I can’t end off the day without mentioning the anniversaries it marks: the 10th anniverary of Big Pun’s passing and the 26th birthday of an idol of mine, J Dilla. I’m going to keep it honest and say that although I’m a fan of Big Pun and some of his songs, I don’t know nearly enough about him to write a commemorative post for the punisher, so I’ll stick to what I know and focus on Mr. Yancey.
J Dilla was truly an iconic figure in hip-hop, and as tragic as it seems, that became the clearest when he passed in 2006. I remember turning on MuchMusic (the Canadian equivalent of MTV) and seeing all day long reports and montages about J Dilla. The fact that a major television network was devoting so much time to someone that the vast majority of mainstream music listeners probably never heard of before was testament to his impact on hip-hop’s history. As his beats continue to slowly come out of hiding (one of the latest ones being on Mickey Factz’s “Big Trouble In Lil’ China”), their value nears closer to priceless since there will never be no one like James Yancey again. From the swarm of kazoos on “Geek Down” to the head-banger that is “E=MC2″ (which you can listen to above), those gems will continue to live on for years to come. As cliché as it may sound, J Dilla truly did change our lives.
The more I listen to music like this from Common and think about it the further he shoots up my list of favorites.
Check below to see Nas & Common talking about violent lyrics in hip-hop. This seemed to be a very interesting panel and I wish I had a chance to attend it.
Even though this isn’t music-related per se, it doesn’t hurt to divulge a bit into other areas of hip-hop culture. America’s Best Dance Crew season five is already under way, and I’m sure as hell going to be watching every minute of it. It’s a competition program that does the unthinkable by focussing on the good as opposed to the bad (I see you American Idol). For the first time, a Canadian crew will be part of the show, and they couldn’t have picked a better crew. Out of Montreal, Blueprint brings razor-sharp precision to their choreography, making the crew seem like a whole unit (think Kaba Modern from season one). The audition video above is bananas, and I can’t wait to see more. For us Canucks, the season premiere airs tomorrow on MuchMusic at 7:00 ET, with the south-division crews battling for a spot in the main show.
Weekends are usually pretty slow, so I might as well throw in another “While You Were Sleeping” post. MSTRKRFT (pronounced “master-craft”) are a DJ duo from Toronto, consisting of Al-P and Jesse Keeler, whom you’d know if you were familiar with the band Death From Above 1979. They have an electro vibe that is very similar to that of French duo Justice, who might be releasing another album this year. Heartbreaker is off of MSTRKRFT’s most recent album, Fist Of Gold, which also features N.O.R.E. of CNN. Hip-hop and electro/house music complement each other much better than most would assume, which makes perfect sense since hip-hop started at the parties (and not in the streets as kids these days are so quick to think). MSTRKRFT and their musical niche will only be getting bigger as time moves on, so jump on it before everyone else does.
On January 27, DOOM and Mos Def will be performing at the Kool Haus on Queen’s Quay. In December, word was released that these two would be performing two concerts: one in Toronto and one in New York (which I believe is on the 30th at the Nokia Theatre). While DOOM and live performances are two things that have proven to not mix well, seeing as Mos Def (an avid supporter of the villain) is on the bill also, I took a leap of faith and bought a ticket. If worst comes to worst and both acts are no-shows, at least D-Sisive is scheduled to open. Regardless, the promise of a night of such high quality lyrical hip-hop seems too good to pass up, so if you’re interested, check here and click the header that says “concerts” for more information.
LOL, that line actually had me laughing out loud. This video is very well done by the good people at Funny or Die and I think it is hysterical that it all started with a Tweet by ?uestlove. Questo also does his best Hugh Hefner, living in the lap of luxury, impression at the beginning which made me realize I was in for a great video. Also follow Questlove on Twitter and if you aren’t I am pretty sure that makes you the only person in America.
I’m a little late on this but since I have been cutting down on some of the shoe posts but this is a must for me. DJ AM (R.I.P.) and DJ Premier each designed their own sneaker and in the exclusive dual packaging the shoes came with Serato records representing each DJ. I also really wanted to post this because those DJ AM kicks are some of the baddest shoes I have seen in a while. Check out some more up close pics below the break because the back patent leather heel panel has subtle perforations that are the unique characteristics I like in my shoes. Go buy them on eBay if you have lots of money or just sit and gawk like the rest of us but these shoes kick ass.
Until the past couple years, my friends can attest that I had never been interested, even remotely, with art. I don’t know what it was but everything I had studied or seen to that point predominantly had to do with traditional art (you know art on a canvas, but even out of the box artwork rarely interested me) which I had a hard time relating to on any level. Then I discovered, or should I say opened my eyes to street art. Street art/graffiti had always been around me and something I always noticed and appreciated but honestly never took the time to consider it art. Anyways, long story short, my new found respect and interest in art has exposed me to different and often forgotten part of hip-hop and has captured my attention and imagination. Please watch this graf artist named SUSO33 from Spain, who uses both hands to draw at the same time and has a style which is uniquely his own. Enjoy.
First we gave you the Jams but now it is time for the hip-hop gems. I said in the previous post that the past couple days I came up with the idea to post a few mixes that sum up my year in music. These joints are all songs that were some of the more solid underground songs that I listened to this past year and deserve more shine. A number of my favorite new artists are on there and this is another mix that is pretty damn complete. Look out for our final installment of rock songs which should drop over the next couple days. Link and tracklist are below the break and everyone have a happy and safe New Year!
The end of the year is upon us and after thinking about it the past few days I decided to put together a few mixes that recapped my year in music. First out the gate is the Hip-Hop Jams mix and it is as many of the songs that I rocked for either a little or long period at some point this year. Besides that, the only other criteria I used was that I tried to only take songs off mixtapes and not albums, for obvious reasons. Due to my computer crash, I was unable to recover all my music so this isn’t everything but it is as accurate as I could get. Enjoy the mix and check back for the second of mix of the trilogy called Hip-Hop Gems. You can grab this download and tracklist below the break.