together. Some refreshing hiphop in a world of clutter. The Ritz bring it on their latest effort. I slap myself in the face for not listening to this as soon as I got it. My apologies.

Common – thisisme then: The Best of Common


Resurrection Download
Take It EZ Download
from thisisme then: The Best of Common (2007, Relativity)

In 1992, 20-year old Chicago-born and raised freestyler Common Sense (as he was first known) could hardly imagine where the future would take him. One decade later, his heartfelt rhymes and uncompromising hip-hop attitude earned him his first Grammy Award (Best R&B Song for the #1 “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” with Erykah Badu), and the first of several high-profile movie roles. Film has expanded the scope of his art into new directions, climaxing with his part in American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, opening November 2007. Four months earlier, Common’s most recent album, Finding Forever (produced mostly by Kanye West) debuted at #1 the Billboard Top 200 Album chart – Common’s first #1 debut. In the school of hip-hop noted by the positivism of such literate (and often jazz-influenced) artists as De La Soul, Digable Planets, the Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, Gang Starr, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and others – Common has staked out his own unique and important position. That position is explored fully in the CD booklet liner notes essay written by Leah Rose.

The road to Relativity began on Chicago’s teeming South Side, where Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (son of pro basketball player Lonnie Lynn) was raised by his single mother, a doctor, in an environment isolated from the feuding East Coast and West Coast rap scenes. He admired mc’s from both factions – Rose’s liner notes cite “Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, and the other MCs he grew up admiring … everything from Rakim to N.W.A.” He was even in a high school rap group of his own before going off to college. At Florida A&M, he continued to write and record demo material. In October 1991, some of his rhymes were featured in The Source magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” column, which led to a signing offer from Relativity, and a slot on its primarily core-metal label, Combat.

Dropping out of college to the disappointment of his mom, Common packed off to New York with an entourage of 15 Chicago friends, and his producers No I.D. (aka Immenslope) and Twilite Tone. Can I Borrow A Dollar? was recorded in a fast two weeks at Calliope Studio (where A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul made some of their early records). The rapper was barely out of his teens when the album was issued in September 1992, and spun off two well-received hits on the Rap charts, “Take It EZ” and “Breaker 1/9.” They were distinguished by their decidedly breezy jazz-inflected non-gangsta approach – at a time when gangsta was dominating rap.

Three more tracks from Can I Borrow A Dollar? are included on thisisme then: “Soul By The Pound” (the third single, and first to cross over from Rap to the R&B chart; from this point onward, most of his singles were crossovers), “Charms Alarm,” and “Heidi Hoe,” produced by the Beatnuts, the album’s only outside production.

A fast-track process of socio-cultural, religious and musical maturation took place over the next two years, which ran the gamut from absorbing John Coltrane (who “influenced the way he put his rhymes together,” Rose writes) to exploring Islam via the teachings of the Koran. This personal growth took shape on October 1994’s Resurrection, the second Relativity album, as he moved over to the Ruthless imprint. Most significant was the single “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” his personification of hip-hop as a lover who has become debased and exploited – an allegory that was openly critical of West Coast gangsta style.

“I Used To Love H.E.R.” sparked a well-publicized cross-country feud with Ice-Cube that was eventually mediated by Louis Farrakhan. In addition to the follow-up title tune single, “Resurrection,” the album is represented by “Book Of Life” and the track that gives this compilation its title, “thisisme.” The success of Resurrection also had another unexpected result, when a reggae group named Common Sense threatened to sue unless he changed his name – thus, he became Common.

By the mid-’90s, so-called ‘alternative rap’ had come into its own, eschewing lurid themes of misogynist sex and violence, in favor of thoughtful rhymes that assayed social and political and interpersonal consciousness. Common was at the center of this movement, and one of the reasons that One Day It’ll All Make Sense, his next album, was not completed until September 1997, was because of the quorum of like-minded hip-hop and R&B artists who wanted to get on-board. Another reason was the profound effect on Common of the news that his girlfriend was pregnant (his daughter was born soon after the album was released). Impending fatherhood added another layer of responsibility and introspection to Common’s poetry.

thisisme then includes five high-profile guest appearances from some (some!) of Common’s collaborators on One Day It’ll All Make Sense, starting with “Retrospect For Life” with Lauryn Hill – who gave birth to her own first child the month before the album release. The track was issued as a non-chart single with a video directed by Hill. The second single was “Reminding Me (Of Sef)” with fellow Chicago R&B singer Chantay Savage, which became a Top 10 Rap hit.

Other notable partners from One Day It’ll All Make Sense heard on this compilation are neo-soul icon Erykah Badu (“All Night Long”), whose debut album was issued at the beginning of 1997; Atlanta’s Goodie Mob heavyweight Cee-Lo Green (“G.O.D. [Gaining One’s Definition]”), nearly a decade before Gnarls Barkley; and New Yorker Q-Tip (Intro/Outro on “Stolen Moments Pt. III”), the founding leader of A Tribe Called Quest, who was about to begin his solo career in 1998, when the Tribe disbanded. In 2007, Common and Q-Tip have organized a supergroup named the Standard.

The audio portion of thisisme then ends with “High Expectations,” Common’s contribution to the Relativity movie soundtrack of Soul In The Hole, a 1997 documentary about Brooklyn playground basketballers who dream of turning pro. Common was in the company of Wu Tang Clan, Dead Prez, M.O.P., Big Pun, Exzibit, Mobb Deep, and others.

Following his initial success at Relativity, Common was signed to major label MCA in 1999, where he scored an R&B hit single with “The Light” in 2000. It sent his first album for the label, Like Water for Chocolate, to Top 5 R&B and RIAA gold. In 2002, Common’s Electric Circus album managed a Top 20 R&B hit with “Come Close To Me” featuring Mary J. Blige. But it was Common’s collaboration with Erykah Badu on “Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)” from the Fox/MCA soundtrack of the Taye Diggs movie Brown Sugar, that won him his first Grammy Award: Best R&B Song, as a writer (shared with Badu). Interestingly, the song was an extension of the personification concept first suggested in 1994, on “I Used To Love H.E.R.”

Common was heard from again in 2005 with Be, his first album produced by Kanye West, a #1 R&B/#2 pop smash that passed the RIAA gold mark without the benefit of a major hit single – although “Testify,” “The Corner,” and “They Say” collected nearly a dozen BET, Grammy, NAACP Image, MTV VMA, Soul Train, and Vibe Awards nominations. To his credit, Common had become a true album artist, who had transcended the singles market – as proved by the success of Finding Forever this past summer.

With music as his artistic foundation, Common has followed the footsteps of other rappers (such as Ludacris and Mos Def) into film. His first support role was last year’s Las Vegas-based action-comedy Smokin’ Aces, starring Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. Following his current role in American Gangster, Common will be seen in two films next year: The Night Watchman, a rogue cop thriller with Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, and Forest Whitaker, written by James Ellroy; and Wanted, the adaptation of the graphic comic novel, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

“Common’s first three albums are truly a coming of age,” Leah Rose concludes. “As one of rap music’s most talented MCs, he literally grew up in the music that his loyal listeners still cherish more than a decade after its initial release. This collection of songs draws from that much missed era in hip-hop, when lyrical prowess was the hallmark of a rapper’s success.”

“It would be hard to imagine hip-hop without Common Sense.” – Leah Rose

Kidz In The Hall – New Label, New Mixtape

Kidz In The Hall

Detention (Mixed by Mick Boogie) Download
(2007, Duck Down)

01 – Detention Intro
02 – Detention Freestyle
03 – Lose Your Mind
04 – Kickdrums Freestyle
05 – Never Forget
06 – Get Busy
07 – Work To Do
08 – Train Of Thoughts
09 – Clothes, Hoes & Liquor
10 – Hush
11 – Real Life Shit
12 – Slippery Shoes
13 – Move on Up Refix
14 – Keep It Movin’
15 – Feelin’ Good
16 – Tha Wall (feat. Nick Stylez)
17 – Detention Outro

Duck Down Records, in an effort to continue to expand its roster, is proud to announce the signing of Kidz In The Hall. Double-0, the Producer/DJ and Naledge, the Lyricist/MC, Kidz In The Hall are looking to become one of hip-hop’s most admired acts, destined to leave a legacy of artistic brilliance and after recently finishing their latest mixtape, “Detention,” and tour dates with Redman and their forthcoming sophomore LP, “The In Crowd,” they are well on their way to doing so.

Kidz In The Hall were previously signed to Rawkus Records and released their debut, “School Was My Hustle,” on the imprint, but felt Duck Down Records would be the home that could help propel them to the next level and as Matty Marcus (founder of Major League Entertainment) asserts it’s a win win for all parties and a unique joint venture between Duck Down and Major League entertainment as both companies will be intimately involved in all aspects of marketing and promotion “the Major League team could not be more excited to partner with Duck Down Records for the next Kidz in the Hall album (entitled “The In Crowd”). The loyalty the label has shown to their roster over the years was a definite selling point and Dru Ha and the Duck Down team are the perfect partners to elevate the Kidz In The Hall brand to the next level. This new exciting partnership is a welcomed change and a breath of fresh air for our entire team.”

Kidz In The Hall group members Naledge and Double-O are equally excited about the union as Double-O adds “I think that this deal is an excellent opportunity to spread our wings. Duck Down Records has proven that they can successfully promote independent acts on a major scale and their enthusiasm in our music let’s us know that they are 100% behind making the Kidz In The Hall movement successful.”

Kidz in the Hall’s upcoming sophomore LP “The In Crowd” is set for release in March 2008 on Major League/Duck Down Records

Make sure to grab the FREE Download of Kidz In The Hall’s latest Mixtape “Detention” mixed by: Mick Boogie! Check out the video teaser for Kidz In The Hall’s forthcoming single “Driving Down The Block”.

Cap D – Return Of The Renegade

Cap D

Game In The Mic Download
Rock Me Download
from Return Of The Renegade (2007, All Natural, Inc)
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Solid solo hip hop from Cap D, aka Capital D of All Natural — possibly the most pointed and rugged work we’ve heard from D — one of the deeper thinkers on the scene to say the least! All Natural, both the core duo and the Family Tree related releases on the All Natural label, aren’t afraid to rely on a varied approach on any given full length, from a soulful style, to a freer Native Tongues sense of adventure, to a more rolicking straight up boom bap, the latter being the overall feel of this particular gem. We’ve never been let down by an All Natural, Inc release and Cap D’s Return Of The Renegade is on par with the best of them! Nice stuff, with some subtle Asian string accents in spots that recall the early Wu vibe without ever feeling like a throwback. Production by Cap D, All Natural partner Tone B Nimble, Yuani, Maker, J Rawls and Ozone with appearances by Rhymefest, Iomos Marad and others. Titles include “Return Of The Renegade”, “Blow”, “Bright Lights”, “The Answer” feat One Be Lo, “Game In The Mic”, “Street Knowledge”, “Ups & Downs”, “Nickel & Dime” feat Iomos Marad, “The Come Up” feat Ali, “Destiny” feat Rhymefest & Cuttness Tone, “Shabazz” ahnd Adrenaline Rush feat Makestik Legend. COP IT!