Sunday, November 30, 2008

Soulcrate Music: Cardboard Cut Outs No.1

In case you haven't yet heard of Soulcrate Music they consist of 2 MC's, Dirt Dee and A Def, along with their dj, DJ Absolute. Hailing from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Soulcrate proves that music has no boundaries and does not discriminate. I did a Grieves interview back in August and got a lot of good feedback and praise for it, including props from none other than Soulcrate. At the time I figured they were just another "dime a dozen band" wanting an interview. 2 months later at the Grieves, Mac Lethal and Soulcrate concert I realized that they're far from my initial thoughts of them. The connection from their music to my ear drums was instantly made. Their live show was amazing! That says a lot because providing a solid live show can be challenging at times for certain bands. Their 9 song EP "Cardboard Cut Outs No.1" provides great music that you can listen to any time. Which for me is key. I have a lot of music I just listen to when I'm in certain moods but "Cardboard Cut Outs No.1" is far from being flat and one-note. The first song of the album "Cardboard Intro" helps set up and build the momentum for the rest of the album with a soulful-esque instrumental. The second song "Border Line, Sort Of Live" is what will get you hooked on these guys! With the line "Border line, sort of live, get together organize", it's definitely the most catchy hook on the album. The 3rd song "Rap Music From The Middle Of Nowhere" helps you see where these guys are coming from and establishes an understanding with them and their surroundings. The 5th track "Save A Horse Kill A Cowboy" featuring Mac Lethal, shows off these guys' sense of humor. Mac Lethal shows that they're humble and willing to make fun of themselves with the line "The bottom like a Sioux Falls music fan that didn't see Soulcrate record until they opened up for 311". The 7th track "Novocaine Rain" is definitely my favorite song. When I first heard the song I thought it sounded eerily familiar and then I realized it was produced by Grieves. I heard the beat a few months back on Grieves' Myspace page and I'm glad Soulcrate chose to use it because it fits the lyrics perfectly. This album will definitely be a welcome surprise, especially if you like underground hip hop. You can check Soulcrate out on their myspace page or their website and be sure to pick up a copy of "Cardboard Cut Outs No.1"!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Grieves- I Ate Your Soul Live

So I went to the Grieves, Mac Lethal and Soulcrate show last night at the Catalyst. They all put on such good performances. Soulcrate really surprised me with their sound. I have an interview with them in the coming weeks so be sure to check back for that! Definitely check them out for sure! Anyways here's a video of my hommie Grieves and Dirt Dee doing the song "I Ate Your Soul".

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nice & Smooth- Sometimes I Rhyme Slow

I've had a few interviewees flake out on me recently so here's another video for you readers to bridge the gap in between my posts. Hopefully I'll have some more interviews for you shortly. A little background info on Nice & Smooth in case you're a novice hip hop listener and haven't heard of these guys before: The group consists of Greg Nice and Smooth B. In 1989 they both appeared on the song "Pimpin' Ain't easy" by Big Daddy Kane. Smooth B also wrote songs for Bobby Brown's debut album "King Of Stage". This song, "Sometimes I Rhyme Slow" by Nice & Smooth is one of my all time favorites. The songs beat samples Tracy Chapman's song "Fast Car". Nice & Smooth definitely does Tracy's song justice. The only problem I have is with the video. I understand what their intentions were with the video but I think it kind of distracts from the song. Anyways, beautiful beat, top notch lyrics and perfect flow.

Sometimes I Rhyme Slow - Nice & Smooth

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Genelec & Memphis Reigns- Chicken Soup

I love all forms of hip hop. From MC Hammer, to Tupac, to Slug and from hip hop with an added pop to intelligent and meaningful rhymes. Genelec & Memphis Reigns being more intelligent and meaningful. I discovered this duo (that hails from my hometown, Santa Cruz, Cali) about a year ago and have loved them since. Unfortunately their not around anymore! "Chicken Soup" being the first song I heard of theirs and to this day is still my favorite. So give it a listen and be sure to check out their CD "Scorpion Circles".

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grieves: 88 Keys And Counting

It's been a while since I've anticipated a CD release like this one and Grieves' sophomore effort "88 Keys And Counting" does not disappoint. This time around Grieves teams up with producer Budo and by the sound of it I think it was a good decision. Recorded in Laporte, Colorado at one of the best studios on this side of the globe. At first listen you can definitely tell that this young man has already matured in his musical prowess. From his delivery to his voice Grieves just seems to be one step closer (to stardom, not the Linkin Park song)! 88 Keys And Counting is 100% more well rounded as a whole. With a few instrumental tracks (Life In The Hive, The March and Exiting The Hive) that you can vibe to when you feel like sitting back and relaxing. With a lullaby esque beat on the song "Kings" (an instant favorite of mine), Grieves sings " You don't need to fight my off, I'm well on my way. Gonna leave these cobblestones and matchsticks in the back of my brain". Grieves manages the beat so well on this song with pauses and breaks that help build up the song perfectly. You're guaranteed to hit the replay button over and over on your mp3 player. One of the reason's why Grieves succeeds in being such a good MC is that he's very easy to relate to and he does a good job on making that a possibility. "Life In The Hive" (one of the instrumental tracks I mentioned before) is all in all amazing. A song that you wanna put on when you're having a bad day, so you can really feel what you're feeling. I don't normally like instrumental tracks but this one is going to get it's fair share of play time in my pocket. On the track "Identity Cards" featuring Luckyiam, wait what? Luckyiam?! Two of my favorite dudes on the same track, I already knew this song was gonna be good without even hearing it. Grieves spits the line "I don't know what hyphy means dude and neither do my friends" and "But I do like drinkin' and shoppin' on the internet and tryin' to get Lucky to jump me into the Living Legends". Luckyiam rips up the track with his classic flow, "A good 16 is what I'm known for but a great 19 is my thing on tour, I lead her up on my bus, best believe I score, lucky lust, lucky bus, Lucky he's a whore". From the beat to the lyrics on the song "Lockdown" Grieves manages to produce a different kind of sound than what you'd expect of him. A female voice steps in and delivers a line, "Break me out of here, I'm freezing" and adds a harmonizing and chilling hum in the background. On track 15 (the second to last track) the song "Cloud Man", Grieves "steps out of the box" even more so than on the track "Lockdown". He sings his way through the beat rather than rapping over it. Lucky for him he's got a great sounding voice either way! Grieves told me that this is one of the songs he's "more proud of" and I can see why. The track adds versatility to him as a rapper, singer, song writer and beat master!
Also be sure to check out the bonus song (provided on a drop card) "The Black Clover Posse Cut" aka "Clover Boys", featuring Mac Lethal & Soulcrate. "Hey, Hey, Hey!" (words I've been finding myself saying in random situations throughout the day). Overall this CD is a great piece of art. It's the type of CD that not only grows on you but consumes you! I'm definitely excited to hear the CD evolve in my ears through time. 88 Keys And Counting coming to ear drums near you November 12th (I'm dubbing this as perfect "winter" music). Be sure to check out my man Grieves on his myspace page where you can also pre-order the new CD "88 Keys And Counting".