SOME STUFFS: DJ Babu & Rakaa head to Europe in July for tour

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You may know DJ Babu and Rakaa as 2/3 of Dilated People, but that exact 2/3 will be going to Europe for a small handful of shows next month, performing as Expansion Team Soundsystem. It’s a chance for the both of them to, as Rakaa states, to do business “outside of the lines”, a party vibe, hip-hop style. This is where the Expansion Team Soundsystem will be traveling.

July 11… Paris, France (Nouveau Casino)
July 12… London, England (East Village – The Doctor’s Orders)
July 13… Frauenfeld, Switzerland (Openair Frauenfeld Festival)
July 14… Amsterdam, Netherlands (Bitterzoet) {DNA Amsterdam / Los Angeles opening after party}

SOME STUFFS: Dilated Peoples ready to attack Europe

Good news and bad news. First the good: Dilated Peoples will be heading to Europe for a month long tour beginning in Romania. Here’s a group who have been incredible from the start, and while they have managed to individually do things under their own right, people still respect the fact that they can continue to rock this as a group. Expect to hear group gems, solo joints, and more. Maybe Babu will do a dance or two, I don’t know, but find out:

Feb 02 – Bucharest, Romania @ The Silver Church
Feb 03 – Thessaloniki, Greece @ Principal Club Theatre
Feb 04 – Athens, Greece @ Fuzz Club
Feb 06 – Vienna, Austria @ ((szene))
Feb 07 – Cologne, Germany @ Underground
Feb 10 – Amsterdam, Holland @ Melkweg
Feb 11 – Munster, Germany @ Skaters Palace
Feb 12 – Paris,France @ Le Bataclan
Feb 13 – Gent, Belgium @ Vooruit
Feb 15 – Berlin, Germany @ Lido
Feb 17 – Laax, Switzerland @ Riders Palace
Feb 18 – Zurich, Switzerland @ Dynamo
Feb 19 – Nantes, France @ Hip Opsession (FESTIVAL)
Feb 20 – Porto, Portugal @ Hard Club
Feb 21 – Lisbon, Portugal @ The Lounge
Feb 23 – Madrid, Spain @ Rockitchen
Feb 24 – Barcelona, Spain @ Bikini
Feb 25 – Bilbao, Spain @ Bilborock
Feb 27 – London, UK @ 02 Academy Islington
Feb 28 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Strand
Feb 29 – Gothenburg, Sweden @ Sticky Fingers
Mar 01 – Bern, Switzerland @ Dachstock

The bad news. The group are not going on tour in support of an album, usually the traditional way of doing things. That doesn’t mean the group are not going to pull out some future gems. Oh no.

Which allows me to revive “good news”: the group are assembling their mentals towards a brand new Dilated album to be released later this year. Since it is being assembled, no release dates or anything like that just yet. But when “yet”, you’ll know.

REVIEW: Rakaa’s “Crown Of Thorns”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The idea of having a Rakaa solo album might seem daunting, especially for some hip-hop fans who may be diehard supporters of Dilated Peoples but are uncertain of any solo project. If you are a Rakaa fan, you don’t have to worry about this one being a disappointment, or at least I wasn’t worried.

Crown Of Thorns (Decon): I mean look at the title right there. Is it a metaphor to suggest that he knew and expected to be put up on a metaphorical cross, to risk exposure and ridicule, or shameless praise? Or is it a means of honor? Regardless of how you read the title, it’s an album where the man known as Iriscience is able to keep one foot on the side of that “real hip-hop” but another to continue on with a more accessible side that Dilated Peoples attempted to do with their last album. By being accessible does not mean he’s trying to make sellout music, whatever that may mean in 2010. What you do hear is someone who knows he can’t remain true to one person’s view of what hip-hop should be, but one must be diverse, just like Rakaa himself.

I’ll put it this way. While the attitude that Kanye West has shared in his music is nothing new, there’s a bit of that swagger, sans ego, in some of Rakaa’s delivery, and the thing about it is that it works. When he hits us up with some dope rhymes over incredible beats, it does not sound dated one bit. There’s an old school feel, without a doubt, but it’s very much in the now, the same way Slug (of Atmosphere) and Blueprint do it. You still have the top notch clever rhymes, there’s still the deliver you know and love, that one that may have made him your LL Cool J or Rakim or KRS-One.

I’m from the school where rappers were heroes because we honored their voices, rapping techniques, and level of intelligence, we were down with the flow from someone in the know. While Rakaa is someone perhaps too humble to call himself a hero, he is someone who takes pride in what he does and shares that with the world. To rock the mic means not only wanting to be heard, but knowing you have the capabilities on how to be heard. There’s a level of confidence on Crown Of Thorns that comes from someone who knows and loves what he’s doing, and the one thing I love about the album is that he sounds like he’s having fun. A perfect representation of what hip-hop music is.

REVIEW: DJ Honda’s “IV”

free image hosting If you’ve been listening to DJ Honda for the last few years, you’d think he was born and raised in the United States with the kind of productions he creates. But he is from Japan and has gained a reputation for making some of the best music that will move any and all crowds. Honda is back with IV, a self-released album that brings a number of MC’s to his world, including Ras Kass, EPMD, Heltah Skeltah, Kool G. Rap, Iriscience, Lord Tariq, and the return of Mos Def, who unites with Honda once again with “Magnetic Arts”.

The album has a classic feel to it, or the way hip-hop is and will always be, it slams in all the right ways and Honda knows how to control his tracks in a confident way. Why this album isn’t on a proper lavel, I do not know, but this should let people know that real hip-hop can be found anywhere, and this time it’s in the land of the rising son.