In this digital age of constant-flowing articles and music drops, it’s nearly impossible for fans to keep up with everything. Hopefully, “Get Whit It” will aid that issue. In this ongoing series, I will be providing a weekly compilation of songs, videos, albums and beyond which I discover. Not all posts will include 100% new music, videos, etc. Some may be new, some may be unreleased and some may just be plain old. In any regard, I am simply aiming to put readers onto sounds, in an effort to expand the minds of fans everywhere. #GETWHITIT.
When I first came across New Orleans emcee Lyriqs da Lyraciss, it was via a flyer for Mickey Factz‘ “The Red or Blue Pill Tour” in the Summer of 2014. I was unfamiliar with his work but knew he must’ve had talent to be assisting one of the original XXL Freshman on shows across the country. With a renewed and freshly re-branded name, Lyriqs is now going by the stage name Alfred Banks – and he needs to be heard. Providing the perfect picnic music for this Summer, Alfred has dished out his latest project, “Enjoy Every Sandwich 2”. Now, I’m sure many of you have heard this before, but the intentions of this post are simply to remind those that it still exists, while also encouraging prospective fans to give it a listen. Alfred Banks is a highly versatile emcee with a passion for both the mic and the business back-end and, when combined, those two utilized to the max is a nearly unstoppable force for talented artists. With production coming in from Mickey Factz, 9th Wonder, Charles Hamilton and more, Alfred Banks proves that he has what it takes to play with the elite.
This past weekend of April 19th marked the 5 year anniversary of Keith “Guru” Elam’s passing. Whether you supported from his hometown of Boston or from the other side of the globe, one fact remained fixed – Guru was/still is one of the most timeless and relatable emcees of all-time. Guru, 1/2 of the iconic duo known as GangStarr, was known for his witty rhymes, conscious flows, subtle charm and his never-ending love for mixing Hip Hop with Jazz music. To pay tribute to the life of Guru on the anniversary of his tragic passing, Boston emcee Avrex released a previously unheard, early 2000s track featuring a verse from the late legend – recorded prior to his untimely 2010 death. With visuals from Ill Mannered Films, the song is titled “Propaganda” and it was produced by DJ Lord Ron, a personal friend of Guru’s. Enjoy and keep the memory living on.
Earlier this week, Bakers Club founder and Duckdown Music member Raz Fresco blessed the internet with the announcement of his debut album’s release date and cover art. Along with finding out “Pablo Frescobar” will release on June 2nd, Raz also delivered the second set of visuals off the upcoming project. “Equinox”, self-produced by Raz Fresco, features a longtime friend of Raz’s who has also been killing the Hip Hop game all over the world, Bishop Nehru (Google his album with MF DOOM). On this track, the two young guns trade extremely well thought out verses that touch on any and everything enlightenment related. Hearing artists touch base on these topics really solidifies my faith in the current state of Hip Hop. The best music is music that makes you think and evaluate your own situations. “Equinox” does just that. Head to your backyard with a pair of headphones and just let this one soak in. Oh yea…Raz is only 20 and Bishop is only 18. That’s REAL.
“Life itself is a process of growth and decay (build or destroy) which mirrors the seasons of the planets. On the surface, it seems chaotic (like day to day weather) but on a larger level, it’s orderly/harmonious (seasons). The fading and blooming that happens around EQUINOX time (Fall and Spring) is symbolic to that aspect of life. Everyday new people, emotions, and ideas are constantly blooming into existence and then fading away.” – Raz Fresco
In the second part of an ongoing animated web series curated by a small group of artists and students hustling between NY and Melbourne, we watch the Stones Throw founder, Peanut Butter Wolf, bump into Stevie Wonder in an odd location and introduce him to the work of super-producer, Madlib. Opiyo, one of the creators of the series, spoke with the label founder on his first encounter with his musical hero and the results were just plain awesome. What else would you expect from PBW, a man who constantly gives us dopeness (minus Folerio, I’ll never get past that).
A friend on Twitter put me onto this tape from an emcee named Squeek. Knowing how critical I am of my music selections, he swore to me that it wasn’t any BS. Having an open mind, I took his word and gave it a listen. I hit play and was greeted with a cover of a Rap song I absolutely hate (not naming it), so my resting bitch face turned into a very angry one instantaneously. After about 30 seconds, Squeek interrupts with some hilarious line about how that kind of Hip Hop is a joke and I knew then I was gonna dig this kid. Moved on to listen to the rest of the project and was highly impressed by what I heard. Swift, quick flows supported by some interesting and funny metaphors to tie it all together. Not saying Squeek is the next Em or anything, but this particular project made me a fan. Check it out and judge for yourself. I, for one, am exited to hear more from the aspiring emcee.
This particular song is one that I felt needed to be shared. It’s roughly 2 years old and still kicking like it came out yesterday. I’m constantly asking friends and random strangers if they’ve heard of ’em and, to me, way many reply with a confused look on their face. That is not ok with me. Jungle is a jam band from the UK area with more Hip Hop and Soul in them than most actual Hip Hop and Soul artists. Every one of their videos are visually stunning and usually assisted by another element of the culture, whether it be break-dancing, graffiti or both. “Platoon”, from their debut album, centers around a cute little girl with some serious B-Girl skill as the record plays in the background. What I love most about Jungle is their videos lock your attention in, but at the same time lets you hear the song in the back of your head. These guys aren’t flashy and they aren’t all over social media, but that elusiveness just adds more points to their cool factor. After watching this, DEFINITELY checkout their others. I grabbed the vinyl a couple weeks back and it’s already marked up beyond measure by the record needle.
If you’re a true music fan, you would never limit yourself to one, sole genre of music for your listening pleasure. Nah, that’s just lame in every sense of the word. Thanks to the creation of RevoltTV a couple years back, I’ve been discovering some of the best non-Hip Hop talent I have seen in years. I mean, most of these guys are making Hip Hop/Rap videos almost obsolete from a visual perspective. I’d imagine that the planning and energy going into each one is close to that of an actual movie set (see: OK-GO’s “Writing On The Wall”). Meet Duke Dumont, an amazing musician with a passion for connecting the listener to mini movies, which he calls music videos. His song “Won’t Look Back” is amazing in itself, if you were to simply hear it on the radio. But then, you see the video and what?! I won’t spoil the entire thing but let’s just say a high stakes robbery followed by a massive police chase of 4 guys on pogo sticks MIGHT be what you see. If you’re normally a Hip Hop head, expand your mind just this one time and see how you feel after. Rappers, step your visual game up. Unless you’re in Juvenile’s clique, nobody cares about Mercedes, pitbulls or grills anymore.
Fresh off the release of their new album, “Soul Veggies”, Storyville and 8-bit rapper Mega Ran are back with a fuego Boston/Philly remix of one of their standout songs, “Artillery”. With guest verses from underground legends MC Esoteric (Army of the Pharoahs, CZARFACE), REKS and Reef the Lost Cauze, the title alone should be all you need to give it a listen. Soul Veggies is currently touring Chicago, Arizona and California so if you dig what you hear and live in the area, head to a show and tell ’em in person. Scream it from the back row, if necessary. This song dropped 2 days after Record Store Day 2015 and I’m just going to take it as a sign from above that, similar to RSD, it was meant to restore our faith in the complete Hip Hop experience.
Soul Veggies Tour Dates:
4/24: Chicago, IL at Reggies – (Indie Comix Expo with Adam WarRock)
5/2: Tempe, AZ at Yucca Tap Room with Gift of Gab
5/3: Riverside, CA at The Vibe Bar and Grill