It’s the day after Labor Day and you feel awful. Not “I ate the last Dorito” awful but “my body hates me” awful. On your lunch break, pour yourself a green tea, dim the lights, and watch the new visuals from the Portland native, Tre Redeau. “Doja” is the third video to drop from Tre’s last project Kool-Aid Stand. It starts with warm colors that are soft on the eyes. The video switches from That ’70s Show styled smoking sessions indoors to walking around town, all with a slightly blurry yet welcoming feeling. The production is a mix of Curren$y and Cypress Hill, almost like a hybrid of a sativa and an indica.
When asked about the first time he was high, Tre responded:
“Man, it was crazy. I was outside a kickback when we smoked, and it hit me immediately after I inhaled the smoke. Then I slowly made my way back into the party. Grabbed a tub of liquorice and put “Party Life” by Jay Z on repeat. I still don’t know why they had red vines there but they were live at that moment. I was definitely gone in my own world and nobody changed the song.”
Also Tre has been kind enough to host a contest for you to win a pair of Grey Nike Air Yeezy 2’s. Head to his website for the full rules.
Bryan Hahn is on break for the rest of the day. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
You ever play a pick up game and you’re in the zone, making 3’s like you’re almost related to Stephen Curry? Or everything is going your way at work after you killed that meeting with no preparation? Being in that pocket is a lot like what J.I.D does for about three and a half minutes over a beat that sounds like Dave Brubeck produced if he grew up with Mike Will Made It. Fellow Atlanta native PacManADV has a smoky Jazz vibraphone with some junk in the trunk for the drums, setting the stage perfectly for J.I.D’s close up.
Spillage Village associate J.I.D states that “Reloaded” is “an autobiography of sorts. These are real life situations that really happened.” So while he strings flows together that most rappers would hurt themselves trying to imitate, you’re getting a piece of the grimmer side of life. It’s just the intro to what’s to come on his upcoming 11 track project Para Tu: Reloaded. And after he’s done with his time, he was so kind to leave you a couple minutes to get familiar with the layers of PacManADV’s work.
Applaud the man.
Bryan Hahn is unavailable at the moment. He’ll be back Tuesday. Please leave a message at the beep (@notupstate).
For many moon I’ve asked for some new Money Making Jam Boys. The supergroup is composed of multiple talented Philly artists. Their last project is still putting up boards on the play count column in my iTunes. The Based God has finally answered my prayers. With The Wurxs putting their spin on the Mad Men theme song, which is actually RJD2’s “A Beautiful Mine,” Black Thought, STS, and Truck North take turns waxing poetics. This is probably the version Don Draper wakes up to before he heads to work.
Bryan Hahn is still waiting for the next project from MMJB. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
Looking at Christian Rich’s production credits in just the last couple years may have you scratching your head in impressed confusion. J. Cole’s “Sparks Will Fly,” Earl Sweatshirt’s “Chum,” two Chris Browm songs that leaked before his X album, Childish Gambino’s “The Palisades,” and Vince Staples’ “Señorita.” And that’s a partial list. The twin brothers who were born in Chicago, spent some years in Nigeria, and then moved back to Chicago and now Los Angeles, have been flying soaring under the public eye for years but hopefully that’ll change for the better overnight. Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan spent some time learning from N.E.R.D. and have placed their eclectic sound with a slew of major artists for over 10 years. Now they’re on the precipice of releasing their ambitious debut LP, FW14, which took 3 months to record, in one day. It features Vince Staples, GoldLink, JMSN, Denitia, Sene, and others.
We had the opportunity to speak with them on the inspiration behind the album as well as the evolution of their sound, other producers that catch their ears, and more. Enter the minds of Christian Rich below.
For the last two projects, you’ve opened with an instrumental track with little to no words. Is this done to introduce the listener to the world you’re about to create or for another reason?
Taiwo: Exactly. It’s the introduction to our state of mind for each project. It’s almost like a prayer before you eat or before you run on the field. The first song is helping the listener enter the album from a zen, centered place.
On FW14, the progression in many of the beats are crazy where it’s almost 2 different songs. There’s a lot of balance of heavier sounds and lighter ones like “Forever Ever” and “Bells.” Was that done deliberately or just happened?
Kehinde: That’s a great observation. Yeah that’s how we like to approach some tracks, especially in the time we were working on this album. That lighter, soothing feel into the aggressive drop helps paint a story. So before you even focus on the lyrics, the track is setting scene up. It also comes as a surprise on first listen. It’s always cool to face juxtaposition in music.
What was it about Interstellar that inspired this album or parts of it?
Kehinde: We’re really into Sci-Fi and the unknown. So when we saw that movie, it was a physical personification of the thoughts we have about what’s around us and purpose. This album for us questions that. Hence why the female character in interludes is saying what she’s saying.
How would you like people to feel after listening to this album? Do you want them to learn anything from it?
Taiwo: One of our main goals for the album is for the audience to listen and stay engaged. As a whole the album is interwoven like a nonstop journey, that just loops. I want you to come out of “Compromise” and listen to what the voice in the outro is saying. Let the thoughts sink in and challenge your way of observing the world. But after that get back into the music for balance.
What is the significance behind the lady figure on the cover?
Taiwo: She’s a character we thought about for this project. We gave the illustrator, Jacob Escabedo, a basic idea of what we wanted and he delivered that on the first try. She is the protagonist in this story. The voice you hear throughout the album. This is her journey that we are on a ride for.
The closing words on the album has a message about hypnosis. Is that to be taken seriously or sarcastically?
Taiwo: Very seriously. The only reality we truly have in this world is that we are in a state of hypnosis created by someone and passed on from generation to generation. We are living in someone’s idea of what the world should look like. We live in a world where people hate each other because of skin pigmentation. That’s silly. It’s not innate, it’s learned. We can change our reality or state of hypnosis but you have to know you are in one. It’s like that quote from Harriet Tubman, that she would have saved more slaves if she could make them understand that they were slaves.
How do you stay on top of new artists coming out and finding the ones you want to work with?
Kehinde: Well, we’re super fortunate and blessed in that sense. Artists reach out to us based on our work and we filter through that to see who makes sense for the bigger picture and how we can enhance their career.
How have you noticed your production style and evolve over the years? What new habits do you have or what old habits have died?
Kehinde: Our style has definitely evolved, that’s natural. We stick to our regiments from back when we started, which includes being focused on the task at hand. One thing that’s changed is that we try and take samples out of our production because it’s limiting sometimes but at times it’s needed.
Your first placement was with Lil Kim almost 15 years ago. Did you have rappers in mind when you sent that beat CD to NY? When you produce a beat today, do you have a certain artist in mind or a flow?
Kehinde: When we sent beats out to NY we had a rough idea of who was working. So the goal was to make as many bangers as you could that week that you got word about artists seeking tracks. Today we work on specific projects more and more so it’s usually for a certain artist. But we also just lay down ideas in general that could fit any artist.
Taiwo: Metro Boomin, Kaytranada, Disclosure, Alchemist, Mike Will, Sonny Digital.
You guys are working on a documentary as well as fixing music on TV shows. Are there ideas that you’d like to work on that might not even be possible now because of technological restrictions like the way people consume or produce music?
Kehinde: We don’t have restrictions, anything we want to work on we do it. If the technology doesn’t exist, you can create if you want it that bad. Our minds are limitless. If we think it, we do it and study the outcome.
What was one of the greatest lessons you learned from Pharrell and Shae, inside or outside of music?
Taiwo: Shae reminds us on a daily basis that we are great. He literally will call just to emphasize that and then explain to us why he thinks that. He definitely has shown us how to be low key and productive. I remember a few years ago I was telling Pharrell about this guy who was hating on us and the guy walked in the room and I’m like, “Yeah see that’s dude,” and he’s like, “Who cares, f*ck him”.
Bryan Hahn couldn’t give a fuck about that hater in the room. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
A lot of us thought we were anime gurus and some may continue to think that. As we were grew older, rappers who watched the same Toonami shows dropped lines referencing a show here and there. But none did it like Noveliss. While it’s apparent that he has a special place in his heart for Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and the like, he’s also deft at spitting straight bars without the “animation.” The video for “Word” is our case in point.
The stand out track from his Toonami Tsunamis project features the Clear Soul Forces emcee with scenes from popular manga shows as well as some edits most likely inspired by those shows. His unconventional flows sound more like spoken word and probably could sound just as good without the beat, but why not add the smooth production from Scott Xylo? The production on “Word” is best described as muffled bubbles popping and releasing piano keys and drums that were trapped inside of them.
You can stream the EP below as well as buy a copy for $4. He will also be selling limited edition hard copies that are autographed for $13.
Bryan Hahn still chuckles at that Dylan line. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
Have you ever dreamed that you woke up only to find out that you’re still dreaming, on some Inception type ish? What about a dream that never seems to end to the point where you think reality right now is a dream? If you have, you might want to take a breath before watching the new video from Kriswontwo. The Danish producer releases his new visuals for “Love, Need You,” featuring British singer Omar. It’s a trip into the grey area between dream world and what is perceived to be the real world. In between the protagonist’s metaphysical travels, there is a struggle between two figures to symbolize where all of our victories and defeats occur–the imagination. Director Alaverdian drew inspiration from Japanese psych pop artist Tokio Aoyama’s artwork for the single. He had this to say on the plot:
The main character goes through various levels of dreams until he finally gets to the ‘Mother’ or ‘Healer’ type character that soothes his pain or lets him know that everything will be alright. It’s a symbolic death/transition/rebirth.
You can hear the Madlib and Soulquarian influences in the crisp yet flowing production from Kriswontwo. Omar’s voice, particularly the harmonization, blends right into the fabric of the beat.
You can expect live instrumentation throughout Kriswontwo’s upcoming album CEREMONI (9/14) but not in the way you’d expect: “I sometimes chop up what I just recorded and then flip it in a different way.” Other features on the album include MED, Oh No, Skyzoo, and Georgia Anne Muldrow.
“Love, Need You” will be available on August 28th through SomeOthaShip.
Bryan Hahn dreams of the real world. He’s on Twitter (<a href="http://www.twitter.com/n
Having a tough day at work? Need something to unwind to on the commute home? We have the perfect audio travel companion today. Brooklyn emcee Scienze released the fourth installment of his A Traveling Man series today and it clocks in at seven tracks of smooth goodness. It seems like he doesn’t even know how he continually puts out music that the Dalai Lama would probably meditating to, other than “that’s where I’m at now.” The series started in February as a surprise project and he’s continued to keep the rules the same: no heads up, make the project available for 24 hours, and please the people. The EP dropped at midnight last night on www.scienzeclass.com, so it’ll be gone at midnight tonight. Scrounge up $5 and make your trip home later that much better.
Bryan Hahn skipped his second and third dessert today for this EP. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
A$AP Mob is for the children. No, really. Not only is the youth repping them hard with A$AP Worldwide clothing and their music, they are now celebrated and made a priority by one key member of the Hip-Hop group. Spearheading this noble effort is A$AP Ferg (hence Ferg Fair) and he’s joined by The Children’s Village and People of Peace. They put a lot of careful planning so that 300+ teens could:
▪ Receive full health exams
▪ Watch a live collaborative mural painting led by a special guest artist
▪ Learn from a presentation of “What Health Means” art pieces created by the students
▪ Practice basketball drills with professional basketball players, courtesy of Better Baller Athletics
▪ Have one-on-one DJ lessons provided by the Jam Master Jay Foundation For Music and Scratch Academy
▪ Eat healthy food and snack donated by Bloom Fresh, Mikey’s Likes It Ice Cream, and SMART Pizza
Ferg Fair also had hand picked Harlem kids performing, special keynote speakers, and an A$AP Ferg and friends concert (including a new song from his upcoming project). It is mainly starting as a way for Ferg to give back to his community in Harlem and was only open to those students who were invited aged 14-20. It took place earlier this month at Harlem’s Polo Grounds Community Center from 3pm to 8pm. This wasn’t just about putting a cool event together one year and be done with it. Ferg plans on making a change in the youth by showing them how to make healthy choices and lead positive lifestyles. The main inspiration for Ferg Fair comes from his father, Darold Ferguson Sr. AKA D-Ferg. Along with his father’s popular clothing line, Ferg 54, D-Ferg also started Hands of Color to employ young people in the city by teaching them silk-screening and other basic skills in math, English, and interpersonal relations. Ferg had this to say about his father:
My dad spent his life helping kids in the community stay off the streets and make something of themselves. He may be gone but his legacy lives on through the people of our neighborhood and all the lives he touched.
Be on the look out for more events that Ferg has in the works to make his position of fame and power count for the future generations.
Bryan Hahn couldn’t be happier about how a major artist uses his time outside of the booth. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
It’s not Valentine’s Day but that doesn’t mean you can’t set the mood for your special one night stand tonight with some new Onra. The French producer releases his newest video with us that features the New York duo, The Doppelgangaz. The beat is the perfect blend of soft piano keys and an electric guitar that has a soul of its own. If the music sounds extra raw, in a good way, it’s because he somehow didn’t use any computer software for the production for that 100% hand made feel. With a saxophone in tow and their signature black cloaks, Matter Ov Fact and EP trade stories of sexual exploits that back up their claims that they’ll take anything when it comes to loving women. There’s beauty in imperfection and The Doppelgangaz have unlocked that secret.
“Anything” is off of Onra’s Fundamentals album. You can buy a copy on vinyl or through iTunes.
Bryan Hahn misses CD 101.9 FM now. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).
When Drake rapped that the “boys tell stories about the man” on “Started From The Bottom,” is it possible that he was in fact telling a story about ForteBowie? What ever happened to Jay Z’s hyphen? Some of life’s biggest mysteries may go unsolved but the important thing is that we’re here for the music. Today, we’re proud to present a new track from Atlanta’s ForteBowie that was produced by The Democratz. Instead of your bottom-shelf-cereal qualitiy Trap ish, the beat sets a triumphant yet somber feel to it where Forte accepts the man that he’s become along with all of the choices that got him here. He’s confident in what he’s capable of, inside and outside the booth, as evidenced by his discography. He may be singing but we don’t recommend testing him to see if he’ll really pull them thangs on you.
“The Man” is not attached to any project so far. Expect more music from Forte in the coming weeks. In the mean time, you can check out his last project HERE.
Oh, and the kid is performing in Atlanta in 10 days (8/23) for those looking for a last trip before college starts up again. You should peep game live after you peep the flier up top, if you missed that somehow. He might just swipe your girl though.
Bryan Hahn wants to be the man when he grows up. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).