December 31, 2009

So Far to Go - Young Scolla

Young Scolla went on a final Twitter rant for 2009 and it was addressed to independent artists. Throughout the years, and definitely in 2009, we have seen many artists that have great potential with a bad business sense, stay shelved while others who are more gimmicky with a better team conquer the charts and collect awards. It may seem like a rant, but I think it reads more like a plea from one artist to another.


"Artists need to learn to change the dynamics. These guys forget that the power is in their hands and the ball in their court.


There is no label without the artists and there is no industry without artists, which means you have what the label heads want and need to keep a lucrative business. If you're really a dope artist and you take the time to determine that you have that power, then your success is as far as you would like to take it.

...


People admire what they or others can't do, if you're a simple muhf*cker and you put little effort into your craft then anyone can do what you do.

I'm sorry but a lot of you "musicians" put little effort into your craft...and yes that means more than just songs.


Your image has to be right, stage presence & performance has to be on point and your media etiquette has to be polished (that regards interviews, being in the public eye).

A lot of the up and coming don't realize that they can end up getting signed and sit on a label shelf.


Finding themselves in the position where they're doing the same things they could've done as an indie, except now you're contractually obligated so the label gets a cut of the money you're already "not really making" lol.

Your Brand = your image. It's your way of doing things, your style, your "swagger (lol), your message, your notoriety.

Simple and Plain, when someone sees a certain style of dress, do they associate it to you? or when you have a conversation with your friends about whether Jay-Z would do a song with Soulja Boy or not and someone says "no", that's because Jay has built a brand of excellence (not to knock Soulja Boy). You understand that Jay only presents himself as being someone of high-quality in all aspects of his life.

All of that attributes to your brand. How do you want people (the consumer) to perceive you?As an indie artist, impression is everything...you have to pay attention to detail and you have to realize that you can't cut corners on everything. You have to be willing to invest in yourself or at the very least link up with someone who can do so. Quality attributes to your brand....What are u going think of an artist who hands you a CD with their info written in permanent marker as opposed to an artist who hands you a packaged CD or at the very least one with a printed label?

You're going to take the presentable package more seriously or even more so think that they have money behind them or are important and you pay more attention.


Ya'll gotta realize that as indies, we're not competing against people in our neighborhoods or our cities or even states. EVERYBODY IS A MUSICIAN NOW A DAYS and to make it, you have to consider yourself to be up against the top in your field.


If the person at the #1 spot is doing it, you have to be doing it better.. (I mean business wise not necessarily their style/genre of music)

#1 Rule of advice...STUDY YOUR CRAFT! That's what's gonna separate real artists from the muhf*ckers who just "do" music just to do so. Your awareness of your craft is a big part of what determines whether or not u get into the game and how long your career lasts as well as how well of a position you're in when you enter the game (contractually).

If you don't do your research then you better make sure you have a GREAT team around you and that you trust the hell outta them otherwise you will get pimped..."

Honestly - Lumidee

Alrighty, so I picked my songs for the year, BUT my list is different from others. You've heard me say it and you've seen me post on it; there is a bunch of music I just became familiar with this year, like loads. So what instead of posting a logical list of the top 2009 rap songs, below you'll find 15 songs that are my favorites I have heard this year. For a song to be my favorite, it has to do one thing—make me sad when it's over. That may sound dumb to some people, but I know music fans know what I'm talking about. It's hard to explain the influence music has had on me in relations to me being a writer, but just know that it did. Note that not all of the songs were released this year. I didn't do it intentionally but most of the songs on the list are Detroit Hip-Hop songs. (Hey, I'm addicted). Peep my favorite songs of 2009:

  • Boomerang Slang - eLZhi
  • Everybody's Nobody - XV
  • Not Tonight - Slaughterhouse
  • Glow - eLZhi
  • Stop - J. Dilla
  • Climax (Girl Sh*t) - Slum Village
  • Letyourselfgo - Evidence
  • Tell Me Why - iLLite
  • Get Live - Slum Village
  • I Know the Secret - Buff 1
  • Detroit Riots - Fat Ray, One Be Lo, Ro Spit, Marv Won, T3, Phatboy Chef, Fatt Father, & Buff 1
  • She's the One - Royce Da 5'9 feat. Eminem
  • Pipe Down - Nametag
  • Brother's Keeper - Finale
  • Auditorium - Mos Def feat. Slick Rick
So there you have it, 15 songs that kind of taught me the most this year. Granted some (like the "Detroit Riots" joint) are fairly new, but trust, the amount of playage (my blog, my made up word) it's getting is something terrible [well good not terrible]. I haven't neglected songs released in 2009, basically everything that was on my Summer 2009 playlist is still getting played...heavily. Hopefully this makes up for the interesting choices I made yesterday for the Top 25 albums (I'm still sticking by my claims).

If you want to download my list, you can HERE.

Things I've Been Through - Jadakiss

Last video blog of 2009: gives a somewhat explanation of my twisted thought process to my Top 25, some things I learned and what I predict for 2010.

*Oh and the song is "Glow" by eLZhi.


Mixtape: Fin Is King 2

Well, thirty days past December and JFin has released his new mixtape Fin Is King 2. I must say, I am quite happy the mixtape is finally here. Hopefully, you have already downloaded 'InFINity & Beyond', his mixtape that released in July and have been paying some attention to his tracks the last thirty days. This mixtape is different than IAB, but definitely not in a bad way. Fin does tackle ransom but most of the beats on the tape are original. Some songs may look familiar, as they had been leaked as a part of the Thirty.30 project. It may be a couple of months a part but Fin Is King 2, definitely shows some growth and is slightly more cohesive than IAB.

My thoughts?:

First, I appreciate the fact that it's pretty much all JFin. It's not overpowered by features thus making the listener really get a feel for who he is. I like the fact that it has some consistency to it as far as style goes; it all flows nicely and doesn't sound choppy or like it jumps around a lot. For specific songs? I like them all but I do have favorites. I LOVE "Nothin' to Somethin'", "Shine Forever", "Galaxy" and "Favorite Rapper". I like them all for the same reasons delivery, wordplay and beats are good, yet they all sound different.

I have no criticisms, but I do know that some people will try to compare his style to Big Sean. The similarity is there, but upon closer listen they are indeed different.

If you couldn't catch on, I definitely think it's iTunes worthy.

Click HERE to download JFin's Fin Is King 2

December 30, 2009

Top of My Class - JFin


Not only is 2009 almost over, but the first decade of the (not-so) new millennium is almost over as well. I've been thinking about the top albums of the decade, and if you follow me on Twitter (which 7 out of 10 who visit this page do) then you might have seen some of my claims. Well, instead of saying them in 140 characters or less, I decided to just do a blog post of my 25 albums of the decade. These are in no particular order and solely my opinion.

*I'm only talking rap/hip-hop albums as well, if I threw in every music category some of these may not have made the cut.

  1. College Dropout - Kanye West
  2. The Blueprint - Jay-Z
  3. Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem
  4. Stillmatic - Nas
  5. Speakerboxx/Love Below - Outkast
  6. Lord Willin' - The Clipse
  7. Food & Liquor - Lupe Fiasco
  8. Trinity (Past, Present, Future) - Slum Village
  9. Miss E...So Addictive - Missy Elliott
  10. The Carter - Lil' Wayne
  11. Fishscale - Ghostface Killah
  12. In My Mind - Pharrell
  13. The Naked Truth - Lil' Kim
  14. Be - Common
  15. Genesis - Busta Rhymes
  16. Let There Be Eve - Eve
  17. Word of Mouf - Ludacris
  18. Thug Motivation 101 - Young Jeezy
  19. Beware of Dog - Bow Wow
  20. Country Grammar - Nelly
  21. Get Rich or Die Tryin' - 50 Cent
  22. Let's Get Ready - Mystikal
  23. King - T.I.
  24. The Black Album - Jay-Z
  25. The Eminem Show - Eminem
If you saw my first list, I had to remove Dr. Dre's Chronic 2001, because it dropped in 1999 and not 2000 like I thought.

Some are obvious choices, others may seem somewhat strange to you. Have any questions just leave me a comment, tweet me, send me a kite, smoke signal, something.

December 29, 2009

Music Video: "Paper Chaser" - Jay.K & Big Sean

A teaser trailer dropped for this a while ago, but the video is finally here. "Paper Chaser" was on the Big Sean's UKnowBigSean mixtape and features Jay.K. The video was directed by AG Rojas. It may be only four minutes, but it definitely gives the feel of a mini-movie. I think it's pretty dope, what about you?

The Good Times - Ron Dance


2009 is quickly coming to a close, however Detroit is making sure it goes out with a bang (not those kind of bangs). Tomorrow, Ron Dance (1/3 of of 101 with Marv Won and Ro Spit), will be celebrating his 30th birthday at Honey nightclub. It's something like a triple threat, it's a pre-New Year's bash, Ron Dance's birthday party as well as the release party for his EP 'Some Guys Win Em All'. I think the dope thing about the party is that Dwele, who is most known for his vocal skills, will be spinning and JWan will be performing as well. In lieu of tomorrow's event, Ron Dance has released a track entitled "The Good Times" take a listen.

Mo Power - Black Milk

So lately, I've been noticing my blog is slowly becoming more and more Detroit hip-hop ... I'm actually fine with that. To hear me speak about the way I feel about the Detroit scene is to hear a 5-year-old kid on a sugar high, riding a roller coaster in Toys 'R' Us with Santa Claus and dancing with Spongebob. I remember back during my senior year of high school I had an XXL Magazine and it had a feature on Black Milk in it, at the time I didn't know who he was, all I knew was he was Detroit and in a national mag, so he must be good.
Black Milk is my favorite producer out of Detroit right next to Dilla. He's worked with Slum Village, eLZhi, Royce Da 5'9", Phat Kat and a slew of others. He's currently working on his own album set to be released Summer 2010 entitled 'Album of the Year.'
Last week his name kept popping up, and so I figure I'd catch you up.

First up, Burn Rubber and Acapulco Gold collabed on the Detroit Riots collection in honor of the historic riots that changed the city in 1967. This is more than just a line of clothing, some local heavyweights collabed on a Black Milk produced track. It features T3, Buff 1, Ro Spit, Fat Ray, One Be Lo, Marv Won, Fatt Father, and Phatboy Chef—a lot to take in.


On Christmas Day, Black Milk released a new joint of his own that features AB. The track is called "Keep Going."


Black Milk also uploaded a new video blog and takes the time to talk about his next project and the meaning behind the title 'Album of the Year' (it doesn't mean what you think it does either). Take a few minutes and peep the video below.



Black Milk definitely is working as a juggling act, but I know I for sure can't wait to see the finished product and what else he has to bring to 2010.

Yay or Nay: Bedrock - Wale


Wale (pronounced Wah-lay, not whale, wail, or Wall•E), has had a pretty great year. He has had a pretty grand year dropping a mixtape, an album, and of course touring and promoting. Wale is definitely not sitting still. The rapper who has a thing for pretty girls recently dropped his own verse over Young Money's hit "Bedrock." What do you think about it? Yay or Nay: "Bedrock" - Wale.

December 28, 2009

Diss: "Break to Build" - Benzino & Raekwon

So I'm not thrilled, Benzino (aka the guy who got mad because he couldn't touch Eminem) and Raekwon have teamed together to diss Royce Da 5'9"... Yes, I'll let that sink in.
The song has apparently surfaced today and is getting buzz all over cyber space. Peep the song below.
I am anxious to see what Royce is going to do, I like Raekwon, but I will forever and six days support Detroit.

My thoughts? It definitely seems that Benzino is using Raekwon as a scapegoat. He never really disses anyone, but Benzino fires shots at the end. I wonder if Raekwon even knew how his verse was going to be used. I've never been a Benzino fan, but this seems so random to me. I definitely think Royce could spit one bar that would kill this entire song.

What do you think?

Flashback: Angel - Amanda Perez

Early 2000s was an interesting time for music, fashion, technology, everything. During the peak of TRL and 106th and Park, generic boy and girl bands seemed to take over. In the midst of all that, Amanda Perez released her album and most well-known single to date "Angel" I loved this song so much back then and I actually still do. Taken it back to velour outfits, Flashback to: "Angel" - Amanda Perez.

December 26, 2009

Mixtape: Quest M.C.O.D.Y.

December has been an amazing month on the mixtape circuit. Don't believe me? Simply scroll down and check the posts for the month. Well, today Quest M.C.O.D.Y. released 'CTRL + ALT + DELETE Vol. 2,' perfect after Christmas gift. If you've never heard of him, you seriously are slacking something terrible. Quest M.C.O.D.Y. was named one of the top 51 unsigned rappers by Vibe magazine, and you probably saw him on an episode of MTV's "MADE" (as a coach of course). CTRL + ALT + DELETE Vol. 2 has a few guest appearances from the likes of Nametag, Royce Da 5'9", Guilty Simpson and a few others. Like everything else I post on this blog, this mixtape is something you need in your iTunes.

Fade Back (Remix) Quest M.C.O.D.Y. feat. Royce Da 5'9", Guilty Simpson and Marv Won.


So head on over to DatPiff.com to download CTRL + ALT + DELETE Vol. 2.

December 24, 2009

Mixtape: Jay Beretta

I noticed an interesting campaign floating around cyberspace not too long ago: Endorse Jay Beretta.
The only thing that kept coming into my mind, was WHO IS JAY BERETTA?

Well I—and everyone else who didn't know— found out with the release of his second mixtape Countdown 2 Takeoff. If his first is anything like this one, then maybe I should go back and have a listen.

This mixtape, like others has a mix of original beats and whatever is popular by the masses. He kind of reminds me of P.L. a bit and to be as young as he is (he's 17), he's definitely lyrically skilled and proves age is simply a number.

My Thoughts?: Definitely somone worth listening to and downloading. Jay Beretta brings something different to the table and like his last name suggests, his lines have the power of a bullet.

If you've read any of my mixtape reviews before you know my only gripe is when there are a lot of covers instead of originial beats. Is that the case with this one? Yeah, but I actually don't mind it because his version of "Jerk" doesn't make me want to off myself.

Long story short, I endorse Jay Beretta.

Click HERE to download 'Countdown 2 Takeoff'.

Russian Roulette ::

Music Video: Poe'd Up - Fly.Union

I've said this several times, I hate Ohio. I don't know where the dislike came from, but I did learn earlier this year that everything from Ohio isn't too bad (like Eighty81.com). 'Tis the season for hot music video releases and Cleveland's Fly.Union teamed up with Detroit's Big Sean for "Poe'd up" which went viral back in July. Today, the two released the Palestra Creative music video for it, so consider it an early gift from Cleveland and Detroit. Music Video: "Poe'd Up".

Boomerang Slang - eLZhi

*TOTALLY effed up by saying SV was releasing Villa Manifesto in March, I was reading the thing on iTunes and wasn't paying attention. Other than that...enjoy :-)

Yay or Nay: Skigh High

While I may have been on hiatus, the Nitty Gritty Committee has not. I "missed" tons by not posting, but these fellas stayed right on track. They released their mixtape Skool Boi Chroniklez Vol. 1: Class is in Session, in September, and have been performing both on stage and in class since. If memory serves me correct, they opened for Wiz Khalifa at a show in East Lansing and are in the studio working on something new.
These songs were sent this week, consider it a Christmas gift from the boys of NGC: Dizz, Slapz, and DJ Bonecrusher. So what do you think? Like one or hate them all? Yay or Nay: NGC

*My memory almost served me correctly, they will be opening for Wiz Khalifa Jan. 17 for his performance in E. Lansing. The time I was referring to was the contest to be selected...My mistake.

Club Fresh


When We're Together


Girlfriend


Like Me

December 21, 2009

Yay or Nay: Unconditional - Chrisette Michele


The award for most underrated talent of 2009 goes to Chrisette Michele. Her second album 'Epiphany' dropped earlier this year and (finally) started to shed some light on the R&B/Soul singer. Today's Yay or Nay, comes from the songstress and features two unlikely artists: Freeway and Tek. I'll let you digest that while I go on; the song reminds me of the summer in the early 2000s. It samples, " It's All About the Benjamins" and is definitely something different than what we're used to. So Yay or Nay: Unconditional - Chrisette Michele feat. Freeway and Tek.

Flashback: Boom - Royce Da 5'9"

I've concluded I am addicted to music and that my addiction changes. For some reason last night I downloaded Royce Da 5'9"s: The Bar Exam, The Bar Exam 2, M.I.C. and Build & Destroy.Royce Da 5'9" is one of those rappers I've come to love and appreciate a lot more this year after seeing him perform with the rest of Slaughterhouse at Rock The Bells. His next mixtape, The Bar Exam 3, is slated for release sometime next year ( I believe in March, but don't quote me on that). I figured what more perfect flashback than "Boom." This song is from his 2002 Rock City album and was produced by DJ Premier. It was the first song I heard by him, so flashback to "Boom."

December 18, 2009

We Known - Big Sean

Some people have questioned Big Sean on a local scale because most of his features have been with people from his own camp or camps close to his (nevermind the fact that he has worked with people like Pharrell and Kanye West, nooooooo). Well not too long ago, Big Sean was in the studio with Slaugtherhouse's Royce Da 5'9" cooking up something that I'm guessing is going to be on Royce's 'The Bar Exam 3' slated for release in March 2010. Royce gives Sean his props, why can't everyone else?

Dope Man - Slum Village



Remember when I mentioned my Slum Village addiction earlier? I never mentioned that SV's latest EP, Villa Manifesto, was released on Tuesday. If you're true to hip-hop (like many of you say you are) then you may already have this.

'Villa Manifesto LP' (which is scheduled to be released some time next year) is the album that reunited the three members since before Baatin's departure in the early 00s. The 6 track EP of the same name, comes about 3 months after the death of member Baatin, leaving eLZhi and T3 to fend for themselves.

To me this is simply a teaser, but I'm happy nonetheless. 'Villa Manifesto EP' definitely resurrects that distinct Slum Village sound with tracks like "Dope Man" and "Cloud 9" featuring Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry (BTW doesn't "Cloud 9" sound like it could be on the 'Trinity' album?). If you're wondering about production credits, Black Milk and Young RJ (together known as B. R. Gunna), Madlib, and Focus are all a part of the magic.

If you want (and you SHOULD want) to download 'Villa Manifesto EP' head on over to iTunes/Rhapsody and look for it right now. *Unfortunately it's only digital download, no copies...BUT it isn't much longer until 'Villa Manifesto LP' drops.

Late - KR

Like his lil' bro, JFin, KR has been in the studio working on the follow up mixtape to this summer's 'Amnesia.' His next project, 'The Chain of Memories II' (I love the title) will be dropping sometime after the New Year.

In the meantime, KR is prepping folks for the release by dropping songs every Monday and Friday (must be a family thing). His series is titled "Monday Night Raw/ Friday Night Smackdown" and according to his blog he named it after the wrestling shows because:

"... I've been watching wrestling since I was about five years old and it's a habit I never broke out of. ... I wanted this series to reflect some of my favorite shit coming up. I got a thing for nostalgia."
The first two tracks of the series dropped Monday with another pair (maybe a single track) drops sometime today. The first track is "Blockstars," which is only about 1:30 in length but packs a lot of punch, "Pow ... right in the kisser."


The second joint is called "Curious," and KR stays true to the nostalgia feel by mocking the 'Living Single' theme song but even with that reference aside it has a 90s feel to it.



Now you may be quick to compare him and JFin to each other and I'm repeating myself and suggesting that you don't do that. While there are some similarities in wordplay between the two, they definitely vary in delivery.

If you want the rest of the "Monday Night Raw/Friday Night Smackdown" tracks KR has coming, just follow him on Twitter or check his blog every Monday and Friday.

December 17, 2009

Yay or Nay: Stunt Hard - Young Rocky

With Twitter, artists @ reply me with songs to listen to often and I listen to them all. This one is from a 17-year-old kid out of Minnesota by the name of Young Rocky. His overall package reminds me of Soulja Boy and the New Boyz, definitely under that umbrella. He has been rapping since he was 10 and is a part of "Dream Team Ent." I didn't even know they had rappers in Minnesota (I'm sure you didn't either) but this joint is called "Stunt Hard". What do you think? Yay? or Nay?

Talk About - Marv Won

This week has been an amazing music week for Detroit. Honestly, there are so many mixtapes and projects dropping for the holidays that I can't even keep up. I originally had plans to review everything, but then I thought "How wack would that look?" I mean don't get me wrong, great look for Detroit hip-hop bad look for my blog (too much of one thing is blech.) so here are the top downloads for the week. Things that I have been bumping (hard) and I KNOW you need to have them.

First up is eLZhi's 'The Leftovers Unmixedtape'. To know me is to know I have developed this addiction to Slum Village, it's bad and I'm working on it. eLZhi released this last week (Friday I believe) and since then it has been in heavy rotation. Leftovers is exactly that; it's a compilation of features, unreleased tracks and a joint or two from way back when. There is no DJ, just music. (which may be why I love it so much). I don't think there's anything else to say except DOWNLOAD. The beats are awesome (production credits include Black Milk, DJ Dez and Jake One) and of course the lyrics are insane.

In short, I think you're up for some mighty fine 'Leftovers'.

Glow - eLZhi




Next up is Marv Won's 'Way of the Won LP.' Now some of you may know Marv Won as the rapper who ethered Charles Hamilton, battled Eminem in 8 Mile or killed Aye Verb in a battle for Grind Time (resulting in what is now known as #marvwonsmirk.) The LP is presented by DJ House Shoes, and is (from the way I understand it) a shelved joint Marv Won did a while ago. Nonetheless it's dope as sin. Features include Bilal and Danny Brown and production credits Black Milk, 14KT and House Shoes himself.

This is definitely one of my favorite downloads for the week and you should DOWNLOAD it too.

Get Back - Marv Won



Finally we have Mac Miller, a 17-year-old kid from Pittsburgh with impressive skill. The first thing someone may think is great, another white kid rapping about blowing trees, but it's a lot more to this high school kid than that (and that was seen on his Jukebox mixtape with the song "Got a Clue"). I think Mac Miller has a pretty good career on his hands a little over a week ago he released the video for his single "Live Free" (peep down below).

Mac Miller may not be as seasoned as the two previously mentioned artists, but nonetheless he's definitely someone I think should grace your music library.

Click HERE to download 'The High Life'.



Like a Zoo - Miz Korona

Miz Korona has been on the scene for quite a while and she is getting ready to release her debut album 'The Injection' pretty soon. But before she does that, Korona needs YOU! Yes, You! She's going to be filming her video for the album's lead single "Like a Zoo" this weekend in Detroit and wants everyone there.

Miz Korona filmed this video a few days ago, and we often complain about the radio not supporting our artists, now it's time for us to. Watch the video below and if you're free, swing by Comerica Park tomorrow afternoon.

Mixtape: Chacity

In a hip-hop world dominated by Nicki Minaj and look-a-likes, Chacity may be Detroit's best kept secret. At least, I didn't know about her. Her mixtape 'It's My Turn' dropped Sunday and is definitely not like others.

Chacity could best be described as a hip-hop femme fatale, looking at her you would think she would be like every other lady rapper out there ... then the bars come out.

She seems to have found the perfect balance of keeping it real and repping for the streets while remaining a lady.

'It's My Turn' includes features from local hip-hop heavyweights Miz Korona (who joins her on "Connected" and the cypher like "No Hook") and Slaughterhouse's Royce Da 5'9". Production isn't bad either, there are tracks produced by Alchemist, Silent Riot, and Killumal.
Tracks like "Kisses" and "UnderCover Gyrl" break up the grittiness of the mixtape but aren't any less real.

My Thoughts: I think the mixtape is beyond dope and definitely something worth listening to. It's so different from what we're used to hearing by female rappers, but it isn't masculine at all and it doesn't seem super "ride or die" either. The tracks flow well together and the skits are great (since they're from one of my favorite films 'Set It Off', which doubles as the theme for the mixtpe.)

If you are looking for a Barbie and plastic lyrics, Chacity's 'It's My Turn' may not be the mixtape for you.

If you're not, click HERE to download 'It's My Turn'.

December 16, 2009

Mixtape: Yung GooD

Bedda Made and Eastside (Detroit) representer, Yung GooD released a new mixtape a few weeks ago. E2P (Everything 2 Prove) 1.5: Things 2 Do dropped on Black Friday and was mixed by Mr. C.E.O. and DJ Rockin'. 21 tracks and 3 skits make up this E2P addition.
It includes the appearance of some local faves like J. Fin and Earlly Mac and some bars over known tracks like "Maybach Music" and "Run This Town".
This mixtape is something like a buzz keeper. GooD dropped Everything 2 Prove a while ago and is currently working on his next joint 'Show N Prove' which should be dropping sometime in the beginning of 2010.

My Thoughts: I can NOT figure out who he sounds like. Not delivery or lyric wise, but I really mean voice wise. There is a rapper out there that Yung GooD's voice reminds me of and I can't think of it.

Moving on, I rock with Yung GooD, he's an energetic rapper and that definitely shows through his songs.

What caught me off guard (in a good way) was "A Letter to Dream." The fast-paced mixtape of the mixtape comes to a screeching halt when this track comes on. If you want a good sense of who GooD is or his lyrical style this is the track that answers those for you.

I actually think GooD saved everything for the end. "Thanks in Advance" is the track after "A Letter to Dream" and is just as different from everything else on the mixtape as the track preceding it.

The only criticism I have is that there are a lot of the tracks are done to the beats of other songs (personal annoyance).

Overall the mixtape is kind of anxious and GooD's energy shows through every track from "Transformer" to "Get Like Me." GooD is strong lyrically and while his voice may remind me of someone else, his delivery doesn't.

Click HERE to Download E2P 1.5: Things to Do.

Reminder - J. Fin


Money to Blow (Day 6)

You met J. Fin earlier this summer after the release of his mixtape 'InFINity & Beyond.' Well, the Southfield native is currently in the studio cooking up Fin is King 2, his next mixtape scheduled for release 12.31.2009. But to build the buzz around him, Fin took on a 30 day challenge (and I'm not talking a diet). Fin has been releasing a track a day for the month of December and will do so until his mixtape is dropped. The campaign is called 'Thirty.30 or Die', and all the songs are being put on a blog for it. December is halfway over, which means that he's halfway done with the challenge but you can catch up on what you've missed. Below you'll find a link (it's a .zip file) to download all 16 songs so far and if you want to continue on with 17 through 30 just follow J. Fin on Twitter or visit the blog for the next two weeks to see what's new.

Click HERE to download days 1 - 16.

Yay or Nay: Say Somethin' (remix)

Not so sure how late I am posting this (like it matters since I've been MIA for a while), but I haven't seen it everywhere. ANYway, we all know Drake and Lupe Fiasco have both been in the studio cooking up their next projects. If you have Lupe's "Enemy of the State: a Love Story" mixtape then you already heard him going in on "Say Somethin" well now there's this remix, that has Drake and Bow Wow on it. (Drake was on the original, BTW) Now I don't listen to Bow Wow enough to know if this is a legit verse that he has done on this track or not, but whoever mashed this together (if it wasn't someone from their camps) has courage because Lupe feat. Bow Wow and Drake kind of has "don't take me seriously" all over it.
But what do you all think? Has Bow Wow finally proven himself worthy and not the little kiddie that rocked an iced out Mickey?

Flashback: T-Pain

I remember while everyone else had just caught on to T-Pain's "I'm Sprung" I was moving on to his newest single making buzz on the southern stations, "I'm 'n Luv (wit' a Stripper)." I thought the song was funny, but I wasn't really feeling it until the remix dropped with Twista, Paul Wall, Pimp C, MJG, Too $hort (and in the video version) R. Kelly. So I decided to make it today's "Flashback Video" back when Auto-tune wasn't annoying and T-Pain wasn't getting paid out the wazoo.
Flashback to: "I'm 'n Luv (wit a Stripper) (Remix)"

December 14, 2009

Music Video: Detroit Edition

This past week has been musically wonderful on the Detroit hip-hop scene. Not only have some ridiculously dope mixtapes dropped, but music videos have premiered as well.

Southfield native, Mike Posner, has had a rocket ride of a year and 2010 will have more twists an turns for the 21-year-old musician. He debuted his music video for 'Drug Dealer Girl' off of his mixtape 'A Matter of Time.' It was filmed on the campus of Duke University and stars Rosa Acosta as its leading lady.


By now you should be somewhat familiar with Ro Spit. If not, just scroll down and read his interview. While Ro may be from Pontiac he holds the city down very well and it is shown in his video for "Renaissance State of Mind" featuring local songstress Monica Blaire. The song is off 'The Oh S#!t Project' and is an unofficial anthem for the city.


S.O.S - Quest Mcody

Whoever said rappers don't care clearly have never met a Detroit artist. Quest Mcody Presents
the 'Quest for a Cure' benefit concert at 9 p.m. December 19, at St. Andrews Hall (431 East
Congress).

Quest Mcody's Quest for a Cure foundation partnered with the Michigan Music Community and www.BensFight.org to host the
benefit for 8-year-old Benjamin Martin, who was diagnosed Stage 4 Globlastoma in April of this year.
Globlastoma is a cancerous brain tumor and young Ben has been told by doctors that he is not a candidate for further surgeries.

So the community is taking it upon themselves to help Ben's family raise the funds needed to send him to Burzinski Clinic in Texas for an alternative treatment.

Tickets are $10 at the door and are available for pre-sale now. If you do buy a ticket now and
decide to bring someone with you they can get in for $5 dollars the day of the benefit.

I know you're interested in knowing who's performing well Detroit hip-hop's finest have joined forces. The roster includes artists: Stretch Money, K'Jon, Monica Blaire, P.L., Seven The General, Marvwon, Miz Korona, Ro Spit and of course, Quest Mcody. There will also be spoken word and live poetry performances.

Not only will you be supporting Detroit but you'll be able to give a family the gift of life for this holiday season.

To buy purchase tickets now go here or call (313) 982 - 2377


December 13, 2009

November 19, 2009

I Do Me - Ro Spit

Ro Spit is a man of many hats. He's one half of one of the most respected sneaker boutiques in Michigan, a father, a husband, a DJ, and a rapper. Ro Spit recently released a musical hybrid called "The Oh S#!t Project" and his single, "Renaissance State of Mind" has been deemed a Detroit anthem by many. While he's technically not from Detroit he still holds the city down well. Ladies and Gentlemen: Ro Spit.

Name: Ro Spit
Role: Renaissance Man
Affiliation: Burn Rubber Sneaker Boutique

Alex Washington (AW): How is Ro Spit different from DJ Phrikshun and Burn Rubber Ro?

Ro Spit (Ro): I'm the same person to the core. All three of those people want to get money and provide for their family—bottom line. Now, the person that is nothing like any of those guys is Roland Coit. I'm just a humble dude that loves to laugh and work hard.

AW: What is the Oh S#!t Project? From what I understand it's not a mixtape but it's not quite an album either.

Ro: The Oh S#!t project fits right in between a mixtape and an album. The reason I didn't want to call it a mixtape is because of the negative stigma that the word "mixtape" has on it. Everybody and their grandma has a mixtape out here in the streets. Another thing is that mixtapes have short shelf lives and I want my music to stand the test of time. It's not a mixtape because I'm rapping over all original beats; even the "Renaissance State Of Mind" track was re-made—that is not the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys version. On the other hand, the project is set up like a mixtape; it's songs on a CD with no real story. My album will tap more into me as a real person—not just dope rhymes and dope beats. This project was to show people that may not be familiar with me as an emcee, that I got bars.

AW: What can people expect from this project?

Ro: Raw beats and raw lyrics, cleverness, slick talk, flow and fresh sh*t.

AW: Who are some of the featured artists on the project and why did you select who you did?

Ro: I have a few features on this project. The most notable is Bun B, and for obvious reasons. He's a legend in the game, well respected and got bars for days. I can't take the credit for that feature though, I gotta give it up to the producer of the track my man Frank The Butcher. He gave me the beat, and said he wanted me and Curt@!ns on a track together; he could hear Bun B on it. He made a call and the rest is history. Big Sean is also on a track, he came through in the clutch, literally. The day before the project was to be turned in, he came to the shop like, "I gotta get on a track man," that was the perfect track for his feature. Of course I got my 101 fam on there, Marv Won and Ron Dance, we all we got and Marv Won is one of my favorite rappers, period. Got my man Stretch Money on there, he's that dude that a lot of "Hip Hop" cats sleep on because he's all over ther radio, but that dude is a monster and will shut a cypher down. Other than that, I have the fabulous, M Bleezy on there twice. Monica Blaire is a star; I love her voice, and she's a beautiful person to just be around. She's like one of the fellas almost, but still a girly girl.

AW: "Renaissance State of Mind" has definitely become an anthem of sorts, did you intend for it to happen that way?

READ MORE

November 17, 2009

Yay or Nay: Grindin'- Birdman, Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj


Nicki Minaj has made public claims that other female rappers have not reached out to her and many have dissed her (though she has admitted that Trina has embraced her). Lil' Kim has said that she has no problems with Nicki and is flattered that she has been influenced by her to do the things that she does. All of that to move into today's Yay or Nay which features both ladies. You would assume that since Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj are on the same track that would put aside any controversy that the two had beef.

Kim's line: "There will never be another me what chu out ya mind?" has sparked some controversy that the song is a front and the line was a subliminal to Nicki. Kim seems not to mind the little stuff or the controversy, stating in her Facebook status "Take it how you want to take it though."

What do you think? Yay or Nay: Gridin' (Makin Money) -- Birdman feat. Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj

Yay or Nay: Doin' Good - Tone Tone


You may know him from his track "Luv the Way She Doing It" or his more popular "What Up Doe?" but Detroit local Tone Tone returns with his new single "Doin' Good." Now Tone Tone hasn't been sitting quietly since the release of those songs. He has had singles in rotation on local radio stations throughout the year and word around town is that Tone Tone is gearing up to release his new mixtape "Kill The Streetz" sometime soon. Yay or Nay: "Doin' Good" - Tone Tone feat. OJ Da Juiceman.



P.S. Producers, here's your chance, Tone Tone is looking for beats. Think you have something he may like? Send it to this e-mail address: tonetoneinherre@yahoo.com

November 15, 2009

My President - Young Jeezy

There are a lot of people that are YouTube famous and Alphacat is back. In case you do not remember Iman Crossom (known to Youtube as Alphacat) became instantly famous when his spoof of Barack Obama doing Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" routine went viral about a year ago. Since then, he has went on to make many more spoofs (averaging about 400,000 views per video) including Drake, Shakira, Jay-Z and Mario. THis time around he spoofs Thriller as Barack Obama...what do you think about it?
Was it too soon to spoof a Michael Jackson video? Is it time for Alphacat to stop filming? Is it simply hilarious?

November 11, 2009

Love of My Life - Erykah Badu

Hola, I'm back (for serious this time).

It's been about two months since my last post, but I decided to resurrect Tha 'A' Side, new posts, new layout same me.
Lots of things have happened since my last post, but we will get to all that soon.

I was having trouble deciding what I wanted my first post to be...an interview, a leak, a video blog (just me rambling) but I decided to post this documentary done by one of my high school classmatesMidori about a year or so ago.

The documentary was done for a class project of hers and discusses the gender and racial politics of hip-hop (deep stuff right?) You'll see some of your favorites in the half-hour long documentary including, Ro Spit, Big Sean, and The Cool Kids.

September 12, 2009

H to the Izzo - Jay-Z

Last night Jay-Z started his Blueprint 3 tour with a 9/11 benefit concert in Madison Square Garden. Along with the proceeds going to families of victims, Jay-Z brought along special guests, including Pharrell, John Mayer and his wife Beyoncé. Missed it? That's ok..Peep the full concert below.


Hustler Musik - Lil' Wayne

VH1 brought back it's Behind the Music series (I must say I THINK I'm happy about this). Their first show was Lil' Wayne, no matter how much I may think he's gone off the deep end his story is an interesting one. It goes into detail about his 11-year-old sex and drug life, him shooting himself, his admitted drug use and of course his music career. Now when VH1 did Behind the Music in the past, they never (to my remembrance) actually spoke to the artist (often anyway) and usually was told from the accounts of others close to them. However this time, Lil' Wayne pretty much tells his own story. IDK if it is because he IS so open about his past or not. I know the Steelers game was on as well as the Real Housewives of Atlanta, so if you missed it, it's ok check it below.

September 11, 2009

All Eyez On Me - Tupac


This week in Hip-Hop History, the hip-hop world and urban America sat silent as we learned that Tupac Amaru Shakur was shot and killed leaving a fight in Las Vegas. There are many speculations about who killed Tupac and why. Many urban legends say that it was an inside job by owner of Death Row Records (Tupac's label) Suge Knight (especially after the death of Bad Boy Records' and well-known rival (former ally) Notorious B.I.G. 6 months later).
Shakur was an actor, poet, and rapper having won many awards for his albums and gone platinum several times (even after his death).

Tupac stepped onto the 90s rap scene as a part of Digital Underground before releasing his first solo project 2pacalypse Now in 1991 on Jive/Interscope Records. From then on he went to release a total of three solo albums on Jive before getting arrested and serving time for violating probation (Tupac had several legal problems including being accused of rape, a wrongful death suit, and attacking an employee).

After his release, he then made the West Coast switch to Death Row Records owned and operated by Suge Knight with clients that included Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. His first album on Death Row, All Eyez on Me, went platinum (multiple times over) and began to shine a light on him and his affiliates.

Within a year of being signed to Death Row, Shakur was gunned down by an unidentified shooter after leaving a fight in Las Vegas and posing for this picture a few minutes earlier:



Tupac influenced a generation, he was more than a "thug" and convict, he did a lot for his community and left an everlasting mark on the hip-hop industry.

Since You've Been Gone - Day 26

So while I was out, two mixtapes I had kind of been waiting on dropped.

KR's 'Amnesia' and Pat Piff's 'Hungry as a hippie'.

KR was NOT kidding when he said 'Amnesia' would be finished within a week of me posting his leaks, because a couple of days later...I was e-mailed a link to download his mixtape.

It's dope, I love his style and my favorite track would have to be the cover of "Maybach Music" featuring Dizze and JFin (Fin's his lil' brother BTW). The beat on "Burn" reminds me of an early 2000's rap track (can't think of which one but I think it reminds me of a Ruff Ryders joint..IDK). If you're expecting this to be just like Fin's 'Infinity and Beyond' you fail. Though there are some similarities their deliveries are different.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD KR's 'Amnesia'

After one pushback, Pat Piff FINALLY released 'Hungry as a hippie.' The reason I like Pat Piff is because his delivery and style is so different from a lot of the rappers I've heard. I know him and Big Sean rapped together back in their Cass days, and yes they're both talented (have you heard 28 Grams Later?), but I couldn't imagine them being a rapping duo because of their styles.

Anyway, the features on this tape are dope and include some local faves like Mike Posner, Big Sean, and Earlly Mac. From "So Round" with it's Arabic inspired back beat to the previously leaked "Despicable Me" Pat shows off his own skill as yet another talent from the Finally Famous camp.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PAT PIFF's '28 Grams Later Vol. 2: Hungry as a Hippie'

Yay or Nay: JWan


Said it once, twice, three or four times maybe, but Finally Famous does not revolve around Big Sean (surprising to some of you). A lot of these guys are talented rappers as well who so happen to be friends (emphasis on this word since many people forget what friends are) with a talented rapper that just so happens to be signed. I've been away for only 3 weeks, but a lot of dope leaks have come about (including Jay-Z's BP3 which had to change release dates, but w/e) and this one by Finally Famous' JWan leaked maybe a week or so ago. It's called "You" and was produced by Detroit's own Bei Maejor (who has produced hits for Trey Songz, LeToya Luckett, and Chrisette Michele). The other is called "I Promise" and was leaked close to 2 weeks ago. (told you I was behind) What do you think about it? Feeling it? loathing it? Sound off below.

You



I Promise

Without Me - Eminem

Guess who's back....

back again....

Alex's back....

tell a friend...



Hola!
It's been roughly 3 weeks to a month since my last post and I first must say thanks to those who have STILL been checking out the blog.
Also, special shoutout to those who asked where my posts have been, that is the coolest thing ever. Knowing that people actually read/value what I have to say is kind of humbling (in a weird way).
So where have I been?
Well, Summer has ended and school has began, and for the past couple of weeks I've been getting back into the university life. It was a weird transition (even weirder/stranger/more uncomfortable than freshman year) but it's good to be back.
ANYWAY, I realized I never did my summer recap, and I actually had one all written up nicely but I decided to change it up after reading Cliff's 5:03 today (mine was similar to his; it was everything I learned).


Summer.

One Word, 3 months, life-changing, epiphany.

That pretty much sums up summer 2009 for me. I have been taking "baby steps" into the Detroit entertainment scene. The weirdest thing about it is as much as I have been watching other people, people have been watching me.

I don't mean that in a "creepy, stalker, 'Marvin' from Player's Club" kind of way. There are so many talented people in the city, who I truly admire from Rick and Ro of Burn Rubber, Cliff, Slapz, DJ Mo Beatz, James over at DSE, Dante Marshall, Tommey Walker, the list goes on for a while.

At the same time there are people who give ME, props and kudos on my writing and I don't think many realize how much it actually means to me. (mushy, I know, lol).

Over the summer I:

-Fell in love with hip-hop all over again.

-Interviewed a Sony/J Records musician from Southfield who is currently filming his music video.

-Went to Burn Rubber, DSE @ Grand, and Spectacles (granted went each place once, but I will go more I promise)

-Fell in love with Detroit and what it had to offer

- Was introduced to Detroit hip-hop (who by the way have talent beyond the Tone Tone/K Deezy I was used to)

- Officially made a name for myself as a blogger with the Fli Pelican v. Juan Neal (not really versus but you get it) series..

- Think I may have possibly burned future bridges with that series (though I never took sides and have no hard feelings against the Pelicans).

- Ended my sophomore year with a 3.5 GPA (which is double and half where I was after freshman year).

-Wrote and contributed to two web sites (beside this blog)

-Had my first 'angry rapper mad at me because I didn't post his song and try to slander me' incident, which pretty much messed him up big time with other bloggers and rappers. (sorry, but it did).

That sums it up, lol those were the highlights beside meeting the most awesomest (made up word, yes?) people ever and appreciating the ones that were already in my corner.

This summer has taught me two important lessons:

1) Patience and practice are the two key components of success. I know everyone's definition of success varies, but NOTHING happens overnight and practice makes perfect. I was born to be a writer (I'm quite sure of it, lol) just like Kobe was born to be a NBA superstar, Oprah was born to be a billionaire, and Michael Jackson was born to entertain 5 generations of people. However, no one would have gotten anything done if they didn't practice their craft and hone their skill.

2) Acquaintances are not friends. (I feel there's no explanation needed for that one).

All in all, I had a fantastic summer in the city. I guess some people would say I found myself after losing a big part of me for a minute.

Ending this with: Expect dope things from me...No clothing lines, no mixtapes (well maybe I'll do an A Side mix but we'll see), no production...People can do dope things without rapping, dj-ing, or singing....and I shall.

Happy Friday

<3 Alex W.

August 25, 2009

Flashback: Aaliyah

Today August 25, marks the 8 year anniversary of Aaliyah's death. Ironically, I just so happened to be listening to Aaliyah's 'I Care 4 U' album and I didn't even realize what today was. I loved Aaliyah, she was a talented artist and like with many died before she could accomplish much. However, her music was great and because of that her songs will last as long as 'men can hear.'

R.I.P Aaliyah Dana Houghton

Flashback to: Aaliyah::