Plus, The Tempers and Shiny and the Spoon celebrate new releases, Northside Music Fest returns and Kelly Thomas takes on classic with Switchblade Syndicate
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
A new monthly, themed and curated Hip Hop night at Northside's The Comet, presented by local artist Abiyah, kicks off this week. Plus, The Tempers and Shiny and the Spoon celebrate new releases, the free Northside Music Fest returns this weekend and Kelly Thomas takes on an Everly Brothers classic with Switchblade Syndicate.
by Mike Breen
Northern Kentucky MC Trademark Aaron unveils compelling clip from his forthcoming EP
Florence, Ky., Hip Hop artist Trademark Aaron has released a stellar new music video for his track, "Faith," which will be included on his next EP, For the People. The track — featuring a great vocal hook sung by Koren Jackson —keeps in line with Trademark Aaron's overall positive approach heard on previous releases like the full-length, Prelude to Greatness (which you can download for free here). But it's hardly cheery. The song is about keeping hope when everything around you looks bleak and the music video visuals masterfully mirror that concept. Directed by Dan Gotti, the clip is one of the best you'll see by a "local act" — it's highly professional looking, often resembling something from a movie.You can check out more of Aaron's videos at his YouTube page and keep an eye on TrademarkAaron.com and his official Facebook page for show dates and info on the release of the For the People EP. For even more, you can also read CityBeat's interview with Trademark Aaron from last year.
by Mike Breen
Local Hip Hop acts drop visually and musically compelling new clips
A pair of Cincinnati Hip Hop acts have recently released music videos showcasing new material. Both are compelling, well-produced clips for solid new tracks. Alternative Hip Hop group Valley High issued the video for "That One Too" at the start of the month. The clip was directed by SnowRowe (who plays keys in the group) and, according to the YouTube page, the track is from the Valley High or Die Tape, due for release today. The group is fronted by MCs Moxy Monster and M.O. Click here for more on Valley High.Last year, area MC Puck released the high-pro video for "Gitit," the latest of several clips. Now, Puck has returned with a new track and video that's perhaps his strongest yet. "Jordan Vs. Bird" is built around a hook from a remix of the band Grouplove's song "Colours." The video was directed by Dan Gotti. Puck is offering a free download of the track via his Soundcloud page here. Find out more about Puck here.
by Blake Hammond
Columbus-via-Cincy Hip Hop artist Ill Poetic shows true colors on new EP
I’m not going to pretend I knew what synesthesia meant before listening to former Cincinnati/current Columbus-based Hip Hop artist Ill Poetic’s latest release, Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement. But after diving into the seven-song EP (and looking up the title on dictionary.com), I discovered that synesthesia is something like a music-induced hallucination where the afflicted see music as colors, which is the perfect description the album has on its listeners. In the short amount of time it takes to get through this EP (just under 24 minutes), Ill Po takes the listener on a funky, soulful trip through his creative process. On the first track, “Be Cool,” Po is kind of like Samuel L. Jackson in the diner scene of Pulp Fiction (without the Jheri curl), urging everyone from politicians to status rappers to just chill the fuck out and re-birth the cool like Miles Davis. “Be Cool” then melts into a laid-back Soul cut, the highlight track “On My Way,” which features crooner CJ the Cynic. It’s probably just the producer in him, but Ill Poetic lets CJ take the reins of “On My Way” for almost the first two minutes before he brings his spoken-word lyrical styling to the production, which is reminiscent of early Kanye or Eryka Badu with, dare I say, an added dose of creativity. The wait for Po's words is well worth it, however, when he spits that “Ghostface is my real estate agent." Again, I really don’t know what this means, but the sheer image of calling Sibcy Cline or Century 21 and getting Ghostface Killah on the other end of the receiver is pure imagery gold. On the sixth track and first single off the EP, “Gone,” the song cleverly describes Po’s struggle to leave Cincinnati and pursue his dreams (his every body part attempting to convince his brain to dip-out), while the Jazz-style production makes the listener want to roll-up and take a road trip with this song on repeat. The best part about this album, though, is when Ill says “You don’t have to be cool to listen to this; you don’t have to listen to this to be cool.” So for all the nerds, dorks, dweebs and losers out there looking for new music, have no fear. You don’t have to be cool to listen to this and listening to Ill Poetic won’t make you cool. But it surely couldn’t hurt. Click below to preview and purchase Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement. For more on Ill Poetic, visit his official site here.Synesthesia: The Yellow Movement EP by Ill Poetic
by Mildred C. Fallen
Remembering the late local Hip Hop champ Marcus Mitchell
EDITOR’S NOTE: Marcus Mitchell, aka local Hip Hop artist and inspiration Skandal Da Ruckus Man, passed away this week after a battle with leukemia. In tribute, here is an interview with Marcus from March 2005, written by CityBeat contributor Mildred C. Fallen, from our archives. Check next week’s issue of CityBeat for more remembrances of the fallen Cincinnati music supahero.To dub Marcus D. Mitchell a “big man” doesn’t necessarily state the obvious. In some cultures, “big man” also translates as a local personality who speaks on behalf of his people, commences rituals and parleys with other “big men.” And facing foes, big men fight for honor.In 2000, Mitchell, better known as Skandal (or Skandal Da Ruckus Man), flew to New York to freestyle on BET’s 106 and Park and contended with other unsigned MCs on HBO’s Blaze Battle. Today, the self-described juggernaut of Supapowers has been reincarnated as an industry ghost writer and producer after someone attempted to rob him of his ambition last spring. While he was away, thieves carted away his studio equipment and masters. Although his property never resurfaced, he feels he knew the thief’s motive.“Damn monkeys!” he declares, still affected. “Whoever stole it was doing it to get at me personally, because they didn’t touch anything else in the house, not even money. It was Easter Sunday, at that! Man, they know they goin’ to hell!”Depressed and unable to produce tracks or record vocals, Skandal bounced back after supportive colleagues bartered their efforts. “A lot of cats just saw the opportunity (to barter) and was like, ‘You ain’t got no equipment? Man, I been wantin' to do beats with you for years,’ ” he says. Producers Fame and DJ Scott pitched in and donated many of the tracks heard on Vet Game, his first in a series of mixtape compilations to be distributed through the internet. Presented by Hall of Justice Entertainment and co-sponsored by Supapowers cohorts CJ the Cynic and Da Kid, Vet Game tongue-lashes antagonists, reprimands local radio and guides listeners of a tour of the Queen City, pointing out its idiosyncrasies. Rounding out the compilation are appearances from Trina Holidai and Michelle Hollis, Piakan, Science, Donte (of Mood), Hi-Tek and J-Wiz. “As far as the bangers, look for ‘Get Stole On’ and ‘Spell My Name Right,’ both produced by DJ Scott. ‘The Wrong Nigga’ talks about the break-in on Easter, when I was at Mom’s gate eating a plate,” he says. Thunderous vocals set violators straight as they detonate: “Y’all ain’t do nothin’ but put Skan/Back to ’96 with the hunger pangs.”Reloading, “The Big Payback” unflinchingly fires direct hits at local black radio and venue promoters for lack of support. On the other hand, he shouts out Big Kap of New York’s influential station, Hot 97, for giving “For the Queen” 30 spins in a week, and says the exposure opened doors for him to sell songs to other artists, which subsidized his upcoming CD, Vigilante World.“People don’t understand; you’ve got to invest in yourself before that big record deal comes,” he explains.“For the Queen” traces Skandal’s roots back to Woodward High School “Bomb Show” performances and huddling in rhyme-ciphers against out-of-towners on Fountain Square. “Before all the fightin’ and shootin’ started, we defended this city against all outsiders,” he says. “It was like something out of the movie Highlander.“(Cincinnati) always had a beast,” he continues, naming warriors who fell into obscurity. “Regan used to be the most feared in a MC battle; he passed the torch to me and Clips (J-Wiz). Now Ill Poetic is the beast.”“I used to really, really admire (Skandal),” says Ill Poetic, a solo artist and half of the duo Definition. He met Skandal following the Blaze Battle. “He was battling at Top Cat’s and I was amazed that Zone (the other half of Definition) knew him. He was just one of those people I kept hearing about.”Although the HBO Blaze Battle episodes are available on DVD, Skandal laments, “Ain’t no honor in battling anymore, so now songwriting is where it’s at. There’s money in it. Cats who are known for their battle rep often aren’t known for making hit records.”Skandal hopes his upcoming release, Vigilante World, will change that.“I got the formula,” he says. “The problem is that nobody is rockin’ the (Hip Hop) heads and the streets at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with making good music that people who don’t make music can jam to.” Having hosted local battles, he observes that today too many MCs lack originality and rely on trading insults to win battles.“(There) was a time when you could murder ‘em with style,” he says. “Now, you only get response from the crowd when you say a punch-line, which is what I don’t like about battling anymore."Skandal cites crowd-judged battles and MCs who deliver pre-written raps as the demise of the art form. He also emphasizes that styles differ from region to region.“A lot of New York rappers spit written (verses) in battles and call it a ‘freestyle.’ And in the Midwest we call freestyling right off the top of the head,” he explains. “We used to listen to the New York style, not knowin’ they was spittin’ writtens in a freestyle, and we thought New York was just ‘cold wit’ it’ off the head.”But since New York MCs assumed the precedent for battling, Skandal says he and his friends used New York as a benchmark in the beginning until they crafted their own niche. Endearingly, he refers to his friends Supapowers as “stand-up guys I’d take a bullet for.” But of everyone, his mother is his best friend.“She gives me an insight to things that you can only get from experience. I’m a true mama’s boy and if anybody got anything to say about it, come holla at me,” he says.His weightiest ambition is to appeal to the female market and he’s slimming down because he feels that MCs like Notorious B.I.G., Big Punisher and Heavy D were merely lucky to be seen as sexy.“They were rarities,” Skandal says. “When you’re fat, I don’t give a fuck, people are biased. I wanna have the whole package, not just the skills. I wanna have the whole market on lock.”
J-Skillz, Da 3rd Element, Junya Be and The Happy Maladies celebrate new releases
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Cincy Hip Hop invades Corryville as J-Skillz, Da 3rd Element and Junya Be celebrate new releases at The Mad Frog Saturday, while Indie Chamber Folk quartet The Happy Maladies drop new EP, New Again, with a release show at Rohs Street Cafe.
by Mike Breen
Local Hip Hop artist unveils new song, video from forthcoming 'Keep the Change' release
If you happened to have checked out this past Saturday's Beats Summer Concert Series event (the popular Hip Hop/Dance/DJ night presented by Self Diploma every Saturday this summer) on Fountain Square, you probably got a taste of the skills of Cincinnati native Santino Corleon, who performed right before headliner DJ Clockwork. This week, you have another chance to sample Corleon's goods as the head-turning MC has released his latest track and accompanying music video, "Tats." Corleon has already become a "name to watch" around the region. Upon returning to Cincinnati after a stint studying (both at college and in the Hip Hop community) in Brooklyn, Corleon stepped up his game and has been invited to perform with artists like Big Sean, Method Man and Redman, J. Cole and Gucci Mane (among other big-timers) and performing at various music festivals around the region. He's also built his buzz up by releasing several widely distributed mixtapes, including his most recent, The Hangover, hosted by DJ E-V (who works with Machine Gun Kelly and Mike Posner) and featured on Hip Hop/mixtape sites like TheOneMic.com, Live Mixtapes and LeakJones. You can listen and download The Hangover and its predecessor — the more freestyle-oriented Where's the Love? — right here for free through Corleon's site.Corleon is also giving away free downloads of "Tats," which will be a part of his next full release, Keep the Change. Check the video (directed by Dan Gotti) below, then click here if you'd like your very own download. The track has a cool sparse/ambient quality, with some great, tricky beats and a bass-rumble that could wake the dead. (Note: The track is also pretty non-PC and probably NSFW for most of you reading this at your job, due to language. But if your boss is cool with it, so are we.)
by Mike Breen
Hip Hop youth arts center celebrates 7 years and announces plans to relocate
One of, if not the, coolest youth outreach programs in the region is the "Hip Hop Youth Arts Center" Elementz on Central Parkway, which gives local kids a consistent outlet to explore their creativity and learn about the arts. The center is now 7 years old and tonight at 6 p.m. the founders are hosting an anniversary party featuring performances by several artists affiliated with Elementz. Admission is just $3.The people behind the non-profit center recently began sending out video press releases to keep everyone in the loop on their happenings. Below is a clip about this evening's birthday celebration, followed by Elementz's winter video newsletter, which includes footage from various performances and workshops from the past few months, as well as an interview about politics with local DJ Hi Tek.There's also a special, surprise announcement about Elementz at the end of the winter newsletter clip. The center is preparing to move to the old Media Bridges headquarters on Race St. (across from SCPA) now that Media Bridges is relocating to the WCET building around the corner. (The new Media Bridges is slated to be reopened in its new space on May 3.) For more on Elementz, visit its website here.