Tag Archives: New York City

Album of the Week: “The Low End Theory” by A Tribe Called Quest

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Daniel’s Thought

“Once again a case of your feet in my Nike’s/ If a crowd is in my realm I’m saying, ‘mic please’/ Hip-hop is living, can’t yank the plug/ If you do the result, will end up kind of bugged”

“Be alert, look alive, and act like you know”

“A special shot of peace goes out to all my pals, you see/ And a middle finger goes for all you punk MCs”

“East Coast stomping, ripping and romping”

“Industry rule number four thousand and eighty/ Record company people are shady”

Gus’ Thought

There is no question that A Tribe Called Quest is one of the most legendary hip-hop groups of all time. For the last twenty-five years, Q-tip’s signature velvety voice and Phife Dawg’s relentless staccato flow have influenced hip-hop heads, young and old alike. Released in 1991, The Low End Theory, contains a laid-back feel that is heavily influenced by jazz and the experiential narrative of two twenty-something African-American men from St. Albans, Queens.

Featuring guest bassist Ron Carter, The Low End Theory is driven by the low, pulsing notes of stand up bass. Whether its “Butter,” “Jazz (We’ve Got), or “Verses From The Abstract,” the pulse stays on the far backside of the beat, creating the perfect backdrop for Phife and Tip to tell their stories. With DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad on the 1’s and 2’s as well as features from Busta Rhymes, Sadat X and Diamond D, The Low End Theory is a primary document of sorts, allowing us to revisit the sounds and feelings of parts of hip-hop in the early 90’s.

On The Low End Theory, A Tribe Called Quest’s second album, they are in no rush to explain anything to you. Instead, the tempos are in the perfect spot for them to get there, when Tip and the Five Foot Assassin are good and ready. Don’t get me wrong, they want to rap and tell you their stories through the art form that is music. However, as they’ve done throughout their entire career, they do it on their own terms, at their own pace. Thinking about how the music industry is so heavily influenced and based around one-hit-wonders and what’s trending, it’s important to appreciate the artists, past and present, that make the music they want to make, for themselves, despite the industry. With The Low End Theory, A Tribe Called Quest did this, and continues to do so.

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The Return of Dave Chappelle and a Look Back at His Block Party

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Starting on June 18th and running through the 26th, Dave Chappelle will be performing in New York City for the first time since 2004. Over the course of eight days, Chappelle will be at Radio City Music Hall, reminding audiences why he is one of the great comedians of our time. While the first five nights will not soon be forgotten, the last three will be monumental. On the 24th, the program includes a performance by the Legendary Roots Crew. The following night, Chappelle will be joined by Busta Rhymes, DJ Premier and Janelle Monae. Finally, the one and only Erykah Badu will grace the stage as Chappelle’s return to NYC comes to a close. With these last three nights, the goal is to bring back the magic that occurred ten years ago.

In 2004, Chappelle set up and hosted an all-day concert in Brooklyn with some of the the most respected and explosive musicians in the business back then and currently. To name a few, Kanye West, The Fugees, Dead Prez, John Legend, Yasiin Bey, Talib Kweli, Common, Erykah Badu and The Roots were all there sharing the stage. The footage of that day was eventually released in 2005 as Block Party, a feature length documentary film written by Dave Chappelle and directed by Michel Gondry. Dedicated to the memory of J Dilla, Block Party gives us a glimpse into a day of hip-hop that was full of dope artists, great music, a loving crowd and an amazing concert. Whether you enjoy or dislike the comedy of Dave Chappelle, the man knows his music and how to bring artists together. In anticipation of his run at Radio City Music Hall, we take a look back at ten of our favorite hip-hop moments from his show on Comedy Central and from Block Party.

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Exploring The Minds of Hip-Hop: The Bonus Cut Fantasy Draft (Part Six)

via consequenceofsound.net

via consequenceofsound.net

By: Harry Jadun with help from the Bonus Cut staff

Click here for part one.
Click here for part two.
Click here for part three.
Click here for part four.
Click here for part five. 

Fantasy sports has taken off. Due to the rise in technology and the internet, fantasy sports has not only become unbelievably popular in the United States, but also all around the world. Here at Bonus Cut, we have decided that we would take the concept of fantasy sports and apply it to hip-hop music. Instead of drafting wideouts and running backs, we’ve drafted some of our favorite MC’s and beat makers. The big winner in this situation is you. Not only do we introduce you to some of our favorite hip-hop artists and explain why they are relevant in hip-hop culture, we’ve also laced the Draft with dope tracks for your audio pleasure. With this draft, our goal is to pay tribute to some our favorite hip-hop artists and acknowledge the influence they have had on our lives.

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A Bonus Cut Feature: An Interview With DJ Soko

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By: Gus Navarro

Last week I was in New York City visiting a friend and was able to sit down with Michigan native DJ Soko, a current resident of Brooklyn. Soko has been involved in hip-hop for over ten years but his emergence onto the scene as an artist is still relatively recent. That being said, he has been extremely active on the 1’s and 2’s between DJ’ing at parties and for MC’s such as Journalist 103 and Kopelli. In 2010 he teamed up with Journalist 103 and Apollo Brown to form The Left. The trio put out Gas Mask, one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums of the past five years. Soko is somebody that is very proud of where he is from and the particular sound and image that is associated with the Detroit hip-hop scene. On top of that, he is an artist that loves what he does and cares deeply for the integrity of his craft. It was a true honor to have the chance to sit down and talk with him about his experiences and passion for hip-hop.

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Exploring The Minds of Hip-Hop: The Bonus Cut Fantasy Draft (Part Three)

oddisee

By: Harry Jadun with help from the Bonus Cut staff

Click here for part one.
Click here for part two.

Fantasy sports has taken off. Due to the rise in technology and the internet, fantasy sports has not only become unbelievably popular in the United States, but also all around the world. Here at Bonus Cut, we have decided that we would take the concept of fantasy sports and apply it to hip-hop music. Instead of drafting wideouts and running backs, we’ve drafted some of our favorite MC’s and beat makers. The big winner in this situation is you. Not only do we introduce you to some of our favorite hip-hop artists and explain why they are relevant in hip-hop culture, we’ve also laced the Draft with dope tracks for your audio pleasure. With this draft, our goal is to pay tribute to some our favorite hip-hop artists and acknowledge the influence they have had on our lives.

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The Tragic Killing of Queens’ 5 Pointz: A Personal Reflection

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By: Daniel Hodgman

It has taken several weeks, but after a long battle in court, a federal judge has declared and refused to issue an injunction against the land owners of 5 Pointz that would have prevented them from bulldozing a graffiti mecca in order to build luxury high-rises. Last night, a whitewash went up, and nearly 30 years of New York City’s most prominent graffiti art was destroyed.

The 5 Pointz Art Center, which is named as such because it’s a symbol for NYC’s five boroughs coming together, was an outdoor art exhibit in Queens, which is often cited as the world’s premier collection of graffiti art. Covering over 200,000 sq. feet of factory walls, 5 Pointz was a beacon for graf artists, global murals and it was a New York City staple. Most importantly however, it was one of the strongest beacons for hip-hop.

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And On November 9th, We Had Wu-Tang: The 20th Anniversary of “36 Chambers”

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By: Daniel Hodgman

The beginning of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) leads us into 80s martial arts movies. Before any music can be heard, dialogue from Shaolin & Wu-Tang and Ten Tigers from Kwangtung reverberates through the speakers. “On guard, I’ll let you try my Wu-Tang style.

From here, “Bring Da Ruckus” slashes aggressively with chorus shouts from Prince Rakeem aka RZA himself, and as he literally “brings the motherfucking ruckus,” 36 Chambers introduces its gritty, manic and in-your-face hip-hop that inspired thousands and set forth one of the biggest hip-hop branches of all time.

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