Tag Archives: Nas

WCDB Hip Hop Department’s Top 10 Albums of 2013

Acid Rap

1. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper dominated the internet and hip hop scene with his highly anticipated Acid Rap project. With his experimental sound mixing with hip hop roots, Chance delivers one of the most original and successful projects of the year.  

Available for free download > (http://www.datpiff.com/Chance-The-Rapper-Acid-Rap-mixtape.483826.html)

Born Sinner

2. J. Cole- Born Sinner

J. Cole’s sophomore major label album combines insightful story telling with compelling instrumentals to provide a standout album. Born Sinner delivers what some (Nas) felt his debut was lacking.

Yeezus

3. Kanye West – Yeezus

The most controversial figure in music today unsurprisingly delivered one of the most interesting albums of 2013. With production help from the likes of Daft Punk and Rick Rubin, Kanye heads into uncharted territory.

My Name Is My Name

4. Pusha T -My Name is My Name

After much delay, one half of the Clipse released his major label debut as a solo artist. His debut is concise collection of some of the finest crafted verses 2013 with orchestrated beats by Kanye West, The Dream, and more.

Run the Jewels

5. Killer Mike and El-P – Run the Jewels

The continued pairing of  these hip hop veterans has lead to one of the finest works of their respective careers and of the year 2013. With production almost entirely by El-P, this project delivers for true fans of lyricism.

Nothing was the same

6. Drake – Nothing Was the Same

The native Canadian and best-selling artist released his 3rd major label album in 2013. Combining stellar production,  lyrical insight, and some of the catchiest melodies of the year. Drake proves why is he the only artist who pressures Kanye West’s position.

The Beauty In All

7. Oddisee- The Beauty in All/ Tangible Dream

Hailing from Washington D.C., Oddisee shows why he is truly a hip hop ARTIST. In 2013 he released The Beauty In All, which had the instrumental style behind it. While The Tangible Dream exhibited Oddisee’s lyrical prowess.

Almost Home

8. Masai – Almost Home

Metroland’s 2013 Best Rapper in the Capital Region released his the third album in his “Almost” series titled Almost Home. The album delivers an introspective look at his life with  fresh lyrical delivery. Check out the video for his single “Dear Masai” > (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk3g78gLlZ4)

marco-polo-pa-2-the-directors-cut

9. Marco Polo- PA 2: The Director’s Cut

Hip Hop produce extraordinaire Marco Polo released the follow up to 2007s Port Authority this year. The project features some op the top lyricists in the game laying vocals over some of the finest boom bap of 2013. Features include Talib Kweli, Masta Ace, Styles P and The Doppelgangaz.

Pete ROck

10.Pete Rock & Camp Lo- 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s Pt.2

Hip Hop veterans Pete Rock and Camp Lo deliver another barrage of hip hop with features by Talib Kweli, M.O.P. and Ab-Soul

DJ Survey: What’s the Best Live Show You’ve Ever Seen?

As WCDB DJs, one of the perks that you get is the opportunity to see a lot of live shows, be it free or not. This survey asked our DJs what the best live show is that they ever attended.

Jordan Hill: Rock The Bells 2011

featuring Blackstar, Common, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Nas.

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DJ Brian: Tegan and Sara

I loved t&s their harmonies were fantastic. And their banter was pretty hysterical. Best live show I’ve seen by far.

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Taco Party Box:  Lollapalooza in ’96, Starscape 2002

Best Festival (Live Music) Lollapooza 96 (Syracuse NY)': Ramones Farewell(actual) tour, Rancid (when they were still in their 20’s), Wu Tang Clan (with the Ol’ Dirty Bastard), Soundgarden, and Metallica (which i didn’t stay for, too much of a red-neck presence).
Best Festival (Electronic Music), starscape 2002 (Baltimore MD) This was the last year when they still had 7 stages. Since this was right around the time of the “Crack House Law” crackdowns on parties there was a very light drug presence. Lonnie does an amazing job on putting together his parties. It was amazing. 

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Metal Tony: Mayhem Festival

The best live show I’ve ever been to was mayhem festival. All day, all metal. I mean, with bands like Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, and Machine Head on the same bill, how could you go wrong? On top of that, I saw Job for a Cowboy’s Nick Schizendielos, one of the best metal bassists today. To wrap up the show,  Rob Zombie tore it up along with John 5 and Ginger Fish. Loved it.

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Teddard Stark- Wilco

For sure.

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Luuk- Deerhoof

Deerhoof at Valentines was amazing. Best show I’ve ever been to.

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Kyle: WCDB’s 34th anniversary

Mainly based upon the mosh pit of CDB’ers past and present during Titus Andronicus. I got to yell in people’s faces phrases like “THE ENEMY IS EVERYWHERE” and “YOU WILL ALWAYS, BE A LOSER” and sway with them arm in arm two minutes later. All in all it was probably the most exercise I’d had in years.
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DJ Milky- Black Moth Super Rainbow

One time I saw Black Moth Super Rainbow in a fancy hotel ballroom. I was 16 and wearing a homemade cardboard robot helmet and dancing furiously. There was a man on stage whose job it was to dance around and wave a flag while wearing a fur body suit and a rubber mask that resembled an elderly Asian man. At one point this man was throwing water bottles out to the thirsty crowd. The man foolishly threw one underhand in an attempt to reach the back of the crowd. This particular water bottle hit the strange chandelier that hung over the croud. (For a visual, this chandelier looked like a bunch of upside down waterglasses) The water bottle shattered a few of these “glasses” and shards of glass rained down upon the audience. Though the glass shattered directly above me, I was saved by the large cardboard helmet I decided (perhaps due to some sort of divine providence) to wear. To this day, I cannot forget the visual of angry bald reporter with a bloody head yelling at an extremely apologetic masked man in a fuzzy suit. Their words could not be heard behind the sound of Dandelion Gum era Black Moth (who never stopped playing by the way). But they could be seen flailing about cartoonishly. Black Moth played a pretty great set too.
 

Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview

The Governor’s Ball music festival is taking place this weekend, and I am super excited for this. The festival boasts a consistent and impressive lineup that features some of the top artists from alternative music, hip-hop and EDM, with ticket holders having to choose between two artists for each time slot. Fortunately I’m familiar with a decent amount of the artists playing at this festival, and in this post I’ll let you know which artist I’m going to try to see during each time slot this weekend and why.

Friday

12:15-12:45: Swear and Shake vs. Pacific Air

Pacific Air is brothers playing indie pop. They’re a relaxing listen and well-traveled as they’ve opened for high profile acts before like Passion Pit and Two Door Cinema Club. Swear and Shake seems like it’d be a fun show as well but they’re more folky and seemingly conventional, so I’m planning on starting the festival with Pacific Air.

12:45-1:30 Solid Gold vs. Bear Mountain

We got Solid Gold’s 2012 release Eat Your Young at CDB last year and it wasn’t anything special, I’d say it’s alternative rock with a lot of electronic qualities mixed in to it, again more relaxing than danceable. I hadn’t heard of Bear Mountain before this year’s lineup, but their music seems like it would lead to a better live show then what I’ve heard from Solid Gold, Bear Mountain’s sound is more danceable and upbeat electronic so it should be a fun set to attend.

1:30-2:15 St. Lucia vs. Reignwolf

St. Lucia will put on a good electronic pop show, but my interest is in seeing what Reignwolf does during this time slot. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who seems like he’d put on a sick show, check out the video below where “Bicycle” sounds White Stripes-esque with him covering both Jack and Meg’s parts. This guy’s going to be a hit at governor’s ball for sure.

2:15-3:00 Polica vs. The Knocks

Electronic rock/R&B vs. Electronic Pop. I’m not overly excited about Polica, so The Knocks seem like a safer bet for enjoying the set but either way I don’t view this as a decision you can mess up, the options are pretty similar.

3:00-3:45 Dinosaur Jr. vs. Holy Ghost!

I’d be psyched to see Holy Ghost! over either of the past two artists, but in this slot there’s no way I can see them. I’m an alt-rock kid, and Dinosaur Jr. is one of the bands that defined that genre in the 90s, making the fact that they still release awesome albums like last year’s I Bet on Sky even more impressive. I have to go with the classic artist in this spot to get my fill of actual alternative rock.

3:45-4:45 Best Coast vs. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

I might regret this and be stuck watching a girl on stage sing to me about how great California is, basically the only premise of 2012 release The Only Place, but I’m going to gamble we get the distorted energetic Crazy For You tracks that would make the set amazing. If you were completely off-put by her last release, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs won’t be a bad consolation prize.

4:45-5:45 Of Monsters and Men vs. Dillon Francis

I saw Of Monsters and Men perform last year in Albany and they put on a good show, but I’m a bit bored of their sound now(and the mini-genre as a whole to be honest). I’m not overly into EDM but my friends who are recommended this artist, so I’m going to go with a new experience here rather than attending a show where I know I’ll be indifferent about the band.

5:45-6:45 Crystal Castles vs. Local Natives

This is another big contrast in sound between the artists, so I’d say it depends on your mood. Crystal Castles will definitely be more upbeat and danceable, and apparently she’s very good live, but I’m probably going to give Local Natives a shot here as I find their music easy to enjoy.

6:45-8:00 Feist vs. Young the Giant

This one is based entirely upon the Broken Social Scene rumor if nothing else. BSS is booked in the city to do a late-night gig on Thursday night, and a rumor is going around that Feist’s label mates might help end the BSS hiatus by doing a collaborative set or maybe even taking the stage for their own set after Feist. If it happens it would be probably the most notable story from the festival.

8:00-9:30 Beach House vs. Erykah Badu & the Cannabinoids

I feel like I’m making a mistake on this one so don’t let me sway you away from Erykah Badu, but I loved Beach House’s 2012 release Bloom and am hopeful that they put on the most relaxing show ever performed for their set. Can’t pick wrong between these artists though as they’ll both put on great shows.

9:30-11:00 Kings of Leon vs. Pretty Lights

Finally the headliners, neither of which I’m overly enthusiastic about unfortunately. I’m going to go with the same mentality I had for Dillon Francis in giving the artist who I know less about the shot here. I enjoy some Kings of Leon songs, but Pretty Lights seems like a more fun way to enjoy the end of the first day to me as I’ve heard good things about their live shows.

Continue reading Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview

Why have I been listening to so much mainstream rap?

Why have I been listening to so much mainstream rap?

Honestly, some of the best albums to come out in the last year or so are Big Boi’s Sir Lucious…, Jay-Z’s Blueprint III, Raekwon’s Cuban Links 2. All three of those albums got ridiculous hype but somehow managed to live up to, if not exceed, expectations. (Is this because hype usually tends to disappoint and our awareness of that leaves us shocked when a super hyped album is actually good?..Doubtful.)
The obvious question is this: Is mainstream rap getting better?

Let’s check up on some of my all time favorite indie rappers—I’ve desperately tried (and apparently failed) to coin the term “hipster-hop”—to see what they’ve done lately, for comparison. After 2 awesome albums and 2 more amazing EPs, Mr. Lif released the disappointing I heard it today, last year. (There is one really amazing verse on the album but it’s from Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks.) Sage Francis just released another album, Li(f)e, with one or two really good creative songs and a lot of intimate BS on it (this time really embracing his indie identity by collaborating with a lot of indie artists, at least.) Cage got too emo. Eyedea, eh. Immortal technique still hasn’t figured out where to place his punch lines. DOOM still hasn’t thought of putting his funny but quickly annoying sound clips in between songs so you can skip them after a few listens. Meanwhile Nas just released a surprisingly solid album with Jr. Gong.
I think I know what’s going on here.
Let’s look to indie rock for a hint. Bands like Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear (who put on a great live show, if you ever get a chance to check them out), and MGMT (who put on a horrible live show) for instance, all sold a shitload of records out of nowhere. What does this mean for hip-hop? Maybe that these indie cats are getting too comfortable with their indie identities, thinking that their small scope will get them big bucks. Popular rappers, on the other hand, like Nas are taking chances.
You know who the exception to that is? The mega mainstream rapper who decided not to take any chance; to play it safe; to release a po(o)p record, featuring the likes of rhianna and pink, that would easily sell well: eminem. And that shit is pure fucking garbage. Sure he can still rhyme. But, even as someone who mercilessly refused to not play him even on my underground hip-hop show (chill out, I only played shit from Infinite) I’m actually disgusted by the recovery. The really frustrating thing is that all his best shit came when he was taking chances, doing ballsy shit.
I’m not sure where to put The Roots. They’re a household name but I’m not sure you can call them a mainstream artist. Regardless, how I got over goes the taking chances route and succeeds brilliantly. Collaborations with Johanna Newsome and a bunch of artists I’ve never heard of actually enhance the record (similar to Sir Lucious…, on which Jamie Foxx delivers really the only disappointing stuff. Actually that Vonnugut shit is pretty weak too.)
But I have to be honest. Mainstream rap really isn’t any better than it used to be. It’s probably worse, actually. That makes the good shit really stand out. It’s not like Big Boi, Jay-Z, Nas, or Raekwon, havn’t released amazing albums before. (In fact, half of their new ones are officially sequels.) And some of the indie rap records I dissed I obviously have listened to enough to know about, which means they’re not really garbage.
So what have we learned, in this selective survey of hip-hop? Well, the reason I’m probably listening to so much mainstream rap is because it’s mainstream. Everyone’s talking about it. This is an important point about WCDB actually. There’s a lot of damn good music that you’re not going to here on CDB. But that’s alright because you’ve already heard a hundred times. The truth is there is amazing indie rap out there. I just don’t know about it because I don’t listen to enough CDB.

Love,
Dylan