Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Paul's Cousin "Str8 Forward" (Official Music Video)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Paul's Cousin - Get In Gear

Hello all - I haven't blogged with Blood Is One since late 2014. I may make a few returns.

Paul's Cousin is a hip-hop project out of New Jersey, spearheaded by Al Miller, a friend of mine. The production to "Get In Gear" is exceptional - the horns are tough and the soul symbols are aptly done. The group is made up completely of Al and his cousins, Nitty, Dubb and Haze Brown and a collaboration with Drone Beats, a longtime producer and collaborator.

I really liked Donny Hathaway's sample in this and the layering of horns is always a plus in hip-hop (horns go together in hip-hop like birds and bees). Blood Is One has been inactive since 2014 but I hope to keep it active as long as Al sends me material. Best of luck, man!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Yelawolf Channels Johnny Cash "Till It's Gone"

It's been over a month since I last posted to Blood Is One and, no, music has neither dried up nor have I lost interest in posting here. In fact, quite the opposite - some really good music has been coming out. Let's look at some of it!

Yelawolf is a big, big fan of Johnny Cash. He even has a tattoo of Johnny Cash's wedding photo on the side of his head. As an iconoclastic mixed Native American/white rapper from the heart of Alabama, it certainly makes sense. Johnny Cash isn't the only country singer of significance but he is arguably the most significant country singer of all time. Cash's talent was so raw that he could take damn near any song of any genre and make the best version of it anyone ever heard.

Johnny played around with sound on his last album, Ain't No Grave. There's plenty of sound effects going on there - the dragging of chains and funeral organs. Johnny had one hell of a producer on board with him, Rick Rubin, but Rubin's work was so simple and played perfectly with Johnny's vocals. Check it out:

Yelawolf's fondness for Johnny Cash has yet to be fully realized until now - he has alot more creative freedom than he did when he was starting out. "Til It's Gone" utilizes sounds right out of the Johnny Cash handbook with handclaps that are almost reminiscent of Santa Esmerelda.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Music To Check Out And What To Do With Blood Is One

When I started this blog, I figured that I'd make a site dedicated to the music I grew up on - hip-hop. I love rap and have for a very long time. The DangerDoom record, a collaboration between MF Doom and Danger Mouse, is probably one of my favorite records of all time.

Needless to say, it was hard to keep up. If you look at the history of this site, you'll see that I haven't posted since back in December and the posts were sporadic even before that. I love rap, I really do, but I have been having one hell of a hard time getting back in to it these last few years. Maybe I'm getting older and the reality of life has made me grow up from the nonsensical foolishness of backpack rap to the nihilism of gangsta rap. Maybe what's coming out now just isn't inspiring.

Anyways, I'm still listening to music nonetheless and do feel the need to write about it. So here goes.

I found the Sunshine Reggae Podcast on iTunes. I will be honest - besides Bob Marley, his son Damian Marley and Elephant Man, I haven't listened to a whole lot of reggae. Sunshine Reggae is really impressive. I didn't expect a lot of the songs in there, especially Inner Circle's "Bad Boys," which you would probably know as the theme from "Cops."

I can see why Snoop Dogg felt the compulsion to change his name from Dogg to Lion - reggae provides the rhythm and lyricism of hip-hop without many of the overtones of nihilism and hopelessness that permeate out of the American ghetto. Snoop actually had something to do with my exploring reggae - I found his duet with Eddie Murphy very enjoyable, as did I Nas' brilliant collaboration with Damian Marley. Here's the best song from that one:

One of my friends said that Damian Marley > Nas on that album and I don't disagree. However, Damian did challenge Nas to rise above his normal gangsta rap persona. He actually became a poet on "Patience" and the verse "I've held real dead bodies in my arm, felt their body grow cold, why are we born in the first place if this is how we gotta go" has stuck with me since the first time I heard it, especially in the aftermath of my own fiancé passing away. I've listened to a lot of Nas and that sounded a whole lot more grown up than the Nas in "Thief's Theme."

Monday, December 9, 2013

R.I.P. Byrdie

Originally posted at So Much Good Music: 

 While most of the world was talking about the loss of actor Paul Walker, something happened that was, for me at least, closer to home. I'm connected to a lot of the Seattle hip-hop world and my work with Seaspot Magazine was probably the most seminal and important work I have done. It brought me the connections I have now. I had to double check a few times to make sure the horrible news was true and my old connections confirmed it.

 Seattle hip-hop legend Byrdie left us.

 It really pains me to hear that we have lost him and that his career did not explode as it should have. When he launched his debut album, I wrote a snarky review for a school newsletter that was sarcastic about his work. I was young and ignorant and disrespectful, as one would expect. Byrdie deserves a whole lot more than that. At the time, in 2004, Byrdie was going against the flow. Seattle hip-hop had not taken off as Macklemore has made it do - he put quite a bit of confidence in to the art and really broke new ground.


 Resources on Byrdie on the internet are unfortunately scarce. The Stranger wrote that he died from complications from a long bout of cancer. Here is one of his most famous songs, which I was able to find after alot of searching:


 A little bit more - here is him with Reggie Watts:

  Another link - him on KUBE 93. Notice that the announcer are saying they had "never" done a "local cut" from an artists before, back in 2001. Sir Mix A Lot was the only rapper to break through to the mainstream world from Seattle. Before Macklemore, being a rap artist from Seattle was like trying to push a massive boulder up a hill. If you have newer music or more information I could post, please let me know. Rest in peace, brother.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aquino - All My Life

Dyllyn Greenwood is a budding Seattle rapper and filmmaker and seems to be grinding his filmmaking teeth a little more than his rapping teeth of late. Everything here has classic rap video in it. Dyllyn's circular camera shots are classic in old school rap videos and the "on the street" shots of all the members flow together well and lend authenticity.

While not nearly as deep, alot of it reminds me of the video for Jake One's "Home." Aquino is the third rapper in this video. Everyone else is folks in his circle. I look forward to hearing more.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Thaddeus David Review!!

I have a new review up at

ART-Thaddeus-David-Moor-Than-Less-SCP02-590x590My first thought, Thaddeus sounds a lot like Drake, if I had to make a comparison. Part of the strongest parts of Thaddeus' MoorThanLess album is that it has a very mixtape sound, with freestyle verses over fast handclaps and sound effects. After the harder hitting intro track "VADO," Thaddeus really channels Drake with "RFC" (the beat even sounds a whole lot like Drake's "Pound Cake," complete with atmospheric synths). That general sound continues on with "Prodigy" - Thaddeus is providing some good vibe music with head nodding lyrics. That's not to say that MoorThanLess is backpack rap -"SBOE" could easily become regular rotation at the Nectar. Thaddeus' lyrics aren't really exceptional but they are suitable and his production is above average. For a newcomer, Thaddeus is exceptionally good at creating a sound that blends with one another well - "Personal Party" continues the Drake like atmosphere sound. Over, MooreThanLess is a really good start in what will likely become a healthy and robust wave of new rappers from the Seattle rappers - the sort of creative output that New York and LA have always enjoyed. Thaddeus has already gained recognition from Respect Magazine for this project - we'll see where it goes.