Lazy Sunday Nooner: Coast to Coast

Coastin' is my track of choice on Zion I's The Take Over. The song's piano and drum clap are ideal companions for a drive or sunset. The lyrics encourage one to remain balanced through success and struggle. They remind me of a few words one of my trifecta friends lives by:

know your ups and downs
sit tranquilly like bamboo
bend and do not break

The video for Coastin' is in the works. Breathe in breathe out, enjoy your Sunday/ a new month and a double dose of Zion I (check the video for "Fingerpaint" below).

Zion I- Coastin'

Cuz we came a long way since our days in the Ay
Sleepless nights was tryna get right
Now I just glide
Wind in my sails
I toast to the ocean
She balance my scales
West coastin'
Got the breeze at my left
Been leavin' me ???
When life do you well
Stay focused
True indeed it's a fact
When those hard times come, love will bring you right back

Nastamon Vibrations: Distant Relatives Part Deux

Mutual admiration for each other’s music brought Nas and Damian Marley together to grind out “Distant Relatives” at an undisclosed location in LA. The album’s predominant theme is African ancestry. Nas explains the premise:
We tryin' to build some schools in Africa… and trying to build empowerment. The record's all about the 'hood and Africa.
Marley is on the same page:

Africa is the backbone of the world and the foundation of everything and Africans are in a situation where they need help more than anywhere else.
Proceeds from the album will fund the construction of schools in Africa.

Expect socio-political commentary, guest appearances from Stevie Wonder and Young Jeezy along with a variety of African inspired samples. The buzz has landed the reggae hip hop duo a headliner slot at this summer’s Rock the Bells festival. Despite the steady hype, quiet studio work and absence of leakages have spawned a secretive allure.


Wise and Irie Alliance

HiphoPolitico goes from Zion I to Road to Zion. This stellar track offers a glimpse of what's to come from Nas and Damian Marley's collaborative album Distant Relatives. For now, enjoy the video (note the George Clinton, The Game and Chali2na appearances).

In my lifetime I look back at paths i've walked
Where savages fought and pastors taught
Prostitutes stomp in high heel boots
And badges screaming,"Young black children stop or I will shoot!"
I look back at cooked crack
Plus cars that pass by
Jaguars mad fly
And I'm guilty for materialism
Blacks is still up in the prison Trust that
So save me your sorries, I'm raising an army
Revolutionary warfare with Damian Marley
We sparkin' the ions, marching to Zion
You know how Nas be NYC state of mind I'm in
- Nas


Pop Pop Goes Zion I

Zion I's musical evolution shows off Amp Live's beatmaking versatility and Zumbi MC's lyrical prowess. Their multifaceted sound has blended jazz, rock, electronica, Africa Bambaataa on past albums. Their latest recipe, The Take Over, brings new ingredients to the table: heavier bass, pop and swagger. Vibe breaks down the move in a new direction:

This much we know: Zion I’s formula for crafting indelible underground hits for the past decade has cemented emcee Zumbi and DJ/ producer AmpLive—collectively Zion I—as elder statesmen in Bay Area hip hop. Zumbi’s raw poetics back dropped to AmpLive’s pounding, jazz-electro soulscapes are noted up and down the entire coast. Zion I’s sixth studio album, The Take Over (Gold Dust), however, teeters between political rap and pop, underground and mainstream. Translation: The Take Over is an industry experiment in sonic fusion, and by album’s end Zion I create a sound all its own—progressive power-pop.

Zion I die hards will not be disappointed as the fundamentals-the socio-political message, futuristic tracks, glass half full authenticity, and second to none mash ups (See Radiohead In Rainbows Remix project, DL gratis here) remain intact. The Bay area's perplexing duo continues to shine because of its insatiable drive to innovate. The poppier Take Over will surely attract new listeners to Zion I's deserving collection.

Amplive's Plea to have his remix of Radiohead's In Rainbows released to public

Amplive expresses gratitude to fans for supporting In Rainbows remix project and thanks Radiohead


Hip hop BBQ

People Under the Stairs- Anotha BBQ is a fitting choice for this weekend. Kick back and relax...


Throwback Thursday: Happy B-Day Biggie

Rest in Peace. East coast hip hop pioneer. Dark autobiographical storyteller. Commanding voice. Smooth multi-syllabic verses. Sincere and laid back lyricist. Hip hop nostalgia. Biggie Smalls.


Capital Investment Firms in Africa

Greetings fellow Hip Hop/political enthusiast!

You could be anywhere else in the world but you're here with us, and we thank you.
It's been a while since I've blessed the pages of our sacred site; thus explaining my need to share and receive love for Hip Hop and HiphopPolitico. Recently I had the pleasure of attending an "Invest in Africa" seminar held by a local organization in the District of Columbia. The event discussed various Foreign Assets Companies and their role in Africa.

I know some of you might be wondering :"What are these Capital Investment Firms/ Capital Partnerships /Foreign Assets Companies dude" and "what do they have to do with Hip Hop?"
I'll explain.

These companies gather MILLIONS of bucks to invest in everything from Water Treatment Facilities to Diamond Mines and Oil.

Not all of the companies involved are particularly bad, many offer decent wages and conditions, some do not. I must also note, I can give the same estimate of approval for most of the governments involved. But there is a bright side.. What if Hip Hop got together and pulled our resources to start projects in Africa and Latin America? What if we started firms that employed people outside the U.S. at a wage comparable to living standards in the U.S. or Western Europe? I won't go further into specifics but you get my drift.
Hip Hop must think globally and boldly; others are.
Peace & Blessings!


Mos Def and MV Bill: Brooklyn Bridges Rio

When was the last time you got stoked about a fresh Mos Def verse? His new album The Ecstatic drops June 9th and is poised to resurrect Mighty Mos as an ambassador of hip hop. Amidst his acting success, Mos was able to remain an active social advocate, particularly making his voice heard with respect to the Bush administration’s slow response to the Katrina Hurricane.

As part of the filming of a 4real documentary series (highly recommend that one become acquainted with their efforts) Mos made his way to City of God, a favela (slum), in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. There, MC MV Bill exposed Mos to the daily crime and social hardships present in Brazilian ghettos and the two reflected on the revolutionary capacity of hip hop. Nowadays, the term "keepin it real" is tossed around by rappers. Look no further than Mos's and MV Bill's solidarity and fieldwork for a walking definition of it. The language barrier is no match for the MCs' fondness of hip hop and passion for social change.

In the near future HipHoPolitico will spotlight MV Bill's NGO Central Única das Favelas. In the meantime,
you will be treated to the official video for Casa Bey (which features a beat that was cut from Banda Black Rio's Casa Forte, a song that Mos discovered thanks to MV Bill) along with highlights from Mos's trip to Rio and MV Bill's inspiring and widely felt community work.

Mos Def- Casa Bey

MV Bill reflects on the importance of inspiring children

Mos Def gets profound once again

MV Bill comments on how American hip hop has influenced his music.

Mos gives props to the Brazilian hip hop movement

Hutúz Rap Festival


DC Bullets: Jam Packed Weekend

Since I am in the midst of moving out I'll keep it short and sweet

Friday 5.15.09

  • Up and coming local hip hop act Diamond District performs at Almaz, 9 PM Pick up their new album In the Ruff or download it for free.

Saturday 5.16.09
  • Hip Hop Cinema strikes again, this time focusing on the art of producing and beat making. Featured documentary film Deep Crates, is an ode to the art of crate digging, a term which refers to the process of exploring record stores in search of vinyl samples. The videos below should be more than enough incentive to watch producers dig up beats like Super Mario 2. Historical Society of DC, 2-4 PM FREE

    Clip from Deep Crates

    The Art of Digging

    Cut Chemist on the prowl for samples

  • Catch Tabi Bonney doing his thing at Club Heaven and Hell 18th St Adams Morgan 8 PM


Sat Night Feel Good: Out of the Ordinary

"The rapping is in Spanish; the music is from Puerto Rico, Macedonia and Nigeria; the sensibility is from Mars. Grammy-winning duo Calle 13 have no analogue in U.S. hip-hop: They're pop-savvy hitmakers with globe-trotting tastes and a riotous sense of humor. Here, they flaunt their cosmopolitanism, collaborating with Mexican rockers Café Tacuba ("No Hay Nadie Como Tu") and spicing their songs with Afro beats, polka and, on "Fiesta de Locos," Balkan brass. Spanish-speakers will love Residente's witty raps, but you don't need to know a word to grasp his message: a plea to bury geographic boundaries under an unstoppable groove." - Rolling Stone
This excerpt from RS sums up Calle 13's inviting rhythm and prose. Lyrical content on their latest album "Los de Atra Vienen Conmigo" ranges from the importance of remembering one's Latin American roots, appreciating individuals' differences, social economic conditions present in Latin America to the lack of substance across Reggaeton songs. My fave track on the album, "La Perla" featuring Salsa legend Ruben Blades, serves as a moving ode to Residente's native San Juan barrio and touches on Residente's childhood and the everyday life of La Perla's residents. Calle 13 continues to stand out as they make avant garde music- intelligent witty and danceable.


HiphoPolitico se va pa la isla de PR

Puerto Rico's Calle 13 is frequently and unjustifiably tagged with the Reggaeton label; this does not sit well with Calle 13 nor their growing fan base. The charismatic duo, made up of half brothers Residente and Visitante, have captivated listeners with their hybrid sound- exuberant latin ryhtyms, drums, new wave keyboards, tango, cumbia, Euro folk music, electronica...the list goes on. It leaves one scratching his head how Calle 13 can be classified under a homogenous genre like Reggaeton. Furthermore, their fun loving, satire and shock value filled and Puerto Rican slang embellished lyrics set Calle 13 apart from other leading musicians coming out of PR.

While their debut album was in the works Filberto Ojeda Ríos, commander in chief of the Puerto Rican revolutionary group refered to as Los Machateros (which sought independence for Puerto Rico from the US) was murdered in 2005 when FBI agents attempted to arrest him. Residente, a supporter of the Puerto Rican independence movement, responded to the suspect death by writing, producing and publishing the song " Querido FBI" ("Dear FBI", see below). The track's potency was unleashed via viral internet marketing as its lyrics appeared in local newspapers and shaped debates on the streets. A main dish of Calle 13's musical potpourri and a splash of Nelly Furtado's foxiness awaits below.

Calle 13- Electro Movimiento

Calle 13- Beso de Desayuno

Calle 13- No Hay Nadie Como Tu

Calle 13- Querido F.B.I.

Nelly Furtado featuring Calle 13- No Hay Igual


In Celebration of Cinco de Mayo

The Mexican hip hop movement began back in the early 90s. The history of Mexican hip hop is largely undocumented, making it virtually impossible to pinpoint true pioneers. Los Angeles based hip hop acts such as Cypress Hill, Delinquent Habits and Melo Man Ace are credited for propelling the popularity of Mexican crossover groups Molotov and Control Machete. Mexican hip hop remains veiled behind ranchera, cumbia , mexican love ballads, pop, and rock music that have dominated the mainstream. Prominent issues (as you will see below) present in hip hop Mexicano are immigration, preservation of indigenous culture, free trade, the need to address poverty and Mexican pride.

Since Mexican hip hop stemmed from the popularity of LA acts its only natural that its sound and images in its early years considerably mirror the gangster rap that was born in Los Angeles. The best is yet to come as Mexican hip hop continues to emerge and deviate away from the LA brand and picks up bits and pieces of regional flavor. For now, scouting the scene for MCs like Boca Floja (check it out below!) resembles having to dig through a room full of crates. But no worries, that process is whats makes discovering/sharing music via HiphoPolitico a good time.

Closing Cinco de Mayo thoughts:
  • Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican independence day.
  • Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexican military's victory against a stronger better equipped French army. (May 5, 1862)
  • Cinco de Mayo is not widely observed in Mexico.
  • Cinco de Mayo partyers should not worry about getting swine flu from drinking coronas.
  • Cinco de Mayo wouldn't be complete without Tequila Sunrise.

Delinquent Habits- Tres Delinquentes

Molotov- Gimme The Power

Control Machete- Si Señor

Boca Floja-Soul Rebel

Boca Floja- Autonomo


Diverse: Lost in Space

HiphoPolitico wishes you a spacey start of the week. Diverse is yet another MC that has left his fan base wondering how long it takes to put together a new album. He has joined forces with RJD2, Prefuse 73, Madlib, and Lyrics Born on several projects. While Diverse makes a highly anticipated return from the moon check out the videos and give his 03 effort 1 AM a listen.

Lazy Sunday Nooner: From K-OS comes Clarity

Second to none in terms of versatility, K-os's vocals, guitar, keyboard and fire spitting flow shine on soulful R&B, reggae, dance and rock influenced numbers. Good luck to those that try to fit his music into a genre.
K-os brings it on his new album "YES!" Above is the single "4 3 2 1." It serves as a rap response to Feists's "1,2, 3, 4." In K'os's own words:
I thought how interesting would it be to do a hip hop version of this song? It's about the battle of the sexes, where I’m rapping "what are we fighting for?" Is this gender war going to happen forever? It's me saying I hope not.
The male-female relationship is a salient topic throughout the album ( W.H.I.P. Cream and The Avenue). K-os rarely hosts guest artists on his albums, yet on "Uptown Girl" he collaborates with fellow Canadians Metric's Emily Haines and The Dear's Murray Lightburn(listen below).

Back in 1999 K-os was featured (song: Eternal) on Toronto based production team Da Grassroot's ( Mr. Attic, Swiff and Mr. Murray)
Passage Through Time. The album is hip hop on a hammock, smooth like Ray Allen's jumper good and relaxing like Sunday afternoon. The thoughtful lyrics, the wealth of Canadian MCs in the mix and the impeccable transition from one track to the next makes Passage Through Time a classic. Simply put, I would not be fulfilling my HiphoPolitico mission if I had not taken the time to put the tracks in order under one Youtube playlist. My personal faves: Precious Metals, Price of Livin, Revival and K-os's Eternal. Ear candy is only a click away.


Del the FH releases new album for free

Check it here (with DL Link): Del The Funky Homosapien Releases New Album for Free

The first single, "Get it Right Now"

Freestyle Friday and Real Hip Hop on U Vol. 1: Skillz

Friday May 1st kicks off Real Hip Hop on U. Drop by to catch VA native Skillz put on a show. His upcoming album "Million Dollar Backpack" features appearances from Talib Kweli, The Roots, Freeway and Common and hits stores July 8th. Skillz is renown for his year end rap up freestyles. The recognition led to 2007's video( see below). I prefer the 08 year end rap up. Enjoy the clips.

Where: Almaz Restaurant and Lounge 1212 U St.
When: 9 PM
Hosted By: Asheru & Maimouna Youssef
Ladies Free Before 11 PM Fellas $10 Before 11 PM

Year End Wrap Up 07

Skillz- "So Far So Good"