METHUZULAH – House of Halogens

I first discovered Methuzulah from the track ‘Bo Bo Bo’ which was posted on a friends facebook page. The impact of that track quickly prompted me to uncover any other material I could find on the Atlanta native. Up until that point I had never heard of Methuzulah so surely there couldn’t be much material out there? I was shocked to find out that Methuzulah had been grinding on the underground music scene for some time, featuring on many guest spots, ghost writing for other artists, as well as dropping 2 full solo projects! Then I learned that the first of the 2 solo albums “Kemetic Aha” was a kind of “jackin for beats” type project that saw Methuzulah spit napalm verses over familiar Dj Premier anthems. The joint is exceptional and Methuzulah’s flow works seamlessly over Primo beats, but it’s his follow up album that reigns supreme!

Enter the House of Halogens

In the last 10 years I can count on one hand the number of albums that have really stood out and impressed me. I have heard a lot of very good albums but I’m talking about truly great albums. Classic’s like “Illmatic“, game changers like “Enter The Wu-Tang 36 Chambers or more recent modern classics like Little BrothersThe Minsrel Show.” When reviewing a hip hop album all you really have to do is ask yourself one question. Would it hold up against the classics like these? House of Halogens might not be quite an Illmatic but in today’s hip hop climate it certainly shines like one. There are instances throughout the album where Methuzulah pays homage to old school hip hop. One such instance is the incredible track “Childhood Skyline“. Set against a backdrop of haunting female vocal harmonies, Methuzulah recaptures the essence of growing up during the golden era.

“A re-establishment of emotive hip hop”

The albums opening track “The Rain” is a lyrical narration of events in methuzulah’s life from birth to present, and the trials and tribulations that came along the way. The songs concept will really resonate with listeners born in the 70’s and early 80’s.With the passing of time we have all witnessed the changes that unfolded within the music industry. Unless you’re willing to sell your soul and make trend hits in return for shifting units, record deals are a pipe dream. I feel that if Methuzulah had peaked in the mid 90’s just before this rot set in, you would probably be looking at a platinum selling artist. Fortunately there has been a steady uprising over the last couple of years and a whole new non-commercial hip hop scene is starting to re-emerge bringing with it a new generation of fans who are not only appreciating real hip hop, but demanding it!

The album is currently FREE to download, which is criminal when given the quality of the outstanding work contained within.

You can download the album here

Wrath Of The Siafu – Various Artists (Music Video)

Here we have a track of epic proportions! Some of Atlanta’s finest emcees came out in force to deliver a ‘sonic-boom’ of a track! After only a couple of listens it is fast becoming a personal favourite of mine and is sure to be a classic!

“A Sonic-Boom of a Track”

Wrath of the Siafu is the first release from the soundtrack to the up coming documentary “Organizing is the new cool” and features a solid line up of independent artists including;  Zayd Malik, El Sun, Ekundayo, Methuzulah, Mike Flo, G.R.E.A.T. Scott, FluxWonda, Isreal, Sa Roc, Chosen and StaHHr.

This gathering of 11 microphone warriors is the symbolic representation of the documentary it’s associated with.  The track opens with an introduction to the ‘African Siafu ant’ that I found very reminiscent of “Da Lench Mob’s” 1992 classic “Guerillas in the mist” which used a similar type intro from a David Attenborough documentary.  This really add’s to the theme and set’s the backdrop for when the rhymes drop in, and man do they drop! Just a few seconds in to the first verse and it quickly becomes clear that your listening to  something truly special.

The song is currently being offered as a FREE download so you really don’t have any excuses not to sample this modern classic. I guarantee you will be glad you did!

Produced by Dynamite Bruhz Cutz by DJ Presyce Recorded, Mixed by Amond Jackson for Salem Psalms LLC

About the Siafu

The Siafu is the logo of community activists’ organization FTP Movement, an artistic representation of the Siafu Ant of Eastern Africa, a species that exemplifies the essence of teamwork. The Siafu has no eyes and no venom – only strong jaws. Individually each is small, but as a team they can strip a water buffalo down to the bone in less than an hour. FTP Movement is much like the Siafu Ant – small in size, but powerful beyond measure.

Mr CRF Talks About His Latest EP Release and His Affiliation With Public Enemy

When it comes to UK hip hop I must confess I haven’t seriously dabbled with it since the days of HiJack, London Posse and Gunshot. I had pretty much written it off once the grime scene took hold but every now and then I uncover a hidden gem. One such jewel in the UK underground crown is Mr CRF who has just finished up a collaboration with Elements Raw. Mr CRF is a seasoned emcee/Dj who has been involved with the hip hop scene in one form or another for well over 2 decades and has even managed to grab the attention of Public Enemy’s front man Chuck D, who was quick to offer him a slot on his Rapstation radio network. I recently caught up with Mr CRF to discuss all things hip hop.

THHF: let’s start at the beginning. When did you first get interested in hip hop?

Mr CRF: I first got into Hip hop around the mid 1980s. My older brother was part of a crew called “The Pizza Muffin Posse” so I just tried to hang out with them as much as possible although that wasn’t much as I was only quite young back then but it was really through them that I got into the Hip hop scene. My brother had a set of turntables and a fairly decent record collection building up. I’d wait until he went out of the house then I would sneak into his bedroom  and start playing around on his decks. I always had to remember to leave them exactly how I found them though but that always proved easier said than done! So yeah my introduction and love for hip hop really started from there. After a few years I got my own set of turntables, bought a 4 track tape recorder, an old sampler etc and started messing around trying to make beats, then I’d start to write down a few raps and try them out over the beats. My interest just grew bigger and bigger from then on.

 

THHF: So how did you go from being a hip hop fan to getting more involved in the scene?

Mr CRF: Well like i said earlier, my love for Hip hop came about after hearing the music my bro was playing back in the days. Ultramagnetic, Poor Righteous Teachers, Run Dmc, Kane, Ice-T & The Rhyme Syndicate, X-Clan, Ruthless Rap Assassins, Caveman, Hijack etc. From an early age i knew I didn’t want to be just a fan of the music, I wanted to be involved in some way, if possible be a part of the scene. I bought some cheap equipment and started to learn how to sample & make beats, I bought a mic and learnt how to emcee, bought some decks and it went on from there. I’ve been through all the old sending demo tapes to companies, routine stickering lamp-posts and walls, tried my luck at the Graff side of things which i failed big time at and even the Breakin. I could do a couple of moves way back in the days but definitely not anymore. I’ve even ran my own Hip hop website and put together and had printed a hip hop Fanzine which ran for a few issues which I gave away free of Charge. Through doing that I managed to connect with other artists and do interviews/review music and things. It was just another way to stay connected.

THHF: I know your a prolific collector of classic albums. When was your favourite time in rap music?

Mr CRF: Probably the early 90s, you know, my teenage years going record shopping every weekend. Going from shop to shop checking out all the new releases. I loved them times. There was a lot of really good Hip hop back then, that classic early to mid 90s sound. The scene was dope back then. Me and a few mates had our own little crew. We used to Hang out on the streets with the Ghetto-blaster just chillin listening to the likes of Epmd, Das Efx, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, Hijack and Caveman. It always puts a smile on my face when I think back to them times. Of course its different now, I’m married with kids so unfortunately the chillin on the streets with the Ghetto-blaster had to stop. But you know, right now is a good time as well. I’m working on new music, my radio shows going well, I got a good crew with me and there’s some good music coming out on the scene once you see past all the commercial manufactured sounding tripe.

THHF: I totally agree. The hip hop scene is really starting to heat up again. Some excellent new talent coming through plus a few veterans putting out their best material in years. The music is going back to it’s roots again when lyrical content mattered. Who has been your most influential artist/group?

Mr CRF: Well that’s gotta be Public Enemy and the Blastmaster KRS One. What they have achieved over the years and are still achieving today is unbelievable really. They are still packing out venues all over the world, still doing incredible live shows, still putting out great music and their back catalogue is second to none. I mean Public Enemy just released 2 excellent Albums over the last 12 months or so, “Most Of My Heroes Still Don’t appeer On No Stamps” and “The Evil Empire of Everything” plus they just put out a new Greatest Hits album to celebrate there induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. They’ve got the longest running artist website with PublicEnemy.com, own their own Radio Station  and record label. Then Krs One, The Teacha is exactly that, “a teacher”. Constantly spreading the word of Hip hop or should i say the Hip hop culture “gospel”, not just Rap but every Element of the art form. You know, those of us who have followed Krs since the early BDP days know the message he tries to get across but each year there’s a younger generation coming through who only really know about what they see on television or mainstream radio so artists like Krs are still here, still relevant, still teaching the new generation because their not gonna learn much through watching BET & MTV these days.  Rap is something you do, Hiphop is something you live and the real hip hop is ova here…..Real Talk. There`s a lot of other artists and groups who I’ve been inspired by but PE & KRS are the main two.

THHF: Ok so while we are on the subject of Public Enemy’s legacy, I understand you are involved in one of the groups media/radio outlets. What’s the story behind that?

Mr CRF: Yeah I present the Critical Beatdown Hip hop show on Chuck-D’s Rapstation.com. Basically I’ve been presenting my own radio show for over 17 years now. I started off on a Friday night on the 15th floor of a block of flats near Old Trafford in Manchester on a pirate station called Buzz Fm which was ran by a guy called Eric B at the time. That was back in the mid 90s and since then I’ve presented my show on a number of different stations over the years from pirate to community to Internet radio. Then a couple of years ago Chuck D heard the show and offered us a slot on his Rapstation Network and so the relationship with PE grew from there. So all those years of being a fan of PE, Buying their music etc and now I got a show on their Radio station! I gotta also big up my man Mr Spin as for the last few years he’s been a part of The Critical Beatdown show either presenting alongside me or working behind the scenes on the show. He’s also running the official Rapstation Radio group page over on Facebook which is well worth joining/checking out as it keeps you up to date, not only with The Critical Beatdown shows but also all the other shows and great Dj/Presenters on the station.

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THHF: OK So who’s your favourite Emcee?

Mr CRF: Well you know i got a few favourites. Every now and then the old debate comes up. Whos the Greatest Emcee of all time. A lot of it is down to personal Preference. For me though at the top of the list in -no perticular order- its the likes of Krs One, Big Daddy Kane, Chuck D, Rakim,Ultramagnetic Mc’s. I remember when Critical Beatdown dropped, Kool Keith & Ced Gees lyrics & rhyme styles seemed to be so advanced back then. I’d find myself rewinding the tracks just to study the lyrics. PMDs always been a Favourite of mine. When you start to think about it, there’s quite alot who could sit up there at the top. K-Solo was a big favourite of mine back in the day aswell. His spellbound style of rhyming and story telling was quality. I speak to and connect with a lot of excellent emcees, a lot of legendary Emcees. If any of them read this they`ll probably be thinking why arnt I on that list (Lol). They are all dope but the ones I just mentioned are my favourite ‘favourites’. Actually another emcee I’ve always rated is Chip Fu formally of the early 90s crew The Fu-Schnickens. I think his vocal skills are unbelievable, some of the words / flows / styles he comes out with are superb. I’m thinking of loads more who I can add to my favourites list right now. Blade, Mcm, you know back in the late 80s –early 90s Ice Cube was right up there, LL Cool J aswell. Infact lets move onto the next question….

 

THHF: The UK hip hop scene has come a long way since the 90’s, but it still appears to be mostly concentrated in London. Being from Manchester what’s the hip hop scene like in the North?

Mr CRF: There’s quite a lot of Emcees / groups etc doing their thing in Manchester at the moment. A lot of shows happening and people working on tracks and things. I’m not gonna start mentioning names though because you always get someone saying how come you left me off the list or why didn’t I get a mention. Saying that though I don’t really have much time to just follow or keep an eye on what’s happening in Manchester. There`ll be a lot I don’t know about. I get that much music sent through from all over the world that I can’t even follow sometimes what’s going on in my hometown although I do try to stay up to date with it as much as possible. Big shout to everyone in Manchester though.

THHF: What’s your thoughts on the current US hip hop scene as it stands today?

Mr CRF: A lot of people talk about how the scene has changed in America. How commercial its gone, how everyone tries to sound the same and how the Hip hop fashion has changed from Tim Boots and hoodies to Skintight jeans and blouses…lol. I guess there is alot of that shit but if I’m dead honest with you I don’t see or hear much of it. I dont watch shit like Bet or Mtv anymore, don’t listen to any of the commercial stations and i don’t even familiarise myself with any of that type of Hip hop. Actually I shouldn’t have used the word Hip hop there. So aside from that I think there’s some great music coming from the US scene at the moment. I say, just listen to my Critical Beatdown radio Show for futher Proof. Czarface (Inspectah deck & 7l/Esoteric), Demigods, Bumpy Knuckles, Tek Tha Supah LAtin, Wise Intelligent, The Goondox, Maestro fresh Wes, Action Bronson, Masta Ace, Joey Badass, Sadat X & AG, Wu Tang, Ra The Rugged Man, AZ, my man Donald D, Cee-Rock The Fury, Mikey D & The Elements Of Hip Hop, Large Pro, Mellow Man Ace, Imperial Brothers plus many more all recently putting out quality new music. Some newer artists and some Legends still doing it so yeah I still think there’s a good scene, but a lot of garbage in the way but just do what I do and ignore that.

THHF: Tell us about your new EP release?

Mr CRF: Yeah right now I got a Brand New EP out. It’s a collaboration I’ve done with my man Elements Raw who`s based down in Cardiff.. The EP is called “Survivors Guide” and is for anyone who likes that Ruff,Rugged & Raw Boombap type Hiphop.. The EP is available to download completely free of charge so theres no excuses for anyone not to check it. Since we put it out at the end of June the feedback from the people has been excellent. Everyone who has checked it seems to like it and we’ve also had some good feedback from UK legends Kamanchi-sly from Hijack, Mc Mello & Mcm (caveman). I’m beginning to wish we put it out on vinyl as well as we’ve had quite a lot of vinyl requests. I’ve actually worked with Elements Raw before but I feel this EP is just a taster of things to come. He’s a really talented individual who has a lot of love & respect for The hip hop Kulture, a quality Mc/producer and yeah,a pleasure to work with so hopefully an Album to follow. I gotta send I big shout to my man Dee-Rock aswell. Him & EL Raw have worked together for many years and it was through Dee-Rock that I made the connection with El Raw. Anyway you can download the New EP at the link below.

THHF: I’ve had a few listens of Survivors guide and I must say I’m really feelin it. It’s immediately evident that the production and content influences have come from years of serious submersion in hip hop. Tell us about your back catalogue of music.

Mr CRF: I’ve featured on a numbers of different projects over the years from mixtapes to vinyl releases. A few years ago I formed a crew alongside my man Noz & Dj Pressure called The Pedigree Chumps. We went on to release a couple of different EP’s on Vinyl. The first one was called “Up Norf Hiphop Edz” and the second one was called “Egg,Chips & A Pint Of Mild”. Both EP’s were well received and on the strength of them we ended up doing a lot of live shows up and down the country alongside other artists such as Blade, Cappo, Skinnyman plus many others as well as many shows on our own. Anyway last year we put out a full album called “So Far So Drunk”. Unfortunatly this release wasn’t available on vinyl but we did give it away as a free download.  At the moment I can’t see there being anymore Pedigree Chumps releases so go download the Album if you’ve not heard it or contact me if you want one of the eps on vinyl..Then theres the CBP (Critical Beatdown Posse) another crew that I formed ..Big shout to AD-1 ,Mr Spin, Cashino, Original One, Noz,Presh, Slicerman, Late who are also part of / down with the CBP.

 

 

THHF: Tell me about your collaborations / Connections with US hip hop artists?

Mr CRF: Well I’ve made connections with many artists from over seas over the years and I’ve been lucky enough to hook up and spend time with some of them. Quite a few years back, me and Rack Lo, whos part of the Lo-Lifes crew did a cd together called “The United Kingdom Of Crooks”.. In 2005 I went over to New York and hung out with Ced Gee from The Ultramagnetic Mcs which was dope as Ultra are one of my favourite crews from back in the day. I actually named my radio show “Critical Beatdown” after there classic album. You know I’ve met a lot of artists over the years. Hanging out with Chuck D, Dj Lord and the Public Enemy crew was amazing. Really nice down to earth people who treated you the same way they`d like to be treated and really made us feel welcome. I’m hopefully gonna be hooking back up with them again soon and we also keep in contact over the internet etc especially now I got the radio show on there station. I’ve also worked on a couple of tracks with the Syndicate Sniper Donald D which will be on my “Hiphop State Of Mind” ep and just recently I went over to Switzerland to perform alongside Donald D and my man Lenell Brown which was a great experience. Dj Lord Jazz aswell, gotta big him up and my man DJ Jaycee.

THHF: Anything else you’ve got planned?

Mr CRF: Well right now we gonna carry on Promoting the Survivors Guide Ep and we hopefully gonna do a couple of videos for it. Then there’s my “Hip hop State Of Mind” ep which is almost complete which will be available as another free download very soon. Me and my man Slicerman are also currently working on an ep together and me and Noz are putting together some ideas for a new project and Mr Spin, plus I got a collabo with the Legendary Mcm in the pipeline, so yeah trying to keep busy. I’m also working on a track with Lenell Brown who’s an excellent singer based out in Switzerland. He’s actually just recorded a full album with Donald D which will be available later this year and I feature on one of the videos from that. There’s some other things as well but I don’t want to go into detail just yet incase it doesn’t come off, but stay tuned.

THHF: Mr Crf it’s been great talking with you and being a northern lad myself (Birkenhead/Liverpool) it’s good to know there’s more of us up here representing the real hip hop.

Mr CRF:  No probs man. Thank you and The Hip hop Foundation for doing the interview, very much appreciated and a big thanks to everyone who tunes into my radio show each week.  Also thanks to everyone who has supported our music and if you’ve not yet heard it, go download the Survivors guide Ep.

You can catch Mr CRF along with Tony Spin and the crew each Wednesday evening at 8pm GMT time. But don’t worry if you miss it because you can listen to it on demand whenever you like by clicking the Critical Beatdown link on Rapstation.com or by joining the Critical Beatdown Radio group page over on facebook.  

Price – Dear N***A (Produced By Confidence)

Hailing from Boston’s gritty section of Dorchester, one of the inner city’s most violent and drug infested areas, Price (aka Price Stylez) drops his first official single “Dear N***a” (prod. by Confidence) from his as of yet untitled LP which will be released in 2014 by Ill Adrenaline Records.

Upon deciding to focus on his music and not the streets, Price began performing in local clubs as well as the legendary “Strand Theatre” where many acts from inside and outside of Boston would come to grace the stage. He also dropped a few mixtapes and made an impression on local hip-hop heads like Mal Moe, who introduced his talents to Confidence (of Rashad/Purpose & Confidence), an already proven producer under the NJ based indie label Ill Adrenaline Records, that released a bunch of critically acclaimed albums and singles by Rashad & Confidence, Purpose & Confidence, 7 G.E.M.S. (Tragic Allies & Tragedy Khadafi), Beneficence, The Legion, The Purist & Roc Marciano, Neek The Exotic, Da Beatminerz and The Regiment. Now armed with authentic and soulful boom-bap production courtesy of Confidence and backing from Ill Adrenaline Records, Price is set to deliver a classic offering to the masses.

I was lucky enough to be given an exclusive first listen to this track when Boston producer Confidence hit me up to do a re-touch for the controversial cover art. Now it’s officially here for your listening pleasure

Wu Tang Clan Albums Giveaway

**Competition Closed**

This August we will be running a feature dedicated to the Wu Tang Clan.

In celebration of Wu Month  The Hip Hop Foundation will be giving away all 5 of the Wu’s studio albums on CD!

How To Enter

For a chance to win all you have to do is follow these 3 simple steps:

1. ‘LIKE’ the ‘facebook page’ http://www.facebook.com/thehiphopfoundationuk

2. ‘FOLLOW’ us on Twitter – @The_HipHop_Fd

3.  ‘SHARE’ the facebook picture amongst your social networks. (click here)

There is a requirement of 40 entrants minimum for the prize draw to take place. For full Terms & Conditions (Click here)

The winner will be selected from the list of names who ‘LIKE’ the page and ‘SHARE’ the picture, on or after the 2nd September.

 

 PRIZE DETAILS

1x WU Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang 36 Chambers 1993 (CD Album)

1x Wu Tang Clan – Wu Tang Forever 1997 (Double CD Album)

1x Wu Tang Clan – The W 2000 (CD Album)

1x Wu Tang Clan – Iron Flag 2001 (CD Album)

1x Wu Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams 2007 (CD Album Plus DVD)

 

 

Yamin Semali – Yamin

Set sail on a musical journey and rediscover the fundamentals of what makes hip hop, “hip hop.”

From the “Yamintro” to the final “Live in Your Day,” it is clear right from the outset that this is a very personal album with intimate insights in to Yamin’s world and the thought process behind his music.  At times abstract, but clear in its intention.  Words on this disc both challenge and sooth, they bring the listener home, and then slam the front door, song after song.

 “from the point but is about to bring the east back.”

YAMIN COVERListen and you’ll find an enlightening experience as Yamin moves you beyond the  stereotypical hats turned backwards, and boxers hovering way above the leather belt. Track’s like “So Much” will have you questioning your perspective on life with ironic scenarios we can all relate with. I sense elements of Outkast which is hardly surprising given that Yamin is “from the point but is about to bring the east back.”  If you like clever lyrics that play on words, this album is filled with them.

Something else that struck me whilst listening to the album is the similarities in vocal tone between Yamin and The Pharcyde’s Slimkid3. Both have the ability to sing-rap an ill verse as well as straight rapping.

Of course no hip hop album would be complete without other artists stopping by to spit a verse or two.  Appearances  coming by way of Boog Brown, Truth Be Cold, Lyric Jones, Blc Txt, Gotta Be Karim, Chop, John Robinson and of course fellow Clan Destined member DT. I think Yamin has struck the right balance here unlike a lot of other rap albums that overwhelm you with cameo appearances to the point that you forget which artist you’re actually listening to!

Stand out tracks for me in addition to the excellent title track of the album are the already mentioned “So Much,” “Are You Sure” and “More Than Kings,”  The heavy percussion layerd “Never Leave” will slap you until you run out of cheeks, but it does it well and you will be grateful for the mark it leaves on you!

If you like hip hop with soul then don’t hesitate to pick this one up.  Yamin has raised the vibration where argument becomes debate, and love is more than just sweaty sex. To sum it all up this is hip hop gold. You smacked this one out of the park, Yamin. Now spin it again for me brother!

Hip Hop Producer “Confidence” Opens Online Virtual Beat School

Boston based hip hop producer Confidence recently set up a virtual online beat making school to help aspiring producers regardless of their location.

Description

“The purpose of the School of Confidence is to provide students who are aspiring producers and upcoming beatmakers a chance to diversify their talents and arm themselves with techniques to help them stand out amongst a sea of talent in the hip hop world. Contests and incentives will also be provided to offer motivation and instant feedback on students work. I have forged relationships with various labels and artists/producers to help you grow your talent. All students will be treated equally and fairly. This is a learning environment for all who wish to take their career in music to new heights.”

The actual launch date of the school is this upcoming May 2013. More information to follow soon along with an official video.

www.SchoolOfConfidence.com

Biography

confidence-beatsConfidence. The name can refer to several ideas and concepts. Apply it to the world of beat-making and you have a term that exudes high standards and carefully composed compositions. What a fitting name for a hip hop producer who has just that! Confidence was born in Philly back in ’77 so he’s no stranger to classic sounding hip hop and authentic street anthems. Living only a couple of hours away …South from the mecca of hip hop, Confidence began a found fascination of hip hop at age 9 when a good friend of his let him listen to a tape of RUN-DMC and L.L. Cool J. From that point on you could consider it a wrap. As the years went by, other groups came into the picture of course. “I remember when I first listened to EPMD and Big Daddy Kane. My life changed from there.”When Confidence was around 16 back in 1993, his brother decided to cop some Technic 1200’s the first summer he started working. If you couple that with hundreds of hip hop records, the beginning stages of Confidence’s career was about to take off. After dabbling with scratching for a while, sampling came into the picture. Bob James was a big influence and after copping one of his albums, “Heads,” the sample game was next in line. From there, it was all about a 4 second Gemini sampler and some records/drum breaks to get an understanding of how hip hop music was produced. This would provide Confidence with the framework on where he is today.

In 1998 Confidence moved to Boston to try music school and to be with his girl. Music school didn’t amount to anything but in 2001 Confidence was able to purchase an MPC 2000xl which he still uses today to craft out original tracks. At that point, all the knowledge he had built up over the years was about to be applied. Making good, quality music didn’t happen over night. In fact, Confidence feels his music didn’t really start shining until 2004-2005. “It keeps getting better with every beat you make. You just need to stay at it and believe in yourself. If you have talent, they will come.”

During the year of 2002, Confidence got his first placement with Boston’s original founding member of The Almighty RSO, E-Devious on his first solo album. Three beats were selected for this epic record which stood to be all stand-out tracks. After this period other placements came about. Confidence has recorded and made beats for Beneficence, Rampage, M-DOT, Twice Thou (E-Devious), Big Shug, Last Emperor, Jaysaun, Slaine, Wise Intelligent, Elemental Zazen, Tulsi, Naeem Oba, The Camp and other artists local and a far.

At the end of 2010, Confidence released a 16 track remix album of 90’s classics. This album was received with open arms and has gotten a lot of attention from people far and wide. With over 6,000 downloads and features on KevinNottingham.com and 2dopeboyz.com, Confidence’s work is finally getting the praise it deserves. One of the biggest breaks for Confidence came in 2011 when he linked up with the CEO of Ill Adrenaline Records who has a recording artist by the name of Beneficence. He put out one of the top underground records for 2011. With heavyweight appearances and features, Confidence has aligned himself as a producer on the label for future projects with Beneficence and others. Be on the look out as major moves are being made for this aspiring producer.

2011 is the year of Rashad & Confidence. Rashad linked up with Confidence online after listening to one of his remix tracks off of Recon. From there the two discussed doing more than just recording a track. A classic was in the works and after numerous months of putting in work and crafting masterpieces, “The Element of Surprise” was made. This epic record hits worldwide November 29th, 2011…Distributed through Fatbeats and put out by Ill Adrenaline Records. Please be sure to look out for that and support that authentic hip hop. This album will have both physical copies as well as digital downloads available…

Stay tuned because the future proves to be even better for Confidence as he continues to climb his way up the rap charts while continuing to work with legends in the game and developing new artists as well.

 

RBX – The RBX Files (1995) REVIEW

December 1992 and N.W.A’s Dr Dre emerges from a spell of obscurity to bring the world one of the greatest gangster rap albums of all time…. The Chronic. He also introduces us to a whole new crew of exciting West Coast talent, Daz, Kurupt, Lady Of Rage and the young and rapidly rising star Snoop Doggy Dogg, who had previously featured with Dre on 187 Undercover Cop for the Deep Cover soundtrack. When Snoop came on to the scene he brought a whole new flavour and style in to the rap game. At that point the west coast was dominating hip hop and it would stay that way for the majority of the 90’s. The Chronic also featured one other rapper whose uniqueness set him apart from the others……..

“In this dimension / I’m the presenter / and the inventor/ and the tormentor / Deranged, like the hillside strangler / MC mangler / tough like Wrangler / I write a rhyme, hard as concrete / Step to the heat and get burned like mesquite. / So what you wanna do / The narrator RBX, cell block two”

rbx-poster

The Narrator aka RBX added an extra element to The Chronic, with his menacing presence and sinister vocal tone he really sold the serial killer emcee image. For me it was X’s contribution that perfected Dre’s album. His delivery of unforgettable verses and phrases helped raise The Chronic to the highest heights of the gangster rap genre. A year later he would recapture the fans again when he featured on Snoop’s Doggystyle, dropping the same signature style that he had become known for. It’s safe to say that during 92 and 93 RBX was hot property and so a solo album within a few months would seem the obvious outcome.

“Remember me?…. I drop bombs like Hiroshima!”

Fast forward 2 years. Liverpool UK, November 1995, I remember the time well for 2 reasons. The coldest winter I can ever remember and I had just picked up a copy of RBX’s debut album The RBX Files after a very long wait! By this time the mighty Death Row records was already starting to fragment with internal conflicts that probably impacted on getting RBX’s debut finished and ultimately released. After some deliberating between labels, the album was finally released on September 26th 1995 on Premeditated records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.

 This is not a laid back summertime in the LBC joint…”

On first listen of The RBX Files I was a little bit shocked. This was probably due to the stark differences in production compared to the previous albums X featured on. The heavily G-funked beats where nowhere to be found! In fact in many ways this album didn’t feel like a west coast album at all. But was this really such a bad thing after all?

I remember by about 95 a lot of hardcore hip hop fans were starting complain about G-Funk’s mainstream appeal in the same way people complain about Lil’Wayne’s music today. You can rest assured that RBX’s album, which is almost exclusively produced by Greg “Gregski” Royal, is anything but mainstream.

It will probably take even the most seasoned rap fans a few full listens before they can fully appreciate the depth of this album. This is a classic case of an album that grows on you and then becomes ingrained in your subconscious the more you hear it. These are the kind of albums I like the most because they always provide the greatest replay value. Be under no illusions people, this is not a laid back summertime in the LBC joint.

 “From track 7 onward the album takes a very interesting turn….”

For the most part, the album’s tone and concept is serious and lyrics are straight hard-core! Even the sound echoing distortions over X’s voice makes some tracks feel literally demon possessed! Strangely enough the production on the Dr Dre diss track “A.W.O.L” is probably the softest on the album. “Rough is the texture is like a declaration of war on neighbouring west coast emcees outside of Long beach which ties in nicely with “Slip in to Long beach”,” The Edge” and “Burn. It is at this point from track 7 onward that the album takes a very interesting turn. It appears that at some point from the time of  The Chronic and Doggystyle, RBX had embraced Islam. It is unclear whether this happened during the recording of the album, but the content on the remaining tracks appears to be inspired in the same way Mc Ren was in his 1993 classic “Shock of the Hour”. Track 8 “Our time is now” has one of the most unusual and catchy rifts I have ever heard.

The remainder of the album abounds with conscious joints that merge with prophetical inserts and snippets of empowering sermons. “Akebulan (as the title hints) is an anthem of repatriation to Africa and is definitely one of my favourites. Perhaps the track that left the biggest impact on me was the amazingly haunting “No Time“, which makes excellent use of Dexter Wansel’s Life On Mars sampleIt will quite literally leave you in a trance.

To this day I haven’t heard an album that sounds quite like The RBX Files and sadly I doubt I will again.

RATING:

"Back To The Essence"