Full disclosure, I am sharing Mexstep‘s latest project Vivir sight unseen (or unheard, rather), but that is only because sometimes quality can be discerned strictly by the names associated with a project. More than anything, I am sharing this project to make sure I return to it later this week, as I already know about Mexstep‘s lyrical pedigree (largely in thanks to his dual status as a lover of hip-hop and a college-level educator), and names like Bavu Blakes, Apaso, Vocab, Kree23, Mad1ne and the legion of other guests mean that we’re getting gold stacked on gold. Perhaps the most convincing aspect of all, however, is the fact that the album is produced by the über-talented Adrian Quesada, meaning it’s going to hit you straight in the soul as well as appeal to your emotions and intellect. You know how we do it around here… cop the project if you can, seek it out on your favorite streaming service or Bandcamp to list regardless, and pay it forward by sharing it around for all to experience.
Back in his long-haired heyday, Michael Bolton proclaimed that “love is such a wonderful thing”. That man has never lied. The wordplay rings true to this day. Anyway, do yourself a solid. Look in the mirror and repeat: “somebody loves you”. Let’s do this.
“On S.L.Y., Sivion, Bavu Blakes, The ARE and NickNack check in on their strong friends (each other). The result of their digital palavers is this syrupy and snappy jam that will lay the smackdown on lockdown. The ARE‘s production is fresher and funkier than fish wrapped in foil. The way that synths and percussion pops and drops will make you clap to this. Toe taps and finger snaps are included. Sivion and Bavu Blakes know it’s all about the love as they drop healthy servings of home-cooked happiness and reflection. On the first verse, Sivion confesses that he’s “guilty of a lot of things I had to unlearn”. Cancel culture be damned! Self-accountability is a superpower, and Sivion is Black Superman. On the closing verse, Bavu Blakes whips up some wicked wordplay with lines like “life moves in cycles, are you backpedalling?:. Questions deserve answers, and we all need to know. You, most importantly.
Whatever your love language is, there is a lot to love about music when the loving is this good.”
Definitely don’t sleep on this goodness. Share it around, and cop it while it’s ‘name your price’… maybe even donate a buck or two!
Back in the mid to late 1990s in Austin, there was a golden moment of musical synergy that took place every Wednesday night at The Mercury known as Hip-Hop Humpday. Anyone lucky enough to have experienced one of these legendary nights can tell you how wonderful it was to hear MCs Tee Double, Tray God and Bavu Blakes take turns blessing the crowd with bars over a live band/DJ combination. It’s these memories that make the instant classic Ovidalo, the latest single from Universal Seedz featuring that very trio of MCs, such a special moment in its own right. Over one of the most vintage-sounding jazz/soul instrumentals I’ve heard from a modern day band, the group of MCs do what they do best, wowing us with their verbal skill while educating and uplifting. Definitely dig this track, share it around for others to check out as well, and support if you can.
With the world in such emotional taxing, tumultuous times, it’s sometimes hard to focus on, or even think about, music. One thing that I love about hip-hop, however, is its ability to rationalize madness, remind us of the wins and losses of our past, and most important of all, inspire change and evolution (if not revolution). Luckily, the San Antonio-based powerhouse that is Third Root is fully aware of their ability to make those specific impacts, and with they culled an all-star lineup to put together Passion of the Poets : Adrian Quesada, El Dusty and Illfudge all get producer credits, while guest features include Black Pumas, Mad1ne, Grupo Fantasma, Kam Franklin and Bavu Blakes. If you’re simply curious about listening, you can find this one any and everywhere you stream or buy music online, but if you’re looking to support deeper, visit the Bandcamp page for exclusive merchandise. Most importantly, spread the Third Root word if you’re feeling what they’re dealing.
This past Austin Music Awards ceremony was full of awards presented and memorable moments, but none stood larger than the moving tribute paid to 9-time Hip-Hop Award winner Donnell Robinson, formerly professionally known as MC Overlord in the Texas music scene. His passing in 2018 was one that left a definite hole in the community, as a recent triumph over health issues made his passing that much more of a shock. Dirty Wormz came through to back up Tray God, Tee Double and Bavu Blakes (the trio of MCs formerly associated with the Austin hip-hop cornerstone Hip-Hop Humpday), and the collective blazed through a set of songs while the crowd and performers all became awash in the glow of memories and homage. We must never forget our fallen soldiers, and this is an instance of the scene coming together to solidify that fact.
“When DJ brimLo and Bavu Blakes are in the studio together Hip-Hop excellence has been assembled, two turntables and a microphone. DJ brimLo trades his microphone for the role of the maestro on this project while Bavu provides us the narrative of The Comeback Story. A good story starts with catastrophic tragedy, and that is the tone of Tick Tock. The fall is scored in the ballad of Dead to Us. The vocal stylings of CJ Edwards solidify the emotional foundation. As we arrive on our title track, Comeback, the dynamic duo really flex their muscles. Our wordsmith is in full stride as we all know “everybody loves a comeback,” he petitions to us on the Hip-Hop anthem. Staying true a good narrative, the feeling of overcoming is followed by a lament for a time before the self-destruction. Reggie Coby sets the tone of Yesterday with a properly penned hook and a swift sixteen. In a true call and response fashion, TempestB closes the tune with the complimenting counter-chorus. As a victory lap we get a repeat of the BIG Bright Future three piece ensemble of Bavu Blakes, DJ brimLo and Eric Levels on the closing song, Get Love. Carefully broken into five significant segments, this EP effectively takes listeners through the emotional trek of a return to one’s better self.”
My two cents, this is definitely worth a listen and a share, and if you’ve got the funds, it’s worth copping.
Dig it… Third Root and Adrian Quesada collaborate on what would already be a banger on its own. Reinforcements are then called in, in the form of Da’Shade Moonbeam, Riders Against The Storm (RAS), Bavu Blakes and Vocab. Bars upon bars, all spitting on the knowledge tip. Soul Force is a monster of a song… not since the days of We’re All In The Same Gang or Self-Destruction has there been a collaborative effort this deep and meaningful. Certainly worth the $0.99 price tag. Here’s to hoping all parties involved can find the time to make a video out of this, because songs this strong deserve visual accompaniment.
‘Even though some of the content of this remix speaks critically to current events, the ideas and conversations that went into producing and writing this song took place before the Ferguson, Garner, and Brooklyn tragedies. The insight of the poets involved is honest, revolutionary, and seemingly prophetic. This remix is a FREE download. The original version of Michelle Alexander was inspired by Alexander‘s book The New Jim Crow and appears on Third Root and Greg G‘s 2014 album Revolutionary Theme Music.’
After releasing the Let’s Go EP on Fort Knox Recordings last year, Qdup returns with a funky collection of tunes featuring some amazing vocalists from Austin, Texas. While Qdup was in Austin DJ’ing at the Art Outside Festival, he linked up with some of Austin’s finest MC’s and the result is the Lone Star EP. The funk flows deep in both Austin and DC and it shows on this strong release.
Qdup and Fort Knox Five have road tested these tunes to assure their dance floor potency at festivals and clubs. The Lone Star EP comes locked and loaded to light up the dance floor.
Anom and Brokebread are good dudes. The music they make collectively as Big Package is dope. Over the years, they’ve worked with a who’s who of talented Texas hip-hop artists. Finally is their opportunity to showcase the love they’ve shown and been shown… enjoy it, share it, and hope there will be another collaboration album in the future!