Gilbere Forte's Latest Free Mixtape, Eye of Veritas

Gilbere Forte is what rap should be. At times introspective, at times completely material. Instrumentally, the beats don't all sound the same. On one mixtape he can seamlessly switch between praising his choice of shoes, his choice of women, and discussing the ups and downs of life in music from track to track. This bespectacled rapper creates music for passion, not money. He drops lines like, "While I'm opening her mind/You chasin' her ass". Check out Forte's latest free mixtape, dropped today, Eye of Veritas. 

Eye of Veritas

History of a Beat

Beats have as much of an ability to make a name for themselves as the artists themselves. Certain instrumental tracks in hip-hop become instantly engraved into our minds, the kicks, the snares, synths and subs permeate our mind just as heavily, if not more, then the lyrics that grace them. Kanye made a name for himself creating these iconic beats before he became a symbol of an entire genre. Jay-Z's success is indebted to Kanye's production and ways around a some kicks and a sample.

One J Dilla produced beat has become especially iconic over the years. It may not be engraves in the minds of the masses, but for anyone who truly respects rap,  this beat epitomizes what can be done in the genre. Runnin' by Pharcyde. The minimal beat features and unbelievably catchy, yet simplistic sung chant over laid back guitar. The rhythm is powered by a minimalist beat, consisting of hi hats, a kick. The sound of drumsticks tapping glues the kicks and hats, all tied together by a clap on every other beat. Brass samples creep their way into the beat as well. The beat is simply perfection in instrumental terms.

Marc Mac, half of production duo 4hero, teamed up with a few musicians deemed the Visioneers in 2006 to create a hip-hop instrumental cover album called Dirty Old Hip Hop. Runnin was one of the songs covered in the album. Marc Mac presents the Visioneers added a jazzy vibe to the songs they covered, although most of them were already decently infused with jazz. There are a few non-hip-hop songs on the album as well, which are rebuilt around a hip-hop foundation. 
I couldn't find the Runnin' cover on YouTube, but here is their cover of The World is Yours by Nas, to give you a feel of what Marc Mac presents the Visioneers is all about. 

A few years after the reworking of J Dilla's classic beat on Dirty Old Hip-Hop, Wiz Khalifa was making a name for himself as a talented party rapper who's stoner flow worked wonderfully over unique beats. He took the lazy, melodic Dilla beat and made it his own just as Marc Mac did earlier. 

55 Most Memorable Rap Lines

I'll be back with better posts later on, but to hold you over until I get out of work, here are the 55 most memorable opening lines of rap by the Smoking Section. There are actually some great songs in here, and some equally as good lines from some legends.
Get your literature game on here...
Famous First Words


Up and Coming Seattle Rapper Sol, Making Waves, Dropping Free Tracks

Sol is a 21 year old Seattle rapper who's making a name for himself in the scene. He's got talent and seems set to be a part of the next wave of rappers heading up towards the mainstream. He's also giving away a good amount of music for free, which is actually a very intelligent marketing technique in today's music industry.

The Omaha Scene

Commander Venus
Some people are true artists. They enter the world destined to create music, to be prolific masters, mind set to a constant stream of rhythms and melodies and words. Omaha, Nebraska produced two of the greatest musicians of the mid 90s and 2000s. These two created music together at the beginning of their careers, in high school, but eventually went their separate ways, one gaining mainstream fame as a master of folk infused with sounds of punk, soul, blues and country, Conor Oberst. The other found underground fame as a member of several well known and critically acclaimed groups, Tim Kasher. In 1995, while Conor Oberst was still 14, him and Kasher fronted a band called Commander Venus. Although they were a small indie band still in high school, they were signed and the recording of their second album was excessive, and cost $15,000. Rumors began floating around that Commander Venus was the next big thing, and the future of indie music. The band broke up though, as members got fed up with the "emo" scene.

After leaving Commander Venus Conor Oberst found success as a member of Saddle Creek Records, with as a member of several groups including Desaparacidos, and most famously as Bright Eyes. You can listen to the Bright Eyes latest album here.

Oberst covering Elliot Smith

Tim Kasher found success through his band Cursive. Cursive was powered by Kasher's deep introspective lyrics, idiosyncratic guitar style and powerful rhythm section. Cursive has long been one of my favorite bands of all time. Following Kasher's ugly divorce from his wife, his songwriting became deeply personal, constantly scrutinizing the details of his long divorce. This became a creative force that deeply permeated his songwriting, infusing his music with passion and energy. Here are some of Kasher's highlights.

The Recluse - Cursive

Album of the Year - The Good Life


Canadian Duo Challenges Themselves to Create a Top 40 Hit in 8 Hours

The charts are dominated by the same names. These names come up again, and again, and again and again. The top songs are always very similar. Similar lyrics, similar basslines, similar kicks and claps, similar synths.  These songs are written by the same group of people (Britney Spears’ latest single was first offered to Katy Perry), so its not surprise they all have the same sound. I’d guess that a good 50% of the artists on the Top 40 don’t even write their own music. And that’s not me hating, that’s fact, many musicians in the mainstream realm don’t write all their own music including Perry, Justin Bieber, and Taio Cruz. So what does it take to write one of these songs? Dan Bennet and his collaborator, Dave Wallace, Canadian hip-hop artists recently challenged themselves to find out just how difficult it is to make a Top 40 song. They gave themselves 8 hours to write and record a Top 40 song. The finished product has over 400,000 hits on YouTube and has been downloaded over 5,000 times. Not bad for a joke? The song was written and recorded in far less time then the proposed 8 hours, yet still it received huge amounts of attention. Gene Simmons of KISS even contacted Wallace and Bennet and offered them a contract on his new label. They told Simmons that the song absolutely does not represent their catalog, and directed him to the music they make as a living, not as a joke. Since directing Simmons to their actual music, they’ve yet to hear back. The dancy, synth heavy, “Lights, Camera, Action” is an example of what it takes to create the music that dominates our charts. So what does it take to get into the Top 40? Obviously not much musically, obviously the major labels MUST BASE THEIR DECISIONS OF SOMETHING BESIDES MUSICAL TALENT. Hmmm….

Contemporary Neo-Soul Music Done Right By Mayer Hawthorne and Electric Wire Hustle

Soul music has kind of fallen to the wayside in order to make room for rap and club music, as well as R&B, although all are heavily indebted to the legendary genre. Despite however, decreasing mainstream success for all genres, music creativity is still as alive as ever. The past few years have produced some great new neo-soul acts. Mayer Hawthorne and Electric Wire Hustle are two of my favorite recent soul acts.
Mayer Hawthorne is a former hip-hop producer from California who went the way of soul. He released his debut, A Strange Arrangement in 2009 and has been making waves with his lo-fi, retro soul sound. Apparently, when he brought demos to certain label representatives; they were appalled at his attempts to sell genuine, classic soul music as his own. Little did they know, Hawthorne was not trying to steal classic soul, these demos were his own. Hawthorne played all the instruments as well as vocals on the album. He also produced and the sound is impeccable. This glasses-wearing, skateboarding, nerdy, young producer from California was able to seamlessly create music with a wonderfully perfect retro soul sound to it.

Electric Wire Hustle is a more recent discovery for me. I found them while browsing blogs. They were receiving some pretty heavy praise and I figured, can’t be half bad can it? Wow this New Zealand group blew me away. Equal parts retro soul soundscapes, and J Dilla style instrumentals, this group is shockingly addictive. “Gimme That Kinda” and “They Don’t Want” are both highlight tracks off of the group’s eponymous debut. 

Waters (Rehearsal) - Electric Wire Hustle

Check out Electric Wire Hustle's website here