interview

Jamo Gang Have Big Plans For 2018

The trio have a large-scale tour and LP in store for this year!

It was back in early 2017 when rhymer El Gant, West-Coast vet Ras Kass, and Brown Bag All-Stars alumni J57 announced they were forming a super-group. In a video that featured the iconic DJ Premier dropping a heavy co-sign, Jamo Gang announced an upcoming project; a few singles and live footage followed.

That was over a year ago, and most fans had started to come to terms with the possibility that this collaborative project, like that of Liknuts, may never see the light of day.

 
Then, just last month, the trio resurfaced with new singles “All Eyes On Us” and “The Alter.” On January 30, their official EP finally hit the net.

“We were ready to release a full album back when we announced the group,” J57 tells AAHH. “We then developed a new plan to create a ton of [new] songs and release an EP followed by the LP in 2018.”

“The EP consists of songs that were intended for the first album, except for ‘Welcome to the Golden Era,’” he continues. “That was one of the new ones that were going to be on the LP, but it made so much sense to be on the EP … so that’s where it lives now.”

 
The trio initially met up while working on some songs in J57’s Brooklyn studio back in late 2015.  “We decided to form a group once we realized how incredible the songs were turning out,” El Gant recalls. “Also, ‪DJ Premier‬ said that we should make this group a priority; we agreed.”

With the EP finally out in the world, they are turning their sights on a tour and finishing the impending LP. “The LP is 98% finished,” J57 reveals. “We might add one more track, but we have a lot of songs right now for it. We’ll probably just end up selecting which ones will make the LP and whittle it down to a strong 12, maybe 14.”

“We are going to be doing a full US tour, Canadian tour, European tour and an Australian tour, all in 2018.”

The most immediately captivating aspect of the group is their undeniable chemistry, which shines through both on and off the record. “It’s interesting because on the one hand I’m working with someone who has become a very good friend over the years, so it’s very natural,” El Gant says of Ras Kass, “but on the other hand sometimes I look over and think to myself “That’s F&%king Ras Kass! I have always been a HUGE fan of his work, so it’s an honor not only to be working with him but the fact he takes my artistry and input very seriously.”

Aside from mutual respect Gant, Ras Kass is a big fan J57’s production. “I’m a big fan of things being sonic, and J57 embodies that,” he says.

 
As Ras Kass explains, J’s beats do half the work. “It’s his drums that first struck my attention, but then it was these gigantic soundscapes he presented which are very inspirational to me [as an artist]. Very often the mood alone of J’s beats tell the story that we as the MCs then accentuate.”

The question on my mind — after hearing a top-secret song from the EP’s upcoming vinyl release (via J57 himself) — is when is the LP dropping. “The LP is going to be released in fall 2018 for sure,” J57 says.

If you haven’t bumped the EP, do so immediately.


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
interview

Vast Aire Of Cannibal Ox & Producer COSMIQ Prepare To Drop “AIREPLANE”

It’s been three years since the release of Blade Of Ronin and Vast and COSMIQ are on the verge of releasing a new collaborative effort.

Back in 2001, Vast Aire and Vordul Mega — collectively known as Cannibal Ox — released their debut album, The Cold Vein, which was (also) the first release from the legendary underground label Definitive Jux. Over production by label founder (and Company Flow off-shoot) El-P, the duo had incredible chemistry that propelled the album into Hip Hop reverence. In fact, it still finds itself on many lists of best post-millennium albums.

 

However, it wouldn’t be until 2015 — 14 years removed — that they returned with a fresh (yet familiar) sound, courtesy of new lead producer Bill Cosmiq. This was due to a rift between Vast and El-P, a rumored (and later debunked) break-up due to Mega’s alleged clinical depression, solo endeavors, and other factors, that kept them working on everything but a sophomore release.

As Vast explains to AAHH, Bill Cosmiq, now just going by COSMIQ, was close with one of his childhood friends. When they connected later in life, their creative connection was undeniable. The rest is, well, history.

It’s been three years since the release of Blade Of Ronin and Vast and COSMIQ are on the verge of releasing a new collaborative effort entitled AIREPLANE. As fans of the incredibly potent wordsmith have come to expect, it promises to be conceptual, cinematic, and a whole lot of other adjectives that all point to amazing.

“It has multiple layers to it,” Vast explains to AAHH. “The whole theme of this album is layers, levels, dimensions, plateaus, corridors, rooms, closets, drawers … this is the micro to the macro; this is going from a cell to a giant nebulous star.”

“We’re gonna start at the base chamber of the pyramid, and at the end of the album we’re gonna end up at the gold cap, and you’re gonna hear this sonically,” he says. “This is not just something we’re claiming. We’re designing the album to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s going to draw you towards an apex … a zenith, if you will.”

“I think the analogy of the airplane was the perfect way for us to describe that journey that we’re trying to take people through,” COSMIQ adds. “Every track is like we’re taking you to a different place; we want the listener to sit back and listen to the whole process in its entirety. It’s not just a series of singles.”

As Vast explains, the project does have singles, but they serve as mini-movie trailers. “In a trailer, you’ve got the middle, you’ve got the end, you’ve got the beginning. You don’t know what you’re looking at in a trailer. So by us showing you “Dark Metropolis,” which we released a few weeks back, and also our current world premiere of “Airebender,” it’s just a peek. It’s a nice, beautiful peek.”

This is some of the greatest music that I’ve ever made, and the reoccurring theme is the struggle for perfection.
—Vast Aire

“Digest the metaphor,” Vast continues. “Some people, their ears bother them on the airplane at different altitudes. Some people can’t hold they lunch. In the end, though, you’re gonna love your journey, you’re gonna love your destination, and when you land, everyone’s gonna be clapping.”

16 years after The Cold Vein, Vast notes that he stills feels pressure when putting together a project. “If we don’t have the pressure, then something’s wrong. We don’t love it anymore,” he explains. “We need the pressure. That’s how you know we care about what we do.”

Before AIREPLANE drops, Vast has an EP planned entitled AIREPORT. “The EP is on a similar wavelength, but it’s not all COSMIQ,” he says. “COSMIQ will be on it, and he’ll be helping to guide it, but it’s not gonna be all him. I’m gonna have guest producers, and there’s gonna be more interaction with different MCs.”

“I would look at it as AIREPORT is just a series of dope new records from IGC, and all the people connected to IGC,” COSMIQ adds. “Just giving fans a window into what we’ve been working on.”

Having entered the game back in the late 90s, Vast — and COSMIQ — are optimistic about how far we’ve come, unlike some of their contemporaries. “I think we’re in a great time,” says Vast. “I think hip-hop is beautiful, I think hip-hop is great, and I think hip-hop is finally figuring out how infinite it is.”

“We’re figuring it out right now, that you can’t limit us. We finally have fifty-year-old MCs. It took a while to get there,” he continues. “We have MCs that are about to knock on the door of 60. We have DJs that are 60. So pay attention. If Mick Jagger can run around the stage half naked at 70, we gotta allow KRS-One to do that.”

“You can find whatever it is that you enjoy,“ COSMIQ says. “Some people have been catapulted to the top of the game with the style that, back in the day, I don’t think the masses would’ve been ready for. Technology democratized the way we listen to music, and it isn’t just one DJ that’s telling you what you can listen to or only four [radio] stations.”

The million dollar question is, will there be another Cannibal Ox album? “Of course,” says Vast Aire. “We’re wrapped up in this project, but that’s definitively on the horizon.”

AIREPORT and AIREPLANE are both dropping soon.

We had Stevie Wonder, and we had Whitney Houston, Prince, Marvin Gaye, the list goes on. We had these people, so we’re trying to leave something for the next generation. — Vast Aire

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Director Myster DL Chats About His New Cypress Hill Documentary

Myster DL, rapper and trusted video director who has an excellent portfolio of over 250 videos with acts like Redman,…

Myster DL, rapper and trusted video director who has an excellent portfolio of over 250 videos with acts like Redman, Sean Price, Styles P, Chuck D, Cormega, and more, recently dropped a new documentary about Cypress Hill, a group he fondly credits for helping him to make Hip Hop himself.

The Haunted Hill Documentary was filmed in one night in Boston, Massachusetts, at the legendary House of Blues. “I worked on the edit for a few days and sent a few drafts over to the guys and management,” DL tells AAHH. “They do a three-day tour annually—and I usually catch a couple of those shows.”

“Earlier this year I had released a video for Cypress Hill’s Eric Bobo, and we are always planning our next project,” he continues. “We are in the process of possibly doing a few music videos for the band.”

As DL explains, he’s been aquatinted with the iconic group for over a decade. “I’ve known B-Real the longest; I met him in roughly 2004 while living—and DJing—in Miami. I made an edited version of his Gunslinger Mixtape and sent it to him via AOL instant messenger. He was grateful and said if I ever needed anything to contact him.”

At first, DL didn’t take the open invitation seriously. “I just thought this was something people say and took a chance and asked him for a verse,” he recalls. “Within two hours I had an email and acappella. I put the verse on my iPod Nano and walked around listening to it for three weeks. We did a song together in 2004, and that blossomed into a cool relationship with the whole crew.”

“I have a song with B Real, Sticky Fingaz, Rockness Monsta and Kool G Rap that will premier on the soundtrack of my next film,” DL says proudly. “Cypress Hill inspired me to make music which eventually turned into a successful film career, so its a trip to even know them.”

According to DL, this is his most significant project to date. “It’s my first documentary film; however I do have a series of short documentaries called “Rewind The Scenes” where I look back at the making of some of my biggest music videos,” he explains.

The Haunted Hill Documentary is a must-watch for any Cypress fan; check it out below.

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Sam Krow Is Ready For 2018 [Interview]

Sam Krow a.k.a. Hunnit Block from Dade County, Florida (by way of Little Haiti), has been featured on our site…

Sam Krow a.k.a. Hunnit Block from Dade County, Florida (by way of Little Haiti), has been featured on our site in the past. His single “Hunnit” featuring Zoey Dollaz—who is having serious run right now—and his Black On Black mixtape put him on the map within his local scene, and his upcoming EP Zoe Boy promises to open him up to the world.

“[My sound] is down south blended with the heartbeat of the islands,” he tells AAHH. “My mother was my inspiration. Before she died we listened to music together; then, when she died I used the memory of my mom as my pain reliever—my tranquility place. My anger releaser,” he continues. “That’s when I was motivated to do what I wanted to do in life…to make my mom proud.”

“My influence was the black stars in my neighborhood,” he told us, noting he was musically fuelled by Biggie, Pac, Bob Marley, Michel Martelly, Wyclef and the Fugees, Trick, Uncle Luke, and MMG capo Rick Ross.

He has a lot to look forward to, especially following the success of “Hunnit” which peaked at 83 on the national DRT charts—and number 8 the indie DRT chart. “[My goal is] to build a legacy, not only for my children but my people,” he says confidently. With a freshman album on deck for 2018 and a major tour in the works, it’s only a matter of time before Sam’s name is mentioned in larger industry circles.

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Live Interview with Rapper Ish Williams BTS at Soultronica Music Fest

Ish Williams is a South Jersey rapper bringing his own resonance to hip-hop. With inspired drive from Kid Cudi, Ish Williams…

Ish Williams is a South Jersey rapper bringing his own resonance to hip-hop. With inspired drive from Kid Cudi, Ish Williams speaks of personal issues in most of the songs that he creates. He brings an energy that has Jersey written all over. With already gaining attention from huge platforms like Vibe, The Source, HypeFresh Magazine, Genius, ItsBizKit, and Hot New Hip-Hop, to say the least, Ish Williams shows his consistency and perseverance.

Live Interview with Rapper Ish Williams BTS at Soultronica Music Fest

While backstage at the Soultronica Music Fest in Philly, I caught up with Ish Williams to finally get to know him in person, and discuss the purpose of Soultronica–mental health awareness. He has a dope solo project out right now ‘Sonia’s Son’ and a collective project “W.A.W.A” with some other notable names like Mir Fontaine, available everywhere now. Watch now

Make sure you follow him by clicking the links below

Live Interview with Rapper Ish Williams BTS at Soultronica Music Fest
Live Interview with Rapper Ish Williams BTS at Soultronica Music Fest

Live Interview with Rapper Ish Williams BTS at Soultronica Music Fest

Live Interview with Rapper Ish Williams BTS at Soultronica Music Fest

 

 

 

 

 

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Vast Aire Of Cannibal Ox & Producer COSMIQ Prepare To Drop “AIREPLANE”

It’s been three years since the release of Blade Of Ronin and Vast and COSMIQ are on the verge of...

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