December 31, 2011

Doc Singe-Kiss Of The Beast LP



Kiss Of The Beast is the dope debut album from French producer Doc Singe and features Rob Swift, MF Grimm, Insight, Count Bass-D, Kool Keith, Finsta, John Robinson, Branesparker, Pacewon, 2 Mex and L.I.F.E. Long over hype production (fat dusty breaks, ill bass lines and interesting samples) that harks back to the golden age and suits each guest really well, sadly this album has been criminally slept on I wanted to give it some light.

Pick it up from these spots:

"Foreign Exchange" ft Insight
Lastly, I would like to wish all of my readers a really Happy New Year, thanks so much for your comments, feedback and for being a loyal reader in 2011...be safe and see you in 2012.

One

Jaz






December 28, 2011

Verse Essential-Like It Should Be music video


"Like It Should Be" is the 6th music video from NYC's Verse Essential, this track can be found on his dope debut album Ingenious, which was released as deluxe version earlier in 2011...


please check my interview with him from earlier in this year.


CRDS will be back soon with a second volume of 2011 illness and other posts...

Peace to Verse and T Atkins.





























December 24, 2011

Exclusive interview with yU...






Thanks to my good Friend Chris "SPanky" Moss of Divided Souls Entertainment and Michael Tolle of the great Mello Music Group label, I was mad fortunate enough to throw some questions to yU of Diamond District and The1978ers fame.

 My first introduction to the Cheverly, Maryland MC and Producer yU (PKA Michael Willingham Jnr) was on what I honestly feel is one of the greatest albums released in the 00's, 2009's In The Ruff from Diamond District (Oddisee, yU and XO)

 

  In The Ruff was an album that captured the essence of pure Hip Hop, filled with classic breaks, dope samples and rhyming from 3 (Wise) Men whose lives depended on it, In The Ruff is an essential album and so is yU's material, his first solo album, Before Taxes (2010) was a continuation of the Diamond District sound and style but with yU's unique stamp on it and it was an album that contained great beats, well written rhymes and interesting samples (including soundbites from film) just like his second album The Earn does.


 The Earn is easily one of the best releases of 2011 and an absolute pleasure to listen to front to back, so while you peruse these questions and answers, make sure that The Earn is rocking your speakers hardcore to get the full effect kid.

 

 CRDS: Please break down the history of yU, your strongest influences and
history.

yU: For the most part, the title yU came from back in the days when I was
learning myself & all of the things that made me  indifferent or unique in
comparison to the majority. I've been told by my moms that since a baby, It
was a regular thing for folks to question my motives & ask why'd you do it
like this or why don't you just do it like everybody else does. I guess
that stubborn nature has stuck with me thru the years.  My strongest
influences in life would probably be my mother & father, or the things I've
actually seen & heard.

CRDS: Who are some of the Producers you would like to work with?


yU: At the moment, the producers I'd like to work with are pretty much myself,
Slimkat78, Oddisee, Kev Brown, Mr HU, Usef Dinero, Roddy Rod, Choppy
Choppe, Charlie Ross
& Waajeed. After finishing up all we have in store for
2012 (which is A LOT), I would like to build with DJ Premier, Nottz, DJ
Khalil, Organized Noize, 14KT, Q-Tip, Portishead, No ID, MF Doom, Bibio,

'and a lot more.. But before I venture out, I'm solidifying things at home
base first..

CRDS:Please list your fave albums from 1988, 1992 and 1994?

yU:Though its hard to pick one...

  
  
 

CRDS: Who are your fave producers and why?



It's hard to name a favorite producer, when I respect so many for so many
different reasons.. But if I had to choose one, I'd say Jay Dee, because he
had so many styles & approaches.. and made very moody beats that
momentarily took you away from wherever you were when u pressed play. I
could only imagine where his sound would've been sonically at this point,
because he left the rest far behind years ago.

 

 CRDS: What MC's do you most feel inspired by?

 yU: The emcees I feel most inspired by are those who have a unique perspective
& who's voice demands your attention, like Guru, Rakim, Lord Finesse, Large
Pro, Casual, Big L, Andre3000, O.C., Pos
& Trugoy from De La Soul, Devin the
Dude, Kaimbr, Roc Marciano & a lot more..

CRDS: What was your Fave album of 2011?


 yU: 






CRDS: What would you change about the state of Hip Hop in these days?

yU: If I were to change anything about the state of hip hop today, I would
replace the open mindedness that gave birth to decades of change &
evolution but now it seems as though we don't have too many options..
whatever angle is selling the most is the on that gets mimicked by most up
& coming. I would even the scales a bit more when it comes to the focus on
production & the power of the spoken word by putting lyrics back to the
forefront. The bond between hip hop & poetry was much stronger awhile ago,
but now that the general public knows how much more $ producers make, the
beats are the new focus and they're turned up so loud that i can't hear the
poetry. 

Lastly, I'd like to see more album consistency.. Whether it be in
the lane of features, production, or the potency of the music being
released.. If this were juice we were talking about.. I like orange juice,
grape juice, & lemonade. Nowadays, I guess consistency is out of style because
everything is fruit punch.. You don't know what to expect, which can be a
good or a bad thing.



 CRDS: What year did you write your first rhyme and can you remember it?

yU: I wrote my first rhyme in 1994, and I remember the first line was like
"as I stay in tune, the groove is smooth as a jazz song/ you wanna test me,
gimme a mic & a scantron" lol


CRDS: How did you learn the art of beat making?

yU: As far as making beats, i always had ideas.. At about 8/9 yrs old I played
the trumpet & french horn w/ the DC Youth Orchestra. I remember feeling
limited by having to just play what I was instructed to, so I left music
alone until I was about 16. At about then, I started to watch others put
their compositions together, thinking to myself.. That's tight, but if I
did it, I'd probably do it like this.. Slowly but surely, once I had my own
equipment my sound started to grow especially with the help of my triangle
of mentors MrHU, Slimkat78, & Blackberry Jones whom I'd constantly watch &
ask questions.

  


CRDS: Do you have a lot of unreleased material?

yU: Yes, I do have volumes of unreleased materials.

CRDS: What is your all time fave soul album yU?

yU: This is another difficult one, but at the moment my favorite soul album is
"InnerVisions" by Stevie Wonder

 












CRDS: Do you write rhymes and set them to beats or hear the beats and write
rhymes?


yU: I don't have a set way to put songs together. Sometimes the beat speaks to
me first or sometimes a concept or a line or two might just flash in my
head.. Or I might be in the process of putting a beat together & as it gets
close to completion a hook or verse might come from inspiration.

CRDS: Was it always the plan to drop a solo album after the great In The Ruff LP
> from Diamond District?

yU: It was a coincidence that both In The Ruff & Before Taxes were finished &
ready for release at the same time.. Although, I had been putting those
songs from "Before Taxes" & even a lot of "the EARN" together  long before
we had started to work on "In The Ruff"

  

CRDS: What's next for yU?

yU: Right now, I have a lot of projects to be released in 2012. All of which I
can say I am amped & inspired to complete. Slimkat & I are putting our
focus towards turning in the 1978ers album "People of Today". 



Diamond District is working on our 2nd album "March On Washington".. and I'm also
doing another solo project totally produced by Oddisee. Usef Dinero who
produced "Write On" on the EARN & I have an EP already under our belt
called "Flying High" which will be released as a free download before a
follow up project is released. "Killer" is a themed story-esque project
with 8 gory short stories with sounds to match, scheduled to be released
around mid October. And lastly, I'll be following up "A Garbage Beat Tape"
with another instrumental composition I'm pondering on calling "The Future
Was Overrated"



CRDS: Many thanks yU, keep up the great work

yU: Thank you Jaz

Non LP cut produced by Slimkat78 and featuring Eye-Q-"Can't Hide"

http://www.multiupload.com/EE61TTB4NH

yU's FREE A Garbage Beat Tape here...



http://mellomusicgroup.bandcamp.com/album/a-garbage-beat-tape

Places to purchase The Earn and other links...



December 18, 2011

Free LP: Astonish-The AstonishinglyODD Project

Chicago MC Astonish follows up his 2008 debut album, From Now Until Forever
with a smooth new 15 track album The AstonishinglyODD Project that Panik from the legendary production outfit Molemen has kindly offered as a free download, behind the boards are Panik, Oddissee, Jay Vega, CRZ Beatz, Odd Couple, Wes P,Taavi Haapala and O-Zone and the LP includes guests, label mate Scheme plus Lungz, Jay Vega, Reap, Myles J, Jessica Jasmin, J Dott Trife, E-Class Eppi and Decay.

The AstonishinglyODD Project has beats that will take you back to the 90's and early 00's rhymes that are thoughtful and mean something. plus diggers and sample fiends will know the sample used for the vibed out "Feel Good" right off the bat, the Oddissee produced tracks have previously been released, but Astonish does nice work on them...especially my highlight of the album "Saw Myself"



1. All I Need (Intro) (Prod. by CRZ Beatz)
2. Summertime Chi feat. Myles J (Prod. by Jay Vega)
3. All That I Got (Prod. by Oddisee)
4. Feel Good feat (Prod. by Jay Vega)
5. Trees (Prod. by Odd Couple)
6. LSD feat. J Dott Trife & Lungz (Prod. by O-Zone)
7. Shine Like DIlla (Prod. by Taavi Haapala )
8. Hire  feat. Reap & Jessica Jasmin (Prod. by CRZ Beatz)
9. Fill Up The Room (Prod. by Oddisee)
10. Full Room (Interlude) (Prod. by CRZ Beatz)
11. Samo feat. Scheme & E-Class Eppi (Prod. by Wes P)
12. Saw Myself  feat. Jay Vega & Decay (Prod. by Oddisee)
13. Living Comfortable (Prod. by Panik)
14. Lord Forgive Me (Prod. by Jay Vega)
15. Hip Hop (Prod. by Jay Vega)


 














December 10, 2011

yU's superb new album The Earn


If you are a regular reader of CRDS then you will know how much of a fan of and how much I admire the consistent and high quality output of the Mello Music Group label...well kids they have done it yet again, as if hitting us off with these dope albums wasn't enough...



 
 
 
 
 
  



























































 



Plus a few previously released albums that were offered as free downloads (Oddisee's 101 and Mental Liberation with exclusive bonus tracks and remixes) and Oddisee's collection of his season based EP's in the form of Odd Seasons and ill remixes from the likes of Def Dee, Gensu Dean and Dunc (DTMD) for various artists (Boog Brown, Roc Marciano etc).

We now get MC and producer and member of Diamond District and 1978rs, follow up album to 2010's dope Before Taxes..

The Earn is a superb album and a great listen from start to finish, you can tell (as with all MMG releases) that so much heart, passion and soul went into creating this album, the rhymes from yU are thoughtful and dope and the production handled by yU, Kev Brown, Slimkat78, DJ Roddy Rod (Maspyke), Usef Deniro, Unknown and others will definitely leave smiles on all kinds of faces as well.















I honestly don't know what is in the DMV's water, but to me they are the true home of Hip Hop in today's age, no gimmicks, no materialistic raps, no auto-tune, no cheesy synths, no wearing of stupid wigs or jeggings, no posing, no wannabes, no shock factor raps and best of all no lame attention seeking due to a lack of skill...nope MMG just offers the listener no frills, pure Hip Hop music, made by passionate and genuine artists that live and breathe Hip Hop and are carrying the torch to take Hip Hop to a right place into the future.

yU-Blind (Produced by Kev Brown
http://www.multiupload.com/ZPSSC8UN1Z












December 5, 2011

Interview with DJ Chris Read....


Peace Chris, could you please tell CRDS readers about your history, where are you from, what was your first Hip Hop memory, how did you become a DJ?
 
CR: I guess I first really got into hip hop around 1988. A friend lent me a couple of cassettes which had tracks by folk like Eric B & Rakim, Rob Base and what have you on there - pretty commercial stuff at the time. I wanted to hear more so I started checking out rap shows that aired late on some of the London radio networks - Capital, GLR and stuff like that. There were some pirate shows too. I'd tape them and then listen back and try and find out what the songs were called, write them all down and then eventually when I had money go and buy the records. By about 1993 I had acquired quite a lot of records and wanted to get involved so I bought turntables and a mixer from a kid I was at school with and started teaching myself... By 1995 I was starting to play clubs. It begins there really.

 When crafting your legendary mixes, do you go through a ton of crates to find the right tracks or you do you just use the ones that had the biggest impact on you in those years?

CR: For the Classic Material mixes? Yeah, it's a process of many stages really. First pull out everything I have from the year in question, then go through them all quickly and pretty much end up with a pool of anything up to 300 tracks or so that might make the final mix. Then I arrange them roughly according to tempo and start working through the mix - start slow, finish fast(er) typically. Obviously the tracks I go for first are my personal favourites, but if stuff isn't working in the context of the mix then there are choices to be made. That's it really.
 
What are your personal favourite years for Hip Hop music and why?


 CR: I have some fondness for all eras really but for different reasons. Around '88 / '89 is big for me because it's when I first really got into the sound. People were sampling great records then too - James Brown, Sly & Family Stone and what have you. A lot of it was kind of naive sounding but it was raw and energetic. Around '93 / '94 is good for me too - it's when I started DJing and also when production really advanced. People went heavy into sampling jazz and studio / sampler technology changed a lot so the records sounded much fuller and better produced. I like a lot of post-2000 stuff too because commercial hip hop had gone its own way and it was almost like it left a vacuum for people to do what they liked so there's a lot more experimentation going on.









How did Classic Material get started?
 
CR:  It sort of stemmed from the Diary mixtape really. When I put that CD out, I did a few small low key nights at a local spot as a promo for the CD, playing music from a different era at each night. Then a few months later I went out to Berlin to play at a night called Rap History, where they played only music from a specific year at each night. I played the 1991 night and loved it. So a year or so later I came round to thinking that a similar thing could be done in London so I chatted to Rap History to make sure they were cool with us doing it and then Nick Armitage and I set about getting Classic Material set up over here. A year and half on and we're just about to wrap up the series. It's been a ton of work but a lot of fun.


   

What was the first record, first ever tape and the last album you purchased?

 CR: Tricky one. I suppose I have to be honest - the first 12" I can recall buying was probably the Beverly Hills Cop (Axel F) theme as a kid, you know from the Eddy Murphy movie. It had this killer bass led track from the film on the B-Side called 'Stakeout' or something like that. First 'proper' record was a few years later - Eric B & Rakim, I think it was "As The Rhyme Goes On"
. First ever tape I'm not sure I remember to be honest but it would have been something pretty awful. As soon as I got into music properly though, I pretty much only bought vinyl. I still have a few classic rap cassettes though.

 
As for the last album I bought, I have to confess that it's mostly singles over albums that have been getting my money of late - Modeselektor 'Berlin' and SBTRKT 'Wildfire' were both recent purchases. I have had some really good albums sent to me recently that are getting a lot of play, the new Opolopo album and the Future Boogie album, both on Tokyo Dawn. Also the new Julien Dyne album on BBE is great.

 Are there any records that you own that not many have, any super rare dub plates, test presses or anything in your collection?

 CR: I've never been one for spending big money on records on ebay and stuff like that really - there's just so much good music you can pick up very cheaply if you know where to look and what to look for. But, I did radio for a while and was on a lot of mailing lists for a long time so I have a lot of promos and a few test presses. Some of them may have value I suppose but for me it's more what they're worth to me. Occasionally promoting clubs / events, producers travelling with acts would give you a white label of intrumentals or something like that - I'm sure some of those are worth money.


Whose record collection would you love to raid?

  CR: Hmm. I think one of the great golden era producers - Pete Rock or Premo probably. I think people are naturally fascinated by their sampling habits so that would be an obvious choice for me.



Who are your most listened to artists these days?

CR: Another tricky one. My taste wanders quite a lot these days. For hip hop, Oddisee is one artist I check for regularly, also anything Phonte goes near. There are a few producers too - Apollo Brown, The ARE, folks like that. Albums I've really listened to a lot lately include Slakah's recent album on BBE and Julien Dyne that I mentioned before. I'm into a lot of the new-latin / new-afro stuff too - Public Opinion, Ariya Astrobeat and stuff like that.   
Please list the top 10 records that you would want to introduce to your Children...
 CR: Difficult but here goes (in no particular order):   


  

Please list the top 5 records you are embarrassed to own (but loved at one stage)
 
CR: I honestly don't think I could name 5 that I'm embarrassed of. I certainly own some records that some would consider cheesy but I'm not really embarrassed of them as such. I like a lot of 80s boogie and synth sort of stuff and some of that is quite poppy. Pointer Sisters 'Automatic' for example is basically a pop record, but I still think it's a great record. 

The records I suppose I would cringe if someone came to my house and pulled off the shelf are the more commercial hip hop from the early part of the last decade - 'Be Faithful' for example. The records it's made up from, Chic 'Chic Cheer', Black Sheep 'The Choice Is Yours', even Faith Evans are all solid records in my opinion but you'd be perfectly entitled to say the AV8 version is crap and it would be hard for me to defend.

What are your thoughts on the state of Hip Hop today and where do you see Hip Hop in the future?

CR: I think the thing is that 'Hip Hop' as a definition has lost all meaning. You say 'Hip Hop' to one person and they're thinking Akon, or possibly even Rihanna or something. Say it to another person and they're thinking Bambaataa and Wild Style and in between those two extremes are a thousand shades of grey. So it's impossible to say where it's going really because it's already gone in thousand different directions and each of those directions will go somewhere different. I actually think it's a good thing - if some guy in his bedroom wants to make a 'hip hop' record that doesn't have a rapper on it, is made partly of samples and partly of a load of electronics he's made himself and changes tempo and time signature 3 times in 2 minutes then that's great - there aren't any rules any more. These days my preference is for hip hop that owes something to its heritage but doesn't really play by the prescribed norms.


  What do you think makes up a good DJ?
 
CR: First up passion for the music and knowledge of your records - more important than technical ability in my opinion. But the best DJs have broad taste, innovative technical ability, experience behind them, and a love of what they do and a desire to be the best at it. There aren't many out there that tick all the boxes.

  What are your thoughts on DJ's that use laptops and have never touched a turntable?
 
CR: It's easy to get all misty eyed about vinyl - it's been a big part of my life and I still love it, but the truth is that technology is making DJing a more creative activity again. I love that a combination of turntable, computer, midi and effects allows me to play sections of a record out of sequence, to extend parts of tracks, to apply effects to an acapella and things like that - it's made DJing more like production and that's pushing me to do new things. BUT, I think younger DJs who have never used vinyl or turntables are missing a really important part of the skill set. It's all well and good to stand there pushing buttons on a midi controller but to me part of the showmanship and grass roots skills have been lost if that's all you've ever known.



Out of all the mixes you have done, which one are you the most proud of?
 
CR: I suppose the Diary is the most epic, certainly the most time consuming and the one that provoked the biggest reaction, but I don't listen to it as often as some of the others. Sometimes it's the ones that were done without tons of planning that I'm most fond of. The Legacy was knocked together in a couple of days but when listen to it now it sounds way more crafted than I remember when I was doing it. I like the ones also that cover stuff a little bit outside my normal repertoire, like the 80s Electro Rap / Electro Funk thing I did for Spine TV.

 

When BBE gave you access to their entire catalogue for your 15th anniversary mix, how did you pick the records, did you spend hours listening to tons of records and creating different mixes?
 
CR: It was quite a journey really. There's something like 180 albums, a lot of them I knew well already, but ones I was less familiar with I sat and listened through. I narrowed it down to a pool of my favourite tracks and then constructed a bunch of 15-20 minute sections but the number of tempo and genre shifts was daunting so I had find creative ways of linking it all together. There were a few last minute changes thanks to licensing restrictions on some of the catalogue but I actually think the final take is the best of all the drafts. The reaction to it has been overwhelmingly good and I'm really pleased with it.


As for my own stuff, I have a mix / compilation of modern Latin stuff coming out on BBE in the Spring and a couple more releases for Breakin Bread too, which are yet to be finalized but more or less ready to go. I'm producing an album for a band called Maylight which is a sort of Jazz / Electronica style project with Lizzy Parks (Tru Thoughts) on vocals too but we don;t have a release date for that yet. We debuted our new material at Leftfoot last night and it sounds killer even it I do say so myself. I also have a bunch of remixes coming out over the next few months for a few different labels including Bastard Jazz out in NYC, Hope Street in Australia and a few others...


Thanks a lot Chris.



CR: My pleasure Jaz!







You can download all of Chris Read's The Diary and the Classic Material mixes etc here... 




or purchase some mixes, t-shirts or limited edition box sets here



www.musicofsubstance.com

http://www.chrisreadsubstance.bandcamp.com

http://www.myspace.com/chrisreadsubstance

http://www.mixcloud.com/chrisreadsubstance

http://www.soundcloud.com/chrisreadsubstance

http://www.musicofsubstance.wordpress.com

http://www.bbemusic.com





One