Madlib is a mad genius. If I were to explain why I think this to be true I would completely forget the true reason why I started this post – so I think we’ll leave that for another day. In this latest entry into the REVISION ROTATION series, I’ve included Madlib’s Shades of Blue album, a series of remixes over the archives of the legendary Jazz record label, Blue Note records.
This album is a masterclass in the meshing of smooth beats and chill vibes with technical prowess – a description that fits Madlib himself. It manages to be impressive sonically without being obtrusive enough to take your mind off the matter at hand – you could definitely do with this on while you’re busy cramming useless information you’ll never use again.
Some say the New York rap scene is having something of an identity crisis these days. When the only rapper with any legitimate hype in a city is so deeply influenced by another city’s culture (ASAP Rocky, anyone?) that you wouldn’t have known he wasn’t born and bred there – there’s a case for saying there’s a problem. However, at PSA we believe there’s cause for the birthplace of rap to be a tad more optimistic.
Rappers like Action Bronson and Mr MFN Exquire are getting serious exposure as of late, and unlike some, they are so NY it’s impossible to listen to them without thinking of grimy subways and army jacket lining. There is, however, a tendency for the ‘next big thing’ out of the Big Apple to be overhyped and expected to single-handedly restore the city to the pinnacle of hip-hop – which always seems to flop (Cory Gunz, Uncle Murda, Papoose, Charles Hamilton…etc). Which is why in the case of the ‘Flatbush Zombies‘ we hope this trend dies…for good.
The Brooklynite duo hooked up with producer Erick Arc Elliot to drop what can only be described, as eloquently as possible, as a banger. Lyrics, beat and video are the holy trinity of a viral hit these days – and this song can put a tick next to each category. Check the song out below and stay posted.
If you, like me, have some sort of coursework/revision/slave labour to concern yourself with around this time of year – the right kind of music can often put you in the right frame of mind and make the work less labourious. With that in mind, I’m going to be compiling a little series of posts featuring music that gets me in the mood for mind-numbing reading.
If you’ve heard of Diggs Duke, then you should already know what to expect. His Gravity EP was released a few months back to critical acclaim, despite being very short, and ended up on many ‘End of Year’ lists – with a jazzy voice and an ambient, atmospheric sound being prevalent throughout the tape. You can get your hands on this heavy EP for only 99 cents (convert that into GBP if you’re that much of a Scrooge).
His recently released Black Gold EP (produced in collaboration with BamaLoveSoul) is also not the longest in the world (at all), but the soulful and sultry sounds emanating from the Maine resident will definitely have you putting it on repeat. My personal favourites so for me include ‘Something In My Soul’ and the title track ‘Black Gold’.
To enjoy Black Gold in it’s entirety, head to the bandcamp page (click the cover artwork above) and name your price. The first 1200 people get a free download, no complaints here.
Stussy, being no stranger to collaboration (whores), have kicked off 2012 in typical fashion. Collaborating with Danner, the streetwear icons have brought another casual boot to increase your choices in that department this winter.
With the coming months set to be cold as a bitch, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment to get yourself kitted out sherpa-style. Release is scheduled for Jan 7th.
I’m calling it first – Habits and Contradictions is going to be the mixtape of the year. Schoolboy Q‘s 2011 effort, Setbacks was probably my personal favourite of the year – and the TDE spitter looks like he’s ready to force his way onto everybody’s playlist.
Show stealing features on the critically acclaimed Section 80 and LiveLoveA$AP – two of the biggest tapes of 2011 – have set the tone perfectly for the Cali representer to have a crazy 2012, and if you had listened to any of his previous work you’ll know that his hype is long overdue. This latest track to leak from the upcoming HnC is called “Blessed” and features man of the moment and fellow TDE partner in crime, Kendrick Lamar. Peep the track below.
Detroit rapper Danny Brown is back with his latest set of visuals from his seriously dope project XXX. The video to Monopoly adequately complements Brown’s off-kilter, stream-of-consciousness style with visuals reminscient of some acid trip gone wrong.
Check out the video below, if you haven’t got XXX yet – what are you waiting for?
One of the finest albums to drop this year came out of Seattle, alternative hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces crafted a unique and experimental take on hip-hop with their LP, Black Up – and where others failed they succeeded in a major way. Balancing being adventurous and progressive with making a hit record has been a serious pitfall for alternative hip-hop acts in the past few years, but Black Up managed to sound different to every other tape out there without sounding forced or contrived in any way. If you haven’t managed to catch my drift yet, it’s pretty obvious that this has the PSA stamp of approval.
Anywho, to cut a long story short – the duo have teamed up with director Kahlil Joseph to bring this short film to the interwebs. With snippets from the album accompanying the visuals – I think this might be worth 5 odd minutes of your time.
Iconic hip-hop duo Black Star (Mos Def Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli) drop the first track from their upcoming album, which is set to be only their second in 12 years. Rapping over a smooth beat from your favourite producer’s favourite producer Madlib, this song serves as a throwback to classic ’98 Brooklyn hip-hop – and if we can get a Common feature and a few Hi-Tek beats then we’re due for something special all over again ladies and gents.
If this is your first exposure to rap’s version of Simon & Garfunkel then do yourself a favour and cop their first album: Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. In the meantime, check out the track below -
If you’re looking for a solid pair of kicks with both subtlety and edge – the Nike Pegasus ’92 might be right up your alley.Reissues of classic trainers don’t always go to plan, but the good fellas at Nike seem to have hit the nail on the head with this one. The neutral, earthy tones of this slick shoe are a winning addition to any outfit and at £85 from End, they’re not likely to eat into money better spent on beer and pizza. Check the kicks out below:
I think it’s been a good 2-3 years since I first heard this snippet on TiRon’s mixtape Ketchup (If you ain’t got it, get it). Finally the full version has been liberated by Pac Div in anticipation for the Cali-based trio’s debut LP The Div (Nov. 8). Even though the snippet was only around 1 minute – it was easily one of my most played songs on iTunes. The full version comes with the additional verses from BeYoung and Mibbs and retains the hook from TiRon. Check the song out below and don’t forget to cop the album when it drops.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or just don’t live on the internet like I do) you must’ve wondered where this ASAP Rocky fella came from. Since his Purple Swag video went viral earlier this year, the Harlem representer’s hype has gone completely off the charts in recent months, with the self-styled “Pretty-boy” being the toast of all the cool NY socialite circles. Anticipation for his debut mixtape LiveLoveA$AP, which was pushed back several times, has been frenzied – but since it’s release has it lived up to expectations?
Simply put, this tape delivers. If you’re looking for in-depth lyricism about social ills a la Lupe Fiasco or Immortal Technique then this may not be for you. However if you are a fan of great production, great flows and overall great music – this is a must. With a clear influence from his counterparts in Houston, LiveLoveA$AP is a chilled and very enjoyable listen – and serves as an ode to the lean drinking, laid back Texans. Features from Schoolboy Q, SpaceGhostPurrp and other impressive cameos from fellow ASAP crew members ensure this tape never gets boring. Enough chit-chat, download by clicking the artwork.
If you need to get acquainted, check these vids below:
In anticipation for his upcoming EP Boogaloo City, producer extraordinaire and blog darling Darq E Freaker has let this little promo video loose from a track titled Roar. With numerous US-based acts expressing their love for the eccentric and energetic artform, it’s only a matter of time before Grime gets the platform it’s long deserved. Check out this little gem above and keep your eyes peeled for the EP.
Brooklyn Circus embodies everything that PSA loves – a young an organic brand with no intentions to stop growing soon. The New York-based label have put their own unique twist on the classic English staple, the Brogue Boot from the legendary Tricker’s. It shouldn’t even have to be said, but as one can expect the materials used are top notch. Premium quality grain leather as well as smooth calf leather construct the upper and the bright orange heel tab adds a welcome dash of panache to these sophisticated boots. Check below for more shots and you can pre-order at Brooklyn Circus.
Albanian-American wordsmith Action Bronson has let loose this latest gem “Cocoa Butter” from his prospective offering, Well Done, which is a collaborative project helmed by the Queens-based rapper and DJ Statik Selektah.
Just as the name suggests, this track is pretty smooth ear candy – which is a pretty apt description befitting a song made by a rapper who is also a part time chef. If you’ve listened to Action before you’ll know what to expect – dense lyricism, plenty of references to exotic cuisines and laugh out loud lyrics. Statik Selektah also does his thing behind the boards, accompanied by a blast from the early 2000s in the form of Nina Sky. Who are they, you ask? Exactly. Check the track out below and keep your eyes peeled for Well Done, which is scheduled to drop on November 22nd.
After proving everyone that he’s still got it, Queensbridge legend Nas has released the official visuals to his monster single Nasty off of his upcoming LP – tentatively titled Life Is Good. Directed by the acclaimed Jason Goldwatch, the video has all the hallmarks of classic and grimy 90s hip-hop. Nas takes us on a tour of his notorious projects, all the while flexing lyrical godliness on the beat. Check it out below.