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Mase Vs. Cam’ron: For The Culture

This past weekend gave 90s heads a reason to be excited; Harlem-legends Ma$e and Cam’ron went toe-to-toe is a full-on…

This past weekend gave 90s heads a reason to be excited; Harlem-legends Ma$e and Cam’ron went toe-to-toe is a full-on rap beef complete with vicious person jabs and insidious claims. But, was it all for the clicks? Their cordial agreeance to disagree and move forward via text (which Cam shared) seems to suggest it was all in good fun — or was it Ma$e being jabbed for far too long?

To appreciate the magnitude of the beef, it’s vital to understand the actual history these guys have; this wasn’t bullshit Twitter beef with a stranger.

Both Cam and [Murda] Ma$e were members of the often under-celebrated Harlem-based group Children Of The Corn, which included Herb McGruff, Cam’s cousin Bloodshed, and the late icon Big L. The group recorded roughly 30 tracks, but were largely derailed as a collective by the death of bloodshed and L. However, by the time that L was murdered in 1999, all the group’s members had signed solo-deals and ventured out on their own.

Ma$e was — without question — the most successful by the time 1998 rolled around. His debut, Harlem World, topped charts and to date has gone 4-times platinum. It was his label situation with Bad Boy that helped Cam link with Biggie Smalls, who consequently facilitated him inking a deal with  Lance “Un” Rivera “Un” Rivera. Ma$e also appeared on Cam’s first breakout single “Horse & Carriage,” and appeared in his visual for “357.”

Fast-forward to 1999, Ma$e retired from rapping to become a Christian pastor. The circumstances surrounding his departure from Harlem (and Hip Hop) were murky for years. The official story that we’ve come to accept is that Uptown-resident Baby Maine (cousin of incarcerated rapper Max B) ran Ma$e out of Harlem for having relations with his girl. It is captured in the song “Jealous Guy,” which Maine saw as extremely disrespectful. So whether or not he was fully committed, the “finding God” angle was a front of sorts.

Now, Cam and Ma$e go way back — even playing basketball together in High School, but Cam and the Dipset crew have openly talked about Ma$e for years. On wax, you can go back to Cam’s biggest album, Come With Me. He spits the following bars on “I Just Wanna” about Ma$e’s sudden departure: “I just want him to know/rock them jewels, flash that chrome/It’s all good, you can come back home if you want.”

That was the nicer acknowledgment. In fact, some of their public comments had been less than flattering; Cam was pretty loose on Instagram Live earlier this year, basically calling a spade a spade, eliciting a response from Ma$e.

Most recently, Cam dropped some pretty vicious bars on the opening verse of “It’s Killa” on The Program:

“Then I watched him play Pop Lotti against Baby Maine/ At this time I’m moving heroin in Maryland/ They both died, and this nigga turned reverand/ Had the hood hot, FBI and agents ’round/ We need a referee, shit, that shit a flagrant foul.”

That brings us to “The Omen,” and Cam’s (kind of disappointing) “Dinner Time.” The fans of us here at AAHH have concluded Ma$e was a clear winner, but — in all actuality — Hip Hop won.

In a week that also saw a new project from Fabolous and Jadakiss, NYC seems to be on a pretty nice run right now. Though neither of these artists is in any state that we could consider a prime, It had heads glued to the net in a fashion similar to the way heads were glued to Hot 97 awaiting a response record in the epic Nas and Jay-Z beef.

As a 30-something-year-old who got on to Children Of The Corn before these two dropped their other shit — I believe it was on a Stretch & Bobbito tape I copped as a kid — this battle was something special for me. I knew that the “dirt” they had on each other would be extremely deep, and as a whole, I wasn’t disappointed. I found myself saying “what a time to be alive” no less than 16 times in the past 48 hours.

While the preview for Cam’s response included mention of the fact The Program 2 is dropping January 1st (making this all seem like a commercial), I still loved it — for the culture. Ma$e is often written off as a corny rapper, but his shit when quadruple platinum. We all fucked with his music pretty heavy, is tbh Harlem World holds up 20 years later.

There is plenty of chatter centered on irrelevance, which is sad. These two came up in an era when shit was analog — no internet, no steams. Just straight up physical sales. Most newer (urban) artists will never know what it feels like sell four million full-length albums. Not singles, ALBUMS. I for one am happy that these cats are still out here. As for Ma$e, even if he fades back into obscurity, at least he can go out with his head a little higher than the last time he dipped.

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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#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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Garcia Vega – “Bruce Leroy”

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#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don’t Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an…

Mark Spratley is a name in the industry you certainly should get acquainted with. A master of many, creating an entity in so many different lanes within the industry from management, PR, writing, events, curation and much more. Within five years of the industry, Sprat has accomplished what takes many 20-30 years. The young 27-year-old mogul is creating an empire before our eyes, and it only seems to be getting more and more impressive. Why wouldn’t it?! From helping to bring artists such as Lud Foe, DDG, DaBaby, Smooky Margielaa, Albee Al, Sicko Mobb, Nikko Lafre and many more to the limelight, his resume is vast.

Take a look at our most recent interview with the Starting Five CEO as we discuss music, how to get in the industry, his journey and much more.

Make sure to follow Sprat on Twitter and IG @SpratFool

You’ve been in the music industry for only five years and have already created something massive. How did you do it and what is planned for the future?

Countless hours, grind, plotting and studying. I’ve learned, and LVL’d UP. That’s it. I knew if I put in the work, I would find a way. I go 3000% for whatever I do or whoever I work with. Some people make the same moves and expect things to change. Some people aren’t willing to starve to binge forever. I’m out here mastering and succeeding at whatever I do. I make sure of it. I’ve got an insane ear for music, that’s been known. That’s why some of your favorite A&R’s would be asking me to pull up to their office on the regular.

I’m here to take over though. I’m going to continue to put people into position and maintain my brand. The empire is forming; the foundation has been laid and built.

We recently saw in another interview that you have a new platform on the way? What’re the details on that? (If you can give us any)

NEW DAY, NEW WAVE (LITERALLY). Zias (Popular youtube star &influencer) and I are partnering up on a new media outlet x platform for something special. We’re about to surpass the field quick. Two powerful influencers, we already got the traffic between both of us, both widely connected. Run it up!

Bunch of content on the way from both of us

If you could tell someone looking to get into the industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

GRIND SMART. Bring something to the table. Your passion and time can go a long way. Learn. Be willing to do what the next man is not.

Do you know how much free time and work I gave out to get to where I am now?! Now my time costs. Money isn’t everything, in the beginning, work for your opportunity. People worried about $20-$5000 (Short term money) when sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture.

You wouldn’t want everyone to bring ketchup to the BBQ; you need someone to bring the bun, the burger, the juice, the drink and everything else. Do you feel me?! Same goes for the industry or any job you do in life. Bring something different to the table and create a demand for it. That’s when you create stock for yourself (You create worth).

What were you doing before becoming a music mogul?

I was doing the school thing before I decided to leave for music full time. I was making money however I needed to.

What new artists do you have your eye on?

NEW SIGNINGS on the way. I’m getting back in my artist bag 3000%. Look out for all of that. I got to hold my list down for the time being.

How did you get into PR?

Fresh Moss and Neako had me on a lot of PR type of moves early. I always studied and noticed was going on in the game. Got tired of hitting up a lot of these foolish and corny “Bloggers” and people that were out and around at the time that felt entitled. A lot of them aren’t even around anymore haha. Many didn’t want to see someone else moving faster or making something out of all this. I decided to take everything into my own hands. From then on I turned this PR wave into something masterful. Countless artists have popped off since through my PR, their ability and me connecting these dots on the daily.

Top 5 modern artists most likely in your daily music mix?

It all depends on the day and mood

Lately… DaBaby, pre kai ro, Lil Baby, YNW Melly, Stunna 4 Vegas & DaiDough. I’ve been bumping FBG Duck heavily as of late; bro got energy.

A few artists are rising out of New Jersey that you’ve been alerting us about for over a year or 2. From Daidough to Coi Leray and many more. New Jersey has some talent for sure, how do you think your state will hold up in 2019?

New Jersey is UP right now, and it’s only going to get crazier. A lot of artists doing their thing. Daidough got home and been going stupid. Coi Leray has been spazzing since G.A.N.

Albee Al doing him as always, Tsu Surf home and just dropped a fire project, Arsonal on damn TV, Fatboy SSE is outta here and in his lane, Mir Fontane been putting in work. Jersey got a wide variety of sounds, every city/town is different, North and South Jersey completely different.

Beyond the artists, there are so many talented people coming up out of NJ and doing their thing in this music industry or elsewhere. It’s great to see people winning from your home state.

We remember you going crazy at SXSW with Smooky Margielaa a few years back when he was only an artist with a 10k following, how did you all meet?

Shit, my man Mike had told me I had to bump something while we were in LA. The track happened to be ‘Layed up,’ heard it and it was a wrap for me. His mans was GRAPE, we were all in LA, so we all linked up at the apartment, vibed and got to work immediately. Started putting in that push, went to SXSW and went full force after SXSW. Glad to see Smooky up right now.

We dove into your Twitter and did a little google search on you while doing some more research. We saw you got into it a little with Akademiks online last year? LOL, tell us more?

LMAO! If you did some research like you said I’m sure you know what was said. Jersey people certainly don’t tolerate bullshit. I called BS on something he spoke on. Jersey got behind it. That’s it.

What ever happened to Nikko Lafre?

Man, I can’t speak on another man that’s not with me. We had something crazy growing, that’s where I’m going to leave it.

Drew Love out here winning though with THEY, Lee Beats out here winning, Johnny Rain out here still doing his thing up.

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

Thoughts on R Kelly latest situation and documentary?

SHEESH! I don’t want to believe it, but it’s their right before our eyes. It’s a shame because his music and voice are legendary. I feel as though 60 Minutes would have been a more credible platform to present this problem to the world instead of a Lifetime documentary. I’d like to hear R Kelly voice his defense for sure, but regardless his actions are sickening. We’ll see how it taints his legacy, it is 2019 so who knows.

2019 plans?

REGULATE

#Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire #Interview Mark Spratley AKA @SpratFool Is Proving You Don't Need Clout Tokens To Solidify A Musical Empire

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