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How Big Is Your World? Murder Mark – “You The Best”

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Baltimore club producer Murder Mark begins “You The Best” with a nod to “Blue Monday” by New Order. That timeless, simple kick drum intro though, doesn’t build to something more elegant or radio-ready. Instead, there’s just more minimal, sorta evil-sounding percussion stacked on top of other noisy drums, only letting up for a few sonically bold diversions (a sea of “what?!” shouts, a handclap and techno-synth breakdown). Like most club music being made in 2011, the “Think” break isn’t the driving force of the song or even a part of it at all anymore. Baltimore’s batty dance music is mutating as fast as all those electronic genres still deemed blog-worthy, so please pay attention. The video for “You The Best” is similarly stripped-down: An empty room, some dancers, fog, and cool colors. And you know, it isn’t Beyonce’s post-apocalyptic Russ Meyer couture freak-out or nothing, but a room of dudes and only dudes (Team Squad Up) performing a really amazing mix of in-the-club rocking-off and almost interpretive dance to a shit-talk track, holds its own kind of gender-bucking fun.

Written by Brandon

May 25th, 2011 at 2:54 am

Welcome To The Zoo On MARS Promo Video

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Preview video for the Zoo On MARS EP from Z.O.M.E. Rap-wise, Z.O.M.E keep their inner city Baltimore upbringing floating in the background (this was true on Mike-Mike’s “Bmore Better Be Afraid” too) and it’s a nice skipping over of street-cred. The only time they mention Baltimore, it’s to tell you that it’s “more than homicides.” There’s a very head-down, “yeah, we’re from the streets, whatever.” attitude that’s really captivating and affecting. Even the whole Mars, aliens, etc. angle works because it’s less about next-level-ness and more on some G-Side/Sun Ra sense of space as escapism: space as an appealing place because shit, it’s not here. There’s also a tradition of this kind of stuff in Baltimore specifically, back to the city’s house music and club music roots and the Egyptology cosmic rap weirdness of Labtekwon–brought together in the Doo-Dew Kidz/Labtekwon project 410 Pharoahs or Unruly producer King Tutt.

Murder Mark’s production is actually worthy of all this other galaxy talk too. The beat here’s more in the mold of club music–in that he’s just stacking strange sounds on top of stranger sounds–but he’s creating a claustrophobic, in-the-red intensity to the whole thing. As a result, the raps are urgent and excited, not laid-back and spacey like a lot of the radio and underground rap Z.O.M.E superficially resemble.

What also makes Z.O.M.E so appealing is that these guys aren’t in a bubble. They’re part of a scene. They’ve done shows in Baltimore. You can see them perform live. And when you see them in their bedroom here, they’re working on their rhymes and making beats together, not on some closed-circuit solitary rap shit like so many dudes lately. Totally not trying to turn this into a Baltimore blog as of late, but this is some of the only new stuff that’s grabbing me right now.

Written by Brandon

September 23rd, 2010 at 9:08 pm

How Big Is Your World? Mike-Mike – “Bmore Better Be Afraid”


Mike-Mike – “Bmore Better Be Afraid”

Word to Metal Lungies for linking the Z.O.M.E song from the other day. Here’s Mike-Mike of Z.O.M.E putting some new rhymes over top Eminem’s “Not Afraid” and making something far more inspiring and exciting than the original. Namely, Mike-Mike leaves Eminem’s signature self-loathing behind (dude doesn’t sound like anybody owes him anything) and maintains a level-head, even when he’s in battle mode: “He say, he’s the best/Well, I feel the same!” That’s a pretty unimpeachable response to “best rapper alive” boasts, you know? Every rapper thinks they’re the best, so let’s just keep it moving or prove that shit! That kind of propriety is also what allows Mike-Mike to really go after Baltimore’s rather calcified rap scene and come off more like a frustrated fan, than a guy just stirring up beef: “Majority of Bmore sounds like the south yo/And everyone down south know!/So quit it./We’re stealing the south’s flow/Even the niggas ain’t got money, rap about dough.” Rapping-wise, Mike-Mike’s attuned to every production trick and beat change-up in Boi1Da’s instrumental (hints of ), strolling along with those soap opera pianos at the beginning of verse three (“I have been chillin’ for a minute”) and taking advantage of those moments where he can toss out some confident chuckle or stretch his voice out and get weird with his raps.

Also–you missed the dude’s birthday:

*you can also read this post on Tumblr now, golly!

Written by Brandon

September 7th, 2010 at 5:08 pm