It's been well established at this point that Philly emcee My Man Shafe is a certified hoops addict (and loyal Knicks fan), so it's no surprise that he's cooked something up just in time for the NBA's All Star Weekend down in New Orleans. Like Dr. J joining forces with Moses Malone for a championship run, teaming Shafe up with beats and cuts from Nex Millen is guaranteed to result in a song worthy of the Larry O'. Check it out:
On the list of "regrettable decisions made by rappers over the age of 40 in the month of February" Ghosftface's appearance on VH1's train wreck of a reality show Couples Therapy comes in a distant second to DMX's recent agreement to fight George Zimmerman in a [now cancelled] pay per view bout. And when compared to Flavor Flav's earlier role on VH1's Flavor of Love - and is it me, or does VH1 seem to go out of its way to cast aging emcees in the worst possible light - Ghost's appearance here comes off far more favorably, largely due to the level of charisma he's able to maintain even while revealing to his girlfriend of one year that he has another side chick of several more years. Nevertheless, it's probably not a good sign for Ghost's career, or love life, that the prospect of appearing on a televised, month-long therapy session was even considered as an option for him.
Having said that, his ability to put four different levels of emphasis on the word love ("I love her ways, too, but I can't say I was in love lovelovelove") while making a convincing argument for polygamy ("You knew my aura") was impressive.
The video quality on this one is a little dodgy, but a clip of Cut Chemist doing his thing on a pair of Brazilian funk records is always worth a look. I'm hoping someone can identify whatever song it is that he drops in at the 2:00 mark, watch closely and you can see Chemist can barely contain his glee as the crowd reacts to it. The two-handed, faderless scratching that he does with KRS-1's Sound of da police is worth sticking around for, as well.
For those of you who have been patiently waiting for an update to this site over the past couple of months, a 17-minute long b-boy video featuring a bunch of Korean and Japanese kids (The Morning of Owl and Body Carnival crews, respectively) that you've never heard of before may not be the payoff that you were hoping for. Yet I can say with a fair amount of confidence that you will be more than impressed with what's on display here, even if you're not the type that's generally into coordinated competitive break dancing. The battle starts off a little bit slow, but if you can hold on through the first five minutes of extended uprocking footage (or just skip ahead to the 5:45 mark of the video) you'll be rewarded with the sight of some dude backspinning down the backs of his fellow crew members, proceeding to headspin roughly 30 times, all while taking off his shirt in one motion.
While I've been spending the past few weeks researching bitcoin exchange rates as part of my exit plan from the rat race, failing to convince the Facebook police that I haven't been catfishing the real Doug E. Fresh, and generally neglecting this website, several of the usual suspects have been putting the final touches on some very big projects.
Perhaps most significantly is the newly-engaged Zilla Rocca's Neo Noir mixtape. I've been sitting on an advance copy of this one for over a month now, and over that time I've had the chance to digest what Zilla has called his "most joyful project." It certainly is, to my ears, the most lyrically mature of his projects. As an emcee Zilla's gone through quite an evolution since I first met him almost seven years ago (damn!); the years have seen him move on from my favorite rap duo since Nice N' Smooth to a solo artist to a member of the vaunted Wrecking Crew, and it's no surprise that his musical output has grown and evolved each step of the way.
Neo Noir is at its best when the material reflects on Zilla's career up to this point and what he's gone through to get here. As an emcee that came of age during the boom and bust era of Myspace Rappers - where every kid with a mic and a bootleg copy of fruityloops had aspirations of developing a "brand" and getting rich off of cd-r mixtapes - survived it and now finds himself on the other side of thirty in a new era where even the mythical major label record deal is no longer a guarantee of income or popularity, the artist formerly known as The Rap Jack Bauer seems to have reached a point where he can define his own success as an artist without using download counts or blog references as goalposts. Expressed in a different tone it might come off as the lamentings of a defeated man, but on songs like "Success is Failure" Zilla sounds more like a man who's discovered how to hold onto his sanity while surviving in the music industry:
Perhaps my favorite track on Neo Noir is 2 Dollar Lunches featuring fellow Wrecking Crew member Has-Lo. The song, filled with musings from the two emcees that should sound familiar to anyone who's ever drudged through a 9-to-5 for more years than expected in order to fund the pursuit of their true passion, could serve as an anthem for all independent artists:
For reasons unclear, Paul Scheer has been filming reenactments of various episodes of the Arsenio Hall Show for the past year or so, a fact I became aware of while reading Arsenio's recent Ask Me Anything segment on Reddit. What makes these skits work so well is the fact that they are not parodies, per se, but actually use the original quotes (and mannerisms) from the original clips. Above is perhaps the highlight of the series, with Jordan Peele reenacting Tupac's 1993 appearance to promote his role in Poetic Justice. Peele didn't get the outfit quite right, but his impression - which might best be described as Ja Rule channeling 2Pac - cracked me up.
And below is the original Arsenio clip. Worth watching all the way through, but if nothing else stick around for the part where Pac claims that Janet Jackson required him to get an AIDS test prior to their kissing scene in Poetic Justice because "she caught a cold from Q-Tip when they kissed."
Finally, to tie this whole Tupac/Reddit AMA thing together, here's a quote from Big Boi's AMA on Reddit today in response to a request for a "funny anecdote involving a celebrity":
"The first time I met Tupac, we were opening for him in Ohio and he was pulling up to the hotel in a limousine, and he jumped through the partition of his limo and threw the car in park because the driver wouldn't stop because he wanted to holler at me and Dre. He almost tore up the transmission in the limo. Real life."
It's been a few months since I last posted anything from my fellow BC alum Chachi, but in the intervening months he's become something of an international star. He's come into his own as a fixture in the Cape Verdean music scene, having flown over to the African island nation a couple of times this summer to perform at various concerts. The above photo should give you some sense of the crowds that he's been performing in front of, not too bad for a kid that began his music career in a dorm room with a 10 dollar mic and a pair of Gemini turntables.
Chachi just released his latest cd, Cape Verdean In America (named after one of his very first singles), a mix of hip hop, Portuguese, and African music. He calls the blend of styles "Catchupa Music" (Catchupa being a Cape Verdean stew of hominy, beans and fish). As with everything he's released up to this point it's well worth a look, so please take some time out to pick up a copy over at cdbaby.
Here's my favorite track off of Cape Verdean in America, featuring a sample from Grave Evora's Sabim:
Continuing his progession as an artist and rounding out his portfolio, My Man Shafe recently hooked up with MDot Cinema to film his first official video for the He's Hers produced track That's My Man. Shot near his homebase in South Philly, the video features cameos from various neighborhood residents lip synching the song's main sample of Raekwon's Spot Rusherz and some rare footage of My Man Shafe's legendary jump shot. Singer Khrista Bella, who Shafe will be working with on an upcoming project called Strawberries & Soul, also appears throughout.
When I asked Shafe to sum up the video in his own words, he said, "I love working out, playing ball, and making music and I think that comes thru in the video." The video's dope, so go watch it, hit replay on it a few times, and then head on over to My Man Shafe's soundcloud page and get a free copy of the mp3!
And in case you missed it, this isn't the first time Shafe hooked up with He's Hers for a track. They initially met each other at Has-Lo's show for Fat Beats a couple of years ago, and then last year they put out the funk track Won't Get Me. Check it out:
As Kanyeezus has shown us, it's not always necessary to get a huge CGI budget and a storyboard that requires footnotes to understand all of the references in order to film a good hip hop video. Sometimes it's best to just keep things simple, grab a few girls and some drinks, head to the club and start filming. If your song is actually good - and as with everything else off of Mally's album The Last Great..., Bounce is quite good - the video doesn't need to distract from it anyway. But if you want to throw in some footage of a couple of good looking women making out, hey, I'm not one to complain!
Shafe was so well received his first time appearing at Dobbs that he's been invited back to do it again. You can catch him at the Legendary Dobbs on July 21st. And keep an eye out for his upcoming video, which will be posted as soon I get my hands on it!