J Tizzle: “The Chill Zone Vol 3” – The taste is smooth and distinguishable!

As living things, we need a steady supply of certain ingredients to survive. In music, the formula is undeniably similar. A song requires both rhythm and pitch. For the musically hungrier amongst us, these ingredients are not enough. We need to add extras, such as mood, atmosphere, emotion and groove. Unfortunately, even with the proper ingredients and extras the results are not always as expected. Stagnancy spreads within the craftsman, as well as a lack of skill or emotion. Luckily one, by the name of J Tizzle (Jeffery Townsend Sr.), avoids these annoying traits. Within his songbook exists all of

Heavy AmericA: “Motor Honey (Peace)” – It’s rock. Pure and simple.

A couple of years ago, the bands to emulate in modern rock were those that flooded the radios with wickedly catchy upbeat power pop tunes. Then came the neo-metal-driven climate, where even the tame end of the spectrum became heavier. On their new single, “Motor Honey (Peace)”, Boston based three piece rock group Heavy AmericA, proves themselves among the best in the alternative rock genre with a track loaded with hooks for mainstream appeal, but with an energy and drive that keeps them from sounding like mere imitators. The new release which has all the potential to climb the rock

Scotty Seed: One of the more original and thoroughly enjoyable alternative listens of the year!

Proud of his Italian heritage and his role in the LGTBQ community as a queer artist, Scotty Seed is a musician based in the East Village of New York City. Obsessed with art, including fashion and music, Scotty, originally a Jersey boy, started taking songwriting and production seriously in his twenties. Influenced by elements of industrial, pop, grunge, PC music, electronic, and screamo music, he counts artists like Crystal Castles, Marilyn Manson, Hole, David Bowie, Madonna, and Depeche Mode among his inspirations. Fighting an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder, making music provides him with an escape from his mental health

Suburbs: “Sound of the Sea” – a rewarding new project

Suburbs is an indie rock band from Scheveningen, Netherland launched in 1995. The band that has its roots in the eighties and nineties achieved national exposure when they won the national contest “De Grote Prijs van Nederland” (The Grand Prize of the Netherlands), the largest and longest-running music competition in the country.  As of the summer of 2013 Suburbs has started a new chapter. Lead singer Arie Spaans and 2 early band members set to work to bring their old sound back. The following year they started dropping singles and video clips leasing to their mini EP “Masters” in 2016.

Martone: “Erogenous Zone” keeps the adrenaline and emotions flowing!

It was 5 years ago that pop superstar, Sam Smith, stepped up to the plate and showed the world that love songs don’t have to be heteronormative to be beloved. Smith came out publicly, stating that he wanted to be clear on what his album was about. “It’s about a guy and that’s what I wanted people to know.” He was also completely aware of how important his success is to the public narrative. Hearing your humanity represented and validated by pop culture is important, and many LGBT supporting musicians have since been stepping up to share their experiences. The

Red Tan: “Don’t You Dare!” – Vocally anchored and soulful!

Red Tan is a young widow and single mom. Living in an unfamiliar environment while suffering depression and anxiety has been a challenge that she was able to put into music on her single “Don’t You Dare!” It’s an inspirational anthem meant to help others overcome their struggles and difficulties, and achieve their goals. In the meantime it has been a healing medicine for the singer-songwriter herself, helping her to become a stronger and better person. Red Tan’s ability to create deep thoughtful music, her timeless voice, and her capacity to be so introspective, makes her extremely relatable to any

Albert J: “Grow” embraces both aural diversity and true inspiration

Albert J (formerly known as f.o.c.u.s.) is an American hip-hop recording artist residing in Tampa Florida. Moving through Maryland, DC, Virginia, NC, California and now Florida, Albert J got to experience a lot of diverse music and inspirations. From bands ranging from Sigur Ros and Coldplay to Linkin Park and Incubus, as well as many Hip-Hop influences from DMX, Kid Cudi, Mos Def and Busta Rhymes, Albert J grew up with a wide palette of sound. His 3 mixtapes “Youth Religion” (Dec 2013) “Remember” (March 2014) and “YR2” (April 2015), garnered serious attention in the Hip-hop scene, finally leading up

Knarly Jones: “Redemption” takes us on an epic journey

“Redemption”, is Detroit-based EDM producer, Knarly Jones’ second drop in a series of four releases this summer, preceded by “Atonement” which was released in June. After spending time away from music to study mathematics and physics, Knarly returns to the electronic music scene with a refined cinematic style and a slew of new releases. “Redemption” combines cinematic scoring elements with classic electro-house feel and heavy drops to create a unique sound for 2019. Knarly goes into his bag of tricks and creates an enlightening, varied soundscape that unleashes bass all over your face. With all of this to dive into, it’s

Maxime: “The Honest Me Pt.1” – a unique piece of work!

Maxime Boublil was born in Paris, France, into a musical theater family. His father Alain, wrote the musical adaptation of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, his mother was the first Cosette in Les Miserables in France. As a child Maxime played the cello and then went on to study photography Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, but he discovered what he really wanted to do, when he picked a guitar in a friend’s dorm room. After studying Music in Visual Media, Maxime went on to pursue a career as an engineer at Furstock Studios with three-time aria award-winning engineer

Absolute Doubt: “When Nightmares Become Dreams” – extreme melancholic chill!

John Francis, known by his artist name Absolute Doubt, is an up-and-coming rapper with a talent for freestyling. He works with a number of artists and producers on his latest EP “When Nightmares Become Dreams”, including Lucki, Jay Storm, and Downtime. The project imbues most of the tropes in contemporary swaggy rap music with an omnipresent breeziness that feels endemic to a luxurious daydream. The 2-song release consists of mid-tempo, gently forlorn hip-hop, padded out with New Age trap gauze. The music is pervaded by an all-embracing sonic fog. Absolute Doubt is best when he is pitted against gently fibrillating

Jewish rap pioneer SHI 360: “Chapters: Jewish Rap Bar Mitzvah”

SHI 360 is a Jewish rap pioneer. He is an Israeli born Canadian rapper, producer and performer. Being raised by North-African parents in the complex reality of Israel has influenced his music to reflect an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern melodies, North African Rhythms and thought provoking lyrics. His ability to switch between English, Hebrew and French rhymes has opened up the doors to a global audience. After receiving global acclaim with his various releases, SHI 360 has decided to rework his debut album “Chapters”, thirteen years after its original release. Recorded in the pre-digital era, SHI 360 wanted to give the tracks a fresh new sound which more people could access online. Hence the release of “Chapters: Jewish Rap Bar Mitzvah”, a remastered version containing 13 tracks plus 4 remixes.

CHAPTER-SHI360-COVERThe fact that most newer music, and rap in general, has devolved into mind-numbing garbage, becomes clearer when you listen to this album. SHI 360 comes out flying in all of his tracks. If you are a hip hop head from the 90’s, this is the kind of album that would be talked about in all circles. 90s hip hop really set the stage for things to come in the next 10 years. It’s too bad that 10 years later, hip hop just does not measure up, bar a few exceptions such as “Chapters”. This particular time period for hip hop was more about the music as in beats, rhymes, lyricism, creativity, and all that makes hip hop great. And that’s what this album contains – only it has now been turbocharged sonically and brought into the 21st Century by SHI 360.

SHI 360 is by far one of the best Israeli rappers ever to walk the face of the earth and he proves it yet once again on “Chapters: Jewish Rap Bar Mitzvah”. This amazing album and artist is somewhat underestimated by the mainstream radar. If you have not heard of any of the SHI 360 music or style, this will get you hooked first time. He catches some deep lyrics with clean cut productions and mixes them into a warm dark haven that takes you to another dimension. You can tell when a musician is totally into creating, not just a song, but a work of art. SHI 360 in my mind is an artist and not just another rapper. To say that SHI 360 knows what he is doing is an understatement.

CHAPTER-SHI360-350It’s good to see an artist grow and mature musically over the years, but it’s even better when they know how to go back to the sound that got you interested in them in the first place. Only this time they do it better. SHI 360 definitely does that with “Chapters: Jewish Rap Bar Mitzvah”.  Ever since his music career began, he has had lyrical skills that have always been hot and crisp like fries fresh out of hot grease. One listen to “Jacob’s Ladder”, “I Was There”, “Open Your Eyes”, “Resistance” or “Chapters” not only confirms this statement, but also certifies SHI 360’s introspective and socially conscious verses. Outspoken honesty and versatility is this album’s strength. Its hard tracks are just as amazing as its soulful or socially-conscious tracks.

If you’re sick of non-talented rappers pushing out the most simplistic irrelevant banter, with a cheesy hook and a stupid dance rhythm, you’ll need a daily dose of “Chapters: Jewish Rap Bar Mitzvah”. Seriously though, this is a very good album. I love that SHI 360 always tells stories in his songs. I enjoy how he is able step back and bring an outside perspective as well as firsthand experiences into his lyrics. In my opinion SHI 360 is probably one of the most underrated underground Hip hop artists currently doing the rounds. So what made SHI 360 go back and courageously restyle his debut album 13 years later? Who better to tell us than SHI (Supreme Hebrew Intelekt) himself!

What was the idea behind releasing a remastered version of “Chapters”, 13 years after its original release?

SHI360: I got the idea from a fan that wrote me how “Chapters” is his favorite album and more people should know about it. “Chapters” came in a pre-digital era, and today, more people can access music online. So I was waiting for the right moment and what’s better than a Bar-Mitzvah?

What are the major differences between the 2002 version of “Chapters” and the latest release of “Chapters: Jewish Rap Bar Mitzvah”?

SHI360: The Bar Mitzvah Edition is digitally remastered and has 13 tracks instead of 17. It also has 4 remixes. One of them is from the biggest hip-hop artist in Turkey – Sagopa Kajmer. We actually connected thanks to “Chapters.”

Between lyrics and music production, which did you handle on “Chapters”?

SHI360: On the original “Chapters” I was only handling the lyrics. I have grown a lot as an artist since… So in the Bar-Mitzvah Edition, you will get to see me on the production side with 2 remixes done by myself.

CHAPTERS-SHI360-680Are there any featured artists on “Chapters” or do you handle all the rapping. And who actually sings the hooks, like for example on “Jacob’s Ladder”?  

SHI360: “Chapters” was featuring most of the big Hip-Hop names in Montreal at the time: Obscure Disorder (A-trak’s group), Manchilde, Mr. Malish, and TFS singing the hook on “Jacobs Ladder.”

Since the original release of “Chapters” and the new remastered version, how much do you think your rapping style has changed, if at all?

SHI360: I think my rapping style progressed and has grown since to be more versatile. This was my very first album. I was raw, young, and didn’t have the same experience as I have today. However, it’s still positive, still conscious.

In the same context how much do you think Hip-Hop and the music business in general has changed during this time period? And do you think it’s for the better or for the worse?

SHI360: Hip-Hop changed A LOT since then. Some will argue that it’s a question of taste, but I genuinely feel like Hip-Hop had more meaning back then. More substance.

How much does it bother you, to know that you could sing songs like “Open Your Eyes” and “Resistance”, in 2002, in 2010, in 2015 and probably even in 2020, and nothing would have changed in the socio-political world?

SHI360: This is an unfortunate reality. We will always have people with their eyes blind to the truth. I try and shed light through my music. If I’m able to touch one soul – I feel a great accomplishment. I’m also an optimist so I do believe things will change for the better.

Why did you add the title “Jewish Rap Bar Mitzah” to “Chapters”? Is there a specific significance to that?

SHI360: There are a few rappers that are Jewish, but there were no “Jewish rappers” at the time I came out. No one rapped about Being Jewish, Sephardi, Israeli, etc. They were just rapping. I put that on the map, so it’s the “Bar-Mitzvah” of Jewish rap! Simple as that.

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