Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bar None The Best - "Grind" ft. Termanology

When Barre heavyweights Bar None The Best dropped their debut EP, Green Mountain Sound, they established themselves as hip hop purists, Boom Baptist fundamentalists who were aiming at the top. I don't mean they're here to dominate our little fishbowl -- although that's certainly true -- I mean that Bar None The Best are looking to make a name for themselves nationwide.

Lots of rappers dream that dream, sure, but: these cats might just do it. Unlike your average mixtape messiahs, Bar None The Best have a working blueprint and some great coaching, too. That would be legendary engineer & industry survivor Nastee, who has been both a producer and mentor for this young group. (Nastee has been putting in work behind the boards for Pro Era, the NYC crew that brought you Joey Bada$$ and Kirk Knight, whose latest project Nyck at Night is ... banger-packed.)

Landing major guest features is a non-negotiable step towards earning recognition. For "Grind," they went big and got Boston emcee Termanology, who went from mixtapes to actual Unsigned Hype to working with DJ Premier. Then they sought out Myster DL, a prolific director with a serious catalog, to do the visuals right. Then they debuted it on The Source's website.

This is what I mean by a working blueprint. You cannot argue with results.

The duo have promised there's more material on the way, too. No word on an album yet, but obviously, their buzz will be escalating from here. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sam & Somba - The South Cove EP

"An EP put together over the past 2 months brought to you by Sam Paulino and Caleb Hoh." That is, honestly, about all I know about this project -- that, and the fact it's really damn good. This is an intricate & interesting headphone trip, with the beats on chill and the bars on point.

The rest of his Soundcloud is worth exploring, too - his recent single "Diablo" is impressive stuff. He's also got a track with Seven Daysies nominee Hank Collins, another new name on the come up.

Always dope to see young talent making their own scene. It is reassuring to know that no matter how much old grumpy woodchucks like myself haggle about the history, the future of Vermont hip hop is already out of our hands. Let's get this crew some more gigs this summer, yeah?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

TONIGHT: Hip Hop Showcase at Charlie-O's

A damn hot ticket tonight in downtown Montpelier. Charlie-O's has had some strong hip hop bills in the past year, but this an exceptional evening. VMB Productions is bringing in some out-of-state talent: Cody Pope and Two Story are both from New Hampshire, and Ill By Instinct has been killing it in Maine for many years now. Many readers may know him as the founding & frequent host of Rap Night™ in both Portland, ME and Manchester, NH. DJ Myth will also be in the house.

Throw in local support from Fresh Patterns, Mister Burns, Trono of Self Portrait...and a set from Face One, who has been on sabbatical for quite some time. He played his first set in years just this Thursday at the Monkey House.

And, of course, all of this goes down at Vermont's greatest dive bar. There ain't a better lineup anywhere in the state* this evening. 9 pm. 21+ only. Free as in free.

* ...unless you're in the NEK. Then head over to Parker Pie to see the young legends Maiden Voyage tear it up.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

VIDEO: Judge Da Beast - "U.N.I.T.Y." ft. Jibba the Gent and S.I.N.siZZle

A big moment for Vermont hip hop, right here. "U.N.I.T.Y." is the closing track off Judge Da Beast's 2016 album Arraignment, featuring two highly appropriate guest spots: Jibba "The Gent" and S.I.N.siZZle, both of them positive forces in their communities and our rap scene. The track itself, as older & wiser readers already know, is a flip of Queen Latifah's '93 hit.

Shot at Vermont's scenic state capital, the video has a big cast in the background. It's not quite XXL's legendary October '98 cover, but a decent percentage of the 802's entire scene showed up for this. You can catch Bar None The Best in the mix -- they just wrapped up a new song & video shoot with Boston legend Termanology.

Props to Miles Goad of DVP Cinematography for excellent work here. Props to everyone who came through and showed up. Props to Judge Da Beast: this not only changes the conversation after a month of diss tracks, it proves he's an artist with range. Depth, too. Check out Arraignment if you haven't already.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Eyedos Presents: MET

As promised, the Minds Eye Tribe album has finally dropped. This is packed with bars and bangers, and a testament to how much the scene has improved in the past decade. Which is not to say heads weren't dropping quality albums back in 2007, they were just fewer & further between. There's been a lot of heat so far this year.

Again, props to Eyedos for the quality control and sheer work ethic. For the record, the full, official lineup for MET runs as follows: Eyedos, Trips, Polar Beers, Trono (Self Portrait), Krypto Man (JYNX Inc), J-Zila, Stresselbee (Epidemiks), Ademus and RuffNek. There's also a half-ton of other guests in the mix here.

Both Trono and Eyedos will be performing at the Regional Indie Hip Hop Compilation Release Party (RIHHCRP) at Club Metronome tomorrow night.

Monday, July 17, 2017

VIDEO: Jibba the Gent - "Maple Syrup" ft Jun Fargo, Yung Breeze & Vazy

The state of the art for local rap videos has been upgraded in the past few years. "Maple Syrup," which was shot by Matt Graham Visuals, is a standout on par with Chyse's excellent "Too Cool" video from late last year. It's a smooth, professional piece of work.

It's also an unambiguously fun song, and they clearly had a blast making this.

Jibba the Gent has recently made a remix-ready version of Maple Syrup available on Soundcloud. As long as you credit the producer, ThenWhat, along with Jibba & Jun Fargo on the hook, anyone can lace their own version of this single. If there are any standouts, we will definitely post them here.

Vermont's dirty south is poised for a damn strong 2017, with solo releases from Jibba the Gent and Vazy, the continuous rise of Maiden Voyage, and the tireless hustle of Legit Lioness and the Street Religion crew. Expect to see a lot more points on the board before this year is through.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

VIDEO: Pensive & LoKi - "888"

This sun-drenched video is a great introduction to Pensive & LoKi of the MilkHaus Records collective. Over a funky, driving beat by producer ET, they take you on a tour of their home base -- and whole aesthetic.

"888" is a cut off their latest project, Avanti, which is streaming on Soundcloud and got reviewed in Seven Days this week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Burlington Hip Hop Night, July 13th @ Club Metronome

This Thursday, Club Metronome will be hosting a packed lineup. Packed.

S.I.N.Sizzle will be delivering a solo set, Jibba the Gent returns to BTV, plus appearances from Chyse (with DJ Ross) and Young $eth & David Chief. To top it all off, BTV's own "supergroup" Cultural Chemistry will be in the house. Expect to see Learic debut some choice new material.

Seven bucks for folks with drinkin' ID, ten bucks for the 18+ crowd. Get there early -- there is no dead weight on this bill whatsoever.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Eyedos - "Buried IN Barre"

Summer of Love 2017 continues. Vermont has never been known for rap beef, but when it rains, well...it's monsoon season, bud. After shots from Judge Da Beast and M. Rich of Bar None The Best -- and a response track from Colby Stiltz -- now Eyedos is getting involved.

I'm not entirely clear on how Eyedos got drawn into this -- it's not like he's out here repping STILTZgang. But I'm betting it involves Facebook. This beef has been a classic study in conflict: war is all about unintended consequences, and those begin immediately.

"Buried IN Barre" is definitely the hardest shot so far. Unlike "Beef Stew," it's an actual diss track, and Eyedos has bars for days. This is also the best production, on all fronts. Wherever our Summer of Love goes from here, hopefully the quality control stays this good.

As they used to say in Europe: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Saturday, July 8, 2017

MET - "Survival" ft Raw Deff

Perpetual release date rollbacks are, perhaps, the fifth element of hip hop. "Detox Dropping Soon" set the tone for a decade of both commercial and indie rap, a new era where social media made it easier than ever to announce new projects -- and somehow, harder than ever to finish them.

That's why a genuine work ethic stands out. Eyedos has been on a serious tear in 2017, following up his epic solo album Guerrilla Bars with a new group project, MET. That's short for Minds Eye Tribe, and there's a heavy Army of the Pharaohs vibe on this lead single, "Survival" -- just some classic summer "rape your bitch" jams, you know?

Eyedos also mixed and mastered this, which is worth mentioning because this is a very professional sounding product. As his skillset continues to expand and improve, he's becoming a major asset to the scene.

"Survival" is a preview single -- joining Eyedos and Raw Deff on the mic here, we've got Trono from Self Portrait and Polar Beers, which is one of the best rap names I've ever seen in the 802.

This MET jawn won't even be the last Eyedos full-length project we see this year: there's also a JYNX Inc comeback album coming out on Halloween. He understands the paradox of staying visible in an over-saturated world -- the more momentum you gather, the harder you have to work. Salute the hustle.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Colby Stiltz - "Beef Stew"

After a diss track from Judge Da Beast -- and a follow-up shot from M. Rich of Bar None The Best -- we've got a response from Colby Stiltz. Personal punchlines, beatbox intro, and full studio production: it's on, approximately. Atlanta trap is perhaps a weird direction to take it, but "weird" has been part of the STILTZgang aesthetic for years now.

"My one and only response for the fans of hip hop in this state," reports Mr. Stiltz. "Doing it for the culture and for fun and to show these guys I won't be dissed on my home turf. Peace and love is what runs Vermont and we will defend that!"

Not sure if I should make a DJ Vlad joke or a DJ Kayslay joke, but either way: enjoy. It's going to be an entertaining summer from here.

Stiltz & Posse will be in the house for the upcoming Regional Indie Hip Hop Compilation Release Party at Club Metronome on the 20th.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

VIDEO: Chyse - "Too Cool"

Strong visuals from Chyse Atkins, right here. Chyse is a California transplant with a bulletproof flow, and "Too Cool" is a solid, simple treatment that looks damn professional. Props to SC Visuals - this is great work on every front.

If you're not familiar, start with his soundcloud. His 2016 album The Charlie Mayne Rendition is available on iTunes.

Chyse will be appearing with fellow Cool Table Gang member DJ Ross at the Burlington Hip Hop Showcase @ Club Metronome on July 13th. That whole evening is a hot ticket - come through early.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

ROUNDUP: Hip Hop Shows in July

Happy 4th, folks. Make it count.

July 6th: Spose x Shane Reis at Higher Ground. Spose is a yung rap phenom from Maine who was smart enough to build a sustainable fanbase off his viral hit "I'm Awesome." Expect a fun show and copious amounts of ganja raps. 8:30 pm. $12 adv / $14 at the door.

July 13th: Burlington Hip Hop Night at Club Metronome. Another stacked showcase gig; this is a strong lineup. S.I.N.Sizzle, Jibba the Gent and Cultural Chemistry, plus appearances from Chyse (with DJ Ross) and a set from Young $eth & David Chief. 9 pm. 21+ $7 // 18+ $10.

July 20th: 3rd Thursday at the Monkey House. Anthill Collective's excellent monthly series continues, this time bringing Montreal true school rapper Monk'E to BTV. Also on the bill: Face One will be back onstage for the first time in awhile, and Self Portrait will be in full effect. 9 pm. 21+ $3 // 18+ $8

Also July 20th: Regional Indie Hip Hop Compilation Release Party at Club Metronome. Not a very catchy name, but it promises to be an entertaining evening. This is going to be a "live mixtape" affair featuring a ton of artists, a collaborative production from Heartless Entertainment and STILTZgang. The big news here: live set from Kingbread. You know you have to see that. 10 pm. 21+ free // 18+ $5

July 22nd: Music for the Good Earth at Parker Pie Co. It's out there, but Parker Pie Co. has some of the best food in the state -- and, without question, one of the best beer lists. Maiden Voyage will be headlining this one, which is a guaranteed good time. NEK heads are strongly advised to check this one out. MC Mycelium will be there with his Speaking in Tongues improv rap outfit. 8-11 pm. $5 donation.

Also July 22nd: Hip Hop Showcase at Charlie-O's. This legendary Montpelier dive is always a great venue for rap music, but this bill is especially interesting. There's going to be a lot of regional talent - Cody Pope and Two Story are from New Hampshire, and Ill By Instinct is a wicked talented emcee from Maine who's been having a great run in 2017. Rounding out the bill: Fresh Patterns, Trono and a solo set Mister Burns. 9 pm. 21+ only. Free as in free.

July 26th: Northern Exposure at Higher Ground. Northern Exposure is a monthly series that usually showcases rock, but this month's edition is heavy on local hip hop. These are all new names to me: Kastaway, Khaocity, Italics, and Drive. More details and hilarious bio copy available here. 8:30 pm. $6 adv and day of.

Remember, every Wednesday evening from 10 pm to midnight, Mister Burns is running the studio at 105.9 FM -- THE RADIATOR. His show, Words & Verbs, is a celebration of Vermont hip hop.

2017's celebration of A-Dog Day will be on Saturday, August 26th.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Letter to the Editor from Scribe1

What follows is verbatim except a few typo fixes. Enjoy. --J.B.

Couple things:

Firstly, I have to give you my deepest respect for having kept this blog going for a decade. It's truly a time capsule of the Vermont scene from almost the moment of its inception. The work you've done here is important.

Second. I invented Vermont rap and I'm not seeing the love necessary. Looking at the little catalog of 'Vermont Artists' on the side of your site, I'm laughing. As Scribe 1, one half of the most successful Vermont rap group to ever exist, Rhythm Ruckus, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said Southern Vermont never gets the love. Burlington always existed in an echo chamber.

Every time we played shows in 'BTV' whether packed or sparse there was always some fuckin' crumb talking about how we weren't Vermont rap. On the contrary, we invented this shit.

Over 150 shows, appearing as direct support for a laundry list of legends including ODB, Blackalicious, Jedi Mind Tricks, Imortal Technique, Copywrite and GZA we were paving the road YEARS ahead of our time for what exists today. North and South.

I'd argue we're one of the only Vermont bands, period, to have signed a major record contract and independent deal with ACTUAL money and an advances attached (Epic Records in partnership with MTVu, that fell apart then we signed to a French Electronic label called AirDrop which proceeded to bury our debut). Also likely the only rappers from 802 that recorded tracks with Kool G Rap, Stic Man from Dead Prez, Vast Aire, Chris Ballew (Presidents of the United States) along with spitting on tailored beats from Benefit, R'thentic and other underground beat legends.

At this point I'm probably sounding like Joe Budden bitching about Little Yachty and mumble rap. My point: Vermont rap has a long and storied history outside of Burlington. Most of which we wrote, but that's neither here nor there.

For any of the old heads out there who were part of our movement and wondered where we disappeared to: Rhythm Ruckus disbanded several years ago following the suicide of our brother, confidant and manager Lindsay Krugman. That combined with creative and personal differences between me and doc c and us and AirDrop all led me removing myself from an increasingly toxic situation.

All that said, we left behind a catalog that still stands as the most important rap records ever produced in the Green Mountain state. Anyone who would argue differently is a fuck boy. There were economies of scale to this and to be honest it hurt we never got love from the other groups operating in northern Vermont. That said, we rapped circles around you for nearly a decade and that shit was priceless.

With love and neglect,

Scribe1 aka Robert California

The last album we did together as Rhythm Ruckus (the label debut with all the major name features was shelved - we made this in response): Being Geniuses Together

Solo album produced by some of the best Vermont beat smiths to ever do it (Tweed, Tyson, Logan also me.) "A.Y.S.A.O.R.I.S.P."

Album I did with Logan Keller a Vermont producer now living in the Netherlands: Space Cadet

All these albums were self produced/recorded. All the beats were made by guys from Vermont.

Listen to these. Take time to review them on your site. Let people know a dynasty was born, ruled and collapsed 150 miles south of you.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Jibba The Gent - "I'm Dead"

Jibba The Gent is a very busy man. Hip hop is a culture where everyone says they're busy, but the work is the proof. I'm Dead is a single off his new album, "The Broccoli Tree." It's a testament to his long game approach -- a lean, heavy LP full of big hooks and strong guest features.

The video is colorful & ambitious as hell, worlds apart from the usual "rapping in front of buildings" approach. You can tell how much work went into every frame here.

Fresh off a triumphant gig at Windsor Station last night -- and well-deserved headline appearance at YO! BTV Raps last week -- it looks like Jibba is only getting started.

In the meantime, check out this excellent interview with Skilly Magazine, discussing his goals, business strategy & local scene.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Judge Da Beast - "Slenderman"

It's a beautiful thing to see diss tracks in the 802 again. As important as community is, listen: we've got enough to spare here in Vermont. Genuine beef is a rare thing. Even our actual emcee battle tournaments are friendly, family affairs. Judge Da Beast is having none of that shit.

A transplant from the Bronx, Judge Da Beast is part of the emerging Street Religion crew / label / collective from down south. (Other members include recent New England Hip Hop Awards winner Yung Breeze and standout spitter Raw Deff.)

On one hand, talking about "Southern Vermont" is absurd when it's two hours from Newport to Brattleboro. On the other, though, it is bizarre how everyone south of Montpelier gets ignored. If that's an exaggeration, it ain't by much. This humble blog is every bit as guilty as anyone else. The Burlington scene dominates the coverage -- it's the biggest city with the most venues and home to most of our media outlets.

It's also the part-time home of Colby Stiltz, purveyor of good vibes, weed raps and New Age spirituality. Like too many rap beefs in 2017, this conflict got started on social media. Journalistic obligations aside, I refuse to research who started what. Life is fleeting. All we need to know is that Judge Da Beast was motivated to aim two verses at Colby Stiltz, and thus was "Slenderman" created.

So far, Stiltz is sticking to his #PositiveVibesOnly brand and acting like this doesn't exist. Too early to call it, though, considering this track isn't even 24 hours old yet.

In the meantime, check out Judge Da Beast's album Arraignment. He's got a track in the works with Jarv, who dropped a brutal four minute diss track of his own earlier this year, "Stifle". Colby's most recent album is Down to Earth.

Proverbs 27:17 - As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Loyalists - "Maximum"

So the mic doesn't function after the punishment
That I confront it with, it didn’t know what it was up against

Not a new track, but a damn fine Friday throwback. This cut is off their swan song album, Redemption, which dropped in 2008. A perfect pocket pitching a dark drum loop against some gorgeous horns, impeccable turntablism, and killer verses from Framework.

Remember, Framework is still killing it out West. Check out Windmills to get a taste of what he's been up to.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

TONIGHT: Yo! BTV Raps Vol. 8 @ Sidebar

Vol. VII already? That is some Lucasfilm-type longevity. YO! BTV Raps has been a reliably great gig every time, and tonight's lineup is especially strong. Jibba the Gent will be making a well-deserved headline appearance in support of his new album, Broccoli Tree.

It's a free show, it's a great venue, it'll be a beautiful night. Music starts at 10 pm - DJ Kanga will be hosting.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

TONIGHT: Fattie B on "Words & Verbs"

Fattie B is a BTV institution unto himself. He'll be joining Mister Burns for tonight's edition of Words & Verbs, where they will be discussing...well, a lot, you know? The man has been in the thick of it for a long time. What's more, Fattie B is a born storyteller and all-around hilarious dude. This will definitely be a memorable set.

You can stream it online: 105.9 The Radiator. Show starts at 10 pm sharp.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Loupo - A Noise Ordinance Bio

An awesome introductory video about BTV producer Loupo, from the folks at Noise Ordinance, which is one of those creative incubator / branded performance space / multi-genre non-label collective deals. They make very nice videos, I can confirm that much. (For more information, check out this recent Seven Days profile.)

Since the release of Good Company -- one of the smoothest albums to come out of Vermont, period -- Loupo has been staying very, very busy. No said date, for now, but definitely expect more releases from the yung jazzgod this year.

Meanwhile, as ever, Loupo is dropping new gems on Soundcloud all the time. Get familiar.