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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Video Hits:: Ghettosocks, Muneshine & Ron Contour

I'm not sure what I was searching for the other day, but I came across a random link to a post of ours posted somewhere with this description of our little outfit: "HeroHill.com is one of Canada's reputable hip-hop blogs." Well it's pretty debatable how reputable we are, and calling us a hip hop blog is kind of a Shawn Bradley-esque stretch. I guess it's not completely outlandish, as I do try and post plenty of good Canadian hip hop content on the site, but I'm far from consistent in that posting. A big reason why I try and get Canadian hip hop up on the hill is simply because there aren't a lot of outlets for the folks making that music here in Canada to get something written about them.

So lets write about them! It's Thursday, and that means videos here on the hill, so a hip hop edition of the Video Hits seemed like the opposite of milk on a sweltering San Diego day. If you've been here before, it should be no surprise that the Grand Wizard Ghettosocks is our MC of choice as far as Halifax hip hop goes. Socks has a fresh new video for Out For Treats, which was one of my favorite tracks on the album, thanks to nonsensically delicious lyrics like ""me & my peeps got hot eats in the grotto, fresh meat in the taco, extra cheese on the nacho". The video is a perfect compliment to the track, with Socks & crew chowing down on plenty of treats, and Haltown legend Jorun manning the decks in a chef outfit, which is enjoyable.

Toronto's Muneshine is currently working Ghettosocks on a collaborative side project called Twin Peaks, and I'm certainly looking forward to hearing some of it. For now, I'm content with Muneshine's latest effort, the video for Gotta Feeling which is featured on Urbnet's recently released hip hop compilation. It's a solid song that features D-Sisive and Shad, and the video continues Urbnet's tradition of some really well done videos. To finish, we've got Glad from Moka Only alias Ron Contour, a song from Mr. Contour's latest album with Prairie producer Factor which is delightfully entitled Saffron. This is actually a great album that I plan to write more about, but for now, you can enjoy Moka only and his very realistic fake mustache as he hangs with Sasquatch. Pretty average day for Moka no doubt. Enjoy.

Ghettosocks - Out For Treats

MP3:: Ghettosocks - Don't Turn Around f. Edgar Allen Floe
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/ghettosocks

Muneshine - Gotta Feeling f. D-Sisive & Shad

MP3:: Muneshine - Gotta Feeling f. D-Sisive & Shad
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/muneshine

Ron Contour - Glad

MP3:: Ron Contour & Factor - Glad
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/mokaonly
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/factorg

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Posted at 1:00 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quick Hitters:: Urbnet Underground Hip Hop Vol. 5

Is it safe to say that Urbnet is the best indie hip hop label in Canada? I think I'd have to say yes. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly plenty of folks dedicated to the thankless task of producing solid hip hop here in this great big country of ours, but when you look at the volume of music Urbnet puts out, and the professional way they produce and promote it, this Toronto outfit likely takes the cake.

But don't take my word for it, just peruse their website for even a few minutes, and you'll likely come to the same conclusion. Or you can check out the latest release in their Underground Hip-Hop series, which features a long list of folks we've covered in one way or another here on the hill: D-Sisive, OK Cobra, Moka Only, DL Incognito, Circle Research, Dragon Fli Empire, Wordburglar, Ghettosocks, The Nope, and Grand Analog - to name but a few.

It's the kind of list that says a lot about Urbnet's good eye for Canadian hip hop talent, but for the amount of quality hip hop that you can find here if you're willing to look for it. Or you can skip all that looking jizz-jazz and simply get yourself a digital slice of Canadian awesome right here.

MP3:: DL Incognito - A Little Like This

MP3:: Religion - Lucid f. Moka Only & E.D.G.E.

MP3:: OK Cobra - Beautiful (Southwest Mix)

Labels: , , , Urbnet

Posted at 1:00 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Leathers

The Leathers

Bam, suck on that! Considering the amount of music we're sent, it seems funny that I almost never get the urge to post something based on cover art alone. But the notion of that cover above being associated to a hip hop album had my curiosity more than a little peaked. As it turns out, The Leathers are the T.O. duo of Atherton and P-Brain, and, as the story goes, shortly after they teamed up, they purchased some leather jackets at a vintage store for $20 and decided to rock them on-stage. They realized the jackets were super-awesome, and so, The Leathers were born.

And I, for one, am glad for their birth, as their self-titled debut is pretty enjoyable. I might just be projecting, but the group's name does feel appropriate when you listen to the album. It's full of loud, aggressive beats that use big drums and splice in guitar riffs and other dark sounds here and there to create a mostly ominous sound. Lyrically, the songs also sound aggressive, on the surface anyway, but the subject matter is much more introspective than one would think on first listen. Hair Loss for example, finds the fellas getting their Redman/Dr. Trevis on, and examining exactly what it is about being an underground rapper that causes so much anxiety, or there's Self Sabotage which is about various short-circuiting one's chances with the opposite sex.

That said, it's not all emo-raps and sad-sackery when The Leathers are on the scene. Songs like Bridge Breaks, Forevermore, Too Bad, and even the peppy, Fresh Kils-produced Paul & Devin hit with the kind of impact you'd expect from straight-ahead, boom-bap rap. Quite simply, the more I hear The Leathers, the more I like them. Of course they're going to appeal to anyone who already likes their brand of semi self-deprecating hip hop, that has been seen folks like Slug, Sole and Sage cultivate a ready-made audience for it, but they've got enough charm & humour in what they do that they might even lure in the elusive "I don't usually like hip hop, but I like this!" crowd. But, for what it's worth, I do like hip hop, and I do indeed like this.

MP3:: The Leathers - Too Bad
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/theleathers

Labels: , Flippin' The Bird, , The Leathers,

Posted at 1:00 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Nope - Melba

The Nope

Posting time is tight right now for yer man Naedoo, as I try to run the gauntlet between impending moves in real life and blog life (former: we're building a new house, latter: we are moving this baby to Wordpress as we speak), and so you can expect a steady diet of this here kind of post. What kind of post is it? Simply one where I tell you about a group, album, or song, then tell you it's good, and you take it from there. I get a post up, you get music without all my usual waffle. It's win and then win again.

Today's group then? It's The Nope, which is a duo comprised of Psy from the Oddities and Canada's rap endurance champ, Moka Only. Their debut album, Melba came out on Urbnet in December, and if you like anything in Moka's substantial back-catalog, you're gonna be saying Yep to The Nope in a hurry. After all, according to their bio, the guys aren't trying to break any ground here:

As The Nope emcee Psy shares, "We're exactly the same as every other music group you've ever heard before. So, prepare for absolute boredom." For once, a rapper tells the truth.

Certainly a little bit of the facetiousness in there, as they play on the fact that so much hip hop does sound alike in '010, but there's no much boredom to be found. What you can find is Moka's trademark chugging grooves in their production, and Psy is a perfect lyrical foil for Ron Contour, as they are both able wrap the lightest of lyrics around the most mundane topic.

It's good springtime music, this, so go check it out.

MP3:: The Nope - Rain All Day
GET IT::thenope.bandcamp.com

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Posted at 1:04 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quick Hitters:: Ambition and Uncle Fester

What makes a great mixtape in 2010? Don't ask me, after all, I've spent years saying I don't write about mixtapes here on the hill, which is, as you can see for yourself, patently false. I can tell you one thing though, if you're trying to get me interested in your upcoming projects via mixtape, the main thing you need to worry about is this: quality.

Skip the 300 features, don't worry about using beats that are currently peppering the top 40, and don't have your DJ or "host" scream random shiz in the middle of the songs. More precisely, you can do exactly what Backburner affiliates Ambition and Uncle Fester have done on their new mixtape K.R.E.A.M. (Kicks Rule Everything Around Me). In fact, the description on their Bandcamp site says it better than I can:

This is a Hip-Hop Mixtape. 1 MC and 1 DJ, live mixing, blending, scratching and rapping. All original lyrics, cuts and concepts.

Hey now, authentic hip hop! What a novel concept! Although it's likely thought of as quaint or old-fashioned in today's hip hop climate, but the notion of an MC spitting some rugged rhymes backed by a skilled DJ cutting up classic records warms my curmudgeonly heart, so I love this mixtape. Ambition has the kind of pleasing baritone flow that makes songs about sneakers, girls & rap more enjoyable than similar songs by other MC's would be. Add Uncle Fester to the mix, one of Halifax's best & busiest DJ's, and you've got yourself a potent duo.

Speaking of potent duos, we've got a solid, back-to-back pair of songs to give you a sample of what Ambition and Fes are working with on this mixtape. Not sure why exactly, but after hearing Just For Kicks I had the intro lines repeating in my head: "The last kid that said he wanted to battle me, was at a houseparty til I threw him off the balcony. They said you can't throw kids off decks, Police showed up, Ambition lefffft". That's good times right there.

MP3:: Ambition and Uncle Fester - Just For Kicks (JFK)

MP3:: Ambition and Uncle Fester - Lord Willin
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/ambitionmc
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/unclefester902

Labels: Ambition, Backburner, , , Uncle Fester

Posted at 1:35 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Old School Mondays:: African Heritage Month Edition

It's February, which is Black History Month in North America, but here in Nova Scotia the official name is African Heritage Month, and so I figured it makes sense to use that title for this post. It's a good fit for OSM, because not only are there plenty of awesome "conscious", old school songs that are perfect for this post, but also because, even though many folks outside the province might not know it, people of African descent have an incredibly rich history here in Nova Scotia.

It's a shame there aren't too many old school Canadian hip hop jams that fit the bill for this kind of post (I'll ask this again, but if anyone has an mp3 of Devon's Mr. Metro, you NEED to send it our way), but there is certainly one perfect one: Maestro's Nothing At All. What other song schooled folks on Canadian olympic boxer Egerton Marcus? That's a great jam, and you have to love his Rocket Ismail Argos jersey in the video too. It only makes sense to follow that up with a song Maestro mentions, Tragedy's Black And Proud, which is really under-appreciated I think.

This kind of post has to have some PE in it if I'm doing it, and so I went with something I don't think I've posted before: Rightstarter (Message to a Black Man) from Bumrush The Show. To wrap things up, we have to have something from the Teacha, and I can't think of anything better than You Must Learn, which runs down some Black history in the most entertaining fashion I can think of. Plus, the Live From Caucus Mountains Extended Remix is also perhaps one of my favorite songs ever, and so, it's a must. What better way to wrap things up than with the KRS-helmed Stop The Violence Movement? I can't think of one, so if you've never seen this classic video, do so below immediately.

So, enjoy these songs, but learn something this month as well.

MP3:: Maestro Fresh Wes - Nothin' At All

MP3:: Intelligent Hoodlum - Black And Proud

MP3:: Public Enemy - Rightstarter (Message to a Black Man)

MP3:: BDP - You Must Learn (Live From Caucus Mountains Extended Remix)

MP3:: Stop The Violence Movement - Self Destruction (Extended Mix)

VIDEO:: Maestro Fresh Wes - Nothing At All

VIDEO:: Boogie Down Productions - You Must Learn

Stop The Violence Movement - Self Destruction

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Posted at 1:11 PM by naedoo :: 1 comments

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Freeness:: Ira Lee, Takaba & K'Naan

Takaba Compilation
I don't know about you fine folks, but I'm still feeling fantastic about the Saints big win on Sunday night. Of course I've been a Saints for like 20 years, so perhaps the euphoria engendered by the feel-good story that is the Saints bringing a title to the city of New Orleans, that is still facing some well-documented challenges, has faded already for some. Not me though friend, this will keep me on a high for the foreseeable future.

Because of that, I'd like to spread some goodwill around like Saint Drew spreads the ball to his myriad of receivers. So then, some free hip hop is on tap for you. I've written about the unorthodox excellence of Ira Lee a few times in the past, but despite that exposure to our tens of regular readers, Ira is likely still flying way under the radar here in Canada. How does Ira plan to combat that? Quantity. In conjunction with Ryan Stinson and the Wack Blog, Ira Lee's retrospective mixtape 47 Minutes Too Long is available as a free download. It's a great introduction to what Ira sound, point of view, his history - I recommend it highly.

This might surprise you, but there's a lot of music coming out of Toronto. Despite the fact that we reside out here on the actual east coast of Canada (we love you Upper Canada, but people doing an "Eastern Canadian tour" than doesn't come out here still irks us), we hear from a lot of folks who are flying under the radar in T.O. One such label is indie hip hop outfit Takaba Records, which is the homebase for a group of folks who unabashedly to that real "underground" hip hop for those of us who still appreciate it. I've reviewed a couple of their releases, including a great album from Modulok, one of the main proponents of Takaba, but now you have a chance to hear what else the label has to offer. Cool Like The Pulse of a Corpse features a number of the folks currently associated with the label, from Canada and elsewhere (London, Tokyo, Latvia!), and it is available as a free download here.

As a finale, I'm going to point you towards The Messengers, a collab between K'Naan and J. Period that features new K'Naan songs that are made from the libraries of Fela, Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan. I've written about this project before, but not since they put out the full, final mix, so I figured I'd point you in it's direction, because it is really an impressive piece of work, both from the lyrical and production ends, so kudos to K'Naan and J.Period. So go check it out.

MP3:: Ira Lee - Your Little Sister's Bike

MP3:: Apollo Creed - Susan Sarandon

MP3:: Baracuda - Architect Wet

Labels: , Free.99, , , Modulok, Takaba

Posted at 1:48 PM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Reviews:: Ira Lee - My Favorite Songs By Me

Ira Lee's new album, My Favorite Songs By Me, puts me in a bit of a quandary. I mean, I liked Ira's last album, and I really like this one, but I don't exactly know what to say to you fine folks to induce you to have a listen. And that's kind of the point isn't it? Well it's the point here, to spread the word about music we like - I realize other blog-type sites appear to have some other agenda, but your best friends here at the hill.

So then, what to say about Ira Lee? Would something like "Hey, do you like rap-house songs about a neighbor that used to masturbate in public and bang on the door looking for a fix before eventually dying of an overdose? Yes? Well then Ira Lee's Donna Jones Remix is for you!" lure you in? Perhaps not. Ira's narratives are painted from a wide-ranging palate, albeit he usually favours the section of the palate whose colours are various shades of gut-kicking sadness. When you add to this his off-kilter delivery and his clever & cantankerous personality, you get a very challenging brand of hip hop. And most people don't want challenging hip hop. Despite how many people make claims to the opposite, most folks just want the hip hop Arrowroot - easily digestible.

But here's the rub: despite all of the above, Ira's songs are really listenable. And that is impressive. He's a great storyteller, mixing people, places, and events (both personally earth-shattering and mundane) into eclectic songs that draw me in every time. Consider that his new album alone has songs about stealing a little girl's bike, the stankness of other people's bathrooms (which may or may not be Ira doing a Moka Only impression), various horrible and/or insane people he knew (Mike Brown, the aforementioned Donna Jones, Henry, The Pigman), various people he cares about (his grandmother Ruthie, his mom, and his man Matt), Montreal, and under-age lust. If you can take that list of subject matter into an engaging 16-song album, you've certainly got some talent.

I have no idea which bits are fact and which are fiction, but the detail in his writing makes everything so vivid and believable. But if I had to pick one song to try and sell this album to a first time listener, it might be Montreal, which is chock full of detail about Ira's newest city of residence, and while it seems much more positive than the similar Alberta's Trying To Kill Me from his last album, you're still kind of left wondering how he actually feels about the place. That said, it's hard to deny the appeal of the macabre glee of the sing-songy Your Little Sister's Bike, the naughty Juno-esque charm of All The Places We Did It, or the desperate sincerity of Ira's grandma-ode Ruthie.

Re-counting the the good songs on the album reminds me that I shouldn't give short shrift to the production on the album, which was done by Ira and folks like Scott Da Ros, Mattr, Funken, Ryan Stinson, Factor, petit BIG, and Critical Mass. I remember the production on Ira's last album being rather subdued for the most part, but this time it takes more of a co-starring role with Ira's narratives and beats like Factor's dusty throwback for Henry seem to inspire Ira to kick his flow into a higher gear/

Even though it's good to see that my rambling is just as strong in 2010 as it's always been, I'm gonna just assume I've peaked enough of your curiosity enough that you're ready to go check out My Favorite Songs By Me for yourself. If you're ready for a hip hop album that will make you smile, laugh, cringe, frown and perform various other one-word facial displays, then you'll likely be glad you did.

MP3:: Ira Lee - Your Little Sister's Bike

MP3:: Ira Lee - Donna Jones (Remix)
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/iralee

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Posted at 1:51 PM by naedoo :: 3 comments

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