Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Memory Lane - Onyx

On any given day, while listening to music—whether sitting at my desk at work or driving to wherever in my car—chances are I'm listening to underground/independent Hip-Hop. It's not to say it's the best music in the world, but it's what suits me. However, don't get it twisted, underground/Indie is not synonymous with "substance" or "good". Like any genre of music, there is a fair share of greatness, mixed with complete and utter useless garbage.

In any regard, my recent focus has been on AOL Radio's '90s Hip-Hop channel. What Hip-Hop fan knows anything about anything can deny that the late '80s through late '90s were the shining moment of Hip-Hop? If they're intelligent, no one will deny that. In fact, they would probably get filled with nostalgia at the brink of discussion and start name-dropping their favorite artists and songs from the golden era of music (actually late '80s - mid '90s).

With that being said, I have reacquainted myself with one of my favorite groups of all time, Onyx. In the same respect as the Wu-Tang Clan, Onyx helped to pioneer East Coast Hardcore Hip-Hop with their debut album, Bacdafucup. The entire narrative of the album focuses on stick-ups, robberies, flexing your artillery muscles, and of course, the occasional sex talk.

Now, with the exception of Onyx and a very limited few, I've never been a huge fan of gang vocals in rap music, because most people have no real clue how to execute it properly, but Onyx get it done like a hardcore punk band, which is why they were able to team up with a band like Biohazard on more than one occasion (Judgment Night, Slam). When the chants come in at the end of a line delivery, it's not just to sound loud, or because members think they don't get enough mic time. No. The gang vocals not only add to the passion and energy of the crew, but they reinforce the brutal messages in the lyrics, adding extra emphasis to their dark, grimy street tales.

17 years later, Bacdafucup is still a gem, albeit others who followed over the years have attempted to one-up their predecessors. Few are memorable, but those mad face bald heads will forever be legends.

Do yourself a favor and listen to Bacdafucup, whether it's your first time or you're revisiting the album. Give yourself an opportunity to relive 1993. But as a fair warning, it is an extremely unrelenting, aggressive album.

Onyx - Throw Ya Gunz

Onyx and Biohazard - Judgment Night

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Soundset 2011

Last Thursday I took a trip out to Minneapolis, MN to spend time with some friends and check out Soundset 2010, the annual independent Hip-Hop music festival put on by Rhymesayers Entertainment. Curious about who performed? Check out the archives at SoundsetFestival.com. The site contains the show lineup, videos, and pictures.

With this year's show already come and gone, and being as amazing as it was, and last year's show being great too (I didn't see 2008), I developed a list of independent and legendary acts I feel deserve a shot at rocking the Soundset stages and tents.

Unfortunately, it looks like the majority of the acts I listed, I personally feel earned time on the main stage, so my other stage list will be a little light.

Main Stage

The Cool Kids
Blu & Exile
A Tribe Called Quest
De La Soul
Goodie Mob
Dungeon Family
Gnarls Barkley
The Roots
Public Enemy
Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Bone Thugs N Harmony
Ice Cube
Jurassic 5
The Beatnuts
Kool Keith
Little Brother
Camp Lo
Sean Price/Boot Camp Click
Mos Def
Talib Kweli
Pharoahe Monch
Jean Grey
Mr. Lif/Perceptionists
Soul Position

Fifth Element Stage

F. Stokes
Soulcrate Music
Joe Good
Oh No
Jay Electronica
Reef the Lost Cauze
J. Cole

B-Boy/B-Girl Tent

DJ Danger Mouse
DJ Shadow
DJ Qbert
DJ Premiere
DJ Honda
Mr. Len
Flying Lotus
Gaslamp Killer
Pete Rock
King Britt
Dan the Automater
Kid Koala

Hosted by

Sway and King Tech
Fab 5ive Freddy

I'm not saying this should be the lineup for the next festival, but I am suggesting that any of these people would be great for the festival. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them here. Please keep in mind that this is an event put on by RSE, so certain performers won't fit the scheme of things. Trust me, I want M.O.P. too, but it's not going to happen. I'm also aware that it would be highly unlikely for Joe Good to accept an invitation, because he doesn't rap anymore, but a guy can dream, right?