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.

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KC’s Music Monday: Astro Nautico

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For your work soundtrack this week, I suggest downloading this year’s compilation from the Astro Nautico crew. Released on 4/20, the label put together their third volume of their Atlantics series, which is available for free download.

The third compilation features a generous handful of producers and the tunes span genres that end up all flowing together like that of a mix tape. The compilation aims to help introduce you to new talent, a goal which I think they accomplish with nonchalant and taste-making ease in representing underground sounds and their creators. Cop it and ease into Monday!

Masai’s Music Monday: Top 5 MCs of the 518

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My friend Masai, a local music enthusiast moonlighting as a rapper himself, compiled a list of his top five MC’s of the Capital Region and I couldn’t help but ask if I could repost it here.

I’m in total agreement with Masai in that every day I learn a little bit more about music in this area – whether in the form of a new show announcement, an artist I’ve never heard of before, new material, old material and so on, there’s so much out there. I haven’t heard of every MC on Masai’s list prior to reading it and that fact alone reinforces the importance of doing a little research on the music that’s being made in our own stomping grounds.

As you check out the artists on this list, you’ll start to see exactly why it’s an exciting thing to be a fan of hip hop/rap while residing in the Albany area. It’s going to be a good year for music in Albany, as it already has been.

Additionally, I recently previewed a couple of Masai’s tracks from his forthcoming album, “Almost Home,” which is available for pre-order. Also be sure to add February 28th to your calendar to celebrate the release officially, at the Bayou Cafe.

Thanks again to Masai for always speaking honestly, for humbly not putting himself on this list (no worries, you’re on mine!) and for doing his part in supporting the local music scene. Check out his feature after the jump!

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KC’s Music Monday: Masai

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Masai, local to the 518 and member of super-group Against The Grain, is releasing the final installment in his trilogy of solo albums, right in time for tax season. We’ve still got another month of listening to Turbotax ads on Pandora until the album drops but I figured I’d let you preview what I’ve been listening to now.

“Almost Home” is a 15-track high calibre line-up featuring collaborations with a generous handful of other talented area rappers, producers and musicians including MIRK, JB!! aka Dirty Moses, Sev Statik, Knowle’ge, KassCrook and also members of his own collective, Against The Grain.

In advance of the February 13 release, Masai has made two tracks available for streaming.

“Circles” is a clear favorite of mine (of what I’ve heard so far, that is.) The track features Mike Arson and the two go back and forth about the competitive nature between rappers, of commercial and underground influencers alike, conceptually running verbal circles around it all. The motif of circles is prevalent throughout the song and the chorus has been doing laps in my head since I heard it.

Side note: I nominate this song to be included in a chapter I read in a hip hop book yesterday, which compiled a list of the top mentions of “sweaters” in contemporary rap music. Pretty random and interesting list which included lyrics from Biggie, Kanye West and Pusha T. Listen for it.

The second track is “February Pimpin’ (Tax Money)” and features JB!! aka Dirty Moses, with PJ Katz of Pig Food Records on the production duties. This track will get stuck in your head if you welcome it. Not only do I love the satire but the song itself is done well on all counts. I seriously hope there’s a music video in the works because that’d be fun as hell to witness. From the artists directly, “The song satirically takes a look at how materialism and consumerism, combined with poor decision making, can influence urban workers who foolishly spend their income tax returns.”

If you like what you hear, make the album yours!

KC’s Music Monday: Captain Murphy

HahAhHAHaaha.

That’s what Flying Lotus tweeted following the reveal that he in fact has been the man behind the elusive moniker Captain Murphy during a performance with Earl Sweatshirt this past Wednesday. The brilliant bastard.

For some backstory: back in July, a collaboration between Flying Lotus and Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt came out, called “Between Friends,” and featured a then-new-to-the-scene Captain Murphy, who was portrayed as a cartoon rap villain thought to maybe be the formerly-elusive Tyler, The Creator, among other speculations.

Two weeks ago, Captain Murphy put out a 35-minute mix tape, called Duality, which features production from well-known players TNGHT, Flying Lotus, Madlib and Just Blaze that got quite the hype in the time following.

Last Wednesday, in Los Angeles, a local mystery rapper (Captain Murphy)announced he’d be playing alongside Earl Sweatshirt at Low End Theory and people got so excited that at the venue, a line formed hours before doors began. I’m sure the whole thing was a mad scene to witness. During the end of the performance, Captain Murphy, wearing a sequined gold cape and a ski mask, said, “Just between us,” revealing his identity. Straight grinning and advising the audience to “tell no one.” You can watch some live footage here.


The Duality mix tape was originally released as one long .mp3 but now courtesy of DatPiff, you can download the original mix into 16 tracks, with artwork, instrumentals and bonus tracks.

Download it. And listen to it.

That is all.