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Author Archives: Chris Moss

Ras Kass Talks Blasphemy LP, Working with Apollo Brown and Longevity in Rap

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The idea of having one producer and one MC handle their respective duties on a project is not a new concept in Hip Hop. Quite frankly, that was the blueprint before the album-by-committee became the more accepted norm. This one-on-one formula has been making its way back into the culture with some efforts coming off forced, or contrived, and others finding the participants’ strengths melding into a cohesive offering, giving fans a project worthy of anticipation. Apollo Brown and Ras Kass’ latest effort falls into the latter category: a project that packs edgy beats with rewind-worthy rhymes. It’s what you’d expect from two artists that continue to build their careers on consistency, forgoing the trappings of commerce and dedicating themselves to the culture. This achievement becomes even more noteworthy because they don’t self-congratulate and provide excessive commentary about the struggle; they just get in and get busy throughout their new album Blasphemy. Aside from the headliners holding it down, the guest artists are well-placed and provide just the right compliment to the thematic feel of each record. In other words, Apollo and Ras supply the listener with a well-crafted album that harkens back to the Golden Era while remaining firmly rooted in the present. Ras Kass took the time to shed some light on his recording process and how he and Apollo crafted this latest project on Mello Music Group. You sound so at ease with this latest project. Explain how this comfort factor was developed working with Apollo Brown. ... Read More »

Otis Brown III Talks The Thought of You, Jazz & Hip Hop’s Symbiosis and Donald Byrd

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Jazz and Hip Hop could arguably go down as the two quintessentially American art forms, musical by-products of the myriad of experiences found in the land between the Atlantic and Pacific. Both have heavy degrees of improvisation, and allow morphing and absorption in a cross-genre manner rarely seen in music. This appropriation, a symbiosis of sorts, of Jazz and Hip Hop became commonplace in the early ‘90s. Horn riffs and upright basslines became the basis for many Hip Hop records that have gone down as cherished compositions in a most revered canon of music. It wasn’t only Hip Hop that borrowed from Jazz. Esteemed Jazz musicians and labels started partnering with Hip Hop producers and emcees to create an ever-growing and expanding sound. Each genre fed off the other, consuming the necessary ingredients to keep the respective music moving forward. Otis Brown III is one such musician who incorporates those influences that were instrumental in his development. Like many of us, he grew up and understood that the worlds of Hip Hop and Jazz didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. In other words, hard drums could fit perfectly within the traditional structure of Jazz, especially if a genuine appreciation of music exists. The drummer’s latest album, The Thought of You, on Blue Note exemplifies this. Where could you find a Shania Twain cover and a Bilal song on the same album? Otis Brown III is an artist who finds beauty in all music and can manifest that diversity into emotive ... Read More »

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