Def Dee- Deja Vu (album)

Read our review of Def Dee's latest full length project, the "Deja Vu" LP.

The Hurt Project- The Shady Bear Sessions (single/EP)

Listen as the band The Hurt Project blend classic and contemporary blues with their newly released "The Shady Bear Sessions" single/EP.

ADaD- In Search of The UNSEEN: ADaD x Madlib

A brand new set of dope beats and razor sharp rhymes from Chi-town wordsmith ADaD on the recently released In Search of the UNSEEN... project.

D.A.C. Beats- Beach Mu$ic EP

Listen to producer/beatmaker D.A.C Beats' newly released instrumental project, the Beach Mu$ic EP.

Hezekiah- Can I Live

Soulful new single from Hezekiah's upcoming album Dreams Don't Chase Themselves

Ju-Ar- Day Out (album)

Check out the new Day Out instrumental project from producer/beatmaker Ju-Ar.

Qwill & The Soul Review- Ghost

Enjoy this brand new bluesy soul single from Qwill & The Soul Review

Midnight Runners- Free single!

Download a free copy of the new single "Nights of Pleasure" from duo's upcoming EP Odyssey

Jurassic 5 & The Word of Mouth Reunion Tour

This summer, a reunited Jurassic 5 will embark on a worldwide tour, with special appearances by Dilated Peoples, Ugly Duckling, Lyrics Born, Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, & The World Famous Beat Junkies!

Lyric Jones- Love's Trail Mix (EP)

Lyric Jones tackles issues of love, lust, infatuation and everything in between on her latest project, "The Love's Trail Mix (EP)"

Sons of the Sweet Potato- Awakening Exp.02 (LP)

The Sons of the Sweet Potato beatmaking collective brings tons of jazzy, sample-heavy hip hop on their newest LP, "Awakening Exp.02".

REVIEW | Def Dee- Deja Vu (album)

Def Dee follows his acclaimed 2013 debut album 33 and a Third with another producer-centered album entitled Deja Vu. For his sophomore effort, the Seattle-based trackmaster creates a tight batch of neck snappin' beats that's deeply entrenched in the straight-from-the-crates, throwback sound of hip hop's not too distant past. Though the familiar opening horns of "Place Your Bet" may spark a sense of nostalgia in some listeners, Def Dee quickly kills any fears that the album's title is simply code for "rehashing the past" when the rest of the track's elements come crashing to the forefront. In an instant, a carefully orchestrated firestorm of sounds explodes out of the listener's speakers, held together with thumpin kick drums and tight snares. For fans expecting heavily filtered, extended jazz loops and crunchy lo-fi drum breaks, "Place Your Bet" acts as a sort of warning shot, heralding the energy level of tracks to come. The overall sound and feel of Deja Vu has less in common with the dense, lo-fi funk of label mates Damu the Fudgemunk and Klaus Layer and more in common with the finely chopped, dusty-meets-digital hip hop sound made famous by producers like Hi-Tek, Chief Xcel and fellow Seattleite (?) Jake One. Which isn't to say that those fans won't enjoy this album. On "C'Mon NowDef Dee creates a monsterous neck-snappin', head noddin' beat that is the perfect blend of an old-school hip hop jam and a spacey nu-school funk joint. Another standout cut is the powerful yet understated "I'm Ghetto" instrumental.. With only a couple of chopped up samples, a few electronic effects, and a master's understanding of restraint, the rising young producer creates a really soulful track that's just begging to remixed with vocals (cough..cough..Vursatyl... cough). Other highlights include the Roc Marciano assisted track "Marciano", the jazzy guitar laced cut "Pay More Attention", and the low-end heavy march of "Toss N Turn" featuring One Be Lo. Honestly, the whole album is bumpin' and I'm hard pressed to point out any missteps. On the whole, Deja Vu is a solid follow up to  Def Dee's debut full length album and clearly shows what Def Dee brings to the talented line up that makes up Redefinition Records' roster of artists.

Blogger Tricks

LIVE45's | Damani Nkosi- Rich (feat. BJ the Chicago Kid & Bad Lucc)

Cali-based emcee Damani Nkosi takes a minute to let the world know that being "rich" is more than just a massive collection of money and objects on his new single "Rich". Get into some wise words being spoken over a laid back, organ-driven groove. Along for the ride are Chi-town singer BJ the Chicago Kid and fellow Dubb Union representer Bad Lucc. Dopeness ....dig the sounds.

NEW RELEASE | Jah Orah & KD Assassin- Used To Be Bobby & Darrick (album)

Considering just how well emcees KD Assassin and Jah Orah work together as a rhyme duo, it's hard to believe that this new Used To Be Bobby & Darrick album is their first collaborative effort. The two St. Louis residents drop a steady barrage of forward-thinking, razor's edge rhymes while making sure that their every effort is paired with an eclectic collection of head-nod beats. Stand out tracks include the ground-stomping "This Crazy Town (Hard Times)", the soulful boom-bap masterpiece "Stay" (featuring the frequent collaborator MC923 and the legendary Aceyalone), and the lively rallying call of  "Used to Be Bobby & Darrick". From start to finish, Used To Be Bobby & Darrick is dope project with a wide array of sounds and influences that remains cohesive and focused throughout. Press play and enjoy peoples!

NEW RELEASE | Jewbei- Jewbei Does Sean Price (EP)

Producer/beatmaker Jewbei releases the latest offering in his " Jewbei Does..." remix series with the newly released Jewbei Does Sean Price. I'll readily admit that I'm only just now discovering this series but I'm giving this isht two big thumbs up. Hell, the remix of the Roc Marciano/Sean Price track "Snow" is worth the price of admission alone. Dope stuff yall. Dig the sounds.

REVIEW | The Hurt Project- The Shady Bear Sessions (single/EP)

While I won't begin to present myself as some sort of authority on the subject of blues music, I do consider myself a fan that's familiar enough to recognize good blues music when I hear it.  The sound has been a part of my life for as long as I can recall.  In fact, some of my sweetest memories of growing up in the Carolinas are connected to songs by artists like Little Milton, Bobby Blue Bland and pretty much anything and everything released by Malaco Records. So, while I'm by no means an expert on the subject, I'll concede that I do know a lil' bit. Take this new The Shady Bear Sessions single/EP from the group The Hurt Project for example. I know that it's a fantastic  slice of modern electric blues as served by dedicated students of the craft. The set opens with an amazing original number entitled "Up In Smoke" that pits lead singer Jasmin Lloyd's beautifully clear and powerful vocals against a smoky backdrop filled with lamenting harmonica notes, dusty drums and fiery electric guitar riffs that almost steals the show. After blowing the listener away with such a soul-stirring performance, the band ramp things up with a raw-edged heater entitled "Hello Misery". Everything about this track is hitting, from Jasmin Lloyd's  rousing vocals that grow larger and larger as the track progresses, to the bands impassioned playing when their leading lady takes a break from the spotlight (peep the interplay between guitarist Marlon Hurt and drummer Paul Wohlmaker at the 2:16 mark). This is just good music, from start to finish and I truly can't wait to hear more from this band. Check out The Hurt Project's The Shady Bear Sessions below to get your weekly soul and blues music fix. Dig the sounds.

NewRelease | ADaD & Khaibeat- Apollo (album)

Brand new project from emcee ADaD and producer Khaibeat.  The Chicago-based wordsmith teams up with a talented young beatmaker out of Spain to give the people a dope 4 track project entitled Apollo. You can stream 3 of the 4 tracks, right now, over on Soundcloud (here).  Or you can purchase all 4 tracks for the low, low price of $1 over on Bandcamp (here). Come on son! love and buy the album ASAP.

AWAR & Vanderslice- The Winning Team (album review)

The duo of producer Vanderslice and lyricist AWAR create a dark and gritty opus with their latest collaboration, a full-length album entitled The Winning Team. The two man team have a knack for creating eardrum pounding, grimey hip hop music that attacks its listeners with the intensity of a melee attack on a battlefield. As an emcee, AWAR succeeds in keeping things interesting by assailing the microphone with razor sharp rhymes and fully fleshed-out concepts. On one of the album's opening tracks, a hard-hitting offering entitled "Rotten Apple"AWAR taps into something ravenous and lets loose a visceral assault that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Vanderslice backs his man up with a stark beat that sounds like the tense opening track of an Italian horror flick. The duo effortlessly keep that aggressive "New York shit" vibe flowing over the course of the album with tracks like "Orange Boxcutter 2", "Broad Daylight" and "High Grade". But the fellas also seem to realize that no matter how much their fans may want to hear hardcore beats and rhymes, a memorable album manages to do more than just repeat the same formula from start to finish. In response, the team switches things up a bit on tracks like the R&B tinged "Cloud 9" (featuring the ever soulful LaToiya Williams) and the "hold-ya-head-up" anthem "Ready for the World". Another factor that works in  the album's favor is the fact that the guest artists and producers that are featured on project tend to mesh well with the duo's sound. Two of the best examples of this are the tracks "Reincarnation" (which was produced by West-coast based beatmaker Trox ) and the title cut "The Winning Team" (which features guest verses from emcee/producer Has Lo).  Overall, The Winning Team lives up to it's name and comes across as a well sculpted offering from a winning duo. The album is a shining example of why AWAR and Vanderslice are held in esteem when it comes to hardcore, street level hip hop music that bangs. Yet it also showcases two artists who recognize the importance of challenging yourself, your music and your fans. Dope work peoples...don't sleep.

Live45's | Engelwood- Only For You (instrumental)

Check out this free spacey soul instrumental from producer Engelwood. And if you dig what you're hearing, pick up a copy of his recently released Tre project

Live45's | yU- Never Burning Out (single)

Incredible sounds from one of my favorite hip hop artists! On this new "Never Burning Out" single, Diamond District representer yU connects with producer Drew Dave (who you may also know as Soulful! from his Mumbo Sauce & Drumbreaks album from a few years back) to create a beautifully soulful, high concept track that imagines a thoughtful conversation between the earnest emcee and "...the brightest, most seasoned & experienced star in our realm...the Sun". As usual, yU slays it with the rhymes, and even hums a few bars for the tracks super catchy chorus. But don't let me give you the impression that yU is the only reason to check out this track because Drew Dave put together an amazing beat for the rhymes to shine on. Dope work from everyone involved with this. Check it out for yourself below, then head over to Mello Music Group's Bandcamp page to download a free copy.

Live45's | ADaD- Next To It (remix) Featured Artist

Listen as ADaD remixes and "re-spits" over the track "Next To It" , as originally released by Lupe Fiasco earlier this year. If you haven't done so already, head over to ADaD's Soundcloud page to make sure that you stay up on all of the new heaters the brother has been dropping lately.

Live45's | SNKA- Knw[Sm]Wun (instrumentall)

A nice bit of glitchy goodness from producer SNKA. The track is called "Knw[Sm]Wun" and it's a dope future soul cut that kind of sticks with you well after the final note sounds. While the highlight of this track may be its stuttering syncopated drum pattern, its the little touches like the addition of haunting strings, horns, and vocal samples that make this one an instant winner. To me, this is the sort of track that perfectly captures that strange bittersweet feeling you get when the summer is coming to an end and the first hints of the fall season start to take hold. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into this. Either way, the beat is dope.

Live45's | Goodie Kao- Magic?!*S# (feat. Tower da Funk Masta) (instrumental)

Brand new funk from the Sons of the Sweet Potato beatmaking collective. This time around we get some laid-back and jazzy boom-bap sounds from producer and crew member Goodie Kao, with assistance from fellow SSP member Tower da Funkmasta.  Would love to hear the Jazz Addixx or Moka Only go in on this one.  Dope sounds!

News | Producer/Emcee Black Milk About to Embark on Solo Beat Tour

(courtesy of

Critically acclaimed emcee and producer Black Milk will be touring this August for the first time since his "No Poison, No Paradise Tour". His "Loops Don't Lie Tour", which will feature the Detroit native performing live beat sets, stops in five U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Tampa. Soon after, the multi-talented artist will be heading to Europe with his four-person live band for the "Black Milk Live With Nat Turner Tour". This segment of the tour includes dates in major cities such as London and Amsterdam, and three dates in Germany, before returning back to the U.S. for a final show in his home state of Michigan. Speaking on his previous tour, LA Weekly shares praises, saying "Master of Ceremonies Black Milk was expertly both directing and starring in this show."

Valentina CX- Found (album)

Beautiful vocal work from a talented young singer by the name of Valentina CX. The sounds on display with this offering are lush and jazzy bossa nova pieces that artfully blend acoustic and electric elements into a cohesive whole. Valentina's vocals are warm, soothing and heartfelt for the entirety of this brief, yet very satisfying, project. CX's band is solid in its arrangements and phrasings and allow the singer to flow freely during her performances . As the album is just a 4 track EP, I'll skip the part where I pick my favorite tracks and just say that the whole thing is a great bit of airy bossa nova from start to finish.

Tajima Hal- Sometime Ago (album)

Glowing, jazz-tinted work from producer/beatmaker Tajima Hal. While the beats on this effort are soaked in the sort of dusty, sample-based mode of beatmaking that made so many golden era productions so beloved by hip hop fans, Tajima Hal manages to give the listener a unique take on that classic sound. Through the use of subtle changes in his arrangements and sample choices that are just left-of-center enough to keep things interesting, Tajima ensures that all the dust that comes from so much crate digging never gets so thick as to choke out Sometime Ago's overall jazzy sound. Standout tracks include the cool homage to the jazz piano-trio "Bloom", the driving soul number "Waves", and a stark boom bap outing called "Someone Else".