04
Mar
14

Cheers to another Birthday

Life….

pic  by Megan Jolly

pic by Megan Jolly

To Megan .. see? no one got hurt!

Im actually writing this blog just days away from my annual birth moment while having a chat with mom over the line and thinking of how time just flies. Even though we keep moving anticipating what the future beholds its also healthy to reflect on your life and see how far you’ve came along. Whew!

PhotoScan (2)

Music as a full grind has its ups downs but most of the setbacks for me are money problems. Therefore you have to hustle around to make things possible. Lucky for me I have ran into some of the most amazing people who have helped me along the ways of my small successes. I haven’t reached full goal as of yet but it sure feels like the horzons are nearing.

Being a true New York native I have seen so many things throughout the years. To think I’ve been through the Koch era when the tokens (?) were 75 cent for a transit ride to now in these current Diblasio times seeing real estate bloom across many neighborhoods that were once pretty risky to be in. I’m sure we all have witnessed or heard Spikes rant recently. The man was telling the truth even though he clouded it with his personal and familiar frustrations. Nonetheless NY was bound to change at some point and within the last few years it seems its all for the better. I mean, Brooklyn has a team now and compared to my way too quick stint in Toronto Im starting to see much of the REAL diversity we used to brag about. (side note: what is gentrification in Tdot? ..eh, i’ll leave it alone..) If youre really active within in these 5 boroughs you’ll get to see more than enough in real time…. and you’ll love and hate it both. To the people who are still new here asking what do you get out living here my reply would simply be experience and the excitement. Im glad to be here in NY on my bday and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

……That being said salute to all the people that gave a fuck enough to keep me in the right direction. I cannot explain in words how important you are.

To Mom and Pop, big brothers and big sisters, nieces and nephews I love you all very much.

Ok Enough with the mushy mush… I’m celebrating on March 7th Dj Hype with fellow MC and (GT homie Armani ehem..) Armani Reign along with Stuck On Earth and the BP2 crew over at Sankeyes. NY will be alive and kicking. Come and enjoy it with me.

Reespect 100

Cheers to new friends, Hooray for old ones! Much love to all!
For Generations!

TRAC
This Is That EP
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07
Feb
14

Bryan gee and TRAC at Drum n Bassment

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Hot n Juicy.. good seafood..

Teaming up once again with Bryan Gee in DC was just another amazing time in another city… good sound, plenty of vibes and a great DC crowd. its one of the nights where the drinks kept pouring and vibes kept flowing.. Along with great music from Bryan we got to perform some forthcoming Liquid V jingles ..nuff said..

Shouts to Ka Lu And Defect for taping the night ..As an MC im usually self complexed about these things. But after further review .. the listening wasnt bad at all! hiccup!

also big up to the rest of the line up Defect and Brothers Brau..

Enjoy this stream open for download. Live at BackBar in DC. Kudos!..

Liquid V Tour live in DC

T.R.A.C.
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10
Jan
14

Life Between the Drums and the Bass ep.1

For those that don’t know and for the sake of not trying being a broken record about it let me explain….

Humbly speaking this is my first ever published piece of vinyl of which it was a very happy moment back in 98-00. At the time i was getting my learn on interning at major hip hop labels and working on building myself up behind the scenes of the music world. Introduced to the World of New York Jungle music by another fellow hip hopper Dj I-CUE, dude was pretty pushy on trying to get me on a jungle dnb record for a pretty long time. Nonetheless the time came when Dilla flipped a famous loop that Cue had also done for a track we were doing. rather than go back to the drawing board, Cue had an idea set for an upcoming tune in creation which was for a possible compilation for a Label called Liquid Sky. He asked if i can recite those same written rhymes to a slick hard bass guitar piano sample. Nonetheless a whole day and a half had past in creative time but by 8 or 9 the next morning we had definitive gold in our hands.

With both of us sitting in the couch in the sala looking up to the ceiling bewildered and dumbfounded, we both knew we had done something beyond our musical reaches. When the sun the came up and civilization had once again risen i just left for home to rest. but the truth is i dont beleive neither one of us slept at all. Cue waited til 10am or so that morning to go to the offices and demand that this record get put on the compilation. From what im told they all listened and none complained. Thus came Next Level $hit……

The whole “hipstep” in the beginning was NY’s way of terming our style of Drum n Bass. Most of us were doing a sort of Hip Hop effort in a Electronic World. when done correctly it was bigger than just saying hip hop (or Rap) n Bass. it was just somn special. The term was created by Cue and Mike(Madness) meaning “Hip Hop Influenced Productions Stimulating Thee Earth People”. At a time and era full of acronyms this was one of those amazing terms and I was voice of the sound. Some people ran with it and never let it go but in all honesty and my humble opinion it ran its course and did its purpose. Time has moved on and so must we.

websterhall aphroditien

Im a Hip Hop dude for life! Hip hop has raised me in ways that are hard to explain because of im really from a straight guyanese kind of american dream family. My whole family were immigrants with plans already. me being the baby of the bunch i pretty much was an airhead. But when my moms brought home “Rappers Delight” along with my treasured Off The Wall record i would stay by the stereo system all day long. My life was being influenced. I got hit with “the soul” somn serious!

Along the grinding times in early 2G me and Cue had done a bunch of dope hip hop songs that was never put out. but we did play some dnb remixes of some of the stuff..

“Hip Hop fast” was probably the earliest term for what the UK was doing with Hip Hop. My talks wit Marc Mac and a few others this was basically the idea. the tempos were faster but the sound and samples were still groovy.. and the vibe was still dancy… Uk heads were pushing the sound into a more experimentive but freer feeling music. Samples were still there but so was the vibe… and it still brought people out to have fun and be festive.

….kind of remind me of when Herc pulled the speakers out to the park… the first rave ever? I’ll leave that alone….

I kind of hated it when people use to say to me ” why you mess with that techno shit” back then. Techno is nothing like Jungle or Drum n Bass. Sometimes terms take you away from what really good music is and people get lost in these specifics. At the end of the day good music is good music. Its the reason i was happy to collab with my 4hero brethren on doing an actual Hip Hop Project. which is still dope btw…

And now here I am 10 plus years later after the famed liquid Sky compilation with a newfound kind of energy swing…and still striving ….

and showing you the way…..

PauL Sg is a very jazzy and musical fella. To think that a day in Vienna with him would lead to having some music being released commercially and respected wasn’t even in my thoughts. i just wanted to make music……And that we did!

With the legendary Bryan Gee backing us with his famous Liquid V imprint things started to pick up last year…. The light was shining bright and I’m hosting his latest Club Sessions effort with some of my comrades Submorphics, Jaybee, Atlantic Connection, Random Movement and many others. (Waddup Stamina!) Regardless, it may be the sign of things being on their way…. and on a roll…

I could go on, but i’ll say it like this……like (real) Hip Hop, Jungle/Drum n Bass, is music and culture in motion! The feeling you get when you hear the synths or strings and those rollers rumble over a head swaying baseline with an added touch of vocals (sometimes not) is somn that can be only understood when the vibe hits the air. Words cannot describe what I see when im on stage and we’re all going thru the same emotion at the same time over the song. New York events has spoiled me with these kind of memories. I plan on making more of those all over in my travels.

Lets do it Bryan!

BK with Bryan!

New York, Long Island, Upstate, New Jersey, CT, Philly, I wanna see you out on the 17th at Paperbox next friday. Lets shake Brooklyn up and show ‘em what we live and what we love. My guess is this will be one of those unforgettable moments. Salute to the BP2 Crew for starting the year with a heavy lineup that will probably not let this night down. glad to be onboard for this.

Yo Dnb!

But hey im just a hip hop dude.. what do i know?

i’ll blog on that later…cheers my peoples!

TRAC
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09
Jan
14

the year in review… Cheers and thankyous…

….Sipping wine as i reflect on what i consider to be a building block of a year.
Goodbye-2013-hello-2014-wallpaper
As much stress an aspiring musician can go thru I can confidently say that I made it out of another 365 alive! so many good memories of helping people reach their own goals as well as some of my own personal endeavors being met. The one goal I didnt accomplish becomes a part of this years list of goals to do. I’m no real complainer so i stay patient. Everything happens in its time.

…..Nonetheless 2013 was “out of this world”…

Shout to BAR’s Kuba idea of remixing the “Moon Record”
and Mpadrums uncanny idea doing the hot remix .. Still dope .. and still Tranquil.

A quick shout to D. Melodious as well.. a good piece of Hip Hop work was done here brother….

Also to Lewis Parker thanks for always thinking of me when you’re doing these epic projects bro. “The Glass Ceiling” is a definite hot spot in 2013.
The Glass Ceiling
One of my personal favorite LP collabs was a quick idea of a chorus..

Cannot forget that underground poker game we played. Totally smashed that place..

….Hastag This is That….

I consider this ep one of my greatest efforts in music and i could not do it without the all the “particpees” and their amazing talents….That includes you Mr. Vandal!!!
And big ups to all of YOU who felt the same about it.

and of course shout outs to the good people at omniverse records for making it all happen….


…and shut yer mouf if you havent seen this Romen Rok Directed piece.. Waddup Yahzeed!

Hashtag TeamStrive!
Strive NY-Yellow Band
September went down as a preview of things to come in my other crazy world known as Drum n Bass. No doubt I asked my city for its help and from that we received a top #3 juno single which even lasted longer on the charts than i even expected. A big warm thank you to Paul Sg, LaMeduza, The entire Jazzsticks family, and to EVERYONE that got involved with me that month all over the globe…… Buenos Ares? For real Magin?

….and then ..Liquid V Happened. Bryan Gee? I have another blog on the way…. we’ll chat more about this in depth next blog post… and soon!

I havent begun to touch on the many parties and festivals that I was happy to be part of… I want to say that I gladly did alot with misses 2013. She was a great study and companion. Of course there were some ups in downs.. even some heartbreaks.. but she showed me somn that i’ll never forget and thats to overload yourself with confidence, realism and the positivity to overwhelm any downers that may occur. Do surround yourself with the people who are likewise. That way when you fall down there may be a hand or 2 to pick up and dust you off so you can get back to whatever your task is. Thats if you dont pick yourself up at first….

I cannot stress this any clearer… A humble thank you to all the life savers in the world!

…….But to 2013 sadly we must part our ways. Its only right that we do. I’ll keep you mind .. and thank you kindly!

…To the Dk Homie Ginz.. your peoples are my peoples! kinda wished we really got to hang but it was for good the moment to meet you, the wife and kids.. you will be missed…. Rest in Peace

And to the new born Megatron! I hear you will walk a mighty path and have super artistic powers so unbelievable that your parents couldnt imagine. I’ve been bad on meeting up but i cant wait to see you soon enough. Come to think of it, this year i’ve been doing a good job of dodging all my good friends with newborns.. gotta change that…. Uncle Twak coming thru…

…”You better swing thru or else”….. -Megatron
megatron-shoot-

But back to you Ms. 2013… I’m going to have to take the Casablanca approach…It’s on you Humphrey…

Anticipating higher and greater times in 2014. Will she be a beauty or a bitch? Stay up with me and I’ll let you see it all.. but tell a friend this time…

Cheers!

TRAC
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13
Dec
13

Miss.She.ILL The Illtroduction

Early morning steez! I’m here with my wireless keyboard on my lap typing from a futon sitting further from the monitor with a nice brew of tea by my side.and yes I’m pinky sipping right now :)

Jumping into my next review i do it with pleasure. In comes this pretty young stunna by the name of michelle..um. Miss.She.ill. i met her thru the homie and dope producer Jim B (waddup). She represents Cali but is currently chilling, residing, and hustling in my hometown of NYC. So while paying her dues n’ such with life, school, and music she has finally came to her moment of truth independently debuting her album to the world titled the Ill.troduction.
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I’m trying to refrain from being preachy and saying that we need more woman artist in Hip Hop but the truth is we havent seen that much of it in a while. even when presented in some cases its way over the top and not that relate-able (in my opinion) to the average female in general. Its either too slutty. too sleazy, or too cute with nothing really to say. Its all good but i hope we find our next Lytes, Monie loves, and Latifahs. Nonetheless when listening to Miss.She.ill i hear a lot of heart in her music. She comes off as a smooth slick voiced MC who doesnt have to be anything but herself on the mic…add to the fact that she loves true Hip Hop (Boom Bap) as well as that kind of production and im ready to start nodding my head in a proper fashion. If shes lucky i might catch whiplash! (ouch!)

Production is done mostly by FRESH along with some bangers from Grip, Dae One, Aceman, Vitamin D and my Spanish harlem brother DJ I-CUE .. for added Boriqua power! (heh heh)
Some of my favs are “Taking it Back”, “They Call Me” “In The Sun” but overall this album flows thoroughly.

“Dont Play”

“Taking it Back”

“They Call Me”

I think we should all keep an eye on Miss.She.ill. The Ill.troduction is a lovely first effort and you should support it! check it out on Bandcamp.

Btw Missy… Leave my Knicks Alone!

click here for her facebook and twitter

I’ll be back yet again
TRAC
This is That Ep
Soundcloud

13
Dec
13

River Nelson-“The Shape Of The Sky”

As i dust off the cobwebs for yet another one of my long awaited word pressings, i begin to see that a lot of the comrades around me  have been growing and Going! Such is the case with River Nelson who has been persistent in finding his place in this thing we call hip hop.

I consider “Rivs” a true poet. If you really listen to the homie you’ll see that his words are deep and have this metaphoric way of making you think just a bit more about what he just uttered along with a strong voice which gives an impact on his delivery. I was introduced to River on his first album “The Rise n Fall of River Nelson” and really liked a song called “Beautiful Life”

All produced by Lewis Parker that album rounded out pretty well.

00-River Nelson Shape of The Sky (front)
Fast forward to the now the homie is back with a tight album to his catalog called “The Shape Of The Sky.”
If you know me well enough then you know that i love that ol’ soulful sound that used to be heavy in Hip Hop songs. River teaming up once again with Lewis Parker on production achieves this effortlessly. This is Boom Bap as i remember it and sounds refreshing. Songs like “Put off the Pain” feels like an actual pain reliever of a record.

“We try to have fun nights and not to be joyless this/But niggas kill for points like they gun is a joystick”

The Poke Thru Theory feat. Ann One

“Thinking of Leaving” featuring John Robinson

Other Favorites off this are “Cotton Club”, “Human Grafitti”, “300seconds” check for our collab on a record called “Oceanography” a very fun creative record..

Sometimes you have to remind heads that all of hip hop songs arent just club songs. Some of our best work was not just fun to dance to but they also had great perspectives and messages to give. Substance! I believe after getting thru the clouds and the turbulence you’ll see that River Nelson achieves that flawlessly over Lewis’s Elegant production again.

“Opportunity”

So what exactly is The Shape Of The Sky? In my humble opinion its what you want it to be. And that idea is dope enough for you peep it from his perspective. Kudos and salute!

You can cop his album on Itunes and recently it was considered “album of the month” on Amazon

Say hi to him on twitter for me.
@rivnel

EZ.. i’ll see ya in a bit
This is That Ep
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12
Sep
13

Strive In New York

strive (strv)
intr.v. strove (strv), striv·en (strvn) or strived, striv·ing, strives
1. To exert much effort or energy; endeavor.
2. To struggle or fight forcefully; contend: strive against injustice.

” To strive in new york means you gotta stay on your A-game at all times. New York is a very competitive city especially when it comes to music. You always have to be prepared for any unexpected situation. You never know when you will get tested. Show no fear, be confident, stay humble and hold your ground towards your beliefs. That is how i strive in New York as an artist.” -I-Cue

” it can be exactly what you make of it and what you put into it. And great amounts of work, belief in yourself, and belief in your gifts can reap boundless rewards. Just like a football player running drills in pre-season…you’ve got a chance to make the big play and get the start on the squad you’ve always wanted. Question is: when the QB throws it your way…will YOU be ready to take it to the house like the champ you are?” -Otis Brown III (aka Rigger)

“Struggle!
Strive to survive
Strive to rule and conquer” -DJ Golden Child

“…..Also to strive in NY you don’t have to be born in NYC. its all about putting in the work, staying true, focused and most importantly staying positive!” -Al Burner

“moving forward and not in reverse.” -Steve B

“It’s a beautiful thing to be able to strive in a city that breaks so many people down and eats some alive.” -Ice Rocks

“It’s strive or die here man, if you’re not pushing yourself as hard as you can you’ll get lost in the shuffle. staying relevant over multiple seasons here is one of the most difficult challenges, there’s just too much talent coming through this city” -Dj Subset

“This is the gauntlet, but there might not be a higher peak than New York…if you can climb it”- Hired Gun


September…..

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Autumn is around the corner and we are nearing the tail end of the year. This is “the 4th quarter”. It’s thee beginning of many school semesters. Plus Football is back in my life (GO Giants!) nonetheless, i’ve been running the races, going the miles, and coming up with decent results. After what i consider one of my most amazing and encouraging summers the wheels keep on turning..

Of course being an artist isn’t easy at all. There are plenty of let downs, plenty misleadings and plenty deceptiveness that can derail you along your path. But successful people will always tell you “only the strong will survive”. Especially in a town as fierce as NYC. Its best to keep your circle filled with the needed positive, progressive people as it will help you get pass a few more loops everyday. which is what we…. and i …..strive to do.

Meeting up with Paul Sg for the first time in vienna was basically the chemistry that couldnt wait. I must’ve sat down on his couch and talked about my life and where im headed for at least an hour or more…..with no shame…..over some pasta and coffee… and some… (cough) green…..heh heh!

Now thats a first impression…lol

All jokes aside, Paul was patient enough to sit down and just listen. Maybe he saw that I wanted to take myself further thru the music. He might have even related to some my endeavors. Thus begins another chapter in saga.

What it means to you to Strive in New York?

envloop

To Strive in NY is to go thru all kinds of struggle and make it out winning. To strive in my hometown is to create your own lane or way of getting to your goals thru your persistence. To strive in my city is to be up late night rocking out at weeklys, one-offs, and keeping consistent in the quality you put out there. Sometimes it sucks that all success stories have hidden horrors somewhere along the way. Trust when i say i had my own share to contend with. My way of getting past these hurdles was to try and keep my attention to whats at hand and not lose focus of it no matter how hard the travel gets. Easier said but tougher to put in action. It takes a while but eventually you’ll get the handle of it if youre serious enough…….
……Hopefully . Its your life…….

So begins “Strive” which is a song that just happened to happen. Me dropping some vocals
for Paul and then Paul going back in on the production with some already added LaMeduza magic. From there we have lift off!. Sometimes things just work out, especially when the reaction on the finish end has people falling out of their seat.(ouch!) You gotta love it.

This whole month I’ve dedicated this song to all of NYC’s Striving endeavors. A lot of my peoples are at the point where they are not “fucking around” anymore and they’re going all out for the bonus! Im glad to have these kind of passionate folk around who are working just as hard. It’s also good when everyone is learning from everyone. It’s “each one teach one” and with that kind of energy going around it can only get any better from there.

Ok enough with the mushy talk.. I hope to you see around for the rest of the celebrations all in this September month. Click on the flyer below for the next NY listening dates. A special shout out to Mac and Konkrete Jungle for helping me get it started. It was the right place to set this off.

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flyer
Strive NY-Yellow Band

If you havent checked my latest Ep This Is That or the lead music video. you are seriously sleeping. for real

TRAC
Paul SG
La Meduza
Jazzsticks
Omniverse




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