-- By doubleay
In the oversaturated market that is contemporary Hip-hop, it sounds as if flows are endlessly recycled and styles have become the furthest thing from original. But amid the monotony of generic rappers heard in 2016, a diamond in the rough emerges that is refreshing the genre -- Mozzy. With his new album Beautiful Struggle freshly released, the Oak Park, Sacramento rapper has undoubtedly become one of the most exciting upcoming artists in California. He has released five albums and raked in millions of views on multiple music videos just this last year. He even landed the 22nd spot on Rolling Stone’s Top 40 Hip-hop Albums of the Year list. Mozzy’s numbers are clearly apparent but there is just something about his passionately painstaking lyrics that offer so much more truth and genuineness than other any other artist rapping about similar content.
Here’s the video for the title track from Mozzy’s Rolling Stone-rated album, Bladadah:
Mozzy’s 2016 album, Beautiful Struggle, paints a picture of his personal journey. From his first time stepping into a recording booth at eleven, Mozzy has faced adversity in almost all aspects of his life. With his father serving time in prison and his mother dealing with drug addiction, he was brought up by his grandmother. As he grew older he began to find himself surrounded by theft, substance abuse, and other gang-related activities. His presence in school began to fade as he found himself succumbing more and more to organized crime and drug dealing. As Mozzy’s environment continued to have altering effects on his lifestyle and actions, the one thing he remained committed to was his music. In a January 2016 interview on Vice.com, Mozzy said, “I just got involved in everything I saw my peers getting involved in, but I always rapped…I was a kid doing this shit. Sixteen, seventeen, we start shooting, doing drive-bys and shit, stealing our grandmothers’ guns, stealing guns from breaking in houses and shit, but at the time I was writing and I was rapping about this shit.”
-- By doubleay
Record Store Day 2016 (April 16th) was another popular crowd-drawing event at record stores all over the country. Even hours before opening time Saturday morning, outside the three Amoeba locations (LA, SF & Berkeley) there were long lines of folks fiending for the doors to open to the many great RSD exclusives. All those articles we've been reading about the ever increasing number of record collectors out there proved to be true, based on the numbers that swarmed to record stores on Saturday. By 7am outside the Hollywood Amoeba on Sunset Blvd. vinyl collectors and music fans of all ages had formed a long line that snaked down Ivar Avenue and around the back parking lot, as reported here on the Amoeblog.
Similarly up in the Bay Area collectors swarmed to both Amoeba stores early in the day, as well as throughout Record Store Day. Even at 8pm Saturday evening when I stopped into the Berkeley Amoeba
Hip hop heads have a few reasons to celebrate on Record Store Day April 16.
First off, a new posthumous release from the late, great artist and producer J Dilla will be released on LP that day. The Diary comes out on CD and cassette the day before, but April 16’s vinyl release will come with a free 7” inside that includes the song “The Ex” (featuring Bilal) plus an R&B version of the song on the B-side. The song is a Pete Rock production.
The story behind the lost album is that J Dilla (real name James Dewitt Yancey) recorded an album’s worth of vocals back in 2002 that were ultimately shelved his parent label. That lead Yancey to break from the major label system and leave Detroit for California, where he produced his classics Ruff Draft, Jaylib's Champion Sound and Donuts.
Now, following Yancey’s death in 2006, his estate has been trying to get the album released for years. Finally, the album is coming out, with production from Madlib, Pete Rock, Hi-Tek, Nottz, House Shoes, Supa Dave West, Bink! and Karriem Riggins, and guest spots from Bilal, Frank N Dank, Boogie and others.
-- By doubleay
As the resurgence of vinyl continues to develop, there have been more and more contemporary hip-hop releases. Two hot new stand-out pressings are Mick Jenkins’ 2014 mixtape, The Water(s), and 2015 EP, Wave(s). Both are impressive projects from a lesser known artist who exudes prowess and promise. Mick Jenkins may still be fairly under the radar but is making some of the most profound hip hop music over the past two years and at only 24, Jenkins has so much to say compared to any rapper at his tier.
His artistic roots lie in poetry; 17-year-old Jenkins was participating in slam poetry with other Chicago youth. After spending time working towards a degree in law and ambitiously pursuing a career in clothing design, Jenkins found himself needing to focus solely on music. Splitting his time between Alabama and Chicago, Jenkins found Chicago to be the home base for his musical development. He has collaborated with fellow Chicagoans Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper, who have both blown up in recent years. Showing nothing but dedication and motivation, Jenkins is looking likely to be on the same path. Since completely committing to music in 2012, Jenkins' wave has only grown. He has released five projects and landed a deal with Cinematic Music Group in 2014. Both his 2014 and 2015 releases (The Water(s) and Wave(s)) were well reviewed but not to the level of critical acclaim they ought to have received.