2011 Best Free Downloads

•December 20, 2011 • 1 Comment

Let’s face it in this economy we’re all broke so I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite free releases from this year.

Opposites Attract Cover ArtJean P x LAKIM “Opposites Attract”- Easily was one of my favorite projects this year, I had been waiting for this album for almost a year and when it dropped it was definitely worth the wait. This is a free download that I would’ve easily have dropped $13 for a physical copy. LAKIM proved that he will be a household name here in the next couple of years (I promise you that) and Jean P showed that he has clever lyrics that can outrap some of the game’s supposed “greats”.

http://jeanpxlakim.bandcamp.com/

Professional Hobbyist Cover ArtPraverb the Wyse “The Professional Hobbyist”- I was waiting for the homey to drop this EP and with the lose concept and Praverb showing his frustration and perseverance throughout the whole project makes this one a must have. With beats from producers that you probably haven’t heard of that bring the heat, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t have this.

http://praverbthewyse.bandcamp.com/album/professional-hobbyist

Nothing Else Matters Cover ArtProcyse and Fo Chief “Nothing Else Matters”- I had been waiting for music from Procyse since the Soulfficial mixtape release. It was rumored to be a mixtape at first, but what we got was a EP with some mixtape bonus tracks and it did not disappoint. The project featured some producers and other emcees that you probably have heard of.

http://procyse.bandcamp.com/album/nothing-else-matters

Gradient Skies Cover ArtMichael Manasseh “Gradient Skies”- This is Michael Manasseh’s sophomore album and after selling it for $10 on the release date, he’s now offering the album for free. Featuring beats from Playdough, Michael Manasseh and more, with on point lyrics from the emcee, Download this now!

http://manasseh.bandcamp.com/album/gradient-skies

The King's Khrysis Front CoverKing Mez x Khrysis “The King’s Khrysis”- This was one of the early releases of the year and I think a lot of people have been sleeping on the project since. But King Mez and Khrysis came together for a real solid project. People appear to be sleeping on King Mez, but you’ll know his name by next year when his album drops if you don’t already.

http://www.djbooth.net/index/mixtapes/entry/king-mez-kings-khrysis

Die-Rek “The Die-Version Project”- The Canadian emcee literally dropped a bomb on us out of nowhere. One minute I was waiting for the next Humble Beast album next thing you know I was bobbing my head to “Grown Man Biz” off this project. This was more or less an audition for the emcee and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have it.  

http://die-rek.com/album/the-die-version-project

The Breax “Breax Over Series”- TheBreax went hard this year, releasing three different mixtapes filled with mixtape joints and original joints. Releasing over 50 free songs in preparation for their EP “Parting Gift” and their album “Never Arrive” (which just came out).

http://www.thebreax.com/

A-Music-ManifestoCitizen Aim “A Music Manifesto”- This project is filled with Citizen Aim’s best work and some unreleased work that no one ever got. Featuring verses and production from the emcee. RIP my friend.

http://humblebeast.com/downloads/

Wed White and Wu Cover ArtHeath McNease and Playdough “Wed, White and Wu”- This was definitely a project that came out of nowhere but generated a lot of buzz. On the day of the release it was the #2 release on the bandcamp site. This mixtape is done over all Wu Tang beats and the two rip the mike. The project features, Sintax, Manchild, Propaganda, Goldin Child and more.

http://wedwhiteandwu.bandcamp.com/

A.L Laureate “Closed Eyed Insomnia” – This project is from The Brainstormers emcee A.L Laureate and it’s a 7 day excursion in the mind of the emcee. All spectrum of emotions are shown on this joint. “Wait Gain” is still my joint on this EP.

http://traditionandrealitymusic.bandcamp.com/

Honorable Mentions

Jean P- Will Rap 4 Food

Xperiment and B. Lewis- Seesaw Kids

Theory Hazit- Extra Credit (Deluxe Edition)

LAKIM- Angels With Flithy Souls

yU- A Garbage BeatTape

Lyriz “Stepping Stones” Review

•December 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Stepping Stones Cover Art

Lyriz, the first time I had the guy was on Cas Metah’s “Providence Road” and his verse was one of my favorites on the record. I’ve been building with the homey for a while now and he even dropped a verse on my mixtape “The Psych Ward”. After bugging the guy for a minute Lyriz finally released his debut album called “Stepping Stones”. It’s a perfect title for this being his debut Christian Hip Hop album let’s go in.

After the intro we’re given “Dealt My Hand” and it’s production is solid and kind of sets the bar as to where this project is going. Lyriz is determined to get your attention with this track and perk your ears for the rest of the project.

A couple tracks later we get “Ridin’ Wit Me” which is where I start to have some problems with the project. I have no problem with bangers, but I feel like some of them didn’t really have the content that some of the other tracks had. “Push” was a track that had a bit of content, but it was a track that wasn’t feeling too much. I did like “U Ain’t Built Like That” because it’s a battle rap track and all three emcees (Lyriz, Cas Metah and oRv ill) go hard.

As the album comes to a close that’s when I really start to enjoy the project, “Lovers and Friends” is nothing but that “grown man rap”. The track features Sham and YSG-Timothy and all three emcees rap about the topic of one-night stands and hook ups as an artist. They all speak on how these opportunities with a one night stands aren’t worth messing up their marriages with their wives. Everything with this track is good from the beat, to the hook to the respective emcees verses.

My absolute favorite song on this track is “Never Tell A Soul” and this is kind of what I wanted to hear more of throughout the album. Lyriz bears all on this track and it allows him to connect himself with the listener. He talks about his past problems and even talks about some things I didn’t see coming, but the listener should be able to relate to something that Lyriz says on this track. I was really hoping to hear more tracks like this on the rest of the album but this one was on repeat for a while.

Lyriz’s debut album is actually somewhat balanced in terms of content, but I think that some of the tracks started to sound the same. The last four tracks were the best four tracks on the album because there was a good balance of banging hip hop, introspective and reflection tracks. There’s no excuse for listeners not to pick up this album because it’s free. This album is a nice introduction to Lyriz and I know for a fact he’ll continue to grow as an artist. And from what he’s told me he’s got a lot coming up for 2012 and I promise he’ll be on my new project too. Pick up “Stepping Stones”!

DOWNLOAD HERE!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

My 2011 Hip Hop Nominees

•December 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Emcees of the year

yU- Working off of the success of his debut album “Before Taxes” yU released a dope beat tape called “The Garbage Beat Tape” and right after that followed up with his sophomore album “The Earn” which is easily one of hip hop’s best releases this year.

Has-Lo- Has-Lo released his album “In Case I Don’t Make It”  that we haven’t really heard in hip hop for a long time: a dark opus where the emcee bears pain. The emcee also produced the entire album, for his debut album Has-Lo set the bar high.

Paradox- This was the emcee’s breakout year and I’ve been waiting for this ever since I got my hands on his “called to mind” album. This year the emcee upped the ante when he did a project produced entirely by DJ Sean P and the emcee brought amazing content with his album “Mending”.

Propaganda- 2008 aside from some guest verses was the last time we had a solo project from the Tunnel Rats emcee. With his album “Art Ambidextrous” Propaganda did something we haven’t really heard on a hip hop album a half hip hop, half poetry album and killed it in the process.

Phonte- Finally, finally we got what we had been waiting for a hip hop solo album from Phonte. Phonte did a lot of work even with guest features this year, working with Median, 9th Wonder and The Roots. “Charity Starts At Home” was a one of the best albums of the year and was the best out of the trio that came out that Tuesday.

Sintax- We had all wondered where in the world Sintax had been these last couple years and I thought the Carmel Skillington project was the next LP we would get from the DeepSpace5 emcee. But out of nowhere comes “Prince With A Thousand Enemies” and let’s face it he murdered the project.

Elzhi- Elmatic…..need I say more?

Producers of the Year

LAKIM- LAKIM grinded real hard this year releasing numerous beat tapes of really nice beats. His catalog continued to grow with one of my favorite projects this year that he did with Jean P called “Opposites Attract”. I’m telling you if you don’t know about this guy yet, you need to get learned now, he will be one of the best to do it.

Oddisee-  “Rock Creek Park” was in my opinion the best instrumental project this year and one of the best ones I’ve heard in a long time. The live instrumentation just kicked up the bar for instrumental projects.

Will Sessions- If you don’t know yet, Will Sessions was the band that handled the production on Elzhi’s “Elmatic” they replicated the sound of Nas’ “Illmatic” to perfection while adding their own little spin to the beats. I’m interested to see what the band comes up with next.

Apollo Brown- Brown’s production shined to start off the year with his instrumental project “Clouds”. Follow that up with his gritty production on the Hassaan Mackey project “Daily Bread” and there’s no way that you can’t consider him to be one of the best.

Has-Lo- “In Case I Don’t Make It” was one of the better produced projects this year. The dark sample heavy production was unlike anything that we heard this year. The emcee/producer also handled some remixes this year also.

Kno- Produced one of my favorite projects this year in the Cunninlynguists “Oneirology” and the slept on project he did with MarQ Spekt where both gems and add to Kno’s already epic catalog.

DJ Kurfu- The producer of Sintax’s “Prince With A Thousand Enemies” Kurfu chopped some tight samples for the project and produced a very diverse project for the Illect Recordings release. Do not sleep on Kurfu.

Albums of the Year

PWTE- Sintax and Kurfu

Cunninlynguists- Oneirology

yU- The Earn

Undun- The Roots

Has-Lo- ICIDMI

Oddisee- Rock Creek Park

Phonte- Charity Starts At Home

Song of the Year

Theory Hazit- Conceal Sorrow (remix)

Has-Lo- In Case I Don’t Make It

Oddisee- The Carter Barron

Paradox- Here Lies

Theory Hazit- Here I Come

 

 

Christian Hip Hop All-Time Album List (#26-30)

•December 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So I work for a radio station that resides in Texas and I was told to put together an all-time list, so here it is, numbers 30 through 26 in my top 30 CHH albums of all time.

#30: L.A Symphony “Disappear Here”: The Symph crew had been cut down to just five emcees, Flynn, Cookbook, Uno Mas, Sharlok Poems and Joey the Jerk. A lot of people thought that this album wouldn’t work out. But I think this was the group’s best album. They didn’t stray from the original sound that the group started with but at the same time I believe this album was more mature than all their other efforts.

Key tracks: Rise, Pops Song, Put Up Or Shut Up

#29: Sareem Poems “Black and Read All Over”: Sareem Poems is definitely my favorite member of the Symph crew from a solo standpoint. For this project he enlisted the help of Theory Hazit (of Scribbling Idiots) to produce the majority of the joint. He also brought along a slew of guests to accompany him on the mike. The project was banging on every level and Sareem brought the heat.

Key Tracks: Shake It Up, Come Get It, Hard Labor

#28: Cas Metah “Guest Room”: I always used to tell people that if you were just getting into CHH the one album you need to listen to is Ohmega Watts “The Find” but now I tell people it’s Cas Metah’s “Guest Room” album. Everybody and their mom is represented in this album from SI, DeepSpace5, Lightheaded, Future Shock, The Tunnel Rats, everyone is represented on the mike, some of CHH’s best producers are on the beats too, from Vintage, Dust, Theory Hazit, MattmaN and more. Don’t sleep.

Key Tracks: Gravity, Laying the Foundation, Told You So (remix)

#27: Stephen the Levite “To Die Is Gain”: I have to thank Sphere for introducing me to The Levite, I don’t know too much about the production behind the album but the lyricism on it is on another level. Levite will challenge the Christian listener to look inward and examine the life they’re living with Christ.

Key Tracks: To Die Is Gain, Night Light, The Legacy

#26: Sho Baraka “Lions and Liars”: Considered one of the classic albums of last year, Sho Baraka put Reach Records and that kind of sound on the map for boom bap lovers such as myself. Front to back this album was dope!

Key Tracks: A Word From Propaganda, Shut Us Down, Feel So Alone

ProCyse (of Soulfficial) Interview

•December 13, 2011 • 2 Comments
 
BigSto: So introduce people to who Procyse is for those who’ve been sleeping?

ProCyse: Mannnn, I’m just a 24 year old emcee from Denver, CO. I’m a father, husband & striving christian.

BS: How long have you been in the hip hop scene for and how did you get started?

PC: I’ve been rapping for about 8 years, seriously. It’s a stupid story how I got started….When I was in middle school, I had a friend and his name was Anthony. He was always loud and lying, lol. One day he told this kid Travis (who rapped) that I wanted to battle him…keep in mind, I had NEVER rapped before. Since I had never rapped before, Anthony wrote the rap for me. So I battled Travis and I actually beat him. After that I fell in love with rap and battling, and have been doing both ever since.

BS: How did you get the name Procyse? 

PC: I actually used to call myself, Precise. There is an emcee here in Denver named, Manifest that I’m really good friends with. He had this certain accent that whenever he said my name it sounded like “Procyse”. Although he was doing it unintentionally, it ended up sticking and I just ran with it.

BS: I first got hip to you on the Soulfficial mixtape “Forever Is Ours”
(for those who don’t know Soulfficial is MizLogik and Procyse) how did
Soulfficial start?

PC: Miz & I actually attended the same church before we knew each other. We both had mutual friends that would always tell us about each other and how we both rapped. We ended up crossing paths a few times and actually just started building a friendship before anything. After building the friendship we were both approached by a local label to get signed, but they felt it would be best to do it as a group. Miz & myself agreed, and the rest was history….Soulfficial was born and will never die.

BS: I actually met you through twitter and after following you, I’ve
realizedthat you do A LOT of building through twitter. Tell me about
that.

PC: Yeah, man….Twitter kind of puts you on the same playing field as a lot of these artists, and you realize how human and approachable they really are. I’ve built with a lot of people and artists through Twitter, and it’s been such a blessing. It actually hooked me with one of my favorite emcees ever, Griffin. He will be on my next album…

 
BS: Now I didn’t really know Colorado had a rap scene till I met you and
you told me about Xperiment’s old group and then the project you did
with FBC’s (Fresh Breath Committee) Fo Chief. Tell me about the
Colorado scene.

PC: Man, Colorado has such a DOPE hip hop scene. From FBC to Courtland (who now lives in Portland” but there are sooooo many more. Spoke-In-Wordz, Manifest, Foodchain, Whygee, Main Course, Prime Element, the reMINDers, D-Know and sooooooooooo many more that I can’t remember right now. You’ll hear a lot of them through the music I relese.

BS: Now son, on a brother to brother level, I honestly had you posted as
the emcee to watch for this year, but your projects with Soulfficial
and your solo EP never happened. What gives homey!!! 

PC: Haha, life. Na, for real though…It’s all about timing. The Soulfficial album is pretty much done as far as recording goes. It’s just the fact of me and Miz finding time to sit down and get past that stage….you WILL see it in 2012, you have my word!!! As far as from me, I’m almost done with a solo album produced entirely by Stephen Herrera and an EP produced by Binox. Those you will see early next year. Fo Chief and myself are also workig on the follow up to Nothing Else Matters. I have afew things else going, that I can’t speak on at the moment.

BS: What message are you trying to get across with your music?

PC: I’m just trying to show my story, and hopefully the person that is struggling with the same things I am hears it. I love God, so you will always hear him in my music, but I just want to be an alternative to all the garbsage out their right now.

BS: We got a chance to ehar you with the EP/mixtape you released with Fo
Chief called “Nothing Else Matters” how did you and Fo Chief link up
for this.

PC: Fo Chief and I actually used to be a part of a big group called, Boostwell. Boostwell consisted of all the FBC crew, myself and a few more emcees. After Boostwell had a fall out, we all went our seperate ways. A few years passed and me and Chief ran into each other and just picked up right where we left off…we started collabing on each others projects and we ended up talking about doing a mixtape…a few songs in we scrapped that idea and decided to do an album. The rest is history….

BS: When aren’t ripping the mike or getting destroyed in Call of Duty 😉
what are you doing?

PC: Hoooolllllldddd on, I don’t get ripped on COD! Check that 5280 Clan, and get smoked, haha. For real though, when I’m not doing those I’m usually working on spending time with my fam. Family is super important to me, so I do it every chance I get.

BS: What’s your opinion on the current state of hip hop?

PC: I love it, there is so much good music coming out right now. Every time I turn around someone is releasing something dope. I mean, there is a lot of trash out there, but never has there been so much good stuff coming out at the same time…I love it.

BS: What hip hop did you listen to growing up and what artists inspire you?

PC: I actually grew up on dirty south and chopped & screwed music, lol. I was originally from Texas so that’s all I knew. One day my friend showed me Masta Ace, and the rest was in the books. I grew up on too much to name, but I absoultely LOVE Dilated Peoples. The people that inspire right now are Braille & Theory Hazit. I just love their stories and what they stand for.

BS: Who would you like to work with before your career is over?

PC: I’m down to work with whoever, lol. But my top three are Braille, Theory Hazit & Trip Lee. All three have different reasons, but yep…those are my top three.

BS: What can we expect from you and Soulfficial in 2012?

PC: Soulfficial album Truth Speakers, Broken Things (Procyse & Stephen Herrera) album Follow The Leader, Co-Founders (Procyse & Binox) EP The Uprising and a few more things….

BS: What music are you bumping right now?

PC: Right now, Braille “Native Lungs”, R-Swift “Anomalous”, S.O. “So It Begins” and NeoPsalmz “Prelude to a Renaissance”.

BS: Anything else fam?

Thanks for all the love you show me and my crew. 2012 will be a big year, and don’t do drugs. HOLLER!

 

Rational “The BirthWrite LP” Review

•December 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Rational is a Canadian emcee and has actually been around for a while, I remember hearing him on Kaboose’s “Can’t Call It” from his debut mixtape. The emcee also release an EP last year as a prequel to his debut LP “The Birthwrite LP”. So here we are sitting with the full product, let’s go in.

First off Rational got some dope producers to get on this record which was a big reason I really wanted to hear this record. Vintage and Relic are the two names that really stand out when I looked through the production credits. I’m a fan of both and there’s no surprise that I loved the production on the record.

Starting off with the first two tracks Rash flexes his lyrical muscles and simply bodies both beats. However what I like is that the third track takes a more serious turn, where a lot of releases I’ve seen this year continue with the lyrical muscle flexing and by then it can get kind of redundant. The third track on the album is “Cocaine Cowboy” and if I’m correct this song won song of the year at SphereOfHipHop.com. The track was produced by Vintage and Rash weaves a tale about a girl dating a coke addict. Rash goes real deep into the story of what his older sister was going through. I won’t spoil it because this track is something special that you should listen to.

After the posse cut “Dream On” (one of my favorite tracks featuring Mr. J Medeiros and Pigeon John) comes the track “Maybe Tomorrow” and this brings me to the next positive point on this album. Rash once again gathers everyone by the fireplace to tell the story of drug addicts who have to know they have a problem but take the “I’ll do it tomorrow approach”. Rash does a good job painting the picture for the listener and he puts you right with the person that he’s telling the story about.

“Think 101” was the first track that I listened to when I got this record, for the simple reason that we haven’t heard rhymes or anything for that matter from Ohmega Watts in like forever! I’m pretty confident that Vintage made the beat on this one, and all three emcees go in on the topic of whack emcees trying to rock the mike.

I’ll skip “Beautiful Mess” but let me say that it’s definitely a track that you  need to hear, the album closes out with him thanking the people who’ve made a major impact on his life from his grandfather, to his parents and sister.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album, what made it that much more appealing was the balance in terms of topics covered in this album. There were dope clever lyrical tracks, mixed in with some nice storytelling mixed in with personal bits of himself. The lyrics were done over really solid production and there was a decent mix of features and solo tracks. This album doesn’t come out till next year but it’ll definitely be a good way to start off the New Year, don’t sleep on this release because it’s a dope one.

Rating: 4/5 (Dope Release, Pick It Up)

Th3ory Hazit to release “Thr3e” (produced by Dert)

•December 8, 2011 • 1 Comment

I can finally reveal to you guys that Dert (of The Tunnel Rats) is the producer of Theory Hazit’s new album “Thr3e” I’m amped for this album and you should be too! Peep the trailer for the first of four videos Humble Beast is releasing before the album comes out on January 10th. And after that peep the tracklisting.

Track list
1. Thr3e Intro
2. Find M3
3. What Li3s B3neath
4. Ol D3rty Hazit
5. Int3rlude
6. Angel Pt. 2
7. I N3ed You Mor3 Than 3ver
8. For Lack of a B3tter Word
9. As the3 Day Go3s By3
10. Chang3 Gonna Com3
11. Distort3d Joy
12. Doomsday Insuranc3
13. Jo Jo Danc3r