RZA | Murs | Bizarre Ride/Delicious Vinyl | Chuck D | House Shoes | Bootsy Collins
Jonathan Emile & Kendrick Lamar | MIDI Mafia | Honey Cocaine | Rick Allen (Def Leppard)
Jonezen & Gucci Mane | Substance Abuse & Tash of Tha Liks | Planet Asia| Cab Cabernet
Les Claypool of Primus | Victor Wooten | Stanley Clarke | DJ Nu-Mark | Strong Arm Steady
Rockie Fresh | Exile | Thurz | Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction) | Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses)
Toy Art Gallery | R&R Gallery | Rapper Big Pooh & Phife Dawg | 9th Wonder | Fashawn
Verdine White (Earth Wind & Fire) | Super Mart Produce | Kill Paris | Sixo | Roc Marciano
Miz MAF & Freeway | DJ Rhettmatic | Phonte | Quickie Mart | Gypsyphonic Disko
Kurupt & Boldy James | Oh No & Guilty Simpson | Phil The Agony | Shabaam Sahdeeq
China Mac & Jadakiss | Mr. Complex | Radioinactive | Sick Jacken | John Robinson
Myka Nyne | S.O.U.L. Purpose | Ricky B | Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone)
Hasan Salaam & Immortal Technique | Rheteric Ramirez | IamOmni | Yamin Semali | DJ Babu
V. Nova & Smif-N-Wessun | Bamboo Bros | Voice | Boycott Blues | Harn Solo | Pavy
Gotham Green, Kool G Rap & Nature | Lodeck & Omega One | Montage One | Signif
J. Rawls & Masta Ace | Maimouna Youssef | Menacin Johnson | J. Ivy | Self Scientific
Super Chron Flight Bros | Hieroglyphics | Black Silver, Ras Kass, Rakaa | Clan Destined
Paranoid Castle | Digi Crates | Jose Pasillas (Incubus) | Sonny Seeza (Onyx)
Tek & Steele are Brooklyn duo Smif-N-Wessun, presenting the music video for “Testify”, the new single from The All, their new album produced entirely by 9th Wonder and the Soul Council. The video was directed by Colton Chapman and James Niche, and the track was produced by Khrysis. Smif-N-Wessun crashed the hip-hop scene in the 1990s with their debut album Dah Shinin’ (named a Top 100 Album Of All Time by The Source and a Top 50 Debut Album Of All Time by Complex), and made a lasting mark on hip-hop alongside the other members of their Boot Camp Clik (Black Moon, Heltah Skeltah & O.G.C.). Their 2011 album Monumental was produced by Pete Rock, and their last release was their 2012 EP Born And Raised. North Carolina producer 9th Wonder came to fame as beatsmith for Little Brother and went on to produce for Jay-Z, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and many more. Steele describes the new single as “a realistic reflective look back on our accomplishments and failures throughout our career and serves as a precursor to what you will experience on The All.” The All is scheduled for a February 22, 2019 release on Bucktown USA, the multi-media company General Steele created in 2004 alongside partner Cynical Smith, with digital distribution through Duck Down Records.
Bronx, New York singer/actress Jennifer Lopez presents the music video for “Te Guste (You Liked Me”, her single with fellow Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny. “Te Guste” continues J-Lo’s recent slew of heavily Latin-flavored singles, from “Ni Tú Ni Yo” with Gente de Zona and “Amor, Amor, Amor”with Wisin to “Dinero”, her collaboration with Cardi B and DJ Khaled. J-Lo is currently prepping for her upcoming movie Second Act. Bad Bunny’s appearance on “MIA” helped Drake break The Beatles’ record for most top ten hits in one year, and his “I Like It” collaboration with Cardi B recently went number one. At this month’s Latin Grammy Awards ceremony, Bad Bunny will join Will Smith and Marc Anthony for a show-opening performance of their “Está Rico” collab. The “Te Guste” video was directed by Mike Ho, the man behind videos for Cardi B, T.I. and Teyana Taylor. The single is a joint venture between Underdog Records and G2Productions.
Los Angeles-based emcee F.Y.I. presents “Boom”, the new single from his forthcoming album Herecember 20NOW. “Boom” is produced by !LLMind, the beatsmith behind JAY-Z & Beyoncé’s “Heard About Us”, Drake’s “You & The 6″Kendrick Lamar’s “God” and J. Cole’s “Love Yourz” among others. F.Y.I.’s last album ameriBLACKKK ( iTunes) spawned visuals for “These The Times (Don’t Judge)” (Youtube), while his previous album F.Y.I. Invented Green generated videos for singles “Legend of G.O.A.T.” (watch) and “Trust Me” (watch). F.Y.I. first gained notoriety in 2010 as part of trio Those Chosen and their collaborations with Grammy-Award winning producer, IZ Avila, earning them a slot on URB’s 25 Artists To Watch. In 2012 F.Y.I. collaborated with Ab-Soul on “Dopamine” (Bandcamp). In 2014 he dropped his first solo mixtape Yo! The Places You’ll Go which hit #1 on CMJ’s Hip Hop Charts (Bandcamp). He dropped an exclusive freestyle for HipHopDX (Youtube) and has also appeared in the European reality show Holland in Da Hood (Youtube). “I met !LLMind after a pre-Grammy party around L.A. and I knew I’d like to murder one of his beats one day,” he says about the new single. “Then that day came and now the world can vibe to ‘Boom’. I made sure to sprinkle some extras on it with the Connecticut homie Front Page coming through putting that Caribbean seasoning on it and then I wanted to be extra sharp with the flows. The inspiration behind the record was letting everyone know that authentic hip-hop does not die. It’s what the people want and what fans of what I do expect from me. Top 5 rap s–t every time I step to the mic.”
New Orleans producer/rapper Ze11a presents “Out Here”, his self-produced new single featuring Anderson.Paak as well as fellow New Orleans rappers LG and Chels. “Out Here’ appears on 4What4U, Ze11a’s new album out now via Empire Distribution also featuring Mannie Fresh, Dee-1, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Pell, and Dani Kartel, the producer behind Juvenile’s “Slo Motion” hit. Ze11a is co-founder of Flight School, a production team that recently released the First Class album featuring YMCMB Flow, Chedda and Killa Kyleon (iTunes), and runs his label The Happy Group alongside manager and partner Ben Simmons. He studied percussion and played with West African drum ensembles for years, including a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Fest. “My goal is to put New Orleans sound back on the map and highlight some of its best talent in the process,” Ze11a says. “I grew up drumming and listening to New Orleans music as well as world music and so once I began producing, my music is influenced by these sounds. Now I feel like it’s my job to take this music to the world. This is how I spread love.” Ze11a says 4What4U came together “like magic. It had its challenges, but i’m grateful to have been able to get all of this talent on my first solo project. And it was totally worth it. Anderson’s name came up while we were working on ‘Out Here’ in its early stages. At the time, only his Venice album was out, and me and my manager just knew that ‘Drugs’ was going to be a hit. This was at least a year and a half before Straight Outta Compton came out. Regardless, we already knew from Venice that we wanted his talent for the album. Also being able to put L.G. and Chels – two dope artists from my city – on a track with him just felt like the right move.”
Flatbush, Brooklyn native VVS Verbal presents the music video for “Grind”, his new single featuring General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun and produced by Burlington, Vermont-based producer Es-K, who produces the entirety of Rebirth Of The Slickest, VVS’ new album out now on Bucktown USA. The video was directed by longtime visual collaborator Shot By Cisco, and scratches were provided by Crusty Cuts. Rebirth Of The Slickest also features Buckshot of Black Moon, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Amelia Wilcox, Ruste Juxx, Guappy, Boone Bixby, Craig G, Grand Daddy I.U. and fellow Backblock member Louie Skaggs, who first introduced VVS to General Steele, spawning a long-term musical partnership that led to several collabs and culminated in the 2016 Bucktown USA release Building Bridges, which featured VVS heavily and was also produced by Es-K. As one half of Smif-N-Wessun, General Steele crashed the hip-hop scene in the 1990s with their debut album Dah Shinin’ (named a Top 100 Album Of All Time by The Source and a Top 50 Debut Album Of All Time by Complex). Their last release – 2011’s Monumental – was produced by Pete Rock, and Steele has also collaborated with Tupac Shakur, Mary J Blige, 50 Cent, Raekwon and Bounty Killer. Es-K may be best known for his 2014 album Serenity (listen) as well as his Spontaneous Grooves beat tape series, where every beat on each tape was made in one sitting each. Bucktown USA is a multi-media company General Steele created in 2004 alongside partner Cynical Smith, with digital distribution through Duck Down. “‘On the grind now today for a better tomorrow’ has been my motto and a way of life for me for some years now, so it was only right to do a record about the grind,” VVS says. “Getting my big bro General Steele on this record was a no-brainer. I was striving to bring that fresh, vibrant Golden Era feel that’s been missing from the game back. This is what I call uplifting inspirational music for the people. You can play this album for everyone from the age eight to age eighty. I want to thank Es-K, General Steele, Cynical Smith, the fans worldwide and everyone who helped make this album possible.”
“Love & Hip Hop: New York” star Amina Buddafly presents the music video for “MOTHER”, the title track from her new album. The music video was directed by Milan Zoe for Lani Land Productions, and the track was produced by Jordan Ruiz alongside Amina, who produced the majority of MOTHER herself, with contributions from Magnedo 7, Mike City and Lee Major as well as Novel, who also guests on one track, as does Amina’s twin sister Jazz Buddafly, who together with Amina made the duo Black Buddafly. Amina released the Music In My Room EP in 2016 (watch the music video for “More Than You”) and released a book, The Other Woman (read the review on VH1.com). Amina says her new album “really reflects the place that I’m at in this time of my life, the woman I’ve become because of what I went through, and mostly, the woman I’ve become because I’m a mother.”
Cliffside Park, NJ singer/songwriter/producer Justin Love presents the music video for his new single “The Weekend”. Justin’s work has been praised by Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Jermaine Dupri and others. Co-writer of the 2016 smash hit “Focus” by H.E.R, Justin’s sound can be described trap hip-hop meets R&B soul. Recently opening for PnB RocK, the self-taught, 22-year-old musician honed his performance skills the same way he built his large following: with nothing but his voice and a Bluetooth speaker, singing to random people at malls and beaches in his suburban hometown until he couldn’t show his face without being mobbed for autographs. By the time he hit 200,000 devoted followers on his Instagram page (along with a number of fan-created Youtube channels reposting his videos), he had posted a series of covers and original material, one of which found their way onto Nicki Minaj’s page. Puerto Rican and Cuban with a hint of Chinese, Justin’s first release was the Dreams Of Love EP, soon followed by Dreams Of Love 2, which spawned the single “Stress No More” which garnered over 1 million streams on Spotify. Justin largely produces his own music, along with help from Cito On The Beat, Shy Boogs, and Curtis Wright, his longtime production unit he stays loyal to unless he’s in the studio with Bangladesh, Sounds and Major, all of whom he’s currently working on material with. His most recent release is Until Love Returns, an EP he recently released to hold fans over until the release of When Love Returns, his forthcoming EP set for a summer 2018 drop.
Queens, New York emcee Rock Mecca presents “One Rhyme To The Next”, his new single featuring Ras Kass and Rah Digga, produced by French beatsmith DJ DJO-One. The track is Rock’s first release since he dropped Ironworld, his new album out now on Soulspazm Records featuring Roc Marciano, Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox, Kool Keith, Mach Hommy, Tragedy Khadafi and Canibus. The album is produced by Jake Palumbo, who has also collaborated with Ras Kass, Masta Ace and El Da Sensei. Rock’s previous projects include the album Pirate Radio Star (stream on Bandcamp) and “Prizefights” (stream on Bandcamp). While wrapping up Ironworld, DJ DJO One hit me up to rhyme over this beat and I had the idea of uniting all the 18th letter (letter R) emcees around that Rakim sample,” says Rock. “Ras Kass comes through the studio a lot so we asked him to be on it and then hit up Rah Digga who ripped it. Since Ironworld was already wrapped up, this is coming out on an EP to be released in June.”
Queens, NY lyricist Mr. Complex presents the music video for “Gotta Get Home”, his new single featuring Dres of Black Sheep, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Prince Po of Organized Konfusion, General DV and Nadine Michel. The single appears on Forever New, his new album produced entirely by Mortal 1, also featuring guest appearances from O.C., Georgia Anne Muldrow, Maya Azucena, Tiye Phoenix, Brianna Nadeau, Caitlyn Riedel and Respect The God. The video was directed by Mr. Complex himself, who branched out into the directing world after staking his name in the New York indie underground hip-hop scene thanks to his releases as part of New York’s Rawkus/Lyricist Lounge movement alongside peers like Pharaohe Monch, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and more. Mr. Complex is also part of Polyrhythm Addicts, a group composed of DJ Spinna, Mr Complex, Shabaam Sahdeeq, and Tiye Phoenix. Complex also recently released a visual for Forever Now single “Then Was Then” (watch).
Bay Area, California emcee J.Lately presents the Erica Eng-directed music video for “Papayas & Blunt Smoke”, the Space Cadet-produced single from J.’s album Be Fucking Happy (stream on Soundcloud), featuring guest appearances from Demrick, Khyenci Tienne, Rexx Life Raj, Beejus and KBong as well as production from Mikos Da Gawd, Chase Moore and Kris Rewlz. Hailing from Sebastopol, and having split time between Oakland and Southern California, Lately has toured with Zion I, Locksmith, and A-Plus of the Hieroglyphics, and his previous releases include “Save Yourself” featuring Blu (Soundcloud) and visuals for “I’ll Be Living” (Youtube) and “Breathe” (Youtube). “The minute that Space Cadet played me this beat I knew I wanted to make this song,” Lately says about the single.”I often get caught up in all the troubles of the world, or searching for all the answers to life, but with this one I just wanted to make a fun song that appreciated the small joys of life. I wanted to live in the moment.”
Berlin and Los Angeles-based producer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Justin Hunter Scott (JHS) presents the self-produced mixtape Enjoy The Sunshine. His previous releases include “Jungle Juice” and “Heading Higher” from the EP Inu Mi Dun Lati Pade E (stream on Bandcamp), “The Crowd Goes Wild” (stream) and “Evolution is Fleeting” (stream). JHS’s music style samples neo-traditional African music with contemporary pop/house music. He obtained his MA in African studies from Yale University in 2013. He has performed at Warp’s 2012 SXSW showcase under his old alias Stout Cortez. Early 2017, he played guitar and synth in the Berlin post-punk band Plattenbau. “I was trapped in a situation beyond my control, waiting on someone else to make an important call that would impact the rest of my life. Stuck,” JHS says. “I did the only thing I know how to do: make music. I tried to capture the possibility of freedom, the propulsive thrust of my desire to move up and out. “Skylit” was the result. I’m obsessed with the sky, with flight, with bodies unregulated by a need for firm footing. I tried to capture these ideas here using my preferred palette: some synths, and a sampler armed with with both some dope left-field highlife and hints of my voice.”
California rapper and self-described “rap game Mark Twain” Monk Mandino presents the DIR.Anonymity-directed music video for “Single”, the Haruna-produced single from his forthcoming album Half Mountain Lion. Monk recently released the Anthropogenic EP, produced exclusively by Bay Area beatsmith DamCold$. McNasty made his name as a battler on the GrindTime circuit (watch Monk McNizzle battle Dizaster) before releasing last year’s Full Metal Rapshet mixtape (stream on Youtube). His most recent video release is “Flimnrop” (watch). In 2014 he released the “Eat Like A Player” videos which documented his one-week tour of impromptu performances in fast-food restaurants and supermarkets across California, and more recently “Security Guard Barz”, where he documents himself rapping through his late-night work shifts (watch both series on his Youtube page). His last album was 2014’s _Monk McNizzle_ (listen). Regarding the song Monk says, “the realest s–t I could do right now is quit smoking cigarettes!”