Well it’s not a full-on Dual Core release, and I guess it’s also not szechuan teriyaki dipping sauce. But it does have some fresh new raps from yours truly (int eighty).
Mikal kHill and I teamed up to create an EP of some solid nerdcore hip hop. Our collaborative effort, titled Lead Time, included Google Hangouts, Google Docs, a multi-city flight from Austin to Charlotte to San Francisco, and many late nights in Mikal’s basement.
The EP is available on Bandcamp. We hope you have as much fun listening to the music as we did creating it.
PS: Mikal and I are playing a show in Brooklyn on June 3rd with MC Frontalot and Schaffer the Darklord. Save the date and stay tuned for details.
The Milestone is a music venue in Charlotte that has hosted some of my favorite shows. I first played at The Milestone years ago with Mikal kHill and Sulfur when they were then The ThoughtCriminals. The venue has the same feel of history and community as my beloved Top Cats where I grew up rapping in Cincinnati. They also sport a great sound system run by technical operators along with some of the nicest staff and energetic crowds I’ve had the pleasure to meet.
In its decades of operation, the venue has provided a stage for all genres, not just hip hop. Some of the notable acts to echo their creativity inside the walls include:
The full list is much more impressive. The Milestone has changed and shaped the lives of an untold number of people; but the venue is in dire need of repairs. I am flying out to Charlotte on my hard-earned frequent flyer miles to donate money and play a fundraiser show on April 29th. Come by and see me if you’re anywhere nearby. For the rest of us on the internet, The Milestone currently has a GoFundMe page up to accept donations. Please donate to them and keep the music alive.
Rewind a decade or so and you would find a version of me in an emotionally disheveled state with hip hop. I mentioned Cincinnati was the backyard of the south, but wherever I went there was no escaping the mainstream stranglehold of crunk music. Don’t get me wrong: I initially loved the big bass and simple, catchy hooks of crunk; but the lack of content and creativity in the lyrics department quickly made the sub-genre repetitive. I craved something fresh.
Tell Me When To Go
If you’ve heard any hyphy song, odds are good you’ve heard E-40’s Tell Me When To Go. I remember hearing this and thinking only one thing: MOAR. Although produced by Lil Jon, the beat had a fresh new sound to it. The flow and off-the-cuff slang were on par with what I’d previously heard from E-40, but this time it was situated perfectly over these outstanding drums. Then I saw the video and realized hyphy was more than just a new sub-genre of hip hop.
This was amazing. This was a brand new sub-culture that featured unique sounds, styles, and activities. If you’ve heard of ghost-riding the whip, this is where it came from. It was like a complete ecosystem had burst out of its confinement and exploded onto the mainstream stage to the surprise of everyone except, apparently, Bay Area residents.
I first heard Keak Da Sneak on the above-posted Tell Me When To Go. I was a bit perplexed by his style, to put it politely. The rhymes seemed off-kilter, half of the words didn’t make sense, and his voice sounded like Ned Gerblansky swallowed a lit pack of cigarettes. I liked it!
The unique slang was an integral part of hyphy. Granted, E-40 probably holds the crown for most words ever invented by a rapper, but Keak Da Sneak had his own vocabulary which I appreciated. Another appreciation for Keak Da Sneak is how much content he’s put out over the years. He’s got a steady history of releases along with a myriad of features. This is another favorite of mine with a more spectral feel to the beat.
Most surprising Keak Da Sneak moment was when I saw him give a speech at Hiero Day several years ago. Spoiler alert: His voice sounds normal when he talks.
Ghost Ride The Whip
Mistah F.A.B. is one of the more versatile rappers out. I’ve heard him crush freestyles, win battles, and make different types of music. Labeled early on as the crown prince of hyphy, I was surprised to see so much diversity in F.A.B’s body of work. He’s a solid rapper with some solid hyphy releases in addition to all of his other efforts. With regard to hyphy, he’s likely recognized outside of the Bay for his song Ghost Ride It, which I feel legally obligated to embed:
RIP MAC DRE
The progenitor of the hyphy movement is largely recognized as Mac Dre. While his tracks may not have the polished production of Lil Jon’s drums behind them, Mac Dre still brought an incredibly unique sound to hip hop. Unfortunately, Mac Dre passed away before my exposure to hyphy so I can’t recount any personal experiences other than my enjoyment of finding his songs on YouTube for the first time. This is my favorite and it still makes me smile whenever I hear it.
I was in Oakland earlier this month when a friend of mine sent me this article about the history and death of hyphy. It’s a pretty extensive read if you’re interested in some of the issues and relationships internal to the environment in which hyphy was cultivated. Sadly my time living in the Bay took place after hyphy had ended so I missed out on all the excitement in-person. We’d love to hear your experiences, though. Give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter.