Exponentially fresh.

Continuing on with this Reggae/Dancehall vibe I got going here…one of the genre’s more widely known names gives us visuals for his recent single.

Pon di reggae tip. Great shit for summer. Feelin it. Download below, and you can stream via the hulkshare page, but their embed codes don’t like UntitledType too much *sadface*

[DOWNLOAD] Britella – Balanga

Rebelutionary coming soon. I’m liking this hook’s point (and as usual, REKS’ bars)…is what you think is the truth really the truth? And people always wonder why I second guess things. It’s not assholish, it’s wise.

Head on over to Sutra if you’re in New York City tonight – not only is there no cover and no RSVP required, but there will be an open bar from 11p-midnight accompanying DJ sets by lovely people like Stretch Armstrong, Roxy Cottontail, Jasmine Solano, and more. Go enjoy a beautiful evening.

So…La Coka Nostra is dropping a new album. On some underground shit, this could be worth your time. Lots, and I mean lots, of details below (plus a download link to one of the singles!):

“MASTERS OF THE DARK ARTS” FEATURES APPEARANCES FROM VINNIE PAZ, SEAN PRICE, THIRSTIN HOWL, SICK JACKEN & BIG LEFT WITH PRODUCTION FROM DJ LETHAL, ILL BILL, DJ PREMIER & STATIK SELEKTAH

Founded in late 2005, La Coka Nostra was more of a loose collective of artists connected through Danny Boy than an “actual” group. Having taken time off from rap after the break-up of House of Pain, Danny Boy met Slaine in Boston and the end result of that meeting transpired into Danny brining him out to L.A. to work on some tracks. Eventually, as they continued the creative process, things began to snowball organically and suddenly former members of House of Pain and ILL BILL joined the studio sessions and La Coka Nostra was born.

As there aptly titled 2009 debut LP proved (the group also has 3 mixtapes and 2 EP’s under their belts), the groups rabid fan base have come to know La Coka Nostra (Slaine, ILL BILL, DJ Lethal, & Danny Boy) as A Brand You Can Trust and their debut LP featured appearances from Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Immortal Technique and Bun B and though most of the production was handled in-house, they also enlisted Alchemist & Q-Unique for production as well.

Always known for tackling controversial topic matter, the group’s sophomore project, Masters Of The Dark Arts, (release date 7-31-2012) finds them once again in torch-bearing mode, addressing subjects that most artists shy away from as ILL BILL illustrates “as conceptually and musically dark as this album appears to be, there’s also a flip side layer to it that you may not notice until you listen to it a few times. Masters Of The Dark Arts is a storm before the calm and a celebration of the good things in life that can only be achieved by walking directly into the heart of darkness and facing your inner demons head on.”

While the group’s roster has been trimmed slightly due to Everlast having to leave the group (for personal reasons), La Coka Nostra returns re-invigorated and fresh off of a recently completed seventeen-city European tour which saw them rock crowds in eleven different countries “I think we approached Masters Of The Dark Arts with a chip on our shoulder and really took it back to our original mission of hardcore Hip-Hop amidst all the circus bullshit that is so prevalent in the current landscape of the genre. We are aware of the perception that somehow the group has suffered a loss we can’t recover from and in response we made an album that is the most conceptually focused and hardest hitting soundscape in the group’s history” Slaine asserts.

While DJ Lethal and ILL BILL continue to handle the majority of the production on Masters Of The Dark Arts, the group also enlisted Statik Selektah and the illustrious DJ Premier (on the must-hear “Mind Your Business”) and get contributions from Vinnie Paz, Sean Price, Thirstin Howl the 3rd & Big Left as well as Outerspace, Q-Unique & Jaysaun on 2 bonus cuts. “Masters Of The Dark Arts in my opinion is the quintessential La Coka Nostra sound, It has both bark and bite like true hardcore Hip-Hop should!” says Danny Boy.

La Coka Nostra’s Masters Of The Dark Arts will impact on 7-31-2012 and be released by Fat Beat Records.

Tracklisting and credits for La Coka Nostra’s Masters Of The Dark Arts:

1.) “My Universe” f/ Vinnie Paz (produced by Statik Selektah)

2.) “Creed Of The Greedier” (produced by Sicknature)

3.) “המוסד” (produced by DJ Lethal & Scott Stallone)

4.) “Mind Your Business” (produced by DJ Premier)

5.) “Electronic Funeral” f/ Sean Price (produced by Beat Butcha)

6.) “The Story Goes On” (produced by DJ Lethal)

7.) “Letter To Ouisch” (produced by ILL BILL & DJ Lethal)

8.) “Snow Beach” f/ Thirstin Howl the 3rd (produced by Jack Of All Trades)

9.) “The Eyes Of Santa Muerte” ft/ Sick Jacken (produced by ILL BILL)

10.) “Murder World” (produced by C-Lance)

11.) “Coka Kings” f/ Vinnie Paz (produced by C-Lance)

12.) “.38 револьвер” f/ Big Left (produced by Sicknature)

13.) “Malverde Market” (produced by ILL BILL)

14.) “Masters Of The Dark Arts” (produced by DJ Lethal)

15.) “Everybody Down” f/ Jaysaun & Q-Unique (produced by C-Lance) ***iTunes Bonus Track

16.) “No Hay Tiempo Para Mañana” f/ Outerspace (produced by C-Lance) ***iTunes Bonus Track)

[DOWNLOAD] La Coka Nostra – Malaverde Market (prod. by Ill Bill)

I know some of you will be fascinated by the Krit feature. Not mad at this…if I was a little drunker I’d probably like it even more. I can’t embed the hulkshare stream (sigh) but you can stream and download at the link below:

[DOWNLOAD] Murdah Baby feat. Big KRIT & Montana MaX – In The Zone

Oh my goodness. The ratchetry. I unleashed the original version to this at my side hustle the other day (if you have to ask, you’ll never know, and no, it’s not what you’re probably thinking after hearing this song), and it got the stamp of ratchet approval. Now seeing a remix with Wayne and one of my current favorites, 2 Chainz, on the shit? I approve.

[DOWNLOAD] Juicy J feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz – Bandz A Make Her Dance

Not much to be said here besides this: I’m long overdue for a trip down South. Amanda up North all summer? That’s that shit I don’t like.

Waka Flocka FlameSucker FreeMTV2

MTV’s Sucker Free gets a behind the scenes peek at Waka and Meek Mill’s latest video adventure. Also, see what MTV has in store for you if you tune in this Sunday:

This Sunday (11am/11pm) on Sucker Free, Waka Flocka Flame, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, French Montana and Ice-T join DJ Envy this week on the Sucker Free Countdown. Waka takes us behind the scenes of the Drake tour in Atlanta plus gives us an exclusive look at his new video with Meek Mill. Ice-T tells us about his new documentary ‘The Art of Rap’ and gives some Father’s Day advice.

Meek Mill also made his presence known at the Self Made listening session yesterday evening at Sin City in the Bronx. Along for some fun were Gunplay, Stalley, Busta Rhymes, Fred da Godson, French Montana, Rick Ross (clearly), and Drake, amidst others. I got to see my blog acquaintances get lap dances, and I saw quite possibly the laziest stripper I’ve ever seen, and please believe me, I’ve seen a lot of strippers in my life. She literally lay down on the floor, threw a leg back, and kinda just sat there like “Hey, look at me!”…don’t know what was up with that exactly, but my point is that Meek Mill is keeping busy these days and he seems to be doing all the right things.

Hypothetical scenario: you’re a few hours away from getting your phone turned off because you haven’t paid your bill. I owe you money. I’m dodging your calls. Where is the first place in NYC you go to look for me?

Answer: Bushwick.

I love Bushwick, I really do. It’s the perfect balance of hipster and ratchet, of overpriced condos and trap houses, of interesting businesses and ones that didn’t even open their door once in the year you lived on the same block. It gets a bad reputation at times…old school New Yorkers say it’s dead now – gone are the days when people were emptying clips for breakfast and abandoned lots dominated the landscape. Hipster purists will argue that it’s where the hipsters who can’t afford Williamsburg go to live. Neither side is wrong. Me? It’s close to the city, served by more than one train line, and affordable. It’s almost perfect, except the food options in certain areas of Bushwick tend to suck.

The main avenues (Broadway, Knickerbocker, Myrtle, Bushwick, etc.) are filled with great, cheap eats ($1 taco spots, carryout Incredible Hulks from Apolo’s, and just about any Dominican restaurant comes to mind), but the smaller side streets often lack. Not much besides take out Chinese, fried chicken spots, and maybe a mediocre pizza offering. But lately, on the Western side of the neighborhood, I’ve noticed some things changing. An LA-style burrito spot has proudly held down a corner along Wilson (I think) for quite some time now. There’s a fancy pants creative burger place that I’ve heard is serving up chorizo burgers I need to be paying attention to. They’re off the beaten path, definitely a sign of changing times, but also generally really good quality. And then there’s Arancini Bros.

An uber-tiny spot – it’s honestly smaller than my studio apartment – nestled on the corner of Flushing and Central, you may have driven or walked by here dozens of times without noticing it thanks to the crowd of drunk youngins taking a smoke break outside of the adjoining Wreck Room bar. Yep, adjoining. Wreck Room has a door that connects to Arancini Bros. which serves as a window where party people can order themselves one of Arancini’s many varieties of Sicilian-style rice balls. It’s pretty much the best drunk food-themed idea ever.

The menu is brief – four to six flavors of rice balls to choose from (sometimes they run out of flavors), a few other options like potato croquettes, and some interesting beverages to choose from as well (they stock espresso soda which is the most confusing thing ever to your taste buds, but I can’t get enough of it). Last night’s venture saw flavors like asparagus/lemon/mint and nutella with cinnamon sugar. But I settled on slightly more traditional offerings – the classic ragu (saffron risotto rice ball with traditional ragu sauce) and a mushroom offering.

I expected to enjoy the ragu more, but I was mistaken. Though it was fried to golden perfection, I expected a little more meat and sauciness to be happening inside the thing. Instead, it was more rice than anything. It was still delicious, don’t get me wrong, but I needed something more from this. I think if I order it again I’ll ask for sauce on the side (it’s not provided, which also puzzled me, but not enough to give a shit enough to ask for some).

My second choice, which proved to be the winner in my eyes, was the mushroom taleggio filled with mushrooms and taleggio cheese. The result was a very rich mushroom flavor throughout, and a humongous glob of melted cheese amazingness waiting for you on the inside. My picture did this thing no justice at all, so the above was swiped from the Arancini Bros. twitter. I’d order this again. A few times. And not just because it’s so close by. Again, I think this would be an even better experience if there was some default sauce served on the side for these things – a tomato or pesto would be ideal – because the cheese gets really intense. Some kind of light acidity to cut that would be fantastic, and probably mean that I could eat more of these in one sitting.

For the record, I tried to go back for a Nutella the same night after leaving because these things were that good, only to return and they were just closing up. Fail!

All arancini are $4 each, or two for $7. They’re about the size of my fist, but I have little hands, keep that in mind. Well worth the price at least a few times a year though. They also offer a frequent baller card, where you get a free ball after buying ten.

Arancini Bros., 940 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn