hip-hop has come a long, long way since I showed up here to cover the
scene 10 years ago. In that time, countless artists have seen
international acclaim, and banked a good buck on tours from here to
places like Japan and Germany. Cats like Slaine, Reks, and
Termanology are renowned as some of the genre's premier lyricists –
on either side of commercial divide – and top producers like Pete
Rock and Premier regularly collaborate with artists from New England.
rough estimate, Reks is about 1000 tracks into his comeback mission,
which is going on about three years now. That includes the countless
songs he's slayed for other artists; from Boston acts like Blak
Madeen and Moe Pope, to El Da Sensei and MC-baller Ron Artest, the
Lawrence native and East Coast revivalist has bodied every
instrumental in his path, seemingly improving with every bar and
verse, if that's even possible.
Like every other music writer out there, my drawers are stuffed with hella unfortunate XXL-sized t-shirts of every shitty rap group and street wear brand on earth. But for every dozen wack tees that collect dust (or worse) under my futon, I've got one or two go-to staples, more than a few of which come from the crew at PUZL.
DJ Deadeye makes no apologies for saluting traditional East Coast boom bap. In fact it's quite the opposite sentiment, as, along with ST. da Squad affiliates like Termanology, the Lawrence-bred vinyl sensei and beatmaker has ushered unapologetic, lyric-heavy hip-hop back into the forefront. His seven-years-in-the-making debut, Substance Abuse, is a throwback of sorts in that Deadeye took the time and energy to unite more than 30 MCs and a dozen co-producers for a stew of thoughtful, thematic blacktop bangers.
It's almost time for RADIx to drop their anticipated team effort with PUZL (gear and graphics) and Statik Selektah (beats and cuts), Say Yes!. But before that happens, Seek and Quite Nyce are heading back to Europe for a quick tour romp, and no doubt shooting more videos to coincide with their big release.
The hard-partying, harder-working Slaine has never been more exhausted than he was this Monday. It's no wonder; he'd been draining booze and hibernating in his Brockton lab for 17 straight days and nights recording his new The Devil Never Dies mixtape.
Slaine's looked weathered in the past. But in the wake of this most recent marathon session, his eyes were glassier than than they were on the tail end of his two-month tour with Tech N9ne, and after he completed months of filming for his roles in “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town.
If you're a frequent reader of this blog, then you know damn well how much faith we have in Reks, who's rocking tonight at The Middle East with Moe Pope, Singapore Kane, Kali, Wispers, JFK, and a few other cats who you should be up on. As you might have realized - we don't do much show promo here on JTTS (unless, of course, Trees is benefiting from it financially), but this is a show that should absolutely not be slept on.
It’s amazing how much hate mail I receive accusing me of ignoring local artists. Most hilarious is this ass on Facebook who recently bitched that I “write about the same people over and over.” He might have a solid point, if in the past year alone I didn’t pay significant attention to: Esoteric, Black Madeen, Bad Rabbits, Singapore Kane, Slaine, Boycott Blues, DJ Slim, JDO, M-Dot, Masspike Miles, D-Tension, The Berklee J Dilla Ensemble, Jaysaun, Will C, Amadeus, Rite Hook, WMS the Sultan, GWOP Gang, Wasted Talent, The Dunnas, Dawaun Parker, RADIx, Mr.
limousine – which I assume belongs to Ernie Boch, Jr. (nominee: Outstanding Blues Act of the Year) – idling
outside the Roxy last night was an appropriate metaphor for the 2008 Boston
Music Awards. Despite it being a quasi-posh invite-only event (albeit one that any
super fan could have easily penetrated), the gala didn’t reek of superficiality.
I’m not packing clothes
for this year’s CMJ Marathon in New
York City. In fact, I’m not even bringing down a
laptop. Instead of spending five straight days inhaling various poisons,
feverishly blogging on the same nonsense that everyone else is covering, and
ransacking my weathered eardrums with out-of-tune guitar shreds and swollen
bass lines, I’m limiting my trip to one day and two nights, and seeing how much
I can cram in.