by Lee | Filed under Audio
It’s not like I go to the disco every night but for whatever reason I’m always on the lookout for good drum patterns, laced with skullface basslines
by Lee | Filed under Audio
new by-donation album by one half of the rap duo that made the biggest impression in ’11
by Lee | Filed under Audio
Heads have been all over the place praising Objekt’s complex drum patterns, humping basslines, and epic white label dub style
by Lee | Filed under Audio
beat junk producer of the year, Blawan. Blawan’s style is a lot of stomping brontosaurus noises, long-throated Jackie Treehorn sexfunk, meant to be listened to while naked on a trampoline on a beach next to a phosphorescent ocean. Blawan’s not on my top ten for 2011. Blawan was 2011!
Here’s my personal Top Ten list for 2011
1. University of Victoria’s Writing Department.
2. Prince live at Montreal’s Metropolis and then in Victoria at the Save-On Foods
2. tied with the rap duo Main Attrakionz
3. Co La’s song “Egyptian Peaches”
4. Soulja Boy’s mixtape “The Last Crown”
5. Roberto Bolano’s book of essays “Between Parentheses”
6. Kevin Chong’s novel “Beauty Plus Pity”
7.Anders Nilsen’s graphic novel “Big Questions”
10. Tree of Life. I didn’t see enough movies this year to know what’s good and what isn’t. I saw Drive. Drive was decent. But how could any movie turn out better than Tree of Life?
Anyone familiar with the Alabama rap scene has heard Henny, he’s the stylish rhymeflipper next to Yelawolf and Pill on “I’m A Freek,” he’s worked alongside Jackie Chain, Bentley, G Mane, and with Slow Motion Soundz. On his own, Henny has created a trio called I.B.I. with his cohorts Ziploc Moe and Icey Mike Shawty. I think these must be three of the best rap names out there. And these guys are stoked rappers. Henny’s got some amazing mixtapes, including Black Superman and I Make Alabama Look Good. Kind of the best thing going, I.B.I. has released an independent record titled S.D.M. (Sex. Drugs. Money.) that’s a loud pack of great tunes, including ‘Passport’ and the single ‘Bandz.’ I really listen to these tracks a lot. Enough to write and ask if I could ask them some questions, as a fan. I really don’t know how to interview rappers. I am still am not sure how exactly what questions to ask, but I conducted this one over email, which was easier than when I interviewed Bun B over the phone. I think what happened is I sent the questions and Henny read them aloud in the studio and transcribed the answers. First, here’s their video:
Henny, you’ve been rapping with Yelawolf and Pill and other MCs for a
few years now — how did you click together with I.B.I.?
H: I.B.I was always a label I wanted to start while I was a member of the rap group Greedy Money. When the group split due to legal troubles and moving me and the remaining members decided to start up the group again but wit a new attitude and new approach and Icy Mike
Henny, how do you describe your group’s approach to lyricism and flow?
H: we just get in the studio and vibe…we’ver known each other for a while so the chemistry is there. All we need is some exotic weed and a hot beat
Icey Mike Shawty, when did you start rapping and when did you acquire
such a hype alias?
I.M.: I started rapping the day I was born. And I came up wit my alias to describe my persona. I’m icy cause I’m cold I’m mike cause that’s what’s on my government and I’m shawty cause that’s how I hustle
IMS, how did you know you wanted to make music as part of I.B.I.?
I.M.S.: Just the energy every time we be in a session together the chemistry was perfect
Ziploc Moe, with the unbelievable rap name and the nasty rasp — when did you start writing rhymes?
Z: Shit around the beginning of 2009
Ziploc aka Maury Gator, you have a serious, funny and unstoppable style. Describe for readers how you came to rock it so fucking hard:
Z: Aww man you know I just put my heart in everything I writeand I try not to be a one dimensional rapper. I got many styles wait til ya meet Mauri Gator
How does a track like “Bandz” get made — do you go to the studio
together with lyrics prepared or do you sit down and work it out while
the beat is getting made?
I.M.S.: I don’t even remember I rolled up and wrote my verse
Z: Klassik produced a funky track and God sent it to us
H: I don’t really remember but we just went in and did what the beat said do
Do tracks start from a chorus or hook and work out from there or off
the first 16 bars?
H: it don’t really matter to me
Z: sometimes we do the hook first or sometimes we do the verses
You just put out a really tight mixtape — did those tracks come out
of a big recording session, or do publish your tracks almost as fast
as you can make them?
Are there other members of I.B.I. behind-the-scenes besides the three
I.M.S.: Yeah ibi is a nation. We the faces
Z: We the faces. But we got members we aint even found yet
H: and don’t forget the in house production team. Klassik Keys, Joe Air, and Tech beats
Who are some of your favorite producers to work with?
Z: myself, Klassik Keys, Grade A
I.M.S.: Klassik Keys, Beat Champ, Joe Air, Lbo Keys, Dr Fangaz, Mellow Rich, & JB
H: Block Beataz, Grade A, JPlymp, Lbo keys, Klassik Keys, man I got a lot of em
What do you like to hear in the recipe of the sounds on the drumkit,
the speed, the samples, for I.B.I. to want to jump on a beat?
Z: I like a nice drum track. The synths gotta be there
I.M.S.: Tracks that speak to ya. Tracls that already got direction
H: just make a hot & timeless track and we on it.
I’ve been listening to Alabama rap for five or six years now, I guess,
especially the guys in Paper Route, Slow Motion, and Small Tyme Ballaz
— are you affiliated closely with any producers or labels in Alabama?
H: I’m affiliated wit a couple people from the Slo like Mali Boy, Kristmas, & Codie G. I got BGM fam shout out Eldorado Red. And my selma fam DBD
I.M.S.: yeah BSB, King South
What’s your take on the Alabama music scene? What was it like to grow
up there? Did you grow up going to shows by Last Mr Bigg when he was
just diamond-eye Bigg? Is Alabama on the map now in a way it wasn’t
when you were a kid?
H: Nah Bigg from Mobile we never grew up on him like that
IMS: but yeah we on in a major way now. Wit artist like Yela
Is there a place you go in town to drop a new track and see it play
out in the club?
IMS: the whole city. We plugged in wit the djs in the city. when we drop something the whole city know
Do you go to a lot of rap shows? Who have you seen live that you
thought put on a great show?
IMS: not being bias but Yelawolf. Even tho he reached new barriers he still displays that “still trying to get on” in each of his performances
H: yea Yela. Cyhi, Gside, & Malachi from the Dungeon Family his live show is remarkable
There’s something innovative in the countrified rhythm of the Alabama
scene, with all the different rappers and producers something connects
the sound, makes it homegrown. I don’t know if you can describe how
you like to represent your home in your sound or if that’s even
important to you?
IMS: its definetly important cuz our sound is a sound that aint been displayed yet. and its Alabama soul
Z: its very important wit us being from Alabama cause we the underdog
H: I like to rep my hometown just by telling true southern stories and if I do that right I know I did my job
Are there some local legends in the scene who inspired you growing up
to strike out on your own and become an artist and part of the music
Z: Rick rock, the commodores
IMS: Big Pimp, King South, Henny, & Leon Carmichael
H: PeeWeeDee, Icy, Killa Kat, man its too many to name for real. My city been packed wit talent for over 10 years now
Ziploc, I get the impression you have a thing for women’s shoes — do
you guys hope to grow I.B.I. into an accessories and apparel business?
Are there fashion items that you are each really focused on, lyrically
IMS: first off I been said fuck rap let’s sell clothes. Women buy more clothes than music
Z: yeah I love making women beautiful cause they the ones doin g all the shopping. But yeah in thf future we wanna do that we already selling shirts and hats
H: Big Krit, 9th Wonder, Sha Money
Z: Scott Storch & Dr. Dre
Who is a really under-rated rapper you feel deserves more attention?
H: Slimm Calhoun, Sean Paul (young bloods), my whole team
What is your favorite rap lyric — is there a lyric you listen to and
it reminds you to make your style loose and original?
H: I got too many to name
Z:I aint got no favorite I’m a chameleon to all genres
Can you quote a few lyrics from I.B.I. you want to make sure people
take a moment to listen carefully to?
H: all the verses from every song for real…but “Heaven Help Us” hook is a good one
& maybe you could explain why you chose those lyrics?
H: I say “Heaven Help Us” cause it just sums up the whole cd…Sex Drugs Money
Your lyrics make a lot of wordplay around money and earning good pay
— but there’s also this sense of independence and uncompromising
attitude in what you write…can you talk about what are some of the
dangerous pitfalls you hope to avoid in the business side of things,
and the creative side?
IBI: we don’t wanna not be consistent. Longevity is the key. And just staying out of the everyday troubles of the world like our previous legal problems
Speaking of: The crime life has always been a great source for
metaphor in rap, and all I.B.I. lyrics keep it very real, very fresh,
funny, hard as hell, and you drop tons of common 2011 slang as well as
plenty of your own personal touches to your lines — and what I want
to ask about is the music industry. Have you observed, and is true,
that the music industry is truly full of criminals?
IBI: most definitely. They say the rap game remind em of the crack game.
Alabama seems like a more peaceful place, at least there aren’t any
tragic stories in the news like what’s going on around Lil Boosie and
what’s always playing out with rappers elsewhere getting shit on by
police, and what seems like a very complicated thing Alabama seems
like it’s not a part of?
IBI: well we don’t have hip hop police but a lot of rappers from Bama have legal issues. More so because most if not all are from the streets
You guys all plan on releasing solo albums and then another group
album? When can we start hearing tracks from the solo albums?
H: well ICY’s got his solo coming first its called “Plug Luv” so you should start hearing songs from that soon. I’ve got 2 cds I’m working on now and I’ve got 2 online “Black Superman” & “I Make Alabama Look Good”. And Zip’s got “Liquor & Loud” coming soon. So be on the look out
Will we see you guys working with. other rappers on features for these
albums andleading up to the solo albums?
I.B.I: well we already got the song wit Yung Ralph “Demonstr8” bubbling but future features will include Kristmas, Bentley, King South, Attitude and a lot of other people from Alabama too many to name
What the hell happened to D4L that you can be sure to avoid? Damn,
what a tragedy. That whole show fell apart. Maybe it was just internal
struggles. You guys have a harder, more of a RUN/DMC vibe in that I
imagine your live shows are almost like rock shows. It’s a very
different vibe what you’re doing, even if a lot of the sex themes are
there in both.
H: well we got a homie that’s signed to D4L that’s from Montgomery Alabama named Jurrari. But D4L is still kickin they just got a deal wit G-Unit too I think…but yeah as with any family you gonna have disputes and setbacks you just gotta keep it moving Ànd stay prayed up ya know
Describe a day in the life of I.B.I.
H: just studio all day really
IMS: Loud…music loud weed loud
What’s your favorite music to listen to outside of rap? Do you listen
to any of that UK stuff or kwaito from South Africa or kuduro from
Angola or whatever?
IBI: we all listen to a lot of other genres from R&B to Reggae to Blues and even Jazz and Rock
Outside Juice and Scarface, what’s your favorite rap-related movie?
Z: Belly or Shottas
Who is the most famous rap video starlet today?
Z: Lola Luv
IMS: Amber Rose
Aren’t you making a video for every track? You guys look like
billionaire beasts on film.
H: yeah were trying to finish the year out by shooting a video to the whole cd as well as solo project vids
You see the Lil B Youtube grind and he’s blown up in a silly way — do
you think the video style is working for him? Would you keep up that
ridiculous tempo? I think people could handle it if you guys were
dropping tons of Youtubes but some of those 500 B tracks cause
migraines. I like his stuff.
H:yeah I think the consumers of today are more about visuals than anything so we do feel obligated to give them that “look” but we prolly won’t do it to the annoying level of Lil B but there will be a lot more videos and video blogs
What do you spend most of your money on besides your home and food?
Was there a time in your life when you were crazy like me and a lot of
your money went to buying music?
H: yeah most def bought a lot of music at one pooint wÉ all have really but now I just spend it on sneakers
Z: I take a lot of trips
IMS: Loud…you know Keshia Cole?
If you could put someone’s face on a new American dollar bill
currency, who would it be?
Have you guys ever thought of doing a track sampling Betty Davis
(Miles Davis’s hot as funk wife)?
H: bro we’d sample you if it sound good lol
by Lee | Filed under Audio
Main Attrakionz, Bay Area’s best rap duo — the world’s best rap duo. Part of Green Ova Underground. Part of the freshest crew of rappers and producers working in America today, and after Alabama’s scene’s success, these are the new saviors of rap, no doubt. There’s a lot of classic tunes already laid out by zoned out MondreM.A.N. and Squadda B and so a person could check out Blackberry Kush or Best Duo Ever or Chandelier or their solo tapes. Or check out Datpiff.com and search for some of their earlier stuff. There’s at least three hundred tracks already easily available to download and most of their shit is better than most mainstream rap. Check out this vid they put out last month, it’s simple, funky, teenage, stylish, sk8 park zoned out, and musically amazing.
by Lee | Filed under Audio
Zomby’s been releasing new tracks this month. All are good. Drums galore. Reminds me of Mujava in his love for them. Dedicated to all those turtles out there who’ve lost their shells.
by Lee | Filed under Audio
great video, crazy lyrics, Tyler the Creator and his friends from Odd Future Wolf Gang and MellowHype are defining rap for 2011
by Lee | Filed under Audio
I really dig this fresh MC from Compton Kendrick Lamar and also his and School Boy Q are among the best rap aliases since Nikky 2 States. Lamar seems to be working with Dr Dre, which might explain why this sounds so awesome.
Babe Rainbow is the name of Vancouver-based Cameron Reed’s experiments in electronic music. I’m a big fan of his sound, the deranged moods, funky beats, chilly melodies, and intelligent structures. This is fresh music. Babe Rainbow’s got a lot of buzz going, so I’m pleased to have this interview. He’s put out a lot of tracks online, including some great screwed&chopped remixes of rap classics, and a collection of brilliant ambient work. There’s also the Shaved E.P. on Warp Records, a really beautiful selection of tunes from spooksville, with an apt cover by local conceptualist James Nizam. This interview was conducted via e-mail.
Q: The name Babe Rainbow, is it a reference to your circle of friends?
No, I was taking an art class in school saw a painting by pop artist Peter Blake entitled ‘Babe Rainbow’. I remember thinking it would be a ridiculous band name, kinda mocking the whole ‘put two unconnected words together as a band name’ idea (Twin Shadow, Neon Indian, Crystal Castles, etc). So when I start BR I needed a name to make a MySpace page and just used that name. Now I’m stuck with it. I don’t mind it though.
Q: Is there a piece of gear or was it a piece of music that inspired you to try making music in this style?
I’ve always made these kinds of moody soundscapes. Even when I was younger recording acoustic guitar on a 4-track I was making these loops of layers and layers of guitar. They all ended up pretty dark or moody. When I started making this music I just did was cam natural.
Q: When you begin a fresh tune, do you start with a sample or a drum loop, or where does a song start?
More often than not it’s a tone. I just start fucking with sounds and play around. Sometimes I’ll start with drums. I’m just starting to get more into sampling now.
Q: Is anyone else in your family gifted with music?
No one else in my family really plays music. They enjoy it but in a sort of passive way. I’m the only person in my immediate family that is really immersed in it.
Q: I can’t immediately solve your song titles, what’s the naming process for Shaved and its various pieces?
There’s no real method to it. Often just the first thing that comes to mind.
Q: Do you include other musicians in BR creative process?
I’m trying to do a lot more collaborating. But no, it’s really just been me for the most part.
Q: Local weather, tree species, ocean tides, island system, seclusion, Satanism, oddities, what do you most identify with that is part of this place, our home, Vancouver, BC?
Isolation/seclusion. It’s weird,
I can’t imagine what it must be like for other cultures that immigrate here. It would make sense why many of them maintain and stick so closely to the culture from where they move from.
Q: What is your experience with audiences here in town? Do they dig BR?
Yeah, everyone is usually very supportive. Some have said very nice things. It’s not dance-y music so if people just stand and watch without leaving it’s a success.
Q: Are you involved in other music projects outside Babe Rainbow?
No, not really. I’d like to play guitar in a band again.
Q: Have you reached out to other artists to collaborate with on Babe Rainbow tracks?
Yes, I’ll be working with more MCs in 2011. I’m very excited about it.
Q: How about the importance of Dj Screw for electronic music these days?
I don’t really know how that became so massively injected into electronic, it’s interesting. I pull a lot of inspiration from hip hop so it made sense to me. I assume it’s the same for most of these other artists utilizing his techniques.
Q: You know a lot about Vancouver after dark via Music Waste and being sociable and so on, I wanted your recommendations for each night of the week’s best dark locations?
Biltmore, Goody, Astoria, Six Acres, China Cloud, Fortune, the Narrow. I end up at those places most often.
Q: What are some of the first places you played live in the city as Babe Rainbow?
Funky Winkerbeans and Astoria were my first live shows,
Q: Even the loud noise music in town has been pretty crunk in the past few years — I think the Mutators were the crunkest. Looking back at a band like The Mutators, what do you remember the most?
I feel really lucky to have been a part/been friends with so many people in that noise punk community. The Emergency Room and all of the music that came out of there inspired me beyond words.
So much raw, youthful energy. DIY on a hundred thousand trillion.
Q: Music here in Vancouver, often great. You put together a super mix of local stuff for CBC Radio 3. What was the first Vancouver group you ever heard? What’s the latest you’re excited about?
Probably bands like Red Light Sting, the Doers, and Black Rice were the first I remember seeing that really impacted me. Around 2002 or so.
There are tons of bands I like now. Basketball, No Gold, White Lung, Heavy Chains, Defektora, Bison, Peace, and so on forever. Too many to name.
Q: I wonder if the 21st century’s pace of rap mixtapes and rap beat production has put more pressure on dub styles like yours to drop a lot of tracks frequently, in order to not look like a slouch on the blogs, etc? I know the rap scene as a daily conversation, and electronic singles are starting to appear almost as regularly…?
Yeah, in some ways maybe the quality control has gone down but who care. Music is so temporal most of the time anyways. And in my case, I’m just doing it for fun, so if I like it even though maybe it’s not the best or polished, why not share it. No harm.
Q: does a contract – rider for a live gig really depend on how popular your music is with drug dealers?
Q: 2010’s critical rappers?
Curren$y had a huge year. Big fan. Freddie Gibbs. Odd Future. Dad Racist.
Q: What are your thoughts on Aphex Twin?
He is a legend that has inspired an entire generation of musicians. He needs to release more music.
Q: You’re the first Vancouverite signed to Warp records. Do they have a west coast A&R? how did you meet the label, how did that all come about?
No, I’ve been in contact with their A&R/creative director out of London. He’s great. He got in touch with me to do an EP after some of my songs started to do the rounds online.
Q: Warp has a special history in modern electronic music. When they signed you, did they tell you to ignore all that?
Ha! No, they did not, however, I do try to ignore it. Only because a lot of negative reviews of BR stuff is coming from old school IDM heads who just want Warp to relive their 90s output forever.
Q: what kind of relationship do you have with Warp, is it encouraging, tampering, or hands-off? What does an artist like BR want from a label relationship?
I’m always in contact, sending them songs, demos, or just shit I’m into. It’s a great relationship. It’s very encouraging. They are pretty ideal as far as my situation goes. If they were requiring me to go on huge tours to ‘move units’ it would be different.
Q: Is one question Warp asks you when you sign is if you plan on doing BR for the long haul and want to be making music as BR for ten-twenty years? Is commitment a factor in your decision to make music solo with Warp?
No, we’ve never said anything like that. If they wanted to stop working with me they probably just would.
Q: Your label has a pretty significant history of doing videos, and you’ve done a suite of vids for your E.P. I’m wondering if part of the fun is that Warp encourages you to make visuals for your tunes?
It’s mostly just me doing it without consulting them. Since it’s only an EP they don’t really have a budget for it so I’ve just made my own, relying on the good will of talented friends, or funded them myself.
Q: What’s your next project with visuals?
I’m working with two friends who both did their Masters at Emily Carr. I’m really excited. They are both insanely talented.
Q: Ok so what is your next project for Warp?
We’re talking about a couple more EPs. Looking to put out two EPs around April.
Q: Did Music Waste start with zero budget?
Music waste still has zero budget
G-Side, Block Beattaz, and Slow Motion Soundz, my best friends in the rap world, straight out of Hunstville, Alabama, just released another classic record on the first day of 2011. I’m really amazed by what they’ve done here. I feel like I’m listening to Low End Theory for the first time, with my jaw on the floor. A thinking, feeling, lyrical revolution in sound. I’m excited as hell for them. It’s a beautiful record. Amazing production by Block Beattaz, and lyrics that are epic from ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova, plus lots of Alabama rapper guest appearances. I’ve been listening to Alabama rap since the PRGz put out ‘Wood Grain,’ and score ”Lacs and ‘Prices’ by PRGz and T.I. as the greatest rap song ever written. G-Side are kind of like superheroes of this scene. Huntsville is really taking the hip hop sound to a whole new place, very independent, and very fuckin cool — fans of raps, preview G-Side’s new album and buy it here.
by Lee | Filed under Audio
My favorite place I’ve never been to is Hunstville, Alabama, home to the most inspirational rap scene in America: Slow Motion Soundz, G-Side, Untamed, Hood Headlinaz, Paper Route Gangstas, Block Beataz, Big P.O.P.E., Mali Boi, Dawgy Baggs, Yelawolf, Nikky 2 States, Mata, Jhi Ali, Money Addict, Jackie Chain, The Last Mr. Bigg, King South…I’m forgetting to mention the names of too many son god MCs, it’s a good scene. If someone sends me there to write about this rap scene, I’ll go. For now, I just listen to the music.
and recently DB49 and this one, IBI — is it produced by Block Beataz? Must be.
by Lee | Filed under Audio
I’ve been listening this Calamalka tune a lot lately. My fave beat builder in Vancouver, very deep.
For the upcoming inaugural issue of Eighteen Bridges I wrote about the Alabama regionally popular rapper King South. Last Mr Bigg, another regionally-huge rapper from Mobile, Alabama, has a DIAMOND IN HIS EYE. His eye has a diamond. That is crazy OG vision. My favorite of the United States for rap music is very next level on every front, even the pupils bling. I’m fascinated by the rap music coming out of Alabama, especially from these producers who call themselves the Block Beataz. I don’t know if Mr Bigg is affiliated or just independently amazing. But his single ‘Satisfied’ is nice and happy, crack-for-crack funny lyrically, and definitely purple on the groove. Very Alabama. Below is a screwed & chopped slowed-down version with good strange visuals of MR DIAMOND in his EYEBALL. Come rap in Vancouver, definitely.
Vancouver has a few scarce rappers, more now than back in the day. But wowza, we got one MC named Jae Slym. I don’t know anything about Slym, just happened on him after being linked to a MHS vid, Jae Slym might live next door to me, for all I know, he might be living in Bad Manors, but sounds like Slim’s from the down in the Dirty, like an East Van repping Young Bleed. His YouTube tracks are banana nuts. He’s the best rapper I think I’ve ever heard from East Van. Has he bro’d down with the — slightly-less qualified– Money Hungry Syndicate? Is Slym working with Babe Rainbow yet?
( props to Mount Pleasant kickin it: Lil’ Joe Hizzle!)
When I hosted a radio show on CiTR 101.9 FM, UBC’s college radio station, it was Nardwuar who taught me how to use the reel-to-reel machine. I was starstruck by him then, 1994. He recorded some gobbledeygook on to the reel — in a kind of Nardwuar version of speaking-in-tongues. Actually he was doing a classic music trope — backmasking. He showed us how to reverse the playback on the reel-to-reel so that his voice was revealed to be saying quite clearly, “My cat Cleo is the best cat ever.”
It’s Friday afternoon and right now Nardwuar is on the radio. But here’s his beautiful interview with Lil’ Wayne’s favorite Canadian, Drake.
A master of space and place improvising…