The Hometown Kydd :: GR33D And SXSW 2015

It’s good to see my man Kydd continue his rise.  SXSW 2015 allows him another chance to showcase his abilities in front of his fellow Austinites, and this year, he just so happens to have a new album ready and waiting.  From what I’ve heard of GR33D, all of us show look forward to some growth and expansion of ideas from an already deeply creative and gifted emcee.


Seeds Of Life :: Mega Ran And Storyville Are ‘Soul Veggies’

Mega Ran and Storyville tell the story of Soul Veggies:

PHILADELPHIA, 2004.  Random, aka Mega Ran, and Storyville met as colleagues in an underground Hip Hop collective.  Ran was already known around town as one of the best up and coming emcees while Story was starting to build a buzz on the battle scene.  When they first met, their musical chemistry was undeniable.  It wasn’t long before Storyville was showing up on Random‘s records in different capacities.  In 2005 Storyville produced a record with a violist named Holly Fulton, and Random turned that instrumental into the song Push.

Eventually Random moved out to Phoenix and Storyville went off to New York to pursue recording and mixing.  The two stayed in touch over the years but it wasn’t until 2008 and when they really reunited.  They both independently decided to enter the Scribble Jam Rap Battle preliminary rounds in their respective locations – Random in Phoenix, Storyville in New York.  Each won a place in the final competition (and the very last Scribble Jam) in Cincinnati.  The two reconnected like they had never missed a step.  In 2009, Ran wrote a song with producer Samik, which Weiss engineered.  That song was Splash Woman and became Mega Ran‘s most popular song to date.

Fast forward to 2015, and now Random is also known as Mega Ran, the first rap artist ever to be licensed by Capcom.  The world’s foremost video game inspired musician.  Storyville is now a leading mixing engineer, whose tutorial series Mixing Rap Vocals has been accessed over a million times.

“It could be my most complete work ever, and I don’t say that much,” Ran says of the project’s progress.  “We’re both stepping outside of our comfort zones and creating really challenging and fun music.”  The album will contain much of the fun that the two have exhibited on tracks like UknowTheName, and the musicality of tracks like Push into one concise package.

“The timing was finally right,” says Storyville.  “We’ve been so busy, but we’ve carved out the time to dedicate to this project, and it shows.”  Weiss has spent the last seven years engineering for some of the biggest names in music, including Grammy winners Arrested Development, George Clinton, and Ronnie Spector.  “My career as an engineer really took off, but making this project with Ran called me back to my roots.”

Meanwhile, after being named LA Weekly‘s “Artist Likely to Be Big in 2014,” Ran has made good on the projections in superhero-like leaps and bounds.  He has organized successful tours of the US, Japan, and Europe, released a documentary DVD, orchestrated a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, all while releasing several critically acclaimed albums.

The Soul Veggies album will include production by Storyville, Small Pro, frequent collaborator Samik (Splash Woman) and more, and guest vocals by legendary MC Wise Intelligent of the acclaimed group Poor Righteous Teachers, among others.  The album contains everything we’ve seen from the two, solo and collectively, from B-Boy styled park jams (React) and humorous contemporary rap commentary (Rappin About Rappin), to carefully constructed introspective tales (Another Day), and of course, video games (Life’s A Game).

Mega Ran and Storyville are Soul Veggies.


Everyday Is Dilla Day :: Will Sessions Drops ‘HBDJD’

In case you’ve been under a rock since 1995, you’re fully aware of J Dilla and the vast importance of his unfairly small amount of time in the hip hop culture.  Many have payed homage to Dilla, and Will Sessions is the latest to join that fraternity.  For Dilla‘s birthday, Will Sessions released HBDJD, a two song cover project.  It’s a free download, and a bittersweet reminder of how important it is to appreciate those we love while they’re still around to see it.


Art Appreciating Reality :: KB The Boo Bonic Drops ‘Farrah Flossitt’


It’s been five long years since KB the Boo Bonic dropped her introduction to the hip hop realm, Scars Are Sexy.  In that time, KB has played many shows, paid homage to Farrah Fawcett through image and song (while going through quite the process to get the blessing from the family), and even popped up on Shade 45 to make a little noise.

All that time, she was working on a sophomore effort that would be a reflection of the hard work she had put into developing her growth as an artist.  The Moon Guys entered the picture, and Farrah Flossitt was born.  It’s both a personal statement and an effort to speak on where women find themselves in hip-hop culture.  Definitely worth your time and a share.


Say Goodbye, Say Hello :: The Cocker Spaniels ‘Plays Well With Others’

from the digital desk of The Cocker Spaniels:

‘The cover of Plays Well with Others is a picture that my wife Erica took of me playing with my stepson Nate.

As hard as it may be to believe, C.Spaniels wasn’t originally intended to be a solo project; it merely became one due to circumstance.

That changed in the beginning of 2012, when guitarist Stephen Pierce and drummer Alan Lauer, both members of the brilliant band Zest of Yore, invited me to join them as their bassist.  As a longtime ZOY fan AND a musician with a good memory, I learned their songs so quickly that we ended up having leftover time during our practices.  As a result, Alan suggested that Stephen and I trade instruments midway through our practices, so that I could teach them my own songs as well.

From that point forward, we performed regularly around Austin, TX as Zest of Yore AND the Cocker Spaniels.  I taught Alan and Stephen songs from both of my previous albums, as well as new songs that I’d been working on over the last four years.  They became not only my band mates, but also two of my closest friends.

When I decided to relocate to Charlotte, NC to be closer to Erica and Nate, I insisted that Alan, Stephen and I record some C.Spaniels songs together, while we still lived in the same city.  On July 7th, 2014, two days before I moved, we hunkered down in our practice space for four hours to record this EP.

I wanted Plays Well with Others to be as representative of our live shows as possible – one voice, one guitar, one bass, and one drum kit – so I avoided further layering.  If you attended a full-band C.Spaniels show, this is what we sounded like, minus the long tuning breaks and awkward stage banter.

Alan, Stephen, and I will make more music together in the future but, for now, please accept and enjoy this souvenir of our friendship and musical chemistry.  Don’t forget to also check out Zest of Yore!’


Minor Swing :: ‘Reflections’ By Zayyaf

New Jersy producer Zayyaf is throwing his hat into the digital release realm with a short but sweet collection of jazz meats J-Dilla beats.  Reflections is a meditation in jazz based grooves and hip-hop based drums.  Equal parts meditative and head banging.


Data Of The Heart :: Tangence & Sole Glow Collective Release ‘Lovers Lost’


Sole Glow Collective  is building up a strong catalog these days.  The latest addition to the family is Lovers Lost, a beautifully haunting EP by Tangence.  He manages to make digital creations that do very real exploration within their frameworks.  They say machines don’t emote, but Tangence is on emulator status if not outright banging feelings out of his tools.  Definitely worth a listen, and if you’ve got a few bones, you can get in on the 12″ vinyl ground floor.