Download: Trife “The Project Pope”

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under music, Raw Footage

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Download Trife “The Project Pope”

You might want to listen to track #1, “I’m Sayin it Now,” produced by yours truly.

You all remember Trife, right? He’s the dude who’s been (pause) holding Ghostface down since Supreme Clientele dropped in ’99. He appeared on Toney Starks next LP, Bulletproof Wallets, making a name for himself with his verse from “The Juks” (produced by, go figure, Alchemist). Since then he’s basically been seen as the Wallabee Champ’s right hand man. One might argue that Trife became the Ying that Raekwon once was to Ghostface’s Yang.

Trife’s always been looked at as the Theodore Unit’s most well-rounded member. He displayed that on the group’s compilation project compilation 718 (Sure Shot Recordings) back in 2004, then again on Put It On The Line, a collabo CD/DVD that dropped with Ghostface in 2005. Later, he’d put in solid appearances on Ghost’s solo projects Fishscale (2006), More Fish (2006), and The Big Doe Rehab (2007), respectively.

I merely cite all of that info because it needs to be understood that Trife is not necessarily a new artist. The guy’s been on more albums and rocked more stages in more countries than your average blog rapper. He’s getting ready to drop a proper solo LP in late July called Better Late Than Never, but as a warm-up to the project he just released  a mixtape with Tapemasters Inc. called The Project Pope.

Now honestly, some of this music’s been floating around the net for a while, or appeared on various LPs, so to those in tune with the guy’s catalog, I guess you’ll just have to wait for the new album to drop to hear newer songs.

As for the particular tune produced by me, I think that was cut some time around 2005. That beat came out of a batch of tracks I cooked up after spending some time hanging out with Jay-Z’s former producer Ski Beatz. A lot of people referenced that beat (True story: that’s just a 2track, no mix), but what nobody has ever really detected about it, which is one of the reasons why I’m not so crazy about it in retrospect, is that it’s in mono. Such a crazy sample, but it’s not even in stereo!

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Alchemist on Touring with Eminem- “It’s 80s music and Uno”

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

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The Alchemist’s 2nd LP, Chemical Warfare, finally drops next Tuesday, July 7th. Just think, two years ago (two!) Will Johnson and I sat in Alchemist’s living room talking about this very same project for Scratch Magazine. But as the saying goes, timing is everything, and the hands on the clock weren’t aligned properly back then. So here we are. Having gotten an early listen, it’s truly been worth the wait. As hip-hop veers towards electric slide territory, the ALC’s new LP is a healthy dosage of sample-based hardcore hip-hop. Heavy drums, deep bass grooves, and lyricists spitting like they’ve got something to prove.

I’ve got a bunch of interview clips with Alchemist that I shot last week in the Koch E1 Music offices. I’ll be rolling them out over the next week or so, but for now, check out what he had to say about touring with and DJing for Eminem, now that the Detroit rapper’s gone sober on us.

Al says:

“We play a lot of Uno on tour with Em. He enjoys my Uno game. Now that he’s sober, it’s a little bit different these days. Not many tequila parties before the show. It’s more like 80s music and Uno, and we’re ready to rock. Private jets, Uno, pizza, 80s music… Air Supply, “Fast Car” Tracy Chapman, Hall and Oates. That’s basically what we do.”

Then check Alchemist talking about how differently he gets treated as Em’s DJ vs. being The Alchemist.

That’s some truly funny stuff right there.

More to come

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Download Will Roush “Know My Name” Hosted by DJ Skee and DJ Whoo Kid

June 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

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Well, I’ve been hyping this kid Will Roush for months. His mixtape is finally here. I’m going to write a separate post very soon about why I chose to get involved with Will’s project, but for now, check out the work.

Know My Name Vol. 1 is a conceptual mixtape, themed around the idea of Will Roush, who’s a new artist, traveling back in time to learn all about hip-hop’s incredible history before moving forward with his own burgeoning rap career. The tape is split between him rocking over classic instrumentals which tie into the project’s theme, and original music.

Tracklist
1- Intro: Will Meets Biggie
2- What I Gotta Do Dilla (produced by J Dilla)
3- 21st Birthday (produced by Young Lord)
4- Been A Long Time ft. Stat Quo (produced by Traxamillion)
5- Higher
6- Take It Back
7- Skit: Will Meets DJ Jazzy Jeff (Philly 1987)
8- Parents Just Don’t Understand
9- Know The Ledge
10- Feels So Good ft. Brian Barnett
11- Goin On My Way
12- Intergalactic
13- Skit: Will Calls The Notorious B.I.G. for Help
14- Kingdom Roush
15- Hypnotized
16- 1 of a Kind (produced by Dub Z)
17- Outro: Biggie Sends Will Off On Hip-Hop History Test
18- BONUS: Know My Name (produced by DJ Khalil)
Download: Will Roush- Know My Name vol. 1
Also, the skits are still available as comic book shorts on Will’s youtube page.
Ep 1: Will Roush Meets Biggie
Ep 2: Will Roush Calls Biggie For Help
Ep 3: Will Roush Meets Jazzy Jeff
Ep 4: Biggie Preps Will For His Final Exam
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DOWNLOAD: BK Cyph “Rhymes Are Easy, Life Is Hard” Mixtape

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

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This is what BK Cyph had to say about dropping this highly anticipated mixtape project:

I couldn’t pay my mortgage this month, but put out a free mixtape. With all of life’s ups and downs, it feels like music is my only escape. Thank you to everyone involved especially RL and Paul “Gooch” Cantor.

Well hey, you throw my name in anything, I’m gonna support!

But on the serious tip, BK Cyph is a friend, a peer and a confidant. I can say that about a handful of folks in the music industry, and he’s definitely one of them.

The master mix on this project is straight out the Pro Tools 8 from the very computer I’m typing this on. For the production/engineering heads that check out this site, I’ll have you know I used Maxim as a mastering plug for the first time ever. This is after years running the L1 Ultramaximizer. But alas, my Waves plug-ins went bust (long story), so Maxim had to do. Not bad. It colors the sound much in the same way I feel like the mastering suite in Reason does. I do notice that it doesn’t have as much headroom as the L1 though. Levels peak quickly, so the ceiling needs a bit of adjustment, and that in turn affects just how “squashed” the signal ends up sounding. I had to play with it quite a bit. The L series, you could just throw it on the Master channel and never see your signal clip.

Tracklist:
1. Til Death Do Us
2. Stars Feat. The Incomparable Shakespeare & Mickey Factz (Prod By RL)
3. Never Sold Crack (Prod By Acafool)
4. The Voice
5. Return of the Dodgers (Prod By Graphic)
6. Flyer Preview (Prod By RL)
7. Bang Bang
8. Beastly Feat. Laws (Prod By JK the Supernova)
9. James Evans
10. Different Over Here Feat. Streets Buchannon, U-N-I, Lex One (Prod By Lex One)
11. BK’s Punch-Out (Prod By RL)
12. Rhymes Are Easy
13. Life is Hard (Prod By RL)
14. Goin’ Back (Prod By Paul “Gooch” Cantor)

Download: BK Cyph- Rhymes are Easy, Life is Hard

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Slaughterhouse Makes Me Enjoy Rap Music

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

I’m not a Slaughterhouse stan. I mean to some extent or another, I’ve paid attention to what everyone in the group has been doing. But to say that I’m tapped into the Slaughterhouse zeitgeist like that would be a huge overstatement. I’m probably most in tune with Joell Ortiz movements, if anyone in the group. And that’s mainly because he’s the youngest of the crew, has the least amount of back history to make me dislike him for any reason. The other guys, maybe it’s just because I want hip-hop, music and fuck it, myself, to move forward, I haven’t really been into their movements like that. I appreciate them for what they do, but it’s just not my thing. I was writing about Joe Budden five years ago. Where’s the new shit?

Still, whatever I’ve heard from these guys thus far has been straight cocaine.

But this freestyle took me back to another era in rap, where clearly if you were going to spit, you needed to come with it like Canibus in 1999. This is late 90s era of niceness, not that 2005 level of niceness, where guys like Jim Jones and insert random swag rapper of the moment get a pass for having whatever amounts to a buzz in this day and age. The bar has obviously been lowered over the years, let’s not kid ourselves.

Slaughterhouse may be upping the ante on what is considered dope in 2009. Granted, it’s to be determined whether or not anyone actually cares, but if it’s any indication, I haven’t had a conversation with a casual rap fan in weeks that has had to do with anything except Slaughterhouse. That’s the topic of convo it seems. And here I was thinking nobody knew these guys outside of the internets.

Flex will drop a bomb (if he hasn’t already done so, sorry I don’t have a radio) on a Slaughterhouse record in 5, 4, 3, 2….

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Producer Digga Talks About the Beat Game And 50 Cent’s “Many Men”

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

Spotted this video over at Nahright, with Digga talking about changes in production technology, the backstory on 50 Cent’s “Many Men,” and then recreates the track.

I’ve never really felt that “Many Men” was the most complex of tracks, but the beat was always one of my favorites. Goes to show you that you really don’t need to do that much to make a hot record. I think a lot of producers get caught up in trying to chop chop chop the hell out of a record instead of just leaving the vibe intact, then adding their flare to it. I was never crazy about the mix on the song though. I always felt like the drums were mixed very poorly, they stood out in the mix too much.

Another one of my favorite Digga tracks, Camron’s “Losin Weight”

What I really want to know is, what the hell is that touchscreen that Digga is using with Reason?

I need that NOW

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Jay-Z’s “D.O.A” Original Sample

June 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

No ID didn’t alter it too much, but still, some credit goes to him for finding a hot sample. I, for one, miss the days when a dope loop could suffice for a hot beat. I think producers tend to overproduce now, too much chopping and adding unnecessary elements to the track that rob the sample of its original groove, which is probably why it sounded good enough to sample in the first place.

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NBA Finals Anthem, Will Roush- “Where Roush Happens”

June 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

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With the NBA Playoffs finally coming to a close, and Game 1 of the finals approaching this Thursday, Will hit the studio with Miami-based producers The Fliptones (Lil Wayne, Birdman, Donnie Klang, the list goes on) to put a little urban twist on Carly Commando’s “Everyday,”which, if you don’t already know, is the beautiful piano composition that backs the NBA’s “Where Amazing Happens” commercials.
Doesn’t matter what team he’s riding with (Is it Aftermath? G-Unit? Roc Nation? Def Jam? Grand Hustle?) or he’s rooting for (Lakers in 6) Roush happens everywhere! So he even poked a little photoshop fun at himself. I think you’ll get a laugh out of it.

“Where Roush Happens”

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RECAP: Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Blackstar Live at Nokia Theater May 30th 2009

June 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

The underground hip-hop movement of the late 90s/early aughts returned to New York City this weekend, in the form of two sold out live shows from Blackstar (aka Mos Def and Talib Kweli) at the Nokia Theater in Times Square. The event was produced by Peter Oasis’ Live N Direct company (myself included) and Blacksmith Music‘s Corey Smyth.

I spent most of the night bouncing between the middle of the theater and backstage, where there were a host of characters I either a) hadn’t seen in a while (Jean Grae, whatup!) or b) didn’t know altogether (insert random weed carrier’s person’s name here). Even the elusive Damon Dash made an appearance, although he appeared quite drunk sedated. 

Sometimes, just being in the music business, going through the various ups and downs, working in it full time on a day to day basis as opposed to being a casual fan, the magic gets lost. No matter what you’re doing– rapping, producing, writing, PR, manager, label exec, journalist, etc– you start to question why you’re even in the game, what the attraction is, what keeps you here. I’m not the only one, I’m just one of the few who’ll admit it.

But there was this one point in the concert, when Kweli was performing “Get By,” where I glanced over at the side of the theater, by the steps leading up to the balcony, and I saw this kid sort of off by himself. I have to imagine he was maybe 25 years old, of Latin descent. And as Kweli’s performing, he’s literally matching him line for line, got the hand movements going, the lyricist bop and all. He’s doing that thing we suburban folks did in the mirror as kids (mine was to Redman’s “Tonight’s Da Night” more often than not), and then I just felt this chill come over me. And I smiled. And I realized again what it’s all for. Just to love music so much that you live in that moment right there. 

Here are some pictures and video footage I got from the show. Not the greatest of quality (let me know if you want to donate a camera!), but I do what I can.

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Blackstar from stage right

“The Blast” from the balcony

My buddy Elliott Wilson got the entire show from the latter portion of the evening on tape. Bless that man’s soul, because it was damn near 2am when these dudes got on stage, and even the biggest hip-hop fans succumb to weary eyes and legs post midnight. 

“Umi Says”

“Brown Skin Lady”

“Astronomy” and “Respiration”

“Move Somethin” and “Get By” 

“Definition”

“Beats to the Rhyme” and “The Blast”

Shouts to everyone else I saw in there, Guy Routte, Pumpkinhead, Ice, Jon Moskowitz, Aari Jubran, Timmhotep Aku, Nef …. Honestly, too many folks to even remember or name off the top of my head.

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David Banner Interview Part 2- On Drinking Alcohol

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Raw Footage

In part 2 of my interview with David Banner, he explains how before he began working out and getting in shape, he was known for his excessive drinking. Now? Not so much. He says:

“That’s what I was known for, drinking a half a gallon of Hennessy every two days. But now, by the time I work out, that takes me an hour… it takes me a half hour to get ready, a half hour to an hour to get home, wash up and start my day. It’s like, you don’t have time for no bull.”

This is an important aspect of getting in shape or getting “healthy” that people often overlook. It’s this idea of how your process affects other so-called lifestyle choices, like drinking. If you’re in the entertainment business, this is almost triple fold, as our business relies heavily on the drink for, well, everything. You go to a recording studio, there’s generally alcohol around. You go to a listening event, liquor available. Afterwork meet-up with friends, drinks abound. Dinner meeting, I’ll have a glass of red wine with my meal. Hipster bar in Williamsburg to see a new band, ah what the hell, when in Rome, give me a Pabst.

Before you know it, you’re drinking damn near every night of the week. You may not be a raging alcoholic, heck you may not even drink much at all. But there are a lot of calories in alcohol, and on top of that, usually the ingredients that alcohol is mixed with are high in sugar- whether it be juices, sour mix, soda or whatever.

It’s not the worst thing in the world to have a drink from time to time, but think about all the additional calories you’re consuming as a result. And is it all worth it?

That’s debatable. You want to put in face time, that’s for sure. But these days, when a lot of people are telecommuting and such, and it’s all about skill and productivity, you may find yourself opting out of a lot of social engagements and commitments that don’t directly impact you in some very real and identifiable way. Like, showing up for that listening party (and drinking at it, no less) may not get you another assignment from an editor. But getting the proper 8 hours of rest at night, and making sure you’re bright and attentive at 9am, thinking clearly and sending out pitches will.

Your diet and exercise efforts will subconsciously put this all in perspective for you as you move along.

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