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.

When All I Want Is Noise


I don’t know if it’s just me, but after the Newtown tragedy on Friday, I’ve had a difficult time listening to everyone’s thoughts, lyrics, and opinions. Save the noise, drown yourself in music, that was my motto this weekend. I turned to one of ZIF’s all time favorite soundsmiths, Providence based, Falside. The New England connection was a coincidence  but this track (dropped yesterday) helped me forget a little , free and idyllic, classic Falside.

Peep our interview with Falside, back when he was a younger buck.

The Afrikan Space Man


Ras G is the #1 ranked astronaut in the Afrikan Space Program. For those of you who can’t peep your favorite cosmonaut at Low End Theory on the regular, it is a must to check in with this new and free EP, download it in it’s entirety here. Also, we are lining up some time with Open Mike Eagle to discuss his movements, including his recent trip with Ras G to Uganda, sounds ridiculously intriguing.

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.

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…

When Life Is Beating You Up, Listen To A Beat Tape

Desperate times call for some sonic therapy. We are plagued by a barrage of stressful thoughts and ideas on a constant basis, listening to a good beat tape sans lyrics is a must-do exercise, consider it a pressure release valve. This tape from Berkeley based producer, Ambiguous Sounds, fits the description, or prescription if you will. There is a mixture of 90’s hip hop themed instrumentals mixed in with some low-key jazzy joints (I could see Black Thought killing this stuff), this is elevator music for dope elevators. The project is self described as “inspired by lust lost & loneliness, attempted different styles to keep folkz interested, & i kept the beats nice & short for all the ADD folkz.” Sign me up.

My favorite tracks are the following: catch22, sheets and skwert. Hit the pharmacy, download here.

Keep your ear ready, follow @Ambiguoussounds

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.

Remember Me is memorable

Plug Research’s artist roster is more than eclectic, it’s pragmatically diverse. They cover all sorts of apparent genres, and with this EP from Matt Tammariello aka Shortcircles, they demonstrate their ability to navigate through time. This EP is a self-proclaimed throwback to 90’s R&B. The synth heavy project is laced with excellent vocal work. Anytime you blend old school rhythms into a contemporary listenable project, it is a tremendous accomplishment. Shortcircles, we have our eye on you. Stream the album, but you can cop it as well 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.

Jansport J (another reason LA killing it)

Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar and Open Mike Eagle are all major players currently putting it on for the City of Angels. There is no denying that L.A. is back on the hip hop map, what was once a place to market and record is now a hotbed for breeding artists that are leaving an impression on the game. Though the aforementioned artists are starkly different in sound and content, there’s a serious commitment to crisp production, a fundamental element to keeping ears bent. Jansport J is another reason L.A. hip hop fans can wear a prideful smile. The West Covina beatsmith is a true underground talent, though this new project, Sport Did It Tho Vol. 1. is bound to elevate his status as a go to guy in beat shopping. Jansport J’s production is a wonderful hybrid of old school appreciation and youthful rhythm that undoubtedly can provide a soundtrack to any Cali block party. The sample heavy production is laced with hardened beats that emcees must salivate to jump on. He worked primarily with local artists, including the likes of LAUSD, El Prez, and the transplanted Freddie Gibbs. Here’s a couple of our favorite tracks:

Poetik Force- Keep Runnin feat. Sean Wyze & Blakface [Prod. by Jansport J]

Curtiss King- Scumbags ft. Ab-Soul & Stevie Crooks [Prod. by Jansport J]

Polyester the Saint- 7th Letter feat. Freddie Gibbs & Bad Lucc [Prod. by Jansport J]

Download the entire mixtape here. ZIF approved!

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…

Ah, Limerence. Good Word Usage Young Montana!

Limerence :  a neologism used to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction for another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated.

So, you know how there is a gaping hole out there in the production game? I mean really, tell me your favorite three producers, and I bet you at least two of them are either dead or really not that dope. We’re parched for some quality sonic liquid, enter Young Montana with his canteen that he’s aptly named Limerence. YM is a new and quite young (20 years old) producer from the UK, having been tabbed ‘Favourite Unsigned Artist of 2010′ by Pitchfork last year, it comes as little surprise that he has found a home on Alpha Pup. That’s exciting stuff, considering the Low End connection, for Angelino’s in the know, this could mean a sighting at The Airliner on an upcoming Wednesday night, maybe on the regular even? Take a peak at the new album, and consider buying it, he’s young, the kid could use the money for prophylactics and Red Bull, or whatever it is that inspires dopeness nowadays. FYI, favorite track, Hot Heathrr.

In Finite

Suchbeats (feat. Stainless Steele)

 Hot Heathrr

Racial Banter From Wiley


For those unaware of Wiley, that just means you’ve been missing out on the most significant producer in the UK for the past 8 years, well, at least one that is black, African-English? He came up with Dizzee and the rest of the East London Grime family, many call him the godfather of Grime. He’s still out there, and from what I understand expanding his territory. I imagine he’s busy with Funky House nowadays. This beat was dropped on Twitter via the man himself, I love those kinds of drops!

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.