It's been a long time coming but finally I have a cool blog that I can call my own. Most people reading will already know who I am. Discussions of hip hop and life will usually take place here when I have things to talk about.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Good Day All

It was good for me. I found my missing cd's. For those of you too tired to read my other posts, here is a recap.

"I've Spent the past 2 days (off and on) sorting my CD collection (a huge chore) and find out that my Handsome Boy Modelling School CD and Brian Wilson's Smile are missing. Anyone know where they are? Let me know. Speaking of Brian Wilson, dope CD, I would highly recomend it to anyone, of course if you do happen to find mine, please send it back to me and go buy your own."

Well yesterday I was looking in the garage for some tomato soup for my mom to make up and came across the cd's on the tool shelf. I have an idea about how they got there. I prolly was driving the family van with those CD's in there. My father then cleaned out the car out of all the stuff in there and set the CD's on the shelf there. Glad I found them, It would have sucked to have bought them all over again.

December 29th and I still don't know what i'm doing for New Years. Every place be it club or pub charges a cover and usually it's rather high. I'm hoping that the Rusty Gull will have stuff going down for an affordable price as i'm pretty tight for cash always. People always seem to do crazy stuff for New Years my friend making out with this chick he'd just met to enter in the New Year a few years back (actually maybe it's the alchohol). There is one thing I will do for sure, and that is kick back and inhale the biggest cuban cigar I can find (or the biggest cheap one).

Christmas season brings the family and right now my Aunt and Uncle are in town visiting. They'll be staying till Sunday, while my cousin (different parents) while be coming in to hang out on Thursday. To top that off I find out that my other cousin will be laying over in Vancouver for the day on thursday on her way home from Sydney.

Man really what constitutes dope rap and why am I so baffled when I turn on Much and see so much of the wackness on display. Actually it isn't even that, but rather if I have to turn there and witness another second of either P-Diddy's Making the Band or Newleyweds I'm gonna scream. Actually season 3 of Newleyweds might be interesting with Nick apparently cheating on Jess. I wonder if they cancel the show when the divorce happens or the divorce happens when they cancel the show. The one show there that really is tight is Pimp My Ride. Every Man's dream (besides sleeping with Britney or X-tina) is a dope ride........enter Pimp my Ride, the show where average smucks like myself can strive to have there cars totally pimped out. The only problem is that my car is totally average. It's not enough of a lost cuz for the MTV people to take pity on it and pimp it out, nor is it a hot rod to begin with. I guess that makes me the ultimate loser in this case....sniff.

My brother went shopping and picked my up this "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirt. Nice, but i'm a big guy and he got the wrong size. I hope I can find something in my size to rock out to. He also got one that sez "Jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks your an idiot". He's repping that one right now.

Man.....I went on a DJ Shadow kick yesterday, dragging out UNKLE and Endtroducing. I will say one thing about Shadow, CRAZY drum samples. Drums of Death Pts 1 & 2 on UNKLE are testiments to that. Kool G Rap rocks out on Pt1 something crazy.....still prolly one of the most amazing songs i've ever heard.

Who doesn't love the BP's. Well maybe you haven't heard of them, but if your from Sphere of Hip Hop of course you know that i'm referring to Pigeon John and B-Twice of the mighty LA Symph family. Dragged that out after a few months and another fun listen. Great album in every reszpect.

I don't have too much more to rant about so I think I'm gonna save it for another day. Peace to all people that are regularly reading this. Hope y'all have a Happy New Year.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Time for a little album review.......

I thought I'd try my hand at reviewing an album. Plus, I figured I'd give Tarik some props up on here with a review of his crew's new disc Conquest. So here we go.

Dragon Fli Empire - Conquest
Calgary Hip Hop to many people seems like an oxymoron. Hip Hop there? Isn't there only country music and line dancing that goes on. To many people's surprise there is a small but vibrant hip hop community putting their unique perspective on it. Enter the Dragonfli Empire, one of the leaders in this community, and their debut album Conquest. The Dragonfli Empire consists of emcee Tarik aka. Teekay, and DJ Cosm who has kept the DF Empire on a high profile since he host a radio show over the local airwaves. Add to that a buzz from their track Mount Pleasant of the New Music Canada CD and a short little appearance on the national, the DFE could very well be the first group to really put Calgary on the map as a Canadian hip hop hotbed.
I should first mention that while this CD has recieved a full official release it is a reissue of an earlier CDR project with new songs (and a couple filler tracks dropped). Also the entire CD has been remixed and remastered to give it a better sound quality and nazzy new cover art has been done. Production is mainly done in house by Cosm and Teekay jointly with a few guest producer's, as well as emcees guesting jointly. This helps to create a smooth cohesive album that flows from track to track very nicely. The DFE for the most part like their hip hop with a touch of Jazz and Native Tongues meaning that this CD is a relatively easy-going laid back affair. Teekay's delivery compliments the mood very well, keeping the topics light and using a very conversational tone. "Beauty Full" is pretty much a day in the life for Teekay while taking joy in the little things that make up a good day. Cosm helps by creating a soundscape of jazzy horns and guitars over a slow boombap drum track. A few other tracks stick out in the mix: "Mount Pleasant" makes an appearance here, and is the first single off Conquest. It's not hard to hear why as Teekay and Cosm create a fun party atmosphere about taking public transit through Calgary. The standout track on the whole album is "From Under". One of the few beats not produced by the group, guest producer Nato comes up with something a little more harder with Teekay trading off verses with Edmonton emcees C-Plus and Shortop (Shortop also contributes the nice cuts on this track).
With all the good things about this album, there are a few weak moments. The production is too laid back in many respects with only Mount Pleasant and From Under really breaking out of that groove. The beats on several tracks also tend to stick in that same groove without a whole lot of change up, causing the track to sound tried and repetitive near the end of it. Teekay's delivery will also be an aquired taste to some as he rarely stays in a conventional rhyme scheme through the whole album. Coming across as a mellower version of Del or Sup the Chemist, sometimes his limited vocabularly falls a little flat on certain songs. Teekay has the potential and clearing hasn't reached his peak as an emcee as evidenced by Beauty Full 2.0 where he holds his own with Lightheaded's Ohmega Watts.
Despite all it's flaws, Conquest is definately an album to pick up, particularly if you've come of age in the era of socially conscious Native Tongues groups like Dela Soul and ATCQ. The whole album definately sounds at home in that era that many consider the best period of hip hop ever. Pick this up, slip it into your car stereo and cruise.
Stars ***1/2 outta *****

Ok, sweet huh. I just wrote that this morning and didn't really grammar check or anything so forgive me for the punctuation. Man Oh man.....whenever I do stuff like this I always tell people to take reviews with a grain of salt. Really do take the time to listen to listen to some samples to see if you like or dislike. And I'm gonna give you the link where you can go to hear a few tracks off this album.

That's about all to really say today, except that peeps better signal when they are planning on turning in there car. Next car that forgets to signal gets their tires slashed.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I'm Baaaack

just a short little update for y'all stuck in boxing day lines trying to save 10$ on that DVD player you've been wanting to grab. Actually I braved the crowds too and picked up Nas' Streets Disciple and The Maroons Ambush.

How about Peyton Manning today? 49 TDs and counting. That's my boy. On a sad note, popular football player and christian Reggie White passed away at the age of 43. My condolences to his family and friends coping with the loss.

Christmas dinner was pretty good, can't get enough of that stuffing. You can kind of imagine where I'm gonna be come January.......the same place where everyone else will be trying to shed their x-mas weight. Man christmas was interesting. I'm not the type of person that easily tells people what I want for x-mas, but there where two things I was hoping for. One was U2's War, which was the only U2 album I didn't have, and the other was the Return of the King 4disc extended edition. I managed to grab both. I think I prolly let it slip about the U2, but kudos to my family for being on the ball and grabbing both.

Man it was cool last night. After I got disgusted at the football game (Billy Volek is on my fantasy team and bombed in the final game), I turned to CBC newsworld to find Peter Mansbridge interviewing the legend himself, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Most of you know my appreciation for this awesome musician, and so I was stoked. He still looks pretty good considering all the troubles and battles he's faced with drugs, depression, mental illness, not to mention fame. It looks like he's finally at peace with himself and what he's doing now. Anyways, that's pretty much it. Hope everyone had a good x-mas. I'm gonna head out to do a little more shopping.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas

.......just like the ones we always have.

Ah the Pacific Northwest in the Winter. Rain Rain and more rain.....actually the forcast said we might get a little bit of snow on Boxing Day. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

We'll Merry Christmas everybody, it's been an eventful christmas so far and it isn't even Noon yet. Anyway, I'll start back on Thursday (which was the date of my last entry). I went to Tim's show and he kicked a nice freestyle with nothing but a guy backing him on the drumkit, definately the highlight. Then I went to Boston Pizza to celebrate my friend Scott's birthday (what is it with birthdays around the holidays?). It eventually turned into a riddle fest, which was part cool, part frustrating. The riddle of the night was this.........

Two Doors. One leads to life, the other to death. There is a guard at each door. One guard always lies, the other guard always tells the truth. You don't know which door is which or which guard is which. You can only ask one yes/no question to one of the guards to find out which door is which.

Anyway, It took me a while to figure it out, but I'm not gonna tell you the answer. At least not right away. Play with it for a bit and see if you can get it.

Yesterday, I called my friend Kyle to find out he was really sick (vomitting and other not-so-pleasant stuff). Initially thought to be food poisoning (he was with us at BP). I quickly debunked that because we basically shared the same thing. I'm thinking it might be the Norwalk virus which is really nasty, but fortunately it's short. I had it last year and it basically knocked me off my feet for a day, but I was fine after that.

Last night we were at church for our christmas eve candlelight service. This year was really cool because we have three different churches in the same building, one is a Iranian church, and the other is a filipino church, as well as our english church. So essentially it was a multicultural service with each church taking up a part of the church. The Iranian church sang a carol in farsi, and the filipino church sang silent night in whatever language they speak. I thought they spoke spanish but the language was different than any spanish I know. Probably they speak a few different languages there.

On to Grandma's after that where we opened up our goody bags. I got some cologne, and candy. Then onto my friends Jen and Jer's place where their family holds huge Christmas Eve parties. They have a teeny house, but some why we managed to cram over 50 peeps into that house. After the party started to die down, a bunch of us got down to business....ROOK. Rook is the be all and end all card game on earth. It's kind of hard to explain except that it is similar to the game hearts, and you have partners. Me and Jen were partners in the game and we were leading thru most of it, but then I had a bad string of hands and another team came up and nipped us at the end. This is no little card game either........we make the world series of poker look like a bantam league. The game went on till about 2am this morning. Then me and my brothers headed home where I spent another half hour wrapping presents (last minute y'alls). Then collapsed on the hide a bed (I'm kicked out of my room because we are expecting company tomorrow) where I listed to Radiohead as I drifted of to sleep.

This morning I get up at around 10 and proceed to drive to my brothers place to wake him up and then we head home to open presents. I did all right........we usually go pretty light on gifts in our family (with 3 birthdays in the mix its usually a lot to buy for, plus money has been pretty tight). I got a couple DVD's, U2's War (the only U2 album I didn't have), a bunch of cool Cd's based on old school Jazz and Blues. Speaking of blues, I saw the most awesome blues band last Saturday, but that's a different story. I also got cash.

Watching T.V now while typing this, and the Queen is on the tube talking about the story of the good samaritan. She looks pretty good for an old gal. I always have liked the Queen even though her family is a little weird. I'm all for the monarchy, at least the queen. It's a cool thing that I think is as much a part of Canadian History and Tradition as it is for the UK.

Anyway, I'm gonna stop now and sleep. Gonna go to Grandma's again to open presents there and to have Christmas dinner. Till later, I wish all of you the very best Merry Christmas, and remember the real meaning behind the season. Take a minute and think about that before you get too caught up in everything else. Ok.


Thursday, December 23, 2004


Was it really that long since my last how time flies.

Ok....first off I'd like to thank all those people that wished me a happy birthday this past week and then sat around smoking cheap cigars at BP with me last friday. It was fun, tonight I head out to celebrate a friends birthday as well as hit up a show in North Van by my friend Tim.

I've Spent the past 2 days (off and on) sorting my CD collection (a huge chore) and find out that my Handsome Boy Modelling School CD and Brian Wilson's Smile are missing. Anyone know where they are? Let me know. Speaking of Brian Wilson, dope CD, I would highly recomend it to anyone, of course if you do happen to find mine, please send it back to me and go buy your own.

Also on the topic of CD's, Mixations 4 (aka 4.0) is officially out. You can only get a copy off me, so don't even bother looking. 32 tracks of hip hop goodness that others can testify to.

Seeing as it's Coming down to the end of the year it's prolly time to do one of those restrospective year-in-review things. Of course it will be brief because I really didn't care about all that much going on in the mainstream or anything. At 28 you tend to focus on other things, like writing pointless blogs to the grand readership of 1. Anyways, without further adeau here is my 2004 year in review.

"I'm Rick James Bitch" - Kind of Ironic that one little phrase ressurected Rick James career, then he died shortly after. Everyone and I mean everyone was using that phrase this year. Dave Chappelle is not everyone's cup of tea, but we are all in debt to him for that phrase (or maybe Rick James). Lastly you got all these kids going around using this that have no idea who Rick James is.....hell I hardly know Rick James. The only Rick James I know is Superfreak, where he sampled that MC Hammer song right. :)

Best Concert Experience of the Year - This was the year of no cash for me, so any sort of concert was a luxury. However I did make it out to Atlantis in Vancouver for Pete Rock and CL Smooth in May. Very nice show, on the eve of Pete Rock's new CD release. The only beef I had with the show is that they didn't take the stage till like 1am. for a weeknight to not be home until 4am is not good for anyone. Better time mangement next time please.

Biggest dissapointment - The Beastie Boys "to the 5 Bouroughs". Part of the Magic of the Beastie Boys was there ability to transcend every genre and through in a hodge pog of influences from everything under the sun. So what do they do in 2004, they release a plain old hip hop record. It was good in spots but I couldn't help but think the Beasties fell asleep one this one. Apparently the tour was dope though.

Other dissapointments - Talib Kweli (ironically penciled in as the Beasties opening act). Talib is a dope lyricist who hasn't really released a bad record until now. The Beautiful Struggle has it's moments, but just doesn't measure up to past releases. There are few acts worth the time in the Hip Hop mainstream right now so when a good one releases a bad album it hurts that much more.

Interesting Developements - Thanks to a Jay-Z retirement album, this year quickly became known as the year of the mashup album. After Jay Z released the Acapella's of his Black Album, different variations of the album were being circulated in underground circles. Perhaps the most famous was the Dangermouse "Grey Album" which fused Jay-Z with the Beatles White Album. By mid-year there was at least 30 by my count, all of which couldn't hold a candle to the original (save for the Kno version which was real nice). Really somebody should compile the best of the best and release a be all and end all version of this record. Underground Beat Phenom 9th Wonder (noted producer of Legendary Emcee thought I was gonna say Jay-Z) turned heads with two remix projects, namely God's Stepson (a remix of Nas' God's Son), and turned in one of the pre-mentioned countless Jay-Z Black Album variations. If you thought that the fad was over you thought wrong. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Linkin Park. Linkin Park teamed up with Jay-Z for an album mashup, that flew off the store shelves like hotcakes last month. Another noted mashup is the Beastles (Beastie Boys and Beatles). I'm sure there are more out there, but I'm kind of sick of the whole thing and not really eager to look.

The US election - Actually before I get into that I would just like to mention that Canada had an election back in June and it was a minority victory for the Liberals. Ok, now that's off my chest, what can I say, Americans are crazy. I think part of the reason that the United States is so powerful is the fact that they have never through their history done anything half assed whether it be bombing countries or opening McDonalds worldwide. Everyone there seems to take it to the extreme, be it an either rabid liberal or bible bashing conservative. Maybe the middle people don't vote cuz there isn't anyone to vote for. That having been said, i'm happy Bush won. Kerry strikes me as having few to many brain cells up there. I'm not a Bush fan but go for the devil you know.

Best Albums of 2004. It was a decent year for albums......everyone is gonna say that it was a good year but for some reason there were few albums that really grabbed me this year. What was good was good but not great. Perhaps the best in the mix was Brian Wilson's Smile, the story behind the record has prolly been explained countless times. Needless to say it lives up to the hype (which is huge). So here we go.

Dert - Fledgling
I'm not a huge fan of Tunnel Rats, but when resident beatsmith Dert dropped a solo disc I was interested. This is nothing like Tunnel Rats as Dert takes us on an instrumental odyssey through hip hop, jazz, electronica, and gospel.

Braille - Shades of Grey
Everything this cat has been associated with is quality, and unlike some other quality emcees this year his album did not disapoint. Braille bares his soul on this album, while picking diverse and quality beats. Majestic, classic.

Kanye West - The College Dropout
Kanye West was riding a high wave of popularity when this album dropped in February, and it shows that the talented beatsmith is actually not a bad rapper either. Jesus Walks was an awesome song even though every good thing becomes played out when radio and MTV get on it. Plus this record was pretty tight from start to finish once you strip away all the hype.

Jimmy Eat World - Futures
I have a soft spot for good harmonies and quality songwriting. JEW might seem sappy in parts, but come on guys can cry too every so often. This album is a cut between the classic Clarity, and the more radio friendley Bleed American, which makes it a perfect mix.

Brian Wilson - Smile
Brian Wilson is famous for being the genius behind the beach boys. In short this talented but troubled songwriter quit the road and started focusing on producing for his group. The amazing Pet Sounds would be a testament for their legacy, but rumours of another even more amazing album called Smile surfaced soon after. Ultimately Wilson never could finish the album and it has sat unfinished in the vaults for all these years. Fast forward to earlier this year when he was convinced to return to the project. Instead of finishing with the tapes he had he decided to rerecord everything with his group. Smart move as everything here sounds smooth from start to finish, but also amazing is just how vintage sounding it sounds. It's sounds clean and polished like one would expect from 2004 recording technology, but it really has that 1967 feel to it that was typical of the production of the day. The Beach Boys kind of get poo pooed now as the prototype pop/bubblegum group, but for a while there Brian Wilson was reaching heights with his group that were unmatched by eveyone except perhaps the Beatles.

Anyways that's 2004 for y'all. I'm off to celebrate Christmas. If anything happens in the 9 days of 2004 left I'll let you know.


Saturday, December 11, 2004

December 11th

Hello All,

This is kind of my introduction to blogging so I'm pretty much gonna keep it simple (and short since i'm at work). It's kind of weir cuz blogging is kind of like an online diary in which people can read your deepest thoughts and such. Actually i'm not really that deep I think, I just think I have a firm understanding of who I am and what I like.

Vancouver, BC. Actually North Vancouver, I live in the most beautiful city in the world (how many people can say that without actually being snobbish?). Anyways there isn't another place I would rather live by choice than here. The beach is a 5 minute drive away, while skiing is 15 minutes away, and unlike the rest of Canada it really doesn't get too cold here.

I have 3 brothers that are all younger but all cool in their different ways. Actually my youngest bro Andrew celebrates his 18th birthday today (I'm in a few days). The other two are Micah 22 and Stephen 25 (I'm not gonna tell you how old I am.....needless to say i'm still under 30). Stephen is mentally and physically handicapped which has given me an interesting perspective on the disabled. For instance, it seems to me that so many people are trying to be PC and not use potentially offensive words like phrases like "That's so retarded" or something else. Don't call people retarded especially those that are, but I don't think Steve particularly cares either ways. Oh yeah and if you've never had the chance to talk to a mentally disabled person, do it. Just because they may not to be up to the intellectual capabilities that we are doesn't mean that they aren't creative, bright, and wise individuals. It just takes them a lot longer to process information.

I'm an avid fan of hip hop rap, whatever you want to call it. I'm not one to lament about the state of hip hop or nothing like that, but I do not particularly like much of what is seen on MTV, Muchmusic, or whatever else there is. That is not Hip Hop, that is Pop with Hip Hop elements. If you draw that distinction then you'll be fine. Still stuff like Outkast, the Roots, Kanye West hold it down pretty well. Of course you find the music that suits you and although I don't even consider myself much of a backpacker (a backpacker is someone that basically hates on the mainstream regardless of the reasons) I do tend to find more of my music in there. When you think that for every group you see on TV, there are like 50 artists putting out quality music in the underground you can understand the diversity that it really has.

For Instance this is what I've been into lately
Thes One, Puts, Sharlok Poems, Dert, Dragonfli Empire. and a bunch of others. It's kind of funny with the mainstream publications that people presume to dictate to me and others what is good. Sorry but i'll find out for myself thank you. Tell me about it but don't presume to know good is art.....who is to judge.

Anyways that's all for now. Peace