Editorial, Main, Reviews

Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Dre scrapped Detox. He’s a mad scientist of epic proportions, tinkering, toying,…

It should come as no surprise that Dr. Dre scrapped Detox. He’s a mad scientist of epic proportions, tinkering, toying, and tweaking every last sound of a recording. As a fan, it’s easy to find frustration in his quest for mastery. After all, Detox was hip-hop’s equivalent to Guns and Roses’ Chinese Democracy; an ultra-hyped studio beast whose reputation generated more rumored hype than actual results.

Enter Straight Outta Compton, the F. Gary Gray-helmed biopic tracing the origins of N.W.A. and the west coast explosion fueled partly by Dre’s carefully tuned ear. That new film became a likely muse for Compton: A Soundtrack, Dre’s third studio album, and first of new material in 16 years.

Compton is the perfect record to surface in the midst of this phony Drake/Meek beef. In Dre, you have one of hip-hop’s most important creators, yet he’s never been hailed as one of the games most gifted MC’s. Like his previous efforts, he’s created this record collaboratively with new talent (King Mez & Justus) and old friends (Kendrick, Game, Snoop, Eminem) without the wasted breath of the ghostwriter discussion. Dre has always worked with writers in order to fine tune his craft, and nothing has changed here leading to near perfect moments throughout Compton: A Soundtrack. Let us not forget that Michael only wrote four songs on Thriller. Get over it.

Obviously Dre isn’t comfortable alone. Compton feels more like a party than a proper solo release. Where The Chronic was a stage for Snoop’s blistering genius, and 2001 was clearly the Eminem show, Compton is a family gathering that plays like a scene from Entourage high in the Hollywood hills; complete with an all-star cast, high security, Hennessy and a whole gang of weed.

This record is a testament to Dre’s cinematic style. We’re riding shotgun, and it’s a whirlwind. Guests come and go including Xzibit, Jon Connor, Ice Cube, and Kendrick Lamar; all taking turns painting their take on the sun-drenched realities of Compton, California. As much as Dre aimed for a snapshot of present day Compton, we’re left with the sort of California seen through million dollar lenses. That studio polish doesn’t tarnish a second of the album; instead, it serves as a vehicle to showcase the grandeur of Dre’s final hurrah.

Compton never once threatens to waterboard us with nostalgia. The production is crisp and current, ranging from the frantic opener, “Talk About It”, to the Kendrick and Justus assisted new classic “Deep Water”, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. Standout verses come courtesy of Jon Connor (please stop sleeping on this man), Snoop on the gritty “One Shot One Kill”, and The Game on “Just Another Day”.

Billionaire businessman, beat genius, west coast ambassador… Call him what you want. Just don’t discredit his ability to take nearly twenty years between releases before unleashing one of the most stylistically focused records of 2015. It’s jam-packed (almost to a flaw) with ideas, killer verses, and a handful of irresistible hooks begging you to remember this is the same man who brought you some of hip-hop’s most recognizable left coast sounds. If Compton is Dre’s swan song, it’s a tremendous third act executed with legendary precision.

My name is J.D, the music fanatic, writer, blogger, and educator. I've been in love with hip hop since Bishop got too close to the ledge. If it moves me, I'll cover it. I've written an unpublished novel, created Shiny Glass Houses, and had my work featured on the Bloglin for Mishka NYC. I'm lurking in the shadows on twitter @ThexGlassxHouse. Read. Comment. Get money.
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Heavy Hitters’ DJ Flee is About to Takeover

28-year-old DJ Flee, also known as Bodega Flee, is one of the hottest new tastemakers in Hip Hop. The Uptown…

28-year-old DJ Flee, also known as Bodega Flee, is one of the hottest new tastemakers in Hip Hop. The Uptown New York Dominican is a lustrious member of the legendary Hip Hop faction, The Heavy Hitters (DJ Enuff, Tony Tone). The former Basketball player made a name for himself in the city with his signature Uptown sound and irreparable tricks on the turntables.

Discovered by the same legends responsible for presenting the world to today’s legends from across the U.S. like DJ Felli Fel, Bootleg Kev, and Peter Parker. Flee has quickly become one of the most notable faces of the brand with his fast-growing fanbase and credible ear for breaking the undeniable next superstars to the East Coast.

Through his journey in radio, Flee has had the opportunity to discover plenty of new genres of Hip Hop that would help transform his style. Experimenting with trendy genres like Dirty South and Gangsta bouncing West Coast with a blend of his Dominican roots.

In Boston, Miami, Orlando, and New York, Flee is the most sought-after radio DJ in the ever-changing broadcast market. Keeling the prestigious pride and name of the Heavy Hitters brightly lit outside of the East Coast. Artists like Zoey Dollaz can credible a large amount of their popularity to DJ Flee’s exposure.

Hard work, dedication, experience has earned DJ Flee the tastemaking position he firmly sits in within today’s Hip Hop. Ready to transition himself into superstar status, the promising DJ continues to develop a signature style that infusion the old school traditions and new school evolution to the East Coast. Heatseeking, DJ Flee is easily becoming one of the biggest DJs in Hip Hop today, honestly, it’s only a matter of time before he is the biggest DJ in today’s Hip Hop. So stay tuned.

DJ Flee’s journey continues on, follow the Heavy Hitter sound today via Instagram and Twitter.

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@KorleonKOJ – “Motion”

Today RichBoy Ent. CEO and founder Korleon aka “The King of Jackson (K.O.J).” releases his new song, “Motion,” debuting the new track with a music video on YouTube.  Released just…

Today RichBoy Ent. CEO and founder Korleon aka “The King of Jackson (K.O.J).” releases his new song, “Motion,” debuting the new track with a music video on YouTube.  Released just in time for Memorial Day, the highly anticipated music video for “Motion” precludes a host of releases by the ATL veteran by way of Jackson, Mississippi. Hoping to continue the momentum, Korleon will drop his mixtape The Four in the coming weeks, which will be followed up by Strictly 4 My Sippers this Summer.

Basically I’m just tappin in with the ladies. They rock with me and I rock with them equally so I felt I needed to satisfy my female fan base and cater to them. I wanted to create something that they could vibe to and something where I remained true to myself,” Korleon K.O.J. explained. “I feel like it’s a way better look for me to be with 7 different women in all shades and colors around the city, rather than me rolling around with 20 of my ni**as.”

Within the last two years Korleon launched a new studio in Atlanta called Walker St. 2.0 where his RichBoy Ent. team has been building a movement. To date Korleon and his team have recorded a host of artists including multi-platinum artist Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd, Mase, Jose Guapo, Big Bank Black and of course D4L’s Fabo.

“We opened back up the studio in March of 2017, we’ve had a lot of indies, superstars and its just been a blessing, I’m just glad that we have been able to make it happen. Its been a whole host of people to record there over the past few years,” Korleon said of his studio. “Of course me and Fabo been working on music together and I got The Four project that will preclude the Strictly 4 My Sippers project. I got the visual coming for Colorado soon and I got some stuff coming up with DJ Twin in the immediate future sometime in July.”

K.O.J. is often seen touring alongside and has frequently collaborated with on tracks with Fabo, who he says is his brother and day 1.

“Fabo my brother, Giksquad! Those my brothers. We been down since day one and we gonna be down forever, that’s my brother. He stays booked out and if you go through the archives, I’m at most shows, so it’s really just mores what’s continuing to go on. We were at Rolling Loud and everything, he stays booked.”

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#IndieSpotlight: Major D-Star Drops Off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way” Visual

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to…

Gotta love when an artist you like drop a project you’re feeling, and proceeds to give a visual identity to the records you were feeling the most. That’s the case for AAHH mainstay Major D-Star; after releasing his long-awaited Trap Star  mixtape back in February, he is dropping off “Stack Pray & Stay Out The Way,” a song I personally described as an illustration of his immense focus on his “current hustle of choice, music.”

RECENT: Major D-Star Drops “Trap Star” Mixtape

The video, like his others, delivers on quality. Directed by Wally Woo, with a multitude of scenery interspersed around a loose storyline of himself working as a mechanic — which he playfully describes as his way of “stacking and staying out the way” in the into — it gives ample life to one of his project’s most infectious earworms. If you have yet to bump his full mixtape, go ahead and click here; either way, press play on this catchy little banger, below.

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#IndieSpotlight: Silas Luster’s “W.A.V.” Is A Slice Of Subversive Goodness

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my…

Provincetown, Massachusetts, MC Silas Luster released a brand new EP W.A.V. on March 29th that I’ve meant to share my thoughts on, but to be honest, it was a dense listen. Not in an unapproachable way, mind you. Instead, it’s like an onion made of many, discussion worthy layers, painted atop lush soundscapes that are (at points) reminiscent of OG EL-P production from the early Def Juxx days.

RELEVANT: Getting To Know Provincetown Artist Silas Luster

 
The EP kicks off with “Sion,” which starts with his wordy flow over a head-nodding instrumental that switches up halfway through, into this bongo drum pattern over which he drops the strongest verse easily on the project; I’d love to see it live. “Diewittit” is another song that I found myself revisiting over and over. His cadence and rhyme schemes at times have this loose appeal that reminds me of the Freestyle Fellowship-esque aura that dominated college radio in the 90s.

 
He speaks a lot about his journey, and also a lot of spiritual topics — from the universe to putting meditation over medicine. It’s a lot to unpack, in a good way. You can hear the spoken word elements that seem to be the backbone of his bars — check the acapella interlude “What’s Love?” as a great example of what I mean.

The almost haunting chorus on “O.S.H.N” wasn’t necessarily jarring but did set the song apart as a black sheep of the EP. Not that it’s a bad song — it’s one of the strongest tracks — but, it’s just a different vibe that stuck out to me.

Overall, I dig this EP a lot. If you find yourself a little inundated with the sea of Lil rappers, and the endless sea of meh that often dominates the mainstream consciousness, Silas offers up a slice of subversive Hip Hop. It’s music crafted to both cathartically get things off of his chest and also get your thinking — depending on your aptitude on some of his topics, maybe even get you googling and reading shit.

He is currently touring throughout New England and the Tri-State. Check the schedule.

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RIP Sean Price

I hate writing tribute or "memorial" pieces – and, unfortunately, this is the second one I've written in the past...

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