Posted tagged ‘mac lethal’

Chaz Kangas’ FREE album ‘A Personal Reference’ is OUT NOW! DOWNLOAD HERE!

April 1, 2011

Here's the cover!

As I type this, it’s 11:21 PM on March, 28th 2011, year of our Lord. In about a half-hour I will be releasing something that I’ve been working on for almost two years, longer than I’ve worked on any other project, to the cold unforgiving void of the internet. While I’ve never been more confident in anything with my name attached to it*, there is a certain number of butterflies/dragonflies/fireflies in my stomach to match my excitement. Since there may be a number of you who read this site unfamiliar with my musical endeavors, allow me to demystify the previous paragraph and explain that the very Chaz Kangas who has been shocking your eyelids with reviews of the KFC Double Down and Top Ten Lists of obscene rap videos is a rap artist himself and really doesn’t like speaking in third person so let me cut to the chase and say my album A PERSONAL REFERENCE is available for FREE RIGHT HERE:

A Personal Reference

A Personal Reference (Clean Version)

Being this blog is my primary long-form contact with the world, I’ve been going back-and-forth about how I was going to write about it. Strange as it may sound, I’ve never really been a big “talk about my own music” type of guy. I’ve known plenty of people who respond to a “Hey, what’s up?” with a 15 minute monologue about their latest project, but that’s never really been me. While I appreciate their enthusiasm for..themselves(?), I’m well aware that I’m the guy who once wrote 1,000 words on the Street Fighter soundtrack, so I guess my conversational passion falls in the category of everyone’s music EXCEPT my own. Still, A Personal Reference is my baby and I absolutely love reading artists I admire talk about their own work, so on the off-chance anyone actually likes the music I make, I think I owe it to them to explain how these 38 minutes of madness came to be.

I had known Richard (AKA Good Goose) for about a year. His group Menya had become one of my favorite live acts after a few subsequent conversations at different Nyle concerts, decided we wanted to work together. We recorded the first song “Garlic” a week after the Union Square Virgin Megastore, the last Virgin Megastore in the Western World, closed. I had been working there and going down with the ship was a sad process. I was a year out of college and in the five years I had been there seen New York City completely change. Everyone whose ever lived in NYC for any period of time has echoed this sentiment, but it seemed like everything in my life was slipping away really, really fast. When it comes to any art, I’ve always believed a changing man is infinitely more interesting than a changed man**, and the changes over the past two years that Goose and I made this album were among the biggest in my life. I put them all out on the table, made some obscure references about them, a few quick puns, and recorded it, and there you have A Personal Reference.

Here's the tracklisting!

As you can probably tell, I’ve very pleased with the record. The guest appearances, from Mac Lethal disemboweling “Scrambled Eggs” as the Q-Tip to my Mobb Deep, Alaska sending up conspiracy theorists on the political-rap satire “Truth ‘n’ Stuffz” and Homeboy Sandman bringing his special brand of awesome to “I Think, I Know,” I’m as excited to share their contributions as I am my own. J57 and Coco Dame make some fine cameos as well. Caroline Sinders took some incredible pictures of us at an Arby’s and Sneed put together a fantastic layout. My cousin Nick also bought me the Bloodsport t-shirt for Christmas two years prior, and I attribute that to my success more than anything.

That’s all I’m going to say about the album unprovoked. If you have any questions about it, put them in the comments and I will gladly reply. I’m not going to rate the album as this is the one time I might be slightly bias so in the name of my own credibility I’m going to refrain from giving it the world’s first seven out of five rating.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*With the possible excepting being a short film I made in 2002 for my American History class that had Louie Armstrong, Al Capone and Charles Lindberg snowed-in at a cabin they each though they had rented on the same weekend. Yes, I stand by Louie & Charlie’s Cabin Fever to-this-day as the most entertaining way for your children to learn about the Scopes Trial, Prohibition and Sinclair Lewis.

**If you’ve ever see Nyle’s “Let the Beat Build” video (and let’s be real, who hasn’t), when he says the line “my best friend says that music comes from someone in transition,” he’s referring to me. I’m also a “zigazig-ah.”

Cheat Mall: The Best of Mac Lethal (2007)

September 29, 2010

Mac Lethal, eating BBQ, gaining superhuman powers.

This week marks the release of Kansas City-rapper Mac Lethal’s Love Potion No. 6: Keep It Irish. I’ve always enjoyed Mac Lethal’s work, and his output seems to keep getting better with age. With subject matter and styles all over the map, chances are if you’ve only heard one of his songs, you really don’t have an idea of who he is as an artist or what he’s capable of. That in mind, I’m uploading Cheat Mall: The Best of Mac Lethal, a compilation I made back in 2007 to coincide with the release of his Rhymesayers album 11:11. It spans his career up-until that point, mixing the best most-known songs with forgotten hard-to-find gems.


Irish Sunshine


1) Mean Jab
2) Calm Down Baby
3) Change the Drawls
4) Cyborg Love
5) Walkin’ On Nails
6) Smart Dumb Person
7) There’s Been a Murder
8 ) Would John Madden Have Crashed His Bus Into The World Trade Center If He Plotted 9/11?
9 ) Shotgun
10 ) Miss Anne Thrope
11 ) My Mom Izza Thug
12 ) Mallory Knox
13 ) A Slow Down Ghandi Shame f / Sage Francis
14 ) Rapz of Death f / Xaul Zan
15 ) The Women of Scribble Jam f / Murs
16 ) Mermaid Pornography
17 ) Know it All
18 ) Take Me in My Sleep
19 ) Ashes to Ashley f/ Sadistik


So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

PopularOpinions’ “PopularSummer 2010” – Our “Best of…” Summer Compilation

August 13, 2010

Like this, but in rap form.

Check it:

Perhaps you’ve been wondering where I’ve been this week? Well, seeing as it’s my birthday and I’m all about flipping dem standard blog conventionz on dat azz, I’ve decided to give YOU (yes YOU, the reading and listening public) a collection of my favorite songs this summer. 2010 has been the best year for Hip-Hop in quite sometime, and this season has been no exception. Therefore, now more than ever, you need some essential jams and bangers to make your dog days of summer the absolute hottest possible. I give you PopularSummer 2010, my collection of the absolute best Hip-Hop from all over the map, perfect for any barbecue, midnight drive or “TipDrill” video recreation. The link is above and below this paragraph, with the tracklisting listed below, as well as a repeat posting of the link as it’s standard blog procedure to assume one’s readership requires no less than three links to the same thing in order to harness your attention.




1 ) Mac Lethal – “Party in the USA (Miracles Remix)”
2 ) Lil B – “The Summer”
3 ) Kurupt – “Bounce, Rock, Skate feat. Snoop Dogg, Terrace Martin & DJ Quik”
4 ) Young L – “DROP TOP SWAG”
5 ) Beeda Weeda – “Baserock Babies”
6 ) Earl Sweatshirt – “Earl”
7 ) Big Boi -“Lookin’ For Ya feat. Andre 3000 & Sleepy Brown”
8 ) Camu Tao – “The Perfect Plan”
9 ) Yelawolf – “I Wish Remix feat. Prynce Cy-Hi & Pill”
10 ) Paul Wall – “Live It feat. Raekwon, Yelawolf, Jay Electronica”
11 ) Oddisee – “I’m From PG”
12 ) Rick Ross – “Free Mason feat. Jay-Z & John Legend”
13 ) Da Vinci – “Clean Ass Whip feat. Quinn”
14 ) Nottz – “Cars Remix feat. Rah Digga and Derek 32Zero”
15 ) Jay Electronica – “A Million In The Morning”
16 ) Homeboy Sandman – “Mean Mug”
17 ) Justin Bieber – “Baby (El-P Death Mix)”


Mac Lethal “Blood in the Water” – Mixtape Review

March 19, 2010

Mac Lethal - The Infamous Dave

From Kansas City, the “Meth-Lab City of Broken Dreams,” rapper Mac Lethal’s had quite the prolific career. First rising to national prominence by winning the 2002 Scribble Jam MC Battle, the past decade has seen him drop five tour-minded collections of his work (named Love Potions), a sampler for the then-largest Hip-Hop website, an official album on Rhymesayers (2007’s 11:11) and an alternate version of said album on his own Black Clover Records imprint. While such a refined regular output makes it easy to chart his progression as an artist, it’s surprising that in the past decade’s flood-the-market climate he’d only dropped one mixtape in 2008’s Crown Prime Rib. Fear not, with his next album around the corner, the time has come for him to drop his second mixtape Blood in the Water. It’s good. Scary good.

For all the boasting Mac’s been doing on messageboards and Twitter in recent months, he’s putting a lot on the line. While this release exists just to hold fans over until his next official album, at no point does Mac settle for “good enough.” He’s never been a better rapper and not only has he figured out exactly what he wants to do with his craft, he cuts out the fat and does whatever it takes to achieve his aims. Originally slated to be released last October one-song a day as he recorded it, Mac abandoned this plan halfway through completion, saving the unreleased half as incentive for this fine-tuned final project. Just as his other almost-annual releases captured him artistically at different points in his career, Blood in the Water more than anything pinpoints the Fall 2009 man behind the persona, David Maclery Sheldon, as a person. Content with entering his 30s, he vivisects the midwest nostalgia of “the good ol’ days” with an analysis of where friends, family and relationships went featuring an obsession with women adopting their significant others’ last names and watching Grind Time battles. This repetition reflects more of an honest vulnerability than gimmick and puts half the mixtape into almost concept album territory.

Production-wise Mac spends half the time following the Clipse blueprint of pick the best beats and then outshine the original artists over it. The other half is entirely self-produced, spare the hybrids such as “Exhibit: DEAD” where he remakes the Jay Electronica “Exhibit: C” beat and intercuts the original sample with clips of “Exhibit A,” Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents” and Xzibit’s “Paparazzi.” The approach works as Mac basically shows off his rapping ability to such a degree that even the most tired and over played beats on the record (yes, “Run This Town” gets it) become fresh and galvanizing again.

As a rapper and a producer, Mac is at the absolute top of his game. However, this is where the album’s flaws surface. The entire project is crafted as a vehicle to flaunt where his abilities are now, so every time a voice that isn’t his appears, the record comes to a screening halt. It’s not that Ces Cru, Prof or St. Paul Slim turn in weak performances, their presence on the mixtape just manages to get in the way of someone who is totally in the zone and shooting three-pointers at every turn. Also bothersome is the inclusion of Soulcrate Music’s “Evil In It.” While I liked the song and considered it one of the album’s highlights in my review of their latest The Heartland Panic, here it just seems like a commercial break reminding us that the label mates of the guy we’re listening to have an album out. While a Mac appearance over the beat would have been great, as it stands it’s just sort of an intermission.

Overall, if Mac isn’t on your radar yet Blood in the Water should be all the sonar you need. It concludes with an openly unfinished song, as Mac is known to do, to give the listener an inclination of what he is capable of without even trying. The replay valuable is strong, and hearing the man kicking obscenely complex rhyme patterns over the likes of the “No Diggity” and Kris Kross’ “Jump” beat make this the most accessible piece of music he’s ever released. If his previous output was a warm-up, it’s no stretch to think Blood in the Water is the windup before Mac Lethal pitches the perfect game he’s had within him all nine innings.

We give the Blood in the Water Mixtape a Four Out of Five.

Blood in the Water is available FREE with any $25.00 purchase at Lethalville which you can find by clicking Here or anywhere else in this sentence.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Soulcrate Music “The Heartland Panic” – Album Review

February 24, 2010

Anyone who owns more than ten rap albums should be able to tell you what first made them love, or like as in like like, the genre. Whether it’s the personalities, the storytelling, or something in the aesthetic like the pounding bass or consistent stream of lyrics, everyone knows what made them fall head-over-heels for beats and rhymes. What’s lesser explored are the secrets to maintaining that happy marriage. While some tend to lose interest based on what they listen to becoming stagnant, I’ve kept my passion through exploring the ever-changing soundscape that makes it such an ever-evolving music. West Coast rappers don’t sound like East Coast rappers, Atlanta producers don’t sound like Memphis producers and even that North Dakota sound (Me and You Crew) is discernibly different from the South Dakota sound coming from Black Clover signees Soulcrate Music and their album The Heartland Panic.

Putting together the Soulcrate discography is somewhat of a task. Their first release Obviously Bothered, a collection of their earliest recordings, was an “album” in the same way Gang Starr’s No More Mr. Nice Guy was an album*. Followed by two solo albums recorded under the group’s name, the trio put out 2008’s Cardboard Cutouts Volume 1 as an EP of all new material to perform and have available on tour. Catchy, consistent and enjoyable in a year that was anything but, the replay value has steadily built the group’s reputation as well as anticipation for their first full-length national release. For better or worse, The Heartland Panic‘s twelve original songs play like that record’s extended version. They know how they want to sound and are ready to spread it over a full length’s running time.

Seemingly signed primarily for their impeccable live show that sees them regularly pull in crowds of 700-800 throughout the Midwest, the greatest challenge the group faces here is translating that energy and intimacy into an album. While MCs Adef Eisenhower and Dirt Dee are the most animated and visible in a live setting, the real star here is producer DJ Absolute. More than just a beatmaker (and a good one at that) he understands the psychology of a rap album and lets the soundscape of The Heartland Panic play like a stroll through Sioux Falls. The wet autumn, the bitter winter, and the spring rain on a Starter jacket are all conjured over the course of the 45 minute running time. He knows when to let the beat alone carry the listener in (“Let it Shine”), when to let it propel the rappers’ momentum (“Evil in It,” “Made it Break”) and when to have the rappers carry the torch in order to let things breathe (“Keep Hope Dead”). Being the sole producer is an easy way to undercook or overload an album but Absolute makes the record feel diverse and complete.

As for the MCs, more than anything, they bring a melodic quality that really makes the album stand out amidst the monkey-see-monkey-bite incestuous scenesters that stagnate most offshoot Midwest music communities. Adef raps like a South Dakotan Lil Boosie with a distinct voice and perspective that makes him instantly recognizable and engaging. By contrast, DirtDee is a much more straightforward by-the-numbers rapper, which plays to Adef’s strengths like Vinnie Paz to whoever-is-guesting on a Jedi Mind Tricks song. But when they come together for hooks, their presence feels like a fourth member. They make the more epic-sounding beats like “Old vs.Dumb” become welcome hum-worthy affairs and the laid back numbers (“Clouds in My Head”) sound like anthems.

Their personalities shine on The Heartland Panic where their aim seems to be toward making listeners as excited for their album as they were for their favorite artists in high school. While there are more hits than misses, the record does suffer from moments of trying too hard to wear their heart on their hoodie. “Think About Me,” despite a great beat, becomes another “I’m bragging about not bragging” song. “Learn From It” and “Wake Up” both sound like lesser efforts toward territory already charted elsewhere on the album. When you have such highs on the record sustained by how much they standout, it makes these missteps all the worse and detracts from the whole experience**. Still, fans will undoubtably be pleased by this outing. It succeeds as a snapshot of where they are as a group and the combination of the melodies and production will be sure to make Sioux Falls, South Dakota a second home to plenty of new listeners.

We give The Heartland Panic a Three Out of Five.

Until next time, Let’s Agree to Agree!

*That’s an “album” as in an “album” but kinda-sorta not really an “album” but considered an “album” even though they don’t really recognize it as an “album” although the “album” is pretty “album-ish.”

**Call it “Chinese Arithmatic” syndrome.