Big Ghost Ltd delivers the second monster posse cut off his upcoming Carpe Noctem project. With “Clyde Frazier Minks,” some of the usual suspects are back to body Big Ghost’s production yet again. This one features Crimeapple, Estee Nack, Recognize Ali, Rahiem Supreme, Asun Eastwood, Rome Streetz, Rigz and Mooch. Big Ghost brings the distorted instrumentals on this banger, with swirling synth effects, twisted guitar notes and tumbling drums. The beat switches a couple times throughout, using some subtle digi effects, while leaving plenty of space for the emcees to all do their own fly maneuvers on the beat.

Check out “Clyde Frazier Minks” here:

According to the elusive producer, Big Ghost:

“The project is called Carpe Noctem, as well as the unofficial group collective name. Originally it was The Big East.”

It appears that Big Ghost has put together an entire posse album, and not just a compilation project. If these 2 stacked cuts are any indication of the heat laid on the full album, then hip hop heads are gonna be in store for a real treat.

Carpe Noctem drops Fri 1/10, so stay tuned..

Starting 2020 off with an atomic blast, Big Ghost Ltd recruits some elite spitters on his posse cut of the new decade, “Gladiator School.” Featuring Rigz and Mooch of Da Cloth, Rome Streetz, Asun Eastwood, Rahiem Supreme, Recognize Ali, Estee Nack, Daniel Son, Ty Farris and Lukey Cage, this joint showcases the individual talents and differing flows of each of these emcees. Big Ghost brings his large production on the track, with eerie resonating synths organs, sliding guitar effects and plenty of booming drums throughout. This is the first single off Big Ghost’s upcoming Carpe Noctem project, coming soon.

Check out the posse banger here:

By Alex P80 Parks

Repping Queens, NY, The Artivist pulls some unique samples to create beautifully-arranged compositions that complement some of the underground’s most prolific emcees. Often favoring delicate loops and melodic arrangements, the young producer utilizes that juxtaposition of his production coupled with raw rhymes. Just earlier this year, The Artivist garnered some increased visibility from his beat on El Camino’s introduction (“Davis St”) off of his Don’t Eat the Fruit LP.

As one of the hottest spitters over the past few years, Brooklyn’s Rome Streetz embodies the true NY sound. He spits with bravado and uses plenty of witty wordplay in his visceral rhymes. With his latest effort, Joyeria, he’s paired with frequent collaborator and fellow New Yorker, The Artivist. A true vinyl digger known for his mining of obscure gems, The Artivist has crafted a unique soundscape for Rome Streetz to continue to shine on.

Deeply Rooted Hiphop got a chance to catch up with The Artivist and build with him about this latest project, his thoughts on the indie/underground scene and more.

DRHH: What was the genesis of you and Rome collaborating?

Artivist: “I initially started working with Rome after I uploaded some beats on YouTube, around 2012-2013. He reached out to me for some joints and it turned out he was also living in Queens at the time. Even back then Rome was spitting over Dilla, Madlib, Doom instrumentals so I instantly gravitated towards his sound. I gradually started pulling up to the studio with Rome just soaking up game and learning shit. Couldn’t even get into shows and venues for a minute just being underage, haha.”

DRHH: Do you pride yourself in your digging?

Artivist: “I definitely pride myself in being able to dig for records. All of my favorite producers dig, and even prior to making beats I was collecting records, hitting up thrift stores, garage sales on Craigslist, eBay. I dig online too, wherever I can find dope shit, I would say about 75% of the samples on Joyeria came off vinyl.”

DRHH: You incorporated more percussion and “bigger” samples than you have in the past. Is that a conscious decision? Are you utilizing more in your beats or is it the samples you are finding are more rich and full? I feel like your shit has really elevated, especially with this album..

Artivist: “As far as incorporating more drums I would say it all just happened organically, I saw the beats Rome would would gravitate to and kept that in consideration while more joints were being completed.”

The Artivist’s production really shines on Joyeria. He provides the blaring horns, which transform into an elevating violin loop on “Run da Jewels.” On “Snow Beach,” the beat switches up from chopped soul vocals to a gorgeous clarinet loop that dances up into the heavens. The vintage Italian organ loop comes in on “Formation of Mental Objects.” On “Alpha Bay,” The Artivist veers away from his lush loops and takes it back with thumping drums, subtle piano notes and simple effects. On “Heat Economics” he keeps it static with an emotive high synth tone throughout the track. “Part of my Religion” finds the producer in his comfort zone, with ambling orchestral loops, rising after a few bars. “N.A.S.” shows the producer’s ability to create beats with a mix of elements and effects to provide some nostalgia with rising strings delivering slight tension paired with digital effects and a wobbly, bouncing bass groove. The Artivist channels his ominous boom-bap predecessors on “Vagabonds Don’t Die” with tense loops that build and then ultimately deliver with tumbling pianos. The album closes out with the mandolin and solo piano pairing on “Santeria,” creating a slightly poignant mood without despair.

DRHH: Speaking on specific joints, were there any loops u plucked and arranged and thought, “boom this shit is it!”

Artivist: “As far as joints which I instantly knew this is it, there was a good majority. Run Da Jewelz, Discretion, Snow Beach, Die 4 U to name a few, off top”

DRHH: When you were making these beats were you doing it with Rome in mind from the jump? Or were you just developing beats and he happened to choose these?

Artivist: “Really both bro. There were certain beats I made with Rome in mind specifically, and there were beats he had some input on as far as I want a beat switch here, or an overall aura in regards to sample selection. There’s a joint he incorporated a sample into. And then there was also joints that I cooked which I played him and he was rocking with.”

DRHH: As a young man, not too far removed from all the influences of mainstream and pop culture of many of your peers, how did you develop this sound/ on this path, as opposed to doing trap beats and catering to the masses? How were you musically influenced to create in this lane?

Artivist: My earliest recollection of being conscious of the music I was listening to was probably around 6-7 years old. I grew up with an older brother, after his passing his possessions remained in the house Including cd booklets and albums. I always gravitated towards that sound and I started going back in time and doing some history. I remember when 50 cent dropped ‘Get Rich Or Die Trying’ and that was a big deal, we took a lotta pride in it because he was from around the way. By the time I got to middle school, Young Money was the wave, I remember hating that shit from the start. I was that annoying ass kid like “nah that ain’t real rap”. I was aware of how the music that was being spoon-fed to my generation was dumbing down more and more. I grew out of hating ass mentality and grew to accept that shit was changing but it didn’t influence what I was listening to or what I would start creating. My biggest influences musically now are the same musical influences I had at 10 years old, I credit a lot of that to the internet. If you wanted to find dope music you could find find dope music. This hip hop shit is deeply rooted not polluted.”

DRHH: Haha- well put.. What are your thoughts on this current renaissance happening in the underground/ independent hip hop scene?

Artivist: “The renaissance taking place is a great thing, people are tapped into what’s going on and it’s only a matter of time until it trickles through and reaches an even larger audience. It shows that there isn’t a need to compromise your sound as an artist to reach the masses. The independent blueprint is alive and well.”

That independent blueprint is evident in the works of artists like The Artivist and Rome Streetz. And with projects like this, fans of hip hop will no doubt continue to gravitate towards that pure blueprint. The Artivist doesn’t disappoint on the boards on Joyeria, as he carefully crafts arrangements with melodic loops and often elegant samples to complement Rome’s gritty NY sound.

Cop Rome Streetz x Artivist Joyeria here:

By Alex P80 Parks

California emcee Flashius Clayton and production duo Dirty Diggs link up for Flash’s sophomore project. The album is full of sharp lyricism over sample-based beats, skillfully placed drums and subtle effects, delivering a pure hip hop experience that showcases the talents of both emcee and producers. Fronto Fever Dreams is Flash’s official follow-up LP to his 2018 debut Wolf Moon.

While Flash is gifted at providing specific imagery and unique allusions in his rhymes, Dirty Diggs have been steadily doing rap production for over a decade, bolstering their ever-expansive Rolodex of emcees they’ve collaborated with. Diggs has a way of unearthing gems and also flipping even some well-known samples differently enough and incorporating additional elements to create new sonic textures.

Deeply Rooted Hiphop and Flashius Clayton recently connected as he was wrapping the album to discuss this project, his connection to Diggs and creating something he is truly proud of.

Flash: “This album means a lot to me. It was a long time coming. I went through a lot of rough terrain to be able to get this done.”

On the intro, Flash comes through larger than life over classical strings loops and booming drums. “That’s What I Heard” featuring Lissan’dro brings the thunder and doom with tense strings, blaring horns and rumbling bass. Dro lays his super grimy flow on this banger. On “Killing Field Guillotine,” Diggs provide a baroque harpsichord loop flipped all around as Flash provides his own verbal acrobatics. Diggs harness their inner RZA on “Red Envelopes” with wheezing and grunting martial arts sound bytes looped over a sawing instrumental. The vocal humming subtle effects and light percussion on “A Yukon Don” slows it down a bit, but not in terms of Flash’s intensity. “Golden Ratio” featuring Skunkz sports faded guitar loops interspersed with a jazzy loop. Skunkz has emerged as talent to watch for over the last year with his fiery verses.

Flash: “Golden Ratio is a “Takin Ya Cookies” sequel basically. Everything me and Skunkz do is a follow up of that joint to be honest.”

With a 70’s nod, “Cadillac Flying Saucers” provides a funky combo of psychedelic deep synth notes and subtle guitar loops. “Shot At The Funeral” features veteran emcee AA Rashid lending a sharp verse as he and Flash weave their way through an echoing vintage Italian organ loop. “Pure Uncut” featuring Don The Jeweler is a standout joint. Don The Jeweler drops gems with his lyrical dexterity on this track. Utilizing an elegant jazz loop paired with crisp drums and bass, coupled with a perfect strings loop and echoing synth this one has a gorgeous melody.

Flash on “Pure Uncut“: “I said a few lines verbatim from “So Vintage.” The hook is “Gritty hardcore this the pure uncut for connoisseurs and thug entrepreneurs on the come up!!”I asked Dro ( I had to ask Dro cause he was in the chorus of So Vintage) and Don both to get on that Pure Uncut beat but it wasn’t a good fit for Dro, he wanted something more aggressive. I wrote the verse and when I laid the hook in the lab, I realized I had a So Vintage part 2. I Sent it to Don and he was all the way with it. I just flipped that line for the hook straight up. Don straight killed it, Brought that Queens wisdom. That song kinda sparked his return to rap too.”

Another easy standout track is “Cocoa buttermilk honey biscuit” with its gorgeous combination of chopped vocals, orchestral arrangements and drums full of soul as Flash provides endless imagery and lines about a beautiful woman. Flash and Diggs close it out with the bluesy “Fronto Fever” featuring West coast legend Planet Asia for a razor sharp verse.

Flash and Dirty Diggs have a history prior to the creation of this album. Other than forming a friendship and bond over quality music, Flash has recorded at their studio for at least the last couple years, and has been an observer to many a session with some of the game’s illest spitters. More recently Flash and Diggs began working together; Not necessarily with an album in mind, but as artists who uphold the a level of quality and artistry for authentic hip hop.

On meeting Dirty Diggs:

Flash: “So this was about 2011ish. I used to hang out at a studio mad heads would go to. PA and Diggs had a session there on a day I happened to be there. And I had a fire zip of OG Kush. I was listening to mad SAS at the time (Strong Arm Steady). “They rapped about backwoods so much it inspired me to give them a try. So I had my pack of Woods and this zip at this studio-the Drug Lab (Sick Jacken/Psycho Realm studios). This engineer C-Sik was doing mad sessions in the scene back then, he engineered the Stoney Jackson LP amongst many other big projects. But he was my contact for that studio.

So I meet PA and JR but they don’t know I rap and shit. Camp Lo was either there already or coming through that day. But we all smoked a blunt in the foyer of the studio and they went back to the lab which was a good 50 feet down the hallway. I remember telling JR he had a fire Polo hat and he was like “who the fuck are you?” The song for the Raekwon feature on Crackbelt Theatre was playing out of monitors in the control room and I was trying to sketch some bars to it. I think PA thought I was writing some of his bars down, he asked me what I was doing. Early awkward shit you know? After that first blunt I wanted to try out my zip so I rolled a nice woods back in the foyer and smoked it to my face.

Minutes later I’m pouring sweat and getting this wild panic attack I had been getting smoking Backwoods and LA OG Kush. I didn’t know what it was! I thought it was just the weed!!! I was POURING SWEAT, Like a fucking pig in a BBQ pit. Camp Lo is vibing to a beat nearby; dancing and stepping and freestyling in the hallway and I’m like fucking dying in misery and pain. I was worried, but it was just the backwood veins. But I’m not used to the tobacco. I’m completely ignorant as to what is causing this horrible feeling. What I was actually feeling is the Backwood Sweats/Fronto Fevers. But I just thought I couldn’t handle the LA Kush. Which blew my mind cuz I had been a smokey boy since 9th grade in the Bay.

So Camp Lo is concerned about me at this point.. I was fucked up, pouring wild sweat standing in front of a wall mount AC tryna cool off, Dying, pouring sweat!! I was mad nauseous- basically I was a fuckin Pinocchio pleasure island jackass. No lie! Green, nauseous and sweating through my clothes. I had on a pair of Levis Jorts and the Bred 11s, not to mention a nice cheap stripey Polo shirt. I was hype to be in the room for this session (PA, Camp Lo, Crack Belt Theatre!!) But I had to dip. I started feeling pukey so I went outside.

But anyway I’m a good 30 minutes into this sweat attack. Camp Lo is legit worried about me. I’m trying to be cheerful but it’s looking grim. Luckily Asia and JR ain’t seeing this mess. But Camp Lo is surprisingly supportive. They only speak in heavy slang and they were like “you smoked a bogey?” I’m like I don’t know I smoked this blunt and I’m about to die yo. So I think I go outside to find a spot to hurl now. I don’t know if someone was in the bathroom or what but I needed air. Man, I just needed to drink a gallon of water but I don’t know this at the time. There was a bar next door to the studio they had a garbage can. I yakked into it quietly, got in my car and drove myself home an hour plus feeling like warmed over death. I didn’t say shit to no one. I just had to dip. It was like 3-4 in the afternoon at the very latest.

Years later I would go on to smoke countless fronto blunts w Diggs and Asia and them dudes. But I knew how to surf the fevers by this point. I grew a taste for the leafs and to this day I still get the fronto willies every now and then. But I mastered them shits. Made a whole album about that feeling with the dudes whose session I had to bail from ten years prior. When I realized this after we were done with the album and it had been named, I’m like boom.”

DRHH: What was the process of writing/recording like for Fronto Fever Dreams?

Flash: “Everything on this album was written on the spot though; every verse was basically written in 2 hours or less on this go.. that is one significant difference between this and my previous work you may have heard.. I had to learn how to do that honestly. I take a little longer than most but I be formulating thoughts! But that’s how they do it in Venice (CA). I’d kick it with Diggs; get silly stupid high and be stitching these bombs together. The whole time. Sometimes in the midst of wild chaos- a lot of people be in the lab. That was a big part of this album. Just getting silly high and pulling gems out my ass every time. That’s the essence of Fronto Fevers man… Damn near getting an anxiety attack of the powerful tree and leaf pods but having these moments of clarity. Still, I tried to play with new flows. Tried to push my self beyond the average performance.”

DRHH: Can you talk about the super dope original artwork:

Flash: “It was gonna be completely different art. But someone close to me heard it and said I sound like Godzilla and King Kong. So they said that vibe would match the music better… The font on the back cover is from Calvin And Hobbes, my favorite comic strip as a kid. And Calvin used to day dream about being a T-Rex or King Kong sized too. That definitely influenced my imagination as a kid too.”

DRHH: One of your lyrical talents is your use of specific imagery.

Flash: “Yeah, fasho man I get my imagery from guys like Rick Rae and Ghost.. Rick especially. Ghost was mad exciting with it. He always made me envy how he could make you see what he is saying. Surreal and ridiculous powerful shit. If you close your eyes you can see Rick’s raps. I try to do the same shit for sure. If you took Rick, Rae and Ghost, I would hope you could make Flash haha.”

DRHH: What’s it like going through Diggs’ beats?

Flash “Diggs has an endless vault of fire that can be daunting to hear. We went through a lot of ill beats. There’s always some new fire being made over there. And I had to get my killers on Diggs beats, Dro, Don, Skunkz… That was dope to do for me- to connect the dots between these talented brothers.”

Flash: “Me as a Giant is how I see myself in this rap shit. That’s how I want to be remembered on the mic. When I smoke this 30% THC of out of fronto leafs I be imagining myself as King Kong and Godzilla. Lyrically that’s what I’m doing. Kicking fire out of skyscrapers and shit.”

Flashius Clayton and Dirty Diggs continue to build on their dope hip hop catalogs with this album. Fronto Fever Dreams is a cohesive and solid body of work that puts quotable lyrics over meticulously crafted beats.

Cop the album available here:

With their first single off the upcoming LP, Haverhill, Massachusetts-based rap group EXP (The Expendables) drop their Arcitype remix of their 2015 joint “Miles Above.” The single features a verse from the late, great rap legend Sean Price. Producer The Arcitype laces the beat with rippling synths, wobbly piano notes and thumping bass for the Mass emcees and P to showcase their talents. The song was originally featured on EXP’s Project Mayhem album. “We felt that the song and project didn’t receive proper promotion, so we decided to make a new, updated version.” The result is a reintroduction for the group, giving the listener a glimpse of what to expect from the upcoming album. EXP is a collective of locals forming back in 2010 that include the MC’s JK, Sha-Elemental, Dirt Rustle and G.I. Jonez.

Check out the track here:

The EXP drop their full length LP, Full Circle on Nov 27th.

By Alex P80 Parks

“I really want the tape to play like a guided tour through the Soviet Union”- DJ Manipulator

Just in time for the frigid weather, Manipulator drops his cold-war concept instrumental project, The Soviet Tape. The Massachusetts-based producer and resident in-house DJ for Boston’s Nightworks drops his latest beat tape, bringing together Russian sound bytes, unique samples, and plenty of sick scratching over 14 tracks. The Soviet Tape shows off Manipulator’s skills as loop digger, melody composer, beat creator and DJ on every joint. Manip provides plenty of dope slices and scratches on every track, showcasing his precision on the 1’s and 2’s in addition to his prolific beat arrangements.

Layers of guitar riffs, synths and subtle effects ooze over the multiple percussion elements, often sparking catchy melodies and evoking a playful mood at times. Never afraid to take the risk sonically, Manipulator incorporates a wide array of genres, only adding to the texture of his beats.

Kalinka” sets it off with traditional Russian strings loops, drums and handclaps with visions of Russian natives dancing the Kazatsky or the Kalinka, both traditional Russian dances. The grand nature of “The City” plays large with piano and organ loops, chopped vocal snippets and plenty of low end thump to rattle the ground all the way from Kazan to the frozen tundra. Place your bets on “Durak” (a common Russian card game) as Manipulator brings GZA and Party Arty vocal scratches over a rumbling, menacing piano loop. Take another risk with “Russian Roulette” and it’s carnival/bazaar vibe, as Manip flexes some skills on the cross fader as the sounds move from ear to ear. The fictional Russian antagonist from Rocky IV, “Ivan Drago,” appears in the form of 1,2 jabs on the snares and gut punches from the bass. Manipulator blacks out on “Moscow Mule” with insane scratching and some crazy percussion with a haunting vocal loop hovering over it all. “Boris Godunov” brings the opera with echoing female vocals, Soviet melodies and booming drums throughout. “Groza” storms in with its prominent bass groove delivering a head-nodding clinic full of crisp drums and subtle melodic layers. Setting the tone with a creepy choral sample, “Transylvania” packs the eerie effects to close out the spooky holiday season. “St. Petersburg” provides the opulence and regal vibes courtesy of wind chimes, upbeat synths and some clean drums mirroring the lavish castles in the former Russian Czar’s home city. The guitar notes and gorgeous chopped vocal loops on “Bolshoi Russian Suplex” with a few aptly placed Zangief sound bytes provide one of the standout beats on the tape full of top-notch tracks. “Konets” (appropriately translating to “ending” in Russian) wraps up the instrumental album with slick, short guitar riffs over wobbling synths and ticking percussion, the vocal loops echoing in the distance.

The Soviet Tape certainly plays like a journey through 80’s era Cold War Russia, covering traditional ideas and customs but also adding some pop culture references as well. A refreshing and enjoyable 26 min that spans from Siberia to Moscow, Manipulator captures the essence and spirit of the era, injecting a thunderous beat and hip hop spirit into each sample and sound byte.

Preorder the tape now here:

By Alex P80 Parks

Drawing inspiration from the 2010 documentary of the same name, Crackhouse USA finds the Niagara Falls emcee connecting with Massachusetts rising producer Michaelangelo for a brief glimpse into the harsh realities of the present-day traphouse coupled with the lingering effects of the 80’s crack epidemic. The Diadora Don provides his boisterous vocals over 6 finely-crafted soundscapes that range in mood from bleak and desperate to hopeful and nostalgic.

Jamal himself was quick to make sure Crackhouse USA isn’t dismissed as merely an album, but characterized as more of a concept; a companion to a way of life. He provides the context from his own background of hustling and pursuing that lifestyle early on.

Jamal Gasol: “I don’t really consider this to be an album, but more like a soundtrack for the street lifestyle. All street shit to go with the vibe I got from the film.”

From the jump on the ominous “Time Is Changing” Michaelangelo uses what sounds like an 80’s horror movie piano loop along with crisp snares. Flee Lord drops by with a raw feature verse on the groove of “Str8 Drop.” On the swaying “Trenches,” Jamal’s confident flow and blunt depictions of hustling maneuvers pairs nicely with Michaelangelo’s haunting loops and often enigmatic production.

Peep the video for “Trenches” here:

Jamal speaks on the inspiration behind watching the doc: “I felt like I was watching the old me. Couple homies in the trap house tryna get it, but at the same time I understood what I signed up for so we knew what comes with it.”

Michaelangelo really brings it back with the trembling xylo loop that echoes on “Oil Base” which features Jamal’s hometown partner in crime, John Creasy. On “Igpay Atinlay” Jamal stays dropping jewels as he opens with:

“A wise man once said nothin at all

I speak Piglatin in all my calls

Everybody wanna be the boss, but me

I just want my girl to accept me and all my flaws.”

The EP wraps with the fittingly triumphant “Godly” with its grand, blaring horns, a tense strings loop and thumping bass. Mr. 31 unleashes assured verses full of brash bars, fully in-pocket.

Gasol on choosing the lifestyle: “I honestly have respect for people who made that choice when there was none left. But if you do got other choices, take that chance cause the streets ain’t for everybody. The streets ain’t a myth.”

Whether he’s breaking down the slick nuances of the hustler, or the tragedies of the streets, Jamal Gasol has a knack for his honesty and his direct delivery. Michaelangelo stretches a sonic canvas that captures some of the hopelessness and depravity of the fiends and the living conditions of those crackhouses, yet also provides some throwback uptempo vibes to adequately vary the short ride. He pulls some great samples for Jamal Gasol to spit on, ensuring plenty of head-nodding.

Cop the EP available at midnight here: