AUDIO: Pawz One’s “Face The Facts”

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Face The Facts is the latest album from rapper Pawz One, which you can stream right now via Bandcamp. Masta Ace, Ras Kass, Rakaa, and 2Mex are just some of the people helping out Pawz on this one, 17 tracks plus a remix of “The Luv”. I’m not sure who the guy is next to Bruce Lee and above Jam Master Jay, it looks a bit like Carlos Santana but (as of this writing) he is not dead yet. Nonetheless, snag this album when you can.

SOME STUFFS: L.A. Got Aloha’s 2 Year Anniversary celebration happening next weekend

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Los Angeles residents will be treated to something great next weekend when L.A. Got Aloha will be holding a 2nd Anniversary celebration at The Dragonfly (6510 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood). If you recognize some of the people above, they are scheduled to appear there. This includes Rakaa and DJ Babu, working together as Expansion Team Soundsystem. You’re also going to be entertained by Tassho Pearce, Kahlee, Gavlyn, Jook The First, Justin V, Cruz Ahenri with DJ MikeRawk, Freewill, Anthm, Analog Dive, Southern Cumiford, and Destruct, along with a bit of DJ mayhem from Steadybeat & Krumm, DJ Kemix, GoodBoy & Bounce House, and DJ MikeRawk doing a solo set. On top of that, you’ll also get some live, on-the-spot art done by the likes of Shane Beel, ThirdEyedea, Gianne Arone, Edrok One, Keith Magruder, and many more.

The show is 21 and over, no exceptions, and doors open at 9pm. Free drink with cover before 9:30pm, free beer pong before 11pm, and throughout the night, 5 dollar li hing margaritas, so you’ll want to take advantage of all of it in a safe manner.

Tickets can be pre-ordered by clicking here. For more information on the event, click to,, or the Rising Sons Independent Facebook page.

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.

VIDEO: Rakaa featuring Aloe Blacc’s “Crown Of Thorns”

It’s a song that sounds holier than thou, and maybe that’s because those sounds mean something to you. Listen to the lyrics and they’ll mean something too, if not more. This is Rakaa with “Crown Of Thorns”, bringing in Aloe Blacc. The video was directed by Jason Goldwatch, and while you’ll see a number of clips of special guests in the video, it also seems like a subtle tribute to Apple and Steve Jobs, perhaps unintentionally offering respect to someone whose creativity and intelligence allowed many artists and musicians to share their creativity and intelligence with the world.

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.

VIDEO: Rakaa’s “Delilah”

Crown Of Thorns is the name of the forthcoming solo debut album from Rakaa, and this is the first single from it. The single has been out since this Spring, and the album is scheduled for release next week Tuesday. You can pre-order your copy by clicking one of the boxes below.