Signia: "Bhangree" Video
Michael Fakesch, formerly of the group Funksturong has released a solo record of soul influenced dance floor material. Check out the video for "Soda" from the album "Dos".
In a very special, and very serious, episode of The 404, we sit down to reflect on the many ways Michael Jackson changed the world. From his music to his dance and music videos, MJ's ubiquity is undeniable. Heroes come and go, but legends never die! Rest in peace, Mike!
The Future in African Urban Music...WAWESH is a hip-hop artist and producer heavily exhaling a breath of freshness into international hip-hop whilst truly representing his country of birth, Kenya. The Sweden based MC has been creating a swirling buzz in Swahili speaking communities in Africa and the Diaspora via his debut hit single, video and his website. Despite being an unfamiliar name to some, his production credits go way back and he is already a renowned name in production circles throughout Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. Under his alter-alias, Kiboy, he also co-owns BlaO Entertainment, a production company that has been involved in many projects including work for the likes of international names like CNN, Samantha Mumba, Talib Kweli, Floetry, NAS and many more. Having had experience in developing artists and creating hits for others, Kiboy decided to step forward to deliver something he believed the Swahili speaking community and fans of quality international hip-hop worldwide wanted. Thus, WAWESH was born.
The Living Legends crew is a family of independent hip-hop creators. From primary earth bases in Los Angeles and Oakland, the Legends extend worldwide and beyond. It all started with BFAP (now known as Sunspot Jonz) and PSC (Luckyiam), who laid claim to the name of Mystik Journeymen in the early 1990s. By '94 they were locally legendary for throwing Underground Survivors shows, houseparty style at their loft - 4001 San Leandro Street in East Oakland. That's where the Grouch hooked up with the Journeymen in 1995, just before they took off on their renowned first European tour. Around the same time in the southern part of the state, Mid-city Los Angeles to be exact, 3 Melancholy Gypsys (Murs, Scarub & Eligh) were part of the almost mythic Log Cabin crew going back to 1993. Log Cabin later broke up and the Gypsys wandered separately. As it turned out, the 3 would cross paths again in the Bay Area and became Living Legends. Aesop came to Oakland from Fresno, Arata from Osaka, and Bicasso from various points, East, West and elsewhere... In 1999 the Legends shifted their center of gravity to Los Angeles, but their presence has definitely not diminished in Oakland and the Bay. You know it makes no difference where they stay because the universe revolves around them anyway. Over the years, the Journeymen and the Legends have rocked Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada numerous times, plus they've toured the USA, north and south, east coast, west coast and beyond ... In the years since the Legends have continued releasing solo and crew projects and now have a catalog of over 50 full-length albums and numerous singles. All in all, this crew of motivated do-it-yourselfers has sold over 200,000 albums collectively. The latest crew album "Creative Differences" has turned in to their best selling album to date, (with Soundscan numbers just under 23,000 so far) and continues to sell. Other recent releases are from CMA (Grouch & Luckyiam), Scarub, and Sunspot Jonz. New projects by Eligh, 3MG, Bicasso and Aesop are expected in 2005. March 8, 2005, will see the release of the Legends highly anticipated new album "Classic," a project the crew got together to record earlier this year. That was the first time in recent memory all 8 members were together with the purpose of recording a new project and what came out of those sessions is definitely their strongest material yet. Expect to see them spring 2005 coming to a city near you on tour promoting the new project. The group has no plans to let up, they're only turning up the fire, see if you can keep up. Legends Baby!!!!
As opposed to groups who either force change or resist it, the hip-hop group Substance Abuse embraces a natural progression. The trio creates earnest hip-hop music, combining equal measures of intelligence, clarity, innovation, and polish to evoke the unpretentious consciousness of the Golden Age era, while avoiding corny retro posturing. After gaining much acclaim for their collaboration with MF Doom on the infectious "Profitless Thoughts," Substance Abuse is ready to drop their long awaited full length, "Overproof," a term signifying "more than ample evidence" of S.A.'s eminent dopeness. Group members Eso Tre and Subz grew up together in Los Angeles, where they became hip-hop fans at an early age. In high school, the duo could often be found in the audience at the legendary Unity events that have since come to define the progressive LA hip-hop scene of the early 90?s. Inspired by those shows emphasis on positive expression through creative art, the friends began working on their own music. Substance Abuse's first release was a 1998 EP with Santa Barbara's mic.edu called Brand New Crime on Rocketship Records. The project received extensive college radio airplay and critical praise, and led to the filming of a video for the track ?Spontaneous Egos?, directed by independent filmmaker Jesse Felsot. The clip became a favorite of underground West Coast video shows and is currently available for viewing online at Sputnik7 (www.sputnik7.com). This was followed by the filming of the video for ?Night on the Town? featuring Kool Keith, which can be viewed at www.threshrecs.com Throughout the next year, Eso Tre and Subz bolstered their reputations as crowd movers with a series of performances sharing the stage with mic legends such as Souls of Mischief and Aceyalone. In turn, the group's lyrical prowess earned them a slot on Sway and Tech's Wake-Up Show, where they premiered the lead track from their debut single, "What the Fuck You Rhymin' For?" Finally, S.A. was named in URB magazine's Next 100 last year as a new group to watch. The name doesn?t have anything to do with getting faded,? explains MC Eso, who adds that their name is commonly misunderstood. ?Abuse is a word which correlates with excess, and we are excessively concerned with interjecting substance in the music.? Overproof includes contributions from Saafir, Kool Keith, Motion Man, Kutmasta Kurt, P.E.A.C.E., Rasco, Thes-One, and MF Doom.
For its fifth release, Blackalicious has created a record of such sonic depth and breadth and lyrical ambition that it can proudly stand alongside the work of Bay Area funk fathers Sly Stone and Shuggie Otis, or hip-hop classics like Outkast's Aquemini, The Roots' Things Fall Apart and Gang Starr's Daily Operation. But The Craft is not nostalgia for some "golden era" that never existed, it represents state-of-the-art hip-hop with an expansive worldview. From its opening, the sublimely orchestrated Stereolab-esque suite of "World of Vibrations", The Craft moves from peak to peak-including the Prince-ly rush of "Powers", a sinuous funk summit with George Clinton on "Lotus Flower", and the seductive meta-futurist soul of "Automatique," which features special guest vocals from Floetry. The Craft reveals one of global hip-hop's best-loved crews achieving another artistic breakthrough. "It's my favorite of all of our albums," says the Gift of Gab. "I think that it's our best album."
The debut video from the London-based hip-hop act
In this very special Halloween episode, McDonald and Loggins must unite to protect smooth music from Michael Jackson "beating it."
Click here for more Yacht Rock.
When "Has It Come To This", the first vinyl offering from The Streets, started to make it's way onto the airwaves in the Summer of 2000, Mike Skinner was a 22 year old rap obsessed kid from Birmingham in the English Midlands who'd spent the past 15 years working toward that moment. Since hearing his brother?s Run DMC and Beastie Boys records at the age of 7, Skinner had been determinedly making and producing his own music, listening and learning from the American pioneers of that genre, honing his own craft in studios in his hometown and in various bands and crews of friends from Birmingham. His early offerings were self-confessedly US influenced. "I was just trying to sound like the music I liked at the time, I just wanted to be Redman or Ice Cube, but I was a white kid from Birmingham. I was sending my stuff out to people but it wasn't anything new so no-one was interested." One of the turning points in Skinners development was the onset of UK Garage, the first identifiably British strand of rap music. "That was a really exciting time. Things were happening in England that had their own following and their own sound and it seemed to make it easier for me and my friends to relate to it. The beats were exciting and sounded new and what people were rapping about didn't seem so distant." This helped to focus Skinner towards a sound and style of his own. Mixing his hip-hop influences with UK Garage sounds, Skinner realized that if there was something lacking in UK hip-hop it was someone who talked about British culture. "I wanted to make something honest and entertaining about the things I knew. As far as I was concerned no-one else was doing that and if I could do that, and do it well, maybe that would be what set me apart" Skinner?s first move was to relocate to London. ("It seemed like more was happening there, I had more chance of getting people's attention."). He decided on the name The Streets because it "sounded good" and pressed up 200 white label vinyl copies of his first offering "Has It Come To This." Locked On, a London based garage label picked up on the track and signed Skinner up. In October 2001, "Has It Come To This" hit the UK Top 20 after months of exposure in clubs, and on pirate and eventually mainstream radio. People were undoubtedly excited about what they were hearing. Yet as most UK Garage-related artists were struggling to get beyond token hit singles and UK hip-hop had still not produced a truly credible success in it's own right, the usual skepticism followed. But didn't last long. The Streets' debut album "Original Pirate Material" was released in the UK in March 2002 and later in the US in October 2003. The reception for the record was phenomenal across the board. The press reaction was unanimous, proclaiming the album as a generational classic, radio played the singles and nearly a million worldwide sales later, it's firmly established as one of the most important and innovative albums of recent times. Over the past two years, Skinner has toured the world with his band, avoided a plethora of award ceremonies (nominated for Brit awards, The Mercury Prize, The Shortlist Award and winning an Ivor Novello songwriting award for Best Contemporary Song) and found critical acclaim not only in the UK, but in Europe, South East Asia and most notably in the US where he became the first UK rapper to make any serious impact. So what next? In May 2004 we'll find out when his hugely anticipated second album "A Grand Don't Come For Free" hits the shelves. Recorded (like Original Pirate Material) in his bedroom studio ("but with better microphones"), the album is a collection of songs linked together by a plots and subplots that whilst still reflecting the typical life of normal young Britain. ?A Grand? shifts the overall focus from the society overviews of "Original Pirate Material" to the more personal, everyday twists of relationships, friendship and just getting by. We won't tell you how good it is. You can find that out for yourselves. For Skinner, it's all in a days work. "I just have to keep making music that sounds fresh and entertains. That's what I want to do. I'm obsessed with that. I'm starting on the next one now..."
Samuel L. Jackson stars in this intense and aptly named action feature from director David Ellis. Jackson plays an FBI agent who is escorting a witness on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles when an assassin releases hundreds of deadly snakes on a commercial airplane in order to eliminate the witness. The FBI agent, along with a rookie pilot, frightened crew, and passengers must then band together in a desperate attempt to survive.