Wednesday, October 18, 2017

WIGGY WEDNESDAYS: New Releases with Noa James, Kiddo, Ital Santos, CJ $immon$ & Altered Change

This week a lot of new videos, songs and albums came out so we had to share a few of them with our fine readers, check it:

NOA JAMES produced by ELIAS & AYE BROOK- KEEP THAT SHITTY ENERGY TO YOURSELF 

Noa James' new single is an aggressive banger that shows the flip side the philosophy he's been espousing on records like his latest E.P. "Peace of Cake". Over a face-stompingly hard beat, Noa implores his listeners to only come with that pleasantness, ya dig? "Be Majestic" magazine coming soon, stay tuned to all things BTYF for the latest!



KIDDO - PENDULUM (Official Music Video)

VIDEO by MIGHTY MUDS ONE

Muds changes it up for a stylish L.A. visual to accompany the bonus track from Kiddo's debut album. The chorus here is undefeated as EOTR's march to LA supremacy continues! Peep it!

REAL JOY - ITAL SANTOS
VIDEO BY ITAL SANTOS & GEORGE BURNS

Ital Santos' new single, video and album dropped this week so peep part 1 of a day in the life of the artist formerly known as Jynxx! This chapter depicts a father and daughter adventure that should warm any hip-hop head's heart!


From the new album, Reflections



THE TRANSITION by CJ $IMMON$

The artist formerly known as Jig is back with a message about being free while you are on earth! Armed with wisdom and airtight flow, his new album just dropped so be sure to hear his new jams!


YA MAMMA'S FAVORITE by ALTERED CHANGE

A gritty yet silly LA area hip-hop duo, Altered Change are thinkers who don't take themselves too seriously. Peep their new record and find out why they are ya mamma's new favorite!

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WIGGY WEDNESDAYS: RIBs for the week of 10/11/2017 featuring Slick C, Atman, Curtiss King & more

THE PHOENIX BY ATMAN



What happens when God has chosen you for artistic greatness but your demons want a say in your fate as well? The Phoenix by Atman, the artist formerly known as Coii, is a thoughtful and forward looking indie hip-hop E.P. about rebirth after rock bottom. Almost fully produced by Curtiss King, every beat packs intensity and emotional heights, “The present is the most precious moment of all time…” Atman croons on the title track.

“Lost Control” has probably my favorite verse yet from 626-area staple ImagineThat, a stop and start confessional that helps Atman set the tone for this album, a thinking man’s set of electronic meditations. "The Phoenix" is a beautiful and layered poem about rebirth and coming back stronger.
“The Moment” is my favorite track from the record, a high energy song that bridges the divide between club bangers and album closers summing up an artist’s whole philosophy. 

 Atman's style is introspective and frank, his stage show and public presentation intense and strange. It's worth investigating his mysteries. Frankly, The Phoenix makes me wonder what lives his characters lived before the life, death and rebirth cycle depicted here.

PROGRESSIVE WAVES BY SLICK C

Slick C’s latest beat tape “Progressive Waves” is an unheralded joy to bump. Its funky textures, its emotional peaks and valleys are addictive and you’ll find yourself bangin’ and freestyling to them again and again.  Designed for blazing and cruising, Slick’s ear for a sample never disappoints. Chopped with scenes from blaxploitation classics, Slick offers his modern I.E. take on Cadillac music. The songs strut with a bossy confidence from the beginning to end, the melody is matched by the boom of the bass. Like so many adult hip-hop fans, Slick clearly grew up on the G-Funk so many of us love. On Progressive Waves, he recreates and modernizes it with a heavy authority. 

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Thursday, October 5, 2017

VIDEO ROUND-UP WEEK OF 10/5/2017 featuring CookBook, Orchid, Hvlloween, Elevate One, Muds One and more!

SONG: COOKBOOK & FLYNN ADAM
VIDEO: MIGHTY MUDS ONE

This video is super fun, Muds delivers as always. CookBook's shit is chill on the surface but also super barsy over this bassy bossy production-peep it!

SONG: ORCHID
VIDEO: REGINA STONE

Here's a creepy cool subdued but lyrically direct video and song, just in time for Halloween!

SONG: HVLLOWEEN & SUFOK8
VIDEO: @6thelementtt

Hvlloween drops another cinematic polemic on the whack straight from the dungeon with Sufok8- the drums on this track don't stop either man, a favorite from his Grey Day record personally. The chorus is so simple but so clever, one of those ideas you wish you thought of yourself.


SONG: TONY GWYNN WITH THA HALO
VIDEO:  KALI OSO

Some hard boom-bap from San Diego; a knocker in tribute to Padre's legend Tony Gwynn- bang this!

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

RIBs: Reviews in Brief for the week of 09/27/2017 featuring Noreik Thascool & WiseFacts


                                               Noreik Thascool - The Night Before
I recently met Noreik at Serious Cartoons record shop in San Bernardino and puffed one with him and Phantom Thrett; he got me so high I teared up during Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” as I gazed out of the store’s glass window while Thrett played it on the turntable. This was not a bad introduction to him and his work that I checked out immediately after, “The Night Before”, a dreamy modern but over-all very positive, smart and forward thinking hip-hop EP from the I.E. “If you take a look for a second you will see we are all connected…” he poeticizes wisely on “Wavelength.” His bars are solid, his voice pleasant and choice of production is more than apt. His message of a connected hedonist people is one I can relate to. His topics are often his passion for friends, family, women and connection. The alternating between poetic refrains and radio-friendly R&B style hooks help create the spacy yet warm feel the whole album has. Halfway through the record I noticed a little bit more of the “I get hoes...” stuff I hear in too many records but disclaimer as always, I am aging at what feels like a more rapid pace every day so take my noticing of subtle hip-hop misogyny with a grain of salt: on the spectrum of that kind of thing, Noreik is a saint. The Night Before’s words and music do blend together beautifully to create a nocturnal feel with which to soundtrack a nice night cruising or chillin’. Either way, super positive and chill but still barsy EP with hella profesh and fresh production- peep it! 

WiseFacts - The Bronze Child

Full disclosure as ever, WiseFacts has rocked with me and my crew WCA with his crew Caterpillar Flight on multiple occasions and it’s always a delight to hear what they are working on. I find them kindred in their nerdcore and positivity. I was surprised to hear his album, The Bronze Child, tackle darker topics, like a youth misguided by parents with poor judgement, youthful drug addiction and mistakes. Even these darker songs play with a nerd culture influenced frame of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde or Dr. Frankenstein to both express hip-hop sickness and horror at how far man can fall. The beats are busy and hard boom-bap that allow WiseFacts to earn his name- with impeccable delivery and projection, he speaks of spirituality, of rejoicing in family, of rejoicing in art and hip-hop skill exercise. There is much to unpack to the record and his verses are layered while still being assertive and clear. WiseFacts flow and voice are nice on the ear and he’s never saying something you’ve heard before. His views on Babylon and the soul are not the same pabulum we are used to hearing and he doesn’t sugarcoat it. The way he constantly checks his own ego within the bars is a fascinating truth to behold; peep The Bronze Child and observe an artist expressing poetry and hip-hop deftly and simultaneously, working on the path he walks always honestly and nakedly for all to see.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

RIBs: Reviews in Brief for week of 09/20/2017 featuring King Arthur & Tru Speech


Been catching up on new and not-so-new albums so I'll be bringing back RiBs for a couple weeks, let's see how it goes.
King Arthur of Thee Brown Plague’s Revenge of the Mixtape Rapper is a super fun romp through classic and modern hip-hop beats from a confident MC who speaks in crisp rhymes and fresh flows. I prefer the positive songs to the ones about sexcapades but I am becoming an old dude and ultimately think that it’s all executed very well. There’s a lot of both on this tape; I particularly enjoy how some of the beats are exact replicas while some are slightly rearranged versions of the beats the tape borrows from. Arthur’s flexibility of cadence on both old school boom-bap and nu-rap tracks is seamless. Something else I like about this tape is how Arthur’s performances makes all the production sound of one era even though these beats traverse decades. Don’t sleep on King Arthur and his squad Thee Brown Plague, a live act that has energy and cooperation unlike any other.

Tru Speech’s Forgetting Tomorrow is a nocturnal dreamy adventure soundtrack about desires, whimsy and clashing against what other people in one’s life want from you. While many albums I’ve listened to lately have smartly and gamely tackled depression holding people back from their lives, Speech’s record is about, it seems to me, how his protagonist persona’s lackadaisical way of life throws off people in it, particularly the women pursuing him. Just when you think the pressure of I.E. life (that pressure being to set yourself up economically, be a good friend to your squad, to not be so flaky with the girls you date and more) is going to get him to focus outside of himself he gets lost in another wordy daydream of tangents and fantasy. It could almost be a metaphor for the kind of diabetic that lapses into hallucinogenic realms when blood-sugar is low. Speech’s similes are delightful and amusing in their cleverness and I.E. specificity (“blow up on YouTube like super hot fire…”) but what I find even more entertaining is his tendency to play with every formulation of a word and similar sounding syllables as he tumbles through a rhyme-scheme. It’s nonchalance and baritone delivery remind me of the Herbalistic’s Greaseball but the values expressed and the instrumentals used (made by all-stars like Nabeyin, Curtiss King, OhGoshLeotus and more ) are certainly consistent with those usually expressed by members of the Over Everything crew, whose members C.J. Westley and Cam Archer, show up at various points for perfectly executed appearances. I’m aware that JooseBoxx has pretty thoroughly covered this album before but like everything on Wiggy Wednesdays, this weekly column just kind of reflects my recent ear-diet.  It’s impressive that each Over Everything project feels of one brand while exhibiting different flavors. Enjoy this throwback!
Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In Bloom: review of Zzay's botany


                                                      
In the years since I first met Zzay and reviewed her last album Cloud 92she has developed and polished her craft and business savvy immensely. Like MC Mega (now known as Brandon the Wizard) before her, I saw her make spirited earnest attempts to collaborate with multiple crews in the So Cal region including my own before finding a space and set of people who both fully appreciated her contributions and had a platform strong enough to propagate them. She’s been a host for B-Side Show, toured with Belzar, hosted for BricktoYaFace Common Ground events, slummed it with beatmakers and hipsters in San Bernardino, became part of the Platform Collection family, lots in between and most recently linked up with the prolific and borderline-massive East of the River network based in Boyle Heights.

I say all this to say that I thought her style would be refined and professionalized to the point of being unrecognizable on her next album, Botany. I was prepared for this and thought "well the old songs exist, the new songs will exist too, it's all good." To my pleasant surprise she kept it all while growing in new directions. On songs like the first single and video "The Stem's Cry" she keeps it raw on some boom-bap that eases into melody at its end. "No one in the White House is a girl!" she says earnestly but angrily on the hard Doja beat. The song returns to humility as mantra, a common theme of EOTR.
                                               "I'ma spark up a blunt- don't you tell me how to function!"
"You don't talk enough" is vintage Zzay about waning and see-sawingly uneven relationships over melancholy infectious melodies. "All Kinds Of" is her with a persona her listeners would be familiar with but still with a new kind of song, speaking to unappreciative men from the past with jazzy wistfulness. “Wilted” is a mesmerizing "93 til infinity" flip; like most on the album, it's about valuing yourself enough to not keep negative people around. "Cool, calm and connected" and "Barcode" are harmonious stony stream of consciousness poems that deliver for fans of her older work. She's not afraid to get weird on stranger beats like "Spotlight" vacillating from siren cooing to aggressive rapping over trippy beats whose snares and bass fade in and out.

On "Bloom" and "Venus Flytrap" she brings the drama and displays her diva chops; "Venus" is particularly fun to hear revisited. The song that made me fear she would lose her older poetry-stream style but at the same time excited to hear what someone with her drive would do with more professional tools and enablers was "Late Bloomer". A masterful jazz-pop piece produced by Aspect One and written by Viva Mescal, Zzay makes it her own with perfect restraint, tune development and innate commitment to the character and message of the song. That the song feels like a lovely culmination of Zzay's other lovelorn story songs sells it further- her performer's persona is someone the audience connects with on a vulnerable level and hearing her this confident and wise, speaking kindly to a young flower perhaps not unlike herself once is charming and timeless yet neo-soul and hip-hop. Spec's crackin' claps and funky melodic layers give Zzay one of the most deft and tight soundscapes she's yet to float on.
One doesn't have to look farther than the album's launch website zzaybotany.com to see she is a in a fertile creative mental space with the East of the River crew and in her own right, offering multimedia content and handcrafted paintings and shirts that go with the music.

The album's themes unfold naturally with the idea of a person blooming into finding a balance and is rich with plays on the botanical like "Late Bloomer", "Stem's Cry", "Bloom" and the sun cycles alluded to in the intro and outro.

That Zzay could deliver an album with pop gems like "Bloomer" , conscious boom-bap like "Stem's cry" and addictive sorrowful mourns like "You don't talk enough" speaks to her versatility and confidence in different musical pockets. Botany is a more than worthy destination for her fans from all over So Cal and beyond who have kept up with her artistic journeys thus far.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Time Is Near: Review of BRB by Notiz Yong

 An astute listener would tell you I.E. hip-hop veteran Notiz Yong has always used music to vent his negative feelings. In BRB, he extrapolates the practice into a major theme for an album. In Dear Rappers… he owned his negativity, on BRB he attempts a spiritual cleansing, turning the aggressive feelings into blessings like squeezing water from stones.

Sonically, this is his most brain-massaging album since Rappers in my opinion. He smartly deploys his own production skills in conjunction with young but experienced I.E. beatmakers like Asend and Kordisepz to create an11 track record with a unified feel. His maturity and his anger on display side by side, the candor of Notiz’ concerns and dreams and frustrations are human and soothing to hear whether it’s over keyboardy boom-bap or nu-rap electro-bangers.

Notiz continues to wield his singing voice with confidence such as on the opening song and “RIL”. “NTW” is the second video for the album, after the hip-hop homie cameo-laden “FYH”, and it’s a great demonstration of Notiz’ updating his sound for new years while staying true to his aesthetic. It’s one of the most impressive things about his catalog, the consistent style within works by numerous producers.

On “FYR”, Yong tackles religion in America and explains how he sees tribalism. The concept of blessing has become mantra to him, a reflexive defense against not only external but internal negativity. The single “FYH”  is the one moment where he lets himself go off on the haters with no Zen guardrails on his trains of thought. The ideas of people taking up your personal space, of haters, of being taken for granted are pervasive in an almost paranoid way. Yong’s MC persona’s wit and melody are his weapons against these encroaching forces.
“DTD”, like “FYR”, shows Yong’ consciousness expanding beyond the I.E. and on America at large. I can’t help but wonder if he would have made such songs if we were not in the era of Trump. Like “FYR”, “DTD” meditates on tribalism and Yong’s willingness to make the listener part of his, the distance people will travel to follow their dreams. Yong’s dreamers that he refers to throughout the whole album, usually including himself in that grouping, are particularly present on “DTD” and I couldn’t help but hear them as DREAMers as Notiz croons “You ain’t got to fear/the time is near”. Perhaps an artistic sign of hope for the day when people can come out of the shadows and live their best lives.

“Through the Pain” has one of my favorite sung choruses from Yong so far and makes explicit the idea of him squeezing blessings out of his pain. He reiterates all the album’s biggest themes on this closer, with this entreaty to the audience: “live a lot and just shine”. Yong’s funny vocalizations and laughs throughout the album, singing “bonus” over and over on the intro, the recorded phone call “be right back..” at the very end and more, give this, his most thoughtful work yet, relatable flourishes of personality.

In 2017, balancing boom-bap sound with modern styled double time songs is a factor I look at with underground hip-hop albums since we’re at a point when versatile MCs can’t ignore the existence of these poles on the spectrum of rap. Notiz has delivered what I think represents the best balance of these styles in an album I’ve heard all year- weaving seamlessly from tempo to tempo, choosing beats that still feel of one piece, and taking his craft seriously throughout; there’s something on this record for a lot of different kinds of hip-hop listeners. In Be Right Back / Bless Right Back Notiz Yong has reached the religious phase of his artistic career and the time has come for us all to reap the spiritual harvest.

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com