30 June 2014

Willz P DESTROYS Shai's "If I Ever Fall In Love"

This is my friend Willie singing his cover of Shai's "If I Ever Fall In Love".

24 June 2014

Communication Breakdown - Episode 22: Kelen Conley

Communication Breakdown - Episode 22: Kelen Conley

In today's Facebook and Twitter filled universe, you can be more connected than ever before, but still not at all. Kelen Conley is a guy that I like and consider a good guy. I've never met him before. We've known each other online since 2011 and have had a good back-and-forth over the last few years. We met through our mutual friend, Candace. Yes, the food blog Candace. I know her. Had I thought more about it, I would have asked Kelen about social media and how it affects relationships. Click here to see what Louis CK thinks about it.

We had a nice chat about his rap career and, more importantly, about his life. I mean, yeah, it's cool that Kelen (under his "B Hyphen" persona) released his first full-length album. But, I think the more interesting story is how he balances his rap career with his recent marriage and the birth of his first child. I'm about to turn 28 and he's 31, so I was curious as to his thoughts on hitting the big Three-Oh.

All that and more is included in our 40-minute discussion. Partial transcript is below:

11 June 2014

Undiscovered Country: Statik Selektah f/ Joey Bada$$ & Freddie Gibbs "Carry On"

Undiscovered Country: Statik Selektah f/ Joey Bada$$ & Freddie Gibbs "Carry On"

This came to me via an Elliott Wilson retweet yesterday afternoon. Going by what I learned from "Dreams And Nightmares", I took the tweet's advice and checked out this heat rock. I've always loved Statik's production, never had anything against Gibbs (other than signing with CTE), and I've enjoyed what I've heard of Bada$$. While I don't know if it's enough for me to check What Goes Around in August, it's a hell of a preview.


10 June 2014

Song Of The Moment: Meek Mill - Dreams And Nightmares

I put listening to Meek Mill's debut album off for awhile. I didn't really become a fan until he linked up with MMG, but even his Dreamchasers mixtapes never grabbed me unless it was one of the singles. I always felt he worked best as a guest artist.

When I finally listened to Dreams And Nightmares, it wasn't as bad as I thought. It definitely had it's repetitive moments but nothing that made me not want to leave the album on my iPod. The gem of the LP is the intro through. It's the consummate Meek track, starting with matter of fact rhymes over piano keys, before it morphs into a monster anthem that makes you want to fight Mike Tyson in his prime...and maybe win.

What I've learned from this is I really need to start trusting more opinions on new rap music instead of being such a snob. Or start getting around to new music in a timely fashion.

09 June 2014

LJ Idol Season 9 Recap

I entered my hat into the LJ Idol ring for the first time since way back in Season 2 (2007). I would've done better in Season 8 in hindsight though. With Aaliyah being born and work being busy, I didn't have time to keep up with the entry deadlines.

Undiscovered Country: MaLLy & The Sundance Kid - Shine

I ran across this while watching an episode of Catfish: The TV Show. It appeared on a 2012 free LP (pictured above), so make sure you check it out over at Complex. Mally has released two other projects since this one, and you can check them on his Bandcamp. But this is dope, raw hip-hop. Anything that sounds like it came from the 90s immediately get my ear though.

04 June 2014

Songs I Shouldn't Love: Nas - Big Things

Songs I Shouldn't Love: Nas - Big Things

I Am... was the first Nas album I ever listened to in full. I didn't hear all of Illmatic until at least 2004. I have no explanation for this other than the fact that I was mostly into R&B; until 1997. 16 year old me thought it was an incredible album. Not so much 14+ years later.

"Big Things" is the 12th track on the album, right before the stellar "Nas Is Like". Nas employs a fast flow for the first time (I think) over a beat that samples Diana Ross' "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)".

I don't know why I like this track. Maybe it's because Nas is more animated than usual. His lyrics are good but they're not among his best work. The hook is pretty repetitive. The beat isn't that great.

I think it comes down to the presentation. As a deep album cut, it's a nice palate cleanser after the uninspired, DMX featured "Life Is What You Make It". Take a listen for yourself. Maybe you think it should be one of the more underrated songs in Nas' catalog. I just think it's catchy and fun.

HY Draws! 6/4/14

Click to enlarge
I drew these on my work calendar while waiting for IT to fix my computer. I planned on doing the entire month but then people wanted me to do things.

02 June 2014

My interview with the Hampshire Review by Jim King

Click to enlarge.

After SYU came out March 5th, I sent a short email to The Daily Anthenaeum, The Dominion Post, and the Hampshire Review telling them that I had put out an album and that I was a Morgantown resident who was from Hampshire County. I only got a response from the hometown paper.

Jim King gave me a call and we hammered out a nice little interview in a half an hour or so. One follow up email later, SYU and myself made the paper.

A big thank you goes out to my friend Chelsea O'Brien for letting me know that the article ran and for sending me the pics you see above!