Ya Heard? Mayday!

Thursday, July 24th, 2008 | News
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:

www.myspace.com/firstdayofmay

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.

…Crack

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