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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
There’s not a lot of rappers, let alone singers, that I connect with lyrically. Words are a whole other game in music and the sound is hard enough to connect universally, words are much harder.
A-1 is not only the person that’ll bring Bay Area hip hop into relevance yet again, but with lyrics and a character the bay should be proud of. He’s got plenty good producers, reminding me of Doja Cat and her Purrr EP lineup.
Like I’ve said with Doja and before, the biggest thing any talented vocalist has to worry about is the producers they line up with, and A-1 has stacked his bill so far.
This is the first playlist I’ve collaborated on. I gave up about half the songs for her, but she helped give this playlist more direction and make more sense. When I usually create playlists I tend to miss out on the obvious, and get called out for it later, but she kept me in check for this one. Plus she had a few good songs (more than me).
Here’s Lauren’s intro to our Valentine’s Day playlist, or anti-Valentine’s Day, “Hip Hop & Heartbreak.”
I’ve been telling cats like Doja that the people you surround yourself with will make or break your career. I’m sure Cali Swag District didn’t imagine a production like this on their ‘Twerk It’ track, but synth goes well with their rap.
It’s not about the synth though. It’s that DHB let a new sound into some decent rap.
We still get a lot of hip hop submissions, despite our lack of featuring hip hop these days. We did manage to gather a good bunch to show our appreciation for the style that inspired this blog in the first place, including one of our biggest inspirations, Raw Poetic.
Now this list has as many hip hop influences as influences elsewhere, however, the emcee is our focus. The syntax & phonetics rap has brought to music is why we loved it the most in the past and why we love it the most right now.
Doja Cat wasn’t on our best of last year for the very same reason she will be this year. She’s always had a flow and a way with words, but now she’s teamed up with some legitimate producers to have it all.
I feel like Peter Rosenberg talking about Nicki Minaj, before their whole shit show, but Doja’s got the personality & style I haven’t seen in hip hop since I started this thing. I loved her original Nunchucks this time last year, but this new album has one that might top even that.