Buckshot & P-Money- BackPack Travels

BuckMaybe there’s no better example of a truly successful “backpack” rapper than Buckshot Shorty.  He flirted with mainstream success during the 90’s with Black Moon, stayed relevant in the DIY world by hitting the road, and manages to keep eating in this digital age thanks to quality collaborative records that do nothing but solidify the notion that hip-hop is alive and well in the 21st century.

BackPack Travels, his latest effort with New Zealand producer/DJ P-Money, sounds like a blueprint for this NY renaissance that everyone won’t shut the fuck up about.  Yes, the beats knock throughout and come off nostalgic, yet they never manage to tip towards corny.  Buckshot sounds as crisp as he did when he so famously asked, who got da props?  And young people, please don’t tell me this guy sounds like a perfect fit for Pro Era.  No Buck, no Badass.  Simple as that.

Rome Fortune: The Beautiful Pimp

Rome FortuneThe hip-hop landscape is a cluttered mess, so much so that I can’t keep up.  There’s too many tapes, too many bandcamps, too many blogs…the irony.  I  pass on more dope shit than I actually cover, but it’s not possible to keep it straight unless someone was paying me to do it full time.  That’s why I get so genuinely hyped when I hear art that moves me.

A friend mentioned Atlanta rapper Rome Fortune a few weeks back (thanks Glassface), and as I type this, I’m listening to Beautiful Pimp II for the 3rd time today.  Rome channels the trappish sensibilities of his southern counterparts, but there’s something deeper here.  Like MMG’s Stalley, Rome delivers straight confessionals.  He opens his wild (and sometimes uncomfortable) doors wide open for the world to peek inside via production throughout by CitoOnTheBeat.  And you can’t help but look and listen…again and again.

Beautiful Pimp II is a rhythmic diary that showcases Rome’s natural knack for substance over style.  Of course this is a tape tailor made for smoking and sipping, but this soundtrack is honestly more suited for the trials and tribulations of a day in the life.  Whatever that means to you.

@romefortune @CitoOnTheBeat

Watch “Darkness (HBU)” From Doom and Bishop Nehru



Who knows if NehruvianDOOM, the collab album between Doom and Bishiop Nehru, will ever see the light of day.  In the meantime we’ve got this little throwback gem to digest.  Nehru rides the beat like a rapper four times his age and directs the visuals, and even though this instrumental has popped up on older Doom projects it’s dope nonetheless.  In the works?  Incomplete?  Who knows.  Strike while the iron is hot gents.

Swag Toof Drops Harlem’s Adopted Children (Side: B)

Ouija and Choirboy, Harlem’s favorite transplants, are back with the much anticipated second installment of their Harlem’s Adopted Children project this fine Monday evening.  If you have plans, say a dinner party, or a book club meeting… bring along your favorite digital music player and turn this up to ten.  I want to see old ladies sipping lean and twerking themselves sober across the city tonight.

These oddball MC’s have quickly become a few of my favorite artists working out of NYC.  They’ve managed to keep the pulse of the culture at the forefront without compromising a speck of individuality.  You can get the new tape here, https://swagtoof.bandcamp.com/album/harlems-adopted-children-side-b, but don’t be a cheap fuck and enter all zeros.  Make it rain on these creeps, even it that means a dollar or two.

Michael Christmas- Y’all Trippin directed by GOLDRUSH

Michael Christmas

Michael Christmas has that type of face you want to trust. Maybe it’s the hair…or the perma-grin? Either way, he’s a dude who raps with a conversational flow that warms you up.  Not a lot of pretense here.

The Boston MC’s newest visuals find him toe to toe with OG Swaggerdick, the infamous NYC subway legend who’s popped and locked his way to faux-demigod status. All Christmas wants is autograph, but OG ain’t got time for that. What happens next is the stuff heroes are made of. There’s an awkward white guy training sequence featuring Sam Martin, plenty of flattened cardboard, a few cigarette breaks, and a quick cameo from Aaron Cohen.

Shot and edited by GOLDRUSH (@madebygoldrush), the New York production duo of Josh Goldenberg and Rahil Ashruff, “Y’all Trippin’” has a short-film feel that pumps big city life into a track that’s already buzzing the instant you press play.

Check out Christmas’s tape, Is This Art, here: http://www.audiomack.com/album/michael-christmas/is-this-art, and follow him on twitter @MickeyChristmas. Blink twice and he’ll snatch ya shades.

Great Skies- Coconut Dreams EP


To put it lightly, Coconut Dreams puts you in a mimosa-and-pineapple-express induced haze.  Listening to this EP from 23-year-old self-described “ambient dance” producer Great Skies was something close to a religious experience. The cohesion of the tracks, the ambient synths, with touches of 90’s club drum beats show a perfect culmination of his sound as an overall artist.

After listening to this EP five times in a row I knew it was something special.  Yet, I really didn’t completely understand it until I laid back in the shower, closed my eyes and let the water and the music rain down on me.  As sinuous as the water, each track washed over me with the same and completely different vibes all at once. You know it’s genuine art if it makes you feel some type of way.

The intro, “Closer”, featuring fellow Brit, rapper Context pulls you in with its mesmerizing sound. The juxtaposition of ambiance and his dry vocals compliment each other perfectly and sets the tone for the whole experience. “Don’t Want U” flows seamlessly with melancholy dance undertones and pitched up vocal samples inherent to Great Skies’ style. “CDHR”, an ode to his hometown, samples locals and is a love/hate letter that anybody can relate to. Who doesn’t despise yet low key love their roots? The feels are palpable.

Coconut Dreams is an ethereal and inspiring body of work for Great Skies. So lay back, close your eyes and press play. You won’t be disappointed. Check out the EP here: http://greatskiesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/coconut-dreams-ep.

Rast: Live From The New York Streets


Rast RFC is a rapper from NYC with ice water in his veins.  He’s a purveyor of truth; a performer that blends the lines between art and life.  Ironically, what Rast fills his notebook pages with is entirely real and utterly fascinating.

I reached out to him after hearing his incredible project Across West 3rd Street in an attempt to understand exactly what it’s like to talk it as you live it.  His responses were calculated and complex, making it possible to revisit his work with a profound sense of not only the musician, but the man repping the RFC Crew.

Shiny Glass Houses: Listening to your music is like opening the window in the living room of a 4th floor walk-up in NYC and being flooded with the sounds of real life. For those who don’t know, who is Rast RFC?

Rast: Well, I would first like to say that I am a proud father to my rad son, Lexington and a husband to my angelic wife, Celeste; but I am also a storyteller of sorts, and my experiences and the worlds’ experiences are the ink for my pen.  My home is Bronx/Manhattan and RFC is a street gang that started out as a graffiti crew.  Myself and CA RFC founded the crew in like 1992 and it just blew up throughout the 90s. We were known for our ruthlessness, large numbers, and fashion trends.

SGH:  How long have you been doing music? It’s obvious that you’re a fan of the culture, but you have a really raw quality that I honestly haven’t heard in a long, long time.

Rast: Thank you, I have been rapping seriously for about two years.  I attempted to call myself a rapper some years back, but was too deep in the pits of drug addiction and street life to ever accomplish anything. I actually stopped rapping for a while, went to rehab, started playing guitar and creating dope pop songs and later on I reincorporated rap into my music and I realized that I might have something.

SGH: Why is it so important for an artist such as yourself to blend life and art?  It sounds so seamless and almost effortless, the way you crush raps while simultaneously staying dialed into your emotions.

Rast: I am an extremely emotional person, so I have to emote through my music. When I rap, I am not always trying to write the most clever lines, although I do enjoy it.  I’m mostly conveying emotion and images through my words and I guess that’s just my specific style of art.

SGH: New York is the center of the world. How essential is the city to your music?

Rast: I am who I am because Nas, Jay-Z, and Biggie were born in New York, so its very essential.  Also the smell of the garbage truck juice on a sticky summer night, and the street light’s glimpse of a crack fiends cloud of misery also plays a large part of my inspiration.

SGH:  You make it clear on your tape that you aren’t glorifying negativity, but simply discussing your experiences as bricks in your foundation. Do you think rappers today worry about how they’re perceived, or is it all style over substance?

Rast: It seems like a lot of rappers today don’t think consequentially about how they effect the world and the youth, but hey, I am guilty of it also.

SGH:  On your project, Across West 3rd Street, you speak on your parents being activists and intellectuals, which allowed you idle time as a kid. You turned to the streets, and now you have the chance to tell those stories. Would you change that part of your past if you could?

Rast: Well, I always regret that I wasn’t allowed to go to school like regular kids and I do feel like that was stripped away from me, but I wouldn’t change a thing because every life event I experienced from the day I was born led me to meet my wife.

SGH: Before I heard the tape I cruised around on your Soundcloud page, and I immediately thought of Mobb Deep and a young, violent 50. When you were stepping into the street with your headphones on as a kid, what was pumping?

Rast: It all started with Kool G-Rap, Redman, and Das Efx. Then Nas, AZ, Mobb Deep, Capone and Noreaga, Tragedy, Nature…the whole QB thing really affected my life. Mobb Deep really had me and my friends like, they really inspired us to commit crime and like, hurt people. It’s sad, but true.

SGH: I think you might be a Beatles/Lennon fan. How did that come about?

Rast: My parents always listened to The Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix around the house so I was influenced early by their music. The Beatles and Lennon and stuff like the Beach Boys really influences the singing I incorporate into my songs, ya know?

SGH:  What’s next? A record? Some shows?

Rast: Videos and an EP with one of my favorite new artists, shows and a new album that wasn’t recorded in my living room.

SGH:  Anything you’d like to add?

Rast: I would like to thank you.  And, also thank you to Amaury, Eskay and Sacha Jenkins…

SGH: Last but not least and entirely customary around the Glass House…what’s your drink of choice?

Rast: I don’t drink because if I do, I fall asleep and wake up in handcuffs.

I never heard realer words.  Major thanks to Rast, and be sure to check out his soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/rastrfc.  Follow him on Twitter @RAST_RFC.  Download this tape immediately and rock it in crowded places, near a bunch of nervous white people.