Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Flashback: Biz Markie

Want to wish everybody reading a HAPPY SPRING here stateside. To get the season started, we present the sounds of the diabolical Biz Markie [a.k.a. "The Clown Prince of Hip-Hop"] and his Hip-Hop hit single "Spring Again", taken from The Biz Never Sleeps (1989). I would also like to take this time to shout out to all my ARIES brothers and sisters! This includes Biz and myself.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kelvin Doe a.k.a. DJ Focus: 15 y/o Prodigy

As the saying goes; "One man's trash is another's treasure." Thanks to a share on Facebook, I found out about this young prodigy named Kelvin Doe a.k.a. DJ Focus, from Sierra Leone, who caught the attention of Massachusetts Institute of Technology [M.I.T.] from his inventions, of what he completely taught himself to make. Hailing from the Dwozark Farm section of Freetown, Sierra Leone, one of the poor sections of the city, Kelvin would often go to the trash dump yards to find parts from broken electronics to help make his inventions. Listen to more of his story by watching the video below, courtesy of THNKR and TEDxTEENS.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Damian Randle x Donald Rose: Randle Rose

Damian Randle of The K-otix and Donald Rose (a.k.a. Kashmere Don) are two emcees on the front line of Houston Hip-Hop. Not long ago they dropped a collaborative project on the Rappers I Know imprint. My favorite off the album is "Cameo Flow", a "one drop funk" produced by DJ Cozmos, that seems to pay tribute to Dilla. Guest vocals are provided by Big Mon. Keep your ears peeled for more funk coming from RIK camp. More big things are on the way.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Flashback: Rose Royce

"Love Don't Live Here Anymore" by Soul/Funk group Rose Royce is noted as being one of the first songs to use the electronic LinnDrum drum machine, which Dave Thompson, author of Funk noted as if " virtually duetted with Dickey, creating one of the most distinctive records of the year—and one of the most imitated of the age.". Originally recorded in 1978 by Rose Royce, the song has been covered by Faith Evans, Madonna, and a few other groups. The song was written by British songwriter Miles Gregory, produced by Paul Buckmaster and Norman Whitfield on his own Whitefield Records, and featured lead vocals by Gwen Dickey.

Run C.T.: Beat Junkie Vol.1

Last night for the video shoot for The Cypher Effect and the Underground Merger event we are doing tonight that's bridging the gap between generations of Houston underground Hip-Hop, I met this young producer who calls himself Run C.T. We used a couple of his beats for the shoot, and I have to say, this 20 year old has got it! His sounds are as if he was ripped right out of Hip-Hop's "golden era", as well as from the early stylings of Acid Jazz and Trip-Hop.

The main track by Run C.T. that was used is "Save The Children", taken from his Beat Junkie Vol.1 creation, samples the classic "Funky Drummer" break by Clyde Stubblefield, along with some jazzy piano riffs. Purchase this work of art to help finance future ventures by this talented beatsmith. Follow him on Soundcloud to keep updated with new sounds and to get exclusives.

"Music is an art. Just paint pictures with sound." - Run C.T.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lance Scott Walker & Peter Beste: Houston Rap Tapes

On this past Monday night on The Groove, a radio show hosted by Bobby Phats, I met author Lance Scott Walker who was featured on the show to promote his latest book called Houston Rap Tapes, which is the companion book for Houston Rap, by Walker and photographer Peter Beste. Houston Rap Tapes covers much of the Houston rap scene through a series of photography and an in-depth oral history through interviews of local rappers, producers, radio personalities, DJ's and label executives conducted by Walker.

Peter Beste (L) and Lance Scott Walker (R)

One particular interview that grabbed my attention is of Russell Washington, founder of Big Tyme Records, the label that released music from DJ Screw, the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.) and other artists. There was a segment of him speaking of his shop in King's Flea Market and how people used to support the local artists:

Lance: What was King's [Flea Market] like back then? The same sort of gathering area that it is now, with everybody coming in?

Russell: Oh, back then it was the wild wild west. I mean, now, back then it was like....incredible. Back then there might have been four or five times the traffic. It was a hot commodity. When we did the UGK record, we sold like 4,000 copies out of my shop in a month. You know, it was like....that's a lot of copies of a cassette for a small record label. Man, it was unbelievable. Now, you know, I think they just don't market the flea market like they used to.

Lance: So they marketed it back then? Did they do radio commercials and that kind of stuff?

Russell: Haha, no. It was a lot was a different time, man. You know, you had a lot more street money, you had a lot more people workin', it was, people used to just come in know, it was nothing for somebody to walk in and spend $300 on CDs. Now you won't see $200-$300 in a day. Occasionally, you'll get maybe one wholesale customer come and spend that amount, but most of the customers've got a whole generation of people that's conditioned themselves not to buy music out of stores. They either look for it free on the web and buy a song from iTunes....check a guy on the street--three, four, five discs for $10, something like that.


Then we have who I call Houston's rap general, K-Rino. A veteran who has earned his stars and stripes through his lyricism and dedication. Here's a portion of his interview, taken from Houston Rap Tapes:

“Houston is a cool city because number one: I like the weather. I like to play basketball, so it’s the only place I know where I can shoot hoop year-round…it’s an independent city. A lot of people do they own thing out here. We’re not predominantly followers. We pretty much do our own thing in Houston. A few people tryin’ to claim gangs and all that but that ain’t too prevalent out here to my knowledge. But it’s a cool city, man, and with the music scene bein’ like it is now, there’s a bigger spotlight on the city now because the world’s attention is on Houston now.

“I’ll go visit a lot of places but I wouldn’t trade just livin’ in Houston for nowhere.”

Get copies of both books at: SINCUREBOOKS.COM

The Cypher Effect: Texas Road Trip

Just giving you all a heads up about the event I will be spinning for this Friday in Houston. The Underground Merger, a local underground Hip-Hop movement, piloted by Houston's first female graffiti writer, Rain Flowa, who's also a singer and MC, has partnered with Los Angeles based The Cypher Effect to bring you a Texas sized version of the series. Plenty of MC's will be on hand, along with other local DJ's to assist in the sound bombing for lyricists, B-Girls and B-Boys. We're taking it back to the basic elements.

For more info, log on to the Facebook invite page: The Cypher Effect: Texas Road Trip [JOIN]