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-

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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.

 

The Hangover (sans overpaid Caucasian actors)

So I’ve certainly been following the necromantic fancies of NY based rap group Flatbush Zombies. Needless to say we believe that they are a fundamental component of the rap renaissance taking place in New York today. In my opinion this group will do well because they are doing something that is fundamental to being successful with music nowadays, namely, creating a vision and consistently running with it. This “vision” can also be identified as a “world” and you saw guys like Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y do similar things. In the case of those commercially successful acts the illustrated world consisted of flying on airplanes and blazing bales of marijuana. Another example of this type of branding is with Joe Budden, his “world” literally consisted of his commitment to being unapologetic about pretty much everything, fans who could relate to that apathy bought in. Machine Gun Kelly and his youthful “Lace Up” take on YOLO is another prime example. For Flatbush Zombies it seems their world is a hazy place where partying and rapping make love often with the assistance of drugs and plenty of it. It’s kind of like party rap if you were already dead. Surely not everyone will jump on this hearse, but if the success of the aforementioned acts are any indication, I expect the zombies to follow suit.

Download this track here.

You can follow the moaning and lumbering @FlatbushZombies

The Clearance Rack: The Tonite Show With Shady Nate and Jay Jonah

Click cover to download

After reading PeD’s very arguable comments about Bay Area producers, I thought it was fitting that my last trip to the clearance rack involved me purchasing Shady Nate and Jay Jonah aka Da Heavy Hittaz’ contribution to DJ Fresh’s Tonite Show series. For those of you unfamiliar with this series or The World’s Freshest DJ, it’s time to acquaint yourself quickly. Each disc finds Fresh making all the beats while he chooses an artist/group to feature on the lyrical tip. He is by far one of the Bay Area’s most promising  and without a doubt most hard-working producers, and this became blatantly evident last year. Fresh had about as ridiculous of a 2009 as one can have as a producer. In addition to releasing his own compilation album which featured his regular Tonite Show collaborators as well as Kool G Rap, Murs, The Jacka, Strong Arm Steady (with Mitchy Slick),  E-40 and Too $hort, he handled the entirety of the production duties on albums for Frisco OG’s, San Quinn and Messy Marv, the newest Bay Area radio sensation, D-Lo, my favorite up and coming Yay Area spitter, Young Gully, The Grouch from The Living Legends (who is an ill producer in his own right), Wu-Tang’s own Raekwon (although it will unfortunately not see the light of day due to some label issues on Raekwon’s end), as well as the project I am reviewing for you today. From a producer’s stand point, handling 100% of the beats for over 8 albums in a single year is fucking mind-blowing. Than add the caliber and diversity of artists that he’s working with, and it is no surprise that he was awarded Producer of The Year at the 2009 West Coast Hip-Hop Awards.

Yet despite my love for Fresh, I have to admit that Shady Nate and Jay Jonah’s album is not the best example of his talent. If you want to hear something more representative of his skills check out The Tonite Show: The Album, The Tonite Show with Young Gully or D-Lo, or download his free beat tape Make The Song Cry Part 3. But back to this project, I think it’s needless to say that in a year when he is producing for the likes of Lex Diamond, E-Feezy Fonzarelly, Young Mess, and Fillmoe Quincy, it’s very unlikely that Fresh gave Nate and Jay Jonah the pick of the litter in terms of slapz. Additionally, if PeD had said that there were very few MC’s from the bay worth keeping an ear out for, I would have still disagreed, but understood where he was coming from much better. Shady Nate and Jay Jonah are perfect examples of the standard Bay Area rappers that are pretty average in talent, but rather than showing potential to be great, they leave the listener thinking that their skills and subject matter will most likely stay stagnant throughout their entire careers. I hope it’s not the case, because I think Shady Nate has some serious promise, but it’s definitely the sentiment this album gave me.

Follow My Dreams

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Shaolin Legacy Leads To Ninja Assassin

When I first saw the trailer for this film I thought of Wu-Tang, and how they would make a great addition to the movie soundtrack and/or video game. I figure the inclusion of Murs and Xzibit is a product of their geographic location, and their propensity for networking with movie heads. Give them credit, it appears to be the only rap track on the soundtrack. The track is a little fluffy, cheesy, or whatever relatively harmless diss you’d like to insert. But the movie looks off the hook, peep the soundtrack preview, tell me ninja’s aren’t bad ass. Shinobi stand up!

Soundtrack preview after the jump.

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WTF? Black Star’s album is in the making, I think…

I just smoked some Killa Cali and I still don’t have a damn clue what Mos Def is spewing on about. I have concluded that rumors about a 2010 Black Star drop are in fact substantiated, and that’s great news for many purists. I will keep you posted if Talib or Hi Tek come out with any of their own clips regarding the project. I imagine that Kweli’s take will be significantly more lucid and informative. None of this banter about having fun and bronze medals.

ZIF Video of the Week: Masta Ace & Edo G – Little Young

Finally, a music video from the upcoming Masta Ace & Edo G (A&E) album. Indie rap lacks video content, and when they do put out videos, most indie rappers rely on their content and flow to make a video pop. In this case A&E brings some eye candy, a slew of disses, and film it in HD. Sounds independantly good to me.

Peep the tracklisting for the new album, and download the track “Little Young” after the jump.

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Ballin Chain: It’s Gucci, Mayne!

Well…it had to happen.  I had to crack eventually.  All this time I have been trying to keep these “Ballin’ Chain” posts to one chain for each post.  Then there was this:

Falcons helmet. Simply Nasty.

Gucci Mane has some chains…and he loves his chains…not exactly breaking news.  He has many worthy of the Ballin’ Chain love (The Bart Simpson chain and Odie chains made the shortlist for this post, you can peep them, as well as listen to the flat-out outrageous anthems dedicated to these chains, “Iced Out Bart” and “Iced-Out Dog, Same Size As A Yorkie” in an article devoted to Gucci’s infamous bling here )  This tour-de-Atlanta should have gotten him a key to the city or some shit.
A city has arguably never been repped harder on one neck than this get-up Gucci is rockin’.  The Falcons, the Hawks, his record label, his record label, his record label.  Guess the Thrashers and Braves chains would have just been too much, and Gucci had to draw a line in the ice, if you will.  The NFL Shop should build on his Falcons chain and offer it in all NFL teams…”Support your team with style—and get pussy with the official NFL team chains.”
Gucci Mane is a man as hard as the diamonds on his chains, one capable of defying 5-on-one odds, apparently…gotta peep this article about his ’05 dropped murder charge incident—love this quote, “He produced a handgun and started shooting” LOL.  Guess homeboy doesn’t only produce music, but firearms also!

Ballin’ Chain: New Series

Hard to Hustle with a ton around your neck

One thing that has always irked me about the media’s treatment of hip-hop has been it’s simultaneous attitude towards the subject—saying, “okay you crazy rappers, go out there and do your thing” (so we can whore you out for content), while also saying, “But don’t expect us to actually take you and your lifestyle seriously because this is only hip-hop after all.”  (know your places, rappers, you aren’t really artists, right? )

The media has always merely gone through the motions regarding hip-hop artists.  They will touch on personal details, sure, if they get the public a little bit hard (“Fifty’s been shot 9 times, so blah blah blah.”)  but rarely do we get the details and what that might mean.  Why aren’t rappers like everyone else—i.e. why don’t the small facts that distinguish all of us from one another (clothes, foods, kicks, friends, etc) get sweated by the media like perhaps they should?

The bullshit stops here.  In the spirit of the typical journalistic analysis that gets applied to every other person worth writing about, we at the Zebreezy will be paying a little bit closer attention to detail and trying to get at one of the common links between rappers aka hip-hop artists and one of hip-hop’s great barometers: the chain.

There is a saying that a man is only as good as his watch so it follows that a rapper is only as good as his chain.  We at the Zebreezy bring you the Ballin’ Chain series.  We take a chain, examine what it means to us within the context of its wearer.

And if y’all keep loving this Zebreezy so much, shit, we might be analyzing our own bling in a while…ha, keep grindin’ and don’t sweat the Ballin’ Chains too much

Things That White People Like

mos

Yes, Zebra Is Food has urinated on mighty Mos’ name quite a bit, whether it’s been for his K2-sized stack of child support IOU’s or his bougie’ fan-base, that nods their heads to Black On Both Sides in-between bites of Asian fusion after long days of Yoga.

Wow, after writing the reasons we’ve disparaged Mos Def I really have no idea why I’m posting this or what redeeming value there is in supporting this guy… Well, anyway, if you’re into people who don’t pay child support and/or a person who likes their rap music colonized, be sure to scope the Mos Def listening party for his new album, this Thursday at Los Angeles’ Turntable Lab. On a serious note, there will be a sizable amount of dope local DJs, so come out and support them.

Friday Free Joints

MPFRIZZLES:

Busta Rhymes Feat Young Jeezy, Jadakiss, & Pitbull – Conglomerate (Remix)

Busta Rhymes Feat Young Jeezy, Jadakiss, & Pitbull – Conglomerate (Remix)

Raekwon – The General

T.I. ft. Mary J Blige – Don’t Forget

The Dream Feat Ashely Williams – Rockin That Thang (Remix)

Ghostface Feat Ron Browz – Shes A Killer