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[Album] A-Fos – “Clean Your Room Already”

A-Fos - Clean Your Room Already

The homie A-Fos (of A-Fos & The Rude Youth) just dropped the 14-track Clean Your Room Already, a pay-what-you-want debut solo project after the group’s Trying To Be Better. Crafted around a series of interludes focusing on relating to the world, relating to others, and surrendering to the present, the album follows A-Fos through an introverted struggle, wrestling with regret and unanswered questions, before leading to a revelation of acceptance and closure (that’s my best Freud impression, anyway).

It’s a London affair, with guest features from familiar names like Casper, Kehmak, and Kyle Kanevil, as well as others including Nathan Bain and Olivia Borkosky. A couple early favourites are “Don’t Slip” and “Spot of Grey” featuring Joel Denny, “Back in the Day” featuring Nathan Bain, and “Breathe” featuring Olivia Borkosky (and some fantastic production from Zlender). It’s a long time coming, too — I remember hearing snippets of the album around this time last year. It’s good to finally see it come to light, and in any case, it was worth the wait.

Listen to the album below.

[Audio] A-Fos – “Back in the Day” & “Sweet Mother Mary”

A-Fos - Clean Your Room Already

We’ve brought you music from A-Fos & The Rude Youth before — you may be familiar with the group’s funk/hip-hop fusion. Now the band’s frontman is coming out with a solo project, Clean Your Room Already, showcasing not only his skills on the mic, but his production chops as well (something you may also be familiar with from KyleKanevil’s solo project). The album — which A-Fos promises to be “funky, nostalgic and honest” — drops August 1st. The latest glimpse we get comes in the form of two tracks, “Back in the Day” and “Sweet Mother Mary.”

The former enlists Nathan Bain on the hook as A-Fos reminisces about times growing up. The latter sees the London-based emcee pairing with Jordan MacDonald of Texas King in a song about, well, you can probably guess from the title. Listen below.

[Review] Yours Truly, T.Y. & Chef Byer – “The Beautiful Exchange”

Yours Truly, T.Y. & Chef Byer - The Beautiful Exchange

When it comes to the future of Canadian hip-hop, there’s plenty to look forward to, but there are a handful of emcees who I’m really excited about. Hamilton’s T.Y. is one of those emcees. After first seeing him perform at The Come Up Show’s 7th Anniversary, I was floored by his live show and became an instant fan, eager for the next project I could dig into.

That was April of last year. After all this time (and a few noteworthy releases along the way), the wait is over. T.Y. and Chef Byer (who, it should be mentioned, is right up there as one of the best beatmakers in Canada) have collaborated to create The Beautiful Exchange (shouts to Complex on the premiere). I’ve been more than excited to take this in — and, I’ll add, curious to see whether it would live up to what I thought it could be, as my previous experience of T.Y. had been a pretty small sample size.

I’ve decided to do something a little different this time around and share my first-take impressions of the album. What you’ll read are my live reactions, and while they may not be comprehensive, I hope they’ll provide a glimpse into what this album has to offer.

Stream the album and read the first-take track-by-track breakdown after the jump.

[Interview] D.O. Gibson talks motivation, the music business, and the meaning of life

It’s hard to outwork D.O. From his efforts as a solo artist (he just released his self-titled fifth album), to his work with Slakah the Beatchild as Art of Fresh, to his self-started business of speaking at schools, to his management and mentorship of artists through Northstarr Entertainment, the motor never really stops running. There’s a reason, after all, that he earned a Guinness World Record for freestyling for eight hours and 45 minutes — normal people don’t do this.

With such a depth of experience, there’s a wealth of knowledge to be learned from the emcee and businessman. We caught up with D.O. to talk about what motivates him, the music business, the meaning of life, and much more.

Listen to the podcast above and read the highlights after the jump.

[Column] “We Gon’ Be Alright”: The Importance of Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

It doesn’t happen often, but some art is tailor-made for a moment in history.

In 2004, Kanye West’s The College Dropout captured the self-identity crisis of middle-class America in the midst of ultra-consumerism, racism in a ‘post-racial’ society, and the search for spirituality in an increasingly-secular world. Brother Ali’s Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color was the perfect encapsulation of 2012, weaving a narrative around the presidential election, Islamophobia and the ongoing War on Terror, and income inequality in the aftermath of a recession. Kendrick Lamar’s time is now.

No major label artist – save for perhaps J. Cole – is close to matching Kendrick’s significance in the midst of what’s happening in Charleston and (more broadly) the United States, and what has unfurled in the last half-decade after the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and many others. To Pimp a Butterfly is the at once the encapsulation of this world of racial tension and a catalyst for change. It’s brash, it’s unapologetically black, and most importantly, it’s a message of black self-love and reassurance when, around the hip-hop landscape, those messages are so few and far between.

Read the full column after the jump.

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