KC’s Music Monday: J57

If I was a musician, after finishing a project, I’d probably allow myself take some time to relax before starting the next one. And that’s one of maybe thirty reasons why I’m not a producer or rapper. Brooklyn-based J57, of the Brown Bag All Stars, just happens to be both. And he puts the work in.

I always personally enjoy when an artist breaks into another element of creating – such as a DJ learning production or a rapper getting into more than just rocking the mic. It’s all about putting passion into learning your craft inside and out, and J57 is living proof there’s nothing wrong with being well-rounded in the studio these days.

I also really appreciate the \”no days off\” vibe I get from all members of the Brown Bag All Stars. After all, you get out of it what you put into it – in this case, it’s a multitude of amazing tracks. Additionally, it’s noteworthy that with the BBAS (much like with our music scene in the 518), there is a solid and visible balance between independent projects and group endeavors, and support for every effort from both the members of the group and those listening alike. It’s hard to keep up, really, and that definitely holds true with J57.

Today, URB Magazine debuted a new track by J57 titled “Heisenberg Blue” which is this pretty instrumental that holds a large, cinematic feel before turning into a tease by ending quicker than I’d have liked. Luckily, the track is part of an forthcoming \”freEP\” presented by URB Magazine, titled 0057: FlaskLIFE, so there will be more to look forward to in the near future of this capacity.

Continue reading…

Seez Mics “Cruel Fuel”: Review

Learning that Seez Mics has a background in spoken word poetry made perfect sense to me after listening to his latest release, “Cruel Fuel.”

Seez Mics, known for being one-half of his former group Educated Consumers and for his time as an American Battle MC, has been in the game for a long time, and I’m intrigued that this particular album was our first introduction, as I discovered it’s quite a different direction from some of his past work.

The album was released last month on the label Crushkill Recordings, which was started by Eyedea shortly before his passing. Seez Mics speaks sincerely and humbly of their longtime friendship on the record, as well as touches on other friends he’s lost, perhaps even touching upon these subjects of death (and life after grieving) in this personal capacity for the first time in his work.

“Cruel Fuel” is appropriately titled as such, with many of his lyrics and patterns being spit like fast and furious mantras. That being said, this album isn’t for everyone – it’s definitely different. And that’s what it makes it awesome.

It’s the type of album I want to listen to when I’m pissed off, working out or walking somewhere maybe a little too far in the cold ass upstate NY weather, but then certain tracks are pensive and poetic and therefore the album rounds itself out well. It’s a very clear point of view with honest innovation, and its clear he took some serious risks with this project. It’s progressive and polished, while still featuring a nice variety of moods, tempos and dark truths. Each time I’ve listened, I’ve discovered a new favorite line I didn’t catch the first time.

Several of the tracks read like whimsical and modern folklore, while others are as real as real can be. The album is reflective and touches on topics of religion, cynicism, optimism, music, questioning society and relationships, as well as an internal battle of figuring out what one believes in and stands for, especially how to bounce back when shit happens.

Stand-out tracks for me included “Serotonin Sweepstakes,” “That’s Not How It Works,” “Human Farm” (this track was a surprise, and pushes the album into other genres besides hip hop), “What Your Head Will Hold,” and “Torn.” The instrumental “Angel In The Engine” is also quite pleasant and breaks up the gritty experimental hip hop feel of the album. Overall, I was quite impressed by the artistry of this album, although I admittedly didn’t love, love it at first. The tracks just seem to build and build and have since found a secure slot on my regular listening rotation.

Seez Mics said it best himself, describing his music as “a mirror looking back at you.” I love that. Get to know Seez Mics through “Cruel Fuel” available on Bandcamp and iTunes.

Review: Mic Lanny and DeeJay Tone – Good Cop Bad Cop

lanny tone

Tonight marks the album release of local emcee Mic Lanny and producer DeeJay Tone, who have teamed up for their latest project, titled, “Good Cop Bad Cop.” Bogies will also play host to IB’s album release, “Isaac Berry”, alongside Chambers, and performances also from Reef The Lost Cauze with DJ Stress, AWAR with Vanderslice, Manifest and DJ Rawthreat.

Continue reading…

Review: Shyste and DeeJay Tone – Climate Control

cc_insert_outside-1

Tonight marks the official release party for DeeJay Tone and Shyste’s EP “Climate Control – Winter Edition” at Bogies. Tickets are $15 at the door and the show will feature performances by DeeJay Tone, Shyste, RA The Rugged Man and PJ Katz and the Fat Buckle Band, with DJ Deuce on the 1’s and 2’s. The first 50 people through the door will get a free hardcopy of the album so don’t sleep.

Continue reading…

Review: Masai – Almost Home

734996_747384500409_614994227_n

While listening to the 15 tracks that make up Almost Home you are getting to know the artist behind the music as if he’s there sitting next to you on a park bench, casually bearing his soul to you, while also making you laugh and carefully listening to what you have to say. That’s Masai, as I’ve come to know him.

For some unfortunate reason, such a personable artist-and-listener interaction and consequential intimate relationship feels rare in today’s music scene, in both local and international examples. In this particular release, emcee and writer Masai created an album that in theory, is all about him, his life and his experiences, and in its outcome, it is actually not only about him, his life and his experiences. He takes small details and turns the focus on the larger picture, all with the collaborative help of over a dozen reinforcements.

Almost Home joins releases Almost Gone (2007) and Almost Back (2010), bringing Masai’s trilogy of solo albums full-circle. The release date of Almost Home, today, February 13, 2013, marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of his mother and serves as a tribute to her life. The album overcomes hardships and grief, displaying strength, honesty, perspective, growth and depth, which are core themes of hip-hop and life, in and of itself.

Continue reading…