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Monday, August 21, 2017

D&G review

A couple weeks ago the D&G album was reviewed on "Bring That Beat Back." Quite an amazing, flattering and humbling review.  You can read the review below or click the link here.


by Jack Devo


I fell in love with hip hop full-tilt in 1991.  It had been building up for a while by that point, but ’91 broke the dam.  I was in middle school, and when I heard “By the Time I Get To Arizona” for the first time, it pushed me over the edge into hip hop appreciation head first.  With Public Enemy as the sounding board, I then branched out, forwards and backwards, and across the map.  Ice T and Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Naughty By Nature.  Cypress Hill, Gangstarr, Digable Planets, the Native Tongues.  Artifacts, Boot Camp, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep.  And each new tape I picked up just made me more excited to cop the next one.  Hip hop was vibrant, it was fresh and progressive, it was building and growing; each artist and producer had unique style, and identity, and crazy visions.  To my young ears the music was limitless.

There are things that happen with the passage of time, and with age:  Looking back on the landscape of my life, from the midway point of an almost 40-year-old, I see the gradual and inevitable shift I’ve taken from active participant to spectator.  I’ve moved away from the city and it’s frenetic creativity, my family and I now live in the woods, and I do my best to show my three young children those things I’ve discovered throughout my life, that I feel are important, and want to pass on.  I play them music whenever I can.  They've danced to Blowout Comb.  Inner City Griots and Project Blowed.  Kingdom Crumbs and Colored People's Time Machine.  Apocalypse ’91 has definitely still been on rotation… my crazy children know all of these albums.  And recently, I’ve introduced them to a new one I feel is more than worthy of inclusion in this elite group of classics:  David and Goliath’s The Scepter and the Sword.

I’ve been fortunate to have been listening to this album in its various incarnations for a while now.  It’s inception began way back in 2013, when a particularly face-slapping track from rapper/producer Dawhud and rapper Ace-One caught the attention of the one and only DJ Premier.  The track, “Battle Anybody”, which got a lot of airplay on Primo’s “Live From HeadQCourterz” program, is a slouchinginly self-assured, boot-stomping show-stopper of a track, and acted as a catalyst for their creative energies as a duo.  By 2015 a full-length Dawhud and Ace-One (collectively known as David and Goliath) album was born: a raw, heavy-ass, two-headed monster of a record, with production handled by Dawhud and the Beatminerz.  Although Dawhud hails from the Pacific Northwest and Ace-One is from Indianapolis, this album was full-on Brooklyn, circa '95.  As Dawhud called it, a "Tims and baseball bat video" of an album.

This early version, although bearing some alternate universe-resemblance at times to the finished product, might as well be an entirely different album.  Dawhud is an all-but self-professed perfectionist, and with edits and re-edits, re-recordings and new material, The Scepter and the Sword continued to evolve.  Becoming more sonically and thematically cohesive, the album coalesced into one brilliantly coherent and confident; adding participants, spawning the aptly titled mixtape Something’s Coming, and eventually eschewing the Beatminerz tracks until a later release.  With Dawhud's intricate and full production featured exclusively, through trials and tribulations the album moved forward until its release in July 2017.

And the product is sublime.  Look up the definition if you’re unsure of what it means exactly.  It's the perfect balance of craft and wild spontaneity, of humble artistry and classic hip hop bravado.  As a young kid, consuming tape after tape, chasing after each artist and each release, on through the 90’s and as an adult into the new century, The Scepter and the Sword stands out as a beacon; an album that remains true to the art while simultaneously advancing it. Here, in 2017.

This album, and actually quite a few others in the last 12 months, have signaled a sea change in hip hop, a return to detailed, powerful production and dedicated lyricism.  But nothing I’ve heard yet has grabbed me like this.  To say it's solid, and full, and beautiful in its intricacy and depth, doesn't do the album justice.  It’s lean, no filler, no skits, no weak cuts, just a double lp's worth of beautifully crafted songs - each as satisfying a listen as the one that comes before.  There are heavy, HEAVY beats, the kind the push against your rib cage, and underneath them flow these incredible gems dug up from crates, of horn sections, vocal samples, pianos played like percussion instruments, and fuzzed-out basses.  Complimenting the music, Dawhud and Ace-One’s lyrics and raps are the best either have ever laid down.  Trading rhymes, alternating verses, and pulling out line after line of fresh new Rhythmic American Poetry, they easily stand aside peers (yes, PEERS) such as Masta Ace, Sadat X, and Rock from Heltah Skeltah (who all just so happen to appear on the album).

The Scepter and the Sword is a record that is years in the making, and only released in the last month, and is surely going to become more revered as time goes on.  It's an incredible achievement; it's the most exciting release I've heard in a long time, and gives me hope for a new revolution in hip hop.  Head over to Dawhud's site Illin' In the Basement or his Bandcamp site to pick up a copy (I copped the cassette-shaped USB drive, but the limited double Vinyl [with bonus tracks] is truly a thing of beauty). Black wax is available through Fat Beats.  Listen, dance to it like my children do, and be excited for the future!

Friday, July 14, 2017

D&G - The Scepter & The Sword

This has been a long time coming. The battle cry of "Something's Coming" has seemed like almost like Dre saying he was working on "Detox."  But here we are and HERE it is.

Ace and I have worked hard on this project... the path to get here has been as Ace would put it, "a long rough road that's gettin' even more rough/ ya gotta navigate ya way though the murk and the muck."  Blood... sweat... tears...

With all the hurdles, set backs, rewinds, restarts, and re-calibrations it was maktub. Doors opened, doors closed and we kept on.  Ace and I saw the opportunity that we had been provided and maintained on our path to release this project.  The prophetic lines I wrote for "Keepin' On" served as a mantra, "hold it down before this whole project collides."

We thank you all that have supported this project, sat as we continued to say that "Something's Coming" and continued to be hyped for it's release.  I can now say that SOMETHING IS HERE!!!

Featuring Masta Ace, Sadat X, Kokane, Pacewon, Rock (from Heltha Skeltha) and the homies, JO, Joe Harvey & Otomatik... this has been an EPIC in the making and I hope you all enjoy it.

Don't forget to pick up the limited edition vinyl directly through us or through Fat Beats Distribution.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Ang P - Bribes and Schemes (Prelude)

In the process of a year and a half Ang P has been consistently knocking project after project out. "L.I.F.F." set it off and within a few months it was followed up with "Manicotti" and within a few months of that that was followed up with "#Project1031."  Boom, boom, boom... no rest for the wicked.  I spoke with him and Ang was saying he was just wanting to keep the momentum going and was already working on a full length.

Ok... dayum homie...

Then one day I got a txt and he let me hear some clips of the new LP, "Vibes and Dreams." I just shook my head not because I'm hating or disappointed, but because it's like it just bleeds out of this dude.  Shortly after I heard those preview tracks, Ang opened up preorders for the LP to be dropped in July and... it was on!  And just when it appears, this is the plan, we're cool, I know what's coming THEN outta nowhere dude drops a prelude EP "Bribes and Schemes."  Like, yo... c'mon, b... for real?  Ya killin' me, man...

So as we're presented in this prelude EP, "Bribes and Schemes" is the yang to the ying of what will be "Vibes and Dreams."  It's a bit of a departure of what Ang has developed as his main lane and sound, but this whole EP works within itself sonically.  Hearing him over different styles of production honestly just shows that he's a diverse emcee and can honestly rock whatever is served to him to make it his own. (and it still sit in his discography perfectly)

5 tracks deep, "Bribes and Schemes" is a dope appetizer for the main coarse coming in the form of his upcoming LP.  As "Manicotti" was an EP that felt more like it was built for summer listening, this EP is like a late night summer rollin' soundtrack.

Cop the EP and preorder "Vibes and Dreams".

Can't stop, won't stop.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Black Eddie x DJ Spoolz - Flexin

Cut Camp member and knight Black Eddie is steady flexin on this Klinik produced digi single. (so you know it is the truth!) Assisted with DJ Spoolz on the hook, "Flexin" is a walkman throwback jawn reminiscent of days of bumping Group Home, Gangstarr and Wu-Tang while riding the bus/subway.

"all ya records sound tha same!"

Friday, June 23, 2017

Preorder D&G's "The Scepter & The Sword" Now

At long last D&G's epic LP is here... well almost. "The Scepter & The Sword" will be released on July 14th and is now available for preorder.  There will be two versions available. One in standard black and the other will be a deluxe splatter version that mirrors the cover art.  Fat Beats will be distributing the standard version of the 2xlp, but the limited edition will be available directly through D&G and Dawhud's bandcamp site.

Along with the vinyl release, D&G have other merch available AND a limited 8GB USB cassette drive! In the shape of a cassette and housed in a purple case, this USB drive comes preloaded with D&G's "The Scepter & The Sword" along with other b-sides, remixes and solo projects from Dawhud & Ace-One.
Order NOW!!!



#somethingscoming




Saturday, June 10, 2017

J.O. - Grown Man Business

Man... I've been waiting for this album for a long minute and it has been worth the wait.  The 1st time I heard J.O. was on Ace-One's "Rapmonster" LP, which was another album I was waiting anxiously to drop.

Shortly after hearing J.O. taunt us with his Godzilla stomping verse "I'm the best thing hapenin' since 16 bars and rapin'" we were treated to the PHD album, a group project with The Klinik & DJ Spoolz. "Unexpected" was exactly that. In my mind I had no idea what I was in for on 1st listen.  With his "A Day In The Life" album we were actually given what would be an "expected" street album. (sonically)  But... PHD was different, where "Day In..." was a pretty straight forward album that reflected popular styles of it's release, PHD was it's smoked out little brother.  Klinik painting a backdrop that, as Ace-One would refer to as "black Cadillac" music, allowed J.O. and Klinik room to breathe, have fun, but still let you know that you will get "knocked the PHAWK OUT," if you cross them.

After the release of the PHD album, J.O. started working on a solo project.  As time progressed and we all anticipated the release, the title reflected exactly what it was, "Grown Man Business." A video here, a track there, but as we were all teased with what his LP was, we were still all waiting on it. Life is life... life is good and life happens.  But, roughly 3 years after the PHD project being released, J.O.'s album is finally here and it was worth the wait.

"Grown Man Business" is almost a who's who of Naptown talent as Nevi Moon, Klinik, Joe Harvey, Mark Mars, BTF Shane and Nappy Newt assist on the production with Ace-One, Brotha Dees assisting on guest spots.  The varying production styles, instead of clashing with each other when playing out, serve as an ebb and flow with J.O. allowing him to show the listener he can ride the beat, have a good time and once again... let you know that you will get "knocked the PHAWK OUT," if you cross him.  (Chris Tucker voice)

In this day and age of instant gratification and short attention spans, many artists have been calling 5 track projects "albums." As a breath of fresh air, J.O.'s offering is an ACTUAL album at 12 songs. Long enough to keep the listener engaged, but not too long or too short. There is a balance... maybe that's just "Grown Man Business" in the current state of leaned out rappers more fixated on their "brand" than talent.  Regardless of J.O.'s intention, his LP is able to walk the line and play to an older generation of rap fans that's in their 30s and 40s AND a younger crowd without sounding like he's trying to pander to that audience.  J.O. is simply telling the new cats and the older cats what it is... he's a grown ass man and this is "Grown Man Business."

Do yourself a favor and cop J.O.'s new LP and check for his feature on the highly anticipated "The Scepter & The Sword."  (shameless promo and full disclosure)










Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dawhud x Moka Only x Wizdumb - Candyman (...Large Pro...J Dilla)

"Sweets to the Sweet"

 About 10 years ago Dawhud purchased the legendary Large Professor's S950 from him on eBay. The sampler was a staple along with the SP1200 in Hip Hop's Golden Age and Large Pro used the sampler on many of the classics he produced. "Put it in the S950 and stretch IT!"

 Fast forward a few years and Dawhud was able to acquire a record that was from J Dilla's personal record collection. Was it used on any of the beats he made that weren't released? Who knows... but knowing it was from his actual collection is worth its weight in gold.

 Both of these pieces mostly sat as collector items in Dawhud's studio until a simple joke/suggestion from Ryan Fresh planted a seed. "Yo... if you make a beat with Large Pro's S950 and J Dilla's record, you'll summon Candyman." Boom... that was it. Suddenly the concept for the song was born and as the beat was created, Dawhud wanted to make a song that was an homage to the legends that were in essence behind the track. Dawhud, being an emcee/producer/DJ, wanted to make a song with other emcee/producer/DJs using equipment and records that were from legendary emcee/producer/DJs.

Enter Moka Only and Wizdumb. Three like minds, but each ride the haunting mellow track in a different direction while maintaining the theme.

"You ever heard of Candyman? If you look into the mirror... you say his name 5 times."

Dawhud...

 Moka Only...

 Wizdumb...

 Large Professor...

 J Dilla...

 Enter the Candyman

 As an homage to the late J Dilla, who owned the record used in the production, Candyman will be released on Dilla Day Tuesday February 7th.