Regular readers have no doubt picked up on my/The Cream's enthusiasm for the current state of the hip-hop scene in Nashville. Things have been popping for a while now, but they seem to be hitting critical mass — so much so that I/we had to run a big ol' feature on the situation for this week's paper. Due to the space constraints — print's a motherfucker that way — I didn't really get to cover everything and everyone I wanted to. Also, the streaming video on newsprint sucks. Needless to say, it's time to hit the Web.
Oh, but before we get going — in addition to both Talib Kweli and Rick Ross playing tonight — there's not one but two (!) hip-hop book signings tomorrow. Malice from The Clipse will be signing copies of Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked at Phatkaps from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and Ben Westhoff will be signing his book Dirty South at Bookman/Bookwoman from 6 to 8 p.m. Seriously, when it rains it pours. I'm not complain' though, as I'd rather have too many options than no options at all. Anyway, let's move on to some music.
* Did you peep that video up there? DOOOO it! Openmic kills it over a solo piano riff, and it will send shivers up your spine every single time. And then, after you've picked your jaw up off the floor, go download his new tape For the Rebels. FTR covers a lot of sonic ground, pulling in bits of orchestral pop, indie-glitch, and classic, smoothed-out hip-hop. You might as well click the "repeat" button now, 'cause you'll be listening to it over and over again. [Mediafire]
* I've been into Gummy SOUL for a hot minute, but when producer Wally Clark dropped The Stuyvesants vs. Gummy SOUL in my inbox, I really flipped my wig. Lush and funky, Stuyvesants falls right in line with the Pete Rock school of buttery, soulful hip-hop beats, and MC Kurtis Stanley has a smooth, laid-back flow that fits perfectly with the shimmering, summery sounds. Also, bonus points for referencing my favorite grass-fed burger joint, Gabby's. [Bandcamp]
* OK, so there's no mention of Young Rell in the article — my bad. I've been sleepin', and that was a mistake. Rell is a bit more plain-spoken than a lot of the new MCs in town, forgoing the linguistic gymnastics for more straightforward storytelling and nuanced character development. Topically, he tends to veer into some darker corners, which makes a nice contrast with his brighter, poppier taste in beats. I'm an asshole for not jumpin' on this bandwagon earlier. [Facebook]
* I caught Call It Dope! at The End a couple of months ago, and I definitely dig them — they've got charm and personality to spare, a keen ear for serious pop goodness, and a really fun vibe. I think, spiritually speaking, they're more akin to their Murfeesboro indie-pop peers, more into experimenting with different sounds and having fun with the music than trying to conform to what people think they should be doing. Also, "Tough Actin' Teen Actors" is fucking hilarious. Expect big things from these kids. [PureVolume]
* Rio! I love Rio! But he didn't exactly fit into the purview of the article, which kinda bummed me out, because listening to his music always, always makes me really happy. He's a studio whiz whose music is outgrowing categorization at an alarming rate — going out way, way out into the void and coming back with epic, epic sounds. I think it's a well documented fact that I love really smooth R&B, and when you combine it with spaced-out synths and big boomin' beats, I just turn to jelly. I could seriously listen to "Love Has a Limit" all freakin' day. [Rioville]
* Sometimes I have no idea how people find me, but good gawddamn, am I glad they did. Mouchee Deeki falls into that category, for sure. Deeki is an older dude with an old-school flow and classic electro beats, which is a welcome sound in this house. Recommended if you like Mantronix and digging through dusty crates of 12-inch vinyl. [Facebook]
* 10YCee is super-duper new on the scene — he's released one track so far, and that came out yesterday. That said, "Cee Cee's Flow" is definitely a shot across the bow — a warning to sucka MCs to watch the fuck out. I'm also a sucker for a mean-sounding organ vamp, of which there are plenty. One to watch for sure. [Facebook]
* And I'd be a complete and total asshole — I'm usually not far from it — if I didn't mention the fact that "People on the Streets," featuring Nashville veterans Young Buck and Starlito, is pure motherfucking fire. Buck sounds PISSED, and it's a sound that suits him. [LiveMixtapes]
* Mac L — you might remember him as Mac tha Knife — has a new track out called "40 Acres and a Deal," which has some crazy blippity-bloops on the beat and a cynical, weary flow that I'm really into. He's got a new tape coming this summer, so be on the lookout. [CultureBully]