Clement Marfo & The Frontline – TMS Freestyle

Before you dismiss Clement Marfo as just another radio-friendly, crossover Hip-Pop artist, you need to check the credentials. One of the best live acts in the UK scene today – known for his energetic stage performances complimented by his band The Frontline – Marfo shows his critics that he can still ‘spit aggressively’ and more than hold his own in the art of freestyling too. After all, since when did being experimental with your music equate to selling out?

The freestyle featuring him and Dion Payne (The Frontline’s Drummer) marks a return to the Hip-Hop stylings and attitude of Marfo’s original stage persona Nemesis. Going back and forth over a heavy TMS production, the pair show that they can still get grimey with the best of them.

Constantly demonstrating his signature versatility, charisma and focus (qualities that are an absolute necessity in building a solid, lasting urban music career), Marfo is currently working on building his brand and reputation as an all-round entertainer for the next generation.

Look out for Clement Marfo & The Frontline, as they are already a strong contender in the UK urban scene and will certainly continue to build momentum within the industry over the coming months. 2010 should be a very big year for Marfo and if industry executives have any real sense they will stand up and take note.

myspace.com/clementmarfo

For more info and to hear more from Clement Marfo, go to myspace.com/clementmarfo or follow him on Twitter (@ClementMarfo).

Eminem’s Relapse: Best Rap Album of 2009?

Click to READ the full article

Despite competition from Common, Q-Tip and Mos Def, the Grammy award for Best Rap Album during the 2010 Grammy Awards was awarded to Eminem for his latest offering Relapse. Although it was extremely highly-anticipated and even the best-selling Hip Hop album of 2009, many felt that the release was a relative disappointment in terms of content and at least compared with past Eminem albums, fairly unremarkable….

Read more at Suite101: Eminem’s Relapse: Best Rap Album of 2009?

3TM Year In Review – Best Album of 2009: Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2

3TM Album of 2009 - Raekwon

To say Raekwon’s sequel to his 1995 classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… was anything short of brilliant would be to do the release a major injustice. The album, which marked a return of sorts for Hip Hop of substance and Mafioso Rap, served as a reminder of both Raekwon’s creative perfectionism and undeniable presence when it comes to his records. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II may have taken almost 15 years following its predecessor to materialise, but it was well worth the wait.

The cinematic structure of the album ensured that it was one of those rare records that you cannot help but to listen to in one complete sitting. OB4CL2 largely followed the same concept as its precursor but from the wiser outlook of an industry veteran, therefore somehow maintaining a fine balance between a nostalgic return to the basics and artistic progression. Both in terms of creative concept and lyricism, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II was certainly more than worthy of the ‘Album of the year’ title, despite tough competition from the likes of Jay-Z, Tech N9ne and Slaughterhouse.

Look out for my Raekwon interview coming soon to Tapwire Magazine, which gives a real insight to the creative process behind OB4CL2.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO1C8_YS30Y]

REVIEW: Mike Streezy & The A-State All-Stars present… United We Stand Vol. 1

Available for download now

When you think of Hip Hop cultural hubs within the South, Little Rock rarely springs to mind, which put simply is a shame because there is currently a plethora of talent emerging from the state of Arkansas. Whilst the South has generally been synonymous with dance music, the A-State is producing material laced with authenticity and grittiness.

Highlights include the aptly named boundary-stretching anthem ‘Push It to the Limit,’ featuring Epiphany and the 607-assisted alternative ballad dedicated to Streezy’s true love, ‘Married to the Game.’

Perhaps most notably, the project serves to both showcase and unite a number of upcoming talents from Arkansas, therefore providing great hope for the red-hot scene that is currently ready to erupt onto the mainstream Hip Hop landscape – and quite deservedly so. This truly is Southern Hip Hop in its purest form, uncorrupted by dance trends or falsities, which sadly seems a novel characteristic these days.

While the release may be a little rough around the edges in part, its rawness merely adds to the charm and perfectly mirrors the progression and development of the exciting scene in Little Rock. ‘United We Stand also serves as a fitting tribute to Streezy’s growth and development as an artist. This project takes Southern Hip Hop back to the basics, stripping away the bullshit to return to the experimental core of the genre; frankly it was about time someone did!

Available for download HERE

3threat Rating: 4/5 (Because the tape is flawed but that being said, imperfection is a fundamental human trait – a very impressive and engaging release).

Slickmouth ‘Travelling Star’ Mixtape Review

Click to download 'Travelling Star'

Try as you may, there is little point in trying to categorise Slickmouth as anything other than an artist. Period. Having pretty much lived a life in constant transition, he will only transgress any musical boundaries that you attempt to confine him too. His eclectic Travelling Star mixtape draws on a number of musical styles and elements and as expected he is lyrically and rhythmically on point throughout.

Particularly notable tracks include The Becoming, which satirically outlines the industry’s need to label artists whilst highlighting his own musical rebellion and the infectious introduction Beautiful Music, which serves as Slick’s musical manifesto for the soulful delights that follow.

Whilst the mixtape as a whole is a strong release, the true gem on the tracklist is the beautifully blunt and nostalgic joint Uninspired, which explores the ongoing conflict between the creative process and industry expectations. The reflective track provides an insight into Slick’s artistic vulnerability and disheartenment with the urban music scene, although he concludes on a positive note stating that true inspiration comes partly from studying the legendry artists of the past and ‘real lives.’

With this release Slick provides some real music of substance, which is a rare treasure in the majority of urban albums today, let alone mixtapes. A great introduction to Slickmouth’s talents, Travelling Star is certainly the perfect prelude to a very promising album indeed.

Available NOW for download from: http://www.zshare.net/download/69904746b248dbc5/

3threat rating: 4.5/5 (Because no release is perfect but as far as mixtapes go, this is about as close as you will get).

2pac: The 7 Day Theory

How an Album Sparked the Greatest Conspiracy Theory in Hip Hop

On Friday 13th September 1996, one of the most influential rappers in Hip Hop history tragically passed away. At the height of his career and having just recorded his most powerful work yet, Tupac Shakur was just 25 years old when he met with his untimely demise.

The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, recorded in August 1996, completed shortly before his fatal shooting and released just two months later, only fuelled the ever-increasing number of conspiracy theories and rumours that he had faked his own death and would return to resurrect Hip Hop…

You can read the whole article HERE.

How 50 Cent Self Destructed

How 50 Cent Self Destructed

Hip Hop albums are just not selling like they used to, as is evident by the somewhat disappointing first-week sales of 50 Cent’s latest offering Before I Self Destruct.

Curtis ‘Interscope’ Jackson’s fourth studio album, which was projected to sell only 160,000, hardly exceeded expectations moving just 161,200 units according to Nielsen Soundscan. The figure is somewhat disappointing for 50, especially considering that he predicted first week sales of a million during a 2008 MTV interview. There are a number of excuses materialising within the Hip Hop community, although perhaps it is time to take a rather more indepth, honest and substantiated look into why BISD and other promising projects have failed to reach sales targets.

Please read the full editorial HERE.

Catskill: Kanye (Controversial New Track)

Hate it or Love it…there’s no ignoring this track by one of Hip Hop’s best kept secrets! Catskill is perhaps the most outrageous MC I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and all (somewhat inappropriate) jokes aside, he’s a real wordsmith.

The track itself is an extremely blunt critique of popular Hip Hop culture, focusing predominently on Mr. West. Contrary to popular belief, Catskill has no problem with the superstar, stating ‘I think he’s a genius but when I think it comes down to being in society, he needs to calm the f**k down!’

Acknowledging the need to be humble despite the required level of ego to succeed in this industry, Catskill admits that it’s all about a balance of the two. Still he explains that having success is often due to ‘having that passion’ and ‘that energy,’ although unlike Kanye he says ‘you have to keep it in check a little bit.’

Whilst the song may just be the most inappropriate and offensive tracks you’ll hear this year, it is also extremely well-written and explictly condemns many of the evils within the industry today. Whether or not you agree with his method, by addressing these issues Catskill has shown real balls and personally I believe it’s only a matter of time before the industry stands up and acknowledges this talented and extremely unconventional MC.


Catskill is currently one of the top artists on Akon’s Hitlab, if you wish to see more from him then go to http://www.hitlab.com/user/21055/catskill and vote for him.

DJ Mr. President’s 24 Hour Roc Raida Tribute

RRSS

On September 19th 2009 Hip Hop lost a great, pioneering DJ and on October 3rd it gained another. DJ Mr. President is a veteran turntablist and has been perfecting his craft for years but upon hearing of Roc Raida’s passing, he decided to lead an absolutely groundbreaking tribute.

Displaying a total disregard for his own health and well-being, Prez decided to DJ for 24 hours straight in honor of Roc Raida’s legacy. He even streamed the entire tribute live to ensure that people all over the world could join him in remembering a hip hop legend. Many people followed the tribute worldwide and spread the word about this totally selfless act of respect.

After a great mix and a fantastic display of turntablism, Prez’s emotional tribute to a true legend should certainly be remembered as one of the purest ever contributions to hip hop. Many young hip hop DJs and artists could stand to learn an awful lot from DJ Mr. President, especially his passion and respect for our culture. It is through DJs like Prez that Roc Raida’s legacy will continue to thrive and live on for many years to come.

In Memory of DJ Roc Raida 1972-2009

Oct. 3 2009 Roc Raida Tribute; Post Recap Video from LA FAMILIA ENTERTAINMENT on Vimeo.

“IT WAS TRULY AN HONOR TO TAKE ON THIS CHALLENGE IN HIS NAME. I FELT LIKE I HAD TO DO THIS AS A WAY OF SAYING THANK YOU TO THE LEGEND. I THANK HIM FOR CONTINUOUSLY INSPIRING ME THROUGHOUT MY CAREER, BY ALWAYS SETTING THE BAR HIGH, THROUGH HIS OWN DEVOTION TO OUR CRAFT.” – DJ MR. President

Prez TRIBUTE-FLYER

Snoop Doggy Dogg ‘Lost Sessions Vol. 1’ Review

snoopLSV1

Perhaps it is the curse of Death Row, but it seems totally inconceivable that the so-called lost sessions have remained lost for so long. The latest WIDEawake Death Row offering’s insert promises a selection of ‘Snoop Dogg’s classic 90’s recordings’ and for the most part it must be said that the ‘new Death Row’ headed by Managing Partner Lara Lavi has delivered on that promise.

Aside from just a couple of less memorable ‘album tracks’ so to speak, The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 marks a return to the familiar and instantly distinguishable Death Row sound. The haunting melodies of certain post-’96 tracks even perfectly capture the mood of a Snoop Dogg in mourning for his good friend and labelmate Tupac Shakur. Perhaps the most notable and explicit example of the expression of Snoop’s loss is the K-Ci & JoJo assisted 2pac tribute Life’s Hard featuring Big Pimpin.

Other highlights include the original version of O.G. (featuring vocals from Nate Dogg and production by Daz Dillinger) and the Dre-produced Fallin’ Asleep On Death Row, reminiscent of his earlier style. This exploration of the darker side of Death Row, with classic material and overlooked treasures having been stranded on Tha Row for years, brings forth the question of just how many more gems lay undiscovered in the vaults.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 will be available in North America from October 13th 2009.

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