Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life: R.I.P. Guru

Just over a month since undergoing surgery following a heart attack, Gang Starr MC Guru (born Keith Elam) has died at age 43. According to a statement, Guru died of cancer-related causes on Monday after a long fight with the disease.

Guru’s longtime collaborator and partner Solar mourns his loss in the statement and explains that Guru had written a letter to his fans that was to be released upon his death.

“The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru,” Solar said. “Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius.”

I had a feeling this was coming, especially after that coma. There was also a letter posted that was said to be written by Guru (but it is believed that his DJ, Solar actually wrote it), but I dont want to talk about the shady shit going on with his death. Instead BRL will honor and remember one of hip hop's finest emcees ever to be his voice on a record.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rhymes: Dwight Schrute's Baby Beats (Part 2)

Freddie Gibbs
-I first heard Gangsta Gibbs on the opening track on CunninLynguists’ Strange Jouney Vol 2. And he went OFF on that Kno beat. The Gary, Indiana native is bringing [Good] gangsta rap back to the forefront. You can check out his 80-plus-track mixtape, TheLabelsTryinToKillMe and fall in love with his nonchalant flow and deep voice.

-This Seattle native has recently become my favorite, new rapper. Although he is not all that new, as he released his debut album in 2005. After that he disappeared for a while until last year coming back with a boom dropping two excellent projects: The Unplanned Mixtape and The Vs EP.

-He, like Macklemore, also got his start in Seattle (although he lives in Brooklyn and was born in Chicago) is not all that new to the game either. Coming into 2010 he has 2 albums under his belt already, but his career is about to reach all-time heights after signing to Rhymesayers Ent. His 2008 album, 88 Keys and Counting was re-released with a ten track EP, Confessions of Mr. Modest, which has been in constant rotation since its early March release.

Pac Div
-The Cali-trio dropped one of the best mixtapes last year with Church League Champs. They are about to drop one more mixtape (Don’t Mention It) before their long awaited debut album, Grown Kid Syndrome.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From Dwight Schrute's Beet Farm:The Boondocks Sneak Peak: will.i.am "Dickriding Obama (ft Thugnificant)"

Save for maybe South Park, the best cartoon show on television will make its glorious return May 2nd!!
This saturday is national record store day, so everyone get out there and support your local record shop! I know i'll be at Finders in BG. Physical music lives on...

Swipe From Rollingstone.com:
Wilco, Hole, MGMT and Monsters of Folk are the latest artists to contribute exclusive releases for this year’s Record Store Day, which will arrive at independent music shops this Saturday, April 17th. Wilco will offer up their live album Kicking Television as a deluxe vinyl box set complete with four LPs, eight extra tracks not on the original release and a bonus CD. Only 1,000 of the reissued Kicking Television will be made, so make sure to be first in line this Saturday if you want one of those.

MGMT will release their 12-minute Congratulations track “Siberian Breaks” as a 12” single with an etched second side and Hole will make available “Skinny Little Bitch” and another new track off of Nobody’s Daughter on 10″ white vinyl. As Rolling Stone previously reported, the Rolling Stones, Soundgarden, the Doors, Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen, Flaming Lips and countless more will provide exclusive releases for Record Store Day while U.K. shops will get limited-edition singles from the likes of the Beatles and Blur, who recorded their first song together since Think Tank for the occasion.

Check out the entire list of Record Store Day exclusives for U.S. shops at the event’s official site. One of the more intriguing releases is a “super surprise” white label 12″ single from the Beastie Boys. With a limited run of 1,000 copies, the white label may feature some tracks off the Beasties’ upcoming album Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1.

Smashing Pumpkins will also unveil their newest song “Astral Planes” as a free download through the Amoeba Records website starting tomorrow in anticipation to Billy Corgan and Co.’s Record Store Day performance this weekend at Amoeba. Rolling Stone will be on the scene at the extremely tiny show (only 250 fans will score a wristband), so check back for our full report.

Life: Fake Empire (Dir: Ryan Lewis)

A Film by Ryan Lewis (production from Macklemore and Symmetry). This is a brilliant short film about consumerism in America. Starring Macklemore.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rhymes: The Black Keys - "Tighten Up"

So I know I'm super late on the Black Keys, but this song is awesome. This Ohio duo sounds like they came straight out of the 70s (I mean that in a good way) mixing elements of rock and blues elements in their music. Their new album, Brothers will be released in May.

Rhymes: Dwight Schrute's Baby Beets (Part 1)

Here at BRL we decided to make a list of up and coming rappers for 2010. This list is somewhat similar to XXL's Freshman 10. Note that most of these rappers are not "Babies" or "Rookies" but these are rappers who either recently got signed to a label or are about to release an album and reach a wider audience than previous efforts. So without further adieu...

Shawn Chrystopher

-This Inglewood native followed his 2009 debut, A City Without Seasons, with a Free EP, The Audition. Since downloading this EP back in March, I have had it in constant rotation. One of the top releases of the year thus far.

-The first time I heard Donnis was in 2008 on Kidz in da Hall’s “Mr. Alladathshit” which was one of the best songs off of that album. Donnis’ charismatic was very evident just on that song alone. He has recently The Fashionably Late Sampler, which features future hits, “Gone” and “OD.”

-Yeah we all know Wheelchair Jimmy by now. But the reason he is included on this list is because, in fact he is a freshman still. He found an unprecedented amount of success from a mixtape (save for maybe 50 Cent, but can you name a 50 Cent mixtape that garnered as much attention as So Far Gone? Didn’t think so.), but the Toronto still has much to prove. We all know he can make a hit song and all that, but let it be known Aubrey is a bit of a head. After name-dropping the likes of Little Brother and Slum Village on “Fear” and referencing Dead Prez’s classic 2000 single, it is clear that Drake is one of the good guys. It’ll be interesting what route he takes with his up-coming album.

Jay Electronica
-Mr. Electronica (or Mr. ElectHanukkah if you will) is by far the most talented rapper on this list, hell maybe of any list. The problem with this mysteryman is when is he going to drop his projects? He promised us Act II (the follow up to the ESotSM Act I) Christmas 2007, then again on Christmas 2009, then again on New Year’s 2010, but still no sign of the project. The New Orleans native saw his biggest success towards the end of 2009 when he had the internet going nuts off of his Just Blaze produced hit “Exhibit C.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rhymes: Grieves - "Cloud Man" (Video)

I've made a few posts about the Seattle emcee, Macklemore already, but here's his friend/frequent collaborator, Grieves. Budo has produced his albums (who also has done production for Macklemore). And Grieves landed himself a record deal last December with Rhymesayers Ent.

This video is off of his re-release of 88Keys and Counting, which was packaged with The Confessions of Mr. Modest, which has been the best release of 2010 (just edging out label-mate freeway). Grieves' sound is quite similar to Macklemore, but it is also very different (as proved by this song), as Grieves is known to use more melodies and sing-song approach to his rapping.

Grieves is tapped to release his RSE full-length LP this fall, and there are also talks of doing a project with CunninLynguists' Kno on the beats.

Monday, April 12, 2010

From Dwight Schrute's Beat Farm: Happy Salmonella Poisoning Day

It's that time again. April 12, 2010, marks the four year anniversary of Salmonella Poisoning Day.

This holiday was started Sophomore year in Spanish class when Z*ch Sz*bl*sk* (censored for securrrity reasons) wrote in his planner that I would catch Salmonella poisoning on April 12. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Notable Events on Past Salmonella Poisoning Days:
2006: I don't remember; no salmonella recorded
2007: I consumed 2 raw eggs during lunch and ate 15 under-cooked, chicken wings at dinner; no salmonella recorded
2008: I ate chicken for lunch I think; no salmonella recorded
2009: I'm not sure what happened, I probably ate some chicken or something; no salmonella recorded
2010: I ate a salad (with no chicken cuz at first I forgot); no salmonella recorded...yetttt...

Rhymes: Album Review: Eleanor King - "Cookies and Cake"

This is the first of hopefully many album reviews where I review lesser known/independent artists. Eleanor King's Cookies and Cake found its way into my hands thanks to a mutual friend shared by King and I, last December.

Cookies and Cake is a 9-track album, from the Michigan native, consisting of eight covers and one original song, written by King herself. This just-over-25-minute album captivates listeners with its not-trying-too-hard charm, as well as King's extremely endearing vocals. King's vocals throughout this album are paired with King's ukulele playing, which serves as the album's only instrumentation.

The songs covered in Cakes span from several older artist's including Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" to Rudy Vallee's "P.S. I Love You" first recorded in the 1930s to more contemporary songs such as Nick Drake's "Saturday" and Leonard Cohen's oft-covered "Hallelujah". However the most intriguing cover on this album is Rhianna's 2007 hit, "Umbrella." The raw, stripped down version of this R&B chart topper, definitely trumps the synth-heavy, pitch-corrected version that plagued our radios three years ago.

Despite the album being mostly covers, King is at her best performing her own material. The album's title-track, is hands down the highlight of this album. Her simple, yet witty lyricism of a troubled relationship, sounds cute, but she offers "a fresh batch of fuck-you pies" to the man who has mistreated her. The lone original song on the album definitely makes the listener hungry for more of her self-written material, but until then we will have her Cookies and Cakes to tide us over.

Rating: 8/10 Beets

1) Moon River—Mercer/Mancini (c)1961
2) Georgia—Hoagy Carmichael (c)1930
3) Under My Umbrella—Rihanna (c)2007
4) Cookies and Cake—Eleanor King (c)2009
5) My Funny Valentine—Rodgers/Hart (c)1937
6) Hallelujah—Leonard Cohen (c)1984
7) Body & Soul—Johnny Green (c)1930
8) P.S. I Love You—Mercer/Jenkins (c)1934
9) Saturday Sun—Nick Drake (c)1969

Eleanor King—vocals, charango & ukuleles
Recorded by Duncan Ferguson, Oct. 2009

Click Here To Download "Moon River"
Link and Album Information swiped from Cookies and Cake Blog

From Dwight Schrute's Beat Farm: 70 Year-Old Fends off Thieves With Frying Pan

Judge's wife serves up justice

Thug Life!!
(via: Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rhymes: CunninLynguists - "Cocaine" (video)


Although this is my least favorite song off of their most recent mixtape, Strange JOurney Vol 2, this video is excellent.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rhymes: Suzanne Vega & The Roots - "Tom's Diner" (LIVE on LNWJF)

This song used to haunt me. I once heard this on vacation during the summer of 2007, I was amazed by the song, but could never find it. I looked and I looked, search engine after search engine, no luck. It wasn't until last october or so did I know the name of this song. This performance with the The Roots is incredible. Jimmy Fallon is awesome.