ZIF Video Of The Week: Quelle Chris – Rat Shit

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Detroit bred, now Cali bound rapper Quelle Chris left some of us puzzled when he signed his deal with Mello Music Group. I can say that I was curious whether they would be able surround Quelle with the right mixture of quality and youthful exuberance. Needless to say that Quelle seems to be enjoying himself. Not sure where this track ends up or if it’s just a random release, however, I’m pleased that somebody went in on the concept of ratchet (nice word play Quelle), that word is getting utterly abused out there.

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ZIF Video Of The Week: The Black Opera: “Fxckin Problem” [Video Dramatization]

I love this video, from concept to delivery, the conscious minded Black Opera put an ironic spin on what truly constitutes a “Fxckin Problem” in our society. It’s tracks like this that make me wonder how far sound minded rappers like these guys are from mainstream appreciation. Considering the disinterest in content, the beat’s certainly been embraced, and they sound damn good over it. Yes, better than A$AP & Co.

Here’s the message that accompanied the video, for the slower cats out there, the first message is laced with irony and insincere wit. They are both the from the same source.

MESSAGE FROM [T]HE [B]LACK [O]PPOSITES:
“Fxck what the title say tho…This aint that earthy ass conscious Black Opera shit cuh. This that ratchet ass swag shit cuh. This that Black Opposites shit my nig! Woo! Trill level just passed 3000 and rising. My nigga Andy MADD behind the camera and shiiiiit. We poppin pills and clockin mills. We trynna make that Illuminati money my nigga. WE DEM ILLUMINATI  MONEY NIGGAS!! HAA! Now that’s REALLY shining bruh!! Soon as we get rich enough to get away with lip syncing at the inauguration my nigga…SOON AS!! We gone deck the studio walls out wit all gold errything….nigga fxck yo MacBook, we gone have wallpaper made from real gold cuh. Woo! With blood diamond studs my nig!! Dead Ass. Real niggas only, no fxck boys allowed. We all got fxckin problems, but if you got a fxckin problem with us you can get handled just like the nigga in the video, Biiiiitch!!”
A MESSAGE FROM THE BLACK OPERA:
In times like these, Dark Comedy is no laughing matter. So with all jokes aside, we wanted to put a satirical spin on A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problem” in order to address current events and issues. Events and issues that include the school shooting in Connecticut, gun control, mental health, and America’s prescription drug addition amongst others. RIP to everyone that lost their lives in the Newtown, CT school shooting and the innocent lives lost everyday in these streets and around the world.

ZIF Video of The Week: Hot Sugar – Midi Murder

I’ve told our readers before, what makes NY sound baron Hot Sugar special is his ability to not only use various sounds creatively but actually gather those sounds himself. Often that leads to some pretty off the wall “harvest sessions”, like this one. This video does a definitive job of taking a quick snapshot of what Hot Sugar’s hustle looks like. There is not a producer out there that garners the level of intrigue that Hot Sugar does, and for good reason. At one point in this video he is filmed using some sort of plunger device on a window to record the sound of him banging on the glass with his fist, simply stupendous stuff!

Great visuals by Adam Newport Berra. Midi Murder out Halloween 2012.

ZIF Flick: Machine – Wow (I Can’t Believe…Demons)

When I was first approached by Machine to check out his new album Selfish Bastard, I balked at the depression rap. For christ sakes, I’ve had a plethora of dark patches, who wants to listen to music inspired by such disenchantment? Unless of course having an honest conversation about emotional distress could be an artistic journey worthy of merit. This is what I found to be true when it comes to Selfish Bastard, an album that encapsulates a moment in time for a man, a very raw picture of an artist. His unique flows and keen ear for beats (check that Denmark Vessey heat L.A.P.T.) make his album more than listenable, frankly if you’re on a treadmill you’ll forget he’s spewing about breakups and jumping off bridges (he doesn’t actually do that). That being said, when I shot the music video I found it eerily simple to jump into that “mode”, the dark cave. The video is a playful interpretation of what it truly means to conceptualize not only the overarching desire to commit the act but the actual logistics as well. There is a comedic element I was hoping to convey, death can be funny, tragically we all know this. As always, we’re queuing up goodness, artists looking for video production hit us up here.

Follow the cerebral vagrancy of Machine @TheMachineRaps

Read an unbiased review of Selfish Bastard over at Mishka & a somewhat biased one at Vice.

ZIF Video Of The Week: A$AP Mob – “Bath Salt” (feat. Flatbush ZOMBiES)

Putting NY back on the map seems to be a perpetual mission for all rappers calling the Big Apple home. Of course there are those that say that the city never dropped off, those people would be liars. A$AP Rocky and his Mob mixtape have grabbed the attention of the nation, what better way to start repping the city than showing off the electricity of the eclectic minded group Flatbush Zombies. Hello New York, great to see you again.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Open Mike Eagle: Your Backpack Past

This track is my personal favorite off the 4NMLHSPTL album, likely due to my appreciation of sardonic quips. Here are 5 thoughts about this video that I hope matter, a little.

1. Shoutout to the director of this video, this was not the direction I saw this video going, but there was plenty of candid footage to intermix with the wildly sarcastic scene with the honeys in the bikinis, dope.

2. Speaking of the bikinis, it makes me smile to think about how they must have showed up to the “rap video/pool scene” with all sorts of expectations, plenty of racks on racks references and some kush getting blown. Nah, you girls got some artists who used you effectively to prove a point about the lameness that aesthetics such as yours propagates.

3. What’s up with Has-Lo, can this dude put out a major project or something already? Streets are ready.

4. Watch the video muted. It looks like an extremely typical rap video.

5. Watch the video with the audio jacked. Shit’s dope isn’t it?

ZIF Video of The Week: Angel Haze – New York

New York based emcee Angel Haze reminds me of a lot of people, but only a small part of each of those artists. For example, her grimey delivery and overall swag (in the case of this video, its murdering men) reminds me of Jean Grae, she just doesn’t give a fuck. Her tone and her narrative remind me of Nas. And her youthful playful commitment to experimention in her sound and aesthetic remind of Santigold. All in all, in Angel Haze you may have your favorite artists artist artist. And now ya dun know.

Keep up with the movements of Angel Haze @NativeRaeen

Download her project, Reservation here.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Mele x Kano x Ghetts – Beamer (RMX) | The Co-Sign

If you’re a music scout who peruses the minor leagues look no further than 19 year old producer Mele, one of the UK’s hottest prospects. Currently based in Liverpool, he was recruited by Redbull Academy London to remix his track “Beamer” on camera for the latest episode of SoulCulture TV’s ongoing series: The Co-Sign. Teaming up with a couple of London’s finest lyricists, Kano and Ghetts, this project produced a respectable remix of a massive tune, you can peep the original here. Combined with some dope editing work by Soul Culture, this is a stand alone video worthy of sharing, we co-sign this Co-Sign.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Murs Tackles Homophobia: Animal Style [Video]

This is a Hobostewd-directed music video for “Animal Style”, the Embassy-produced track from his recent BluRoc release Love & Rockets Volume 1: The Transformation.I watched this video this morning and it took me a while to process and post, mea culpa. Murs plays a gay  teenager dealing with the tumultuous ebb and flow of navigating high school life. He nails the role, hard to believe he can pull off playing a homosexual teenager so effectively. If you thought Frank Ocean’s well placed letter was a brave act (which it was) you have to give it up to Murs here, the man is straight as an arrow and is by no means detached from an extremely homophobic workplace (hip hop). For him to put this track out and then shoot a video starring himself as the protagonist is an act of humanity unparalleled by most, this is how you comment on a social issue you care about. Here are his thoughts on making the video:

“The first was to be an advocate for people close to me who are out, and those who have yet to come out. It’s also a love song, which is nothing new for me. But with this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: Is the love shared by two people of the same gender, really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex? And finally, I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exist within hip hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable. Even if it came at the cost of my own comfort.”

Regardless of where you are on the political spectrum on issues like this, there is no denying the courage and will it took to put this out. Salute.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Raekwon Ft. L.E.P. Bogus Boys – This Shit Hard

You already know that I have a compulsion towards bumping L.E.P Bogus Boys music. Nothing like a feature from my favorite Clansmen to solidify the deal. Southside Chicago emcees, Count and Moonie, make up the group, and apparently they know a little thing or too about cocaine. Question is, is there room for more Coke Rap in 2012? This is the year that “art rap” slash “indie rappers” who don’t want to be called “hipster rappers” really made their push into the vanguard. It’s one those terribly ironic situations, there’s no room for halfway crooks, or full time coke rappers. Note to Count and Moonie: selling music is like pushing ‘product’, diversify, keep your custees wondering.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Jamm Tyme feat Juanita Euka “Global Citizens”

My homies over at Aspecks are making moves with their campaign to improve this planet via one dope t-shirt at a time. This is the second time they have enlisted the services of UK  Funky House group Jamm Tyme. It is not too often where a group can sponsor a track and keep the track themed to the extent that these guys did and still have it come out playable. For any other artists out there trying to steer their craft towards a greater community and greater good for that matter, holler at me, and I’ll link you with those British bastards (they’re good guys, I just like being able to say “British bastards”).

ZIF Video Of The Week: T.R.A. a.k.a The Rhyme Animal (of Empire) – The Realness (2011)

For those of you who may be late ZIF bloomers, my Toronto connection may seem random and contrived. But the Dot is very much a second home for me, and for anyone who questions that, I got bredren in Parkdale that can attest. Though the city is known for their Island roots, dancehall and reggae are not the only genre’s in town. With acts like Empire, made up of a gauntlet of relative unknowns who do nothing but spit hot lava, there is little doubt that hip hop is alive and well up North. This dude T.R.A. is one of the lesser known of the crew, which to me says that this group is making moves. Be sure to check out their last projects which had boom bap classics sprinkled generously throughout both albums.

As for T.R.A.:

With the first song release “The Realness” Produced by Amir Da Terrorist and mixed by Canada’s top Hip Hop engineer Michael ‘Blaow’ Plante, T.R.A Tha Rhyme Animal is starting the introduction to his collective of songs he has prepared for his new album “Writing My Wrongs” which is due for release this Summer. Look out for new songs and videos from T.R.A in the near future, get SARS 8 The New Strain coming Feb. 2011

ZIF Video Of The Week: Bart Scott: Can’t Wait!

I am a huge sports fan, and I try and keep that off ZIF, this is a music blog, lifestyle maybe, but not sports. But sometimes something will catch my eye that cannot be denied to the massess. I am not sure how many of you caught New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott in a post-game talk with ESPN’s Sal Palantonio, but if you didn’t click the damn video (above).

What I love about this video is that Scott is barely keeping it together with the amusement factor, a la a good SNL skit, his unbelievable performance on the field was overshadowed by his composure in this “tirade” on national television. Other thing’s I love about the interview, he calls out Tom Jackson and Keyshawn HARD, his reference to the New England defense’s inability to stop a nosebleed and he may have just started another one of those twitter/viral trends for a famous saying.

#cantwait