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Combat Jack: A Legacy Of Journalistic Excellence

Yesterday (December 21) the world was shocked to hear of the untimely passing of one of the culture’s most prominent…

Yesterday (December 21) the world was shocked to hear of the untimely passing of one of the culture’s most prominent and crucial historians, Reggie Osse, better known as Combat Jack. His death came just over two months after it was announced that he was diagnosed with colon cancer — a deadly disease that claimed the lives of 50,260 Americans in 2017 alone (with an additional 135,430 Americans diagnosed this year).

Starting his career as a legal intern for the storied Def Jam Recordings in 1989, he spent the 90s (up until 2004) as a music attorney, most notably working with Roc-A-Fella Records (among MANY others). He later spent time as the managing editor of The Source Magazine and lent pen game to some (major) blogs — including his own. It was his podcast though, The Combat Jack Show, that ultimately solidified his place within the culture and helped to pave the lane to brand new industry that has since seen a new wave of strong voices.

The in-depth interviews that Reggie was able to get on his show, coupled with his well-spoken demeanor and incredible microfiche of Hip Hop knowledge allowed him to — since launching the show in 2010 — create a rich archive of stories. These have effectively helped to fill in many gaps in golden era happenings while digging into more contemporary artists and brands pushing the culture forward.

We’ve since become acclimatized to a number of (new) staples in the Hip Hop storytelling game, such as DJ EFN and N.O.R.E’s Drink Champs (currently airing on Revolt). Reggie, though, set the blueprint.

The stories were crazy. D-Nice described to Reggie in astonishing detail the events that led to the shooting (and death) of DJ Scott La Rock. John Forte told the story of his rise alongside the Fugees — and eventual downfall after a massive drug bust. Ice-T gave an excellent first-hand account of how gangsta-rap developed organically in 1980s LA. That, of course, is on top of more guests like J.Cole and Big Krit. The show’s seven-year run built up an incredible library that will forever teach and inspire a new generation of both fans and fresh journalistic voices.

From the success of The Combat Jack Show, he built an empire, Loud Speakers Network which includes other notable shows like The Brilliant Idiots with Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew Schulz, and (of course) Tax Season with the notorious Tax Stone. His roster boasts 1.2 million listens per month and regular appearances on Apple’s Top Podcast Charts.

This year, he had been riding particularly high after possibly his greatest body of work, Mogul, which was the incredibly detailed life and times of iconic music executive Chris Lighty — as told by the people that knew him best. Touching on topics such as mental health and domestic abuse, it unbiasedly traversed the good, bad, and ugly in the music industry, while walking listeners through digestible chapters in the life of a man who profoundly steered the most glorious and arguably essential years in the growth of the culture.

It was, without question, one of the best listening experiences I’ve personally had in many years.

As Hip Hop is getting older, we’re increasingly being reminded of our mortality. Earlier this year, I had to (sadly) write about the death of Jay “Icepick” Jackson, a producer and A&R who was instrumental in the Ruff Ryders movement, who passed away from prostate cancer. According to Swizz Beatz, who is the Godfather of Jay’s son, his final request was that men are made aware of how important it is to see the doctor and check up on their health.

Perhaps — like Jay — Reggie can also serve as a reminder that we need to keep a close eye on our health. Scarily enough, 1 in 21 men are at risk of developing colon cancer. If caught  early, about 92% people with stage I colon cancer are given relative 5-year survival rate.

He will forever serve as the benchmark for Hip Hop journalism that all of us in the game should aspire to achieve. As well, he exuded a level of love and detail that readers and listeners should demand. Reggie’s spirit is a tremendous loss for the culture — he leaves behind four children, many (many) friends and a legacy of fantastic content. Our condolences to all those personally affected by his loss.

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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World Premiere: Bhadwaiz Drops New Single “My Wave”

“When people hear this for the first time, I want them to take notice of what I’m trying to do and what lane I’m in.”

Ohio-based rapper Bhadwaiz likens himself as someone who brings hope to those around him; a shining example that following your dreams can pay off. “All I really wanna do is ride my wave,” he says confidently. Having generated some buzz on the Ohio scene for a minute, his first release of 2018, “My Wave,” is poised to take him to the next level.

“Straight to the point, I want this song to be the anthem for people who want to do their own thing, their way—and without any doubt,” he says. “This song is a mixture of contemporary and traditional hip-hop. When I say that, I mean the production is similar to what you hear today, but the lyrics are what makes the track stand out.”

“When people hear this for the first time, I want them to take notice of what I’m trying to do and what lane I’m in,” he continues. “I want people to appreciate this track in all aspects, and I know they will. I’m very confident if done right; it will be my breakout track, and I can’t wait for what’s in store after this.“

“My Wave” by Bhadwaiz will be available for purchase through iTunes — or whatever streaming network floats your boat. Check out the exclusive premiere, below.

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Kash Doll Drops New Mixtape ‘Brat Mail’

Detroit native Kash Doll has decided to surprise her fans with a special delivery on her birthday. The rapper releases…

Detroit native Kash Doll has decided to surprise her fans with a special delivery on her birthday. The rapper releases new mixtape, Brat Mail.

Kash started taking music seriously while working in the strip club as an exotic dancer. “I never really danced, Kash Doll tells The Fader. “I used to walk across the stage rapping songs, and they used to just throw me all the money.” She started gaining a buzz from her well-received single covering AV’s “Run Me My Money” and her 2015 mixtape, Keisha vs. Kash Doll. The next year, Drake slid in her DM to ask if she would like to perform at his Detroit stop on his Summer Sixteen tour. And Of course, she said yes. Her 2017 smash hit, “For Everybody” is one of my favorite tracks by the rapper. Inspired by Hype Williams’ film, Belly, Kash raps from a side chick and wife’s point of view which racked up over 10 million views via Youtube.

Kash Doll Drops New Mixtape 'Brat Mail'

The nine-track project features guest appearances from Natasha Mosley and Scrilla. Known for making boss moves and flaunting it in her lyrics, Kash reminds us why she’s up next up in the game. “My neck froze, it’s all ice/Put a ring on it, and name it Mr. Nice/His credit score 800, call him Mr. Right,” she raps on “Dancin.”

Her fans, which she calls “Bratz” couldn’t be more thrilled about new music by Kash.

“Today is not only special because of my birthday, but it’s the day my father passed,” says Kash Doll. “Brat Mail is a collection of songs I’ve teased on my socials that my Bratz have been waiting for.

Listen to Brat Mail below.

“For Everybody” video.

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Manny P Makes Debut With Single/Video “Facts” [Interview]

Manny P is an artist to put on your watchlist for the coming months. In the meantime, check out his latest visual, “Facts.”

Rapper Manny P regards himself as molded by the culture of the world, having lived in Los Angeles, New Jersey, Vermont, London, and currently, the Mecca, New York City. “Music has always been apart of my life … since before I was born,” the Mexican rapper tells AAHH. “My mom did a lot of musical theatre back then, so [I] was backstage immersed in all that while still in the womb.

Currently working on his debut album, Manny has been recording music since High School. “My sound kinda goes anywhere from really abstract, highly personal, to turn up raps,” he says. “I don’t stick to one type of beat/sound. One minute I’m on a dark ass lofi beat rapping the whole shit in a real monotone voice, and the next I’m loud and expressive over something more up-tempo.”

“Different beats give me different energies … they put me in different places in my head,” he continues. “All the pieces come together [though] to make up the full picture.”

Manny cites Pro Era head honcho Joey Bada$$ as the reason He started rapping seriously. “I was chilling with some homies real late one school night, and one of them had thrown on ‘Suspect’ from his first mixtape 1999,” he notes. “I penned my first shit to that beat. The verse still sits at the top of my google doc … like 50 pages ago. Through him I learned about pro era, then beast coast, and all that spiritual third eye indigo shit – I used to be on that.”

He recently dropped his official debut single on all streaming services and doesn’t plan on slowing his pace going forward. “I’m working on a lot of music, getting a live set together so I can start doing some more shows, and eventually I’ll have an album,” he says.

Manny P is an artist to put on your watchlist for the coming months. In the meantime, check out his latest visual, “Facts,” a colourfully trippy, and engaging visual feast to accompany the must-bump single. Manny has a clear delivery, and some surprisingly focused bars for new artist. The instrumental has a soulful undertone, dripping with a late 90s southern tinge that seems to get more infectious with each listen.

Add this joint to your playlists!


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Mixtape Review: Logic – Bobby Tarantino II

Logic has become a superstar in the two years since his last mixtape, and he wants to celebrate. I think you should join him.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Bruce Wayne and Batman. Logic and Bobby Tarantino. To establish an alter ego is no easy task, and the Maryland rapper has done just that with Bobby Tarantino II. The (somewhat) surprise mixtape is the sequel to the well-received project Logic dropped in the summer of 2016, which gave rise to fan favorites such as “Flexicution” and “The Jam.” This time around, Logic did not feel compelled to drag out the hype; he dropped the three singles, which we recently discussed on the site, over the course of a week.

In some respects, the new effort is similar to its predecessor: a tight tracklist, an abundance of bangers, and a self-congratulatory sentiment. Whereas Everybody gave us the super deep, this right here is just the jam. However, despite the isolationist spirit expressed throughout the 12 tracks (‘I don’t trust nobody/Put my homies on the payroll’), Bobby Tarantino II is more collaborative than the original. On “Indica Badu,” laidback yet anthemic, Logic and Wiz Khalifa share their love for pot over a gorgeous instrumental and an Erykah Badu sample. Wiz kills it on his guest verse and Logic kicks it up to a rare falsetto on the hook. 2 Chainz comes through with a verse on “State of Emergency,” a hook-less track with production from DJ Khalil, Tariq Beats, and Vontae Thomas. The synth-heavy instrumental is alien, unsettling, and mesmerizing. “Wassup” features long-time friend Big Sean; although it bangs, it feels a bit monotonous after ten tracks with similar lyrical content.

Critics have long claimed that Logic borrows too much from his contemporaries, and there is no doubt that these accusations will emerge on the internet this week. The pre-chorus on “BoomTrap Protocol,” a densely layered and beautifully assembled track, screams Travis Scott. I have no idea who 6ix sampled on this song, but it sounds dope. The Rodeo rapper and producer clearly influenced “Wizard of Oz” as well. Don’t get me wrong – this track bumps. However, one cannot ignore the melodic use of autotune and Scott’s signature ‘yeah! yeah!’ ad-lib. Finally, as much as I dig it, the beat on “Yuck” immediately brings to mind Drake’s “10 Bands.”

Perhaps the most admirable characteristic of Bobby Tarantino II is the sonic diversity. “Midnight,” a two-part track courtesy of 6ix and Frank Dukes, is uncharted territory for Logic. The first half is a melodic ode to Logic’s resistance of the club lifestyle in which so many of his contemporaries indulge. After the beat switch, Logic puts together another super sticky hook and drops a killer verse dense with clever similes. Then, on “Warm It Up,” he does a complete 180 and throws it back to the sound of his Young Sinatra days. Co-written by Nas, this braggadocious track rides a strong old-school vibe and a banger of a drum beat. It’s a dynamic cut: Logic goes hard on the verses and dials it way back on the hook. “Contra,” despite the trendier beat, brings a similar sentiment. The pre-chorus is catchy as hell and Logic pushes the envelope on the verses with some impressive rhyme schemes.

The introductory skit featuring Rick and Morty establishes a distinction between “album Logic” and “mixtape Logic.” I tend to agree. If you’re looking for the introspective, vulnerable, and critical tone of Everybody, this is not the mixtape for you. And that’s okay. Logic has previously stated that he drops these tapes to hold his fans over until the next album. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fun, sonically diverse project full of banger beats and braggadocious bars, you’re going to enjoy Bobby Tarantino II. Logic has become a superstar in the two years since his last mixtape, and he wants to celebrate. I think you should join him.

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