VIDEO: Apollo Brown featuring Barrel Brothers’ “Neva Eva”

Grandeur (Mello Music Group) is the latest album from Apollo Brown and from it is a song he did with Skyzoo and Torae, who together want to be known as The Barrel Brothers. They went to New York with director Jay Brown to create a video for “Neva Eva” so watch and listen, then enjoy it foreva and eva. Randy Travis fans can say “amen” at the end of that sentence. The album can be ordered from by clicking the cover below.

AUDIO: Skyzoo & Torae’s “Pre-Loaded”

 photo SkyzooTorae_cover_zps092063b5.jpg
Skyzoo and Torae have a new album on its way in less than a week called Barrel Brothers but they’re impatient. They decided to put together a mix of various tracks they have done over the years to show the new where they’re from, as a means to let you know where they’re headed. Pre-Loaded: The Best of The Barrel Brothers was put together by E-Holla of Brown Bag All-Stars, it may be only 37 minutes in length but it’s a teaser, it was constructed this way for a reason.

AUDIO: DJ Dister featuring Fashawn, Torae & Inessa Boné’s “Everywhere”

 photo DJDisterE_cover_zpsabb6a7f0.jpg
From his Roll Wit Dis is DJ Dister, who is not just going anywhere, but “Everywhere”, and he brings on Fashawn, Torae & Inessa Boné for the ride. It looks and sounds like it’s going to be a rewarding trip, so trip along with them.

FREE MP3 DL: Reckonize Real featuring Torae, M-Dot & Tribeca’s “The Business”

Reckonize Real photo Recknonize_cover_zps976ed752.jpg
When you give someone “the business”, it is meant to be taken as a serious comment. Or they’re flipping you off, giving you the mpetahorical middle finger. In this case, it could be a song about the business of making music, or trying to find a way to make it in “the business”. Torae, M-Dot and Tribeca decided to find out what happens when heads join together, and with Reckonize Real at the head of the game with production, there has to be some goodness involved.

REVIEW: Various Artists’ “URBNET – Underground Hip-Hop Volume 07”

Photobucket At the moment the mainstream used hip-hop music for its selfish benefit, it was when one half of the music stunted its own growth. The other half went to college, decided to experiment, try new substances, smell new smells, explore culinary delights, and went out of its way to show that entering new school meant truly opening the new book of knowledge. URBNET‘s brand new compilation, Underground Hip-Hop Vol. 07 is a perfect example of the energies of MC, DJ’s, and producers who may have the energy of youth but are ready to take on the mic as adults to show and prove.

The artists here are not the sole example of what underground hip-hop is about, but merely a slice of some of the best that is out there today. There’s incredible work here from D-Sisive, Moka Only, Declaim, Rel!g!on (whose “Classical Musical” is an optimistic view of how this music will one day be discussed in high regard in 2000 years, with Ras Kass, Torae, and Planet Asia offering their testimonies), Emay, Noah23 & Krem, Animal Nation, and many more.

If there’s one stand-out verse, it has to be that found in Pigeon Hole‘s “Loop Tape”, which will definitely bring back memories for those who will listen to this album and understand exactly what they’re trying to do:

“I grew on the classics, The Chronic‘s, Illmatic‘s
36 Chambers, even Ill & Al Skratch shit
back when we used to laugh how ugly Craig Mack is
when Del still did acid and Hiero was massive
Southernplayalistic Outkast Cadillac shit
Something for my Walkman, I could sing along and rap with
Doggystyle was a favorite
Even though mom and dad probably just hated me for playing it
Sayin’ shit like “G’z up, ho’s down”
And biyaach, we would watch Rap City soul out
Don’t front, don’t front, you know I gotcha opin
I would read The Source for all the verses they were quotin’
When Stakes were High and 5 mics with no lie
Scarface had the diary and Bushwick had no eye
Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Shimmy yeah, shimmy yay
Used to love H.E.R., still do, just in a different way

Get this.

REVIEW: Sean Price’s “Kimbo Price”

Kimbo Price Sean Price is really to kick anyone in the jaws without regret, hell you might get hit and not even know what happened to you. Despite the length of the songs (23 in total) on this CD, Kimbo Slice (Duck Down/Fat Beats) may be promoted as a mix tape-type situation but it holds up very well as an album. It’s album length, but these songs come and go without thought and goes right into the next one,a bit like a Monty Python episode. It shows that when you’re able to deliver the goods, you’re also able to change your name throughout your discography. Sean Price states that he would like to be known as “Megasean”, and maybe in a month or two he will switch his name again. The approach here is raw, loose, and as hard as a ruthless street fight. If you listen to this as a traditional album, it may come off as a hip-hop opera. From afar, these songs may not have a cohesive theme, but the overall vibe is one of strength and dominance, that of an MC who someone who is proud to call himself Kimbo Price (Vision/Duck Down). This is that no-nonsense hip-hop shit. I can imagine a few people saying this is nothing but hip-hop for those with short-attention spans, but they’re not listening that closely or deeply.

Rock and Law join up with Sean Price in the bitch ass “Hot”, while St. Maffew‘s appearance in the blues-based “Weed & Hoes” is a celebration of hot bitches and choice pakalolo. “Suicide Door” may begin with a tentative-rock edge, but then the beat kicks in and as Price talks about how he just came out fresh out of his mom’s pussy, he’s figuratively and literally going in deeper. It’s random at times, the way subjects come and go, but as much as it’s not meant to sound like a proper album, it is. It’s what made those old mix tapes of yesteryear so powerful. Now, what makes this different from a younger artist who may do random songs for the sake of being a superstar? Execution and knowledge of what makes a good rap song great. A lot of artists are nothing but mindless blah blah, and Sean Price isn’t mindless, nor delivering any level of blah. In these short-but-sweet songs, he’s on a mission towards releasing yet another album, and yet I wish more artists would treat their mix tape missions thet same way Prince does, because this is a certified winner.

REVIEW: Marco Polo & Torae’s Double Barrel

When I saw the title for this album, the first words I thought of were “I… am the magnificent”. But are Marco Polo & Torae subliminally saying they too are magnificent? No need to hide behind a guise, for this hip-hop duo are definitely going to make a name for themselves in a positive way.

Double Barrel (Duck Down) is an album that delivers both lyrically and musically, and I say that especially in 2009 since a lot of times a hip-hop album shows a lot of promise and things are a bit lopsided. This is a nicely balanced, album, not a “perfect balance” but I don’t want to boost the ego of the songs and have people think “wow, is this the renaissance?” Yet in a small way, it is a throwback to a golden era even though it doesn’t specifically sound like one specific era. It has that boom bap, it has that rah rah, but Torae is an MC who thinks about what he has to say, or at least he puts some serious thought into his lyrics, it’s not a sloppy bit of “yes yes y’all, and you don’t stop”. Not once are listeners going to say “stop that already, I heard it countless times before”, although the familiarity of his flows only mean that one is comfortable with his execution.

As for Marco Polo, this guy is going to take off in the same way The Alchemist and Jake One have in recent years. It’s not an album where the MC goes into his lyrics toybag, because Marco Polo wants to play too. It’s chops, it’s slices, it’s a puzzle and he does it in a way that at least made me go “yes, this is how you pull it off” because he’s cutting up various records, pieces them together as if various MC’s are right there in the studio. It’s a tribute to the punch they offered before, and it honors a music that still can give you a couple back slaps at any given time when it feels it’s the right time to do so. The back slaps are long overdue, and this is a group that knows the power of a good fwack.