Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Biggie Biggie Smalls is the Illest



Ok, so Dan already beat me to a Notorious B.I.G. tribute, but I have to throw something up for an artist who has had a profound impact on my life....

I have so many memories of Notorious that I don't even know where to start so I'm just gonna jot down some bullets-

-I think the first time I heard Big was when I was 9 years old. I knew that he had died, but I really had no idea who he was. My mom took my brother and I to Sam Goody on the release date of Life After Death because my brother was adamant about getting it, I didn't see what the big deal was. He got that, I'm pretty sure I got a Sugar Ray single or something. When we got home I snuck a listen on my brother's Disc man, and after hearing Hypnotize, I was hooked-I must have listened to it about 30 times in a row.

-When I was in the 8th grade, I first heard "Gimme the Loot" and even though I could only understand about half of the lyrics I loved it. I memorized every single word in about 2 days. However, I still didn't really know the magnitude of his abilities.

-At about 15-16, I stole "Ready to Die" from my friends girlfriend, my life literally changed. I was obsessed with this album, it was pretty much all I could talk about at school.

-Throughout High School I did everything I could to get my hands on as much Biggie as I possibly could. I must have destroyed my families computer downloading every single Biggie track known to man on Napster and Kazaa, but I had to have it.

- As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate what Biggie did with his short time on this Earth. It's crazy to me that a man could have such a profound impact on so many lives, mine included. His lyrics are so versatile, he could go from rapping about killing people, to inspiring people, to loving his girl in a matter of 3 tracks.

-His growth from "Ready to Die" to "Life After Death" was unparalleled. He understood that now that he had made it, he couldn't rap about being on the corner and hustling drugs anymore. I think this is one of the biggest reasons he remains so relevant and his music lives on.

- All in all, the Rap game would be very different if he would have released a few more albums. In short, there is no way Lil' Wayne would be considered the best rapper ever.

Rest in Peace Big, your impact on hip-hop is still felt today. You were the best to ever do it, and your music will continue to remain timeless.









Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An Interview With New York Producer Kevin Casey




My man Kevin Casey took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for The 2 Man Weave. Kevin recently dropped his first mixtape, "Live From New York" which features groundbreaking New York Hip Hop, to much acclaim. I have had the privilege of knowing Kevin for years now, and am very excited to see what he is going to do next. There is no doubt that his hard work and musical talent will earn him great success. Check out his website www.kevincaseymusic.com for great music, as well as a free download of his mixtape "Live From New York", and get familiar...before it's too late.

By dropping a New York only mixtape, it's obvious New York based hip-hop has had a large influence on you and your career. What other musicians, types of music, etc... have influenced you?

Growing up I was constantly surrounded by music - mostly stuff from the 50sand 60s. I remember my dad having a big collectors set for each decade of all the hit records, each one holding at least 30 tapes. Long car rides between New York and Toronto meant long listening sessions, and I quickly learned all those songs inside out. Playing the alto saxophone in middle school and high school got me more familiar with other genres, mostly jazz. And then as of more recently I've been locked into funk and soul stuff from the 60s and 70s. Oh yea, and hip hop.

Your blog, www.kevincaseymusic.com , displays a wide array of music. What is your goal with the blog, and what made you decide to start a blog?

I didn't want to just start a hip hop blog that reported on the hip-hop world's "news of the day." To be completely honest, I wasn't even comfortable with the word BLOG until very recently. I understand it's value now, and I also just enjoy sharing music that I listen to. If I come across that one song of the day that has me addicted to it, why not share that. My man Buckwild once said to me that my site is more about "culture" than hip hop music ... so I'll go with that too. It's also a good way to support projects of mine and the people around me.

Music, and rap/hip-hop in particular, is in a terrible state. What are you doing to elevate the state of music and blow a breath of fresh air to the music business?

I think all I can do in my position is just work hard and make sure the stuff I put out is to the best of my ability, and nothing less. I do have to say that I believe hip-hop is on an upward trend... how far along on the spectrum I don't know, but I think it's moving in a good direction. I would just like to see all the people that ask for "real hip hop" be ready to buy the projects that come out in that lane. If they are not doing that, and just talking about it, then they are part of the problem. We're all at least a little guilty of this.

What has it been like working closely with notable producers such as Scram Jones and Buckwild? How have they influenced your music, as well as your career?

First off, I have to say that my man Dub Sonata was the first one to really see potential in what I did with music, and bring me around the people that I'm around now. He is also one of the dopest producers I know. Being around Scram and Buck has only been positive... watching these dudes make beats is just like being in class - you try to learn as much as you can. Well, I guess that makes it not really like any class I've been in, but I think you get my point. Biggest thing is that I am friends with all the people I make music around, and that can be a hard find in the industry.

When did you first realize that you wanted pursue a career in music?


Probably around the time I really fell in love with DJ-ing while going to college. I got paid for the first time for having fun with music, and it felt good. I started making beats on my computer, and that was that. There is such a high level that this can be taken to ... I look at someone like Quincy Jones and get depressed, but then excited. Depressed that I am where I am, and he is where he is ... but excited that if I apply myself, there is so much room to grow as a producer. That's what I love about creative arts, you have the opportunity to take your craft to the highest level. I don't think I should ever reach a point where I am 100% satisfied. I got alot to learn but I'm all in.

Any new projects your working on?

I like to just put stuff out and not talk about it in advance, but I will say that the next time you hear a Live From New York style mixtape from me it will not be what you expect. 2manweave, it's been real.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Ode To Killa

Cam'ron has always been one of my favorite rappers for two reasons, 1. he convinced every heterosexual male that it was cool to wear pink, and 2. he is possibly the funniest dude on the planet. Here's a brief collection of his finest work:





Tuesday, February 9, 2010

R.I.P. Big Pun




Sunday February 7 marked the ten year anniversary of Big Punisher's death. Big Pun is one of my favorite rappers of all time, so I thought this would be a fitting tribute to a man who was taken from us way too early.

Few rappers could control the microphone like Pun, his wordplay and dynamic while rapping is unparalleled and has paved the way for many quick-tongued rappers, such as Eminem. Pun emerged from the Bronx, NY rap scene in 1993 when he opened up the Beatnuts classic "Off the Books" and laid lyrical slaughter on the song, and easily stole the show. Pun was soon signed to a solo deal with Loud Records and his mark would soon be left on the rap world.

Pun was raised in the South Bronx's Puerto Rican community, and to put it bluntly, was raised rough. Struggling with his mother's drug problem, a non existent biological father, and an abusive stepfather, Pun would become quite destructive and angry, however, all of this led to him dropping some of the realest verses hip hop has ever scene. Pun alluded to his fatherless childhood on the song "Punish Me", when he wrote,

I wanna raise my little man but you keep resistin
I'm insistin you chill for real before you come up missin
Listen, I don't wanna fight I'd rather do what's right
A boy needs a father that's the most important part of his life

There's no doubt Pun had it rough growing up, but it was these memories that fueled his fire and motivated him to becoming one of the rawest MCs to ever touch the mic.

In 1998 Pun dropped his classic "Capital Punishment" that featured hit after hit. The album reached platinum status and Pun became the first latin rapper to reach platinum status, undoubtedly opening the door for other Latin rappers to achieve success in the rap world.

Unfortunately, just like few rappers could flow like Pun, none had an appetite like the man. Pun's weight fluctuated constantly to levels of obesity, and on February 7, 2000 Big Punisher died of a massive heart attack at the young age of 28, leaving a gap in hip hop music that still hasn't been fulfilled. Pun released 2 albums posthumously, "Yeeeeeahhhhhhh Baby" and a best of album entitled "Endangered Species". Endangered Species was the first Pun album I heard and it truly blew me away. I had never heard a MC control the mic like him and was thoroughly impressed by his wide array of hits. Throughout the years I have gone through several Ipods and computers, but this album always finds its way back onto my hard drive. Rest in Peace Pun, you are truly missed by the hip-hop community.

Here's a few of my favorite tracks by this legend, enjoy:





(Same video, different song)









This list could go on and on, he had that many hits. REMEMBER PUN!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Awiez Productions


This is gonna be short and sweet. A very close friend of mine made a song called Gold Rolls Royce. He put it on soundclick.com. Said song jumped 1.5 million spots in less than a week. Please listen, and get familiar. Awiez Productions.

http://www.soundclick.com/awiezproductions

Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Jams for the Weekend

Like my partner (pause) Dan, I'd also like to apologize for the lack of posts lately. I blame it on blunt smoke, binge drinking, bugging about graduating, and an overall lack of ambition. So to our loyal readers (do we have any?) I promise more entertainment from the 2 Man Weave. This one will be short since it's Friday and I got business to take care of, but here's some tunes to pleasure your ears for the weekend...Enjoy:


An awesome song by one of the baddest dudes ever.


If you're like me and struggling with the single life, here's the anthem for those lonely Saturday nights.


If you spend your weekend (or everyday for that matter) in a marijuana haze, here's something to jam to.

And for those of you who go to school up north, it's cold out there; so here's some heat: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=1033752
Awiez Productions was started by a very, very close friend of mine over the summer, and he's been on his grind and in the studio constantly, so please support this movement.

Also Rest In Peace to J.D. Salinger, "Catcher in the Rye" was one of the first books that left me saying "wow" when I was done reading it. So thank you Mr. Salinger for having a profound impact on my life and opening my eyes to great literature.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Phenomenon that is the Female MC

The place of the female rapper has always been an interesting one in the hip hop and rap industry. The issue that arises is that women MCs write lyrics that are almost perverse, and can make the male listener feel very uncomfortable. This makes for a lack of appeal to a broad audience and continues to hold women rappers down; however, they will just not go away. I appreciate their hard work and definitely respect how much harder it is for a woman to come up in a man's world, but I really don't like to hear about their sexual acts, and how many men they have slept with, as well as how well they perform fellatio; to me that is just not what a respectable woman should be talking about.

The first Ruff Ryders record, Ryde or Die Vol. 1, will always go down as one of my favorite albums of all times. The album features incredible production by Swizz Beats and phenomenal songs from a young DMX, and my favorite rap trio of all time The L.O.X. However, there are two songs in particular that I always have to skip: Eve's "What Ya Want", and Big Pun's "Pina Colada". "What Ya Want'" has one of the best beats I have ever heard, yet, the braggadocio rhymes by female MC Eve make me borderline uncomfortable. The following lines almost make me wanna never listen to rap again out of fear that a female rapper might pop out of no where and drop a verse that will make me cringe:
Eve handcuff niggaz but I don't arrest em
Shorty-bang hear the niggaz singin, shoutin my name
Make the thuggish niggaz scream, watchin me entertain
Dicks brick when I lick the lips, just keepin it plain
Fantasizin bout this bitch, got em goin insane
Oooh's and ahhh's, 5'7" thick in the thighs
Every thugs dream wife, see the love in they eyes?
My time to shine, whole package make her a dime


The line "Eve handcuff niggaz but I don't arrest 'em" makes me question how someone can even agree to put out a song like this. To my knowledge the popular demographic among hip-hop fans is men, so how can a man rap along, or nod his head to a song that applauds S&M and a woman performing fellatio?- it's impossible. Yes, male rappers frequently rap about the women they have slept with and their sexual escapades, and unfortunately this is accepted in society, so why would a woman rap about the same things if she knows she will only be labeled as a "slut" and a whore"? It just does not make sense to me.

The Big Pun song, "Pina Colada" doesn't feature a female rapper per say, but the opening line to this song is "Where my niggaz with the big dicks?" sung by a woman, which makes me immediately hit next on my iPod. In a male dominated world there seems to be no place for the female rapper, which explains the lack of them in the history of hip-hop music. During the beginning of the music, women rappers frequently rapped about women uniting together and the problem's facing women during the time. But as time wore on, and male sexual escapades became more openly accepted, women were and continue to be seen as objects, as demonstrated by almost every single hip-hop video that has come out in the last fifteen years. So ladies, I respect your hustle, but the rap game is really not a wise career decision, so please put your talents to a better use. And, don't let me get started on Nicki Minaj from Lil Wayne's camp because she may be the worst thing that has ever happened to music.

Anyway, for those of you who started class today like myself, here is something to bop along too:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some Good Isht





In my recent quest to wet my musical palette, I have come across an extremely talented musician in Ryan Leslie. His music is a bit softer than what I'm used to- he makes the type of songs that make you just wanna hug your girl and tell her how much you care about her, plus I tend to stay away from people who have to first names- but his production skills are so superior I find myself rewinding almost every track. His self titled album has been in constant rotation recently and I will definitely be checking for new music from R.Les

After doing some research, I learned that Ryan Leslie scored a perfect score on his SATs at the age of 15, and graduated from Harvard at 19- so his credentials speak for themselves. I also stumbled across his youtube channel (RyanLeslieTv) and found out that this man is probably one of, if not, the best producer in music right now; he is an absolute beast behind the boards. Anyway here's some tracks to check out for yourselves, plus a video of him at work:



This beat leaves me in awe every time I hear it. There is so much going on that the listener really has to pay attention, or the entire song will go over their head. The beat drop into the piano solo gets me every single time. Plus, there's a feature from my man Fabolous- always a positive.



This is one of the more rugged beats he does, but he nicely shows his vocal range throughout the song.



"Gibberish" is sung in exactly that, gibberish. Leslie utilizes auto-tune for this track, and probably made one of the better auto-tune inspired songs of the era.




The making of "Addiction" is showcased in this video, and truly shows the multifaceted talents this musician possesses.

Unfortunately, with the state of music today, Ryan Leslie may never get the respect he truly deserves, but if you're into good music keep an eye out for any projects including R. Les.




Monday, January 11, 2010

Blakroc-Not to be slept on.



Recently I've been bored with the state of music, and have been left with a desire to find something new to get into; there's only so many times I can listen to the same songs over and over again (exception, Young Jeezy). However, about two weeks ago I stumbled across the Blackroc project which is headed by hip-hop pioneer Dame Dash, and a former pre-pubescent hero of mine, Jim Jones (Jooooooooooooonessssss) of Diplomats fame. I've always been a fan of Dame Dash, and have respected his work and impact on the music industry, particularly the hip-hop scene, but I was a bit wary of the Blakroc project.

The album pairs Ohio blues-rock band "The Black Keys" (whom I had never heard of until this) and many major players in the rap game, including Mos Def, Pharoe Monch, Ludacris, Q-Tip, Wu members RZA and Raekwon, and a song-stealing posthumous appearance by Ol' Dirty Bastard a.k.a Dirt McGirt a.k.a. Big Baby Jesus a.k.a. Ol Dirty Chinese Restaurant a.k.a. The BZA a.k.a..okay you get the point. After my first listen through, I wasn't really sure how I felt about the album, it sounded a bit like the mash-up between Jay-z and Linkin Park that came out a few years ago, however, Blakroc is much better done and executed much more soundly than the collabo between Hov and Linkin Park.

I immediately dismissed the album as a sound that I couldn't really get into, and almost deleted it from my Itunes, however, something stopped me (perhaps the album cover which looks like a city covered in the Ooze from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2), and I gave it another chance. After a second listen, I was completely blown away and realized the mastery shown by "The Black Keys" and their ability to adapt their sound to a completely different genre, yet maintain their own musical integrity. The Keys lace the tracks with heavy drums, haunting background vocals, and an overall raw sound that matches perfectly with the aforementioned rappers. Even Jim Jones, who has been absolutely terrible of late, provides some coherent verses and is actually listenable, something I was very happy about.

The album is only 11 tracks, and definitely leaves the listener wanting more, but overall it is a solid effort and a great career decision for the post Roc-a-Fella Dame Dash era. So, if you're like me and wanting something new in your music collection check out the Blakroc album, don't sleep.





Sunday, January 10, 2010

ROY?

I don't think I'll ever really be able to forgive the Knicks for drafting Jordan Hill over Brandon Jennings. Dude is a problem.