Its been a while since I’ve done one of these posts. Not that I haven’t been picking up any new albums the past several months, I think it’s more that I haven’t had much time to sit down and write about them. But now that I’m getting back on top of my writing again, let’s do this!
5. Atoms For Peace “AMOK”
For those that don’t know, Atoms For Peace is actually a side project of Radiohead members Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, Redhot Chilli Peppers basssist Flea, and a couple other cats from established bands. I’m a big Radiohead fan so picking this album up was pretty much inevitable. Continue reading →
One of the early benefits of attempting to change my home production setup into a more mobile one is that it has made me question all parts of my creative process. I’ve realized that there are certain points in my process where the momentum I have in creating art comes to a standstill. In most instances, this is caused by a technical flaw in my workflow. A example of something like this would be not having enough midi inputs or cables to connect a drum machine that I really like. The fact that the drum machine isn’t connected all the time makes connecting it an inconvenience, and therefore reduces the likelihood I’ll use it. Continue reading →
There was a time, back when I was living in a small one bedroom apartment, that all I dreamt about was having more space (and time) to do music. Back then all I had was my MPC-2000, an 8-track recorder, a pair of studio monitors, and my record collection. It wasn’t much but I did a lot with it. The fact that I had to keep all that stuff in my bedroom meant that there was a limit to the gear and space I could dedicate to my musical endeavors. I had a decent vinyl collection in my living room, but it wasn’t anything too crazy because the space I was living in didn’t allow it.
With success came the ability to move into a larger space, which is the house I live in now. I realized that I finally had the room to expand my studio space into what I had always dreamed about, so I did. About three-quarters of my basement is dedicated to music in some way. One room in my basement (“the record room”) is dedicated entirely to records and is about 15-feet by 12-feet in size — larger than the entire bedroom I once did ALL of my music in and slept in. The second room, that I now do all my music in, is at least twice that size. The only room in my basement that isn’t dedicated to music in some way is my laundry room. Continue reading →
Its been quite a while since I wrote a blog, so I wanted to take some time to give all my fans and supporters a news update. Although I’ve been home from the road for about three weeks, I’m just now getting comfortable enough to return to my creative routine and officially get back to work. Since I’ve been pretty quiet on my social networks, I figured I’d make the update in one post right here.
When I say it’s been a long time coming, I really mean it when it comes to the new Greenhouse album, Bend But Don’t Break. It is an album that, up until a few months ago, I wasn’t 100% sure would ever be released.
Illogic and I started working on Bend But Don’t Break in 2008, shortly after finding out that my former business partner Jermain (or “Fess” from Greenhouse) had stolen money from the label and disappeared. In the two years prior, Columbus had seen the passing of Camu Tao, DJ PRZM, and Daymon Dodson; immensely popular people who really helped shape and influence our hip-hop scene. I was depressed and at the peak of my drinking, unsure of what my role was in a Columbus hip-hop scene that had lost so many shining stars. To say the least, it was a really dark time. Continue reading →
Although I’ve been pretty active with the camera in the last couple of years, it’s been a while since I entered the music video realm. Well, I’m officially back.
The first music video I shot was for “10 Stone” for my good friend and fellow artist, Latimore Platz back in the winter of 2010. The fact that I volunteered for the job didn’t stop me from being any less nervous about it. Continue reading →
Today is my three year sober date. To be completely honest, the idea that I would be able to go three years without drinking wasn’t something that I believed was possible when I first decided to quit. So I’m equal parts proud and surprised today. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago on twitter, I made the statement that it’s easier for a performing artist to remember their bad shows than their good shows. I wasn’t suggesting that good shows are meaningless or unappreciated, my point was that we remember the bad shows more often because they provide a larger opportunity for learning and growth. In most instances, it’s hard to justify a reevaluation of your strategies when you’re being successful. But as soon as you fail, you start to question everything. In my opinion, the best performers aren’t the best because they have a talent others lack, they’re the best because they’ve all had bad experiences that made them take their level of preparation and performance up a notch.
One of the questions I get asked the most often is, “What’s the most difficult thing about being an entrepreneur?“
Whenever I hear this question, it brings me back to when I first made the transition from a full-time corporate employee to a self-employed artist. While there were many things that were legitimate causes for anxiety – like healthcare, steady paychecks, and the idea of job security – none of those things bothered me too much at the time. Continue reading →
“When the tide once turns in any nation in favor of war, it generally rushes on with great impetuosity and force, and bears all before it. It was so in Carthage in this instance. The party of Hanno were thrown entirely into the minority and silenced, and the friends and partisans of Hannibal carried not only the government, but the whole community with them, and every body was eager for war. This was owing, in part, to the natural contagiousness of the martial spirit, which, when felt by one, catches easily, by sympathy, in the heart of another. It is a fire which, when once it begins to burn, spreads in very direction, and consumes all that comes in its way.” – Jacob Abbott(from Hannibal The African Warrior)
If you’re a fan of music, you hear it every couple of months: the story of an unlikely band that blows up from an unlikely song. Usually, the song “came out of nowhere” and was “all the sudden” a hit everywhere, knocking down the barriers of entry and unseating the previously all-powerful gatekeepers of the music industry. At that point, the song itself becomes more than just a song. It begins to take on the collective identity of all the fans who, through sheer will and enthusiasm, propelled it to its unlikely position at the top of the charts. Proof of what happens when the people speak loud and clear, this unlikely (or “lucky”) song embodies their generation in a way no other song has before…at least until the next one comes along. If the song had a theme song, it would be Rocky’s theme song.
I’ve decided that I’m bringing back the slang term “ranchin,” and will start proliferiting it into cyberspace effective immediately.
The term ranchin was first brought to the limelight on the debut album of ganster rap pioneers Above the Law. They dropped it many times on their album, as well as a lot of other never before heard west coast slang, but ranchin never took off like the other slang on the album. I think ranchin deserves another look.
For the past month or so I’ve been stuck; unable to write a rhyme or make a beat – even though I had plenty of time on my hands. Even my blogging has been sparse. In the past, being stuck creatively was usually caused by something very heavy going on in my life that I needed to work my way through. In that sense, it was very easy to understand and remedy – resolve the personal issue and become unstuck. Unfortunately, there were no personal issues hanging over my head this time around. Although last year was pretty rough family-wise, the past six or seven months have been great.
The other day I noticed that the only times I was able to squeak out a rhyme or a beat was when I wasn’t home. I had no problems writing on tour or while I was visiting my family, but as soon as i got home things were at a standstill.
I just had a very awful customer experience checking into a hotel this afternoon. When I got to the hotel, the lady at the desk told me to come back in two hours because the room we needed wasn’t available. I didn’t have a problem with that, so I paid for my room and told her I would be back at the time she asked.
Things went for bad when I returned a couple hours later. After standing in line, she asked me “Can I help you?” I was a bit confused that she had forgotten me already and showed her my paperwork. After looking it over, she started asking me for information that she had already gotten from me, looking visibly frustrated as I calmly pointed out that she already had the information. Then she said,”Why is there so much paperwork?” as she leafed through the paperwork that she had given me just two hours prior. It took her about five more minutes to assign a room to me, all the while she was grunting and sighing underneath her breath, as if assigning people rooms they paid for is the most difficult job on earth. After getting my room, I realized that she never told me which building the room was in, so I went back to look at the room chart. When she saw me glancing at it she said,”it’s in the second building” which is true, but didn’t tell me what side of the building the room was on. I just ignored her and looked for myself. Continue reading →
Despite the up-and-down nature of the music industry, I have managed to make a career as a full-time artist for almost eleven years now. As one would expect, being an entrepreneur hasn’t been easy, but it has been extremely rewarding. It has also been an experience that, for the most part, I have navigated alone. Although I’ve received great advice and counsel from other artists and people along the way, I have never had a real manager.
I’m not saying that my decision to not have a manager is the right decision for everybody, only that it has been the right decision for me thus far. There are days when I wish I had a manager to handle certain things and days when I’m glad that I didn’t. Continue reading →
I first got familiar with Maw several years ago when he popped up on the Weightless Recordings forums. He quickly became a regular poster and welcome contributor. Although his conduct was very mature, we soon found out that he was only a teenager at the time, which made him the youngest regular on our forum. Even more interestingly, we found out that he was from Finland and english was his second language. You never would have guessed it by the way he interacted with everybody.
Over time, Maw started getting into hip-hop production and posting his beats in our “show & tell” forum. His beats were decent at the beginning – especially for a young kid who didn’t even seem to have any equipment – but he seemed to get exponentially better every time he posted something. Eventually he was damn good. From there, I always kept my eye on him, and every year he gets better and better. It’s reached the point where I check out anything he releases and try to spread word about him as much as possible. Continue reading →
One of the movies I was heavily anticipating this fall was The Man With The Iron Fists by The RZA. Being a huge fan of his work with the Wu-Tang Clan as well as his books, I’m about as big a fan of The RZA as it gets. His love for classic martial arts films and their history is well documented and makes him the kind of person you want to see making them. Continue reading →
One of the most overlooked and underutilized qualities in making albums today is pacing.
In short, pacing is the speed and sequence with which events occur. Since we are talking about music, the events we are referring to would be songs. To master pacing is to master the speed and sequence with which the songs on an album are delivered to the listener to create the maximum impact. Continue reading →
When I started messing around with video a couple years ago, I told myself that I wasn’t going to buy any professional video equipment until I reached the level where I was getting paid for my services. I had picked up a used Canon T2i camera for pretty cheap and was determined to not become a gear junkie. Plus, it just didn’t makes sense to buy a bunch of equipment when I had no idea if I would ever reach the point where I could actually make the back any of the money I had invested.
After doing several posts this past year titled The Last Five Albums I Bought, it’s only right that I list my five favorite albums of 2012. To be honest, it’s really difficult for me to rank any of these albums above the others. That seems a bit unfair when I consider how much I like them all. So what I will say is that these are the albums that I remember playing the most in 2012.
So here it goes…
#5. Large Professor ”Professor at Large”
To say this album came out of nowhere would be an understatement. I had no idea it was coming out but, to be completely honest, I’m not sure if it would’ve made any difference since I hadn’t been really moved by anything that the Large Professor had released since Breaking Atoms. I had pretty much written Extra P off, content with listening to Breaking Atoms and never checking for any more of his newer material. That all changed when I stumbled upon the song “Light Years” on youtube. It sounded like he was finally making the album that I had been waiting on him to make for years. I copped it immediately and played it a lot. It’s a conventional hip-hop record that isn’t progressive at all, but that simplicity is its best asset. Professor at Large is unapologetically oldschool and dope.