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Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009
Havoc's Hidden Files is a bit uneven but occasionally taps into Mobb Deep's dark soundscapes and street narratives.

As Mobb Deep, Prodigy and Havoc can claim two nearly unrivaled classics in The Infamous and Hell on Earth. Sidetracked in recent years by Jay-Z beefs, the G-Unit imbroglio, and Prodigy’s incarceration, the duo’s future is unclear.


Prodigy’s solo work, most notably on Return of the Mac, has expanded on his early promise as a grim lyricist with a unique perspective. Havoc has always been prolific with production but not as successful a rapper as his counterpart. So Hidden Files follows much in the same manner as his solo debut Kush. Neither album will be remembered for its lyrical content or flow, but Havoc’s terse, foreboding sonic atmospheres cannot be denied.


The first half of the album aims for a hodgepodge of modern production styles, with nods to boom bap, reheated G-funk and the cinematic pomp of Young Jeezy. The exception is rock bid “Watch Me (ft Ricky Blaze)”, which is a simple curiosity but packs more of a punch than rock forays by Diddy or Lil Wayne. But Hidden Files really hits its stride with a four-song arc that includes “The Hustler”, “The Millennium”, “Walk Wit Me”, and “On a Mission (ft Prodigy)”. These songs hint at the dark soundscapes and cold, specific street narratives that were the signatures of Mobb Deep.


So not every track here is a keeper, but Hidden Files is worth checking out as it makes use of the lean, menacing qualities that form the bedrock of Mobb Deep’s classic output. This set is a serviceable stopgap that will hold listeners over until Havoc and Prodigy once again combine their strengths on an LP.


“The Millennium”



“Walk Wit Me”



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Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009
by PopMatters Staff

Afro-punk SXSW 09 Mix - By DJ Skeet Skeet
Artists Performing At SXSW 2009
(released 15 March 2009)


  1. Whole Wheat Bread - Throw Yo Sets Up
  2. Dallas Austin - Children of the Revolution
  3. Janelle Monae - Violet Stars Happy Hunting
  4. The London Souls - Someday
  5. Irradio - Call The Nation
  6. Amercian Fangs - LeKick
  7. The Smyrk - The Ballad of Fletcher Reede
  8. J.U.S Evolution - Fast Money
  9. Peekaboo Theory - Immediate Hesitation
  10. Disaster Us - Slice Me Up


  Mixed by: DJ SKEET SKEET


DJ Skeet Skeet
Afro-Punk SXSW ‘09 Mix Tape [MP3]


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Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009

Sometimes MySpace is more than just a place for creeps. I checked it this morning to find this, a free sampler of Finale’s new album A Pipe Dream and a Promise. I could go on and on about why you need to hear both this sampler and the album when it drops April 7, but I won’t. Just hear for yourself and try not to enjoy the beats, lyricism, and flow.


Finale
A Pipe Dream and a Promise sampler [MySpace]


 


 


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Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009

It’s not everyday you get a free “album” of sorts from some of underground hip-hop’s best. Anticon.‘s Themselves recorded theFREEhoudini with the likes of Slug, Aesop Rock, and Yoni Wolf. And now, it’s up for free download for 90 days only on the Anticon. website. The like to enjoy the insanity is below.


Themselves
theFREEhoudini [MP3s]


TOUR DATES
03/25/2009 Firebird - St. Louis, MO
03/26/2009 Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
03/27/2009 The Pike Room at Crofoot Ballroom - Pontiac, MI
03/28/2009 Sneaky Dee’s - Toronto, ON
03/29/2009 Club Lambi - Montreal, QC
04/01/2009 Great Scott - Allston, MA
04/02/2009 Terrace F. Club at Princeton University - Princeton, NJ
04/03/2009 Union Pool - Brooklyn, NY
04/04/2009 The Studio at Webster Hall - New York, NY
04/06/2009 The Barbary - Philadelphia, PA w/ Pattern Is Movement
04/07/2009 DC9 - Washington D.C.
04/08/2009 The Lantern - Blacksburg, VA
04/09/2009 529 - Atlanta, GA
04/10/2009 Bottletree Cafe - Birmingham, AL
04/11/2009 Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA
04/13/2009 Hailey’s - Denton, TX
04/14/2009 Mohawk - Austin, TX
04/16/2009 Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ
04/19/2009 Coachella - Indio, CA
05/05/2009 Ancienne Belgique - Brussels, Belgium


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Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009
by Walter Tunis - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

How do you whittle down 70 years of Blue Note Records to a handful of favorites?


Downbeat magazine asked those at the forefront of today’s jazz generation to go one step better and name their single favorite album issued by the label. On the magazine’s cover is sax man Joe Lovano, who will release his 21st record for Blue Note, Folk Art, in May. Cradled in his arms is his pick: Art Blakey’s 1964 bop masterwork Free for All.


Bill Charlap, pianist and musical director for The Blue Note 7, chose pianist Horace Silver’s 1954 album with an earlier and altogether different lineup of the band (named Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers). But in a recent telephone interview, he all but dismissed any notion of a single “favorite” Blue Note work.


“It’s a very show-business question to ask about your favorite Blue Note record,” he said. “If you have more than one child, would you choose a favorite?”


Rather than limiting the choices to a single selection, here is my critic’s pick sampling of five champion Blue Note recordings. The choices—representing a just four years of the label’s mammoth history—intentionally omit Blue Note’s more iconic artists (Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others) in favor of less-appreciated players who defined the label’s timeless blues, bop, soul and swing.


Hank Mobley, Soul Station (1960). One of the happiest Blue Note sessions ever teams sax great Mobley with drummer (and onetime boss) Art Blakey and pianist Wynton Kelly for an album of lean, soulful cheer. A guaranteed smile-maker of an album.


 


Sonny Clark, Leapin’ and Lopin’ (1961). Clark is a shamefully overlooked pianist, composer and sideman, and his records as a band leader mixed playful blues (summarized here on “Voodoo”) and exquisitely reflective solo playing (his cover of “Deep in a Dream”).


 


Kenny Dorham, Una Mas (1963). Like fellow trumpeter Lee Morgan, Dorham had a way with a lyrical phrase. Note the similarities between Una Mas’ title tune and Morgan’s “The Sidewinder”. But Dorham also exhibited understated swing and regal cool.


 


Lee Morgan, Search for the New Land (1964). You could argue to infinity about who was Blue Note’s greatest soloist and composer. Morgan gets my vote. He cut harder swing sessions, but few reached the sleeker emotive extremes of New Land.


 


Andrew Hill, Point of Departure (1964). Albums like this woke up Blue Note to the times. Within the jagged rhythmic strides of “New Monastery”, “Spectrum” and “Dedication”, pianist/composer Hill took the blues of Blue Note into brave new improvisational turf.


 



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