December 31, 2010

Round of Applause - Black Milk

My iTunes library has grown quite a bit in 2010...homegrown, that is.
Of all the albums, mixtapes, songs that I've gotten my hands on this year, about 97% of them have been from a local rapper.

You're not experiencing déjá vu, I've said something similar numerous times. I've been so caught up in Detroit hip-hop this year that I've kind of ignored everything else.
That being said, Rick Ross, The Roots, Big Boi and Kanye have released some pretty good albums this year (from what I've been told :-/ ). So when I decided I'd do my top four favorites, I'd pick my top four Detroit albums, it's only fair.

Why four? Five was too hard (plus I have a thing for even numbers. My blog. My Rules).

Before I get into the top four some honorable mentions are Marv Won's 'Wayne Fontes Music', Street Justice's 'Go HAAM', Nametag's 'The Name Is Tag' and Moe Dirdee's 'M.O.E. (Mark of Excellence)'. I've heard The Left's Gas Mask is pretty awesome, but I haven't heard it yet (I know slacking).

4. Crown Nation - House Shoes presents Blue Mondays/Slut Bag Edition Double EP: I swear people don't talk about Crown Nation enough. Quelle and Denmark Vessey. I've written about these two fellows a little while ago, and stand by my claim that people are heavily sleeping on them. This Double EP, combines the best of both Crown Nation worlds, "Blue Mondays" was Quelle's solo project while "Slut Bag Edition" was a Crown Nation baby. The song that got me hooked was "The Archie Whitewater Interlude" which is on Slut Bag Edition, maybe it's their hip-hop quirkiness mixed with old school flavor and manipulation of simple flows and cool lyrics that makes them dope.

3.Miz Korona - The Injection: Though it dropped back during this summer, I officially got injected November 15 ( I remember the date because I had jury duty that day). I was dead determined to get a hard copy of that album and yes it took that long. Miz Korona is one of the artists I've gotten to know this year; I've seen her perform several times and simply ran into her on a few other occasions. One of the first songs I heard by her was "Like a Zoo," which is featured on this album, and I was pretty much captivated by her rhymes. She attacks bars with a spitfire delivery and pretty excellent word play; it's impossible to listen to The Injection without rewinding a song's verse to make sure you heard her right.  The entire album (with the exception of Cookin') was produced by Chanes, who I have officially stopped sleeping on, and is possibly the best 40 minutes of your life.

2. Danny Brown - The Hybrid: His jeans are tight but his rhymes are tighter. Ok, corny, but Danny Brown is way beyond a lot of his peers and The Hybrid should have been an album I paid for, I feel like I cheated the system. The Hybrid was my first time hearing anything by Danny Brown; I didn't know who he was, what he'd done, nothing. The only thing I knew was that my Twitter timeline was going haywire over this guy's album and I found out why. Danny Brown tells some interesting tales through his lyrics many of which are relatable hood tales like "Thank God" which makes mentions of Bridge and WIC cards or "Juno" which hits the nail on the teen pregnancy head. Production isn't half-assed either,  Red Bull 's 2010 Big Tune Producer 14KT did a track as well as the aforementioned guys of Crown Nation, Mosel, Nick Speed, Chuck Inglish ... The Hybrid bleeds awesomeness.

1. Black Milk - Album of the Year: When Black Milk named this album the last thing he was doing was exagerrating.  AOTY is the best $10 I ever spent. Upon its release, AOTY came in at #129 on the Billboard 200, which is a pretty dope accomplishment. Sometimes when producers decide to step behind the mic it's not always the greatest (and if it is, someone else wrote it for them), but Black did a damn good job lyrically on this album. That could be because producers know their music, they know how to to ride their beats if no one else does. 'Album of the Year' gets personal, as he discusses the passing of Baatin and his aunt and almost losing Hex, but also has hints of cockiness and arrogance. My favorite thing about the album is the beats; Black Milk does this thing with drums, I can't really describe it, but you know that thing I'm talking about if you've listened to it. If he wanted it to be, 'Album of the Year' could have been an instrumental album (but you know how that goes when wack rappers think instrumental albums give them a right to drop wretched 16s, I digress). The only cohesive statement I can make on Album of the Year: it is awesome, Black Milk did an amazing job on it both production and lyrically, and it may be too early to call it, but in a few years AOTY will be on the list of classic hip-hop albums ... even if it's only in the 313.

December 27, 2010

Video: Ooo La La La [Live on Soul Train] - Teena Marie

Well, if you haven't heard by now, legendary blue-eyed soul singer Teena Marie passed away Sunday morning from what appears to be natural causes.

Her daughter discovered her body in the bedroom of the singer's home who passed away in her sleep. It has been reported (though I haven't seen it confirmed anywhere) that she may have passed away after having a seizure (she has suffered from these before).

Teena Marie had one of the most soulful voices. I've seen people referring to her as the "Blackest White Girl" and speaking with my Mom, she said when Teena Marie's album first dropped, her label decided to not put her on the cover because they weren't sure how people were going to react to a White girl with such a powerful voice.

Not sure how true that is, but one could believe it.

Her passing comes about four years after that of Rick James, a constant collaborator.

Now Fire & Desire may rest peacefully.

December 23, 2010

Some Guys Win 'Em All - Ron Dance

Last year, the city embraced his beard, this holiday season it's all about his vest but on December 29th, it'll be all about Ron Dance as he celebrates his __ birthday and album release for Flidelphia's 'The In Crowd' (a duo comprised of Ron Dance and producer Nameless).

Plush Lounge (13090 Inkster Rd, Redford, MI)  | 21+ | $10

The event will be hosted by one of Michigan's favorite fellows (and Dance's 101 counterpart) Ro Spit .

Let me back up a second, if you're not familiar with Ron Dance go look at any Detroit music video that came out this year like Ro Spit's "Renaissance State of Mind", Dwele's "What's Not to Love", Marv Won's "Totally Awesome", Miz Korona's "Playground", Paradime's "Lovely Day" and  simply look for a beard.

Besides being a highly sought after local video vixen, he hosts the uStream live webcast The Ron Dance Show every Sunday at 9:30 p.m. mostly known for the outrageous amount of alcohol, random conversations, stories with no punchlines and home to the phrase Struck by Chuck, the Ron Dance Show is as real as real life can get.

I've been a guest on that show twice and please believe me when I say ... that it's 100% real, unscripted and makes Monday and your liver HATE you.

I'm Straying.

Someone asked me why they should attend the album release party for someone who the entire city says can't rap.

I'll tell you why.

While his rap career has been the butt of many jokes (and I do mean plenty, so much so he chose to embrace the concept on his last EP, Some Guys Win 'Em All), Ron Dance can throw a heck of a party.

In July, there was the Ron Dance Experience at TV Lounge and it defied every law of life there is because whilst no one likes his raps, the place was packed inside and out.

This will probably be the last time for 2010 your favorite locals will all be in one place drinking merrily and chatting it up before the New Year.

PLEASE leave the "I gotta mixtape" and "What's up on a feature/RDW cover/blog post" talk at the door.  I can't speak for everyone else but do know, that I will indeed ignore you and carry on with my Corona for the night.

Bottom line: Be there. It'll be fun.

New: "It's On" - The Academy

 You know how you always hear about something but aren't really sure about it?

Enter The Academy.

I can't tell you how I heard about them, when I heard about them or what I've heard by them, all I know is I'm familiar with them.

But any person knows there's only so long you can ignore something and I saw it on Twitter, got a DM about it and an e-mail and I had no choice but to listen to their track "It's On" by The Academy's Mahd, A.Will and featuring Regime's ART.

Apparently "It's On" is The Academy's motto.

It celebrates their readiness for wherever their talents take them and whatever comes their way. The world is incredibly critical but The Academy  ... is up for the challenge.
I rarely quote the e-mails I get but for some reason this stuck out. I like the track, it reminds me of summer and with the terribly gloomy winter weather Michigan has been hit with it's a major plus. Check out "It's On" by Mahd, A. Will and ART and let me know what you think.

Click here to download "It's On"

Music Video: Detroit - Pato Margetic

Motown. Motor City. The D. Rock City.

The list kind of goes on with nicknames for Detroit and lately it seems people have been fighting back the negative images often associated with the city.

Film companies and TV shows have been taking advantage of the opportunites here, Johnny Knoxville went on his own little Motor City Tour and of course you have the douzens of blogs that help promote and support the city in some kind of way.

Eminem did it in "Beautiful" and Kid Rock did it with "Roll On" and Pato Margetic keeps the support going with this video for his song "Detroit". Besides the song itself acting as an ode to the city, the video captures some pretty great shots of familiar and less-known places in Motown.

I sort of stumbled across him (sort of had him pushed in my face), he's a rather talented musician from with a pretty awesome voice.
He released his album 'On My Own' this year and I must say I'm quite pissed I let this guy slip under the radar for so long.

Point is, Pato Margetic is kind of awesome, someone you should watch out for and you can begin by watching his video and seeing what you recognize (or what you don't).

Music Video: Can't Stand It - Mr. Chief

The entire world knows I'm clearly a month behind on life.
(Hey, you go to school full-time, work on graduating and transferring, work part-time, freelance and then come holla).

About a month a go, a rapper by the name of Mr. Chief dropped a music video for his joint "Can't Stand It" featuring Guilty Simpson and Wrekonize of iMAYDAY and was produced by Miami Beat Wave.

This is Chief's first video off his upcoming project 'Assuming Power' scheduled to drop sometime after the New Year (how soon after, I don't know).

December 19, 2010

Heard 'Em Say - Kanye West

2010 is over (give or take two weeks). My final video blog for the end of the beginning of the decade. 2010 put into a quick perspective.

November 20, 2010

Supermodel - Ru Paul

Like hip-hop, the fashion industry is overlooked in the Motor City.

Last Saturday, fashion industry professionals and hopefuls gathered at 5E Gallery for Design.Define.Detroit.

DDD was more than just a fashion show, as we see so often in the underground Detroit circuit, it featured a panel discussion that included Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, Jenny Lee of Allied Media Group and Hajj Flemings of Brand Camp University.

The most talked about topic was what it took to establish a garment district in Detroit and according to Charles Pugh, there used to be a garment district in Detroit, but we now know it as Harmonie Park.

My favorite quote from the panel came from Hajj Flemings:
No one can write the Detroit story like Detroiters can.
Discussion wasn't the only thing happening, there were fashion shows as well which featured both stylists (like  Benny Lee and Fanciee) and designers such as Eugenia Paul.

I have to give it up to the events organizers Piper Carter and Ris Tena; I know 5E Gallery had some unexpected issues happen just days before DDD but they pulled off an amazing event.

In short, I loved it.

From my understanding they're doing another event next year and I really hope so.

It's always nice to be in the same room as so many motivated individuals and to see the look on the designers faces after their collection has finished the runway is pretty cool.

Fashion is an interesting industry; there are no rules, just creating and that's completely underrated.

Let Me Get 'Em - Octane & Illite

By now, I hope you are all pretty familiar with Burn Rubber Sneaker Boutique, the small sneaker shop with a big clientele serving Metro Detroit (or the world?) nestled cozily in Downtown Royal Oak.

BR probably has one of the most recognized logos in the state for sure and on November 26, Chef So Ill will have a closer ear to the street. Burn Rubber x Nike will be releasing the Burn Rubber New Balance MT580, what's even more crazy than the fact they will be releasing their own shoe, there are only 1,000 pairs that will be made 500 of which will be in the United States. Same exclusivity the Air Yeezy had, #BallerStatus.

Burn Rubber has been around since 2004 and in the hands of its current owners, Rick Williams and Ro Coit (yup, Ro Spit), since 2007.

I've said this a million and three times, you can't help but respect Rick and Ro for everything they've accomplished with the Burn Rubber brand. Whether your a sneakerhead or not (like myself) you definitely could lear a thing or two from them.


Speaking of sneakerheads,  November 27 (the day after the BR New Balance drops), there's going to be "the ultimate sneakerhead event" going down at St. Andrew's Hall.

'What's Your Size' will be going down and there will be giveaways, contests and all that cool stuff. Doors open at 7 p.m. and if you want to show off what you have give BR a call (248.543.3000) for table rental info.

Immediately following that we have "Yours Truly" a concert featuring Ro Spit and Stretch Money with a live band (rap and live bands usually equal awesomeness). It's 18+, tickets are being sold in advance at BR and if you cop the VIP tickets, you'll also get a ticket to the aforementioned sneaker swap.

Come, check it out. It should be a good time.

November 18, 2010

Music Video: Ambiguous - Mike Posner & Big Sean

As 2010 winds down and 2011 rears its head, we slowly begin to reflect on the year and how it's been.

I wonder what Big Sean and Mike Posner have to say for themselves?

Just turn on the radio or open a magazine and you'll see on of them; which is pretty cool for some 20-something guys from Detroit.

At the beginning of Fall they both dropped major projects, Mike dropped his iTunes chart topping '31 Minutes to Takeoff' and Big Sean released his highly anticipated mixtape 'Finally Famous Vol. 3'.

Mike Posner and Big Sean have collaborated several times ("Who Knows," "Cooler Than Me" (the original) and "Smoke and Drive" to name a few) and if I remember one of Big Sean's tweets correctly, they may just have something brewing.

Things are looking good (#punintended) for them and even better in their first music video together "Ambiguous" presented by Karmaloop. Check it out.

"Ambiguous" Music Video from KarmaloopTV on Vimeo.

Music Video: Shook Ones - Diggy

Yes, you read that title accurately, America's favorite young Simmons has decided to tackle the classic Mobb Deep track "Shook Ones, Pt. II" from their 1995 album, 'The Infamous'.

Aside from the fact that Diggy was born the same year this dropped, I must say what he's doing is interesting. I think Diggy is trying to cover his tracks across the board. What I mean is, he doesn't want to be Lil' Bow Wow, he wants his market to be bigger and I think he thinks tackling classics could be the way to garner attention from the older generations.

I could be wrong.

If you remember a while ago, he tackled Nas' "Made You Look" which is what got a lot of people looking him at more than just the Reverend's son. He then got signed, dropped a mixtape, did a few bars in the BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher, the list kind of goes on for the kid.

November 11, 2010

Six Feet Under the Stars - All Time Low

Next Tuesday, one of the most awesomest chicks I know will be another year older.

@six_two is probably one of the hardest working people I've ever met, she manages two rappers, a Christian singer and a fitness model (talk about variety), promotes events ... I'm sure it'll be easier to make a list of the things she doesn't do.

She's helped quite a few of us so what better way to help her celebrate her birthday?

Tonight at the Bullfrog (5 mile & Telegraph), is the Sixer 2.0, an 18+ affair, hosted by Ron Dance and featuring performances by: Moe Dirdee, Suai, Jwan, Buzz Burrus, and more.

$5 for the 21+ crowd
$10 for the under 21 crowd.
*at midnight there will be a flat entry fee of $10 for everyone*
Come, enjoy yourselves, live a little.

Music Video: Flossin' & Bossin' - Jscriptz

Straight Flush Giant, Jscriptz,  dropped the video for "Flossin' & Bossin'" off his upcoming project 'Vanishing Point'.
This is the second video Jscriptz has released the first one, "Here I Go," was released at the beginning of Fall and was shot "Guerilla style" through Downtown Detroit.

 Jscriptz keeps that whole raw and uncut theme going with the "Flossin' & Bossin'" video which is mostly footage from him recording at the studio mixed in with some clips kickin' it with friends.

Check out both videos below.

Here I Go

The Wizard - Danny Brown

I like rap and I like Harry Potter; so when I stumbled across this video of a Wizarding Rap Battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort I couldn't help but post it.

With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Pt. 1 releasing next week, this kind of all ties together.
It's entertaining, but if you never read a HP novel or seen a few of the movies a lot of the "reasons this is awesome" will go over your head.

And yes, I am well aware that my dorkiness is showing ... but I'm cool with that.

November 1, 2010

Music Video: Too Fake - Big Sean

Big Sean has been getting hit with the leaks lately. Since the spring, a lot of his tracks have hit the internet before they could even be mastered—like the "Made" feat. Drake or the more recent "I Don't Think They Want It" (which hit the net yesterday).

He doesn't seem to let that phase him much as he released the music video for "Too Fake," a track featuring Chiddy Bang off Big Sean's latest mixtape 'Finally Famous Vol. 3'

Check it out below.

October 31, 2010

Music Video: Cyclops - Danny Brown

Skinny jeans and long braids don't exactly equate to respect in the rap game, but Danny Brown gets a pass.

Danny Brown isn't a "new boy" rapper in fact he's the exact opposite.

His unique lyrical talents have landed him on features with eLZhi, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Buff 1, Marv won and even dropped a few bars on the lateset Dilla project, Jay Stay Paid ... actually it's easier to pick who he hasn't worked with.
Danny Brown's affiliations with Tony Yayo have led many to suspect that the Hybrid will soon be signing to G-Unit, the rumors started getting heavy right around the release of Hawaiian Snow, a collaborative mixtape between Danny Brown and Mr. Yayo.

In the spirit of Halloween, Danny Brown dropped a new video "Cyclops" and not even going to lie, I did jump, just once. After watching that, make sure you download his [free] album 'The Hybrid' if you don't already have it.

New: Roman's Revenge - Nicki Minaj feat. Eminem

Nicki gets a lot of slack from a lot of different people.

I, for one, am not one of those people.

Where are her arms?
She has everyone from Amanda Bynes to the hoodrat down the street reciting her lyrics, biting her style and proved she was a force to be reckoned with as the dominate MC on Kanye West's "Monster" (which also features Jay-Z and Rick Ross).

You may hate her, but who else is making 50K a verse with no album out?

I'll wait.

Speaking of which, Nicki Minaj's debut album, Pink Friday, releases November 23rd and I am interested to see how it turns out.

The debut single "Your Love" wasn't typical Nicki, but catchy nonetheless.

Today a new track surfaced featuring everyone's favorite lyricist and number one MC, Eminem and produced by Swizz Beatz (seems like since wifing Alicia Keys, I'm seeing his name A LOT more, not that he wasn't around before, but never as noticeable ... at least to me).

This mix seems a bit strange but leave it to Eminem to address the doubtful:

It's Shady and Nicki Minaj, you might find this sight quite odd, but don't ask why b*tch ask why not

Here's "Roman's Revenge" - Nicki Minaj featuring Eminem (prod. Swizz Beatz)


October 30, 2010

Music Video: Real Love - Macy Gray & Bobby Brown

I know what you're thinking and frankly, I thought the same thing.

Macy Gray and Bobby Brown on one track together.

The song came out a few months ago and is off Macy's fifth album, The Sellout which released earlier this year.

I just happened to stumble across the official music video for it today.

Personally I like the record; for some reason it reminds me of a summer love.

I've said it before, but I really would kill to be a fly on the wall during this studio session.

October 28, 2010

I Get Crazy - Nicki Minaj

MaeDay MaeDay!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Mae Day is one of my favorite MCs.


It could be because she doesn't feed into the stereotype of the female rapper or the fact that she can (and has) held her own on a track full of guys— Take the Michigan Remix to P.L.'s "Blue and Yellow" for example.

Mae Day has been in the studio working on a new project, which last I heard was still untitled but expected to release this fall/winter.

What I really admire about Mae Day is she takes her time with her music, which is something that many don't do. I asked her about it while working on the Fab Four story for Real Detroit Weekly and she said:

 I don't like to rush out material because I set the bar so high for myself, so I hope the listeners are patient with me. I'm putting my soul into this thing.
Admirable right?

She released some old tracks that aren't going to be on her next project but are definitely still worthy of a listen.

Both were produced by De Notes and I can't help but wonder: If these are on the cutting room floor* , what have they cooked up for her album.

*I know it's a film term, but for this, it works.

Music Video: This is For Us - JFin

The homie JFin was sitting quiet for lil' while after the release of 2009's Fin Is King 2.

Keyword: Was.

Earlier this month he released Paid Programming, a pre-tape and lyrical teaser for his upcoming mixtape Infinivision.

This week he dropped the music video for "This is for Us" (from my understanding it is his first music video).

Directed by Richard Taylor and features cameos by Yung GooD, Buzz Burrus and Chuck Good.

October 22, 2010

Two Cents: Cocky & Arrogant (Remix)

A while ago, a Detroit rapper by the name of Off-Rip dropped a pretty dope song—"Cocky & Arrogant"—featuring Royce Da 5'9, Joe Budden and Franchize.

Today, the remix dropped also known as My Super Sweet 16.


There are 16 lyrically talented MCs on this one track:


While all of these gentlemen possess skills that can put many other rappers to shame and individually their verses are full of  bars and punchlines,  I'm not feeling the "Sweet 16" concept.

There's a saying, too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the broth and that's how I feel about this song.

It's kind of hard to pay attention to everyone and naturally, some verses go ignored—not by choice.

When tackling this song I suggest listening to it in spurts of four, that is, pause every four rappers.

I got a lot of love for quite a few of the rappers on this track, but it's not something I can just sit back and listen to.

Click Here to download "Cocky & Arrogant (Remix)"

Peep the video for Off-Rip's "Cocky & Arrogant" featuring Royce Da 5'9, Joe Budden and Franchize

October 19, 2010

Do My Thang - Marv Won

Detroit's Marv Won.


Brooklyn's Cortez.

No description needed, as for who won? I'm keeping my opinion to myself ...


October 18, 2010

Music Video: Whip My Hair - Willow Smith

Since it's viral debut, Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" has been the next big thing everyone's watching.

The 9-year-old has inked a deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation and already is surpassing her label mates in interest (Sorry J. Cole).

She's been raising brows since birth, she's the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, sister to Jaden and even has tinkered with acting.

The youngest Smith has also sparked plenty of conversation and some have claimed she's a budding style trendsetter.

Today, her music video for "Whip My Hair" premiered and I must say I love it.

I love the fact that this song has club appeal and is appropriate for someone my age to listen to, but the video reminds us all that she's just a kid.

Her 90's box-braided hair heart is pretty kick a** and she's clearly doing the Rihanna better than Rihanna is.

Check out Willow Smith "Whip My Hair" below:

Music Video: Undefeated (freestyle) - eLZhi


Not going to turn this into how I think he's the best rapper this side of the planet (and maybe the otherside too).

We all saw the official breakup he had with T3 over Slum Village this summer (if not check out the piece I did for Real Detroit Weekly) and many are looking forward to what he's going to do next.

Last I heard he was doing shows and finishing up the highly anticipated eLmatic.

Last week he released a Madlib produced track and today the video dropped for it.

Check it out "Undefeated (freestyle)" - eLZhi

Click here to download "Undefeated (freestyle)"

Music Video: Please Don't Go - Mike Posner

No secret I'm a Posner fan.
Part because like everyone else I've watched his career skyrocket this past year.
Part because he's insanely talented.

It was recently announced that Mike Posner is nominated for an American Music Award for T-Mobile's Breakthrough Artist of the Year. What's cool about this award is that the people can vote, so make sure you click on the image below and help support Ponser.

That's a pretty HUGE accomplishment for the Duke University Alum.

If that isn't big enough, the video for his second single "Please Don't Go" off his debut album 31 Minutes to Takeoff was released this week.

If you recall, the song was used as the theme to his mini-web series sponsored by Puma.

Check it out below.

October 13, 2010

New: 24 Bars - Royce Da 5'9

Last night was the wonderfully awesome BET Hip-Hop Awards (Did you sense the sarcasm in that wonderfully awesome?).
The awards itself was pure trash, the true gems were the rap cyphers and last night three of Detroit's most lyrical participated, G.O.O.D. Music's Big Sean, Kuniva of D12 and Royce Da 5'9.

While everyone seems to be focusing on Big Sean's cypher demolishing, I think Kuniva and Royce Da 5'9 are being kind of overlooked.

Nevertheless, I — and many of you—know how talented they both are and fortunately for us Royce Da 5'9 released a new freestyle, "24 Bars" and just guess what it is.

I love Royce Da 5'9, he's tied for my favorite rapper (yes, eLZhi is the other guy but this has nothing to do with him).

Here's Royce Da 5'9's "24 Bars"

Click to download

Music Video: War - D-Rick feat. J Stokes

The camp is Get it Done. The man is D-Rick.

Monday evening, I  and a very select few gathered at a pretty cool loft space for the viewing of this video.
Before that night I had never heard of D-Rick, after that I guess I couldn't say I hadn't.
What really made my attention stick was when D-Rick told the intimate crowd of no more than 30:

I'm not trying to win a Grammy or anything like that, I'm just trying to be good at what I do.

Today the video has officially hit the viral community and I wonder if your interest is as piqued as mine.

Enough chatter, here's "War" - D-Rick feat. JStokes

October 12, 2010

Newports - HouseShoes

A week from today will be the third Bowling Shoes, a monthly put together by House Shoes at Garden Bowl in the Majestic complex.

It's almost impossible to go wrong with beer and bowling, toss in some of Detroit hip-hop's finest and House Shoes spinning live, great way to beat the Tuesday night blues.

For all you young people that preached loud about there needing to be unity on the Detroit front, Bowling Shoes is the perfect time to make the first step.

NOT pushing your mixtape or asking for favors, but simply saying hey.

I digress.

Look, it's an awesome event, good people, great music, a bar and bowling...the simplest form of happiness.

*Oh and if you don't know who House Shoes is you have lots of Google-ing and self-face punching to do.

Date: October 19, 2010
Time: 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Place: Garden Bowl
          4120 Woodward Ave.

Get It In - Marv Won

I'm not one for battles, unless they're lyrical ... hip-hop makes the world go round ... spherical.

Anyone can make words rhyme, but not everyone can rap, especially in battle.

Battle rapping is a completely different sector of hip-hop, more dirty, raunchy and proof that a person's mightiest weapon is their vocabulary and slow-thinking is a player's ultimate downfall.

The past few months I've been watching more battles and after witnessing DNA's downfall at St. Andrew's for the RedBull EmSee finals, my interest has been piqued.

There are three battle rappers I pay particular attention to over others, one being Marv Won (the other two are Moe Dirdee and Quest MCODY, quite predictable right?).

URL TV  hosted one of the most anticipated battles, Marv Won v. Cortez.

Maybe you're not too familiar with why this is important, from the way I understand things, the two were supposed to battle a year ago but Cortez backed out. Well, Cortez finally accepted Marv's challenge and the two went head to head.

Here's the official trailer and the actual battle is going up October 14 at 3 p.m.

It's almost like that after school fight that was going to go down on the playground ... minus the lunchboxes.

October 9, 2010

History - Mos Def feat. Talib Kweli

 Detroit, tonight renowned hip-hop journalist, dream hampton, will be screening her documentary, Black August: A Hip-Hop Benefit Concert at the grand opening of the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.

Time: 8:30 p.m. and Midnight
                                Location: N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art 
                    52 East Forest Avenue
               Detroit, MI 48201

The documentary brings awareness to and interviews political prisoners, including one with Assata Shakur who not only has political asylum in Cuba but a $1 million bounty placed on her head by the United States government.

Since 1998, Black August,  has been using hip-hop as a way to raise global political awareness having benefit shows in Cuba, Venezuela, South Africa, Brazil and New York City.

Check out the trailer below and make sure if you're in the city and available, check out the screening tonight.

Stepped on my J'z - Nelly

True hip-hop people know that hip-hop is much more than a song, it's a way of living.
Chances are if you scoffed at that statement, you're one of the ones that think it's just a song.
From the way we talk to the way we dress and the things we do, hip-hop is definitely an exclusive culture that only people who look beyond a 16 bar verse will understand.
When it comes to style, hip-hop is just like the rest of the world with ever changing trends and a few key items that no matter how many years pass, they will still be considered classic.

Case in point, Jordan.

If you weren't that person you know that person that would camp outside their respective shoe stores ready to drop their Jordan fund savings on whatever shoe was coming out. Some people buy to collect others because it's the thing to do, but Jordan is one brand that you just can't shake.

I'm sure someone is confused, because I generally stick to music on blog, but when I saw this Jordan that was released October 2, it was kind of historic.

If you haven't heard by now, Jordan teamed up with Va$htie Kola so she could create her own Jordan (kind of cool right?), the historic part, she's the first woman to design a sneaker for the brand (#ill).

Some of you may know her as the ex-girlfriend of Pharrell Williams, creator of the clothing line Violette, director for the likes of Solange, Justin Bieber, Jaheim and a crapload of others, or the former director of creative services at Island Def Jam, Va$htie is a woman of many hats and great style.

We all know women in hip-hop are still fighting for their equal leverage, so the opportunity for Va$htie to design a sneaker for Jordan is beyond amazing.

via Va$shtie

On that same note, Levi Maestro has been doing his thing on the web series front for quite some time and in the season finale of MaestroKnows he and Va$htie hit the streets with the (then) unreleased Jordan to get some reactions, he also talks to Va$htie about her feelings on the shoe.

Flashback: McNasty Filth - Jaylib

J Dilla + Madlib = Jaylib

The simplest formula in the hip-hop world. A few months ago, I was asked if I knew who Frank-N-Dank was, I said no and got the O_o response.

Well, in my quest to discovering who they were, I also found out about Jaylib. Not that I hadn't heard about the Caltroit union (#word to Black Milk), but I had never HEARD them. Coincidentally, the first song I came across was this Jaylib joint featuring Frank-N-Dank off Jaylib's 2003 album, Champion Sound (talk about killing two birds wth one stone).

If you hate stripper girls and aluminum poles may not be the video for you, if you appreciate a damn good hip-hop track take a gander.

Flashback "McNasty Filth" - Jaylib feat. Frank-N-Dank

August 31, 2010

Review: Finally Famous Vol. 3

You may not have been familiar with him before, but by now you know, Big Sean. After months of waiting and several pushed back dates the somewhat highly anticipated Finally Famous Vol. 3 has finally released.

The mixtape is hosted by the infamous Don Cannon, who may be a big name but definitely throws off the mixtape a bit because he talks so much. In fact, it gets to a point where I can't even focus on the music presented because I'm trying to figure out why Don Cannon won't shut the hell up. But from what I've been told, they're supposed to be releasing a DJ-less copy in a few days (Let the people say #Yes).

I digress.

The mixtape has a variety of features, Bun B., Curren$y, Tyga, Chiddy, Mike Posner, Drake and a slew of others. One of the most anticipated songs on Finally Famous Vol. 3 was "Fat Raps (remix)" produced by and features Chuck Inglish of the Cool Kids. It also features, Asher Roth, Chip the Ripper, Dom Kennedy, and Boldy James. Personally, not a fan of the song, I don't think there has ever been a song that I really like that has had more than four artists on it. It makes the song too busy and it's impossible to really focus on what's being said and who's saying it.

*Edit: I was wrong, Binary Star's "K.G.B." ... I like.

I like the fact that Big Sean does keep it Detroit, aside from the namely recognizable performers I previously mentioned, he enlists the help of his Finally Famous comrade SAY IT AINT TONE (you kind of have to capitalize his name) on the witty and entertaining "My Closet," Key Wane, WrighTrax and Maybach Music Group's The Olympicks all lend producing talents on the mixtape. Even the mixtape's cover was shot by a Detroit photographer (Dante Marshall) and designed by a local graphic designer (Tommey Walker) who both have worked with him—and plenty others—before.

There's one more talent that I haven't mentioned and that would be Suai on "Almost Wrote You a Love Song". This is probably my favorite track on the mixtape, Big Sean is a garnish to an already great song (Suai released this a minute ago sans Big Sean). They've shot the video for this (maybe they know just how great this song is too), so I'm kind of anticipating on seeing that. Suai has a great voice and Big Sean does his thing lyrically. There was an alternate version released as well, kind of doper than the one on the mixtape.

Final Thoughts: 3 out of 5.

I've listened to this a few times all the way through, the tracks are arranged well and the transition (without Don Cannon's voice) is very smooth from track to track. Production is good, though I think I liked UKNOWBIGSEAN's production more, Key Wane and the Olympicks definitely shine on this one. It's not a mixtape full of features and while some features aren't that strong (see: "Fat Raps" above) others excel like "Ambiguous" featuring Mike Posner. I still feel like Big Sean is holding back and could be so much better than what he is (hard for some of you to believe I'm sure) but hearing "High Rise" definitely has me convinced it's more there. Overall, it's a solid mixtape and good to hold us over until the album's release.


August 23, 2010

How We Bullsh*t - Slum Village

Did you know: 
  • 1st Down, comprised of Phat Kat and the late J Dilla, were one of the first Detroit hip-hop acts signed to a major label.
  • Awesome Dre and the Hardcore Committee were the first rap group from Detroit to debut a music video nationally.
  • House Shoes DJ'd at the now legendary St. Andrew's Hall for more than a decade.
  • Speaking of St. Andrew's, while this place is famous for the rap battles and performances that used to happen here, The Rhythm Kitchen and the Hip-Hop Shop were also places where local talent was showcased.
  • Before Burn Rubber, there was Spectacles, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.
  • Word around is that Invincible turned down a million dollar record deal and is now an indie artist who works with a youth group Detroit Summer and put together Detroit by Southwest at this year's SXSW festival.
  • Blogs and sites dedicated to Detroit and Michigan hip-hop have been around for at least 10 years (See: (formerly and
* Edit: Thanks to Mos, and are two sites that should have mentioned, though they're now defunct, they were some of the originators.
  • Before I knew what a headline or AP Style was, Kelley L. Carter was reporting Detroit hip-hop scene for the Free Press and dream hampton was doing her thing on the national hip-hop front.

I'm not even going to hold my breath and ask how many people in my age group knew any of the things I've just mentioned. A topic that is constantly brought up is the older generation and this new generation and the communication, or lack thereof, between the two groups.
#Pow to James over at DSE @ Grand

My time has been split between the young and old,  events I've gone too have had an abundance of one or the other, never an equal amount of both. Last week, Tuesday to be exact, was the first Bowling Shoes, a monthly event House Shoes is throwing at Garden Bowl in the Majestic Complex. It would have been the perfect opportunity for the young to get familiar and introduce themselves to the older ones and guess what? Nobody to be found. I did see Illingsworth from Detroit CYDI and Blaksmith from Cold Men Young, but that's about it.

We're very quick to say that the older ones don't respect us and have no interest in even getting to know who we are, yet we don't even try.

Yes, I say we, because I am a part of this new wave as well. My job is to chornicle all of the accomplishments of this group not only for Detroit and the rest of the world, but for the next generation that will be following ours in a few years. However if we continue on the egotistical path that we're on, we will soon enough be forgotten. There is a self-created glass ceiling hanging over Young Detroit as the egos have turned us into a mini-Hollywood full of champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Of course, I'm not pinning ALL the blame on us, because I do think it will take a bit of reaching on both sides in order to fill this gap in our community. It definitely seems like the older group is sort of on an elite status, unapproachable and definitely not willing to help.

But, I know better. It's a matter of putting aside the ego and humbling yourself to be able to learn from them. It will surprise you just how open and nice many of them are.

I'm not going to type this and act like it's not happening out here, the camaraderie of young and old: I love the fact that Royce Da 5'9 and Lola Damone dropped through The Air Up There, that Ro Spit performs, attends and support young Detroit events, that Quest MCODY let Phresh Heir, Clear Soul Forces, Yung GooD, JFin (and many others) perform at a benefit for his foundation and that Invincible and Finale mentor FowL.

Detroit is a city full of undeniable talent, a diamond in the rough if you will, but talent shouldn't be ignoring other talents. Not everyone will be willing and open to communication, all I'm saying is it has to start somewhere.

Happy Monday.

Music Video: Too Easy - Ro Spit

So is today Detroit's day to premier video joints? I'm not complaining, next we have Ro Spit, who I'm assuming most of you are quite familiar with. If you're not you have probably been sleeping under Mount Everest, the guy that brought us "Renaissance State of Mind" has brought us another video off The Oh S#!t Project. The video, "Too Easy" was directed by Chicago's Davy Greenberg and is so simple yet cool (which I've noticed a lot of Ro's video's tend to be this way). Without further adieu, Ro Spit "Too Easy".

Ro Spit - Too Easy (Official Music Video HD) from Davy Greenberg on Vimeo.

Music Video: Deadly Medley - Black Milk

Every time I hear Royce Da 5'9, Black Milk and eLZhi on a track together (whether Black is producing and eL and Royce are dropping lyrical bombs on the beat or if it's some Black/eL, Black/Royce, or eL/Royce combo) I always think of a clash of the titans. They are some of the best (and most underrated) lyricists around and your favorite rapper knows it. These three are some of my favorite rappers ever, not just in Michigan, but period.

They did the song "Real Hip Hop" for Royce Da 5'9's Bar Exam 3 and now they have teamed back up for "Deadly Medley" which will be on Black Milk's upcoming album, Album of the Year. Besides this album being one of the most anticipated albums of the year (at least for me) I have been dying to hear this song. One of my pipe dreams is for Black Milk, Royce and eLZhi to team together for a project...but then I think they would shut the industry completely down. Enough jabber, here's the video for "Deadley Medley":

August 19, 2010

Blue Mondays - Quelle

*Alex Note: This was originally written/posted 8.10.2010 as the test post*

"The Archie Whitewater Interlude"

Quelle and Denmark Vessey make up Crown Nation, maybe you've heard of them, maybe you haven't.

In case of the latter, they're a pretty dope Detroit duo (how's THAT for alliteration?) that has been causing quite a stir since 2006. I haven't placed exactly what it is about them that makes them so appealing. Maybe it's because they embody a classic hip-hop sound with a new school twist sprinkled with some dope lyrictry (my blog, my made-up word). It could also have to do with their production talents which is how I even stumbled across them in the first place (Denmark Vessey produced eLZhi's "Flyest" and well, you all can figure that one out).

"The Ghost Awards"

They've been supported and endorsed by some pretty hip-hop heavy people and recently they teamed up with House Shoes to release Slut Bag Edition/Blue Mondays Double EP (with hand drawn covers by Quelle himself). The vinyl is a limited edition and after seeing people say they've ordered 2 or 3 copies, the 500 records will be going ... fast.

My advice to you would be to order yours HERE before they all go bye-bye. Even if they have all sold out, You still might want to order a copy of Blue Mondays or Slut Bag Edition ... unless you like your iTunes to be depressing. Also, I remember watching this YouTube video they posted a few months ago (and after aimless Googling) I found it and thought you should check it out.

August 18, 2010

Lose Yourself - Eminem

Freestyling is a lost hip-hop art form. Battle rap has lost that zing it once had.

Until Now.

Earlier this summer, Red Bull and Eminem teamed up for a nationwide quest in search of the best freestyle rapper out there.  The contest kicked off in early June in the Big Apple, New York City, since then, the competition has made stops in the Bay Area, Philly, Orlando, Atlanta, Greensboro (yes, North Carolina) and Houston.

Now the finalists from each city will be ending their journey for battle rap honors at the legendary St. Andrew's Hall in Downtown Detroit on August 26th. There, the Red Bull EmSee champion will be crowned.

It's more than just another rap battle, Slaughterhouse (comprised of Royce Da 5'9, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden) will be performing and Marvwon and Dre the Beatnik will be the hosts for the evening.

Doors open at 9 p.m. and the event is 18+. Tickets will be sold at the door but no word on if they're going to be available in advance (I'll keep you guys posted).

*EDIT: Tickets are on $8 and on sale NOW at

The only thing that hasn't been set in stone is who the judges of the event will be and the rumor mill is buzzing with names like Mr. Porter, Alchemist and even Eminem has been thrown out there. Guess we won't know for sure until it all goes down next week at St. Andrew's.

*Edit: It's been confirmed that Eminem will indeed be at St. Andrew's this night. The better question is, will you?

Peep the video below of Mr. Slim Shady talking about the comepetition, hope you all are ready.

Also check out the previous battles in New York and San Fran: