Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Break, Break

Hey Everyone...Moodawg and myself will be in Baja California this week celebrating our final college spring break of all time. To keep yall busy while we're away, here's a link to Fashawn's debut album, a cd jampacked with Jamandahalfs. See yall on the other side.........

Natiruts-Liberdade Pra Dentro Da Cabeca

Griffdawg hits us up from Brazil (where he's working at a hostel/playing soccer/looking at booty all day) to share a little Brazilian culture with us....Thanks griff. Don't work too hard now brother ;-)

I love Brazil for its vibrant culture, beautiful natural resources, fiery hot chicks, buttery waves, dope soccer, and radical music. For this post, I will discuss the latter. Music is omnipresent in Brazilian society, you hear it everywhere you go.  It is very influential. I work with a guy who said he learned how to speak  English by listening to Bob Marley records. I believe him, he's Rasta.  

Brazilians love reggae. Reggae mimics the laid back lifestyle of the Brazilian people. One of Brazil’s most celebrated reggae contingents goes by the moniker Natiruts (Leks-Natty Roots?). The band  formed in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, in 1996 and has been sending out irie vibrations through the atmosphere ever since. Everyone loves Natiruts. I hear people listening to or just singing their music everyday. The song “Liberdade pra dentro da cabeca” is a true reggae anthem. Whenever people hear this song they join arms and burst into a huge sing-a-long. Liberdade pra dentro da cabeca harps on a common theme music as it literally translates to: freedom inside the head.  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

K'naan-Wavin' Flag (Celebration Remix)


Once every four years, the world comes together for an event like no other. A truly international spectacle, for one month the world stops what it is doing to watch skilled athletes battle for the right to say that they truly are the best in the world, forever etched in both history and in the minds of millions, if not billions, worldwide. And as much as I love curling, I'm not talking about the Winter Olympics.

The World Cup is arguably the greatest spectacle on earth. Hundreds of thousands of spectators come from every part of the world to watch soccer, cheer, get rowdy, and have the time of their lives. This summer, three of my closest friends and I are lucky enough to join the crowds and are headed to South Africa. Flights have been bought, we got lucky enough to get tickets to 5 games each, and all we need is a little face paint. We're going.

Bob Dylan - We Better Talk This Over

The show behind us, but still ringing in my ears, we move on back to kickin the funkiest jams from all genres.  To take us there is our old friend and musical mastermind Zach Ainsley, diggin up unknown classics to show you new things in places you thought you knew.

To label anything Bob Dylan has produced as “underrated” is a bit of a misnomer. From his first steps on the path blazed by Woody Guthrie to the southern-tinged grumbles of his latest album, the man has consistently churned out masterpieces. Take a peek at any serious rock critic's “all-time best albums” list and you will undoubtedly find records such Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, and Highway 61 Revisited jockeying for position near the top. What you will likely not find, however, is 1978's underrated (there's that word again) jam-fest Street Legal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Game and a Half

Although me and the Moodawg are pretty big gamers (Fifa and Mario Kart wad up), we have yet to put any computer games on here....Because it's been so long, not just any game could be the inaugural game and a half. Well this definitely aint just any game. Start putting your musical squares down and then just get funky...the possibilities are endless

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March 5th Concert

A couple videos from last night of BoB and Lupe killing it on stage. I'm the biggest guy right near the stage dancing around goofily, Moodawgs floating around...Helluva show, stayed tuned for the write up

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jams Behind The 5th-Anthem-The R.O.Y. EP

All the artists that we've posted about so far have made it: they've reached their dreams, they're world famous, and they have, at one point or another, made some damn good music; at least to our ears. 

But a lot of the times the best story is not about the someone who has made it, most of the time it's about the guy who's making it. For the last "Jam Behind The 5th," we bring you an artist with a unique story, an artist who gave up job security to follow his dreams, an artist who is doing things the right way, and with a little luck, and artist who we could be hearing about for a while. 

The rapper Anthem, straight outta NYC, is opening up for BoB and Lupe on the 5th (with help from our boy and DJ of the upcoming Jamandahalf/Red Bull party DJ Asoyolo). This is the second time he's been to CMC, after opening up for the Cool Kids at the 5C Music Festival back in October (which he says was his favorite performance yet). Back in October he started off with a crazy 5C freestyle, and promises to use energy this time to connect with us. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Anthem.

Anthem came to the US from Ethiopia with his mom when he was 3. Graduating from Duke (although no collabos are on the horizon for him and fellow Duke grad, Mike Posner), he felt the need to help his family out during some rough times and got a job on Wall Street, working as a trader. He's got a line on his song "Here I Go Again" that talks about the lure of a Wall Street paycheck, rapping "most I'm gonna make without a windmill dunk," an updated styling of the famous Biggie line (either slang crack rock or you gotta wicked jump shot). Although he said he liked it alright, he felt that he wanted more, and being young gave him the opportunity to put Wall Street aside and throw himself into something that he loved. He says that even if he doesn't make it big, “I believe in me, I would have done something for myself, and made some good music,” all the while following his dreams (his story mirrors a slam poet I saw a couple years back, the incredible Daniel Jose Custodio). 

Making music while working his day job as a trader, Anthem shipped his music around to some A&Rs, got some positive feedback, quit, and since then has been on the grind, working nonstop to perfect his art. Ever since then, Anthem has been lighting up tracks with his lyrical dexterity and wordplay. You never know when he'll hit you with a subtle metaphor or a slick rhyme. Like BoB, Anthem is part of a new movement of rappers emphasizing content. Speaking on this he says that, "An artist like myself never would have made it before. The horizon of content has been broaden." Thinking back to the state of hip hop a couple years ago, we definitely agree. 

A question I have for all artists is what their passion is, why they write, why they perform. I'll let Anthem take this one:

"My personal narrative. Leaving security to pursue an ambition. People identify with this. Everyone dreams, everyone wants to be better tomorrow than they are today. Music is a way to be relateable, and you don’t have to make a song that says 'you can be all you can be.' I'm just trying to be an example, I want my career path to be an example in and of itself. I want to be an idea. What inspires me know is looking back and seeing how far I’ve come."

Anthem's got everything needed to make it. He has the motivation (“I don’t do it for the cash, I do it for the craft/I left a lucrative job, because I’m stupid on the wax”), the flow, the skills, he's got it all.  The future is bright for our man Anthem (see his R.O.Y. 2010 EP below) and we here at jamandahalf can't wait to see him tonight, and hopefully for years to come. 

    Anthem  by  jamandahalf

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Jams Behind The 5th-B.o.B.-Generation Lost

For our second artist we bring you B.o.B, a rapper from ATL who is coming to CMC just as he's blowing up. Good timing, eh?

21 years old. Hit single . Album on the way with appearances from Lupe and TI. Recent cosign from Eminem. Life is good right now for BoB, but just as good for hip hop heads. After a recent run of disastrous years for hip hop, we finally seem to be moving again in the right direction. A new generation is once again putting substance with style over style with no substance; lyrics that ride on top of a sick beat over beats that purposefully drown out lyrics; a story and honesty (with swag) over fabricated swagger with no story. Artists like Jay Electronica, Fashawn, XV, and the artist of today's jamandahalf are putting hip hop back on track, skipping recent year and taking the torch directly from the Nas/Jay-Z generation.

BoB (born as Bobby Ray Simmons) is a North Carolina born, ATL bred, rapper who is on the cusp of blowing up. BoB's mixtapes combine southern rap, an ear for samples (Manu's "Mr. Bobby" and O Brother Where Art Thou's "I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow" for example), and rock to create a unique sound that has shades of a young Andre 3Stacks infused with a restless energy to expand his own talent while pushing the bounds of current rap. Although far from reaching his potential, BoB in his mixtapes has revealed a relentless pursuit of musical experimentation, and not only raps but sings, plays the guitar, and produces his own music.

Today's jamandahalf is from his 2008 mixtape "Who the Fu*k is BoB." "Generation Lost" has a level of self awareness that is not often seen from any rapper, let alone a 20 year young rapper. Rapping about his home, ATL, BoB critiques social norms without seeming preachy, and never puts himself over anyone, saying he was a part of the problem not long ago. Over a sparse beat, BoB's flow is effortless and never forced, revealing a musical maturity that is years ahead of his age. BoB shines brightest when he talks about the paradoxal nature of the relationship between the artist and the listener (see "Elevators" by Outkast): how often times it's the worst music that sells the best. Rapping about taming the musical monster of the past few years with real music, BoB says that no matter what, he's going to keep making music he wants to make. For us, that's good news.

Download Here

    Generation Lost  by  jamandahalf

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lupe Fiasco - Theme Music To A Drive By


Normally when the Dean of Students and ASCMC get together to try to throw a concert for the kiddies they can't help but screw it up, especially when it comes to hip hop.  Mickey Avalon played 3 unintelligible songs then peaced out.  The Federation was pretty solid until Goldie Gold punched some kid in the nose and ended that one. Ludacris, well he's got the name, and is by no means a bad rapper, but I can only hear "Move Bitch" so many times before I feel like kicking my own ass.  But this is different.

This time they didnt get a gimmick rapper, they didnt get some cat past his prime, they got Lupe.  Motha Freaking Lupe Fiasco!!!  Not to mention B.O.B. is comin through with him!!!  I still dont know if I believe it.  Arguably (and I will argue) the dopest rapper in the present moment not named Andre 3000, Lupe has been leading the new generation of hoppers ever since he came up and broke out with his first album Food and Liquor in 2006.  A coolly intelligent lyricist, Lupe defys both definition and stereotype, constantly pushing the range of his rhymes and subject matter.  While both Food and Liquor and his second album The Cool have been recognized in popular and critical circles, Lupe refuses to keep content.  Instead he has been crafting his third album, Lasers, for what seems like an eternity, releasing singles and then throwing them off the album.  When it will drop I can't tell you, but when he rips a couple of his new tracks come Friday Ill let you know how they sound.  Anyways, that brings me to the point.

To business. When Lupe opens his mouth, he boggles my mind.  No matter what it is he's rappin about, word play is second nature to Lu. The way he blends his rhymes into his flow while creating a cohesive story with critical commentary is nothing short of masterpiece art.  I'm talkin Sistine Chapple, Guernica, Starry Night.  It gets to the level where its indescribable.  Exhibit A: "Theme Music To A Drive By."  How he can hit three, four, five ryhmes, in three, four, five consecutive lines; all while holding a smooth flow and highlighting the double standards of street culture!?!?!  What is that?  Is it rap?  Is it poetry?  Its one in the same and its some of the flyest rhymin of all time.  Listen to the track.  Look at the lyrics.

    Theme Music To A Drive By  by  jamandahalf

The skills are undeniable.   My excitement for this show is uncontrollable.  I wish I could expand upon my analysis, but simply put, I just dont have the words to match his.  I guess I'll just have to let it go, and this is where you listen to the track.

Download Here

The Jams Behind The 5th

In honor of a momentous occasion that's happening this Friday (the 5th), we here at jamandahalf are bringing you "The Jams Behind the 5th," a new song (or two) everyday of the week until this Friday, March 5th. 

And what's this momentous occasion you may ask? This Friday, March 5th, a concert like no other is coming to CMC, a concert that couldn't have come at a better time for us, and something that we've been looking forward to for months. None other than Lupe Fiasco, BoB, and Anthem are coming to CMC to kick off Lupe and BoB's national tour (Steppin Laser, above)!

We got some special things planned this week. Each day we're going to feature the music of one of the artists, we have an interview with up and coming rapper Anthem, we got a special guest poster or two, and we're gonna try and hack the mainframe to cap the week off with an interview of Lupe or BoB. We're making moves. 

Keep checking back for some serious jamandahalfs from three great artists, and if you go to CMC, get ready.
Moodawg starts it off with some love for Lupe