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Constant Deviants: Avant Garde

A career in the music industry can go one of two ways: easy or hard. Either you have a Drake…

A career in the music industry can go one of two ways: easy or hard. Either you have a Drake “struggle” or you really live that life – and that means every sense of the word. Enter Constant Deviants, the Baltimore duo of M.I. and DJ/Producer CUTT, who have definitely seen ups and downs on the path to their latest release, Avant Garde, currently available on their own imprint SIX2SIX. Back in 2000, M.I. signed a solo deal with Arista Records, with Cutt aiding in production while solidifying his career as a DJ and engineer. Unfortunately a few snags led the duo to return to the drawing board and ultimately return to their roots.

Constant Deviants: Avant GardeI had the pleasure of getting an advance copy of their 2nd full length LP, Avant Garde, and it was pleasure to listen to. Right from the title cut, the album sets the tone. It’s organic, rough, gritty, polished and reeks of experience. With CUTT handling all of the production himself, the album is coherent sonically, and really brings out the best in M.I., who’s bars shine over my fave joints on the project: M’s for Millennium, which is a clever spin on alphabet raps, I’m Still Up, which is my new late night anthem and It’s Like That, which features the album’s sole guest, Aye Wun. Another stand out was the track Breathing’ – a track that put me in the mindset of mid-nineties Beatnuts (production-wise). The album effortlessly carries the 90’s hip-hop aesthetic – right down to the record pops.

We recently had a chance to talk to the guys about their project, their new movie and more. Check the interview below:


Can you start by telling me how guys got involved in music?

M.I. – My whole family are musicians, so I grew up around music. My pops was a jazz musician. He played the trumpet , so I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree

CUTT – Same here. My father plays piano and guitar. We always had a piano in the house and a decent record collection. I started DJing when I was 11. I always wanted to be involved with music somehow.

How did Constant Deviants come together?

M.I.- We met at a mutual friend’s college. CUTT was djing a party and I got on the mic. By the end of the night we were in the studio working on a demo

Avant Garde is your fourth studio album, what’s different this time around?

M.I. – I would say that every album is different in essence, because the moment is different, but it’s still your classic Constant Deviants music. We did try to bridge the gap from old to new on this one

CUTT – With Avant Garde we had a specific direction we wanted to go in. Bringing the classic era sound into the present.

You guys have been busy lately – tell me about Swiss Banks.

M.I.- That’s an album I did wth our Swiss cousins SWC Records. Video director JPowell and I felt it would be a dope project to do a movie for, so it just kind of evolved. We’re actually working on our second movie this summer entitled Six to Six. Gotta be versatile.

How was that experience – are you planning any more films?

M.I. – I’m falling in love with making films – like I am with music at this point. I’m living a double life [laughs].

What are your thoughts on the current hip-hop scene?

M.I. – Hip hop is what it has always been. You have mainstream and underground. Me personally, I have respect for both and think it’s great for the culture. That’s what makes it “hip hop”.

CUTT – I have no problem with the current scene. Everything is not for everybody. I’m just glad there still is a scene. It gives us an opportunity to do what we do. 

What do you guys have coming up?

M.I. – We have another LP in the works entitled L&L. We’ll keep that a secret for now! I also have 2 solo projects in the works.

CUTT – Already started working on our new project. Also just wrapped up producing an album titled Groceries for extended Six2Six crew member Aye Wun – a dope MC from Queens, NY. He’s featured on the Avant Garde album track called It’s Like That.

Any last words or shout outs?

M.I. – Shouts to John at UrbanElite, shouts to Shareef Hakim at Black Fist Promotions, shouts to Set Rule at Six2Six Records and everyone involved thus far in helping us move forward. Shouts to people like yourself for the outlet and the opportunity for exposure. 

CUTT – Peace to all who support us.

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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Future Honors His Grandmother At FreeWishes Golden Wishes Gala

Over the weekend, multi-platinum recording artist and Atlanta-native Future paid respect to a very important piece of life, Family. At…

Over the weekend, multi-platinum recording artist and Atlanta-native Future paid respect to a very important piece of life, Family. At his FreeWishes Foundation hosted 8th annual Golden Wishes Gala honoring Metro Atlanta Seniors. More than 750 seniors dressed in their finest attire attended the annual Gala.

Seniors danced the night away to live jazz music provided by the Douglas Whatley Jr. Band and hits spun by DJ Bluue. The seniors enjoyed a luscious Thanksgiving styled dinner in the spectacular setting of the Ocean’s Ballroom. Seniors learned about Future’s FreeWishes foundation, their ongoing community events, and ways to be involved.

Guest speaker, Fulton County Commissioner Natalie Hall, spoke about the “future” she envisioned for Atlanta seniors. Future and his mother, FreeWishes Foundation co-founder, Stephanie Jester, presented a surprise community service award to Emma Jean Boyd, Future’s grandmother.

A final performance by the legendary Jazz and R&B vocalist, Jean Carne, wrapped up the warm and positive evening. Along with Freebandz, the event was sponsored by Jet One Charter, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Luxury Connections, Zaxby’s, Chick-Fil-A, JenCare and InTouch Properties.

Watch the recap now on YouTube.

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Track Seven Band Makes A Strong Reintroduction With “Memory Loss” Single

Today’s game is truly a never-ending cycle of here today and gone tomorrow. For Track Seven Band, haven’t released a…

Today’s game is truly a never-ending cycle of here today and gone tomorrow. For Track Seven Band, haven’t released a project since 2016’s The Try And The Fail, the uphill battle it seems is reigniting the flame within casual fans who may have moved on to the next one. It’s this overarching idea that guides Cost’s pen for their brand new single “Memory Loss.”

RELATED: #IndieSpotlight: Track Seven Band – The Try And The Fail

There is a lot to unpack with this single. Top-level, there is this flagrant (metaphorical) slap across the head — as though he’s screaming, “I’m still here, stupid.” Below the surface, Cost takes the opportunity to reiterate his position, introduces rumor inducing storylines, and takes a look back at his past.

In the first verse, he drops mention of having traveled around the world on the dime of a figure whom he chooses to keep anonymous; as he explains, this person gave him the motivation he needed to jumpstart his career, but has since “turned faces.” It’s in this act — he further notes that haters induce the same phenomenon — that he seems to have found the strength to thrive.

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The second verse begins by reiterating where he’s come from — noting that section 8 and financial aid were his life preservers in his darkest moments. He also notes that he’s still in debt (half of which he paid off with the money he made selling weed). All this isn’t done to glorify anything, but rather serve as motivation. It also hammers home the fact that he has been there and done that, too.

Perhaps in a way, he’s exuding the same motivation that he felt traveling the world.

Playing chess as opposed to checkers is a line that poignantly pops out. “Memory Loss” is a strong (re)introduction or merely business as usual — depending on your knowledge of the band. Either way, it’s drenched in that endearing sense of honesty and realness that made them a group I’ve returned to numerous times since first being introduced to their music.

It’s all about the long game, and — in the end — good music. Cost notes that he’s motivated by things that money can’t buy. That, quite often, is code for having something to lose on a deeper level. It’s in seeing an artist stick to their figurative guns without bending their ethics that true inspiration can be felt.

If you haven’t explored the past releases, do so … immediately.

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Akhil Sesh – “Amazing”

Akhil Sesh is back to debut a brand-new visual in the form of “Amazing.” It’s a slick record on which…

Akhil Sesh is back to debut a brand-new visual in the form of “Amazing.” It’s a slick record on which Akhil glides across the uptempo, percussion-driven production, displaying his knack for melodies and songwriting, as his lyrics come to life across the rooftops of the city, all adding up to one “Amazing” song and video.

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Jazz Regal – “Lifetime”

Jazz Regal is likely a new name to your radar, but he’ll surely catch your attention with his newest effort…

Jazz Regal - "Lifetime"

Jazz Regal is likely a new name to your radar, but he’ll surely catch your attention with his newest effort Lifetime. It’s a short but sweet project on which Jazz’s gritty tone and vocals lead the way for his hard-hitting, reflective rhymes, adding up for a well-crafted listen from start to finish. Give it a spin here, and look out for more from him soon!

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