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No Label (Esma Remix) by Gabriel Teodros

"If we label this, just picture what we might miss."

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I’ve been following Gabriel Teodros on Facebook for a while now (yes, I’m an Internet stalker, selectively though :D). He made an interesting comment a little while back about a guy who wanted to fight him ’cause the guy thought he was a terrorist! It reminded me of my friend’s story about flying out from Tucson when a kid came up and asked if he was a terrorist. Now, I can understand why a kid would say this; kids speak their mind (that’s the beauty in ‘em), and don’t usually mean anything by it, but in Teodros’s case, it’s inexcusable. As Lincoln said, “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”.

But this isn’t a politic blog (thank god!), so let’s get to the music. Teodros has created some damn fine music. With Khingz in their group, Abyssinian Creole, and his solo works, not to mention his side projects (well, I guess I just did), Teodros has created some inspiring lyrics on soulful beats. His style stems from deep African roots with a NorthWest flavor, covering topics on racism (hmm… wonder why), sexism, and basically anything but the usual bubblegum pop. His lyrics may not be relatable to everyone, but can be appreciated by anyone!

I decided to feature No Label (Esma Remix) first, so check it and tell me what you think… (I do like hearing your opinion, occasionally ;))

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High Fidelity by Jurassic 5

"And together we, will forever be, high fidelity definitely."

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If you haven’t heard of Jurassic 5 (J5) then you’re in for a treat; although, if you’re at all into underground hip-hop you probably have. J5 is among the greatest hip-hop groups of this era. I might say this about a lot of groups, but along with Hieroglyphics, J5 truly is the best. The group features some great solo acts (again, like Hiero); Chali 2na, probably their most notable MC, has one of the most recognizable voices in the biz. In fact, when I was in London a few months back, the few hip-hop enthusiasts I came across all knew of 2na’s voice, or at least J5′s sound. Unfortunately, 2na isn’t featured on this track, but I did feature one of his solo projects a while back (found here).

The song I decided to feature, High Fidelity, includes Mark 7even & Zaakir with DJ Nu-Mark on the turntables. There were a grip of songs I could have chosen from Power in Numbers (J5′s second LP), but this is by far the most memorable to me. I usually get into why it’s so memorable (and blah blah blah), but it probably bores most of you, so I won’t. There’s not much I can say to give this song justice (I never seem to), but the rhymes are fluid with a finesse that J5 does best. Give it a listen, and if you haven’t heard of ‘em before, tell me what you think… If you have, I already know ;).

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Constantly Growing by Braille

Christian hip-hop... really?

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Who would of thought that this could be considered Christian hip-hop As a Cashew myself :), I’m not really into “Christian music”, but after listening to Braille, I guess I’m a fan of Christian hip-hop (or probably just Braille… yea, I think that’s it). Braille doesn’t necessarily have the traditional Christian lyrics – praising Jesus and… well that’s about it – but you do notice the more subtle Christian influences (I guess). But don’t let that dissuade you, his work is legit; it’s not some fluffy religious junk that only Evangelists could appreciate. No, this can be appreciated by all – Christians, Muslims and even those crazy Jews. Braille is a respected hip-hop artist in the Portland area, and is a member of the Lightheaded Crew, which also features Ohmega Watts and Othello. I’ve only listened to his fourth album, The IV Edition, but I’m definitely going to look into some of his other material. Check it out, and let me know if you’d consider this “Christian music”…

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Ease My Mind by Jazz Liberatorz

"I want to get free and ease my mind, but I just can't get away."

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I love it when foreign DJ/producers pair up with American rappers (I think I also mentioned this here), and the Jazz Liberatorz are a prime example of this. Their second track on Clin d’oeil, Ease My Mind, features Omni, Tre Hardson and Fat Lip, the latter two previously from The Pharcyde, rapping to a nice jazzy beat (who would of thought) with a playful piccolo… at least I think it’s a piccolo, might be a flute. Whatever, it’s a catchy track with some great featured artists. Check it out! I’m gonna go listen to their new album, Fruit of the Past, which I just found out about from researching this track.

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9 to 5 by Language Arts Crew

"Caught in the idiot race. Lost in the infinite days."

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I ran into Language Arts Crew a couple years back, and wanted to give them credit for a few of their songs that’ve stuck with me over the years.

9 to 5, being one of them, first caught my attention when I heard it sample a few classic movies lines from Office Space and American Beauty (good Marketing technique!). It has some talented rhyming by the four MC’s of the group and one featured artist, X.I. I would try to type out the lyrics for you to follow along to (since there isn’t any online), but I’m too lazy and it’s too complicated (i’ve tried, it’s not easy). Anyways, give it a listen and tell me what ya think… then maybe i’ll feature some more of their finest!

By the way, the best part of the song is at 2:01 for both it’s rhyming and lyrical ability.

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Go for Mine by Rob the Viking

Skol, (Rob the) Vikings!

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I thought this was befitting to the recent Vikings win over the Cowboys :). I actually planned to feature this before hand, but this gave me the extra push.

Rob the Viking is a DJ/producer from the recognized underground hip-hop group, Swollen Members. Back in 2003, he came out with a solo album entitled Beats to Pillage and Conquer by. Maybe a song from this album could the Viking’s next fight song… maybe not. Though, the original (Skol, Vikings) may need to be updated. Anyways, Rob is talented in his own respect, and has worked with a widespread amount of underground MC’s (I am too lazy to find examples, just take my work for it).

My favorite song off the album would have to be Go for Mine (which should be obvious by now). It incorporates some hip-hop inspired beats accompanied with a string-bass (at least I think it is :D), as well as some excellent DJ doctoring. Overall, this may not be the most rich or engaging piece, but it does pull off some fine stringin’ with some original cuts.

Check out another beat by Rob (the Viking) featured on Therapy by Swollen Members. The MC’s for Swollen Members can really tear up Rob’s beats.

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Crescent Moon by DJ Okawari

"While I float to Neo-Tokyo..."

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I’d say Crescent Moon is what first got me into DJ Okawari (right before Animal Forest. At the time (around a year ago), I became increasingly interested in Hip-Hop from Japan (the DJ’s not the MC’s), and came across Okawari’s second album, Diorama. Diorama is more of a Nu Jazz style with Hip-Hop influences, and doesn’t feature any MC’s (something Okawari should possibly reconsider for his next album… I vote yes!). His music (this song in particular) for some reason brings me back to the song 3030 by Del with the quote, “while I float to Neo-Tokyo with Opio”. Probably because Okawari is from Tokyo, and his music reminds me of a night out in Tokyo, but most likely because I have nothing else to talk about, so I need a filler :)

I’ve been getting a lot of Japanese hits on my site lately (mostly looking at Okawari), and if any of you know of any similar music to Okawari then please post some of it on here! I need an expert to point me in the right direction… anyone :D

One other thing, I also posted this on Animal Forest, but it’s also worth mentioning here – the cover artwork for this album is incredible! Check it out in it’s entirety here or just click the image at the top (the beautiful vector’d girl).

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Some Cool Ass Ringtones – Set #1 (DJ Frane)

Five ringtones from DJ Frane's album, Journey to the Planet of Birds.

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So, I decided to introduce another series onto the site. The first one was the Know Good Classics series, so check that out if you haven’t. This series, Some Cool Ass Ringtones, is pretty self explanatory. I get the ringtones usually from my favorite hip-hop or electronic beats. I might also pull them off of some classic tunes, so look out for those as well.

The first set I bring to you is from my absolute favorite trip hop artist, DJ Frane. Goddamn, does this guy have talent! I have never seen so many rich & intricate beats from an artist. All of the ringtones featured come from his third full-length album, Journey to the Planet of Birds. Right now, I have Cloudy Voyage as my ringtone. Like I said in my article about his album, he is a major reason for the creation of this blog.

(Learn how to transfer ringtones to your iPhone in the Full Article)

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Andre N Andre by Andre Nickatina feat. Mac Dre

"Man, the way I smoke weed is like death of a genius."

Well, I’ve featured songs both by Nickatina and Dre, but nothing as good as this. A good friend of mine (from The Bay – the usual case) recommended it to me, so I gave it a listen. Now I could go into words about why it’s good, and blah, blah, blah, but I’m sick of trying to express myself so that you all will think, “my god, he has described this song perfectly”. And to be honest, I’m not really good at it anyway. So, just listen up and tell me what you think Better yet, tell me who you like better, Andre or Mac Dre I’ve asked a few different people, and all have given me the same answer (but I’m not telling)… until maybe I see some f’ckin’ comments :)

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Na Noite Se Resolve by DJ Soul Slinger

A good song for a great cause.

What initially caught my interest about this album was its purpose. Ecosystem is a 4 day festival in the Amazon, which is trying to raise awareness of the many threats the Brazilian rain forests are facing. The album is a mix of native roots and urban jungle beats by a compilation of artists from the festival. All of the proceeds from the album go to the Ecosystem foundation, so purchase this to invest in a better future :).

There’s not much to say about the song featured (that hasn’t been said) other than that it’s goood (with three o’s)… thought provoking, I know. The song incorporates vocal percussion, and a mix of natural sounds by both DJ Soul Slinger & Bid. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts about the track!

Also, subscribe to my Facebook Page because I’m in the cheap promotion tools mood ;)

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