Get Familiar: Ceewhy

I’ve always been confused by the phrase “hip-hop is dead”.  When asked what he thinks about the alleged demise of hip-hop, up and coming MC Dominique “Ceewhy” Suttles says “hip-hop can’t die…[hip-hop] is a way of life and a people so if its dead we are dead and I been breathing all day!”  He does state that hip-hop is currently lacking originality, balance and inspiration, which is what he is trying to bring to the game.  Ceewhy hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up listening to his father’s record collection, which included everything from Bach to Nina Simone.  He attended Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, where he pursued his budding music career, winning rap battles but also improving his song-writing ability, since we all know battle MCs don’t always have the most longevity in the rap game.

Ceewhy provides a long list of influences from the obligatory Big & Pac to the Clipse and Slum Village to Jimi Hendrix and even Langston Hughes.  He even jokingly adds Grey Goose to the list.  Far from arrogant, Cee admits to being a “very influenced artist”.  “I just want people to believe in me because I believe in them thats why I do what I do.   I am an artist and musician and growth is paramount to my survival and evolution as an artist,” he says.  “Nas once rhymed that ‘no idea’s original’, and he was right. When it comes to music, let’s be honest: few recreate the wheel. The great musicians haven’t necessarily created something brand new. They gave us the right balance of entertainment and thought-provoking material. Think Michael Jackson, Prince, Nina, Stevie and a score of others. Their catalogues aren’t just comprised of solely ‘dance’ tracks or ‘conscious’ tracks. Mike’s catalogue consists of tracks like ‘Rock with You’, but also ‘Black & White’.  Whatever happened to that balance?!?”  Ceewhy is poised to bring that balance to the game. 

While he isn’t necessarily trying to “re-invent the wheel”, he’s introducing a new way to roll.  Both of his projects, Dreams Are Bulletproof and The Sickness: Designer Drugs & Disease Meets Panic are highly conceptualized…more than what you would expect from a new artist.  While still having fun, Ceewhy also gives you food for thought to snack on, mixing what you want with what you need without being preachy.  Look out for the homie in the future and enjoy his music…oh and kill your radio.  You won’t find too many artists with such a clear direction and innovative approach there.  For now, just visit his bandcamp.com site linked below and download both projects…then tell your whole ‘hood to get familiar.

Download & listen to Ceewhy’s Dreams Are Bulletproof and The Sickness: Designer Drugs & Disease Meets Panic

 

 

Continue Reading

R.I.P.: GURU of Gang Starr

We lost a legend last night in the form of Keith Elam a.k.a. Guru (an acronym for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) of the classic hip-hop duo Gang Starr.  Guru, alongside superproducer DJ Premier, is known for having perfected the hip-hop/jazz crossover.  In honor of the loss of an architect of this thing we call hip-hop, I leave you with some classics.   

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3nYV1PX0HM

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wpD_S_iEE8&feature=related

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNj-m_s0ngA&feature=related

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZvisvIUZfY&feature=related

Continue Reading

The Essence: Capone-N-Noreaga

I’m gonna take some time out today to write a short piece on two dudes I feel like don’t get the props they really deserve in the hip-hop game.  The category “The Essence” is designed to bring up various people, places, and things that made me love hip-hop.  Capone-N-Noreaga get a lot of respect from myself and other hip-hop heads, but as far as truly being recognized, I think people don’t give them enough credit.  The War Report was a stellar debut and The Reunion was to me an ill follow-up. 

CNN have always made the type of music that almost inspire you to rob somebody’s mama for a box of baking soda…and then use that to cook up some crack.  That may sound horrible, but I did say almost.  I’m California born-and-raised, but CNN are one of few acts that really put me in a New York State of Mind, so to speak, taking listeners from Riker’s Island to Queensbridge and Lefrak City with their unique brand of thuggery.  When I heard CNN was signing with my favorite MC Raekwon’s Ice Water imprint to release The War Report II, I almost spontaneously combusted.  Here’s a few classic joints and some new material to hold you (and me) down until the release.

“Illegal Life” by CNN

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7LiaIxzgl4

“Phone Time” by CNN

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8EV-FLkg6M

“The Reserves” by CNN f/ Raekwon:

  httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGvmkpAZMyM 

“Steets Got A New Face” by Noreaga

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyuCXbOUoSA

 

Continue Reading

Nicki Minaj & The Harajuku-Hate Epidemic

I hate the idea of the safe bet…the easy target…the common diss.  Nicki Minaj has come under fire since the start of her mainstream career for a number of reasons: her allegedly fake “assets” (because that’s never been done before), use of sexuality in her music and performance (because that’s never been done before), and other aspects of her style.  Even Li’l Mama kinda sneak dissed her saying she “doesn’t represent what Nicki Minaj represents…I represent young women respecting their bodies”.  OK, I just want for Li’l Mama to respect her own body by not dressing it in the worst of the worst…and by keeping it off the stage when it doesn’t belong there.  Minaj spoke on it briefly in the “5 Star Chick” remix, but didn’t seem to give it too much attention.  Brilliant.

As some of you may know already, a female rapper named Keys has decided to put out a low-quality video on YouTube calling herself dissing Nicki Minaj.  I listened to it once…….listened to it twice……..and it’s pretty garbage.  First, the beat is playing on a [low quality] speaker that seems to be about 20 feet away from the camera.  Second, there’s a bunch of dudes milling around in the background who are obviously obligated to nod their heads and hype it up like the girl is really doing something because they know her.  Honestly, the girl had a couple of clever bars, but if the first anyone has ever heard of you is dissing another artist, sorry, but you’re hustling backwards.  All I know about this person as an artist is that they don’t like Nicki Minaj (someone they don’t personally know)…congratulations…you’re still listed in Google pages and pages after Alicia Keys, housekeys, the Florida Keys, and oh…”Keys Under Palm Trees“, an early Nicki Minaj joint.  All this video (which I won’t disgrace this site by posting…it’s on YouTube, y’all) really looked like was a butterballish tomboy chick with a chip on her shoulder because she caught her man wiping his mouth after watching a Nicki Minaj video and to make matters worse, I’m sure she knows as a female rapper she’ll never make it without improving her own look.

It’s interesting that people are pointing at Nicki Minaj like she is what’s wrong with the state of female hip-hop.  No.  What is wrong with female hip-hop is that as soon as a female rapper comes out with enough skill/clout/connections/appeal to actually make it out of the underground, other women (and dudes frontin’ for said women) tend to come out of the woodwork to hate, feeding into the stereotype that women can’t let other women shine.  Someone even said Nicki Minaj needs to give Li’l Kim her style back…okay, if that’s the case, then Li’l Kim should have given Christopher Wallace that whole book of rhymes back.  And Li’l Kim can also give Donatella Versace her look back, but that’s another story for another time. In Keys’ case, the “I’m going to go at the top rapper in the game to make a name for myself” schtick is just as much of a gimmick as Nicki Minaj’s ass and I doubt it will work.  Mediocrity is sad.

There’s nothing new under the sun and you’re bound to see some of the same gimmicks used, but it’s a business.  As many struggling artists can agree, “respect” doesn’t pay any bills and certainly doesn’t move units.  To put it simply, there are rappers who thrive on “keep it real” and feel like image is not important.  They will forever be underground because they don’t understand the business…which is fine, just don’t complain about it, since that’s the direction you decided to go in of your own accord.  There’s more to the business of hip-hop than putting together a decent 16…mastering the business is a whole other animal and there are aspects one might consider “fake” or whatever, but if you feel that way, the business side (and being successful) probably just ain’t for you.

Continue Reading

Think B.I.G.: The Notorious XX Project by wait what

 

It feels like it’s been ages since Christopher Wallace left us, yet his influence is still very prevalent in hip-hop and the world at large.  Most recently, we’ve heard his voice on the (arguably wack) Biggie Duets project, seen him on the big screen in the film Notorious, and heard new life breathed into an old verse on the very recent “Angels” by Dirty Money.  Charlie Kubal, 24, (recording under the name “wait what”) capably adds a fresh perspective to your Biggie memories with his project, The Notorious XX, which mixes classic Notorious B.I.G. joints with the unique production style of wait what (Kubal).  From the intro, a mix of “Dead Wrong” with a surprisingly-contrasting (but it works), almost ethereal backdrop, you know you’re about to get into some next-level sh*t.  It’s different without being pretensious and it pays homage while adding in a completely fresh sound.  The Notorious XX adds and does not subtract, sparks nostalgia while inspiring one to spark other things while still being progressive, and delivers on all fronts. 

 “I’ve been a Biggie fan since I was eleven,” says Kubal, bringing up some of his own Biggie nostalgia.  “I saw the video for Mo Money Mo Problems, and was hooked. I had a tape recorder that I held up to the screen and hit record when they started the video, so the first couple hundred times I heard the track it had the voiceover of Puffy at the golf tournament that they had in the video — I finally got the CD single, and had no idea before that that wasn’t actually part of the song”.  Kubal is from San Francisco originally and attended Columbia, where he moonlighted producing and recording hip-hop.  He’s currently inspired by a wide range of music from underground hip-hop to indie rock.  

For your downloading pleasure and to learn more about wait what, visit waitwhatmusic.com and become a fan of wait what on Facebook here.

the notorious xx by wait what

 

Continue Reading