Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"The Dig Up" - Hosted by DJ Evil Dee

I have to be completely honest, I hate the neo concept of what a "mixtape" is.  It's evolved into fully formed albums with concepts, art and high profile artists. Now they're used as albums to promote albums and blah, blah, blah.  (old man rant... get off my lawn... it's my football now!) 

That being said, I realized I was at point where I needed to either adapt to the current biz model or just get left behind.  (like the major labels not understanding the digital age and treating their consumer base as an enemy)  So, here I am at a point realizing I had a collection of work, but none of my current projects were close to being finished.  I had tracks that I did with other artists and joints that didn't necessarily fit on any of my current projects and instead of letting these them collect digital dust, I decided to put them together.  Oddly, I discovered that when putting these tracks together, they may not have fit into what I was current working on, but together they all worked as a nice comp/mixtape.  And being that I'm from a different era of "mixtape," I decided to take it to the decks.

If I was going to make a mixtape, I wanted it to be a mixtape that I would want to hear and be a nod to the era I came up from.  As I was in the early stages of compiling this I was listening to "Soundbombing," my old B-Mello and Beatjunkie tapes and studying the vibe/tone to wrap my head around the whole concept.  What made Soundbombing so dope?  Well... you had a DJ like Evil Dee on the decks and hosting the mixtape laying in the cuts building the mix like a how a DJ would kill a live set. (C'mon KICK IT!)  I then decided, why not shoot for the stars and see if I could get someone I've looked up to for SO long on the project. I contacted his manager and...

(see iphone convo) 
The moment my jaw dropped.

This was a moment where I honestly tried to be as cool as possible, but found myself on the verge of screaming like a little girl watching a "One Direction" music video.  I was sitting at my desk at work with my boss behind me trying to keep composure as my 13 year old Bootcamp fanboy was bubbling up. 

Once that was locked... it was on.  So, I started digging into old session files, demos and completed tracks to start compiling the mix and connect all of the dots.  What came together was not only a collection of b-sides and collab tracks, but some new music made just for this and previews of upcoming releases.  In many ways "The Dig Up" is like a audio resume highlighting my emceeing, DJing and production.  I hope you dig it, no pun.

Thanks to: Ryan Fresh, Corey Ball, Evil Dee, Luvva-J, Smoke, Dee Supreme, DL Orion, Josh G, Domingo, Wizdom, Ace-One, Just Another DJ, RA Scion, Heretic & SOS, Big Fletch, Po'Safe and everyone that helped compile this. 

There will be a limited edition release of this on cassette that will be following shortly.  (preorders available on the bandcamp site)  Till then...


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Proforms - Elroy Preston (EP)

A couple years ago The Proforms released their impressive debut "Atavism" that, when released, was easily one of the best LPs to come out that year.  In the short time after its release, we were greeted by releases from the group's members in the form of solo and group projects. Helping extend their branches like the blueprint Wu-Tang made in the 90s, The Proforms extended their brand with Cutcamp, BDK etc. 

As we were blessed with all of these additional projects, the ultimate question continued to be raised if they would ever follow up their debut. A year ago, it seemed like the answer would be "no" when Joe Harvey decided to move with his family to Korea.  It would appear that the nail was in the coffin for any future Proforms releases... but, it wasn't.  Before I knew it, Joe Harvey hit me up and said he was excited that they already had an EP finished. 

Say word? 

A short period of time passed and Joe let me hear the rough version of the project and it was EXACTLY the follow up that compliments "Atavism."  Seven cuts deep Joe, Skittz, Ace and Spoolz drop a better EP than most artists do in an ENTIRE album. 

The EP starts off with what was also their 1st single, "Here Come the...", which is like a war chant declaring they are BACK on the scene.  In it's short track listing, every track leads to the next one and compliments the one that plays before and after it. And before you know it, the exit interlude is playing and you're left exactly where you were after "Atavism" finished playing for the 1st time.  (wanting more) 

The Proforms easily have done it again. "The Elroy Preston EP" is here.

The Proforms (@theproforms)

Ace One (@ace_one_)
Joe Harvey (@proformjoe)
Skittz (@skittzformpro)
DJ Spoolz (@djspoolz)

Mastered By:  John W. Ripley for Ripley Recording

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dig These Records Ep. 3 (interview with Dawhud)

DJ Ian Head from DollaBin started up a podcast titled "Dig These Records" where he interviews DJs/beat-heads & music aficionados.  Recently he interviewed me and we talked about how I got into digging, the story behind "Battle Anybody" and how I discovered Bob James.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Early Excavation (pre Dig Up Mix)

Before "The Dig Up" drops on 4/22, check a mix of additional remixes, b-sides and collab cuts.  I realized while putting "The Dirty Tape" together I had more material than I thought and instead of leaving it out I decided to do a quick mixtape to wet your appetite. 

The "Early Excavation" features remixes I did of Black Moon, Nas, Method Man, Mobb Deep along with tracks I did with Mergence/Rhyme Commission, Dl Orion, Josh G and an unreleased track from the shelved Trans Atlantic project.

Shout out to Po Safe, Dee Supreme, Josh G, Corey Ball aka Just Be, Big Fletch and Dl. Orion.

Black Moon - How Many Emcees (Dawhud Remix)
Mergence feat. Dawhud - Foundation
Nas - Ain't Hard To Tell (Dawhud Remix)
Method Man - PLO Style (Dawhud Remix)
Josh G. feat. Dawhud - Fell The Vibe (original version)
Dl. Orion feat. Dawhd - Back to the Essence
Trans Atlantic - Say Yes
Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Pt 2 (Dawhud Remix)


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Dig Up aka The Dirty Tape (Hosted by DJ Evil D) Official Anouncement

The Dirty Tape cassette art
"The Dig Up"...  I've been dropping subtle hints here and there, but was keeping it on the low as I was putting it together.  (along with other projects) 

To put it simple... "The Dig Up" is going to be a collection of unreleased tracks, collabs, remixes and tracks I've produced for other artists.  The legendary DJ Evil Dee from Black Moon will be hosting and I'll be on the mix. 

C'mon KICK IT!!!

I honestly haven't been a fan of the "mixtape" game and concept, but I figured that this would be a dope compromise to wet people's appetite as I finish up what I have on deck.  This project consists of tracks recorded from when I just finished "Basement Sessions" to what I'm currently working on.  (some released, some shelved, some originally for other projects and some are the original versions of tracks released on other releases.) 

Hence the title...

"The Dig Up" aka "The Dirty Tape" will be available on 4/22 and there will be a limited edition cassette pressing to follow. 


DJ Evil Dee (hosting)
Jonwayne (Spacebound)
Josh G (production)
Domingo (production)
Dl.Orion (production)
RA Scion
Dee Supreme (production)
Big Fletch
Po Safe (production)
Just Be
Heretic & S.O.S.
Vintage Dope (Luvva-J & Ryan Fresh)
Prince Po
Moka Only

Till then...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Falling Down & DJ Spoolz - The R.I.P. EP

Today I was greeted with an email from DJ Spoolz about a project he dropped that I had no idea about.  Falling Down, producer for Killarmy and other Wu-Tang related projects, and DJ Spoolz, The Proforms, Ace-One etc., teamed up on a tribute instrumental EP titled "The R.I.P. EP".  This is not your average instrumental project, Falling Down lays down the instrumentals and DJ Spoolz layers in cuts from fallen artists like ODB, Biggie, Big L and Big Pun. 

The result... 10 joints of some seriously soulful Wu tinged beats with sharp cuts from Spoolz. Spoolz said they're currently debating re-releasing the project with emcees doing tributes over the instrumentals.  If that happens, I will be copping the joint, no doubt.  Regardless, this is a dope project worthy of a spin. 

Do the math...



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

RA Scion & Vox Mod - Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon

Last summer I randomly hit up RA with a batch of beats to see if he was interested in anything.  He had just released one of 2013's heavy rotation classics, "Adding to the Extra" with Todd Sykes, and wrote back saying he was currently working on a project that was going to be out in the fall that was blowing his mind.  I honestly was shocked that he was not only already working on another LP, but going to be releasing it shortly while I was still pumping "Adding to the Extra" in my car. 

November came and RA released "The Sickle & The Sword" with Rodney Hazard.  I wanted to go to the release party, but was unable and before I knew it... RA posted on Facebook that the two had parted ways due to what Q-tip coined as "Rule 4080".  Contracts, lawyers and all the bullshit in the middle made what RA referred to as the best project he worked on since "Tobacco Road", shelved, buried and pulled from all major online retailers.  In a last moment act of defiance, RA offered the entire project up for free from his website and honestly that's the only reason I was able to get my digital hands on it. 

It was rather bittersweet.  On one side, RA was getting more publicity and pulling a larger audience from the drama that unfolded, but on the other side his work was left in a pseudo limbo.  Should he abandon the project or move on?

RA decided to take the lemons life gave him and "paint that shit gold."  He took to social media and allowed people to remix the tracks to the album.  Quickly, he received submissions from numerous beatmakers, but  would he be able to construct a cohesive album that would rival "Sword"?  In the past, remix albums have had a tendency to fall flat compared to their source material as they fail to capture the true feeling and vibe of the original song or album.

The true art of a remix is to capture what was in the original song, make it your own and make it something new, refreshing or better.  When Pete Rock remixed "Shut 'Em Down", he was able to take an already dope Public Enemy song and turn it into a platform/statement that HE had arrived on the scene.

This obviously was something that was at the heart of RA's thinking when deciding what his next move was.  Traditionally working with one producer on each project, he needed to find an artist that was able to share his vision and rework "Sword" into a "Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon."  Enter Vox Mod. 

Now... although you could technically call this album a remix, it's more a reworking.  This is something different... re-imagined, redeveloped and reshaped. 

Before I was going to sit down and write out my review on this album, I wanted to give it a proper listen.  So, for my morning commute I decided that I wanted to listen to "Sword" & "Weapon" side by side.  I left for work in the early morning as the original album painted the dark sound scape while I drove into the darkness.  It was a dope album... I'm not going to lie.  RA had a GOOD reason to think he made a great album because IT WAS and IS a great album.  But as it finished and "Weapon" started, dawn broke.  As the remaining miles of my daily journey were finally greeted with light, so was RA's album.  Vox Mod's production built a lighter, fuller sound that seemed to give it the soul it needed to carry RA's message.

As I sat there, in my last few minutes of my commute, pulling up to work, I thought of how that observation was the perfect metaphor for RA's experience with this album. Through the darkness of this experience, he was able to come out on the other side and greet the light with a re-imagined work.  It truly is a "Sharper Weapon; Bigger Tool."


"Sharper Weapon; Bigger Tool" will be available March 18th.