Tech N9ne: Aw Yeah? (InterVENTion)

My hometown hero Tech N9ne, the rap god from Kansas City, unleashed his new single, “Aw Yeah? (interVENTion),” which serves as the intro to his upcoming album, Special Effects, due out on May 5. The new album follows up 2014’s Strangeulation, which debuted atop the indie and rap charts, and in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200. 

Until now, Tech N9ne has never released an intro to his album as a single because he prefers to leave the audience guessing about the overall direction of the project. He made his first-ever exception to that rule with “Aw Yeah? (interVENTion)“ because, according to Tech, “the world needs to hear this.” 

It’s easy to understand that sense of urgency when you hear his bars, which touch upon pressing issues like inequality as well as Tech’s irritation with his musical peers. 

The song is opened with low, rumbling whispers that will eventually propel you into an opera/beat ensemble as Tech starts to rap. Check it out.

I’m a long-time Tech fan, but I really love this single because not only does it sound great, but its lyrics also differ from a lot of the other rap and hip hop in the music industry today. I like that Tech chose to write about different social problems that aren’t traditionally addressed in the entertainment industry, such as the events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Libya, Benghazi, Syria, Nigeria and Australia. Tech’s not holding back.

Also, in the middle of the single Tech mentions Jamaican rapper Zuse. Reportedly, Zuse is accompanying Tech on his Special Effects tour, along with artists Chris Webby, King 810 and label mates Krizz Kaliko and MURS.

"All my Technicians who have been patiently waiting for this, get ready for your minds to be blown! We made some dreams come true on this album. You WILL NOT be disappointed. It’s a beautiful thing.” -Tech N9ne

Watch for Tech’s Special Effects to drop in early May, and keep your eyes peeled for his upcoming tour dates.


nilorap

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Artist Profile: Let’s talk about Doja Cat

Whoaaaa, so I’m completely out of my element.

Actually, I was really wanting to share with you another reallyhippie indie, guitar playing artist that “seemed incredibly raw” as I like to
say. But enough of my uppity attitude, we should switch it up sometimes, you know?

Let’s talk about Doja
Cat
.

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I’m not super into hip-hop or rap so when I became intrigued
with Doja Cat, I was a little inspired. Not much is known about her, really, but
born Ami Zindale, she’s an 18 year old singer/rapper and L.A. based. She’s
young and she’s new, but she’s got this weird trippy vibe about her, and I
really just dig it.

This EP Purr! that
Doja Cat has out is relatively new, released in August 2014. It’s got 5 tracks,
and I’m not a fan of all of them, but her sound is just so different and airy and
so blended with soul vibes, I can’t help but like it.

“So High” was a single Doja Cat released prior to her EP, in
April, and is one that definitely gives off the impression of being high. It’s
dreamy, kind of psychedelic with the beats she uses, and her voice is kind of
just this high lilting mystery that pulls you in. It’s not a catchy, boppy
song, but definitely when she sings over and over again “You get me so high/You
get me so high” I catch myself grooving along to her.

It’s good, listen. It’s really trippy.

Okay, so then we continue on to the rest of the EP and it’s
pretty much along this vibe. She has this absentminded, lazy, spacey way of
singing, but once in a while, she dips into smooth straight rap like in “Nunchucks”
get this slower, soul Nicki Minaj
feel to her tracks.

Honestly, I have no idea why I like this, but I just do. I
listen to a track like “Beautiful” and it’s dreamy and mixes her smooth rap with
hippie beats in the background.

I really like “No Police.” She mixes her rap stylings with
some really chill beats, and her overall style makes it one of the best tracks
on the EP. But I also like “Control,” with her slow builds and real, breezy,
echoes that just relax you.

Doja Cat is consistent within her EP and that’s good, but
she’s definitely different. I think that’s what it is. She’s weird. She’s
different, I’ve never really heard anyone like her before and her originality
of mixing soul, rap, and R&B together is intriguing. She mixes her little
cat references into her rap and just randomly purrs or meows in her tracks, so
you definitely can’t escape Doja Cat’s identity. It’s weird. It’s cool.

Or maybe I’m the weird one. Either way, check her entire EP
out here:

Ariana Rivera

birthday shoutout: Jermaine Lamarr Cole

it’s January 28th, so you know what that means.

and if you don’t know what that means, it’s rapper J. Cole’s birthday!

i’ve been following J. Cole since he released Friday Night Lights in 2010, so when he dropped 2014 Forest Hills Drive, i was ecstatic (probably an understatement).

and, with good reason. the album grew on me a lot, and i still listen to it pretty religiously, though it’s been out for over a month now.  i’ve gotta hand it to J. Cole, this album is, in my mind, a classic. i’m a sucker for clever wordplay, catchy beats, and Cole-style oversharing, so i guess it’s no surprise i feel this way.

since the album came out, i’ve been trying to write a “review” of sorts. i’ve jotted thoughts on each song, analyzed lyrics, yadda yadda yadda. and i have GIVEN UP. i can’t do it. it’s so hard to review something that you feel like no matter how many times you listen to it, you learn more about it and recognize new things, because whenever you start to review, you feel like you’re shortchanging the artist (i promise this is not just me).

so i’ve decided to “review” the album in a different way that speaks to its strengths: i’ve chosen my favorite* lyrics from each song. and i’m gonna share them. i’m doing this because if you haven’t listened to the album, you will definitely want to after catching this quick peek into the songs.

*my favorite for now, that is

here goes:

1. “Intro” 
“do you wanna be, free / Free from pain, free from scars / Free to sing, free from bars”

2. “January 28th”
“What’s the price for a black man life? / I check the toe tag, not one zero in sight”

3. "Wet Dreamz" 
“I’m thinking how that body look naked when you laying on the bed / Teacher, please don’t make me stand up”

4. "03’ Adolescence”  
“I got food for your thoughts to soothe your soul / If you see my tears fall just let me be /Move along, nothing to see”

5. "A Tale of 2 Citiez"  
“Anybody is a killer, all you gotta do is push ‘em to the limits / Fuck being timid in the Civic politicin’ with the pushers and the pimps”

6. "Fire Squad”
“While silly niggas argue over who gon’ snatch the crown / Look around, my nigga, white people have snatched the sound”

7. "St. Tropez" 
“Lately / It’s been hard for me to smile”

8. "G.O.M.D.“ 
"Why every rich black nigga gotta be famous / Why every broke black nigga gotta be brainless”

9. "No Role Modelz"  
“But then I thought back, back to a better me / Before I was a B-list celebrity / Before I started callin’ bitches "bitches” so heavily / Back when you could get a platinum plaque without no melody"

10. “Hello”  
“Reflection bring regrets don’t it / Rejection makes you defensive / So you protect your pride with your reflexes”

11. “Apparently" 
"Keep up, never sure where the words would take me / Niggas eat em up, and regurgitate me”

12.“Love Yourz" 
"It’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success / Hear my words or listen to my signal of distress”

13. “Note to Self" *** 
“I don’t mind cuz I don’t matter”

*** side note: this is the, as Cole calls it, role credits. so it ends in a long monologue and he references Jonah Hill & Dale Earnhardt Jr. as playing a part in the album, and right after says:  "I’m just fuckin’ playin’, I don’t know either one of those two dudes. I don’t know either one of them niggas, I was in the moment. I just lied, I don’t give a fuck.“ that’s my favorite part of the whole album because he is so damn goofy, even after how awesomely deep and real the other songs were, and it’s just cool to see his personality displayed through talking, not even rapping. <3

hopefully this makes you want to listen to the album, or if you already have, maybe you like it more now. 😉 

happy january 28th! 

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xoxo, gnovs

Not-Bad-Not-Bad-Pretty-Good: Belated Coverage of BADBADNOTGOOD (Show Review)


BBNG jamming out somewhere. Image ripped from google.

On Tuesday October 14th, the jazzy hip-hop trio BADBADNOTGOOD performed at Neumo’s for their first time in Seattle. Yes this date has passed. Long passed. Too many days have gone in its wake for a quick-response review. This Tuesday can no longer be looked forward to. Well, maybe I needed time to digest, catch the flu, get distracted, and figure it out. You cannot attend this show unless you have a time machine in between the washer and dryer in the basement. Neglect your laundry. Let’s use this imaginative machine to relive the experience watching three young guns approach jam-virtuosity.

Jazz is all about unspoken communication. Using instruments as vocal apparatus and notes as words and phrases. You’ve heard the concept of phrasing in music if you watched any documentaries or wielded something brass in high school. Now then, you know the insanity of a well-spoken jazz ensemble in the height of improvisation. Jack Kerouac wrote about this in the 40’s. He would dig on these all-night wild be-bop musicians covered in sweat and blood and cigarette smoke in dark and airless clubs in San Francisco or New York. Whooping and cheering at the musicians, acknowledging moments when they had it, man. The whole audience shot glances at each other and simultaneously agreed: the band’s got it.

BADBADNOTGOOD have got it. I swear. They jammed too hard, clearly testing the limits of their musicianship through crescendos in volume and tempo. Their unspoken communication was amazing and apparent during extended solo sections for the jams “Hedron,” “Triangle,” as well as a silky smooth new track called “Velvet.” Conversation was killed, we were all swept off. They clearly lost themselves and we cheered them on, losing ourselves in the process. There was a subconscious agreement in the audience that up there, flooded in the river of lights and smoke, the band had achieved some kind of clarity.

One of their last tunes seemed an experiment in dexterity. There was a section that built and rose, swelling up like all of those 64th note electronic snare clacks before the predictable bass drop, though live, this intensity is more obvious and felt than the slow turning of knob. Every player attempted to burst beyond their comfort zone of their instrument. This cacophony, growing wide with the clashing of voices, the speed of flying fingers and drumsticks, was passionate and intense. This was the lifting of a weight over their collective heads heavier than they have previously lifted.

This sounds exaggerated. But hell. I’ve seen jazz gigs and the audience often appears as though they are trapped in an elevator. My generation of 20-somethings and jazz music don’t seem to go too well together. Sure, as a musician, I love jazz. I whoop and holler. But the crowd responded to BADBADNOTGOOD’s tunes in such a spirit as a punk rock show.

I caught up with Chester, the bassist, after the show and he gave a word of advice to the modern day aspiring artist, “It is about making connections. Meeting people. Saying hello and seeing how far that hello will take you.”

Check out the band’s latest music video for “CAN’T LEAVE THE NIGHT” below:

You never know who you will meet and how they can change your life forever. I know this rings true for the trio as their cover songs of popular rap cuts (Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, Gucchi Mane, etc.) introduced them to the absurd artistry of the Odd Future world.

The band will be back. They already have a committed, youthful, following and this is a hopeful advancement in the arts. Also, good on you Seattle for giving them such a warm welcome.

Nate Anderson