hip-hop

2013 Paid Dues Independent Hip Hop Festival: San Manuel Amphitheater, San Bernardino, CA 3/30/13

Though the atmosphere made it hard to listen objectively, especially through the visible marijuana haze and palpable energy, there were some artists whose performances didn’t live up to expectations. Maybe it’s puberty finally setting in, or a lot of vocal editing in the studio, but Joey Bada$$’s voice was much deeper than in his recorded tracks. It was most noticeable in “Waves,” when he began it was hard to believe it was even him. In addition to that unexpected factor, his energy seemed to die of during the second part of his set on the Due’s Paid stage.

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Curren$y: New Jet City

Curren$y hardly fails to impress his fans, and his newest mix tape, New Jet City, is no exclusion. The tape is a compilation of well-produced tracks stressing the fact that he has made it as an artist, and depicting the struggles that accompany the fame. The mix-tape starts off with the title track, a powerful introductory sample, trumpets and an upbeat instrumental background help lift the mood instantly. Although the mix-tape had more features than usual, Curren$y still managed to come out on top and was able to showcase his relaxed flow and catchy lyricism.

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The Roots Picnic Festival: Festival Pier Philadelphia, PA 6/4/11

A summer staple, this year in its fourth annual installment, The Legendary Roots Crew hosted The Roots Picnic presented at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing on Saturday, June 4th with an eclectic group of artists ranging from indie rock to jazz to the latest in the rap/hip-hop scene.

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Beans: End It All

Beans is more Artist then Master of Ceremony and End It All is more art installation that you visit once and ponder then favorite album you play everyday.      

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40 Watt Hype: Push

When you listen to a record like Push, it’s almost like you’re feeling the live show right through the headphones.  Definitely a band with a positive outlook, 40 Watt Hype is a rare breed of instrumental hip-hop soul and the Latin influence that is rooted within the music only gives off more energy.    

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Aloe Blacc: Good Things

Aloe Blacc's ability to re-interpret and reinvigorate the beloved soul sound with remarkable song arrangements makes this debut stand out from the oftentimes cookie cutter format of two chord vamps and throaty vocals.  Good Things is a grower, gazing toward the classics for inspiration and standing tall next to the modern champions. Let its charm slowly burn.    

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John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up

For every “All Along the Watchtower” moments of perfection, the flip side, such as Zac Brown covering “Oh My Sweet Carolina” leaves you looking for the nearest pair of earplugs and questioning why more stringent copyright laws don’t exist.  Fortunately for listeners, John Legend and The Roots have hooked up and fall into the former category by collaborating on a series of 12 funk-soul covers that pack a punch and take you back to 1972, both musically and thematically. 

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Wax – Next Great White Rapper

He’s cultivating legions of fans through word of mouth and a reservoir of replay-worthy YouTube clips.  Glide goes overtime with unsigned phenomenon Wax, whose third album dropped in May.In Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, Jim Collins discusses what he terms the Flywheel Effect to explain traits of successful businesses.  In essence, it’s a blend of common sense and karma where equity from solid decisions accumulates over time – a classic case of the whole exceeding the sum of its parts.  At a certain point the momentum becomes a self-sustaining cycle and success is cemented.  It seems like Wax is nearing that sweet spot where escalating word of mouth yields enough traction to get a foothold in the music industry.  After his six-piece band dissolved a few years back, the Dunkirk, Maryland, native sat in his Nissan Sentra, flipped on a video camera and jumpstarted his solo career.

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Raphael Saadiq – Soul Survivor

In September 2008, Saadiq released his third album, The Way I See It, which landed him the #1 position on iTunes Top Albums of the Year, a spot on Rolling Stone's Best Album's of 2008 and three more Grammy nominations.

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