YaHeard? Y Society, Travel at your own pace

Thursday, August 28th, 2008 | News | No Comments
YaHeard? Y Society, Travel at your own pace

I’m all about quality feel good hip hop. The kind you can put on and listen to and enjoy every track. And when I come across these kinds of albums, it really reminds me of why I started listening to hip hop. This weeks Ya Heard? looks at Travel at your own pace by Boston based duo Y Society, comprised of Insight, on the Mic, and Damu The Fudgemunk (unusual name, I know) on the boards and dropping some turntable wizardry. The title is certainly appropriate given the way Insight’s flow perfectly combines with Damu’s laidback beats. What results is a positive energetic brand of hip hop that is fun to listen to. What more do you expect from and artist on Tres Records, featuring labelmates such as Giant Panda and the Lightheaded crew, and founded by Thes One of People Under The Stairs.

Obviously influenced by the likes of Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Gangstarr and A Tribe called Quest, Damu and Insight work off each other amazingly in what is a truly dope MC and DJ combination. Insight’s flow is noticeable from the first track, “This is an introduction”, where he rolls along rhyming with ease and finesse over a jazzy beat. The production style Damu brings to the table is a bit of a mixture of DJ Premier, Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow; hours must have been spent digging for the crisp drum loops and ingenious samples worked into the albums production.
And Damu’s skills on the decks are evident throughout the album, dropping tight scratches regularly in reply to the lyrical bullets from his partner in crime.
“Hole in your pocket” kicks off with an old funk sample that grabs your attention instantly, before dropping into an tight head nodding beat laced with Insight’s laid back rhymes. The track is about the importance of staying positive in the face of financial difficulties, and is littered with some beautifully appropriate samples that are torn up by Damu. In “Good Communication” the duo trade blows with their respective tools, barbed verses from Insight are rebutted by Damu’s consistenly dope sample selection and beatmaking. Other album highlights include “Never off (On & On)”, “Good Communication”, “Scientist” and “Dizzy”.

Damu of Y Society – “Travel At Your Own Pace” vinyl mix

All in all, this is an awesome album by two very talented artists. The jazzy boom-bap based production and depth of lyrical creativity takes you on a pleasant ride that will have you bouncing the whole way. Staying true to what hip hop is all about is important in this day and age, well to me it is anyway. And with that in mind I encourage you to listen to Travel at your own pace; from Insight’s lyrics and subject matter, to Damu’s beats and scratching, it effortlessly displays everything that is good about hip hop.

For more on Y Society check out

or look them up at


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Ya Heard? Mayday!

Thursday, July 24th, 2008 | News | No Comments
Ya Heard? Mayday!

Welcome to the first installment of “Ya Heard?”, a weekly look into music that you may not but definately should have heard. Each week we’ll look at an album or two that you might not have heard before. There is an absolute multitude of hip hop, jazz, funk and soul out there, often meaning you have to wade through the crap to find the gems. Hopefully this little piece will save you from that process. This week we look at Mayday!, and the Michael Jackson inspired mixtape from Mark Ronson and Rhymefest.

Hailing from Miami, Florida, Mayday! bring it all on their debut self-titled album. Mayday! are essentially a live band made up of MC Bernbiz, keyboardist/producer Plex Luthor, bass guitarist Primo and DJ/perccusionist Gio. They’re known for their energetic live shows in the Miami area, and the overnight sensation that their video for “Groundhog Day” created on youtube (over two million views in the first two days!!).

if you’re interested, there’s an article here that featured in the New York Times about the overnight youtube sensation they created.

Plex Luthor creates their sound utilising synths, infectious keyboard loops, rockin old-school beats and some funky samples, resulting in a fusion of upbeat lyric-driven hip hop fused with rock and a touch of the electronic. And Bernbiz slays it on the mic, particularly on standout tracks ‘Chasing Ghosts’, ‘Watchin Me’ and, of course, ‘Groundhog Day’, where he is joined by Cee-Lo, of Gnarls Barkley fame, and DMC legend DJ Craze. The album is very much a mixture of styles, jumping from the insanely catchy and infectious ‘Groundhog Day’, to the chilled vibe of ‘Nothin’, which features Devin the Dude.

MAYDAY! featuring Cee-Lo & DJ Craze

I came across this album completely by accident, while actually browsing Drum n Bass albums. The album cover had a sticker on it that said it would appeal to fan’s of Outkast, Gnarls Barkley, A Tribe Callled Quest and The Gorillaz, something that instantly appealed to me. After just a quick listen I knew exactly what the sticker meant and I bought it on the spot. Its become one of my all-time favourites, and remains on high rotation to this day, nearly a year and a half later.

Check out more tracks on their myspace at:

Ya Heard?

The next album that should be brought to you’re attention can actually be downloaded for free! Its essentially a mixtape, and a highly entertaining one at that.

British producer Mark Ronson, known for his work with Amy Winehouse, has teamed up with up-and-coming Chicago Rapper, Rhymefest, to make a tribute album to his pop idol; Michael Jackson.

Due to the obvious issues surrounding clearing samples taken from MJ’s work, ‘Fest and Ronson had no option but to release this for free. And there certainly is a lot of material sampled here; Ronson uses outtakes from Jacko’s original studio sessions to create banter between the albums two hosts, with priceless results.The album is built on earlier Jackson solo material, as well as stuff from the Jackson 5 era, and includes the obvious Jacko hits such as “Billy Jean”, “Thriller”, “ABC”, and “I Want You Back”.

The album starts of with MJ beatboxing and Rhymefest rapping overtop, before escalating into a full on funk hip hop cresendo which launches into the first track, ‘Can’t make it’. The second track, ‘Get up’ is one of my favourites; featuring Wale, the two MCs trade verses with effortless flow over a banging uptempo beat, and then mixing straight into ‘Dancin Machine’, in which ‘Fest effortlessly rides the song’s massively funky opening horn section and let’s the Jackson 5 rock their original hook.

Already well impressed with the state of the album so far, I was stoked to find that the quality continued, with the next track, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ featuring Talib Kweli being one of the albums best. Ronson steps up with production duties on ‘Foolin’ Around’, where ‘Fest rhymes about the in’s-and-out’s of cheating over a simple loop from The Jackson 5’s ‘Don’t Let Your Baby Catch You’. Further highlights include ‘All That I’ve Got’ , with Ghostface making an appearance, ‘Higher’, and, of course, the final track, ‘Man in the Mirror’.

And the skits, which I find can be to the detriment of the album, are hilarious! Ingenious use of outtakes and samples from interviews and studio sessions result in entertaining interactions between ‘Fest and MJ, including a priceless moment where Jacko appears to have farted in the studio. Ronson himself can’t resist, dropping a skit where MJ mimics and laughs at his English accent, as the Producer try’s to interview him.

As far as mixtapes go, this has got to be my all-time favourite, and definitely in my top couple of albums for the year so far. Click here to download and enjoy

That’s it for now, keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of Ya Heard? soon.


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Beck – Modern Guilt

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 | News, Reviews | No Comments
Beck - Modern Guilt

I have a sneaking suspicion that Danger Mouse (if that is his real name) is more than one actual person, possibly many fictitious people. I base this wild accusation on the amount of music produced lately with the name attached. Apparently he has produced at least four albums released this year (not counting the latest Gnarls Barkley effort) including the recent Black Keys ‘Attack in release’ and more to the point the new Beck record ‘Modern Guilt’, released 8th of July.                                                  Beck and Dangermouse

Beck’s tenth studio album released on his 38th birthday, will go down in the long line of experimental yet consistent Beck projects, that mostly slip past commercial attention, each time as they change theme and styles, being reborn as a different musical creature. This time the chameleon returns with the definite influence of the also prolific and talented mister Danger Mouse, who adds some of his own finesse and a more than few hand claps.

Opening tracks like “Gamma Ray” and “Orphans” are sure to get a few shoes tapping, and the general modern-jazz-noir artwork should an association with many sophisticated occasions. By the sound of Becks official publicity blurb, he must have had a great time or been a little tired: “and so, 120 nights of no sleep and seeing the dawn try not make an impression, there was some hollow hewn thing there that seemed a little basic”.

Beck Modern Guilt promo

Both artists suit this modern take on 60’s Brit-Rock creating a well rounded effort that should be liked by most fans and as usual gain a few converts to the cause.\

You can check out more of Beck at:

… Yosarrian

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