Your 1 Stop Spot for New Hip Hop Reviews
Peace Peace Fellow 88ers. Took the family out on Vacation this past weekend so the Bag was delayed a bit. To all who follow the Bag weekly, thank you for your patience and understanding Family comes First. Thankfully the CyphLyfe Blog staff has grown and our family PRESHA held it down handling a good amount of the write ups this week. Thank you to all who support the Station and Blog, your donations help us keep PRESHA covered with a little income while he finishes his bid. We got nothing but fire lined up for you so let’s get into this Weeks Bag.
YOUNGLORDZ – YOUNGLORDZ LP
We have been awaiting the release of this album for months at WVCC Radio. The YOUNGLORDZ have given us the honor to promote their latest singles, get the exclusive 1st Interview regarding the founding of the YOUNGLORDZ, appear in their debut video for their single “IN THE TRENCHES” (See below), and they blessed me with a huge surprise as I pressed play on the album for the first time. KNOWLEDGE MADINA & J.DOT stole the show at our HOUSE PARTY Jam in May as they opened up for XP THE MARXMAN. Unbeknownst to me, they were filming the impromptu introduction I strung together to bring them up to the stage and ended up using it for their Debut Album’s Intro. Representing Latino Hip Hop, Latino Culture and Latino Social Activist/Political Party, THE YOUNG LORDZ (YLP), who marched alongside the Black Panthers in the 60s/70s, KNOWLEDGE, J.DOT, & Producer RE ELIM bring honor to the Memory and Message behind the movement started by Cha Cha Jimenez. The YOUNGLORDZ displayed complete mastery of the mic when we saw them live. On their Self Titled Debut LP, they prove that was just a small sample of what they laid down on their weekend trip to Pennsylvania where they wrote and recorded the album with RE ELIM over a single weekend.
For real heads who have their ears to the streets and are tapped in with Official Indie Hip Hop DJ’s, The beginning of the album will feel like being welcomed into a lodge meeting of familiar faces. The album openers “ON LORDZ” & “IN THE TRENCHES” have gotten spins world wide, and placements on some of the hottest playlist in the Underground, IN THE TRENCHES getting played on the TOP 50 of Long Island’s TRIM MIX PARTY w/ DJ CUTSUPREME for a month straight, topping off at number 8 on the Playlist. So if you know what time it is, when you hear “ON LOOOOORDZ”, you chant back WE RIGHT HERE!!! When we here “Running through the Trenches yelling out…”, you can’t help but respond, “Young Lordz Shit!!”. It’s when the album shifts gears to groovy swag on DREAMS that you are caught by surprise as J.DOT & MEDINA flip the classic B.I.G. hook and break down their “DREAMS OF CRUSHING A LATINA CHICK” running down the list of some of the hottest hispanic goddesses to ever star in our fantasies. It’s obvious MEDINA aint no fool, as he ends his list of Latin Lovelies by saying “THESE ARE DREAMS, AS A KID I HAD UM / I LOVE MY LATINAS BUT HONESTLY MY CHICKS THE BADDEST”. Well played parce, well played.
This is followed by the gang’s latest single, “24 Hours” featuring Miami/ Broward Hip Hop Legend DYNAS. The 24 hours to live topic may have been done before by the LOX, but the way the LORDZ & DYNAS attack the story gives it a modern-day twist that resonates all too well with too many. This is followed by NEVER HOPELESS, another tale of keeping your head up through the daily struggle over a smooth Out of Tuned Violin Sample that RE ELIM cooks up over a head nodder of a drum program. It’s at this point that I make a point of how the production has subtly carried the project. Not that the Lyrics arent Top Tier on this project. J.DOT & MEDINA’S pens don’t fail for a second throughout the 12-track album. It’s just easy to see how listening to this production as soon as they landed from Ft Lauderdale International Airport, got them writing this fire material. PLEASURES ALL MINE & AINT WORRIED are 2 perfect examples. The beats are simple and vintage enough that you can picture MEDINA & J.DOT writing ceaselessly til the tracks are bodied, and then the Hook flips come in, resulting in some memorable choruses. My mans Shorty Lex says it reminds him of when MOBB DEEP used to do long complex hooks. Thats an honor in of itself. One hook that def stands out is “REVOLT” (My personal favorite song on the album), A loud call to action over a smoothed out Flute Sample and fading piano loop (Who makes Revolution Music over Flutes? RE ELIM, That’s who). The album goes on cool down mode at this point with MANZANA & THOUSAND MILES (2 of my fave songs on the album) as the YOUNGLORDZ drive home the point, ITS THEIR TURN, but there’s no need to be Concerned. As they make clear on A THOUSAND MILES, they grew up on this culture and respect it more than anything. They have put in the time and sacrifice and have earned their place at the table. Hip Hop is in good hands with THE YOUNGLORDZ on the frontline. However, whoever refuses them a place at the table would be wise to listen to the album closer, ROUND TABLE, first. These Hispanic brothers are much more Malcolm than Martin in their revolutionary approach, and they are here to take their place in Hip Hop, by any means necessary.
KIL RIPKIN & JAH FREEDOM – SELF MEDICATED
Written by: Presha
While Coretta Scott King lay hospitalized from a stroke and her plight with ovarian cancer, she received some music from another king–Michael Jackson. The King of Pop, convinced that music could provide pain relief, told her that music is ”medicine.” MJ was actually on to something! Science has proven that listening to music improves blood circulation, decreases cortisol levels (stress hormone), and strengthens the immune system. Music therapy is now prescribed to treat depression, autism, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Dancing is prescribed to people suffering with Parkinson’s Disease. As an imprisoned man, I can attest to the medicinal benefits of music. For anger management, I take a capsule of Coltrane; for depression, I take a shot of Chaka Khan. And it works! You should try it. My grandmother, who suffers from Dementia, has moments when she can no longer recognize her own children. But give her some music, and her nursing home becomes a nightclub as she sings along word for word. When I first witnessed her transformation, it brought tears to my eyes and further fortified my marriage to music. I later learned that music memory is a brain function resistant to Dementia, which means if I ever forget the words to ”Through the Fire,” death is probably near.
Brooklyn emcee Kil Ripkin is alive and healthy, not because of Pfizer or Moderna, but because of music. His newest tonic, ”Self Medicate,” heals and invigorates. In fact, if ”Self Medicate” is the medicine, Kil Ripkin is the lyrical physician. He administers words with purpose, and it’s obvious he’s taken a Hippocratic oath to not poison his listeners with negativity. If you stop by his clinic, you will come out feeling revitalized.
Kil Ripkin and N.C. producer Jah Freedom go under for ten tracks. ”Self Medicate” has the sound of an Ayahuasca ceremony supervised and narrated by the Guardian, K. Ayoka. Fortunately, the experience turns out to be a wholesome high as Ripkin warns youngsters about the dangers of living the ”Street Life” and points to the ills of the industry on ”The Show Must Go On.” The pupils of Jah Freedom’s production contract and expand to let light in. The features provide a potent booster. Loved Skyzoo on ”BK Winning.” The Electric Guitar Chop up of ‘Look At God” feat Thelonious Onderful is a head nodder. The highest point of Ripkin’s journey is the title track, ”Self Medicate” where MJ is proven right once again. (I prefer the Slopfunkdust Remix.) Dr. Ripkin gets scientific as he mentions the healing frequency (528 Hz) and says, ”…The Frequency heals more than a pharmacy.” As I envision grandma getting down in her hospital bed, I have to agree.
Make sure you pick up your script at https://jahfreeonthebeat.bandcamp.com/album/self-medicate
ROV THE REBEL – BARITONE SYMPHONY
It’s no secret that we report on alot of South Florida Hip Hop on the CYPHLYFE BLOG. We rep #SOFLOW in everything we do and write. However that does not make us #SoFlow biased. As a matter of fact, if you have been a WVCC Radio/ Weekend Bag follower for any amount of time, you know we show a huge amount of love and respect to our brothers up north in “The Cape” region. Ironically one of the coldest spots on the U.S. Map has been pumping out hip hop heat year round for the past 5 years (thats just how long we have been aware of). One of the grass roots organizations that is pushing and heavily promoting the North East H.H. Movement is our FB Family, HIP HOP LIFERS. This dedicated group of Hip Hop Fans and contributors have been organizing and hosting some of the dopest Indie Hip Hop Shows in the region, and are always putting us on to dope talent from their scenes. Last year they put us on to FIRE BOMB, the exlposive debut ep by SILLY GRIN & ROV THE REBEL. Now New Hampshire’s ROV THE REBEL is back on the “dolo tip” to prove the Rugged Baritone can carry the symphony all on his own.
“This been a long time coming, now I’m forced to bless it / for the record, I never doubted ME for a second” Oscar De La ROVa proclaims on the INTRO. The BRUTAL CAESAR produced battle march, “V.I.P.” gets your head nodding against its will, while DC the MIDI ALIEN tractor beams you off the face of the Earth with his X-Filed production on “MODEST“, where REV does “what he was born to do” and tells the wack “This aint it my dude, its the Truth, I’ve Been Warning You”. The EXPENDABLES and ROV beat the fuck out of the SILLY GRINN produced INCINERATE FATE, like a mob bum-rushing a disrespectful drunk who fully palmed your homie’s girls tit. One of my favorite cuts off the album is REBEL YELL , also produced by DC THE MIDI ALIEN, with its classic Billy Idol sample. I can picture ROV killing the crowd to this at live shows. It just has that Live Crowd Anthem/ Wrestler Theme Song feel to it. The beat on “ART OF PAIN” makes me throw my laptop while I type this review. The MIDI ALIEN production is ridiculous, and IMPROV THE SUPERVILLAIN‘s verse on the cut is just as disgusting as he slides in on the second verse with a “Tears of Terror extract, Flask filled with Red Rum/ Flee the scene, escape clean, tracks nil of breadcrumbs/” LOONI BATZ & J.D. join ROV and IMPROV on the cut, “Drapped in Dope Outfits / While yall just wearing our patience thin/”. Def a stand-out track on the project for me which will get plenty of play on WVCC Radio.
The album is 18 tracks deep and unfortunately not all of them hit with the same zing. Joints like “TRUTH”, with its Middle Ages Chorus vibe was definitely not a family favorite as I played the album out loud at home (My wife asked me to please turn down the “Game Of Thrones” Rap). “HIP HOPPURTUNITY” was another joint that didnt quite meet the standard raised by earlier cuts on the album. But that’s only 2 joints on an 18 track album with NO INTERMISSIONS or SKITS, just banger after banger, with a couple flukes in between. Don’t focus on the weak points of the album, because the project is still solid as barbarians bicep, and tracks like “WHO WANT WHAT”, which reunites ROV THE REBEL with his FIRE BOMB Co-pilot SILLY GRINN, “PAY DUES” feat TCF & the beautiful voiced ANGEL ANN, and “MARKSMEN” feat D MOORE, IMPROV THE SUPERVILLAIN & MATT SMITTY more than make up for the weak points. Yours truly even has a guest verse on track 14, POSSE CUT, where I represent life growing up in the 305, as ROV‘s long time Co-Defendants D MOORE, LOGAN LAWLESS, & MASSTAPEACE describe what they survived growing up in the 603, as DJ SLIPWAX cuts the hook to shreds. The album is full of dope features from ROV’s local scene, but he shows he can hold his own on every track, especially the ones he rocks solo, like TEST, MR. DONT STRESS IT, FUCK RAP & the album OUTRO where he shows he can give you 1, 2 or even 3 verses on a song that will keep you coming back for more. My only complaint on this strongly written and produced album would be the length of the project, but who is going to tell a hungry animal to put down his fork and knife when is in the middle of his meal. Not CYPH LYFE RADIO, that’s for sure.
Make sure you pick up your copy of ROV THE REBEL – BARITONE SYMPHONY on ITUNES or support it where ever you prefer to stream music.
THE BADSEED – FOUR FINGER RING
Written by: Presha
Since Radio Raheem donned Love and Hate on his big mitts, since L.L. rocked Cool J across his knuckles, since Kane pimped a crown on his clenched fist, the four finger ring has represented status and strength. It also represents a punch to the face that would undoubtedly leave a mark. Bad Seed’s newest project, ‘Four Finger Ring” is all that and then some.
First, his status. Corey Pierson, AKA The Bad Seed, is no amateur emcee. He’s seasoned and polished. As a former member of the Original Blunted Soldiers–alongside Jean Grae, Pumpkinhead, Krisis, and others–his Hip Hop credentials are undeniable. He is also the CEO and founder of 6th Man Entertainment, the Indie Label he is pushing such artist as Honey Dinero & himself under. In addition, his work contains content, and his golden flow is Brooklyn to the core. (See ”Bill & Fame”)
Secondly, The Bad Seed exudes strength. He’s capable of being reflective (See ”Thinking About You”) and he’s capable of addressing social issues (See ”Bloody Rain”), both signs of strength and actual creative ability. Four Finger Ring also has an aggressiveness that hits hard and leaves a mark. His tenacious bars have much to do with it, but his crew of producers don’t fuck around either. His team includes the following five names, five fingers, that clench into a fist and punch your eardrum: Freakshow, Murda Megz, Takenotez, Team Demo, and CJ Dove. My personal favorites are the three tracks produced by Takenotez (”Just Be True” is bananas!) and ”A Beautiful Mind” produced by Team Demo and featuring the diamond cuts of Tone Spliff. Without question, Four Finger Ring is a brilliant piece that The Bad Seed can proudly flaunt and he dares anyone to test the Gold Standard he wears like top-of-the-line jewelry.
Make sure you copp your FOUR FINGER RING at THE BAD SEEDS Bandcamp and support Hip Hop’s Indie Labels directly. While your at it, enjoy the latest single from DJ TONE SPLIFF featuring THE BAD SEED himself, “ASK ABOUT”. This one is on heavy rotation everywhere that real hip hop is getting played.
HINDSYTE – LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS
“My friend asked me to kill him, TRUE STORY”. Holy shit. This is the way “LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS”, The Debut EP by HINDSYTE begins. From the jump it catches your attention in grip tape gloves and doesn’t let go. Massachusetts representative HINDSYTE shares on his Bandcamp Bio “I want people to not only learn about me through my music, but to also find a way to relate to the subject matter I present to them”. “Music can be a positive outlet for musicians and fans alike, so while releasing my anger and frustrations, I’d love to help someone else who can identify with what I’m going through.” With this mission in mind, HINDSYTE proceeds to share 5 soul stirring songs, void of any secrets, because as he quotes at the ep’s introduction, “The Man who can keep a secret may be wise, but not half as wise as the man who lives with No Secrets to Keep”. And so he proceeds to tell the one about his close friend David, a stroke survivor, “in a wheelchair, daily praying on my sympathy/ No Independence and I know he’s lost his dignity/ So he devised a plan / in a crazy way, it means a lot to me that he trust to die by my hand/”. I couldn’t even imagine being put in that position and the moral conundrum that request poses. He openly admits, “I contemplated it/ debating it was stressful / You try to play God, you know God’s gonna get you/”. The 2nd verse he spends talking about his own struggle with mental health, depression, and holding on to the will to live another day. On CHARACTER ASSESSMENT, another STU BANGAZ burner, he further bares his soul, running down his laundry list of flaws, in an attempt to leave that past life of regrets “burning in his rearview mirror” before it affects his future family. This gives way to the cinematic experience which is “BURIED ALIVE”, produced by TEDDY ROXPIN. A tale of revenge, served cold by HINDSYTE, SHAWN CALIBER, ESOTERIC (of CZARFACE), and CHILLA JONES (of KING OF THE DOT fame) recounting what they would have done to the Violent Offenders who have littered their family history if they would have caught them before the Police did. Where the TLC classic DONT GO CHASING WATERFALLS lightly hints at the 3 letters that took the subject of their 2nd verse to “His final resting place”, HINDSYTE doesn’t encrypt, code, sugar coat, or cover up the theme behind HIV TEST. A hard hitting song about a check up we have all had to wait anxiously on the results for. I’ve been there HIND, I feel you. Just like you can Feel the compassion in the Doctor’s voice when calls HINDSYTE back after their appointment to explain, he had to ask him to leave his office because the mere mention of suicide was grounds to have him committed. He was just looking out for his patient. It’s these different levels of emotions and layers of story telling that make this ep so good, and has me at my 5th spin as I write this article. The album ends with a star studded memorial (TALIB KWELI & ESOTERIC) to the life of PHEOBE PRINCE, the Irish High School Student who moved from Ireland to Massachusetts in 2010, only to be bullied at school to the point she took her own life. 6 students were tried and convicted as being responsible for her suicide, which led to strict anti-bullying legislation in Mass, and throughout the nation. Here is another example of HINDSYTE using what little platform he has to spread a message he hopes will touch people in a positive way. In both of his EP features, he hosts some of Hip Hops deadliest pens. But instead of wasting the opportunity on another PunchLine Heavy, “I’m the greatest rapper ever” rap, He employs these artists to speak on subjects that hit home with most of us. Only 5 songs deep, “LIFE CHANGING MOMENTS” has the potential of being a life changing listening experience. I have a strange feeling there are many out there that desperately need the words HINDSYTE shares on this record. I am thankful the Mass Emcee had the courage to share this with us.
WREKONIZE – FREE WAY
Written by: Presha
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the freeway or lived the free way, but occasionally my imagination takes me inside the cleanest of Cadillacs with the sunroof peeled back as I set sail down the sizzling streets of South Florida. My Cadillac climbs the steep incline of the MacArthur Causeway, the skies a frozen pool of blue, and majestic cruise ships docked along the ports of Biscayne Bay. A song blares from my speakers that matches my motivation, and that song is ”FREE WAY.”
FREE WAY is Wrekonize’s newest Mike Summer produced summer single. This track has a Porsche’s horse power and the freshness of a Florida orange. You might recognize the name Wrekonize. He is actually one half of the rappers in the Miami group MAYDAY, who recently announced that they had fulfilled their contractual obligations with Tech N9ne’s ”Strange Music” and decided to go the Indie route. While they remain distributed by It Goes Up Entertainment, Strange Music’s distribution company, they have officially launched their own MAYDAY MUSIC. By the sound of this breezy banger, I’d say they’re about to turn the corner and pull up quickly on success.
PRETTY BULLI – SIMPLICITY
Buffalo, NY got another one!! The Northern New York Emcee known as PRETTY BULLI has made a name for herself locally, battling her way up the ranks in real MC Battles (an MC rite of passage not too many rappers, male or female, can claim today). After releasing several hot singles, PRETTY is teaming up with Rockchester, NY producer on the rise KIDD CALLED QUEST to hit us with “SIMPLICITY”. Her latest single displays the grit BULLI developed as the youngest of 6 kids, fighting for every scrap on the dinner table, and learning to steal the spotlight when ever she wanted it. She has been sharpening her Fork and Knives since 13 and is ready to eat. Let “SIMPLICITY” wake your appetite for the upcoming album DUFFLE BAG BULLI dropping soon, and catch PRETTY BULLI spinning regularly on WVCC Radio.
CHOCO VALENS – BLUEPRINT
DIRTY DOE & M.I.YAYO RADIO are on a roll with their weekly FRIDAY FREESTYLE drops. Last week they hit us with the latest visuals from Miami WOLFGANG General CHOCO VALENS as he goes full retard over Jay Z’s BLUEPRINT. From the opening footage of CHOCO addressing a well known Miami Dade Judge, “There’s only 1 thing I have to say to you Judge, and that is… I hope that the Prayers Help / Walk Around Like the Mayor Himself / I’m a fucking Maching, Conveyor Belt/ “. From that point on you you can’t turn away from the constant consinant carnage. Dropping multiple bombs, he looks around ask’s “Is anyone still around? / I grew up with G’s who carried steel Around / Poisonous Meals I found / They want to steal the town of all if its riches/ leave us all in ditches/” . VALENS proclaims confidently at the end of the track that No One would pass him the batton so he had to run up and snatch that shit by force and lap the whole scene. With the kind of momentum he’s picked up, the industry is in trouble. Take a minute and stop by the CHOCO VALENS Merch store and pick up a couple of pieces. He’s def giving you enough free music on a constant basis to warrant a purchase. Support those who are making Miami sound raw.
WHICHCRAFT – HEART SPARKS
Indie Hip Hop Work Horse WHICHCRAFTis back with a soulful gift for your ears. “HEART SPARKS” produced by DJ EVI DENZ is a jazzy reimagining of the Eric Bennet R&B classic, which WHICHCRAFT uses to levitate just over the Earth he has vowed to honor with words like “Echo Echo like the sounds of a whale / I aint no cracker, cuz dont you know that crackers go stale/ I’m Lava rock 10 Miles of Shail / I’m boulder size hail falling from the skies they fell from/ The windows to the Wall / I’m Little John and Darryl Hall/” . The flows and bars interweave like endless streams of data (“until it matters”), and CRAFT makes sure every message he relays matters. Because if it doesnt SPARK a HEART, whats the purpose?