MOKA ONLY - Martian XMAS 2017
mx2017. This season marks my 13th edition of martian xmas. Crazy, and with my schedule this fall it's a wonder that I was able to pull it off.
I've been going back through previous editions and listening to the evolution of martian albums over the years. Many of the earlier ones had a
lot more silliness in the lyrics and over the years that silliness switched from the lyrics into the dialog samples and bits moreso. This year's
martian is a real mixed bag. Eclectic. In addition to all the newly crafted tracks, I was able to comb the vaults and found a few extra leftovers
from the last two years as well and, I was able to do some edits to bring them 'up to date', so to speak. Dave Psy made a new contribution but, I
couldn't seem to make it work within the context of the album. Jingbell of Yaggfu front was slated to make an appearance too but, I simply ran out
of time. You may notice that this time around there are some tracks that are more topical than the usual random fare such as 'timepieces',
'astromartian' and 'dress better'. I don't feel it was an intentional effort to focus on clearer subject matter, just a natural progression.
All in all, I'm happy with the outcome of this project and, I hope you will be too. Til next time... The Martian' aka Kareem Serene, aka Moke.
CHESS CLUB - These Flowers Are For You
Hip Hop has not traditionally thrived in St. John's, Newfoundland, but for the individual members of ChessClub (Andrew Lahey, Matthew Murphy, James Piercey and producer Adrian Gagnon), who grew up there, hip-hop is how they found each other. The four piece now call Toronto home, and with fifteen years of collective writing, musings, and perhaps a few rebirths, ChessClub are all too ready to release their sophomore album, These Flowers Are For You.
Ill Sugi has been DJ'ing in Tokyo since 2006, and has gained in international popularity, particularly throughout Europe and North America. In addition to working with prominent artists in Japan, such as Budamunk on the 2016 URBNET release of "Spirit of the Golden Era", Ill Sugi has also worked with many talented artists and producers overseas. In 2013 he released "Stiff Fingers" LP via the established record shop Jazzy Sport in Japan. More recently, in 2015 he collaborated with the prestigious beat label Radio Juicy, in releasing LP City Mind with Bugseed, and produced "Universal Language", a full length release from San Fransisco's Dregs One
DAN-E-O - DEAR HIP-HOP: 20 YEARS LATER
On November 5, 1996, Toronto-based label, Beat Factory released the seminal Canadian hip-hop compilation, Rap Essentials Volume One. Helping to further energize the already-established careers of such north-of-the-border lyrical heavyweights as Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, Ghetto Concept and Rascalz, the album is also credited for launching the career of Scarborough lyricist, Dan-e-o.
With his featured single, "Dear Hip Hop", Dan-e-o immediately cemented himself as one of Canada's premier MCs. A quasi-love letter to the music and culture he adores, the Scam-produced single has stood the test of time and has garnered itself "classic" status in the annals of Canadian hip-hop history.
Dear Hip Hop: 20 Years Later is a unique combination of re-mastered gems recorded during the mid-90's and brand new golden era-esque bangers, which include "Rap Essentials", an ode to the compilation that started it all with alumni, Mathematik and Deuce Deuce of Concrete Mob and a symbolic tribute to J Dilla entitled "Spit' featuring the late legend's brother, Illa J.
MOKA ONLY - CONCERT FOR ONE
Moka Only's latest album Concert for One, is set for release on September 1st 2017 via URBNET. As the follow up to his 2016 '12 for 12' opus, Concert for One delivers with such admirable tenacity, something that fans are accustomed to from the powerhouse artist. Notably so, this full-length twenty-track album features a guest collaboration from Detroit's own Dank (from Frank n Dank), and artwork from Montreal's Vanessa Malo (Instagram: @vnilla_art). Concert for One is available now on vinyl, CD, and cassette
DFF3 - SMALL WORLD (Produced by. LATE NIGHT RADIO)
Def3 returns to the limelight with his highly anticipated follow up record, "Small World", set for release on Friday July 21st via URBNET. In addition to being produced by Late Night Radio, one of Colorado's most prolific electronic producers, known for his innovative and funky cuts, Small World features a few more friends of hip hop, such as Masta Ace, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mystic, and Skratch Bastid to name a few. Small World will be available via digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl.
AUXX - 23/09
Auxx's latest accomplishment 23/09 is no light feat; Sterling deals with a heavy hand of mixed experiences, and he encompasses raw themes into his music to produce a multi-faceted sound. "The day I'd officially moved to a new city, was the same day I'd later found out a family member passed away. It inspired me to question and explore unexpectedness, danger and mortality, the key foundations to curating the album, 23/09". Rather than tribute, I decided to write a project that explores this phase of surrealism through the musical genres and styles I have been closely familiar with - from the statements and sinister atmospheres on "Black Wings", to tracks such as "Lilith" - representing the closure of consciousness, knowing of its surrealism and unfamiliar outcome."
CAREER CROOKS - Good Luck With That
Career Crooks is the culmination of the longtime collaborative relationship between Zilla Rocca & Small Professor. "Good Luck With That" is the kind of brilliance that could only be born out of that specific type of familiarity. Small Professor's production is the spiritual cousin of RZA's work on "Cuban Linx" at times, harnessing the moody atmosphere that breathed life into that project, but simultaneously feels like twilight in Philadelphia. An undeniable declaration of one's own art.
Zilla takes the mood set by Small Pro and runs with it, dropping a seamless combination of stream-of-consciousness raps intertwined with expert story telling. The combination is a mesmerizing originality that taps into the feeling that we all had when we first fell in love with the form.
"Good Luck With That" features an array of guest appearances from, PremRock, DJ Manipulator, Curly Castro, ALASKA, My Man Shafe, Defcee, s.habIB, Dewey Bryan, and MaLLy. While each artist contributes texture to the flavor, it is the team work between Zilla and Small Pro that really makes the project cook.
With "Good Luck With That", Career Crooks are placing their stamp on the modern rap renaissance. It is a perfect and vital addition to the genre, and it deserves your attention.
MR.BRADY SPEECHLESS (instrumentals)
For many years, Mr. Brady has been a staple in the hip-hop game, and has consistently found ways to reinvent himself and stay relevant. Many know Mr. Brady solely as an Emcee from albums such as Dirty, released via Battle Axe Records, or from his work with super collective Deep Rooted. What many fans might not know is that this multi-talented artist also uses his abilities to create the roots of his art. With just about every release of his own, Mr. Brady holds the feat of handling a majority of the production, which is what lead to the inevitable and much welcomed release of his instrumental studio album, Speechless.
PREM ROCK & FRESH KILS - LEAVE IN TACT The Remix Collection
Following the accolades of "Leave in Tact", which included feats of an extended stay on the couch of the CMJ charts, and reached ears from Boise to Berlin, and Crown Heights to Copenhagen, the North American tag-team PremRock and Fresh Kils, have successfully corralled the best and brightest in hip-hop, to help re- imagine choice cuts from their debut record.
The wildly impressive list of heavy hitters adding their signature flair to the project includes the likes of Mello Music Group's in house wizard, L'Orange (Kool Keith, Mr.Lif), seminal favourites Chicago's Maker (Qwel, Glue), Blockhead (Aesop Rock), Willie Green (billy woods, Open Mike Eagle), Elaquent, 2oolman (A Tribe Called Red), and veteran of The Six, Junia T.
"The Remix Collection" boasts a strong addition to the pair's already robust resume, and as they set their sights on another ambitious tour with contemporaries' billy woods and Henry Canyons, their prospects only continue to grow.
If you missed "Leave in Tact" due to the avalanche of the election fallout, or perhaps because of the shared release date with a comeback album from the greatest group of all time, you are forgiven, but do take this chance to catch up.
DAVEPSY Extended Playpen (Produced by Moka Only)
Seattle based rapper davepsy [The Oddities/The Nope] teams up with Vancouver's Moka Only on a new 14 track LP entitled "Extended Playpen". The album is produced entirely by Moka Only and contains guest features from 10isee Williams, Blu & Ahmed.
"I called Moka and said I was ready to do a solo project, and I wanted him to produce it, all the way. Give me the 'Pete Rock treatment', so to speak. I really wanted him to be in on the whole thing. This was a challenge, being that we never actually got in a room together for any of this (unlike The Nope albums, which were all recorded together at Moke's studio). He would send me beats, I'd write and record, then send him vox back to mix. These tracks were all recorded between December 2015 and December 2016. The content ranges from the writing process, to societal ills, to wordplay cuz it's good, to dropping inhibitions and chasing dreams, thinking positive, sex, grocery shopping, parenting, and just doing art to make life a little bit easier, and more colorful. Oddly enough(dot com), none of the songs are about my dad, but he was most definitely a catalyst. My solo cuts at the beginning and end of the record are probably the most personal of the bunch. Some of the content is straightforward--plenty of it is inside, cryptic. Moka whooped up some real goodies for me to blabber over. Producer of the year after year, after year. He's the hardest trooper for this rap sh*t, and it shows with every release." - davepsy
ELAQUENT - WORST CASE SCENARIO
Growth is about adaptation, existing in transit, and nourishing flux. It gives us a reason to move on to our next project, challenges us, and feeds our creative hunger.
Sona Elango, as the multi-talented Elaquent, captures a catalogue of experiences and feelings that span time zones from over the better part of 2016. Elaquent has created a reflective sound weaving themes of travel and personal growth into the core of his music. Worst Case Scenario is a record with roots in Europe and Japan, inspired by moments of reflection in hostels, airports, and trains. It boasts Elaquent's growth not only as a beat maker and producer, but as an artist, conscious of peers, music lovers, and strangers alike. He explains how "I wanted it to feel personal and conducive to who I am, but I'll let everyone deduce what they want about each song. It's open to interpretation." Elaquent demonstrates that relative themes have a power that is bigger than ourselves. He manages to hit the bittersweet mark of self-reflection perfectly, reminding us that sometimes the most daunting and intimidating reflections, can secretly be moments of peace and reassurance.
"...going on 30, no longer feeling like you're invincible, everyone is getting married and living a completely different kind of life. I don't want to get old, wondering whether I did everything in life that I wanted to do. This album, Worst Case Scenario, it's the idea that if all else fails, I'll know that at least I was able to do all these amazing things in my life".
Worst Case Scenario is ultimately a public chapter in Elaquent's life, embodying an unhurried yet vibrant form of personal storytelling. "It's a soulful and colourful record" he says. "I was in a different mindset; it was a challenge to myself. I wanted to expand on previous concepts, and make a record that is about doing things not just to do them, but because it makes sense". Unabashedly human, and eager to make it count, Elaquent is a reminder to us all that we're here for a good time, not a long time.
BUDAMUNK & ILL SUGI - SPIRIT OF THE GOLDEN ERA
URBNET proudly signs Japanese beat maker/producer duo BudaMunk & ill Sugi and launches their new album Spirit of the Golden Era on March 25th, 2016. The release will be available on limited edition cassette and digital download.
The 90s were, in many ways, the golden era of HipHop music -- a time when its expression was still pure and raw. BudaMunk is one of the rightful heirs to that golden era, and together with the younger Nasty Ill Brother Sugi (who has also studied HipHop's lineage) the two artists form an intergenerational sound that honors the soul of HipHop's remix legacy. Excavating beats from the dusty depths of HipHop's past, the duo refashioned forgotten beat-styles (like the "boom bap") to vibrate once again in a manner that is very different from contemporary offshoots of the sound. The "boom bap" was never truly gone-it just fell out of style. But it has returned and found a new home in the aesthetic spirit, vision and composition of BudaMunk and Ill.Sugi. These beats will surely put the diaphrams of your audio equipment to work!
BREVNER - BREVNER EP
With the few successes of Vancouver's remote hip-hop scene fading away into history, Matt Brevner's arrival in marked the start of a new generation of game changers for the city. Shaped by his Trinidadian and Japanese roots, Brevner's gritty honesty, matched by his consistent hustle, set a new standard for the underground.
MYKA 9 & FACTOR - Famous Future Time Travel
Famous Future Time Travel is Myka 9 & Factor's latest collaboration and debut UBRNET release. Famous Future Time Travel could be the duo's best work yet, with a banging and fresh West Coast hip hop feel. This hip hop duo's last joint-effort, on the critically acclaimed album Sovereign Soul, hit #1 on the CMJ Charts. No doubt Famous Future Time Travel will soon boast the same.
Myka9 is a rapper and producer from Los Angeles, California and co-founder of the legendary hip hop crew, Freestyle Fellowship. Myka 9 has been bringing innovation and his dope skills to the world of hip hop for over two and half decades. Whether Myka 9 is snarling, scatting or singing into the mic, he is always delivering hot and clever lyrics in his signature jazz-influenced style.
Factor Chandelier is a Saskatoon-based producer who started out as a DJ in 1998 and is now one of Canada's most notable independent hip hop producers. Known for his distinct style and progressive beats, Factor is in-demand and prolific, having an impressive array of both solo and collaborative projects in his discography.
Famous Future Time Travel is available May 19th, 2015 on CD, limited edition cassette and digital download on the URBNET Shop!