The 7th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival "Show & Prove SuperBOWL"
Show and Prove is a showcase of independent Hip-Hop talent. The three winners of each preliminary Show and Prove Competitions - Clear Soul Forces, Chris Faust, and LA - will compete at the S&P Super Bowl on July 11th at Brooklyn Bowl for the opportunity to open up on the Main Stage of the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival on July 16th. Following the competition there will be live performances from MC extraordinaire(s) J-Live, Camp Lo, The Artifacts, and more.
J-Live is one of the most talented MCs on the planet. Fans familiar with the clever lyricist have grown to love his unique style of wordplay and his originality. At the forefront of New York's independent hip hop scene since the mid 90s, J-Live was one of the first artists to move a substantial amount of units without airplay or a major label push. J-Live relied strongly on grassroots promotions and old fashioned hard work. For years J-Live has remained an independent music icon taking his time to release quality albums. This year, joining forces with Penalty Recordings and Rykodisc J-Live prepares to drop what may be his most sophisticated, conceptual and complete album so far, The Hear After.
J-Live was born and raised in Uptown Manhattan. After making a home for himself in Brooklyn upon graduating from SUNY at Albany, J recently relocated to Philadelphia in 2003. "Moving to Philly was more for the family than any kind of career move. But the whole music scene here and the hip hop community here have embraced me with open arms since I arrived. I've gotten a lot of support from so many different artists and dee jays. This city is jam packed with talented and beautiful people."
Recorded mostly at J's own Triple Threat Studios in Philadelphia, The Hear After actually seems to have taken on a life of it's own. Guest vocalist on the album, include up and coming artist, Kola Rock, Cvees, and the soulful sounds of Virgin recording artist, Dwele. The album features production by Floyd the Locsmif (Atl), Hezekiah, James Poysner (Philly), Probe DMS, Fire Dept., (NYC), Oddisee (DC), and J-Live himself. "The title is a play on words. People think of the here after as the after life or somewhere you go when you die. Like heaven or hell. Me personally, I see heaven as being at peace with yourself while you're alive. I see hell as the path you choose in life as opposed to a place you go after death. The album is called The Hear After because I'm at peace with myself musically, and I've been through hell to get that way. This is what you "hear after" all that has transpired so far. This is what I've been working to accomplish since the last album."
Like J's last two full length records, The Best Part and All of the Above, The Hear After covers a wide range of thoughts and emotions both musically and with its subject matter. "If you were to look at the whole thing, you would see a story line about an artist trying to maintain and expand his career and still be there for his family. That was the biggest struggle while making the record, and its no coincidence that it's a theme that becomes obvious listening to it. But there are songs about almost every aspect of my life from growing up in the city, to raising kids, touring heavy, building and teaching, politics, party and bullshit. I can't just spit about one thing for a whole record. That's not my style."
J-Live has been rhyming and mixing since the age of 12 but he has made much more of a name for himself as an MC than as a DJ. "I definitely focus on rhyming more. Growing up doing both it was easier on the pockets to be an MC. Records and equipment can get expensive. But I love spinning." One of the highlights of his entertaining live show is when he rhymes and beat juggles on the turntables simultaneously, performing his classic, "Bragging Writes." A triple threat, J-Live also produces. He combines some of the tastiest samples with emotion moving raw beats and occasional live musicians to construct the most original tracks and heart stopping beats.
For example, on the captivating intro song "Here" J enlists the services of the world renowned Jazz group Soulive, to remake Love Unlimited Orchestra's rendition of "Theme from King Kong". Riding the beat so perfectly, it almost sounds as if his voice is another instrument. It grabs the listener by the shoulders and demands that you sit up and pay attention to the complex, word play. Of course there are party cuts, "Shake", "Aww Yeah", and "Harder" destined to be dance floor anthems and show favorites. "Weather the Storm" another amazing cut, delivers, stunning, astute, political commentary against the backdrop of a menacing, beat with eerie overtones.
J-Live has always used music to get his messages across. He explains, "I grew up listening to everything from BDP to NWA, to PE, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, Nice and Smooth. Whether the music was pimped out, gangsta, militant or whatever, rappers had something important to say to kids like me. And I listened intently. As a 5%er, I can't imagine how much of an influence hip hop had on the way I see the world."
Case in point, J's favorite song on the album, "Audio Visual" is so descriptive it's a song "in 3-D". From the quirky, key accents to the thick-ass bottom running throughout the song, J-Live paints a colorful, picture of his life on and off the mic. "Brooklyn Public" is his ode to his days as an educator. Earlier in his career, J-Live taught middle school English/ Language Arts in Brooklyn for a few years.
Making music for the walkmans as well as the Jeeps, J-Live made a mature, sonically sophisticated album. "I feel like I represent hip hop's middle class. Seems like everybody's either crying broke or screaming rich or both. I try to speak to the people in between. The everyday hard working fun loving hip hop heads."
This is going to be one of the best albums of the year, for J-Live, for hip hop, for music period. Whether you're new to J's music or hip hop's independent scene, or a long time dedicated fan, there are beats and rhymes, stories and vibes, to enjoy from now till The Hear After.
Since breaking onto the scene with 1997's classic Uptown Saturday Night Camp Lo has been on a musical journey filled with their own brand of BX Slang, Blaxploitation Naratives and the soul of Black Culture. It's all hip-hop and it has always been innovative. The Hip-Hop Classic Luchini (aka This is It) introuduced the world to a new sound and seeing the video elevated the group further as it introduced their style of fashion and the high life as imagined through the eyes of forward thinking black men living in new york. Camp Lo brought vintage street fashion and culturally rich salng to the golden era of hip-hop. While others contributed to hip-hop with word play and clever nursery rhyme themed lyrics and others were obnoxiously street, Camp Lo spoke to the true urban experience. They were Grown and Sexy before it was cool to be, they were Black, they were artistic and well dressed. Looking back, Camp Lo was far ahead of their time and in speaking with the group's members you will find that it was the plan all along. Though not highly publisized the groups vision is what really sets them apart from all others in music. Throughout their albums there are reaccuring themes and characters. Their Harlem Renaissance inspired, Blaxploitation slang is often misunderstood and labled as " " but is actually a detailed description of the surroundings, movements and fashion that is Camp Lo. Sonny Cheeba for years was critisized for not always rhyming but he still was captivating with his delivery. This could be because the story was more important the rhyme. The tone, the mood that was set was more important. Camp Lo is a rare breed of mc that has always had the potential to be as loved above ground as underground. In the streets and in high society, they blend just the same always standing out just enough to resonate. For Camp Lo music is a canvas on which they can draw sketches on before painting their masterpiece. Uptown Saturday Night was heralded as a masterpiece when it was just the blueprint for things to come. Uptown was their star wars to set the story in motion. To truly understand you need to know the language, understand the setting and read the whole story before forming an opinion.
Their sophomore release Let's Do It Again (2002) was an experiment that fused their 80's influence with Blaxplotation Themes. It also embodied southern blues components that by design was not the Uptown Sound. Let's Do it Again introduced new characters, new settings and lingo. It took us to planet Rock to get that Glow and while major markets and big cities did not gravitate towards the sound it was praised and accepted in the south where the blues influence and instruments were favored. This was done by design planned liek a great Diamond Heist would be. It also set things in motion to gain new international contacts. During what seemed to be a hiatus froim the music game Camp Lo established their brand as hip-hop visionaries from the BX across the world. Collaborations with DJ Honda, Will Smith, Kid Capri, Stimulated Dummies and De la Soul fell def to the mainstream but was adored by hip-hop lovers in Japan and Europe. During this time Camp Lo recorded over 70 songs. Those that didn;t find there way to compilations or released as independently stay locked in the vaults.
The public reemeergence of this dynamic duo came in the form of 2007's Black Hollywood. Black Hollywood received great reviews and was only limited by the resources to promote and distribute it. Black Hollywood was the soundtrack of what Camp Lo for years had been imagined to be. The album boasted old school drums and elements from electro 80's funk with Classic 70's Soul. The Superfly themes also introduced us to Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba's alternate ego's Stone & Rob which were further explored by the group on their 2008 release approprietly titled Stone and Rob caught On Tape. For fans of the cinematic cult classic Coolie High, Stone & Rob can be remembered as the poetic thugs that .....With the release of Another Heist Camp Lo completes it's trilogy of the Stone & Rob experience that started with Black Hollywood. Produced by Camp Lo's quiet 3rd member Ski Beats (Producer of Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt) Another Heist takes the listener deeper into the essence of the diamond crook alter ego. This time the trip adds the soulful jazz elements of the blaxplotation era and those influenced by that sound in the 80's. It completes a journey through all elements of Black music (Blues, Jazz, African Music) and Black Culture.
Camp Lo has a few more stops on this soul train before reaching destination A Piece of the Action, the long awaited major label return of Camp Lo!!
The Artifacts are a throwback hip-hop duo from Newark, NJ. Their music reflects and emphasizes three of the four elements of true hip-hop culture: MCing, DJing, and their specialty, graffiti writing or "bombing"; both Tame One and El the Sensai are proficient at all three. With unique styles that play off each other well, Tame and El's graf-rap was well-received by underground audiences and continued in the Jersey rap tradition of Redman and Lords of the Underground. The crew scored an underground classic with their debut single in 1994, "Wrong Side of The Tracks," serving notice to their graffiti bombing missions and their Jersey heritage. The debut album, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, followed soon afterward. Tight, funky production provided the duo's B-boy stance the chance to take shape. Although it contained more of the same, the 1996 follow-up album, The Art of Facts, was not nearly as successful critically, getting lost amid the burgeoning kingpin gangster attitude of Jay-Z and Nas. The Artifacts were hard-nosed backpack hip-hoppers in the halcyon days of hip-hop's golden age revisited, before hip-hop's mainstream explosion and the elevating gangster hardcore style that led to the violent deaths of Tupac Shakir and Notorious B.I.G. The duo split in 1997 and now release singles as solo artists.