REVIEW: Kristofer Klarke’s self-titled album

Kristofer Klarke photo Kristofer_cover_zps00wtxxpl.jpg Creed Chameleon and Grip H. are together once again as Kristofer Klarke and together, while this may be an 8-song album (RisingSons), this is not a quick-and-easy effort. What makes this work is while brief, it features some witty stories throughout and it’s a chance to know each of them better than before.

A part of me almost hears this the same way I heard the debut album by Lateef & Lyrics Born as Latryx. They both have different styles, flows, and storylines and yet work as if they are of one mind, knowing and understanding that when they are together, there’s a sense of chemistry that works beautifully, especially in the JP-produced “All That Matters”, where they also bring in Jim Hurdle. A part of me wishes that if I had the money to shoot a music video for this, I’d due it tomorrow and you’d see it by the end of the week. Both of them are witty and clever and aren’t afraid to be funny when needed. While I’m someone who expects full length albums (or a longer album), doing a brief effort in a nice way is compact and precise without too much extra fat hanging on the side. Hopefully more people will find out about them, which will hopefully make them listen to them individually to hear what they’re capable of doing on their own. In a better world, “Life Goes” (produced by Neguin Beats) would be an autumn 2015 hit, with everyone dropping their own verses and making their own remixes because people want to be part of their musical chemistry.

RECORD CRACK: Mello Music Group release new 7″ by Has-Lo

If you’re a vinyl junkie like myself, you’ll want to highly considered getting this. The good people at Mello Music Group have released another 45 in their 7″ series, and this one is by Has-Lo. Looks to be a good one too, with the Illmind-produced “Make A Bet” filling the B-side while “Stained Glass” is there to make the initial impression, produced by Apollo Brown.

You can order your copy directly from MMG by clicking here

VIDEO: El Da Sensei featuring Tame One & DJ Kaos’ “Everyday In The Street (!llmind Remix)”

Look at the names:

El Da Sensei
Tame One
DJ Kaos

If that’s making you nuts, good for you. If not and are wondering why: these are all three original members of The Artifacts, united once again on a track found on El’s The Nu World Remix EP. If you have the EP and are wondering “hold up, where’s Rah Digga?”, I can’t answer that because I don’t know. Yet if they put together a quick video WITH her as well, make that double duty for the song and the EP.

REVIEW: Fortilive’s “I vs I”

Photobucket Fortilive are a hip-hop trio that represent Hawai’i Nei, the Bay Area, and New Jersey and consist of some of the best players out there: Mushmouf, Illmind, and Slo-Mo. Individually, they have been involved with a number of projects for years, some I’ve heard, some I have not. But now as one, these guys easily create the kind of vibe not unlike Redman, Dilated Peoples, Black Star (especially the funky “Gimme”), and The Alkaholiks. What you also have with the Bay Area and NJ influences is simply… differences. It’s not a stagnant album, so you’ll hear regionality.

In the opening track, “Ain’t No Place”, they talk about home and make a number of references that everyone will relate to. While a Bruno Mars reference will stick out for outsiders, hearing lines like “the Kimo Kahoano of rap”, and “cause we be talkin’ pidgin, but we be talkin’ business” and “get your life right, fuck it with this gritty 50 livin’/Kamehameha playa, you finna run for mayor/young n*ggas spittin’ fire like he Kilauea” will definitely let you know that this isn’t lyrics like most have heard about. Just like hip-hop from the south, they touch on how it is to be “in town” and everywhere else. It’s the kind of localism that makes it great I know exactly what they’re talking about, and then they get deeper and cover everything from the corruption of certain American past times or, as is the case with the incredibly funky “Wannabees”, where they don’t talk about people who want to be something else, but how Fortilive simply want to live and be better.

At the same time, what makes I vs. I standout is that it’s not just a “local” album full of local references that no one outside of these locations will understand. These guys could easily be from L.A. and remind people of Project Blowed or Aceyalone, they could easily be from the ATL and make people go “wow, that has a slight Goodie Mob vibe to it”, and yet with a bit of Hawaiian flavor thrown in too, it’s also very characteristic of the best Hawai’i has to offer. The music is a sponge of sorts, taking in various influences from different eras, times, and regions, settling down and marinating to create a blend with its own unique herbs and spices. The stories are believable and they’ll make you want to hear more, and that’s a good thing. As they get more exposure, I hope Fortilive will bring that more to those who understand what quality hip-hop is all about.

(I vs. I can be downloaded for free from

REVIEW: Skyzoo’s “The Salvation”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic There has been an incredible buzz for this MC known as Skyzoo and if you are a hip-hop head, then you’ll know the use of the term “MC” isn’t something I throw out like free bus passes. This means that his new album, The Salvation (Jamla/Duck Down) is an album that is performed by a gifted individual who knows how to turn his wicked flows into masterpieces to be.

Upon hearing tracks like “Popularity”, “The Necessary Evils”, and “Dear Whoever”, you’ll know why Duck Down decided to sign this. The voice, flow, swagger, the attitide, and just the essence of what is within these songs: this is someone of quality and substance, someone who understands what rap music actually is. It’s nice to hear someone who can present himself as an MC, go out on stage and deliver decent hip-hop, and better. He’d probably be welcome on a Dilated Peoples or Blue Scholars track. With productions from Just Blaze, Black Milk, Illmind, Nottz, Needlz, and 9th Wonder among others, Skyzoo has put faith in these guys to enhance his already powerful style, and they succeed. This represents Brooklyn to the fullest, and it sounds like home.