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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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

Swiped from

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.