High End Theory

Angelino’s are stupidly spoiled with options when it comes to live music. There’s hardly a night that goes by in this town where you can’t satiate your appetite for a good live show. Low End Theory surely sits at the very zenith of the town’s hierarchy, the weekly show consistently packs The Airliner. Flying Lotus still regularly attends and this week he brought a few high profile special guests. Not a Mac Miller fan, but Earl Sweatshirt is on a serious come up.

Advertisements

ZIF Video Of The Week: SENA DAGADU: Extra Large feat. M3NSA

My goodness, what a Fokn great video. By now you’ve heard us speak about the illustrious Fokn Bois a few times, whether it be their immigration concerns or their knack for ostracizing Nigerians, their ability to entertain would make General Maximus Decimus Meridius green with envy. I hardly ever come across any project they’re associated with and leave without being thoroughly impressed. As for this video, it features M3NSA and I believe it was directed by Wanlov (so it’s Fokn Boi’d out!), as for Sena Dagadu, my knowledge is limited, she seems to live in Hungary but clearly is Ghanaian. What I love about this video is something that I attribute to much of their material, it simply shines, it engages you and drops you off in happy land. The final shot of the set in Accra is a lovely reminder that in 2013, artists don’t need to be in a major media center to create broadcast quality art.

Overall Grade: A –

The Doppelgangaz X Some Cow Shit

This is my 3rd or 4th public service announcement about this group and their pending release, Hark (March 12th), can you tell I’m excited? I must say this video was “meh” at best, though I can see how for a couple of emcees out of New York this conceptualized well on paper. In my experience with video shoots, I know that location is imperative, and hard to reach locations are paramount. Nevertheless, I haven’t been this giddy about a New York based hip hop release since Papoose. Oops, I hope I didn’t just jinx it.

Overall Grade: B-

Freddie From Gary Talking About Mike From Gary

Freddie Gibbs is from Gary, Indiana, so was the Jackson Family. When I first heard Gibbs, he was in the business of constantly referring to his Gary roots despite his displacement to the City of Angels. I wondered if he was in a perpetual state of internal strife, battling the unrealistic bar that had been set by the Jackson clan decades ago. I pictured him bumping  MJ in his ipod holding a sign saying “Hollywood or Bust” at the local Greyhound station in Gary. Then of course I got swept away by his music, for the record, I deem him to be the most underrated rapper (currently unsigned) with major label appeal out there. His smooth voice is paralleled by his effortless flow pattern which is laced with precision lyrical content. I’ve said this before, but Freddie Gibbs is the quintessential “your rapper’s favorite rapper”, he’s so on point, you’ll forget that he came from a small town in the Midwest famous for birthing Michael Jackson….until now…

Dark Time Sunshine Simplify Video Making

Because when the music speaks for itself, you don’t need more than a couch to make a music video. Dark Time Sunshine has been blipping our radar for the past year or so, Aesop for the past 15. But it’s Swamburger who’s got my favorite verse on this one, got that Mystikal spitfire flow that just demands an energetic reaction.

Good music right here.

Overall Grade: B+

Poetic Justice

Video

I don’t know what’s more disturbing, the fact that Drake was tagged to feature on this track, or the fact that fans think he “saved” this song (see comments on YouTube). The difference between these two artists is epitomized by the visuals they were associated with in this video. Drake, in a hotel room with a big booty call on the bed, Kendrick Lamar, appearing as a shot up corpse laying on top of his dead girlfriend. Skirt steak and filet mignon.

Overall Grade: B-

Ain’t Nobody Trying To Kill Your Vibe (Sheesh)

Video

I know very little about British outfit, The Confect. Their social media presence seems to want to keep it that way, mysterious stuff. However, I know that their name is short for ‘confectionery’ which means candy shop in British (eat your heart out Fitty). Fittingly they have sweet taste (zing) as epitomized by some of their remix choices, including this King Kendrick banger. British acts with some eclectic flair and an appreciation of American pop tend to do well (see The XX, Jai Paul, Ellie Goulding, Kano), look out for future work hitting your Spotify lists soon.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Quelle Chris – Rat Shit

Video

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.

Exploding Octupus [Video]

ILL BILL, if you know him, you know him well. Necro’s brother and longtime spitter aficionado ILL BILL has been pushing his version of Brooklyn hip hop for going on two decades. In recent years I’ve found his videos to be a little too linear to truly appreciate, though his rhymes have always been performed with a weighted breath that truly rivals some of hip hop’s most respected emcees. This video is by no means a stereotypical one,ILL BILL plays the Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber) card and gives pause to the notion that technology and its proliferation is all good. Nothing is all good, and you get the sense that Ill Bill is not a huge Instagram guy. Video spoke to me in a big way, looking forward to the album.

 ILL BILL’s latest solo LP, “THE GRIMY AWARDS” CD/DVD, hits stores in February.

This Beef Was A Skirt Steak

So how often is a diss track listenable? The answer is almost never, especially if you have zero interest in the artists in the actual tussle. Personally you’d have to go back to that Hova-Nas situation to get me hype about some beef (Hova bodied him, for the record). So I was uber impressed when I heard Joey Bada$$’s response (above) to Lil B’s misplaced diss track (below). Apparently Lil B took issue with a verse from Pro Era affiliate Capital Steez on a track called “Survival Tactics“. This is the verse:

“They say hard work pays off, well tell the based god don’t quit his day job”

Lil B’s effort sounds en par to pretty much everything Based God does, quantity over quality, eccentricity over performance. As far as Bada$$ is concerned, it took him 24 hours to record this banger of a response. Considering Capital Steez took his own life this past Christmas Eve, I have a feeling inspiration wasn’t hard to elicit.

It’s beef like this that makes me thankful I’m vegetarian.

 

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.

Smoke & Mirrors

It looks like Cruel Summer brought some eclectic cats together. I always believed that when Clipse had their content on point, it was hard to find a better rap tandem. Taking on this conscious message over a classic !llMind track is certainly not the typcial way to the top in 2013, give them some credit for that. After producing “The Morning” off the compilation and now this track with Re-Up, it’s apparent !llmind is going to continue to make G.O.O.D. music.

Eventually It Becomes Syrup

When you’re forging a path of fire while burning yourself alive, you may want to consider how scorching Hot Sugar is right now. He was covertly inducted into the ZIF of Fame last year, which really just means we’ll post just about anything this guy is putting out. Yes, this counts.

Best Bliv

There’s something about Kung Fu and hip hop that make it seem like they were handcrafted to exist for one another. ZIF underground fave, OhBliv has been steady releasing music that make our respective playlists, but these visuals he’s been accompanying them with are starting to become a significant part of the pleasure of consuming them. Considering I would have ended up bumping this while watching some random Kung-Fu flick (Super Gang anyone?), I’m thankful for the prep work. It’s like fast food for hip hop junkies.

Follow the wondrous sounds of OhBliv. This track is off Spirit Daps. Stream below.