One of the many emcees that I know which always brings a certain level of knowledge to his music, Ohini Jonez shares his thoughts of race and how it feels to be on the spotlight while trying to maintain what's deemed as normal. Love this track and the beat... a lush slow-moving heavy heap of soul that caresses the ears. The dude is dope and there's no denying he knows what he speaks about.
The highly anticipated Ana Tijoux follow-up album to the Grammy nominated '1977' came out today and it continues what Ana is known for, multiverse lyrical gold that can take you from pride to ruin and back while it's sound is perfectly placed with her flow. Before '1977' was released I saw Tijoux perform In LAMC and she became the top buzz of all media and music watchers as she rhymed effortlessly on stage while everyone impressed. Her lyrics didn't hit me at first and I'm guessing it was because my first experience was live, loud and with a great amount of people screaming and having fun. After the album released I knew she was a force to recon with and can hang with the best of em, slaying words and thoughts intertwined with harmony... Yep it was too dope. After that she released the "Elefant Mixtape" which was a more hyped up and hard-hitting album sound wise, it gained but more fans for the dope emcee and gave her more exposure that she needed.
"La Bala" is the next step in her career with a friendlier sound and forward approach to lyrics rightfully sitting her in the Latina (or female) Hip-Hop throne. She spits history, life and beyond, heartfelt with each bar you can't help but nod away smiling. Yet another honest emcee achieving life as they create, at no point does she serve a cold/fake dish. The album has a bit of soul, street, great beats and immense knowledge pours out the speakers thanks to Tijoux's flow. "La Bala" continues her reign right where the last release left off... Killin' em, I'm proud to see more Latino emcees doing right by what they say and not just spilling garbage. Be aware that she rhymes in Spanish but I'm sure it won't make a difference for those that appreciate good sounds.
Dope Hip-Hop fired from Ana's gun with "La Bala" hits the spot, can't wait to see what's next and if Summerstage is in the picture this year! Check out the video for 'Shock' below and pick up the album now on iTunes or anywhere you can. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=177-s44MSVQ[/youtube]
On to part two (about time right!?) of our China trip photos, it took me a bit but they're here! These shots are from Tiananmen Square, inside the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, The Great Wall and a few miscellaneous shots I like to sprinkle in here and there. As with every vacation I like to take shots outside our hotel windows, this time I had no tripod with me but made due. We saw soo many patterns/artwork both organic and man made that I had to show some and included a few here. By the way... The Great Wall was awesome but I ended going up the steepest side by myself and damn near thought I was about to collapse haha.
The day of our visit to The Great Wall Momma Giant wasn't feeling too well so I stayed behind with her as the rest of our group walked up. I ended up walking back to the bus then going the opposite side that our group went, not sure if that was a good idea as it was the harder path. Up the steps I went with my camera in hand and a huge ass bottle of green tea, as I grabbed in to the railing while taking that stairway shot below looking down I felt older and out of shape haha. By the time I got to the top I felt my heart heavily beating in my throat, and the thinness of oxygen wasn't helping at that height. It was only me an some other guy there both looking tired as hell... but we did it! Now as far as going down those misshaped worn out steps, there was a couple below me walking down and the guy stopped every 2-3 min. so needless to say it took me a while to get to the bottom but it was def worth going as the view (mountain shot!) was magnificent.
Tiananmen Square was insane just with the amount of people both local and tourists there at that time, it was super packed and EVERYONE was taking pictures of themselves even the military. After a walk around we headed into The Forbidden City, being that it was a imperial palace it was full of beautiful architecture and I managed (Speedlite) to snag a shot of living quarters once used. Within the Forbidden city we saw the largest stone carving depicting waves, mountains and skies full of clouds and 9 dragons with interlocking lotus flowers on the edges, and the Taihe Dian (The Hall of Supreme Harmony) along with the waterway under the three bridges and gilded lions in front of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity. It's amazing to see structures the are this old and still standing in great condition, also how prized it is amongst all the people there. After that we went on a boat ride to the Summer Palace and walked thru the famous Long Corridor and a stunning Rock Garden, thank Buddha it was a day with great weather because I don't know how we would've walked for soo long.
Stay tuned for more photos from Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou coming soon, for now I hope you enjoy my blabberings and photography! I will be posting some misc. shots on my Tumblr pxl-vision as well so follow me there too.
The dynamic HipHop duo Short Fuze & Nasa from Uncommon Records has returned once again, last year they bought us Lobotomy Music and 2011 brings Toxicology Music. Toxicology brings the "put yo fist in the air" attitude and thought that Uncommon is known for, it has that certain off beat feeling that builds their unique sound and is hard to confuse with the work of others. Their style and how it comes out always reminds me of something Rage Against the Machine could've been a part of if they properly blended with the indie HipHop scene. Instead of all the material and self boasting ego trips (or total opposite) that we are used to in this genre (or PopHop), Short Fuze and Nasa spit words of thought and empowerment in self and environment... how can that be bad when it sounds soo good? While halfway listening to the album I briefly thought that some of the beats felt a little too far from the timing flow of their lyrics but I was wrong. Not sure why I thought that exactly but after a revisit to the tracks that thought was laid to rest, also having an outer HipHop genre feeling to it it's what I like best about it. Bleeps, screeches, and even certain parts that remind me of 'Big Trouble in Little China' ('In Your Hands Now') along with some boom bap made my ears happy throughout. The remix to 'Don't Feed the Machine' by Megabusive grew on me more than I thought, I literally saw a big metal hunching enemy heading towards me while listening which is awesome. Something about Nasa's work feel very cinematic in sound and always sparks a thought on what he was seeing when creating the music. I have to give it to Nasa on the work put into this album, the guy knows what he's doing and when accompanied by Short Fuze it truly does become a complete package and something that they can be proud they were a part of.
Knowing that there's music like this where I can safely say I would put money down is saying a lot nowadays. Many collectives work together for different reasons, all I know is that Short Fuze and Nasa bring something worthwhile to the table that everyone should try to get a piece of. It goes farther than just an album, with it also comes a frame of mind most of us want others to have. Aggressiveness in sound if executed wisely can make you think different, this is one of those instances, it's not just HipHop... it's life.
... I wish I had more music like this to listen to. Check out 'Sun Crusher' below!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t8BeYC9prA&hd=1[/youtube]Another video from the unreleased WGM vaults is an interview I did with Wil-Dog from Ozomatli, a dope live band from Cali that has contributed many good things to life and music. They just came back from performing in China and Mongolia, and also representing the United States as cultural embassadors at the time of the interview. Ozo's sound is made up of many cultures and genres mixed together to create something that had all of us jumpin and thumpin in Brooklyn at last years LAMC. At the same time that they have everyone reciting and dancing to their music, they also do a lot in communities/countries and reach out to people in need. On level with the When Giants Meet vision of cultural and musical intake also lending a hand to those in need, Wil-Dog let's us know what goes on in their travels, sounds, and the causes that they are down with.