Thursday, July 28, 2011

Macklemore - Wings (Video)

It took some time but it finally dropped last week...then of course it took another week for us to bring it to you! Check out the new Macklemore video for "Wings" shot by the good Dr. Zia.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2011 Recap

The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, for those of you that don't know, is an annual festival put on by Brooklyn Bodega for the means for celebrating not only music but the entire hip-hop culture. Last year the format was expanded from a one day music festival to one full week of showcases and forums reflecting and effecting hip-hop. This year included the Show & Prove Super Bowl, "Under the Influence" Art Event, Bodega Education Initiative, Salute The DJ, Bodega Awards Recognition, Family and festival day, and culminated with an afterparty. 

Show & Prove Super Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl

Show & Prove is a showcase of independent hip-hop artists from around the country that were all competing to be the opening act at this years festival. Winners from three previous competitions came together at the "Super Bowl" event and a winner was chosen. This years artists included Chris Faust, L.A, and Clear Soul Forces and was held at Brooklyn Bowl. 
Chris Faust opened the show the event performing with a live band and back up singer. I remember Faust from a few years back when, like I stated above, he used to go by Print but had kinda lost track of him a long the way. He put on a good performance. He worked the stage but nothing to memorable, honestly, and I like dude. Maybe I went into it expecting too much from someone that has been around as long as he has been.                                                                           Next up was Brooklyn native and fan favorite, if for no other reason that she is from Brooklyn, L.A. I was a bit disappointed by her performance. She clearly had the crowd support as she jumped down into a crowd of her friends to perform and dance, but lacked the ability to perform for the WHOLE crowd. She chose her group of people and kicked it to them, knowing that if she could get them live enough then it might earn her the win, which it eventually did. One thing that may have left a bad taste in my mouth is this...dropping the mic. She spit some mediocre verse and then dropped the mic and walked away, only to come back and pick it up for another verse. She lost me right there. If you drop the mic on purpose and walk away, you better have spit a hot 16 and blown the stage up...figuratively speaking. Gimme a damn break!
Detroit's Clear Soul Forces closed out the Show & Prove portion of the event. They had energy, enthusiasm, their delivery was on point, and they moved the crowd. Wimpy, J-Roc, E-Fav, and Iljade played off one another and to the crowd in such a way that I was positive they were gonna go on to perform on Saturday. As I mingled through the crowd prior to the announcement, all the buzz was about Clear Soul Forces. Apparently the "judges" didn't feel the same...and declared L.A the winner.
The night was not over yet though, as we soon found out. Up next were performances by The Artifacts, J-Live, and Camp Lo. The Artifacts were good...not great. J-Live put on a great set. I like dude, he is truly the "Triple Threat". The highlight of the night though was definitely Camp Lo. Maybe it's because I am a fan, but Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede killed it. They played all their classics and a few joints from their new mixtape with Pete Rock, 80 Blocks From Tiffany's. The Show & Prove Super Bowl was definitely a great kickoff (no pun intended) the festival.

Salute The DJ

We all know that the DJ is an essential part of hip-hop culture, this night was to recognize those that manage the wheels and to pay homage to Mr. Magic with featured sets from the legendary Marley Marl, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Mista Sinista (X-ecutioners), Rholi Rho (5th Platoon/IBP), Chairman Mao (ego trip), Twilite Tone, DJ Getlive and hosted by Torae. All bullshit aside, this night was dope. Other than the main day,  I think this is the portion of the festival that I was most looking forward to...Salute The DJ. I was not disappointed. They all killed it...the DJ set highlights for me were DJ GETLIVE and Mista Sinista. GETLIVE and Rholi Rho were on the wheels together and put on an incredible set of back and forth turntablism that I have never seen before. Check out Mista Sinista below.

Then for the grand finale and dayum this was crazy. Marley Marl took the stage and brought some friends with him for his "Rap Attack" showcase. Just a little history for those of you who, like me, weren't quite hip to the Rap Attack: 
Rap Attack was New York City’s first exclusive rap radio show on WBLS airwaves in 1982 with Mr. Magic as the host and Marley Marl as the DJ. Not only did “Rap Attack” pave the wave for virtually all Hip-Hop radio shows but also gave birth to a number of Hip-Hop careers including Biz Markie, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap Pete Rock, Masta Ace and of course the tremendous legacy of The Juice Crew.
Along with Marley Marl came Craig G, Roxanne Shante, Keith Murry, Force MDs,  as well as hip-hop pioneers the Cold Crush Brothers. It was insane to see all those artists take the stage in one night. The highlights of the showcase included the Cold Crush Brothers on bended knee crooning to all the fake rappers out there, and the funky dance moves of the Force MDs. Check it out...

Continue after the cut for the wrap up of the Main Day performances...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NightWalker Hates You – An AYCE Interview.

Hey you. Yeah, you. The dude that thinks he has his finger on the pulse of Hip Hop. You missed something, and that something is called “Walking At Night”. It is an essential record, created by one man alone, and that man’s name is NightWalker. Maybe watch the video. Maybe read the interview. If not, go fuck yourself.

BrainSlice: How exactly would you describe a “fist-full of fuck yous”?

NightWalker: (laughs) Basically I don't give a fuck. Its some fuck the world shit. Instead of a fist full of money, I got a fist full of fuck yous. In that moment. Not in general.

BS: You've been nice to me, so I wouldn’t assume you're a complete psychopath 100 percent of the time.

NW: No no, just the general public that just consume and don't really contribute, just take whatever they are force-fed. I have a fist full of fuck yous for them. Yeah, Fuck you.

BS: You have a lot to say on the album about the state of Hip Hop right now. How do you feel about the artists out there that are in a position of power that could say something about it, but don't?

NW: The radio is garbage. It's not even rap or Hip Hop, it's pop music. Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, It's all the same genre.

BS: People tend to automatically assume I listen to the trash that's on the radio when I tell them I listen to Hip Hop.

NW: I have the same problem. I don't even tell people I'm a rapper, I tell them I'm a musician. I don' t want to be type-cast into that role where people look at me funny. They picture me rockin' club shit, and that’s not what I do. I tell people: “I rap, but not the kind of rap that you think.”

BS: Right. You have to say that, or you will be pigeon-holed into a category you don't want to be in.

NW: As far as artists not saying things when maybe they should, I don't know who you are referring to, but if I ever got on a stage at the MTV awards or something like that, I would say: "Fuck you, you all suck." A lot of these dudes don't even write their own shit, or produce it. They have stylists to help them pick their clothes. They are literally a product, or a commercial for a product. Anyone can make words rhyme over a catchy beat. I can do that, but I choose to talk about things that have substance. Things that I see, and how I feel about them. If you don't do that, then what does the music really mean? Like I said on the album: "Hip Hop isn't dead you just started liking gay shit." I don't blame the artists, or the suits. I blame the fans that get tricked into listening to the shit and thinking it's cool. That's who is to blame. If no one listened to the songs, went to the concerts, or watched the videos, the whole fucking empire would crumble. It's a fucking business. I can't hate on a business, because their whole objective is to make money. They don't give a fuck about the artists or their credibility. That is why so many artists get fucking chewed up and spit out. I was here 10 years ago, and I'll be here 10 years from now, no matter how many copies I sell. I'm doing it the way it should be done.

BS: It is obvious to me that you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of guy. Give me a run-down of how you went about making "Walking At Night" on your own.

NW: In my life generally I've found that anytime you are relying on someone other than you to handle shit, it just doesn't work. With this album I wanted to make a statement. I don't need to have all these different producers and MC's to piggy-back off of. You can feature a popular MC and then later people realize you're not cool with him, you just paid him for a feature. The "featuring so-and-so" thing has happened so much that it has Walker_n_Judgelost it's value. I don't give a fuck about how the industry, or even the underground, is working. I'm gonna do my shit how I think it should be done, because it's mine. I started making beats because I wasn't really feelin' what I was hearing, and I just decided that I was going to produce my entire album, with no features. I don't give a fuck how much it sells, I did it on my own. I can hand this to someone and say "This is mine, I did this." I mean, is it really YOUR album, or YOUR painting if other people helped you create it?

BS: Why so much harsh language, specifically the "F" word?

NW: "Fuck" or "Faggot"? (Laughs) I think there's a lot of faggot shit going on. That doesn't mean guys making out with each other. When I call someone a faggot, I mean they're being a pussy, or a bitch. I don't know when wearing skin-tight jeans became cool. I don't know when skateboarding became a trend. I rode a skateboard when I was a kid. Now I see kids walking around carrying skateboards like they are accessories. The music, the TV….I don't even watch TV. Everything around me is just turning gay. I know gay people. I don't go around bashing gays. People can get offended by the language if they want, but it is not being used in that way. I'm not referring to people that are literally gay when I call someone a faggot. It's just that everything has become soft now. When we were kids, we would fight all the time. Now if there is a fight, someone will get arrested and/or sued.

BS: What does it feel like to smack someone in the face with your skateboard?

NW: I'm not going to say that I've done that, but I would imagine that it feels pretty good. I imagine hitting someone in the head with anything would feel pretty good…...if they deserved it. Plus you don't wanna hurt your hands or anything.

BS: A skateboard is a pretty awesome weapon.

NW: I would have to agree.

BS: What is the last song you listened to before this interview?

NW: I was just listening to Eyedea and Abilities. I've always been a fan of Atmosphere, and I like Brother Ali, but I just barely came across them. I went out and copped "By The Throat" and "E&A".

BS: Now for the corny-ass question. Who is your favorite MC of all time?

NW: I honestly couldn't even tell you.

BS: I won't hold you to it. It's something that changes for me all the time.

NW: It depends on what mood I'm in. Kool G Rap. Big L. Big Pun. I also like a lot of the kids in my camp. Jack Progresso. Diabolic. If I really had to say….Big L….he said a lot of really dark shit and his punchlines were ridiculous. I like Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, it just depends on what time you ask me. Overall I'd probably have to go with Kool G Rap or Big L.

BS: What's up with this whole "Dead Rabbits" thing?

NW: Me, Grimm, Insidious, Diabolic, Bad Karma, I could keep giving names, but basically there's a whole fucking army of us. We've all known each other for a long time, and there are a lot of people down with us that don't even rap. Graff writers, artists and shit. It's more of a movement than a rap crew. We basically can do anything we need to do on our own. If we feel we need to get involved with something, we might end up on some "now youse can't leave" type of shit. [Ed's Note: That is a well-placed "Bronx Tale" reference]. We're a family that looks out for one another.

BS: How did you get involved with Red Phone Records?

NW: I did some work with Just-1 and I stayed in touch with them. Matt Charette hit me up and put me in touch with Matt Maddox. We talked a bit and it just seemed like a good fit for me. They're all focused more on artist development rather than just putting shit out to get money. They've been good with everything and I'm happy there.

BS: What is the last book you have read?

NW: Bukowski. “Tales Of Ordinary Madness”. It's a bunch of short stories. All he writes about is drinking and sleeping with women. I've read a lot of his books. I used to read a lot of history books and conspiracy theory type shit. I basically drove myself crazy with that shit so I try to stay away from it. It's much easier to read about women and drinking. I also read a lot of Hunter S. Thompson, Hemingway, etc.

BS: On the album you mention listening to Rage Against The Machine as a kid. What is the best RATM song ever?

NW: Impossible to say. The entire first album is my favorite song. They were one of the first bands that I really got into. As a kid I listened to it over and over, and they are a huge inspiration to me. A lot of bands and MC's have been influenced by them, even if they don't realize it. When I was a kid, I didn’t really understand what Zack was talking about. It was really ahead of it's time.

That’s it kids. In the words of the man himself, “Buy my shit, Now.” Go cop the album on the Red Phone Records site, Nightwalker’s site, or on Itunes. It’s pure hardcore Hip Hop. Support it.