Sunday, June 12, 2005
It's coming! My peoples are presenting the most excellent Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival next weekend (June 18th) with the following acts on the bill:
The Five Percent Nation of Islam was a popular inspiration for numerous thinking-man's rap groups during the early '90s, and Brand Nubian was arguably the finest of the more militant crop. Although they were strongly related to the Native Tongues posse in style and sound, they weren't technically members, and were less reserved about spotlighting their politics and religion.
Their outspokenness led to controversy, on an even larger scale than similarly minded groups like the X-Clan or Poor Righteous Teachers, in part because Brand Nubian's sheer musicality made them so listenable regardless of what their messages were. The hoopla surrounding their aggressive Afrocentrism sometimes overshadowed the playful and positive sides of their work, as well as the undeniable virtuosity of lead MC Grand Puba's rhymes — all showcased to best effect on their highly acclaimed debut, One for All.
Brand Nubian recently joined indie hip-hop label Babygrande Records--home to a family of great talents such as furious femcee Jean Grae, LL Cool J hater Canibus, and Philly underground duo Jedi Mind Tricks--with the promise to use its wisdom to spread positivity and awareness to the unknowing and the unconscious. The new album distinctly delivers on this promise.
Click here to hear music by Brand Nubian (streams at bottom of page).
Part of the new-millennium resurgence of alternative rap, Little Brother's inspirations were atypical for Southern hip-hop: classic Native Tongues outfits like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as more recent torch-bearers like the Roots and Black Star. MCs Phonte and Big Pooh swapped rhymes with an easy chemistry, but the group's real focal point was DJ/producer 9th Wonder, an old-school sampling technician who quickly established himself as a worthy heir to production wizards like DJ Premier and Pete Rock and has gone on to work with such A-list artists as Jay-Z and Beyonce as well as undergound icons like Murs and Buckshot of Black Moon.
Click here to learn more and listen to music by Little Brother.
Fresh off his 2005 Grammy win for co-writing the rap song of the year “Jesus Walks” with Kanye West, Chicago native, Rhymefest is set to release his highly-anticipated debut album Blue Collar, this summer on Allido Records/J Records. The sharp-witted MC is expected to have fellow Chi-town representatives, Kanye, Twista, Common and Carl Thomas as well as Q-Tip and the late Dirt McGirt (aka ODB) featured on his album. Despite the great guest appearances, it’s Rhymefest’s sharp wit and lethal sense of humor that sets him apart and carries this opus driven album from track to track.
The self-described “wack-tose intolerant” MC offers a new viable sound for the hip-hop deprived. Armed with production from West, Mark Ronson, No ID and Cool & Dre, Blue Collar is not simply a combination of songs, but an epic.
Click to hear music from Rhymefest's Blue Collar album and A Star is Born mixtape here and here.
According to Medina Green member DCQ (aka Illson, aka Jashiya), the underground rap group consists of "two brothers, two cousins, and one good friend." The group's history begins in 1994 when brothers Mos Def and DCQ were members of Urban Thermo Dynamics, a group that had a deal with the Polygram affiliate Payday London. The deal fell apart after some white-label promos and one official single. Mos Def and DCQ rounded up some family members and started Medina Green, "Medina" being the Asiatic name for Brooklyn and "Green" signifying growth. Mos Def's career took off while DCQ worked on Medina Green. The group got a proper debut when Mos Def presented their mixtape You Know the Flex, Vol. 1 in 2004.
Click to hear more:
- Medina Green U Know the Flex Vol. 1 mixtape
- Click the official Supreme Clientele MySpace page to hear the Medina Green's "Slow & Tender" track, the B-side of the single "Excellence" by Mos Def.
One listen to her nostalgic debut, A Change Is Gonna Come (named after Sam Cooke's 1964 hit), and it's evident that James is a pupil and conduit of classic soul. "You can't fake or buy soul," says James. "It's either inside of you or it isn't." Invoking the fiery spirits of Tina Turner and Parliament-Funkadelic with the soulful timbre of mavens such as Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson, James embarks on a melodic pilgrimage offering her special brand of "back porch" soul produced by Commissioner Gordon (Lauryn Hill), Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, Wyclef Jean, James Poyser, and Chucky Thompson.
Click to hear more:
- “When You Love Somebody” (Hi | Lo)
- “Mistreating Me” (Hi | Lo | Quick)
Language has shared the decks with Hip-Hop icons DJ Premier, DJ Jazzy Jay, DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Afrika Bambaataa, as well as Reggae legends such as Dillinger, Trinity, Dawn Penn, Tony Rebel, and Yami Bolo. The past year has also seen Language playing sets in Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Stockholm and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, among other locales.
Language has also recently started the acclaimed monthly NegroClash party with DJs Lindsey and Duane at New York’s APT, which highlights electronic sounds in Black music, and whose featured guest DJs and hosts have included Afrika Bambaataa, Mantronix, Fab 5 Freddy, Kool DJ Red Alert, DJ Spinna, Charlie Dark, and Larry Heard AKA Mr. Fingers. He is also a contributor to The Fader Magazine’s “Mix Tape” column, where he highlights and reviews notable new releases, and a contributing reviewer for TurntableLab.com.
Click here to find out more about DJ Language:
Back in the late 80's under the name "DJ Plainterror", GE-OLOGY was once the DJ/producer of a four member group "Born Busy" including high school friend, the legendary Tupac Shakur "MC New York"… uniquely cementing him historically as the only producer privileged to record Pac’s very first and earliest recordings.
In the early 90's he co-founded the infamous "Dooable Arts" with Matt Reid aka "Matt Doo", through which he first made his mark. Since then he's become synonymously known for album cover art, T-shirt graphics, magazine illustrations and collaborative mural paintings with his fellow Barnstormers crew (a famed artist collective created by Davd Ellis aka SKWERM), as much as he's known for producing tracks with the likes of Mos Def, Vinia Mojica, Talib Kweli, Sadat X, Pharoahe Monch, Jem, Mystic or his remixes for Pete Rock & Grand Agent.
Boasting international acclaim, one of his most recognized paintings is the Rawkus classic "Body Rock" cover featuring Mos Def, Q-Tip and Tash from Tha Alkaholiks (featured in Andrew Emery's "The Book of Hip Hop Cover Art" and listed at #3 in "EgoTrip's Book of Rap List" 25 Great EP, 12" & CD Single Covers section).
Click here for more on Ge-ology.
They're going fast so click here to get your FREE tickets for the BHF while they're still available and click the icon below for more info at the official website. Also, Brooklynites, look for the cover story feature on the festival in local newspaper 247.