by Mike Breen
28 days ago
Former Cincinnati Hip Hop artist gears up for new EP release, tour and a local show in late April
Now residing in San Diego, Calif. (where he co-runs the
Beat Box Records shop with another Ohio transplant, DJ Inform), former
Cincinnati Hip Hop MC/producer Ill Poetic is readying his first new
release since 2012’s The Synesthesia Yellow EP. The Silhouette Project is a five-song EP (with an accompanying short film) that is set for release on April 27.
The new EP began as an entirely different project. Ill Poetic was working on a music video for The Synesthesia Yellow
single “Silhouette.” The video grew into a short film and Ill Poetic
changed course and created an entirely new EP, which he calls a
“companion piece” to Synesthesia Yellow that also “exists in a universe of its own.”
“These are my words about love,” Ill Po
says about the new project in a press release. “The record store opened
me to genres of music I’d never been aware of but quickly fell in love
with, greatly influencing my production. So the music is inspired by
what I imagine my favorite artists and producers interpret love to be
when they create. Each song is inspired by how I feel love translates
through their music.”
On April 1, Ill Poetic’s made The Silhouette Project’s
ethereal, melodic and soulful slo-mo jam “It’s All Around” available to
stream on Spotify and purchase on iTunes. Check out the single via
SoundCloud below. The EP is being released through Ill Poetic’s Definition
Music, which has morphed into a music, art and film collective. You can
find out more about Definition Music here.Ill Poetic is embarking on a Midwest tour in support of
the new EP that kicks of April 29 with a free show (it’s $5 for those
18-20) at Northside’s Urban Artifact. The show will
also feature performances by Raised x Wolves, FAROUT, Jay Al, Hafrican
and Ronin. Click here for details.
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati Hip Hop artist unleashes Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet online today
One of Cincinnati finest Hip Hop artists, Buggs Tha Rocka, is making his new album, Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet, available for free starting today on various outlets across the internet (it’s already generated fairly widespread buzz, including write-ups from the U.K. and France). Buggs recently spoke with CityBeat’s Brian Baker (who called the new LP a “masterpiece”) about the new release (which features guest spots from Donte from MOOD, Moxy Monster, Tanya Morgan, Aida Chakra and Cool Kids’ Chuck Inglish among others) and his progress in the Hip Hop world.
“The type of Hip Hop I do has always focused on technicality and emotion,” Buggs said. “I take pride in being a wordsmith. That’s where the ‘American poet’ came from. And ‘scattered thoughts’ is really what it is. It’s everything I’ve been through, things I’m seeing in the news, a little bit of everything. My ups, my downs, my life in one CD. Instead of putting on a facade and an image, it’s really organic and natural.”You can read Baker’s full interview with Buggs here.
Buggs is hosting an intimate release party/performance this Friday at Over-the-Rhine club Maudie’s. Showtime is 9 p.m., admission is $7 ($5 in advance here) and Buggs will be joined by MOOD’s Donte (and probably other guests?) at the show. Buggs has unveiled several videos (made in conjunction with Alvin Jordan and others) for various tracks from the album leading up to the release. Here’s a clip for “Angel of Death” featuring Piakhan:
Buggs tha Rocka ft Piakhan - Angel of Death (Concept Video) from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.
Here’s the clip for “Bad Habits”:
Buggs Tha Rocka - Bad Habits (Official Music Video) from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.
Here’s Buggs and Pappadon in the clip for “OuterXSpaceXLove”:
OuterXSpaceXLove Feat. Pappadon from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.
Here’s “Rapture” featuring Phoenix Aphrodite:
Rapture feat. Phoenix Aphrodite from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.
This is the clip for “My$tery”:
Buggs Tha Rocka | MY$TERY from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.
And here is the newest clip, for the track “Religiously,” which was released today:
Buggs Tha Rocka - Religiously (Official Music Video) produced by Hop Trax from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.
Visit Buggs’ official site here for the latest info and to download the album. You can also click below to check out and grab a copy of Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet.
<a href="http://buggstharocka.bandcamp.com/album/scattered-thoughts-of-an-american-poet">Scattered Thoughts Of An American Poet by Buggs Tha Rocka</a>
by Mike Breen
Local MCs' collaborative track gets music video, Vevo homepage premiere
This summer, on-the-rise Northern Kentucky-based Hip Hop artist Trademark Aaron released his excellent EP Act Accordingly, which included a bonus track titled "The Best," a collaboration with Cincinnati MC Easy Lantana, the RCA/Polo Grounds Music recording artist who made waves nationally last year with his single, "All Hustle, No Luck." The track about hard work and perseverance now has an accompanying music video. The clip, directed by Franco Mudey and Mark Merkhofer, had its premiere yesterday on the front page of popular video site Vevo. Trademark Aaron's next performance is part of what could very well be the best local Hip Hop show of the year, this Thursday at Over-the-Rhine’s Rhinegeist. Reflection Eternal, renowned Cincinnati-based producer/artist Hi-Tek’s collaboration with legendary MC Talib Kweli, headlines the 8 p.m. concert, marking a rare appearance by the duo. Thursday’s lineup also features Cincinnati heroes Mood, who took Cincy Hip Hop nationwide in the ’90s, Buggs Tha Rocka (who’s prepping a new album release for early December), ClockworkDJ (Mac Miller’s official DJ), Valley High, Aida Chakra and many others. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $20 in advance (through cincyticket.com) or $30 at the door (if there are any tickets remaining). There are also $60 advance VIP tickets available, which include a meet-and-greet with the artists.
by Mike Breen
Check new videos from Buggs Tha Rocka, Those Guys, Trademark Aaron and Sleep
Tonight, Cincinnati mayor John Cranley will be giving his “State of the City” speech. For a snapshot of the state of the city’s Hip Hop scene, take a look at the following recent music videos. Judging by these tracks and visuals, I’d say the state of Cincinnati Hip Hop is strong.
• Yesterday, the reigning Cincinnati Entertainment Awards champ for top Hip Hop act in the city, Buggs Tha Rocka, put out a clip for his track “Rapture,” featuring local singer Phoenix Aphrodite. The song is from Buggs’ forthcoming album, Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet, which is set for release Oct. 7 and features a great guest list, including Chuck Inglish from The Cool Kids, Tanya Morgan, Piakhan, MOOD and more. Rapture feat. Phoenix Aphrodite from Buggs Tha Rocka on Vimeo.• Middletown-based Hip Hop duo Those Guys just premiered their latest video, “King.” Featuring J.Al and Jova, Those Guys top themselves with every new release and “King” is no exception. Their tagline/motto is “Good Hip-Hop Music” and after listening to “King,” you’ll find it hard to disagree. The track is from the twosome’s recent release, Bueno, which you can download here.
• Last year, Northern Kentucky MC Trademark Aaron gained a lot of well deserved attention with his great track/video for “Faith,” which was featured on Vevo’s homepage and shared far and wide across the Hip Hop blogosphere. TA’s latest video, for “Gold” from his recent Act Accordingly release (which we wrote about here), premiered on Vevo’s homepage last week and features local drummer Aaron Roy as a special guest (on both the track and in the video). • Another area Hip Hop MC, Sleep, also got some props from Vevo, which showcased his stellar clip/track “I Shot Lincoln” on its homepage last month. Sleep released the amazing concept album Branded: The Damon Winton Story this past spring (one of my favorite albums of 2014 so far; check out a review here) but the “I Shot Lincoln” video/track (featuring special guest Kue the Vandal) is separate from that project. Like Branded, the “I Shot Lincoln” visuals are a little disturbing and unusual but endlessly engaging.
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati Hip Hop artist drops compelling new track, video
Local MC Puck has unleashed a great new track, “Weekend Warrior,” along with a solid accompanying music video (which includes a guest appearance from Cincy Hip Hop duo Those Guys). The young Hip Hop artist shows the positive effect and influence of Kanye West’s recent experimental work (and there’s even a Kanye nod in the background during the video). It’s a powerful listen/look:
Click here for more on Puck and below to download the new track for free:
You can catch Puck live on June 21 for free on Fountain Square as part of the "Beats by Self Diploma" concert series.
Plus, Hip Hop artist Sleep releases stellar new album 'Branded'
0 Comments · Tuesday, May 6, 2014
One of Cincinnati's finest musical exports, The Afghan Whigs, will return to where it all started and perform at the 2014 MidPoint Music Festival this fall. Plus, Cincy MC Sleep releases the brilliant, gritty and emotional new album Branded: The Damon Winton Story.
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati Hip Hop artist crafts a wildly engaging story on new album release
The album is an endangered concept in music, with MP3s and streaming encouraging more and more people to listen to tracks “a la carte.” If people aren’t listening to a collection of songs intentionally put together by an artist in a specific order, why should the artist bother trying? It’s one of the reasons releasing EPs seems to have become more popular than issuing full-lengths.With some exceptions, the “album as art” concept has long been dwindling amongst Hip Hop artists, many of whom have more fully embraced the hodge-podge “mixtape” format, which is perhaps more in tune with our ADD/social media-plagued culture. So it’s beyond refreshing to hear the new release from Cincinnati MC Sleep, Branded: The Damon Winton Story, a collection of eight tracks that tells the story of a young man’s troubled upbringing. It’s not just that Sleep has compiled eight songs that kind of fit together; Branded is a fully envisioned tale that requires the listener to hear the entire album in order to get the total impact. And it’s quite an impact.It helps that Sleep’s “concept album” is based on some excellent storytelling skills, contains some fierce rhymes (with a flow and timbre that recalls Jay-Z at his peak) and is supported by the excellent, often hauntingly atmospheric production of Dope Antelope, which brilliantly reflects the dark, chaotic, heart-breaking nature of the story. The way Sleep — half of local duo 2-Man Cypher — lays the story out is also sharply clever. In lieu of titles, each track is labeled as simply “Question,” followed by the track number. The album opens with a police officer hitting “record” to begin his interview with the main character’s social worker about “what could have led up to what transpired with him this past weekend.” To kick off each track, the social worker is asked about a different aspect of the trouble the young man had experienced and been in. Working backwards from the incident (which isn’t revealed until “Question 8,” so the listener is left to wonder what transpired), Sleep creates evocative, harrowing slices of life, usually told from the main character’s point of view, but with other voices popping in occasionally to give an even bigger picture. The young man’s horrific surroundings are revealed gradually; the listener learns that he has self-mutilated himself, been molested, lost (or never had) faith or religion and had family involved in drugs. Sleep’s brilliance is turning the smaller stories from the big picture into vivid, cinematic tales in themselves — “If this is grown folks’ business/Then why when you conduct it, there’s a child as a witness,” he raps after it’s revealed that the main character’s mother had substance abuse issues. When the social worker tells the officer that the young man had been bullied over his clothes in school, Sleep echoes that pain with lines like, “The peer pressure to be above the status quo/It’s never ending, it’s never taking sabbaticals.” By the last track, the listener is primed to hear just what happened to the main character, but when his fate is revealed, it’s not what most would expect, making the album that much more powerful. (In the spirit of not ruining the final act, I’ll refrain from giving away the ending.)Sleep’s Branded shows just how much power Hip Hop still has to tell a realistic story poetically but without hyperbole. It’s an incredibly moving piece of work that stands as one of the best Hip Hop albums to come out of Greater Cincinnati in recent memory. And Sleep shows that if he ever gets tired of the Rap game (which itself would be tragic becomes the genre needs more voices like his), he’ll be able to find some kind of career as a writer, be it an author, a journalist, a filmmaker or whatever field he decides to lend his talents to.If you’re a fan of intelligent Hip Hop or just great storytelling in general, you must download (for free or whatever you’d like to kick in) Branded immediately at sleep513.bandcamp.com. Here is a music video for the track, "Question 2":
Plus news on Flesh and the Devils, Catapult Music Festival and more
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 30, 2014
After revealing new tracks over the past few weeks, Cincy Indie Pop/Rock trio PUBLIC gears up for its first headlining show this weekend. Plus, Musicians' Desk Reference goes subscription, progressive Hip Hop/Electronic fest Catapult debuts in Northside, Flesh and the Devils release their debut 7-inch single and Tunes & Blooms closes with one more (rescheduled) show.
Friday • Northside Tavern
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Veteran, multifaceted Cincinnati Hip Hop
artist/promoter Abiyah has teamed up with Brooklyn, N.Y.’s R&B/Hip
Hop vocalist Corina Corina (whose latest album, The Free Way, was
just released) for a two-week jaunt through the East Coast and Midwest,
which began on Corina’s turf in mid-March and comes to Abiyah’s home
base this week.
Monday • Bogart’s
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 4, 2014
ScHoolboy Q’s incendiary, just-released Interscope debut, has been
incredibly well received by critics for its raw musical presentation and
distinctive lyrics and delivery. At press time, chart pundits were
predicting it would debut high on the next Billboard album chart, if not hit No. 1.