A few months ago, we featured an interesting Blue Sky Black Death remix of a to-be-released song by Gunplay and Isaiah Toothtaker called “Frownin'”. The combination of Miami’s Gunplay and Arizona’s Toothtaker seemed left field at first, but both MC’s flow together impressively and the song is a cauldron of reckless abandon, vivid street realism and cutthroat punchlines. Yesterday, a full Frownin’ EP (mixtape?) was released featuring both the original measure and a bevy of remixes from producers as varied as Low End Theory regular Free The Robots and mashup bloggers The Hood Internet. It’s a mixed bag quality-wise, but their are quite a few interesting takes on the originals, the most engrossing coming from Robert Vaughn aka PrisonGarde’s (formerly retired?) Sixtoo alias. This isn’t a tape you’re going to want to listen to front to back, but the tape takes an interesting approach and the artwork is brilliant. Stream and download below.
Is there a more fitting name than “Frownin” for a track that features both the knuckle throwing knucklehead and a man who supposedly carries around a jar of his bar fight victim’s teeth? Not in this realm of existence. We all know Gunplay, but let me introduce you to Isaiah Toothtaker, Arizona MC and calcified structure collector. Co-founder of rising hardcore clique Machina Muerte, Toothtaker has been getting some press among the heads, but has been largely ignored by the more pop oriented folk. Kind of like Gunplay. Both rappers hit like a lyrical shotgun and are some of the most prolific punchline technicians around and both fit perfectly on “Frownin”. Did I mention that this is a remix? Helmed by Blue Sky Black Death? The Seattle duo’s work sans-Nacho Picasso hasn’t garnered them as much attention as it should, but “Frownin” should change that. We’re not exactly sure when the original “Frownin” will be released so you should just grab the BSBD version below and get to headknockin’.
Like Clams Casino, DJ Burn One and others before them, Blue Sky Black Death have released a tape of previously rapped over instrumentals for public scrutiny. Like Clams Casino (and DJ Burn One to a lesser extent), the Seattle duo’s Euphoric Tape is an unabated success as a solo entity, proving that their talents far surpass the role of backing agents. The tape is made of “instrumentals” (most are full-fledged songs in their own right) previously used by Nacho Picasso, Key Nyata, Deniro Farrar and a host of other MCs. “Love My Life”, previously featuring Pepperboy, stands up especially well on its own and really personifies the title of Euphoric Tape. Young God and Kingston have put up the tape for $10, but this release is well worth the money for anyone who claims to enjoy hip hop. Stream and cop below.
As you’ll probably hear quite a few times in the coming weeks, Little Rock MC Pepperboy is not your average rapper. He’s in his mid-30’s, defiantly positive and far more interesting in shouting out the hospital that saved his life after a shooting incident than exhorting the gangstas life. There’s an excellent feature in the Arkansas Times that tells his story far more thoroughly than i ever could. “Love My Life” is the first preview from his joint album with our favorite spacemen Blue Sky Black Death, dropping December 12, and sounds like a little like Squadda B of Main Attrakionz with a Texas drawl. The relentless positivity is clearly reminiscent of Lil B, but in a far more grounded sense, as if Pepperboy is happy to enjoy every second of his life on this planet. The above artwork is courtesy of the always wonderful Meaghan Garvey. Stream and download below.
It’s easy to pinhole Blue Sky Black Death in the “cloud” rap sub-sub-sub-genre, what with their ethereal, blunted production work for the likes of Nacho Picasso and Deniro Farrar, but the Seattle-based duo’s repertoire extends far beyond the spacey sound they helped develop. In both their solo and hip hop productions, BSBD have shown a commendable willingness to experiment with different styles. Take “Halle Selassie” off of Exalted, their second collaborative album with Picasso. Cracking 808s and synth pads (pretty standard BSBD fare) are offset by rolling wobble bass that devours the track and gives it a thick as molasses feel. Not counter-hegemonic or anything, but a curious venture into new territories. Anyways, the point is that BSBD are more than willing to delve into uncharted waters and expand their already bloated production acumen. The duo’s latest expansion is into the pop realm, remixing Child Actor’s (both are signed to Fake Four) “This Is It”. Like much of their hip hop production, BSBD take a stark approach here, infusing a chunky synth base and static percussion. The combination of these elements and Child Actor’s yearning vocals is magical, adding hip hop sensibilities to the original’s candy-coated vocal arrangements. Stream and download below.
I’m going to avoid using the obvious meteorological indicator here, because 1) it’s overused, and 2) it limits imaginative criticism. Seattle maestros Blue Sky Black Death recently took a stab at pimp impresario 100s and Mondre Man’s “Closer” and brought the possibly sleep walking Nacho Picasso along for the ride. The West Coast connection works seamlessly and proves once again that Oakland and Seattle (no Macklemore) are stylistically closer than ever in 2012. Of course the Pacific Northwest will always be a step behind the Yay, but guys and gals like Nacho, Kingdom Crumbs, THEESatisfaction and Key Neyata are closing the gap. Anyways, “Closer” is pretty much what you would expect so lay back and indulge in your favorite strain.
Hello loyal readers. We regret the lack of action over the past week, but two thirds of the team has been at George, WA at Sasquatch. We learned a few things over the weekend; slow and steady wins the race; Jack Black shouldn’t be allowed near children; and most importantly, you should all learn to do the Larry David. In all seriousness, Sasquatch is an incredible festival in one of the most breathtaking natural settings one could imagine. Before we get to our coverage of the festival though, we have to catch up. It was an incredible weekend for bass/beat music so I’ll just get right into it.
Everyone and I mean everyone has eagerly been anticipating the release of the TNGHT (Hudson Mohawke x Lunice) EP on July 23, but before we bestow the duo with the crown, another Lunice side project needs to be fairly recognized. Nouveau Palais, made up of three Montreal-born beatsmiths, Lunice, Ango and Prison Garde, entered our airspace yesterday with the Avant Gang EP. Despite being named after a Montreal comfort food eatery, the trio’s music is far from cozy as it coyly bounces from futuristic takes on garage to hip hop to house. As an added bonus the EP features remixes from Canblaster & Sinjin Hawke, Salva, Monolithium and more. Oh yeah, it’s free courtesy of Red Bull Music Academy. Don’t sleep, pick the EP up right here.
Jonwayne has made quite the name for himself as an outspoken internet critic, sparring with fans on his various social networking profiles. He has also made a name for himself by unexpectedly releasing quality material via those same social networking profiles. The verbal diarrhea can get tiring at times, but then he’ll release something like Jonwayne Fucks Disney. Crafting using only an “SP-404 SX, an iPad used to access Youtube videos, and a Zoom H2 to bounce sounds to”, the 8 track beat tape is a testament to the La Habra producer’s dexterity behind the boards. Straying from his usual palette of 8-bit samples, the tape gets weird with a number of Disney samples from Dumbo, Alice In Wonderland and more. This one is not for the faint of heart. Also, a free download. Get it here.
Everyone and their mommas (us included) have had their panties in a bunch over a new school of MC’s made up of the likes of Danny Brown, the Black Hippy crew and A$AP Rocky. Nacho Picasso is another member of what SPIN called the “New Underground”, but has inexplicably received less praise than his compatriots. Exalted is Nacho’s third album of this year in collaboration with Blue Sky Black Death and it might just be their best output yet. It’s blunt music for the party. A hip hop take on The Weeknd in some sense, investigating the emotional gaps between the party and the after party, the dose and the overdose. Nacho’s lyrical output has improved with every album and Exalted is no different. Production-wise, BSBD has never been better, outgrowing their roots in instrumental hip hop long ago and growing into one of the premier forces in hip hop. This one isn’t free, but I can’t imagine you’ll find a better way to spend five dollars. Cop it here.
Haleek Maul, learn the name Internalize it and wait for his rise. The 15 year old Barbados via Brooklyn MC has been making some waves on the internet recently and “88”, produced by Chicago duo The-Drum, further solidifies himself as one of the most exciting MC’s to come out of the woodwork in a long, long time. My words aren’t a proper testament to this track so just give it a spin.
Only because of lack of time, I’ll speed through these last few. New Daedelus Fact Mag mix. Dark Ages EP on Salva’s Frite Nite. Jacques Greene did a mix for oki-ni. Hopefully this makes up for our lack of activity. Check back in a few hours for the first few installments of our Sasquatch coverage.
We’ve been fairly absent from the blog this week, because of various nature excursions and other computer time limitations. Luckily, we’re back now and ready to continue bringing you the phonk. Amid a hectic SXSW filled week, a large amount of new music was actually released, much of it from the hip hop world. As a result, we bring you this special edition Sounds From The Astral Plane as a summary of the week’s happenings.
Stream: Nas – “The Don” (Prod. Salaam Remi, Da Internz and Heavy D)
Nas never ceases to amaze me with his tenacity on the mix. Dude has been in the game for over 20 years, and while there will never be another Illmatic, Nasir will go down as one of, if not the greatest, rappers of all time. Following last year’s “Nasty,” a sickening tear over minimalist percussion, Nas brings us “The Don,” produced by Salaam Remi with a helping hand from Da Internz and the late Heavy D. I can imagine Nas turning on the radio, hearing “Work Out” for the millionth time, calling up Salaam and hitting the studio. This shit is gully.
Stream/Download: Sene – “Backboards” feat. Blu
Sene is one of those MC’s who everyone has heard of, but no one really thinks twice about. He’s worked extensively with Blu, but none if it has made waves like the latter’s collaborations with Exile, Fashawn and Mainframe. It might be time to give Sene a little respect. “Backboards,” conveniently featuring Blu, is downright beautiful, eliciting comparisons to The Visionaries. Also, Blu on a mastered track? Pretty unheard of over the past couple years. “Backboards” is off of Sene’s upcoming Brooklyknight album, dropping April 24 on Plug Research.
Download: Danny Brown – “Baseline”
There isn’t much to say about Danny Brown that hasn’t been said. Read this Passion of the Weiss post for details. “Baseline” is as minimalist as Brown gets, allowing the MC to get ugly with the rhymes. If glorified drug usage, misogyny, and one of the most unique flows in contemporary hip hop interests you, then download “Baseline” above.
Stream/Download: Tokimonsta – “Fame Boozer’s Lullaby” feat. Rucyl
Squeaky production from Toki and majestic vocals from Rucyl = chilled out bliss. Hopefully this is a sign that the wait for a followup to 2010’s Midnight Menu will soon be over.
Chicago DJ/producer Brenmar has publicly stated that one of his main goals is to get “people to hook up at the club.” This track will certainly do that. Brenmar ramps up the sex appeal for his take on Texas crooner Kirko Bangz’s “Drank In My Cup,” turning the syruppy original into a dance floor anthem. This is club music at its best.
Stream/Download: Pale – “Worst Job Of Good Luck”
“Worst Job Of Good luck” is off of London label Bullet Train Records’ Bullet Train Allstars compilation. It’s the best track off the comp and features incredibly clean production from Pale mixed with some pitched down vocals. Nice minimalist cut right hurr.
Stream/Download: Dam-Funk – “Serious”
There is never a shortage of new material on Dam Funk’s Soundcloud page. It fells like every week or two, he throws a superb new cut on their as a free download. Dam plays all the instruments on “Serious,” a jazzy track with that trademark Dam Funk sound. It’s no surprise that Dam can meld his sound into a jazz aesthetic, but it is still damn impressive.
Stream: Nocando – “Miyamoto Musashi” (Produced by DNAEBeats)
Low End Theory is in Japan right now. Nocando released a song about legendart samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Sounds about right.
Download: Action Bronson – Blue Chips (Mixtape)
Action Bronson supplies the raps. Party Supplies supplies the beats. It’s fantastic. Oddly enough, the first track, “Pouches of Tuna” uses the same beat as the Sene’s track above. Not sure if Party Supplies made it, or what, but I have to say that the Sene version is better. Beyond that confusion, “Thug Love Story 2012” sounds like classic Ghostface-ish. That comparison is getting a little old at this point, but it’s just too hard to ignore on tracks like this. Download Blue Chips from DJ Booth above.
Watch: Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death – “Rammin”
More visuals from Lord of the Fly, this time for the grimy “Rammin.” If you can get over the overdone effects, this is a pretty enjoyable vid. This is what The Weeknd sees when he hits the club. Some real XO shit.