fresh prynce

“let freedom ring from stone mountain of georgia”…and so goes the opening line from “ring bellz”, the first cut from cyhi the prynce’s royal flush mixtape. sampling mlk’s dream speech is a ballsy way to kick-start your album, but then again, that’s cyhi’s style. cyhi is a laid back mc from georgia, another up and comer on kanye’s good music label. nominated as one of xxl mag’s freshmen 11, he reminds me of jeezy with his drawn out delivery and streetwise hubris.

i first heard this kid rhyme on “so appalled” the killer crew-cut from kanye’s dark,twisted, sexy whatever the hell he called it. i knew cyhi was on his way. it never hurts to join forces with west, arguably hiphop’s most talented, if not its most egotistical player.

royal flush’s tracks vary from the strictly southern/t.i sounding “never again” to the triumphant “fast lane”, complete with the r&b flavored hook. cyhi knows what’s going to sell records, and it seems he’ll do it without compromising what he’s about. as always, i’m listening for originality, a flow that challenges the beat and something to say…on royal flush cyhi brings his a-game from front to back.

this video makes me smile. california looks like heaven.


thick lizzy…

supergroups aren’t supposed to work. you remember velvet revolver right? or audioslave? they’re usually a mess..too many influences, massive egos. it’s a recipe for rock and roll cliché. and i have to admit, when hearing of the damned things, three parts anthrax-two parts fall out boy- and two parts every time i die, i was hesitant. i figured here comes another piece of shit, over produced, poorly conceived trainwreck of a project. nope.

the band doesn’t sound like anything each member has done before. rather than any one member dominating the sound you catch bits and pieces from every angle. you can definitely hear the aggression of anthrax’s dual guitar onslaught, but hidden in there is the hook-friendly riff/chorus of any great fall out boy single. every time i die’s keith buckley handles the vocals, and what you get isn’t his usual throaty growl, instead he’s intent on leading the band like a classic rock front man. etid’s josh newton handles the bass while FOB’s andy hurley pounds the drums. somehow, it all makes sense.

i’ve been playing their debut record ironiclast to death for the past few days. it pounds like the soundtrack to a very sleazy house party. it’s equal parts hardcore and classic rock. buckley’s vocal are meant to slither and slide all over the place. it seems like the damned things want to party, they want to rock and roll, but they want you to see this as more than a silly side project. no problem boys. i’m on board with a pack of reds and a cold case. summer never sounded like so much trouble.

california love

i plan on sleeping a lot this summer. i’ll get up when i stir…have something to eat, go to the gym…i’ll keep busy. but i won’t work. with all that free time, i’ll need a soundtrack. this afternoon i heard a single called “pumped up kicks” that made me perk right up. a little digging lead me to foster the people. their fantastic album, torches was released today. summer, we’ve found our soundtrack.

foster the people sound like a giant, digital-pop stew made of some choice ingredients. i hear a touch of the killers, a heaping dose of mgmt, a bit of broken social scene and some of ups commercial darlings, the postal service. slowly stir all that up and leave it out in the los angeles sunshine, and you have foster the people. the happiest sounding band i’ve heard in ages.

what impresses me the most about foster the people is the amount of moving parts they have during a live performance. at any given time you’ll see and hear piano, synths, mpc’s, bass, drums, guitars. all that proves these guys are well-versed in their craft, and even more impressive, they’re flawlessly rehearsed. check out “houdini” and see what i mean…

can i get a side of passion pit please?

finally (almost) famous

detroit. home of bob seger, kid rock, eminem. a terrible football team. an even worse than the lions pistons basketball franchise. a ton of abandoned houses. and big sean, a fire spitting mc poised to become the next really big thing. signed to kayne’s g.o.o.d music label and riding the hype wave thanks to a tremendous mixtape, finally famous vol 3, big sean is ready to take that crucial step from mixtape master to mainstream rapper. he’s ready.

big sean is a punchline genius. he’s mastered the art of ending his bars with a clever word or pun. it’s nothing new, but it’s something big sean is very, very good at. lil’ wayne’s made a career of it, and drake does it too. even though it’s a pretty popular style, i can’t help but laugh at some of sean’s one liners…he’s a pretty clever dude.

keep your ears peeled for finally famous: the album. he’s also on tour this summer with wiz khalifa…a sight to see i’m sure. click and enjoy “supa dupa lemonade”. freestyling is a lost art.

welcome back

i went and bought a $100 red and orange sunburst washburn guitar after hearing “blind” by face to face ten years ago. i sat and listened to that song over and over again, trying to teach myself the chord progression. i couldn’t read music, i couldn’t write it either…but i could hear it. and something about that song made me want to learn.

while everyone knows mainstream california punk bands like blink 182, the offspring, rancid, bad religion etc, etc, people aren’t always up on face to face. face to face is from victorville, california. they have been around since the early 90’s and they’ve released 7 albums with a revolving door of players all centered around front man trever keith. they play hard-nosed punk rock that reminds me of a cross between hot water music and the street dogs. they sound familiar, like that bar band you’ve heard a million times before, but you love anyway. it’s the type of music you relate to your life, as if the songs are meant for your own personal soundtrack.

face to face’s new record laugh now laugh later is excellent. it’s the sound of a band getting back to basics and leaning on the sound that put them on the map. they might not make you laugh like blink 182, or dance like rancid, but they will provide you that perfect background music for whatever’s going on between your ears.

click and check out “it’s not all about you”. this takes me back to dirty bars and long nights on lark street.

you sound like you’re from london….

tonight i bring you tinie tempah, south london’s grimy golden boy mc.  he’s massive across the pond and if his debut record discOvery is any indication, it’s only a matter of time before his name is ringing bells in ‘merica as well.

america is fickle about british mc’s.  the streets found moderate success with a bit of internet and radio love while lesser known acts who have topped the uk charts, like giggs, dizzee rascal and plan b have dropped records here that have never caught fire.  tinie tempah is about to change all that. 

tinie has massive swagger.  his rhymes are cocky, clever and full of recognizable references.  the money, the cars, the clothes, the women lined up to share his time…it’s all here.  and it all works.  a high-profile cameo from the likes of wiz khalifa on the stellar “till i’m gone” will provide tinie that immediate blast of credibility.  and tinie shines next to khalifa, one of hiphop’s brightest stars.  discOvery is a fun record full that blends tightly produced beats with jittery dance breakdowns.  toss in the r&b-spiked “love songs” and you have a record tailor-made for the short attention span of the itunes nation.

if you key in to tinie’s lyrics, his ability to story-tell, you’ll find there’s more here than what you’re lead to believe by the buzz that surrounds him.   his business moves aren’t too shabby either.  im pretty sure he licensed a song to the WWE, a move that surely brought in a boatload of dollars.  swag.

click and check out “pass out”.  im feeling this one…lots.

condition: slightly used…

disclaimer:  i love sublime.  40 oz. to freedom is one of my favorite records of ALL TIME.  they make me happy regardless.  they’re just one of those bands that i have always enjoyed, from high school to now.  which brings me to now.

following brad’s death, bud and eric (the surviving members of sublime) tried their hand with new projects, most notably the longbeach dub all-stars, but something wasn’t right.  the vibe was happy, the hooks were massive and fun, but it just seemed to miss its mark.  up pops rome, some kid who played the hell out of his guitar and sounded eerily like brad.  after some talk, some blog hate, a tiny touch of love, and a lawsuit later, sublime is back.

this time, we’re not calling it sublime or sublime version 2.o, we’re calling it sublime with rome.  and here’s why i’m fully on board with this project.  sublime with rome is not a get rich quick scam.  it’s not to tarnish the legacy of the late bradley nowell, who by the way was a raging heroin addict (rest his soul).  sublime with rome exists because bud and eric love to play music.  they love to play the music that put them on the map, but even more importantly, they want to share new music with the people.  and rome is the new lead man to do exactly that.

yes, they’ll play sublime songs live..and what’s wrong with that?  close your eyes…rome sounds like brad.  and plays his instrument better.  they also have a new record on the way, and if the new single “panic” is any indication, it’s going to be a fucking blast.  so do yourself a favor.  relax, let the past go…enjoy the new incarnation of something you once loved and just go with it.  or, tune it out.  haters.

click and check out the new single and promo.  this rome kid has some talent…