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Hiero Day 2017

Grown from Oakland

I talked about 2017’s Hiero Day with my manager at work, who use to be on Hieroglyphics’s label. We talked festival logistics, from pricing to setting up stages, and what makes a festival last. The one thing Hiero Day has above any other festival is its community.

Not many rap groups get a day commemorated to them by their city, and in turn make it a day of giving local musicians & artists a platform to show off their work. It’s a festival that’s grown from the area rather than copied and planted into the scene like many other festivals.

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DUCKWRTH

Funk wave to punk rage

I gotta give this to my girl. Not only did she push DUCKWRTH’s music on me, but also made sure I saw him at SXSW. I liked his song ‘I’m Dead’ at first, but after seeing him live I’m been obsessing over everything else.

I usually pride myself on pulling the best songs from an artist’s catalogue, but I pretty much like every damn song of his, especially off his latest album, I’M UUGLY. Back in 2014, DUCKWRTH’s music felt like a futuristic ominous acid trip – like Zion I, Illogic, or Deltron 3030 – but he’s expanded his sound since. DUCKWRTH’s even got a half funk, half punk song, and it works. Especially live with that style he’s rockin.

His live show and music is what’s going best for him right now, but all with the help of DUCKWRTH’s fashion style and graphic design work, which he does all of it. Makes for a much nicer package to promote.

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THEY.

Smooth words/trap beats

They. played at least a few times last year at SXSW, but I missed one because of The Roots fiasco.

They’re kicking off their tour this year and San Francisco is their third stop. I don’t know if I’ll be going to see them in SF, depends on if the lady likes the playlist, but I’ll definitely be seeing them in Austin at SXSW this year.

Especially since the company I work for is hosting them.
See you there?

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Rap Finesse

Hip hop is expanding in sound & style

We haven’t done a list on hip-hop for years. In 2015: Adam Vida, Anderson .Paak & Goldlink were our hope to revive hip-hop. As much as our love for them have grown more than many, our focus has still been with dance & soul music.

We did collect fifty songs with emcees that got talent. More for their cadence and flow than lyrical depth, but with one usually comes the other (not always). These emcees more than ever before come from different backgrounds with all types of styles and sounds. We’ve even got some from the UK.

I bet the next one in two years will have even more countries.

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Goldlink: Got Rap Game

Part three of the best MC's

Last year three MCs got me loving rap again. A-1 (Adam Raps) was first, and shortly after Anderson .Paak and Goldlink. I’ve highlighted the first two before, but Goldlink is doing as well now as he did back then, so I thought I’d highlight him now.

Fall in Love is my favorite of his and it’s only been out for a month. Rarely does a song live up to its hype when three great musicians get together on it, but Kaytranada & BadBadNotGood work well together with Goldlink’s style.

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Hiero Day 2015

Annual festival in Oakland

Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.

It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson .Paak. The main reason I was there.

I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.

His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.

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Anderson .Paak

Sly LA Hip Hop

First it was Doja Cat from LA. Then A-1 from The Bay. Now we’re back down in Los Angeles for Anderson .Paak.

The LA based rapper has a slyer sound than Kendrick and gets together with producers that are just as good. They’re both very good. But I just can’t put to words how much feeling his music gives me when listening to it.

I was actually just listening to a Renman Live episode, I forget who the guest was, but he talks about how being able to describe why you love an artist & song is essential to A&R. Well, I suck at that, but my voice, not my words, express it better. Unfortunately this is a blog, so you wouldn’t know that.

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Nujabes

Jazz rap from Japan

Whatever people want to classify him as, Nujabes has a sentiment of jazz. Our first look at him on here was almost five years back, within the blog’s first few months running, but I’ve known about Nujabes for years before that.

He came out with a few albums in the early 2000’s that were perfectly in tune with my style of hip hop at the time. Hieroglyphics, The Pharcyde, Jurassic 5 type music.

Ever since the blog started in 2009 my taste has gone to a broader base of electronic. But Nujabes was the first electronic producer focusing on the jazzy side of things and taking hooking it up with some complimentary American MCing. And with that Japanese flavor, it made Nujabes stand out just above the best – for me.

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Hip Hop Remix Relaxations

Makin mainstream rap sounds to relax to

Last year we had five playlists highlighting our favorite remixes called, Remixed Right, but we decided this year to split them into themes. First up comes our chill hip hop remixes.

This is purely mainstream hits remixed. 50/50 on good rap vs not so good, but the remixes do their job. Making shit sound good (to relax to).

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Hip Hop 2015

Back in full

A lotta hip hop I love right now is sounding like Kendrick and I haven’t been this exciting about it since our start. We built this blog on hip hop about five years back, but electronic took over up until a year ago when hip hop caught up — or more likely we caught up with it.

Most of it you’ll love, but most of you aren’t going to like the last track, understandably. Give it a couple years.

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