Category Archives: Our Pick of Dope Vibes

Ski Beatz Creates A Synthesized World with the release of “Switched On Bap”

I get an email package.

It’s from one of Rocafella’s original producers, Ski aka Ski Beatz. I know the brother is busy getting ready for the new release, so the call and package was pleasant gift.

“Hell yea”, i’m thinking! The snippets have been bananas, can’t wait to rock this.

I get the speakers ready then change to headphones for an immersed experience.

It’s an early MP3 preview of the full “Switched On Bap” album coming out July 6, 2018.

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The 27 min long promo copy hasn’t been broken up into individual tracks yet.

I dont mind that at all, as it’s easier to feel the track as a story playing out, enjoying it’s tale narrated by it’s composer.

You know Ski as the producer of Jay Z’sDead President” & “Feelin It“, as well as a member of Original Flavor. The early 90’s rap group that earned their place in the culture with dope bars, dope beats and an early appearance from the young Jay Z who had a rapid fire flow on their classic track “Can I Get Open“. Other notables include Mos Def, Jay Electronica, Joell Ortiz and Jean Grae.

Production includes Camp Lo’s “Uptown Saturday Night” album. That joint had straight heat on it, which further cemented Camp Lo’s position in Rap Culture.

Peep him on Mass Appeal’s “Rhythm Roulette”:

Ski was on fire then and he’s still on fire now. The latest project is a sonic kaleidoscope and boy does this process get deep.

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As Switched On Bap began, you immediately hear his recent transition into the world of modular synthesis.

What exactly is that world like?

Well, imagine taking a single note of sound and fine tuning it for hours/days perfecting the right pitch/noise and then building off that over and over to create what will eventually be one song.

This sound is unique to the engineer’s ear, translated to the end user (which is you and I).

It’s a world beyond our normal construct.

Time doesn’t exist there, there is only the execution of thought.

Too deep? Then your not ready for that seldom treaded sonic road. A Rabbit Hole of the mind that Ski is navigating through with a soulful integrity.

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  • Ground Wires: has the analog feel that can’t be duplicated with digital equipment. The frequencies are virgin pure, the difference can be felt when compared to it’s bastard cousin the compressed and imperfect digital sound.
  • The track has a west coast feel and drives real heavy. Any L.A. emcee would have a field day with this joint.
  • Katana Electric: oh my lawd, the name is perfect and melodically seducing. That patch, emits its analog voice like a cry. Just fucking beautiful. Light up, have a drink, fuck, meditate, whateva… it all goes when that joint is on.
  • Air Ride: Feels like im floating, solid headphones captures the ambience and spatial distance of the synths. Yea, this is some real chill shit right here.

  • Douglas Park: another in ya ear funk joint with so much goodness it makes you have that “stank face”. Every pass is entertaining and meticulously well thought out. The drops are delicious and the heart of this track, the low bass is the soul. That lil harmonica type ish and gated phase is straight nasty… son i’m done, dat shit crazy.
  • K Dot: head got that constant bob, to this track. When the vocals are not present, tracks become a gorgeous soundscape, where it’s up to the artist (aka producer) to create a masterpiece. Sure you can be minimal, nothing wrong with that. But you also have the option to be great and create an experience that only you can create. Thats what we have here ladies and gentleman. This sound cannot be duplicated.
  • Circuit City: sounds like its name, creating a cinematic world that’s delightful and charming. It’s the blissful pride of the synths at a high. It’s like the bonus round in the video game of life.
  • When Spring Pull Up: oh my gawd. Music at times becomes edible and everything about this is right. The beat is smooth the lead controlling it’s course like a well prepped meal. The keys are the conversation around the table, the lead the host Ski and the trinkling down sound is positivity vibrating higher. This is an R&B soul singers dream right here. Like an Amy Wine house meets Jill Scott vocal vibe would kill this.
  • The Rabbit Hole Theory: every track is visual and it’s own sonic world. This is what analog world sounds like once it goes to that very lonely and excitingly secluded place in the music realm. A place rarely traveled for it’s location is a long and treacherous. It drives some men insane, while others find the balance in and out of both dimensions.
  • Sneaky Feet: is a foreign urban jungle, banging hard. The sound is so clean and crisp, salute to the mixing, mastering.
  • Quantum Shy: is a mellow feel good joint. If you never heard a song that say’s emits a thank you feeling, you will when you hear Quantum Shy. You can here the producer rounding off the journey with the easy going pace. Ski is saying thank you for the experience, the journey, the prayers, the circuitry and the listeners.

Go check this project out when it drops July 6, 2018.

It’s perfect for cruising in the whip, working out, rocking the crowd or just chilling out.

https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/switched-on-bap/1388027087?app=itunes

… and that The Brooklyn Word!

Review of “Streams of Thought” Vol.1| Black Thought & 9th Wonder and The Soul Council

Aight, here we go…  “Stream of Thought” is now out and this is our breakdown of the concise yet powerful 5 Track release:

TWOFIFTEEN: the intro and quick speed switch-up is always a nice touch.  The beat comes in real smooth, with the kicks/snares knocking harmoniously with the melody.

The balance of rhythm and rhymes is music perfection.  One doesn’t overpower the other, actually, I never heard a rhythm that overpowers Black Thought.  He seems to meld into the spiritual core of the rhythm, acting as a lead instrument automatically.

The lyrcis are poignant, perfectly delivered and full of quotables and nods at social issues, politics, race and entertainment.  Some are readily understood, the majority are hidden and have to be deciphered for self… we discuss, culture but don’t give our cultures full blueprint.  FOH!

9TH VS THOUGHT:  boom bap at it’s finest.  9th does it again, this production has more attitude as Black Thought spits with intensity.  One has to admire his command of the language and ability to twist words like Mclaren and sounding it out like Mac Lauren.

This track is a lesson in the art of Rap, not hip hop.  He’s speaking effortlessly as a Professor of the game, directly to students.  The 9th driven track speaks with beats that mimic Thoughts sentiments.

Thought’s speaks is more than self admiration, rather facts to be contended if one dared.  His confidence comes from knowing that there aren’t many that would publicly aim darts. He has perfected all aspects of the emcee game without ghost writers and never really stopped training aka lyrical sword stays sharp and well maintained.

DOSTOYEVSKY feat. RAPSODY:  the beat comes in hard and heavy.  It’s not a crowded sound but built like a gun ready to lick lyrical shots at hip hop mental’s across the globe.  This isn’t a fluff release, every bar has meaning and nah, no wack filler verses at all.

Think the “Black Thought Funk Flex freestyle” but amplified 10x and powered by 9th and The Soul Council.

Rapsody rounds out the banger with bars that hold it’s own when versed up with Professor Thought.  She’s direct and apologetically dexterous with her grammar.  Love her wordplay and the way she rides the rhythm.

This is real fucking Rap, it’s not Hip Hop my peoples.

MAKING A MURDERER feat. STYLES P: ok, we got the Fela flip coming in strong.  Makes me wanna drink a Corona while smoking a freaked Black.  I feel like I’m in Belly and shit, playing out the Tunnel intro.

It’s a pleasant throwback feel that perfect for the clubs and any party.

Thought is just relentless with the offbeat flow that threw itself back on beat with the tempo.  Then Styles P bussing off with that grimey smooth flow.  These are the things that rap dreams are made.

What’s really fucked up is, i’m listening on some wack speakers right now and I know the bass is hard hitting and with that analog thump.  Kinda pissed that the first listen is subjected to such shitty acoustics, but it is what it is.  That track is still fire tho…

THANK YOU ft KIRBY:  damn that snare is sweet.  The final track is a soulful feel good, thanking everyone respectfully, who has contributed to his growth.  Head nodding happens innately as the production carries you through the semester with Professor Thought and Professor Wonder.

Journey on and experience your personal interpretation of “Streams of Thought” by supporting real Rap.

….and that’s The Brooklyn Word!

 

Black Thought & 9th Wonder are taking over Hip Hop on June 1, 2018 with “Streams of Thought”

In less than a week, one of Hip Hop’s most lyrically revered is releasing his first solo project with one of the culture’s most talented producers. We anticipate it to go down as as an essential classic.

Tariq Trotter aka Black Thought is joining forces with 9th Wonder & The Soul Council on production, to strike back at the culture with “Streams of Thought“.

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This is so dope for so many reasons, here are our top 5:

  1. 90’s heads been waiting for this since “Do You Want More”
  2. Black Thought did a 10min Funk Flex freestyle and broke the internet.
  3. His freestyle was better than most albums that came out after 2000, and has since been the pinnacle of what a true emcee is.
  4.   The Soul Council is composed of some of the best soulful audiophiles in the business and with 9th at the head, there is no way it won’t get a Grammy nod (early prediction).
  5. Cause Kanye’s album is dropping the same day.

With all  that’s happening in the culture these days, “Streams of Thought” is a refreshing breathe of fresh sound in a polluted and non lyrical time.  Spitting bars that matter is more of relic, slowly gaining steam with picky millennial ears.

The recent Pusha T, Kanye & Drake drama has brought some attention to the ancient art of subliminal battle rhymes.

The above drama has separated itself from the sing songy and androgynous energy of today’s youthful rhymes, which lack the finesse of the ancient art.  It’s currently touted on media sites as a Clash of the Titans type of match, which put’s word structure, wit and delivery ahead of commercial standards.

Well if that’s the case, the culture has no choice but to add a new neutral contender, who is merely an opponent as a result of sharing release dates and not by subliminal lyrical jabs being thrown/returned.

Black & 9th enters the ring with”Stream of Thought” and one can only Wonder?  Can Thought and 9th overshadow the clout chasing shenanigans pushing many artist today or will it get lost in the dust of “the machine“.

The Brooklyn Word predicts, it will reign supreme to real culture heads.   Once Nas’s album drops later in the month, heads will have time to properly digest all the recent albums.  While we feel the culture will agree that no album is fucking with “Streams of Thought”, we understand the commercial heads will side towards Good Music (no hate, we love Good Music).

Honestly, it’s just intuition and prediction, it’s not like we actually  know fa sure.  We haven’t heard a track from Thought & 9th, Nas or Kanye (aside from Poopity di scoop).

I think Nas is gonna be an iconic banger, but after many years and mental growth I’ve realized that Black Thought is better than Nas as an emcee.  I doubt you’ll ever see Nas battle Black Thought and if so, I doubt he could keep up with the amount of material that Thought has as well as daily experience, as Black Thought stays on the grind with the Tonight Show, touring and lectures.  The man has no time to relax and chill.  Shit, it’s been almost 30yrs and we are just now getting a solo project lol… thats a hard working muthafucka.

Follow the The Soul Council & Black Thought on Instagram: @ejones_music @khrysis @kashdntmkebeats @ampmusic @9thwondermusic @blackthought

 

Enjoy our own little remix to vintage Black Thought while we wait for the tasty sounds from 9th and The Soul Council… and thats The Brooklyn Word.

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Sound Therapy 🎧: ….because after that freestyle, i had to do a proper tribute. Been rocking as a supporter since Organix on cassette and countless 90s concerts/performances at record stores in Norfolk/Norfolk State University, bump into's and smoke sessions (just a handful). ☻ …because @blackthought has always been in my Top 5, @questlove is my favorite hip hop drummer and @theroots is my first and favorite live hip hop group/band ♚ The Roots – "Dont Say Nuthin" https://youtu.be/Y6hCO3qUV0k video edit & music prod by @mrkuyateh_brooklyn ♊ ♞ #blackthought #theroots #thelegendaryrootscrew #questlove #realhiphop #boombap #illadelphia #blackart #rapper #poet #slampoetry #battlerap #philly #brooklynhiphop #contentcreator #influencer #tastemaker #nychiphop #melanin #emcee#thebrooklynword

A post shared by Melanin Magic & Dope Music✊🏿✊🏾 (@thebrooklynword) on

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queens of Hip Hop Remixed Vol.1

Prouced by Mr Kuyateh ft. Roxanne Shante, Bahamadia, MC Lyte & Queen Latifah

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What do you do when you find 4 acapellas from hip hop’s dopest female emcees?  You remix it and call it “Queens of Hip Hop Vol. 1”.  Cause ain’t nothin betta than dope lyrics over jazzy beats.

I was adamant about beginning the project with voices that pioneered the lyrical side of the game.  Not only are these women game changers but lyrically suited to handle any rapper that crossed their path.

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Peep how they command the attention of the listener in each track.  The delivery is razor sharp, from the gut, and thought provoking.  Their words swing through the rhythm, cutting through the bullshit.

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The production is a salute to the art of chopping shit up and sampling it.  I wanted to create a lush jazzy vibe to embrace emcee’s lyrics.  It was important for the beat to be self sufficient as an instrumental.  It had to have it’s own fun life and yet not overpower the track.  Like sex, the balance of words and rhythm was key.

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Enjoy this flavorful mix, and that The Brooklyn Word…

Bucktown USA Mixtape Vol. 1

http://www.audiomack.com/embed4-album/bucktownusa/bucktown-usa-mixtape-vol-1-1

The Bucktown USA Mixtape Vol. 1 hit the web about a month or so ago featuring General Steele, Vvs Verbal, Coke, Louie Skaggs, Brooklyn Bixby, Mar’rz Atomz & Araminta Moon.  I been meaning to write about it but needed some critical information in regards to fully understanding what Bucktown USA is all about.

I got put on to the mixtape by Vvs Verbal, when I bumped into him downtown Brooklyn.  I think I was heading to the Atlantic Ave. entrance and passed a dude who i’m thinking look mad familiar.  He’s looking at me like, you do look familiar, we both after a moment realized that it was from the Sean Price fund event in Park Slope, Brooklyn in 2015.

I had Verbal on the mic corresponding the event, which was real chill.  Unfortunately, the mic has an on and off switch which is near where most people would grab the mic, and 70% of the audio was lost.  But once I noticed it after the fact, I corrected and got a dope lil freestyle session with random cats that appreciate the cypher that Vvs Veral initiated.

With that, I bring you the Mixtape (also avail. as a free download courtesy of Bucktown USA).  Vvs Verbal style is my type of shxt!  He represents accordingly and has interesting word play.  I can’t wait to hear more from the brother.

General Steele always shines bright with the classic flow that we all love.  I’m still absorbing the release and artist styles, the production is on some classic NYC shxt which i support.  Gotta keep the NYC music spirit alive my peoples.  bless up!!!

 

New Video:”Psalms” ft. Loren Oden by Adrian Younge

So, I was up on Adrian then I fell off (got distracted and forgot to check his album out). Then I wanted to shoot him while he was NYC performing at some event (forget what it was) but was denied when I reached out his label Linear Labs  who put me in contact with their publicist Yash Zadeh at BIZ3 (I apparently wasn’t big enough lol, pricks get on my nerves, but that’s the business no hate).

Ironically, he was spinning at our Soul In The Horn party (hottest Friday night party in NYC) the following night and I was able to film him in my home.  Gotta love serendipity…

My intentions are always good and I’m about the artist, but regardless, some people prefer fucking wit the big boy media music sites (even though I’ve written for them and stopped to be more independently free with my no filtered mouth, they are blood suckers and so not real lol, more on that lata).

Now today, I got an email from Linear Labs with links to the new video.  I was hoping a promo was up in there, but nah.  I was about to delete it when something said, just check it out.  I mean I’m still in my writing mood, it may be dope.

Glad I did, the sound immediately was a banger.  You could hear elements/sounds and rhythmic patterns that has a similar energy to his most successful sampled placement on Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby“.  It gritty, funky soul that resonates with any hip hop head immediately.

Every time the tracks gets quiet and Loren Oden comes in, it’s like the heavenly moment where angels appear and light transcends from above, so dope.  He does everything right as always, I haven’t heard everything yet but I also haven’t heard a track that I couldn’t fuck with.  They are not necessarily club/party bangers unless they are music enthusiast and understand the non-traditional (by todays standards) sound flow.  But it’s a must for those that love dope rhythms, live musicians, real musicianship and a beautifully constructed orchestration.

Loren’s voice is mad dope, I need to look more into this brother.

https://vimeo.com/80930630

It was sampled from “Sirens” produced by Adrian Younge

Peep “Sirens II” ft. Bilal and Adrian performing at Brownswood with one of my heroes Gilles Peterson (super respected music tastemaker and influencer).  Ali Shaheed Muhammad is missing though he produced it with Adrian.

You can never go wrong with Bilal, his mental is super natural.  That’s all I can say, one of the dopest musicians out there.  Keep vibrating B.

With that, you can check the album out here which I’m doing, but I do want a physical copy for the collection of not just this, but all his albums.  His multi-instrumental abilities and ear for the subtlties are quite beautiful and a rare skill.  You also got to give him props on the videos and artwork direction.  I’m not sure how much credit to give him or if it’s a separate that does it.  Either way he approves everything, plus i’m sure he is mad hands with art direction, given Adrian’s meticulous nature with production/arrangement/musicians/composing.

Peep the full album…

 

He seems like he’s a chill dude and we both have an affinity for vintage and classy Polo/Ralph Lauren (BK Polohead here since 93).  Another reason to support, real Lo Heads stick together, even though he’s not about that Lo-Life Loyalty, he’s about that Lo life.

Props to this dope brother again, you’ll catch a review soon… Maybe once I get the albums. Salute! – written by Gibril Kuyateh Instagram

Dope Tracks of The Week – Anderson Paak + Jean-Claude + Talib Kweli

Here are some dope tracks to move ya mind as it may…

  • Anderson Paak – Room In Here ft. The Game and Sonyae Elise

Props the Anderson for the dope track, funny I been listening to it and didn’t know that The Game was rhyming.  Dope choice Game for hoping on this better this, wouldn’t have thought it was his flav, now i know.

Anderson reminds me a bit of Bilal but with a younger vibe, Bilal is on some next continuum shxt, a compliment nonetheless.

www.andersonpaak.com/ 

 

  • Jean-Claude – If Music presents: You Need This! A Journey Into Deep Jazz (Album Sampler) 

More often than not, my spam is full of junk.  This time it was a promo from Lee Bright over at BBE.  I hate when good stuff goes there, fortunately I caught this Jazz gem.

It has that swing, dope horn sections and moving rhythms that perfect to vibe out to and sample for you producers out there.  Jean-Claude of If Music compiles some delicious treats, ingest slowly.  His site will leave you exploring for days, make sure you have time before getting sucked into melodic goodness.

www.ifmusic.co.uk/podcast.php

 

  • Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder – Indie 500

If you haven’t heard this from Talib catch this joint that kinda sneaked up on heads.  Talib’s verbal skills got more meticulous over time and the collabs are ridiculous.  I wrote about it lightly a few weeks ago when it was free (not sure if it still is), but had to bring it back to the front.

9th Wonder is that chess piece on any production team, bringing in one of the most interesting and lyrically gifted female emcee’s out today Rapsody who has the Jean Grae type vibe.  I can’t get enough of her voice, it’s so vintage.  Not to mention Pharoah Monch, Hi-Tek, Nottz, Halo, Brother Ali, Planet Asia and many more who just destroy it.

Dope music didn’t die at all, you now just have to find it under all the clutter and bullshxt.  Support dope music, dope artist today…

And that’s The Brooklyn Word!

http://kweliclub.com