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)
Kirby Dominant had already lived the stuff of rap fairytales / nightmares by the time his name began ringing bells up and down the West Coast’s ‘90s underground scene. Reared in the same Bay Area circles that produced the Living Legends and Mystik Journeymen who took the independent rap hustle to its bare essentials – a loud mouth, a pair of sturdy legs, and a backpack full of self-produced cassettes – Kirby sealed his worldwide reputation as a freestyle rap prodigy, world-class battle rapper and impossibly prolific studio rat. Champagne Nightmares is his second collaboration with Canadian producer Factor. They call themselves Paranoid Castle, and the name fits the music: hulking, ornate beats atop which Kirby is an elephant on a tightrope, executing a delicate, hour-long balancing act between singing and rapping, pleasure and doubt. Kirby is a grown man with a lot of lives behind him, just trying to figure out how to enjoy this life without hurting anybody, including himself. Champagne Nightmares drops August 30.
“Kirby Dominant has been a longtime friend. He is a great musician. An innovator. Creativity and imagination personified. It’s Zappa meets Prince meets Iceberg Slim on a California street corner. Paranoid Castle is fucking awesome.” -MURS
“My best two Kirby moments – well, three: 1) Seeing him in my Hip-Hop 101 lecture I gave at UC Berkeley 2) Hearing “Niggas & White Girls” for the first time (so dope) 3) Him rocking with me at the NYC Atmosphere show in a wedding outfit – he was some dude’s best man, I think – and just killed it with me like a G! Love Kirb.” -ABSTRACT RUDE
“Whenever Factor and Kirby collide in the studio….they make honest and humorous music of whale-size portions.” -AWOL ONE
After many months of planning and over a year of work, Guns ‘N Roses/The Cult/Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum today unveils five original art pieces unlike anything any visual artist, let alone any musician, has attempted before. The first five pieces in the “Art Of Drums” collection marks nothing less than the creation of a new visual medium: not oil, not acrylic, but a drummer’s rhythm bottled up through a manipulation of time and light and translated onto canvas as visual art. Created in collaboration with SceneFour, the Los Angeles-based creativity house behind artistic ventures with the RZA, Bootsy Collins and many other luminaries, Sorum’s pieces are the first from what will over the coming months become a series of iconic drummers joining the visual art realm through the harnessing of this groundbreaking approach.
“What we found was, each drummer is a painter,” says SceneFour creative director Cory Danziger about the “Art Of Drums” project, an assertion reflected in the distinct personalities of each of the five pieces in Sorum’s collection. An effect recalling Jesus’ face can be seen in To Sail With Jesus, while a cranial image commands My Skull, My Strength. Heart Of Ghosts conveys a supernatural, ethereal feel. Primal, aquatic imagery appears in Stone Fish. Cleopetria is an astonishing vision of a bat in flight.
Only 100 drafts of Sorum’s series of canvases exist, 20 pieces of each. They range in size from 48″x36″ to 30″x20″, each signed and numbered by Sorum. “Drums” collections are forthcoming from Rick Allen of Def Leppard, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, and Frankie “Kash” Waddy of Parliament-Funkadelic.
In the latest chapter in his series of official, artist-sanctioned dubstep remixes, producer/deejay Quickie Mart gives a nod to his New Orleans roots with his dubstep remix of “Shake Fa Ya Hood”, the 1997 street classic from 7th Ward rapper Ricky B (hear the original here). “Shake” follows similar Quickie Mart remixes of songs by Shyvonne and Freddie Gibbs, who also appears on his Haze Diaries mixtape trilogy with NYC rapper Gotham Green (check out Haze Diaries). Ricky just released The Archives, his first new album in over a decade (listen to “Go On Rock Wit It” here).
Dame Dash‘s new label DD172/BluRoc in conjunction with Adidas proudly presents The Hip Hop & Love Tour, visiting 51 American cities between September 27 and November 26. Headlining is Cali indie pioneer Murs, prepping for his first DD172/BluRoc release Love & Rockets Vol.1, The Transformation, a collaboration album with Jay-Z/Mos Def producer Ski Beatz, also appearing on the tour with his band The Senseis. Also billed is West African-born rapper Tabi Bonney, who duets with Murs on the free download “Hip Hop & Love”, available for streaming at hiphopandlovetour.com and free download here. Rapper Da$h of The Heirs appears fresh off the release of his new mixtape Chron Burgundy. Vocalist and Wiz Khalifa/Nicole Wray collaborator McKenzie Eddy is also slated for the tour, as well as producer/multi-instrumentalist Sean O’Connell, best known for his work with Curren$y on Muscle Car Chronicles. The Hip Hop & Love Tour brings the DD172/BluRoc roster under one bill and is the newest manifestation of Dame Dash’s vision for creativity and expression in this new era, a journey whose other milestones include Creative Control TV and his Manhattan-based art gallery and creativity space DD172.
“When I punch people they stay punched, unless I elbow them and then they don’t get up”-Rheteric
Raised in NYC in the ’80s and L.A. in the ’90s, Dominican-American emcee Rheteric Ramirez has been making a home for himself at the sweet spot where brains meet fist for the last fifteen years. His unique brand of ‘intellectual mauling’ has made him one of underground hip-hop’s most most unique emcees much like Nocando, resident host of L.A.’s notorious Low End Theory weekly and founder of Hellfyre Club, the new imprint under Alpha Pup Records now presenting Rhet’s first single “Break Tha Bank”. Hellfyre is also home to emcees Intuition, Open Mike Eagle, Sahtyre and VerBS. “Eric was one of my top 3 influences in the L.A. rap scene as a teenager,” says Nocando. “He was original, witty, and passionate about everything he said. I really believe that there are no lies in his music. He has always been a polarizing guy, either you love him or you hate him. If you show love for him he’ll fight for you, if you show hate for him you might get your ass kicked.”
On March 8, Libyan-American rapper Khaled M released “Can’t Take Our Freedom”, a song featuring Iraqi-British rapper Lowkey protesting Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi‘s slaughter of his own people. Filled with exclusive and extremely graphic civilian footage from the Libyan frontlines, the accompanying video received 50,000 hits in its first week before Youtube mysteriously took it down, citing a violation of its Terms Of Service. An appeal promptly filed with Youtube was denied. Fans began reposting the video – some even posting their own versions – and started a petition site to have the official video reinstated. Now, months later, after extensive mediation between a party mutual to Khaled’s team and Youtube, the “Freedom” video has returned, although you must prove you are 18 or over to view. “I don’t know if it was someone trying to suppress the message,” says Khaled. “There’s a lot o f other graphic stuff on Youtube, so maybe someone just didn’t like the message. I just know there was something fishy about it, something inconsistent.” Khaled was named “Lyricist Of The Year” at the Chicago Urban Music Awards, and LowKey was recently named one of the UK’s top ten artists by MTV. “Freedom” is the first single from Khaled’s upcoming fall release, the FreE.P. He’s headlining the official kickoff event for this year’s North Coast Music Festival featuring Wiz Khalifa, David Guetta and Common at Chicago’s House Of Blues on September 1, two days before he starts his Freedom Tour, which will visit college campuses nationwide.
Born blind on October 10, 1984 in Camden, South Carolina, Blind Fury’s mother was told her son didn’t have a chance of seeing his first birthday. He was playing the keyboard by four, singing by five, rapping by nine and slaying emcees before international audience by nineteen on MTV’s Rocafella Battle in 2003. After receiving the co-sign from Jamie Foxx, Killer Mike, T.I., KaySlay, DJ Premier, Ghostface, Ludacris, FatMan Scoop, Gregg Street, Big Gipp and many more, his debut album Beautiful dropped July 5 on Gang Green Records. MTV made his rhyme skills world-renowned, but “Feel Some Type Of Way” is a slow-burning R&B cut that announces him as a singer/songwriter at heart.
Cali rap pioneer Murs recently spent a few weeks on the East Coast recording with Ski Beatz, the producer behind legendary tracks for Jay-Z, Mos Def, Curren$y, Jay Electronica and many more. He’s now back on the West Coast, without his trademark dreadlocks, but with a new album: Love & Rockets, Volume 1: The Transformation, set to drop this fall on Dame Dash‘s DD172/BLUROC labels in conjunction with a sixty-day tour. More details forthcoming. In this video clip, Murs walks into Frank’s Chop Shop in NYC and emerges a few pounds lighter…
WHAT WOULD A PICTURE OF YOUR FAVORITE SONG LOOK LIKE? The Art Of Drums, a historic collection of fine art spearheaded by Los Angeles creativity house SceneFour in collaboration with ten of the world’s greatest drummers, can finally answer that question. On August 5, the flagship “Art Of Drums” collection featuring former Guns ‘N Roses/Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum (to be revealed exclusively at mattsorumart.com) will premiere a groundbreaking method of capturing music on canvas. Hundreds of drum bursts are recorded, reduced to light impulses, digitized, evaluated by several photographers, graphic artists and all under the direction of the music artist. This experienced team of creative professionals spends over 100 hours creating a unique product mammoth in size, stunning in composition. “This is something different than what people are used to seeing,” SceneFour Creative Director Cory Danziger states. “It’s a new medium. It’s not acrylic or oil, it’s light and color and sound captured. The rhythm is on display for you to see.“
Following Sorum’s release will be drum art collections released by a who’s-who of the world’s ten best drummers. Rick Allen of Def Leppard, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Frankie “Kash” Waddy of Parliament/Funkadelic and six other legendary drummers are each creating individual collections of 100 epic-sized canvases to be released every other month for 20 months. Each drummer will release ten different pieces, each of which will be presented in ten one-of-a-kind drafts, all numbered and signed.
The Art of Drums is the brainchild of famed art house SceneFour, the team behind collaborative artwork with The RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Chuck D of Public Enemy, Bootsy Collins, TLC, Hieroglyphics, DJ QBert, Fishbone, Helmet and George Lynch. With the sole focus of pushing what it calls ‘extractionist’ artwork, SceneFour works in collaboration with non-visual art visionaries to create collaborative fine art collections. The Art Of Drums is the company’s most extensive release to date, taking more than a year in development. The collection will debut in Beverly Hills before going to galleries worldwide. For inquiries about the collection, visit www.theartofdrumsproject.com and www.mattsorumart.com.
BOOTSY COLLINS PUT THE BASS IN MODERN MUSIC. His Funk University aims to keep it there, and he has enlisted the most legendary bass players alive to help him for Year Two, commencing today. British bassist/songwriter/vocalist Jack Bruce made history alongside famed guitarist Eric Clapton as one third of Cream, the hugely successful and influential rock trio whose hits like “Sunshine Of Your Love” and “White Room” are classic rock staples, but those are only the songs that made him famous. It is his over 50 years spent charging into genres like blues, avant-garde, fusion, jazz and world music with acts like Manfred Mann, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Frank Zappa, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Peter Frampton and many more that has made him one of the world’s most respected musicians. Today he takes his place as a Funk U professor alongside fellow Year Two additions Stanley Clarke, Larry Graham of Sly & The Family Stone, Verdine White of Earth Wind & Fire, upright bass master Ron Carter and Hansford Rowe. They join Funk U Year One professors Les Claypool of Primus, Meshell Ndegeocello, Victor Wooten, John B. Williams, Beyonce bassist Divinity Roxx, Dennis Chambers, Thee Ram Jam, Frankie “Kash” Waddy, Bakithi Kumalo, P-Nut of 311, Blackbyrd McKnight, Public Enemy bassist Brian Hardgroove and Billy Bass.
If your stereo has a bass setting – and it almost certainly does – thank Bootsy Collins. From his work with James Brown and Parliament/Funkadelic to Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is In The Heart” all the way to his new album Tha Funk Capitol Of The World, the world has been a brighter, funkier place since the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer stepped into a world of treble and gave it some low end. Committed to music education, Collins founded the Bootsy Collins Foundation, its main goal to provide “an instrument for every child”. Now part of the Foundation, the Funk University is another manifestation of that same vision: a world where the gift of music is respected, preserved and passed on. To that end, Funk U is offering scholarships for financially challenged funkateers courtesy of exclusive sponsors DR Strings, Warwick, AKG and Gig FX, as well as savings for purchasing six months at a time.
For $29.99 a month, Funk U students get access to the ‘virtual campus’ at thefunkuniversity.com, where original lessons and tutorials geared to beginners, intermediate and advanced players along with lectures about the music industry and recording will be available, all on-demand to fit the busiest of schedules. From exercises on slapping from the players who created the technique, all the way to no-holds-barred observations on what it takes to ‘make it’ from the guys who actually did, Funk U compresses decades of experience into hour upon hour of invaluable tutelage. In addition to a wealth of brand new content, students will also have access to all Year One material. By Year Two’s end, a record will be completed featuring axework from Funk U’s sharpest students. Funk University is produced by SceneFour, the notorious L.A. creativity house responsible for projects with Al Gore’s Current TV, MTV-U, Nine Inch Nails, the RZA, Marilyn Manson, The Pixies, and Beck.
Funk U Year Two has a 1000 student cap on enrollment. Get exclusive updates and enroll at www.thefunkuniversity.com.
“The Star Spangled Banner” is just a song played at ball games. America’s real national anthem, the song that puts us all in the same place the second those transcendent opening notes rain down, is “September”, the 1978 smash by Earth Wind & Fire, the celebrated, Grammy-laden R&B band with residencies on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame and the hearts of millions as well as their native Chicago. EWF frontman based the bandname on his zodiac sign of Sagittarius, which has a primary elemental quality of Fire and seasonal qualities of Earth and Air. But it’s common knowledge from the second the band takes the stage that the lion’s share of the fire is supplied by Maurice’s little brother, bassist extraordinaire and force of nature Verdine White.
Verdine still remembers the first time he saw a bass guitar. “The instrument was standing alone in the corner of the orchestra class… tall, mysterious and majestic, so different from the others, it called me and the love affair began.” Not five years later his brother Maurice called him out to Los Angeles to come join EWF. Verdine never looked back. Today, Verdine’s technical yet soulful playing embodies the EWF aesthetic, and he is the most energetic element of a finely tuned music machine that has performed hits like “Shining Star”, “Serpentine Fire” and “Fantasy” for presidents, kings and sultans, as well as adoring crowds on every continent.
White takes his rightful place at Funk U in a lineup of bona fide bass icons like Les Claypool of Primus, Meshell Ndegeocello, Victor Wooten, John B. Williams, Beyonce bassist Divinity Roxx, Dennis Chambers, Thee Ram Jam, Frankie “Kash” Waddy, Bakithi Kumalo, P-Nut of 311, Blackbyrd McKnight, Public Enemy bassist Brian Hardgroove and Billy Bass. Exercises, lectures and tutorials are conducted on the ‘virtual campus’ at thefunkuniversity.com, boasting a wealth of content to engage beginners, intermediate and advanced players alike, as well as new classes for upright bass training. Exclusive Sponsors DR Strings, Warwick, AKG and Gig FX are offering scholarships this year for financially challenged students. Funk University is produced by SceneFour, the notorious L.A. creativity house responsible for projects with Al Gore’s Current TV, MTV-U, Nine Inch Nails, the RZA, Marilyn Manson, The Pixies, and Beck.
Funk U Year Two has a 1000 student cap on enrollment. Get exclusive updates and enroll at www.thefunkuniversity.com.