We are proud to be spinning the afterparty of the Shenzhen Hip Hop Festival, being put on by the hard working guys over at Shenzhen Local Music. There’s also going to be a ton of performances, workshops, breakdancing, graffiti, emceeing, etc.
Nefarious is a young producer from the SF bay area who makes chillaxing instrumental hip hop music. He already has a bunch of albums, and best of all, most of them are FREE. See here.
The Soul Dojo is the name of his crew, consisting of other like minded producers, who also have free albums on that page. I would describe their music as a melodic mix of old school soul samples, glitch hop drums, and new snyth sounds.
Firstly I will recommend II, an album by Nefarious from 2011. Click here for the free download. It’s very chill, and you’ll enjoy it while riding the train, doing dishes, blazing herb, knocking boots, working out, stargazing, whatever. Highly recommended!
Secondly, I recommend Mental Space by Scrabble. Do your self a favor and just click here for the free download. There’s a variety of interesting sounds going on here. I would say about half the songs are great blazing music if I’ve ever heard it, and the other half are just tripping out. Simply reference the song titles…
Secondly, I would recommend Enstrumentals by Envoy. It’s another instrumental album with feel-good chill-out production. I’m not usually into the glitchy drums, but this one somehow does it for me. Click here for the free download.
Be sure to check out more on this page for tons of free downloads of great instrumental hip hop music!
Pep Love is one of the most respected rappers in hip hop (as well as a personal favorite). Hailing from Oakland California, he made a big impact on the underground circuit as a member of the legendary Hieroglyphics crew, and especially with his solo album Ascension which I found incredibly inspiring. Now with his new album Rigmarole just released (listen/buy here), he is back in the spotlight. It’s a solid effort of dope beats and especially rhymes that you can expect from Pep (review coming soon). We had a chance to interview him about the new album, among other things. Check it out…
What’s the origin and meaning of ‘Pep Love’?
Pep comes from my attributes: Purpose – Expressed – Poetically. There have been other rappers and DJ’s with the word “love” in their names that came before me.
What’s your favorite song off this new album and why?
There is a song entitled Reflections that quite poignantly illustrates certain things personal to me that give me a sensation when I hear the song. But I wouldn’t characterize it as being my favorite song on the album.
What role if any do you play in the beat making process – and what influences your selection of beats?
I make beats. I listen to records and chop and loop samples. I didn’t make any of the beats on this album, but I was definitely involved. As far as what influenced the selection of music for this album; it was more about a certain feeling of putting forward a workman type effort that expresses the concept of the rigmarole in musical form. Gritty but vibed out at the same time. No fancy dancey type music on this record.
You seem like a spiritual dude. How do you balance that in a hip hop/street culture that values being hard and tough?
I’m more of a hip hop dude than anything. So hip hop is my spirituality or at least an avenue towards it. Creativity and artful expression is why I love music in the first place. And my goal is to be a pioneer in the culture so I don’t have to worry about trying to be cool or hip because I’m trying to be the best and blaze a trail. And its seems to me that the supposedly hard and tough rappers are more spiritual than I am because you always see them with crosses and Jesus pieces around their necks. Not the kid…
With respect to your privacy, what has been going on in the years since Ascension?
The Rigmarole…Hahahaha…I’ve been dealing with the realities of trying to create and trying to make my songs pay.
Who’s your favorite artist/rapper at the moment? Are you listening to any non hip hop?
I don’t have a favorite. If you want to know what I listen to, log on to www.hieroglyphics.com and check out my blog where I will be posting links to my latest free playlist/mixtapes bi-monthly under Pep Love on the homepage.
You’re stuck on a desert island for life. Which 3 albums would you take with you?
Songs in the Key Life – Stevie Wonder
Fantastic – Slum Village
Rigmarole – Pep Love
How was the tour with Rebelution, and did you learn anything on this tour?
It was great! I always learn something new on every show. I learn how to better apply myself to my music every time I have an opportunity to practice my craft. This is why opportunities like a tour with a band the magnitude of Rebelution are fundamentally enlightening for me…
What are your thoughts on China and Chinese culture? (we are based in China)
I would have to say that I don’t know a lot but I am interested to know more.
Any advice for aspiring hip hop musicians/rappers?
Keep your bond with other artists strong and don’t worry about having everyone like your music or like you. Do it from the heart and with persistent passion. Spend as little time as possible around the other people that don’t actually create but act as authorities or gatekeepers in the music business. I’m talking about the record company people and the booking agents and the publicists and the promoters. They can all be your friends, but from a distance. Don’t allow their perspective to poison your creative perspective.
What can we expect from Pep Love in the near future?
More music and infinite growth…My continued quest for the best!
Got hit out of the blue with an email from DJ M-Rock who asked us to post his new ATCQ mixtape. Of course! Tribe is also my favorite hip hop group of all time. It’s chock full of dope tracks, scratching, and mixing. Highly recommended.
M-Rock also gives a good description of what this mixtape is all about, detailing the history of the tribe:
“I’m the biggest Tribe fan so it brings me a lot of pleasure to drop this mix. I haven’t followed their solo acts much, but I watched them like a hawk growing up. In fact, the first piece of music I personally got my own hands on was their first album from the public library. I can talk all day about this group, its emotional for me in fact, because my fav. genre is hip-hop and after midnight marauders, hip-hop split into underground and pop, and I found both styles were trying too hard. Slum Village for example were so gangsta lyrically that it wasn’t believable, and on the other hand, Jay-Z was the same thing. Plus, hustling and bitches are not interesting (Tribe talk about women instead). Both Slum and Jay were hot but as for vibe and lyricism, I’m a lower-middle class kid and other than musical skill, I didn’t relate deeply to any of this shit. However, I did relate to Tribe. Tribe’s music is honest, it doesn’t have commercial appeal and it succeeded because these brothers were close and very gifted, far from the average. They got paid as a group and didn’t fight over cheques. When they started falling off, the beats got mathematical and sample-free, they went soft as they brought J-Dilla in, who’s ironically one of the rawest producers ever. I can even hear Tip mentioning his friends during Phife’s verse in “1nce again”, an ignorant thing on his part, a lack of chemistry that was all over the last 2 albums. I relate to all of this because I fell off as a tablist, wasn’t a team player myself towards the end of that phase in my career. With that in mind, this mix is none of those wacker moments, it’s the straight rawness of Tribe, the group that wrote classic verses on the bus (buggin’ out) or kept verses from their childhood (Tip wrote Bonita at 14). Go watch the movie, by the way, it’s incredible. This mixtape took 3 weeks which is why M-Rock Mondays have been nothing, and now that it’s done, I hope you all really enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.”
Girls, Girls, Girls *
Glamour And Glitz
Danger – Blahzay Blahzay ^^
Get It Together – The Beastie Boys*
Oh My God
Oh My God (Remix)
We Can Get Down
Get Down (Q-Tip Remix) – Craig Mack *
Find My Way
Breathe & Stop
La Schmoove **
Scenario ft. Leaders of The New School
Scenario (Remix) ft. Leaders of The New School
Can I Kick It (Live at the Apollo)
Check the Rhime
Soul by the Pound – Common ^^
Gangsta Bitch – Apache %
Extra Abstract Skillz – Mad Skillz ft. Extra P *
Ill Vibe – Busta Rhymes *
All the Way Live *
Undisputed Champs – Del The Funky Homosapien ft. Pep Love *
Body Rock – Mos Def ft. Tash *
The Chase Pt 1
Baby Phife’s Return ft. Consequence
Push It Along
Artical – Whitey Don **
I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
Luck of Lucien
Let’s Organize – Organized Konfusion *
A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays – De La Soul ft. Vinia Mojica*
Saturdays (What yo life can truly be) – De La Soul ft. Dres, Vinia Mojica ^
Doin’ Our Own Dang – Jungle Brothers ft. Queen Latifah, Moni Love ^
Groove Is In The Heart – Deee-Lite *
Mystic Brew -Ronnie Foster ^*
Smiling Billy Suite Pt 2 – The Heath Brothers ^*
One Love – Nas *
Get A Hold
Bonita Applebum (Remix)
Between the Sheets – Isley Brothers
Like It Like That
Lyrics To Go
Verses From the Abstract ft. Vinia Mojica, Ron Carter
Ital – The Roots *
Featuring Q-Tip *
Featuring ATCQ ^
Featuring Phife **
Samples ATCQ ^^
Sampled by ATCQ ^*
Produced by Q-Tip %
ATCQ is my favorite rap group by far. And Low End Theory is my favorite album. So it’s nice to see someone make an album using the same samples that Tribe used. You might be skeptical, and I’ll admit that nothing can live up to their original beats. However, the samples are used in a completely new and fresh way, really setting them apart – which is a good thing. FlamesYall is a talented producer who spearheaded this project along with a bunch of underground emcees, and it’s good to see someone paying respect to Tribe and keeping their spirit alive. The whole album has a very mellow mood, a bit more subdued than Tribe was. I might even say it is mesmerizing and sleep-inducing, but its well produced and pleasantly soothing.