Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rusty Redenbacher - The Tinkerer (5 track preview)

Rusty Redenbacher has blessed us with another preview of his upcoming project, "The Tinkerer."   He uploaded 5 tracks on soundcloud and gave us a track by track rundown.

Plug in and take a dose.

On the real ATFU...

Rusty Redenbacher (#ATFU) - Tracks from 'The Tinkerer' by RustyRedenbacher

1) ‘The Tinkerer’
The second track I made when I started what ended up being an album called ‘The Tinkerer’.  I’d had those drums laying around for a minute and had been dying to rap on them. I made the drum break to mix behind other records when I spin, but I knew it was too good to keep letting everyone else have all the fun with it. The title and concept just kinda came to me. I thought it would be cool to give it a science-fiction feel to match the vibe I was getting at home.

“I can’t believe I’m actually playing these keyboards #nshit on this damn laptop! Why didn’t I try this before? I got breaks ERRYWHURR…I think I’m gonna make an album here, man. Right here in the crib…just knock this stuff out. I BEEN wanting to make tracks and God bless Steve Jobs, cuz now I can.”
I knew I was gonna dedicate this album to my Mama (God rest her soul, keep watching me, Mama. I’m doing it), Muhbabay (She gave me the space to create this thing, never complaining once about all the noise I was making and my being stuck in the ‘Iron Man Monster Factory’ all day and night.) and Steve Jobs (cuz without this technology he gave me, I wasn’t gonna be able to do this AT ALL. The whole album is produced, recorded and mixed in Garageband.)

Total budget to record this album…$29.98, for a spindle of CD’s to burn the rhythm beds for transferring into the computer. I hadn’t taught myself to sample in Garageband yet, so I mixed all the beds live as ‘blends’. All the samples and drums you hear on every track except for ‘Dunwiddit’ and ‘Shake’  were laid live from the wheels of steel to the burner, then the baselines, keys, and ‘sprinkles’ (as Tyler would say) were added via Garageband.

#Also, I didn’t have a keyboard yet, so I played all the parts on the keyboard I am typing this blog on right now. I just think that’s cool as shit. #PUNKROCKTHISSHIT. It’s about how you use what you got, getting it done, and getting it to the world like “Yeah…YEAH…YEAH!“…
That’s kinda what this song is about #aswell. I’m playing a scientist, attempting to create something outta what is laying about. I look at these records and hear music and most of the time I think…
“What could I do with that…? How could I make that, if not better, at the very least, mine, and offer it to the world? How can I take this record and these thoughts and reshape them into an entirely new beast? I’m gonna FREAK that shit right THERE.”
“I think I’m Nikolai Tesla, yo…”

#maby Dr. Frankenstein, too…

and Rick Rubin mixed with Steve Albini, but with more #swag…

2) ‘The Funk’
The track originally was gonna be real simple. I was wanting to do something that was just reeeeeal simple and fonkay; the example that was in my head was EPMD’s ‘You’re A Customer’; just a two note baseline, some sick drums, and some vocal samples/scratches. The first version was exactly that…but I didn’t have the vocal samples. Just some fonk…

The rhyme is all about the soul artists that I LOVE. The artists referenced in this song are the foundation of soul music, and thus, the foundation of hip-hop. A brutha just had to pay homage to the elders early in the process to make sure the whole thang was blessed. Word.

3) ‘My Migraine’
This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, man. Another one of my ‘blend-beds’ that really didn’t need a lot. I had this one on deck for about two years. I added the organ, the bassline, and the little bells, then wrote a tune around it.

You ever been all about something…with everything you got…and start to wonder why you even bother? I mean, like anything. You give and give to it and realize it’s nothing but a headache and a drag and you’re not getting back what you put in, but you love it. So what do you do…?

You can’t cut your head off, so you lay down or you take a pill and try to concentrate on feeling good somehow. That’s what that is there, man. Everybody has felt like that about something. I have felt like that about a lotta things, sometimes I feel like that when I am writing and recording song at 1:30 in the morning immediately after a night of DJing…

…but I ain’t about to cut my head off.

“Another pill glues me shut where my head was split.”

4) ‘Add On’
There’s a couple of short pieces that keep the narrative of the album flowing. When you hear the full album, you’ll be able to hear something of a storyline. I always think of the projects as complete pieces, even when I’m using spare parts.

Before producing the music for this album, I always felt one of my strengths was in arranging vocals. I’ve been recording my own vocals for the longest, so I’ve got a process and have developed a sound with it. I #ALSO appreciate being able to do that myself at the crib now too…I wanna try things once I get the lead done and while I ain’t Lutha or Marvin or nothin, I can get my harmony on here and there.

In this case, I was kinda playing around, learning some new effects that I hadn’t used. It’s also at a point in the album where the ‘monster’ needed to get his thang off a bit. The ‘monster’ had to show that he’s down with the program and nothing to be scared of.

(In fact, The Tinkerer doesn’t see a ‘monster’, he sees a ‘man’. Why, if more people could see what is going on at the ‘Iron Man Monster Factory’, I bet they’d be amazed and astounded. 
…they can’t see me though…yet.)

I continue my work…

5) ‘The Nocturnal Stomp’
Continuing the ‘WATFU’ theme from ‘Cashin In’, this is a jam produced and written towards the end of the process. ‘WATFU’ is OUR radio station, man. The internet and social-media are basically a radio station for your personality. That’s why you see and hear me on here so much, baby. Radio don’t stop.

Radio is there when you wake up and will be there when you fall asleep. ‘WATFU’ is ALWAYS on the air. We are ALWAYS in communication with our people and we are always tryna give them something new for their personal radio stations, which in most cases are called ‘iPods’ or ‘Smartphones’
I grew up on the radio, man. The radio was about the people and the personalities presenting the music. The voices carried the personalities of real people, not robots. I love that. I used to make tapes as a kid where I would record myself introducing the songs, like a radio show.

One of the biggest influences on ‘The Tinkerer’ is my beloved Mama and a note she gave me outta the blue one day. I hadn’t seen it in years and it was returned to me this year…on Father’s Day.
Amazing, just amazing.

She was telling me to never give up on myself…and how proud she was of me. I was really in the dumps that day, y’all. As a ‘new orphan’, those holidays and birthdays just ain’t the same to me. I go through some real blues on those days cuz they ain’t here. It will NEVER be the same. No matter how old I get, no matter what is going on in my life, those days will always bring about some blues. *shrugs* They just do…

Getting this note was really like a message from Heaven. I honestly believe that. I honestly believe there was divine intervention that went on that day. I won’t ever forget it…and this note will never leave my side again. Ever. Ever. EVER. And it shouldn’t have in the first place, but when you hafta move fast, some things get left behind.

(That a whooooole other story though…)
(a whoooole other story, man.)
“Mama said never quit, so I never quit/Mess around on the keys for a little bit./Space Funk, when I tinker/Deep thinker/You WILL respect it/Accept it/I get no sleep, in the deep hours of the night/Paranoid, tawgmbout…”Is my thyroid alright?”…”

You think of some wild stuff in the darkest hours, especially when you feel like you can’t sleep. You worry, you trip. Your mind never stops.

I just happen to make it rhyme and Mama said ‘GO!’, so I ‘GO!’.

…and now Rusty’s On Ya REAL Radio in #Naptown, every day at noon in the mix and on the mic on the weekend.

Radio don’t stop. Mama said never stop. Perfect. #Science. #Faith.

That’s about it, y’all. I’ll be announcing a release date and some video promos soon, so just stay tuned cuz ‘The Tinkerer’ is coming and it’s an ALBUM, baby. I really hope y’all enjoy this sneak-peek and I leave you with this.

Thank you.

All Together For Us…

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Proforms (Cipher Sessions... the writtens)

Earlier this month I posted the two lead tracks from The Proforms upcoming LP "Atavism".  (out now)  I was able to have all four members of the group sit down, talk about their LP, Naptown boom bap and the best compliment an artist can ever hear.

First off... all four of the members have been rather prolific and worked on other Naptown projects.  (Mudkids, Twilight Sentinels, Breakdown Kings etc.)  How did this group come about and is this a one time project or do you have plans for further releases?

Joe:  Twilight Sentinels were working on an EP, featuring a different person on every track. At some point in time, we were gathered at a local hooka bar- to talk, write, and listen to beats.  We outgrew that space, and Skittz coerced everyone to come to his crib to hang out.  Out of all of the people who hung out, the three of us (Joe, ACE & Skittz) were the only ones who continued to regularly get together.  Eventually, we said fuck it, why not form a group?

Ace:  Firstly, we do plan on future projects. The Proforms is an actual group. Stories may differ, but here's mine: Long ago before the "Great Flood", Joe Harvey always talked of forming a collective of emcees & using the name Proforms. Michael Graves aka Mike L. Knight, Shogun, etc. Of Twilight Sentinels always spoke of wanting to rock w/Skittz, myself, & Son Of Thought on a track/tracks. DJ Top Speed was on board at the time. We all began to kick it on the regular at The Egyptian Hooka Bar & Skittz's pad(before the "Great Flood). Nutshell: We started writing & recording w/ourselves(3 emcees), Shogun, Son Of Thought, & Topspeed; some cats stayed & some split, but we're all still real close; longtime homeboy DJ Spoolz(The Dirty Thirty) joined the fold & SHAZAAM! Here we are. 

Spoolz:  The Proforms were established before I ever joined the group, but I knew everyone prior to joining (seeing Ace & Joe at shows and talking a lot, same with Skittz, plus doing cuts for the Rhyme Strong, Volume 1 album... check that shit out).  Last summer, Joe said they needed cuts for the album, then eventually asked me to join the group.  I still do scratches for other artists, but I rep The Proforms... this is who I build with, whether it's music, or life, or whatever.  I can't wait to start putting in work on this next project.

The Proforms: We plan on doin' mo' shit.

First time I met you all it was when I first moved to Indy.  I remember I went to a Mudkids show and Ace was standing next to me. He nugged me and was like, "Yo, do what Rusty is saying... snap yo fingers, tap your toes."  After the show I found myself talking with Skittz about being new to the scene and networking.  I had a similar experience with Joe Harvey at the MLK center when he preformed with the Twilight Sentinels.  From the experience I had in Indy, the scene was very welcoming and WANTED to network and build itself up unlike other cities and scenes where there was a "crabs in a barrel" effect.  Has that been the same experience for you?  

Skittz:  Yes, Indy has been very welcoming, and the artists here are hungry to get the city on the map, as far as hip-hop is concerned.  There is a large, loosely connected network of mc's and dj's in the city that all hold each other down... and are all pushin' to get themselves out there and rep Indy.

Ace:  I agree w/you, because you were apart of that experience Dawhud. That was beautiful time that you speak of, bro. That's where I'd like see Indy's music scene be, but 20 to 100 fold.

Spoolz:  Absolutely.  There are a ridiculous amount of talented people in this city, and most everyone is down to help and contribute to the overall goal of getting Naptown on the map.

Joe Harvey headed up the production.  Was there a certain vibe you were going for or was this just a project that evolved as the three of you began working on it?

Joe: My idea from the beginning was to make a project that was harder edged than the Twilight Sentinels album. You know, a little more grimey but, at the same time make it better sonically. I'm quite obsessed with trying to improve the quality of my music.

I know in a lot of cases, asking what a producer used to create their music can turn into a "d!ck measuring contest" and I am one that knows it doesn't REALLY matter what you have, it's how you freak it.  BUT, I always find in interesting to hear how a beatmaker works on their product.  That being said... what was your inspiration when working on the production and what sort of software/gear were you using to develop your sound?

Joe:  I just wanted to make some hard hitting, golden era, boom bap banging shit. Majority of Hip Hop music to me nowadays is too damn soft.
        I use Acid Pro 6.0, Sound Forge 7.0, a turntable, vinyl...and the power cosmic. Oh yeah, I did use a Akai MPC-60 for one track.

Last time I ran into Joe Harvey he was saying you were thinking about a vinyl pressing.  Is that still a possibility?

Joe: Yes- anything is possible. 

Ace: Whatchu got on our vinyl, Dawhud??

What's your opinion about how over the last couple years independent releases have almost been strictly digital, i.e. bandcamp, free and physical copies have become almost non-existent?

Joe: On one side, it's awesome as an independent artist to be able to get your music to a wider audience.  The downside is that it makes music disposable in most consumers eyes... anyone can post something online these days, and it detracts from the overall quality of music. 

Skittz: RIP Steve Jobs- this is the era of easy access.  The "digital age" has provided listeners with such a high volume of music... it has opened things up to where artists aren't getting the attention they used to get when vinyl and cds were popular.

Originally I know "Get Ready" was going to be this UBER possie cut, but as your project progressed it's obviously turned into just a joint with the three of you.  In the past I've worked on a track like that and honestly it was a scheduling nightmare.  Was it a decision like that or did you make decide that you wanted to focus the track on the main emcees in the group?

The Proforms: Scheduling played a small part, but ultimately, we wanted it to be the first track on the album, and we decided to make it with just the group members.

The Proforms "Get Ready" by bdtb

"Hold On" has that reggae/dub vibe, which I dig.  There's something about that ish that's on some party rocking ish.  What were you trying to do with that track?

Ace: Exactly what we did... made a joint to getcha lifted.

Skittz:  Ditto on that!  The message in the song is uplifting...we go from a general artist PSA about not quitting and staying true to  your craft, to holdin down your crew/fam, back to the PSA thing with a different flavor to it.

The Proforms "Hold On" by bdtb

Prior projects you've worked on have had some great production, but it seems that this project seems sharper and more in tune with itself, what's your opinion?

Ace:  Yes, yes it is. We really tried to make this project a "step up" from all of our previous work. That's the way it should be.
Skittz:  Depends on who you are asking that question...both ACE and I have been involved with a high variety of production...Joe handles his own...I do state that Joe is my first choice because he's a drum junkie and that's my shit...but this project should seem sharper regardless though...I think we have all evolved and gotten much sharper with what we are doing.  We definitely make each other better.

The name of the LP is "Atavism," meaning to revert to ancestral type, is that a nod at bringing it back to a "Golden Era" type state?

Joe: Yes it is

Skittz: Joe Harvey is the Hell Boy of Boom Bap

Joe: ... and boom goes the dynamite.
Skittz:  Bringing it back?  Nah..we doing our part to make sure it holds it's aint gone nowhere contrary to what some believe.

Spoolz:  I suppose you could say that... we're just weirdos that like our hip-hop with lyrics that rhyme and mean something, over bangin' beats, with dope scratches. (laughs)

The dynamic of the three of you on the mic is reminiscent of how Wu was able to have this collective of different styles and allow them to mesh together instead of having these emcees all over the place.  Ace has this powerful/commanding delivery that is mixed with a drawl, Skittz has that cipher/battle rapper vibe and Joe Harvey brings a lot of introspective thought provoking lines.  I honestly find this combo really entertaining because you're able to bring something to the table for everyone and keep the music interesting to the listener.  Was this something you were thinking of when you formed the group and developing songs or was this something that just formed organically?

Joe:  It's something that just happened organically and we did notice it when the album was complete and we all listened to it. The reason in my opinion it works is because we all come from such different backgrounds which makes our approach to music individually diverse. But when it comes to our outlook on Hip Hop music and how it should be done and/or handled, we are in complete agreement. So that synergy is what makes The Proforms, The Proforms.

Skittz:  Beee..eeaaasy mayne!  I hate battle rappers...that ain't me!  Ha! Organically indeed...we focus on the notion of in some cases you have to be able to have a personal, friendly bond to manifest....we were getting used to one another, kicking it...writing a bit...more making sure we were on the same page with concepts of songs...trusting that we all had something of value that would be dope.  It's just how we are and what we do....been at this for a minute.  Later in the process, Spoolz was added to the mix and brought that raw cut we wanted to add consistently.  *pats Bradley (Spoolz) on the shoulder*

It is so nice hearing a DJ on a track.  (period)  How important was it to bring that element into the fold?

Joe: I personally think it's a waste of time. just kidding. I think it's one of the most important parts of Hip Hop and being in a Hip Hop group that gets overlooked or pushed to the side. A DJ's role in a group is more than just playing your music and standing in the back. A DJ is the band leader, it's their job to dictate the pace and mood of a show and to make sure shit runs smooth. I believe a good DJ can make or break a performance.

Skittz:  Ohhh so sorry...please see above for more but Spoolz basically is our show manager and has been able to bring that dj element as a perfect compliment to the lyrics...vocal samples that he brings are better and better...that is his input lyrically for us...he likes to find things that have substance with the content of the song, and not just something that he thinks he can scratch well over...he works at it because we do too and it's not always an easy transition into that...gotta figure out how to cut/scratch it and make sure it sounds dope. 

Spoolz:  What's crazy is I often have people approach me after shows and say the same thing... it's nice to see that people still appreciate what a DJ brings to a show.  

What's the best compliment/review you've ever heard regarding your music?

Joe: I don't know. That "your music makes my pussy wet" comment is pretty difficult to top. I was speechless when that happened.

Skittz:  I would say it is the constant encouragement we get from our local peeps leading up to all of this...there has never been a doubt that we are supported and heads are anxious and READY for what we have to offer.  We are all respected and have individually and collectively pioneered some hip hop nostalgia.  From the previous groups mentioned to small bits of inroads along the way....Imma say the intro to the album says it cop it and listen..hearing that is a compliment to me because it speaks to how this all came together....the wet kitty comment never hurts...this is not sex music but if it add moisture to your lift *HIGH FIVE*

Hit 'em with the product.

The Proforms debut album "Atavism" will be available 10/25/11 at:

  • iTunes
  • Amazon Digital
  • eMusic
  • Napster
  • Rhapsody
  • Spotify
  • Zune
  • Juno Digital
  • Beatport
  • Rdio
  • Thumbplay
  • Simfy
  • Medianet Stores
  • iMusica
  • Mobile Outlets

Plus we will have physical product (cd's, digital download cards...and possibly vinyl) available at shows and online.

Check us out at:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mr. Kinetik - Clockwork 10:22

Just a couple months ago Mr. Kinetik blessed us with his opus, "Sounds of Soul" and in a short period of time he is back to bless us once again.  This time we're being treated with a "Donuts" style instrumental/mixtape project titled "Clockwork 10:22."  In this project we find Mr. Kinetik tackling the concept of time with a mishmash of classic soul samples, loops and movie clips. 

And as usual... he doesn't disappoint.  Ring the alarm and break yourself off with Mr. Kinetik's new joint.

From the Mr. Kinetik and ATFU's blog.

"I present to you, "Clockwork." This one is free for y’all, as a token of my appreciation for your support of my musical endeavors. This is a musical journey with a focus on…..well, just listen to it and let me know what you think."

"Clockwork" is a musical suite that relates to time, 10:22 (am or pm) to be specific. My homie and soundboard brotha Romer has this thing about the number 10:22 on the clock. Apparently, he sees it on the clock at very significant moments in life…repeatedly (Metaphysical stuff, see I Heart Huckabees for more). At any rate, 10:22 was the name of Romer’s blog (that Romer doesn’t really touch these days but that’s another conversation) and when we lived at our old spot, where I recorded much of the first bits of music anyone ever heard from me as a solo act, sure enough 10:22 would pop up randomly from time to time. The whole thing is really odd to me and I used to think Romer was fried, but really, it all makes sense and ties together. "Ebony & Ivory: Broken Keys Bear Sound" is a project I did that echoes the same ideology, along with "Saving All The Good Beats For Myself" (which will be released in time for the holidays as a remaster via Bandcamp and "Sounds Of Soul" as well."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dollabin - Interview (Cipher Sessions podcast debut)

Welcome to the 1st edition of "Cipher Sessions," a new feature here.  For our 1st edition I sat down with DJ Ian Head & Verbal Math aka Dollabin to discus their genesis, their music and their podcast, "Fresher Than Your Father." 

In the digital age that we live there is a glut of music that is available through forums, blogs and social media sites.  The ability to drop albums, singles and videos are not as financially burdening as they once were for many independent artists.  Technology has also proven to be a double edged sword.  On one hand, great artists are able to get their music out to their audience without needing the budget of a record label, but on the other hand... it's just as easy for bad artists to do the same. 
Hit the hyperlink to DL their debuts EP
But, as Ian says, "There was a lot crappy music that the industry put out back in the day."  Regardless of your opinion on technology, music and how we consume it, one of the dopest hip hop groups I've happened to come across in the last few years is Dollabin.  A DJ/emcee duo made up of Verbal Math and DJ Ian Head that combine their love of record collecting and hip hop into some dope boom bap. 

In 2006 they released the "One More Crate" EP, an 11 track introduction to the group featuring solid rhymes & production on tracks like "S.A.T." "Beautiful, " "Pragmatic," & "Heavyweights."  When artists were releasing "mixtapes" with 35 songs, Ian and Verb followed the blueprint of Nas' "Illmatic" and kept it short and simple with rewindable/repeatable quality cuts instead of overkill. 

Hit the hyperlink to DL the digi 12"
Roughly a year later we were given a short taste of what the two were working on when they dropped the "Cold Chillin" digi maxi single. The single only wet our appetite while we were waiting for their full length "Styles You Can't Afford."  "Cold Chillin" was a quick shot crate diggin' anthem leaving suckers black and blue like the digi 12"s cover.  On the b-side we were treated with an upcoming track from their full length, "Dreams" feat. Gabriel Teodros, along with an interlude and "Rusty Shovels pt 2" featuring Omega Jackson.  It would have to do until their LP would be released.

Classic Material
Finally after long last "Styles You Can't Afford" was released.  The album was a much more focused/polished project than their debut, but maintained the same vibe that made their earlier work so dope.  Tracks like "Get There," "The Drummer," & "City to City" displayed how Ian & Verb progressed with their writing, beatmaking and mixing. 

With only two releases the duo has built a catalog that can't be touched by a lot of artists.  (period)  Do yourself a favor and check these releases along with the other offerings available at

Click here to listen to the debut of "Cipher Sessions."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

4 Real - Just to Survive (1992)

Luvva-J (Live from I-5/KAOS) and I go back like Dr. Emmit Brown & Marty McFly.  I met him through my friends Keith & Kenneth's older brother Leonard.  We were young kids that tried rapping, but Leonard and his friends were looked at as the OGs.  They freestyled, rocked the Hi-Tek boots, the s-curl gumby fades... they literally looked like the rappers we saw on the tape covers.   

While the twins and I were in middle school working on our chops, their older brother and his crew were recording tracks in studios.  The demos they cut, in my opinion, could have got them signed to some sort of label deal.  The group was called "4 Real" and it was made up of Leonard Woolridge, Jose (Luvva-J) Gutierrez, Robert (SP) Spruill and Kortez Eaton.  Whenever they would hit the studio and record a track, Keith and Kennith would sneak into their brother's bedroom and let me hear the tape that Leonard had of their latest demo.  To this day I still remember some of the punchlines and lyrics the four of them dropped on their demos.  (and I honestly haven't heard most of them since the early 90s')  Robert was my favorite member of the group and he had this one line from one of the cuts that went, "I make dollars, f**k making pesos!!!" 

They had about an EP worth of tracks and as far as I know, this is the only track that still exists.  The other tracks they did may be on some cassette buried in a box, but I have no idea.  This joint, "Just to Survive," was saved because Luvva-J had the reel to reel from when they recorded it at Zoo Studios in Lakewood, WA. (back in 1992)  Luvva-J was the lead producer on the cut and blended Gregorian chants with "The Message" panting a rather dark street theme.  This was one of my favorite tracks they recorded and I hope it can now get the shine it deserves.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rhyme Commission - Hall of Famers (feat Dawhud)

"Hold it down in Sea-town, I wear the crown/
Call it the 'Kingdome' ya'll rookies are lame clowns"

When I was a kid I was really into sports, collecting cards, stats, soccer, football, basket ball... all that ish.  As I got older all of that interest went into music.  Honestly, if I'm not physically at the event or taking part in a game, I could care less about what's going on.  Doesn't mean I hate sports... I'm just not into it as much.  What's really odd is that some how keep up with what's going on. (go fig)

About a month ago Po' Safe and Fletch hit me up to see if I wanted to get on a track for the Rhyme Commission called "Hall of Famers."  The gauntlet was thrown down and I stepped up to the challenge.  I sat down, grabbed my comp book and wrote a 16 mostly about the Seattle sports teams, players and card collecting. 


Rhyme Commission - Hall of Famers (feat. Dawhud) by Po' Safe Beats

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Skittz - Rhymestrong

Rhymestrong... yes indeed!!!
Yes indeed!!! 

Indy has REALLY been bringing the heat this year with so many dope releases and Skittz' long awaited LP, "Rhymestrong" is another addition to Naptown's slew of ill hip hop for 2011.  Skittz has been holding it down in Indy for a long minute through several projects including The Mudkids and his recent work with The Proforms.  "Rhymestrong" is almost a who's who of Naptown's finest beatmakers and emcees and serves as a preemptive strike to The Proforms "Atavism" LP that's set to be released later this month. 

Big Skittz' flow is that of an aged battle rhymer.  He's paid his dues and doesn't need to prove he's worthy of the crown... because cats know.  Schooled in the "Golden Age/Era" of emcees Skittz brings a level of lyricism that's been missing in a lot of hip hop for a number of years.  In an age when emcees are relying heavily on their perception of what swagger is, Skittz simply spits with ease in one bar what many can't do in 16, a track or a whole LP.

Much of the production is schooled in the same fashion as his flow.  317 statesmen, Elp Mass & Joe Harvey, contribute to a large portion of the production on the project building a solid foundation of breaks, samples and 90s boom bap grooves. Tracks like "Ohhhkay," "Let's Go" & "All I Can See" are reminiscent of the days when Rakim, Lord Finesse, Masta Ace and Black Moon blessed our tape decks.  

In the spirit of Wu/Bootcamp, a majority of the guests on this LP serve as an appetizer for The Proforms' upcoming album as all members drop two pennies on several tracks.  (production, rhymes & cuts)  If Skittz' LP is any hint at what "Atavism" will be like, you will want to stay tuned

"Rhymestrong" is a solid release from a solid emcee.  Don't sleep.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Proforms - Get Ready

The Proforms are a group hailing from Naptown consisting of Joe Harvey, Ace-One, Skittz and DJ Spoolz.   All have established themselves respectively in the 317 through other Indy hip hop groups like Twilight Sentinels, Breakdown Kings, Mudkids and Dirty 30.  In many instances, a group made up of members of other groups with such varying styles would have an end result of mediocre music.  (A case of too many cooks in the kitchen.)  BUT, The Proforms are no doubt an exception to that rule.  Instead of letting their varying styles sound jarring to the listener, the group highlights their different flavors to cook up their own gumbo and drop some dope "Golden Era" Boom Bap.    

I first heard of this project a couple years ago when I was invited over to Skittz apartment to work on what were supposed to be a couple UBER possie cuts.  One of those cuts would be trimmed down into the three emcee version track that is now their lead single, "Get Ready."  And that's exactly what you need to do!!! 

The track is set off by Spoolz' ill cuts and Joe Harvey's 1st verse telling you to get "on mark, get set or at least GET READY!"  Skittz and Ace follow with verses that build this no hook jammie into a fever pitch that proves an ill show jump off to get the crowd hype. 

The Proforms "Get Ready" by bdtb

The digi b-side, "Hold On," is another track that is a sure shot crowd pleaser with it's dub/reggae samples and ill bass grooves.  Ace, Harvey & Skittz hold it down as they rip through this party rocker.

The Proforms "Hold On" by bdtb

The Proforms plan on releasing their LP "Atavism in late October and I'm hoping to have an interview with them shortly.  Till then... "Get Ready."

Follow them on Twitter.

Blake Allee - My Best Friends Are Machines

Blake Allee (Ali) is a producer/emcee hailing from Naptown who recently released his project "My Best Friends Are Machines."  Blake's project is an examination of technology, our relationship with it and... sounds as such as he paints a soundscape with a mixture of synths, software and samples. 

To promote his 1st single and LP he did one of the coolest promo items that I've seen in a minute by putting it out on floppy disk.  Honestly one of the best ways I've seen someone incorporate their LPs concept through a promo/single release.

Check the LP and plug into Skynet.