Archive for MF Doom

Joey Bada$$: A Return to East Coast Lineage & The Wonders of Adolescence

Posted in Album Review, Music Discovery, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , on Sunday, August 5, 2012 by Tim Althaus

Article by Chris Deline

If web-hype were any indication of talent or potential, Brooklyn youngster Joey Bada$$ might well be one of rap’s hottest names right now. The typical talking points seem standard across the board: Despite being only 17 he has a “sophisticated” and “confident” flow, reps hard for his Progressive Era crew (“a collective of 18 rappers, producers, graphic designers and studio engineers“), exhibits a distinct and refreshing ’90s hip-hop vibe (reviews have been tireless with Nas references), and for having just released his first mixtape with 1999, he already has everyone from Mac Miller to MTV backing his cause. In the month that’s passed since 1999 dropped for free online, the mixtape has already racked up nearly 400k combined views between DatPiff and Live Mixtapes alone. Astounding results for a kid who has yet to enter his senior year of high school. But does web-hype really equate talent?

Of course not.

But it does accurately reflect Bada$$’s potential.

Part of 1999‘s immediate appeal comes with its obvious resemblance to what real “hip-hop heads” are either already familiar with, or are desperately seeking. Take for example one of the set’s most acclaimed cuts, “Survival Tactics,” which utilizes Styles of Beyond’s eponymous track from the group’s 1998 debut. Although it isn’t exactly a showstopper as far as musical references go, it shows that he’s actively looking back — digging, if you will — while moving forward. The same goes for when he leans on Dilla and Statik Selektah. “World Domination” goes a little deeper with sample of DOOM’s “Poo-Putt Platter,” which in turn sampled a tune from the Fat Albert Halloween episode: this is the kind of incestuous keeping-it-realness that back in tha day trumpeters kill for! “Funky Hos” and “Snakes” would each sound at home on Midnight Marauders tribute LP, but it’s “World Domination” that especially speaks to where the kid’s at musically: He’s most comfortable within the previous generation’s ideal of what an old-school flow was supposed to sound like. 1999 is the scrapbook of a kid whose parents listened to Biggie, attends the same high school as Adam Yauch once did, and who discovered Gangstarr through video games.

Most of the release finds him spitting about girls — what would you rap about if you were 17 again? — but even there he maintains a strange lyrical mixture, balancing macho posturing with emotions: “Word to my mother/Two things I never do is leave the crib without some rubbers or tell a funky ho I love her/These broads be trying to get a brother caught up in a sticky situation, missing menstruation” (from the Steve Miller Band-sampling “Funky Hos”) follows “So tell me what the fuck I’m supposed to do/You know it ain’t too easy getting over you/I sent the postcards so you know it’s true/I promise that I wouldn’t get emotional” (Bada$$ doing his best DOOM in “Pennyroyal”). But 1999 isn’t empty in terms of showing his dexterity as an MC either: peep 3:43 to about 4:30 of “Hardknocks” where his rapid fire delivery really takes off, “This is for my niggas, killas, hundred dolla billas/On the block in the rock spot glock cocked watchin’ out for cops/All about they cheddar young girls know nothin’ that’s better…”

Speaking with Pitchfork, Pro Era producer Chuck Strangers explained his process in developing the handful of tracks he contributed to the release, “Joey had a very specific vision for 1999. I was playing him all these other kinds of beats and he’d be like, ‘These are ill, but not what I’m going for.’ So I sat and I listened to Joey Bada$$ music. People ask me, ‘Did you listen to a lot of Wu-Tang and Illmatic when you made these beats?’ I know those shits because I’m from Brooklyn and I love ‘em, but to make Joey Bada$$’ tape, I listened to Joey Bada$$.” Growing up on hip-hop is a great starting point, but the ability to be so selectively focused of what it is he’s trying to do at such a young age is what might actually separate Bada$$ from the crowd. 1999 is no Illmatic, but it is a skillfully constructed tape by a minor-leaguer who’s playing at a pro-ball level. Whether you’re boom-bap’d out halfway through the mixtape or not, what you should take away from 1999 is its what-ifs: the what-ifs that have inspired the web-hype and the what-ifs that suggest his future to be bulging at the seems with “potential.” The reason it’s important to keep his age in mind isn’t simply because it’s remarkable that Joey Bada$$ appears so “sophisticated” and “confident” at only 17, but because he seems to already be better at constructing a consistent album than many who’ve been doing it since back before he was even born. Oh, the potential…

[Guest contributor Chris DeLine is a freelance writer living in Nashville, TN. Follow him or Twitter or friend him on Facebook.]

My 2010 Dilla Day Mix

Posted in Audio, Downloads, Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, February 18, 2010 by Tim Althaus

I don’t know if you guys were readers last year around this time, but I did this exact same thing. I am a huge fan of J Dilla; he is a huge inspiration to me. I actually made this mix on what would have been Dilla’s 36th birthday. I took a lot of time thinking about what tracks would go smoothly together, but I also thought about what tracks of his were among my favorites. The outcome? 23 tracks of straight unadulterated Jay Dee goodness.

I figured I would post this mix here because I really want everyone to be able to have it; it’s nothing big, but if one more person starts to listen to Dilla because of it, then I’ve done my job. James Yancey really was the king of the beats, and his presence is strongly missed in the music world. All of the tracks on this mix are either produced by or featuring J Dilla (with the exception of one).

(R.I.P. J Dilla February 7th, 1974 – February 10th, 2006)

Tracklisting:

1.) Words from Ma Dukes

2.) Reality Check (Feat. Black Thought) (J Dilla)

3.) House of Flying Daggers (Raekwon) (Prod. By J Dilla)

4.) Raise it Up (Slum Village)

5.) Love Movin’ (Feat. Black Thought) (J Dilla)

6.) Stakes is High (De La Soul) (Prod. By J Dilla)

7.) Find a Way (A Tribe Called Quest) (Prod. By J Dilla)

8.) Diamonds (J Dilla)

9.) Let’s Grow (Royce Da 5’9″) (Prod. By J Dilla)

10.) It’s Dope (J Dilla)

11.) It’s Goin Down (Skillz) (Prod. By J Dilla)

12.) Gazillion Ear (DOOM) (Prod. By J Dilla)

13.) Gobstopper (J Dilla)

14.) Survival Test (Jaylib)

15.) Dynamite! (The Roots) (Prod. By J Dilla)

16.) Wild (J Dilla)

17.) Whip You With a Strap (Ghostface Killah) (Prod. By J Dilla)

18.) Nag Champa (Afrodisiac for the World) (Common) (Prod. By J Dilla)

19.) Move (Oh No) (Prod. By J Dilla)

20.) Secrets of the Sand (Jay Dee Remix) (MOOD)

21.) Game Over (Flying Lotus Remix) (Dabrye) (Feat. Phat Kat & JayDee)

22.) History (Mos Def) (Prod. By J Dilla)

23.) Paid Homage (Finale)

Download

From The Rail: Soundset ’09 Part 2 (Videos)

Posted in From The Rail, Mind Inversion Exclusive, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 by Erik Burg

crowd1A weekend that’s already been heralded by me once, Soundset 2009 brought some of the best hip-hop talent in the nation together in one spot, in our own quaint little Minnesota non-the-less. Yesterday I brought you some amazing pictures I caught from my usual front row spot, and today I’m back to give you some videos from the festival (Part 1 if you missed it). The audio on them isn’t amazing simply due to the sheer volume of the stage, but bear with and enjoy!

I had been waiting years to see El-P, and when he took the stage with DJ Mr. Dibbs Sunday at Canterbury I knew that something amazing was about to happen. Opening with “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” was stunning, but when El-P played “Up All Night” and Dibbs cut on the tables for a good six minutes during it my jaw nearly hit the floor. Check out the couple verses El get through and then watch the madness ensue as Dibbs proves once again why he is one of the best DJs out there. Feast on this sampling!

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my column, P.O.S. has been making tons of headlines for Rhymesayers this year, dropping the spectacular Never Better this winter and tearing it up on tour with Atmosphere all year. When the man of many instruments took the stage Sunday afternoon he unleashed a furry within the crowd that had been unmatched to that point. The high point of his set came when he brought both Dessa and Cecil Otter on stage to perform “Low Light Low Life” off of the aforementioned Never Better. It’s my personal favorite off of the album, and was everything I expected it to be live. There are some great shots of the crowd going crazy during the video as well, so hit play and watch one of the better tracks all day at the main stage of Soundset.

Naysayers aside, I thought that seeing MF Doom play was the highlight of the festival. It’s such a rarity these days, and the elaborate and sometimes comical nature of it all made his appearance and performance well worth the entire ticket price. After the real Villain finally took to the mic I got video of nearly every one of his tracks, seeing as I never wanted to forget what the masked man brought to the un-expecting crowd. The reception of Doom was terrible, and I’m slightly bitter at the crowd for that, but whatever, his new tracks were awesome live. Check out both “Ballskin” and “Gazzillion Ear” below. You’ll notice a slightly different view on the second video, as it was at that time that I jumped the fence and ended up going backstage to later meet Metal Fingers. At any rate though, Enjoy!

That’s all I got folks, I hope that you had as much fun at the fest as I did, and I hope you enjoyed these two columns as much as I enjoyed putting them together. 

From the Rail: Soundset ’09 Part 1 (Pics)

Posted in Concert Reviews, Music News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, May 25, 2009 by Erik Burg

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Soundset ’09. A weekend for the ages. From the collective hundreds of dollars we spent at Town Hall brewery the night before the show all the way to eating Culvers the day after with Sage Francis, Soundset was everything it promised to be. I came for the Doom and I got it (surprisingly), I lost count of the number of Atmosphere shirts I saw (god only knows what ticket sales would be like without them), I chilled backstage with some of the greatest in the game for two hours (sometimes I get lucky). I’m here now to share these moments with you through the pictures I gathered. Check for part 2 (videos) tomorrow!

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The mainstage at Soundset saw some ridiculous talent all day. For the second year in a row hometown demi-gods Atmosphere headlined it all, but I’m willing to argue that some of the lesser acts where much much better. Let’s start with I Self Devine. Not a terrible opening act at all. His message about what going on in Minneapolis was great: Poverty growing horizontal instead of vertical. That’s important and all, but his stage presence fell a bit short. Look for big things on album though in the future.

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Next we have Blueprint, the man maybe more well known for his work as the rhyming half of Soul Position. For being stuck way too low on the setlist, Blueprint made sure he left the crowd surprised. His presence on stage was unreal, he had a way of making it look so easy, standing in place with a backpack on for a while, Blue seemed like he was merely talking. It was beautiful, and I think the crowd definitely had the same reaction, especially when he closed with “Drugs, Sex, Alcohol, Rock ‘N Roll.” 

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The trio of Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, and Myka 9 were next up on the beyond beautiful day at Canterbury Downs. I was really unfamiliar with all three, except for a Aceyalone track that was on a video game a few years ago, ha. They were all full of energy and seemed really excited to be on the main stage, but I felt like their music, and especially Myka 9 were not so hot. I have to say that I would have much rather seen Cunninlynguists or Blue Scholars in their spot, but nothing is perfect I suppose. Let’s keep going though….

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Now the real talent began raining down. Eyedea & Abilities took the stage after those three left, and the crowd finally started to get into it. Thanks to Eyedea’s awesome persona and DJ Abilities stellar work on the tables, the show finally had the energy to match the hype. Abilities might really stole the show actually, with his 6 or 7 minute exhibit to all wanna-be DJs out there. The group is set to release their first album in 5 years next month and they played a few very good cuts off of it. A good start to a long day, for sure.

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Immortal Technique. I feel like if I write anything bad about this guy that he’ll personally seek me out and do terrible things to my health. SO I’ll talk about some of the better things instead. The guys spits absolute fire, both lyrically and emotionally. The rants between songs and at the end of his set was both overly powerful and inspiring. Apparently he wants all of you to illegally download his albums, so thats cool I guess. He has a flow that matches a lot of what he brings to his records, aggression and precision, a deadly combination. Probably the most vocal off the cut of any artist there, maybe a good thing maybe a bad thing. Good stuff though.

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We’re just heating up folks….

One of the biggest names on Rhymesayers lately has been P.O.S. His work with Doomtree and on his solo album is stellar, not to mention is punk band as well. He took to the stage as the first truly recognizable face to probably a majority of the crowd, initiating a spirit from the crowd that had yet to be seen. Armed with more than a DJ, POS rocked the guitar and MPC as well as the mic. It was awesome to see him interact with the crowd and give newer fans of Rhymesayers a chance to enjoy some of their best talent. Playing “Low Light Low Life” with a full cast was one of the best tracks all day at Soundset, and the only chance that a girl got to rock the mic on the main stage. 

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A little guy by the name of Sage Francis took to the stage next, note the pun, looking even more out of place than 20,000 white kids at a hip-hop festival, Sage dominated the crowd thanks to antics with buddy and partner in crime B. Dolan. The two brought some much needed respect from the east coast, specifically the booming Rhode Island scene, note the sarcasm. But his set absolutely rocked, Sage seemed like one of the few performers to actually enjoy himself up there, and the guys was super personable when I Got to chat with him backstage (more on that later). 

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Good to see Def Jux getting some love on the main stage again this year, El-P, the king of New York independent hip-hop thrashed his way through some of his best material on I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead and Fantastic Damage as well. Highlighted by “Tasmanian Pain Coaster” at the start, El-P seemed intent on blowing the crowd away with pure sound. His set was far and away the loudest of any artist, and the compliment of Mr. Dibbs on the decks was a sight beyond belief. Check for more on that tomorrow, including Mr. Dibb‘s entire 8 minute freestyle on the decks.

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The most “mainstream” artists there was quite possibly Freeway, complimented equally by Jake One on the 1s and 2s. It’s safe to say that this set was the best good surprise of the day. Freeway’s style and flow was exponentially better than I thought it was going to be, exciting me for the entire Freeway and Jake One album coming out this summer called The Stimulus Package. All that could have been improved was if Jake One did some amazing DJ freestyle like we all know he could, but oh well.

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Doom came next… or was suppose to at least. We got Brother Ali instead.

Not a bad trade I guess, but still, what the fuck Super Villain? The show must go on, and Brother Ali took over in the clutch. It was an amazing moment when the crowd started chanting “The truth is here, the truth is here” right before he came on, and Ali really seemed to fee off that intro. He had the biggest grin on his face nearly the entire set, playing tons of new and old stuff, but every track was one to sing along to. His set seemed the most polished vocally, Ali spit with such confidence and precision that it was jaw dropping and yet extremely upbeat. The essence of Minneapolis hip-hop, Brother Ali dominated a crowd antsy for what they didn’t see and anxious for the next Rhymesayers king to take the mic. 

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And then it happened… The moment We’ve (I’d) been waiting for… The MF Doom show pulled into town…

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The man’s more of a show now than he is a straight performer, but it was still awesome to see him actually perform live. After the imposter Doom (side) that is, ha. Playing the classic “Hoe Cakes” to a crowd that seemed almost fed up with the antics and the hype. But I wasdoom7 loving it, and it was at this point I made my break for it, for the big times, for backstage. Jumped the fence, took some video (check tomorrow for it), took some photos, and just bee lined straight for the other side of the stage. Amongst some of my heros I sought out Doom’s van that he just minutes ago rode in on. And there he was, the Villain, DOOM, MF Doom, Metal Fingers, Viktor Vaughn, you know the list goes on. So I snapped a great picture and sat down next to the legend. I hardly remember what I said, I think I just thanked him over and over, ha. Doom was well worth the wait, some people obviously weren’t fans, but I thought he was worth every verse of hype.

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I was a bit skeptical of The Pharcyde in the 2 spot, but the newly reunited group of 4 MCs took to the stage with a fury and confidence not seen in years. Performing a playful set that featured the awesome “Passing Me By” and even a cover of “My Prerogative”, The Pharcyde definitely got and kept my attention their entire set. They even played the Gorillaz “Dirty Harry” for the part when Romye Robinson could come in and absolutely tear up the mic. That track put the biggest smile on my face I had nearly all day.

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But the Night was closing in… and we all knew what that meant…

16 year old girls singing about hangovers and ugliness. Atmosphere. It’s year two for these guys as headliners, and it’s year two that the entire state seemed to go nuts for Minneapolis icons Slug and Ant. Backed by their full band, Atmosphere demanded every person’s attention as the sun fell behind the distant bluffs. From “God Loves Ugly” to the more recent Life Gives You Lemons material, their set was one that the crowd eager with anticipation all day was beyond ready to jam to. It was a safer bet to put money on them closing with “Sunshine” than it was to bet any horse at Canterbury all weekend, so their set was a little disappointing in a way too. I think I was just disgusted by the four suburban hispter/scenester/god awfully annoying girls in neon singing along as they walked out of the park. Atmosphere is on an entirely different level. Their fame, their popularity, their draw is so far beyond everyone at Soundset. It’s amazing to see and hear the crowd as they took the stage. As much as we might come to hate them after a while, Minneapolis hip-hop, Rhymesayers, and Soundset would cease to exist beyond  half-baked ideas without them. 

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MORE PICTURES HERE!

So there it is, a lengthy recap of Soundset ’09. Sorry if you missed it, and hope you loved it if you were there. I’ve got Part 2 (videos) coming tomorrow, but until then… ENJOY!

The Gang

“Hey Homies!”

DOOM serves up some “Microwave Mayonaisse”

Posted in News with tags , , , on Monday, April 27, 2009 by Tim Althaus

Here is an awesome, yet very inexpensive video for DOOM’s song “Microwave Mayonaisse” off of Born Like This. The video is directed by Dallas Penn. Make sure you go out and get the new DOOM album if you haven’t, it’s pretty fucking killer.

Review: DOOM, Born Like This

Posted in Music Reviews, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by Tim Althaus

born-like-this1 As if MF Doom (sorry DOOM) had to make it any more confusing, he added yet another moniker to the seemingly endless list of names. Born Like This is his first outing under the alias known as DOOM (yes, it has to be ALL CAPS). It’s always been hard for me to put a term on how I feel about MF Doom’s music, it’s great, but I just don’t know where I sit with it. If there’s one thing for sure, he never fails in making me laugh my ass of. DOOM is one of the funniest and quirkiest emcees I’ve ever heard, I love the way that he rhymes and the things he spits about.

With the information above being said lets start by saying that the production on this album is nothing short of amazing. With the majority of production being handled by DOOM himself (DOOM has always been a great fucking producer), the rest of the production is handled by Jake One, J Dilla & Thom Yorke (only on the iTunes purchase) . By the names already mentioned, you should have a pretty good idea that the beats on this album are going to be pretty close to off the charts. Continue reading

Apparently Mos Def is the biggest DOOM fan… ever

Posted in Media, Video with tags , , , on Sunday, March 29, 2009 by Tim Althaus

mos-def-image Mos Def apparently is the new biggest DOOM fan I’ve ever seen (next to my man Abe), in this video he effortlessly spits DOOM verses all over the place and then talks about them. He also laughs his ass off a lot when he is talking about the DOOM verses. It’s funny that he laughs a lot, because when I listen to DOOM I am always laughing my ass off (in a good way).

Mos Def takes his adoration for the artist one step further and says that he would put a million dollars on DOOM Vs. Lil’ Wayne. I think I would probably toss my money in on DOOM as well, the guy has some of the funniest rhymes I’ve ever heard in my life.

Make sure you watch out for Mos Def’s new album The Ecstatic due out this spring. Don’t forget that DOOM also has a new album out, Born Like This. Stay tuned to Mind Inversion because we will have a review of Born Like This very soon.

Spotted @ OKP

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