VIDEO: Malachai’s “Let ‘Em Fall”

If today’s hip-hop reminds you of the first half to Oran “Juice” Jones‘ “The Rain”, and you’re wondering why no one has bothered to listen to the second half, maybe it’s because some of that emphasis is elsewhere. I would say that elsewhere may reside in a good amount of indie pop and rock, as is the case with this track by Malachai.

It has nothing to do with rap, but instead this is some nice indie pop/rock with sample-based production, not unlike what Danger Mouse has done with Gnarls Barkley or the work he did with Gorillaz. It’s a really good song, click it and find yourself getting lost in the fall he celebrates. The song is from his latest album, Return To The Ugly Side (Domino).

(This comes from a recommendation by Preach Jacobs, mahalo nui.)

FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Prie’s “We Fly HI 2: Still Flying” (mixtape”

Prie is an MC out of Hawai’i who to me represents optimism in hip-hop. He represents a scene that is hungry and ready to be heard outside of their own circle, and I feel Prie is someone who is ready to invade your comfort zone. Prie (pronounced “pree”) puts his life and personal struggles into his work, those who have heard him know he’s someone who is not to be messed with on the mic. He has been talking how February 27th will be the day for new music from him, tempting and teasing fans and onlookers about what is to come, and now it’s here.

He has just unveiled a new mixtape called We Fly HI 2: Still Flying, 26 tracks of quality hip-hop as you want and expect to hear, this one featuring cameos from Creed Chameleon, Tassho Pearce, Siryruss The King, and more. It’s free, so you can’t have an excuse to not take a listen. To download, click here.

REVIEW: Sketch Tha Cataclysm’s “Sum Shit We Dubbed Vol. 2”

Photobucket Sketch Tha Cataclysm has returned with a mixtape-type function, although he is someone who always presents himself in music in a bold fashion to where it comes off like major productions. In other words, he doesn’t half-ass anything.

Simply put, Sketch rhymes over trusted beats and is capable of making it sound like these producers were doing songs for him. He has a way of rhyming that makes you want to go to his merchandise page and buy everything he sells, and what I mean to say is that he has a style you want to believe in and tell everyone to listen to. He could easily found himself getting involved with El-P, Madlib, Jake One, Vitamin D, or Young Raven and making some tight tracks and it would be brilliant. When he says “my opposition to battling is taken for weakness” in “Beechwood”, that tends to pave a mental opening for the listener to go “oh, well let’s see what else he has to say if he’s going to be that bold to put himself out there”. Then again, he wouldn’t be an artist if he didn’t want to allow his art to be known, and I say that with respect: Sketch is an artist, and what you’re hearing are not only his rough sketches, but fully developed portraits.

If this is meant to be a mixtape in order to have music out there, I eagerly await more improper albums.

REVIEW: Fab da Eclectic’s “Bombshell”

Photobucket The use of guitars throughout this album may make some feel that Fab da Eclectic wants to follow the path of Everlast post-House Of Pain, but I feel it acts a folksiness, if not earthiness, to the stories he shares about everything about being admittedly shy in “Hello” (which reminds me a bit of Fort Minor) to the enthusiastically funky “Change In My Pocket”, which sounds like what Drake would come off if he jammed with the Beastie Boys, complete with pretty decent vocal harmonies. In fact, he drops his rap flows in the accessible “Reminisce”, so if for some reason his career as an MC doesn’t work out, he can easily make the move towards pop, soul, or rock and people can’t say he’s trying to reach. He sounds very comfortable too, a natural sound that doesn’t sound forced or as if he’s trying to over-compensate for lacking in the other.

In a better world, this would be one of the more groundbreaking albums and artists of the year, but now that you read me say this, find this album and discover it for yourself.

REVIEW: MC Homeless’ “27”

Photobucket The thing I like about MC Homeless27 is that there is a distinct beginning, middle, and end. There are times when people make some damn good songs , but I tend to want some sense of continuity or structure. On this album, MC Homeless has this as he begins with almost a sense of birth with his “Intro”, and then he goes in to offer some stories. What I like about him is that regardless of the flow that he comes out with in each song, you tend to imagine the storyline quite easily without him resorting to too many trends. “Firewalk With Me” sounds like something that would fit alongside D-Sisive or Jesse Dangerously, while the synthesized strings layered over a funky break in “Try Suicide” is meant to create mystery and suspicion, as if you’re wanting him to either pull the trigger or… perhaps he’s observing his listeners hoping they will off themselves.

It’s a short album (33 minutes) but I like the small dosage here because he comes in with a mission and breaks out before anyone dares call him boring, which he isn’t. MC Homeless is in good company, and hopefully his audiences will feel the same.

VIDEO: Zack Kim’s “Bold As Love”

A few years ago, Korean guitarist Zack Kim was showing off his great skills on the guitar, by playing two of them at the same time to recreate what you hear when you play the first world in Super Mario Bros.:

People thought he was either a music genius, or a fake, with some people commenting that it was virtually impossible to do what he does. Obviously, they aren’t aware of keyboardist Ray Manzarek doing something similar 44 years ago:

Kim continues to make music today, modifying his song to something quite nice. Here is his version of Jimi Hendrix Experience‘s “Bold As Love”.

SOME STUFFS: Bootzilla’s back: Bootsy Collins ready to release new album in 2011 with special guests

A year or two ago, when it was Bootsy Collins‘ birthday, I went on Twitter and called him “the original“. He replied back and thanked me, and as a lifelong funkateer, I loved that.

But the main reason you’re reading this is not to read about my brief Twitter exchange, but to find out about what Bootsy is doing? He will be releasing a new album called Tha Funk Capitol Of The World, his first studio album in five years. If you want musical diversity, you’ll have it right here with the group of guests that are on it: Samuel L. Jackson, Chuck D., Snoop Dogg, Bela Fleck. Reverend Al Sharpton, r. Cornel West, Buckethead, and many more. Tour dates are forthcoming.

On top of that, Bootsy participated in a recording session for a forthcoming album by actor William Shatner, an album that will also feature participation from Peter Frampton, Ian Paice (Deep Purple), Zakk Wylde (one-time Ozzy Osbourne guitarist), Steve Howe (Yes), and Brian May (Queen). It seems Bootsy and Shatner are united in getting into space once more, hopefully on a path to meet up with Sun Ra.

Nonetheless, Bootsy is on the path again, easily one of the hardest working musicians out there. The man has been recording and performing for almost 45 years. Support him if you can, and Bootsy, if you’re reading this: remember those Bootsy classes you once wore during the “Party On Plastic” era, where you had imagined people sporting micro-cassettes? You need to make an MP3 version of that.

SOME STUFFS: FXFU hopes to be “the anti-SXSW”

FXFU is a forthcoming music event happening in Portland, Oregon that is promoting itself as being “the anti-SXSW“. The bio on the website indicates that the festival ” is a ramshackle affair celebrating music here in Portland, a kinda anti-SXSW but too lazy to be too overtly political, though that is the dominant ethos. That and a love for community.” Can it be as popular as SXSW? Hard to say, but it’s a Portland music event nonetheless, so if you are in or near Portland, or plan on visiting, check it out on March 19th. Some of the artists scheduled to perform include:

Old Light
Mike Coykendall & the Golden Shag
Yes, Father
What Hearts
DJ Black Sandwich
DJ Nicholab

This is a tentative lineup, but you can head to and keep up to date on any changes and additions.

SEPARATED @ BIRTH: Dave Grohl & Alanis Morissette

I have seen the resemblance for years, and I resurrect it in 2011. If Alanis Morissette can turn into Dale Nixon, I will salute.