Hip Hop in it's Purest Form…

Archive for January, 2011

Jay-Z: Decoded (Book Review) by Trick

So, if you are familiar with me, then you probably know my homie, Trick Trick. Noooo, not Detroit’s Trick Trick, but DC/Bad Newz’ Trick Trick. Like many, he didn’t ask for that nickname, but as of right now, he is pretty much stuck with it. Hahaha. Anyways, Trick is a major hip hop fan, and a big reader,  & since there has been an influx of Hip Hop inspired books dropping, it just made sense to include him in the excitement of blogging. Here is his first assignment, Decoded by Jay-Z. It’s a book about the intricacies of Hova’s lyrics and insight into what inspired them, etc. Check out what Trick thought about it…

I’m a big Hova fan.  Big as in I think the man might be the best to ever pick up a mic fan.  When I heard he had a book coming out, I was cautiously optimistic; always interested in what Jay’s doing, but I’ve always been a fan of celebrities sticking with what got them there and not venturing outside of the box I know them in, it’s too easy to get exposed outside.  In Decoded, Shawn Carter doesn’t stray far enough from what he’s always been about, though, to worry about that.

If you’re a fan and have listened to his music, not just nodded your head to the beat but actually followed his lyrics, there’s not a whole lot of new insight you’ll get from reading Decoded.  More detail, confirmation of events alluded to, but for the most part the book is, as the inside front cover says, a “collection of lyrics and their meaning” That’s not to say that there aren’t any new stories told – background into the history of the making of Roc-a-fella, and his mentality during the conversion from life as a hustler to life as an entertainer are pretty cool, as are the stories of Jay with Jaz (the beef with whom he never mentions despite Jaz making repeat appearances throughout the book), B.I.G.,  and other artists.

The layout and design of the book are pretty dope, as is the format – a few pages of background, point of view, philosophy on whatever issue – and then the lyrics to a few songs, with footnotes to explain or expand on certain lines.  The footnotes are interesting, but not as illuminating (especially for a member of the Illuminati (just kidding (maybe))) as they probably could be and not always satisfying. The choice to clarify the meaning of some slang terms but not others seems pretty random, some of the notes are obvious/unnecessary, and some come off as just self-serving.

All in all, Shawn Carter the author pulls it off pretty well.  He acknowledges the history of rap and is consistently gracious when mentioning other rappers, and is determined (sometimes annoyingly so, but that’s just me) to make the reader understand that rap should be considered legitimate poetry.  He solidifies his image of being logical, witty, and conscious, even if he’s far from a “conscious rapper.”  Decoded is an interesting read.  If you’re a fan, of course you’ll like it, it’s Jay.  If you’re not a fan, it probably won’t convert you because again, it’s Jay.  But if you have no opinion one way or the other, hopefully you will at least come away with a respect for who the man is and what he does.

Official Score: 4 out of 5 notepads

1 out of 5 notepads – stick to your day job “writer”
2 out of 5 notepads – if somebody gives it to you and your bored, read it
3 out of 5 notepads – if somebody gives it to you, read it even if you’re not bored
4 out of 5 notepads – worth a read, pick it up if you see it
5 out of 5 notepads – go to Barnes & Noble today, stuff this under your coat & walk out

Make sure you check back the beginning of every month from here on out, as Trick hits you with commentary on new hip hop literature. Next month is a review on Styles P’s first go around as an author, with his new book, Invincible

Ed E. Ruger – Ziplocked & Loaded (Promo Sampler)

Greensboro emcee Ed E. Ruger released his newest offering, Ziplocked & Loaded, last weekend at his release party at Greene St. This joint, like his previous efforts, is stacked with great production, and some of the dopest collaborations you will find in NC Hip Hop. Ziploacked is available now on iTunes, Amazon, & other internet outlets, or you can cop it from the man himself, at one of his many events he throws in the Triad. But before you purchase it, check out the sampler here…

Reks – 25th Hour (Music Video/Download)

Wow. That’s all I could muster up when I finally heard this joint a couple nights ago. I had seen Reks name floating around for awhile, but I hadn’t taken time out to actually listen to his music. So when the homie Juan, of JMProductions, pulled it up, I was floored. Not only does this song epitomize the sound that most hip hop aficionados long for, but it was produced by the legend, DJ Premier himself. So make sure you check out the video & even download the song for FREE here…

Days 3: Old Hearts For New Lungs Benefit Concert Series

Once again, supershoutouts to Adam Rottin for throwing this string of events to help 14 year-old, Corey Gradin, raise money for her double lung transplant. Unfortunately, due to work, I am not going to be able to make it down to Raleigh to participate in the festivities, but I know my brethren will hold it down in my place.

Tonight’s show is at the Brewery and it features COOL KID COLLECTIVE, A TIND JINN, 1100 HUNTAZ, KNOCK OUT ROSES, DJ NONE ONE & 2PERCENT. It’s hosted by Rottin himself, and it’s going to be a marvelous time. So make sure you check it out tonight at the Brewery on Hillsborough St…

Day 2: Old Hearts For New Lungs Benefit Concert Series

Tonight is the second night of the benefit series thrown by Adam Rottin for Corey Gradin. In case you missed it, Corey Gradin is a 14 yr. old girl in Raleigh that’s in dire need of a double lung transplant & a new pancreas. Her family’s tryin’ to raise $120,000 for the operation. Starting yesterday & goin’ all through the weekend, they’re having some of the dopest MCs North Carolina has to offer performing at various spots around Raleigh; with all proceeds going to her family.

So come out and support, tonight’s show at the Black Flower on Peace St. in Raleigh features CHEDDA CHAPP, EMPIRE, WOODRO, MONTEGA, CREME DE LA CREME & DJ AY. It’s hosted by ADAM ROTTIN and doors open at 9pm. Show at 10pm. It only costs $5, so come & SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE…

Big Hop + DJ FM

Shoutouts to all the Drum-n-Bass heads out there. I was very green to the scene when I met DJ Fm. Like Chadillac, I was introduced to FM through a mutual friend, Dave F. Dave brought FM to a show of mine at the Berkeley Cafe, and we instantly bonded through our love of music. That night he said he wanted to send me some songs to see if I could lay some vocals over top of them. Within a day or so, the first song was written, and Influenced was born. The 4 song EP features some of my favorite music I have ever written. Experimenting with a different genre of music allowed me to have fun and be creative with the songwriting, and I think the final product proves that.

If you would like to help out a couple starving artists, please log into iTunes and purchase a song or 2. The whole project costs less $5, and it is very much worth it. You can pick it up here…

Make sure you check  out http://www.djfm.com.

Day 1: Old Hearts For New Lungs Benefit Concert Series


Tomorrow night marks the first show of 5 to help benefit Corey Gradin, a strong little girl who needs a double lung transplant and we are here to help. The collective acts of SADIE HAWKINS MUSIC, WISE ENTERTAINMENT, GOOMAH MUSIC, and GET DOWN SON have all come together to make this string of events a success.

Tomorrow night is the first event, and it’s at SIX FORKS PUB with CRUCIAL FIYA, DRIQUE LONDON, LAZURUS, S.GOLD, L1VE, J. CAPPS, & DJ NYCE DANGER. As all of these benefit events, this one is hosted by it’s creator, ADAM ROTTIN. Doors at 9pm show at 10pm & it’s only $5 to get in.

All proceeds go to Corey and her family….


flyer design by me.

N’DangR Species – Now-n-Lata Vicstape (Free Download)

Shoutouts to the homies, Luse Kanz & Maf Maddix, on the release of their long-awaited project, Now-n-Lata Vicstape. Luse is a long time collaborator with StretchKnockS  and appeared on the Investment (Better Than One) & the Self Portrait (Low Low). A little while back, he started working with Maf Maddix, and everything I heard from them was extremely creative and polished. Here is more info on the duo:

A hip-hop collaboration project formed in the Fall of ’08, N’DangR Species is based out of North Carolina. Members, Luse Kanz and Maf Maddix, bring something new to the hip-hop scene, a balance between the high energy of the mainstream and the deep introspection of the underground. Like the balance maintained amongst the chaos, dark balances light in their complex lyrics and unprecedented beats. The concept for the group comes from their belief that the true spirit of hip-hop is in danger of extinction and that, much like a delicate ecosystem needs protection, so does real hip-hop

Definitely look for some shows and more collaborations in the future with these two. Until then, Make sure you download the project for FREE here…

Nickelus F + Ohbliv – Yellow Gold Mixtape (Free Download)

Make sure you download this new gem from VA representer, Nickelus F. If you are unfamiliar with his work, he has collaborated in the past with King Mez, has a show coming up next month with Poe Mack, and was rumored to ghostwrite for Drizzy Drake Rodgers. His new project was produced by Ohbliv and is full of dope tracks. Make sure you download it for FREE here…

elleMC – The Lurk

Shoutouts to elleMC, another West Coast spitter with a whole lotta spunk. My childhood friend, Roy Swice, met elle a little while back and almost immediately started raving about her to me. She’s a skater chick who started freestyling at parties, which eventually led to her penning songs and hitting the studio. With her new EP, she has been taking the Pacific NW by storm with her catchy songs like: White Girl Wasted, Takin’ My Time feat. PlainJames, & my personal favorite, Put A Spell On You.

elleMC is a great follow on twitter. So make sure you follow her after checking out the tunes. Some of her antics include popularizing the term “Blackout City” and giving it her own meaning: The state of mind when you black out all pettiness and grind; an imaginary city where her and her entourage (teamtwirl) live.

It’s the quirks like that that will easily turn you into a fan of elleMC’s movement. Her EP is available now at iTunes, so pick up a single or two, or buy the whole thing & support your favorite skater/rapper chick from the left coast…

Haji P – Poor Sport (Free Download)

I am showing love to some of my west coast brethren today. First up is Haji P., an NC transplant who is now doing big thangs out in Cali. I originally met Haji in Wilmington at some of Louis T’s events. Dude has crazy charisma on stage, and his music is much the same: Lots of fun & energy. Haji also looked out for H2OKZ & I last spring by letting us jump on his album release in Port City. It was a dope event, one of my favorite joints I have ever done in the 910.

Poor Sport is an unreleased gem, from his Neighborhood Kid sessions, that slipped through the cracks. Now it’s available for FREE download, so make sure you check it out & show love to Haji P

Big Hop Interview with Nanci O & WXYC Tomorrow Night!

Super-shoutouts to Nanci O for inviting me on her Showcase this Sunday on UNC’s radio station, WXYC 89.3FM this sunday night. You can catch the interview shortly after 10pm. We will be playing music, and discussing everything hip hop. If you aren’t in the Triangle area, you can check it out online at www.wxyc.org. They have a link to where you can stream it live. So make sure you tune in and find out what kind of mess Nanci O & I are going to get into…

Tonight in Raleigh – Poe Mack Release Party

If you are in the #919 tonight, come through the Poe Mack release party at Ruckus Pizza in Mission Valley, near NC State. It’s a free show and full of dope performers, including I, so be there early, get a drink and a slice, and enjoy tonight’s festivities…

S.B.A. – Dreams feat S.Gold & Big Hop

Check out this dope collabo joint I was asked to bless a little while back by Shadowstar Boxing Academy. S.B.A. is a dope group outta the Triangle with a super dope producer, M Theory. We performed together at the 4/20 show last year, and they are sick live, bringing in live instrumentation to compliment their sound. I’m not quite sure what project this song is going to end up on, but check it out and leave a comment…

Kooley High presents NC Connection in NY Party TONIGHT!

Shoutouts to the homies, Kooley High, for doing their thing in NYC for the the last year or so. Tonight, they are celebrating their roots by throwing a NC Connection in NY party at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. It’s a free party, and everyone is invited. So if you are in the NYC area, make sure you check this party out. It’s guaranteed to be a good time…



Big Hop & H2OKZ – That’s My Sh*t (Live)

We put this clip out awhile ago, but it had never made the blog, so I decided to post it today. Shouts to Herb Skee for filming this joint. It came from a show we did in Greenville last October. Make sure you check it out, and make sure you download the mixtape, Local Celebrity Status…