Exponentially fresh.

Another day, another dinner. Tonight I decided to take my first adventure into New York City’s Korean food scene. In case you didn’t know, when I lived in Virginia I lived in the D.C. area’s unofficially official Koreatown. Basically every restaurant in the city was Korean, or at least Korean-owned, save for a very select few establishments. What up, A&J Restaurant? Oh, how I miss you so…

But anyway, I was always spoiled when it came to Korean food. There’s nothing quite like the lingering stench of Korean BBQ on your clothes after an hour sitting in front of the tabletop grill with friends doing soju shots. Those were the days.

So perhaps to channel some DMV memories, or maybe because there’s parking on that block around that time of the evening, I ventured out to Madangsui on the outskirts of NYC’s Koreatown, hoping to find the food I’ve been missing.


Above is something along the lines of what I wanted to order – the picture is of the Dol Sot Bibimbob ($14.99, rice topped with assorted vegetable and ground beef based stone ware pot served sizzling hot…their words, not mine). One of my favorite Koreatown dishes at home was the Sashimi Bibim from Miso off of Little River Tnpk…and this is the same in concept except with ground beef and white rice instead of raw fish and brown rice, how I like it. This is the more classic style, rather than some Japanese-Korean fusion. But, too bad for me, their vegetables are pre-sauteed with sesame seeds, so I had to change my order since I’m allergic. Wack. I ended up with this instead…

…Ddeok Mandoogook ($11.99, sliced rice cake and dumpling soup), which was a decent alternative. Floating in the broth were large dumplings, strips of seaweed, glass noodles, sliced rice cakes (I’m addicted to dduk, rice cakes, on ANYTHING), and random slices of beef that reminded me a lot of the brisket found in pho. It was filling, but I really can’t see myself ever paying twelve bucks for soup again. You know, because I’m a cheap bastard.

Although I didn’t go for the BBQ, I looked around and could tell it wasn’t quite like home. No army of Korean waitresses sprinting through the restaurant with kitchen scissors, snip-snipping away at thinly cut meats and shoveling it all onto patron’s plates with no regard to who ordered what. No K-pop blasting on the speakers (this restaurant seemed to have a thing for Mariah Carey). Just…not quite what I was looking for. But that being said, it’s a nice looking place, extremely clean, and the food was certainly of a high quality. If you got the money to blow twelve bucks on soup or $20+ on BBQ, go for it.

Nice sidenote: the hosts at the door are extremely friendly. The guy saw me standing in the cold doorway waiting for someone, and graciously invited me in to wait. Even though I declined, it was a nice touch. They also have some good pens, of all things, next to the mints at the door. As a writer (and former hostess) and all, that meant a lot. Thanks.

Things I’d go back and try: Hwe Naeng Myun (vermicelli noodles served with raw fish and spicy sauce, $13.99)

Madangsui, 35 W. 35th St., New York City

I’m a sucker for good time lapses of some fresh graffiti going up, especially when there’s good music to go along with it. So I felt no regret when a few minutes of my day were consumed when I saw this e-mail from QN5′s Substantial…his words best explain what’s going on here, although I’d love to know what’s up with the two guys at the end of this video…:

Marcus D & myself are preparing to shoot our first video. While building with multiple directors we came across directors and Simple | Multimedia (a multimedia group based in the DMV) got the nod.

This clip is from a short film project they are wrapping up and featuresThe Art of Work (Instrumental) produced by Bop Alloy’s Seattle based producer, Marcus D.  The graf in the video is laced by Rei21, who was also featured in my video, My Favorite Things directed by Matt Hobbs.

And another portion of my conversation with DJ Premier makes it onto the net, this time with the gem that he has produced a track for Immortal Technique’s The Middle Passage. I know some people will be happy about this one. Commence discussion. News story below.

[READ] DJ Premier Produces Track for Immortal Technique (via TheWellVersed)

As part of a piece I’m working on, I had a chance to discuss some things with DJ Premier. “Project Boy” is one of my favorite tracks to come out this year, so you can only imagine my joy when Premo told me this (news story via TheWellVersed)…YAOWA!

Read: DJ Premier Says A Collaborative Album With Joell Ortiz Would Be “Most Dangerous Record Ever”

A little while ago I had the pleasure of conversing with one half of the Philadelphia duo Chiddy Bang. The group’s emcee, Chiddy, took time out from their UK tour to enlighten me about what they’re up to, their upcoming album, how tough it was to balance music and college, and their lightning-fast rise to notoriety. This also marks my first interview for XXL’s website, which means a lot to me since I grew up reading that magazine. Follow the link to read it…

[INTERVIEW] Chiddy Bang (via XXLMag.com)

Not much to say about this one. One of my favorite producers ever links with one of my favorite emcees ever. Can this really be bad?

[DOWNLOAD] Oh No (Alchemist and Oh No) feat. Raekwon – Gutter Water

I live nowhere near my immediate fam, so some weekends are consumed by 4+ hour road trips, such as last night’s. I tried to be slick and catch a detour through Jersey, but it backfired and my trip took about six hours (when it usually takes four). So anyway, my point is that I made an incredible discovery on this flawed journey of mine. Somewhere around Princeton, NJ I switched from my mix CD to the radio and found some station at 103.3 FM. And on this station was the grimiest radio show I’ve ever heard on the FM airwaves. This was like…Emerson College’s late night Hip Hop show meets Grindtime East Coast.

In the span of about an hour I heard Ghostface Killah, Chino XL, KRS One, Grand Puba, production from DJ Premier, Vinnie Paz, Vado, Prodigy, Mcgruff, Jim Jones, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks…all uncensored. There were raps about hustling, raps about 5 percenter stuff, raps about killing, street-style braggadocio raps…basically all the stuff I want to listen to while I ride around BK, but Hot 97 will never play and I’m too lazy to burn onto a CD. Sure, the show was some collegiate, low-budget, hood shit. Well, as hood as Princeton University’s radio can get. It seems that Hip Hop lives in the most unlikely places. By the end of the drive I couldn’t tell if my neck hurt thanks to being in the car for so long, or because I was breaking it nodding my head to all those tracks. The DJ calls himself the Surgeon General and speaks like he’s straight out of Brooklyn, dropping lots of “son” and “nahmean” after almost every sentence he utters. He even went on a diatribe about how business and friendship should be kept separate and did RIP shoutouts that rivaled Emerson College’s relaying of messages to inmates on air. I really can’t make this up.

By the time I was passing through Philadelphia, the signal was fading and I was wondering if I had entered some sort of alternate universe in the middle of nowhere in Jersey during that drive. But it was real. And I won’t forget it. College radio is still that glimmer of hope that maybe the artists that I support so much online will have a chance at hearing themselves on FM radio one day.

Once I arrived at my parents’ crib in VA I also found this little teaser of a gem from Philadelphia. A montage of North Philadelphia graffiti put together by Mr. Green (think Pacewon), with a nice instrumental to top it all off.

I should make this a more frequent thing. Up for grabs is a pair of tickets to catch Camp Lo, Stalley, Fresh Daily, Kooley High and more performing live on Sunday, November 21st at Jelani’s in Brooklyn (507 Waverly Ave.). All you gotta do is leave a comment stating your favorite track from Uptown Saturday Night (one of my all-time favorites) and your email address (or alternatively your twitter username if leaving your e-mail in public is a little too much for you). Entries will be accepted until 2pm Saturday, and a winner will be chosen at random and contacted that afternoon. Please only enter if you honestly think you can make the show.

Good luck!

This ain’t some new shit but there’s a big chance it’s some shit you still haven’t heard. The fam DJ GI Joe and DP One are not only incredible behind the turntables, but they’re well versed in the bboy scene as well. Hell, DP One reps all the elements of Hip Hop to the point that it’s a bit mind boggling how he can do it all. But you don’t have to be a bboy to enjoy some good breaks. They went in on this mix, so I’m going to share it with you since Joe went ahead and put up a fresh download link for it. Shit is flames. Fuego. Incendiary. Arson. All that flammable shit. I can’t wait until they get back into the studio to do some more tapes. Those two never disappoint as far as music goes.

[DOWNLOAD] DJ GI Joe and DP One “Bboy Burial” mixtape

BONUS VIDEOS: Check out these old  YouTube clips of the making of the mixtape…cameos from the homies Choppa, Southpaw (producer for Immortal Technique), and more.

DP One is in Japan right now doing his thing for Red Bull BC One and tearing up the party scene with the oh-so-fresh DJ Sarasa, and GI Joe is about to leave for California to do a show with Immortal Technique, but if you see these guys in your city definitely check out their sets. They got skills. If you need cuts on a record, a mixtape hosted or mixed, a DJ for a party, whatever, just let me know.

There aren’t many female emcees I’m wholeheartedly a fan of, but Eternia is one of those rare few. Not only does she have undeniable skill, she’s just an overall great person that overflows with positive energy. I always enjoy running into her at shows.  Plus she has a good team behind her. What up, Sav!

Peep her going in on the streets of Queens…and then stop sleeping on her music.