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 LunĂ¡tico) 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.