Exponentially fresh.

Now this is good news. Torae’s For The Record album LP finally has an official release date of November 1st, and features some stellar producers. Can’t wait. Want to know more? Peep the tracklist and press release below.

Hip hop recording artist Torae announces his upcoming debut offering; For The Record, on his Internal Affairs Entertainment imprint. Slated for release on November 1, 2011 the album is an ample fifteen tracks worth of high-caliber production and impeccable rhyme.

For The Record is sure to transcend the expectations of new listeners and staunch supporters alike, with veteran MCs like Masta Ace heralding it as his greatest contribution thus far.

“The combination of stellar production and a focused and more introspective Torae makes this his best work to date,” the fellow Brooklyn native stated.

Known for a roster of impressive collaborations, Torae has assembled an awe-inspiring crew of beatsmiths for accompaniment. From the renowned Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Diamond D and Large Professor; to those Torae labels “new legends,” 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Fatin, Illmind, Eric G., Marco Polo and Nottz.

For The Record raises the bar Torae has set with previous releases. A refreshing return to the multifarious nature of 2008’s “Daily Conversation”, the project is a notable change from 2009’s Double Barrel with Marco Polo, and this year’s mono-thematic Heart Failure EP. Fans will hear his skills sharpened; an array of cadences and intricately weaved rhyme patterns. He is also at his most vulnerable and transparent; providing a view through a wide-angle lens at the man behind the MC, as heard on “Panorama” and “Reflection.” Still there’s no shortage of the hard-hitting audacity we love on tracks like “Shakedown” and “You Ready.”

Also distinct is the absence of other voices on For The Record.  According to Torae, the choice to forego lyrical assists was deliberate.  “No one can tell my story like me,” he asserted.

Stay tuned for webisodes documenting Torae’s creative voyage during the making of For The Record.

Tracklisting & Credits for Torae’s For The Record LP:

1.)      Intro (produced by Torae)

2.)      Alive f/Wes (produced by Khrysis)

3.)      You Ready? (produed by Marco Polo)

4.)      What It Sound Like f/Pav Bundy (produced by !llmind)

5.)      Shakedown (produced by 9th Wonder)

6.)      That Raw (produced by Pete Rock)

7.)      Do The Math (produced by Large Professor)

8.)      Changes (produced by Diamond D)

9.)      Over You f/ Wes (produced by E. Jones)

10.)    Imagine (produced by Eric G)

11.)    Only Way (interlude) (produced by 9th Wonder)

12.)    For The Record (produced by DJ Premier)

13.)    Thank You (produced by Nottz)

14.)    Reflection (produced by Eric G)

15.)    Panorama f/ MeLa Machinko (produced by Fatin)

DL link to Torae’s “Do The Math” (produced by Large Professor)”: http://hulkshare.com/z0y69ddz99q4

For More Information on Torae please visit:

http://twitter.com/#!/Torae

www.itstorae.com

Jasmine Solano gets decked out in Rocawear and spits over some instrumentals we all know and love. I know this wasn’t the point of the video, but I love her nails. Anyway…want more Jasmine? She’ll be spinning alongside Stretch Armstrong at Santos on Friday. Flyer below.

11 years of EOW…and to celebrate they are having a free event at the Highline Ballroom this Thursday night. My dude the Heavy Hitter DJ DP One will be spinning, and performances include PH (Pumpkinhead), Mecca, Jess Jamez, Final Outlaw, Nems (FYL!), Mazzi of S.O.U.L. Purpose and more. NY underground shit. There will also be a bboy battle. The weather is lovely this week, so I don’t want to hear excuses.

Live from Shade 45′s studio with Tony Touch, Smoke DZA slangs bars at the mic, and of course it got captured on video.

Uptown XO’s mixtape premiered at 2dopeboyz, and alongside the release they gave us some new visuals to “Told You So.” Looking at these, it looks as if Irene was way more intense in D.C. than it was here in NYC. Must have been fun shooting that one (credit to Langston on the directorial front).

And, just in case you didn’t get it yet but still want it, here’s the download for Uptown XO’s “Monumental II” mixtape:

[DOWNLOAD] Uptown XO “Monumental II” Mixtape

Fall is coming, and I can’t wait. I love when the air gets that crisp, cool, feel to it. I love the onslaught of all things pumpkin-flavored. I love the urges to sit on my roof under the stars under my Polo fleece blanket, cuddled up with a nonfat latte and my iPod plotting ways to conquer the world in my own special way.

When once Massachusetts-based emcee Reks dropped his LP Grey Hairs back in 2008, it became the soundtrack to my Fall season, and even the Winter, too. His bars meriting multiple rewinds were just what I needed to pass the time on the slow, cold nights, and the beat selection did the perfect job of reflecting the freezer-like environment that chills Massachusetts residents to their cores, while somehow managing to be uplifting at the same time. I happened to spend a ton of time in New England that year, and thank goodness I did, because I fell in love with this project.

As we slowly ease into September and I sit in my friend’s East Harlem apartment which has doubled as my hurricane hideout, with Irene’s leftover wind gusts leaving the neighborhood finally feeling like Fall, I had the urge to dig this album up in my iTunes. It hasn’t lost any bit of its allure with time, I realized, and therefore I wanted to give it some flashback shine and maybe reach some ears that it hasn’t had a chance to yet. Hiding in its track list are a younger Skyzoo, a very convincing effort from Termanology, Lil Fame, Consequence, Jon Hope, and even Boston independent heavyweight Krumb Snatcha. Production from people like Statik Selektah and DJ Premier is just the icing on the cake.

But the star is Reks. To this day I still think Grey Hairs is his best release, and if you’re up on his more recent work but haven’t examined this LP in its entirety, you’re doing yourself a disservice. His views on life and his work become clear, he allows listeners a glimpse into his personality and real life, and manages to do it all while exhibiting lyrical excellence. While I bring this back to the top of my playlist for those cold walks to the subway this season, I encourage you to do the same. It’s rare I co-sign something this heavy…just trust me on this one.

And if you haven’t heard this yet, here’s some samples:

Reks – Say Goodnight (prod. by DJ Premier)

Reks feat. Skyzoo – Money On The Ave (prod. by Soul Theory)

Reks feat. Termanology and Krumb Snatcha – Big Dreamers (remix) (prod. by Statik Selektah)

Reks – The One (prod. by Statik Selektah)

Reks feat. Big Shug – Black Cream (The Negro Epidemic)

“Everybody ain’t Kanye West, Lord, I try to tell the kids get a dream you can afford, but kids wanna stunt, smoke blunts ,and impress broads, sip on syrup cuz their idol got his cup, what is this?”

*Not an official video, but my favorite cut off the album. He went in on some real shit, and Big Shug sounds perfect over this beat. It all flows together so well.

They may not be the most big budget videos, but this album was well worth your money. Definitely one of the most slept on indie releases I’ve come across in my life…seriously. Shout out to Reks, Statik Selektah, Showoff Records…all that. Excuse the random ass music plug, just felt this one was necessary.

STS dropped a project. It’s free. It’s dope. Just click on it. It won’t hurt you. Did I mention it has one of my all time favorite producers ever, the Alchemist, on it?! Yep. Say no more. Get to clickin’. Get to listenin’. What else do you have to do in a hurricane that isn’t even here yet, but somehow shuts down the subways anyway? Drink and fornicate? Exactly.

[DOWNLOAD] STS – The Illustrious

Another good event for you, NYC. This Saturday Q-Tip and DJ Spinna will be doing a special party to celebrate the birthday of the late, great, Michael Jackson at Irving Plaza. Shout out to Okayplayer for the tip, who is also offering potential partygoers a chance to win tickets…see below:

This Saturday, August 27th New York City will celebrate the late, greatEST, Michael Jackson’s birthday with none other than hip-hop pioneer, Q-Tip, and NYC party rockin mainstay, DJ Spinna, sharing turntable duties at the historic Irving PlazaMove Forward Music will be in the building and we’ve got your chance to WIN TICKETS right here.

Email mjbdaytribute@gmail.com for your chance to win a pair of tickets!

“When the groove is dead and gone, you know that love survives…And we will ROCK forever!”

BUY your tickets RIGHT HERE.
8/27/11
Irving Plaza
17 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003

The final installment in his Penny Freestyle series, Skyzoo brings us “Wikipedia Rap.” He will also be at Southpaw tonight in Brooklyn, alongside Jesse Abraham, Final Outlaw, and more.

[DOWNLOAD] Skyzoo – Wikipedia Rap

Above is a “video” I received tonight, showcasing Bronze Nazareth’s song (which has no official video as of yet) featuring Masta Killa and Inspectah Deck from his upcoming album School For The Blindman which will be released on September 13th. The track is available for purchase on iTunes. Important to note: this track was not available to download for free.

Artists these days are skating on thin ice by blasting a track they don’t wish to release for free, but want people to hear in order to build anticipation for an upcoming album. I’ve seen a few approaches to this dilemma used constantly:

1) A soundcloud link with the download option disabled

2) A snippet of the track released, usually along with another snippets from the album

3) Very annoying drops all over the track which encourage the consumer to purchase the drop-free final version upon release

4) A YouTube “video” – emphasis on the quotation marks. This is when the mp3 plays in full on a YouTube file, but it’s not actually a music video, it’s just a promotional image for the entire duration of the song, or something random.

Let’s focus on scenario number four, shall we? This actually relates to the other three, but let’s start simple. The beginning of the decade has been an interesting time – misuse of resources is trendy, it seems. Facebook isn’t just a place for friends anymore, it’s also a place for pervy dudes to troll on women and rappers to spam you in any way it is possible to tag a person’s name in anything. My oven isn’t for baking things (in fact it doesn’t function), it’s my backup storage space in case I run out of room. Whipped cream cans aren’t for making ice cream sundaes even better, they really just exist now so hipsters can extract the lone particles of nitrous and kill their brain cells. And apparently now YouTube isn’t just for videos – it’s a place for sound files.

For a while now I’ve had a tiny list of artists with videos I enjoy watching that go along with songs that I don’t like hearing. Beyonce and Shakira almost always fit into this category. It’s easy to hit the mute button on sound, but what happens when you want to hear a song but don’t want to look at irrelevant visuals? The above Bronze Nazareth promo blast literally just placed Kill Bill scenes behind the song – very unnecessary. Especially seeing as how videos are flash intensive and my aging MacBook Pro likes to move slowly when I have too many flash-intensive windows open now. I’d almost rather see a black screen. Or post a Soundcloud link with no download option and instead post the album art with the post.

But that’s me being picky. Let’s actually make a serious argument that goes beyond personal preference.

Here is the main reason why this tactic is useless: there are websites that exist that allow you to rip audio from video files directly into mp3.***

Gone are the days when only DJ’s and producers with ProTools or whatever the fuck they use these days to record whatever audio is coming from whatever source are the only ones who can easily rip sound files from their visual counterparts…like yanking samples from movies, ripping audio from vinyl, etc. With a simple copy/paste of your faux-video’s URL into [unnamed site's]*** handy little converter, I have the mp3 version of your song, minus the video, in a matter of seconds. I can also download the video itself, but who needs that?

Unless you’re Kanye and Jay-Z and apparently have enough dough on stash to not only chop up Maybachs but guard your album so tightly that it doesn’t leak prior to release, a rinky dinky little faux-video on YouTube isn’t going to stop your track from leaking. Don’t waste the time. Luckily for you guys, I have enough tact and enough of a lack of free time to bother doing this, but some asshole out there will. If you’re not ready to have your track out yet, don’t put it out. In any form. This isn’t me being a fiend for free shit and stingy with my dough, it’s just the plain fact that at this point you can’t fight technology’s capabilities, and people’s inability to fight the urges to misuse them.

Soundcloud audio can be yanked. As long as the audio exists somewhere in public, it can be stolen and turned into an mp3 and uploaded to a file server. Most people know this, some still don’t. So if YouTube “videos” and stream-only links don’t work, what are the other go-to options? Snippets or drop-laden annoyances?

A snippet lasts about as long in someone’s mind as the snippet lasted in their ears. There are advantages and disadvantages to that which can be discussed later. Drops? I’ve heard DJ’s spinning in clubs that actually play songs with DJ drops or promo drops still on them, long after the albums the songs belong to have dropped (pun intended), drop free. I kid you not. I do not cosign that behavior at all, a good DJ would go through their music to check for abnormalities such as sound quality, drops, accidental clean versions, etc., but it happens. So the drops didn’t deter too much, now did they?

I’ll say this again: if you’re not ready to literally give the song away, do not put it in public. Once it’s out there, it can be obtained for free. Some people will be righteous and buy it, some people won’t. Fact. Be prepared to take the loss, or keep it to yourself. Or at the very least to appease me, make a real video for the song. More often than not, I choose not to post songs that get blasted to me as these faux videos, when in fact I would have posted it had it contained an actual original music video.

The choice is yours, artists. Choose wisely.

***Note from management: I seem to have ruffled some feathers by directly linking to the site I use to acquire video’s not intended for download (so what, I like to watch all those parts of documentaries on YouTube without having to stream them online when it’s all choppy because of my internet connection and so I download them instead)…I’m not one to change my point when people are ticked off (the point remains), but they also had a good point – guess I made it too easy for some of you that are still in the dark. So…link removed.