Review: Ame One and Nomar Slevik - Stonehenge Diaries

It opens with Salisbury Plains, introducing Ame One and Nomar Slevik, along with DJ Bizkid, geneva.b, Id Obelus, and Raystar, the guests scattered throughout the album. Haunting melodies hook you in immediately with some Lauence of Arabia-style vocals from an unknown female vocalist. The first track after the intro, produced again by DJ Bizkid, opens with an homage to The Notorious B.I.G., with Nomar singing, "I don't wanna live no more // Sometimes I hear death knockin' at my front door." and what follows are a couple of fantastic verses and a very catch hook (I'm a whole country // I'm a hundred thousand people...).

From here it's only uphill. The tracks progress with some wicked beats, chilling out and relaxing here and there and pumping it up, too. What I like about this album is the way the artists are laid out on it. There are different people on every track. Aside from the fact that it is a collaboration album, it really is a collaboration album. Ame One and Nomar Slevik don't even appear on every track together, sometimes it's just one of them, but every track has some other guest on it as well.

I think the production is wicked throughout. I'm not a huge fan of the production on one of the tracks (Home) but... every other track is nuts. The first verse on What's Happening is wicked, and I can't stop replaying it. Suntory probably has the best production on the album, alongside the introductory track. Id Obelus really kills it on this track. The sounds on this album are incredible.

Megaliths, the last track before the remixes of Slow Down and Second Chances, which bring both of the tracks into a new light, is an awesome showcase of styles, with Nomar, Ame, Id Obelus, and Raystar on the track, with DJ Bizkid credited for mastering the track. The Nomar Slevik Remix of Second Chances is even better than the original and is exactly the type of production I would like to hear with this vocal track.

Overall, this album is a superb mix of artists coming together through Nomar Slevik and Ame One to create a soundscape that is perfect for taking a weekend of traveling through. Stonehenge Diaries is a fantastic album, and if you want it, there's a few places you can get it, so go get it!

Purchase the album through iTunes, eMusic, SIQ Records and other musical outlets. Support these artists, they really deserve it. And it's only $6.00, so don't you go getting cheap on me, here. It doesn't get better than this. I feel this album will be on rotation for some time to come, certainly, and look out for Nomar's new album Welcome To Fuckland, coming out soon through dis.eased wrekkids!

(Due to some miscommunication issues, partially my fault for not clarifying things before posting, there is some incorrect information in this article, and for some reason I'm having trouble working through it again, so I'm going to post the correct information, as pointed out to me by Mr. Nomar Slevik:

"I mixed and mastered the whole album except for Slow Down 1 which was mixed by Ame One and Slow Down 2 which was mixed by Raystar.

I produced Track 1-Salisbury Plains with Cuts by DJ Bizkid
Ame One produced Track 2-Stonehenge Days with vocals by me and cuts by DJ Bizkid
Ame One produced Track 3-Slow Down with vocals by Raystar and geneva.b
I produced Track 4-Second Chances with vocals by Id Obelus
Ame One produced Track 5-Home with vocals by me
I produced Track 6-Whats Happening with vocals by Raystar
Ame One produced Track 7-Dumb Dee with vocals by Id Obelus
Ame One & I both produced Track 8-Megaliths with vocals by me, Raystar and Id Obelus and cuts by DJ Bizkid
And lastly I produced the Second Chances remix as well."

Sorry about that. Do enjoy the album!)

Stonehenge Diaries @ SIQ Records
Nomar Slevik
Ame One

Music Video of the Day [February 21]

Th' Mole
Go Horsie (DJ Amazing Clay RMX) Part 1

Th' Mole hooked me up with his new album, Th' Mole's Greatest Hits (Ha Ha Ha) Vol. 1 released on Daly City Records, and it's pretty awesome, let me tell you. I've been listening to it a bunch recently and this track is certainly on it, along with a bunch of other wicked tracks. What I like about Th' Mole, besides the fact that he is indeed a cool dude, is that his music is not what I would normally expect out of hip hop, it's all completely ridiculous and over the top.

This is quite apparent in his new music video for Go Horsie's remix by DJ Amazing Clay. I mean, look at the guy, he pops out of his closet in a superhero costume and goes completely crazy. This song is so much fun I've been blasting it on the stereo so I can dance around the bathroom and cut my face while I'm shaving. This song has so much energy, it's ridiculous. Th' Mole is clearly a hero.

I suggest listening to this song and then telling the dude that you loved it. It would make his day, certainly.

The Mole Official MySpace
The Mole on Daly City Records

Hand'Solo Records Presents.... THE MOTHERLOAD

The info below the picture is exactly as it was written on the original page, because I certainly didn't want to do a re-write of it, as it's fairly well-said already. Here it is; The Motherboard's online community has come together to create a massive track, an 8-minute earful of different sounds, different styles, and some very unique artists. 12 Emcees, 13 Producers, 1 extremely epic song. Hand'Solo Records is distributing it, so you can hop on over to their page to download it by clicking the links later in this post. Read about the music here, or you can read it there. Either way, don't miss this one, it really is fantastic, and with constant switches in emcees, beats, and styles, it doesn't get tedious, as most 8 minute songs tend to be. I highly recommend it. It doesn't get much better than this and I coudln't get it off my playlist if I tried.
This is the best hip hop track of 2009, and damn, that bar is set pretty high. Who can beat it?
The Motherboard, a forum of like-minded musical experimentalists, have finalized their first single and now Hand’Solo Records prepares to release their new song into the ether for mass consumption. Features Hand’Solo regulars Noah 23 and Selfhelp as well as new friends to the fold like Nomar Slevik, Th’ Mole, Debmaster, Wormhole, Strange Powers, and more.


0:00-0:52 - beat by Myn Dwun, raps by Wormhole & Th’ Mole
1:03-1:49 - beat by DJ 0.000001 & C Money Burns, raps by Noah23
2:06-2:54 - beat by Nomar Slevik, raps by Demune
3:05-3:47 - beat by Hobs Sputnik, raps by Anubis5
3:53-4:27 - beat by Thee Anomalous Nicholai, raps by Hobs Sputnik
4:35-5:19 - beat by MFBoat, raps by geneva.b & MFBoat
5:24-6:07 - beat by Lostsatellite, raps by Selfhelp
6:14-7:09 - beat by Wormhole & Th’ Mole, raps by Lxor
7:22-8:08 - beat by Debmaster, raps by Myn Dwun

Live MPC samples during intro/transitions/outro by Strange Powers.
Executive produced, edited and mixed by Th’ Mole.
Mastered by Nomar Slevik.
Cover Art by CAPS3.

Distributed by Hand’Solo Records.

The Motherboard, 2009.

What the critics are saying:

"FUCK YEAH!" - Strange Powers
“I’m proud of it.” - Th’ Mole
“This piece of music is one of the better 8+ minutes of my life”. - CAPS3
“I love the cover.” - Nomar Slevik
"Who in the hell was the last Emcee... that was a great closer!!!" - Demune
"Good work people. I want to hear this on mushrooms!" - Noah 23
"Maybe I am crazy..." - Selfhelp

Music Video of the Day [February 15]

The Adventures of Duane and Brando
Mega Man 2

One of my favorite groups right now, Duane and Brando specialize in dropping the maddest tracks ever, based on the storylines of classic video games. They haven't thrown a track down that I don't like yet so it's nice to hear more music from them and have it at the same high quality. I, and many other fans, am waiting for the full-length album to drop... whenever it's supposed to.

I just now saw this on a bulletin post that they put out and thought it was dope, so please, watch away! Friend them on MySpace, too, I'm sure they'd love it. Let 'em know I sent you.

Let Me Hear You (Part 2)


Compilations are everywhere and are a convenient way to get your music out to a public that doesn't even know you exist yet. There are many, many people looking to put out original music by underground artists, you just have to look around for a while to find them, as it may always be happening seemingly just out of your reach. Websites and blogs that promote music are often putting together, or considering putting together, compilation albums for cross-promotion purposes, or simply to give others the chance to hear their favorite artists... or both!

There are a lot of artists I got into because I heard them on some comp. I picked up somewhere, whether on the internet or by hard copy. In fact, oftentimes I end up losing my CDs but I can still remember artists off of the albums who really blew me away. Right off the top of my head I can think of several artists who I started listening to after hearing them on comps. I first heard EPIC, Lexington, Big Ref, and others from the Hokey Religions Mixtape, put out by Hand'Solo Records (find them on the right toolbar) up in Canada. I first heard Metamystiks Incorporated, Futuristic Sex Robotz, MechP, ytCracker, and many, many more from the numerous free compilations (Right toolbar, again) has put out over the last few years. And surely, if I had not been a part of the RT community back when I was nobody would have ever heard my music, I wouldn't have started Legendary Hip Hop, and I probably would have never gotten into hip hop writing.

One website in particular has released a slew of compilations, constantly finding new approaches to what could seem to be overrated topics and pushing the limits of compilation collaborations. And the kicker? It's all [except one album] free, and all non-profit (I know, I talk to the man behind it: Genoboost). Game Music 4 All (Right toolbar!) put out a fantastic compilation called Here Comes a New Challenger last year, pitting chiptunes artists against nerdcore hip hop artists, bringing together quite the slew of nerdy musicians from both sides of the tracks for what can only be described as an epic listening experience. Taking chiptunes out of their element by forcing them to turn their style into something more rappable and making rappers spit over something completely different than normal (for most of them) led to many interesting tracks, as well as some of the greatest artwork I have ever seen. It's work like this that really makes communities come together.

And guess what? Here Comes a New Challenger Volume 2 is now in production, though the open submissions have closed, which allowed many artists who have not yet had any official releases a chance at some exposure, which may be exactly what you're looking for.

Honestly though, nowadays, with the internet serving as a huge network for musicians, it's easy to find something going on, or at least set yourself up to find something. Utilizing MySpace as a networking utility for music work is easy; all you have to do is look around at artists you're interested in, link through their friend lists and influences... but that's another article entirely.

Just get out there, find compilations to get on! If you have compilation albums, look at who put them out! Dont' forget, you can always make a demo CDR and mail it out to people who have put out comps, urging them to consider you for their next album. Consider the fact that when you get on a compilation with 15 other artists, all of their fans who listen to the album will hear you. It's one of the greatest networking tools, and that's why it exists. Do what you need to do. Find compilation albums and get on them.

Spread the music.

Review: Lexington and Whatevski -- Customer Appreciation Day

Lexington and Whatevksi's Customer Appreciation Day is one of the best albums I picked up in 2008, and because it was a free album, well... that only made it better. In fact, this is such a solid piece of work I find it almost unfair that I didn't pay for it. Released on Hand'Solo Records, the album first caught my eye because of the provocative cover, which displays the title of the album sharpied onto a woman's bare chest. I figured, Canadian Hip Hop has been treating me well, why not give it a try. I like what Hand'Solo's been putting out and I was desperate for some new music on my Zune so I downloaded it.
Little did I know this album would change my perception of hip hop. Honestly, I haven't heard anything like this before and it really blew me away. From the opening track's intro with a man crying out for "spange" for a Lexington + Whatevski show to the closing ad for their full-length album Preggers Can't Be Choosers, it was perfect. These guys do to hip hop what Bird did to basketball... they took something that everybody can take a shot at and kinged their pawns. That is to say, they not only did something different, but they raised the bar doing it.

The album progresses with some of the best beats I've ever heard, dirty and dark, a stinky carnival full of drunks kind of sound, mixed with some hard-hitting drums. I'm dying to hear an instrumental version of this album if they ever release that, actually. The production is some of my favorite I've ever heard and I can only describe it as a magical experience. Wherever they're digging up samples from... well, I wish I had access to what they're listening to and the skill to arrange in such a way. Every chorus is catchy, and the layering of sounds is almost too intense, though never overwhelming... if that makes sense.

Lyrically, Lex and Evski kill it. From serious tracks like Back When to hilarious tracks like Dick in Ya Drink, it's all over the place. Vulgarity aside, the lyrics are fantastic. It's a great balance between philosophical and comical, and all the flow is solid throughout.

Speaking of the flow, the album is littered with guest rappers who absolutely rip it up. Planit, Touch, Hollohan aka G.O.D., B-Money, Ryan Crack the Dirt Dogg, and Mr. Grim make appearances, and all of them do justice. Aside from the extreme weirdness of the first half of Planit's verse on Dead and Famous. It's all solid, though, and Planit's verse has grown on me. I guess I was just weirded out about that kind of flow when I first heard it.

All in all, I give this album a 10 out of 10 because since I've downloaded it, I've listened to it all the way through at least once a week and still it surprises me. Most of the tracks have made it onto my bicycling/traveling playlist, almost every track is fantastic, and I am left in awe at how well-done this all is, especially for a free release.

Lexington and Whatevski are without a doubt in my top 10 favorite hip hop artists/groups, and solely because this album is so perfect. If you don't download it, you're a damned fool, it's a fantastic album all the way through and goddammit, it's free!

Best track? I can't even name one. Good People and Back When are probably my favorites. Don't forget to check back for the release of Preggers Can't Be Choosers, their new album. You can find more information at the following locations.

Hand'Solo Records Page
Lexington and Whatevski Official Website

Track of the Week -- Where Temptation Playa

For this week I decided to go with something I just heard today that I thought I should share with you all because it totally blew me away when I heard it this morning. I was browsing the RhymeTorrents.Org forums, seein' what's up with all those nerds, hoping there might have been some album release news or something of the sort... anything, really, but alas nothing of the sort. Instead I was treated to a gift from the artist SLI (or rather, signedlongint). Aparently he's into mashups now, and that's good, 'cause I'm into mashups but I can't stand making them.

Signedlongint - Where Temptation Playa

The mashup combines Where'd You Go by Fort Minor, Temptations by Tupac, and I'm a Playa by Tech N9ne. I've been a Tech N9ne fan for a time now, though I'm not a huge fan of Pac or Fort Minor (though I can't argue that they both generally sound really solid, I just don't really listen to either of them often), so I wanted to take a listen. Though I was expecting to hear a bunch of verses from different peeps it's basically a remix of I'm a Playa, using the instrumentals from the other two songs to build something new.

What I really enjoyed, however, was the fresh take on the Tech N9ne song. It was very empty compared to his regularly way overproduced instrumentals, and it gave the song a completely different feel. It also moved the emphasis of the words around in Krizz Calico's verse which was an interesting way to go about things.

Anyhow, I though it was an awesome track and I wanted to share it with you all. It seems SLI's website is down now, so I'm not gonna post a link but props to Blue Glowy Records for hosting the track so I didn't have to bother Conyeezy.

Art! Art! Art! -- Giant Robot San Francisco: BEASTS!

If you like hip hop, you're bound to like art, and I'm not just talking about graffiti and urban art, though that's all fine and dandy too. I mean, I love it, of course. I still do graffiti and urban art from time to time, though not as much as I used to. What I"m talking about is modern art... I'm skeptical about calling it modern art 'cause that makes it seem like some Jackson Pollock paint-splashing art or something, but what I'm really talking about it gallery art that people are doing, like the kind of art Giant Robot San Francisco promotes.

Giant Robot is putting on a gallery right now in promotion of their book BEASTS!, featuring 100 pieces of art from the book, from a variety of amazing artists. I know it's a little bit late, seeing as the gallery opened January 17th, but it also closes on February 18th, so there's still time to visit, and I intend on going as soon as I can get a free day.

Scott Teplin - Loathsome Worm

There's a ton of great stuff here. The above piece is wicked but it comes at too high a price for me ($2000), though I would love to have that up on the wall. Art is an important part of the creative mind, which most underground hip hop artists quite understand. It's all about making something new. So, go! I feel that people shouldn't only focus on hip hop but also on the art that goes with it. It's a culture as much as it is a type of music, and though it may not be technically hip hop-related art, I think it is. I think it's a bastard descendant, and we should still embrace it. To each their own, but to everybody something.

Scott Campbell - Cliff Ogres

I also want that piece but it's also too much for me to buy ($200), and though it's ten percent cheaper than the other piece, I can barely afford rent this coming month, and thus I cannot afford to build an art collection of such awesome pieces at this point. Thus is life. There's a lot more awesome art where that came from, however, and you shouldn't miss this gallery! It is sure to be a fantastic experience with a bunch of eye-openers. Get inspired. Create.

Giant Robot San Francisco Official Website

Let Me Hear You (Part 1)

(For the first installment of this new column, I wanted to explain why I decided to write it. This is intended to be released as an eight part series, including this article, expressing my views on how one should go about making some sort of name for themselves with their music. Not that I feel inclined to become famous or try and have a big break with a record deal, but because I think that if you want people to hear your music, you should try and get it out there; I feel like I have a fairly good grasp on the concept of making music widely available, and though I am no expert on the subject, I'm going to tell it how it is.)


A lot of people want to get their music known, but they have no idea how to do it. Back when I was in Junior High School I had my first band (and holy crap did we suck) and I didn't understand music at all. I thought it was all about getting heard by somebody and then picked up by a label, major or not. As I slowly progressed in my musical ability and started doing more and more projects and learning about different genres I had never heard of before, I started realizing that there was a lot more to be heard than what is on the radio, and there is a lot more to be seen than what is at a venue.

At some point I got into grindcore, thrash, and hardcore music, and through a friend I discovered the underground which Davis, CA has to offer; houses converted into venues, shows in parks, etc. All this slowly compounded to where I am today; music is NOT about getting noticed by labels or getting paid for what you're doing, it's about doing it for yourself, making a name within your own community first and then getting your music out there for people to hear because you are passionate about what you are doing!

When this finally dawned on me I was ready to take on the world. I discovered Emperor X, who, though not hip hop, is definitely the king when it comes to impromptu venues (ie. Parks, Front Yards, Lazer Tag Arena... etc.) and I learned a lot just by watching videos. Then I started listening to Florida-based nerdcore hip hop supergroup Emergency Pizza Party and was astounded by the way these guys would put on performances ANYWHERE to get their name out. And now people know who they are.

When I lived in Davis I really dug this band Unless, which was one of the first local hardcore/grind bands that I got into (and were at the first house venue show that I ever saw) and I e-mailed the head guy and asked for a CD, assuming I would have to buy one off of him. He gave me a copy of their album for free, printed right onto a CD-R, with artwork that he had done on the outside sleeve himself. Sure, it cost him a little cash but the exposure was worth it. I'm a long-time fan now and I have the music to both show people AND give people, without infringing on any stupid copyright laws.

There are so many very simple ways to get yourself known around your community, to spread your music far and wide, and to make a name for yourself. Do you want people to know what you're doing? Of course! As much as music is for self-expression and one's own release, it is always nice to know that people are listening; it's nice to know that people care. I'm going to tell you how to do it, though not in the way that self help books do. I plan on giving you a bit of information about what I've gone through myself on my musical journey and tell you how that reflected on what I'm doing today, and pass on what I have learned. Hopefully this will encourage you to pick up some new tactics and write some more music!

I'm going to spend the next seven weeks releasing more detailed (and themed) articles about getting your music out to people who haven't heard it before. Stay tuned for more!

Emperor X (Tell Me About Wichita Documentary Trailer)

Emergency Pizza Party Live in an Elevator at Dragon*Con

ECID -- Red Beretta Pre-Order

ECID, the rapper and producer behind label Fill in the Breaks is releasing a new album, and this time a concept album, no less. The mind behind 2006's Biograffiti and 2007's Economy Size Godd Costume brings us 2009's Red Beretta, a concept album advertised with the premise, "the bizarre events that turn a modern day hero into a monster." He's got an interesting and captivating style; his vocals are off the wall and his subject matter is insightfully candid... he definitely gives you a dose of his opinions on people, relationships, politics, and everything else whether you want to hear it or not. And now there's a new album coming out and it's going to be something entirely different, so expect it to be good.

Right now Red Beretta is available for pre-order. From a recent bulletin post:

"Pre-Order Ecid's new album "Red Beretta" for only $15+Shipping & you will receive the cd (which includes a 16 page lyric book w/art by minneapolis artist James Penfield), a free hi quality download of "Bargain Junkie Classics 4", Stickers, & a poster. All pre-orders will ship one week before the March 24th release date. Pre-Orders deal ends March 17th."

So hit this one up! It should be fantastic. Go to the Fill in the Breaks page for more info.

Fill in the Breaks
ECID Official MySpace