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Tag Archives: Interviews

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

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 »

Kid Vishis Discusses Debut Album, Sibling Bond with Royce Da 5’9″ and Detroit’s Scene

Coming into the game as the younger sibling of a successful rapper can often be tricky. Just ask Jungle or 9th Prince. Constantly being faced with comparisons and repetitive questions about your brother’s work and your current relationship can be frustrating. It requires somebody with a lot of confidence to prevent the seeds of doubt from being planted by naysaying onlookers. Kid Vishis, younger brother of Royce Da 5’9”, has been prepared for the critics for a long time. The Detroit native recently released his debut album Timing is Everything and we caught up Kid Vishis to find out whether he worries about being in his brother’s shadow and what he see’s for the future of Detroit Hip Hop.  So your album dropped today; congratulations! How does it feel? Oh man, I feel on top of the world right now man. It’s amazing because I’m get a lot of different looks. Looks from pretty big websites and names and things like that so everything is just like on the up right now. Some people say it takes your whole life to make your first album. What were you trying to say on this project? It is what it is man. It takes the time that it takes for people to feel like they’re ready to do an album. My whole focus wasn’t even making albums or songs, my focus at first was just kicking people’s ass on verses. If I do a feature with them or stuff like that. I ... Read More »

Cormega Talks Mega Philosophy, Working With Large Pro and How His Perspective Has Changed

Cormega’s new LP Mega Philosophy is in stores now and its clear ‘Mega has come a long way from his start as a young emcee on “Going Straight Up” from Hot Day’s 1989 album It’s My Turn (which is worth digging up). From his incarceration and label issues to his highly-publicized industry beefs which the media still tries to play up in interviews, Cormega is an emcee who has always persevered and made his own way, giving Hip Hop his best every time he’s in the recording booth. He’s not a man who takes his rhymes lightly, as he once declared on 2009’s “Make It Clear,” a DJ Premier-produced cut from his Born And Raised album. His latest LP finds him working exclusively with longtime collaborator Large Professor. On Mega Philosophy, Cormega presents himself as an artist ready to be judged on his own merit, not by his past associations or an expectation that he sound like what he was creating back in the 90s. Though a listen to the album itself will provide a lot of insight for fans wondering where ‘Mega’s head is at currently, I got the opportunity to build with Cormega and expand on the new project, his legacy and how he’s grown as a man and as an artist. You worked exclusively with Large Professor on Mega Philosophy while Born And Raised had a number of different producers on the boards. How do you think working with one veteran producer affected the sound of the ... Read More »

Buckshot Discusses New Album, Backpack Rap and Independent Success

Buck does it all. Buck did it all. Buck’s doing it all. For someone who has been in the realm of Hip Hop for over 20 years, Buckshot has every right to make such a bold statement. After the release of his latest project Backpack Travels, a collaboration with producer P-Money, I got a chance to speak with the Hip Hop veteran. Backpack Travels is a reminder of Buckshot’s relevance in Hip Hop to this day. Speaking on the collaboration, Duck Down Music and an array of topics, one thing was evident in my conversation with Bucktown’s finest: Buckshot is an artist who remained true to mission since day one. “I represent the BPRs. You know, all the Backpack (rapper) stars. I’m down with giving a damn about the culture.” Read More »

Skyzoo & Torae Talk Barrel Brothers, Working Together & The New York Sound

It’s hard being a Hip Hop head sometimes, endlessly waiting on albums that are always being pushed back or never coming to fruition. For years, fans have yearned for another Black Star album, been tormented by the myth of Act IIand completely lost all hope on Detox.Since their first appearance over a DJ Premier beat, fans have been desperately waiting on a full-length project from Skyzoo and Torae. On May 27th their prayers will be answered when the New York duo release Barrel Brothers. I caught up with them to find out what took so long, their take on the New York resurgence and the gentrification of Brooklyn. Mazin: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you guys meet? Skyzoo: We met back in…’05. We met back in 2005. Tor does a better job of telling the quick version of this story then I do. He can take it from there. Torae: The quick short version… we actually got linked up via Chaundon and DJ Vega Benetton who were working on a project and Chaundon wanted both of us to feature on the record. We heard each other’s verses, we were fans of one and other, we started kind of chopping it up on the Sidekick, and then we met later on after that, face to face. We’ve been cool ever since. Mazin: Now I’m sure the talks for you two to do a project together have been in the works for a long time. What took so long and ... Read More »

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Top 10 Mixtapes/Free Albums of 2014
Top 10 Slept-On Albums of 2014
Top 10 EPs of 2014
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MarQ Spekt & Blockhead: Devil’s Island Storyteller (feat. Sadat X)
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Big K.R.I.T: Cadillactica [Album Review]
Black Milk: If There’s A Hell Below [Album Review]
Stalley: Ohio [Album Review]
Ras Kass Talks Blasphemy LP, Working with Apollo Brown and Longevity in Rap
D.S. Interview At 90.5 FM [Video]
Artist Spotlight: RF3RD
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Lazarus: Open Heart Surgery (feat. Bizarre of D12)
Clay James: Kool Water Intro (Music Video)
Git x 1Mt: Lifestyle of an Artist
British Producer Actress Embarks on Short Tour – Win Tickets!
Paid Dues
Win Passes to see Lil Wayne, Ab-Soul and more at Paid Dues Fest in Los Angeles!
Microphone Check 1-2, 1-2
Donwill: Bad With Names Episode 8: 2014 Wrap Up (feat Von Pea)