Friday Rap-Up: F.O.E., Rock the Bells Tour, Nas, EPMD
For the last decade or so, F.O.E. (Father of Enemies) has steadily been putting in work, first as a member of the group Hilltop Click, then as a solo artist and now as vice president of Jewell Tyme Records. But just because he’s helping run one of Colorado’s most promising record labels doesn’t mean he’s slacking on the music side. He’s releasing a new project called King of the Mountain, this week culminating with a release party on Saturday April 26 at the Snake Pit, 608 East 13th Avenue.
“The King of the Mountain project is an album to in a way introduce myself,” F.O.E. said. “It’s being released before my official album because most of the songs have features, but are still good songs. It’s all original work, no industry beats. I did the album in mixtape fashion, with DJ KDJ mixing and hosting it. You can expect a lot of street shit. The album addresses my thoughts on the industry, life struggles, all the way to my undeniable infatuation with lady green.”
As far as Jewell Tyme is concerned, last year saw only a few releases but 2008 is looking to flood the streets with new music. Along with King of the Mountain the label is also releasing in May Music Money & Roundtables, a compilation featuring various artists associated with Jewell Tyme mixtapes from Haven, Karma, Duce and F.O.E.’s album Welcome: A New Beginning in August. But what F.O.E. is really passionate about is uniting the Denver hip-hop scene, which seems to be divided regions and sound.
“I feel the divide is bull! We have artists in Denver who seem to put themselves in certain circles and only mess with those people in those circles,” he said. “We seem scared to venture out of our comfort zone, afraid to listen and work with someone we don't know, feel uncomfortable to put other artists on shows. If you look at a lot of local shows you will start to see a pattern, groups coming with their own small crowd rocking the show and then leaving as soon as they get off stage and who follows? Their crowd. We all yell ‘we need support’ but don't support our own. We expect people to stand up for us, but don't wanna give the same in return. It hurts to know that you can go to another city and be well recieved by the fans and radio but not get the same here.”
“It’s not really about what can be done to change it, but what needs to be done,” he continued. “We need the promoters to start looking all over the city for the best people to be in their shows, we need intermingling of fans, and we need to have people like me and Julox on the same bill as Maneline and Spoke In Wordz. We need more people networking and working with different artists. We need to have features from other camps on albums. We need to express to our fans that it is ok to like other artists in the city. Although their loyalty is appreciated it is also sometimes a bad look to have everyone walk away! If more people were able to hear us more people would respect the music. I love my city and I know they love me back....we just can't be afraid to show our love!”
F.O.E. along with The Pirate Signal, Julox, T.E., B Blacc, City Block and ACO will be performing at the King of the Mountain CD Release Party at the Snake Pit, 608 East 13th Avenue on Saturday April 26 at 9 p.m.
Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul unite for Rock the Bells Tour
Last year’s Rock the Bells tour was a success with major rap stars Nas, Cypress Hill and Pharaohe Monch headlining the festival, but this year’s iteration is looking to be even better. Tour organizer Guerilla Union announced that A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul will headline the tour along with Nas, Rakim, Method Man, Redman, Raekwon, Ghostface, dead prez, Immortal Technique, Murs, Wale, Jay Electronica, Kidz in the Hall and a reunited Pharcyde. Supernatural will once again host the show, along with B Real of Cypress Hill.
"This year's line-up represents, respects and recognizes the diversity and inspirational possibilities often promised, but rarely delivered in a live hip-hop experience," said Chang Weisberg of Guerilla Union, the event's organizer. "We really feel that this year's group of artists define our platform and further galvanize the legacy that Rock the Bells has earned through the years."
Look for the show to hit Red Rocks on August 23!
Nas leaks new controversial song, “Be a Nigger Too”
It was produced by Salaam Remi and Big Jack, leaked to hip-hop bloggers everywhere with a hook saying "I'm a nigger, he's a nigger, she's a nigger, we're a pepper/ Wouldn't you like to be a nigger too?/To all my 'kike' niggas, 'spic' niggas, 'guinea' niggas, 'chink' niggas/ That's right, y'all my niggas, too." That is the first song, “Be a Nigga Too” from the much-anticipated Nas album, Nigger.
There’s still no word on when the album will be officially released, but word is around July 1. And official single has yet to be announced either, but to listen to the song, check out Rawkus Records's blog.
EPMD returns with new record label
Legendary hip-hop duo EPMD have been through some tough times but in the end is all comes down to one thing – business. Erick Sermon and Parish Smith have announced that they will be releasing a new album We Mean Business this year on their new indie label, EP Records.
"We’re not out here to conform to radio or worry about who’s digging it," Erick Sermon told AllHipHop.com. "The core fans are going to speak up and they’re liking it and that’s all who we care about.”
“ It’s a combination of Strictly Business and Business As Usual,” Smith said. “Basically it’s me and E doing our own thing. We got our own label EP Records and it’s distributed through Fontana Universal; we just showing that there is no excuse or no crying over technology.”
Look for the new album to drop on July 30. Now if we can get the Hit Squad back together.
Everywhere at Once
Bay Area rapper Lyrics Born has pretty much been known for his eclectic taste in beats and production and on his new album he takes up another notch. On this album you’ll find LB spitting over funk grooves, 80’s R&B style production and some hard hip-hop bangers.
When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
It’s been a few years since the Minneapolis duo of Atmosphere has dropped an album, and for most fans it’s worth the wait. Slug’s off-kilter rhyme style meshes well with Ant’s boom-bap production, providing for a decent collection of storytelling and battle rhymes.
H.N.I.C., Pt. 2
Before head went to serve a 3-year bid on weapons charges, Prodigy was quickly putting the finishing touches on this album. As you would expect from P, the album deals with the stress and life in the streets and industry, all over gritty, dark hip-hop beats.
-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno