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.

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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.

Ab-Soul Explains That Jay-Z Verse

This was the first track that I heard Ab-Soul on, and how can one not be taken aback by that reference to his lyrical superiority over Jay-Z. I recall two initial feelings, one, I thoroughly enjoyed the track and frankly found the verse about running laps around Jay-Z playful and relevant. Second thought was, I wonder how Jay-Z would respond to this if and when he heard it? Well, apparently his response was to have him explain himself on his YouTube series, Decoded, touche Hova, touche.

Fresh Prince To Will Smith And Back

I was born in the early 80’s and I’ve seen hip hop evolve into a much more complex entity than the original intent of its forefathers. There was a time when hip hop could mean anything from Doug E. Fresh to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Somewhere along the way that spectrum became a segregated portion of the genre that most refer to as ‘old school’. Contemporary hip hop is more like everything from Ke$ha to Chief Keef, yuck. If I had millions of dollars and was turning 40 I’d probably hire The Roots or Wu to lace my party soundtrack, Gabby and her crew are a little older, hence their respectable selections. In all seriousness though, Will Smith does lay down some bars no?

Corporate Spray Cans Equals Doom?

Scion (aka Toyota’s youth brand) is sponsoring Hot Sugar’s Midi Murder. BET sponsored the Kendrick Lamar led TDE tour last month. So by now you should know, corporations are back on the investment wagon when it comes to hip hop. Nevertheless I was taken aback to see this interview of Doom by Adidas, let alone the footage that he gave them of him bombing this random wall in London. Dude used to be media shy, now cats be selling their personal day to days for a lifetime of free gear. Mask makers beware, Doom is evolving. Oh and that random wall is not so random, it’s actually the SAW (Shoreditch Art Wall), read more about London’s artistic murals at http://www.londonartwall.com.

Azontomentary [ZIF Press]

Dance crazes are a dime a dozen, but never have I come across one with the sociological implications of the Ghanaian dance referred to as “Azonto”. Here’s a quick synopsis by Wiki:

The African dance form incorporates complex co-ordinates body movement and non-verbal communication in a rhythmic fashion in very few one-two timed steps. Just like most African dances, knee bending and hip movements are rudiments to dancing it. The dance has effectively evolved from a few rudimentary moves to embrace depictions of ironing,washing, driving, boxing, grooming, praying, swimming, and others.

Generally, the dance reflects the creativity and rich sense of humour of the Ghanaian people. The dance, which is usually performed with an accompanying smile, evolved from the combination of several local dance moves that originated from the southern-most part of Ghana during the early 2000s. The dance has evolved with the fast pace dance culture of modern West Africa. It is also true that before the dance became famous, youth in senior high schools of Ghana (especially Tema) had a similar but different way of doing the dance. A modification of that is what we see today. It involved a similar movement of the feet, hands, and hips and, at the end of every move, a gun shot was mimicked with the hand and, if possible, the mouth.

We are proudly working with our partners at Aspecks to showcase this documentary which takes an in depth on the ground look at a dance that is changing the way nations, culture and their peoples identify themselves. Press can apply for an advance media pass that includes a first hand glimpse of the film, send inquires to ladyt@zebraisfood.com.

Stay tuned to updates about the film and more things Azonto at Azontomentary.tumblr.com 

Priceless Talk About Kicks

Sean Price’s videos rarely lack blunt entertainment. In this quick peek into his life we catch him perusing the options at the Kixpo sneaker & street wear fashion expo that took place at Cowboys Stadium. His comments about the evolution of Shaq’s and Ewings can be empathized with all old enough to have have experienced that transition. Most kids nowadays won’t touch brands outside of the majors (Nike, Adidas, etc). Who do you think started that son? We did, by lambasting brand jumping and vehemently (sometimes violently) defending brand loyalty. OG moves.

The intro track on the video is  “Haraam” . Peep it.

Insane in the Chromatophores

Kudos to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In what I am assuming was some academically justifiable research, this squid was hooked up to a special IPOD bumping Cypress Hill’s “Insane In The Brain”. For the record, squid do not possess ears persay, but they do have the ability to be stimulated by sounds via impulses or something or other. Here’s an explanation of what you are seeing from some white coats.

The video is a view through an 8x microscope zoomed in on the dorsal side of the caudal fin of the squid. We used a suction electrode to stimulate the fin nerve. Chromatophores are pigmeted cells that come in 3 colors: Brown, Red, and Yellow. Each chromatophore is lined with up to 16 muscles that contract to reveal their color.

In other words, the illest observation of calamari rap ever!

Okay, enough of my scientific ineptitude, here’s a link to a conclusive scholarly report about this study at Neural Control of Tuneable Skin Iridescence in Squid! (via brainpicker)

Danny Brown Deals

Everyone is pumped about Danny Brown doing pretty much anything. Projects with DB’s name on it are hot commodities, your favorite rapper is most likely taking and tagging a picture with him as we speak. He just signed that sportswear deal with Adidas Originals, completed his tour with Childish Gambino, and inked a tour with A$AP, big tings popping. Though, I was surprised that he performed last week at the Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos, a five-day psycho-porn amusement park, surely every marketing angle has its limitations. Noisey was forward thinking enough to capture that on film. Hence this uneventful trailer, which is of course extremely eventful due to the Danny Brown connection.

Beats, Rhymes, Life

1.  UK based youth Charli XCX is following the Jai Paul formula, foregoing an album and releasing just a few singles a year and focusing on marketing them hard. This one gets remixed and features OFWGTA’s The Internet.

2. Ghanaian wonder duo the Fokn Bois have been pinching hearts and minds in Europe as well as their native Ghana. Hopefully the visa issues get resolved and they finally can touch down on US soil. If there are two harder working men in the scene then these two, I am yet to be introduced. The new video continues a rich tradition of shooting unique aesthetics while keeping things lighthearted.

3. Some dogmatic website released their list of The 20 Richest Rappers Alive Today, you may find the results (below) predictable for the most part. Surprises for me included Rick Ross only being worth a quarter, T-Pain being tied with T.I., and that Master P is ranked #3 with a net worth of 350 million, beating out the likes of Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. Ice cream sells!

#20 Rick Ross – Net Worth $25 Million
#19 Tie between T-Pain and T.I – Net Worth $30 Million
#18 Nelly – Net Worth $55 Million
#17 Busta Rhymes – Net Worth $60 Million
#16 Ludacris – Net Worth $65 Million
#15 Beastie Boys – Net Worth $75 Million Each
#14 Timbaland – Net Worth $75 Million
#13 Pharrell Williams – Net Worth $77.5 Million
#12 Tie between LL Cool J and Akon – Net Worth $80 Million
#11 Kanye West – Net Worth $90 Million
#10 Lil Wayne – Net Worth $95 Million
#9 Ice Cube – Net Worth $100 Million
#8 Snoop Dogg – Net Worth $110 Million
#7 Birdman – Net Worth $115 Million
#6 Eminem – Net Worth $120 Million
#5 50 Cent – Net Worth $250 Million
#4 Dr. Dre – Net Worth $260 Million
#3 Master P – Net Worth $350 Million
#2 Jay-Z – Net Worth $475 Million
#1 Diddy – Net Worth $500 Million

4. For those wondering how many ways we can connect the Olympic Games to hip hop, here’s a pretty legit bond. Everyone knows about Ryan Lochte right? Anyways, he’s an Olympic swimmer for the US that has already retrieved some gold. Upon being given the chance to show off his medal for photogs, he was sure to include his custom-made grill from hip hop artist and impresario Paul Wall. Wall is famous for his custom grill business and apparently laced Ryan with 4 of them, apparently the one he showed off with the gold medal is worth a cool 25k.

5. The contest that turned into a viral joke finally turned into Pitbull visiting and performing at a Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska. The campaign was originally designed to market an energy strip for Walmart but quickly turned into a wonderfully consolidated effort by “fans” to “exile” him to the farthest Walmart possible. Much to the chagrin of residents of Kodiak, Alaska. Unfortunately there were no messy bear spray incidents.

The Man Behind The Doom Mask [Video]

Masked men compel intrigue and MF Doom has done exactly that his entire career. The mask is synonymous with his well storied career and yet so little is known about it. Well, I’ve wondered, and now I know, the man behind the mask is Blake Lethem who worked with the Villain to design his first and second disguises.
This video interview with the Brooklyn based designer delves into the origins of the masqurade, and is a part of Frank151’s DOOM book.

Doom Tidbits for idiots

  • The “MF” stands for Metal Face
  • Throughout his career he has been accused of not showing up at his own shows, sending a double (his brother) as a stand-in
  • Went by the alias King Geedorah, a three-headed golden dragon space monster, modeled after King Ghidorah, the Toho movie monster who was a three-headed dragon that often battled Godzilla

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.

Duck Down Africa

Some piquant thoughts from two of hip hop’s sharper minds from their trip to South Africa and performances at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Pharoahe Monch and Jean Grae have aged so damn well, live performances appeared to be on point as ever, check that reaction at the end from the crowd when Pharoahe drops “Simon Says”.

Marley Marl Schools Us

Kudos to Dubspot, this web series is bound to be a success. In this video the viewer is treated to both a history and music lesson from one of the greatest production minds in hip hop, Marley Marl. His production credits include Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, Kool G Rap, Nas, Rakim, and Masta Ace among many others. This series presented by the NYC based DJ/Production school is the equivalent to taking open courseware from MIT/Harvard, in that you are privy to highly exclusive knowledge presented in a classroom format by an extremely qualified professional. Again, well done Dubspot, encore!