Butch Yung: “No Sleep in the Trap”

Versatile Rapper, Lyricist, and Producer Butch Yung takes us through a day-in-the-life of turning Lemons to Lemonade with his latest release “No Sleep in the Trap”.  This Audio Portrait is like that of an Ernie Barnes collectible, with production like a synesthetic pallet of sound painting a picture of daily life in the trap working cold, hungry nights for brighter days. The Trap’s glamourized popularity is not its reality- and most certainly not for everyone.

Such a world is an Alto Sax, whispering melancholic brushstrokes of its sorrowed actuality. Signature snare patterns of its war-torn ambiance are accentuated by the intricately laced machine gun dumping that litters late nights in every hood. Sounds of a Trench Town can be heard in the magnetic drive of this murky, eerily romantic piece where the Soul of the streets collide with pressures from the trap like rapids crashing against huge boulders, forcing Coal to create Diamonds by its very own nature.

El Prez DeCyphers 20 Karats on the Wrist!

 

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South Cali rapper El Prez recently released his song and video for 20 Karats On The Wrist, a double entendre in its lyrics and imagery. A wavy Cali instrumental beneath a smooth flow so signature to West Coast Rap delivers his message like a double-sided coin, lending this aspirational record its character. The song teeters a tightrope between the highest of highs and lowest of lows, dreams and nightmares of reaching the top and facing the fear of failure, yet choosing to courageously climb and move mountains despite one’s obstacles.  Perseverance is the only thing that sets us apart from our highest achievements, and only those willing to trust the journey succeed.

I asked El Prez to DeCypher a sentimental verse from his song Lose Some, Win Some that brought a conversation of perseverance to mind:

“ This’ for those without no recognition //

And all the kids who’s just too broke to even pay attention//

They think nobody hear ‘em screamin’ //

But just know I’m listenin’//

Don’t have no pennies for that well //

But please keep on wishin’ ”

   It sparked in me the thought of how often I come up against this idea that there should be no reason why people cannot succeed in an era of instant access to information. “Telling someone things are out there in an age where everyone should have ‘access to resources’ is not enough” says El Prez, “Kids need to be led to The Well to know it exists and that it’s there. My nephew came home one day in middle school and asked for help because the teacher had to pool money together to get supplies! When I attended that school it was never like that. But that’s how it is for kids these days, and so you have a lot of kids that might give up and block it all out, or they will switch into that other person, and we don’t want people to do that. A lot of kids don’t have a path to the Lake to drink, so they need guidance. We can complain or come up with our own solutions so we have to provide the kinds that go into action”

  The astounding discrepancies in our public schools when it comes to the youth not having enough school supplies hardly makes sense, considering the ample amount of tax dollars our city collects (which should more than solve the issue), yet we barely seem to see these funds trickle down past support services in such ways that struggling communities can help themselves. However, El Prez shares a golden key to unlock Success for any one, anywhere, at any time, and it boils down to standing in the confidence of one’s destiny;

 “I don’t chase dreams //

I let dreams chase me”

he says in his song 20 Karats on the Wrist. “The line is spoken to myself as much as everybody else. Especially in Entertainment, you find the most peace within yourself by letting things happen. Just because one person’s success is that person’s success doesn’t define what is meant to be your success. So just be yourself because when you do what you do, the opportunities will pop up when your time comes. Could take 10 years, could take 10 months but just be sure to stay prepared. Take your natural course and tap into your natural abilities to execute and deliver your best. I let my dreams fuel me, rather than getting stuck in fueling the dream and neglecting the Art whenever the business gets overwhelming. You can’t help no one else if you can’t help yourself, so it’s important to learn how to monetize your career. You don’t have to chase your audience though, because they will catch up to you. It’s good to keep a little mystique sometimes.”

   You can find more of @elprezdela at elprez.bandcamp.com where his latest record with @jettimasstyr  for a Belly tribute entitled “So Sincere” pays homage to the classic film and its lead character, Sincere.

“Ghetto Gospel”, Magna Carda’s Latest Release Review

Burn the sage and light the incense for your next bonfire, letting Magna Carda’s “Ghetto Gospel” be the soundtrack to your midnight smoke session.   As clouds fill the air, imagine your puff-puff-pass riding the sound wave of Megs Kelli and Dougie Do, whose blend of rap, jazz and electronica have caught the ears of kinfolk from their hometown of Austin Texas to cities beyond.  They’ve joined stages with The Pharcyde, Joey Bada$$, Oddisee and have featured on NPR radio. They are paralleled with groups like The Roots and certainly suite a Tidal station with artists like Erykah Badu or Oshun in rotation.   Magna Carda is lyrical, smooth as fine wine, and in tune with frequencies that blend with Zen at any time of day.

Don’t be afraid to break out in a five-minute meditation to feed your soul some of this Magna Carda goodness morning, noon or night.  It suits any occasion and can set the mood of one moment to the next- in a good way!

Sources: NoGossipLa.Com

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Lets Talk About G-Perico’s “Amerikkka” Single

Although we’re daily indoctrinated with media rhetoric scrambling to clean up the Police Department’s dirty laundry, still waters run deep and it’s been like that from the beginning.

Amerikkka documents the experience of being Black under the rule of American Colonialism, where police officers are branded as public servants whose task is “to protect & serve”. The question is; protect and serve whom, what, and why? It is today’s common knowledge that certain communities are given favorable protection over others, particularly Caucasians, Anglo-Saxons, and the assimilated. Wealthy citizens and areas are also prioritized for reasons of profit, yet there happens to be a much more sinister side to law enforcement that is deeply rooted in oppression, thievery, indentured servitude, chattel slavery (aka “Slave Patrol”), and the Ku Klux Klan.

What does it feel like to be Black in Amerikkka? G Perico let’s you know; “Clearly it’s the law breaking the law”, he says. The South Central, L.A. rapper has established himself as one of the most promising voices in West Coast Hip Hop, bravely addressing this place we call the United States. As Tupac’s classic words insinuate, life “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Gangsta Party”. Outside of one’s typical idea of a “gangsta”, it’s important to zero in on those rarely highlighted corporate gangsters and their cronies as gangstas at their own gangsta party. Consider that what may seem an entity designed to “protect & serve” (alongside other aspects of the “Justice” system) are mostly operated via persecution of the poor and from profiteering off of prisoners exploited in the Prison Industrial Complex- some of which are not truly guilty of any crime. Such exploitation amongst officials in powerful positions and their corrupt friends ruin any “just” intention, begging the question of who the actual “gangsta” is and where the true threat lies. Who is really bullying whom and what are the benefits?

As on of three members in the rap group G-Worthy, the project features the Amerikkka single produced by League Of Starz producer Dupri. G- Perico’s reflection on existing within the confines of American oppression offers insight on the feeling of life under Colonial Law and its rippling effects on Al Moroccans. Songs like these introduce us to asking questions about how Al Morocco became Amerikkka and why it’s nearly impossible to trust a Cop no matter how much one might wish to let their guard down.

Check out Amerikkka and stay tuned for a major announcement in the near future.

images courtesy of: Images.Genius.Com

This content was originally on loan at http://www.NoGossipLA.com.  Please visit their website to check out lots more on upcoming artists and culture!

The World Welcomes Kamaiyah

In an era where everyone is racing to the money bag, Oakland artist Kamaiyah comes from the center of Bay Area chaos, where she highlights the ups and downs of her journey and takes her time on the rise to proving her own success.

She took to the Oakland streets, where the love is extremely real for HipHop culture. People out there will actually purchase music from you off the street to where folks can sell 100K from their trunk easily.  But for Kamaiyah, sky is the limit. She continues to push herself past her block, testing her endurance and breaking through street culture norms in ways that most female rap artists require a team for. Some of the most influential people on her art are Missy Elliot, TLC & Aaliyah, whose influences one sees in Kamaiyah’s brand and style of dress.

Her charismatic personality and to-the-point demeanor are refreshing in an industry that is often drowning in fluff.  She’s worked with the likes of YG, Drake, and other street disciples that are leading various avenues of rap culture into a new age.  Both a producer and songwriter, she is humble enough to admit that there are songs she has done that she doesn’t care for and others that she was shocked to see were so well received.  All she knows is the vision she has for herself and the faith that she rides on, which is altogether inspiring. As part of XXL’s 2017 Freshman Class, she mention’s BowWow as a rapper whose lyricism drove her to focus on her pen game. Her first mix tape was gobbled up, with folks loving everything about it.  She wanted to make sure that she represented the Bay Area for exactly what it is without any outside influence and really just hopes that listeners will grasp the journey behind her music and what it took to serve people with her final product. You can catch Kamaiyah on YG’s “Why You Always Hatin’” as the song most people know best, but her singles “How Does It Feel”, “Build You Up”, and “I’m On” are cult classics that can be heard amongst her biggest fans.

image is courtesy of: notey.com

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Overdoz Finally Releases “2008” Album!

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Overdoz finally releases their long-awaited album “2008”

Overdoz finally drops its album 2008, with fans eagerly awaiting its release since…well, 2008! If you’ve never heard of them, say hello to these West Coast rock stars, whose name rings bells across the land from Dena to South Los Angeles and beyond.

The brothers have been together since day one, chillin’ on avenues and cruising highways most Cali Natives would only pass through.  Documenting their journeys in LA, Overdoz takes us back as far as 2008, When Everybody Loved Everybody.

One thing most people don’t know much about is 4711 Expo, the studio where several paths crossed, including the likes of Miguel, ASAP Rocky, Jhene Aiko, Dom Kennedy, the Fistacuffs, THC, and several other aspiring local artists who would collaborate. Folks from every hood would come together in the name of creation where this studio once stood, including Overdoz. It was the block no one would want to walk through at night, with burnt out light posts unworthy of fixing and street-life exchange on every corner.

Today, these old warehouses are barely recognizable, developed into the types of contemporary décor that typically follow gentrification shortly thereafter. Coffee shops and industrial conversions are tucked away on streets where underserved communities of color were once left destitute long after the LA riots had given way to an influx of black wealth amongst the Baldwin Hills, Ladera, Leimert Park, & Crenshaw areas. Although Ujima and Ujamaa principles were reserved amongst several families in the area, others would choose to take their earnings and resources outside of the community, creating an interesting dynamic between rich and poor black families from the hills down to the flat lands. These areas would later face troubles self-sustaining, but the Youth of these local towns would go on to create great art.

2008 is an important project for several reasons. Film director Calmatic has been working with Overdoz for several years, catching controversial footage like Overdoz’s “Rich White Friends” and landmarks that may someday be archived as a blast from the past alongside other monumental black eras, like the times of Black Hollywood in West Adams. These places are important to Los Angeles culture, as they are what make Southern Cali one of the dopest spots across the globe. Of course, such locations would simply be architecture if not for the people who create its diverse artistry, of which Overdoz is a part of.

Their charismatic and quirky humor blends a conscious lyrical wordplay with notes of funk, acid jazz, neo – soul and West Coast HipHop. Someday I imagine them sharing memories as old men in one of these new cafes around here, maybe even some coffee shop that sprouts up near 4711 Expo just for the irony of it.

images courtesy of hotnewhiphop.com

Nsatsia’s “Trap or Die” Single

“Laugh now, cry later”, says the Oaxacan Brotha.

 “We were born to die”, says the White Brotha.

“You Only Live Once”, says the African Native Sista.

 When you’re forced to live life on the edge, you know what it is; Trap or Die

   Imprisoned by a system designed to oppress, eliminate, buy, sell or trade the Melanated and the poor, survival depends on creativity and innovation. It’s that rich n*gga/poor n*gga/house n*gga/field n*gga/still n*gga situation, where one’s excellence still faces stereotypes and all-around hatred no matter how hard the black womb/man works to achieve success. If anybody knows the ups and downs of what it’s like to teeter the tightrope between life and death with the men who are stuck in the rat race, it’s women like Nstasia. Her music is an aspect of the black womban’s story in America. It’s symbolic of the diehard love and confident support that a real woman provides regardless of circumstance.

  Trap or Die is about the love, loyalty, risks, and heartbreak that a faithful woman endures while standing in the gaps for her man. Societal norms founded upon white American standards often lock most Brothas out of work opportunities that White Privilege reserves for those willing to conform to it. In the trap, the Brotha faces gang violence perpetuated by systematic oppression and the daily fear of a run-in with dirty cops that are out to round as many slaves into the Prison Industrial Complex as they can. Once the brother has a record, it’s nearly impossible to get employed. Next are one’s environmental factors, which affect productivity. One is lucky if a job offers benefits and is close to home, where most businesses would rather not operate if they weren’t liquor stores, churches, or fried food shops. The negative surroundings of addiction, physical health hazards, and scarce resources leave people desperate with limited options. Therefore, those who have never dealt with institutionalized racism, systemic oppression, or the glass ceiling of Corporate America will never fully grasp the struggle of the struggling unless it is the black womban because she is the child, the child bearer, the lover and wife of the black man and can see their battle from every angle.

Nstasia is that classic Womban; still a lady – but probably with a pistol in her garter belt and a No. 2 pencil for all a’those who be testin ! She’s the one who says “if you got me, I got you // Top down we screamin’ trap or die”. She has an alternative style of fashion exhibiting a varietal that exists in black America outside of the stereotypes that parallel the way a woman looks with the way a woman is. The song is dreamy and the vibe is like fishtailing a canyon highway on a sunny day in a getaway cruiser headed for the beach.

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Keyshia Cole Drops “11:11 Reset” Album

To experience the night with one of few Superstars who have managed to stay leveled at high altitudes was like a refreshing breath of crisp air permeating the Peppermint Club. The intimate ambiance felt like where we’d be if Keyshia Cole invited us into a plush 1960’s living room. Special guests included fellow Oakland comrads like Kamaiyah and several friends of hers who were in attendance for the evening’s listening party.

Properly titled 11:11 Reset, her newest project delves into love, life, loss and rebirth with records like “Best Friend”, “Act Right”, “Ride” (a personal fav), “Vault” (another fav) and “Emotional”. Penned in collaboration with the likes of veteran songwriters like Eric Dawkins and Rock City, a few guests on the project include Kamaiyah (whose feature is fuego!), Yung Thug, Kanye West, Remy Ma, and French Montana.

Keyshia even let us into her personal space for a moment’s time, sharing with us which songs were her favorite, what she hopes her next blessing will be, and just how sexy she’ll get for the object of her affection. From droppin’ it low and taking us high to nailing every note like the pro that she is, her groove was on point and the event might as well have had concert tickets for sale! It felt like a chill, holiday house party where strangers felt like longtime friends and season’s greetings were abundant.

Enter a new age with Keyshia by downloading 11:11 at KeyshiaCole.com

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Delicious Vinyl’s Block Yard Boogie: A Cali Block Party @ Delicious Pizza

Delicious Vinyl Records hosted one of the most memorable Labor Day block parties this weekend, inviting some of HipHop Royalty’s finest to grace the stage. Historic West Adams was once the setting of a predominantly Black upper class prior to its impoverished state of being. Stories of Ella Fitzgerald and other Greats of her era would pass through West Adams and have even performed in some of those buildings that are now local shops. Leave it to a classic label like Delicious Vinyl to take it back to the roots and you’ve got a historical lineup on a historical boulevard.

 

 

Plenty of water, drinks, and Delicious Pizza surfed the crowd on this particularly “tropical” Cali day.  The legacy of King Dilla and others of the best in kind were present for the festivities, including top acts like Talib Kweli, Chop Black, Illa J, and Tiffany Gouche.

We got a taste of Soulection’sbest on the spins, Joe Kay & Andres Uribe.  With an eclectic mix of classic HipHop, Afrobeat, NeoSoul, AfroCaribbean, and Chicano reverb, there was a taste of something for everyone and folks were eating it up like candy!  Not that this is a surprise, Seeing that Soulection is one of the best sound collectives around right now.

Blessed with his presence and wise words, Talib Kweli took a moment to honor Steely Dan amidst the loss of the late Walter Becker, who was a musical genius in one of the best bands of all time.  Kweli went on to mention the loss of so many Greats in most recent times, also touching upon the condition of the human collective and racism in today’s world. One of the most poignant topics he touched upon was how important it is to come together as humans and celebrate the beauty of diversity in a time where Humanity is threatened by ignorance and a lack of understanding. Kweli tied in the message with songs like his remix of The Beatles’ “Lonely People” closing with some of his classics. The show was outstanding and DJ Spintelect was phenomenal.  The crowd simply couldn’t get enough of the Black Star.

Chop Black came full force with the G – Funk era, representing for the city of Oakland as one half of the WhoRidaz in the West Coast classic “Shot Callin’ & Big Ballin’” . Like other flowers grown from concrete, Chop Black embodies the struggle of survival in the mean streets of Cali and has since stood the test of time.

Illa J was also there in collaboration with the spirit of the Godfather of HipHop J Dilla, keeping to the legacy of his brother’s classic sound with a twist of his own.  A pseudo- nostalgia brought Illa J forth with an evolved art form on the Dilla sound, whose eternal music is the template for nearly every form of new-age music in the human atmosphere.  It just feels good to know there is a piece of Dilla still alive in the form of his blood brother, Illa J.

Tiffany Gouche never fails to pass through the spot with the aura of a Queen, as if the royal robe were trailing behind her.  She is the people’s choice; humble, as her crown radiates the moment she steps on to the platform.  The songstress begun just as the sun set behind her, a perfect backdrop for our sonic journey through a lover’s memoir.  Riddled in harmonic highways and underpasses, her “Red Rum Melodies” drift along like a lullaby on a journey of sound waves riding into the dawn, prepping that grown & sexy “Pillow Talk” for the late night lovemakers. I could bet that she’s up there with R. Kelly’sbabymaking music for some of this era’s baby boomers!

Amongst these heavyhitters were also Frank Nitt, Doug E. Fresh and Mellow Man Ace alongside others that included The.Wav, Hannah, Boomyard LA, Nina Dioz, DJ Ethos, The Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Jazz BandPolyester the Saint, Jansport J, and Cazal Organism

images courtesy of @westadamsblockparty via Instagram

CyHi the Prince Drops “No Dope On Sundays” Album

It is with great honor to announce CyHi the Prynce’s album release “No Dope On Sundays”, a highly anticipated project amongst his following and a breakout moment for those who are newly introduced.

Why this is a privilege is because this MC is a hidden gem to the naked eye no longer. CyHi the Prynce comes with major bars, blending his life in the streets with growing up in the church.  For the true brethren bred in Babylon, each disciple testifies to their spiritual walk. CyHi’s “No Dope On Sundays”documents a life of parallel and paradox, inviting Pusha T, Schoolboy Q, 2-Chainz, BJ The Chicago Kid, Travis Scott, Estelle, Jagged Edge, Kanye West and Ernestine Johnson to join him on the journey.

 CyHi guides listeners through the perils of his plight to the end of a tunnel where light glows with a promise of redemption.  He takes us back to the Cocaine 80’s when women were especially vulnerable to the effects poverty, often so consumed by its challenges that there was barely the wherewithal to pay attention to one’s own body. CyHi’s mother had no idea she was pregnant with him until she was six months in, consuming drugs and alcohol in her unawareness.  At this point, his destiny was a coin toss.

As seen time and time again with black youth abandoned by the public school system, CyHi the Prynce would go on to become a student of life well before his adult years. He was kicked out of school and forced to define a new path for himself. He would utilize his three- dimensional experience of family, faith and street life as a tool to turn his life into a blessing.  All sorts of innovative outcomes are produced in Ghettoes that typically operate as a right-brain world with a left-brain mentality. Every move is life or death and requires strategy. As a result of this struggle, a thin line between Underground Hip Hop and Pop Culture is heartfelt, because a paradox exists where Black African Natives are pushed into underserved communities and treated like experiments until their “worth” is proven in Colonial American terms. Then their innovations are taken to a mainstream market and flipped into processed factory food through the chain-of-supply.  Although there is nothing wrong with reproducing something that works, CyHi notes the evolution of black culture while exploring Pan-Africanism and holding black cultural values to their own standard in ways that further elevate their communities.

 “No Dope On Sundays” is an amazing documentary that moves the spirit and still holds true to the streets.  It can be archived with other great Hip Hop projects in its integrity and ability to fuse classic Hip Hop with contemporary styles so seamlessly.   For an in-depth conversation of “No Dope On Sundays”with CyHi the Prynce, please visit NPR Radio’s coverage for more!

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