Category: Journal

[Interview + Podcast] P.R talks Nujabes’ influence, hip-hop in Australia, and where Iggy Azalea fits in

Interview by: Martin Bauman

If jazzy hip-hop is your thing, look no further than P.R. The Sydney, Australia-based producer has the sound damn near perfected, drawing clear inspiration from the likes of Nujabes and meshing the jazzy, mellow vibes with the boom bap flavour of influences like DJ Premier, 9th Wonder, and J Dilla.

We first took notice of P.R when he sent his Moment In Time EP through last year, and it blew us away. Smooth production and stellar features from the likes of Substantial, Skyzoo, Blu, and Cise Starr combined to create one of the year’s most memorable EPs. It was only right that we eventually connected down the road to hear him tell his story.

We caught up with P.R to talk about Nujabes’ influence on him, the hip-hop scene in Australia, where Iggy Azalea fits in, and much more. Listen to the podcast above and read the interview after the jump.

[Interview + Podcast] Rapsody talks meeting Jay Z, self-belief, and choosing to “give a damn”

Interview by: Martin Bauman

Make no mistake: for all her humility, Rapsody is not an emcee to be overlooked on the microphone. On “Hard To Choose,” the budding Jamla star raps, “The quietest in the room is the baddest one like Durant.” The more you think about it, it’s not that far of a stretch to compare her to the NBA’s reigning MVP. Both entered their respective fields being thought of as too soft to succeed — Durant, for his wiry frame, and Rapsody, for being a woman in a male-dominated genre. Durant shed that misnomer in Oklahoma City’s first playoffs series win in 2011. Here’s how ESPN writer Royce Young described the moment:

Kevin Durant, who had dropped 41 points, including 14 in the final five minutes, stalked along the baseline, right in front of where owners Clay Bennett and Aubrey McLendon sat. With his teammates hanging on his shoulders, Durant popped his jersey and bellowed, “This is my motherf—ing team!”

Nobody was questioning KD after that. As for Rapsody? That defining alpha moment could very well be her latest offering, Beauty and the Beast. After steady growth on The Idea of Beautiful and She Got Game, the Snow Hill, NC emcee sounds like an artist who has finally found her voice. The rhymes and delivery have always been there. The difference now is in her confidence, which shines through on every track. Three years after Durant’s alpha moment, he had his MVP season. It’s only a matter of time before Rapsody has her own. We caught up with the Jamla emcee to talk about meeting Jay Z, where her confidence comes from, carrying the torch from the likes of Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou, and much more.

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

[Feature] Fashawn’s “Boy Meets World”: An oral history on its five-year anniversary

Fashawn Boy Meets World

Interviews by: Martin Bauman

In 2009, a young, hungry, and largely undiscovered emcee from Fresno teamed up with a Los Angeles producer with an ear for crafting albums and bringing an artist’s music to life. Fashawn and Exile were in the works on Boy Meets World, a project that would change their lives forever.

Hip-hop has long had an obsession with the debut album — perhaps more so than any other genre. They mark an artist’s introduction to the world and often live on as their definitive piece of work. Nas had Illmatic. Jay had Reasonable Doubt. Snoop had Doggystyle. Biggie had Ready to Die. On October 22nd, 2009, the day came for Fashawn to leave his own mark. He had lived 21 years and was anxious to tell his story — to let the world know what Fresno looked like, sounded like, and felt like.

The result was an album the likes of which had seldom been heard from someone his age. It was witty, heartfelt, and honest. His storytelling was captivating. The production was magnificent. XXL gave it an XL and called it an album that “resonates a lot more than the work of some rappers decades his senior.” HipHopDX called it “perhaps the most heir apparent to Nas’ ’94 classic.” It’s only fitting that five years later, Nas would end up signing Fashawn to his Mass Appeal label.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the album’s significance, though, is the fact that it’s still as relatable and fresh today as the day it was released. We caught up with those involved in the making of Boy Meets World to hear the untold stories behind the album’s creation. Read the oral history after the jump.

[Interview + Podcast] Evidence talks avoiding the pitfalls of fame, being raised by N.W.A, and why he thinks the world could be a better place

Interview by: Martin Bauman

Coming of age in California in the late eighties, it’s natural that Evidence says he was raised by N.W.A. Their sound dominated the West Coast and epitomized the gangsta rap era. As a teenager, living next to Quincy Jones III and seeing his rap idols right outside his window, it seems like destiny that years later, his own music would come to raise the next generation of West Coast hip-hop heads through the groundbreaking group Dilated Peoples. Forming in 1992, the Los Angeles crew captured the imaginations of the hip-hop underground and managed to survive throughout the years, even as those around them rose and fell from fame. It’s a testament to their longevity that twenty-two years later, the group is back with 2014′s Directors of Photography, an album that sounds as good as — and perhaps even better than — anything they’ve done to date.

We caught up with Evidence to talk about avoiding the pitfalls of fame, growing up on N.W.A, why he thinks the world could be a better place, and much more. Listen to the podcast above and read the interview after the jump.

[Interview + Podcast] Saukrates talks “Amani,” overcoming obstacles, and the 20th anniversary of “Still Caught Up”

Interview by: Martin Bauman

Saukrates might be the best trifecta artist in North America. Beats. Singing. Rhymes. Name someone else that can do all three well.” Adam Bomb’s words are absolutely true. From his debut twenty years ago on “Still Caught Up” to today, few — if any — come close to touching Saukrates in all categories. It’s a crime that for all of his ability, his name hasn’t quite permeated the masses on the level of his peers. Blame it on a string of bad label situations. In two decades, only two solo albums and one group album have seen the light of day: The Underground Tapes in 1999, Big Black Lincoln’s Heaven’s Caught on Fire in 2006, and Season One in 2012. It’s no wonder that Saukrates feels like there’s so much more ground to cover, and with a self-titled solo EP set for release on September 23rd, there’s no better time than the present. We caught up with Saukrates to talk about his Amani EP, overcoming obstacles, the 20th anniversary of “Still Caught Up,” and much more.

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

[Audio Premiere + Interview] TassNata ft. Junia-T & Iman Omari – “For The Summer” (Prod: Snazz)

for the summer

I mentioned the other day when TassNata dropped “Walking Away” that he had a new joint coming this week. That time has come. Before Mourning, an album TassNata has been secretly working on for the past while is near completion. Personally, I can be more excited. Which is why I’m happy to premiere this new tune and the first single off Before Mourning – “For The Summer” featuring Junia-T & Iman Omari. Produced by Snazz, this ode to summertime is one to cap off what was an amazing summer. For myself, TassNata, Junia-T, Iman Omari and without a doubt all of you! Though this isn’t your ordinary summer tune. This is a crack the bottle, vibe out kind of tune. “Summer nights I like a fire with the music loud. Rapping, I amuse the crowd, what happens as I move around”. This one is for the summer! We’ll probably party til the suns up! As the warm weather fades, this couldn’t be a more perfect joint to capture those last moments. Don’t take it all from me though, TassNata spoke on what his summer was like in LA with Junia-T, gave us an exclusive behind the scenes story from the video shoot for “For The Summer” and more! *There’s also some exclusive pictures from their time over there you can peep!*

Take a listen after the jump!

[Video Premiere + Interview] The Extremities (Fresh Kils & Uncle Fester) – “Sour Times Up” Routine

The Extremities - Sour Times Up Routine

HEAT! Fresh Kils and Uncle Fester (together known as The Extremities) are back at it again with another routine, this time blending Portishead’s “Strangers” and “Sour Times” with O.C.’s “Time’s Up” to create “Sour Times Up” — not just a clever name-twist but a dope combination from two unexpected corners of the music world. Even better, the guys were kind enough to give us the honours of premiering it. The routine comes as the Toronto/Halifax duo prepare to embark on a U.S. tour to promote their new album, Instruments. Check out the routine below and read the mini-interview after the jump.

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