Tag Archives: Ski Beatz

I never thought I would utter these words, but the man behind the “Luchini” and “Dead Presidents II” has gone dubstep. The Ski Beatz helmed Blu Tops EP, released unexpectedly last night, features Dipset-ers Cam’ron and Vado, as well as vocalist Mckenzie Eddy… and the opening track, also titled “Blu Tops” prominently features a half-step beat and a dubstep bassline. Since Ski’s return to prominence around 2010, he has produced for the likes of Curren$y and Murs, as well as releasing three solo efforts, the 24 Hour Karate School series. Not unsurprisingly, Ski has changed up his style a bit since his heyday in the mid-to late-90’s, but who would have thought that the guy who produced Talib’s “Cold Rain,” or Curren$y’s “Chilled Coughphee” would jump on the half-step bandwagon.

That being said, the EP is not terrible, especially once you get past the title track. I’m usually pretty skeptical about dubstep/hip hop collaborations as very few producers/MC’s can actually pull it off (Zeds Dead and Omar Linx work well together), but “Blu Tops” is especially awful. Anyways, it’s probably better to ignore the first track and move on to the next four.

“I’m Counting Planets” takes the listener on a trip through Cam and Vado’s come up stories, from low-level hustling in the streets of Harlem to sitting around a table with other OG’s making  a “toast to everyone on the coke chase.” Vado brings some Rozay flow here and Cam’s first verse is probably his best on the EP. The chorus is pretty infectious, and while the simple chord progression isn’t remarkably impressive, the beat does its job in laying out a canvass for the MC’s to spit over.

Alright, moving onto track three. Maybe I spoke too soon on the whole “album not being terrible” deal. “In This Thing,” features uplifting synths and chords, and a modern-day Eminem-corny chorus. Cam’ron and Vado aren’t awful here, but what is Ski trying to prove? That he can be the next Jim Jonsin? I haven’t heard a track from an esteemed producer as corner as this since “I Need A Doctor.”

“Pass The Test” would fit perfectly on any Cam’ron or Vado mixtape. A menacing organ sets the stage for Cam and Vado to wax poetic about their horses, cars and hoes. The track is full of menace and violence and sets a decidedly different tone than the opening three tracks. “Pass The Test” is hard, although the Eddie’s chorus is a little perplexing.

“Why, Oh Why?” would probably play the role of standard “soft” cut on most Dipset releases, but as previously mentioned, it fits right in with the vibe of the rest of the EP. Highlighting Eddie’s vocals more than any other track on the album, Cam spits game to the fairer sex, reeling off his “accomplishments” aka possessions. Vado sounds a little uncomfortable on the track, and while Cam shines, it’s hard not to imagine how much better Curren$y would sound over it.

Overall, Blu Tops was a mixed bag for me. Cam’ron and Vado brought the heat for most of the EP, and Eddie’s vocals were a nice addition to most tracks, but Ski really mailed this one in. I can forgive him for trying his hand in the dubstep game once, but what the hell was he thinking as he made “In This Thing”? It’s downright terrible, afterthought radio fodder. The rest of the beats are average at best, and  while the goal of the EP might have been to highlight the MC’s and vocals, it perplexes me as to why Ski wouldn’t lace the release with some more, well, Ski Beatz-esque shit. His latest release prior to Blu TopsTwighlight, wasn’t an exceptional album, but there was not a weak beat on the project. Ski excels at melding jazz samples into cracking beats for weed rappers to spit over. I understand the desire to experiment after a long career, but experimenting does not mean badly replicating other genre’s, and lowering ones expectations. Blu Tops is a free download so I guess it’s worth a free download, but no one would be surprised if it spent more time in the trash than in your iTunes.

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We’re back with the second edition of Sounds From The Astral Plane. If you missed last weeks edition, check it out here. We will be highlighting some tunes from (mostly) unsigned/independent artists that we might have missed throughout the week. Enjoy.

Stream: R.Dot – “From The Ashes…Anew”

It’s always a treat to get new music from Huntsville, Alabama. Over the last several years, Huntsville has evolved from an afterthought of the hip hop media to its darling thanks in large part to groups like Paper Route Gangstaz and G-Side. Much of the success of PRGz and G-Side can be attributed to the production acumen of the Block Beattaz. One half of the Block Beattaz, R.Dot, is preparing for the release of instrumental project Euphoric and let a track that didn’t make the album go on Tuesday.

Stream: Jonwayne -“Electricity”

Jonwayne has been one of the hottest names in the LA hip hop/electronic landscape over the past several months. The producer/MC finished 2011 off with a month long Low End Theory residency, a spot on dozens of “Best Of” lists, and a spot on the Stones Throw roster. Now Mr. Wayne is starting 2012 off right with a beat tape titled Oodles Of Doodles set to be released on Stones Throw in February. “Electricity” is the first track off of the tape and features Wayne’s signature bleepy videogame sounds.

Stream/Download: Dam Funk – “Bionic Pussy”

There’s not much to say about Dam Funk that hasn’t already been said. The Pasadena native and keytar master just released an unreleased cut titled “Bionic Pussy” that didn’t make it onto 2009’s Toeachizown. Stay funky Dam.

SKI BEATZ FEAT. CURREN$Y – FLY BY from DD172 on Vimeo.

Stream/Download: Ski Beatz  – “Fly By (Feat. Curren$y)

Ski Beatz was one of the most accomplished producers of 90’s producing tracks for Camp Lo, Jay-Z and AZ. For the majority of the aughts though, Ski was quiet only occasionally releasing new music. That changed all changed in 2010 when Ski took over the game with Curren$y, Jay Electronica and Stalley in tow. 2010’s 24 Hour Karate School was a resounding success and while its follow up, 24 Hour Karate School 2, was a little disappointing, the two albums cemented Ski’s return as well as his place as one of the best producers in hip hop history. “Fly By” is the first track off of the third incantation of 24 Hour Karate School.

Steam/Download: Nocando – “Hollywood (Ras G Dub Mix)”

Low End Theory collaborations are almost always a smashing success. Here, Ras G takes Nocando’s ode to Tinseltown and flips it on its head. This is truly future music.

Stream/Download: Miike Snow – “Paddling Out”

In 2009, Swedish trio Miike Snow took the indie/dance worlds by storm in 2009 with their self-titled debut The album featured catchy dance anthems like “Black and Blue” and “Animal,” both of which stayed in rotation years after the album was released. Three years after the first album, we are lucky enough to get the first official single from the groups upcoming album, titled Happy To You. “Paddling Up” is a piano driven dance banger that definitely sets an upbeat vibe for the album.