Producer BadBeats 87 lends a smooth sonic palette for Sageinfinite with a couple new joints. The jazzed-out tracks suit the emcee as he weaves his flow throughout the beats. Sageinfinite comes across slightly playful, yet still maintains a cool demeanor. SageInf delivers his flow slow and easy, but never lazy on “The Business.”
Coming with the nostalgic summertime vibe, “Life Support” is a bit more uptempo but still relaxed and smooth, replete with the high synth loops. BadBeats 87 and SageInfinite show some chemistry here, a good pairing. These two collaboration tracks arrive just in time for the hot and hazy summer nights.
Atlanta’s raspy underdog, HIGHEND GRIMM emerges with grimy, luxury rhymes over elegant Camouflage Monk flute loops. Lord Juco lends his candid rhymes and humorous flow as an all-star feature. “Satan Snitchin” is the lead single off the upcoming EP of the same title. GRIMM upholds the grittiness of his hoarse voice with his criminal tales, in stark contrast to the often delicate, high-end sophistication of Camouflage Monk’s beats.
GRIMM: I’ll just tell ya now..I feel like I’ve lived one of the most interesting lives in this music shit.. I’ve flatlined twice in the same night when I was a kid ..so when it come to anything, I do it like it could be my last time doing it. I live everyday like it’s my last and with no fear. I feel like it translates into the music through my personality, aesthetics etc.
Harlem, N.Y. is known for breeding individuals with a grind and a persistent hustle. Money Stacks is the epitome of that. Running his Money Stacks Media, (https://moneystacksmedia.com) with over twelve projects in his music catalogue like the long running series “Back To Da Streets” and “Crack On Deck (C.O.D.)” series. New Jersey Producer, Killer Kane handles production on all the tracks on Money Stacks’ latest EP “NBTH (Never Bite The Hand).” Kane is known for ear-grabbing, yet diverse production for the likes of SeKwence, ThugYeezy, Barry Marrow, Cam Bank$ and LARS.
“Wings On Em” comes in as the thumping, soulful sample-infused opener as Money Stacks hits all the avenues here. He exposes the inner workings; from hustling the Harlem blocks, his Mother raising him to get through life, all while living through the drugs and crime around him.
The melodic piano-driven “Drain” has the Harlemite proving his life on the grind in the streets and music. Questioning if there is more to life in the pursuit of success. He advises to maintain focus and avoid the sidetracks.
Eat these BARS for “Dinner Time” was my immediate thought after Money Stacks and Rochester, N.Y. emcee, Jae Hussle came to serve plates full of that raw. Enjoy the feast.
Killer Kane came with an otherworldly, spaced-out, psychedelic boom-bap vibe on “Containment” for the uptown spitter to share his gritty street life parables. His flow over this low BPM beat as a space odyssey is quite clever.
Money Stacks and Killer Kane’s EP visualize Money Stacks’ life in the borough from past, present and future along with enough of that good ol’ Harlem bravado. Through his escapades, a tough life, a willingness to survive, relationships with women, and the building blocks of his childhood preparing him in the ghetto we hear the similarities of the street and the music hustle contained within him. Killer Kane’s production couldn’t have been a better pair with Money Stacks as each track displays a dark harmonious setting, delivering the aptly titled, “Never Bite The Hand (NBTH).”
Dump Life serves as the highly anticipated, proper release to include both Immobiliare members (Jay NiCE & Left Lane Didon) and the Dump Gawd, Fahim; Prior to DL Jay NiCE and Fahim dropped Strictly 4 My D.U.M.P.E.R.Z. and Lefty and Fahim released Dumpacalypse Now. Both strong releases, no doubt, but this one here is the best output yet from the Delaware Boys and the ATLien. Armed with their extended family from Delaware and Immobiliare affiliates, Stack Skrilla, All Hail YT and Chris Skillz over some of the hardest beats heard in a minute!
Lefty and Jay NiCE go way back, both growing up in the same neighborhood in Delaware. After a 6-year prison stint, Lefty was ready to call the rap life quits, when Jay convinced him to come back to the game, and the 2 artists haven’t looked back since. As the Immobiliare crew and as solo artists, often featuring each other on their projects, the duo are at a point as talented artists where they know each other’s strengths, which is evident on Dump Life.
Cue the third member, the brazen and eccentric ATL rapper, producer and self-proclaimed “Dump Gawd,” Tha god Fahim. Fahim himself has inspired an entire genre of music to “dump” new music on the fans in a never ending flow of product. In this #SoMe day and age, Fahim found out early that visibility is vital if you wanna survive as an artist. With a work ethic and output unmatched by many, Fahim possesses a huge advantage over the rest of the spitters out there. With a catalog of 70+ albums/tapes in a matter of a few years he is without any doubt the front runner in the dumping game!
Lyrically the trio switches between spreading knowledge of self and subjects across a broader political spectrum, as they zoom in on the African American experience in today’s extremely socially, economically and racially divided USA. This blended with a healthy dose of braggadocio, in the form of blasting out all competitors, along with enough detailed violent threats to make the late, great Prodigy proud.
Juxx was able to connect w Lefty for some insight on the inception of the album:
Left Lane: “Fahim & NiCE always had the idea to do Strictly 4 My D.U.M.P.E.R.Z 2, I brought in the Idea to call it Dump Life just to expand on the 2pac theme that S4MD put in place which led to Dumpacalypse Now & eventually Dump Life to just give all three projects some connective tissue.”
The album opener “2020 Renaissance” could serve as a comment to the new wave of underground artists, tending to gravitate towards a harder, boom-bap inspired sound with more complex lyricism than mainstream mumble rap. Often this (constantly growing) wave is being referred to as The New Renaissance. More literally, it’s a comment to the state of the world and the country they live in. It’s more of a call to arms rather than a cry for help from the trio; they demand for change, by any means necessary! In keeping true to 5 percenter terminology, one has to both build AND destroy! Through the 1st half of the album we get the more up-tempo aggressive war chants (Destroy), and on the 2nd its the more reflective (Build). The sound of the entire project was developed with the fine help of top beat makers JLVSN, The Architect, Benji Socrate$, Wavy Da Ghawd, Mute Won etc. Though the beats are handled by so many producers, because of the perfect sequencing and well thought out theme, there is no fillers or weak tracks to be found here. The album’s flow and pace is among some of the strongest in quite some time.
Left Lane on the intended duality of the album: “The intention of the album was to invoke the feeling of an unsettled group of individuals dealing with unrest and a desire to force change by any means necessary which would lead to a Renaissance or Rebirth of sorts…Hence the active first half which lead to the reflective back side.”
On DL Nice Supreme names himself the “Counter culture samurai.” He is Hattori Hanzo sharp, flexing effortlessly between threatening with specific and devastating techniques, as well as being both Malcolm X political and Ghandi spiritual. If Supreme is the Samurai in the crew, Fahim could easily be a mix between the General AND a soldier, as he is both head honcho of his own Dump Gawd empire and a featured artist. Fahim has a reach that surpasses most of his competitors, making him able to work with ANY dope artist he feels like. As a rapper, he is more direct in his flow, removing all obstacles for the Immobiliare killers to go nuts. Finally, Lefty sneaks in on you like a silent assassin, the Ninja of the gang. He may not speak that fly shit in the same way as NiCE, but without even noticing it, over just 16 bars Lefty has just eradicated you and your entire crew. There’s a reason he opens the album, with a fierce verse to set the tone and the pace of shit to come. He’s followed up by the freelance killers Chris Skillz, All Hail YT and Stack Skrilla. YT has gone from rapper with a double time flow, once featured in the Source legendary Unsigned Hype column, to a lethal lyricist, easily switching between a (the real Freeway) Rick Ross and a Malcolm X persona. Skrilla shows why he sometimes shines the brightest when featured on Immobiliare’s projects. His features on Dump Life are among his illest in a good while. Skillz is super slick with his bars on the jazzy “Settled Dust.”
LLD on how the recording for DL went down: “We recorded the bulk of the project between late last June and & the middle of July. After the Wop Konn Joj event in New York, Fahim came back to Delaware with us. We BBQ’d like everyday, went to the beach a few times, went to Firefly, kicked it, locked in for like 3 weeks and knocked it out.”
In these times of immense unrest and anxiety, Dump Life comes as a purification of sorts, being both political, spiritual and Hardcore all at once; the perfect score for the mad times we live in. You better join the movement before you get left behind, Dump Life IS here!
Massachusetts rapper Lateb comes through with unique visuals for his latest single “Grey Sunshine.” The track produced by L.O.B. sports booming drums and roaring horns as Lateb delivers his fiery flow. The video, directed by Rose Glen was created using only GTA-style video game graphics. “Truth is, these GTA shorts are just really fun to make, and being able to control the weather and tell a story through mood instead of getting too literal, I always have fun with. We just had to think of a creative way to entertain people visually. I didn’t want to make something people were already accustomed to seeing” he says. “Grey Sunshine” serves as the lead single off Lateb & L.O.B.’s upcoming collaborative project! (Date+Title TBA)
One producer/one artist projects typically adhere to a sound throughout and the expectations are usually pretty straightforward. However, working on collaborative projects often present with some hiccups and limitations. Usually it’s simply a matter of clashing egos, politely disguised as “creative differences.” With an 8 joint EP, split between two producers, it would seem like Knowledge The Pirate would have somewhat of a challenge trying to maintain a sense of control and keeping a consistent sonic palette.
Knowledge The Pirate:
“This was something I was asked to do by Tuff Kong (Records). They wanted Cuns to produce a album with me so I suggested that Elemnt do half cause he is my in-house producer for my label TCE (Treasure Chest Entertainment) and Cuns can do half so we will have some balance. It was a no-brainer once I locked in. I knocked it out in no time. I never let no one pick my beats, I’m always the executive producer cuz I’m the best knower of the sound my fans want to hear. It wasn’t a hard process; the shit was smooth cause Cuns is dope and Elemnt is home team.. Both of these guys know the sound that me and Roc Marci have brought back to life.. I’ll always bring conceptual albums when I drop so once again I give my fans more great art for the culture.”
With Family Jewels, Knowledge the Pirate shares 4 joints with Italian producer Cuns and 4 with long time affiliate and partner in crime, Elemnt. Knowledge avoids relying on any feature support on the project, aiming at showing his full potential individually. The Pirate brings his braggadocio and his smooth swagger, as expected. He may not be the dude who spits the most complex lyrical wizardry in his rhymes, but the dude can flat out rap. He has a way of intertwining the luxurious fly rhymes with the street tales. He has a knack for storytelling and at times his bars go off on story tangents, to the delight of all listeners.
Knowledge the Pirate’s go-to producer Elemnt was able to give some insight into the creation of Family Jewels:
Elemnt: “Collabing was dope, exchanging beats and ideas. Pirate was the middle man (Executive Producer) giving us both direction since we all couldn’t be in the same studio room together. It wasn’t about out-doing each other but coming together to bring a unified sound/project. A project like this only works when all egos and negative vibes are left at the door. It was a dope experience.”
Known for his cinematic street thumpers, Elemnt provides the triumphant blaring horns of “Pirate Salute.” The drum rolls on “Pirate Salute” are crispy, providing that snap for Knowledge to flow on. Knowledge gives us a glimpse of those mini stories he articulates on Pirate Salute. Elemnt brings a nostalgic feel on “Keep Pushing” with rising strings and thumping drums. On “UG King” Knowledge provides the smooth player persona over some funky guitar riffs.. “Red Beam” stays in the same lane, never veering off course with booming drums and more dope strings loops. Check out “Red Beam” here:
Italian producer Cuns brings his own polished beats on Family Jewels. Having produced beats for A.G., Crimeapple and more, he has developed himself as a solid producer in the game. Cuns lays the solo trumpet on the opener “Chapo.” Check out the echoing horns of “Oni Experience” here:
Cuns creates a crime caper vibe on “Palermo” as Knowledge paints grim images of the grittiness inherent in criminal endeavors.“Valachi Papers” closes out the album with a more subtle flute loop as Knowledge leaves fans wanting more of those detailed narratives immersed in street culture.
Knowledge doesn’t take any of his art lightly as he curates his vision throughout the beats, rhyme-writing, sequencing and even the artwork. With Family Jewels, the Pirate breaks down the historical genesis of the artwork.
“People need to know that the black Madonna and black baby Jesus aren’t fabricated images they’re real. There are over 600 hundred of these ancient holy shrines all over the world. The Pope bows down and kisses her feet while he prays. The original picture come from kemit/Egypt Isis and Horus better known as Auset and Heru which was the original story about the immaculate conception.”
As executive producer, Knowledge The Pirate had to uphold his vision while dealing with 2 different producers to keep the sound he’s developed over his previous releases. As an emcee/artist, Knowledge continues to bring his brand of fly street tales over quality production.
The Chief rocka of the chakras, Nebraska’s Sleep Sinatra always brings a level of metaphysical awareness to his music. Washington state’s (Talaj) KINGKVMI brings his own level of spirituality as well, tapping into a range of sounds, from some warm vibes to chopped sample loops, always alluding to greater powers and ideas.
Sleep is an esoteric poet with a consistently sophisticated approach to emceeing, minus only a masters degree in literature. Part street scholar, part literary gangsta, Sleep Sinatra doesn’t come off as a corny emcee trying to merely saturate his bars with elevated vocabulary. But he balances his intellectual mindset with a seasoned and savvy musical approach. He’s a got a great ear for beats and has repeatedly meshed well with Talaj since they linked up a couple years back on Sleep’s dynamic breakthrough album, [D]ARKANGEL. Together on B4THESTRM, these 2 connect over 8 joints of sample-based instrumentals. Talaj brings both the drumless loops and tracks with added percussion for an overall enjoyable experience.
Strutting on uptempo joints like the quirky chopped guitar fuzz on the intro/opener, “SetSail,” Sleep Sinatra finds the pocket and stays in the zone, maintaining his flow, making it always seem effortless. Talaj lays down the laid-back elevator loops with virtually no percussion on tracks like “Casa De Fuentes,” then slips into the 70’s Blaxploitation feel of “Casting Spellz” followed by the smoothed-out smoke session joints like “Eulogy’z.” Rahiem Supreme provides a Shaap verse as the lone guest on the bouncy “Perils.” Talaj builds some tension on “Mr. Hanayama” with echoing notes, chopped abruptly. There was some hope of a payoff here after the tension builds, but it still remains satisfying, presented like an anime score with a stoic Sleep wandering the landscape. “ALIVE” features Talaj on the mic, supplying a dose of his own visceral, off-top style of rhymes. The aptly titled “Rain in tha canyon” shows the vocal range of Sleep as he harmonizes in hopeful fashion to close out the album.
Deeply Rooted connected with both artists about this project.
KNGKVMI (Talaj): “Sleep Sinatra is a humble but also very skilled artist. I think bro is taken for his kindness, or just taken too lightly! When really bro is better than most! Me and bro been working for awhile now, this is really a tease of what’s coming, that’s why we called it B4THESTRM, like they quickly prepared us for this virus, yea prepare for whats going too happen! We both on a rise and ready to take whatever!”
Sleep: “Me and KNGKVMI first linked up for my record [D]ARKANGEL in 2018 . I reached out I believe for some production initially and he sent over a batch of beats. Over the years of building with each other we’ve grown to really compliment each other’s styles sonically and we began building a catalog with the intention of giving the world a full length project as the end game. But we just keep adding joints though and more and more heat would come of it so we decided to give the people a taste of what we’ve been working on.
Sleep is a versatile emcee who can float on just about anything. The mostly calm vibes of the project, courtesy of Talaj, suit Sleep’s current form of a relaxed flow and zen-like delivery. B4THESTRM could perhaps use some added sonic elements for some varied soundscapes, but it seems as though this is just a light appetizer before both Talaj and Sleep drop their upcoming full length BRAINSTORM.