Monday Grooves 2/3/14

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Let’s face it.  That Super Bowl last night was just not fun to watch.  Sure, the Seattle Seahawks deserve the title, especially after a fantastically dominating season, but they also deserved to be challenged.

The game was horrible for many reasons, but the one that made the most sense to me was the schedule the Denver Broncos waltzed through.  All sorts of offensive records were overcome left and right, perhaps shrouding their weaknesses in mystery.  Not that they had a lot, though.  In this day and age in the NFL, where offense is king, not many other teams besides the Seahawks could’ve shut down the fiery Peyton Manning-led Broncos the way they did.  A talented team was beaten by a more talented team.  Goes to show you, defense still wins championships (unless your name is Jerry Rice or Joe Montana).

The AFC West looked as deep and talented as can be, right until the postseason started.  The Chiefs had an epic collapse at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, while the Chargers were knocked out of contention in the next round by the Broncos.  So, even in a season where records were broken as often as plates in an earthquake, barely making it out on top of a weakened AFC should’ve been a clue.  Peyton is one of the greatest QB’s of all time, when it comes to numbers.  Unfortunately, the wins don’t say as much.

Things are very different on the NFC side of things, however.  Similar to the Western Conference in the NBA, the NFC clearly has the cream of the crop when it comes to championship-worthy talent.  The Seawhawks and the 49ers should be an incredibly entertaining rivalry over the next few years, with other teams such as Arizona, Green Bay, Chicago, New Orleans, and Carolina thrown in just to make things interesting.  Even my team, Detroit, could make some noise (I mean they should, the talent is there.  But who really knows with the Lions?)

But anyways, that was last night.  It’s now time for basketball season, as we move closer and closer to the glory of March Madness (GO BLUE).

Here are three grooves to get this week going for you:

Sir Michael Rocks – S.S. feat. Latif

This record amount of snow and cold weather has got me wanting warm weather more than ever.  Sir Michael Rocks, with his swagged out flow and hilarious punchlines, you would he figure he’d have multiple summer songs.  However, he’s only got a couple.  One with The Cool Kids, and one on his own.  (He does have summer and warm weather scenes in many of his videos though)

As always, one of my favorite things about Mikey Rocks’ music is how effortless he makes everything seem.  He honestly sounds like he’s having a good time, all the time.  The style of grand minimalism lives on.

 

Childish Gambino – 3005

Childish is one of the poster children of being a hit-and-miss artist.  With quality lyricism and excellent voice control, he has the potential to pretty much make quality music across the board.  The only problem is, the songwriting can be a bit…lacking at times.  This was the problem on his most recent release, because the internet.  During my experience listening to the project, I never truly felt pulled into the sound.  One track will have me impressed, while the next may not captivate my attention whatsoever.  Consistency and an established identity are the main things he needs to work on.

“3005”, however, is a perfect example of a hit.  The hook stays stuck in my head all day after hearing it.  Plus, Childish delivers with a pinpoint accurate flow and intelligent rhyme schemes.  That’s enough to stay in my rotation.

 

Ke$ha ft. Lil Wayne, T.I., Wiz Khalifa, and Andre 3000

I know what you’re thinking.  Ke$ha is not a popular choice of mine, but this song is something special.  I’m not too familiar with the original Ke$ha song, to be honest, but when I first decided to press play on this remix, I was blown away.  Everyone goes in on it.  I mean, in.

Wiz Khalifa, who is notorious for his lazy lyricism, is also known to have really impressive feature verses from time to time (“I’m On” by Trae the Truth, and “High” by Big Sean are two prime examples).  The latter shines here, with Wiz having arguably the strongest verse out of all 4 MCs (hard to argue with Andre’s though).

The best part about it is how it all came together.  Ke$ha handpicked her favorite rappers for the remix edition.  As she told Rap-Up.com,

“Get ready to get even $leazier with this sick collaboration I did with 4 of my favorite MCs of all time: Weezy, Andre 3000, Wiz Khalifa, and T.I.,”

This definitely earns some cool points for Ke$ha in my book.  Good work.

-Ronzo

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Big Sean – 1st Quarter Freestyle

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After not hearing new material from Big Sean for awhile, it’s nice to see him making an enjoyable freebie track.

One of Sean’s top assets is his ability to string together nonsense in a really entertaining way.  This lyrical method isn’t exactly new to Hip-Hop, but Big Sean is, and always has been, one of the frontrunners of the style these days.  It’s what made him attractive to Kanye.  Even with the heavy pop presence and success Big Sean has had in the modern day industry, he’s stuck true to what made him famous in the first place: the feeling that he could just keep going, and going, and going…etc.  He may not be the most sound lyricist, and he also might not be among the deepest of song writers.  But he sure knows how to entertain; and that’s definitely respectable.

In his newest release of 2014, Big Sean goes for 5 minutes over production by Key Wayne and Travis $cott.  Serving as his introduction to 2014 (or in other words, his 1st quarter), it’s quite nice.  Check out the Mike Carson-directed visuals down below, and if you like it, go download it here on Soundcloud.

-Ronzo

Audio Push – Turn Down (Video)

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One of my favorite artists on the rise in 2013 just made visuals for one of my favorite tracks off their mixtape, Come as You Are.

“Turn Down” is a song that represents everything chill.  As they say, it’s the perfect music for Monday-Friday.  Through a clever flip of the popular phrase “Turn up”, Audio Push explains the daily mindset of the average working citizen.

Turn down for what? Turn down cause you tired.

I’m really digging this group, as I said in my previous article about them, and I’m hoping to see a vibrant 2014.  Debut album, anyone?

-Ronzo

Dopamine Knights Update 1/31/2014

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Hey there everyone, I’m slightly behind on posting the Dopamine Knights’ Sunday Meds 2 releases, so here’s a post to catch all of you fans up.

The past two weeks have provided some pretty dope releases, setting up the grand stage for the final 3 tracks of the project.  First up, Ace and I go back and forth with sixteens, playing with words and giving insight into our daily lives on the track, “Check the Resume”.  It’s got some bounce to it, so prepare for the head-nodding that’s bound to happen.

For the latest release, we get a little bit goofy.  I’m sure all of you stoners can relate to our newest track, going by the name of “Munchie Run”.  It’s a song that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of imminent “smash attack” on the way to a convenience store during a hazy night chiefing with the homies.  We had a lot of fun with it, so we hope you will too.

That’s all for right now.  Like I said before, though, be on the lookout for the next 3 weeks.  Sunday Meds 2 will be coming to a close as we move on to the next pojects.  Stay dope, ladies and gentlemen.

-Ronzo

Mobb Deep – Taking You Off Here

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New Mobb Deep album? What, what, WHAT?

Coming this April, The Infamous Mobb Deep will be a new album full of scrapped tracks, with previously unreleased verses from Nas, Ghostface Killah, and Raekwon.  These 10 extra tracks were recorded during The Infamous sessions, and were not chosen to make the final cut for one of their most famous (and one of my favorite) albums.

This is all part of a 20th anniversary celebration of the original release, an extremely special treat for Mobb Deep fans everywhere.  Here’s one of the cuts from the April release, called “Taking You Off Here”.

In addition to this awesome project, Prodigy and Havoc are already on a tour that began in January.  The Infamous Mobb Deep Tour will be continuing all the way until May, so be sure to check the dates and order tickets ASAP.

mobb-deep-tour-dates-Ronzo

Step Brothers – Lord Steppington (Album Stream)

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The brain trust of Step Brothers, Alchemist and Evidence, have a relationship that goes back quite a long ways.  Alc worked with Evidence’s former group Dilated Peoples for quite some time.  His beats are stamped all over two of arguably the best albums of the group’s discography (The Platform and Expansion Team).  Making hits like “The Platform”, and “Worst Comes to Worst” (along with many others) made Alchemist an obvious choice to work with when Ev started his solo career.  The Weatherman and Cats & Dogs are two fantastic Evidence outings that continue the trend of  showcasing Alc’s bangers.

Alchemist has been working with many various artists the past couple years, including Curren$y and Prodigy.  It’s nice to see him go back to his roots though, as there is no artist better fitted for Alchemist beats than Evidence.  That smooth West Coast delivery is perfect for Alc’s crazy stumbling drum patterns.

Also, Alchemist holds down the mic for the majority of the project.  Pretty interesting, as I can’t say I’ve ever heard him rap before.

Overall, this is an incredibly solid project that features two Underground Hip-Hop legends.  You can cop it at iTunes and Amazon, but for now stream it here at Soundcloud:

UPDATE: Looks like Step Brothers took down Lord Steppington from Soundcloud, so be sure to support the group on iTunes or Amazon!

-Ronzo

 

Mykestro – Set Precedent (LA Mix) ft. Kendrick Lamar

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Boy, do I love straight rap tracks.  Nothing but bars, please.  The catchy hooks, deep subject matter, and delivery is definitely important, but it’s almost always refreshing to hear an MC just plain go in.  Not to mention, when you get a Kendrick Lamar feature, you better make sure you get those bars up.  After all, you don’t want to get “Controlled”

This description of Mykestro is pretty accurate:

His name is Mykestro, and his rhymes come together -something like a superglued jenga set.

That’s right in the description of the song here on Soundcloud, and the proof is in the pudding.  Over a funky beat produced by Georgia Anne Muldrow, perfect for that bounce, both MCs trade dope verses.  This one’s perfect if you’re into lyricism as much as I am.

Be sure to check out the Set Precedent EP.

-Ronzo