Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Philaflava.com's Top 100 MCs

I recently contributed to Philaflava.com's list of the Top 100 Current MCs. The list was made collaboratively with Noz (http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ and http://www.xxlmag.com/), Travis (http://www.wakeyourdaughterup.blogspot.com/), infamous Philaflava board member/trap rap afficionado Blastmaster, and Jason Gloss (aka Philaflava). So don't ask me why your favorite rapper didn't make the final list, chances are I either fought for him or somebody else did. But making a list this size is never going to please everyone. On the whole I think the list is very strong and accurate. If I were to make my own list the order would be much different, but I'm sure everyone's would. Enjoy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

...Catch Me In The Range Rove 4.6 Like Same Color Kangol...


I recently sat down for an interview with Save Our Streetz aka Hunned Bars to give the world a little backstory on this burgeoning New York talent. We had a chance to discuss the current state of hip hop, attempts to get signed, Jim Jones, his new album, his views on fact and fiction in rap, his two rhyming personalities, and his plans for the future.

B. Ware: What do you think the game's missing right now?

HB: Man... You know, what I'd say, the game's missing it's real candy, pop corn, lot of dancy, dancing stuff right now. Like, you know, the game was two turntables and a mic, nahmean. Now the game has a lot of R&B mixed in with it now. It's just missing that true essence, that spittin', back in the nineties, early nineties, mid-nineties, when cats was goin' hard.

BW: So when you're making your music, like how do you approach it, considering the way the industry is now, but still paying respect to the shit you love and grew up on?
HB: Definitely, I mean you know it's like, when it comes to my music, when I get a beat, I feel that beat, and I think that's like what was goin' on back then. You know when you get that beat, and feel that beat, whatever comes to you, that's what you deliver, that's what you spit out. Nowadays, you gotta bunch of A&Rs in the room, telling what you alright we want this type of song for this, and this type of song for this, yaknawimsayin'. Like that's what's changed for real. So for me it's like I hear that beat, I tackled that beat however I feel. Like if I feel it's a love beat, I tackle it with a love song, if it's a hard beat, however.
BW: Alright. Do you think it's harder coming out nowadays with the history of hip hop that we have behind us? Like you know when you were comin' out in '92 or '94, there were years of classic hip hop behind you, but it wasn't like it is now with ten to twenty albums coming out a week or whatever and maybe we care about two of them, maybe less. Back then there were two albums coming out, if that, and you probably cared about both of them.
HB: Yeah man, you know, just like you said. It's crazy like that. And definitely I feel it's harder, cuz now it's like, it's something... Before it was like alright, rap is new. It was new, so everything was accepted, let's bring it in. Now it's just like they got something they looking for. Now they're looking for a lot of candy popcorn things like, yaknawimsayin'. It's like that's what it is right now. It's crazy. Right now it is a little harder to get in there I feel, especially if you're spittin' that true essence like. If you're not comin' candy popcorn "This Is Why I'm Hot," and dancy with it like...
BW: Did you hear that new "Light Feet" joint with AG (The Voice of Harlem) on it?
HB: Aww man... I think I heard that you know. And it's like they're tryin' to piggy back off of something they thought was hot last summer. And that ain't even hit like. And that's the thing that's going on with the game too. It's like, they lookin' for this candy popcorn thing, and that's just gonna sit for like two three months and disappear. Like when you got somebody that people really listening to that got somethin' to say, like Jay, the man had something to say. The man been in the game like ten some odd years yaknawimsayin'. Like Nas, whoever, there's a couple names you could say.
BW: What was the last album you heard that you thought was a classic record?
HB: Classic? Wow. The last thing I heard that I thought was a classic? (*Whistles*) You know I'd have to go back. Well... I mean that's two-thousand, that Nas I Am yaknawimsayin' for me. That was my last classic, classic album, that I Am, that was crazy.
BW: Yeah that "Undying Love" was one of the craziest storytelling joints ever.
HB: Yeah, Awww man. That's probably my favorite storytelling joint ever B. My man was talking about that the other day, like. My man Nas storytelling, and Big, was off the hook like. You don't got that no more. You listen to half these rap guys albums you ain't hearin' no stories. Put on "Ay Bay Bay" I don't even know homeboy's name. Put his album on...
BW: Hurricane Chris.
HB: Yeah, Hurricane Chris. Not one story. If it is, it's some corny thing with a popcorn hook. So you know...
BW: Do you think with album sales dropping as much as they have do you think it's because the music is getting cornier and more canned do you think people feel like they can't put their faith in an album anymore? Cuz they hear one little hit jingle song, and they might download it or whatever, but...
HB: Exactly. That's just what I was gonna say like, this ain't worth putting my money into it. I'll just download it. I'm not gonna go buy this guy's album. See before... You know you still got some dudes that cats support, yaknawimsayin'. Like 50, he's supported, yaknawimsayin'. Even like Kanye, he's supported. So there's cats that's supported, yaknawimsayin'. Even they go a little crazy sometimes, but it's like that's what it is, like. They hear the popcorn, the dancy jingles, all that, and it may sound repetative on us, but that's what it is, like. But they hear that, and you know it's, ahhhh I won't buy that, yaknawimsayin'. They'll go buy somebody with some substance though.
BW: Do you have any stories about tryin' to get signed over the years? Any runins with any A&R's or artists, or whatever?
HB: Mmm... This game is crazy man. We done had dudes holla at us from ATL, talkin' this and that, we done fell through with them. We've sent money to dudes, you know the game is dirty man, the game is dirty. It's some dudes been playin' dudes the stories is crazy.
I done ran up on your man Hova, Jay-Z. You know this was a couple years back though. He was on two-fifth (125th Street) ran up on the SUV. Your man Bleek was in the back, so I hollered at him like "What's good? I'll battle your man (Bleek) right now, and see what it is. You know, not to take your man's shine, but just to show you what I've got." [Jay responded,] "Nah, holler at the office, holler at the office." So you know, sometimes you don't know what these dudes are lookin' for, like. You don't know what they're lookin' for, so... It's crazy, it's crazy.
BW: Yeah, now what time era, like what Jay-Z album was out then?
HB: Hmmm... That was about like that Hard Knock Life time. You know.
BW: Yeah so before Memph's album even came out then?
HB: Yeah, that was that Hard Knock Life time, I got at him like "What's good B?" "Nah holla the office." (Laughs) You don't wanna do that Memph.
BW: I know you grew up with Jim Jones. He grew up in the same building as you. He was at one point an A&R for Warner, I believe, he's also a prominent member of Dipset. Did you ever approach him about tryin' to get on?
HB: Man that dude. Man it's crazy. Cuz the dude, I mean it's not like he's a dude that a dude grew up with, but like yeah I know him. Nah it's like dudes knew each other yaknawimsayin'. He knows my name, I know his name, he knows my moms, I know his fam, like. It's crazy, like. But you know, dudes played ball together, and you know it's crazy. But you know, he done got passed a cd. You know, I really can't say what it is, yaknawimsayin'. Maybe he feels H ain't ready. I don't understand why (laughs). You know, it's crazy, maybe you know, he wants the shine from the hood. I mean, you could look at it from any angle, yaknawimsayin? But I'm comin' anyway, it ain't no worry. And I'ma stay.
BW: For your new joint, For The Love of Money, is it... are you calling it a mixtape or an album?
HB: Well you know some cats call it mixtapes some cats say albums. You know, I feel it's music. That's how I feel it's music. You know...
BW: Yeah you got some original beats on here too right.
HB: Yeah you know, original beats. You may hear some other beats, but it's a lot of original beats on here. You know on the next one, all original beats. So now I got another one coming after that, it's gonna be all original beats done by my man Pots. You know he gets crazy in the lab right now. So you know, we about to get real sick with it like. But the For the Love of Money joint you know it's good. We're gettin' good responses from it. You know, but it's all about timing, you know, my time ain't come yet, but it's comin'. It's comin'. You know I just wanted to build that buzz up, and this is what I'm doin'. You know, I already had a start, you know Sketch of an Artist, that was a couple years back, cats heard it. It was serious. But you know, For the Love of Money now I'm back. Ya boy is back. You know, that's on the album. You know, so this is all the movement, right here. It ain't no stoppin' this.
BW: How'd you meet up with this cat Flawless you got on this track?
HB: Hmm... Flawless, he on that "Stacks" joint. Yeah Flawless, Flaw's tough too. He a BK cat you know. My fam, my cousin rather. He live out there, and you know, he's dealing with a little management company. You know, and Flaw, he knew Flaw from way back, so he brought me out there you know, to work with Flaw like. I seen Flaw in the booth, you know, Flaw seen me in the booth. You know, respect was gathered. It started from there. Flaw's tough though, Flaw got a lot of respect over in BK, where he at, yaknawimsayin'. He got a good buzz, he been buzzin' for a little while, he got a couple songs with Trey Songs matter of fact. Yaknawimsayin' so he doin' aiight.
BW: Do you feel like hip hop artists have a responsiblity to be honest to their own life? Or is it just art, is it a reflection of your environment. You know what is your stance on fact and fiction in the rap world?
HB: Yeah, you know I hear you, I hear you. It's like, well with me, what I do is like... What you're going to hear on my tracks is mostly something I done lived, or one of my dudes done lived, or one of they dudes done lived. It's all a true story though yaknawimsayin? It's real like... Yeah I guess that's, some fiction, ain't nothin' wrong with a little fiction, you know. And like they say all fiction comes from fact. None of these cats, they can't say, that every track they done spit, that everything is real. You know something is some fiction, probably built off some fact that they done heard somewhere else. You know, through that on a track, yaknawimsayin'? Ain't nothin' wrong with that. If it brings the track to life, do it. If you know how to put the words together nice, you know flow good, that's what it is. Honesty? Hmm... A majority of the time you gotta be honest. You know, not every track, don't saturate it with falsehoods and lies man, that's not cool. You won't last.
BW: Alright. I wouldn't classify your rap as "conscious rap," but you definitely have a conscience about keeping some type of balance between the street perspectives, more introspective material, and you know positive things as well. Do you feel it's important to keep a balance in your music?
HB: Definitely, definitely. It's like, well number one it's my music, yaknawimsayin'. So for me to be hot? It's not hot if it's not how I feel. You know I'm gonna come across probably a little too harsh sometimes on a track, but that's what it is sometimes. A dude not always on a calm dude, a dude not always a conscious dude. It's like, you know, I can sit back and I can polly with the best of them. I can discuss some real serious issues and it's time, you know, it's a knucklehead in everybody. It's just like you know, that'll come across in a track. So that's where honesty comes in. I'm sayin' I can't sit here and do every track hard, or even go every track conscious. But all that's in me, so that's why I bring it out. You know dash of this here, and a dash of that here. Yaknawimsayin' you gotta keep it real man.
BW: You sing your hooks on some of your songs, you know were you trained as a singer, or is that something that just comes natural to you?
HB: (Laughs) Ah, that's a goodie baby. You know my moms she a singer and all that. She definitely had ya boy singing and all that as a youth yaknawimsayin'. You know, I mention it on the album, you may hear me say that on one of the tracks ("Reminisce") you know. But you know, she had me doin' that as a youth, but you know it's in me, my grandmoms sing, my moms sing, all my aunts sing, everybody sing, so it's in me. But you know I never really took to the singing thing, you know. Just like somebody feeding you peanut butter everyday when you a baby, you don't like it when you're grown. Yaknawimsayin' I had enough of that. But I definitely make use of it now. If I can use it, I ain't gotta call Usher, if I need a hook on my song, why not?
BW: What was your inspiration for "What Do I Do?"
HB: Hmmm... "What Do I Do?" The truth comes to light. (Laughs). You know, that's just a story that happens to many dudes, man, many dudes. I'ma be honest man, I watch Maury man. (Laughs). I done seen dudes cryin' up there like after they done took care of a kid for years, and I even know some dudes that that's done happened to and that's like... It never happened to me man, you know, but that's an ugly situation man. So I had to bring that to light for the dudes, you know empowerment for my dudes. It's always empowerment for the ladies, so I empowered my dudes on a track you know. That's what it is, like, it happens to us too man. We cry too. (Laughs).
BW: How about "Can't Come Home?"
HB: "Can't Come Home." See that's all honesty right there. Yaknawimsayin' you listen to that, right in the beginning I say, "This is a sylloquey of passages from niggas gone away." Yanawmean that's like lines in those verses are real lines that were written to me from my dudes locked up. I got dudes doin' twenty right now, yaknawimsayin', doin' twenty on some murder like, yaknawimsayin', that's what it is, twenty, twenty-two like. He's been in there since two-thousand. Got another dude in there doin' ten right now, for some drug joint. But you know, that's what it is, you do what you do. But those are my dudes, they write me letters, I heard the beat and on the beat, the hook was already on there. You know "can't come home," so I'm like "Wow," with that on there, that's tough right there, "can't come home," what could I put to that? Well, my dude's can't come home at night. They can do whatever they want in there though. They get money in there, you know they write me, "Baby, I'm gettin' money baby, I'm good. I'm gettin' money, seein' my fam, they come through, people sending me paper, blowin' weed up in here, it's all good, but I can't come home at night." That's ugly.
BW: What's the science behind H.B. and S.O.S.?
HB: Hmm... It's like, you know, cats could say that like, you know T.I. started it. I been doin' it though man. Like the alter egos man, like I got a freestyle joint HB vs. SOS, and had to bring my alter egos together on it. But that's goin' back to when I was younger, when I was probably like seventeen I was calling myself Majic when I was rhymin' yaknawimsayin' and my alter ego was The Truth. So it was The Truth vs. Majic yaknawimsayin' like on "Can't Come Home" I say when the man wrote me the letter "You was 'The Truth' before Beans," you know from my first joint. I had that cut "The Truth," so I been on my alter ego joint. You know, HB Hunned Bars you know it's a hundred bars, your man goes for miles, he doesn't stop spittin'. You put the beat on he goin' just nuts, bananas, he gonna give you a hundred bars. SOS, that's the conscious rapper I guess, that's you know Save Our Streetz dude like, you know he'll do a track like "Can't Come Home," he'll do "Reminisce, Reminisce," he'll do "What Do I Do?" Yaknawimsayin' that's S.O.S. HB is givin' you the "Ya Boy Is Back!!" yaknawmean, he's the boy that's goin' crazy on tracks like, that's HB.
BW: Well that's a wrap, unless you got any shoutout you wanna send.
HB: You know, shout out to everybody. Shout out my man Pots. Swiss, Watch it, Shout out my man McMannis, Rock, you know Ed Jones, Mac, miss y'all dudes. My man J.B. Ware good look for the interview, this what it is. It's a good look.

Here is S.O.S.'s debut album Sketch of an Artist and a few of his mixtape joints from the past few years. You can check out more of H.B.'s work at www.myspace.com/hunnedbars and his second album For the Love of Money here.

S.O.S. - Sketch of an Artist (2005) -
1. Intro
2. Bring It Back
3. Smashed In
4. Straight Sex
5. Dangerous
6. My Street
7. Let's Go
8. Who You Ride Wit
9. H Need Dow
10. Let's Roll
11. What I'm Bout
12. 5th Go Boom
13. Yes!!
14. How Many Bars Is This
15. Lock The Game

S.O.S. - Mixtape Joints -
1a. Ether
1b. Alter Egos
2. Genesis
3. Fire
4. Hunned Bars

Friday, October 12, 2007

...Original Hustlers...


Sorry I haven't been doin' too much posting lately. I'm working on a couple things though I promise. In the meantime here's a couple dope interviews to hold you over.


Check out my interview with Smoothe Da Hustler over here at philaflava. He talked about what he's been up to, the history of the Smith Brothers and M.O.P., and the new shit and potential re-releases of Life's a 50/50 Gamble, The Smith Brothers LP, and


And while you're at it click on Cormega's interview, which is one of the most revealing interviews I've read/heard (there's audio too) from a Queensbridge artist. He talks about the Firm, his relationship with Nas, and a whole host of other classic Queensbridge rap moments.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

...Do You Know the Smell of a Morgue?...


Here's a couple new joints. The first one is from the NYG'z new album Welcome 2 G-Dom, which is great and will be getting a review from me soon, whether on here or on http://www.ohword.com/. The other is from Killa Sha's new album God Walk On Water, which I haven't fully listened to yet. But I thought people would be interested in the Tragedy and Trife collabo.

NYG'z feat. Rave & Lil' Fame - Sufferin

Killa Sha feat. Tragedy Khadafi & Trife Da God - One Hand Wash The Other