The Revolution Will NOT Be Televised

Apr 22

Sh*t I Missed | HEAVY HITTERS of the Northwest (Pt. II) | @CoolNutz “Crushed” Music Video Premiere

During my time uptown at Harlem Penthouse this afternoon, Hanif took me out to Lenox/Malcolm to work out in a community park at the heart of Harlem.

Last night, The Smokers Club took over Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with their 4/20 celebration show, Legalize NY,featuring some of the East Coast’s heavy hitter contemporaries (with the exception of Lil Bibby from Chicago), including: Brooklyn’s Pro Era rap collective – in attendance were Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, A La $ole, Dyemond Lewis, Rawle, Ali, Dessy Hinds, Nyck Caution, and Dirty Sanchez; Kris Kasanova, Black Dave’s Stone Rollers Skate Gang (SRSG); and Shakespeare, the hall was packed wall to wall with fans from all over on Easter evening.

 I arrived a bit late coming from The Harlem Penthouse, but just on time to run amuck backstage with SRSG thanks to one of their members – Zoo - a hometown friend I know from way back when the NJ Hardcore music scene still had a pulse. Thereafter, I went downstairs to the main landing of the stage and witnessed Chiraq’s Lil Bibby move the crowd with heavy bass and 808s that are signature of GBE’s Chi-Rap, playing familiar tracks from group affiliate Chief Keef and others off of his own records. Nyck Caution came on stage and switched up the mood with flows that bubble-wrapped all in attendance with a nostalgia that threw most back into the womb (because no one there was over the age of 30). Caution gave off an air character of NYC in the summer of 1994, Illmatic just dropping prior, a sound that preserved the East Coast flavor that hip-hop has somewhat lost its taste for in recent years with the rise of trap music and minimized elements of storytelling in music. The rest of Pro Era came on mobbing the stage, eventually bring out Joey, of whom kicked a dope freestyle while Kirk Knight beatboxed on the spot, all before stage diving and crowd surfing to M.O.P.’s “Ante Up”, New York City’s national anthem. 

PROERA420SHOW24In all honesty, I only noticed Joey after listening to 1999in the last semesters of college, my curiosity mostly driven by his young age, dexterity in verse and flow, using throwback beats and melodies I grew up listening to because of my father playing De La and Tribe in our home as a 90s baby. I really started becoming a fan of his when I spun Summer Knights for the first time, completely hooked after “Death of YOLO,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Sit N Prey.” And even with his classic feature on A$AP Rocky’s “1 Train,” I really started paying attention to the Brooklyn emcee. At first I was a little hesitant about his aesthetic because it was super nostalgic of 90′s rap, afraid that he may be a gimmick artist, not thinking him as someone who simply refracted the mood of his mentors and muses. Crested by a sound reminiscent of Nas at his prime, when Belly was still considered a block buster, and geopolitics determined tour dates and album features, Pro Era (or the Progressive Era) are a group of incredibly gifted and creative artists with souls more vibrant than the melodic samples used on each track, engineered with the importance of message and delivery in mind. I also learned a lot about deceased/founding member, Capital Steez, understanding how impactful his legacy was and still is to the rest of the group he helped create with Joey. I was thoroughly impressed by the brilliant chemistry shared between each young musician on stage – DJ’s included – and can confidently state that the young collective has more than enough innovation and potential to become as iconic as their predecessors like Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, and The Pharcyde, while at the same time maintain their individualism as separate artists working together to make great music.

Wasn’t able to make it out to Brooklyn for 4/20? Don’t trip. Peep The Recap Reel™ above or head on over to EARFLOAT TV™ for the video as well as other performances by Pro Era. For photos, check the gallery below.

BK TALES | The Smokers Club Present: Legalize NY 4/20 Show | @joeyBADASS_/Pro Era, Lil Bibby, SRSG, Kris Kasanova, Mick Jenkins, Shakespeare @ Music Hall of Williamsburg Last night, The Smokers Club took over Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with their 4/20 celebration show, 
Apr 21
Apr 19

NWK | MoRuf (@moruf88) + Iman Omari (@iman_omari) LIVE @ SEED Gallery, Newark, NJ

This week, I traveled back to Jersey to see MoRuf perform live at Newark’s SEED Gallery. An intimate space built on top of some nondescript establishment below, I walked in with Billlzegypt and was greeted by lo-fi tunes, DIY oriented art work being hung on the walls by a young man with amazing freeform locs, hammer in hand, greeting me with a smile warmer than bear hug.

Apr 16

FILM | AFFRM (@AFFRM) Presents: Vanishing Pearls | On Nailah Jefferson, Black Disaporan Cinema + Independent Filmmaking

After music journalism, documentary photography, and other miscellaneous creative projects I am involved with in between, I am primarily a filmmaker.

c8781398

corioAfrika-Bambaataa-12

“When was the first time you fell in love with hip-hop?”

After my deep love for funk, Charlie Wilson, Michael Jackson, neo-soul and 10-piece harmonies, production and sound engineering come in close second. Growing up in a household with immigrant parents whose first impressions of pop culture in America were The Cosby Show, Earth Wind and Fire, Motown, A Tribe Called Quest, and Coming To…

View On WordPress

Apr 14
Op-Ed | Top 8 Most Iconic Hip-Hop Producers of the Decade

This weekend, I spent about 3/4 of my time with Rahway’s Billlzegypt and Dead Rebel Society/NJ Rebels. From filming Bille’s weekly studio sessions for her documentary I’m shooting, producing and released as a bonus DVD to accompany her highly anticipated EP set to drop this fall (and I mean, highly with the highest regard), to kicking it heavy with Krash Battle and his people from Newark and Rahway, it was all about family and community this week. I took the trip from NY to New Brunswick yesterday to get some live footage from NJ Rebels and Dead Rebel Society at Rutgers University’s annual Unity Day. Hosted by its Black Student Union (BSU),

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetthe all-day festival is dedicated to unifying the wider Black Diaspora of the college through art, music, and an assortment of black performance culture that relatively goes unnoticed for the first 8 months of the school year. Having not attended the festival in almost 2 years, it was odd to be there with and document some of New Jersey’s top heavy hitters in music, fashion, and creativity. Each artist, local and mainstream alike, all brought something dynamic to the stage, presenting the crowd with a wide variety of sound for all sorts of listeners to vibe to. Of course NJ Rebels & Co killed the set, throwing full water bottles and DRS t-shirts into the crowd, opening up mosh pits near and away from the stage, performing with no apology and energy for decades. Krash and NJRFSU rolled in deep, about 20 bodies dense, and performed signature tracks “Jrugs Rock + Roll” ” and “Bodies”. Being my third time seeing them perform, I was already anticipant of the sort of set they were going to put on. I’ve noticed that there is always something new that they bring and leave with them, from improving chemistry between group members to track selection choice, more energy or less calm. Krash, son of Young Zee from The Outsidaz, is one of the most dedicated and focused emcees I’ve met out of Jersey. Despite their set being cut to only two songs, it still remains enigmatic to know that they not only committed lyrical murder but still managed to (literally) body a crowd with their aggressive and hardcore 808′s in under 20 minutes.

After coming off stage, I noticed on the right of the stairs that I recognized Willingboro’s Mike Zombie waiting to perform next. In my typical inarticulate vocabulary I conveniently translate all of my excitement and shameless enthusiasm into when meeting creatives, I dapped him up, told him good luck and watched from backstage as the OVO producer flowed with stylized temperament and focus. Me being me of course, I somehow told Mike about my pre-mature attitude I held when I first listened to “Started From The Bottom,” of which was, ‘Not really feeling it.’ Being humored by my honesty, we conversed for a bit on casual topics, New Jersey as a hub for creative renaissance, Newark Club Music, Just Blaze, sample preference, and my general sentiments on my alma matar. Last on stage was the Las Vegas rapper Dizzy Wright, spitting bar on top of bar, kicking to his audience a vast catalog of tracks showing off his eclectic sound between trap and traditional rap. “Let’s give ‘em some Hip-Hop!” Moskie, Wright’s hype man, roared as he rushed upstage to accompany Dizzy perform tracks off of his latest record The Golden Era. I also had an opportunity to help with an interview with XXL after his performance and watched him talk about his heavy influences from Bone Thugz N Harmony, Nas, Bob Marley and “anything rich with harmonies,” – funk, soul, and rnb; Earth Wind and Fire, The Gap Band, etc. It’s ironic that I included him on a compilation I dropped back in February as an artist to watch for 2014, and then meeting him and our interaction confirm my previous idea of him, was wild. A really relatable artist, I look forward to seeing what Dizzy has in store for Hip-Hop this coming year.

It was cool to be so personal with all the performers, especially those from Trenton and South Jersey, some closer to Philly, others as far as Atlantic City. Regardless of my rather large indifference toward college and institutional learning, I can still appreciate the small things that they provide their students of color – resources and opportunities to create and build communities within an open space that gives young people outlets they would not have otherwise if they did not attend or live near a university. Thank you to RU’s BSU chapter as well as all participating organizations who helped architect the event as well as maintain a healthy relationship between patrons and performers.

Check out the visual recap of the festival below, and look for the video recap early next week.

Support your neighbors, build with your community.

Dizzy Wright (@DizzyWright), NJ Rebels (@NJRFSU), Mike Zombie (@MikeZombie) + more @ Rutgers University | Unity Day ‘14 This weekend, I spent about 3/4 of my time with Rahway’s Billlzegypt and Dead Rebel Society/NJ Rebels…
Apr 13

Yesterday afternoon, I was invited to a private brunch/filming session for The AV Club’s (The Onion) new video series, “Pioneering,” in which they visit several locations around the nation “that are associated with pioneering musical acts,” and thereafter spend some quality time with the musical guest(s), either through an interview or some other interactive activity. For this particular round, they brought on the Queens’ rap collective, World’s Fair, to perform at the Bowery Electric in the Lower East Side. Already a huge fan of Fool’s Gold, I was pretty stoked to hang out backstage with Jeff, Remy, Nigel, Cody, Matt and Samo, and watch all of them prepare, as well as goof off and clown each other, while waiting for the event to start.

Paying homage to their “pioneering” predecessors from their hometown borough, World’s Fair performed A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” (twice) and a couple of records off of Bastards of the Party – including crowd favorites “’96 Knicks” and “B.O.T.P.” As small as the venue was, the energy in the room was explosive, ablazed from wall to wall. Even a couple of kids managed to carve out a space in front of the stage to start a mosh pit when when the group screamed, “Fuck your party!” Despite how short the performance was, it was definitely worth hiking from LIC to the Bowery at 1:30 in the afternoon.

AVClub_8I remember first seeing these guys live at the Converse Rubber Tracks back in December for a rap battle contest Sway hosted with Fader and Sirus Radio, and thereafter World’s Fair perform to a handful of fans at the end of the night. What gives World’s Fair the edge that every emerging collective in 2014 is trying to emulate is the way each member brings a fresh and cool characteristic to the overall collective, maintaining their individuality while providing listeners with a well-rounded and cohesive sound that acts like Wu, Mobb Deep, The Pharcyde, Slum Village, De La Soul, Tribe and NWA have done with finesse. While many attempt, very little are remembered – though, I have no doubt that WF will fare well into the new era of crew rap we are now experiencing at expedient levels.

Check out my visual recap of the afternoon below. More footage coming up on Good*Fella Media soon.

Be sure to head on over to Fool’s Gold and watch their latest interactive video for “Nem Diggas“, as well as keep up with their movements in the upcoming months.

Support your neighbors, build with your community.

LIVE EXCLUSIVE | World’s Fair x The AV Club @ Bowery Electric, “Pioneering” Yesterday afternoon, I was invited to a private brunch/filming session for The AV Club’s (The Onion) new video series, “Pioneering,” in which they visit several locations around the nation ”that are associated with pioneering musical acts,” and thereafter spend some quality time with the musical guest(s), either through an interview or some other interactive activity.

Apr 10
Apr 8

FILM | On Filmmaker Nabil Elderkin (@nabildo), Hip-Hop Cinema in the Contemporary Budget Film Era

Between cutting footage and pulling selects from my past weekend in Rahway, Chinatown and Harlem, I subconsciously deviated from my repetitive task at hand and found myself on YouTube watching…

SUBMISSION | ALBUM REVIEW | On “Strictly Barz” by Task Force General (T/F/G)

Bishop1

It is commonplace that we witness an artist born in the wrong era, or a contemporary with an interchangeable and fluid aesthetic that evokes sagging nostalgia in listeners of 90′s early hip hop that even our parents still long after. It is artists like Bishop Nehru, the 16-year old self-proclaimed phenom, that refract all of these…

View On WordPress

Apr 7
SUBMISSION | ALBUM REVIEW | On “Strictly Barz” by Task Force General (T/F/G)
Apr 4

EARFLOAT TV | Uptown Hangsuite – Episode 2: “Dashikis In DUMBO”

My entire Thursday was spent under the sun, down underneath the Manhattan Bridge overpass, or better known as (DUMBO), in Brooklyn, shooting a music video for Hanif.’s latest record ”Ad Hominem,” off his upcoming project, set to drop on EARFLOAT TV on April 8th at 11:59pm.