Live Recording From Dada Last Night

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Played a three-hour set over at Dada Bar last night and the recording came out pretty nice. Just uploaded the warm-up section, full of disco and italo heat and a little bit of that love music. No tracklist but I promise there’s loads of gems inside.

Back at Dada on Tuesday night then off to America for a month! Doing shows in Kentucky, NYC, Kalamazoo, and more. Stay tuned for more info on all that. For now, just come down and say goodbye if you’re in Shanghai on Tuesday.

LoveBangTuesdayHousePartyWEB

Tuesdays With Hip Hop – New School Jams

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We’ve been digging into the old crates these last few weeks, looking at old-school electro and 90s MPC work, but let’s catch up with the new school for a minute. Some scoff “all this new shit isn’t hip hop! This some ratchet shit!” But that’s just the evolution and commercialization of a genre that’s approaching forty years old. Like it or not, it is what’s happening right now.

I’ll be the first to admit that the hip hop coming out in the 80s like Bambata and Mantronix was way more progressive and cutting-edge than anything coming out now (that I know of), but the kids aren’t trying to hear all that. A lot of this ratchet music is really fun to dance to. Also, let’s face it, a lot of old hip hop (especially before the 90s), much like old house, doesn’t sound very clean on a big soundsystem when played next to music made with modern production techniques.

New rap falls into three basic categories

1) Purification and polishing of tried-and-true rap motifs, e.g. Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, A$AP Rocky.
2) Rap/R&B crossover, e.g. Drake, “Pour it Up,” Chris Brown, etc. (note: fuck Chris Brown and I will never play his songs or any song he’s featured on in any of my sets)
3) Throwback rap, a la Joey Badass, Action Bronson, and Flatbush Zombies. Honestly a lot of this sounds like 90s New York hip hop, albeit updated. That’s fine because 90s rap > 2000s rap.

Note: There’s also strip-club rap (“Bands Make Her Dance,” Big Sean/Nicki Minage “Dance (Ass)”) and club rap (see Future Brown below).

Only a few mainstream rappers nowadays do anything that’s like “wow, that’s some different shit.” Like, when Wu-Tang Clan first came on the scene in 93, that was some different shit. Chance The Rapper, Lil B, Yeezus, Danny Brown, and even Busta Rhymes’ with “Twerk It” fall into this category.

So this week I’ve rounded up a few songs from the very recent past, from all of the aforementioned categories.

This first track is pretty much early 90s NY throwback a la Black Moon, but updated with craftier lyricism. We need more funny rappers/chefs like Action Bronson. Definitely appreciate the humor in this, or say, The Fat Boys, more than all the gangsta “leave you in the bushes” posturing. Wacka Flocka Flame/Action Bronson is a dream collabo.

Flatbush Zombies – Club Soda Feat. Action Bronson

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But about that hard rap…I definitely slept on Yelawolf until his latest album, but he’s dope and there’s some really solid tracks on there. Love the production on this one. Sounds like GTA 5 soundtrack material.

Yelawolf – Gangster (Feat. ASAP Rocky & Big Henry)

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Killer chorus and production on this YG song on a Jam City mix months back. This one definitely falls into the explicit Rap/R&B crossover sex-jam category, but it’s 2013 so YG and TeeFli come more direct and arguably less creative than older but similar tunes like H-Town’s “Sex Bowl.” Still, the beat and chorus on this…A levels.

YG – Sprung feat. TeeFli

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Straight up Atlanta club-rap with a clever flow on the chorus. Probably the next “Versace” or “Bugatti.”

Johnny Cinco – Gave The Wrong Young Nigga Money

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Heading to the East Coast for this one – a cross between Baltimore rap and dark-but-hype club music a la Kingdom and Nguzunguzu. Hopefully the commercial and underground worlds can more frequently meet somewhere in the middle like this kind of tune. For a good example of what I’m talking about, check Kingdom’s mix for Logo.

Future Brown – Wanna Party ft. Tink

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And one more from Baltimore. Can’t get enough of good female rap…

Sheila D Yeah – Kill It (Prod. Jay Feddy)

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Alright that’s all for this week – bump these hard on that public transportation. And if you know of some good new rap, please leave a comment!

Tuesdays With Hip Hop – Guest Post from The Acid Pony Club

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Special guest post by frenchman Laura Ingalls from The Acid Pony Club, a gang of psychedelic bandits who have a hand in more tunes than perhaps any crew in Shanghai,  through their original production of house, disco, and edits, recording for bands like PAIRS and Friend or Foe, doing sound for live music and festivals, playing in bands like Death to Ponies, running drone nights at The Shelter (check out his mix for that here), and DJing everywhere from the underground to the posh bits. Le french hustle. One afternoon last year I ran into Raph on the front steps of our old building; he recorded our conversation and warped it into a techno song.
But on top of all this disco hedonism and doom music Laura Ingalls can talk hip hop for days too. The first time I saw him DJ, way back in 2009 in a portal called Dragon Club, he dropped Ginuine’s “Pony” in the middle of a early-morning  house set. He’s playing a rare, all-vinyl hip hop set this Saturday at The Shelter as part of Come Correct Presents: Shanghai All-Stars #4 so I asked chef to put together this week’s offerings. Here’s what he said:
Slum Village and Dwele – Tainted

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i love everything Dwele does, that must be the lover in me, he is always on point with soulful vocals and perfect Rhodes chords. If you add Slum Village to the equation it doesn’t really get much better than that.
The Roots – Proceed

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i was 14 when a friend of mine brought me to see The Roots live, that night my life changed forever, i was intoxicated, since then i want more Rhodes, everywhere.

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El-P always impressed me, the atmosphere is straight up industrial in his music. Def-jux was really important to me at some point, I had moved away from hip-hop when shit like eminem or 50 cent became big and it was refreshing to find a new streak of artists who were bringing something new to the rap game that wasn’t all about being gangsta and making money.
cLOUDDEAD – dead dogs two

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When that album came out we sat down, i think it was with Clem and my then girlfriend Charlotte, and listened to the whole thing from start to finish without saying a word, proper psychedelic stuff, it’s like listening to a country western artist rapping on LSD. again Anticon was important in that whole renewal of hiphop that was more arty and weird.
Quasimoto – Greenery

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Madlib has to be in there somewhere right? it’s hard to choose a favorite, the first Yesterday’s New Quintet album is probably one of my favorite albums ever, the stuff they did with Declaime under Dudley Perkins is so dark and twisted but yet soulful, it’s perfect. but this is under his Quasimoto moniker, the last album is on heavy rotation in my headphones since it came out but this is from his previous album and it talks about getting blunted. the beat is the fattest, funkiest shit ever!
—-
FlyerForAllStarsFour
For a lot more hip hop, funk, and straight up party music, get down to The Shelter on Saturday for this week’s best hip hop party, brought to you by Come Correct. You get today’s fine selector, plus DJ Caution, Sal from the TV, Cavia, LJ, MC One Con, and surprise guests. It’s free before 11PM and 40RMB after. I’d buy that for a dollar!!

Tuesdays With Hip Hop – 1980s Electro

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When you think of “electro,”  acts like Justice, Boys Noize, or Siruismo may come to mind. You might think of French people in florescent clothing and side-chain compression rather than breakdancing and retro-futurism. But much like the words “trap” and “dubstep” have taken on completely different meanings from what they originally signified, “electro” now means something totally different than what it meant in the 1980s. Let’s take a look back

In the early 1980s, electro was the new wave of hip hop after acts like Sugarhill Gang were rapping over disco breaks and tracks by live bands. Compared to everything else that came out in 1982, Planet Rock was completely groundbreaking. This was the same year as Fearless Four’s “Rockin’ It” and Malcolm Mclaren’s “Buffalo Gals” – both classic tracks in their own right, but they didn’t push boundaries like Planet “Rock.” This revolutionary 808-based song, which pulled heavily from Kraftwork’s “Numbers” and tracks by Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), set the tone for not only the hip-hop scene, but also what would become techno thanks to acts from Detroit like Cybotron and Drexciya. This is one of my favorite genres ever and these tracks still sound fresh almost 30 years later.

Afrika Bambata – Planet Rock

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Kraftwerk – Numbers

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The Jonzun Crew – Space Is The Place

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Newcleus – Jam On It (Back In Da Dayz Old School Mix)

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And here we have one of the greatest electro artists ever – The Egyptian Lover. “Not just a man, it’s an adventure.” Besides Afrika Bambata, this is who comes to mind when I think of classic electro. And we’ve got him coming to LOVE BANG on November 9th at 390 Bar. He’s doing a live 808 Set, a DJ set, and a dance routine. More info on that show as the date approaches but it’s not to be missed! Check this interview with the legend over on Weekly Review Of Dance Music and a bio over at Stones Throw. Here’s the stone-cold classic “Egypt, Egypt.” Photo from Stones Throw.

Egyptian Lover – Egypt Egypt

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And this one, straight out of Detroit. Pioneers of techno right here.

Cybotron – Clear

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Hashim – Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)

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Globe feat. Whiz Kid – Play That Beat Mr. DJ

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And here’s a couple newer tracks building on that classic electro sound – really love these. Both coming out of London, on Night Slugs and Hyperdub, respectively.

Girl Unit – Ensemble (Club Mix)

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Ikonika – Mr Cake

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Eating mooncakes right now so the Ikonika track feels perfect. Easily one of the best tracks to come out this year. The mooncake? Not one of the best of 2013.

And as a bonus, let’s go way back to the roots of all this with a track by Japanese act Yellow Magic Orchestra from 1978. Roller skate classic right here.

Yellow Magic Orchesta – Firecracker

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Next Tuesday we’ll continue down this path and look at another strain of 808-heavy music – Miami Bass.

 

Tuesdays With Hip Hop: EPMD

newtuedays

Hey we’re back. Was down in Xiamen for a bit, swimming in the ocean, eating worm jelly (not as good as it sounds), and falling asleep on the beach and waking up to a typhoon. I avoid computers/screens on trips hence the lack of posts, but let’s get right back into it with this week’s Tuesdays With Hip Hop. More on Xiamen soon.

When you think of late 80s hip hop, NWA, Schoolly D, KRS-One, or even Too Short may spring to mind first, but don’t forget about one of the funkiest and most influential groups ever – EPMD. This rap and production duo* from Long Island had the illest sample game, taking bits from Bob Marley, Steve Miller Band, David Bowie, and Zapp and Roger and dropping boastful rhymes with a mellow flow. At the time, other producers were either rhyming over James Brown breaks or disco samples, leaving the beat stripped back and raw like Rakim and Eric B, or getting all electronic with the drum machines a la Afrika Bambatta, Egyptian Lover, and Miami Bass.

*they had a third guy but Erick Sermon and Parrish, aka Eric & Parrish Making Dollars (EPMD) are the core, and who people remember.

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Whereas the aforementioned NWA rapped about the police, the ghetto, the bitches, and other “hard” topics, EPMD were classic East-coast boasters, mostly flexing about all the wack MCs in the game and the girls they were gonna steal. To be fair, the rhymes are simple and sound elementary in 2013, but they’re clever, well-delivered, and complement the beats. The beats do outweigh the rhymes, but they aren’t wack by any means. EPMD as rappers were more about sounding cool, smooth, and in control than doing feats with diction – strictly business. Rhymes and beats that will definitely go off at a party.

“MCs look me in my face and their eyes get weak/pulse rate descends, heart rate increases. It’s like beam me up Scottie/I control your body/I’m as deadly as AIDS when it’s time to rock a party.”

EPMD – Strictly Business (1988)

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EPMD – You Gots To Chill (1988)

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EPMD – Crossover (1992)

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As a group they put out two solid albums with a game-changing sampling techniques, Strictly Business and Unfinished Business, plus a few great tracks like “Crossover,” but other later efforts don’t compare. They split in 1993 then reunited and released an LP in 1997 and other music I haven’t listened to or care about (probably a few gems). Cool fact that all their LP titles use the word “business,” e.g. Back In Business, Out Of Business. But much more importantly than these mediocre team efforts, Erick Sermon went out to make a grip of classic beats for rappers like Redman, Keith Murray, and Method Man. Here’s some of my favorites, and there’s loads more. This first one from 1994 is insane.

Keith Murray – The Most Beautifullest Thing In The World (1994)

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Classic uptempo rap track here by Redman. Compare this  103 – 106 beats per minute to Chief Keef at 64bpm. People gonna dance differently. We need more uptempo rap in the 2013.

Redman – Time 4 Sum Aksion (1993)

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If you’ve got YouTube access, check this rare footage from a 1993 interview with Redman where he briefly comments on the EPMD breakup at the end.

And for a bit more of what was happening with hip hop around this time, check out The Rub’s History of Hip Hop mix for 1988. That mix series comes highly recommended.

That’s all for this week. We’ll be checking out The Egyptian Lover and more 80s electro in next week’s edition.

5,000.

Tuesdays With Hip Hop

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Anyone going to Jamiroquai tonight? It’s like $60 so…nope. But he has an invitation to our pool party on Saturday. It’s cool living in Shanghai and getting to time travel back to the year 1997. We’ve got Korn and Limp Bizkit showing up later this month and I’m half expecting my 8th grade history teacher and her Civil War reenactment loving husband to show up on a double decker bus and lecture about the Pentagon Papers or some shit. That dude told me some advice I’ll never forget: “If you shake it more than twice, you’re just playing with yourself.”

So what’s good with the hip hop? Let’s start this off in Chicago. My good friend Kzoo sent me a couple new tracks featuring Chance The Rapper and this is the best one. Great soulful beat.

Legit ft. Chance The Rapper – Such A Thing

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And another rapper from Chicago, Rockie Fresh, who’s on Rick Ross’s MMG label. Love this beat by Lunice but not exactly feeling the rhymes, e.g. “In 2013 I plan to buy too many cars.” He kinda makes up for it by making a reference to midwest home-improvement store Mendards though.

Rockie Fresh – Superman OG feat. Lunice

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Next let’s head down south to Baton Rouge for this tune by Mouse On Tha Track. Unbelievable beat – it’s like if Zapp and Roger made beats for Cash Money in 97. Kevin Gates for president.

Mouse On Tha Track – Nasty ft. Kevin Gates & Novakane

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And finally let’s get out to LA to check something new from the Stones Throw squad. Jonwayne, that mysterious, obese white dude with the beard and glasses, just dropped a mixtape I played more than once last weekend. Kinda reminds me of Edan, but with more influence from poetry than golden era arp.

Jonwayne – And Bullshit, feat. Zeroh

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Speaking of Stones Throw, I’m proud to announce that DJ Caution, T-Plus, and myself will be rocking with the one and only J Rocc from the Beat Junkies. This guy is an absolute LEGEND, who frequently collaborates with Madlib and used to tour with J Dilla. Cannot wait to dance for two hours non-stop. Huge shout out to Split Works for bringing him through and getting us on the lineup!

JRoccWEB

 

Hip Hop in China: Some thoughts on last night at Arkham

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Crawl thru the SmartShanghai trenches and you’ll find options. That’s good. A city this big needs options and competition – that’s the only way the scene and individuals can progress. For a long time, I couldn’t believe that Shanghai had only one weekly hip hop night (Come Correct every Wednesday at The Shelter – a night I’m affiliated with), then I saw this on the world wide web yesterday:

“Are u miss some purely hip-hop shit and the real dance floor? Who killed it?
We don’t give a f**k those fake hip-hop lover!
Now, all of this will be changed again! Since we decided to rock the city
in Hip-hop again!
Whether you were a O.G of golden age or a rookie of the new generation
You can’t miss every Thursday night’s Black Bubble Party at Arkham
Purely hipster hip-hop music all night
The hottest dance floor in town
Coolest party folks and chicks
Every thursday night!Black Bubble @ Arkham, See U!!!”

Well, they decided to rock the city so I went down and gotta say I was impressed with the turnout. At least 100 local kids down there, looking very fashion with lots of streetwear. Lots of fake chains/ropes, lots of Jordans (admittedly this is not unique to shanghai hip hop shows). But the vibe felt like 2007 when Windows Jing An used to play hip hop on Friday/Saturday nights before they swept up the African dealers and South-East Asian hooks. Not exactly an old-school Muse 1 vibe but pretty damn close.

The warm-up DJ’s music selection was aight, featuring everything from Slick Rick’s “Lodi Dodi,” 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar to Beyonce “Crazy in Love” and DMX “Party Up.” But the programming (song order) and file quality were off. Way off at times, like Gang Star-into-Skrillex off, plus a lot of MCing and “put your hands up” -isms. I didn’t stick around long enough to see Choyce Kutz play though so maybe it got better. Who was there? Lots of rich Shanghainese kids, some of them some poppin or lockin I can’t tell the difference, but most standing around. Someone burned my girlfriend with a cigarette and didn’t apologize. A few foreigners were gettin down. Basically a fashion, fu er dai (rich second generation) crowd though, and not a particularly polite or friendly one. To be fair, hip hop and grime nights around the world aren’t exactly known for the politeness and good behavior of their patrons, and this is definitely not the only place I’ve seen rude peeps out lately, but bumping into peeps or burning them w/cigs back home and not saying sorry, at a hip hop night, would not go down well. Can’t do nothin’ bout it here though, especially as a foreigner.

Does hip hop objectively have more posers than any other scene?

Anyone who cares about the music scene in China wants to see more local kids coming out to shows and enjoying music. But one can’t help but feeling a little disappointed with the there-to-be-scene and so fashion crowd. I know cool locals who come out to nights who aren’t so fashion and just wanna hear good music and dance, and some cool kids who don’t go out at all. This fashionista problem isn’t unique to China and anyway, it’s hard to judge a club night on it’s first night, but that does set the tone. Maybe it will become a community vibe like Come Correct someday. I don’t know. Nights take a long time to build, and who knows if Arkham will even be open in six months.

Anyway, let’s be happy for the competition and options, and happy that a local crew  started a hip hop night in a venue where you can dance. That’s honestly refreshing in a town where most club nights are run by foreigners and big clubs like Muse and 88 suck. Maybe this will inspire someone else to be like “hey I like hip hop but I’m not so fashion” and start their own thing. You know, reactions.

Notes: Hip Hop Hijack does a weekly party at The Geisha (tip! it’s always a good spot to hit on Fridays and goes late) but that just became a weekly party fairly recently, after years of bigger one-off events, whereas Come Correct has been going on weekly at The Shelter for well over a year.

TUESDAYS WITH HIP HOP: Iamsu

Inewtuedays‘m bout to go watch Akira on a big screen. Here’s this.

Heartbreak Gang > DJ Mustard and friends.

IamSu! - Rollin’ (Prod. by IamSu! Of The Invasion)

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