Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vintage Dope - Cratebangin'

The warm months are coming and Vintage Dope is going to get our ish in gear for some West Coast classic joints.  Stay tuned and stay #cratebangin in those crates.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

RA Scion & Todd Sykes - Guttersnipe Bridge (video)

RA Scion & Todd Sykes dropped the video for the lead single off of "Adding to the Extra" that will be dropping on 3/19.

Simply fresh.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

RA Scion & Todd Sykes - "Adding to the Extra"

I drive a lot. My daily commute is at least 2 hours of my day.  I have a lot of time to think, plot and listen to my collection.  I've done things like listen to the Wu-Tang discography in chronological order. (36 Chambers, Tical, Return to the 36, OB4CL etc.)  Yeah... it can get nerdy, but I've discovered and rediscovered albums that I either brushed off when they were released or just forgot how much I liked them.  (Example: PMD's records were pretty dope, but post EPMD break up it was all about Def Squad at the time.)

Recently RA Scion let me hear a preview version of the new LP he's releasing with Todd Sykes, "Adding to the Extra." In this "Disposable Art" era we live in, I did the initial skim through the LP over shitty laptop speakers, gave it the thumbs up and kept moving.  BUT, a record like this deserved a closer look, so I added "Extra" to my next day's commute for a solid listen. I burned the tracks and decided to just throw in "Beg, Borrow, Steal" at the end.  As the LP finished and rolled into the EP he released last year, I discovered something that I'm not sure if it was intentional or not.  The next day I decided to take all of the RA/Common Market projects I had and listen to them in reverse order.  ("Adding to the Extra", "Beg, Borrow, Steal", "Victor Shade", "Tobacco Road", "Black Patch War", etc.)  SONICALLY... "Beg, Borrow, Steal" is the perfect bridge from "Victor Shade" to "Adding to the Extra."  In those three tracks, the production shifts from MTK's signature style to Todd Sykes rainy day boom bap.  (the other projects seem to connect the dots as well, but not as dramatic and on point as this) 

The LP starts off without an intro and just dives in with "Guttersnipe Bridge".  As I hopped in the whip at 4:00am to head up to work, the horns blasted as I took a sip of my sexy beast and rolled off in the early morning darkness. 

RA Scion & Todd Sykes set the tone for the whole LP without the rolling start of an intro to kick the listener down the album's path.  "Adding to the Extra" is like that, it bucks the trend of what is common place, formulaic and cliche with many hip hop records now.  Although artists like Joey Bada$$ are bringing a resurgence of 90s boom bap, "Extra" flows like it is FROM that era and not an aftereffect or reinterpretation.  At the same time it's relevant and not dated from its production style or suffering from "keep it realness." Guests are not to outshine the artist or as a way to sell the album to people that wouldn't normally check for it, instead they compliment RA Scion's sharp rhymes and help move the LP along like AZ's debut verse on Nas' "Illmatic."

As the LP glides through its' 12 tracks, including two instrumental/interludes, it's an easy listen that doesn't make any missteps along the way.  The production is slick and RA honestly sounds MORE comfortable on this project than prior efforts.  Not that his previous releases sound forced by any means, but "Extra" flows as if it was just something that poured out naturally.   

It kind of makes me think of a conversation I had with my friend Corey (Just Be) while seeing Camp Lo recently.  We were talking about the various hip hop artists from Seattle and when we started talking about RA he said, "A lot of people change their sound, their style and shift with what's changing in the scene.   But RA... he just does his thing and it's dope.  It's like people are out there and he's like, 'go ahead and do your ish, I'll chill over here.'  It's dope and I respect him for it and he makes good music because of it."

The rotation of my music selections is constant as I'm building the soundtrack to my daily commute, but I've found myself coming back to this LP over and over again in the last couple weeks.  And every time I listen to it, it's just as refreshing as it was the first time I listened to it.  It's early in the year, but I can easily say this will be on my top 5 for 2013. 

(On March 19th, RA Scion & Todd Sykes will be releasing "Adding to the Extra".)   


Friday, March 1, 2013

True Lies - Verbal Math (Dolla Bin), Fash-1, Wildchild (Lootpack)

One of the 1st beats made and recorded for this project was "True Lies".  It was basically the blueprint for what "Revisionist History" was originally going to be.  (a classic break and some dope emcees)  I had just gotten my feet planted in Indy, "Basement Sessions" was in the process of final mixes and while I was figuring out my next move, this project started building steam.  I've told bits and pieces of this story in other postings, but the only thing that's important is that despite the long road this project's here. 

Rakim... what can I say that you haven't heard from a million other people.  He's simply one of the illest to ever touch the mic.  That being said, there was no way I couldn't flip something from Rakim's catalog for this project.

(enter "True Lies") 

"Microphone Fiend" is one of my favorite Rakim cuts and I wanted to capture the feel of some dope cats just droppin' some rap ish on the mic.  Long story short, some how was able to connect with Wildchild.  (probably through Myspace... yes this track has that much of a history)  I let him listen to a handful of beats and this was the joint that he wanted to rock to.  In many ways he came up with the concept of the track.  Everything else was after the fact.  I think I wrote my verse, then Verb from Dolla Bin dropped the hook and after about a year or more Fash-1 was able to drop his. 

As time passed and the project was kind of put up on the shelf, I had a rough version of this track out there, but it was kind of left at that.  Now here we are... FINALLY!!!  This track is honestly one of the high points of the music I've worked on and really embodies what this project is all about.