Friday, August 30, 2013

CaliNovas and E-KO - I'm Trapped (Instrumental)

Thank you so much to CaliNovas for hollaing at me on Twitter - great work. Really feeling this beat. Stay at me, dawwwwg.

That Degrading Black Culture

This was originally posted over at Dagblog:

It seems like the proverbial shit has been hitting the fan a lot with American society  these days. I grew up in it at its best so I can tell you - at its height, living in America was generally so comfortable that it was easy to ignore things, to bury things and to put lingering problems to the side.
With the economic downturn, the election of Barack Obama and other factors, the American lifestyle itself seems to have changed. The way people behave and talk seems different - the tone is much more extreme than it ever was before.
And of course - what's the thing to hit the fan when America begins to unravel. Race. And with race of course comes pop culture - as Fox News reminded us today: 
Unknown Object
Good Lord, are they a mess. What on earth. You know, hundreds of years after Vikings landed on Greenland, I hear that Nordic death metal is seen as a problem too. Better get on that one, Fox. Watch in full:

Unknown Object

However ridiculous Fox News rightfully seems, there was some potent stuff in that segment. They brought out several black commentators - with exception, Fox usually likes to have generalizations about black people said by black people - who bemoaned the lyrics of Jay-Z on his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Jay-Z has been invited to the White House and has been close to President Barack Obama. I will honestly admit that it is tired and disappointing to hear Jigga rap about "squeezing Mack 11s like lemons" when he tries to market himself as this political figure or pseudo-Frank Sinatra at the same time.
But really, Fox acts as if Jigga and the rap world represent all of black America - and also as if black America itself is the only minority group in the country or even the only non-white group in the world and there isn't a diverse realm of Europeans, Middle Easterners, Asians, Hispanics, East Africans, Pacific Islanders and Native People who also have cultures and politics that might be worth talking about.
No, for Fox, it's all black all the time. Black people are only 12% of the population. Their stamp on culture, as I hope I illustrated above, is not very different from their white brethren. The obsessing that the folks at Fox do tells more about them - it definitely seems demented and deranged. Fox represents Middle America well because many in Middle America seem terrified, perplexed yet quite obsessed with black people.
There was a segment on MSNBC in which a white host showed what an absurd mess Fox has become. They had a big long talk about "white culture" and all the bad elements in it. I thought it might be good to do something like that.
Rap, and hip-hop even as a culture, has glorified violence. Despite his extensive philanthropic work, the very worst offender of all was probably Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, who himself was shot nine times and survived. Let's take a look at the sort of press photos he did when he was still selling millions of records: 
There are so many stereotypes being made real in that photo it's unreal. Curtis is pointing a firearm while wearing a doo-rag, a platinum cross and.... Luis Vuitton gun holsters? Geeez.....
It's not a positive image at all. It definitely sends the wrong message to impressionable youth. But wait? 
Oh, man, that's a former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, obviously glorifying violence.
Oh man, that's the former governor of California also glorifying violence. In a movie called The Terminator about a cyborg assassin from the future, no less.
Oh, look there? Who's that? It's one of the keynote speakers of the 2012 Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood. Almost all of his movies have him with a firearm - so apart from simply being a tool, there is obviously a level of glorification of guns going on with these white celebrities.
Maybe it's different because the glorification among rappers like 50 Cent represents gun violence, a result of degradation that doesn't occur in white districts. I mean right?
Well, this Fox segment did talk about "scantily clad" women in hip-hop, not just glorifying violence, which I guess is a serious problem. As Dehmu Greene, the black commentator they hired to talk bad about black people, says, it does show a disrespect for women that may be a reflection of black culture and illustrate a breakdown of the black family -
I am just so confused. I thought black culture was the problem. I thought hip-hop was an abnormally degrading genre of music that perpetuated degenerate behavior. Twenty year old white female musicians would never whore themselves.
Well, Juan Williams did talk about all the "tattooed thugs" that parade in black culture. I mean, I guess that's a serious problem in black America, right? Tattooed thugs?
Oh. My. God.
Given this new information, I'm expecting a new segment on Fox News, just to be fair and balanced. Call it "230 years after the Declaration of Independence, Some People View Miley Cyrus, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood As A Problem." Doesn't make sense, does it?
One person commentating here told me to "remember that other networks have 20 times more viewers in the evening news slot than Fox News."
Indeed, it's not the Bush years anymore and most people don't connect with the folks at Fox - who do seem far more extreme than they did ten years ago - but what they are putting on air does speak to some people. Prejudice towards black people, which is the last dying refuge of old America, is really built on something being exceptionally awful about them. The real world, which is hitting the fan, isn't really like that at all. Fox is feeding us this toilet water because it's what their viewers want for comfort. If their prejudices aren't real, than what is?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Help For The Family Of DJ Nemesis

A friend of mine, Damian "DJ Nemesis," has a bad family situation going on. His cousin, Nani, is drifting away due to cancer. This is a shame and we should all help him and his family to recover the best they can. Nani is fundraising for her situation on the website They've already raised $370 since I posted about this initially on the Blood Is One Facebook page. Help her out.

The Rock The Bells Mixtape

Fresh, new music featuring Talib Kweli, Big KRIT and Slick Rick.

Macklemore Before He Blew

I knew there was an Oldominion Macklemore track out there. Here it is. This is pretty damn different from what people are probably used to from him but still pretty damn good. The Gigantics came out back in 2008. When I first heard it in 2008, I didn't know it was Macklemore or even who Macklemore was. Given how successful he's been, it's certainly a gem. I'm not sure he will rap this unpolishedly again - he's big time now.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Goodie Mob - Special Education

I really like this song and really hate it. Janelle Monae's chorus is beautiful, the video concept is awesome and it is great to see Cee-Lo spitting bars again, but that beat. Ugh. Can Dub-Step go away?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Eminem's Blonde Again?

I may need someone else to tell me what they think about all this. Eminem, of course, is known for his blonde 'do - it's part of what made him famous. I thought that his going back to his natural hair color was a good visual signal that he had grown up a bit but for not. The concept of Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a return to form and to the Eminem that we all know and that became famous in the first place.

I'm not so sure how well that could work out - I didn't really like "Berzerk" from the first few soundbites I heard (I wrote on the Blood Is One Facebook page that it sounded like a feminized Beastie Boys), "Not Afraid" was far more powerful. We'll have to wait until the full length song is out.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP 2!

If Eminem has proved anything, it's that you can come back and go back where you were before:

Moments ago, a Beats By Dre commercial aired during the MTV Video Music Awards in support ofEminem and his new album Marshall Mathers LP 2. Look for this project to drop on November 5th. Expect his new single ‘Bezerk’ dropping Tuesday.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

First Class: DJax

Dominic Ezekiel Jackson, AKA DJax, is a friend of mine. I strongly support his work and have posted it as much as I can on this website.

Dominic has been travelling quite a bit right now - he recorded most of the Cloud 9 Tape in the Seattle area but he is back in California right now, while much of this video about his grinding is in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Good luck and good looks, Dominic, my friend. Keep it going.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nightmares On Wax - Feelin' Good

A while back, Nightmares On Wax put out an album put out a really solid album called Carboot Soul. This is also just so solid - it sounds as if this project is designed to be rapped over. Any talented rappers - this is your chance.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wiz Khalifa - Look Into My Eyes

I'll admit I never actually listened to a full Wiz Khalifa - this is the first full track I've listened to. There's definitely more raw talent but I can really feel this.

Monday, August 19, 2013

For The Church And Wrestling, It's Nonchalantly Gay

I originally posted this at Dagblog.

One of the really amazing things about Pope Francis rebuking homophobia was how nonchalant he was about it. There was no huge press conference or media campaign with long explanations about why being gay was now okay - in fact, the Pope seemed to secede his authority on the issue altogether - "Who am I to judge?"
We have a possibly equally strange rebuke of homophobia in the form of professional wrestler Darren Young. After being asked by a reporter if "a gay wrestler could be successful in the WWE," Young simply laughed and said "Absolutely. Look at me. I'm a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I'll tell you right now, I'm gay. And I'm happy. I'm very happy." Here's the video from The Young Turks:

Now I disagree with the Young Turks folks a little bit - he wasn't totally nonchalant. The way he said it, he certainly seemed at least pretty nervous - but not nervous enough to keep him from coming out of the closet in an off the cuff interview.
As you can see in the video, the WWE, despite being an obviously macho organization that has stereotyped gays in the past, said they completely support him and hope to help support acceptance programs in the future. So there you go! Not bad at all, right? With cases of 'roid rage, wrestlers like Mick Foley admitting to having brain damage, etc., professional wrestling - which is a form of entertainment much smarter and entertaining than it gets credit for - has much more serious problems than who gender certain individuals prefer to sleep with.
The fact that Young is not just in the WWE but black also is significant. The African American community is at least stereotypically hostile to gays though I am really not sure how true that stereotype is (just like all stereotypes).
Young in action with a fabulous hairdo:
We're quickly coming to the point where this is not an issue at all - where all consensual sexual relationships between adults remain exactly that and not a place for judgment. We have much more serious issues in this world.

Dark Time Sunshine - Run

I never really listened to Dark Time Sunshine at length but I'm well aware of how incredible and brilliant Onry Ozzborn's rapping is when he's at his fullest. He sounds excellent on this project - the production is gorgeous. I think I'd actually listen to it without the vocals even.


WORLD PREMIERE: Sonny Bonoho - Concubine Juicy

This is just straight brilliance. If you don't notice, that is indeed JFK Ninjaface in a Samurai sword battle with Mr. Sonny Bonoho. Sonny has actually been in Seattle area rap for a long, long time and I'm glad to see that he is seriously stepping things up.

You know - with guys like the RZA and Wu-Tang Clan, Asian culture has always been a part of hip-hop but you never really saw the genuine article until now. Great job, Sonny!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Calling Out Pauly D

There was an article recently in Gawker about the most highly paid DJs. What was saddest about it was how much money they really make. 

Pauly D made $13 million last year for playing other people's music at parties. Most normal people, on the other hand, are struggling to feed your family while doing work that actually impacts other people's lives positively. And they say our economic system isn't funky. 

When I posted it, a friend of mine from the Pacific Islands called Pauly D out - my friend DJ Nemesis is based on the Pacific Island of Guam. The island's not wealthy and my bro isn't making $13 million a year but he is fully confident that he is better than Pauly D in a DJ battle.

If you're reading this, Pauly, prove you're worth 13 mill. What have you got to lose? Holla at me at and I'll do my best to help make the battle possible.

Mos Def - Water No Get Enemy

I love Mos Def - now Yasiin Bey - but my Gosh is he a frustrating artist. He hasn't really put out a solid album since 1999 with Black On Both Sides. Most of his music has been performances and appearances here or there, usually with him being pretty darn stoned and otherwise not in to his own music. He seems a bit more interested in his film career, which honestly isn't that great. The best film he's been involved in has been was Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was exceptionally good but more from a filmmaking perspective than an acting one.

Despite Yasiin's lack of hard effort, nuggets of goodness really crystallize. I have to love that he would perform Fela Kuti's work at all, much less with a full band. Good look.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Out Of Body Experience

JFK/Ninja Face of Grayskul and Th3rdz performing:

Djax - Daze

Update - So it looks like Dominic played out the duration on releasing his tracks, then his mixtape and then this video. The video is by Dyllyn Greenwood, a friend of mine and one of the man behind the Neema interview we did hear. This is quality stuff - alot of positive energy from DJax.


Mos Def and DJ Honda - Magnetic Fields

I was talking to a friend of mine on Twitter and the subject of DJ Honda came up. Honda and Mos Def collaborated back in the late 90s - they put some brilliant music together.

My friend asked what has become of Honda - It turns out that DJ Honda is actually still active. He put out an entire collaboration in 2009 that had Fred Durst, EPMD, Dilated Peoples and, yes, the Mighty Mos on it. Here goes:


Kendrick Lamar Disses EVERYBODY - Epic Rap Battle

Battling is good and all of that - just remember that it can go too far.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tesla Boy - Rebecca

I was cruising through music videos on YouTube and I found this electronic act from Russia called Tesla Boy. That's definitely a Russian name but the music isn't stereotypically Russian at all.

It's brilliant actually. This is the best one I found, "Rebecca." Tesla Boy has 49 songs up on YouTube and it's some of the most stellar, talented electronic music I have ever heard. Congrats to the man behind it. Total brilliance.


 Soooo good. Wow.

Grayskul - Zenith Premiere!

JFK is one of my favorite rappers - I talk about him very frequently here. JFK got his starts with Grayskul. As a whole, I think Grayskul has actually released at least half a dozen albums - most of them released independently through JFK and his partner Onry Ozzborn's own pockets, if I'm not mistaken. Deadlivers and Bloody Radio were the only ones released through a major label.

There hasn't been any release of any kind from Grayskul since 2007, when they put out Facefeeder and then Bloody Radio. JFK's done Th3rdz and his solo thing and so has Onry. Six years is a long time, however, and I have definitely missed the duo. "Zenith," the title track, definitely seems worth the wait. The production is much better than their previous two albums - it really sounds like they are going for the epic sound that they've been capable of. Congratulations to Onry and Jeff for their work - I can't wait to hear more.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review Trifecta Part Three: Europa Report

Switching up with the final part of the Review Trifecta. The final installment is a film instead of a record. If you plan on watching this movie, beware of spoilers. I didn't really know how to review this movie without dropping a few. Sorry.

It's the big question - Are we alone?
This question gets asked directly in the movie Europa Report, which I saw over the weekend. I'm not currently rolling in the money but I did dish out $7 to see it online through Google Play. I was so impressed by the movie that I rewatched it several times - until I had worn out the rental limits. I hope to own the movie when it is released on DVD - it's that good.
The plot surrounds a privately funded mission (it's subtlely said that NASA and other state run space programs had really dropped the ball on exploration) to the moon of Europa, a moon of the massive gas planet Jupiter that is suspected to be carrying a large ocean. Usually, wherever we find water, we find life and finding life elsewhere in the universe could help dull down alot of our species' anxiety about our strange, lonely place in the cosmos.
The actors in Europa Report aren't well known but their performance is so genuine. When a readout shows that simple algae is on the surface of Europa, one of the astronauts looks almost stunned with himself as he says, "We did it." Camera shots of the ocean below Europa's icey crust look just like any large body of water we're used to here. 
Finally, at the end (I did warn about spoilers) the astronauts really come in to contact with the life that inhabits Europa. As the ship, which may be advanced but not really quite equipped for a trip so far, begins to collapse in to Europa's massive oceans - the life that inhabits this moon shows itself.
It makes a whole lot of sense - Earth has a few locales of life that lives without direct exposure to the sun, at the very bottom of the ocean. The writers seem to suggest that the massive planet of Jupiter provides a great deal of heat for this moon. The emotional impact is very high - the woman in charge of the Europa One operation tears up as she expresses that the crew on the ship, who lost several members in the process, made the most impactful discovery in human history and by simply discovering the equivalent of marine life and algae elsewhere in the solar system, changed the game in which human beings think about themselves in the universe.
There are a couple flaws - Europa apparently has perfect gravity, which isn't really explained or explored. Also, as they pass the moon, the narrator illustrates that going past the moon is the farthest any human being has ever gone in the solar system. Even if a private independent company did this, it doesn't seem likely that anyone would ever opt for putting a man or woman all the way on Europa before ever exploring our nearest neighbor.
Likewise, after watching, I couldn't help but think how much more impactful this would have been as a miniseries or TV show on PBS or somewhere similar. It ends abruptly and one just has to imagine how average people on earth must have responded.
Discoveries like what occurs in this hypothetical movie would turn the world upside down. I've followed the topic alot - many creationist websites argue that the lack of any evidence of life off of earth validates that God created this earth for man. One has to wonder why God would create an empty galaxy alongside but that may be beside the point. Such a discovery would make the universe more comprehensible and change the sense we have of our own existence.
Science fiction isn't an easy genre - if one just wanted to make a successful film, a crime drama or romantic comedy would be easier. It's easy for science fiction to seem goofy and to lack real emotional impact. Director Sebastian Cordero broke that trend - Europa Report is realistic, terrifying and moving. No easy task.

Review Trifecta Part Two: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

I'm not sure what pushed me to get Daft Punk's new album - . I love some of the songs from their album Discovery but I'm not a huge fan. Piracy or online buying is more common than owning a hard copy of an album - it was certainly out of the ordinary to buy a physical copy of Random Access Memories.

Whatever it was, I'm glad I did. The centerpiece of the album by far is "Georgio By Moroder." Words can't quite express how amazing this song really is.

If you don't know, Georgio Moroder is a musician who helped to produce the music for films such as Scarface. His work on Scarface is his best - the theme works on its own as one of the first great electronic themes and is completely listenable even when not watching the film itself.

There is an effect where Moroder layers the main synthesizer loop in the Scarface theme with a couple keyboard notes and Daft Punk appears to mimick this on "Georgio By Moroder." That's followed by a live bass and drum solo and then a keyboard solo and then more drums. Then all the instruments come together in a symphony led by a guitar solo. The song is layered with Moroder telling his life story and clocks in at literally nine minutes! It's pretty incredible - it's the work of a serious rock band and not just an electronic duo.

If that's not striking enough, Pharrell Williams (yes, Pharrell of the Neptunes) springs up on this album on two songs - "Get Lucky" and "Lose Yourself To Dance." "Get Lucky" is the first single and you're sure to hear it blaring out of car radios or bumping at clubs and parties. Pharrell's lyrics are mature and advanced - he is a much stronger singer now than he was when he was part of the Neptunes. I liked "Get Lucky" more than "Lose Yourself To Dance" but I do appreciate the latter - it's amazing how Daft Punk, which became famous with mindless dance songs like "Around The World," are now able to synergize and create serious pop music.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

DJax - The Cloud 9 Tape

I've shared the work of my friend Dominic several times before - well, here it is again. Dominic is offering The Cloud 9 Tape through for any suggesting price - that means whatever you personally see fit. Pretty good deal.


Friday, August 9, 2013

June G. - Young God

I posted alot of June G. when I started this project about two years ago. He is still doing it. Support him.


More Kenan Bell!

Kenan Bell is a genius. A big, integral part of hip-hop is using music that has often gone before as a canvass for one's own poetry. Kenan understands this very well - better than most - and has often used music that is definitely not typically affiliated with rap and hip-hop. The backdrop for this song was Moondog's 1969 song "Stamping Ground." And yes, this song was used in The Big Lebowski.

 Just for fun, here is the original song he used:


Great stuff, Kenan. It's great to have you as a friend.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review Trifecta Part One: Th3rdz - This, That & Th3rdz

Over the last few months, as I've become involved again in the NW hip-hop scene, I've acquired some new music. I figured it would be a good idea to share my ideas and thoughts about the music I've acquired in some short reviews.

I know the guys in Th3rdz, at least two of them, casually. I've listened to all three since they came out. JFK I have interviewed a handful of times. I do know their music history and that is what makes this project so interesting. The last collaboration between Candidt and JFK was "Paranoid," where Candidt helped on a chorus "I'm so sick having issues, boy, paranoid," and "I think they fucking with me, boy, cause I'm paranoid." The video had JFK banging his head against the wall and screaming at a lightbulb. Meanwhile, JFK worked with Xperience, the third part of Th3rdz, on an entire album called Facefeeder with his Grayskul teammate Onry Ozzborn.

All the work these guys have done with one another is on the rough side - not gangsta rap but most certainly some form of horrorcore - the hip-hop equivalent of heavy metal. JFK, the most seasoned rapper in Th3rdz, has definitely been somewhere in the horrorcore realm for most of his rap career.

Th3rdz isn't any of that. Once all three of them are together, JFK, Candidt and Th3rdz have all teamed together to make one of the most pop-friendly hip-hop records from the Northwest aside from Macklemore. With a clean hook of "This is your favorite song" and a clean hook by Candidt, "Favorite Song" is obviously and effort at radio/MTV stardom.

Meanwhile, none of the rest of the songs are rough in any way either. "Hustle Harder" and "Work" send a pretty positive message toward young people of moving forward while not letting others game them. "Boobiewho" and "Be Yourself" are smile inducing tracks about sex and relationships that show more courtship than the frustration that JFK's solo album Building Wings On The Way Down exemplified. The guest list is pretty small too - reduced to only local superstars like Sonny Bonoho, Sleep of Oldominion and Geologic of Blue Scholars.

Everyone in Th3rdz is Oldominion fam - a super network of rappers that encompass twenty plus artists in the Seattle and Portland areas. It would be really amazing to see an Oldominion effort take off in even a quarter of the way Macklemore did. Th3rdz is certainly a step in that direction.

Kenan Bell's BLK

Kenan Bell is extremely talented and a quick search through this website's content will show that I have basically posted anything and everything this good man has recorded and released. Kenan has produced a whole bunch of mixtapes and promotional music (including some for us) but the inevitable time to record and release a real album has finally came for him. The album is called BLK and he has posted a pretty healthy amount of it on SoundCloud. Check it out:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

#LAAB on Location: Seattle - Grayskul - "Maggot"

New Grayskul looks to be the best yet from this decade long Seattle hip-hop duo. Shout out to JFK for posting this.

LAAB On Location did some work with Xperience too, definitely one of Seattle's most talented rappers.
Excellent stuff.


 Even more quality stuff: