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.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Art Of Sampling Part Four: Bach and Rammstein's Opera

I'm not going to write a whole lot for this one but I wanted to continue the series I've done of "sampling" in music beyond hip-hop and electronic music and in to a realm most people may not be familiar with. Johann Sebastian Bach was obviously a very famous German composer and he has had a potent effect on music from Germany. The rock band Rammstein, which is very successful around the world, has very obvious Bach influences in their music. Take this Bach song "Wir haben Rast" (I'm not sure who is performing it):


 Now take Rammstein's "Roter Sand," one of the best examples:


 In addition to sounding like opera, most Rammstein videos have a set narrative. Alot of people have tried to do the "rock opera" - it really may be Rammstein who finally did it correctly.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How Gangsta Rap and Illuminati Poisoned Hip Hop

Another very interesting video - alot of forthright talk on hip-hop and the (d)evolution of hip-hop.

Rise of Conscious Hip Hop with Public Enemy

This is a very interesting interview - no commentary necessary.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Introducing Capriccio

One of the most interesting aspects about the growing Seattle hip-hop scene is an overall developing sound. Will all artists follow a darker, smarter approach to hip-hop like Grayskul or Macklemore have done or will they opt more for what has been done before? I recently got tapped in on a new local project - a rapper called Capriccio, whose work you can find on Soundcloud.

Capriccio fits with the overall Seattle sound (and his name also fits with one of the coffee capital's favorite beverages. On "Washington Ballad," his flow actually sounds a little bit like Oakland's Del tha Funkee Homo Sapien while the beat sounds quite a bit like Pale Soul or some of the Seattle/Portland crew Oldominion's earlier 2000s work.

 One of my favorite songs on here is "Asshole." If Seattle is moving hip-hop in new directions, it will still adopt some of the old tough talk but in a more realistic manner. Very few of us are really living the shoot out gangsta lifestyle but more than a few of us are straight assholes. It's a trait that probably shouldn't be glamorized but should at least be acknowledged.

New Talib Kweli!

Talib Kweli is self publishing his next album. Kweli has been pushing forward with progressive hip-hop for fifteen damn years.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Raekwon and Lloyd Banks - Drop A Diamond

Given alot of the disclaimers on this website, I probably should avoid gangsta rap phenom Lloyd Banks. Probably. I should probably avoid Raekwon too, right? Nah - both are two of the best lyricists in hip-hop and together they sound fantastic. Lloyd Banks was on Raekwon's Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang LP too. So good. Download it.

Elijah Woods Needs To Play Eminem In A Biopic

8 Mile was a somewhat inaccurate, limited kid's movie that didn't fully explore the strange psyche of Marshall Mathers. A biopic on Eminem will happen eventually and, if done in the next few years, the casting should be obvious. Elijah Wood:

Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Art Of Sampling Part Three: Simple Imitation

In my previous post about sampling, I talked about blatant sampling - taking a loop from a song and using it as an element in your music. This is very common throughout hip-hop. Other sorts of imitation are just as blatant - covering is frequent throughout popular music.

What is most interesting is something else entirely - when an artist takes elements of songs and duplicates them in almost an identical style but with their own touch. Take this song, "Boadicea," by Enya, from the mid-1980s:

 Believe it or not Enya was original there. All she really does is hum over a synthesizer loop - not really an act of musical genius. However, Enya helped create an entirely new genre of new age with music like that. Loreena McKennit followed, Sarah Brightman, etc. What was really strange is when it popped up in music totally divorced from Enya's own world. Take this song by industrial genius Gary Numan:

It's pretty obvious that a strong Enya influence was powering Gary Numan when he recorded Exile. 

Song titles like "The Angel Wars" were like a dark variation of songs like "Storms in Africa." The churchbell sound in "Angel Wars" sounds like it could have been the work of Enya while the humming sounded as if Enya had gotten a shot of testosterone:


 It's interesting that people who have uploaded Gary Numan and Enya to YouTube have even used similar imagery. Of course, the hard guitars are something Enya would never do but Enya never would have rapped or dropped a drum beat, which The Fugees did when they sampled her for "Ready Or Not."

Gary Numan is still making music and his unique sound is everpresent but the imitation is still there - he sounds quite a bit like Nine Inch Nails these days. I'm not sure what Enya is up to.

Introducing GeeOne Griffin

You find out about new music randomly sometimes. I found out about the work of GeeOne from JFK Ninja Face's Facebook account - he had been posting Th3rdz material on his website. After talking to him, most of this is apparently freestyle material - rapping over beats already recorded and produced but the spitting is nonetheless high quality.

The Oldominion gothic rap style is pretty evident here - lyrics like "Solitude my logic is confined in a vortex/Silent suffer nights skeleton the closet forfeit next episodes of tyrannies." I'm not sure I can imagine that from another region. GeeOne is a rap transplant - he's actually pushing his rap project in Quazon City in the Phillipines. More power and good luck to him.

Pharoahe Monch - Damage

Pharoahe Monch is so brilliant. Oh my god. Whoever did the guitars on this knows what the hell they are doing. And if you don't really understand the message of this and think it's glorifying violence, listen to "When The Gun Draws." This is conscious rap at its finest.