Sunday, November 29, 2009

Music Video Director: Zia Mohajerjasbi

This is a rare occurrence that I am spotlighting a music video director, but after this video clip below I think you'll know exactly why I am fully repping Zia Mohajerjasbi. His style is simple, yet elegant as he creates beauty on a small budget and the song combines perfectly with the visuals to make an emotional piece of art.

This is a short video clip created by Zia about the making of the video for Macklemore's first single off The Unplanned Mixtape. The song is called 'The Town' - which I will post soon along with the rest of the mixtape and the full video. Stay tuned.



Even though I'd probably pronounce his last name, Mohajerjasbi, like it was the "safeword" in the movie EuroTrip, I'm a huge fan of his work and I didn't even know it until yesterday when I stumbled upon his blog (loveandshoestrings.com). Thank you twitter. It was there that I realized he had directed several music videos that I had already fell in love with and was in the process of creating the first ever music video by one of my new favorite artists Macklemore (Don't remember Macklemore? Peep my earlier post).


For all the hip hop music videos that come out these days, only a handful are worth watching. That is, unless you pair the right director with the right artist. In this case what you get is pure magic. For example, Zia has directed other music videos for some of Seattle's underground hip hop elite including: Blue Scholars, Common Market, Macklemore, Jake One, & Gabriel Teodros. Peep some of his best work below and the rest of his work at his YouTube channel HERE or on Vimeo HERE.
 
Enjoy!

Blue Scholars - 'Coffee & Snow' Music Video


Jake One - 'Home' Music Video


Common Market - 'Escaping Arkham' Music Video


Blue Scholars - 'Joe Metro' Music Video

Friday, November 27, 2009

Album: The Black Keys + Various Rappers - BlakRoc (2009)


Tracklist
01. Coochie Ft. Ludacris & Ol' Dirty Bastard
02. On The Vista Ft. Mos Def
03. Hard Times Ft. NOE
04. Dollaz & Sense Ft. Pharoahe Monch & RZA
05. Why Can't I Forget Him Ft. Nicole Wray
06. Stay Off The Fuckin' Flowers Ft. Raekwon
07. Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo) Ft. Jim Jones & Mos Def
08. Hope You're Happy Ft. Billy Danze (of M.O.P.), Nicole Wray, & Q-Tip
09. Tellin' Me Things Ft. RZA
10. What You Do To Me Ft. Billy Danze (of M.O.P.), Jim Jones & Nicole Wray
11. Done Did It Ft. Nicole Wray & NOE

Here it is! The BlakRoc album is finished and finally released on this lovely Black Friday. In case you missed what the BlakRoc project is rewind a bit and go back to my earlier blog post on it HERE.

Here is some pretty sweet behind the scenes footage on the making of the song 'What You Do To Me'. In the first video, The Black Keys do the beat dirty with chorus by Nikki Wray and rapping by Jim Jones. Does this not make you wish you were in the studio drinking wine and dancing with Nikki or smoking weed with Jim Jones blasting this sick beat on studio speakers?


Here is part 2 with Billy Danze (of M.O.P.) doing his verse. I love how excited he gets about the beat when he first hears it and immediately knows he has to be spitting on this track.


If you feel like supporting the arts/artists, buy you a real copy or a T-shirt HERE, but definitely don't miss this gem. I only wish it was longer...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Album: M.anifest - The Birds & The Beats (2009)


Click To Preview Mixtape
Hot Dayyum! This new FREE mixtape The Birds & The Beats by M.anifest is absolutely AMAZING! A must MUST MUST download. Optional donation for the download to support Young Entrepreneurs Africa (YE,A) a non-profit empowering underprivileged youth in Africa.



Seriously this mixtape blew me away. A few questions ran through my head upon listening to it. How is this a mixtape and not an album? How is this for free!? How did M.anifest make every single song phenomenal? I feel inspired when I listened to this... inspired to what?... to dance... to listen... to think... Open your mind and give this bangin' hip hop by a talented African a spin...

Now for a little about M.anifest aka M Dot. M.anifest is a rising Hip-Hop artist born in Accra, Ghana and resident in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is an intelligent and conscious MC with a gift for writing. To quote the man on his own style "Introspection mixed with splashes of social commentary is my bread and butter... I'm unapologetically Ghanaian, and so African that at the slightest provocation I burst into vocal mannerisms". M.anifest is a member of the group A.R.M. (African Rebel Movement) along with Krukid and Budo (Producer). Check out the video below for the first single off their upcoming album Uprising. More on M.anifest on Facebook Here.

A.R.M. - "Heaven Only Knows" Ft. Brother Ali
Download Song Here

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Filet-o-Mix 3: Weed: The Chronic 2009 - Best Hip Hop Weed Songs (Vol. 1)



01 Cypress Hill - Hits From The Bong
02 Redman - Smoke Buddah
03 People Under The Stairs - Come On, Let's Get High
04 Krayzie Bone - Smokin Budda
05 Scarface - Mary Jane
06 Cunninlynguists - Never Come Down (The Brownie Song)
07 Styles P - Blow Ya Mind (Ft. Swizz Beatz)
08 Redman - Jersey Yo!
09 J Dilla - Smoke (Ft. Blu)
10 Memphis Bleek - I Get High
11 Outkast - Crumblin' Erb
12 Mr. SOS - Stay High Ft. Deacon The Villain, Flip Flop, & Juicy
13 Qwel - The Highest Commitment
14 Bizzy Bone Ft. Blulight - Weedman
15 Mr. SOS - Lets Go Get Stoned
16 Proof - High Rollers Ft. B-Real & Method Man
17 Copywrite - He Burns Trees
18 Cypress Hill - High Times
19 The Pharcyde - Pack The Pipe
20 Devin The Dude - To Tha X-Treme

Continuing on with my themes of Hip Hop mix series comes one of the most timeless, the Weed mix (first of several). In this mix titled The Chronic 2009 I have compiled (in my opinion) some of the best rap songs specifically dedicated to the love of Ms. Mary Jane herself. Even if smoking is not your thing, this CD might make you reconsider... and if it is your thing, be a good smoker and PASS the mix along to your friends (on the left hand side of course).

If your favorite track didn't make it, suggest a song in the comments below and I'll consider it for the next mix. I had to narrow down a list of over 100 songs to 20 tracks so obviously I had some criteria for selecting these few. All rap songs that made the cut have tight beats, are nearly 100% about marijuana, and don't lose their appeal after multiple listens. There are some classic songs in there mixed with some of my new favorites (especially track 12). Check out the video for The Brownie Song below and a few lyrics (track 6).

"Rigormortis higher than a lion's chin, If this was symphonies I'm way up there with violins, If this a choir then soprano octaves, in an opera where God lives, Look I know I'm sounding like a liar but, The brownie's was angel sex - got a nigga high as fuck, I smoke trees'n through all four seasons, but I'm like gas prices - high for no reason. Call the nurse your boy's higher than Google Earth, and if I fell the impact would put me through the dirt, So let me zoom in and get my zoom on, This weed's Neil Armstrong - I'm on the moon blown" - Deacon The Villain

CunninLynguists - Never Come Down (The Brownie Song) - Video


And now for some personal insights about marijuana and hip hop...

Everyone knows that hip hop is laced with drug references, but hold on don't be so quick to judge. There is quite a difference between the drugs they talk about for sale and those for personal consumption. Hip Hop as a culture does not embrace hard drugs such as crack, cocaine, and heroin. In fact, the music makes it quite clear that although selling hard drugs is glorified, using them is NOT. Selling hard drugs is glorified because it is seen as one of the few ways to make fast money and get out of poverty. However, there is a huge negative stigma in hip hop music towards the addicts or "fiends" that buy these drugs. They are looked down upon and disrespected by same bragging rappers who made their money off them.

It seems that the only drug that hip hop embraces (besides for alcohol) is marijuana. In fact, on many occasions I find it downright strange that the same drug can be adored by both the most hardcore rapper and the most free-spirited hippie (seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum). Even though the drug means different things to different cultures, ultimately weed has the same effects on the mood and behavior of most people. My point is that marijuana is a drug enjoyed and celebrated universally and should not be looked at in such a negative light (let's try to put illegality aside). After all, weed is conducive to musician/artist creativity, which is clearly shown in the works of these hip hop artists.

Enjoy the music. And just like weed, this mix is better when you share it with friends.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Concerts: New York City Hip Hop - November 2009

Do you ever find yourself bored as hell on odd nights of the week? Are you trying to spice up your life a bit? Well there's nothing that the right hip hop concert won't fix. Here's my picks for NYC this month.

Hit Play Button to Preview a Few Tracks by Artists in Concert this Month!

Who: J.J. BROWN Connect The Dots Album Release Party Ft. Louis Logic, Craig G, Reef The Lost Cauze, Poison Pen, Block McCloud, and more special guests! - Hosted by Miz Metro
When: Tuesday, Nov 10, 2009 9:00 PM (7:30 PM Doors)
Where: S.O.B.'s
Ages: 18 and Over
How Much: $10 Advance / $12 Day Of Show
Why you should go: This bunch of up-and-comers have actually been around for a while if you check your history + I love Reef The Lost Cauze (Spittin’ straight up fire from Philly!)
Website


Who: Warren G with U-N-I and Kidz In The Hall
When: Tue, November 10, 2009 @ 8:00 PM
Where: Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, New York, NY 10002
Ages: 18 and Over
How Much: $20
Why you should go: Warren G is the king of laid back west coast rap grooves. You will want to light up some indo when you here this Cali DPG (Fun fact: He is Dr. Dre’s step-brother).
Website

Who: The Roots Present: The Jam with Guest Performer Nneka
When: Tuesday, November 10/17/24, 2009 @ 12:00 PM
Where: Highline Ballroom
Ages: All
How Much: $10 Advance / $12 Door
Why you should go: The Roots are hip hop’s greatest band with one of it’s most fiery lyricists Black Thought. They play every week on Tuesday at the Highline (but that’s no excuse to wait).
Website


Who: Ghostface Killah Wizard of Poetry Tour with Skyzoo, Sosh B, Fashawn, Blu & Exile
When: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
Where: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Ages: 16 and Over
How Much: $26 Advance / $30 Door
Why you should go: Ok, Ghostface is the man. If you wanna see a real show by a hip-hop legend who has made up more words than Shakespeare, now is the time. Love him in concert.
Website

Who: FRIDAY THE 13th HIP-HOP MASSACRE - GOODIE MOB REUNION TOUR (All Original Members: CEE-LO+BIG GIPP+KHUJO+T-MO) + SCARFACE OF GETO BOYS + SLICK RICK (Backing by live band = Bad Rabbits) + Special Guest: OUTASIGHT
When: Friday, November 13 @ 11:30 PM
Where: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Ages: 16 and Over
How Much: $35 Advance / $40 Day of Show
Why you should go: This is the PREMIER show of the month. Goodie Mob + Scarface are to the South what Biggie was to NY and 2Pac was to Cali. And Slick Rick is the mentor for all the Jay-Z’s and Nas’s of the world. Top that.
Website

Who: Afrika Bambaataa "35th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop Culture" - Naughty By Nature (Headliner), Positive K, Grand Master Melle Mel, Chill Rob G, Large Professor, Craig G, Shaheim, Dana Dane, DJ DP One/DJ Chuck Chillout
When: Sunday, Nov 15, 2009 9:00 PM (7:00 PM Doors)
Where: S.O.B.'s
Ages: 21 and Over
How Much: $25 Advance / $30 Day Of Show
Why you should go: If you are an old school hip hop head, then you already know why you should go. 35 years isn’t long for something so amazing. Hip Hop will never die.
Website

Who: GRANDMASTER ROC RAIDA HIP-HOP TRIBUTE BENEFIT CONCERT: DITC, IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE, BRAND NUBIAN, GRAND PUBA, THE BEATNUTS, LARGE PROFESSOR - Hosted by: LORD SEAR - Music by : DJ BOOGIE BLIND (FROM THE X-ECUTIONERS) - MORE ARTISTS TO BE ANNOUNCED…
When: Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009 9:00 PM (8:00 PM Doors)
Where: S.O.B.'s
Ages: 21 and Over
How Much: $18 Advance / $22 Day Of Show
Why you should go: First, ALL PROCEEDS GO TO ROC RAIDA’S FAMILY. Second, holy shit this lineup is Off The Books.
Website

Who: The Seventh Seal Tour: Rakim with Guest Performer Rhymefest
When: Thursday, November 19, 2009 @ 9:00 PM
Where: B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
Ages: 16 and Over
How Much: $30 Advance / $35 Day of Show
Why you should go: Rakim is the innovator of the modern rap flow and one of the most influential MC’s ever. He has a New Album coming out called The Seventh Seal. It’s been 10 years since his last solo album and dude is still fire on the M-I-C. He is a rap God.
Website

Who: Eyedea & Abilities with Guest Performers Themselves
When: Friday, November 27th, 2009 @ 9:00 PM
Where: Knitting Factory Brooklyn
Ages: All Ages
How Much: $12 Advance
Why you should go: Eyedea & Abilities started out a battle MC/DJ combo, but now have turned to the more deep and experimental side of hip hop with their new album By The Throat. They are part of the Rhymesayers Entertainment label, which is an underground hip hop powerhouse.
Website

If I missed any significant concerts, please hit up the comments box below.

Note: DMX show at B.B. King was cancelled.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Album: People Under The Stairs - Carried Away (2009)



1. Step Off
2. Much Too Much
3. Hit the Top
4. Listen
5. Trippin’ at the Disco
6. 80 Blocks from Silverlake
7. Beer
8. Come On, Let’s Get High
9. Check the Vibe
10. Letter from the Old School
11. DQMOT
12. Down in LA
13. My Boy D
14. Teeth
15. Creepshow
16. Chicken Kebap
17. Carried Away


Once again it's the "P"...aka PUTS ...aka People Under The Stairs ...aka my favorite rap group of all time. And when I found out that this dynamic duo was back on the map with their 7th studio album Carried Away, I was ...well ...carried away to 7th heaven.

Ok that was gay, but seriously, I couldn't believe that I missed their album release date by two weeks! I was so excited... all ready and poised to download the album, but a voice stopped me. It said "Wait... wait!! This is your favorite group, and you stole their last album Fun DMC you asshole". The voice was my conscience of course and it did get the best of me. I proceeded to order the Limited Fanclub Edition CD that came with a V.I.P. pass (Very Important Partier) that "entitles you to  exclusive party favors at all PUTS shows" and a PUTS collage poster with a board game on the back. Even though I had to wait a few days, it was damn worth it for that feeling to hear my favorite group kill it on their newest masterpiece. There ain't nothing else like it in the world.

For those of you new to PUTS, I must explain why I like them so much. The group is the ultimate in hip hop purity. All beats, rhymes, samples, and scratching are done without any outside help. The group is all about having fun with their music and in this album most songs revolve around booze, bbqs, blunts, pop-culture references, and of course their hometown of LA. The guys, Thes One and Double K, are incredible lyricists, and they use their skills to make chill music that you can vibe and party to. It's refreshing as hell to hear a hip hop group that doesn't rap at all about guns, money, selling drugs, or political issues.

The People Under The Stairs are all about having a good time and they embody perfectly everything I respect in hip hop. Great beats, creative rhymes, the coolest attitude, and originality that tops all others.

"We went into CVS one morning and they decided to dismantle their wine section, so every bottle was $1.99. I bought five cases of wine. We would go into the studio everyday and start recording at 9 A.M. and we'd be drinking wine to create a vibe. As long as we're having fun and getting drunk, we're fine." - Thes One of PUTS

Check the video below of their first single Trippin' At The Disco ...and yes, it's supposed to be funny.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Filet of the Day #1: October '09 (Archive)



See that small strip of tenderloin up there. That's the prime cut. Now picture hip hop as the whole cow  and that small piece as what I give you. To be more specific, prime grade hip hop is the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

Now you can download all of my "Filet of the Day" picks for the whole past month of October. This list is a random assortment of great songs picked on a daily basis. Some are new, others are old, but all can be categorized as top-notch prime grade hip hop. Pass the love around. Burn the mix, listen to it, give it away, sell it, rip it, bump it, zone to it, write your own rhymes to it, be inspired. Let the music consume you and come back for a quality new song daily.

<10/14/09> Big L - Dangerzone
<10/15/09> Common - So Cool
<10/16/09> 2Pac & Outlawz - One Day At A Time
<10/17/09> Shad K Ft. Jermiside & Destruments - The Calling
<10/18/09> Redman - Funkorama
<10/19/09> Smif-N-Wessun - Bucktown
<10/20/09> Nappy Roots - Work In Progress
<10/21/09> Chapter 13 - The Rebirth
<10/22/09> Little Brother - That Ain't Love
<10/23/09> Jay-Z & SCAM - Party Life Remix (Cooler Than...)
<10/24/09> Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip?
<10/25/09> KiD CuDi - CuDi Zone
<10/26/09> Raekwon - Ason Jones (Prod. by J Dilla)
<10/27/09> Finale - Heat (Prod. by J Dilla)
<10/28/09> Vakill Ft. Vizion - Man Into Monster
<10/29/09> Rashid Hadee - Set In Stone (Street Lights)
<10/30/09> Termanology - Nothing Iz Real
<10/31/09> Looptroop - Zombies *Note the Halloween theme*

Enjoy.

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