Sunday, October 31, 2010

EP: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - VS. Redux

01 Vipassana (Ryan Lewis Remix)
02 Crew Cuts (feat. Xperience) [Jake One Remix]
03 Otherside (feat. Fences) [Ryan Lewis Remix]
04 Irish Celebration (P Smoov Remix)
05 The End (Budo Remix)
06 The Town (Sabzi Remix)

There comes a time when it's undeniable that you have to give support by BUYING good music instead of just downloading it for free. I realize that I am guilty of stealing music 99.85% of the time, but this EP is just one of those occasions where I needed to buy this on principle, regardless of what it sounded like. You may remember when I raved and raved about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis dropping the VS. EP back almost a year ago for FREE and how it was a must MUST download. I think I've listened to that 7 track EP probably close to 30 times and it never gets dull. One week ago, the duo released VS. Redux, which is a 6 song EP of remixes from the original VS. EP (except for the last track "The Town", which was on Macklemore's The Unplanned Mixtape).

Since the original VS. EP's beats were made from sampling other contemporary artists (such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers), the duo could not sell their original EP for money and decided to give that beautiful piece of hard work away for free to us fans. Now, the VS. Redux EP has new beats made by some phenomenal producers including Jake One, Sabzi, P Smoov, Budo, as well as Ryan Lewis. The standout remix is the first leaked single off VS. Redux called "Otherside (Ryan Lewis Remix)" (preview it above!), which is about drug addiction and features the indie artist Fences singing an emotion laden chorus. In my mind, I didn't think it would be possible to top the original Otherside, but this one comes close and does the original justice. If you loved the VS. EP like I did, please support some of my favorite independent hip hop artists and buy this EP that costs about as much as a sandwich at just under $6. Or at least preview it on iTunes and download the original VS. EP for free if you haven't already! The night that this dropped, it broke into the top 10 iTunes hip hop chart. That's a testament to the power of love for great hip hop right there. Peep the "Otherside A Cappella" below.

 Macklemore - Otherside (A Cappella)


Peace fam.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Album: Kno - Death Is Silent (2010)

Preview This!!
 
Damn this album is beautiful and I just needed to share it with you. On Death Is Silent, Kno proves once again that he is currently one of the best producers in hip hop in terms of his music's creativity, uniqueness, and overall quality. You may have heard of Kno before because he is one of the founding members of the hip hop group the CunninLynguists, where he first displayed his production and rapping talent. Since that CunninLynguists debut album, Will Rap For Food,  Kno's music has become increasingly more refined, mixing in an emotional quality that few other producers can create.

Death Is Silent is Kno's first full length solo LP and he shows his mastery of hip hop music by making a cohesive album in terms of both theme and sound. The album's topic revolves around death and it's profound impact on life. The overall feel of the music is just what you'd expect; morbid with an emphasis on the hardening of your nerves in the face of death and father time. Kno produced the entirety of the album and raps the majority of its verses with an awesome cast of notable featured artists including Tonedeff, Substantial, Tunji, and his two partners in the CunninLynguists, Natti, and co-founding member Deacon The Villain. The album has a heavy focus on samples about death, which Kno skillfully builds the concept of each track around. He also uses subtleties like sound effects to create a layered effect on tracks. For example, track 5 "Rhythm Of The Rain" uses rain to give the track extra volume and track 4 "La Petite Mort (Come Die With Me)" uses birds chirping in the chorus to add to the tracks imagery. Also, I'm really digging the vocal samples, which range from obscure quotes about death to creative uses of rap lines from Andre 3000 and Kanye West.

I'd say the production is always my favorite thing about Kno's music, but the lyrics of this album should not be overlooked. In fact, you can read all the lyrics to each song at the CunninLynguists bandcamp page along with the ability to stream every song. My lyrical highlight from the album is on track 8 "Graveyard" where Kno shows you his "wordsmithery" with a stream of witty referencing punchlines like "I Vincent Van Gogh hard in the paint. What gave you the impression that I can't? Many have tried, most of them failed. Trap or Die, Oregon Trail." And as always, Deacon The Villain brings his A-game with complex versus that take some time to digest.

My only wish is that more artists were this talented and could execute like Kno can. I HIGHLY encourage you to download my previous compilation of DJ Kno's Best production work if you like what you hear.

~Enjoy la musica~ 
 
-Filet Of Sole

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Album: Skyzoo & !llmind - Live From The Tape Deck (2010)

I've been very selective about my new hip hop these days because I only have time to bring you the best of the best when I post. Here is an album that dropped two days ago. As soon as I heard the first single, I could tell what was going down. I mean I love Skyzoo as an MC and I love !llmind as a producer, but to synthesize like they do here is downright dope! They created a solid project from start to finish that gives the listener a reason to do a rewind several times. A straight up beats-and-rhymes-focused cassette-tape-influenced banger for the 2010 era.

In Live From The Tape Deck, Skyzoo takes his lyrics to the next level, as he seems to have matured in his style since he started releasing mixtapes in 2005. In the video for their first single "Frisbees" below, Sky spits bar after bar after bar with a superbly unique flow and meter. For example, start the song and follow along: 
"I guess how I set it off will determine how I finish 'em, finishing this is fine, the finish line is the scrimmage, scrimmaging a design, and designing this by the witness, witness it from the side, as I'm drifting up out of the ending. Ending another Stanza, by beginning you explaining, explaining an explanation and waiting while you arrange it, arranging it around, and I'm astound' from where you place it, the placement was out of place, just try to keep it adjacent, to the couplet, tercet, quatrain, cinquain, sestet, septet, octave and in plain..."


His use of the poetic terminology of stanza structure was the first thing to really catch my ear. I mean what other rapper that you know has half of those words in their vocabulary, not just the ability to conjure them up in the old tried-and-true hip hop tradition of counting in your song (think Snoop Dogg à la Nuthin' But A "G" Thang). Needless to say, the rest of the album doesn't disappoint in the lyrical department.

!llmind produced the entirety of the album and boy was that a good decision. When a producer has the ability to do every track on the album, automatically they are concerned about making the project cohesive. !llmind wanted to keep this tape sounding analog, but in a 2010 sorta way. You can be the judge, but I think he did an amazing job. The beats are dark, grimy, and occasionally switch up in style midway through the song which is totally a refreshing touch. You know this album was meant for true hip hop fans and not radio play.

!llmind (above)

Enjoy fellow hip hop heads.

-FiletOfSole

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