The Physics - "Am I Crazy?" (feat. Alisha Roney)

A brand new song from The Physics that is distinctly different from anything that we've heard from Justo, Thig Natural, and Monk Wordsmith. "Am I Crazy?," which serves as the first single off their December release, Digital Wildlife, is much more experimental, electronic oriented, with a haunting Alisha Roney chorus without many bars of actual rapping on the instrumental. In terms of their discography, the song that comes closest in sound is "Fix You," but "Am I Crazy?" is more sparse, barren, tragic.

Per the Physics:
"Digital Wildlife is about the relationship between digital and analog. Today, our lives take place so much within the digital domain, but our humanness rears itself throughout. The production and recording follow the same theme: we're mixing electronic sounds and analog production elements, and we're recording the album digitally, later to be bounced to analog tape."
The Seattle trio hasn't steered us clear thus far so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. That being said, they are certainly taking a risk with this direction. We'll see on December 13 if that risk warrants a reward.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
Nocturnal Noah

Previous: The Physics - "Coronas On Madrona"

Flatbush Zombies - "Mraz"

Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliot aren’t really interested in what other people think about their music. They enjoy making it too much, which is probably why their first mixtape D.R.U.G.S. lured me back three months later, even after writing them off as another Halloween-obsessed group being dark for the sake of attracting attention[1]. I’d already been turned off by the disparity between Odd Future’s hype and their talent[2], so I was wary any seemingly unnecessary coffin references.

My fears turned out to be unfounded. The Flatbush Zombies, while keeping their undead motif going strong, have continued to put out solid music free of gimmickry (and full of drugs). It’s eclectic, energetic, and just different. It’s not surprising that when asked about how they make music, they respond that they make no effort to create a cohesive sound. I can’t help but agree when they say that shit would be “boring.”

The Flatbush Zombies dropped their sophomore mixtape on September 12th, and it’s quite good[3]. “Mraz,” and its accompanying video, was released months before. While it’s sometimes frustrating to get recycled tracks on an album (or in this case mixtape), “Mraz” is a stand out track on the album with an excellent video to boot. It perfectly showcases why the Zombies are so good, and gives a little insight into their music as a whole. It’s old school hip hop, referential, gritty, and energetic to the point of being a little out of control. Their cultural references aren't as simplistic as a name drop; they're Gang Starr and Eazy E breakdowns seamlessly woven into the musical tapestry they’ve been ashing on for the last 3-plus years.

[1] This was "Thug Waffle," and even Zombie Juice says he hated that song. Understandable because his verse is kinda weak.
[2] This is an on-going disappointment now that Earl Sweatshirt’s underwhelming debut album has dropped.
[3] Although maaayyybe not as good as D.R.U.G.S.

Wu-Tang Wednesday: Kanye West & ODB - "Keep The Receipt"

Every court needs its jester and, during his all too short time on this planet, Russell Tyrone Jones aka Dirt McGirt aka Big Baby Jesus aka Ol' Dirty Chinese Restaurant aka Ol' Dirty Bastard was the undisputed Clown Prince of hip hop. Ever the absurdist, ODB was interrupting award shows long before K. West was even thinking about college, let alone dropping out. At a time when his solo debut was charting in the top 10, Jones once took two of his thirteen offspring in a limo to collect food stamps while being filmed by MTV News (There are so many things about that sentence to break down, but that's not a misprint, he had 13 kids. And people give Shawn Kemp a hard time).

ODB was blessed with a distinctive voice and uniquely absurd half-sung, half-rapped delivery. "I rap and I sing, but I don't know how to sing," is how he once described his fatherless, free-associative, ludicrously profane style that provided the wild-card energy on 36 Chambers and was so desperately missing on later Wu-Tang group albums. 

That style and energy was beloved by many a fan including a budding rapper/producer coming out of Chicago. Kanye West once claimed that, could he be blessed with anybody's voice, it would have been ODB's. With both emcees having recently signed to Roc-A-Fella records, Dirt McGirt was one of the first emcees that Kanye sought to collaborate with when he was recording his debut album in 2003.

The Saturday Knights - "45"

Don't bother to break down the lyrics of The Saturday Knights' "45." They're complete nonsense. But that doesn't stop this foolish track from being an incredibly catchy party/dance song. In fact, to call it call the Seattle trio's song 'catchy' would be a massive understatement. One spin and it will cling in your cabeza for days.

The genre-defying group of Barfly, Tilson, and DJ Suspence dropped off the map after 2008's Mingle, having only released one album and their self-titled EP. Their time in the limelight may have been short, but their lasting impact on Seattle hip hop remains.

Along with The Physics, Dyme Def, and J. Pinder, they were among the early second-generation acts after the repeal of the draconian Teen Dance Ordinance. But unlike first generation acts like Blue Scholars and Common Market, who people outside of the Upper Left could (at times derisively) label as "conscious" or "backpack rap," SK was more concerned with party rhymes than revolutionary rhetoric.

The Saturday Knights were one of the first groups to really redefine what Seattle hip hop could sound like, opening the door for Fresh Espresso, Scribes, and State of the Artist. And if that isn't enough, they've also left us with this song, which you will now be unable to stop playing all day.

Peace, Love, & Hip Hop,
NxNW Noah

Wu-Tang Wednesday: "Method Man"

I apologize gratuitously for my recent absence from the blog. The past two months for me have been filled with me jumping through hoops tracing Jackson Pollocks filling out job apps that have no remote chance of being read by HR, interviewing, and partaking in the true Grail Quest of attempting to find affordable New York housing (Legend tells that it can be found somewhere between 110th Street and El Dorado. Somewhere between the Hudson and the Sands of Ilium).

When Alan Moore wrote The Killing Joke, I'm now fairly certain that it was meant to be an allegory for trying to find an apartment in Gotham. It's enough to make even the sanest man go crazy. But now that I've miraculously survived the process unmurdered, with a small shred of my sanity, and without having to part with any organs on Canal Street, I'm back to bring hip hoppery to the people.

I may be working 10-8 most days with a couple of night classes per week, but, now that my partner-in-crime Carver Low and I are in the same city, we can better guilt kindly push each other to post more often. My goal is to have at least one post per day for you good people.

I'll set it off with what will be a weekly series honoring what is arguably the most influential hip hop collective of all time: The Wu-Tang Clan. The posts will showcase stellar songs from the Wu's immense discography of group and solo albums as well as featured tracks, remixes, and rare unreleased songs and freestyles. Think of it as a friendly hump day reminder for Shaolin devotees to Protect Thy Neck. Hit the jump for the first post to Bring Da Ruckus: