Knxwledge (pronounced Knowledge) is known for such things as being a producer for Kendrick Lamar's current hit album To Pimp a Butterfly (for the track "Momma"); a regular contributor at the Low End Theory events; and, most importantly, as an incredibly prolific producer whose impressive catalog includes a long list of self-released cassettes, albums, and EPs for such labels as All City and Stones Throw. His latest album, Hud Dreems (pre-order on vinyl) was just released on Stones Throw.
The talented 26-year-old LA-based producer is a major fan of Amoeba Music and spends a lot of his spare time digging in the crates of Amoeba Hollywood for records with obscure sounds to sample. Naturally then the NJ born-and-raised producer was quite at home when he got invited to DJ a set at Amoeba Hollywood last month during Record Store Day celebrations at the Sunset Blvd. store. Around that same time I caught up with the producer to talk about making music, his new Stones Throw release, and of course crate digging at Amoeba - something he was more than happy to chat about.
1) DJ Qbert - Extraterrestria + GalaXXXian (Galactic Butt Hair Records)
Although only released digitally in 2014 following a successful Kickstarter campaign (vinyl to arrive at Amoeba in 2015), this instrumental album (Extraresstria) and its rap/emcee counterpart album (GalaXXXian) rate as my top pick(s) for the best hip-hop released in 2014. Apparently I'm not alone in thinking so; Extraterrestia is up for a possible Grammy award. The stated goal of DJ Qbert's new album, which the artist considers as a Wave Twisters Part II, is to present the sound of skratch music in the future as he sees it, or - as he said upon the release of the new project - "the time capsule response and interstellar transmission to any galactic civilization, alien or far-future human." The "Jimi Hendrix of the turntables" ably accomplishes both solo as producer/DJ as well as with such album collaborators as Kool Keith, Del the Funky Homosapien, Mr Lif, Dana Leong, and Chad Hugo, who (along with Tipsy) co-produce the album's best track - the soothing, dreamy, ethereal "Ascender (Agartha)."
Freeway & The Jacka "Cherry Pie (feat. Freddie Gibbs & Jynx)
1) Freeway & The Jacka Highway Robbery (Golden Mean)
2) Busdriver Perfect Hair (also in LP format) (Big Dada)
3) Homeboy Sandman Hallways (Stones Throw)
4) Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark self titled (Delicious Vinyl)
5) Philthy Rich Not Enough Real Niggas Left 3 (RBC)
With cover art that resembles a movie poster the brand new East meets West coast collaboration Highway Robbery - this week's number hip-hop chart entry from Freeway and The Jacka - is a powerful rap release clocking in just under an hour that melds one of the East Coast's best (Philly's Freeway) with one of the West Coast's finest (the Bay Area's The Jacka of Mob Figaz fame). With production duties care of Traxamillion, Jake One, and RobLo this popular fifteen track release features an array of impressive guest spots from mic wreckers from both coasts (and down south) including Cormega, Killer Mike, Trae Tha Truth, Paul Wall, Freddie Gibbs, Joe Blow, Dubb 20, Fam Syrk, Husalah, Rydah J. Klyde, Blahk Jesus, and Ampichino.
To get you a better idea of the sound of this recommended new release are two videos by the collaborative duo. Above is the video for the album track "Cherry Pie" that features both Freddie Gibbs and Jynx and below is the video for the non album track "Combine The Coasts." While just published to YouTube in the last couple of weeks the "Coasts" video, which perfectly describes the collaborative duo, first appeared a year ago on a hip-hop website when it was rumored to be on the new album. But the non album song, which is a single, is promised to appear on the upcoming Freeway & The Jacka mixtape Write My Wrongs mixtape.
Homeboy Sandman "Problems" (2014)
Following a slew of releases (five EPs and the full-length First of a Living Breed) for Stones Throw Records, to whom Homeboy Sandman signed in late 2011, this week the refreshingly unique and ever prolific Queens NY emcee released Hallways - his second full-length album for the LA based label founded by Peanut Butter Wolf. "An ode to the space between where you are and where you are headed; a space in flux, and a space where Sandman himself noticeably thrives," is how Stones Throw cryptically describe the collaboration heavy new twelve-track album. The various mic and production guests (eleven different producers over the dozen tracks) include J-Live, Blu, Kurious, Oh No, the experimental artist Jozef Van Wissem, 2 Hungry Bros, Inspirimentalist, J57, and Jonwayne. The latter produced the new LP's excellent first single, "America, The Beautiful" while the other single/video is the Knxwledge produced "Problems" (see the just published Adam Tyree directed video above)