Diverse (featuring RJD2 and Lyrics Born): "Explosive" Video
For many, this is a dream collaboration between two of the most cherished artists in hip-hop, pitting the dusty, wig-twisting originality of Madlib's smoked out sounds capes against DOOM's nostalgic, visual rhyme style. Brothers from another mother, DOOM and Madlib have long admired each others work, first meeting face-to-face in Southern California in summer 2002, and since then they've shared a whole bunch of Cali-green, run through countless bottles of Grey Goose vodka and Heineken (well, that would be DOOM) and assembled over twenty tracks into a superb psychedelic romp of the highest caliber. The closest one can come to describing this beautiful chaos is a sublime companion piece to Madlib's previous evil adventure, Quasimoto's "The Unseen." But, as DOOM himself would ask anyone asking for a description: "He's the villain, so what about it?" In recent years the metal-faced maniac has released albums under the aliases of Viktor Vaughn, King Gheedora and Monster Island Czars. But rewind to 1993: DOOM (then Zev Love X) made his debut with the groundbreaking album 'Mr. Hood' as part of the group KMD, which has since achieved critical acclaim and cited as a key record in hip-hop's "Golden Age." Zev Love X, Subroc, and Onyx had just finished work on the follow up, "Bl_ck B_st_rds", a politicized commentary on the portrayal of race by the media, when their label Elektra decide to shelve the album over the controversial cover art which depicts a 'blackface sambo' character hanging from a gallows. Shortly after KMD were dropped and Zev Love X's brother Subroc was killed in a car crash. Like true-life story from the pages of a comic book, Zev Love X disappeared completely from public view, going back to the lab and fashioning new beats and lyrics, only to reemerge as the masked MF DOOM with the now classic "Operation Doomsday" in 1999. "Zev Luv X still exists, DOOM is a character, neither one of them is really me, they're a fa?ade I use to voice a certain view," Explains the MC behind the mask, Daniel Dumile. "Zev was like you're average nerd cat, might drop a jewel here and there, might tell you something you don't now, humble and modest. Whereas the DOOM character is more aggressive, on some real take over shit, but still trying to play likes he's a good guy. It's not so much I changed; I just took on another character." A string of creatively inspired singles on the influential Fondle 'Em label in the late 90's heralded DOOM's return. "Being from the underground, there's not so much bureaucracy, you can come out how you wanna come out. It's music straight up and down, if you're good you're good." DOOM sees himself as a conduit for his music. "I try not to tamper with it too much, I'm like the narrator or the spokesman. My music is raw, yet at the same time it can be easy listening." The spontaneity in DOOM's working process whether writing lyrics or building beats, calls to mind the spontaneous prose of Kerouac or the 'cut up' techniques of William Burroughs, in its praise of the purity of the original thought. Nostalgia is a central theme for DOOM: "I love cartoons, I still watch them to this day. I have an 8 year old son, he comes home and we just watch them together," smiles DOOM. "Dexter Laboratory, and of course all the Japanese shit, Dragonball Z, all them ill." DOOM's music harnesses the instinctive, inherent power of childlike thought; "There's no in-between with kids, they're so pure they can feel something if it's fat. As you get older you lose that innocence and purity of the original thought, so called 'growing up'," DOOM ponders. "I mean - you gotta keep that, that's the essence right there." Using his music to test the limits of his mind, DOOM finds creative inspiration in everything he does: "Any artistic genre feeds what I do as a musician, I do paintings, but music inspires my painting, and paintings or art inspires my music. Creativity and imagination is the key to what everybody's trying to figure out on Earth, it's the one thing that bridges everything together. It can solve a lot of problems with all this war and retarded shit that's going on." From the mellow keys of 'Accordion' with Madlib's deft tinkling to the bumping bass groove of 'America's Most Blunted' and the soulful beats of 'Fancy Clown' under his Viktor Vaughan guise, Madvillain sees Madlib on top form providing the freshest, most blunted foils for DOOM's ill flows. "Music is a universal language and I'm trying to show that all of us laugh at the same things, I'm trying to bring us all to more of an understanding. We need to bring this whole thing together," explains DOOM. With their Madvillain double-team, MF DOOM and Madlib have made a sure-fire classic sure to take the world by storm - will anyone dare step try and stop them?
Dragon Fli Empire is a Calgary-based hip hop duo that has quickly gained critical acclaim across Canada and beyond. The team of Teekay (emcee) and Cosm (DJ) aim to "bring the soul back to hip hop" with funky and melodic beats, thought-provoking rhymes and killer cuts. Originally formed as a side collaboration project, the DFE released their first album "Conquest" as a local CD-R in the summer of 2002. It featured "Mount Pleasant", now a Calgary classic. The song recalls observing life while riding the bus over an infectious groove. College radio, local press and countless music lovers gave the tunes rave reviews. The buzz only continued to grow in 2003, with CBC Radio 3 naming "Mount Pleasant" one of their top twenty tracks of the year. 2004 saw even more growth for the DFE. "Conquest" was cleaned up and re-released professionally with some new tracks including the popular "D-E-F". The group continued to receive support from CBC. This included performing on the Radio 3 "Connect the Dots" tour, appearing on the New Music Canada Vol. 1 compilation CD and taping live performances for ZeD-TV. More radio stations began to spin the DFE regularly including CKUA in Edmonton. The group also began to perform more regularly, and to date have opened up for established acts like De La Soul, The Beatnuts, Lyrics Born, Aceyalone, Lyrics Born, Zion I, Afu Ra, Planet Asia, Abstract Rude, Royce da 5'9, Swollen Members and Sweatshop Union. They were also invited to perform at the WCMA Industry Awards at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary. An important detail to note is that the DFE has accomplished all of this without a record deal, distribution or management; while working full time jobs or attending college. The DFE is still going strong. They have been featured on CBC's flagship news program "The National" with Peter Mansbridge and MuchMusic's "Going Coastal" for the prestigious "MUCH does Calgary" showcase. They have also started to take their high-energy live show on the road, playing cities like Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. Recently, DFE finished their long-anticipated second album- "Invasion". Reflecting three years of added experience, it is a step up from "Conquest" and is certain to give the group even more momentum. The album goes from fun and funky to more serious territory, taking the listener on an enjoyable and diverse journey. Special guests (including Mindbender, Ndidi Cascade, Epic, Ohmega Watts and folk-singer Tariq) plus a sprinkling of live musicians are the icing on the cake for this fantastic sophomore project.
The Pharcyde emerged on the hip hop scene in 1992 with their debut, Bizzare Ride II the Pharcyde, on the Delicious Vinyl label. The Californian quartet consisting of Tre Slimkid Hardson, Romye Booty Brown Robinson, Derrick Fatlip Stewart, and Imani Wilcox came together to make a splash on the hip hop scene breaking the mold of the West Coast gangsta rap of its time, by producing rhymes and beats narrating hilarious skits, clownish antics, and stoned perceptions. With their unique style of rap, their light hearted lyrics, and diverse sound The Pharcyde established themselves quickly among the listeners as a legitimate hip hop force. And a force they were to keep their fan base so hooked that they waited three years before releasing their much anticipated sophomore album LabCabinCalifornia. Unleashed in 1995 this album made evident the growth of a band that had endured the realities of the music industry and fame. Manifesting a stronger lyrical content, LabCabinCalifornia showed the rap world that the Pharcyde were not just the playful cats on Bizarre Ride II, but they were musicians growing and exploring their talents. With different producers, The Pharcyde ventured into a jazzier, more sophisticated sound. LabCabin displayed the abilities of the Pharcyde as clever lyricists, as well as gifted musicians dappling in both the worlds of hip hop and jazz. In 1997, the ride began to get bizarre. While on the heels of completing their third album, Plain Rap, and in the middle of enjoying the fruits of labor as struggling artists who had impacted the world of hip hop, Fatlip decided that he would pursue a solo career. Upon Fatlip's departure it was not long before Slimkid followed suit leaving the group, Booty Brown and Imani, to make sense of their decisions emotionally, musically, and financially. Yet as always, under a new record label, Chapter One, Imani and Booty Brown focused and clung to the Pharcyde recipe that had repeatedly delivered success - retreat into the studio for a few years, lose yourself in your music, test yourself by pushing boundaries and hustle like you never knew what a record deal was. The end result of all this hard work, The 2004 return of a Band that influences the hip hop that crowds our radio waves today. The new ride for the Pharcyde starts with their recently released, Humboldt Beginnings. The duo has proven themselves once again as key players in hip hop. The album gives their fans a trip down memory lane with the same vibe and fertile lyrics from the Pharcyde's past classics. Imani and Brown display their abilities to carry on the Pharcyde name in its original fashion, seducing their audience with the same boyish charm that founded them at the beginning, now combined with the knowledge that has been bestowed upon them as men who have taken on the rap game. Humboldt Beginnings has repeatedly been described as an album before its time. http://www.thepharcyde.com
The first single from the upcoming Prefuse 73 album features a collaboration with New York wall-of-psych band School Of Seven Bells and Battles drummer John Stanier. "Class of 73 Bells" swirls with undeniable pop melodies grounded by Prefuse’s stereo-rattling low-end.
Sage Francis began rapping when he was 8 years old. Hidden in a closet in his parents' Rhode Island home, he'd rhyme into a cheap tape recorder for hours on end. By age 12 he was sneaking out to battle other Providence emcees, entering talent contests and learning the finer points of showmanship, if not the sizeable advantage that, well, size offers where confrontation is concerned. The kid had a calling, and he wasn't going to let anything---shitty equipment, stature, homework---slow his roll. Today, at 27, the man has a reputation. Several, actually. You might know him simply as a battle emcee or a spoken word poet. Heart-draining confessionalist or Old School revivalist. Political dissident, DIY business expert, friend, asshole, or one-time ice cream server. Hell, you might even know him as hip-hop's doom. Or the art form's redemption, for that matter. Sage Francis is many things to many people---and probably even more to himself---but if there's anything he isn't, it's quiet.
Kudu tap into Siouxsie circa 82, dark Chicago house circa 86, deep 70s funk, and, consciously or not, UK jungle tekno circa 91. They are real deal, and their music is so primal that they could just as validly be classed a rock act as a jazz or dance act. On stage Kudu are dark and raw and desperate, but their pop potential has always been apparent to anyone with ears for song craft and eyes for charisma. Bar Star, the first single from the upcoming full-length from Nublu Records entitled Death of the Party, confirms this perception. In addition to the aforesaid ingredients, Kudu on record have a sense of fun lifted from Deee-Lite, ESG, church in rural Georgia and parades in New Orleans. Kudu plans to tour extensively surrounding the release of the record, and they have already received press from the likes of XLR8R, URB, Pitchfork, and the acclaimed music writer Simon Reynolds. Remixes of Bar Star are as diverse as Kudu?s influences. In Flagranti, the head of Codek Records, turns Bar Star into a disco track that echoes Prince and the Time?perfect for a Miami Dancefloor. Freddie Mas, of Tigersushi fame, twists the track into an AC/DC-like cock-rock funk anthem. This is the twelve inch of the year from the band of the year.
A fiddle player since the age of 5, Ryan Shupe first worked as part of a group at 10 years old when his dad brought together a bunch of talented kids to play in a band. He joined various types of musical groups in his teens and in college, only to be disappointed to see them break up just as they seemed to be in a groove. He decided to start his own band that would not break up and called it the RubberBand, because it was meant to be elastic. He brought in the players he needed but only when he needed them. (There might be just one other musician sharing the stage with him or there might be four others.) The lineup changed constantly until, without even trying to make it happen, the membership jelled. As of 2005, the members included Roger Archibald (guitar, vocals), Colin Botts (bass, vocals), Craig Miner (banjo, bouzouki, guitar, mandolin and vocals), Bart Olson (drums) and Shupe (lead vocals, fiddle, mandolin and guitar). The band's influences include such diverse performers as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, the Police, AC/DC and Bela Fleck. Most have dabbled with a number of different instruments, and all have been playing since they were kids. Shupe is the group's principal songwriter.
The names Quasimoto and Madlib have been linked for years, yet they've never been seen in the same room together. In fact, Quasimoto's never been seen in the same room with anyone ? he's The Unseen. But you can hear him - and there's no mistaking what he sounds like. Peanut Butter Wolf first heard him off a dusty old cassette, one of Madlib?s infamous beat tapes ? the kind he?d make to listen to himself, maybe pass around to crew. Madlib and Quas had been up in Lost Gates, somewhere near Oxnard, CA, making music for years fueled by Top Ramen and shrooms without the slightest intention of releasing it to the masses. Wolf got it out though ? after some begging and pleading, and after signing a contract with Quas vowing not to reveal his name. The Unseen came out in 2000 and caught praise by fans and critics alike. SPIN went off on Quasimoto's "recipe for resin-caked jazz and crusty comedy samples as a new flavor for the bland world of mainstream rap" and stuck him smack between Madonna and Outkast in their best of the year list. URB too named the album one of the best of the year. Jon Caramanica (Rolling Stone/Village Voice) wrote an essay called "Blind Faith-Quasimoto's Backdoor Truth? choosing to describe the album as a revelation or ?strange dream? rather than a hip hop LP. In the tradition of artistic "role playing" in black music, Quas was compared favorably to RZA, Kool Keith, and even Prince (City Pages, St. Paul/Minneapolis). Another dude wrote that rap music "hasn?t been this far out since 3 Feet High and Rising" (Sleazenation). And a few commented on the voice. What a voice. Was it a tree-blazin? ghetto chipmunk? A cartoon Martian? Naw, it?s neither - but close. Lord Quas, personally, is more bizarre than Michael Jackson in a playpen, and he likewise demands a high level of privacy. Madlib and the heads at Stones Throw have been dodging questions about Lord Quas for years. Who is he? Why won?t he perform live? When?s the next album? Mostly that last question. The answer is now. Quasimoto is back with 27 tracks and 68 minutes of straight boom music. The Further Adventures find Lord Quas still digging for records, rolling blunts, and smackin? dudes with bricks. Madlib, for his part, appears to have been saving some of his best beats for Quas, and some that others were maybe afraid to touch. Consider the book on Hip Hop thrown out the window. Quas probably smoked it. They?ve got MF DOOM along for a reprise of the Madvillain-Quas collab on "Closer." (Madvillain ? that's where we last heard from Madlib & Lord Quas, on the album named as one of the best of 2004 by GQ, Rolling Stone, Spin, XLR8R, Village Voice, and a long list of others.) They've got M.E.D. from the Lootpack family up on "The Exclusive." Melvin Van Peebles (legendary filmmaker, the "Baadasssss" himself) shows up again on several tracks, as he did on The Unseen, channeled through the officially sanctioned use of a sampler. Madlib also takes the mic for several tracks ? among them "Rappcats," the ultimate ode to 80s hip hop; "Raw Addict Part 2," the ultimate ode to crate digging and sampling; "Another Demo Tape," the track that might result in his never again being given a CD demo from a stranger. Quasimoto's at no loss for words though. With some wild tales of crime sprees, kidnappings, and a fetish for some booty, we can assume he?ll still be known as "the Bad Character." Watch for a video for the lead track "Bullyshit" in May, followed by a short tour, for which Quasimoto may or may not show up.
This animated gem was directed by Jean Luc Chansay. It is part of the "WarpVision: The Videos 1989 - 2004" DVD, released by Warp Records.
From Australia to Chicago and back again, Tania Bowers has forged her own musical path. Initially gaining her stage legs with SPDFGH, a band formed with her sister during high school, Tania would later trade punk's grinding chords for the dark murmurs contained within a piano. Soon thereafter, she would discover the dramatic subtleties gained through utilizing various aspects of electronic music. This track "Boltanski" is from the album of the same name.