EVOLVE is well known for keeping his raps and track selections ultra raw, and while I don’t want to speak on behalf of the man, I imagine that much of this ethos comes from a deep appreciation of New York‘s creation and eternal influence on the hip-hop culture. The main reason I feel comfortable in making this assumption and asserting it publicly is due to EVOLVE X MIC MELT X DJ EZ DAVE PRESENT: THE NNY EP(THE BROOKLYN SESSIONS), the latest release from the always working EVOLVE. With verbal assistance from Mic Melt, Banga K, Junclassic, CHG, Pitch Black and Aimss, production provided by Stellar Born, Deep of 2HB, The Strangers and DJ EZ Dave (who also provides the cuts), this is an all-star effort that goes seven for seven in terms of bangers. Peep this one asap, share it around, and if you can, thrown EVOLVE and company a few bucks to cop this one.
There is no doubting that the monolithic culture we know as Hip-Hop was birthed in New York, but as the culture has grown, so has its reach and influence in not only the United States, but the world. As a native Texan, I find myself spiritually connected to other Texas-based MCs that understand and respect New York and it’s firm place in the culture, and perhaps this is why it brings me great joy to hear Basics. The prolific Texas duo that is EVOLVE and Mic Melt have always brought a grittiness and complexity to their artistry that is clearly influenced by the legions of classic New York artists, so to see them connect with New York-based MC Banga K, producer Deep of 2HB and dj Ez Dave during a recent trip to Brooklyn in this latest single feels like providence. The track is a banger, of course, with the perspectives of those from outside and inside the “city that never sleeps” echoing one another beautifully. If you dig your Hip-Hop with plenty of head nod energy, then cop this track immediately and spread it around.
After releasing a project earlier this year, then dealing with a band member relocation that probably would have disbanded most groups, it’s good to know that MANNERS is still alive and kicking. To celebrate that fact, the group put out a planned release in the form of Pulp, a six song collection (five of which are seeing an official release for the first time) that showcases their continued tradition of writing intriguing, biting and honest love/break-up songs in the vein of PJ Harvey or Cat Power‘s older material. Then, as if a new album wasn’t enough, the group released a live show at Beerland that they themselves did not know was being recorded at the time. Thanks to Maximiamo Deems, the group was handed a fully recorded and mixed live project that not only sounds great, but it gives you a glimpse into how funny the between-song banter of MANNERS can be. If you’re a fan of the group, definitely spread the word around about these releases.
Abuzayed the Free, recent transplant to New York via the Austin route, is continuously demonstrating how a women can portray her inner and outer beauty in balance without having to lower your standards or accept misbehavior from the opposite sex. The So Much Swag music video (and song) almost serve as a personal mantra, or a reminder for when moments seem bleak. Over the Chris Rockaway beat, Abuzayed gives herself well-deserved props and affirmations, both showing how easy it is to do so and validating the practice as anything but selfish. The video is strengthened by the strong visual guidance shown by director Aaron Fine, who provides a cinematic quality and tone to the events. Abuzayed makes sure to show both sides of the male spectrum as well, with the number of men she spends time around as an equal far outnumbering those representing men who take women for granted. It’s nice to see Abuzayed continue to grow as an artist and woman, and I hope her trajectory continues it’s current path, if not a better one.
A handful of years ago, when the Austin hip hop scene was experiencing a full-throttle renaissance/resurgence period, one of the standout groups was Parking. A two-man outfit, Ibriham handled the rhymes while Nicolas Luna got down on production. I knew that Nicolas and myself shared a love of film, but at that time, I had no idea he had aspirations of creating them. Cut to a number of years later, and Nicolas is in New York. During a recent timeline binge on Facebook, I came across a post featuring a YouTube video called 3 Elements. It was simple, yet powerful, and extremely well put together. It also turned out to be one of Nicolas Luna‘s many shorts that he recently had uploaded to YouTube. Here is a playlist of them for you to share and enjoy.
Anybody that knows me knows that I’m a huge supporter of the DIY ethic. Any artist that can be creative enough to represent themselves both sonically and visually gets major props in my book.
By that token, the incomparable Suzanna Choffel is taking a big step into the realm of independency… Golden Fires is a cut from the cloth of Zanna’s new life as a New Yorker… filmed in Prospect Park, and featuring the overabundance of soul that is Suzanna Choffel, this video is a definite winner. Check it out: