Music Reviews

Behold The Profit – “Behold The Profit” – [lowatt]

Thee Opinataur   4/18/2012   CD, Hip Hop

Greg Reynaud is Behold the Profit and is also known as “Thieves” in a previous life highlighted by his 2004 hit EP, “You Hold the World Like a Gun”. This is his first release under his current moniker and is eerily similar to “Thieves”. Composed of six dense tracks of trip hop, stutter, fuzz and distortion he doesn’t waste time and effort with monotonous repetitive beats as filler. He has taken great care in choosing samples which blend well his deep tight percussive beats. If you like slow mellow, dreamy, hallucinogenic grooves check out tracks 1 & 5. Track 4 is the heart of this EP highlighted with deep tight stuttering trips. Only thing disappointing with these six tracks of 20 minutes is they are over far too soon and leave you wanting more. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for his next compilation of deep dirty beats.




Neila – “Better Late Than Never” – [Avatar]

MSTiZA   4/4/2012   CD, Hip Hop

The album title is so true, for Neila (LA). This southern cali femme fatale has honed her skills for over a decade. She emerged in the mid-late 90’s on underground hip hop tapes. Her style is sing song-y and hypnotic, her material experiential. Her spirit animal could be the Tasmanian Tiger or Giant Walking Stick Insects both not native to our land and on the rise from the verge of extinction*. Her tone is understated, yet tough. Her style unsusual. Better late.. features many guests that KFJC HH heads will find familiar (AWOL, 2MEX, Existereo, & more). If you ever see a Neila tape, get your paws on it and pass it my way.



*NEILA is ALIEN in reverse and is a cancer survivor

Romanowski – “Romanowski’s Party IN My Pants” – [Trouser Trout Records]

Dianthus   4/4/2012   CD, Hip Hop


Who wouldn’t want a party in their pants? I would have to agree with Romanowski on this one when reviewing this remixed version of his 2004 earlier release. P.I.M.P. is split between two danceworthy discs mixed my some of SF’s best club djs and beyond. The first disc reminds me of the sand soaked beaches of Ibiza with latin vibes shaked out by DJ Smash and J. Glass. A daytime party element flows through the first 12 tracks with songs like, “Dance Dance Dance” and the P.I.M.P. title track by (DJ F). The second disc turns it up and turns you out into the foam party with housey, teched- out tracks filled with glitchy beats. Check out “Taliban Rockers” (Zeph & Azeem Remix) for some comedic praise for the dj or ET’s phone bill feat SF skater/artist Tommy Guerrero. Can’t decide on which song you like? Try out the OG Megamix which samples most of the tracks and gives a fun tribute to the swiss- born Romanowski -like a boss.


Subcontents – “Death Becomes H.E.R.” – [Heratik Productions]

MSTiZA   3/28/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

This single hit the ground in 2000. A year that hip hop was growing up. Y2k had left a bad taste in the mouths of GenXers and GenYers were running for the hills of humboldt to work out their futures. Well, maybe for many but not everyone. Some stayed in the trenches spitting hard hitting raps with staccato ??cadences. That would account for Sub Contents, the San Jose Duo consisting of Dave Dub and Persevere. This single has two tracks: Death Becomes H.E.R. ??and Moderation Vs. Excess. Those familiar with the movement in HH during these times can empathize with the sentiment -Murder the beat, Hip Hop is dead, and how to strike balance with watching what you love be taken away by the mainstream. Now 12 years later this single still holds ground.

Defenders of The Underworld [coll] – [Battle Axe]

Grizzly Adam   2/2/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

What is wrong. Flow ain’t wrong and still we are dealing,
dealing with this and that. This language for stealing
language for crime language for Satan’s games, does not
get too far until shit appears, making us silent, weak,
and suspicious, and someone says, would you look at that
shit over there. Therein come realities. Derelict beer
buzz feel good shadow of a mind bleak escape prison alone.
Such is the hip-hop rapping in it’s more salient function.
And these records here have that, on trinity lost and
pow wow, and on the other end, mostly just plain drunk
beats, Where Jay-Z at? Dare I say it has some Akinyele
something something, with that, What the dilly silly,
-Eveningly Infinitely Wipes Scrub Sonny Atoms Grizzly Adam

Language On: the full monty, worst enemy, switchblade,
work the angles rmx, trinity lost, endangered species,

DJ Format – “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em” – [Pias]

abacus   1/24/2012   CD, Hip Hop

2005 release from this UK producer DJ Format (or Matt Ford) along with regular collaborator Abdominal and Canadian MC D-Sisive (and cameo appearance from Chali 2na and Akil). Old school body rockin’ block party beats laced with plenty of 70s funk loops and stabs of classic soulful sounds. The samples here are definitely keys oriented with lots of piano and, organ and keyboard lines driving the grooves. Lyrically, Abdominal provides some real down to earth conversational storytelling, especially on 3,4, and 6. He displays his verbal dexterity on 2, 7 and especially track 9 where Format gets a chance to show off his scr-scr-scratching. The two instrumental tracks showcase Format’s production skills and track 10 slows down for some mellow moodiness. This shit will get you groovin’ all the way through and belongs in the funk-soul library just as much as it does hip-hop. FCC – 2,7,9!


Fly Girlz, The – “Da’ Brats From Da’ Ville” – [sockets]

mickeyslim   1/11/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

A great example of not judging a record by its cover, Da??? Brats From Da???Ville, is a group of six high schoolers from Brownsville Middle School, ages 12-14, who were the product of a city funded after school music program that called themselves the Fly Girlz.More importantly on this album, though, are the dirty industrial beats and effects that accompany these girls. The fact that these girls chose weird spacey janglings and bells, toy piano solos, thick beats, make them an impressive representation of New York City???s youth. This album unites two different sounds and the contrast of electronic beats and young girls clicks right into place???

Mastered by Weasel Walter of The Flying Luttenbachers. This album has a lot for everybody, and I???m not sure whether this should go into Hip Hop or A. Not checking it out might be a crime of some kind.

Wide Hive Remixed [coll] – [Wide Hive]

Dianthus   1/2/2012   12-inch, Hip Hop

15 bass- driven tracks dig deep into the grooves on this base driven- double LP on SF’s Wide Hive Records. Elements of Hip-Hop, House, Downtempo, Dub and Electro can be found on this collection that can get the party started or help make your car go- BOOM! Sultry female vocals will entice you on tracks like “Rudy” and “Shine” or if you feel more like hearing some urban poetry from rapper Rubix, check out “Seven Grain”. Get hooked on the heavy- bassline dub medicine from Variable Unit on “Dr J. Dub” or enjoy some spacey, spooky guitar riffs from Tommy Guerrero on the cleverly titled track: “Eclectric Company”. Some tracks like “Boundary” and “Urban Shaman” can be a bit repetative, but that should not stop you from expanding your audible medulla with some of the selections from DJ Zeph and Calvin Keys. This vinyl playground will make your hips shake and your ears quake and really brings forward a little bit of San Francisco’s jazzed up interpretation of electronic music that maybe even yo mama could enjoy.


Seth P. Brundel – “Devil’s Pawn” – [Aesthetics]

abacus   11/9/2011   12-inch, Hip Hop

A heavy dose of hyper-conscious hip-hop from Miami MC/producer Seth P. Brundel. Brundel has done work with Beta Bodega and Algorithm along with a few tracks here and there but this is his first full-length solo release. He takes on the production aspect all himself and offers a very unique sound thanks to a lot of acoustic instrument sampling (possibly self-recorded?) and dark, atmospheric beats that border on spooky. Lyrics also take a pretty dark tone focusing on all the political and social inadequacies/hypocrisies our modern society offers ranging from MKULTRA and NAFTA to Catholic pedophilia and police brutality. He is obviously very intelligent and literate and at times a little verbose but very engaging. If you’re into corporate conspiracies, political dissidence, wealth redistribution and flag burning then this is for you!!

Evidence – “Cats & Dogs” – [Rhymesayers]

abacus   10/12/2011   CD, Hip Hop

Third solo effort from ex-Dilated Peoples producer/MC Evidence. This time around Evidence seats himself firmly behind the mic, only producing for a couple tracks, leaving Alchemist, Sid Roams, DJ Premier and others at the controls. Beats are very cinematic, verging on epic at times, with darker tones and some cool vocal sampling, though a little overproduced and repetitive at times. Evidence keeps it way real with honest, introspective lyrical narratives about personal trials and tribulations dealing with life, love and mostly fame. Choice tracks: #3 thought provoking social commentary about status and struggle, #6 classic Premier material, #12 takes a Phillip Glass-esque operatic feel, #15 cool sound sampling, #16 some Eastern string sampling and modes. ?? ALL TRACKS CLEAN

Serengeti – “Family & Friends” – [Anticon.]

Belladonna   9/28/2011   CD, Hip Hop

Debut from Chicago native (now in LA) Serengeti (aka David cohn). It has been said that this is a departure from the more introspective raps of his recent past, although to me its pretty introspective. Yoni Wolf is responsible for roughly half of the beats and the rest come from Advance Base, AKA. Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone).
Moody, melancholy, is this autobiographical? There is some heavy content here. It’s lo-fi indie hip hop, quirky, humorous and at times depressing and overall thoroughly enjoyable. Unfortunately most tracks contain profanity:(
Fucks & Shits on: 1, 4, 5, 6, 9

fuzzy beats
sad raps and rhymes
your life was hard

Grieves – “Together/Apart” – [Rhymesayers Ent.]

MSTiZA   9/28/2011   CD, Hip Hop

There’s a dark element hovering a little too long,like a heavy fog that never quite clears. As the album progresses it takes a turn and the sun creeps through, as Grieves reminds us that even he has a silver lining.?? There’s seasons do change and you get to walk through the verses of a misanthrope rapper till you get to the light. If you like Atmosphere mixed with a little Outkast on some Cheif Excel type beats, you’ve got plenty to pick from in Together/Apart.

Paranoid Castle – “Champagne Nightmares” – [Fake Four Inc.]

MSTiZA   9/28/2011   CD, Hip Hop

Bay Area emcee Kirby Dominant and Canadian producer Factor make up Paranoid Castle. They have teamed up and dropped a feel good album reminiscent of classic Blackaliscious and Del. It has that canuck flavor, which doesn’t hold back on the juxtaposition of dark dub, grime step slow stewed with some bay area sea salt lyrics.

FCC: 2,3,5,7,8,10,11

Corvid Lorax – “Encyclopedia of Insanica” – [Little Whore Records]

MSTiZA   9/28/2011   CD, Hip Hop



what i find attractive about this release is hard to pinpoint. maybe it’s because there’s a fusion element and a lot going on in the beats. however, there is little pretense and its’ all layed out. love it or leave it, there is a general element of fun and not taking it all too seriously. it’s like lounging with like your homeys, smokin blunts, making shit happen in the small pond. it’s intellectual kid grown up rap music; one part throwback to childhood nostalgia and two part styles from the 90’s new school era. He’s got that head knock style that I miss about in rap music. Also, there’s very little braggadocio that ruins this style. Instead, you find alliterations, allegations, layered beats with just enough production and samples to illustrate there is a feel good vibe in the crew this guy rolls with. Madame Wang production is some of my favorite so far this year. Dope beats with sci-fi, public service samples, and subtle scape scrapes. can’t wait to hear more, from some of the featured guest artists(Tzadeka, DB Buxton, etc.). Dap to Little Whore Rex!

3WR: rag A rap

Face Candy – “Waste Age Teen Land” – [Rhymesayers Ent.]

MSTiZA   8/31/2011   CD, Hip Hop

It was just a metter of time before post humous releases of EYEDEA would emerge. These tracks get to show his natural talent for language, cadence, & new now old school new school rap styles. By rap, i mean tough, style driven, rhythmic cadence, midwest blown the door on by rippin off. and now the most brilliant of mid west players’s most dynamic frantic/panic/cadence is shat upon by too looud a bass & drum (5).????but it’s live and improve as for the musicians. forget they are mediocre or above the cafe/open mic crazies and you get a pleasure to watch/listen/imagine Eyedea gettin off on what made the platform for rap music to survive the midwest and blow a gold jizz too soon. RIP EYEDEA

Sole & The Skyrider Band – “Hello Cruel World” – [Fake Four Inc.]

victoria west   8/16/2011   CD, Hip Hop

Sole back again along with the Skyrider Band and a bunch of other special appearances on Hello Cruel World. This hip-hop album throws in some elements of pop, rock to the album even a bit of dubstep-ish feel on track 4. Listened to this album full length several times and enjoyed it each time. Although, I really could have done without the cheesy auto tune effects at times, just not my thing. Also I feel some of the beats reminded of the stuff I’ve had the displeasure to listen to from mainstream “hip-hop” artists. However, Sole’s smooth, incredibly fast lyrics, style and head nodding beats of the Skyrider Band one can’t help but feel the positive vibes. My favs are #2 & 7.

-victoria west*

Mr. Chop and C.L. Smooth – “T.R.O.Y. The Resurrection” – [Five Day Weekend]

MSTiZA   6/22/2011   7-inch, Hip Hop

Mr. Chop (born Coz Littler, aka Mr. Hack) runs Ape Recording Studios out of Chesire, UK. It’s touted as one of the finest analog studios in the world with a reprository of vintage synths, guitars, drums. Littler is a mulit instrumentalist, who’s talents shine in psyched out funk styles. He’s “heard” behind the scenes in several Now-Again releases as a producer and. N- released his Lightworlds EP in 2009.?? C.L. Smooth is the vocal half of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, who may be best known for their widely acclaimed album, ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother'(1992). The top charting single ‘T.R.O.Y.’ (They Reminisce Over You) has landed it’s place in history on many the top of all time singles,charts, and lists. With Now-Again, Mr. Chop took his unique understanding and appreciation for the golden era of hip hop and sampling by reinventing songs as instrumentals & intrepreting the sampling of music from Pete Rock & CL Smooth and released?? ‘For Pete’s Sake’ in 2009. Singles from the album were released shortly after, on Five Day Weekend via Stones Throw (PB Wolf’). This single has all?? the grown up backpack HH kid could want from a classic. Mr. Chop took what was easily becoming an out played back in the day anthem and breathed life into it, The saucy horn intro harkens to waterhouse JA style, the lyrics boom in with Organized Konfusion/Wu Tang drops, drums, and bass. Even CL Smooth comes alive to light the mic with moxie. Reminisce over this one, redone right.

J Dilla – “Timeless: Suite For Ma Dukes” – [Mochilla]

MSTiZA   4/6/2011   CD, Hip Hop

Brian Cross (aka B+) and Eric Coleman (aka Coleman) are the men behind Mochilla. They are also the masterminds behind this amazing tribute to J Dilla(RIP). And what this is, is a 60 piece orchestra playing the works of J Dilla. Dilla wrote for many artists and was known as a great mc, producer, and jack of all trades in the Hip Hop community. The first CD is the live performance tracks. The second is the dvd of that performance. This release is seminal in really bringing out the essence of hip hop to those who would never be able to pallet Dilla’s original works. A 60 piece orchestra takes on Dilla classics and perform them masterfully. It is hauntingly beautiful to listen to. Read the liner notes for all the musicians featured including some he worked with, and his mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey.

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