Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rhymes: Grammy Nominations Reaction



It's that time of year again. The Grammys are back. Everyone's favorite award show that they pretend to not care about (well okay no one really cares about them, except Kanye)is back for the 54th time. Adele looks to be this year's big winner, but Kanye leads the way with 7 nods (despite the Album of the Year snub).

Bon Iver looks to follow in the footsteps of 2010 indie darlings Arcade Fire. Despite having one of the year's best albums, the Fleet Foxes only got a single nomination in the oft-ignored Best Folk Album category. Good to see the Foo Fighters getting their share of Grammy nods (look for them to possibly upset Adele in AOTY category).

So as we do every year we're gonna take you through each (important) category, on who SHOULD win and who WILL win:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Who SHOULD Win: It's hard to imagine 21 not getting the Grammys most prestigious award, but how many times does this award go to the best album nominated (okay, Arcade Fire's win last year was like the first time this ever happened)? And just because the "Rolling in the Deep" songstress has sold the most albums in 2011, also doesn't mean this is a sure lock. But Adele should win this award because 21 is a phenomenal record, and has had the biggest impact in 2011.

Who WILL Win: With all that I said in the previous post, it still very well could be Adele who brings on the golden phonograph this year. But I am going to say that The Foo Fighter's Wasting Light album has a strong chance to pull the upset. It's no secret that the Grammys love a seasoned rock vet (which is why I'm surprised Paul Simon's critically acclaimed album didnt get a nod). I wouldn't be upset if either of these two deserving artists won this award.

RECORD OF THE YEAR:

Who SHOULD (and WILL) Win: Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is a lock for this. I would even go as far to say that come 2019, "Rolling in the Deep" will find its way on the top of many best song of the decade list. It's "Hey Ya!" good. I also wouldn't be too upset if Mumford & Sons "The Cave"or Bon Iver's "Holocene" pulled an upset (which almost guaranteed won't happen).

SONG OF THE YEAR:

Who SHOULD (and WILL) Win: Again Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" will win this award, which is awarded to best songwriting for a song. I'd like it if Kanye won this award for "All of the Lights" but I think that should've gotten the Record of the Year nod, and Bon Iver got the Song of the Year nod.

BEST NEW ARTIST:

Who SHOULD Win: Bon Iver, even though Justin Vernon and crew have been releasing music under this name since 2007, the Grammys are late with everything. The very well might win this category but I have a feeling that...

Who WILL Win: The dubstepper Skrillex will win this. For folks who thought I was going to pick the obviously most popular Nicki Minaj, think again. Rappers never win this category (See: 50 Cent, Drake) even when they are the most popular new artist to come out. And for some reason music critics have this weird obsession with that noise people call dubstep.

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE:

Who SHOULD (and WILL) win: I think Dave Grohl and company will take this one home, but it could go to essentially anyone nominated. "Down By the Water" by The Decemberists was one of my favorite songs of 2011, and Radiohead's "Lotus Flower" was the only track on their new album I played after March.

BEST ROCK SONG:

Since I don't really know the difference between this and performance and all the nominees are exactly the same (See: BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE).

BEST ROCK ALBUM:

Who SHOULD (and WILL) Win: Foo Fighters will continue their big night with their genre's biggest award. I could maybe see indie superstars Wilco pulling off an upset here, but I doubt it.

BEST ALTERNATIVE ALBUM:

Who SHOULD (and WILL) Win: It's another great year for this category. Bon Iver will most definitely take home the award that was given to The Black Keys last year. I think Death Cab's album is a close second (but definitely won't win) and My Morning Jacket was pretty great too (they might though). And you can never count out Radiohead, even though King of Limbs pretty much blew.

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE:

Who SHOULD Win: Kanye & Jay-Z's "Otis" is the only track on here that I wouldn't be upset if it were awarded. While "The Show Goes On" was a great single and one of the few tracks that got any burn on that coaster titled LASERS, he openly said that the labels forced him to write that song. And I think if we're going to start awarding labels for doing this, then they will continue to push bullshit music down our throats.

Who WILL Win: Oh, sweet Jesus. For as good of a job as the Grammys do with Rock and Alternative genres (which isn't great, but still pretty good), they still have no idea about rap music. I'm willing to bet Lupe Fiasco will win this award, and fans can kiss goodbye any hopes of him making another album like "Food & Liquor" or "The Cool" ever again.

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:

Who SHOULD Win: This category is a little bit stronger. I'm going to go with Kanye's "All of the Lights," mainly because I hardly count "I'm On One" as a Rap/Sung track (I guess he sings, sort of, on the hook).

Who WILL Win: Dr. Dre and Marshall's bullshit single to that Detox album that will never be released will most likely win. But Kanye has a chance to win this, as does "I'm On One." I'd be happy if Drake or Kanye won this; anyone else will make me hurl my remote at my tv.

BEST RAP SONG:

Who SHOULD Win: Again, not sure what the difference between this and BEST RAP PERFORMANCE is, but I'm going with "Otis" to slight out "All of the Lights."

Who WILL Win: It will probably go to Lupe or that Dr. Dre/Eminem mess. Either way I will be upset.

BEST RAP ALBUM:

Who SHOULD (and WILL) Win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Period. This album was awarded PERFECT scores from MANY music publications. It somehow got snubbed in the AOTY category (but Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Gaga got nods?), but there's no way in hell people choose any of the other garbage (not including WTT) albums over Kanye's.

Rhymes & Life: Classic Songs That Weren't

What are some classic/timeless songs that maybe didn't get enough shine for one reason or another?



Inspired by Scareface's "The G Code" which appeared as an album cut on the last Geto Boys album. How was this not one of the biggest songs of the last decade?

Also ElZhi's "S.A.R.A.H. (Feel This)" has such a classic feel to it, it's a shame it only landed on a mixtape.

Countless Nas songs like "Deja Vu" and "Life is Like a Dice Game" have been considered classics for years despite not even having a CD quality version ever being released, but what about the Kanye West produced "The World" track? Jay-Z's "44 Fours" and "Dead Presidents III" are nearly as good as the original versions of their songs.

Blu is another artist who has leaked so many quality tracks despite being released in low bit rate format (see: albums like Jesus and Godlee Barnes), but has early classic tracks like "Just Another Day" and "Fly (Liberation Song)" may have only appeared on an EP and a compilation by producer Exile, but had a major impact on my life.

Back when BET's Rap City was still in the basement, So So Def rapper, Sun NY had a video for a song called "Soul of a Hustler," which was slated to be on an album of the same name. But unfortunately he never gained much steam beyond the 5-minute, hookless single, and was dropped from Jermaine Dupree's label before the album ever came out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rhymes: Nas "Nasty" (Music Video)


Nas getting back to his Nasty-roots on his lead single for his up-coming album, tentatively titled, Life is Good. Video is pretty basic, but still good to see Nas in such a refreshed and hungry mode. This song was one of my favorite tracks of the summer with Salaam Remi's sparse, rhythmic-drum beat and a dense flow from Mr. Jones that scoffs at the idea of a hook for a track that's so, well... Nasty.


Speaking of a rejuvenated emcee coming off of two lukewarm albums (actually UMC was just turrible), Common looks to resurrect his career yet again with his reunion with No ID, The Dreamer, The Believer LP. If this song (which also dominated my Summer playlists) is any indication, he should be spitting like the Common of old (although that new single that samples ELO is more Finding Forever than Like Water For Chocolate).

This video features these two legendary emcees fantasizing about a beautiful woman. It's a simple, yet effective concept. The Dreamer, The Believer should hit shelves late November.

Rhymes: The Black Keys "El Camino" Album Announcement


BRL devotees (who presumably are also HIMYM fans) will recognize the guy from this trailer as Artillery Arthur from How I Met Your Mother.

Although hearts were broken when the Blak Roc 2 trailer turned out to be less than legitimate. Ohio's pride and joy, The Black Keys are back again with their next album titled, El Camino. Production will be handled by Danger Mouse (who did Attack & Release, and the smash single "Tighten Up"). Coming off of a couple of Grammy wins, Dan and Patrick are looking to cap off a fantastic year for rock music on December 6th with their 7th LP.

I'm sure a lead single will be released very soon, so be on the look out for that. More info Here and Pre-Orders Here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life: My Interview with Atmosphere: All In The Family: Left-Overs


Photo Courtesy of R*ch*l W*ckh*m (censored for security purposes)

So last month Atmosphere was in Cleveland and I had planned on attending the show. But being a budding journalist, I decided to ask Okayplayer if they would be interested in a feature story on Atmosphere. They gave me the "okay" and after weeks of waiting for Atmosphere's press people to get back to me, I finally got the interview of a lifetime.

15 mintues (which actually ended up being about 26 minutes, but who's counting) with Sean Daley, my idol. After having a minor panic attack, asking every employee of the House of Blues where Slug was, I was taken back stage. And there he was...

We had met once before (at a concert two years ago, there's an embarrassing picture on facebook as the proof), so him being a little taller than I had expected didn't throw me off, but how down to earth definitely did. First off all he greeted my girlfriend and I by name (because we had been tweeting Atmosphere all day), and instantly I became less nervous (as this was easily the biggest interview I have ever done in my young journalistic career) and more excited to have a pretty candid interview with one of my favorite artists of all time.

After writing the interview, I had a few good quotes and anecdotes that didn't quite fit into my story so I thought I would share them with the world:

More on how Slug and Atmosphere write albums:

When you throw that much mud at a wall, we make probably anywhere from 60-80 songs, some of them start to fall and some of them stay stuck to the wall, and at the end you look at what’s left over and then you go ‘okay, what kind of big story can I tell with what I have?’ And then it might help prompt you to go ‘okay I want to write a song like this cause that would sound good in between this one and this one.

More on the lack of samples on Lemons:
There was no sampling on Lemons but there were certain songs, for… For a song like “Glass House,” there’s no samples, but there’s a synth line that’s mimicking a saxophone line from an old record.


OKP: On the lemons record, you got Tom Waits to do a beat box, I was wondering how you were able to get him to do that?

S: I asked him to play guitar, and got back a beatbox (laughs). We sent him the song and I asked him to put guitar on it and he was like, “yeah.” Then I went on tour, and when I got home from the tour, he returned it. And I opened it, and played it and there was no guitar, there was beatboxing. I was like, ‘this is cool too actually,’ and we just had Nate (Collis) play guitar.


Click HERE to read the whole story.

Rhymes: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "Make The Money"


Finally!!!! After years of watching (and listening to a Youtube rip on my iPod) the video above, my favorite Macklemore song has been released.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO SONG, EMBEDDING NOT WORKING


The piano driven track plays more like a mission statement than a song. And Macklemore is as personal and honest as ever, and Ryan Lewis adds a brilliant instrument-based beat. I'm assuming this along with "Can't Hold Us" "Wings" and hopefully "My Oh My" will appear on the duo's upcoming album, which they hope will be released before the year's end. Obviously it will be one of the best albums of 2011 if it does get a Q4 release.

Macklemore & Ryan recently announced a new tour and again they will be hitting up The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor once again. The last time Macklemore was in Ann Arbor, he put on the most incredible show I've ever seen, without a DJ because RyLew was in Ireland.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rhymes: Evidence - "You" (Music Video)


Evidence drops off his first single off his upcoming Rhymesayers debut, Cats & Dogs. This one is laced by the legendary DJ Premier, and is one of his best tracks he's released in a while. Cats & Dogs will be released on September 27.

Pre-order your copy here.

Rhymes: Tonedeff - "What Part of Forever (Cee-Lo Cover)"


Fresh off of the QN5 Megashow and the Chico & the Man release date announcement (12/13/11), Tonedeff drops a video of his cover of Cee-Lo's Twilight soundtrack single. The cover is a lot slower than Cee-Lo's original, but it's equally as dope. This track is off of his Cold.Killed.Collected compilation, Tone released earlier this year.

You can download the track here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rhymes: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "Otherside (Remix)" Music Video


The Otherside Remix Music Video was filmed in various locations for about a year and a half throughout 2010-2011. It is the duo's second video collaboration with long time friend and director Jason Koenig (My Oh My).

One of BRL's favorite emcees/producer combos are back, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis riding their wave of success from their recent "Can't Hold Us" single and "Wings" music video. Off of their VS EP redux that come out last November.

Rhymes: Blak Roc 2 (Trailer)


I dont usually post Trailer videos, cuz they're usually annoying and pointless, but hey it's The Black Key. This time the Akron duo is back with their Blak Roc project (with Dame Dash), which was my introduction to the group back in 2009 when they collaborated with RZA and Mos Def. The second installment will feature BRL favorites Jay Electronica, Talib Kweli, Curren$y, Sean P, and more.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rhymes & Life: Lauryn Hill to Release New LP in Feb 2012


While this news is extremely exciting, I take this with a grain of salt. And even if she does come out with an LP next year, if her live shows are an indication, she doesnt have the same pipes as she did on her classic debut.

But let's put all pessimism aside, Miss Hill is one of the most talented artists of the past 20 years, and a new album would be awesome to hear.

Swiped from http://wordofthemedia.com/blog/lauryn-hill-comeback-album-2012-details-here
According to Record Executives at Island Def Jam, Lauryn Hill signed a 3 album contract with the highly successful label. After more than 10 years out of the spotlight Lauryn Hill has returned to the booth laying down tracks for her comeback album. Lauryn Hill as stated in many interviews that the reason for her Absence following the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (one of the biggest selling rap albums of all time) was the miscommunication and direction of her previous record label. Lauryn Hill mentioned that she was anxious to release a sophmore solo album but plans were halted because of the direction that her record label Columbia wanted her to take.

“This time the album will go where I want it to go.” says Lauryn Hill about her comeback album. Lauryn Hill also goes on to say about the rise of hip-hop music since her departure from the scene 10 years ago ” I feel a great deal of shame listening to where Hip-Hop has gone. The industry is filled with talented young artist who are thirsty for success but their talent gets overshadowed by the label’s efforts to make everyone sound ignorant.” Lauryn Hill promises that her album will be a reflection of who she really is and her life growing up, the album will have the same truths as her Diamond album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill“. “I know it’s been a minute but everything happens for a reason. This time is the right time and the wait for the fans will be all worth it. Lauryn Hill exclaims about her comeback album.

Lauryn Hill has reached out to producers such as Kanye West, and Saleem Remi who were more than honored to be apart of Lauryn’s comeback album. Rumors have also surfaced that former band mate Wyclef maybe featured and producing of her tracks. So are you guys ready to hear Lauryn Hill return to the music scene. The album is rumored to be titled “Redemption.”Lauryn Hill‘s comeback album is scheduled to be released February 2012.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rhymes: Apathy - Honkey Kong


So Apathy released the best titled album of the year, Honkey Kong on Tuesday. Apathy, who pokes fun at his whiteness on the album, ironically has one of the least white-sounding voices in hip hop. Apathy has it all on this record, hilarious punchlines, phenomenal story telling, powerful battleraps, and just all around great hip hop jams all over consistently solid production. Kong is easily one of the year's best releases, and should not be over looked.

Press Release:
Apathy is preparing to take his career to another level with the release of his third-solo LP, Honkey Kong, which was released today (I have included a retail link below). The Connecticut emcee and The Get Busy Committee (Apathy, Scoop Deville and Ryu released Uzi Does It in October 2010) and AOTP member has undeniably crafted his best project to date and it includes production from Apathy, DJ Premier, DJ Muggs, Statik Selektah, Evidence, Da Beatminerz and Teddy Roxpin (Mac Miller) among others. Guest appearances on Honkey Kong include Xzibit, Slaine, Vinnie Paz, Esoteric, Ill Bill, Celph Titled, Action Bronson, General Steele (Smif N Wessun) and Mad Lion.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rhymes: Chico & the Man Preview


Finally Kno and Tone shed a little light on their up coming album. The "underground Detox" has been rumored to be released since 2003, and we finally have a date which is 12/13/11. I'm sorely disappointed I was unable to attend the QN5 Megashow in New York, and I decided next year, I will be a college graduate and I will not miss another QN5 Megashow.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rhymes: Blu - My Sunshine (music video)

My Sunshine | Blu feat Nia Andrews from aaronisnotcool on Vimeo.


And another smooth west coast late summer jam from another California favorite, Blu. This is the lead single from the long-awaited major label debut, No York! This is probably the best track I've heard from the project thus far.


Blu will be releasing an official version of his Jesus LP (under the name B, presumably due to record label conflicts) on August 23, get a copy here.

Rhymes: Evidence - "Same Folks (ft. Fashawn)" (Music Video)


Here's the 2nd offering from Ev's much anticipated Rhymesayers debut. On the laid back, summer vibe soul beat, the Dialate People goes back and forth with another one of my favorite up-and-comers from the left coast, Fashawn. The music video is also pretty awesome, as it shows the 2 rappers debut a new song the old fashion way, playing it for people on the streets (as opposed to spamming your Twitter feed).

Cats & Dogs 9/27

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rhymes: A Message from Evidence (Video)


Finally one of the most anticipated releases of the year, Evidence's RSE debut, Cats & Dogs will hit shelves 9/27. I will also be seeing Evidence (along with Blueprint and Atmosphere) next week in Cleveland.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rhymes: FlamesYall&Goose - StudyAbroad (Free Download/Stream)


After 11 months of hard work, it is finally here. My long-awaited concept album with British beatsmith, FlamesYall. This is easily my best work I've ever done, and I can't express how proud I am of this album nor how eager I am for people to listen to it. FlamesYall is an incredibly gifted beat maker, and I am totally blessed to be able to rap over his beats (for free even!). If his music catches the right ear, he could be lacing some big time names, he's that good. And while I may not be the greatest rapper, have the best flow, struggle with breath control, and have a super whiteboy voice, I feel like my story is interesting for an audience:

StudyAbroad is my story and it's your story. After working out a rough narrative with FlamesYall, I studied various texts and my peers to really get inspiration for this album. This album is about a man in his early 20s figuring himself out basically. The protagonist of StudyAbroad is a reflection of me, my roommates, other close friends, Rob Gordon (High Fidelity), Brian O'Halloran (Clerks), Ed Norton's character in Fight Club and a bunch of other characters from the texts I've read/watched/listened to (I'll post a list of my influences later). I wanted to tell a story about a young man, who struggled with masculinity and how to treat women, while trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life and where he stands in the world.

The Narrative:
The protagonist, Goose, is about to graduate college and has his whole life figured out. He plans on spending his entire summer with his long-time girlfriend, whom he plans to marry one day. This will be his last opportunity to relax before he has to get a job, get married, and enter the real world. His plans fall apart when he gets a phone call from his girlfriend, who inexplicably breaks up with him out of the blue. He shortly there after finds out that he does not have enough credits to graduate so he must take classes during the summer in order to graduate before the fall.

Goose decides to enroll in classes in England, to get away from everything for a summer. First he must face his fear of getting on an airplane, something he's never done before, and leaving his home state of Ohio, also something he had never done. After arriving in England, he goes out to various pubs and night clubs to forget his woes and have some fun. He gets really drunk and meets an attractive English lass and sleeps with her. Upon waking up, he sees that his ex-girlfriend is already in a new relationship only 2 weeks after splitting up with him. He immediately assumes she had been cheating on him, which enrages and confuses him as he feels empty after leaving his one night stand's pad and waiting for the bus to take him to school.

Goose has a class taught by a professor named FlamesYall, who asks to see him after class. They meet at a pub, and over drinks the protagonist tells him all about the troubles he's been having with his ex, his brother going to the hospital, and many other problems with his friends and family. This causes him to feel useless because he can't help them because he is so far away. After FlamesYall leaves the pub, Goose gets drunk and reflects on life and compares his life to other people whom he graduated with. And finally he realizes how much he misses his ex, until he sees that she is calling him.

After months of silence between the two, she calls him crying saying that she had just broken up with her new boyfriend and that she missed him. Goose, who is extremely drunk, scorns her for dumping him with no reason. When he finally gets home, he passes out and has a dream about the good old days with his girl. He wakes up to a voicemail from her explaining that the reason they broke up was that she was with him so long, she didnt know who she really was, and that she needed time away from him to figure out who she was. She also explains that she is thinking about getting back together with him, but she might move to Rome, Italy to get away for a while. After listening to the voicemail, Goose again reflects on their relationship and saw how that it was very juvenile and he decided that he wants her back.

After fighting a rough hangover, Goose gets a sort of epiphany. He starts to realize that life isn't holding him back, but rather if he wants something he has to put in the work and get it himself. So after finally finishing his classes and getting his degree, he boards his plane to come back to Ohio. After learning so much in England he is ready to get back with his girl; he plans to ask her to marry him when he gets home. Upon arriving to her house, he sees a note on her door saying that she decided to get away, so she moved to Rome. Instead of being heartbroken, the protagonist, with a new sense of self meets an old friend for a drink. His friend who is the same age, is also married and with a kid, chat about life, and asks Goose if he's happy with where he is in life and the answer is yes even though he's not sure what's in store with his future, he is confident he can handle whatever life throws at him.

And that my friends, is StudyAbroad.

Thank you for reading/listening. I think it's a very relatable story about the dreaded quarterlife crisis, and it doesnt hurt that it's told in the form of sweet raps and dope ass instrumentals.

Rhymes: Duck Down Season Pass

The good folks at Duck Down Records have been putting out quality releases all year. And now here's your chance to get 5 quality albums (and a bonus poster and flash drive full of digital versions of the music) for only $55. Get your copy here.

Duck Down Season Pass

Order the Duck Down Season Pass & for only $55 you'll receive 5 of the latest Duck Down albums + a custom Duck Down Running Man logo 2GB zip drive.

Fans that purchase the season pass will receive a download link one week in advance for 9th Wonder & Buckshot's album, The Solution, in stores everywhere October 25th. The download link will also contain digital album artwork + 9th Wonder & Buckshot videos from the album. You will also receive an artist signed 11 x 17 Season Pass poster.

Included in this deluxe package is:

Pharoahe Monch 'W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)' - CD

Random Axe - CD

Pete Rock & Smif N Wessun 'Monumental' - CD

Black Rob 'Game Tested, Streets Approved' - CD

9th Wonder & Buckshot 'The Solution' (Out October 25th) - MP3 Download

Custom Duck Down Zip Drive (2GB)


Here are some samples of the music they've released this year:








Rhymes: The Coup Kids - Six Strings & a Mic EP (Free Download/Stream)



Here's a long overdue post. Back in June, my good friend Zirgs and I (aka The Coup Kids) put out this little EP. He plays some nifty little guitar riffs while I do my rapping thing on the mic. We made live versions of my older material from past albums such as: Nothing Comes Easy and A Dorm is Not a Home. We also recorded a live version of a track off of my newest album (that came out last week) Study Abroad, with producer FlamesYall.

The album is called Six Strings and a Mic because that is all that is used in this album. I wanted to record a very stripped down album, with only his guitar playing and my rapping. It has a very rough, unpolished sound, as we were trying to create a raw, live performance sounding records. Most of our performances were recorded in a single take, as opposed to punch-ins, which gives the record a pretty unique, fun sound despite much of the EP's serious lyrical content.

http://gooseohio.bandcamp.com/album/six-strings-a-mic-an-ep

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rhymes: Grieves and Budo - Together/Apart (Review)



Swiped from Okayplayer.com

Seattle based emcee Grieves signed to indie powerhouse Rhymesayers Entertainment back in late 2009. Since then he has been on the road and working on his third full-length album (and first on Rhymesayers) Together/Apart with producer/multi-instrumentalist Budo. Like on his previous albums, Grieves is extremely introspective and personal in his verses. On the spaced out, piano-driven opener “Lightspeed,” he essentially covers his entire life in less than four minutes.

While Grieves is a sharp writer, can craft good sing-song hooks, and be very relatable, Budo seems to be the top performer on Together/Apart. Arguably the beatsmith was up staged by his rapping counterpart on their 2008 effort, 88 Keys & Counting, but this time around he crafts some excellent instrumentals including a wide range of live instrumentation including pianos, synths, horns and guitars. On tracks like “Tragic” and “Prize Fighter,” it’s pretty evident Budo worked hard on improving his drums, as these tracks will have any head bobbing.

The main drawback on Together/Apart is the lack of variety on Grieves’ end. If this is the first Grieves record you’ve ever heard, you will probably find Grieves’ tales of his loss of women, alcohol and drug abuse, and depression entertaining and enlightening. But if you’re familiar with his work, you’ll probably be a little put off by the redundancy of his subject matter. While there aren’t any tracks that I would categorize as a bad song on the album, Together/Apart does seem to be rather top heavy, with most of the stand out cuts at the beginning of the record. The album also seems to drag a little towards the end of the record, which I think could’ve been fixed by including a few more guest appearances. Usually I’m not one for a long list of guest rappers, but a few more features really could’ve broken up the monotony of the record like the tracks with P.O.S. and CunninLynguists did on Grieves 2010 EP, The Confessions of Mr. Modest.

Overall Together/Apart is a very good record, and a few minor missteps from being a great one. Despite Budo’s hardest beat on the record, both Grieves and label mate Brother Ali come a little weak on “Tragic.” And the record could use more up-beat and lighthearted tracks like the Krukid assisted “No Matter What.” This album features more singing from Grieves than in the past. And like “Cloud Man” from 88 Keys, tracks consisting of just singing result in being some of the album’s best tracks. “On the Rock” has Grieves singing to the lonely ice cubes at the bottom of his empty glass, and the epic “Heartbreak Hotel” is easily the album’s best track.

-Zach Gase


BRL Grade: 8 beets out of 10

Rhymes: Kendrick Lamar - "Section.80"


(Music Video for HiiiPower)

Compton native Kendrick Lamar just released his newest album, Section.80, and it's easily one of the year's best. Lamar covers a range of topics surrounding 80s babies who grew up in section80 of California, and he does it well. The album isn't necessarily political, but is extremely socially conscious as K.Dot tells vivid stories about people in their early 20s about their vices, pains and evils.

The album is on $7.99 on iTunes, and is one of the few albums i've ever bought from iTunes and it is well worth your money. Kendrick is sure to be one of the next biggest rappers, but he also has a story to tell.

Grade: 9 beets out of 10

Rhymes: Atmosphere - "The Last To Say" Music Video


Here's a powerful video to one of the best tracks off of Atmosphere's latest album, The Family Sign.

Rhymes: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "Wings" Music Video


After months of filming, editing, and raising money on Kickstarter, the boys Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have finally released their music video for their up-coming album's lead-single, "Wings."It is currently on the front page of XXL's website which is impressive, and hopefully will get them more exposure. This video is as powerful as the song, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis continue to impress me more and more. Word is they are about to released a new track from their album soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rhymes: Common "Ghetto Dreams (feat. Nas)" Free Download

Common - Ghetto Dreams feat NAS by Nasir Jones

Finally after a long wait after the leaked snippet and a brief delay (presumably due to Common switching labels) the Nas-Common collaboration has been released by Common himself. Common sounds hungry again, and his upcoming album, The Believer, The Dreamer hopefully will be another come back album from the Chicago emcee.

Nas runs away with this track in some Eminem "Renegade"fashion, wow combine this with "Nasty" Nas sounds hungier than ever.

Friday, July 1, 2011

From Dwight Schrute's Beet Farm: Happy Canada Day from Dwight Schrute


Our website's patriarch has some choice word's for America's Michigan, and a song of useless knowledge about the "country" eh. Happy CanaDay from BRL.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rhymes: Lyle Horowitz - Smiles of a Summer Night (Free download/stream)


Once in a while, I will randomly check out a post on Okayplayer about a member's music. Usually I'll give a track or two a quick listen, just because when I post stuff there I'd like it people listened to my stuff.

But with beatsmith, Lyle Horowitz's latest release, Smiles of a Summer Night I was hooked instantly with the phenomenal intro sung by vocalist, Dana Washington. The entire project has a great, laid back summer vibe. The production is solid throughout, with the exception being the Charles Hamilton produced, "Have Fun." The rapping is also surprisingly on point as well. PreZZure steals the show on all three of the tracks he is on including my personal favorite, "Bar Life."

I highly recommend that you check out this free project. Due to the high number of people checking out this project, he has exceeded the Bandcamp free download limit (of 500 downloads), but he was kind enough to give an alternative download link.

Rhymes & Life: Killer Mike - "Burn" (music video)


Here's Killer Mike's latest set of visuals off of his latest album, Pl3dge, which i wrote a review for okayplayer. Normally I don't post a lot of music videos (because let's face most of them suck, and the music video era is dead. RIP video ho's), but this was a pretty powerful video for a politically charged track, which is one of the stand out's on his new LP.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rhymes: The Yes Yes Yalls - "Earth to Pluto" video


Here's a dope video from an album i've had for a while, #yesyesyalls. I think it came out late 09, and at first I wasnt feeling it because with a name like The Yes Yes Yalls, I was expecting some super boom bap type hip hop. They are not, they have a completely original sound which is way dope.

You can check out their album here:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beats, Rhymes & Life: ATCQ documentary Trailer


The new trailer from Michael Rapaport's documentary on one of the greatest (if not thee greatest) rap groups ever, A Tribe Called Quest. There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the film, but despite all their arguments all of the members of the Tribe have said it's a great film and everyone should watch it. I'd like to say everyone here at BRL fully supports the film, even though Rapaport and company totally stole the name from us (we'll be waiting on that check, bro).

Rhymes: Coldplay - Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall (New Single)


Wow this is...different. That melody is re-donk-alis though. I'm really excited for a new Coldplay LP.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rhymes: Fleet Foxes - "Sim Sala Bim" (Live Performance)


Robin Pecknold and company stop by Jimmy Fallon to perform the 3rd track off of their latest album. Check out my review for Hopelessness Blues here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Louis Boston - "Smile Again" (Music Video)

Louis Boston 'Smile Again' from huw caddy on Vimeo.


Here's an extremely dope video/song from a UK rapper name Louis Boston. Don't know much about the guy, but this song is excellent.

Here is a link to his soundcloud, which has a few more bangers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rhymes: Grieves - "Bloody Poetry" (Music Video)


Here's the second single off of Grieves & Budo's up-coming Rhymesayers debut, Together/Apart. This is a pretty awesome video to go with a great song that I've been waiting for an official release for a long time. June 21st is the release date. The first official day of summer is sure to be a damn good one.

Rhymes: Bon Iver - "Calgary" (New Single)


Bon Iver's first single off of their up-coming Self-Titled LP. Just as I had hoped, this song (and judging by the album cover, the rest of the album) has a beautiful summer vibe to it. Make you go out and support on June 21 when their long awaited sophomore album is released.

Free Download

Rhymes: Blu - Je s u s (LP Link / Download)



Out of the blu (see what I did there) the LA emcee Blu releases a new LP titled Je s u s. Unfortunately this sounds like Blu recorded this on Audacity using a built-in computer mic. I don't understand why he can't release something with some decent sound quality and/or mixing, but this still manages to be kinda dope. Production from The Alchemist, 9th Wonder, Madlib, hezekiah, Knxwledge, Nathan and Godlee Barnes himself.



Support at Bandcamp

or check out a free download provided by the good folks at Nah Right: Free Download

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rhymes: What the Eff is a Yash Kapoor?

What the Eff is a Yash Kapoor?


Yash Kapoor is a producer, DJ, and emcee from Vancouver, BC. He got his start producing and DJing five years ago. He said that music has always been a major influence in his life. He bought equipment by taking out a student loan and started his musical career when he was 20 years old.

“I was gearing up to move to LA, but then I suffered a knee injury which changed that plan quite dramatically,” he said. “After I sustained that injury no one could really answer what happened, so I had to find out for myself and I got my degree in human kinetics.”

Meditate

Currently Yash Kapoor is a Kinesiologist and an owner of his own rehabilitation company. Yash Kapoor’s music is also heavily influenced by his professional work, with albums titled Energy is Sound and My Meditation.

“Meditation is a stated of being where you are completely engrossed in the moment, unaware of all else and elevated to the universe,” Yash Kapoor said. “If you follow what you love you get to a state of being where nothing even matters or exists. I get there with music, basketball and chess. When I first started to make music it was my chess music, I would make a beat and play chess to it and I noticed I could zone to it.”

Use Your Voice


“There’s a gun to my head and he said ‘use your voice,’ so I’m pleading for my life, I sacrifice the time I’m given” Yash Kapoor said on “Nice Guys Finish Last (Knock @ 666) a track off of his latest LP, Saight.

He released his third album last October, but with this release, he decided to rap over his bass-heavy productions for the first time.

“To this day I would never say that I created Saight, something kept calling me back to the studio and it was like a faucet, just open,” Yash Kapoor said. “I didn’t create the meaning behind any of those tracks they created themselves, and for some of the listeners its material that can change your life. I never wanted or desired to MC before mostly because I think most people MC for the attention.”

Saight is about positive visions, he said. Reception of his latest work has been generally positive, but he said he had recently experienced a slight set back with a negative review from Okayplayer.

“I could feel that review coming so I was prepared for it,” he said. “I was talking to Rapper (Big) Pooh (of Little Brother) and he said that ‘you have to do you, no matter what anyone else says.’ You are (going to) get positive feedback and negative feedback. I just use my ‘saight’ and focus on the positive.”

Fore’Saight’


Yash Kapoor, who has proudly worked with some of his heroes including: Rapper Big Pooh, Danny Brown, Vast Aire, LMNO, Declaime, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Oddisee and Moka Only is currently at work on his next album, Time and Option.

While there is no set release for the upcoming project, he has high expectations for the release.

“We all have time and option but I chose to spend mine on music,” he said. “This is a reflection of what I have been doing.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rhymes: An Interveiw with The Coup's Eric Zirger


We at BRL TV were able to sit down with The Coup Kids' Eric "Zirgs" Zirger for an interview. This interview will also be featured in the group's full-length documentary about the group recording their debut project, Six Strings & a Mic: An EP. Zirger touches on many topics during this interview including how he got started playing guitar, how he first started writing his own guitar riffs, how he got into writing lyrics, and more.

While there is no set release date for my and Zirger's debut as The Coup Kids. We are probably looking to release it before June. Here is the link to the two singles we've released from the project, thus far.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rhymes & Life: What the Eff is a Custom Made?

Preface:
When I started writing album reviews at Okayplayer.com last November, the second album I was assigned to do was Custom Made’s Hi-Def. I was blown away by this album, and the west coast group quickly became one of my favorites.
I recently had to opportunity to talk with Scoobs of Custom Made for a phone interview. He gave a really great interview, but unfortunately when I tried to upload the audio file onto my MacBook, it erased all of the data on my voice recorder, including my interview.
Luckily I jotted down some notes during the interview, and I have enough to salvage the story:



What the eff is a Custom Made?

Custom Made is an underground rap trio based out of Las Angeles. The group consist of three emcees: Scoobs, Element and Bluff. They have four LPs released on underground powerhouses such as Babygrande, Rawkus, and Coalmine Records.

All three members have a unique style to their rap deliveries and have lyrical content heavily influenced by their L.A. surroundings, Scoobs said. Scoobs, whose delivery has the most energy and aggression in the group handled production, but doesn’t make beats anymore because he wanted to focus mostly on emceeing, he said.

Custom Made features several skilled in-house producers including Abstrakt Soundz, THX, Finesse, and Jayem. Despite being from the west coast, their production style is heavily influenced by 1990 east coast hip hop.

A Las Angeles State of Mind:



The group’s debut album, LA State of Mind took about a year to record during their senior year in high school, Scoobs said.

“We all knew each other from cyphers in our high school,” he said. “Eventually we started to respect each other’s styles, and we formed the group.”

At that point Custom Made was a five-member group: Six, Bluff, Element, Scoobs and Aneek. And their sound was extremely raw and unpolished, but LA State garnered them local buzz and critical acclaim including an 8 out of 10 at one of the most respected hip hop review websites, rapreviews.com.

The album was released on the group’s own Custom Made Records, a label started by Scoobs that has distribution by IODA. This label was the platform for the group to release their Street Cinema mixtape series.

The Street Cinema mixtapes, along with other underground acts out of LA, helped spark a mixtape scene, that was not getting much attention, Scoobs said. He also credits the mixtapes for getting attention from record labels including Babygrande, which they signed with in 2006.



Taking Babygrande Steps:



Upon signing with Babygrande Records, the group was rushed to release a project to capitalize on their buzz they were making with their Street Cinema series, Scoobs said.

He said that they were forced to release Sidewalk Mindtalk, a compilation of their best tracks from their mixtapes, which was packaged with a DVD.

“We wanted to get out there, we just wanted to release new material,” Scoobs said. “They kept making us shoot these videos (for the DVD) and we had an album’s worth of new material.”

Custom Made’s roster also went through some changes in 2006, as Six was sentenced to four years in prison and Aneek moved to the east coast to settle down and start a family, Scoobs said.

He said that Custom Made is still on good terms with Aneek and Six, and Six even appeared on many tracks on their latest LP, in a “Malik B for The Roots type of role.”

C-Made’s relationship with their label continued to grow sour, as Babygrande kept ignoring the group’s wishes to release an album.

“Babygrande is based on the east coast,” Scoobs said. “So it was pretty easy to ignore us out here in LA.”

When Rawkus Records announced their “Rawkus 50” campaign in 2007, a friend of the group recommended that they submit their album to Rawkus, and that’s how their second LP Truth Be Told was finally released.

Truth Be Told was the album we had recorded for Babygrande,” Scoobs said. “But they didn’t want to release it, and we wanted to get it out there… And that kinda hurt our relationship (with Babygrande) a little.”
After releasing their first proper album on Babygrande, Original Dynasty in 2008, Custom Made parted ways with the underground hip hop label.

“With the knowledge I have now, would I go back and do things differently? Most definitely,” Scoobs said. “But I can’t be mad (at Babygrande). They gave us our start, and I learned a lot (from) our situation there.”



‘High’ Definition:



After leaving Babygrande, the group inked a one album deal with New York-based indie label Coalmine Records.
Initially Custom Made’s fourth LP, Hi-Def was set to be a collaborative album with another group, that’s why there is a lot of guest appearances, Scoobs said.
Hi-Def shows the growth of Custom Made’s sound. The album is a lot more introspective than previous efforts from the group, and it is heavily inspired by drugs. Many songs make reference to drug abuse, dealing drugs and the harm drugs have on their neighborhood.



A Promising, Yet Uncertain Future:




Custom Made has big things in store for their future, Scoobs said. Last March, Scoobs branched out for the first time releasing his first solo mixtape, Trap Star Vol. 1.

Scoobs said he is currently working on videos for his current project, and will likely release the second volume of his Trap Star mixtape series before the year’s end.Element is also expected to release a follow up to his 2008 project, Great Expectations.

Custom Made is also planning on re-releasing their back catalogue in physical format through worldwide distribution, Scoobs said.

While the future is bright for Custom Made, there are many questions surrounding Bluff’s troubles with the law.
Recently he was indicted on 15 counts of wire fraud, and is facing up to 20 years in prison. Bluff is currently on house arrest.

Scoobs said that Bluff is optimistic in getting the sentence shortened and has a good team of workers. He also said Bluff committed the crime many years ago, and that sometimes “crime doesn’t pay.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rhymes: Bon Iver Announce New Album in June



I've been waiting for a new LP from Justin Vernon and company for some time now. Interesting enough, the band who's been the soundtrack to my last couple of winters is going to release an album in June. I'm excited to hear what they got in store for their 2nd LP which is self-titled.

Tracklist:
01 Perth
02 Minnesota, WI
03 Holocene
04 Towers
05 Michicant
06 Hinnom, TX
07 Wash.
08 Calgary
09 Lisbon, OH
10 Beth/Rest

Untitled from Bon Iver on Vimeo.


(swiped from richdork)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rhymes: Raekwon - "Ferry Boat Killaz" (Music Video)

Raekwon - Ferry Boat Killaz from LRG on Vimeo.


Here's the Chef's latest music video off of the Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang album. I have yet to hear this whole album (because I'm brokeee), but every track I've heard has been fire. This one is produced by Alchemist.

Rhymes: Phonte Solo Album to Be Released in September


In a video from Urbandaily.com Phonte and 9th Wonder announced that they will be collaborating again on Tay's upcoming solo debut.

Last year around this time, Phonte and 9th had a public dispute on Twitter about the Little Brother bonus track, "Star" which appeared on Phonte and Big Pooh's final album as a group. The two took it to the internets again a few months ago, announcing that they had finally squashed their beef, after several long and heated discussions.

Now Phonte is gearing up to release his long-awaited solo debut album, and 9th will be producing much of it taking on a role similar to J Dilla's on Q-Tip's Amplified album (Dilla co-produced with Tip on all but 2 tracks). The album will coincidentally be released on the 6-year anniversary of the classic Little Brother album, The Minstrel Show, September 13.

I'm extremely happy to see these two great minds work out their differences. Their early Little Brother work was one of the best hip hop of the last decade. 9th has seemingly grown as a producer as made evident by his work in 2010 including great albums such as Murs' Fornever and David Banner's Death of a Pop Star.

I've been awaiting a solo "Rappin' Tay" album for years. He gave us a little glimpse of the first Foreign Exchange album, but it was predominantly "Singin' Tay." Phonte has been one of the most premier emcees over the past decade, and his up-coming solo record is easily one of the most exciting projects being released this year.

Here's a little glimpse of "Rappin' Tay" off of Little Brother's LeftBack LP released in 2010.

Rhymes: Pack FM - "Nasty" (Live Performance)

PackFM - Nasty (Live in Basel) from 2dopeboyz.com on Vimeo.


QN5 emcee, Pack FM performs his lead single off of his 2010 album, I F*cking Hate Rappers in Switzerland while on tour with the CunninLynguists. His flow is incredible on the studio version, and it's amazing to see him perform it live.

BRL Radio: Headphones & Backpacks Podcast Episode #1

BRL Radio- Headphones & Backpacks Podcast episode 1 by zgase
This is my first attempt at a podcast, and a nice reminder that I should stick to print journalism. In this podcast I talk about some latest news in hip hop, and play some recent tracks that should be getting some more attention.

Tracklist:
1. XV – Witchita
2. Talk about XV
3. BRL Intro
4. Talk about Atmosphere's New LP
5. Atmosphere- "If you can save me now"
6. Talk About Family Tour
7. Grieves – "Lightspeed"
8. Blueprint – "Radio-Inactive"
9. Phonte’s solo album….
10. Little Brother – Tiggalo for Dolo
11. Custom Made info
12. Scoobs – These Days
13. Talk about StudyAbroad album
14. GooseFlames – few good blokes
15. Wrap it up – upcoming posts, future podcasts
16. The Coup Kids – All Iever wanted

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rhymes: What the Eff is a Marz Lovejoy?


(video swiped from Okayplayer.com)
One of my favorite parts of writing for Okayplayer is discovering new artists that I probably would've never heard from. Of all of the albums I've reviewed so far, two artists really stood out to me: Custom Made (more on the LA trio later) and 19 year-old female emcee Marz Lovejoy.

Marz is the total package: charisma, lyrics, style, mic presence, and ability to craft songs. Her 7-track EP, This Little Love of Mine was released last November is a short, but great listen and I highly recommend it.

More info HERE.

Bonus:
Here's a music video from Marz, also my favorite track off of the EP.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rhymes: Fleet Foxes - "Grown Ocean" (Music Video)

Fleet Foxes - Grown Ocean from Fleet Foxes on Vimeo.


Here's the 2nd single off of the Fleet Foxes highly anticipated sophomore effort, Helplessness Blues. The Seattle-based band's follow up to their highly acclaimed self-titled debut is set to be released May 3.

Rhymes: Atmosohere - The Family Sign (Released today!)


Atmosphere's long awaited 7th LP is finally released today. My review of the record will come later in the week, via Okayplayer. But it is the group's most mature sounding effort to date, and exactly what hip hop should sound like when it's made by people almost in their 40s (Jay-Z take note, bro).

The Video up top is a presentation of the album's awesome artwork (I'll be picking up my copy on Sunday once I get paid). And the video down below is the great music video to "She's Enough" the album's second single.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rhymes: 1st Quarter All Stars

The months Jan-March are traditionally the least interesting months in terms of music releases, but in 2011 we've seen quite a few of interesting releases:

Here is a list (in tentative order from best to worst with a tentative rating):

1. CunninLynguists - Oneirology (9.5 out of 10)

Easily the year's best release comes from the 'Lynguists. Their current 9.5 rating could easily turn into a perfect 10 by the year's end, as I'm picking up something new with each listen.

2. Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4eva (9 out of 10)

Admittedly, I slept on K.R.I.T.'s 2010 release, K.R.I.T. was Here and that was a BIG mistake. R4 is a phenomenal release. The release displays is excellent emcee skills and songwriting ability as well as his classic southern production which gives me flashbacks of 94-96 era of Dungeon Family.

3. Saigon - The Greatest Story Never Told (9 out of 10)

The long awaited Saigon debut was finally released this year, and it was well worth the wait. Top notch production from Just Blaze, and socially and politically conscious lyricism from the former Entourage star, will make this record one the year's best.

4. Reks - R.E.K.S. (8.5 out of 10)

This Boston emcee paired with top tier boom bap production from the likes of DJ Premier, Pete Rock, The Alchemist, Sean C & LV, Nottz, Hi-Tek, and show stealer, Statik Selektah make up a record that sounds like it come out in 1996.

5. Stalley - Lincoln Way Nights (Intellectual Trunk Music) (8 out of 10)

This Ohio emcee has released one of the year's most interesting mixtapes. With hard hitting production from Rashad, Stalley raps mostly about his sound system and his cars, which may sound boring and cliche, but he does it damn well.

6. Apollo Brown - Clouds (8 out of 10)

This Detroit beatsmith released an excellent instrumental album, with amazing samples and hard hitting drums. This atmospheric record is a great listen even without rymes, but I'd still really like to hear some dope emcees rip these tracks apart.

7. Chip Tha Ripper - Gift Raps (7.5 out of 10)

His latest release, Gift Raps, with producer, Chuck Inglish, is the Cleveland rapper's best release of his young career. This focused effort will probably land Chip a record deal, and the emcee is starting to fulfill his potential.

8. Scavie Scoobs (of Custom Made) - Trap Star Vol. 1 (7 out of 10)

The Custom Made emcee branches off to release his first solo project, Trap Star. Noticeably more aggressive and focuses more on gangsta rap themes than the group's 2010 release Hi-Def, Scoobs finds his own voice on his solo debut, while staying true to his Custom Made family.

Here is a list of releases that I've listened to a few times, but need to listen to more before I can give them even a tentative listen:

#. Pharoahe Monch - W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

This politically charged record has some bangers on it for sure, but I need to give it a few more spins before I can decide how I feel about it.

#. Pac Div - Mania!

The West Coast group's third mixtape in as many years, has the potential to be their best. While they're prepping their major label debut, their independent work has made them one of my favorite groups of the past few years.

#. Money Making Jam Boys - The Prestige: Jam Boy Magic

This Philly-based super group that features Black Thought, Porn, Dice Raw, STS, and Truck North released their debut mixtape this year. I've given it one or two quick listens, but still need to give it a close listen to decide how I feel about it.

#. Grynch - Timeless EP

I've only give the Seattle emcee's new EP only one quick listen but the title track and the Sabzi (of Blue Scholars) produced remix to his excellent 2010 single, "My Volvo" are two excellent tracks.

Here are two albums that I am highly anticipating but due to lack of funds I have yet to listen to:

#. Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbows


#. Raekwon - Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Juice's Thought: Green Lantern



“In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight!” Fans have been waiting to hear this on the big screen for years. Now me personally: I don’t really care too much about the Green Lantern. I was first introduced to this hero in the animated TV show called “Justice League” that ran from 2001-2004. The Green Lantern in the show was not “Hal Jordan” (The hero who started the comic book.) There are many Green Lanterns; however, I believe that only two of them are human, and the others are aliens.

This trailer shows how Hal Jordan becomes Green Lantern. All I know about Hal Jordan is that he gets the ring from a dying alien who was a Green Lantern. Now this transition of power is a good sign because the movie is following the comic book very well. Fans love it when movies follow the story out of the comics. The reason I did not care for this hero is because it took me a while to understand his power. And when I learned what it was, it was not very impressive. The ring can make anything that he can think of. It also gives him the power to fly, travel through space, and change his clothes. Still, the Green Lantern is a very powerful hero.
Every Green Lantern’s job is to protect their sector. Hal Jordan’s sector is Earth. The source of the power is the ring. The ring needs to be charged by a lantern that each of them own. The lanterns come from a planet, and on that planet are the Guardians. The Guardians are the leaders of the “Green Lantern Corps” They give people the job of the Green Lantern’s sectors and have the power to give and take away the power of the heroes.

I don’t really know any of the villains of the Green Lantern. All I know that Yellow is the “Kryptonite” of the Green Lanterns. So yellow can hurt them. The Green Lantern’s foes tend to wear yellow as it helps neutralize the Green Lantern’s power.
I like Ryan Reynolds play Hal Jordan because I know that Hal is a funny guy and Ryan Reynolds is always hilarious. This movie does show a lot of space, and I would love to see a fight scene take place in space. Now I don’t like “3D”,but this movie should be in “3D.” I say this because the only thing that should be 3D in this movie is the green light from the ring, and the enemy’s attacks. Anything else would be unnecessary.

This movie comes out June 17th, , and I can’t wait. It looks like a good time, and although I have never been a big Green Lantern fan, I hope there will be a midnight showing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rhymes: Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4eva

R4 cover

After his highly acclaimed 2010 album, K.R.I.T. Was Here he started to make a lot of noise on-line getting rave reviews from outlets including Okayplayer, Pitchfork, and many others. Admittedly I slept on the album, and I did try downloading the album a couple of times, but the link wasn't working and I wasn't compelled to keep trying.

When his second release came out, I decided to finally check in on what the hype was about. And almost instantly I became a believer of the Mississippi producer/emcee.

His style is a hybrid of all of my favorite southern artists. His production sounds a lot like Organized Noize, and his vocal delivery gives me flashbacks of the late/great Pimp C.

With obvious influences from Outkast, UGK, 8Ball & MJG, and Three Six Mafia, K.R.I.T. has brought a sound back to the south, that has for the most part, been absent for years.

Hopefully Def Jam gives him artistic freedom to do what he wants. They did do a good job with Big Boi's album last year, even though they didn't promote it well, it's still better than what Atlantic has been doing with young promising talent (see: the corpses of B.o.B and Wiz Khalifa).

Tracks to check out: "Rise and Shine" "Dreamin'" "American Rapstar" "Lions and Lambs" "Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Encouraging Racism" "Free My Soul" and "The Vent"



BONUS: R4 Theme Song Music Video:


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From Dwight Schrute's Beet Farm: Mustache March

The end of March is quickly approaching us. The 31-day ode to the most underrated, yet most difficult, facial hair style has just about concluded. But before everyone breaks out their shaving creme and razors, let's reflect on some of the most glorious mustaches that have even been donned on a man's upper-lip. As well as some weak attempts to remind us how special it really is to be able to grow and pull of a mustache.

Top 10 Best Mustaches:

#10 (a). Br*nd*n C*ffm*n (censored for security purposes)

An understudy of his father, a local legend in facial hair, let his glorious mustache touch the lives of us momentarily. BG misses its wildcard.

#10 (b). **st*n M*ss (censored for security purposes) aka Sir Bo Outlaw

I had to make an edit because of a glaring om ission of long-time BRL follower/bear/mustache donner Bo Outlaw. His mustacheness is definitely in the top-tier of facial hairs that my eyes have ever had the privilege of witnessing.

#9. Richard Pryor

One of the best comedians ever also had one of the best mustaches of all time as well.

#8. Tom Tucker

Easily the best cartoon mustache out there, here's to you, Tom Tucker.

#7. William Taft

I don't know much about his presidency, but he easily is America's best mustached president.

#6. John Stossel

One of my favorite journalists, and I hope for obvious reasons.

#5. Ron Jeremy

Paved the way for the "porn star mustache" look.

#4. Mike Ditka

Coach Ditka, need I say more?

#3. Ron Swanson

BRL's man of the year has a glorious mustache, indeed.

#2. Rollie Fingers

Oakland A's pitcher is truly an inspiration to aspiring mustache growers.

#1. Wilford Brimley

The famous Diabetes commercial guy, has THEE best mustache in the game. You can't Dia-Beat-his mustache, yo.

Honorable Mentions: Borat, John Selleck, Robert Goulet, Poncho Villa, and Albert Einstein

Top 5 WORST Mustaches:

#5. Prince

No one has ever looked so feminine while sporting a mustache.

#4. Michael Jordon

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Taking a page from...

#3. Adolf Hitler

Holocaust, WWII, German cars, but his worst offense? You tell me...

#2. J. Cz*r*k

Shit's weak bro (BG'ers will get that little play on words).

#1. Adam Morrison

Yeah, I'd cry too if my mustache game was that weak.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rhymes: The Coup Kids - "All I Ever Wanted" (Free DL)


Here is a song I recorded with my friend Zirgs. You may recognize him from my last album, A Dorm is Not a Home, on which he played guitar on a track called "Grand Am." This track is a remake of another song from that album titled (obviously) "All I Ever Wanted."

Together we are called The Coup Kids (baller name, i know), he will be playing guitar and I will be holding down the rapping duties. We have decided to record an EP of older songs I've done plus maybe some covers of songs you may or may not recognize. You can either stream the track or download that ish for free.

BRL Update: New Look


As you probably already have noticed (all told your wives/husbands/moms/dads about) Dwight's Beet Farm got itself a new look. BRL went for an outside hire, and enlisted one-time Bawse, and fellow Blogger *l**n* B*z*s (Edited for security purposes) to do the site's design/header/logo. You can check out her blog, but as you will notice almost immediately, her blog (which is about books n shit) is vastly inferior to this blog. But in her defense BRL is wayyy nice, and probs the best blog in the blogosphere; this is based only on assumption because I've never looked at any other blogs (Did Van Gogh hang other dude's paintings in his house? didn't think so).

So enjoy the new and improved layout and give a shout out to The Bawse for hookin us up with something that doesn't "make [you] want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rhymes: John Legend - "Rolling in the Deep (Adele Cover)"



John Legend did an awesome a capella cover of one of my favorite songs off of one of my favorite non-hip hop albums of 2011, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" off her album, 21.

Click Here to Download swiped from 2dopeboyz.com

Rhymes: Death Cab for Cutie - You Are A Tourist

DEATH CAB for CUTIE - You Are A Tourist [Album Version] by ATL REC.
Lately I've been hip hop'n ya'll to death. So here's a nice little change of pace: the new Death Cab single. Ben Gibbard and the boys are geared up to release their 7th LP on May 31. Check out the album cover and track list below:



01 “Home Is A Fire”
02 “Codes And Keys”
03 “Some Boys”
04 “Doors Unlocked And Open”
05 “You Are A Tourist”
06 “Unobstructed Views”
07 “Monday Morning”
08 “Portable Television”
09 “Underneath The Sycamore”
10 “St “Peter’s Cathedral”
11 “Stay Young, Go Dancing”

Rhymes: Pharoahe Monch - "W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)" Album Stream



Pharoahe Monch's long awaited third album, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades finally saw its release this week. The much anticipated project, and first on indie label Duck Down Music, features a stellar cast including production by: Exile, Marco Polo, and Diamond D and guest spots from: Phonte, Styles P, Immortal Technique, Citizen Cope, Royce Da 5'9", Jean Grae, and more.

I've only listened to the album once so far (on the stream up above), but it sounds like it's going to be one of the year's bests. It is a politically charged album reminiscent of Dead Prez and Immortal Technique (who is featured on the album's title track).

BONUS:

Here is the "extended music video" for the lead-single, "Clap (One Day)." The stunning visual plays more like a short film than a music video.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rhymes: CunninLynguists - Oneirology Album Stream / Live Performance



The 'Lynguists fifth full-length album, Oneirology will be released next Tuesday (March 22), but Kno, Deac, and Natti decided to unleash the effort a week early. So far I've listened to the album probably close to ten times on the bandcamp, as I await the physical release. It really is among their best work. It's unbelievable how much they can evolve their sound in a matter of months. This record sounds nothing like Deacon's side-gig, N***az Wit Altitude or Kno's solo opus,Death is Silent both of which were released less than 6 months ago.

Like their 3rd offering, A Piece of Strange, Oneirology is a concept record that revolves around fantasy, death, and dreams. I haven't really been able to closely examine the narrative yet because I haven't really listened to it all that carefully because I've been playing it mostly while doing homework over my laptop speakers, which definitely does not do the album justice (don't worry I just ordered a new pair of headphones specifically for this album).

CunninLynguists recently released this live acoustic version of one of the album's many standout cuts, "Looking Back." This is a great performance with Natti and Deacon trading verses, Anna Wise singing the chorus, Kno on the drums, and (presumably) Willie Eames on guitar. I would LOVE to see them do the whole album in this format, in an MTV Unplugged-type setting.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rhymes: Blue Scholars - Cinemetropolis

Blue Scholars "Cinemetropolis" Kickstarter Campaign from Blue Scholars on Vimeo.


Another highly anticipated independent release in 2011 will be Blue Scholars' long-awaited 3rd LP, Cinemetropolis.

Sabzi and Geo released their 2007 opus, Bayani was originally released on Rawkus Records in 2007, then re-released through Duck Down in 2009, but this time they will completely cut out the record label, and release it completely independently. They have started a kickstarter page, asking fans to donate money to finance the album. The duo is trying to raise $25,000 by April 21. So far, fans have raised over $16,000 with 37 days to go.

There are great incentives for fans to donate to Blue Scholars including advanced copies of the album, concert tickets, limited edition posters, and more.

The sound of the album will be largely influenced by music of cinema, and will also include visuals to each track on the new record. Cinemetropolis is expected to be released in June, and a Fall tour will follow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rhymes: 2011 - Year of the Rhymesayer

2009 was a huge year for the Minnesota-based indie rap label with many releases finishing in my personal top records of that year. Last year the label had a handful of interesting releases, but 2011 is definitely gearing up to be the year of the Rhymesayer.


The first RSE release will be the Columbus emcee, Blueprint. "So Alive" is the third video/single released from the up-coming album, Adventures in Counter Culture. "So Alive" along with his other singles "Keep Bouncing" and "Radio-Inactive" are increasingly building hype around his album which will examine American Popular Culture.


The second RSE release of 2011 is also probably the most anticipated one - Atmosphere's first longplay in almost exactly 3 years, The Family Sign. The album is expected to continue the live instrumentation from guitarist Nate Collis and Key-man Erick Anderson, which were very prominent on last year's double EP release as well as the group's 2008 LP. On this track Slug tells a story about taking a loved one for granted. Another great concept for the music video features a dog being neglected by its family until it runs away, then the video concludes with a "Missing Dog" poster.


Grieves had a pretty big 2010: signing with RSE, Re-released his excellent 2008 album 88 Keys & Counting, and releasing a great EP on the RSE. 2011 is to be an even bigger year for the Seattle-based rapper, as he plans on releasing his first LP on Rhymesayers, Together/Apart. His rockstar looks and complex lyricism filled with vivid imagery reminiscent of a young Slug, will once again be complimented by Budo's guitar licks, piano loops and horns. Together/Apart is expected to see a June release.

Other Rhymesayers who are expecting to see a 2011 release include: Evidence's long awaited RSE debut Cats & Dogs
Freeway is also expected to see another release following his collaboration LP with Jake-One
The Seattle beatsmith, Jake-One is expected to release his follow up to his 2008 double-disc, White Van Music .