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
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
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
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
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!
Back from Chongqing in one piece. A full treatment on that bizarro trip coming soon, still sorting out what happened in thirty-six sleepless, mad, surreal hours. Until then, let’s get back on track with Tuesday’s
usual frequent hip hop offering.
Atlanta’s Killer Mike and New York’s EL-P’s new “Run The Jewels” collaboration carried me through a loathsome bus ride from ShengWan HK to the Shenzhen airport. That slow, underestimated crossing cost me one flight that I can refund only by “going to Taobao,” China’s eBay.
But June 2013, what a month for rap! EL-P and Killer Mike brought ’88 back through a technicolor ruffneck-Orwellian lens on this one. So much verbal interplay between two veterans who just attack EL-P beats that slam like boom-bap dubstep and grime. Crazy dense verses that you have to rewind and think about for a second as opposed to generic-albeit-effective lyrics on DJ Mustard produced tracks feat. Tyga, etc. Run The Jewels’ raps are often amazing and too bothersome to dictate. UK slang popping up on this one “actin aggy talkin bout he plexed.”
Run The Jewels – 36″ Chain
I hope we’re in an era of great, short rap albums like this and Yeezus. Remember when rappers had like twenty songs per album and at least half sucked? No Limit Records was notorious for this. The ADD/You-Tube generation has infinitely more choices and avenues for music than mine did – basically ain’t nobody got time for that in the 4G era, unlike back in ’96 and that was one your six rap CDs on steady rotation in a Sony alarm clock or Discman like damn why is DMX so angry that he made six skits just yelling. About ten tracks or less is golden for a great album.
With a much, much smaller segment of the population buying physical music, compared to fifteen years ago, it’s better to launch a solid product like this, then line up the tour and merch and cake $$$gzzzz. A-Trak’s label Fool’s Gold released the album for free download but serious fans can buy the vinyl, CD, herb grinder, or T-shirt, and Run The Jewels launch a US/Canada tour on July 10th. Sadly no Michigan date but they’re at the Pitchfork festival in Chicago. Really simple and effective website design too. Exemplary.
If you like this, check out Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music (2012), also produced by EL-P.
I woke to a WeChat messages saying “Rap is in such a golden age u are sound asleep on. Feel bad for you.” Him talkin Chance The Rapper’s “Acid Rap” mixtape. Mahanadan also warned me not to sleep on this. Twice in twenty-four hours; I had to cop.
We may be in a golden age of rap. Music like this proves that creativity and new styles still exist in a genre that’s at least 35 years old. This mixtape might be on par with Kendrick Lamar’s debut LP, especially this track “Juice.” This kid is 18 years old, on a lot of drugs, and getting kicked out/suspended from his elite high school in Chicago. Crazy flow, so fresh. Download the whole tape for free over at DatPiff.
Chance The Rapper – Juice
Another 18 year-old kid, not chill like Chance The Rapper, kept flashing a cell phone in my face requesting Jay and Kanye’s “____ in Paris” and I never played it. Boy got all angry was huffing around real fierce. Kids need to learn song request etiquette and context. I had 17 year-old girls requesting “something more upbeat” at 10:17PM when a) was still plugging in my Serato b) her and her Becky friends were literally falling on the floor repeatedly, at 10:17. Anyway, this is the only version of that Jay/Kanye I still play. Shout to Chicago, again. Still remember leaving Love Bang last December, walking into Shelter, and hearing Kode9 drop this.
But god damn this song/melody. I stayed in a few Saturdays ago, laying on my bed at 2:00AM, looking up at the ceiling in silence and all the sudden from seemingly four floors above… “Deen den Deen Den…” came through the wood. Funny to drop this version in the club. People expect the verses but everything crashes into noise until “don’t let me get in my zone…” reemerges. Brilliant.
DJ Rashad – Welcome To The Chi
Moving on from Chicago to New York. I’m confident that Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface is definitely a real life gangsta who just happens to make brilliant music sometimes. His new LP with Adrian Younge is incredible. A full story, beats made with antique instruments, the sound of death in the rain…don’t sleep on this one.
Ghostface & Adrian Younge ft. William Hart (Delfonics) – Enemies All Around
And finally, some Fat Boys – from 1986.
Fat Boys – Can You Feel It
Trying to do this every week. Feeling a bit south of Florida this Tuesday so let’s get it started with some Spanish hip hop from Tego Calderon (Puerto Rico) and into Shyne (Belize), who at age 21 rolled into a Manhattan club with Puff Daddy and J Lo, shot some peeps, did ten years in jail, then moved to Israel upon release.
Tego Calderon – Slo Mo’
Shyne ft. Barrington Levy – Bad Boyz
广告一下: You already know the only weekly hip hop party* in Shanghai is Come Correct every Wednesday at The Shelter. Well, this week Come Correct gets Friday night too.
*that i know of..maybe there’s some secret hip-hop function under an overpass in Baoshan district or something, but I seriously doubt it. i’m also not counting Muse “hip hop” nights and other actually-not-hip-hop-at-all affairs.
That’s right, Come Correct doing a special Friday night called “SHANGHAI ALL-STARS” this Friday, with a dream-team lineup featuring:
-DJ Caution and Choyce Cutz on four turntables and two mixers,
– T-Plus, scratchmaster LJ from Guiyang, and DSK.
– 还有 DJ Cavia and yrs truly back-to-back
It’s free before 10:29 and RMB40 after. See you there.