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Archive for March, 2008
Ok, I’m way late on this one. My friend Todd starting telling me about K-Os when he moved to Toronto in 2001(?), probably before his first album came out in the US. This was also before I had a computer (whoa, right?) so I couldn’t go to his website/myspace and hear his stuff. Todd would periodically check to see if I had heard his music yet and the answer was always no.
If you haven’t heard K-Os’ stuff, it spans many genres but not in a “this is a [insert genre] influenced track” sort of way. His albums typically go directly from a Hip Hop song to a Folk song to a Reggae song to a Rock song. There are, of course, many points where the styles overlap and are influenced by other styles (like Gospel). That’s why I couldn’t just post one song from this album. I couldn’t do it justice.
So back to my story, at some point I got the “Heaven Only Knows” 12 inch from the first album, Exit. Why they picked that song as a single, I cannot understand. It’s just him on acoustic guitar and a hi-hat. It’s decent enough but it’s not the first impression that you want. Then five years or so past and my Will in Cleveland came to the rescue and gave me a mix of his favorite K-Os tracks over the Christmas break. It’s been in my cd player (only partially because it doesn’t have a case) ever since. It didn’t take long for me to track down all three albums after hearing the tracks on the cd. Not every track is great but each album has several essential tracks. If you like these, seek the albums out!
>> songs are available for two weeks [5.0 MB, 8.7 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks [6.6 MB, 11.4 MB]
Travellin’ Man (Remix) featuring Mos Def
This is the last song on DJ Honda’s second album. I just picked up the CD single for $.50 in the bargain bin at Rasputin in Berkeley. It surprised to find out the remix, as well as the “album version” (
192, 320) on the single both contain an interpolation of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” (written by John Denver and popularized by Peter, Paul and Mary) which is nowhere to be found on the actual album verison ( 192, 320). I was going to make a joke about John Denver being an underground hip hop fan and catching them (not clearing the sample) while staying abreast of the latest by listening to his local college hip hop radio shows but…I found out that he died 5 months before this song came out so, that would probably be in poor taste.
I’m sure they tried to clear it and it was too expensive but since they went ahead and put out the single without any credit given (there’s another Harold Wheeler Consort sample listed) it seems to me like they got caught. Although, I feel like nothing is for certain ever since Trackmasters sampled Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” for Nas’ “The Message” and the sample wasn’t listed in the credits. Can anyone explain that? Can you pay more to not list it or something?
>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [5.6 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [9.3 MB]
This album came out last tuesday (the 4th). It’s definitely presented as if it’s his first album but you never know these days (he says he’s been performing since he was 14 on a promo video and says he’s 28 on “Where I’m Coming From”). Either way, he’s new to me so I don’t have too too much to say about him. This album is pretty uneven or I guess it’s actually pretty even, as in (upon first listen) I don’t feel like I’m going to be spending a lot of time with most of it. This song being the exception.
It’s seems like there is some agreement that “Evil Love” is the standout song on the album. It’s the song mentioned on the album promo page as an example on why his music is not the norm and compelling and he also lists it as his favorite song in the same promo video I linked to above. A quick scan for online reviews led to another concurring opinion. That said, this song seems to owe a great debt to Sa-Ra (that trio that I love to hate), which he actually admits. I gave him credit because, as far as I’m concerned he “did Sa-Ra” better than they do.
My favorite line, even though it doesn’t totally make sense to me, is, “I’m out the door, if you want to buy a Sam Cooke album – you go to the record store.”
The title of this album is a really smart hip hop bastardization of the classic 1967 Sidney Poitier movie title, but did he come up with while browsing at Barnes & Noble?
>> songs are available for two weeks (192 kbps) [6.5 MB]
>> songs are available for two weeks (320 kbps) [10.8 MB]
This is another Dale Mixtape Classic that I finally acquired while out in San Francisco last week. This was the opening song on the second mixtape he made me (circa 1999) which cemented his “people’s champ” status. I got all excited when I found a promo Levi’s “Red Hot and Rhapsody” sampler for $2 at Amoeba with the song on it, but it’s an edit and cuts off the spoken intro which arguably the best part of the song…boo. Luckily I also ripped the full album from my new b.f.f. Valerie.
Red Hot + Rhapsody is part of an ongoing compilation series by the Red Hot Organization which is “the leading international organization dedicated to fighting AIDS through pop culture.” RH+ Rhapsody is tribute to George Gershwin, there’s also Red Hot + Riot which is a tribute to Fela and several others.
Other than Bobby Womack’s voice and his bastardization of Gershwin’s classic lyrics (like “fish are steady jumping”), the upright bass (Leonard Hubbard I presume) really makes the song.
Can anyone tell me what’s going on with the bugged-out backing vocals at 4:29? It sounds like he’s singing in harmonics – is that possible?
>> songs are available for two weeks [13.8 MB]