Sunday, April 25, 2010

Idasa Tariq Interview

Love, life, stress, and setbacks have been guiding forces in the careers
of many successful artists. These elements are evident in the musical workings of Idasa Tariq. Since relocating to Pittsburgh in 2008, this native New Yorker has made a name for himself with hard-work, developing mindful rhymes and soul-driven production skills. In 2010, Tariq has already flexed his abilities with a solo project - Say Cheese EP - and a collaborative effort with female emcee Dominique Larue.

Whether it be blessing the mic at weekly open mics, or spinning the wheel at the Rhyme Calisthenics MC Competition, Idasa Tariq always entertains.

Rory Webb: At the Rhyme Calisthenics 4x4 competition you were noticeably pleased with DJ Chevy scoring your ‘Storytelling’ verse a perfect ten.

Idasa Tariq: Most def. I was happy to just have a good round in my Rhyme Cal campaign. (laughs) Each time I've entered in the competition I take something away from it, learn it, and try to it apply to my music and see if it works.

RW: What aspect of your art have you worked on improving most in the past year?

IT: I would say my stage performance, and also producing if I may. When I came to the Burgh, I was still fresh with just getting on a stage and performing in front of a crowd. Back home there isn't really any places where you can build on your stage presence and performing. Here, I was fortunate to be guided to the Shadow Lounge, and went from there to other spots. What really helped this year with my performing was the "Hip Hop For Haiti" show, which I was thankful to be apart of. There I got to see two emcees in particular perform and command the stage - Living Proofe and Brother J of X-Clan. They had this way of pulling you into their songs, at times without moving around that much, and while interacting with the crowd. It was dope studying them.

RW: Talk about the advantages of being both a producer and an emcee.

IT: Never have to look for beats. Ever. (laughs) You want something jazzy and funky, you make it. Dig for some Art Blakey drums and some Oliver Nelson and go at it. Bust a keyboard out and start from scratch. You have that luxury to be more creative with your craft. It allows you to see different melodies within the beat which can be interpreted into a flow or rhyme scheme. Money wise, you don't have to pay someone to make you a beat, rather you can pay a musician to come in and just drop whatever on the track and boom, there it is.

RW: Any disadvantages?

IT: For me, it's being critical on the sound. One thing I don't want to get myself trapped in is making the same type of sound with no growth. I sometimes will start making a beat and realize I'm creating a drum rhythm that sounds similar to something I already made for another track, so I'll be there trying to find the best way to make it stand out from the other track. In the process the song might come out wack as hell, so it's still a learning process. But overall, being overcritical of my work.

RW: How about the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent artist?

IT: Advantages I would say is you control the music. You wanna rap about Port Authority jackin' the Burgh citizens on transfer and bus rates, you go right ahead. Nobody's stopping saying, "you can't say that because of blah blah blah." You have more freedom to create your own image and craft, no matter how dumb or ingenious it may be. It also allows you the opportunity to create your own business and OWN your music, as opposed to a label owning the masters. I did that by starting Ground Flow Communications, Inc. You have a more profound respect for your craft I feel, because now your branding your flow, your beats, etc. And it's YOURS at the end of the day. The downside is you don't have the resources and networks that the major labels have in terms of distribution, finances, and promotion. Basically, you either wanna get put on by someone else with money and become their mascot, or put yourself on and see where life puts you.

RW: Your most recently released work is the HerStory EP, with Columbus, OH emcee Dominique Larue. How did you link up with her?

IT: MahBrotha Shade Cobain put me on to her. Linked with her on twitter and we started building from there.

RW: What about her emceeing skills impresses you most?

IT: She actually raps. She's not on these stages in a two piece talkin' some nonsense. She storytells. She spits bars. She has flow and delivery. She has an ear for beats. Not a shot at Nicki for the phrase, but Larue ain't a barbie doll the industry and labels put together and placed in front of a mic. All in all she's Hip Hop, and I'm glad we were able to make a dope project.

RW: You mentioned Shade Cobain, fellow Pittsburgh producer/emcee. You came together to form the group MahBrotha. How has his experience benefited your growth as an artist?

IT: MahBrotha Shade! On the real, it's one of the biggest blessings I've had since moving to the Burgh. This man put me on to so much music, which opened up doors for me to walk through and learn from whatever was in it. Jazz, Soul, Dilla, Alternative Rock, I'm listening to music from other countries! (laughs) It's good to have him as a fellow group member but also as a mentor, because he'll keep it real with me. If I make a beat, and something isn't hittin' right, he'll tell me. If I spit a 16, and something can be done to strengthen it, he'll let me know.

RW: You’ll be releasing you new album, The Imani Flow, this summer. What goals have you set-out to accomplish with its release?

IT: Well, The Imani Flow will be my debut album. Shade's executive producing it, I'm producing the whole jawn with the exception of some fresh jams from Shade himself. The Imani Flow will actually be broken up into two parts; Part 1 entitled Steel City Yorker, and Part 2 entitled Quilts, Jazz & Fleamarkets. Part 1 drops this summer, Part 2 drops this fall. I hope to get my name out there as a producer and emcee that isn't on some minstrel tip. I'm not flossing. I'm not pushin' weight. I work a 9 to 5 just like most folks. I'm a bachelor in a world full of folks getting married and divorcing in the same day. I live an everyday life and wanna relate with the people on a personal and positive level. Make timeless music.

Idasa Tariq - Pittsburgh

Idasa Tariq - On Top of the World (from Say Cheese EP)

Idasa Tariq - Concrete Properties (from Say Cheese EP)

Dominique Larue - Let 'Em Know (from HerStory EP)

* All songs produced by Idasa Tariq

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stilltown Presents Philadelphia: Release Yourself (2010)

All tracks were recorded between 1987-1994

01. Life Is Like A Nike Commercial (Just Do It) (Poison Ladd SLR & Beats In General)
02. Funky-Rye-Men (Ebony Broadcast System)

03. Outstanding (L-Rock)
04. Flex the Style From the Flow (Tyree)
05. Release Yourself (Phill Most Chill)

06. I Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Steady B)
07. Watch 'Em All Take A Fall (Too Def Connection)
08. Flatline (Lyrical Underworld)
09. Ease Back (Jon Doe)
10. Rock Rock On (Cipha)
11. Check It Out (Lord Aaqil)
12. We Give Knockouts (Pure DeeFunk)

13. 45 Confessions Of A Killer (Legion Of Doom)
14. One Straight Binness (Tuff Crew feat. Shujaa & Class)
15. Sound In Your Ears (Tasc 4orce)

16. Kick Dat Stlye (Three Times Dope feat. Ruggedness Maddrama)
17. Checkin' Down the Menu (Ruggedness Maddrama)

18. Beyond the Door (100X)
19. Boom Box (Lux)
20. Mind Over Matter (Tuff Crew feat. Emcee Mechanism)


Monday, April 19, 2010

Spiega - Forgive Them Father (2010)

It's been a while since I've done a post about an artist without Pittsburgh connections, but today's may be a start of more to come. By now, most hip-hop fans are familiar with the work of Daniel Dumille. When Zev Love X returned to the hip-hop scene as MF Doom, he was part of a New York crew known as the Monsta Island Czars. The most notable emcees included were street legend MF Grimm, Kwite Def, Arron, and Tommy Gunn. Production was handled by Doom and X-Ray da Mindbenda. Each member took a Godzilla-themed alias, Doom as King Ghidra, Grimm as Jet Jaguar, Kwite Def as Kamackeris, Arron as Rodan, Tommy Gunn as Megalon, X-Ray as King Ceaser, and newcomers Kong, Gigan, and Spiega.

The focus of this post is Spiega. His deep, distinctive voice and monotonous delivery make him a unique talent. Unlike many of the groups members, Spiega has yet to release a solo album. However, he made several contributions to Kong's latest album, Shackles Off. Other ventures include his work on the Reavers's album Terror Firma.

I brought these discreet and scattered appearances together for a "best of" type album. Solo songs, group work, and guest features were included.

"Forgive them father, for they know not what they do." - Spiega's personal quote from the liner notes of the album Escape From Monsta Island!

01. True Beleavers (feat. Kong)
02. I Seen It All

03. Now That's Sweet

04. America (feat. Hasan Salaam & Akir)

05. Cross My Heart (feat. Kong)
06. Witchcraft (Remix) (feat. Monsta Island Czars)
07. Ride the Arrow (feat. King Ceasar)

08. Under Pressure (feat. Monsta Island Czars)
09. Broken Safety (feat. Kong & Ikon)
10. Genocide (feat. Billy Woods & Kong)
11. Kill Or Be Killed (feat. Kwite Def, Rio, & Foul Language)
12. Weasal (Do Or Die) (feat. Kong)
13. Die (feat. Megalon, Egyptian Queen, King Ceasar, Loch Ness, & Kong)

14. Witchcraft (feat. Monsta Island Czars)


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Classic 1824 - Rebel Music Vol. 1 (2005)

01. Run It Down (Sha-King)
02. Uhuru (Blitz)
03. Until the Govt. Stops Me (Nabri Savior)
04. The Legend of a Necessary Blackman (Living Proofe)

05. 7 (Self Scientific)
06. Beef (Blackstar)
07. Red, Green, Black (Angel Eye)
08. Stake (Sha-King)

09. National Ghetto Graphic Remix (C.I. feat. Angel Eye)
10. For My People (Liberation)
11. Breathe Easy (C.I. & Angel Eye)
12. Swine (Nabri Savior & Shamir Shine)
13. Nights Like This (21 5th)

14. Round & Round (Nabri Savior)
15. Harlem Nights (Immortal Technique)
16. All Is Fair (Living Proofe)

17. The Light (Sha-King)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gneticz - Japaneticz (2001)

First and foremost, I made this post about a year ago, and since the Stilltown buzz has grown, I wanted to re-post it. Also, I just posted the Classic 1824 mixtape release, Heavy Dosage Vol. 1. More from Classic 1824/RXC to come.

Although it was released in 2001, on Dirty Hat Productions, this is an album that I found only a few years ago. I was familiar with Gneticz' crew at the time, RXC/Classic 1824, and had just recently seen them open for Ghostface Killah. Impressed with their performance, I immediately recognized his name when I found the album at The Record Exchange (a store that sells new and used music/movies/other) in the South Side of Pittsburgh.

Both an emcee and producer, Gneticz' music is synonomous with the word "raw." Well-crafted instrumentals, laced with Wu-inspired percussion, make Gneticz' flows sound effortless. His production style is unique from anything that was coming out of Pittsburgh at the time of its release.

I was not surprised to learn that 'Neticz had recently worked with Wu-affiliates Holocaust (aka Warcloud aka Robot Tank aka too many others to list...), Bronze Nazareth, and Kevlaar 7. He has also provided beats for new music from fellow Classic 1824 members, Sha-King (Pgh) and Living Proofe (Pgh/Philly).

His hardcore boom-bap seperates him from other producers. You can hear new music from Gneticz on the Stilltown compilations. Be sure to watch out for his new album, Foreign Oil, which will be released in due time.

01. Cry Revenge
02. Prexie
03. Japan: Full Contact Special Edition
04. New Millienium
05. S.H.E.
06. Visual Artz

07. Asthma

08. Blade Runner
09. Laboratory Theme Music

10. Ultra Shock
11. Fried Chicken
12. Jacuzzi
13. Saymyname
14. Fell Victim
15. Blowin'

16. Riverz ov Blood
17. Seven

18. Meditationz

Classic 1824 - Heavy Dosage Vol. 1 (2004)

This is a mixtape from the legendary Pittsburgh hip-hop crew Classic 1824. It may have been their first together, but they were all making music for 5-15 years prior to its release. Their conscious, super-lyrical rhymes and sample-heavy production has been compared to Wu-Tang.

The latest releases from group members are Sha-King's album Yellowseed, and Living Proofe's Wake Up World mixtape.

01. Intro (Shamir Shine)
02. Fall Back (C.I.)
03. Takes 1 To Know 1 (Shamir Shine)

04. Break It Down (Sha-King)
05. God's Back (Nabri Savior)

06. Come Up (Martial Ife)
07. Golden Sake (Gneticz & Sha-King)

08. 41215 (C.I. & Knowledge)
09. Code Red (Gemstarr)
10. Hustler (Sha-King, Gneticz, & D. Weezy)
11. Run For Cover (RXC)
12. Ghetto Graphic (C.I.)
13. Short of Breath (Martial Ife & Nabri Savior)

14. Early This Mornin' (Nabri Savior & C.I.)
15. African Rhythms (C.I. & RXC)
16. Who's the Boss (Sha-King)
17. Butterscotch (Black Ops - Gemstarr & Hussain)
18. Industrial Burn (C.I.)
19. Murderation (Sha-King)

20. Strength In Numbers (Knowledge, Nabri Savior, Sha-King, & C.I.)
21. Outro (Shamir Shine & Martial Ife)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dominique Larue x Idasa Tariq - HerStory (2010)

I'm a little late posting this, but it's a really dope EP by one of the most talented female MC's spitting, Dominique Larue. Larue represents Columbus, Ohio, and can be a threat to any MC on the mic. The production for this EP was handled in-full by Pittsburgh producer/MC Idasa Tariq. HerStory features some of his best production to date. The soulful work of Idasa is the perfect background sound for Larue as she seems to flow with relative ease throughout the album.


01. She
02. I Want You (feat. Idasa Tariq)
03. Let Em Know

04. Batter Up (feat. Idasa Tariq)
05. Maxine
06. Lazy Afternoon (feat. Stik Figa)