Posted tagged ‘underground’

Childish Gambino – The Making of “My Hoodie”

November 15, 2011

Welcome internet to the final part of my “whole bunch of stuff about Donald Glover” trilogy. If you’re just joining us, hi, I’m Chaz Kangas, you might remember me as the second verse on Childish Gambino’s “My Hoodie” from Sick Boi. For the past week I’ve been giving insight into Gambino’s early years to give you a better context for understanding the growth on his new album. Camp dropped today and you can/should purchase it everywhere as well as download MY FREE album featuring Mac Lethal, Stones Throw’s Homeboy Sandman, Alaska of Hangar 18 and J57 of the Brown Bag All Stars.

Gosh darn Goddard love!

So, as I mentioned in the The Younger I Get post, Goddard was a freshman dorm that Donald was an RA in and (despite my Peter Pan-esqe wishes) I couldn’t be a freshman forever, so that May I moved while he stayed there for one more year. It’s worth noting how much talent lived in that same building at one time. The Goddard Hall 2004-2005 residents include “BET 106 and Park” Top 10 staple Elle Varner, Emmy award winning “The Daily Show” writer Jenna Kim Jones and top New York tech/business blogger Nick Judd. Bear in mind, I don’t mean we were all in the same class of how many thousand students, we all lived in a yellow submarine the same seven story building. Good times.

Sick Boi (2008). There's apparently a physical version of this out there somewhere too which I've never seen. If you have, let me know.

So with both Donald and I being busy with where our lives went, he with graduating and writing for “30 Rock” and me with further schooling and hitting the east coast battle circuit hard, we didn’t really get a chance to link up musically. I did get a beat tape from him in spring 2007 (which I believe I still have) when I was reaching out for production for my then-upcoming album Knee Jerk Reaction, but we didn’t get a chance to finish something in time before I had to return to Minnesota for a summer.

The morning of January 23 2008* I get a call from Donald and we begin discussing music. This was two or three months into the writers’ strike and Donald’s work ethic being what it is, he decided it was the perfect time to make an album. He emailed me what he had of “My Hoodie” and asked if I could record that night. I said sure, tapped into everything I enjoyed about hooded sweatshirts as a youth, and the verse poured out of me. That night I went to his apartment in, I believe, Queens and recorded it with overdubs and everything in about 20 minutes. At the time, Donald was contemplating changing his rap name to “Bambino X,” which is why he begins his verse with “My name is Bambino.” He said the session was the quickest he’d had recording anyone for the album**. Afterward I caught the subway home and while on the platform saw professional wrestler Chris Kanyon videotaping the trains as they arrived and departed.

It’s still cool seeing how much that song gets around. It played while I was interviewed by DJ Ready Cee that fall and it even eventually got named rhyme of the week at the Hip-Hop Culture Center. The Rap Genius entry on it is surprisingly accurate, although I should mention the vocal cadence I use on the Sam Goody couplet is my homage to one of my all time favorite rap groups The Outsidaz’s single “Rain or Shine.” As for Sick Boi, it was a cool departure for Donald and really indicative of where both he and Hip-Hop was at the time. I know a lot of Gambino fans take issue with the Lil Wayne comparisons, especially those who only know Wayne from his “Lollipop”-type output, but Wayne’s The Dedication II mixtape (which you should download as it is both free and excellent) was so innovative and ubiquitous then that even if it wasn’t a direct influence on Donald (we’ve never discussed it) there’s a good chance it influenced someone who influenced him, and he married that with his Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II influence and there you have the very beginnings of Childish Gambino.

Thanks for reading, support Camp and until next time… let’s agree to agree!

*I checked. Thanks Gmail!

**Take THAT MC Chris

Childish Gambino – ‘The Younger I Get’

November 11, 2011

Wow internet, thanks for making the video of Donald and I freestyling go viral! As I said in the last post, hello there, I’m Chaz Kangas, you might remember me as the second verse on Childish Gambino’s “My Hoodie” from Sick Boi. Next week album Camp drops, but you can already stream the album now as well as download MY FREE album featuring Mac Lethal, Stones Throw’s Homeboy Sandman, Alaska of Hangar 18 and J57 of the Brown Bag All Stars.

We left off last time with Donald giving me a copy of The Younger I Get, an album he had just finished. He handed it out to everyone he knew who was into hip-hop at the time in an oddly thick white slim CD-R case with a paper cover that had a picture of him recording in his dorm room printed on it. Honestly, if there’s one thing that’s gone grossly underreported about Donald, it’s how hard he grinded. People forget, he at no point was an overnight success. Not only was he attending the most sought-after University in the country, but he was an RA for FRESHMEN in NEW YORK CITY on one of the SPECIALTY THEMED FLOORS. We all know how insane college freshmen get, but now imagine putting all of the “artists” of that group in one building, and two nights a week you’re in charge of all of them. Despite that, he managed to heavily promote himself and really perfect his craft with both Hammerkatz at UCB and Derrick Comedy, eventually winding up writing for a network show fresh out of college. Hard work, and insanity in general, pays off.

As you can imagine, The Younger I Get was born out of that insanity. Now, according to Tumblr, I might be the only person on the face of the Earth who has it. It does surprise me in this internet age that it hasn’t surfaced anywhere, but perhaps that’s more of a testament to how those of us who have it respect Donald’s wishes and haven’t leaked it. I know I get asked for it, even offered some pretty ridiculous sums of money for it, on a regular basis. But still, as Donald’s gone to great lengths to distance himself from it, my response has always been this. So, with so much misinformation about the album in circulation, I thought I’d make this post and offer you the next best thing with the most detailed breakdown of it ever assembled.

First off, the album was record between 2004-2005, NOT 2002. I’m pretty sure the inaccurate date stems from a typo in the one early 2009 interview where he was asked about it, and with nobody to correct it has subsequently been repeated to death. With references to 50 Cent, “The O.C.” and “Rap Snitch Knishes,” there is literally no possible way this could have been recorded two years prior. Speaking of Doom, Donald’s always worn his love for his favorite rappers on his sleeve and it shows as The Younger I Get is much more influenced by Madlib and the like than his later work, but we’ll get into what influenced Sick Boi later. There’s also the chipmunk-soul sample sound that makes up about half of the production, with the other half having the electronic bounce of jovial Nintendo games. Given where both Hip-Hop and Donald was at the time**, it’s pretty clear he produced it himself.

Another look at Goddard Hall, ground zero for Gambino.

Another oft-repeated critique of The Younger I Get is that it’s an overly-vulnerable Drake-lite. While there are the more introspective tracks, it’s not a self-indulgent emo crybaby fest at all. Such heavier moments, like “Black Kid” (racism faced at school at an early age), “A Runaway” (a highly personal confessional track) and “My Baby” (romantic rejection) do get *very* specific to the point where he names names of things that affected him, so I can see why he wouldn’t want the album in circulation. Otherwise, there’s a lot of fun on here. Opener “Da Man” has his charisma on full display with braggadocious wordplay I’d put on par with the best of his work. “Tengo,” with DC Pierson, is a great first collaboration between the two. There’s also a back-and-forth battle track between him and his penis (“2 Brains”) an instrumental (“Me and Austen”) and a soulful track of just him singing (“Home”). It’s clear listening to it that the same guy who made it also made Camp, and it’s cool to hear him still have that touch of the same hometown as this man, but given how much his production levels grew even three years later, the distance is understandable. I will say, if Donald ever does agree to let ONE song leak from the project, urge him for “Da Man” or “Summer is Here.” Donald and I kept trying to get together to record that fall back in NYC, but with college and both of our careers going in very different directions, we wound up not being able to finally do a song together until the writer’s strike wound up giving us a chance to sit down and discuss me doing something for his then forthcoming album Sick Boi

To Be Continued with…THE MAKING OF “MY HOODIE!”

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

*You could call it “how hard he hustles,” but I’ve never been a fan of that word as I feel when working hard with something you believe in, you aren’t hustling someone else out of something.

**One of Donald’s single’s cover arts (can’t remember which one, please correct me) I’m 95% certain is a photo from inside of his dorm this year. The one with the video game on the TV with the bottle of lotion next to it and the desk with the two shelves.

Childish Gambino – Early Beginnings, Rapping in a Dorm Room Basement

November 9, 2011

Childish Gambino & Chaz Kangas 9/8/11 . Photo courtesy of Amy Desauguste, used with permission.

Hi, I’m Chaz Kangas, some of you visiting this site for the first time might remember me as the second verse on Childish Gambino’s “My Hoodie” off of his 2008 album Sick Boi. Next week sees the release of Gambino’s highly anticipated album Camp. Seeing that this is the internet, I’m sure you’re already well aware that you can stream the album now or catch him on tour as much as you know that you can download MY FREE album featuring Mac Lethal, Stones Throw’s Homeboy Sandman, Alaska of Hangar 18 and J57 of the Brown Bag All Stars.

NYU's Goddard Hall dorm. Photo courtesy New York University, used without permission.

So, instead, I’ll be bringing you this two part look back at my history with Donald, as well as this footage of us freestyling together for the first time. To give it some context, my freshman year at New York University was beginning and I had moved into Goddard Hall about a week prior. All of Goddard’s floors had themes, I was on the 4th floor (Music) while Donald was the RA on the 7th (Writing?). During that first week of college when you meet everyone and you condense yourself into a soundbite, I felt most comfortable with “I’m Chaz, I’m a Cinema Studies major and I rap.” Soon I was noticing more and more “Have you met Donald? He’s on the 7th floor and he raps too” responses. We finally met in really quick passing between classes and had one of those “You like rap? I like rap too! I like MadVillain. You like Madvillain too?! Let’s rap sometime!” rapidfire dialogues that happen in the hustle and bustle of college life. Later that night, during my dorm’s nightly “Basement Jam” sessions where all the musicians would just play and everyone hung out in-between loads of laundry and games of Donkey Kong, someone noticed Donald and I were both in the same place and invited us to rap together. Some of the guys playing weren’t too familiar with Hip-Hop beats, so we asked if they knew “Back in Black.” They did, and so this happened:

Truth be told, this is only a three-minute excerpt from 15 minutes in to a 21 minute freestyle*. Afterwords we dapped up, I gave him a copy of my high school album Notes From the Underground, and we proceeded to have a year of hip-hop shop-talkin’. I was pretty bummed to leave Goddard Hall at the end of the year, but as I was saying goodbyes that May morning, Donald gave me a copy of his newly finished album called The Younger I Get

TO BE CONTINUED! (friday.)

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!
*Which, if you would like, I could upload at a later date. Shouts to Katie Warzak for the footage.

WATCH ‘LIONHEART’ WITH ME!

June 18, 2010

This is what an awesome movie looks like.

So here I was, sitting down to write another blog entry when I discovered that Lionheart, starring Jean Claude Van Damme, was available in its entirety on YouTube. Ecstatic, I started making telephone calls to everyone in my parish only to discover the majority of them HAVEN’T SEEN LIONHEART! What sorcery is this? Well, as a public service, I’m going to now introduce you to one of mankind’s greatest achievements.

I’m sure I’ll flush out a full review at a later date, but for right now believe me when I tell you this is one of my favorite movies of all time. JCVD, the greatest actor crotch-puncher of our generation, stars as Leon, an A.W.O.L. French Legionaire who returns to America in order to support his brother’s widow’s family through the organized underground fight circuit. The script was co-written by Van Damme, so the flagrant broken bones and broken english go hand-in-hand. There’s action, honor and awesomeness.

For whatever reason, this is the overseas theatrical release but don’t let the alternate title ‘Full Contact’ fool you, it’s still Lionheart and still arguably the finest motion picture ever made.

Tonight on Chazterpiece Theater…

We give Lionheart a Five Out of Five

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

Sage Francis “Li(f)e” – Album Review

May 24, 2010

"Life is just a 'Lie' with an 'F' in it."

Rapper Sage Francis has been something of a one-man Noah’s Arc in the flooded indie hip-hop landscape. First appearing a decade ago during what many consider underground hip-hop’s peak, he’s weathered the storm by not only surviving, but staying afloat with a career that, as Public Enemy’s Chuck D put it, created his own niche. At a time when many of his contemporaries are inactive and their labels have all but folded, Sage remains as unfliching as ever with the release of his new album, Li(f)e. The first Hip-Hop artist signed to Punk label Epitaph, Sage has been no stranger to bending, or should I say blending, genres. From his 2004 collaboration with Bad Religion to his work with Mark Isham for the Pride and Glory soundtrack, he’s exercised a discretion that has lead to a much higher level of quality control than most rap-based musical experiments. Entirely produced by Brian Deck (Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antarctica , Iron and Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days) Li(f)e shows Sage’s rap roots remaining strong even when the breeze more closely resembles “Liu Kang Wins” than his “video games” freestyle.

The easy comparison here is to lump Li(f)e in with the ever-growing number of recent indie Hip-Hop releases that have attempted to dabble in indie rock. The main difference here is that Sage isn’t trying to recreate his favorite non-rap songs by sampling them and then attempting to sing. Instead, he’s enlisted the genre’s professionals, not for instant “cred,” but to genuinely add to his ever-evolving soundscape. Among those joining the party are Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, and the late Mark Linkous. Deck’s production gives the album a cohesiveness that allows these guests to play to Sage’s strengths. For someone who has never had another rapper appear on any of his official albums, the extensive guestlist seems somewhat daunting. However, their participation helps elevate the record above other rap records that have tried to emulate the indie-rock sound. Li(f)e is not a record that tries. It is a record that does.

That being said, it is far and away the single most esoteric music that Sage has ever released. Prior to Li(f)e, Sage’s most recent output was his 2009 Sick of Wasting mixtape that was strikingly his most straightforward rap release since 2003’s Hope. While Wasting did reaffirm that Sage’s Hip-Hop credentials were up to date, Li(f)e features Sage using many of these same skills in a dramatically different soundscape that, after repeat listens, display how talented he truly is. With organized religion and its direct and inadvertent effects on everyone’s everyday lives as the album’s central theme, Sage takes a much more subtle approach than many of his cantankerous conspiratorial contemporaries, choosing instead to make his points through some of the sharpest storytelling of his career. Beginning with “Little Houdini,” based on the true story of Christopher Daniel Gay who escaped prison twice to visit dying family members, the song seems like Li(f)e’s opening Bond scene, an action packed narrative that acts as an overture for what lies ahead. “The Baby Stays,” which tells the story of an unplanned conception, with each verse from the perspective of the father, mother, and unborn baby, is another highlight showing that the album’s boundary pushing isn’t merely restricted to the soundscape. Folks, what we have here is in every way the exact opposite of a DC Talk record.

But the album’s brightest moment comes from “The Best of Times,” a collaboration with Amélie composer Yann Tiersen. While Sage has previously tackled career-retrospective rap on “Underground for Dummies” and most of his 2007 album Human the Death Dance, “Best of Times” instead fills us in on everything non-rap related that made Sage who he is. As honest and vulnerable as anything he’s ever written, it’s a tremendous crescendo that’s still as hard to get into as a scotch-taped grade school love note. It, like the album, is challenging but exudes such a high level of professionalism that you’re either on board with it or have to step back saying “yeah, this is not for me.” Moments like that for me were the screaming children on the chorus of “London Bridge” and the background wailing on “Diamonds and Pearls.” I can appreciate why they’re there, but they just weren’t enjoyable within my listening experience.

Sage Francis presents his After-Sunday School special.

With many Francis loyalists considering his 2001 debut Personal Journals to be his best work, they will be pleased with how many of its favored elements are taken to an elaborate extreme here. If Journals was the micro-budgeted cult classic horror film, Li(f)e is its million dollar Hollywood remake that stays true to the original’s spirit while updating it to be relevant and fittingly flashy for today’s audiences. It’s not for everybody, but Sage’s performance and Deck’s production make it an album for a very definitive somebody. Yes, Li(f)e is polarizing, but over time those who warm up to it will have something that resonates with them that only comes once in a li(f)etime.

We give Li(f)e a Four Out of Five

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

Dem Chiclet Boyz – Album Review

April 1, 2010

AMERICA: The Home of Mr. Pibb!

Let it be known, American audiences are among the most fickle in the world. How many fantastic talents reach phenomenal levels of critical praise the world over, crossing over countless markets and language barriers, only to fail miserably in the States because we’re too busy listening to the sounds of our gaping jowls scarfing through another bag of Sausage McGriddles? Well, I cant give you an exact number because said McGriddles are 2 for $3.00 this month and are required sustenance for me to perform at the top level of our country’s standards. On occasion, the rare talent breaks through to become a truly worldwide sensation, like Eiffel 65 whose music becomes the soundtrack to our lives to such a degree that it’s only fair to refer to their genre as biorhythm & blues. Being fickle enough as it is, it’s only logical that our attitude toward sub-genres is about as substantial as a subleased subpar submarine. One need look no further for forgotten underground wunderkinds* Dem Chiclet Boyz.

Dem Chiclet Boyz - so obscure they now reside in the 'Where Were They Then' file.

Our story beings in 2005 AD. One year before Nas declared Hip Hop is Dead**, the genre was going through an odd transitional year. Lil Jon’s minimalist shift sparked the ‘Snap Hop’ trend, the rise of Young Jeezy ushered in the era of ‘Trap Hop’ and indie rap labels had finally successfully penetrated the mainstream marketplace and media. The planets alligned and a shockwave of similie-heavy subsonic sound was ready to slaughter the solar system. That sound was Boston’s Dem Chiclet Boyz. Part of the second-wave of east-coast underground tough-guy rappers, they gained notoriety for picking up where their punchline heavy forefathers left off and mixing “I grab the mic like a writer grabs a pen” sensibilities with the cocaine-heavy Trap Hop aesthetics of the time, infusing their sound with a “Best of Both Worlds” accessibility that would have been seen as pandering had it not been so honest.

Comprised of Lil Smokey and Young Newport, the two gained an incredible following through, as they put it, “word of mouth like a smile.” Soon links to their self-titled debut flooded rap messageboards across the internet as fans showed their support by going as far as to replace their MySpace profile pictures with the unforgettable cover of their auspicious debut. A one-of-a-kind release, Dem Chiclet Boyz struck many as what would happen if Phil Spector produced a rap album for Captain Beefheart. From the first track “Introfunction” that later reappears as the album’s second and fifth track, the two exchange rhymes such as “I’m like a drug dealer for how I’m selling dope” in between a bevy of clicks and whistles. The guest appearances are few and far between, most notably Juelz Santana on “Crackity Cracker Jacks” and Benzino who inexplicably lends an eight bar introduction to the Benzino dis track “Benzino Sux (We Ain’t Playin’).” The album culminates in the ode to marijuana “Puff that Weed in Bongs,” a reworking of Joe Cocker’s “Up Where We Belong,” which hit #378 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and got the duo featured on the soundtrack of the Ryan Reynolds mega-hit Just Friends. But like many of their contemporaries, the duo lost their way when they postponed a follow-up album in favor of something they believed was much bigger.

Re-emerging in 2007, the two only slightly resembled the “Chicset” of old. Following Lil Smokey’s conversion to Islam and Young Newport returning to his family’s roots of devout Zoroastrianism, they quickly disowned their previous work promising to never again make “music without a message.” It seemed the success of their debut drove the pair to reading the first half of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War opening them up to an entire world of literature. Like most rappers, they found the greatest path to enlightenment through conspiracy websites. After being thrown out of a New Haven Applebee’s for attempting to turn an autograph signing into a fundraiser for the PM Truth Movement, the followers of the belief that PM Dawn was behind the September 11th attacks, they became abnormally reclusive and spent two months only contacting with the outside world through chatroom freestyles with Canadian rapper and messageboard enthusiast Admiral Crumple and Wu-Tang Affiliate-affiliate Bomshot. The four formed a bond that resulted in the polarizing but promising mixtape Chic$et4Life. While their label The New No Limit/Babygrande/RC Cola/The Even Newer No Limit was readily behind the release, Bomshot’s incarceration lead to a tidal wave of bad press, inhibiting the group from promoting it. Having spent a fortune on guest appearances from Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Method Man and Van Halen’s David Lee Roth, their inability to recoup the tremendous recording costs (including the unheard of act of clearing all the mixtape’s samples, even ones they didn’t use) caused a rift in the group that they would never recover from. Bomshot later addressed the fall out in-between a flurry of prank calls on UndergroundHipHop.com’s call-in radio show:

Dem Chiclet Boyz’s sophomore album Chiclet Sized Diamonds wound up being shelved indefinitely as the two left Hip-Hop to pursue other interests. Young Newport became an ardent Ron Paul supporter during the 2008 election, directing one of Paul’s most seen commercials. Lil Smokey on the other hand is currently finding success in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and had an impressive showing on the most recent UFC Pay-Per-View. While their music has become somewhat of an after-afterthought subject to internet lore and messageboard myth, Dem Chiclet Boyz proved that there is life after Hip-Hop. Even now at the death of an industry, they’re still Chic$et4Life.

We give Dem Chiclet Boyz a Five Out of Five.

You can download both Dem Chiclet Boyz and Chic$et4Life by clicking HERE.

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

*German for “Wonderkids” and, oddly enough, Bulgarian for “Platypus.”

**Bear in mind this is the same Nas who denies evolution and once released a song named “Oochie Wally.”

Dez and Nobs “Rocky Dennis” – Album Review

March 1, 2010

They're Not Just Another Pretty Face.

It’s the year 2010 and out there, somewhere, a rapper is already waxing nostalgically about 2009. Following a decade of self-obsession and revisiting a rewritten history, many mistakingly assume rap’s future is in rap’s past. With technology making it increasingly easier for music to be produced and distributed, the ever-shrinking attention span of the internet-age consumer has finally seeped into that of the artist. It’s rare that anyone takes three years between releases, and even rarer that they make something as good as Rocky Dennis, the new album from Albany duo Dez and Nobs. Lucky for us, Dez and Nobs are so rare, they’re raw.

Originally titled Behemoth 2: Rocky Dennis as an intended sequel to their 2006 collaborative debut, they’ve scrapped the prefix in favor of letting this album stand on its own, and rightfully so. While their previous effort was a critical darling and the sleeper hit of the indierap world that year, Rocky Dennis makes it sounds positively average by comparison. Produced entirely by Nobs, the analog sample-based production gives the entire project a warmth long missing from the modern rap marketplace. With every beat lovingly constructed on his MPC, Nobs ensures the drums knock harder and the bass thumps louder than anything else currently available under the banner of “independent Hip-Hop.” Thanks to the record’s impeccable mixing, there’s a clarity in the griminess that just feels like how a rap record is supposed to sound. While most of his contemporaries have settled for drums that sound as hard as a fifth-grade girl’s pillowfight and bass that sounds like it’s coming from an ice cream truck three blocks away, Nobs wears his tradition on his sleeve and instead of just rehashing his favorite records, pinpoints what makes them great to make a wholly unique sound all his own.

As for the rapping, even if you’ve heard Dez before, you still have no idea what you’re in for. From the sounds of things, Daniel “Dez” Hulbert has gone through a lot over the past four years and works it all out for us over the course of this record. Using sound clips from the 1985 film Mask to navigate between subjects, Dez bulldozes through a decade of decadence by shattering the images of trendy cocaine hipsters (Don’t tell tails about the iron you clutch / listen to too much Clipse and watch “The Wire” too much – “The Product”) girls who have tattoos in place of personality (I’m about to put a stamp on this tramp / Pornographic target practice and the canvass is blank – “Kat Von D”) and anyone in this generation of lesser rappers (“Streisand Heat Rocks”) that Dez decimates with such a fervor, one has to chalk it up to natural selection. He may be a brute, but his intricate wordplay and soul-crushing storytelling makes him the most articulate barbarian to ever pillage your village.

While he has a genuine wit and sense of comedic timing that compliments his breath control perfectly, Rocky Dennis is no laughing matter. A darkly comedic affair that doesn’t resort to shock value as much as sheer desperation, the album sounds like the memoirs of the happiest tragic figure you’ll ever encounter. Despite the more depressing overtones, the album never drags as lighter moments like “Neon,” Dez’s critique of the rap’s trendy hipster sect featuring Louis Logic, alleviate the pressure and keep things moving. The album’s guest appearances (“TV Dinners” with Seez Mics, “4 Trillion 4” with Mac Lethal) are all perfectly placed to accentuate the soundscape, but the real star here is Dez.

'Cold Chillin' Like the Ice-Truck Killer.'

On “Underbelly,” the closing centerpiece (featuring P.O.S. of Doomtree/Rhymesayers), Dez declares he “ain’t never used my music just to glorify violence / went from bored and high nihilist to borderline tyrant / recorded rhymes while this kind of corporatization / of the quintessential counter-culture transforms my occupation” to describe the present state of the ever-changing role his ever-changing music plays in his life. This line also defines Rocky Dennis‘ existence. In a world where chastising ringtone rap has become passe and music is dated the second it hits the shelves, Dez and Nobs went back to basics and made a fantastic boom-bap record at a time boom-bap records don’t get made. New York Hip-Hop hasn’t thumped like this since the days of cassettes, and while this is album is anything but nostalgic, both parties march forward with tradition in one hand and your lunch money in the other. It’s the post-everything Supreme Clientele and an absolute essential purchase for anyone who still has the slightest interest in the genre. It may be ugly, but it’s a masterpiece.

We give Rocky Dennis a Five Out of Five!

Until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!