Despite being the capital of the incredible and one of a kind state of California, Sacramento is a place that is rarely talked about unless the topic is government. The Kings have been on a downward spiral ever since Robert Horry’s miracle shot in 2002, and being that there isn’t any other sports teams, or major universities (besides Sac State), or any other national identity to the city, it just isn’t on most people’s radars. Even in California. The first time I went was when I was 22 years old, and I have been living in Ca my entire life, and specifically in the Bay for the vast majority of it. Pathetic on my part, I know.
Yet out of nowhere Macramento’s hip-hop scene has started to emerge on a national level. First the forgotten OG’s have been making a push for reemergence. Brotha Lynch Hung jumped back into the scene by getting signed to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music and releasing Dinner and a Movie, which was a pretty amazing yet dark and creepy piece of art that earned him his highest sales numbers since the mid-late 90’s. Additionally C-Bo has announced that he and Yukmouth are reuniting for another Thuglordz album which has surprisingly received more press than when they got together in the first place, which is lame because both aren’t what they once were on the mic. Yet Sac’s few familiar names are not the only ones making ripples in the music scene. Newcomer Bueno has teamed up with Grammy nominated producers Stereotypes and has been killing it with 808 and synth heavy trunk music (download his newest free mixtape Maloof Money 2 here, ), while another relatively unknown rapper, C Plus, has earned some internet love on sites like 2DopeBoyz, download his newest mixtape, All On Me, here.
Yet while both Bueno and C Plus are undeniably grinding on their way to success, without a doubt the biggest new hip-hop artist out of Sac has got to be producer Lee Bannon. Not only has he provided tracks for MC’s from both coasts including Talib Kweli, Inspectah Deck, Consequence, Termanology, Skyzoo, Torae, The Jacka, UNI, and Strong Arm Steady, but he also produced the entirety of an 11 track EP with C Plus called The Smallest Giant (which is available for free here, and Never A Dull Moment with Michigan’s Wille The Kid which garnered a lot of hype, anticipation, and discussion on the net. While that would be enough for most people to cap off a quality 2010, Bannon released one more project for the internet to devour this month, this time pairing up with another Sacramento native named Chuuwee.
To start things off Hot N Ready is free, so make sure to go grab it here. Next, if no one told you anything about this 11 song, 18 minute project, I would be amazed if you guessed that this came out of the West Coast or was made in 2010. That is as long as you forgot about the fact that theres a song named Sac, and Chuuwee mention’s their city on more than a few occasions. The point I’m trying to make is that Bannon’s production has a raw vintage quality that is more akin to experimental east coast hip-hop from the 90’s than anything recent out of California other than Madlib. The samples are chalk full of static, hissing and pops that come from old records, and they all have a dark and eery feel to them that is far from representative of the California sunshine. Chuuwee fits right in on these beats as well. His subject matter is rugged and street oriented, but it is expressed with a vast vocabulary of multisyllabic words that would make him fit in perfectly as a Wu affiliate. I also really like his desire to keep his tracks short and with much more time spent on verses than hooks. I’m impressed with Chuuwee and surprised because I feel like someone with hunger and bars like him would have more of a following than he does. Hopefully this project gets things moving in the right direction.
A little after one year since releasing ‘The Salvation,’ Skyzoo returns with a new album entitled ‘Live From The Tape Deck,’ entirely produced by !llmind. Skyzoo, of Brooklyn, NY, has spent the last year promoting & touring off ‘The Salvation,’ completing separate nationwide tours with Ghostface Killah & Raekwon. His music has been featured in ESPN programming and most recently in an episode from the current season of Entourage.
‘Live From The Tape Deck’ is the perfect follow-up record for Skyzoo fans who are anxious for new material. Skyzoo says his goal while recording the album was ” to make something that felt like a 2010 cassette tape. I wanted the content to be raw and lyric driven as always, but not as story driven or emotional as ‘The Salvation’ was. There are still parts of the album that are stories and concepts, but not as much as my debut had. This one was more of a beats and rhymes type of album.” !llmind brings true validity as the sole producer for the album and helps provide a consistent sound throughout the project. !llmind is a sought after producer who has upcoming beat placements in albums such as Jared Evan (Interscope/Zone 4), Redman (Def Jam), Drunken Tiger & Yoonmirae (two multi-platinum artists from Korea) and more. !llmind is also being used in a publicity campaign by Akademiks where his photos will be placed in print ads across major Entertainment publications. !llmind took a custom approach to the production for the album based on the concept of “Live From The Tape Deck,” explaining that he “wanted to keep the soundscape warm and ‘analog’ sounding, just like how 2 inch tapes used to sound. Most of the keyboard and synth sounds I used were from analog synths made in the late 80′s. Combined this with using my ASR-10, I was able to capture that feeling, but with a slightly updated feel. I think our debut record, ‘Frisbees’ was a cool way, sonically, to introduce the sound I was going for.” Skyzoo & !llmind secured features from artists that matched the ‘Live From The Tape Deck’ concept. Skyzoo goes further saying, “I went to who I felt made sense for the records I put them on. For instance, when fans hear the track, “the burn notice”, they’ll agree that the beat, being chaotic and loud, had Heltah Skeltah written all over it.”
If that Frisbees joint is any indication on this one, we gots a classic! Check the tracklisting post jump. The last track is called “Langston’s Pen”, safe to say this will be a “Hughes” drop.
…show me that you can catch it.*
* Been playing ‘disc golf’ lately, no catching required. Also been throwing a boomerang around, that hurts to catch. One.
Download: Curren$y – Lemon Kush
Download: Styles P feat. A.P. – D-Block Radio
Download: Vers Brown – Jump Ship [ZIF Exclusive]
Fittingly this track’s video wasn’t released until 2010, even though the track was leaked late last year. Sean Price, Torae and Skyzoo were all extremely active in 2009, putting out some projects and setting up others for ’10. Between the three of them, I predict a million records sold, this year alone. A so-called platinum collective. Independent rap label, Duck Down Records, is taking underground hip hop to mainstream cake, who would have thunk it? Scope their 2010 itinerary, busy busy.
Too often there is way too much hard drive space being violated with horrendous media content. This myriad of crud can range from bad bestiality porn to piss poor mixtapes. So when Duck Down outright demands you “download the right thing”, you should pay note. Go delete that dirty German porn, and free up some space for some of the following artists: Sean Price, Marco Polo & Torae, Heltah Skeltah, Boot Camp and Skyzoo. If you happen to be a diseased degenerate and you’re somewhat attached to your folder of necrophilia, peep the previewed tracks first. You sick bastard!
Sean Price – Ruckdown
Skyzoo ft. Wale – Freshfest
Marco Polo & Torae ft. Rock & Lil Fame – Smoke
track listing after the jump…
A “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or place.
German production squad, Snowgoons, is set to release their 4th studio album, “The Trojan Horse” on October 27th. Following the tremendous success of their previous three projects, I’m pretty sure this won’t have the same effect that the Greeks had. The strength of the last 3 albums were manifested through the throwback beats and the artist selection. The roster for this album will not disappoint, in fact, it may be a flash point for so-called Indie rap. A moment where an extraordinary league of thought provoking MC’s squad up with an international champion sound of epic proportions.
Too much hype? You be the judge, peep the first track leak, “Hey Young World”. (below)
Oh yeah, the featured artists on this album include: the entire La Coka Nostra crew (Everlast, Danny Boy, ILL Bill & Slaine), Dilated Peoples, Defari, Termanology, Ruc (Heltah Skeltah), Torae, Skyzoo, Poison Pen, Outerspace, Krumb Snatcha, Buckshot (of Black Moon), Young De, Sabac Red (Non Phixion), Reef The Lost Cauze, Chief Kamachi, King Syze, Doap Nixon, El Da Sensai, Kaze, Block McCloud, Side Effect, Brainstorm, Virtuoso, Jaysaun, Edo G, Wise Intelligent, Tribecca, Nut Rageous, Viro The Virus, Savage Brothers, Lord Lhus….phew…. and more….
Snowgoons – “Hey Young World” ft La Coka Nostra & Heltah Skeltah
Are you in desperate need of being galvanized about the state of hip hop, or perhaps, the state of yourself? Got six minutes? The opening track on Skyzoo‘s new album, titled “The Opener“, is your ticket to salvation. OK, that was an abominable reference, because this track is off the album “Salvation” which just dropped (and is fiyah), but seriously, it fits the proverbial task of music feeding your soul to a tee. Bear through the first two minutes of pseudo-Jesuit melody, and prepare for animistic worship. We’re under the impression a chosen few will watch/listen to this track with exuberance, hence the inclusion of scenery.
For the record, this track was produced by Cyrus Tha Great. Nuff’ said…
Ex-UNC guard Quentin Thomas probably knew that he wouldn’t be gracing the courts of the NBA after playing ball for the Tarheels. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t dream about the life and everything that comes with it, including being your own video game character in the infamous EA sports series NBA Live. As a freshman at UNC, he played on an all-star cast team that included Sean May and Raymond Felton. That team took a championship and Thomas ended up with more wins than any other player in UNC history. Alas Q was not drafted into the L, however in a very ironic manner, his ability to spit rhymes has reunited him with the NBA. Quentin Thomas aka GQ, has been crafting his lyrical prowess casually for over a decade. But it was only when the dream of running an NBA team fizzled due to injury did GQ truly actualize his potential as an MC. Upgrading his skills as an MC became a vital part of Quentin’s identity, as his mother put it, “At the time that his first love, basketball, was taken from him, another joy was given to him”, with it he had “another outlet, so he wouldn’t have to focus so much on his injury. It gave him a balance, something to really smile about.” That passion for the mic became an opportunity to become an MC when he linked up with Fruity Loops Wunderkind, 9th Wonder… Continued after the jump…