Jackin Jill


I shall not front. This post is inspired by the fact that it’s International Woman’s Day. Fittingly, this track from Mello Music Group emcee Substantial is a part of a dedication album to the illustrious Jill Scott, a woman worthy of recognition on all 365 days frankly. The tribute project is called “Jackin’ Jill“, very witty title indeed. If this track is a good indicator of how the rest of the project is composed, it’s safe to say Mello Music found themselves a goodie with this MC. Substantial has a hell of a back story, one that is punctuated with his battle with cancer, I included that verbiage after the jump, inspiration all around on this joint.

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Love (and crap) Is In The Air


Wow, there is a lot of Valentines themed crap out there today on the interwebs. Blu dedicated a mixtape to the theme and countless others are releasing tracks or thoughts that just ooze ‘love’. This track from The Black Opera gets a little deeper with the whole concept that is love, breaking down the subjective dialogues that occur within all of us when assessing our partners to/that be. This track probably won’t be playing in the background when you’re sitting down for dinner tonight or the festivities afterwards, but then again, who wants to be that guy? Go break the mode, sit down with your significant other, listen to the track, and discuss your own inner thoughts about your own so-called love. While your parents listen to White Opera tonight, why not go Black, you’ve been a rebel since you left the crib, act accordingly.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Quelle Chris – Rat Shit


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.

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.

“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!!”
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.

Mello Signing

Oddisee outfit Mello Music Group is the safest bet for skip-free music on your various playlists. Whether it’s Oddisee remixing a Marvin Gaye track or Gensu Dean lacing Roc Marciano with grimey goodness, this label is a delectable source for precocious hip hop. Their newest signee 7evenThirty is working on a collaborative album with The Imperial Gensu Dean but prior to that he’ll be dropping the concept album Heaven’s Computer on September 25th

Prior to that MMG has released this tape of early material from the 7even’s earlier days. Give it a listen and confirm that they got this roster addition right!

We Earn Another Oddisee Remix: yU

If you know anything about Oddisee, you know that he is a remix champ. If remixes are your thing, you should run, not walk, but proverbially run to your nearest download outlet and harvest his remix project titled “Odd Renditions”. Oddisee is the kind of rapper you can bump pretty much all day, a perfect ambiance for chill domiciles seeking a little enlightenment via music. Here he remixes a track from his fellow Mello Music Group signee, yU. yU is another rapper set on provoking your mind with social commentary that doesn’t come across as dogmatic. For the most part he raps about his own personal struggle in the DMV and his come-up. Right off the bat, you know that yU is serious about garnering the right attention and paving a path free of ‘major’ influence, the second verse starts off with the following willfully stubborn declaration:

Aiiight, u got a goal in mind. Now that’s a good start.
Let people know what u’re crafting, they’ll pull it apart
And say it needs some of this, and a lil bit of that
Before u put the finishing touch, their giving it the axe
And start chopping down a young tree
That’s why my ideas are unseen, cuz haters live amongst me

The remix is better than the original, but that’s mostly because Oddisee chooses to leave the verses and spice up the chorus with whatever magic dust he seems to have at the ready at all times. Once again Mello Music Group AKA Oddisee and Co. show us that in this swagged out world full of Kreayshawns, 2 Chains and Tunechi’s, there is a sound worth our attention, some may even dare to call it hip hop.

yU “I Believe  (Oddisee Remix)

Oddisee – You Know Who You Are [Acoustic, kinda]

By now you should know who you are, and Oddisee as well. Also, you should know that the word “acoustic” usually means that there are no sounds coming from an electronic instrument, like the guitar in the video for example. Nevertheless, this video’s stripped down composition certainly allows the listener to hear a great emcee enunciate meaningful lyrics with hardened passion, worth your bottom dollar. It’s free though.


You were there from the start/ taught me to be aware of the sharks & prepare for the dark/ you kept a secret you practiced what you were preaching against/ your inner demons were praying I would tear apart/ you won’t admit but you competed just a little a bit/ I could tell cause you’d be heated over little sh*t/ telling me to quit trying & get real/ I got a little shine you was like big deal/ I was pursuing dreams, steady doin my thing/ you wasn’t doing the same you wasn’t doing a thing/ from my truest to a brutes to a judas/ to who knew that this would happen/ but the fraction was brewing it seems/ I should have seen, mistaking smoke for a little steam/ it turned to fire you burned me hoping to ruin me/ I won’t even mention your name in the bars, it’s too close to the scars/ but I’m sure n*gga you know who you are/

You Know Who You Are

You were there from the start/ you told me what ever I’m doing to do it from the heart/ I was pursuing a dream that was cloaked in the cloth of the uncertain/ making money music & art/ and it wasn’t perfect/ you told me what ever’s worth it is worth hurting/ double edge seemingly sharp, rather unnerving/ but still, you believed in a brother/ I was starving as an artist, you was feeding a brother/ you could see in a brother what I couldn’t see myself/ when couldn’t see myself needing help/ one reason or another I was trying to do it all/ there’s allot of ways to fail but that’s the fastest to the fall/ but through it and after all you was with me not against/ you cheered me from the bench/ and now you’re with me as I ball/ and that meant, I ain’t got to mention your name in bars/ you know you’re close to my heart/ so I’m sure that/


You were there from the start/ before you were even aware of a plan you part/ of the scheme, grand as it could seem at the top/ man can only go so high before you reached where we can’t breath/ but you know your limitations you walk patient/ while everybody starts to run for their plan B/ like a fire escape, but you stay in the kitchen/ let them sleep on their dreams, you just lying awake/ you stay eyeing the cake, they getting greedy/ and then they turn their side against you like their getting sleepy/ try to prevent you cause you ain’t too what they bout/ get in your mental convince you to take the way out/ please, let them try, let the me fail/ let them tell lies on you let them be/ let them see you prevail/ let them bail on their attempt to stunt a star/ in any event be sure that you know who you are.

Stik Figa, Dope Video, Go Figa

Because sometimes all you want is for an emcee without a preconceived notion of what it means to be successful in the game to make a video about their hometown in the Mid-West.  Stik Figa’s talent versus ego ratio is extremely appealing, his ability to continue to push a sound that has a “no-coast” feel is a refreshing cleanse to the rap gene pool which has clearly gone incestuous. May guys like this live long and prosper, but not too much, stay in Topeka sir, it’s clearly working. Oh, and can someone tell me what “Flaudgin” means? Thanks.

Remix Done Right Equates to Rendition Not Remix [Brand New Oddisee]

Those of you who are not on the Oddisee journey, please alleviate your stress by diving right into this 4 track remix project remixing tracks from  Bon Iver, Marvin Gaye, Metronomy, and K-OS. His ear for melodies is bar none, his ability to arrange these vocals over contempoary beats is superfragalisticexpealadocious. I did some market testing of the Marvin Gaye remix “Ain’t That Peculiar” with my girl’s 6 year old son, his preference? Oddisee! Marvin Gaye was “nice” though.  I’m glad that there is a “Volume 001” after the title, lord knows I want some V.2 action. Play the tracks below, download the project for free in its entirety here.

Odd Renditions – Paralyzed

Odd Renditions – The Gold Is Mine

Odd Renditions –  Ain’t That Peculiar

Odd Renditions – Man I Use To Be

Beatmaster Brown

Apollo Brown gives fans an intimate look at what goes on in the box when he lays down his highly sought-after beats. He takes the audience through a step-by-step lesson on excellence showing how he puts together a beat starting with the sampling and building all the way up to a polished beat. He starts off with a soulful throwback hook for a sample and blends with a basic but raw drum beats that blend fluidly into another hit for the always-busy producer.

See! This is what a video about a producer and a beat should look like. Ayo, Rsonist! Take note, shit, take notes...

ZIF NOTE TO READER: If you’re trying to buy a beat for your project, I recommend hollering at Apollo, you know, before it’s too late/expensive.