Posts Tagged ‘Senor Kaos’

He once ran a marathon backwards, just so he could see what second place looks like. He can also speak fluent braille and is a part time international relations liaison, a falconeer and an extreme parkour instructor. He Is Señor Kaos, “The Most Interesting MC In The World!”

If you read my exclusive interview with Senor Kaos last month, you already know the Atlanta resident has big ambitions for 2011. The first salvo of his master plan is this New Year’s Day mixtape, The Most Interesting MC In the World. This joint is loaded with guest spots from Jazmine Sullivan, Boog Brown, 4-IZE, Binkis Recs, Homeboy Sandman, and Collective Efforts. On the production side, Kaos retained the services of DJ Shadow, Illastrate, Apollo Brown, 2 Hungry Bros., and many more. Over 20 tracks are featured here for your listening pleasure.

Below are two sample tracks from project: the Apollo Brown-produced “Master Plan Remix,” featuring Boog Brown, and the Collective Efforts featuring “The Dream.” If you’re not up on Senor Kaos, peep the interview, download this tape, and get on point for 2011.

His full-length album, The Kaos Effect, will drop on High Water Music in Summer 2011.

DOWNLOAD LINK 

The Most Interesting MC In The World  Official Track List:
 
01. Real Hip Hop For Real People
02. Kick N A Snare (Produced By 2 Hungry Bros.)
03. No More (Produced By Marcotiks)
04. Jumpoff Remix w/ Jazmine Sullivan (Produced By Waajeed)
05. Till Your Dead (Produced By DJ Eleven)
06. Is It True (Produced By 2 Hungry Bros.)
07. I Got Ya Freestyle
08. Spirit of Jax (Produced By Illastrate / Cuts By DJ Dainja)
09. Everywhere Feat. 4-IZE (Produced By E-Jones)
10. The Very Last Poets Feat. Uncle Shecky
11. Hypnotized (Produced By Applejac)
12. Too Cool Feat. Dillon (Produced By DJ Shakim)
13. Hard To Quit The Rhyme w/ 4-IZE (Produced By Locsmif)
14. Master Plan Remix w/ Boog Brown (Produced By Apollo Brown)
15. God Shines Through 2010
16. Ghost of Christopher Wallace Freestyle
17. When I’m Gone Feat. Amdex (Produced By Amdex)
18. The Dream w/ Collective Efforts
19. Find Me On Twitter Feat. 4-IZE (Produced By Top Cat)
20. Microphone Crushers Feat. 8thw1 & Don Will (Produced By 2 Hungry Bros.)
21. The Machines Feat. Homeboy Sandman & Buff 1 (Produced By D.R.U.G.S.)
22. Checkmate Feat. Binkis Recs, Eddie Meeks, & H20 (Produced By DJ Pocket)
23. Most Interesting Interlude
24. The Real ATL Feat. 4-IZE & Boog Brown (Produced By Lee Bannon)
25. Most Interesting Outro
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Senor Kaos: The Veteran Rookie

Posted: December 3, 2010 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music Interviews
Tags: ,

The old saying is you only get once chance to make a first impression. And that why since launching his career as a teenager in the late 90’s, Senor Kaos has made sure to treat every live performance, guest appearance, and song like it’s the first time everyone is hearing him. Even with over a decade spent perfecting his craft, Kaos is still well under 30, and a best kept secret of sorts once you get out of his regular stomping grounds of Atlanta. That may well change in early 2011. With two “best of” styled albums under his belt, Kaos will finally release his official debut in early 2011 on High Water Music, the home of well-received artists like Homeboy Sandman and Fresh Daily.

Part emcee, media consultant, promoter and entrepreneur, find out why Kaos embodies the hustler spirit most rappers only pay lip service to.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Anybody who goes to Hip-Hop shows in Atlanta is very familiar with you. But for those who aren’t, give a little background on yourself.

Senor Kaos: I got into music at a very young age. My father was a DJ, and my mother a poet. So off the rip, I started dabbling with poetry around 10 or 11. Writing rhymes around 12. How I got into it, being skinny and scrawny, you kinda had to be doing something. Either you danced, you could draw, you rhymed, or you played basketball to be cool. That’s how people left you alone. If you weren’t doing nothing they took your lunch tickets and all that.

I wanted to dance, but I got more into the vocal aspect of it. As a young man I was scared to do it at first, because I placed high importance on the culture and music. I didn’t want to just come out and say I emceed. So I hid it for a few years. I only rhymed for a couple people at school. One day I rhymed for somebody, and they told the big loudmouth dude at school that was willing to challenge anybody. I came and I was mad nervous like “yo, I only do this for fun.”

But I battled this dude and served him. So after that I had props, and it was a great feeling being a teenager. So then it was “maybe I could do something with this.” This is around ’97, and my first project, loose demo came in ’99. At this point I’m 16 with music out. At 17 I’m sneaking into clubs for battles. I’m at Fat Beats, Tapemasters, Earwax, and finding out who’s who on the scene.

Now in 2010, the game has changed like four times. When I first got into it, there wasn’t anything called social media. It used to mean you were balling if you had your own website. There was no YouTube, so people weren’t as inclined to do videos. I’ve learned to adapt since I’m an emerging artist that a lot of people aren’t familiar with yet. Everything I touch, I try to do it like it’s going to be the first time someone is hearing or seeing me.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Let’s touch on the sound of Atlanta, which is constantly evolving…

Initially the sound of Atlanta for me was Hip-Hop. When you had cats like Y’all So Stupid, Goodie, Outkast, and Massinfluence. All these cats were doing their thing in Atlanta when I was 15-16 years old. I looked to them for Atlanta Hip-Hop, and what I was inspired by. When people say now “that doesn’t sound like Atlanta Hip-Hop,” my question is what are you listening to? It depends on what era you were listening to.

It wasn’t until the 2000s when all the crunk and snap stuff started coming out. After that people were like Atlanta had to be crunk, or sound like Lil Jon. After that came and went, then Atlanta had to sound like snap. That disappeared, and now everything is trap and dope boys. I try not to get in any of those trends, because as you can see they come and go. But the only things that have stayed have been artists like Goodie and Outkast. I don’t think they ever said this is southern Hip-Hop. I think it was more “yo, we’re from the South, but this is Hip-Hop.” That’s how I look at it, simple and plain.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: I ran into Waka Flocka at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, and he told me he’d love to work with Nas, and that’s one of his favorite emcees. When you look at that BET event, and something like A3C, there is a clear divide in philosophy. Do you think there can ever be any interaction, or will this line always have to exist in Hip-Hop?

Kaos: Not at all, I definitely think they can merge. Not everybody, but a lot of people got into this to be heard. People want to express themselves, and we have that it common whether you’re super commercial or underground. But people went about it different ways. Some are willing to shift and compromise to be heard, and some aren’t.

People like your Waka Flockas and Guccis, my main 4IZE has a record with Gucci even though they’re on two separate planes. Kweli has a record with Gucci. A lot of times people are like how can that happen? But when you have two cats with a strong work ethic, it can still work. Like Waka Flocka would like to work with Nas, I’d like to jump in another lane and work with cats as well. You can’t keep picking the same fruit from the same tree, and doing the same types of collabs.

That doesn’t mean completely jump in another lane, but it’s always cool to experiment. You never know what you may sound like over a different sound, or with other artists.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: The days of just being an artist are over. You have to be your own manager, publicist, and several other hats. For you, how have you been able to handle the business, and not have it kill your creative side?

Yo, that’s the hardest thing to do, ever! You have some artists who are 100% creative, and they have managers, business advisors and all that. But for me, where the approach is very DIY (Do It yourself) and grassroots, I have to find time to do all that. In a way, it hinders my productivity. I feel like if I didn’t have to handle my own blog, doing all of my own biz, and network, I could get more songs done. I definitely amass a lot of material, but I could have 2-3 albums done instead of finishing one!

But they’re both equally important, so you can’t focus on one over the other. You gotta channel ways to be creative. For me, having that experience, it helps writing rhymes, because you’re going through things you wouldn’t have gone through before. You’re meeting different people, characters, and personalities. That fuels inspiration, and now you have something new to write about.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: The new album, how’s it different from the previous two?

Kaos: Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything and Walk Softly & Carrying a Big Brick were compilation projects. I won’t call them mixtapes because they weren’t mixed. The first one, a lot of those songs had been scrapped, and were from 2006-2007. It wasn’t until I played a lot of it for my homie Jax that he told me to put it out. Some of those are promos and collaborations. I got great feedback on it. Same thing with Walk Softly… a lot of that stuff had already leaked on the net. It was really just me putting it together so you could have it all in one place.

With this, the entire album was produced by Illastrate. So it wasn’t just I’m putting some tracks together. Every song shares my story and different emotions. The album is about you connecting with me, figuring out who Senor Kaos is if you’re never heard of me in your life. The album is a lot shorter. The album is straight 12 records. I didn’t want to do any filler cuts, we in and out on it.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What label will this drop on?

Kaos: The album is through High Water Music. They’re an independent label started in New York City by Sucio Smash, who’s a DJ and tastemaker. Basically, he saw a lot of indie labels were just signing older artists, trying to capitalize off the audience they already had. He didn’t want to do that.  He took the road last traveled, “I’m going to take artists you might not have ever heard, but who are dope as shit, and craft projects.”

His thing also is he wants people to trust in the label. Everything you get from the label will be jamming. Anytime you see that name, you know it’s a project that won’t disappoint. DJ Spinna’s album came out, Homeboy Sandman, Fresh Daily, P. Casso, and Daniel Joseph. So far every album has gotten good feedback, and I’m carrying on that tradition. It’s kind of cool, but it’s also pressure. For awhile I was the only southern artist on the label. Now Willie Evans Jr. from Jacksonville, he’ll have his project out on there. So that takes a little pressure off [laughs].

It’s a great label. It’s still independent, so there’s not a lot of money to do a lot. So people will see something and be like “yo, I see your label is doing it big for you!” And I’m like nah, that’s me! I’m definitely excited about the label and the record.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: I always get different answers from people regarding if they have an exit strategy. Meaning, can you see yourself doing music for the rest of your life?

Kaos: I can see myself doing this forever as long as I continue to have something to say. If I don’t have anything else to say, and I’m not having great experiences within it, then I’ll look at other options. I would also like to take my knowledge and music supervise some projects. I’d love to do a score for a movie.

I can see myself 20 years from now doing artist management. I’ve helped a lot of people already for free. A lot of people! I remember when I figured out a way to get my first project distributed, everyone was like “yo, how’d you do that?! Who do I need to talk to?” I’m connecting all these people. As you get older, you realize that’s consulting. I should be getting paid for this. I see that down the road, and playing behind the scenes.

I’m still a young man, so I still feel like sky’s the limit.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You mentioned Jax’s influence on your earlier. What’s been his lasting impact on you?

Kaos: For those who don’t know, Jax was in a crew called Binkis Recs. When I was about 16 and sneaking into shows, I caught them perform. They had a live show like I’d never seen before in my life. Their live show was super creative and it had hella energy. I never saw them do the same show twice, out of all the years I’ve seen them.

He took me under his wing and showed me what it meant to be independent. He was the do it yourself king. Jax didn’t wait for no one. Labels would approach him, and he’d be like “nah, that’s not sounding right. I’m cool, I’ll do it myself.” It was almost to the point where he was stubborn.

Before that, I was focused on getting signed. Later on, he helped me put together my shows. If you compare, what I do is how Binkis would kind of pattern their shows. You want to have a cool intro off the bat to get the crowd involved. I also learned keeping the show continuous without a lot of pausing.

And on the business end, I learned how to treat people. If it wasn’t for him, I can’t honestly say I’d still be rapping.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Currently, who are the emcees catching your ear ?

Royce da 5’9 is a beast! Black Milk, Von Pea and Tanya Morgan, period. Homeboy Sandman almost made me redo my record. It was that crazy, I was like damn! I love to listen to people that inspire me, like shit, after hearing what they wrote; I have to go back to the lab. Before cats knew who Lupe Fiasco was, a cat in Chicago put me on to his music. He’s a raw emcee, clever with the wordplay.

On the older cats, I still check for Redman, Stat Quo, and 4IZE. He reminds me I can have fun with this. He inspires me to keep things light-hearted at times. There’s a lot more, but really I’m inspired by any emcee that’s consistent, and specifically brings energy. A lot of times you might not be saying the craziest stuff, but if the energy and vibe is there, it shows up to the listener.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You mentioned earlier you started out visiting places like Fat Beats, which just recently closed their retail spots. Do you think stores like that can still exist is this era? Or did that closure signal the end for those types of places?

Kaos: Man, it’s a really sad thing. They’re only really phasing out in the U.S. If you go overseas, they still have HMVs and Tower’s, and their local record stores. We have to look at ourselves. There’s no reason they can’t still be here. They just have to adjust to the shift. The rate they’re shutting down is kind of alarming. Soon there won’t be a point of having an album, if there’s no place to sell it. It’s like having a bunch of airports, but no planes. Cats will start doing album release parties on Ustream, and to me that’s impersonal and corny.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: I ran into you a few months back at the Damian Marley-Nas show. If you could do an album like theirs, going into a different genre, which one would you select?

Kaos: I would dip into rock, because I could see myself performing it with the heavy drums and guitars. I would have fun with it, but I’d need a crazy rock group like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What music albums, no matter the genre, had the biggest influence on you as an artist?

Kaos: I’d say Special Ed’s Youngest In Charge. Gang Starr’s Step Into the Arena. Stevie Wonder’s  Innervisions. Nas’ Illmatic. And the last one I’d say is Mos Def and Kweli’s Black Starr. Those are five joints I’ve lost, re-brought, listened to constantly, and know every word. Those albums made me want to create. Each time I asked myself, what could I do to take it to another level?

And there’s a personal connection with them. With Special Ed’s joint, “I Got It Made” is one of my favorite records. It’s the first one I memorized completely. I knew all the dance moves from the video. When you see him, he’s dressed really normal. A lot of cats had rap uniforms like LL, with the Kangol and jumpsuits. Run DMC had their Adidas. Flash and all them cats had crazy ass outfits. When I saw Ed, he looked mad comfortable. But he’s like I’m shitting on you with the shit I got, but I don’t even have to get hype to do it.

Gang Starr was the DJ-producer. The cuts Primo had on “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight,” those were pivotal points where I was like wow, how did he do that?

Illmatic just because it’s lyrical, and there’s a lot of quotes you can apply to your daily life. As a young man you can listen to it and be like I can relate, like “I woke up early on my born day…” And of course it was produced terrifically.

With Stevie Wonder, the song composition was amazing all the way through. To me that helps when you’re writing records, and not just looking to do verse-hook-verse-hook.

Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: When’s the release date?

Kaos: Yo, the new album has no release date! I need everybody to hit up www.highwaterismusic.com and hit Sucio Smash on Twitter at @suciosmash! But nah, we’re looking at early 2011. I’m redoing some artwork, and it’s looking like an enhanced CD, so I want to have some videos on there for cats to have something tangible over just the download.

Sometimes as an artist you can be very impatient. But in the grand scheme of things, there’s a plan, and the plan has to be worked. And you don’t want to put out a record, and have no one check for it. Right now the plan is connecting with fans, and letting them know everything I drop will be of a certain quality. So when it drops, people will say “I can purchase this album. I feel comfortable.”

My biggest thing for this album is I want it to critically acclaimed, even if it only sells a certain amount of copies. I want people to listen and talk to their friends about it. I want everyone to take away something different from it.

 Writer’s Note: For more Senor Kaos, visit his official site http://www.thekaoseffect.com/, and on Twitter @senorkaos

Most people weren’t big on Ghostface’s 2009 R&B album (Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City). The Wally Champ appears to be taking in back to that classic, Tony Starks soul-sampling sound with “Together Baby.” The song is set to be featured on Ghost’s ninth studio album, The Apollo Kids. The LP is scheduled for December 14, which when dealing with Def Jam is tenuous at best (just ask Nas). If anyone is wondering, the sample is from The Intruders 1967 joint “Together.” The beginning instrumentation on the original is nasty, too.

GHOSTFACE KILLAH “TOGETHER BABY”

DOWNLOAD LINK

SIGNIF “DRIFTING”

It always makes me smile to discover a skilled female emcee. It’s no secret that the female talent is out there. The problem is making sure these women get the exposure. The Milwaukee born Signif first began dealing with rhymes through poetry at the age of eight. From there, she fell in love with Hip-Hop through her older brothers. She already has two projects under her belt, dropping an EP (Beautifully Flawed) and album (The Transition) last year. She now calls New York City home as evident by the visuals for her jazzy track “Drifting.”

Her Transition album is available for preview below, and is only a $5 download. You can also follow Signif on Twitter and peep a recent interview for The Express Milwaukee.

THE TRANSITION (ALBUM DOWNLOAD)

 

JAX TRIBUTE

My man Senor Kaos passed along a tribute track he did to the late Jax of Binkis Recs. Here in Atlanta, Binkis Recs have been a staple of the Hip-Hop scene for well over a decade. And even two years are their comrade’s passing, Binkis is keeping the name alive. Check it out and also the www.thekaoseffect.com for the latest info on Kaos’ upcoming album The Kaos Effect. Beats, Boxing & Mayhem will be dropping an interview with him early next week.

DOWNLOAD LINK

Last week, Atlanta’s sixth annual A3C (All 3 Coasts) Festival returned to entertain and educate Hip-Hop fans with three days worth of music, panels and exhibitions. Every year, the A3C organizers strive to top their previous incarnations. For 2010, they put together a staggering list of 200 plus artists spread out over five different stages at the city’s Masquerade venue.

The first day was highlighted by Red Bull Music Academy’s stage, which hosted performances from Skyzoo, Buckshot, Jean Grae, 9th Wonder and Murs. But outside of the actual music, what made the first day special was how accessible the artists made themselves to media and fans alike. While going between different stages, you were prone to bump into any of the performing artists. And of course anytime a group of Hip-Hoppers get together, you can always expect a debate to break out regarding the state of the culture, who’s wack, and how we can move forward.

Jean Grae and 9th Wonder were especially accommodating in the area of Hip-Hop discussion/debate. Both arrived hours before their actual sets and spoke for nearly an hour each on their future projects and thoughts on today’s Hip-Hop. 9th Wonder revealed some surprising news, such as the fact he’s submitted several beats for Nas’ upcoming projects. Later, he spoke at length on stage about his career and approach to music. Jean Grae has always been a irrepressible spirit, and gave her thoughts on everyone from Waka Flocka and Nicki Minaj to Jay Electronica and Mos Def. She made it point during the informal talk to criticize when warranted, but also defend when her peers delivered quality work.

“When I like my ignorance, I like my ignorance really ignorant. [But] not in a Waka Flocka way,” Grae quipped. “I can’t really enjoy that because it’s really just nursery rhymes. I see why it works; I get it, its nursery rhymes. I like this song already; I’ve heard it a lot. [I like Nicki Minaj] on certain things, and other times not so much… [But] she kinda killed that [“Monster”] verse.”

For an opening night, the performances were very diverse. Downstairs from 9th Wonder, Buckshot, Jean Grae and company, the venue carried specialty stages like underground West Coast (Pac Div, Rocky Rivera etc.),  Detroit (Marv Won, Kodac etc.), Women in Hip-Hop (Lyric Jones, Miz Metro, Rita J etc), and the label Mello Music Group (Trek Life, Boog Brown etc.). In addition, producers got their chance to have their work critiqued by established, industry professionals like DJ Toomp, The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Needlz.

By the end of the first night, the performances had extended well past 2AM.

Punchline, Fokis, Senor Kaos, 4IZE at A3C Festival, Day 1

Jean Grae & 9th Wonder “My Story, #8, High”

Trek Life “Ready to Live, As the World Turns”

Day two was marked by nice array of informative panels for fans and artists alike. Artists looking to increase their online presence could check out discussions on social networking and media. And there were several mixers at the venue to allow journalists, producers, and emcees to link up and exchange their work.

Musically, older Hip-Hop fans were in for a treat. There was an event called “Red Bull 45’s,” where Diamond D, Evil Dee, DJ Scratch, Rob Swift, and Applejac took turns trying to outdo each other by spinning the favorites from their 45 collections. There were some rare ones that got dropped, and others that popped the crowd because they were recognizable, like Dionne Warwick’s vocals on “You’re Gonna Need Me (used on J Dilla’s “Stop”).”

One of better showcases that day came courtesy of the Bay Area’s stage, which mixed new (DaVinci, Moe Green) and established talent (Exile, Mistah F.A.B.). Exile is well-known for his production work, but made sure to display his fancy handiwork on the MPC with remixes of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and some original tracks.

Mistah F.A.B. has no problems adjusting his content to fit the non-mainstream audience. He used Reflection Eternal’s “The Blast” and Soul of Mischief’s “’93 Til Infinity” to break the ice and to show off his talent as a freestyler. There was no semblance of Hyphy, just straight spitting that even those unfamiliar with his work could rock with.

Of course with a festival this size, making sure everyone got their proper shine was a persistent issue. Because some of the stages were outside, a city ordinance was in place to make sure the music wrapped before midnight. This placed those artists on a strict timetable regarding their sets. If you were late or about to run over, your mic was promptly cut off. Homeboy Sandman had one such problem and had to sprint through his songs. Luckily, he was around the whole three days and got to make it up on another stage.

The last day was loaded with workshops, panels and additional stages from 2Dopeboyz, Okay Player and AllHipHop.com. Between the latter three, fans were treated to sets from Reks (w/ Statik Selektah), Torae, Tanya Morgan and J-Live. Unfortunately, these stages were outside, and AllHipHop.com’s last performers, Kidz in the Hall & Killer Mike, became pressed for time and had to cuts their sets to just 2-3 songs to make the city’s noise curfew.

Reks & Statik Selektah “Self-Titled”

 

Reks, Statik Selektah, Joe Scudda & JFK “Say Goodnight, Drunken Nights”

Inside the Masquerade, there were no such problems. In one room, you could hear Emilio Rojas or the Artifacts spitting. In another you could sit and get a tutorial on the new Scratch Pro software for DJs. To close out the evening, Camp Lo and Rhymefest manned the main stage. The Bronx duo satisfied their fans by performing roughly half the joints from their memorable debut Uptown Saturday Night. Rhymefest’s affable personality and freestyle skill kept the crowd engaged, and he ended the night with a passionate plea for Hip-Hop fans to add “political involvement” as another element to the culture.

For only $33, A3C gives fans an unparalleled Hip-Hop event. No review can truly do justice to a festival that carries over 200 artists, so mark your calendars for October 6-8 2011 and experience the phenomenon for yourself.

Rapper Big Pooh feat. Joe Scudda & Chaundon “Plastic Cups”

Camp Lo “Lumdi, Krystal Karrington, Park Joint”

Camp Lo “Coolie High, Rockin’ It”

Rhymefest “Brand New, Top Billin’ Freestyle”

Rhymesfest Announces Candidacy for Chicago City Council

Welcome faithful readers. Today saw the release of a decent amount of music videos spanning the underground to superstar Eminem, who’s still dominating the charts a full month after the release of Recovery.

Eminem feat. Rihanna “Love the Way You Lie”

Silm Shady reached out to Hollywood and enlisted Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan for his new video. The burning house is a nice effect. Overallm the visuals go well with the song. Now for the song itself, it’s already beginning to wear thin with me.

Moe Green “KIM”

Bay Area’s Moe Green has been getting a lot of love here at Beats, Boxing and Mayhem. The video is for the latest single off his FREE Rocky Maivia: Non-Title Match. On the black and white minimalist approach of the video, Green explained that his purpose was to show a small window into his everyday challenges.

“”The video and the song highlight the fact that I’m still working to reach new plateaus,” Green told Beats, Boxing and Mayhem. “I can’t stay in the same place. I’m always looking to make moves, and the video takes you through a day of that struggle.”

The video was directed by Myke Ward.

If you like the drop, download the full album HERE.

Roach Gigz Gives Oscar Grant Tribute

 

21 year old Roach Gigz has been building his name for several years out in San Franciso. A member of the duo Bitch I Go (B.I.G.) with Lil 4 Tay, he’s now on his own and working on his debut LP entitled Therapy Sessions.

“Pop Off” was shot in the days before and after the police trial for the “accidential” shooting death of Oscar Grant. With family roots in political protest (his father was an active supporter of the Sandinista Liberation Front), Gigz wanted his album to reflect the seething anger the people had for the police and the verdict.

“Nothing was really enjoyable because of how serious the situation was,” Gigz said about the video. “We were just trying to do it for Oscar Grant, the whole thing is dedicated to him and his memory. “I was just out here watching and living this; ‘Pop Off’ really captured that feeling of the young people who are tired of police consistently fucking with them, abusing their power and getting away with it.”

The track will be available on a mixtape called Roachy Balboa: Extra Rounds. The project is a re-release with five new tracks of his Roachy Balboa project which can be downloaded off http://roachgigz.com/

 

 Rhymefest “One Hand Push Up”

A few months back Rhymefest and I talked  for a few hours. And it resulted in one of my best interviews ever. He released his sophomore album El Che in June, and has been keeping his promise to drop a video for every track. ‘Fest is one of a few emcees out there that’s not afraid to show his intelligence and challenge his audience.

 

 

Improvisation is an essential skill for any touring musician. And not just improvisation in concern to the actual music, but the ability to navigate above sound problems, venue overcrowding, internal band strife, and personal issues that can disrupt a show’s performance. Reflection Eternal showed their resolve in doing the aforementioned at their June Atlanta tour stop, where the accomplished group was forced to perform under near unbearable heat due to a faulty air system.

Well-known local emcee Senor Kaos (http://thekaoseffect.com/blog/) opened the show with material from his two projects (Swagger Is Nothing, Talent Is Everything and Walk Softly & Carry A Big Brick). Many were not familiar with the young emcee, and were treated to creative tracks like “Girls Rock Too” and “Call Me Senor.” The former is a women’s tribute that name checks legends like Harriett Tubman and Madam CJ Walker, while the latter is a highly melodic gem from DJ Spinna’s enjoyable Sonic Smash (2009) LP. His robust energy set a strong template for the remainder of the night.

While waiting for the headliners, the heat began to visibly sap the energy from the crowd, and presented a potential health hazard as fans were piled on top of each other. The Loft venue representatives did their best to alleviate the stress by passing out dozens of water bottles to ensure no one’s night would be ended prematurely.

Reflection Eternal jokingly lamented the heat conditions and strengthened everyone’s energy with “In This World,” and “Strangers (Paranoid),” off the newly released Revolutions Per Minute. Even though the duo have just two studio albums together, their sizable solo and outside collaborative projects easily allowed them to exceed a hour on stage. Kweli delighted grassroots fans with selections from the timeless Black Star album (“Redefinition,” “Respiration”). Instead of simply rhyming his portions, Kweli rapped his partner Mos Def’s rhymes to give fans the full song experience. Occasionally he slipped up and fans gladly chimed in to finish the hanging couplets. Hi-Tek was not to be undone, digging into his Hi-Tecknology series for “Music for Life,” “The Sun God” and outside production credits like Game’s “Runnin’.”

The one surprise guest of the evening was early 90s NY rapper Special Ed, who performed his classic single “I Got Made.” The intimate setting of the venue added special ambiance to the reflective, jazz-infused “Memories Live” and the politically driven “Ballad of the Black Gold.”

Reflection Eternal finished up with their biggest single in “The Blast.” Hi-Tek stepped from behind the boards to trade verses and play hypeman with Kweli. By the song’s end, everyone was clapping in rhythm to the song’s production while singing the refrain of “keep on dancing, you gotta keep on dancing.”

Reflection Eternal’s quality material shined through venue’s less than ideal conditions, making the duo a wise future investment for Hip-Hop concert aficionados.

“Slow Down (Ha Ha) Freestyle”

“Memories Live”

“The Blast”