Archive for the ‘ LA / SoCal ’ Category

The Rhythm Natives

Three days ago I got an email from the manager of the Rhythm Natives and something stopped me from deleting it with the refuse I get from the music industry all day. I was feeling especially bitter since I missed the Chino XL show this past weekend, but when i gave this a listen to the Rhythm Natives I got my mood adjusted. I haven’t heard anything like these guys since the late 90’s when everyone was trying to play live instruments. While that trend died down, a lot of talented groups still do it and it’s becoming more common in what remains of hip hop to see actual bands as opposed to a couple guys pacing back and forth across the stage trying to keep their pants up and jumping around like idiots. As an “official” adult, nothing is more attractive to me than a group with skills, talent, and above all class. I find myself highly interested in the music of the Rhythm Natives and ill be anxiously awaiting their album drop on the 19th.

Check out this little introductory movie they sent me and you can decide what you think. Myself, I’m really digging it and i hope to catch them the next time they come through Nor Cali.

For more music and information about the Rhythm Natives:
Check out their website:
Check out the album teaser on Bandcamp.
Cop the album on the 19th.

Evidence – The Layover EP


The Layover Download
From Whom The Bell Tolls (feat. Phonte, && and Will.I.Am) Download
from the forthcoming album The Layover (2008, Taylor Made / Decon)

“Backpack sucked, then Backpack was cool, then Backpack sucked again, now Backpack is cool gain. Alternative was wack now Alternative is better. All I know is I do what I do. Im not Hipster, Im not Gangsta. If its a Backpack, I gotta buy one, ‘cause I dont own one. Im doing Progressive Hop. Its a new genre. Put it in your iTunes.” – Evidence

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.

Crooked I – The Block Obama

Crooked I

A Milli (Freestyle) Download
Traffickin’ Green Download
Circle Gang (feat. Horse Shoe Gang) Download
from The Block Obama – Mixtape For The Streets (2008, Indie)

Those of us acquainted with the Crooked I, hip hop weekly 52 week record breaking performance are anxiously waiting the next Crooked I full album. We all honestly want to hear what he’s going to say next, what he’s going to do, and how hot is it going to be when he does it. Since the early 90’s he’s been getting our attention with breakneck speedy-off the wall metaphors and his insistence on being what gangster rap should be in reference to being Hip Hop. We b-boys and fans of the lyricism that made hip hop a form of art that (a far cry from the radio related garbage that calls itself Hip Hop in a cruel mockery of the music we love) can truly appreciate what Crooked I is out there doing.

Well he’s back at it again, seven months after his awesome “St Valentines Day Bossacre Mixtape”, he drops “The Block Obama”. This album does what he is most famous for and takes Crooked I and his favorite radio or main rotation beats and puts them together to make something hard hitting and lyrically flowing. Thats not to say all the beats are old recycled beats, though. This album has more than a couple cuts on here that are newly produced tracks. It gets me juiced, really, Crooks is one of the illest out there. This mixtape is a win-win for any of us hip hop fans, its Crooked I, good beats, new production on some tracks and a guest appearance by the Horse Shoe Gang. Crooked I is gangster rap for hip hop fans. When youre from California like me and my boy DJ Audio 1, WE NEED albums and artists like this. Download it! Its time for a change… OBAMA!

I should also mention, this album has nothing to do with his stance on Obama… i kept waiting for it… but all he did was make a couple of jokes. Basically, the title referrs to the statement that he wants to be the Obama of the block, who brings change to the west coast hip hop scene.

Illa J – Yancey Boys

Illa J

We Here (produced by J Dilla) Download
from forthcoming album Yancey Boys (2008, Delicious Vinyl)

Delicious Vinyl is proud to release the debut single by Illa J: “We Here” b/w “R U Listenin” featuring Guilty Simpson. Both tracks are produced by the legendary late producer Jay Dee (aka J Dilla), Illa J’s older brother.

“We Here” is all sizzle and gleam as Illa J ad-libs his mission statement: “Yancey Boys from Detroit, Michigan…comin’ for that number one spot…’bout to rock the world!” Over the previously unheard Dilla track (from a cache of Jay Dee beats held in safety for a decade by Delicious Vinyl founder Michael Ross) Illa J’s soulful tenor delivers the hook: “We poppin’ bottles like it’s first day of the year.” Illa J confirms the feeling: “Somebody could be in a hoopty but the Jay Dee beat sound so good it make them feel like they riding in a Phantom.”

Illa J: “‘We Here’ is a celebration of waking up every day. Why not live out your dreams, why not try?” Of the lyric “Let’s go crazy/ You saw Purple Rain” Illa J explains: “It’s like Prince asking ‘Are we gonna let the elevator break us down?’ Naw, let’s go all out! One of the things I learned from my brother is that you don’t get that much time, so make the most of it. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate my life to doing what I love: music.”

“R U Listenin” is a thumpadelic tribute to Detroit featuring Stones Throw recording artist Guilty Simpson, Illa and Guilty trading hot verses “sending love to the 313.” Of the collaboration, Guilty Simpson exclaims: “Illa J is a young talent in his own right with many dimensions – a real force who’s obviously the product of great stock!”

Delicious Vinyl’s Michael Ross: “Anyone who loves Jay Dee is going to flip out when they hear how young Illa J represents for the Yancey family. For over a decade these beats have been waiting in the vault for this moment. It’s like Jay Dee made these tracks with an extrasensory purpose, so that Illa J could rap and sing over them when the time was right. Well, it’s that time. It’s the Yancey Boys baby!”

DJ Revolution & Total Eclipse – Draft Radio Vol. 1

DJ Revolution & Total Eclipse

Bad Seed & Dstroy – Party Crashers Download
Da Bean – Gunnin Download
Mos Def feat Esthero – Summer Time Download
from Draft Radio Vol. 1 (2007, Def Digital)
Buy at UGHH
Buy at Amazon

DJ Revolution’s mixes are always consistently dope and he’s been holding down the West Coast forever. Throw in Total Eclipse who’s definitely reached legend status at this point and you have two of the best DJ’s on the planet. So what’s your next move at that point? Throw in some heavy hitters like Mos Def, Planet Asia, Rass Kass, Pharoahe Monch, Jin, Bad Seed, Miri Ben Ari, Defari and just cut and blend the shit out of everything.

Draft Records and the Howie McDuffie Music Group are proud to release the DJ Revolution & Total Eclipse compilation, Draft Radio Volume 1. A must for all hip-hop aficionados, DJ fans, and true-school heads.

Provoked – The Listening Experience


Travelling Download
Stop Trying Download
from The Listening Experience (2007, ProvokedMusic)

Provoked is a name on the rise for west coast hiphop and one to definitely keep a close eye on. The San Jose native calls La Quinta, in the Southern California desert his home. The heat out there is causing a big hiphop following to come up in the area, with denizens of MC’s, DJ’s, producers, Graf Writers, BBoys/Bgirls. It’s a good time for Desert hiphop and everyone is hustling, with people slanging CD’s and their own custom clothing lines out the trunk, in true BBoy fashion. Provoked is no exception.

Earlier this year he unleashed “The Listening Experience” as a taste of whats to come on his Full Length LP “Building My Foundation” (releasing Early 2008). Raw hiphop in its purest form and very unique with on-point and heartfelt lyrics. Trust me, no fake jack stories from this MC. He bases alot of what he spits on the mic on life experiences, from being an MC on the rise to more delicate topics such as the loss of close friends and staying positive.

The production on the album is handled in-house by Provoked’s fam, Source 1st and DJ Smooth Grooves. Combine the incredible lyrical content and the classic production values reminiscent of Primo, Large Professor and Diamond D, The Listening Experience makes you feel like you have travelled to that lost era of hiphop. If The Nonce got ahold of Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s Main Ingredient masters back in 1996, This EP is the present. Just Ill hiphop all the way thru on this project. Get your copy @

I had the honor to back Provoked as his DJ at a performance this past summer at The Annual Inner Truth Festival, in the Southern California Desert. Here are a few video clips.