Gotan Project: Tango with Contemporary Elements

The Gotan Project is a Paris based trio that thrives on blending Tango with contemporary dance and electronica. Their name derives from the reversal of the syllables (Tango--- Gotan). This form of worldplay is characteristic of Rioplatense Spanish. Their offerings (La Revancha del Tango and the more folkloric Lunático) to date are amazing plays.

On "Mi Confesion" the band adds a hip hop touch courtesy of Buenos Aires natives
Koxmoz. This is about as passionate as HiphoPolitico gets. It seems like a fitting soundtrack to the nostalgic trips that we take at the end of a year and the forward looking mindset and sense of hope that arrives with the new year.

"The beats are sparse and liquid, and the transition from Buenos Aires bordello to European dance floor is seamless" - Rolling Stone.

Straight from Brussels

Stromae- Alors on Danse (Let's Dance)

I had no luck finding the translated lyrics. Though this catchy track overcomes any language barrier.


19 Worthwhile Minutes

Hans Rosling's TED (Technology, Education and Design) talk on poverty has nothing yet everything to do with hip hop. With an innovate data tool, Rosling wittingly reveals how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. Rosling declares economic growth as the primary mean to achieve the most important development goals, human rights and culture. As Rosling enthusiastically states, "culture is the most important thing I would say, that's what brings joy to life, that's the value of living."



The Roots: Pass the Popcorn

While the media, blogs and mags try to predict the next breakout artist sometimes its best to hit the rewind button. So pass the remote control and the popcorn.

Hip Hop In Action: The Unbound Project Vol. 1

In 2000 the politically charged Unbound Project Volume 1 compilation was released.

The Unbound Project Volume 1 is a counter attack from the members of the progressive hip-hop community against the oppression of our society's young people. The project not only seeks to raise dialogue through music and spoken word pieces, it also seeks to examine the root causes behind current trends within the US Criminal Justice System by providing the listener with a 30 page essay that outlines the system and its broad effect on the Hip-Hop Generation today.

Participating artists included: Reflection Eternal, Black Thought, Zach de la Rocha, Aceyalone, Blackalicious, Saul Williams and Iriscience of Dilated Peoples. United around the cause of exposing America's flawed criminal justice system, the artists have donated portions of the proceeds to benefit the legal defense of Black Panther and radio journalist Mumia Abdul-Jamal. Though ten years old the eye-opening and controversial project remains current today. Regardless of your stance, I encourage you to check out the documentary below which explores the way the media covered Abdul-Jamal's incarceration and raises questions about the responsibility of journalists to provide information fairly and accurately.


Flute Beatboxing in NYC

What ultimately makes NYC stick out in the minds of many are unexpected awes in parks and subways.


Wee Bee Reminiscing

I put the car into park and watched as night turned to morning; it was approaching 5 AM on a summer night of 2002. Instead of heading inside to pass out I sat in the green Taurus and listened to Wee Bee Foolish's Brighton Beach Memoirs from from beginning to end.


Hibby dibby to the hip jazz funk hop and ya don't stop

San Diego producer DJ Greyboy (Andreas Stevens) is too talented to remain so low key. Back in the early 90s hip hop loving Greyboy, unsatisfied with the MCs at his disposal, turned his attention to acid jazz. For his debut album "Freestylin" Greyboy teamed up with renown sax player Karl Denson. Word of mouth made the album a cult hit, particularly in Europe. What began as Denson and Stevens collaborating on weekly shows at the Green Circle Bar in SD spearheaded the Greyboy Allstars, a 6 member funk, boogaloo, acid and soul jazz band. The Greyboy Allstars are largely credited with the rebirth of the acid jazz movement in the mid 90s.

Writing this post recalls my introduction to the Greyboy Allstars. Back in 2004, my friend Chis and I were chilling and pre-gaming in our boatel in Prague (an absolute architectural marvel of a city), taking turns sharing music we enjoyed and he popped on the Greyboy Allstars' "A Town Called Earth." I've been digging the sound since. This past July I was in Cali and my friend Ben and I spontaneously headed to
The Pike on a Monday night after one of his hockey buds recommended it. As it turns out, Greyboy was doing a show with his turntable band Warchurch. Alright now that I shared my personal take back to the evolution of the music....

As interest in acid jazz faded at the tail end of the 90s Greyboy shifted back to his first love, hip hop. In "Mastered the Art" he spikes Italian producer, Nicola Conte's bossanova classic, with a hip hop edge.

"Dealing With the Archives" is a melodic underground hip hop gem that comes to live with a flute loop, excellent scratching and Main Flow's on point verses. Bottom line, Greyboy's musical diversity and chillness are unmatched.

Mighty Reflection Jay

It's a beatiful thing when Reflection Eternal, Mos Def and Jay Electronica come together.


With the PUTS relaxing

Perhaps my favorite track off Carried Away, "80 Blocks from Silverlake" is a clear shout out to LA and a subtle ode to the Beatnuts. Cruise around your city and get nostalgic to this one.

Reflection Eternal Move Somethin'

One of HiphoPolitico's favorite Reflection Eternal joints. Hopefully for the follow up album, Kweli does away with long R&B interludes and the slew of guest artists that have appeared in his recent albums, and instead spits more fire.


Hiphopolitico got the Distant Relatives Tease

Nas and Damian Marley Link up at Nat Geo in DC

"Reggae and hip-hop, those are the two soundtracks for young people around the world."

"Nas and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley explore the origins of the deeply-rooted reggae and hip hop genre, tracing both sounds back to African music. They will debate and celebrate the implications of this culture’s impact on the global community with a panel of pioneers—from DJ Kool Herc and DJ Red Alert to Jamaican dancehall legend, Daddy U-Roy, King Jammy, and moderator Sway Calloway of MTV. The event at National Geographic is being filmed for an upcoming documentary." To get to Nas and D. Marley skip ahead to the 1:56:00 mark.

This Washington Post article previewed the event and touches on the commonalities between hip hop and reggae and the messages Damian and Nas intend to convey.

Sixty minutes of audio is not enough to express everything we want to express...When it comes down to the hip-hop/reggae thing, we want to hear from other artists and pioneers. And when it comes to the Africa part we want to hear from African artists from the ground -- ground zero.

- Damian Marley


Orishas: A lo Cubano

These songs makes me feel like I'm on a Caribbean island in mid December... oh wait I am! Out of your speakers and Cuba come Orishas, the only group that I know of to integrate Latin rhythm, guitars and drums into hip hop while staying above the troubled waters. Troubled waters= Reggaeton.


Feel the Love Friday

Xaphoon Jones is the up and coming producer for Chiddy Bang. He is also responsible for making our heads nod to this Bob Marley and MGMT mash up. Head over to Pretty Much Amazing to DL his entire mixtape, it's a worthwhile trip. Happy Friday!


Mos Def Minimalist

Migty Mos took a simplistic approach with the Casa Bey video. He does the same with SuperMagic. Naturally, the lack of storyline, props and scenes keeps the focus on the lyrics. Story goes that he showed up to a dark room and started spitting fire. Then to satisfy fans expecting flashing lights they added the magic eye effect to the recording. I just made that up. Enjoy!


PUTS Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest

The People Under the Stairs pay tribute to Tribe's classic "Check the Rhime" with a classic of their own "Check the Vibe."

PUTS: From Real to Reel

The People Under The Stairs came into a being shortly after Thes One and Double K met at a LA record store. In this Vimby Music clip, the 2 emcees touch on the roots of PUTS, how their approaches to crate digging/sampling meshed, and the brainstorming behind the "Trippin at the Disco" video.

Thes One recalls the beginning of PUTS, "We were like the people under the stairs, we just tucked away. We weren't trying to floss." Their music practices what the duo preaches:
  • Stay grounded.

  • Have fun.

  • Pay tribute to influences and mentors.

Thes One also makes a valid point regarding the music business,

We were blessed with the talent. I have a hard time feeling sorry for dudes when
things are so much easier than they were. Like, you don't have to get signed. If
it was 86, the only way you were going to make a record was if you went into
the office with a cassette tape and said please put me on. And it's not like
that anymore.

Thes One warns musicians to stop blaming the music industry for the lack of buzz and sales, implying that if the internet does not generate word of mouth then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

Now 7 albums deep, PUTS remain fans in the crowd first, performers on stage second. The duo's appeal derives from their ability to convey how much fun they are having through creative beats, candid lyrics and homages to their cities, family and friends, favorite brew and foods and old school hip hop acts. Their latest album "Carried Away" was recorded on reel to reel to create a raw distorted sound reminiscent of 80s hip hop pioneers. While the LA natives continue to dig through crates listeners continue to dig in search for fun loving tunes, often finding them under the stairs.


BlakRoc: Garage Hop

The Blakroc Project hits stores today. With so much emphasis on The Black Keys collaboration with distinguished MCs, its easy for one to take the lyrics for granted. MCs showed up to the studio and responded to The Black Keys raw guitar and drum sound with free-spirited verses. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys on Raekwon's from the hip lyrical creation:

He was sorta what I imagined watching Bob Dylan work in his prime would be like. Raekwon came in, heard the music, got inspired and just sat down and started writing. He wrote like 20 verses, just like that, in 45 minutes. And everything that he says is so visual, such a story. His rhyme schemes are just insane.

I posted Raekwon's BlakRoc track "Stay off the Fucking Flowers" a while ago. That and Pharoach Monch and RZA's "Dollaz and Sense" are standout tracks .


I Do Too!

K-os's Yes! album finally hit the States yesterday, though its been in rotation for months.


Chiddy Bang: From Chinatown Bus to Jet Setting

Under Black Thought's wings, fellow Philly natives Chiddy Bang ( Chidera Anamege & Xaphoon Jones) are poised to show up on your hip hop radar. Their Swelly Express mixtape embodys their hip hop aspirations, telling the story of several Chinatown bus trips from Philly to NYC to meet with record execs. The mixtape samples Sufjan Stevens, Mary Poppins, Passion Pit, Belle and Sebastien and MGMT Chiddy's witty upbeat shoot for the stars electro-hip hop sound is a more radio friendly version of Supreeme's. Alongside the amazing Kids remix (spotlighted on HiphoPolitico back in the summertime) other standout tracks include Dream Chasin', Decline, Truth, Slow Down(feat. Black Thought) and Never...the list goes on. They're all great plays on a Friday.

Dream Chasin'

Decline (Belle and Sebastien)

Truth (Passion Pit)

All Things Go (Sufjan Stevens)


Black Keys and Raekwon Link Up

Raekwon's OB4CL2 is widely recognized as 09's best hip hop album to date. His callabo with The Black Keys "Stay off the F'n Flowers" off Dame Dash's BlakRoc project may be the best hip hop/rock track to date, period.


Intelligent Extraterrestrial Music

Hailing from Cologne, Germany the Ancient Astronauts (Kabanjak and Doju) teamed up with The Pharcyde to cut this gem. With their Heart of the Future mixtape, the production duo demonstrates their ability to mix and mash funk, down tempo, dub and hip hop.

From old school hip hop legends, to new school deep beat masters, the mix skips in and out of genres lacing hints of reggae with thick slabs of funk, creating an overarching vibe of just damn good summer hanging music.

The name Ancient Astronauts arrives from a theory that extraterrestrial beings visited the Earth and exchanged ideas with early human civilizations. This in turn, spawned the development of human technologies, cultures, philosophies and religions. A fitting name for their musical palette. Back in June, they dropped We are to Answer under Thievery Corporation's Eighteenth St. Lounge (ESL) label. Its on my to listen list.

Panamanian Sounds: El Kid

HiphoPolitico is deader than hip hop. Ha. A trio of I's serve as reasons for the dryspell:

1) I still don't have internet.
2) I am swamped at work
3) Island hopping

More to come on Panama and its music. Stay tuned.


PUTS Steps Up the Funk, Rock and Hop

People Under The Stairs- Trippin at the Disco


HOVering over The Black Keys

Jay Z's "Hello Brooklyn" verses over The Black Key's "Psychotic Girl." It seems fitting to share this remix with the release of BlakRoc around the corner. I recommend checking out the videos on BlakRoc's site, they provide insights on the development of the project.

Meaning in the Form of a Question

People constantly ponder the meaning of life. "What is the meaning of life?" My take: the ability to ask that question contains the answer. It might well be our most indispensable privilage and yet humans have a tendency to disguise it as a burden, noting an apparent lack of direction or purpose in their lives. Simply said, if you are able to ask that question instead of living a life of day to day survival, thank your lucky stars.

Jay Z- In My Lifetime (Remix)


Throwback Thursday: J5's Quality Control

Thought I'd give 2na a helping hand. Quality Control's nostalgic prowess goes eclair for eclair with an ice cream truck on a hot summer day.

Fish out of Water: Chali2na

J5's debut LP and Quality Control are hip hop classics. I still can't get enough of epic old school tracks such as Jayou, Quality Control, Action Satisfaction, Concrete Schoolyard, The Influence and The Game among others. Unfortunately, their sound did not remain golden. Their lyrics became stagnant, stuck on the topic of not getting enough recognition, their reliance on guest artists grew and the departure of Cut Chemist was felt. Throughout J5's music journey, one thing always stayed constant, Chali2na's thoughtful distinct deep flow. 2na's flow like water skills deserve better beats, sound effects and choruses than the ones drowning him on "International" and "Lock Shit Down." I hope 2na digs through the J5 crates and brings it back to the basics.

CNN spotlights the Roots

Hard to disagree with ?uestLove's take on selling out. As long as the music is good and true who cares what stage The Roots play.


The Hood Internet Unites Carlos Santana's Son and Gza

Salvador Santana does not blend rock, salsa and jazz on the guitar like his dad, but he does shine on the keyboard. Santana collaborated with Gza and The Hood Internet to remix Keyboard City. This track reinforces the stellar Only Built for Cuban Linx 2 in the claim that "The W is always in the air."

The Hype Machine calls it Indie Hip hop

Another hot remix spreads via the internets. The Hood Internet's epic "Two Weeks of Hip Hop" mashes up Dead Prez's "Hip Hop" and Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks." Click right here to check it out!


The Roots are Back at it Again

HiphoPolitico hit the snooze button in Panama. Honestly I am still getting accustomed to my work, searching for an apartment, making the most of the hostels, making new friends and settling down in this paradise. I hope to bounce back strong with Panamanian sounds. In the meantime, enjoy the title track off the upcoming Roots album. One love.


BlakRoc: The Black Keys and your favorite MCs

The Damon Dash orchestrated BlacRoc project brings together the Black Keys and the likes of Mos Def, Ludacris, Q-Tip, Raekwon, RZA, Pharoahe Monch. This was bound to happen as rap sounds on point over guitar riffs. In the words of Raekwon, "BlakRoc is brilliant acid." Monch's take: "What it meant to me, I always knew: great rock music and great hip hop music fused together can create undeniable greatness. - the Keys are the truth. "


Sat Night Feel Good: AI and Co's Press Hop

HiphoPolitico is coming straight from Panama by Luis (chilled out hostel outside the hustle and bustle of Panama City). My luggage may be lost for good and my laptop is running on low juice but the spirits are high. Have a good one.


Kid CuDi: Hombre en La Luna

Sure the Crookers remix is played out (for good reason) but this video (shot back in April 08) is tight. CuDi's debut album Man on the Moon (End of the Day) is out on Tuesday (9/15). Treat yourself to two leaks at The AtariCoolKids. Their album review is spot on. Enough nonsense about hype, the kid is legit.

Beastie Boys: DoubleCheck Your Head

While the novelty factor of Max Tannone's Jaydiohead hasn't worn off yet, the emerging remix mastermind has been on the grind again. This time slicing and dicing Beastie Boys' Check Your Head. With Jaydiohead, Max combined Jay-Z and Radiohead tracks; this time around he blends songs off Check Your Head- the outcome is fresh. The Beastie Boys feel is still intact, hence four of the Tannone's mash ups are up on their official website. Enjoy below or via the DoubleCheckYourMind site. Tannone on his latest creation:

I made the project in support of the Beastie Boys recent reissue of their "Check Your Head" (one of my personal favorites.) The concept is that the Beastie Boys are mashed up with themselves, rapping over tracks sampling their own instrumentals, with all vocals and sampled elements coming from "Check Your Head."


RE NOLA: 4 Years Later

It's no secret that Mos Def was shaken (see Katrina Clap video below) by Hurricane Katrina's wake and the government's slow, mismanaged and poorly led relief efforts. Fast forward four years and Mighty Mos continues to voice his outrage and encourage others to help displaced families get back on their feet. Find out below how you can help out:

My parents just moved to NOLA and it only takes a day's worth to get an idea of what makes the Big Easy special. The spirit of New Orleans lies in the history, the hospitality, the French, Spanish, English and Creole influences, the fine dining, architecture, the arts, potholes, festivities, live music and hurricane seasons. Simply said, each street corner brings a new surprise solidifying New Orleans' vigor and its residents' tenacity. It's also awesome to be able to go from partying it up on Bourbon St. to relaxing in a premier jazz club within a few minutes.

Mos Def- Katrina Clap

Sat Night Feel Good: It's Getting Late but I Don't Mind


Edgewood Mural Kicks off DC's Mural Program

Fittingly titled "From Edgewood to the Edge of the World"(click here for panaoramic view), the spirited block long artwork treats Red line commuters to a glimpse and invites locals and tourists to embrace a DC neighborhood that is usually overlooked.

The Edgewood mural stemmed from a parternship between The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the youth employment program and the New Jersey based nonprofit artist collective
Albus Cavus. Albus Cavus fosters community development through public art projects by reviving shunned common public spaces and providing young residents with a sense of belonging and duty.

Peter Krsko, director of Albus Cavus, elaborates on the mural's message:
Historically, this was the edge of the known world for Washingtonians, were not afraid to step beyond the border, beyond the edge, and discover something new and exciting and make the city large and more prosperous. Basically, as the title of the wall means, we would like people to step beyond their own personal boundaries.
The Edgewood mural is the first of seven murals that will go up around the city as part of MuralsDC. The program, created by DC council Jim Graham, aims to prevent graffiti vandalism by providing legal space. Graham explains,
It's an effort to control the spread of graffiti in the city and offer a different artistic expression. When there is a mural, we've found that people are less likely to deface it than when there is a blank wall.
The city's newfound approach to graffiti mirrors that of Philadelphia's stance. For more information on the Edgewood mural andMuralsDC refer to the following WP articles:

Let Us Spray

Project Brings Graffiti Art out of the Dark

Homes, Businesses May Qualify for Mural Project


Friday Night Lights: Tabi Bonney

I will be jet setting to Panama soon. No worries though, HiphoPolitico will not be sun setting. Catch Tabi Bonney tomorrow (Saturday Aug. 29th) at Brightest Young Things Summer Camp Week 13 held at Capitol Skyline Hotel.


Lazy Sunday Nooner: Vintage Hiero

Shot in Hawaii, this video is an exquisite sidekick to the Hieroglyphics runnin' circles around other MCs in the timeless "You Never Knew."


Sat Night Feel Good: DC Has Hip Hop

Celebrate DC hip hop at Flex Mathews' DC Has Hip Hop Block Party. The party will feature Djs, open mics, live graffiti and more.

Flex was born in Germany and is a native of South Dakota yet calls the nation's capital his "musical home." He is widely considered the area's dopest freestyle rapper (watch below). The hip hop vet gave DCist (full interview here) his take on state of DC's overlooked hip hop scene:
They don’t appreciate it cause they’ve had it their whole lives. It’s like a little kid with a toy, you lose interest, you don’t want to play with it anymore. A lot of people rip on D.C.’s music scene, and I think it’s wack. When you come from a place where there is no music scene, like South Dakota, and you get to a place where there is a music scene, you fall head over heels for it.
He was recently named best local rapper by DC's City Paper, beating out Wale and Rosetta Stoned. Flex has shared the stage with KRS-One, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco and Immortal Technique and performed for the likes of Obama and Hilary Clinton as part of the Take Back America campaign.


DC: Just Listen

HiphoPolitico digs this heartfelt tune.


Edgewood Mural Jam Recap

Over 100 local artists came together on Saturday August 15th to give life to a 500 foot long wall that rests along the Rhode Island Avenue red line metro stop (now the best stop for a metro train to break down). This marks the largest public art mural in the nation's capital. A block party featuring live music, DJS, food and children activities accompanied the day long mural jam. Click on the banner photo above to see the entire wall and check out the rest of the photos at CreatePublicArtDC.

TheFiveOne: Gold

Gold Groovin'

TheFiveOne: Green

An ode to DMV over a Vampire Weekend sample.

TheFiveOne: Blue

TheFiveOne's Lil Wayne remix "Stuntin like Mufasa" draws on Lion King's father-son relationship theme.

TheFiveOne: Red

Add Weezer's "Island in the Sun" and Kanye West's "Robocop" to the musical blender and one drinks down TheFiveOne's LA Girl. This four man crew reps DMV and has a knack for remixes. For every week in 2009 TheFiveOne is releasing a remix as part of their 5109 remix album. The concept is appealing.Their talent is unquestionable.The collection is imppresive: Death Cab for Cutie, Bob Marley, Outkast, T.I., The Postal Service, Vampire Weekend and Janet Jackson among others. As seen above, theFiveOne band members go by colors: red, blue, green and gold. Check them out at VCU this Friday (08/21) and/or at Asylum on 09/03.


Zion I: Coastin'


Infectious Samba Hip Hop

Just try to keep your dancing feet still to Marcelo D2's A Procura da Batida Perfeita. The song's title translates to "Looking for the Perfect Beat." The Rio de Janeiro MC, formerly a vocalist for Planet Hemp, has established his enticing samba hip hop sound beyond the borders of Brazil.

Marcelo D2 grew up on the edges of Rio's favelas, far from the picturesque ocean side neighborhoods. Prior to his music breakout, Marcelo worked as a paper boy, doorman, a cleaner and vendor. In his late teens, he served in the Brazilian military, ironically giving him a higher chance of survival than remaining in violent drug infested streets. Marcelo's early hardships have blessed him with bottomless lyrical substance and relentless drive to reinvent his music.

Marcelo D2- A Procura de Batida Perfeita

Marcelo D2- Qual é

Marcelo D2- Gueto

Marcelo D2- Loadeando ( performed with his son)

Planet Hemp- Queimando Tudo


Africa: Wake Up and Listen

This preview of Nas and D. Marley's Distant Relatives lifts anticipation. The album was originally scheduled to come out on June 23rd. The release date has been pushed back to the Fall. It looks like summer will persist as the leaves turn golden.

Jaydiohead Responds to Applause

HiphoPolitico is finally giving Jaydiohead's second go a listen. Better late than never. Max Tannone (originally Minty Fresh Beats) followed up his buzzworthy Jaydiohead mashup album with The Encore. Stream/DL the songs below.



Jay Electronica: Profound Outside the Box Flow

As an MC Jay Electronica stands on his own lyrical island. The NOLA native's raps and delivery are anamolies coming out of the south. Not a hint of a Southern accent or cash money ryhmes. With regards to his sound being atypical of the south:

Fuck where I’m from. I’m from the moon. I love New Orleans, it made me who I am, but, at the end of the day, it’s just a place. I rep man and human beings.
The hip hop journeyman has made stops in DC,Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Denver and Dallas over the past dozen years. He is married to Erykah Badu. Nas digs his sound, hence Jay produced the first song off Nas's Untitled. He credits his mom for his musical style.

A) Jay Electronica- The Pledge: Jay Electronica has garnered buzz through Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge). He raps over Jon Brion's soundtrack to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The critically acclaimed song opens with Just Blaze and Erykah Badu likening Jay to “a mythical creature who’d have a bow and arrow on his back and wings under that bow and arrow." The mood changes throughout the 9 minute plus percussionless classic. The flow is witty thought provoking and poised to tackle one topic after another. The use of sound bites is interesting- children arguing in Kurdish and Willy Wonka.

Jay explains his motives behind The Pledge:
“I’m very influenced by movies. There’s a scene [in Eternal Sunshine] when Jim Carrey’s character has just met Clementine, and she’s invited him up for drinks. It was the first time you saw him excited, and you could tell it was going to be a pivotal point in his life. But the music you heard—do-do-do-do-do-do-do—didn’t make you feel so good. It created such a good contrast. I just wanted to do something that felt like that.”

B) Jay gives a shout out

C) Jay and Just Blaze teaser

D) Rock the Bells 08 Freestyle

E) Jay's Exhibit A is my Exhibit E