Disc Review: A Boston State of Mind Vol. 2

Friday, May 21st, 2010

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Every night, when I get home from reporting facts, I poison the Internet with innuendo on a Boston-based hip-hop blog called jumptheturnstyle.com. It’s great fun, even though our active commenters are a venomous mix of keyboard-bound cowards and legitimate criminals. But they have one prejudice that rolls me sour, in that they almost unanimously reject Boston hip-hop.

Like its predecessor, which yielded some of the first radio singles for Slaine, DL, and Mic Stylz, A Boston State of Mind Vol. 2 counters allegations that the Bean rhyme scene lacks stylistic diversity. Although the disc leans to the harder side of things, with the likes of Gage and Lord Willin snapping necks, lighter acts like DJ Slim and D-Tension add depth — not to mention a few laughs.

Commonwealth Records patron Dru Garrity corralled a fresh and lengthy 22-cut catch here: Omega Red & Easy Money own “We Hustlers”; DraMatik’s “Born&Raised” is some sort of delicious; Letia Larok’s “A New Day” is one of the realest tracks in Bay State rap history — believe that. At its core, though, this loose comp is woven together by a few repeat offenders — most notably Rhetoric and Amadeus — who spit dirtier than Two Girls One Cup.

LISTEN: Lord Willin featuring Slaine – Life is a Gamble

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LISTEN: Amadeus – Warzone


I Got the Innanet Goin Nuts

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Here’s some of the best shit the internet/world has to offer at the moment. You’re only watching this because porn is blocked at work. Things that actually matter are at the bottom, reverse order is tits.

This lady thinks Gandalf/Magneto is a homeless dude…
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More For Gang Starr and Guru Fans: Picture and Video Slide (Show) Down Memory Lane

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Here For More Rare Photos And Stories From Former Guru Collaborators


Guru’s Guru: How a mysterious Svengali dominated the final days of the Boston-born hip-hop and jazz superstar

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

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When the Roxbury-born rapper Guru passed away April 19 in a hospital bed — succumbing to cancer at the age of 48 — the internationally renowned musician had not seen most of his lifelong friends and relatives in seven years. What was particularly painful for those once in Guru’s inner circle is the fact that, in the final days, many of them had tried desperately to visit him, but allege that John “Super Producer Solar” Mosher, the Svengali-like figure who had come to dominate the rapper’s life, would not allow it.

As the rhyming half of the duo Gang Starr, Guru (born Keith Elam) became hip-hop’s preeminent enlightened auteur in the early ’90s. Along with partner DJ Premier, he honed a mainstream-accessible yet stylistically underground aesthetic that would go on to influence countless hip-hop artists, from hardcore rappers to conscious rhymers.

Separately, the members of Gang Starr also shined. Premier became a highly sought-after beatmaker, producing pivotal tracks for such icons as Jay-Z and Nas, while Guru released several Jazzmatazz albums, in which he worked with such jazz giants as Branford Marsalis and Donald Byrd to wed hip hop with organic grooves.

But following the final Gang Starr collaboration, 2003’s The Ownerz, Guru drifted away from Premier, and started working closely with Solar, a friend and business partner with whom he had established the 7 Grand imprint. From the start, many in the hip-hop community raised questions about the peculiar nature of the Solar-Guru tandem.

The Phoenix spoke to more than a dozen people in Guru’s universe, and a strong consensus emerged that the relationship between Guru and Solar was at best emotionally oppressive, and at worst physically abusive, with Guru allegedly being tormented by his so-called friend. One former bandmate calls Solar “the closest thing I’ve ever seen to true evil.”

Over the past few months, Guru’s friends and family have come forward to detail the at times harrowing story of a father, mentor, victim, and hip-hop deity. In the rush to publish after his death, however, there has been much confusion and misinformation spread about Guru. By sifting through the speculation — and interviewing key subjects from throughout Guru’s years, some of whom have exclusively spoken with the Phoenix — here we attempt to document the rise and demise of Beantown’s griot laureate.

READ THIS WEEK’S ENTIRE BOSTON PHOENIX COVER STORY HERE


Wu-Tang Wednesday Blowout: El Michels Affair Remixes

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

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Last year El Michels Affair impressed the nut out of us here at JTTS with their kick-ass organic Wu-Tang interpolation disc. So I’m excited to see that the follow-up – featuring cats from coast to coast stomping all over their twists on Clan classics – is well-executed. Everyone seems to have put the effort in that these beats deserve; here’s a sampling…

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LISTEN: El Michels Affair + A-Plus & Knobody – CREAM

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LISTEN: El Michels Affair + Del – Bring da Ruckus

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LISTEN: El Michels Affair + Von Pea & Spec Boogie – Shimmy Shimmy Ya

BUY THE WHOLE THING HERE


Fresh New Reef the Lost Cauze (from new disc with Guns-N-Butter)

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

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New Reef the Lost Cauze disc – Fight Music – coming soon…

Produced entirely by dem Guns-N-Butter dudes…

Watch for the hook…Shit is lethal…

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LISTEN: Reef the Lost Cauze – “Get Me Outta Here”


FREE Modern Shark Sampler (from the Nuk Fam crew)

Monday, May 17th, 2010

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I haven’t heard from Nuk Fam in a minute, but they always bring some interesting product. Tone Tank is one of those dudes who rarely surfaces but comes strong when he does (his Iller Than Theirs disc with Krayola is one of the great slept-on underground gems of the past decade); Junk Science, who have a new project dropping soon, are also always good for clever format busting. Maybe with Def Jux gone these cats can make an even bigger dent this time around.

DOWNLOAD MODERN SHARK EP HERE


Super Chron Flight Brothers and Big Willie Green Salute “Reggie Miller”

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

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Don’t you ever forget that there was a Kool Keith long before there was an anticon, and that Cannibal Ox was the freshest thing that Def Jux ever yielded. What’s my point? Simple – that black alt-rappers get overlooked by snobby and pretentious fringe rap fan-boys.

Much like their creatively progressive African-American rap ancestors, Super Chron (who rep NYC and Backwoodz Studios) are as inventive as they’re stylistically perverted. Everything I’ve heard from these cats has been exceptional, and their upcoming project, Cape Verde, should be no different.

On first listen I’m not sure why this track is called “Reggie Miller.” I suppose that’s just kind of how it is with these guys, but maybe after a few more whirls I’ll have a clue. Could possibly have to do with their producer, Big Willie Green, who cut his paws in the Bean before moving down to Gotham. Dope shit.

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LISTEN: Super Chron Flight Brothers – Reggie Miller


Boston Hip-Hop Unity Fest…This Saturday…Here’s The Low Down…

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

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An optimist would say that, despite some serious disappointments, last year’s Third Annual Boston Hip-Hop Unity Fest demonstrated just how peaceful the Bean rap scene really is. In most cities, if last call came before several headliners got to rock, not only would the crowd incite a frenzy but backstage would go from blunt bake to bloodbath.

More than a few heads were unhappy with the scheduling debacle of Boston’s boom-bap festival last June. I was especially aggravated that Esoteric, J the S, and Akrobatik were bumped from the line-up. But despite the general confusion, and the selfishness of some crews in ignoring time constraints, no one got so much as slapped or karate-chopped. It was hardly Lilith Fair, but . . .

And for those of you who doubted the flier that Trees manufactured, here’s the official…

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Banksy In Allston.. (Hipsters Still Don’t Care). Some Other Areas Too..

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

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Near Stanhope  Garage

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25 Essex St. Central Sq.

via


Meet The Guy Who Spent 10 Years Of His Life Writing A Book About The History Of The Vocoder

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

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Don’t be fooled by its textbook appearance — How To Wreck a Nice Beach (Melville House/Stop Smiling) is hardly a dry anthropological study of “The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop,” as the subtitle suggests. In his decade-long exploration of voice compression, veteran music journo (and seismic wordsmith) Dave Tompkins came to understand the intimate relationship between larynx-tweaking robot tech and the musicians, world leaders, engineers, and civilians who have employed and marveled over this curious space-age gadgetry since the 1920s. I asked Tompkins about his discoveries — many of which were in the Greater Boston area — and about phone interviews with subjects who mask their pitch like kidnappers and warn of UFO abduction threats.

What sort of Vocoder experience set in motion your devotion to telling this peculiar history?
When I was writing for Vibe around 1999, my editor had me doing some crazy shit — shit that never should have been in Vibe. One time, they had Kenny G call me at this pharmaceutical company that I was working at to talk about his sitting in with Barry White’s band. Another time, Michael Jonzun [of Boston’s legendary Jonzun Crew] called me up while he was on a Vocoder and said, “Pack Jam — look out! Hello, Dave — this is Michael Jonzun. Space is the place.” Then he told me that the cosmos were coming to claim me. I guess that got me thinking about the compression of human speech.

READ IT ALL HERE

Dave Tompkins Book Signing on May 20 at Good Life in Boston


If You Missed This Show Then You Missed Some Amazing Shit Bro…

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

EPMD at Harpers Ferry last week.

Don’t bug out if you missed it.

In fact, you gots to chill.

We got it right here.


kewl hip hop fest in yo hood br0

Monday, May 10th, 2010

This Saturday..

Pretty solid lineup.. interested to check this one out. I heard Jay Electronica is a pretty good rapper. Anyone ever hear of that guy?