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Artists Moe Green
event::about Critical Praise for Moe Green: Selected as a member of 106 KMEL's Freshmen Class of 2010 (the biggest Bay Area hip-hop station). The rap game is overflowing with aspiring new MCs, all crammed into a single ring fighting for that lone heavyweight title. One particular competitor who has fully dedicated himself to the good fight is 22-year old Moe Green from Vallejo, California. His debut album, Rocky Maivia: Non-Title Match, is titled after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s first professional ring name and perfectly embodies Moe's place in today’s hip-hop circuit – the newcomer who is one day going to hold the championship belt. “The idea behind Rocky Maivia is the come up,” says Moe. “It’s about stepping into the league with the pros and aiming for the stars.” While his parents spun old school funk, jazz, and, occasionally, hip-hop, Moe's early musical influences stemmed from whatever was popular at the time, not necessarily what hip-hop purists lauded. As part of the TRL generation, Moe incorporates elements of pop music, often draping his impressive verses over the kind of beats most people wouldn’t assume an up-and-coming hip-hop artist would use. Moe’s sound beds range from sparse and blunted (“Ride”) to jazzy (“KIM”), and he’s just as comfortable singing hooks over driving soul-tinged beats (“Search Party”) as he is rapping over electro-house artist Kavinsky’s 80’s soundtrack-like sounds (bonus track “Lights, Camera, Action”) and a drippy, spacey dubstep version of synthpop duo La Roux’s “In The Kill” (“Going For The Kill”). But to this day, Moe’s main source of inspiration comes from his hometown of Vallejo. Tucked away in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vallejo is well documented as the birthplace of rap legends E-40 and Mac Dre, but despite the city's recognition as a hip-hop hot spot, Vallejo is suffering its own fair share of hardships. In 2008, Moe’s hometown became the largest city in the state to file for bankruptcy and continues to struggle from financial adversity. The domino effect of these events has directly affected the morale of his community and motivates Moe to create sincere music that inspires his peers. “After hearing my music, I want people to recognize me as somebody they can relate to because I make honest music,” says Moe who cites the track "Day Dreamer" featuring Ragen Fykes as an example of the honest, everyday emotions expressed in his music. “Everybody hates being broke, hates their job, goes through relationship problems, wants dope shoes and clothes, has guilty pleasures and that's what I rap about.” Like any fighter, years of training, dedication, and discipline are required to claim the top spot. Moe has been training for this his entire life. Having competed in speech and poetry meets growing up, Moe found himself genuinely attracted to the creative freedom music imparted early in his life, even writing rhymes in kindergarten with his childhood best friend and E-40’s son, Droop-E. What initially began as a childhood hobby progressed into a full-blown passion when Moe resolved to make music his life. “I decided to make a career out of music when I realized I wanted to find something to do with my life that didn’t make me hate waking up in the morning,” says Moe who, on the somber "Emerald City," raps about his desire to look back on life happy with his decisions and the conflicts encountered on the road to success. “Growing up, my mom always said she should have been in Hollywood. I don’t want to look back on my life someday and wonder ‘What if’?' I’m ready to fight for my place in hip-hop.” Listeners of Rocky Maiva can expect to hear tales from a young man from a hard hit city trying to find his way in the world the best he can. On growing from Rocky Maivia to one day standing amongst the greats, Moe says, “I need to win a couple belts first. I have to prove that I have the skill to do that and this album is like my wrestling debut.” And so, the journey begins.
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Artists The Jacka
event::about The Jacka is a West Coast sensation, known for his Underground lyrics, style, and content. Crowned for being "The dopest", his upcoming projects including "The Street Album" and "Tear Gas" have already caused mainstream chaos, and eager anticipation from coast to coast. Biography Enter the Jacka. The death of 2Pac in the mid 90’s ripped the heart out of West Coast Hip Hop. At the same time a young street poet named the Jacka was honing his skills in the Bay Area Rap game. Born to teenage parents, he was raised in the hip hop culture and exposed to break dancing, rap music and graffiti at an unusually young age. While growing up, he was a very serious fan of the whole hip hop culture as well as music in general. Always open minded, he was influenced by b-boys and thugs, pimps and Imams. The Jacka has since developed into an West Coast independent phenomenon, who reigns for being the dopest. He has been featured on over 100 albums over the past seven years. His contributions to the Mob Figaz self-entitled album resulted in over 100,000 units sold. He has toured with many artists including Mac Dre, Yukmouth (of the Luniz), C-Bo, the Mob Figaz, and Keak da Sneak as well as by himself in order to create nationwide notoriety. His first solo release (featuring Too $hort, Cormega, Christion, and Yukmouth) in 2002 sold over 20,000 units. Jacka sold these units himself, in the Bay Area and through shipping to one-stops across the country. Though great support came from the Bay Area, more than half of Jacka’s sales came from outside of California. Jacka’s success proves his mettle as an emcee. His sophomore album The Jack Artist (2005), is one of the higher selling albums in the Bay Area, on pace to outsell his debut release. With hit singles such as “Barney (More Crime)” ft. Cormega and Rydah J. Klyde (Mob Figaz), and “Girls Say” to go along with nothing dope album cuts like “Looking At It” ft. Keak da Sneak and Yukmouth & “Never Blink”, the album was an instant classic with the fans. In 2006 & 2007, the Jacka stayed pushing a fury of music with continuous features, collaborations and mixtapes with DJ’s such as DJ Juice, The Demolition Men & DJ KTone. The demand for his underground music accelerated him into the position of being nominated in the 2nd annual Bay Area Rap Scene Awards (B.A.R.S.) for “Best Underground Artist”, as well as “Group of the Year” for his affiliation as a member of the Mob Figaz. His dedication to music and hard work paid off when he received the award for “Best Underground Artist” in 2006. He also beat out heavy competition to win the 2008 Ozone Award for "Patiently Waiting: California". Currently at over 5 million myspace plays, his latest 2 newly released singles have soared to over 1 million plays each. With the success of winning two important awards, Jacka still continues to raise the bar by maintaining the momentum in the Bay Area and in key markets outside the Bay. He's received countless magazine/online press Nationally & Internationally including UK, Canada, and Germany. Releases including ‘Devilz Rejectz’, ‘Mob Trial 1 & 2’, and a side project entitled “Jack of All Trades” has kept his fans happy and his fan base growing. He released 11 separate projects in 2008, including "The Street Album", and will release his 3rd album “Tear Gas” in Spring 2009. The Jacka’s lyrics voice the code of the streets and the stories of everyday struggles. His message is one of faith, growth, and determination in the midst of dope and unsolved murders. The Jacka is a leading force in filling the gap left by past-departed West Coast soldiers. Listen closer. Instrumentation Discography Tear Gas - June Release (3rd EP) The Street Album - December 2008 Release (11th project for 2008) All Over Me Bay Remix - f. Matt Blaque, Messy Marv, Keak da Sneak, Dem Hoodstarz & FedX - Prod. by Traxamillion - 2008 All Over Me f. Matt Blaque - 2008 (Has over 2k radio spins) Mob Trial Series: Part I - 2006 (Jacka/Husalah/AP-9) Part II - 2007 (Jacka/FedX/Rydah) Part III - 2008 (Jacka/AP-9/FedX) Devilz Rejectz - 2007 (The Jacka/Ampichino) The Jack Artist - 2006 EP Girls Say - 2005 (received light radio play) Get Out There - 2005 (1st song on the radio) Hey Girl - 2001 (One of his most popular songs to date) The Jacka - Self-Titled - 2001 EP C-Bo's Mob Figaz - 1999 EP **ADDITIONAL DISCOGRAPHY AS REQUESTED** Links: www.myspace.com/thejackamobfigaz
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Artists Foreign Legion
event::about Truth is stranger than fiction. Prozack Turner and Marc Stretch are caught between a world of full of cynical underground hip hop heads constantly complaining of the genre's state, and the over saturated pop charts, full of sub par rappers with auto tuned vocals. There are only a handful of artists in either genre that are not simply cookie cut from the bland, left over dough of idiot pie. Foreign Legion aren't your typical Oakland California rappers from the street, they're actually both formally educated sort of. Marc Stretch won a full ride to Barbizon for his natural gift of 'sideways hat modeling' and Prozack Turner graduated from a court appointed drunk driver awareness class in 1996. The two met at a Kid and Play film festival in the south of France in 1997 and began making music history within weeks. Foreign Legion dropped out of what seemed like nowhere (Oakland, Ca.) in 1999 on a now classic Abb Records(Dilated Peoples, Little Brother) single titled, 'Over Night Success' and went on to sell 20,000 copies of their initial '12 inch release. The full length 'Kidnapper Van' lp and world tour followed, as well as sharing the stage with everyone from Brother Ali, Gangstarr, Krs One, Zion I, Del The Funky Homosapien, The Beatnuts, DITC, Zion I and Tha Liks! Enough of the name-dropping let's talk about Foreign Legion. They have worked in the studio with the greatest minds in hip hop music, namely, Madlib, Jay Dilla, Pete Rock, Freeway, Jake One, Dj Design, G Koop, Organized Noize, (Outkast) and The Alchemist, not to mention that Foreign Legion emcee Marc Stretch once sat next to Judith Light('Who's The Boss') at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Their highly entertaining stage shows were complete with now famous costumes and the the giant of a man, Marc Stretch (6'10, 375 lbs) carrying the elvin boy wonder, Prozack Turner (4'10, 77 lbs.) in a backpack during their set! Their electrifying star power soon grabbed the attention of Mike D of The Beastie Boys, who courted them for possible signing with his then label, Grand Royal Records. The crew relocated to Los Angeles but the deal fell apart shortly after when Marc Stretch 'borrowed' Mike D's car without asking and was found sleeping in a Golf Land parking lot, passed out in the front seat with his head resting in an empty tray of what looked like 7-11 Nachos, a twenty sack of Grand Daddy Purple, a copy of Cat Fancy (the Christmas In Kitty Land issue) and an empty bottle of Royal Gate vodka. The group disbanded over the incident. The charges were dropped and Stretch returned to Oakland to continue looking for his real father. DreamWorks records signed Prozack Turner to a solo deal shortly after but they decided to shelf the album and quit the music business altogether, due to a combination of declining cd sales and Turner's declining hairline. Three years later, Turner returned to Oakland and randomly ran into Stretch and reconnected in an internet chat room for music business related suicide prevention. Fast forward to 2010. It's been 13 years, five record labels, five managers, three dj's, three lawyers (both entertainment and criminal), countless producers, court dates and versions of that CSI program later, and Foreign Legion are ready to release their third studio album, 'Night Moves'.
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Artists Binary Star
event::about One Be Lo and Senim Silla possess a lethal chemistry greater than the sum of its parts. Trading verses effortlessly, the two can create magic on the mic ranging from intricate storytelling to battle raps. Hailing from Pontiac, Michigan - Lo and Senim originally met in high school and instantly developed a close friendship. However one poor decision that could have easily derailed their career, made the bond between them stronger and more focused. An armed robbery conviction landed them both in prison for a three-year sentence and during this time Binary Star officially came into existence in 1995. Post-incarceration, Binary Star goes on to release their independent Water World album in 1998, re-released as M.O.T.U. in 2000. Currently, Binary Star is performing and recording their 2nd installment, "Prodigal Suns".
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event::about As an emcee, dee jay, producer and CEO of his aptly named company Triple Threat Productions, J-Live's music has been a staple of inspiration for listeners of underground hip hop from New York to Cali and around the world. His discography spans over 10 years and includes four full length albums (The Best Part, All of the Above, The Hear After and Then What Happened) as well as two EPs (Always Will Be & Reveal The Secret) a collection of earlier singles (Always Has Been) and countless guest appearances and features. In support of these records J-Live has toured around the country as well as Canada, the UK, Europe, The Middle East, South Africa, Japan, Brazil and Australia. While J-Live is all but a household name to those who collect their knowledge of hip hop music via mainstream radio, he has worked with his share of icons in the industry. Producers such as DJ Premiere, Pete Rock, DJ Spinna, Prince Paul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Spooky, Numark, Da Beatminerz, Dan the Automater to name a few. Recording artists the likes of Mos Def, El Da Sensei, Wordsworth, Talib Kweli, Chali Tuna and several others have all shared song credits with J- Live. World renown for a stage show that lives up to his name, J has toured around the country as well as Canada, the UK, Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. J-Live shared stages with artists such as The Roots, Wyclef Jean, Fabolous, Soulive, Ozomatli, Soundtribe Sector 9, Blackalicious, Sister Nancy, Wu Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, MF Doom, KRS One, and many others. Born Jean-Jacques Cadet (Jon Joc Ka-Day) and raised by his Mother in Spanish Harlem on the east side of Manhattan off First Ave, J-Live reps NY in more ways than one. While working towards his bachelors degree in English from State University of New York at Albany, J-live was already touring the world and learning the ropes of the industry. Introduced to the 5% Nation (or Nation of Gods & Earths) during his college years, Jean-Jacques would eventually change his name to Justice Allah. Before graduating, with the help of Raw Shack Productions, he signed a deal with Payday / London / PolyGram. Shortly after graduating, J learned that the best laid plans o’ mice and rappers oft go awry. Especially when corporate take-overs dissolve labels and separate artists from distributors. In 1999, the highly anticipated, often illegally duplicated debut album “The Best Part” would go down in history as one of the best records never heard. That is at least until the many bootleg versions were followed by the official release in 2001. By then, J was living in Brooklyn, teaching 7th Grade Language Arts in some of New York’s toughest school districts. J would find himself at a crossroads in 2002. With the opportunity to release what would be his “second first album” All of the Above”. J decided to suspend his teaching career and pursue music full time. All of the Above was released on independent label Coup D E’tat / Caroline’s. After severing ties with CDE, J put out his first totally self produced project in 2003, Always Will Be. The 8 song EP released on Fat Beats Records showed fans that Triple Threat was more than just a corporate identity as J took on the task of all verses, beats and scratches himself. In 2005, with Penalty Ryko’s release of The Hear After, it became clear that as labels come and go, J-Live would continue to find a way to release quality music to his ever growing fan base. People have come to expect a certain standard of quality with every J-Live record. Whether self produced or working with others, J’s beats are typically bass heavy consistent boom-bap instrumentals that incorporate and infuse various genres of music from afro beat, latin, jazz, reggae, rock, and funk into his own distinct timeless hip hop sound. For better or worse, J-Live has developed a reputation for going against the grain of an industry dominated by flavor of the month pigeon holed made up characters. J’s subject matter is as eclectic as his taste in music. His most popular tracks show that he is more than just a boastful wordsmith that can rock a party. Often times an introspective philosopher of life, love, music, and people, J delivers hard hitting well thought out social commentary on issues ranging from US Foreign policy to the environment, black on black crime to police brutality. However, he is very deliberate in maintaining balance on each of his albums. Humorous, sometimes hilarious narratives like One for the Griot or Car Trouble are filled with vivid imagery. There are the traditionally devastating battle verses on songs like Whoever and Always Will Be. Party and show anthems like Adda Cipher, Harder, and Don’t Play. As his reputation and following continue to grow with his catalogue, the one common and constant theme in J-Live’s ever evolving style of music, is the use of original styles, and imaginative concepts, to stay fresh relevant and timeless.
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event::about Before the Grey Hairs, REKS was just a teenager who fell in love with the hip-hop movement. Little did he know, one day he would experience working with the legendary DJ Premier and Large Professor. Born Corey Isaiah Christie in Lawrence, Massachusetts, August 24th, 1977, REKS practically grew up with Hip-Hop. He first embraced the hip-hop culture by becoming a break-dancer with Funk Town Connection (FTC), competing all over the city of Lawrence. The legendary Rap styles of KRS-One, Slick Rick, and Ice Cube inspired him to pick up the mic and start writing rhymes at a young age. Not too long after that, REKS gained notoriety in his hometown through cipher battles and memorable stage performances. After high school, REKS enrolled into the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. With the Kanye West drive and mentality, REKS decided to drop out of college after one year to pursue his music career full-time. REKS got his career boost in the state’s hip-hop capital, Boston, Mass. He took the underground hip-hop scene by storm and surprised everyone with his first debut album Along Came the Chosen on Landspeed Records in 2001. The album featured his production from his ex-classmates Soul Searchers, Fakts One, and a then 18-year old Statik Selektah. The album also featured Underground Hip Hop's finest at the time, including Pace-Won & Young Zee of the Outsiderz, 7l & Esoteric, J-Live Shabaam Sahdiq, and MSC group members Lucky Dice and Chi Knox. The critically acclaimed LP was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Album & Artist of the Year at The Boston Music Awards and was featured in the Source, XXL, Vibe, and URBS “Next 100”. The album's single “Skills 101” reached 45 on the Billboard Singles chart, putting him on shows and tours with The Clipse, Ghostface Killah, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Redman, De La Soul, Method Man, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Boot Camp Click, JR Writer and one of his idols KRS-One. REKS went on to release the street releases Rekless and Happy Holidays. After several years in the game, REKSREKS spent most of 2007-2008 in the air, flying back and forth to studio sessions in New York and his current residence in Hollywood, Florida. The momentous album features producers DJ Premier, Large Professor, Blaze P, DC The Midi Alien, Soul Theory, DEMOBeatz, 1914 and ten tracks by Statik Selektah. The guestlist includes Lil Fame of MOP, Consequence, Skyzoo, Krumb Snatcha, Termanology, Jon Hope, Paula Campbell, Big Shug and Lucky Dice. Grey Hairs was released on July 22nd 2008 and has since been viewed as an underground classic amongst die hard hiphop fans worldwide. On March 10th 2009 REKS made More Grey Hairs available thru Itunes for Digital Download. More Grey Hairs features leftover material from the Grey Hairs recordings. Be on the lookout for REKS upcoming self titled studio album R.E.K.S. (Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme) scheduled to be released Early 2011. The Year of the Showoff continues.....
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event::about The hip-hop trio Artifacts, comprised of MCs El Da Sensei, Tame One, and DJ KAOS, were described by Vibe's Christian Ex as, "decidedly geared toward the elusive chimera that is Hip-Hop Purist." Based in Newark, NJ, the trio is noted for verbal stamina, memorable rhymes, and eschewing traditional gangsta rap. The Source's Durwin Chow described the group's music as, "antagonistic freestyle barrages centered around infectiously simple yet assuaging choruses." In an interview with Rigoberto Morales of The Source, El Da Sensei described why the band was content being labeled "underground" in the realm of hip-hop. He said, "If it wasn't for groups like us, Beatnuts, Common, Organized, or the Roots ... There wouldn't be any underground, nothing secondary to run to... where else would you go? It's also a place where you start, and start over." Disbanding after their sophomore album, "That's Them", the Artifacts have recently reunited and have been once again performing across the US to hungry and deserving fans. SXSW goers can expect nothing less than 110% beats rhymes and life from these Hip hop legends.
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Artists Badbwoy BMC
event::about Bass Music Culture For more than a decade Badbwoy BMC has helped define Bass Music Culture in Houston, Texas. First, as one of Texas' most sought after jungle/drum 'n bass/ dubstep DJs, and most recently as a Producer. BMC's production talent led quickly to numerous digital, vinyl, and CD releases on respected underground labels such as: Dirty Circuit; Shift; Stupid Fly; Betamorph and his own label Eye-Ten Recordings. His track titled ÂThe AttackÂ was also featured on the video game Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding 2 for Xbox console. Badbwoy BMC's musical influences are rooted in reggae, and hip hop, and his resume includes membership in Tha Purrin Lion Sound Flex Crew (a group of some of Houston's most respected old school junglists, whose dance parties helped pioneer the Bass Music Culture in Houston); publishing one of North America's only drum'n bass magazines to date(Tha Pride 1997-2001); founding Texas Dub (a crew of Houston dubstep producers and DJs; 2007), and co-founding Eye-Ten Recordings, with crew mate Intager (currently on its 5th release; 2009). Some of his side projects include teaming up with Rebel Crew members Joe B. and DJ Suma to form the musical group Heavy Heights (ÂTruth & RightsÂ LP CD/Digital; Starlight; 2007), as well as releasing a collaborative 5 track compilation with former Texas Dub crew member Bukkah called F8 (ÂF8ÂEP; Dirty Circuit; 2010). In his spare time, tha Badbwoy has also worked on remixes for local vocalists Karina Nistal (ÂNothing For MeÂ), Shina Rae (ÂTouchÂ) and indie band Posr (ÂClairvoyantÂ). In addition to producing original drum'n bass and dubstep tracks and remixes for a multitude of artists and acts, BMC is consistently booked to headline massive raves, club shows, and special events throughout the South. BMC also finds time to host a biweekly internet radio show the second and fourth Tuesday of the month (Traffic on sub.fm). With an untouchable arsenal of exclusive, original and collaboratively produced remixes, his live shows display his all-star level of talent locking double drops; chopping beats; syncopating sounds in unison, and making seamless mixes that keep the dance floor packed in any venue. Recently, BMC signed with the South's most famous independent hip hop label: SwishaHouse (http://www.swishahouse.info). Recognized worldwide for bringing Houston's own chopped and screwed music to the forefront of hip hop, SwishaHouse has once again positioned itself as the label on the cutting edge of the music industry. The first set of remixes produced under the SwishaHouse label include work done with SwishaHouse's beautiful and talented first lady and number one dame in the game, Surreall (ÂI'm A Model,Â ÂKnow How ToÂ); Paul Wall (ÂI Rep Texas,Â ÂBreak Dem Boyz Off,Â ÂSkillzÂ), and Archie Lee (ÂAt The BarÂ). SwishaHouse has plans to release a new mixtape that includes 24 remixes of classic HTown anthems' 18 produced by BMC and the remainder composed by Texas' own Chango, Suma, Chi, Parson and Dread Foxx. BMC has earned respect as one of the hardest working and popular DJ/Producer/Promoters in the Southern United States, and a mainstay of Houston's Bass Music Culture. Bear witness to a mixture of sounds uniquely constructed to contain audible appeal that draws in underground dubstep heads, rap, and hip hop lovers alike!
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Cali Zack vs. Gidon
Artists Cali Zack vs. Gidon
event::about Texas Battle League is the premier rap battle league in Texas. With a roster of over 40 rappers and expanding, TBL is taking the state by storm. In this battle of two original TBL favorites, Gidon from Austin takes on Cali Zack from Los Angeles who also resides in Austin. You can watch all of our past events at http://www.TexasBattleLeague.com
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Lawjick vs. J-Redd
Artists Lawjick vs. J-Redd
event::about Texas Battle League is the premier rap battle league in Texas. With a roster of over 40 rappers and expanding, TBL is taking the state by storm. In this battle Lawjick from San Antonio takes on J-Redd of Austin. You can watch all of our past events at http://www.TexasBattleLeague.com
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Gutta vs. Core
Artists Gutta vs. Core
event::about Texas Battle League is the premier rap battle league in Texas. With a roster of over 40 rappers and expanding, TBL is taking the state by storm. In this battle of TBL heavyweights undefeated Gutta of Austin takes on Core the pride of San Antonio in a battle for bragging rights in central Texas . You can watch all of our past events at http://www.TexasBattleLeague.com
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Rheteric Ramirez vs. Michael White
event::about Texas Battle League is the premier rap battle league in Texas. With a roster of over 40 rappers and expanding, TBL is taking the state by storm. In this battle the well-known and respected Rheteric Ramirez from Los Angeles takes on underdog Michael White the pride of Corpus Christi. You can watch all of our past events at http://www.TexasBattleLeague.com
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Cadalack Ron vs. Mr. Fitness
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Artists Cadalack Ron vs. Mr. Fitness
event::about Texas Battle League is the premier rap battle league in Texas. With a roster of over 40 rappers and expanding, TBL is taking the state by storm. In this battle Cadalack Ron, a highly popular national battler from Los Angeles takes on Mr. Fitness of Austin who is undefeated in TBL. You can watch all of our past events at http://www.TexasBattleLeague.com
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Madness vs. Japanese Jesus
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Artists Madness vs. Japanese Jesus
event::about Texas Battle League is the premier rap battle league in Texas. With a roster of over 40 rappers and expanding, TBL is taking the state by storm. In this battle Japanese Jesus co-owner of TBL and originally from Fayetteville, NC takes on a very well respected national battler, Madness from Florida. You can watch all of our past events at http://www.TexasBattleLeague.com
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Go DJ Knowledge & The Trendsetters (Between Sets)
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event::about From a very early age, DJ Knowledge knew he wanted to man the turntables. Currently based in Austin, Knowledge was turned on to DJ culture after hearing artists like Funkmaster Flex and DJ Premiere perform on the radio during a childhood trip to New York City. The Texas DJ primarily spins hip-hop and plays regularly both on the radio and at parties and club nights throughout the Austin area. 2008 DJ of the Year(Austin Hip-Hop Awards), Inducted into the Go DJs in 2009, 2010 Underground DJ of the Year(Platinum Hood Awards)
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Snow Tha Product
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Artists Snow Tha Product
event::about Snow tha Product, a native of California, but resident of Texas, is an underground phenomenon and sensation taking the scene by storm in a way that has put male MCs on alert. She’s a beauty and a beast – looks and lyrical skills on the microphone, respectively. Physical stature aside, she stands as tall as any female MC in the game and can wreck a track in fluent Spanish or English with a handful of male MCs trying to match her lyrical level, as she did on Capea El Dough P City Remix. Let us be forthcoming about 22-year-old, Claudia A. Feliciano. We'd put her up against any female MC in the game, and we're confident she'd give anyone of them a run for their money... or take their money. She's a versatile, bilingual lyricist who can fluently chop you up in English or Spanish, so take your pick. She has the swag, attitude, fine-ass looks and in-your-face rhyming abilities to be a hip-hop sensation in the U.S. or Latin America, if only the industry could, as Snow would say it, wake they’re game up. For now, Feliciano, better known to the streets as Snow Tha Product, is going to have to settle for being an international underground buzz-maker. We're not exaggerating. You can find her on anything from videos with major-label Spanish-pop sensations like Jaime Kohen, to hit rap videos in Latin America to underground Mic Passes in Texas. Everything we want in a Latino - excuse us - Latina, hip-hop artist. “I am versatile and even though I've been taught the industry wants you to pick a lane and stay there, I'm too hyperactive for that. I'm going to just swang this Cadillac I call a career.” Follow Snow Tha Product on MySpace and catch her web shows there every Wednesday at 9 p.m. CST. You can also catch her on Twitter, and download her free mixtape, Run Up or Shut Up here. For more information contact Jessica Martinez at 713-658-5475.
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League of Extraordinary G'z
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Artists League of Extraordinary G’z
event::about "How many of ya'll are familiar with the League of Extraordinary G'z?" was the question posed by Bavu Blakes, indie rap veteran and reigning godfather of the Austin Texas Hip Hop scene, as he stood on a dimly lit stage in the summer of 2009 introducing a highly anticipated debut live performance. The crowd of locals exploded. They were familiar. While many devoted fans of Hip Hop mourn a genre and culture on the decline, weakened in the wake of the bling decade and pop pandering, a revolution has been quietly building deep in the heart of Texas. Three separate but equally acclaimed independent rap groups in the capital city of Austin, recognizing a shared passion for raw musicality over endless empty club bangers, have decided to team up for what promises to be an exciting and defining event in Central Texas rap history: The League of Extraordinary G'z. The lineup of "The League" consists of the groups C.O.D., Dred Skott, and Southbound, all familiar faces in the underground Texas rap circuit. With their respective mixtape and album releases, they have each earned themselves significant fanbases spanning across state, and even continental lines. All are experienced and traveled artists who paid their dues the hard way, winning over huge audiences while opening or recording with such major Hip Hop acts such as Wu Tang Clan, Wiz Khalifa, The Lox, Devin the Dude, Dead Prez, and Lil KeKe.
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Artists Gorilla Zoe
event::about Gorilla Zoe Biography By Ben Westhoff Gorilla Zoe is an MC who can sing, a rapper who’s an intellectual, and a commercial artist who pushes boundaries. “People can’t read me,” he says. “They say, ‘Is he ignorant? But, he can’t be too ignorant!’” By combining his true-life stories about growing up in Southwest Atlanta with an avant-garde sensibility for beats and lyrics, he’s proven himself a dominant hip hop force, with his 2007 debut Welcome To The Zoo hitting #3 on Billboard’s rap chart, and 2009’s Don’t Feed The Animals hitting #1. You can expect his latest, King Kong -- out October 5th on Block Entertainment/E1/Atlantic -- to be similarly beloved by critics and the streets alike. Insists Zoe: “I’ve acquired skills over the years that make me a problem.” From the time he was a toddler Zoe, born Alonzo Mathis, traveled around town with his father, an insurance salesman. While pops was inside someone’s house giving his pitch, Zoe and his sister would sit in the back of his ’82 Regal, with nothing to do but listen to R&B radio for hours. All that music helped him learn song structures and how to sing, and the soft rock and disco his mother played informed his eclectic style as well. “I learned hip hop from the streets,” he says. “But deep in my bones, I have R&B and rock in me.” His father passed when Zoe was nine, and before long he was on his own. A standout running back and strong safety for his high school football team, he was forced to quit after breaking his hand in a game, and saw little reason to stay in school. By his sophomore year he’d dropped out and had begun staying out all night with friends. His mother wouldn’t let him come back home, and so he shipped off to Kentucky in a Job Corps program. But he spent much of his time there practicing his own underground entrepreneurship, selling joints for ten dollars and bottle-capfuls of weed for five. Returning to Atlanta, he became involved with the harder stuff. “When I moved to the West side, it was zombie land,” he says. “That was my introduction to cocaine and crack.” But he also held day jobs, loading trucks for a Kroger warehouse, cleaning planes at the airport, and working in a CD store. “That’s how I started learning the music industry, about record sales and how records were built,” he says. “I became a fan and a student of the creation of music.” He pressed up 5000 copies of his mixtape Hoodlum and sold them all within weeks, and later opened a downtown studio with some investors. But when the studio didn’t take off, he began playing around with the equipment and learning how to record himself. “That was the beginning of Gorilla Zoe,” he says, the nickname he was given because of his explosive temperament: “I’m cool as a motherfucker, but there’s a button that when it goes off, nobody can stop it -- please don’t push it. That boy goes crazy. I’m strong as a goddamn ox.” One of his partners was doing production for impresario Russell “Block” Spencer, and the connection eventually led to Zoe signing with Block’s Bad Boy-affiliated label Block Entertainment. Zoe collaborated with label mate (and West side affiliate) Yung Joc on the hit, “Coffee Shop,” and also replaced Young Jeezy in the gangsta group Boyz n da Hood. Zoe says his work with the act has spurred him on in his solo career. “I learned that the world doesn’t owe you anything, that just because you have a deal, that don’t mean shit,” he says. “Being in that group, there was a lot of catering, a lot of five-star hotels. So, I said, ‘I wanna live this lifestyle and I’m ‘bout to do what I have to to make it happen.’ So that’s what I did, I went hard. Every day’s a fourth quarter for me.” On the strength of single, “Hood Nigga,” his 2007 solo debut Welcome To The Zoo surprised many by cracking the top twenty on Billboard’s pop charts, and led to an appearance on XXL’s “Leaders of the New School” cover. Two years later, his Don’t Feed The Animals was even more successful, hitting #8 on the pop charts and quickly selling more than 100,000 copies. Self-produced banger “Hood Clap,” announced that “I ain’t never graduate/ I can’t even spell recession,” and two inventive hits showcased his softer side. Drumma Boy-produced, Coldplay-inspired ballads, “Echo” and “Lost” went outside of the radio hip hop template with their melancholy moods and introspective lyrics. “I’m making this money/ Just to go spend it,” he raps. “Living the good life/ Hope nobody ends it/ But who are you kidding?/ …You know if they want you/ Best believe they will find you.” Earlier this year he further pushed the genre’s limits by releasing an all-new mixtape every single day during the month of February. “I was just lettin’ the world know that this shit is easy,” he says. King Kong will feature even more of his own production work. In addition to future hood classics – “I can do naked girls, cars, and jewelry like most of these rappers,” he notes -- it will reveal even more of the mystery behind him. “You’ll understand that this dude has read a couple of books,” Zoe says. “I know the formula, and it ain’t just with music, it’s with life.”
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event::about This young artist started 2010 off with a bang, opening for the Lil Wayne Farewell Tour. This should be no surprise however after the rave reviews of his recently released mixtape, “Proving You Wrong Since 1988. Blogs such as Ill Roots and The Smoking Section tagged Skewby as an artist that revives “real hip hop”. His music is compared to the likes of a Kanye or Lupe, but he can definitely hold his own with his clever lyrics and catchy beats. One only has to peep the mixtape to get a feel of his versatility. Only 21, he’s been making his mark slowly since the age of 14 by producing for artists such as Short Dawg and Pimp C to name a few. Although production, engineering and writing is a passion, his real love is performing. More recently he performed at MTV’s Spring Break 2009 and hooked up with DJ Crumbz to headline the Red Bull Southern College Tour. Future endeavors include a much anticipated release of his recent collaboration with Gorilla Zoe that should be out later this year. Skewby reigns from Memphis, Tennessee although his music tends to break the mold and veer away from the traditional Southern Gangsta Rap that is expected out of the Bluff City. But its obvious Memphis has caught on to his movement, and embraced this young artist by naming him one of the top 20 performing artist in the city, of which Skewby was tagged as #1 in the rap category.(Memphis Chamber Magazine, 2009). This multi-talented phenom is understandably on a lot of people’s radar. 2010 appears to be the beginning of great things to come.
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event::about Career- In early 2009 Pill's first mixtape 4180: The Prescription and his first single "Trap Goin' Ham" was released. While his lead single rapidly spread outside of his hometown of Atlanta, his mixtape drew in millions of fans. It garnered such a national frenzy in the underground hip-hop circuit that music industry executives were soon knocking on his door. Receiving offers from every major record label including industry heavyweights such as Universal Motown, Def Jam, Atlantic, and Interscope, he chose to sign on the dotted line at Warner Music Group through their Asylum imprint. With his deal finalized by the end of the year, his career continued to take off running. He went into 2010 fresh with his second mixtape 4075: The Refill and landed on the cover of XXL Magazine's April Issue featuring the top 10 hottest new MC's of 2010. Being consistent in releasing quality hip-hop music he has continued to cultivate his fanbase and receive high acclaim from the press. He has earned a multitude of esteemed reviews from veteran critics and has gained features in various publications including The New York Times, Vibe Magazine, The Fader, Spin Mag, The Source, Complex, The Atlanta Examiner, Ozone Magazine, and more. In June of 2010 he released his third mixtape, 1140: The Overdose, a Gangsta Grillz Edition hosted by DJ DRAMA. The enormous response from music fans and critics alike has confirmed that this young rising star has staying power in a business that can sometimes be very much undecided. With a number of downloads that has surpassed the million mark and continues to rise daily Pill continues to prove that he is a definite force to be reckoned with. His fans will only continue to show support watching every move that this young star makes with a bright future on the horizon. His most recent credits/appearances include: performing live Late Night on the Jimmy Kimmel show, a role in a major motion picture "96 Minutes" (directed by Aimee Lagos, distr. by Warner Bros., due out later this year), and a documentary project highlighting the issue of public housing in his hometown of Atlanta, GA (directed by the UN for discussion in Switzerland).
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Trae tha Truth
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Artists Trae Tha Truth
event::about He's one of the most in demand artist in southern hip-hop. He's Houston's King of the Streets. A survivor, a fighter, a winner, a true voice. He's Tha Truth. There's no denying that over the past few years, Houston has been hip-hop's hotspot. Many artists received major label deals and while their initial impact was quite great, more than a few have fallen off the radar. One artist who used Houston's surge in popularity to his advantage independently is Trae. While many of his contemporaries were searching for deals in New York City, Trae decided to stay with his home team and signed with Rap-A-Lot Records. The marriage proved to be a golden one, as his Rap-A-Lot debut, Restless, garnered much critical acclaim and solidified Trae as one of Houston's most important voices. Now in 2007 he is set to release his latest disc of heart-felt, reality raps ' Life Goes On. Trae grew up in Houston, Texas. Born and raised a product of it's south side streets. Among other notable distinctions, he's a member of the Screwed Up Click and the ABN Gang. Since his first appearance on wax, on his cousin Z-ro's debut CD, Look What You Did To Me, to this moment today, Trae has been one of the most consistently lyrical, street reporters this region has ever known. His first official release hit the world in 1999, the classic Guerilla Maab album, Rise. Rise helped set the tone for a whole resurgence in Houston. Back then, Trae, Zro and Dougie D were all about 16 or 17 years old, and their youthful fire showed through on every track. Theirs was a new sound for Houston, harder, more aggressive, yet also smarter and more focused than many who came before them. Not since the Geto Boys released their classic Grip It On That Other Level, ten years earlier, had the city heard such genuinely heartfelt angst. Rise was recorded and released just after Trae returned from a short stint in jail. That experience taught him to focus on his music, but still he remained in the streets. I caught an aggravated robbery case by being young and crazy. Trae remembers, I was on the streets. It was a blessing. I didn't do nothing but probably some weeks in jail, but I was on paper for like two years for aggravated robbery. They tried to give me close to 40 years. But it was a blessing man, the DA knew my lawyer and they felt they could give me another chance for me to not mess my life off. Cuz I had been doing music, so I was already known for that. They ended up doing that to where I only got two years deferred, but if I had messed up on that deferred probation then I'd have did the max that I could do on that case. That forced focus of sorts has paid off for Trae. From his world famous SLAB mixtapes, to his regional solo releases, Trae's name is known in Texas as one of the realest to ever spit. His raw emotion and true tales of the ills of the streets are rare in rap today. On a Trae album you won't find the endless barrage of bling bling. But you will hear some of the most genuine tales of woe and fury ever recorded. People always wonder why we be so serious, Trae reflects, and I sit back and let 'em know, we keep a lot of shit we go through inside our chests. We ain't the type to go talk about our problems to nobody so that's what make us good at what we do in this music shit. We go through shit on a day to day basis. That's why we have so much shit to talk about. That's why I'm glad we go through shit. I hate that it be how we go through it but it's good that we do go through it because without that, shit, what would we have? Shit, my brother Dinky doing three life sentences, I can't be there. I don't even want him there. I gotta do this for him and for me and my whole family. The tales of reality don't come from hearsay or his imagination either. Trae is the rare rapper who really lives the street life every day. Whether he wants it or not, it is a part of him. Last year I ended up catching a bullshit case being in a shootout that wasn't even our fault. He explains, We ain't in no fairy tale shit. I'm gonna be consistent till they put me in my grave and hopefully when they put me in my grave it's still gonna be consistent. His solo albums, Losing Composure, Same Thing Different Day, Drama, Return of the Streets, Say Hello to the Asshole, Later Dayz and Restless are all regarded as classics. But it's his forthcoming release Life Goes On that has had the streets buzzing for the past year. Life Goes On is a collection of some of Trae's strongest works to date. His biggest hit to date featured the late Screwed Up Click members Hawk and his brother Fat Pat ' both of whom died at the hands of a gunman. Swang is a heartfelt tribute to everything that made H-Town what it is, and Trae continues on with that vibe on Life Goes On. It's only right for me to bring my culture and my team. Trae will always ride for his people. 'Swang,' that was a term Screwed Up Click used period. That's just our shit. Pat and Hawk were legends man and with me around they ain't never gonna fade away. And then Screw, I ain't gonna let that shit fade away. I brought that shit back because I felt my first impact needed to be what I represent and who the fuck they need to be respecting right now because this man paved the way for everybody. Life Goes On features more guest appearances than normal, but all of them are great ones. The first single, Screwed Up featuring Lil Wayne carries on in Trae's tradition of teaching the outside world about his scities culture while keep the name od DJ Screw alive. 2 Pac pops up on the hard hitting Against All Odds. Smile is a deep jam that features Jadakiss. Ghetto Queen is a mellow, mid-tempo banger that features Lloyd and Rich Boy. But it's the beautiful, sweeping tribute to his fallen mentor Hawk, Give My Last Breath that will make sure this disc stays locked in your deck. Trae is not your average artist, and this is not your average record. Yeah I'm away from the pack. Trae states in closing. I'm the truth. Everything I say is true. You're gonna see a lot of real shit coming from me. I ain't here to be friendly with nobody. I ain't here really to kick up no dust. It just is what it is, the truth. I'm bringing to the game the realness, no fabricated shit. No ridin' nobody's dick cuz they hot. I did my own thing. I made my own way.
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Artists DJ Babu
event::about DJ Babu (born Chris Oroc) is a Filipino-American DJ. One-third of the hip hop group Dilated Peoples (alongside Rakaa Iriscience and Evidence), Babu is also a member of the Beat Junkies DJ crew, and together with rapper Defari forms the duo the Likwit Junkies. DJ Babu, Evidence and Pharoahe Monch also feature in the song H! Vltg3 on Linkin Park's Reanimation album. He lived in Oxnard, California for 1 year, and later moved to the neighbor city of Camarillo. Babu has won multiple competition titles Including the Vestax World Championships and multiple ITF titles. As a revered battle DJ he has appeared in and hosted numerable videos. Babu is famous for redefining the art of Beat juggling during the 1997 ITF/Beat juggling category competition, when he first performed his "Blind Alley" Routene. Under the name "The Turntablist", produced perhaps the genre's most popular battle record, 1996's Super Duck Breaks, which sold over 10,000 copies. DJ Babu has also featured on numerous acts alongside groups such as Jurassic 5, Swollen Members and The Visionaries. Individually Babu has featured in many other groups.
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event::about Classified Handshakes and Middle Fingers What does the most acclaimed hip-hop artist in Canada do after reaching a new pinnacle of commercial success? In the case of the platinum-selling Enfield, Nova Scotia-based rapper Classified, the answer is return to his roots. "The commercial success helped me reach a new audience, but when I went back into the studio after being on tour for 15 months, I just wanted to make something banging again," says Classified of what would become Handshakes and Middle Fingers, the hotly-anticipated follow-up to Self-Explanatory, the best-selling album of the rapper's ten-year-career. "I love being able to spit for lots of new people, but what really got me hype when I started to think about writing this record, was to go back and drop another hip-hop album again." Handshakes and Middle Fingers is a musical hip-hop album about balance. Through boom-bap beats, catchy choruses and dirty drums, Classified uses his unparalleled wit, lyrics and diction to examine the fine line between mainstream success and the underground. This is, without a doubt, the Classified album that fans have been waiting to hear. 'I'm adamant/I won't become extravagant,' he raps on Classy, the album's declarative opener, which sets the stage for the razor-sharp party that follows. Life is hard on Handshakes and Middle Fingers, but it's not without its just rewards. Rock hard new songs like Passion, Run With Me and High Man find the artist at once both boastful and reflective, spitting about the balance between a family life where Classified is the proud father of two young daughters, and life on the road where he performs hundreds of dizzying sold-out shows a year. "Seems like the only reoccurring theme in my life is the ups and downs," says Classified, who was born Luke Boyd and has sold more than 70K records and been the recipient of 4 (nominated for 10) East Coast Music Awards. "I got new people out there now checking for me, but from being a rap star to getting old and from going out on the road partying to waking up hung-over, tired and missing my home, this album more than anything is about life being the gift and the curse." Self-Explanatory, which was released in 2009 and featured the Juno-nominated hits Anybody, Listening and Oh, Canada, was an adventurous concept album that allowed the listener to pick the record's sequence of events. Heads were instructed to skip ahead tracks dependent upon their mood, and the album's novel concept coupled with Classified's flare for writing great pop hooks, introduced the proudly East Coast artist to a new generation of MuchMusic fans. After a decade of touring and independently releasing his music, the artist suddenly found himself sharing a Juno stage with Justin Bieber and Drake. "I like to make music that feels good, something that someone who listens to top-40 would like, but I'm always going to have lyrics that say something," says Classified, author of the classic albums Boy Cott-in the Industry (2006) and Hitch Hikin' Music (2007). "At the end of the day,' says Classified, 'As an artist, my lyrics are who I am." Classified released his first album Union Dues in 2001, and has maintained his status as a critically-revered trailblazer throughout his decade-long music career. He's recorded with everyone from Maestro Fresh Wes to Joel Plaskett and only signed with a major label on his last disc. 'I feel like the new record is a big jump for me musically, and it also features my illest flows,' Class says. A musician who not only writes his own rhymes, but has been making his own beats since Kanye West was attending college, Classified says the melodies on his new 15-track album represents the growth of a musician being exposed and open to new things. 'I used to think if you put synths on an album, that's some techno s--t,' he says with a laugh, and then adds that the new disc features horns and live drumming for the first time on a Classified disc. "I'm not stuck in one corner and on this album, I was really able to try something new," he says. "Sometimes when I'd be alone in my studio, it was almost like I was trying to go too far." The results are a clear-cut blow across an industry where Classified has spent a decade paying his dues. Dealing with subject matter from his wife's recent birth of their second daughter to the controversy that flared up surrounding the Oh, Canada video where it was suggested that not enough African-Canadians appeared in the clip, Classified doesn't shy away from any topics. He raps about everything on the new disc. "In the end, all I have is my own personal story," says Classified, who mentions that the director of the Oh, Canada video was an African-Canadian female, and the clip consisted simply of whoever showed up on the day of the Halifax shoot. "I don't have anything to hide," says Class, who recently built a new studio behind the garage of his home in Enfield, located just 15-minutes away from the house where he was born. "If people listen to the record and hear my point of view, they'll get where I'm coming from...if not, I can't really be worried about that. I know who I am." Knowing who he is another big theme on the record. An artist first and foremost, Classified skipped the obvious move for a big dog in Canadian hip-hop -- calling in an American artist for a big-name collaboration -- and instead found his inspiration closer to home. 'I met Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo at the Juno Cup hockey game, and we decided to get together on a track,' says Classified of what would become The Sweetest Hangover, a melodic spitfire country rock rap song about the pleasure and pain of a life on the road. 'He's a great guy and someone I'd been wanting to work with. Once we had him on the track, I knew we had heat.' Heat is something Classified has been generating for his entire career and Handshakes and Middle Fingers is the result of that flame. The artist has been on tour with Nas and The WuTang Clan and performed for millions of fans all around the world. A label owner and producer always on the lookout for new artists -- his most recent signing is an artist from St. Lucia named KaYo who will be releasing his debut record this year -- Classified is hyper-aware of his place in the industry. 'I didn't want to come with any crazy concept for this album, but in the end, I think it's the most musical thing I've done,' he says. 'I think I made something that the new fans will appreciate, but the most important thing is that I know I made something that the heads will be like: This is dope!' Classified has been in the game for a minute, and he never sold-out, and never changed who he is. He sees the success of Kardinal and Drake and knows that Canadian hip-hop music is suddenly finding itself in the limelight again. As a member of the rap underground who's fought hard to achieve mainstream notoriety, Classified knows the pressure was on for him to repeat the Self-Explanatory success. With eyes on the musician from all over the world and the stakes rising as his family expands, Classified took to the studio behind his house, smoked something, turned the drums up and told the world how he feels. "I still live in the same town where I grew up, I still have the same friends, and I still listen to the same music that I once did," says Classified. "I didn't get involved with any of this to become a rap star. I'm more about a hard-hitting beat and lyrics than ever wanting to become a celebrity." With Handshakes and Middle Fingers, Classified might just prove that he's able to do both things.
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Artists Roc Marciano
event::about Roc Marciano is an American rapper, songwriter and producer. Originally a member of Busta Rhymes' crew, Flipmode Squad, Roc left in 2001 to form the UN, a hardcore underground hip hop group consisting of three other MCs. Notably, Roc appeared in the 2005 Wu-Tang Clan compilation album, Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture, and in Pete Rock's 2008 album, NY's Finest, drawing acclaim for such performances. Since 2008, Roc Marciano has been working on his solo career, and to widespread internet acclaim, released his entirely self-produced debut LP, Marcberg in the Spring of 2010. The album was applauded for its throwback 90s east coast style, coming as a breath of fresh air amongst the various other hip hop albums released that year. His stream of consciousness narrative and boom-bap, rugged beats have also been the subject to many compliments from critics and bloggers alike.
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event::about Eddie Hayes, better known by his stage name Aceyalone, is an American rapper. He is a founding member of the Freestyle Fellowship. Apart from his role in Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone is also a member of Haiku D'Etat (with Mikah 9 and Abstract Rude) and The A-Team (with Abstract Rude), and he is a co-founder of Project Blowed. After releasing a pair of albums with the Freestyle Fellowship, To Whom it May Concern... and Innercity Griots, as well as the 1994 Project Blowed compilation, Acey signed to Capitol Records and released his highly acclaimed solo debut All Balls Don't Bounce in 1995. He returned three years later with his second album, A Book of Human Language, a collaboration with producer Mumbles. In 1999, he released a self-titled group album with Haiku D'Etat. In 2000, The A-Team released their first album as a duo, titled Who Framed the A-Team?. Acey returned solo again in 2001 with his third solo album, Accepted Eclectic. In 2002, the Freestyle Fellowship returned after 9 years for the release of their third group album, Shockadoom. 2002 and 2003 saw two more solo releases, Hip Hop and the World We Live In and Love & Hate and another A-Team album ('Lab Down Under'). In 2006, Aceyalone released two more solo projects, first, Magnificent City, a collaboration with producer RJD2, followed by Grand Imperial. Acey has also gained national prominence by being featured on numerous 2K Sports games.
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Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No)
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Artists Gangrene (Alchemist & Oh No)
event::about In the early 90s, The Alchemist was inspired by street level hip-hop at a young age, but his surroundings differed starkly from those surrounding his favorite MCs. Seeing beyond the glimmering façade of his Beverly Hills neighborhood, he sought mentors who would expose him to a different reality. Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs kept him grounded under his tutelage, schooling him on the use of the ASR-10 sampler. Muggs eventually began to pass on work to the young producer/MC who landed his first beats on Mobb Deep's Murda Muzik. After visiting, Al felt more home in the cramped quarters of NYC and made the trans-continental leap of faith in order to better acquaint himself with the environment that had birthed hip-hop culture and he thrived amongst it. His solo debut, 1st Infantry, was a veritable who's-who of mean-mugging rhyme spitters like The Lox, Mobb Deep, and The Game and it served as the red carpet that introduced Al as a formidable rhyme teller himself. Meanwhile, in Oxnard, Stones Throw Records had just gotten off the ground, bolstered by the success of their premier release, Lootpack's Soundpieces: Da Antidote. Lootpack member and Stones Throw exec Madlib had tapped his younger brother for a few verses, and the fledgling rapper/beatmaker went by Oh No. His subsequent releases on the label, 2004's The Disrupt and 2006's Exodus into Unheard Rhythms, were later met with a great deal of acclaim. Oh No cemented his status as one of the most forward thinking instrumentalists and lyricists making hip-hop with the release of Dr. No's Oxperiment, a concept record that lifted samples strictly from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean vinyl. Three years after the creative mutagen was introduced, the Alchemist and Oh No stand upon a seething heap of rugged de-compositions to be released as an album titled Gutter Water on Decon. Together as Gangrene they present a dense canvas from which verses by guests Planet Asia, Raekwon, Evidence, MED, Twins Gambino, Fashawn and Roc-C leap into action alongside rhymes of their own. Oh No explains, 'Our sounds are really raw, gritty. It just worked.' Though both are life long students of the school of sampling, they're approach to doing so differed initially. Gradually breaking down analog recordings to there elements, Al and Oh have since become a force of nature, accosting beautiful pieces of music, turning them inside out and repackaging them into an ominous, pitch-colored void of thuggery. Gangrene is a hood-certified existential demonstration of creative conceptualism; creating something by taking less from more, returning an organic creation to the soil, diamonds into coal.
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Artists Freddie Gibbs
event::about Freddie Gibbs is a direct product of Gary, Indiana’s East Side. An uncut distillation of his surroundings, Gibbs was born into a dire situation; industrial divestment from the Midwest has created a vacuum of poverty. It’s a tragic sight, or it would be if there were anyone to document it. Freddie Gibbs had his work cut out for him. Freddie’s keen survivalist mentality and work ethic won him a scholarship to Ball State for football after high-school, but he was dismissed over questionable allegations. It’s fair to assume that Freddie hadn’t completely divorced himself from the streets, but whatever the case, higher education was no longer a viable option. Gibbs was cast back into the sink-or-swim realities of his upbringing, and he resorted to pimping and manufacturing freebase to keep the lights on. A humble critic, Freddie never meant to be a part of the problem, and explored means of supporting himself without partaking in the cyclical plague of drugs and prostitution. A gifted writer who stood out amongst his peers with his reserved wit and command of language, Freddie began to rap about the things he saw. As word of his skills spread to the coasts, he aligned himself with notable producers like The Alchemist, Polow Da Don, Just Blaze, and Buckwild to create a discography that illustrates his experiences as a struggling denizen of a blighted community, but he doses each compilation with positivity and humor as well. XXL Magazine caught wind of Freddie’s unique approach and nominated Gibbs to their Freshman Top 10 earlier this year, a prophetic announcement that has come fully to fruition. Freddie Gibbs’ mixtapes are amongst the most praised of the last few years, frequently capturing the forsaken instrumental aesthetic of 90’s boom-bap and juxtaposing it with his distinctly Midwestern double-time flow. Freddie Gibbs has positioned himself as a recession-era mascot for the disenfranchised Midwestern working class and he wears the title exceptionally well while also giving a cognizant nod to the classic sonic pillars of hip-hop. This sound is fully evident in his release with Decon, the Str8 Killa EP. It was Public Enemy’s Chuck D that once famously called hip-hop “the CNN of the ghetto”, and the sentiment is particularly applicable to Freddie’s music. In 2010 Gibbs is reporting live, stay tuned.