Monday, February 12, 2018

We've Moved:

It's been a long, weird run here in the backwoods of Blogger, but it's finally over. This whole operation is moving to VERMONT HIP HOP DOT COM. Big thanks to the Sounds Affects team and Mister Burns of Lynguistic Civilians / Fresh Patterns for resurrecting this, big thanks to everyone who has contributed here over the years ... and most importantly: big thanks to all the artists putting work in, and big thanks to all the fans buying tickets.

There is so much happening in the 802 right now, it was time for a change.

Friday, February 9, 2018

ROUNDUP: Locally Grown Singles

Some quality produce on deck today...
First up, we've got two strong spitters combining forces for a single: "Crash Landed" is a collab feauturing Windsor emcee XP and Lebanon, NH animal Raw Deff, who dropped a blistering album with Yung Breeze and Judge da Beast late last year, "Hitmen for Hire." As always, shots fired and no fucks given.

Chel Strong and Es-K are continuing their weekly single series with "Two Sides of a Coin," an impressive story-telling cut over some gorgeous production work. Es-K beats are always very musical & melodic compared to prevailing trends, but when he's in the lab with Chel Strong, it seems to bring out a whole other level. This track is no exception -- best with good headphones at high volume.

Wes the Best is a fairly new artist, affiliated with the StiltzGang crew. His intricate rhyme schemes and 90's East Coast vibe are a big departure from the Stiltz aesthetic, but his outspoken love of marijuana is not. "4 Life" is a low-key introduction to a high-density lyricist who has a lot more material on the way.

SkySplitterInk dropped a new cut this Wednesday featuring Humble, Question and Rajnii flexing introspective over a dense, shifting and catchy beat. The musician / producer / engineer / emcee / singer / father figure is going to be clearing out more singles off his hard drive as we march into spring, so stay tuned.

Finally, an instrumental from the Milkhaus crew. "Alarm Clock" was composed by LoKi to be his actual morning wakeup -- a slowly unfolding mix of soothing synths and live percussion elements. Dig it.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

TONIGHT: Milo w/ Ceschi, JPEGMAFIA & Jarv @ Arts Riot

Arts Riot opened their doors in the summer of 2012 -- a heavy, heady time to be alive. We all knew the world was ending, and there was a Mormon running for president. Since then, the team on Pine Street has been continuously improving their kitchen game and creating space for great underground culture. Case in point: their steady support of uncompromising art rap. Arts Riot was the home of the short-lived but well-done Sound Affects showcase series, and they've hosted Milo several times now.

(They've also brought BTV some legendary nights with People Under The Stairs, Akrobatic, Masta Ace, Blockhead and even Waka Flocka Flame. Really, yes.)

Milo is a prolific wizard currently based in Chicago. He will be joined this evening by Ceschi, the founder of Fake Four Records and a serious entertainer in his own right -- expect the unexpected. Rounding out the bill is JPEGMAFIA, who makes astoundingly good music, both as an emcee and a producer.

They'll be joined by Vermont phenom Jarv, really the most appropriate choice for a bill like this. The doors open at 8, the show starts at 8:30, and everyone on the bill is dope. $15. All Ages.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Khaosity's Light It Up Blue Tour

UPDATE: None of this happened and the tour was No-Show cancelled.

BTV label Heartless Ent. will be taking their core roster on the road this month for Khaosity's Light It Up Blue Tour. Over the next few weeks, Khaosity and BL Spitz will be touching down on both coasts and grinding out some shows in new markets.

It's a tour with a purpose, too: "Every show I'll be donating 50% of what I make to Autism Speaks," Khaosity says. Things kick off tomorrow night in Philly at the iconic underground club Kung Fu Necktie.

Feb 6th - Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA

Feb 7th - The Gateway - Brooklyn, NY

Feb 15th - The Loft - Lansing, MI

Feb 20th - The Rogue Bar - Scottsdale, AZ

Feb 21st - Whiskey a Go Go - Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

ROUNDUP: Hip Hop Shows in February

Feb. 1st - Mister Burns and Jarv @ Switchback Taproom An early set at a great spot downtown. A treat for BTV locals; these guys still improve every time they get onstage. 6 pm. Free. 21+.

Feb. 2nd - Building Blocks 2 @ Swan Dojo The first time around was a big success, getting all four elements under one roof for a proper party. The second installment will be even bigger. There will be breakdance battles, there will be an invitational open mic, Headphonious Monk and DJ Kanganade on the tables, and -- believe it -- far more. All Ages. 5 pm - 10 pm. $10 / $5 with food or clothing donations.

Feb. 3rd - Dilla Day @ Sidebar. This should be an exceptional evening for your earholes. Beat sets from Crusty Cuts, Loupo and Old Gold, and Possibly Human doing a special Dilla set. All killer, no filler. 21+. Free Show.

Also Feb. 3rd - Mister Burns & Jarv at Notte Neapolitan Pizza Bar. The state's reigning tag team champions take their show to Middlebury, VT. 10 pm. $3. 21+.

Feb. 8th - Milo @ Arts Riot. Milo will be bringing his caravan through Arts Riot again, this time bringing along CT-based troubadour and label founder Ceschi. Sadly, NYC wizard/god Elucid will not be making the trek to Vermont, but this will still be a great night thanks to JPEGMAFIA, who is nothing short of amazing. 8pm. $15. ALL AGES.

Feb. 15th - 3rd Thursdays: HLR Takeover @ Monkey House. Even by 3rd Thursday standards, this one will be a big deal. The lineup is stacked, Street Religion and Bar None The Best will both be making their Winooski debut, and there's going to be a contest to open up for The Perceptionists on Feb. 23rd, too. Ten artists will get one song each to convince the crowd they deserve it. 9 pm. 18+ $8 / 21+ $3

Feb. 17th - Joell Ortiz Valentine's Bash @ Social Club & Lounge. NYC rap god and Slaughterhouse member Joell Ortiz will be packing Social Club & Lounge for a Saturday Night show. He'll be bringing through Philly revivalist Judah Priest, who has been both a back bench Wu-Affiliate and a Christian rapper in the past. 9 pm. 21+. $27.

Feb. 23rd - The Perceptionists w/ Cultural Chemistry @ Monkey House. The 802 is getting spoiled this month -- days later, Akrobatic & Mr. Lif will be coming through to sell out The Monkey House. Openers will be Cultural Chemistry, Jarv and...whoever wins the contest at 3rd Thursdays. 9 pm. 18+. $12 adv / $15 door.

Monday, January 29, 2018

"12:30 EP" - Drive

Over the weekend, we got hit with a new EP from Drive, a rapper on the Hustle, Loyalty and Respect roster. It's mostly produced by NEK beatsmith Ryder Jam -- check out Winter Beats II set if you're not familiar -- and his sparse, melodic style really works with Drive's flow and vocal tone.

Friday, January 26, 2018

2/17: Joell Ortiz @ Social Club & Lounge

On Saturday, Feb. 17th, NYC rap god and Slaughterhouse member Joell Ortiz will be rocking Social Club & Lounge. Ortiz has had one hell of a career so far -- from Unsigned Hype to stranded on Aftermath to a self-made, mixtape comeback. Now he's sitting comfortably with a Shady Records solo contract, an untouchable pen game, and the world at his fingertips. In other words, this a damn good time to get see this man perform.

He'll be bringing through Philly revivalist Judah Priest, who has been both a back bench Wu-Affiliate and a Christian rapper in the past. Naturally, a high-profile gig like this comes with the all the trimmings, including a VIP package that gets you two tickets, zero wait and a bottle of champagne for $130.

There will also be prizes throughout the evening -- and a free rose for the first 100 women through the door. (Presumably, the 802 record for female attendance at a rap show was set by some Atmosphere gig at Higher Ground, but Joell Ortiz may break it.)

UPDATE: Tickets are now on sale at your friendly neighborhood

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

ROUNDUP: Locally Grown Singles

Four dishes on the menu today:

NOtation and David Chief have released another slice of the new flavors they've been working on. "Taken" is a short breezy slice of aspirational flows -- it's also got over sixty thousand plays on Soundcloud. Clearly, these gentlemen are doing something right. No word on future releases just yet, but rest assured, something is coming.

Chel Strong and Es-K have been putting in work together for years now. If the name is new to you, definitely check out this "Chel x Es-K" mix. It's a strong catalog with a huge range. Es-K was also all over his 2015 LP Forever Starts Tomorrow, an excellent concept album. "Your Moment" marks the beginning of a regular Wednesday series, Clearing Out The Hard Drive, which will consist of this duo unloading heat every week until the snow is gone. Good news for headphones everywhere.

Barre rap squad Bar None The Best had a damn strong 2017 and they're already peppering us with new singles. "Danger" is great throwback cut with a slapping beat that lets these hooligans shine. We can definitely expect more singles, more videos, and more shows in the months to come.

Kingbread is a longtime BTV legend and core member of Heartless Ent, who ended 2017 with a steady run of Soundcloud singles, mostly from founder BL Spitz and Eden rapper Khaosity. "Shelburne rd. Freestyle" is tightly written short movie that showcases Kingbread's true school style. Heartless Ent will be hosting the upcoming All Black Party on Saturday, January 27th at Social Club & Lounge.

Monday, January 22, 2018

TONIGHT: Motown Mondays 2nd Anniversary Party

Motown Mondays has been delivering the goods for two years now. The party goes down at Winooki's Monkey House, a longtime hub for indie culture in BTV. Tag-team champions Craig Mitchell & Fattie B will be spinning classics, mashups and remixes from 8 pm to 11 pm. No cover. There will be drink specials to celebrate. Probably. Tell 'em you read about it on Vermont Hip Hop News either way.

Go forth and boogie.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Feb. 3rd: Dilla Day 2018 @ Sidebar

Since Sidebar opened, they've quickly evolved into a hotbed for good hip hop. This is almost definitely the result of management being big fans. They regularly feature DJs like SVPPLY and Crusty Cuts in addition to rap talent like Jarv, Hanknative and Mister Burns.

(Note: fans of "beer" will also find a lot to love there.)

So it's fitting that Sidebar would be hosting a Dilla Day 2018 celebration. They're doing it up right, too. Shout out to promoters who have actual promo copy for their events. Here's the scoop from Sidebar:

"Around his birthday every year, cities across the US take time to celebrate the life and work of James Yancey A.K.A. J Dilla. We will be celebrating his influence on Hip Hop and honoring his memory at Sidebar on Saturday, February 3rd.

Beat sets will start off the night from three local hip hop producers: Crusty Cuts, Loupo and Old Gold. Hanknative, Sam and Somba will perform original material with a J Dilla-influenced twist. We will close the night with hip hop DJ sets from Svpply and Crusty Cuts to dance right till 2. Come celebrate with us!"

"Hanknative" is yung phenom Hank Collins, the BTV prodigy who earned a "Best Hip Hop Artist or Group" Seven Daysie nomination last summer. February 3rd is a Saturday night and this party is free.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

VIDEO: "Hostile Takeover" - Eyedos

"Hostile Takeover" is a metal rap jawn off his last solo LP, the imposing Guerrilla Bars. The JynxINC member has a lot of irons in the fire, as ever. There's another solo album somewhere in the distance, but we can expect an EP project from Minds Eye Tribe soon.

Also coming up: "Devil May Care Too," the long-awaited return of JynxINC and an LP packed with some A-list guests. Eyedos was one of the hardest-working artists in the 802 last year -- don't expect that to change much.

"On that note, I rest my case like a narcoleptic lawyer..."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

TONIGHT: 3rd Thursdays @ The Monkey House

Anthill Collective comes through with another hot ticket in Winooski tonight. The big news for January's installment is the debut of Princess Nostalgia and the return of rapper/producer/etc Network, who has not been seen in these parts for quite some time. There will also be sets from Fresh Patterns and ILLu, who just released an EP.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

VIDEO: "Out My Mind" - Modest

Modest is a young rapper from the Burlington area and part of the Hustle, Loyalty & Respect roster. His name came up a fair few times during Sunday's recommendation marathon, so I'm spotlighting a video of his that VTHH duly slept on.

"Out My Mind" is a cut off his recent Hard Times Bring Harder Rhymes mixtape, which dropped late last year. 2017 was a busy one for him: Modest added a lot of shows to his resume and he's been hard at work in the booth, too. First up for 2018 is No Feelings, a Lil' Wayne style "remix tape."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ROUNDUP: More Local Bangers

Last Sunday I put the call out on Facebook for recommendations, and hot damn, you delivered. Thank you. There was more than I could cover here, but what follows are some of the highlights.

First up was this absolute banger from LaSmoov, who has been putting in quality work for a minute now. (Including videos -- check out "Fantastic Poetry 4" if you haven't already.)

St. Albans spitter Bulletproof Dolla naturally came up. He balances a catchy, commercial style with the ability to shred flow patterns when he wants to. It's just a matter of time before one of these singles connects...

Cypher legend Scott Phree came up, too. He's currently working with a crew called Ritual Emcees and, no doubt, prepping new projects as you read this. "NEW LEAF" is a hot cut, and I hope we can expect a lot more this year.

The Street Religion crew has a deep, diverse bench, and Alpha -- formerly Yung Alpha -- is an impressive young rapper from Windsor with a commanding, chopping flow. Definitely a name to watch in 2018, bud.

Finally, I learned about Lerrix, a producer from Burlington with some real chops. "Ridiculous" is a tasty slice of funk with a vibe halfway between Tribe and Souls of Mischief. Dig it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

ROUNDUP: Green Mountain Updates

Legendary rap duo The Perceptionists will be coming to The Monkey House next month. Props to DJ Disco Phantom & VMB Productions for landing that one. That evening will be packed in every sense; the opening support is A-List 802 talent and the venue is definitely small enough to sell out. So although the show is on February 23rd, you might want to get advance tickets, bud.

I've also got updates on the upcoming Building Blocks 2 party. The Break Room team has assembled a lineup of sponsors, including the Taco Truck All Stars and the fine folks at the Friends for A-Dog Foundation. There will be B-Boy Battles, breaks & classics from Headphone Monk and cuts by the incredible DJ Kanganade, an open mic cypher over ILLu beats (and he's got a lot of heat these days) ... and then, then, there's an invitational cypher over Es-K & Loupo jams. This is excessive, that's beautiful to see.

This is also a food and clothing drive. All food donations head to the Chittenden county emergency food shelf; all clothing donations going to Possibility Shop in the basement of First Congregational Church Burlington. Bringing either will get you 50% off the $10 admission, and Chittenden County needs a lot of food & clothing this time of year.

What follows is a quick roundup of recent releases.

Drive, a rapper hailing from Jeffersonville, which is also Cambridge, has been dropping increasingly strong tracks, like his latest, "The Day I Fell In Love." Dude is a natural, he's got the voice and flow and his songwriting is already sharply observed. Peace to Lamoille County.

The old email inbox does work: a producer from St. Albans named Dok Sterling hit us up about his new project, "The Return." It's a chilled-out instrumental set and a solid piece of work. You can bet we'll be hearing more from him in 2018. Peace to Franklin County.

North Carolina rapper C Shreve The Professor will be coming through the state for two hot tickets: Friday, Jan. 26th at Windsor Station with Maiden Voyage, then Saturday, Jan. 27th at Charlie O's with Boomslang. Previously a core member of NC crew Free The Optimus, Shreve has been taking it on the road solo in recent years. To get a feel for his style, check the lushly shot video for his 2017 single, "Catacombs."

UVM rapper Yung $eth has a fresh single for 2018. "Cash Out" expands on his trap-heavy style, a summer jam in January. Also of interest: he talks shop about his plans and his team in a recent interview with with Vermont Cynic.

...and remember: The 1st Annual Granite State Hip Hop Festival starts tonight in Manchester, NH. Props to BKProductions, JigsMusic and Capitol Front Booking for doing it up big.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

TONIGHT: Khaosity kicks off The Light It Up Blue Tour @ Radio Bean

Tonight at Radio Bean, Heartless Ent artist Khaosity will be performing a set at Radio Bean. It marks the beginning of an ambitious new project for the young emcee: his first tour.

It's a DIY affair, so the full extent Light It Up Blue is still being hammered out, but it currently includes dates in NYC, Michigan and even Arizona. They are going big.

We can expect a mixtape and more singles from Khaosity in the months ahead. He'll be bringing along Corty Booth and Stormyweather, another two we can expect to hear a lot more from this year.

Monday, January 8, 2018

FROZE AF ROUNDUP: Winter 2018 Hip Hop Shows

No matter how far below zero that mercury drops, the shows must go on. What follows is a quick look ahead.

Jan. 10th - Blackalicious w/ Epidemiks @ The Snow Barn. West coast legends Gift of Gab & Chief XL will be rolling through The Snow Barn in West Dover...courtesy of Bud Light, no less. Opening support comes from Epidemiks, fresh off their New Years Eve celebration at The Stone Church. 9 pm. $15 adv / $20 door. 18+.

Jan. 11th - Khaosity @ Radio Bean. Khaosity kicks off his Light It Up Blue Tour, an effort to raise awareness & money for autism research. Lineup includes Corty Booth and Stormyweather. 10 pm. Free. ALL AGES.

Jan. 12-14th - 1st Annual Granite State Hip Hop Festival. Obviously, this is a New Hampshire event, but like the Ruckus Cup Classic in Maine, it's a big deal. This is going to be three nights of live hip hop at Jewel in Manchester -- perhaps the biggest highlight is Saturday night's bill, which features The Artifacts and Sadat X, in addition to 802 artists like Eyedos and Colby Stiltz. Check event page for details.

Jan. 18th - 3rd Thursday @ Monkey House Anthill Collective's family style party is almost always an event, and this month is no exception. The big reveal this time around is the debut of Princess Nostalgia and the return of rapper/producer/etc Network, who has not been seen in these parts for quite some time. There will also be sets from Fresh Patterns and ILLu, who is fresh off a new release. 9 pm. $3 21+ / $8 18+.

Jan. 26th - Maiden Voyage, C Shreve, Mister Burns @ Windsor Station. A pretty much guaranteed Friday night party. Maiden Voyage will be hosting at their hometown haunt, Mister Burns will be returning, and C Shreve will be bringing the guest boom baps. 9 pm. Free. 21+.

Jan. 27th - Mister Burns, C.Shreve, DJ Jet, Boomslang & Jarv @ Charlie O's. The same party continues north to Montpelier, home of America's Greatest Dive Bar, Charlie-O's. Boomslang will be cranking up the funk quotient to eleven. This will be hot stuff. 9 pm. Free. 21+.

Also Jan. 27th - All Black Party 2018 @ Social Club & Lounge. Heartless Entertainment will be hosting this "grown & sexy" party, which features a $100 cash prize for the best dressed arrival. No word on the lineup yet. Or cover price. 21+.

Feb. 1st - Mister Burns and Jarv @ Switchback Taproom An early set at a great spot downtown. A treat for BTV locals. 6 pm. Free. 21+.

Feb. 2nd - Building Blocks 2 @ Swan Dojo No word on the lineup or details, but the date, at least, is set in stone. The next installment of the community party / actual cypher / b-boy jam / fundraiser will be Friday, February 2nd. More on this story as it develops, folks.

Feb. 3rd - Mister Burns & Jarv at Notte Neapolitan Pizza Bar. The state's reigning tag team champions take their show to Middlebury, VT. 10 pm. $3. 21+.

Feb. 8th - Milo @ Arts Riot. Milo will be bringing his caravan through Arts Riot again, this time bringing along CT-based troubador and label founder Ceschi. Sadly, NYC wizard/god ELUCID will not be making the trek to Vermont, but this will still be a great night. 8pm. $15. ALL AGES.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

VIDEO: Arabian Knights - Colby Stiltz

Colby Stiltz is a polarizing figure despite being a genial, even goofy hippie who keeps it positive in the truest sense. He splits his time between several states these days, but he's been around for awhile. Seven Days was referring to him as the leader of "a new generation of rhyme-slinging talent" back in 2010.

Since then he's spent time in Maine, his childhood home, and Florida, which has given his sound a distinctly Dirty South drawl in recent years. He raps about marijuana, higher consciousness, and being a better person. Also, Illuminati mind control.

Yet somehow he was the catalyst for the 802's July Beef-A-Thon, back when Judge Da Beast dropped his "Slenderman" diss -- a reference to Colby's famous Stiltz. (Dude is tall.) Like most conflicts, the July Beef-A-Thon started on Facebook, immediately spiraled out of control, and fizzled out fast after that.

Everyone involved kept it moving, too. Achievement is the best revenge, and besides, this is a Show and Prove kinda culture. As summer settled into winter, #STILTZgang eased up on a constant show schedule and disappeared to do work behind the scenes. This new video is our first look at their next season of material.

"Arabian Knights" is on a jazzy, classic wavelength, the production coming courtesy of Orlando musician & beatsmith kfelk. He's going to have a few more cuts on Colby's upcoming album Down2Earth, a sequel to his 2015 LP, Down to Earth.

This video was shot by King Spencer, who put in serious damn work in 2017. He aimed to shoot videos in all 50 states that year, and managed a truly impressive 47. That, on top of his already prodigious professional output around his native Oklahoma. Spencer has a lean, glossy style, with a clear sense of how to assemble a compelling product. If he ever winds up back in BTV, give that man a call.

You can catch Colby Stiltz grinding around New England despite the cold this month. On January 13th, he'll be at the 1st Annual Granite State Hip Hop Festival in Manchester, NH. It's three consecutive nights of live hip hop at the Jewel -- Stiltz will be playing the Saturday night "Hip Hop Heroes" showcase, alongside Eyedos of JYNXinc, opening up for legends like The Artifacts and Sadat X.

Friday, January 5, 2018

"TrILLu" - Trono x ILLu

More fresh tunes straight out the gate -- 2018 is already busy. "TrILLu" is a six track set from producer ILLu, who has been interviewed here before, and rapper Trono of Self Portrait. Who have also been interviewed here before. This project emerged from sessions at the Skylab, and the production work of SkySplitterInk helps every track shine. Since Self Portrait dropped their debut LP "Primal Union" the trio has stayed busy.

DJ Kanganade has been working on fatherhood, new scratching techniques, and precision knife throwing.

Producer (and emcee and photographer) Rico James maintained a steady pace in 2017, dropping the Pilot EP with PreciseMC, the "GOOD FOOD" single with MilkHaus Records mainstays LoKi & Pensive, and the tasty instrumental tape Rico de Gallo.

Trono dropped a compilation called The Singles, then showed up all over the Mind's Eye Tribe LP and...well, here we are: TrILLu. The name is both catchy and inevitable, since their only real alternative was "iLono." ILLu has been on a quiet warpath and there will be plenty more to come in 2018 from this young producer.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

GOOD WTHR - "The B Side"

GOOD WTHR's debut LP, "Somewhere Shining," dropped at the very end of 2017. It was ambitious and it was heavy, and it was very good. This is an album that was created the old fashioned way: by spending a year in the studio creating as many good songs as possible, then honing down the tracklist until it became a cohesive artifact all it's own. A record.

So The B Side is basically Thanksgiving leftovers -- which is to say, tasty & good. Bookended by two strong features from former Loyalists DJ, Touchphonics, this is a crushing old-school boom bap EP.

Yet, in classic Billy Mays infomercial style, THAT'S NOT ALL. There's also a new single:

No clue who Joe Monteverde is (although that sure reads like an 802 alias) but he's crafted an upbeat piano thumper that aligns perfectly with the sound GOOD WTHR has been pursuing / perfecting so far. No telling how much longer this blizzard of new material will continue, and no word on upcoming shows yet, either. Safe to bet we'll be hearing a lot more from these cats in the near future, though.