March 31, 2008

S.O.U.L. Purpose "The Way We Live" Music Video

Many artists tend to have their bio written for them. Well, contrary to that orthodox style, I feel nobody can explain my musical journey of “joy, pain, sunshine and rain” better than me. My name is Mazzi and I am a native of Jersey City, New Jersey. I am the lead of a group called S.O.U.L. (Sense Of Understanding Life’s) Purpose. We are respectively the biggest crew in hip-hop today for the simple fact that if you helped our music to prosper in any way then you are part of the S.O.U.L. Purpose collective! Whether you bought my record, came to any of my shows, made me a beat, engineered a session, collaborated with me, did cuts for me, gave me airtime, played my music, interviewed me, charted my music, put me on a bill to perform, promoted my shows, danced for me at shows, filmed one of my shows, took my pictures, worked on my videos, passed out flyers for me, put up posters for me, sponsored me, lent me money to further my projects, gave me words of encouragement, inspired me, fed me, drove me or supported my music in any other possible way, you are a member of S.O.U.L. Purpose! S.O.U.L. Purpose is community based, culture-conscious, and for the children! While many artists wait to expand financially before giving back to the community or contributing to charity, S.O.U.L. Purpose feels the need to “Payback A.S.A.P.” My environment and surroundings made me who I am, so it is only right to share the wealth. Without my people and neighborhood, my music wouldn’t have the sound it does. With that being said, half the profits made from album sales shall always go to various charities (specifically clarified on a project-to-project basis).

My music is the sound of reason, revolution, growth, struggle, experience, and debauchery all wrapped up into what I think is best described as “Street Corner Soul Music”. S.O.U.L. Purpose is real life, my life and the life around me. I represent the average man with the above average flow. I make motivational music for the thinker. S.O.U.L. Purpose can be digested on several levels so everybody can relate to it one way or another. I wear my heart on my sleeve and rhyme about what I know. I concentrate on content, concepts, and captivating flow patterns to paint a vivid picture in songs.

My history as a performer is very sturdy. I made a name from myself early on because of my exciting stage shows and breath control. With over a decade of stage experience, I’ve performed with and opened up for just about everyone you can think of: Eminem, G-Unit, Black Eyed Peas, Run-DMC, Ghostface, Common, Flavor Flav, Faith Evans, Erykah Badu… the list goes on and on. Before S.O.U.L. Purpose I was part of a group called The Ancients. We were signed to Budz Distribution for one project and Landscape for two projects. In 2003 S.O.U.L. Purpose was formed and we signed a deal with Coup D’Etat Records (Caroline Distribution). We dropped two singles (both debuting 1 and 2 on CMJ charts) and the Breaking Records LP which featured Percee P, Breezly Brewin, Wordsworth and Pumpkinhead, and lasted 15 weeks on the CMJ charts. S.O.U.L. Purpose has become a respected group that fans can appreciate. Now we’re back with several projects ready to blast off into the universe! Look out and partake, because S.O.U.L. Purpose is me, S.O.U.L. Purpose is you, S.O.U.L. Purpose is us!

March 24, 2008

Epic Record's Noel Gourdin Delivers 'River'

(WM, Streaming, 96k, Audio)
(QT, Streaming, 96k, Audio)


“Both my grandparents lived in Mississippi about 3 hours from Biloxi and I spent every summer with them, so I really soaked up that atmosphere and history. My grandfather had just died and I was really thinking about him, and in the Deep South the river represents something spiritual. The song means a lot because it’s so close to home.”

A gritty, working class city outside of Boston, Brockton is best known as where legendary fighters the late Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler grew up. Unlike Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans or Philly, Brockton doesn’t spring to mind when name checking soul music’s breeding grounds. Yet it’s there that 24 year-old Noel Gourdin first fell under R&B’s spell and his hometown’s tenacity is the force behind his stunning Sony Urban Music/Epic Records debut.

Blessed with roughhewn, down-home vocals that hark back to when rhythm and blues repped for both those components, influences ranging from hip-hop to gospel and songs that are nakedly emotional and truthful, Noel Gourdin states his case on his refreshingly heartfelt debut CD. Featuring production from Kay Gee (Jaheim/Zhan√©), Raphael Saadiq (D’Angelo/Angie Stone), Mike City (Brandy/Sunshine Anderson), Dre & Vidal (Jill Scott), Butta (Usher), Eddie F (Heavy D), RLES and Trackaddix, Noel’s debut release is soul at its best. Speaking to the vibe he offers, Noel divulges, “It’s about the emotions of the average man. My intention is putting my feelings on the track and leaving everything I've got in the recording booth. I want people to think; this is a man that you can feel. That you can slow dance with, have a drink with and cry with. It’s real music that affects your life.”

That’s apparent on the richly moving “The River.” Produced by Kay Gee, “The River” conjures up vivid images of family, faith, tradition and the journey towards becoming your own man. “I had a track, and Noel and his co-writer [Balewa] said they wanted something that sounded like an old-styled ballad,” recalls Kay Gee of their seamless creative process. “I said, `Well, I have the perfect beat for you.’ So, I gave them the beat and they were like, `Alright…bet.’ Before I knew it, they had written `The River,’ which is a great record. A lot of people are scared to do one of those kinds of songs right now, so I think they took a chance and came up with something great.” “We wanted to make a modern-day Negro spiritual,” concludes Noel, of the song’s inspiration. “Both my grandparents lived in Mississippi about 3 hours from Biloxi and I spent every summer with them, so I really soaked up that atmosphere and history. My grandfather had just died and I was really thinking about him, and in the Deep South the river represents something spiritual. The song means a lot because it’s so close to home.”

Emotions also guide the jazzy “Hurts Like Hell”, produced by Trackaddix. “That’s a real pride record. He still loves her but it’s not working out. A lot of fellows wont admit it, but after they’ve broken up they say, `She’s not gonna see me crying.’ That’s real.” So too is the sultry “Summertime,” produced by Dre & Vidal. Featuring lines like “Just cause it’s cold outside/let’s make it summertime,” this is a soft and wet ode that Noel calls “just crazy. In some ways the vibe reminds me of `Let’s Get It On.’” There’s also a hint of a more contemporary singer – namely, D’Angelo -- and Noel acknowledges the influence. “I hear the comparison; our voices are similar but you can tell us apart. I get inspiration from a lot of artists: Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke. There’s also a real big Prince undertone. I just filter it all through my own way of seeing things and hopefully come up with something hot.” Hot also describes the up-tempo “Clap 4 That,” produced by Butta. “That’s a `have fun party record’ that I loved doing it.”

The youngest of three kids, Noel grew up singing in church and fully absorbed his father’s classic soul and older brother’s New Jack Swing records. From Otis Redding and the Chi-Lites to Teddy Riley and Jodeci, Noel loved it all, so much so that in middle school he had begun to write his own songs, drawing from what he’d heard coming up. “Listening to so much music from so many different eras really helped me put my style together.”

By high school, Noel was performing in local talent shows, parties and events sponsored by the city. “We’d always keep it true, trying to put it down for the home town,” he fondly recalls. “It was a pleasure performing in Brockton. I did shows for the Boys and Girls Club to help keep the kids motivated.” It was also while in school that Noel hooked up with a local producer, who sensing his talent took Noel to a small studio. While the recording facilities might have been modest, the pay off was enormous as Noel recalls: “I had somewhere to get the music off my chest and after a year I had a bunch of tracks together, doing all the music and writing all the lyrics.”

Following graduation, Noel focused even more on music and further strengthened his commitment to his community by working at a local group home for battered kids. “It was a passion of mine, being able to affect a kid’s life and trying to be a positive role model.” By 2002, Noel and Stalin Entertainment owner Larry “Lucky” Fernandes had built their business relationship and sealed their artist management deal with a handshake. After a year of writing and producing new songs -- following a club date in Providence, RI -- Lucky introduced the Noel project to producer/artist Tommy Olivera, who, with songwriter Balewa Muhammad, now make up Noel’s production team. Tommy also had a wide range of industry contacts, among them former Naughty By Nature DJ / producer Kay Gee, who is best known for his production work for Jaheim, Zhan√© and Next. Within no time, Noel was working with Kay Gee at his New Jersey studio. In 2004, Kay Gee asked him to contribute a song to The Cook Out soundtrack; Noel cut “Family Reunion,” which by his own admission signaled a new musical direction. “Working with everyone had really opened up my horizons and I started looking at concepts and listening to music in a different way. I wanted to come up with something that wasn't out there.” With that in mind, Noel kept writing and amassed close to an album’s worth of material, which he and his team sent out to taste-makers in the music industry. He also met with label executives, which resulted in an introduction to Sony Urban Music’s V.P. of A&R, Chad Elliott in June 2005. Armed with a slew of tracks, including early versions of “Hurts Like Hell” and “The River,” Noel caught Elliot’s ear and by the end of the summer a showcase was set up for the young singer/songwriter. By the fall of that year, Noel was offered a record deal. “Getting signed was unbelievable. I’m very family oriented, so to be able to make them proud meant everything to me. Plus, I think my deal showed other Brockton musicians that it’s not just a pipe dream.”

That dedication comes through on Noel’s emotionally-stirring debut CD, something his seasoned producers recognized early on and played up. “I know a lot of people say this, but I think he’s just a breath of fresh air [right now],” explains Kay Gee. “I think the fact that we haven’t heard singers like him in a while, mixed with the sound of his falsetto, lets us know that there’s something missing in the music industry right now. I think there’s a lane open for his sound.” Raphael Saadiq wholeheartedly agrees, adding, “Noel’s a young soul who can sing in all kinds of different areas. He’s from Mississippi but lives out in Boston, so he’s bringing a certain flavor from both places. His style is really soulful. He’s very competitive and cool, but also has that energy that you need out there in the urban world.” Asked to describe his soulful collection and Noel straightforwardly replies, “It’s emotional and vulnerable, but still strong and secure. More than anything, I wanted to make music that was real, relatable…and timeless.”

Noel Gourdin
Debut album coming Summer '08

Artist Of The Week - Katelyn Rose

Hailing from northern New Jersey, Katelyn Rose's voice has landed her on stages everywhere from NYC to LA, including at such well known spots as Whiskey a Go Go, The Bitter End and The Bowery Poetry Club. Currently Rose is working on a number of projects she hopes to have ready for spring, including an eponymous EP and a one woman burlesque musical, the latter she is keeping under wraps for now. Rose has also been known to pen an article or two, which is why when I sat down with her this week we discussed not just her musical career, but whether or not she keeps that musical career separate from her journalistic endeavors. [Click-Here] to read interview.

Q&A With Scott Egbert

First off. Who in the hell is this Scott Egbert character anyway? Egbert. What's yah lineage pal? I'm pretty much on the typical Euro-Mutt tip best I can tell. Irish, Scottish type of thing. I do, however, have a friend that is related to a pope. Swear.

So why be involved with music? The behind the scenes thing is not always so enjoyable. Did you always want to do what you're doing now? From a young age .. maybe 10 .. I felt like there was more to music than what was coming out of the radio. It's hard to explain but I just threw myself into it - took piano lessons, learned guitar and some other instruments .. and just listened to records like a fiend. Learned to play, wrote songs .. played in bands, managed , booked, owned a venue, had a little label .. pretty much have done a little of everything ..

I have a friend (who smokes Marlboro Red - see below) and I remember him telling me that he was somewhat envious that at such a young age I "knew what I wanted to do". He was right except for the horrendous perils, hips and valleys that accompany any career in music - or entertainment at large. Like DUH .. who doesn't want to be a tennis player or pro Golfer? But it's f*****' impossible!!!

Dude, are you ever gonna quit with the smokin? What brand do you deal with? Did you start as a young punk that thought it made you look cool? What's the back story man? Surely a few of your laundered dollars have helped fund and expedite at least the re-tiling of the bumper room at one of Philip Morris' Malibu beach properties. I know man, smoking is gonna get me one way or the other. As you can imagine, I look cool even when I don't smoke! But I started out nickin' a few of my mom's Vantage when I was a kid - then graduated to my current wonderful brand - Marlboro Lights.

I grew up in f***** Winston Salem, NC man ... my high school was called RJ Reynolds .. yet my boys and I smoked Marlboro Lights ..

What's your take on this 2008 election? What do you know about super delegates and their 'alleged' super powers? I'm going to say this to you in an effort to mask my party affiliation. I really follow politics like an animal. And I want use frank and candid language - in a country as blessed as the USA - superior worldwide in SO man areas - despite our well-publicized blemishes - It seems incredible and pathetic to me that these THREE present candidates that will be force fed to us are he best we can put on the field out of a population pushing 300 million people. On the other hand who would WANT the job?

On a date with a fair maiden, do you: A. Do it 'dutch style'?. B. Go for broke and dazzle the damsel? C. Go to the shi shi restaurant notice you've forgotten your 'bleepin' wallet suddenly when the check comes and er uh, make an exit through the kitchen? Well I've tried all of those things except ditchin' through the kitchen .. why the f*** would you try to go out through the kitchen man?? Too many humps back there and someone is bound to yell " Hey stop that guy!!!". Then you're done! I'm never going on a date with you.

Are you a gambling man Scotty? What's the most you've ever lost over a card game, horse race, dog fight or talon for talon rooster brawl? It's cool, we won't Mike Vick yah. Promise. I bet a little football. Play pool often for modest gentleman's wagers and play some online poker. Pool is the king of parlor games for me sir.

What would you say the best venue in the states is sound wise. What's the worst? Strangely one of the best - at least in the league that matters most to me - was CBGB's. Small and filthy as it was, it was hard to sound bad in there. Metro in Chicago, not to mention the Viper Room in LA are strong as well.

Do you think the 800 pound gorilla in the room sees *Harvey as well? Not only does he see him but, inexplicably, in my dream at least, he is altering the dude's pants. You know .. like making marks on them with that weird chalk that I don't think is regular chalk ...


Dizzee Rascal ft. Bun B - Where da G's @ SXSW

March 22, 2008

The Youth Speak...

An Illinois boy was taken into custody after he threw a rock through the window of a bus rapper Soulja Boy was riding in. Bloomington officers arrested the 12 year old following a concert at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum; according to WJBC, when asked what his motivation was for tossing the stone, the young man replied: "I hate Soulja Boy."


March 21, 2008

Big Boi + Raekwon + Andre 3000 = Ridiculously Awesome

If you haven't heard Big Boi, Raekwon and 3000 on the Royal Flush track off the forth coming Big Boi album then you're definitely asleep. Get with the program. Get up to speed, you need this in your life...!

March 20, 2008

The Music Biz and The Moral High Ground

Word Up...

Dizzee Rascal - "Where Da G's"

March 19, 2008

Free Album: Subterranea I (Independent Hip Hop Mixtape)

Click album cover for download.

What is Subterranea?

Subterranea is a bi-monthly indie hip hop mixtape showcasing a host of singles you may have missed. Enjoy a balanced mixture of great music from popular artists along with some tracks somehow escaped the radar.

From neck breaking beats to jazzy samples. Abstract and weird to the sexy and smooth, this Subterranea series covers an assortment of indie hiphop styles from around the world.

March 18, 2008

Small Town f Masta Ace

Foul Mouth Jerk's fourth full-length LP, Streetlight Music, is an homage to the earliest days of Hip-Hop, when jams were thrown in the park and electricity was boosted to power the turntables, amps and equipment. The content of the LP is both a throwback to the days when originality was king and a push towards new styles and developments; which is reflected by the inclusion of rap legends Masta Ace, Murs of Living Legends, El Da Sensai of The Artifacts and one of Hip-Hop’s original godfathers Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers; its blue collar Hip-Hop for blue collar fans laced with intelligence and FMJ’s sharp cynical wit. Foul Mouth Jerk is also a member of the Hip-Hop Funk collective GFE.

Foul Mouth Jerk's Streetlight Music will be released on 4-22-08 and here is a track from that LP, "Small Town USA," featuring Masta Ace.

Black Culture f Wise Intelligent and Doodle Bug

In early 2006 Truth approached Paris with his work-in-progress debut album project and impressed Paris so much he quickly became a member Paris’ Guerrilla Funk family (Truth’s sophomore LP, Decolonization, is slated to be released in October 2008 on Paris’ Guerilla Funk label). Fully embodying Truth Universal's social and political awareness, Self Determination, is a tour de force which showcases his DIY attitude and his West Indian and New Orleans backgrounds. Self Determination encourages dialogue on topics that trouble communities of color across the planet. Truth touches on self-hatred, the struggle New Orleans residents to attain the right to return to their homes “post Katrina, “culture theft, policies of “the George Bush regime,” the Prison systems inequities and big business mentality.

Even with such serious topic matters being addressed, Truth always keeps his eyes on the prize with Self Determination and delivers his insightful and informative verses in an entertaining (edutainment) fashion and that is verified by collaborations with Wise Intelligent (formerly of Poor Righteous Teachers), Digable Planet’s Doodlebug and Dead Prez’s Stic.Man. Further, Truth enlists a top-notch assortment of producers as well; including Panik from The Molemen, S1 of Strange Fruit (S1 has previously worked with Little Brother and Erykah Badu), Nick Tha 1da (who works with Raheem Devaughn) and Bass Heavy who has worked with BG, Soulja Slim and is an in-house producer @ Mannie Fresh’ Fatboy Records.

Truth Universal’s debut, Self Determination, will be released on 4-8-08 by Dragon’s Breath Records and included is a link to DL a track from his debut, "Black Culture" f/Wise Intelligent and Digable Planet's Doodlebug--the track is produced by Panik from The Moleman.

The Roots ft Mos Def & Styles P - Rising Down (Hum Drum)

Hello hello hello hello…

Every anywhere heights plains peaks or valleys
Entrances exits vestibules and alleys
Winding roads that test the firm nerve
fortune or fatal behind the blind curve
The engine oil purr lights flash to a blur
speed work through the earth make your motor go scurrr
tonight at noon watch a bad moon rising
identities in crisis and conflict diamonds
blindin staring at lights till they cryin
bone gristle popping from continuous grindin
grapes of wrath in a shapely glass
ingredients influential on your ways and acts
zero tolerance to raise the tax
it don't matter how your gates is latched
you aint safe from the danger jack
made it way before they made the map
or a GPS this is DEF leader

I know where I'm goin even when its dark and being led down that road
Hello hello hello hello…
you don't see that somethings wrong earth's spinnin outta control
Hello hello hello hello…
Everything's for sale even souls someone get God on the phone
Hello hello hello hello…
Northside nigga Southside
Hello hello hello hello…
shits poppin off Worldwide
Hello hello hello hello…

Between the greenhouse gases and earth spinnin off its axis
got mother nature doin back flips the natural disasters
its like 80 degrees in Alaska you in trouble if u not an Onasis
it aint hard to tell that the conditions is drastic
just turn on the telly check for the news flashin
how you want it bagged paper or plastic
lost in translation or just lost in traffic
yo I dont wanna floss I done lost my passion
and I ant trying to climb yo i lost my traction
they makin me break my contents under pressure
do not shake I'm workin while the boss relaxin
here come Mr. tax man he leavin a fraction give me back some
matter fact next pay check it's like that son
I'll fuck around and have to hurt a few men
They probably chalk it up as a disturbing new trend hello

I know where I'm goin even when its dark and being led down that road
Hello hello hello hello…
you don't see that somethings wrong earth's spinnin outta control
Hello hello hello hello…
Everything's for sale even souls someone get God on the phone
Hello hello hello hello…
Northside nigga Southside
Hello hello hello hello…
shits poppin off Worldwide
Hello hello hello hello…

Should I say hello or should I say that hell is low
And my nigga are niggero I'm an African American
They sell drugs in the hood but the man he move the medicine
He'll prescribe you Augmen for everything
a little stuffy nose tell you get some Claritin
you know I'm hip to it and its hard to claim the land
when my great great great grands were shipped to it
look at technology they call it downloading
I call it downsizing somebody follow me
Does a computer chip have an astrology
And when it fuck up could it give you an apology
Could it
Should it say hello or should it say goodbye
Try to understand how smart and how hood am I, It don't matter though
until we learn that the world don't turn right ,we all oughta the scatter though

I know where I'm goin even when its dark and being led down that road
Hello hello hello hello…
you don't see that somethings wrong earth's spinnin outta control
Hello hello hello hello…
Everything's for sale even souls someone get God on the phone
Hello hello hello hello…
Northside nigga Southside
Hello hello hello hello…
shits poppin off Worldwide
Hello hello hello hello…

March 17, 2008

Hip Hop Subway Series Returns

Hip Hop Jam seesion and open mic on the 6 train

9th Wonder And Buckshot Go All Out Feat Charlie Murphy

Q&A With Jason Gloss of Philaflava

1. What made you decide to launch Philaflava? How long has it been up and how much time do you actually spend maintaining it? I launched Philaflava back in '01 as a promotional tool for our then radio show. Believe it or not, I spend quite a few hours a day maintaining the site. I probably spend more time than I need to but like many others it helps me get through the day, so I really don't mind.

2. What is the future of Philaflava? Will you expand the site anymore beyond what you already have going on, sponsor some shows to further brand the company or anything to that effect. I never really know the future because this music game is constantly changing. Besides having more content such as reviews and interviews, we are going to look into possibly having a yearly event in South Florida. Right now we are sponsoring a few shows. We also linked up with Guerilla Union to do Rock The Bells and Paid Dues so hopefully more of that.

I try and stay in my lane when it comes to that whole hip-hop site thing. There are a few really good sites (most being blogs), but out of the thousands of hip-hop sites out there just a handful deserved being bookmarked. Getting caught up in creating another MySpace isn't my plan, because I'm more focused on constant interaction between fans, rappers and whoever frequents Philaflava. It's more of a one-stop shop so as far as expanding, we'll probably continue to expand but mainly in our memberships.

3. How much of your opinion of an artist determines ultimately who is featured on your site considering you probably get a lotta of pitches for various artist from PR agencies quite frequently. Philaflava is one big cynical feast if you haven't already noticed. We hate everything and love very little, but it's refreshing for a lot of folks because people realize there is very little sugar coating going on. Without sounding bias I feel the site is home to some of the most informative, educated and entertaining people you'll find in hip-hop. My opinion probably doesn't mean much because there are many people on the site that probably subscribe to the same theories. I do make a conscious effort to get behind any project that I feel isn't getting its due. I have worked with many artists or labels in getting them more established on the site.

Jim Jonsin, producer for the stars and manager of B.O.B. wanted us to help hip people his next single with the help of the folks on Philaflava, so things like that do happen from time to time.

4. Do you feel that what you do providing a resource of info on artists and music as well as a forum for regular ol folks and artists alike to communicate online important and serves a purpose beyond just being another hiphop spot. Or is it just something you happen to do and you leave it as that? The site is growing rapidly but I can't take the credit, I'd like to but I can't. Philaflava is only as good as its members. As I said we're really are a one-stop shop. There is very little need to frequent many sites for the latest news because we have it. The latest leak, we got it. The discussions on the Golden Era, sports, the latest Portishead album or about the series finale of The Wire, we got it. We have something for everyone. Biko for politics. We got "CYE" which is an amazing forum dedicated to TV and movies. Elextric Relaxation for gaming. I sound like an info-mercial but we truly have something for everyone so yeah, I think we're providing a little more than a resource.

5. What was the last live show that you attended of any genre?
I think it was Rock The Bells with Nas & Wu-Tang. Great show. Before that was Billy Joel which was probably my favorite all-time.

6. What music do you currently have in rotation? What is your favorite hiphop album? What is your favorite non-hiphop album. Currently I'm listening to Portishead's "Third" on repeat for the past week. The "Thriller" re-release and Ras Kass' Soul On Ice. My favorite album is probably Midnight Mauraders by ATCQ. My favorite non-hiphop album is probably Appetite for Destruction" by GNR or Miles' "Kind of Blue."

7. Would you wrestle The Big Show for 20 million? Is that what Floyd Mayweather is getting? I haven't really followed wrestling in years but I'd probably wrestle just about anyone for 20 million, because after all wrestling is fake.

Artist Of The Week - Absent Minded

Raised in a military family, by the age of 19 Absent Minded had already lived in 15 different cities in his home country of Canada. Since '97 things have been a little less hectic as he's been living between Toronto and Barrie (a city 45 minutes north of Toronto), following his musical goals. In 2006, after five years of recording and shopping demos, Absent Minded finally decided to live the D.I.Y. lifestyle and released his self-produced debut album, Master Plan, on his own independent record label, LOD Development. The album gave him a nice buzz in the underground and this week I caught up with him to find out his work, what the Hip-Hop scene in Canada is like and where he hopes to take it next. [Click Here]for full interview...

March 14, 2008

Q&A With Bear Frazer

So Mr. Bear. Er Uh Mr. Frazer. How long have you been writing? When’d you realize that writing was what you wanted to do as a career? When I re-located back to Long Island, New York, I was seventh grade and my uncle was a big fan of Jennifer Aniston. She was on the cover of an issue of Rolling Stone, so of course, I looked at her layout and loved it. But then, I actually read the magazine because I’ve always been deeply connected to music and really enjoyed the articles. Then I read Rolling Stone, Billboard, Metal-Edge, Guitar World, The Source and publications like that whenever I was in a Barnes & Noble. So one day, my friend came by my house with Limp Bizkit on the cover of Spin Magazine and they were my favorite band – still one of my all time favorites. I think it was the March 1998 issue. But anyways, I read it and thought maybe I could one day do this. You know, write features on my favorite artists and be the editor of a great publication like Spin. Plus, I saw Gideon Yago from MTV score a few articles in those magazines and thought his articles were weak. So I thought, “If he can be on MTV and write for these magazines, then I could too.” Yep, I wanted to (and still want to) be on MTV as a VJ.

Anyways, one of my closest friends, John Morrison, thought I could be good because I always told him my thoughts on certain albums and everything. So he dragged me to a school magazine meeting, introduced me to the professor and I received an assignment: a review on Everclear’s album So Much For The Afterglow. Evidently, the professor was impressed and I wrote all throughout high school. Went to college in North Carolina and after turning in my first four assignments as a freshman, became the Entertainment Editor and by sophomore year, was the Editor-In-Chief. Kept working hard and when I sent resumes out in the winter of 2004 to intern at magazines, I was being considered by The Source and Spin. I was real excited because these were two top publications in the music world. Needless to say, Spin decided to pass on me and that bothered me a little bit at the time because that was the magazine that truly birthed my journalism dream. Fortunately, The Source offered me an editorial intern slot and it launched my career. Reflecting back, it couldn’t have worked out better.

What’s happening with 101 Distribution? Who are some of the more popular artists you guys deal with? 101 Distribution ( is finally starting to take off. We’re a distribution company that is now doubling as an online publication, and we’re looking to really establish a brand. But as everything with life, it’s all about time and while it’s always good to think ahead, my main focus right now is to establish it as a primary online destination for everyone check out our artists, our news and our features. We just launched the newsletter that comes out weekly, which is jam packed with information regarding certain album and DVD releases, as well as news from around the industry, artists to watch from our growing roster and participation in exclusive contests.

The site is coming together and although we haven’t really made a big effort to promote it just yet, there have been a lot of people within the industry checking us out – which blows my mind. I’m not entirely surprised though because we do have some popular released in our catalog from Chamillionaire, 50 Cent, DJ Drama, The Game, Avenged Sevenfold, Sublime, Nirvana, The Pixies and plenty more. Plus, what really gets me excited is that we offer distribution to anyone. That’s right. While we have big dagws supporting us, we offer anyone the chance to link up with us. It doesn’t matter who it is – Christina Aguilera or that janitor sweeping the floors in Grand Central Station – if any artist within any genre has an album they want to release, we give them the chance to, and unlike some other distributors or major labels, we give our people a sizable cut of the money. It’s like we work for them. Everyone saying the industry is in a state of turmoil right now … well I say wait because within the next year or so, we will make a dent.

I know you handle a lot of business with Fight Magazine covering the massively violent stylings of Mixed Martial Arts, UFC, Gage fighting etc... What’s your take on (mind you I’m not making any comparisons within these forms of entertainment, the main similarity is fighting though however interpreted) Floyd Mayweather’s decision to get involved with the WWE ? Seriously man, what the heck is happening right now?
Well in our day and age, most people know that outcomes and results in any wrestling organization is pre-planned. But as a lifelong wrestling fan, it’s still an art and a business I respect and love. That being said, I was very hesitant to hear Mayweather getting involved in a major storyline culminating at Wrestlemania. But with how things have played out, the WWE has received a lot more press and I think it re-captured a lot of the glitz and glamor it lost during the tragedy involving Chris Benoit. The Mayweather-Big Show fight is receiving a lot of press and a lot more urban celebrities are coming out of the woodwork to get involved. Say what you want, but I think it’s a good move for Vince McMahon and the WWE. I’m hoping that Mayweather isn’t really receiving 20 million bucks thought and I’m hoping the Big Show doesn’t lose to a brash, scrawny megalomaniac like Mayweather. Wrestling outcome may be pre-determined and fantasy, but I’m not stupid. There should be some realism to it. Realistically, there is no way Big Show would ever lose to Mayweather, so if Mayweather is scripted to win that match, then I think WWE will have made a very bad mistake.

When’s the last time you spoke to Mike Jones? Have any idea what he's up to right now? I mean like right now as you're answering this question. The last time I spoke to Mike Jones as probably a few months ago, but I could barely understand what he was saying. He was all like “Mike Jones this” and “Mike Jones that.” So right now, I’d say Mike Jones probably getting laid somewhere screaming his own name.

What has been your most enjoyable experience interacting with an artist? What has been your worst? I’ve been really fortunate to have so many enjoyable interviews, but ones that stick out the most would have to be talking to Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, Chingo Bling and Cassie Ford of the Vincent Black Shadow. Whenever you first start pursing journalism and interview artists, I think most folks have to be a bit nervous. Fortunately by the time I interviewed these three, I had two years of interviewing artists under my belt and was able to treat these more as conversations. With these three artists in particular, they were witty, funny and we joked around during half the interview. I was always a huge fan of Linkin Park even before they release Hyrbid Theory, so talk to Chester was awesome. He was particularly upset the label didn’t send me an advance of their latest album Minutes To Midnight. With Chingo Bling, it was like talking to a friend in high school and in regards to Cassie Ford … let’s just say I could definitely fall for a girl like her.

The worst experience, however, could very well be Kevin Federline. He hung up on me within two minutes. What a rude little cracker. E-40 was also a bit short on the phone too, but I’ll let that slide. He was probably concentrating more on ghost ridin’ some whip.†

Any advice for aspiring writers and journalists that want to take on this media game? Really, the most important thing any aspiring journalist can do is maintain a positive outlook and listen to the veterans. There are a lot of saucy folks in this industry, so find an editor or someone in the game, and latch onto them. Make them your mentor and pick their brain whenever you get the chance. Also, get your face out there as much as possible and don’t tunnel yourself to writing in one particular genre. Write for as many different publications you can so that way, you can grow as a writer and further establish your network. Like with anything, there is a lot of discouragement, but as long as you have talent and a strong support system, you can get by.

Why exactly Bear, is the sky blue? I’m not tossin any accusations in your direction, but er uh, you have anything to do with it man? I’m not going to lie. I would try to take credit for something that magnificent, but the fact of the matter is I had nothing to do with it. It was all Mike Jones doing. Well, that’s what he told me, at least.

March 13, 2008

Breez Evahflowin' & Dirt E. Dutch: Don't Be Afraid.

Breez Evahflowin' & Dirt E. Dutch are Troublemakers: Don't Be Afraid.

"Don't Be Afraid" is the lead single of the collaborative album "Troublemakers" by Stronghold crew member Breez Evahflowin' and the Indiefeed Podcast host and hip hop producer Dirt E. Dutch.

This video was directed and produced by Arjen Noordeman of Elasticbrand, llc of Brooklyn and shot by Steve Dassas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

March 12, 2008

Defuse News Podcast 2/29/08

Hiphop Association's Very 1st Podcast...

Q&A With Stat of Frequency Activism

How do you go about selecting tracks to write to and once you've found something you dig, describe your process for creating a song? I know quite a few people who make beats, some locally but a lot over the internet, cats from all over North America and Europe who maybe don't have access to local emcees that they feel. As a result, I either get sent a lot of beats or come across stuff because they are looking for feedback. I usually know immediately when I hear a beat that I want to write to it, and the first couple lines write themselves. From there, I look to see where the song can go. Sometimes I'll have something that I want to write about, if theres a chorus or cuts on the track already, I'll try to play off that, and whatever the name of the beat is might lead me down a particular path. I try to knock out all 3 verses or whatever at once, otherwise I feel like various verses don't mesh well.

Do you have many influences? If so, name a few and explain how they influence your work. I try to draw from a large variety of sources, many genres of music as well as non-musical sources. I can't deny the effect of political groups like PE and the Coup have had on me, and that often shows up in my subject matter. I've ripped Bob Dylan off a couple of times, one song I did starts each verse with a line from "Subterranean Homesick Blues", another is me trying to recreate "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream." I also draw a lot of influence from people around me, people I'm working with like Hired Gun, seeing how they do what they do and why they do it makes it easy to transfer some of those ideas to my craft.

In fifty years what do you want be able to say you have contributed to the art form? What are you doing now to tattoo the art with your mark as an individual? I'm just trying to make good music for today, talk about topics that are relevant to people's lives now. Good music will still be good music, even though tastes will change. I'll leave the avant garde to people that are more talented then me. Not to say that I'm not trying to do something new or original, I'm always trying to grow. But I get the feeling that there are people out there who are better at coming up with those big ideas, and I'd just get frustrated trying to outdo them, its a lot more fun to just be amazed by what they are doing and maybe follow their lead.

Do ever think about flat out quitting? If you ever have those moments how do you reverse the feeling and push forward? It happens, though not so often. Music is a big part of my life, but its not the only thing going on. When I get frustrated, I just focus on something else until I am motivated to get back to it again. That way, its always fresh and fun, and that comes through in the end product I hope.

Do you freestyle? Do ever have a hard time memorizing material? How do you get it all into your head? Freestyling is a standard at Frequency Activism shows. I just try to fill in the gaps with Gun. He's better than me, but I don't usually embarrass myself. Memorizing material has never been a problem, my verses, your verses, whatever. It's in there, not sure how it got there. I can pick stuff up after a few listens. No complaints.

Were you a good kid growing up that needed little discipline or were you constantly into something? I didn't get into too much trouble. Mostly I lived vicariously through friends and learned from their mistakes. Maybe I could have benefited from some more discipline, but I got through. I would have perfect attendance and still barely pass my classes in high school. I didn't quite follow the rules, but I never broke them enough to do any lasting damage.

What was the last book that you read? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not? Well, it was either A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole or Computational Statistics by Hoeting and Givens. The former was for pleasure, the latter because I'm teaching out of it. They're both excellent, though for different reasons, and I think I'll play it safe and only recommend the first one. The author went on to commit suicide long before the book was published, and the main character happens to spend a lot of time writing and doesn't fit into society. You get a sense that its very personal. I skipped the forward where the circumstances surrounding the author was disclosed, and was half way through before the person who loaned it to me told me about it. It really tied things together for me. The ability to be so introspective and honest with ones self is something I strive to do in my music.

March 11, 2008

Looks Like Kiew Nikon Is Taking Over Free Hiphop Now This Week!

Now this is what you talk about. Promotion on the next level using the webs many free resources. Not long after we posted our Q & A with the talented Mr. Kiew did this madman upload an Adult Swimesque video to Youtube to create awareness for the post about him...! Attention artists! You Gottah Get On Mr. Kiew's Level!

By the way, if you were wondering about that music in the background during the promo. It's an instrumental from the album, 'Vinyl Destination' called 'Distinct'. Check it out here...

March 10, 2008

Q&A With Kiew Nikon

Kiew Nikon. How'd you come up with that name? Does it have any special meaning? Kiew Nikon huh?...Lol... I started out with the name A20Q which stood for Another 20 Questions, then I quickly realized I got sick of explaining what the name means so... I changed the name to Qwest..before the phone company existed !! Then I finally decided to shorten the name to Q. Then I started to figure out that there is D.J Q-Bert, Q-Tip, I wrote the name Q phonetically to Kiew. But that was not enough so I was kicking around the idea of having a last name with Kiew. I was watching the movie Hackers one day and the only black guy in the movie his name was Lord Nikon. I thought that was so fresh so I put the two together and created Kiew Nikon. Now the meaning is funny... the letter Q is not used that much and everyone knows Nikon for the camera.. so I am the "unused eyes".

How'd you get involved with Slumphard Productions? What's the plan for getting this music you're making to the masses? It is a funny story...first of all I WAS working with a guy (you know who you are..I wont even waste my typing powers to write his name) and Slumphard came to the town and were looking for him since he has an album and has wanted to get out for a while but is a bit too lazy for his own good. They asked him about me... and he told them I would not be interested. (Are you serious?) So... after him hiding info and getting a show worked out with Motionman through Slumphard he was hiding tidbits of delicate information against both parties they called me trying to find out why I am not doing the show. I told them I did not know anything about it and they put me on the set. They advised me that they wanted to work with me really bad but "whatshisface" told them I did not want to. Next thing you know... they sign me for a distribution deal. That is that. So my plan is to get the marketing out there and focus on outside of the United States. I have "YouTube" video commercials out there and websites, etc.. but one of my favorite things is to market face to face if possible. That is why I love shows. You get to be exposed to all types of people and you never know who you will get to meet and possibly collaborate with.

What would you say is the greatest source of fuel for your vocal creations? Do you produce as well? At first I would say my daughter Ani'jah but, when I think about it.. it comes from everyday life. I did not just wake up one day and say "Hey... I think I am going to rap." I have been around music my whole life and a lot of my family are either musicians or artists in one shape or another. I have been exposed to so much and if you listen to the lyrics you tend to notice the underlying theme of how human beings are toward each other in society. We spend so much time worried about somebody beating us to the "end of the rainbow" that we forget that we need each other. The second question answer will attest to that. The group of people I keep around me are very tight knit and we work together for the greater good... kind of like superheroes but our powers are being witty. I guess being Jamaican (West Indian) is a plus too, natural rhythm...seen?

Production....? LOL Of course!! I usually produce my own beats for albums... about 70% of the album is created in my head and on paper first. I usually go about creating the theme and the mood and that dictates the album itself. Sometimes I just fall into a good idea. The new one coming is called UDONCAHMENOMAH (you don't call me no more). It is named that since the producer Clint Partie (note: shameless plug--check him out on MySpace.) disappeared after making me the beats. I added to the beats and whala!! the next one called "God Burned U" I am producing five out of the eleven songs so this will be a good run. I would rather be making beats for others as well as me but I am kind of a homebody.

How receptive of an audience do you have in the region of the country you're located in? Portland, Oregon??? Hmmm... it is wack here.. mostly because you will have each person who is a good artist out here hate on the next man for trying to come up... kind of like crabs in a pot. But that is everywhere you say??? NO... super different here. I lived in Sacramento, CA. and the vibe out there was fresh.. people hated but the accepted the fact that we need each other to come up and get recognition as a unit. But in the region?? Yes I get love most people compare me to Aesop Rock and Saafir mixture. (Street Smart) I guess I have fans but I try to stay humble and keep in the same realm as the people that listen to my music. A simple man with a kid trying to have fun and meet new folks.

Thus far, what has been the most rewarding experience you've had directly related to your involvement in music? It is a mixture of things... the people I get to meet, the TRAVEL, the opportunities to make art for others albums... (I will elaborate in a sec). I have gotten to work with folks from Del, Prince Po from Organized Konfusion (If you don't know who they are then you need a head check), Living Legends, Blacksilver, and lots of others. These are cats that I know are "real people" not some character unless they are on stage. Its like... they can take the superhero suit off and still be great as people y'know? So I guess the relationships built over time and having true friends around you. In this day and age you never know who to trust anymore.

How long do you think you'll continue to rhyme? Is there anything else in music that you do or intend on doing during your career? You have no idea how many times I have tried to stop but its like a creature in me that needs to release every once in a while. I don't think I have control anymore. For real!! I am also a multimedia designer and have done work for Adidas , Nike, skate companies and various clothing companies so I would keep that up. I really want to make movies, or voice act.. then write the score for them. I want to keep painting and drawing and making movies, etc. I am involved in every part of this culture.. and I don't have a choice in the matter.

Name 5 of your favorite non-hiphop albums.
Non hip hop albums huh? That's easy.. 1. Love, Sex, and the Zodiac (Jazz Album), 2. Mezzanine (Massive Attack), 3. Peepins Tom (Mike Patton- which I would love to work with), 4. Lover's Rock (Sade), and last but not least 5. High Water (Jazz Album)

"B4 Digital - Kiew Nikon" length: 01:52
Kiew_Nikon.jpg Stream HIFI B4 Digital - Kiew Nikon play HiFi (mp3)

Check'em out!

kiew nikon

Artist Of The Week - Levi Weaver

After a childhood of listening to country crooners Levi Weaver was introduced to something a little different early in his teenage years, the music of Weezer. This started a whirlwind of musical discovery for him. Since then Weaver’s traveled the world, heard a lot of artists, and experienced the highs and lows of personal triumph and tragedy. A few months ago he put all of it together on an album of what can be loosely described as electro-acoustic folk, uniquely titled you are never close to home, you are never far from home. When I first heard the album I was blown away and this week I caught up with Weaver to find out more about his very interesting history, his vast musical repertoire, and what body-slamming has to do with great music. Click Here

March 8, 2008

So Where's ?

For those of you subscribers to FHHN Syndicate Blog who are also members of the mailing list and or frequent visitors to the site, don't fret things will be back in order soon. We're working out some kinks. Making the site better. We're also looking for more contributors to help create and distribute great content for you our audience. If you happen to be a writer or feel in some way you have a skill that would be valuble to Freehiphopnow and you'd like to get your hand in the mix please contact us via the email address located in the right panel below. You can even leave a comment here...

Get ready for more FHHN!

March 4, 2008

March 3, 2008

Artist Of The Week - Chase Davis

Being memorable. It’s the one overriding quality an artist must have if they want to be successful. It’s also why I knew I had to feature Chase Davis as an Artist Of The Week after just one listen of his debut album, Chase Davis is Davis ’68. Simply put, he is memorable. The Bridgeport, CT, native opts for a humbler definition of his work on the one minute and thirty four second a capella intro to his album, calling it “an expedition of thought played along with music.” Wanting to find out more I sat down with Chase Davis to discuss his musical background, why 1968 is such an important year to him, and his thoughts on some of the current so-called community leaders. Click Here

March 2, 2008

Free Album Stream: Vinyl Destination

While the method of release for this mostly instrumental album is being figured out, we've been given permission to share this work in the form of one continuous stream of music. We'll keep you updated as to when this entire album will be available for purchase.

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Track List

Sleestaks And Troglodytes
Sumday 2day
A Black Star's Meditation
Plasteek Furtoe
eN Parliament
Bueno Sportsmanship
Game of Death

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