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Tag Archives: Quality Control

Review: Bahamadia and more at Cervantes’ Other Side


You remember seeing Bahamadia live the other night, right because you were there, oh you weren’t? Well let me fill you in. Last Wednesday night I made my way to Cervantes’ The Other Side straight from my 9-5 still in slacks and heels to catch Philadelphia hip-hop legend Bahamadia. The night was chilly and the crowd sparse as one could expect for a week night in December. Then again I was there early enough to catch DJ Cavem and his drummer still setting up. Surrounded by staff we shared a drink to wash away the grime of the day and eventually the crowd started to roll in. While standing at the bar I was introduced to opening act The Great Grigsby who was doing the same, prepping himself to take the stage. After the brief introduction I continued my previous conversation with local Colorado hip-hop luminary Jeff Campbell about an array of topics from local hip-hop to the current police ...

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Oren L – Blood Stains and Brush Strokes on a Black Canvas


It begins as an anthem to self realization with nods to drunken nights and family tragedy. Fourteen tracks weave through the growth of both a man and an artist. Blood Stains and Brush Strokes on a Black Canvas, in a word, is vulnerable. It’s a big leap from The Foodchain, Oren’s home team as Champion Sound Killa Black for the past five years, and not something one would expect from a sports broadcaster by day. Out on the very green North By North Records, this album was seven years in the making. Boasting a whole lotta Chopped and Screwed tracks, Coconut Shrimp and Hyde’n Jekyll will be your go-tos if only for the fact that they contrast the rest. They’re a far cry from the dark beats and slowed vocals weighing down most of the album. And it is weighty. You couldn’t bench press it if you tried. This vinyl weighs a ton, and that’s the intention. Back by the ...

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No Halftime Inc. Presents Red Dot


No Halftime Inc. is back. This time they’re showcasing Red Dot; a duo consisting of label vet One Shot Dot, and new labelmate Iman S. Their debut self-titled album piggybacks off of the sound from One Shot Dot’s preceding album, Jig Latin. Ripped with melancholy hip-hop beats, Red Dot drops just in time, hitting with a summertime ease. True to Colorado hip-hop roots, the entire project doesn’t quite crossover to the club-banger end of the musical spectrum. The album rests comfortably in a rich-sounding “I just wanna vibe” pocket. Really, there’s even a track titled “Vibe Music.” The emcees are adamant in having listeners believe that there’s a back-in-the-day feel to the music, saying so in the track “70s.” The hook repeats, “this reminds me of music in the ’70s.” True enough, there are some reminiscent hints, but none of it quite reaches retro. With a little bit of dimension in the album, Red Dot falls into a category that ...

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Big J Beats – Computer J Fox


There are two kinds of beat tapes in the world: those that are actually just a bunch of random beats all made by the same (or several) person(s), and those that are tightly woven to provide a dynamic listening experience from front to back. Big J. Beats’ newest falls in with the latter. The esteemed producer slides out of the sample-centric lane and into fresh, made-from-scratch beats that are sure to resonate with fans of Dilla’s swaggering, spacey side. The smooth head-nod vibe is established right from the start and stretches across all eleven tracks, segued with snippets of computer-talk from Revenge of the Nerds, Seinfeld and Letterman, to name a few. The age of the source material is intentional — a compliment to the sonic aesthetic, which tends toward warm, nostalgic analog synths and dusted percussion. Take one listen to “Video Tape” and be transported back to a bizarre alternate universe of 1980s afterschool specials (or, softcore porn). The ...

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Plat Maravich – Force of Nature


Earmarked by an April album release party, Plat Maravich is out with Force of Nature. The last true Colorado Native (even using the Celebrity Sports Center logo as a track image), Plat is equal parts music and sports with a whole lotta good nature poured in. His music reflects both a clever sense of humor (I literally laughed out loud listening to track seven, “Albion Lofts”) and an even-egoed realness. The album has that easy breezin’, windows down, driving through the D vibe, full of familiar-enough samples that you’ll put it to 11, hang an arm out the window and take the long way. And though there’s several high points along the journey for constant summer rotation, the true banger on Force Of Nature is easily the eighth track. We dove into this jam featuring Smoove Quotes earlier in April. Seriously, though, when was the last time Denver hip hop had so much fun? L.I.F.E. Crew/Ground Zero Movement’s Low Budget Soul in ...

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Pries – Revenge Of The Nerd

revengeof the nerd

“Uh-Huhhhhhhhh!” Wake Up Drunk rapper, Pries, is back.  This time with a 19-track album titled Revenge of the Nerd, and he is back with a vengeance. Revenge of the Nerd dropped a little over a week ago on multiple sites and has already been downloaded over 11,000 times. This new project reflects his musical abilities while combining smooth, R&B vocals, precise beats, and a stylistic lyrical cadence. All of these facets making this release extremely difficult to pass up. Pries mixes a variety of tempos and styles to form a versatile sound that appeals to his fans. The emcee embodies Colorado new era hip-hop with his laid-back style with rugged undertones. He also features a few Colorado artists including, friend, and fellow Squizzy Gang artist, Trev Rich, on a track called “Wish You Would.” Of course, it wouldn’t be a Pries album without a couple of club bangers like “Pour Some More” and turn-up certified, “Willie Bandana.” Pries showcases his multifaceted style ...

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F.Lawless – Young Amsterdam


Young Amsterdam, FL’s latest release named after the budding weed culture in Colorado very much follows the tried and true procedural method of smoking herb. FL, fresh off the release of LIMBO last year, wasted no time and dropped Young Amsterdam on wildly appropriate 4/20. Yet there is not one thing about this project that feels rushed. Ideally crafted like a finely rolled blunt, from spark to roach the listening experience feels almost like the smooth smoke twisting and twirling into your lungs, each track inching you closer and closer to the euphoria you’re anticipating. The preparation begins over the Neon Brown produced intro, starting slow with a gradual uptick over a slow and deliberate cannabis friendly diatribe, the listener is given ample time to roll up. The second track, “Cameras” marks the first couple pulls on the stick, FL gets it really burning strong with the combination of gentle articulation and forceful language, passing to AP midway. The beat ...

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Whygyp – Please Forgive Us


“Album pushbacks and bad business // good weed sacks and bad bitches (diversions).” It had been two years since the release of Whygee’s I Need $$ — the dope Qknox-produced full-length from 2012 — so to say anticipation for this collabo had been building is an understatement. There’d been teasing flashes of brilliance along the way: for example, “Whype Your Feet,” the crisp MC Big House track featuring Whygee and Gypdahip that dropped last fall. The prospect of an entire WhyGyp record dangled like visions of an oasis on the horizon. Except this one didn’t turn out to be another mouthful of sand. It’s the kind of album you can really listen to more than once without skipping tracks — the kind of album you should listen to front to back because it builds on itself from beginning to end — the kind of album that doesn’t give a shit about anything but being dope. Gyp’s deep crates and deft ...

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A Black Day – Undercast


“B-L-A-C-K-D-A—Y stop?” After the introduction featuring a sample from the late, great Martin Luther King Jr., hip-hop group A Black Day opens with a track asking the listener why they should stop. The question is rhetorical of course. A Black Day can’t, and won’t stop, especially after a dropping their new project, Undercast. The album’s title gives an ominous first impression, however within a few minutes of listening it’s evident that “Undercast” likely refers more to the underlying messages that grow organically from this collective. It’s authentic, which is perhaps the greatest currency in the world of hip-hop, where “real” reigns supreme. A Black Day is a collaboration of emcees from a few different Colorado Springs hip-hop groups including; Milogic from the SoundPowered Engine Crew, Hott from the Audible Crew, JayOin from The Mad Trees Crew and Kevin Mitchell from the Fidel RedStar Crew. The group’s aim is to convey that no matter what you rep, there’s always a way to work ...

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Childish Gambino – Because the Intenet


When I first offered to review Childish Gambino’s new album Because the Internet I thought it would be on a strictly musical basis. I soon realized however that this was more of an interactive multimedia experience – think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon synched with The Wizard of Oz – but intentional this time, with more trap beats. Don’t let that turn you off, this is fun I promise. After purchasing the album (yes I avoided the leak and waited on it, but heard a large portion prior) I was unaware of how deep this rabbit hole went. Thinking this was an album and nothing more, I listened to it extensively and several times I felt lost lyrically, and found it difficult to understand certain lines. On “II. No Exit” Bino spits a seemingly random, stream of consciousness verse about a spider in his room and taking a barefoot car ride. On “I. The Party” an intro about… ...

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