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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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Hip Hop + Heartbreak

For your Valentine's Day, or anti-Valentine's Day

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.”

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Uzi Octopus · Let It Fall Aside (feat. Raw Poetic)

Another side project from Restoring Poetry in Music

Uzi Octopus is a side project from a long admired hip-hop band of mine, Restoring Poetry in Music (RPM). Not quite sure when the project’s gonna drop or really any more information about it – they really need to get their ass goin’ on the whole online marketing thang – but I know it just finished up, so expect a release date soon.

“Let It Fall Aside”, the first single to hit the ‘net, features RPM’s very own MC, Raw Poetic. I gotta imagine he’ll be on the entire album and, hopefully, P-Fritz will lend some backup vocals, as well (amazing voice).

Until the release, check out a few of RPM’s stuff and another side project gone legit duo, Panacea.

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[audio:Let-It-Fall-Aside.mp3|titles=Let It Fall Aside (feat. Raw Poetic)]

There U R by Restoring Poetry in Music

"And I walk the walk to erase my scars."

Banner - Restoring Poetry in Music Live in Concert

Lately I’ve rehashed a couple songs that I’d mentioned before, but only because they’re incredible tracks – “There U R” being among the most incredible of them all. I’ve been a long time fan of Restoring Poetry in Music, and I thought for my 100th post I’d feature a track from, if not my favorite, one of my favorite hip hop albums to date, Pyramids in Moscow.

“There U R” is a relaxing meditation on rekindling that love from long ago with Raw Poetic’s smooth & sincere lyrics. Backup vocals are done by Patrick Fritz, and really put a nice touch on an already heartwarming track. P-Fritz also supports my claim, which I’ve spoken about many times on this blog, that mixing a singer’s voice into a rap song can bring a whole ‘nother element to the piece. Basically, rap + singing = good!

Give it a listen and let me know how you think the two play off each other. Also, if you like this song then definitely check out “Sleep Walkers“, it’s my favorite song by RPM (followed closely by “There U R”).

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[audio:ThereUR.mp3|titles=There U R]

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Sleep Walkers by Restoring Poetry in Music

"Lately i've been in-between reality and the world of dreams."

Banner - Restoring Poetry in Music title

Alright, so you caught me, I posted this one a while back (you probably had no idea), but I have a good reason for posting it again (kinda). The original post was the entire album (Pyramids in Moscow), including Sleep Walkers. Since I’m not doing full album posts (for now), I wanted to split up the older album posts. They’ve got some of the best music on the site, so why wouldn’t I show ’em off again… right… i’ve also been studying all day, so I didn’t have as much time :D (so, that could be it too). Alright, to the music!

As I said in the original post, “This is not only my favorite track of the album [Pyramids in Moscow], but one of my favorite songs of all time!” I love Raw Poetic’s rap style against Marlon Vann’s (H2a) trip-hop styled beats. But what really shines is Patrick Fritz’s (P-Fritz) voice: it’s shockingly (!) smoooth. Just listen to it, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it (at least!). This is some of my best stuff! (or RPM’s, I should say) As always, tell me what ya think. It’s the only reason I write :)

Also, this includes the entire song, which the original post did not!

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[audio:SleepWalkers.mp3|titles=Sleep Walkers]

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Pyramids in Moscow by Restoring Poetry in Music

"Life is change, life is strange."

Banner for Pyramids in Moscow

Background:
Restoring Poetry in Music (RPM) was formed late last century by cousins Jason Moore (Raw Poetic) and Marlon Vann (H2A). Shortly after the group turned into a band enlisting members, Drew Thomas as bassist, Aaron Gause (Enron) as trumpeter and keyboardist, Patrick Fritz (P-Fritz) as lead guitarist and backup vocals, as well as Fred Jackson as drummer (later being replaced by Will Bobbit). A few years down the road H2A stepped down as producer to be replaced by Kyle Murdock (K-Murdock) for the release of their first full-length album, Dream Awake (2004); returning a few years later to help with their second album, Pyramids in Moscow (2007).

If you want to learn more about RPM’s story, go to The Peoples Republic of Hip-Hop & Soul, found here.

But enough of all that, let’s get to the album…

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[audio:LessisMore.mp3,Sliders.mp3,ThereUR.mp3,SleepWalkers.mp3,LifeisChange.mp3,AQuietTaste.mp3,AndAnotherOne.mp3|titles=Less is More,Sliders,There U R,Sleep Walkers,Life is Change,A Quiet Taste,And Another One]