SOME STUFFS: Seattle’s Grynch shines “Street Lights” on new recording
Grynch is back with an all new album, eleven new songs plus an remix and he’s calling it Street Lights. If you know how he is, you know the man is capable of dropping nicely in a manner that requires for you to listen, and then to listen to it a few times again. The new one features appearances from Slug of Atmosphere, Wizdom, Mario Sweet, Kokane, Bambu, and more, along with productions from Jake One, D-Sane, Justo (The Physics), BeanOne, and… just get the album and find out.

VIDEO: Atmosphere’s “She’s Enough”

Atmosphere have finally released The Family Sign, and now you can see the first video from the album in the form of “She’s Enough”. If you’re a fan of Slug and Ant, you’ll know that any music from them is not enough, so get to watching.

VIDEO: Atmosphere’s “Just For Show”

New Atmosphere places them (or at least the song) in a family setting, and this is the result? THIS IS THE RESULT? I like it. Atmosphere – Just For Show by rhymesayers

LISTEN: Atmosphere’s “Just For Show”

New Atmosphere album is just around the corner, but now you can take a sneak preview of it. Click the player to listen to “Just For Show” and that’s exactly what this song is, “just for show” (i.e. stream, not download). The artwork for their new album, The Family Sign (Rhymesayers), was posted here two weeks ago, so have a look. Atmosphere – Just For Show by rhymesayers

SOME STUFFS: Atmosphere reveal artwork for new album


The only thing I know how to do in sign language is my name. When I did, I realized that the cover seems to be the fourth letter in my first name, which is “N”. Significance?

I don’t know, but this is The Family Sign (Rhymesayers), Atmosphere‘s sixth album due out on April 12th. Here is the official track listing:

1. My Key
2. The Last to Say
3. Became
4. Just For Show
5. She’s Enough
6. Bad Bad Daddy
7. Millenium Dodo
8. Who I’ll Never Be
9. I Don’t Need Brighter Days
10. Ain’t Nobody
11. Your Name Here
12. If You Can Save Me Now
13. Something So
14. My Notes

What element of “N”-ness will Atmosphere reveal in the music and perhaps on stage? I almost want to assume that it has to do with friendships and family, and the use of it is a metaphor, if not slang. Close? Probably not, but no doubt everyone is going to say “why N?” Why not N? Does its use also suggest “community”? Hmmm. You’ll have to wait, see, and hear when the answers will be revealed (maybe) on April 12th.

SOME STUFFS: Atmosphere are slying “The Family Sign”

Say what you want about Atmosphere, and maybe you have. But now you can say that in this moment and time, the group are about to release a new album that serves as nothing more than a way to expand their fanbase, growing wider every minute. The new one will be called The Family Sign, and once again they’re working with Rhymesayers, one of the few hip-hop labels today that continue to do things right for their artists and the music.

Along with Slug and Ant, Atmosphere consists of guitarist Nate Collis and keyboardist Erick Anderson, and who knows, with more people becoming in tune with Atmosphere, they may become a Ginger Baker-style Air Force by the end of this year, who knows. Slug remains one of the best MC’s out there today, period, and this new album is just additional threads to the hip-hop freak flag they are contributing to, and I am forever thankful for their determination to make potentially great music. Well, I think it’s good and obviously fans do too, otherwise they would’ve wrapped this up years ago. Nonetheless, April 12th is the release date for the new album, etch that in your noggin.

VIDEO: Atmosphere’s “The Best Day”

New video from Atmosphere is a photo collage, but one that is put together quite nicely. The song is from their new EP, To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy, so go pick that up.

SOME STUFFS: New book on Atmosphere and Rhymesayers Records

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7 Years with Atmosphere and Rhymesayers is a forthcoming book by Dan Monick about the rap duo who have been able to do a lot of daring things throughout their music, and the label who were able to provide an outlet for both Slug and Ant.

The book, to be released on September 1st by Gingko Press, looks at the success of Atmosphere and Rhymesayers from a fan’s point of view, not only from Monick but by fans who have made them hip-hop champions.

REVIEW: Mic King & Chum’s “Flavor Ade”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Icon The Mic King is someone who I’ve been following for a long time, and now as he simplifies his name to be the appropriate Mic King (his real name is Michael King, so maybe this was meant to be). With slight moniker modification, it definitely does not signify simplicity in his writing, style, and execution of his rhymes. He teams up with producer Chum (known to some as The Skrilla Guerilla) for a great album called Flavor Ade, and this is an example of someone who is showing how confident he is in his own shoes.

Some rappers will choose to rap two ways: have a cocky attitude that is meant to represent fake gangsterism, and then a mock romantic attitude that is nothing more than a lure to bring ladies into their realm. Maybe it’s a facade that some people enjoy, but Mic King plays a different role in “Gimme Some Sugar”, or at least, his swagger here is mixed in with a bit of humor that isn’t often heard in other rappers who talk the talk, but little else is happening. “I’m The Best Mayne” has him trying to talk about his chain dangling in a Lil’ Wayne manner, but the singer (a self-proclaimed “Robot Boy”) that does his thing with Auto-Tune sounds like what would happen if you got someone who was not only off-key, but off-tempo, and turned him into a star. It could be parody or mockery, but it works, with the power of Greyskull.

Throughout the album, Mic King and Chum go from modern hip-hop tomfoolery to early 90’s new jack celebration, to exploring some of the more appreciated hip-hop sounds of the last decade. This makes sense since that’s what he was raised on, but then get into the album’s last track, “Kind Of Woman”. He does a few lines and verses in double time, and it’s as if he knows he can do other styles with his eyes closed, and this is on the next level shit. Not only that, but his speedy delivery here not only sounds good, but he’s making sense, it’s not the hip-hop equivalent of Al Jarreau or Bobby McFerrin where all he’s doing is saying “I got the business, doopidi doopii, doo, dearrwww dearrwww.” Mic King is a no-bullshit rapper who isn’t afraid to shine the spotlight on the bullshit in the music, as if to say “this is what you’re loving, I got something a lot more satisfying.” With Elzhi of Slum Village helping out in the string-ridden “Wordperfect”, and Slug of Atmosphere dropping an inspiring verse in “Snake Oil”, Mic King shows he is nothing more than a missionary on a mission who is in a position to go deep, while looking at you directly in the eye. He’s not a doggie style rapper, and Chum is not a doggie style producer, his samples and basslines are appropriate, the transitions in “Wordperfect” are award-worthy and I hope he gets recognized for that alone.

REVIEW: Felt 3: a tribute to Rosie Perez

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Felt 3: a tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhymesayers) is an album I’ve been anticipating for awhile. There are so many ways to say this, and maybe you, the reader, have read a number of different opinions. The following is mine.

In a bold way, I’d like to say that this is the kind of kick in the ass that hip-hop needs right now. Hip-hop is not helpless, but at times its equilibrium is off. Is that due to age, due to “the game”, the lack of something, or an overabundance?

Let’s cut the crap and talk about the music. Slug and MURS work incredibly well as a duo because they work… together. They both have individual strengths and weaknesses, just like any other twosome, but what makes them work is the fact that they are working, once again, together. It’s a musical relay race, and they’re doing it for the team. That team for this album includes <a href=""Aesop Rock as producer, and it’s not just two MC’s and some guy with a love for funky beats and obscure raers, he becomes an element of Felt that is necessary in this equation. This holy triad have created an album where the swagger is immediately felt (aaaah), they each share an attitude that at times can be cocky, but they touch on that thin line between cockiness and confidence. No surprise, they’re both.

Slug and MURS know how to rock the mic, and I like how they each bring a level of talent that on one hand shows the power of the bravado and ego that hip-hop tends to provide. On the other hand, that bravado comes from presenting their talent in a way that is relentless, you can’t approach a microphone with fear and go “uh… bubba duh”? This is not uh bubba duh-hop.

The feel of this album is… maybe flawless is not the word, or maybe I’m getting it mixed up with seamless. I bring these two words up, flawless and seamless, because the vibe of this album goes back to when hip-hop albums meant everything. The seamless feel comes from everything being cohesive. In the hands of others, trying to impress someone with a 21-song album is a huge risk but they keep the boat afloat by mixing short songs with album-length tracks, where the short songs do not feel like interludes but merely stitches of a jacket that is the perfect fit for you. It feels tailor made to your tastes, at least to mine, and I’ll be selfish in saying that this is the kind of album I’ve been wanting to do for years. To hear it done so well makes me want to say “job well done”, and hell, I just did.

What also impressed me is the fact that sonically, it does not sound forced. That is due to Joey Raia who handled mixing duties and Chris Gehringer who did the final master. This album is not brickwalled, it has a nice, rich, full sound that gives it a roominess that I enjoy. The music is allowed to breathe and nothing is forced, when your emphasis is on Aesop Rock’s instrumentals you hear it clearly. When you hear Slug or MURS take up mic duties, you hear them and it’s not a muddy mess. All artists, regardless of genre, should listen to this so they’ll know how their own music should sound like. Job well done.

Felt 3: a tribute to Rosie Perez is one of the best albums to come out this year, because it brings back for a moment a time when all hip-hop was this good, but more importantly it is a example of what hip-hop still is in 2009. To paraphrase what Lilo said in Lilo & Stitch, you don’t leave anyone behind even as you grasp microphone supremacy. This is about unity, watch who you’re calling “bitch”.

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