JSON BORN - FIRST LITE
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, aspiring beat maker Json Born is actively establishing himself as a pivotal member of the new generation of Lo-Fi beat creators. His gift for sample selection and manipulation shines bright on his debut album aptly named, First Lite.
Json grew up listening to classic east coast producer legends like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, HI-Tek and J Dilla. There is a feeling conveyed in the music itself that confirms Json's love for the greats. First Lite pay homages to the original masterminds, while also acknowledging more recent influences like Joji, Bishop Nehru, and STLNDRMS.
"Young, hungry, and growing", are just a few words that J uses to describe himself. In taking the advice of a friend who overheard a beat Json was working on, he decided to share his art with the world, and the rest of us are better for it. With a promise of more music to come...
JOINT BEAUTY - MELTY
Fukuoka based Japanese beat-maker Joint Beauty (Keisuke Nakayama) moved at lightening speed in developing a signature sound for himself. At only 20 years old, he impressively sites J Dilla's album Donuts as the primary reason he became interested in music, giving him a niche that he felt was otherwise missing. Keisuke is now thoroughly immersed in the beat-making world, naming other influences as knxwledge, Elaquent, wun two, Dibia$e, Aru-2, and lee(asano+ryuhei), and with only a year of steady beat-making, the release of his debut LP Melty, speaks volumes.
Equipped with a Cubase and Sp404sx, Keisuke describes his music as very 'in the moment'. His 10 years of experience playing piano also helped in creating his intended sound for the ten track record.
"There is no concept. I don't like being bound by something. Depending on the day, the beats I want to make will change. For example, It is raining today, so let's make beats that suits today's humidity. I put my feelings for that day into each song."
Keisuke remains focused on the future, with international reach and interest in pairing his beats with rap vocals, his feature debut is promise of what's to come.
MOKA ONLY - MARTIAN 2019
Moka Only has brought his Martian Xmas series back for another winter season. This time around, you may notice the absence of the 'xmas' abbreviation. Moka felt that many potential listeners may have had an aversion to the Martian album series due to their perception of it being traditional holiday material. That being said, the wiser would know that despite the odd reference to the holidays, Martian Xmas has always been more of a winter themed affair. It is intended to be enjoyed well past Anglo-traditional confines, that of which the author has never prescribed to in the first place. On this go 'round we find a distinct nod to the Martians of 2009-2010 wherein some of the fragmentation and splintered track styles have returned. Repeated motifs of the Bunkers, Hank Hill, and obscure British comedy outtakes are well represented here, as well as the 'Martian ubiquitous' statement of "Also German " still pop up.
I am not certain of the significance of the former, but I'll admit it does add to the mystery of it all. The customs are what seem to bring the core listeners back year after year. Aside from the obvious sprinklings of customary absurdity, we have newly explored territory throughout this voyage. 'I Rock Ties' harkens back to classic east coast jazz poetry with its odd vocal 'cool pocket', and it's somewhat jarring 5/4-time signature. 'Mood Lights' essentially takes us into inner/outer space with freeform musings over an indiscernible tapestry of noise, only to abruptly end with a baffling narrative coda resting uncomfortably on a 70s psyche rock track bed. This concoction is repeated on 'Machine Wrapped with Butter'. Pieces like these feel at home on a Martian Xmas outing. 'Start up the Emax' references a line from the classic 90s North Carolina based group Yaggfu Front.
Guests DavePsy and Mr. Brady respectively appear on 'Have a Ball' and 'And Again', ensuring that Moka's Torchlight Commission crew is well represented. The album's closer 'Like Yeah' wraps it all up with a 'Naughty' sort of vibe (you'll see what I did there). In conclusion, I firmly feel Moka has recaptured what us true heads have loved most about the Martian series. The Jazz element throughout the record, really cements all aspects into one cohesive, juicy whole. This one will keep you jazzing for a long time to come. I am happy the record label URBNET continually allows for such artistic freedom. - Shu
MO MOSHIRI - Can I Tell You Something?
Mo Moshiri is an MC, songwriter, and producer. He is perhaps best known however, as one of the founders of the seminal west coast hip-hop group Sweatshop Union. Together they recorded several albums, performed hundreds of shows, earned Juno nods and WCMA wins, and helped pave the path for the new generation of artists making waves.
After a healthy hiatus, Mo is back from deep space and feeling rejuvenated. He wants to talk to YOU about everything! Or maybe just vibe.
The 11 songs on the new album Can I Tell You Something? are a potent blend of true-skool hip-hop and global bass music with intelligent and passionate rhymes, and melodies that stay with you. A majority of the production on the album is handled by long-time friends Mo and Rob the Viking, who have been working together since they were both in their teens. In fact, it was Rob who showed Mo how to make beats 20 years ago! Working together again was a very natural and powerful combination, which translated into the well crafted record before us. Together, they recorded at the Chamber on Vancouver Island.
OBUXUM - REBIRTH
OBUXUM is a Toronto based Somali-Canadian producer and beat maker, whose lush and characteristic sound celebrates story telling. Her full length LP titled Re-Birth -- the anticipated follow up to her 2018 H.E.R. EP -- represents a time of transition of growth. You can hear the vulnerability. The freedom from inhibitions.
In speaking to what we can expect from the sound OBUXUM tells us, "Each Song means something different, whether it is a life-lesson or a note to upcoming black womxn artists. I have a willingness to always experiment, and create small worlds of their own, that have their own meanings. I am not a fixed artist; you can never expect one kind of sound from me." New experiences bring forth a new kind of sound. With Re-Birth, OBUXUM plays with elements of house and techno, while still carrying through an alternative blend of hip hop.
She has made her presence known with notable festival performances at MUTEK Montreal, Wavelength Festival, Kazoo! Fest, Toronto PRIDE, Electric Eclectics, and Venus Fest. NOW Magazine also included her in their list of Toronto electronic musicians to watch in 2018.
SWAMP THING - CHERRY MONGOOSE
Toronto's three-headed rap monster, Swamp Thing (Timbuktu, Chokeules & Savilion) have a ritual of delivering spooky, horror-themed albums for Halloween.
Creeping up on almost a decade of sonic trick-or-treats, Cherry Mongoose is the eighth full length studio album and follow up to the sci-fi themed 2018 release, Horse Power. Produced by Swamp Thing's own Savilion and Timbuktu, Cherry Mongoose maintains the electric chemistry, creativity, and swagger that all three emcees along with all-star turntablist DJ iRATE bring to the table.
DAN-E-O - The Day It All Changed
Veteran Toronto MC, Dan-e-o debuted in 1996 with his first single "Dear Hip Hop" - now considered a Canadian Hip-Hop classic. The release sparked a more than two-decade career complete with numerous album releases, battle rap victories and a growing actor's resume. On April 23, 2014, Dan-e-o became a father.
His fifth solo album, "The Day It All Changed" doubles as a soulful ode to his wonderful daughter, Melina and his most mature, polished presentation of lyricism to date. The LP features guest appearances from Wordsworth, Pearl Gates, Choclair, Ro Dolla and up-and-coming R&B sensation, Xentury.
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcaster
SOVIETS (Chaix & Jeff Spec) - SEA SHELLS
SOVIETS is a collaborative project between veteran producer Chaix (of Beta Frontiers) and seasoned MC Jeff Spec (of City Planners).
"Sea Shells", their first LP, combines Chaix's to-the-point, grimy production with Spec's gravel-inflected, intricate rhyming. The duo needs no co-signs, as this boom-bap slug fest vouches for itself.
ELAQUENT - AFTER MIDNIGHT
After Midnight. Concept is fairly simple. Laidback vibes. Nighttime music. "play dis only at night". Something about the nighttime induces different feelings and emotions than the daytime. Jazzy. Soulful. Didnt want to get too left field with it. Want yall to listen to it
Feel the vibe and the grooves. Sometimes I dont wanna go to the club. Sometimes I wanna just vibe out and shoot some pool, or just relax. People nowadays are afraid to relax. So, if you havent caught the idea...musically, I wanted to tell a story...12am until 7am....so having said that, enjoy....if possible, play it only at night. Haha.
TONGUE HELMET - Psychotropic Ape
Born out of a passionate, lifelong love of music, Tongue Helmet initially started as a collaboration between two longtime friends, Timbuktu (Swamp Thing) and Danny Miles (July Talk). Now joined by familiar powerhouse talent Coins / Peter Project and DJiRATE, the group is complete. A long-simmering creative dream for over a decade, this project combines the talents and experience of veteran musicians from seemingly distinct genres, bringing together surprisingly compatible sounds. Tongue Helmet's debut thirteen track LP titled "Psychotropic Ape", is co-Produced by Timbuktu and Danny Miles, and is a collaborative work in its purest inspirational form.
"Psychotropic Ape is the full band realizing our identity. Whereas the Brain On Fire EP was just two people with some help from friends, this is the album where the band came into fruition. Psychotropic Ape is a powerful journey through our four minds on a creative soundscape. The music sounds like vintage samples, but it is fully a band making old school sounds in a new school world. It will give you instant feelings of nostalgia".
The project offers a unique and updated take on classic psychedelic hip-hop. Fans of Deltron 3030, Beastie Boys (think Paul's Boutique) or Beck (Odelay era), will find themselves vibing to Tongue Helmet. Psychotropic Ape will be released via URBNET digitally on July 19th, and on CD and limited edition yellow vinyl LP on July 26th.
HMLT - NEED YOU
HMLT, pronounced "Hamlet", are a Toronto musical collective with a rotating roster of burgeoning artists. Produced by Corey Wong, the latest project titled Need You, is an album that focuses on the importance of collaboration and the need for community.
"I could not have completed this album without the help of my friends and fellow musicians" says Corey, "it was a humbling experience that taught me the importance of collaboration. This album is 2 years in the making and I am thankful for everyone who is a part of it."
The eight track record houses vocal and instrumental features from artists such as Joyia, Kei-Li, M.I. Blue, and Desiire to name a few. Their combined talents leave us with a timeless, reminiscent, and nostalgic sound. It is something new, yet comfortably familiar. The album cover photography is done by Melissa Alcena and the art direction and design by Erich "Heinz" Rigonan.
BREVNER - IKIGAI Vol. 1
Brevner combines the heart of Bushido Project with the classic appeal of Eclectricy and the contemporary style of Brevner EP on his highly anticipated forthcoming release IKIGAI.
"IKIGAI" (a Japanese word whose meaning translates roughly to "a reason for being, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being.") The new release will be created with the intention of ultimately merging two of Brevner's passions - audio and video production into one product, leaving you with a tangible look into the creation process as a whole.
NICKELMAN - ELEMENTS
Yuki Kitano is Nickelman. Originally from Osaka, Japan, he still calls the vibrant city of Osaka home. Yuki started making music as Nickelman over 15 years ago, but has dedicated the last 11 years to seriously fine tuning his sound. Along with hip hop beat maker FROGMAN, the two worked under the moniker of Freemanz Production, putting out synth space lo-fi projects, though their independent label Deepconstruction Records.
Nickelman is set to release his upcoming solo feature LP titled "Elements" via URBNET, on June 7, 2019*. *Elements* carries through a smoky lo-fi hip hop sound, intertwined with samples of jazz, soul, and rare groove beats. In speaking to the creation process, Yuki says
"I used an MPC2000XL, SP-303, and Tape Echo to make the tracks.Those lo-fi sounds are recorded by cassette tapes and compressed. The record is both danceable beats and a relaxing chill sound. It's trip music you can dance to be and be stoned."
MATHEMATIK - ReAL/iS-HiM
Hip-Hop pioneer Mathematik is meticulous with his craft. His work knows no shortcuts and the proof is in his finely managed sound. Mathematik re-enters the spotlight to drop his new record Realishim, produced by REAZHUN, the follow up to his buzzworthy LP, No Division. Realishim delivers words that inform the mind while having feet planted firmly in assertive, heavy beats.
Mathematik is a multi-disciplinary artist (emcee, DJ, producer) who is deeply rooted in the music industry. He started out as a dancer in grade four, eventually evolving as a lyricist and then learning to DJ. As a once member of the soulful Hip-Hop crew Down to Erf, Mathematik's background embodies almost all the fundamental aspects of hip-hop culture. His roster of collaborators and cohorts reads like a Canadian Hip Hop 'who's who' commemorative. Highlights include producer K-Cut, Sic Sense, Citizen Kane, Saukrates, and Dream Warriors. Additionally, he worked with Philly-based hip-hop queen Bahamadia, with whom he realised the 1999 notable single "Following Goals".
Realishim has been a project in the works for years. Influenced by freestyle and DJ cyphers, Mathematik delivers an authentic sound derived from the once golden era, along with some modern adaptations. Realishim carries an undeniably heavier feel than previous works, with commentary on systemic and daily experiences of oppression This shift in Mathematik's work is what brings the album to an elevated platform.
"The difference between this and the No Division album is that I have more wisdom lyrically and speak out on more diverse topics... from the social and racial injustice all around us, to the regular struggles of life, and wanting to do better in mind body and soul"
A shimmery, incandescent summer jam, Geneva's new single "Full Bloom" evokes the sweet and intoxicating vibes of warmer weather, replete with days full of promise. "Full Bloom" bubbles up and spreads out, capturing the listener in a rippling sea of deep bass and soaring harmonies. Produced by L.A. electronic mainstay B. Bravo, "Full Bloom" shows off his signature style of late night synth grooves, cosmic G-Funk and R&B. Catch a chill vibe and let yourself blossom and unfold into what Geneva & B. Bravo have in store.
CAREER CROOKS - Thieving As Long As I'm Breathing
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.
Since receiving critical acclaim for their debut LP Good Luck With That, an album which was praised for the duo's classic east coast touch, and secured a spot on Bandcamp's 10
Best New Hip Hop Releases of 2017, Career Crooks (producer Small Professor and rapper Zilla Rocca) are back to prove that no idea is original. The two have kept busy throughout
2017, not only performing alongside Busdriver, Billy Woods, Quelle Chris, Elucid, and B Dolan, and releasing their LP, but also gearing up for their new air tight collection of
remixes, titled Thieving As Long As I'm Breathing.
The new single "Crook With a Deal", is a reworking of the 50 Cent and Mad Rapper classic "How to Rob", targeting indie rappers like Open Mike Eagle and Run The Jewels. The album
also features five in-house remixes from Small Pro and Zilla Rocca, draped in styles inspired by the likes of DITC and the Beastie Boys. Canadian MPC champ FreshKils also makes
an appearance and flips the fan favorite "Steve Martin" into a soundtrack for a car chase outside a Chemical Brothers show. Other remix features include DJ Manipulator, Willy,
Shane Great, Rolled Gold Beats, and John Morrison
The twelve track LP moves as fast as a cat with its tail on fire and maintains its own vibe while paying homage to that which has come before it. The group's primary sound encompasses
"...raw '90s flows while still maintaining a modern edge" (Philip Mylnar, Bandcamp.com).
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
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!
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.
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.
FORTUNATO - MDCXVII
MDCXVII is the Roman numeral equivalent of 1617, the address where Fortunato was born in Toronto's west end. MDCXVII is a deeply personal album that focuses on Fortunato's depth of experience in the Hip Hop game, and specifically how it has affected his life. Inspired by his travels to western Canada during his coast to coast tour, MDCXVII showcases beats, guest appearances, and engineering from solely west coast artists, including Kryple of the Edmonton based group Doom Squad, Mugg Shot and Madchild. "I met so many talented artists out there that I decided to work with them exclusively on this project", he says. The album is primarily produced by Scopic, whose repertoire includes the hard-hitting record Against All Authorities from Onyx, was mixed and mastered by the engineering guru NATO, and features cover art by the multi-disciplinary artist, Mad Dog Jones.
MDCXVII will be distributed via URBNET, and will be available Friday November 9th on CD, vinyl, and digital.