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-

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.

The Guild: The Guilded Age [Review]

Let me be the first to declare my bias, Takstar is my boy, and I’ve always been a fan of his music, casual and professional. Ok, now read my lips: The Guild is dope. This eclectic group of familiars (Dun Dudnik, Takstar, Sean Blaze, Yuri Beats) from NY/Philly put together a complex sound here,  it’s instrument heavy with some samples that take you back to your favorite rainy college day memories. The track “Beach Bitch” stands out, some solid play there, not sure who’s playing what, but sounds crisp. They get some somewhat cliche raps out of some unknowns, That Kid CG sounds oh so NYC on “Space Children”, and Big Baby Ghandi gets the pseudo-celebrity nod and delivers a random but punch line heavy set of rhymes that he is literally reading off his pad. No, it’s not the rappers that make this hip-hop (can I call it that?) album stand out. It’s the fact that all of these guys are clearly in tune with their own sonic creativity and are first and foremost skilled musicians. Sheet readers if you will, dudes that probably stretched out their early years of music lessons while you were too busy moving on to Pop Warner or whatever. Admittedly, I felt at times this independence seemed to clash on this project, leaving you somewhat uncertain if there was a mandate or theme to this project. But that’s to be expected from a battery of brains, and overall you are left feeling pretty damn special about stumbling across this group. Peep “Gaytara”, this is that music is eclectic shit (someone call KCRW, STAT). The end of the album is packaged tight with a haphazard NBA reference and oh look a solid remix from the highly lauded Xaphoon Jones. Get this and tell your friends, you’ll probably be that guy who told them about this. Shit is free yo. Here!

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.

Classic New York Feces

What this video has:

  1. A Sean Price verse
  2. Inappropriate references to Anna Nicole Smith’s death
  3. A fire beat that literally every rapper in New York would feel at home spitting over
  4. A boatload of ethnically ambiguous dudes, aka, Puerto Ricans
  5. One costume change on set, via Scram Jones taking off his sweatshirt *Fuck Swag

The track is off Double A.B. & Dub Sonata’s new album “Media Shower”, cop and stream that NY deliciousness here.



Pull Ya Pants Up

“It’s disrespectful showing your butt off,” said Amor, a fourth-grader at PS 92 on Parkside Ave. “I’m always seeing boys, girls, rappers, singers — everyone is sagging out.”

When Amor Lilman was 7 years old he received a verbal lashing from his dad for galavanting around the Parade Grounds playground in Flatbush with his jeans well below his hips. He quickly turned his life lesson into some bars worth spitting. The catchy hook caught the attention of his friends and family.

“Think that you swaggin’ cause your pants saggin’ — Pull ya pants up. Pull ya pants up.”

One thing led to another, and two years later he was invited to perform during the Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series, held in Coney Island and at Wingate Field in Flatbush. That parlayed into a meeting with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, momentum then carried young Amor into this music video (Marty makes a cameo, he is the suit with the cheeseball grin).

Sagging has been around since I was letting it all hang out in the 5th grade, it was called Kriss Kross. The idea that it is a social problem worth dedicating time and funds to combating, that may be an overreaction by conservative parents and over zealous city politicians. Needless to say the American jacket in the video was ‘well-placed’, sort of screams for an appearance on the Today Show or Anderson Cooper doesn’t it?  Okay, I’ve effectively criticized a song by a child under 10, time to take that off my bucket list.

Hit The Gym, Love TakStar

We all need some motivation to get our cardio on, New York based soundsmith TakStar is no different, and shared the following acoustic motivation to remind him to hit that gym. As long as he keeps putting out gems like this, we could give a shit how fat he gets.

Rumor has it he has collaborated with some homies back in Gotham City, an actual project is expceted to drop soon…

The Doppelgangaz, now you know.

The primary difference between The Serengeti (music industry) today and a decade ago is  sheer size and scope. With the birth of Web 2.0 and viral marketing via social means, it has successfully empowered the independent “artist” and all but extinguished the classic industry formula for success. The downside to all of this? There is a lot of crap out there. Such inundation can lead to the wrong people being slept on and the horribly wrong people being propped up. Good music is a process of production, which is why the video (above) is an exemplary example of the difference between talented musicians and rappers with nepotistically minded friends. The Doppelgangaz produce great music, and are probably the most slept on rap act out of NYC right now. Yes, we know about Mr. Mufthafuckin Exquire, we know about the Flatbush Zombies and yeah, I heard of Big Baby Ghandi. Still stand by the statement, we’ll touch on the group more and more as we do with art we cosign, but for now, peep their process and their product. It’s all love.

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.

Hot Sugar Harvests Some Sound To Create Some Music

When I was first introduced to Hot Sugar from a producer friend of mine, I inquired, what makes this dude so special? I figured it was another Big Apple crush, my homie is from NY and you know how they’re always propping each other up. Well, he referenced the unique nature of the sounds that Hot Sugar creates, that he’s not just sitting behind a laptop screen with a library of noises that he sifts and picks through. He harvests the sounds, I can’t remember exactly the word he used, but ‘harvest’ sounds good to me. By finding unique sounds he is able to create soundtracks that are literally prohibitively his, sonic snobbery if you will. For the fan this ensures an exclusive listening experience, it’s like watching a live birth without all the fluids and hard to pronounce anatomy. This video shows a harvesting session tracking the drums used on Addictions from the breakthrough album Moon Money which has truly propelled this sound harvestor to the forefront of blogs giving a fuck about the next great thing. Cop Moon Money with your earth money here.

Hot Sugar usually plays all the instruments on his projects, so…

And childhood slips ever farther away…RIP Maurice Sendak

 Been a rough week for the generation born in the late 70’s/early 80’s. I will miss the ‘splendid nightmares’ that Maurice Sendak implanted into my bedtime consciousness over two decades ago. Though I uploaded a picture from his most famous piece of work, Where The Wild Things Are, my favorite book by far was In the Night Kitchen, get familiar. Born in Brooklyn,New York to Jewish immigrants, he was exposed to the concept of mortality extremely early, having had the majority of his extended family taken in the Holocaust. An emphasis on the strange and grotesque defined Sendak’s illustrations, having published countless books for the past five decades, it was a pleasure to see that he was reintroduced to a new generation via the Stephen Colbert interview.  Sendak died of a stroke at the age of 83. Bon voyage mon ami.

Rep Korea, there’s a decent chance ZIF will rep you…see Rekstizzy

Yes, I know, that’s racist. But trust me on this, in this game, Korean-Americans stick together. Sue me, I got a KorAm lawyer, and she’s stupidly adroit!

Peep Rekstizzy, spitting braggadocious flavor to ears from NY to Seoul and beyond?

Peep some hilarious artwork (for Koreans especially) after the jump.

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Friday Free Joint: TakStar Sets Fire to Adele

While most of you probably cannot get “Theraflu” off repeat on your Ipod, this is what I have steady banging on my workout mix. A new remix from TakStar of the every growing Adele (not a fat reference). TakStar’s ability to cut a savage remix is by no means new territory, the LA based, soon to be NYC bound producer has a few of note up on his SoundCloud page. Notice how all these remixes keep artists relevant in a wide array of markets? This time it’s Adele being put on ZIF,  a worthy accomplishment, thanks Tak, I owe you some lost calories.

If you are interested in getting your track remixed or have other music inquries with the Nippon Kid, let me know. The possiblities are infinite.

Adele – Set Fire To The Rain (TakStar Remix)

Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire: A Google Search Nightmare

For a guy who’s getting more press than Joseph Kony, this is one hard man to cover. Go Bing/Google Mr Muthafuckin Exquire, it’s a shit show. But he’s making the right moves, white people like him, and he spits flames. Peep his first track since getting his cake, dropped a few hours ago, take that 2dopeboyz 😉

Mr Muthafuckin Exquire – Position of Passion