Monthly Archives: August 2009

BLUE SCHOLARS: OOF! EP release/ Hawaii tour/ HI-808 free download

(PRESS RELEASE) Everybody loves Hawaii. Few know better than Blue Scholars’ MC Geologic, having grown up in Honolulu in the 1980’s and returning with the Scholars’ dj/ producer Sabzi last year to rock a sold-out homecoming show at Next Door. Love lingered in the air despite all the changes happening outside the sweaty, crackin’ club. “Development” has paved over lush lands and displaced longtime locals, the US military continues its stranglehold on the islands, and tourism runs tings (into the ground). By and by, the people maintain, and Blue Scholars bore witness to life beyond the beaches and resorts.
OOF! is the story about the Hawaii that you don’t see on TV: fish-fry BBQs in Waianae, native Hawaiians struggling for sovereignty, house parties on the Leeward side, uncles playing mah-jong on a lanai in Waipahu, a thriving independent hip-hop and fashion scene, on-air ciphers at KTUH, a room full of folks vibin’ to a mean reggae song, young poets spitting fire into mics, grubbing on poke in the Foodland parking lot, whole neighborhoods leveled by the ice epidemic.
Many “mainlanders” go to Hawaii to get away. Blue Scholars went to get it in. They returned again six months later with a New Year’s Eve show and a handful of new tracks inspired by the first visit, soon to be released in the form of their most collaborative multi-media project yet: OOF! available August 25th. Blue Scholars partnered with painter, vinyl toy & skate deck artist, Angry Woebots ( who crafted a painting to go along with the lead song “HI-808” which will be turned into a limited edition print and t-shirt. The painting was created at the influential Hawaii based surf & skate boutique brand IN4MATION ( The cover for OOF! was designed by one of Hawaii’s premier photographers and historian of all things dope, Aaron Yoshino (Honozooloo / 5 to Life – whose photos have documented Hawaii’s subculture for several years. The video for Hi-808 was handled by The Island’s premiere video production crew, Kai Media, who shot in and around Oahu (edited by Zia Mohajerjasbi). All these groups have come together to create the OOF! project which will be sold as a complete package online using Topsin Media widgets at Blue Scholars’ and each project partners’ websites, with the EP being available separately at all digital retail outlets.
Anchoring the project is the OOF!, featuring five new Blue Scholars tracks and 5 instrumentals. The minimalism of the intro song “Bananas” yields to the familiar complex lyricism and production of “HI-808,” which documents the differences between the Hawaii Geo grew up in and the one he would later return to, laid over an 808-drum-dominated Sabzi masterpiece. “Hello” is a playful take on the escapism while “New People” is a truly original effort that almost treads dance music territory. “Cruz” is the duo’s ode to island life over a Jawaiian-reggae influenced beat. In addition to these tracks, all five instrumental versions will also be included, encouraging other artists to make their own songs with these riddims.
Along with its digital release, the OOF! EP will also be pressed into a limited-edition run of physical Cds which will be available exclusively from the Blue Scholars’ and other project partners’ websites and at the IN4MATION Ward location in Honolulu, HI.
Everybody loves Hawaii. But does it love you back? It might if you get that OOF! EP.

The whole project is part of Blue Scholars’ artist owned label MassLine, underwritten through a strategic marketing partnership with Seattle’s independent coffee company Caffe’ Vita, and marketed in collaboration with Duck Down Records.

Track Listing:
1. Bananas
2. HI-808
3. New People
4. Hello
5. Cruz
6. Ahi Riddim [Bananas Instrumental]
7. HI Riddim [HI-808 Instrumental]
8. Tako Riddim [New People Instrumental]
9. Postal Riddim [Hello Instrumental]
10. Havva Riddim [Cruz Instrumental]

Available August 25, 2009
Blue Scholars tour Hawaii:
9/18 Honolulu The Loft (18+)
9/19 Lahaina Hard Rock Cafe (21+)
9/25 Honolulu The Loft (18+)
9/26 Kona Rockstarz (21+)

Blue Scholars – Myspace

THE HEAVY: How You Like Me Now? – 2009 – Single review

Rating: ★★★★☆

Bath’s The Heavy are not, apparently, ones to hit a small nail with a small hammer if a pile-driver is available. Here, they live up to their name by pummelling seven percussive shades of shit out of a loop chopped from Dyke & The Blazers’ funk classic, Let A Woman Be A Woman over which singer Swaby does his best soul growl. The resulting steamroller of a track is a steroidal beast that, while not exactly pretty, is fairly certain to command your attention – in much the same way as a twenty stone, seven foot tall James Brown might. For reasons best known to someone other than me, this is accompanied with two pointless house mixes and a dub mix that put my fucking chair to sleep. P.s. This appears to have changed title since I saw the press release – if you look closely at the original cover (pictured) there’s a ‘do’ on there. Go figure.
Out 31 August on Counter

The Heavy – Myspace

WILL C: Evil In The Mirror – 2009 – Album review

Rating: ★★★★☆

Anyone ever seen Will C and Edan in the same room together? Alright, they’re not really the same person – Edan has earlobes and Will C doesn’t, but that’s a whole other story. In truth though, there are a number of significant similarities. Both ‘students’ of hip-hop, well-versed in its history, both part of the Boston hip-hop scene, both total sample-magpies gathering shiny nuggets from film and TV snippets plus pretty much any genre of music under the sun and – um – they’ve both got dark hair. And it has to be said that, in the absence of anything like an LP from Edan recently, you might just want to check this out though you’ll find the production on Evil In The Mirror somewhat cleaner than that of Mr Portnoy.
The album kicks off with a silence long enough that you’re starting to check it’s actually playing when the faint sound of footsteps echoes down a long corridor. The ensuing knock on a door, and ringing phone is replaced with a great lumbering breakbeat, an eastern sounding cello sample and finally Will C’s distinctive ‘got-a-cold’ staccato flows. This first track, functions as a declaration of C.’s intent to, “Create my best, my first, last, my every/…I’m perplexing many,” before ambiguously describing his debut as a, “Frog Among Queens,” also the title of the track. Clearly an American with a sense of irony this segues straight into It Ain’t The 80s which both is and isn’t true. No it ain’t the 80s but actually, yes, there are quite a lot of 80s influences at work on this LP. Most noticeably this is the case on the Esoteric-featuring Synthetic Genetics, the uptempo ‘B-side’ to recent single Losers – a pneumatic effort that occupies the territory where Run DMC’s Sucker MCs meets 7L & Esoteric’s A New Dope. It’s a place also inhabited by subsequent electro-instrumental interlude Zodiac Extension which loops the words, “Break This Shit Up,” as C. knowingly acknowledges the album’s mid-point. Things take a funkier turn with Trainspotting’s musings about going to work, composing rhymes and reflecting on man’s relationships with transport in general and Boston’s subway in particular. Nice use of a clavinet too that at least recalls Superstition even if it isn’t from it.
It does take a few listens to tune in to the often quite ‘wordy’ rhymes on this, partly because of our Mr C’s machine-gun delivery but also partly because he favours having the vocals quite low in the mix. Is that a fault? Not from here especially – but I guess it might depend on where you’re standing. Also if Evil In The Mirror is lyrically dense, so too is it musically. If I were being a really picky bastard, perhaps a few more spaces in sound wouldn’t have gone amiss because from the word go, there’s little let-up until the dope flow of recent single Losers and the zen reflection (no pun intended) of the title track at the end of the LP. That said be under no illusions – this is an impressive debut. If you like the sample collages of Edan, Shadow, RJD2 and leftfield lyricists you’re sorted for the summer.
Out now on Brick US

Will C. – Myspace


1. (8) DJ Moar – Ride On
Funky ass b-boy breaks – full stop!

2. (-) Wade Flemons – Jeanette
Soaring old-school soul gem re-released.

3. (1) Mako & The Hawk – Spacing Rasco
Monster hip-hop mash-up.

4. (-) Cookin On 3 Burners(feat. Fallon Williams) – Seen Through Your Disguise
Stand-out soul-funk standard from the new LP.

5. (-) Wu Tang Clan (feat. Sadat X) – Sound The Horns
Best cut off the brand new(bian) Wu LP.

6. (-) Will C – Trainspotting
Boston rhymer samples wah-wah-clavinet. Good move!
ListenRead Review…

7. (-) Prosper & Badboe – 25 Miles
Edwin Collins gets jiggy with Lil Mama.

8. (-) The Sound Stylistics – Cornholin’
Hammond funk gem. But did they know what the title means?

9. (-) The Beastie Boys – Too Many Rappers
…And not enough MCs. Word.

10. (-) The Heavy – How Do You Like Me Now?
Steroidally-percussive, Dyke & The Blazers-sampling steamroller.