Archive for February, 2010

International jam: Dumbfoundead’s take on «the truth»

This is a fresh take on The Truth which featured on the ‘Handsome Boy Modeling School’ album a few years ago. Roisin Murphy of Moloko fame originally did the vocals, but the singer in this video, Esna, has a voice that sounds a lot more smooth than on the original. Most impressive about the whole thing is that it was done in an online jam session, linking young musicians from five continents who play in their bedrooms.

Prince Paul & Co take note…the truth may hurt, but this is dope.

February 26, 2010 at 09:10 1 comment

Entering the Jericho Lounge > Thaione Davis interview

What’s up Thaione, what have you been up to lately? Can you please introduce yourself?

First off I would like to say thank you for reaching out all the way across the pond and taking notice of Chicago.  As far an introduction, I go by Thaione Davis…producer, MC, DJ, b-boy aficionado born and raised on the southside of Chicago.

I would say that I have proactively been in the quote unquote game for 10 years now and have had the privilege to perform and travel many places across the globe and experience many things.  I keep a very low profile, however I am constantly creating and growing…learning new techniques and studying as much as I can.

What’s been on your mind recently, any particular topic that you’ve written lyrics about?

Well recently (as in this morning) I was chewing on the thought how much lack of identity and individuality I see everyday.  I specifically remember when it was the norm to be yourself and cut your own path, but all I seem to notice is a bunch of sheep aimlessly following somebody who aimlessly following someone else.  The shit is crazy!

This is on all levels not only within music and the culture (hip hop).  I just notice a lot of trends and things like that which I personally couldn’t see myself conforming to.  From the tight pants craze, to the infatuation with all these gadgets and dependency on the technology.  It’s to the point that people can’t sit down and have an extended conversation face to face anymore…but can text or message you all day no problem.

It’s just physically and mentally a lotta cats don’t have any identity…it’s just an uninspiring feeling that’s all. To answer your question about subject matter, my  topics typically fall in what I call a basic category.

By that I mean they seem to always include:  life, love, liberty, change, music, freedom, people, places, things, rhythm, and culture.  I may  take from those 11 points of interest and always find a way to expand on each.  I feel as if each of these points are areas that we all deal with everyday in our personal lives to some degree. These are pretty much focal points for me that continually revolve and evolve and as I continue to grow my take on each may evolve as well.

A lot of your songs and the beats you rhyme over are quite laid-back and soulful. Which producers have you worked with?

Even though I’ve produced most of my catalog, I have more fun rhyming on other people’s beats.  Probably because I know the process and what was entailed when I produce, with other producers it’s just a beat that needs rhymes….I don’t know the back story or process they used.

I’ve dealt with a bunch of independent cats over the years.  Some of my favorites include the likes of Kenny Keys, Rashid Hadee, the OPUS, J.Sayne, Maker, Melatone, just to name a few.  I have a lotta respect for folks that put quality in their craft.  I am very meticulous so understand that every second of an album I put together is crafted on purpose…including the what you call ”mistakes”.

From coloring of the sound to the arrangements and transitions, all those things are thought out and placed on purpose.  And sometimes, as with many things, what we consider “mistakes” are included because they not only add to the feel of the record, but enforce the humility and authenticity of what I’m trying to convey.

What’s Chicago like in terms of it’s music and culture? One example, of course, is that house music started there. I’ve never been, but from what I gather it’s a pretty multi-faceted city. Is that true, what’s growing up in the Southside been like for you personally?

Chicago is very multi-faceted, yet very segregated.  If you know the true meaning and the strength behind that word “segregated” then that embodies the pulse of the city. Yeah house music is from here, and if you listen very closely to the producers here, there’s sometimes an undertone of those elements present.  It may be very subtle and un-noticable but that driving house force and rhythm is there you just gotta know where to look.

Growing up on the soutside is basically the whole big city growing up in a place called ANY HOOD, USA.  Major difference gangbanging.  I know LA and California have they share…but to this day in Chicago (specifically southside and Westside, where the majority is black folks) you can still get shot and killed at any moment, that’s the reality of it.  I mean you literally can get shot walking from your front porch to your car parked in front.

Word to the wise when in Chicago, if you visiting keep in motion…stand in one spot too long and the wrong people may take notice.  Attitudes like that coupled with the segregation I mentioned before only create an atmosphere of non-trust and internalized conflict…everybody deals with it, but not too many speak on it.  I was born and raised in Princeton Park Homes on the southside, right off 95th street…so I’ve seen and participated in my own fair share of bullshit.

I remember my boy got shot 17 times while playing basketball on the opposite side of the tracks, he was only 14.  Things like this stick with you and are always reflective in my movements as a man, a father, and an artist.  To put it simple, Chicago will prepare you for whatever the world has to offer….it will definitely thicken up your skin.

I personally come from a bad environment physically, but there was also love and community around…so you get submersed in a canvas of contradictions meanwhile trying to paint your own portrait and express yourself as best you can.

I absolutely love Chicago, and hate it equally at the same time.  I despise the mindstate, yet embrace the approach.  A truly beautiful city, but very complicated in nature.  I don’t want to come off as something I’m not, just merely a reflection of the times and people and places I’ve been.

Tell us about hip hop in Chicago, probably the most widely-known MC from your home city is Common, have you ever had the chance to hook up with him to make music?

Chicago hip hop is dangerous.  It’s a ticking time bomb with an infinite fuse line.  There’s so so much talent here…so much fucking talent here…raw un-nurtured talent, but with nowhere to go.  We are definitely purveyors of the crabs in a barrel syndrome.

Some have been fortunate to break the mold, but many have not.  We have a lot of pride and confidence and at the same time can’t nobody tell us nothing.  A talent pool with no guidance.

We don’t have any “industry” here in Chicago so outlets are minimum…politics are plenty.  We got so many styles that you often see fools hating so hard because you not on what they on…instead of borrowing that whole, “this thing is big enough for everybody to get a piece”, we often stifle each other and don’t wanna see nobody come up….meanwhile watching other cites here support they own (to a degree) and start shining.  We the 3rd largest city in the US, but on the flip side we got the number 1 murder rate…ain’t that a bitch.

From day one I approached this thing with a global outlook so I have been fortunate enough to navigate through the cracks a bit more…I’ve always thought “beyond the block”.  That don’t make me no different from my peoples out here though because everybody ain’t trying to hear that…going against your comfort zone is sometimes a demon in its self.  Im forever rooted though…still charge the same price for beats I always have…still helping cats as best I can…still hooking fools up based of the strength.  I wanna see my shine as much as the next man, but I wanna see us respected first and foremost….

naw I ain’t never had the chance to hook up with Common to make no music…that’s not something I even think about.  Com certainly got his stripes and rep the city but the access ain’t there for nothing like that to be happening….at least anytime soon.

Any other people that you’d like to work with from the US or overseas?

That list often grows and shrinks accordingly.  Sometimes you respect what someone is doing then you finally link up with them and they are complete assholes and it’s a major turn-off….or vice versa.  Bottom line I prefer to work with cats I can deal with as a man (or a woman)…meaning I have to respect you as that individual first I don’t care how cold you are.  I didn’t get into this to chase dollars you feel me…

My whole goal at the end of the day is to enforce and reinforce my legacy, plain and simple.  When you look back on my catalog I want you to take from it that I was always “consistent”.  Integrity is more important than association for me.  I do have a global outlook so I am open to work with anyone, but I ain’t got time for no emotional ass muthafuckers.

You were involved in a radio show on CTA Radio a few years back – how do you feel about much of the radio politics these days?

Yeah I founded CTA Radio about 10 years along with my man Kevin Maxey and Pugslee Atomz…those were some really good times and we were definitely a part of some priceless moments on WHPK.

Politics!!?!?!  Man you have to understand I come from Chicago, Illinois, USA.  This is probably one of the most politically inclined regions on the map…not to mention The President of the United States is from there….shit he used to stay 2 blocks from me!

But seriously Chicago movers and shakers all have to play the politics game.  This is the home of gangbanging and Al Capone, so gangsterism remains in full bloom…you have to always be prepared out here because somebody always waiting to cut your throat.  With that being said there is a horrible sense of unity and camaraderie and yes that also is reflected on the radio.  We have college radio and mainstream radio and both mediums fall victim to the politricks!  I remember the “pay to play” era where you paying for airplay…then the whole “dope by association” so if you were associated with so and so they’ll show you some love.  One thing at CTA Radio and WHPK in general, we played Chicago shit.

My credo was “if you from the crib, we gone play your shit…period”.  Now mind you we did play a lotta weak shit, but sometimes all cats need is that little chance of opportunity.  It often helped cats get better because the critiques were very curt, you’d get dissed on the spot, fools might call up and be yelling in the phone “cut that weak shit off!”

On the major stations you never used to hear to much Chicago artists, but things have changed a bit…the only problem is that if it don’t fit in they trendy category then they not gonna spin your music.

At CTA Radio if you were from the crib, you rapped, and had your shit recorded….we were gonna play your joint.  When I was a shorty there was a hell of a lot more balance, just by the variety of music you could hear on one single station….funny how things fall apart.

What’s it like in the US, does independent music get much airplay? If not, what do you make of online radio?

Independent music from what I see gets plenty of play….maybe not on air, but I hear a lot of independent music everyday.

The good shit is out there, but sometimes you gotta go below the surface to find it….you gotta still dig.  Online radio and blogs and things like that definitely level the playing field, but at the same time its like “too much power to the people”.

It makes things very very saturated so competition level is higher (so it seems) but in reality there’s compromise because cats just throwing shit out there to keep they name and shelf life up.

Overall the majors have had the rug pulled from beneath their feet because there are a lot of independent artists making moves in a grander scale than they would on a major.  The tides have shifted.

Have you always been a full-time MC and producer, what was the worst job you ever had?

To tell you the truth, I have never liked being an MC.  As crazy as it sounds I never liked rhyming.  I’m a producer first and foremost.  Not too many people know this, but I kinda accidentally got into rapping on the mic.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love rocking shows, but I never wanted to rap.  My first record when I got signed in Germany, has limited vocal tracks and the instrumentals included on the album as well.  The reason being I didn’t have any more raps at the time.  I mean sure I had rhyme books like everybody else, but I didn’t have anymore constructed songs formulated.

That’s the reason why “Progress (pro 2.6)” is an instrumental / vocal record.  Looking back on that, it sorta foreshadowed the point where we are at today as far as being a producer / MC.  I never thought I was that good on the mic (because in Chicago we have so so many great MC’s it’s ridiculous)

I didn’t think I stood up against these cats out here who just seem to be naturally gifted and wordplay.  My ability to rhyme is all based on hard work, diligence, patience, and respect for my craft.  I acknowledged my flaws and worked very hard over the years to develop and get better.  I hope that going through my catalog you can see the growth not only as an mc but also as a producer and musician.

That is what I offer to the people, a sense of genuine humility not to be judged but reflected. This is not a job to me, it’s a contribution to my legacy and the fact that I existed.

A job….the worst job I ever had is irrelevant.  Work is just work, it ain’t shit.  It doesn’t define me as a man, nor my beliefs or values.  With this music I have developed a craft and it will serve as a testament of my existence, and stance during a particular time on this particular place. My goal was never intent on being “number 1” or the greatest, or any accolades like that.  I say I’m ranked number 9,046 when it comes to this.  I stay in my own lane, and do my own thing….I don’t have to answer to anyone.  I’m not your typical MC and I’m not in competition.

I respect it and appreciate it more as I have gotten older.

Which records and artists have left a big impression on you?

There’s too many records and artists to specifically run down the line, but I will say this…probably the biggest impression is the possibility of what it could be.

When I say that I’m referring to the process of recording a record, or producing it, or writing lyrics to it…the process of creating a vibe, a moment, a movement.  The genuine offering and snapshot of yourself captured and documented…like creating a mini time capsule and presenting it for the world to be discovered over and over again all across the globe.  That for me is the best impression and inspiration…because everyone that I could ever mention, they documented their process and put it out there for me and others to find…now I (we) are doing the same thing.  Genuinely offering ourselves, inspiring others as we have been inspired.  That’s what I mean when I say I’m out to leave a strong legacy behind.

What have you got planned for the next 12 months, are you releasing new music?

Plenty. I plan to continue enjoying this…Definitely keep clocking some serious hours in the lab.  Keeping the production reel spinning (I’ve been doing 100 beats with a few cats).  That’s basically where we produce 100 beats in 4 months.  Since last summer I’m on my 3rd batch so it’s been really fun. Touring is a revolving door so of course that’s on the menu.  I got a couple of projects in the pocket that will surface soon.  Looking for different avenues to release the different vibes you know.  Since everything is so saturated right now, I’m taking my time releasing material…


February 25, 2010 at 07:58 3 comments

Feeling the chill: Tranqill’s «deadly wintaz»

New material from our man in South London…

“People need to remember where they come from but at the same time change with the times that we’re in. For me, I ain’t going to lie to you, I keep it rugged and raw. I take my samples from my records, chop that shit up and I’ll flip that tune to make it sound crotty as hell. When it sounds crotty and reminds me of something, I’ll get into a vibe and will start spitting on it. That’s how it works.”

Read what else England’s hardest-working MC had to say in the Beat Bungalow interview from a few months back. Plus, check his ‘Hidden Treasures’ EP, just released on One-Handed Music. Here’s what his label had to say: “Tranqill makes the kind of raw, spontaneous, thrilling rap music that made us fall in love with those classic Wu-Tang records.”

Damn right. Get cooking, it’s still cold out there.

February 24, 2010 at 13:06 Leave a comment

Classic cut: «tic toc» remix

Here’s the original L.O.U.  video.

February 23, 2010 at 22:56 1 comment

History lesson on Channel M (Homegrown exhibition)

You might remember the piece I  posted last year about the ‘Homegrown’ UK Hip Hop exhibition, which kicked off in autumn. Well, here’s a little clip about it with views of some old school cover art, Hijack and many more.

The exhibition runs til next month at Urbis in Manchester.

February 23, 2010 at 22:24 Leave a comment

Banana Klan man: Ricky Ranking «ceasefire»

More supreme rebel music from Roots Manuva & fam here

February 23, 2010 at 12:33 Leave a comment

Going all-city, from all angles: DTMD interview part 2 (Toine)

We’ve already heard Dunc’s view on this, but from your perspective: what’s your mission?

I would say our mission as artists would be to bring a little something different to the hip-hop scene. I feel like a lot of the music out there is style without substance or all substance with very little style. I’m trying to find a healthy medium that would make people believe there are still much more new things you can do with hip-hop.

How did you and Dunc meet and start making music together?

Me & Dunc met in middle school and started rapping just to do whatever we could to not pay attention in class. We kept it up through high school and eventually started wanting to record our stuff. Then we realized we wanted original beats to rap on, so me & Dunc started making beats on Fruity Loops and from then we started taking music a bit seriously.

Your track “What that mean” is about people doing their own thing, musically and otherwise. What made you write the lyrics?

I’ll say the motif of every song on the EP is to be yourself to the fullest.

What’s the last vinyl you bought?

I can’t say I’ve bought a vinyl. I’m eying some turntables so I can start flirting with the beat making side of things, so maybe in a few months I’ll come back to you with my first vinyl purchase.

Who are some of your favourite MCs & musicians?

I’m a huge Phonte fan, Andre 3000 is probably the best lyricist to ever walk the planet and I’m just coming around to seriously enjoy DOOM on the mic (and beats). Producers? Huge Madlib fan, I look out for everything Black Milk drops, Karriem Riggins is popping out more on my radar, and Sa-Ra’s last album was incredible. Damu, Kev Brown & Oddisee have been instrumental in showing us that you can be from the DMV and still do your own thing. Other than that, I wish Bilal dropped an album every 2 years.

Tell us some more about DC and the hip hop scene there…

DC Hip-Hop is a place without identity. That’s not a problem. The problem is feeling that we need to have a definite identity. DTMD is making different music than The Circle Boys made, we’re not making go-go fused hip-hop, we may not even make the same thing Damu makes. The difference is we try to respect all angles for just giving different perspectives to music. The city is too diverse to be held to one sound so we gotta highlight everything…as long as its dope. We’re slowly becoming a scene to keep an eye on though.

Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

I’m all about DTMD right now, but I think Blu is dope.

Any last words of wisdom or shouts?

Give back to the earth and everything will be okay.
Peace to Low Budget, Slimkat78 & yU, XO, Damu & DJ Undadog, and anybody & everybody else who’s given DTMD a chance.


February 22, 2010 at 09:02 1 comment

Strictly business 2010…DTMD interview part 1 (Dunc)

Hailing from Washington DC, these two friends have been very productive while hanging out. I heard the Basics EP recently and was blown away: really tight production and versatile rhyming. Dunc & Toine are both aged 19 and seem to have a very healthy amount of boom bap flowing through their veins. They are a force to be reckoned with, not just in the US. Some great talent and that’s why Beat Bungalow is bringing you seperate interview with each of them…


Can you please introduce yourselves: who’s behind DTMD and what’s your mission?

DTMD Stands for “Dunc n Toine makin Dollas”, we are paying hommage to the legendary group “EPMD” in naming ourselves that. Toine does all the rhyming and I handle all of the production for the group. Me and Toine have been making music together since we were 12. Toine and I wrote rhymes back in the day when we realized we needed original beats to rhyme over, it turned out I began to make beats and stopped rhyming while Toine carried the Emcee torch for our group. It wasn’t until about 2008 that we decided to officially become “DTMD”. The formula seemed right and we just began making songs from there.

Our mission in doing music is to do it right. We try not to complain too much on the state of the industry, we just do what we do.

What’s the last vinyl you bought and where?

The last vinyl I bought was Leroy Hudson’s “Love Oh Love” 12″. Its one of my favourite albums of all time and I finally got my hands on a reissue off ebay for 6$. Kragenoff!!

Who are some of your favourite beat makers and MCs, in fact, musicians in general?

My favorite producers active right NOW are Oddisee, Black Milk, Kev Brown, Hudson Mohawke, Mike Slott, Damu the Fudgemunk. I can go on and on about producers (the greats go without saying). Favourite Emcee right now is Blu without a doubt. Favourite overall group would probably have to be Little Dragon, they absolutely shape and change my musical horizons on the regular.

Tell us about DC and the hip hop scene there, what’s happening?

The DC Hip-hop scene is VERY divided. Everyone seems to have a clique and whoever isn’t part of your circle gets no love. But things are definitely getting better. People are really starting to come together, whether you are mainstream or underground. I think that’s what needs to happen for DC to become a Hip-Hop super power one day like Detroit / LA / NYC. There’s too much hate in the city. If everyone supported everyone we’d definitely be a force to be reckoned with. That’s yet to be seen so far.

Any last words of wisdom or shouts?

Shout outs to the extended Fam Low Budget, Oddisee, Damu, Diamond District, Slimkat78. All of the DMV. and shout outs to Germany!! One day we’ll have a show there hopefully!! Peace

February 18, 2010 at 09:21 Leave a comment

Another mothaship…Dudley Perkins and Georgia Muldrow

George Clinton was one of the first funk dinosaurs to explore the galaxies in his mothaship. Outkast also hitched a ride, but now it’s time for Declaime to step on board. Dudley Perkins, musical afficionado of the weird and wonderful, has released a new album with Georgia Anne Muldrow on Mello Music – it sounds like a good one, from what I’ve heard. Producers whose tunes feature on “SomeOthaShip” are Black Milk, Flying Lotus, LD of Technicali. Remixes by Oddisee and Oh No. It’s had mixed reviews – let’s see how soon this mothaship will take off. Fasten your seatbeltsssss…

February 16, 2010 at 14:01 Leave a comment

Clutchy Hopkins, a musical mystery.

A lot’s been written about this phantom of a musician from California: there have been speculations that he’s an AKA for DJ Shadow, Danger Mouse, Cut Chemist or  even MF Doom…the real Clutchy Hopkins has never been found, but his music is a fusion of multi-instrumental madness. He’s been associated with an illusive band called “Misled Children” and online, you can find photos of an ageing hippie with a massive beard, wearing a flannel shirt. Supposedly it’s the real Clutchy Hopkins.

A mini documentary in 2007 triggered a quest to find out more about the man and his music. It reached new heights when Ubiquity Records staff set off on a crate-digging mission, and came back with some unreleased material…

We first became interested in releasing new tunes by Hopkins when Ubiquity crew set off on a search for the best records we could find. On one of our travels we stopped in the Mojave desert at the local swap meet in the town of Victorville, CA. Instantly luck led us to a few record crates jam-packed with classic soul, funk and jazz gems. But this happened to be the least of our discoveries. Next to the crates was a box of reel to reel tapes. Blindly buying the tapes out of curiousty, we brought them back to office only identifying the sounds from the tapes with the name that was etched on the casing: C. Hopkins.

What an anecdote, or just a clever PR stunt? Either way, we need more of those.

February 12, 2010 at 14:35 1 comment

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