Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Crizzy Santaiga - W.S.I.E 3: Legendary

Crizzy Santaiga is back with his 4th mixtape and final chapter of the W.S.I.E trilogy, "Legendary."

The title track Legendary, produced by Pilsbury, glides in with smooths synths and sets the tone for the this whole mixtape. While it takes many twists and turns in style and content, the production quality of the album is very high. The hook on Legendary will get stuck in your head and the head-nodding beat will make you come back for more. The album, "Legendary" brings an innovative, modern and sometimes futuristic style of hip-hop beats with confident, but not over-the-top flows. The energy level of the emcees is perfectly balanced against the excellent production of the numerous beat-smiths behind the music for "Legendary."

Check the album for yourself on SoundCloud, iTunes, and Crizzy Santiaga's site

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Iron Mic Coalition's 3rd Edition is a REAL Hip Hop Record

There are a few acts that come to mind when you're speaking about Memphis rap- Three 6 Mafia, 8ball & MJG, Al Kapone, Playa Fly, Project Pat. The list goes on. When locals talk about Memphis hip hop, they mention the Iron Mic Coalition. Often called the Wu-Tang Clan of Memphis not just for the size of the group, but for their beats and rhymes, IMC brings a southern flare that isn't just crunk or d-boy rap. They're emcees, not rappers. Students of the four elements, IMC is for the real hip hop heads. The backpackers. Complete with the inescapable griminess that is Memphis. So much so, a word was created to describe what it is exactly they do, what they are and what it is they encompass- Memphop. 

In an age of incomprehensible shouting, nonsensical verses followed by lover boy auto-tune choruses, Iron Mic Coalition keeps it real with a record that comes correct lyrically and musically. The production value of The 3rd Edition (IMC Ten) is levels above their two previous releases. The beats have always been great, but certain tracks on earlier records were less than perfect. It still features the chopped up soul samples, cuts from DJ Capital A, hi-hats and sharp snares played on an MPC and top-notch lyricism. Nothing new there, but IMC can truly be heard for what they are on this record: Dope. The 3rd Edition marks IMC's 10th anniversary as a group. IMC is collective of several groups: Fyte Club (General Macarthur, The Mighty Quinn), M.O.S. (Duke, Derelick, and Mmilk), Kontrast (Jason Da Hater, EMPEE, and DJ Capital A) and last but certainly not least, the late, great Fathom 9 (a.k.a. Avenging Wind) of the Brotherhood of Doom (RIP). Holding it together so long with so many members is commendable in itself, but the record isn't good just because it is a celebration. 3rd Edition is good because it is their best showing to date. Each member does what they are known for and does it well.  

3rd Edition (IMC Ten) starts off hard with "The Drug" that features their patented sound from a track produced by member Empee. "LaLaLa" is the only track featuring the groups singing abilities on the chorus. "South Paw," produced by Paragon with rhyming from Mmilk, showcases the grimier sound of IMC. 3rd Edition appropriately features a collaboration with Memphis rap legends 8ball & MJG on the track "Dipped in Soul." Reminiscent of 8ball and MJG's "Comin' on Hard" record, the track takes you back with some modern touches. Then "Mystikal" just takes you back to when hip hop was fun and it might be my favorite track.

"Home"(featuring MaxPtah) is the only track produced by Fathom 9 a.k.a. Avenging Wind. Sadly, the world lost Fathom 9 this past November. He was most recently exploring a new alter ego as a new-age bluesman known as Avenging Wind. His album Dump Truck Blues: Battle Cry of the Wanderlust was indeed a truly original record that will stand the test of time. He will be missed by many and will live on in the hearts of producers and emcees everywhere.

"Track 20," also produced by Empee and featuring local legend RedEye Jedi (Tunnel Clones, Memphix), is a triumphant anthem that nicely rounds out the 10th anniversary of this legendary group. It spells out what Iron Mic Coalition is and what they stand for in the Bluff City.

Every track on 3rd Edition stands on its own and the production styles vary making the record different every time you bump it.

Iron Mic Coalition's The 3rd Edition (IMC Ten) is available now on iTunes, Amazon. Go get it!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Music Review - SiBeFor

SiBeFor is a modern alternative rock band based out of St. Petersburg Russia with a sound that is akin to Tool. There style is dark, edgy, and passionate with a twisted artistic aesthetic to take the music to the next level. For those who love to rock and/or just get out of their skull from time to time, SiBeFor creates a vent-worthy narrative in their tracks that will surely align with fans of genres ranging from metal to classic rock.

The band has been touring in northern Europe and has been playing together since 2010. They have plans to release their first album in summer 2015, but have already released a few singles and even a promo music video for the track "Forbidden Fruit." Fans of Tool will definitely appreciate the disturbing visual style of this video as the singer of the the track is dons full body paint and leers creepily at the camera. Between shots of the band we see what looks like a temple as well as many other signs of the bands affinity for magic and mysticism. You can get a peak of the video for yourself in the YouTube embed below.

To find out more about SiBeFor, check out their website at Also find them on SoundCloud at and Facebook at

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Slit - "Beg"

The Slit present their latest single, "Beg."

The single, "Beg" is a live rehearsal recording with excellent instrumental performances. The music is a blend of alternative rock from the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and heavier modern rock. There is also a bit of classic rock that can be heard through The Slit's sound influenced by Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The vocals are gritty and guttural channeling the angst that is central to The Slit's overall aesthetic. For lovers of metal, emo, and thrash, there is a piece of each in this music. On the flip side, The Slit is simultaneously grounded in older alternative rocks styles of the 90's with a leaning toward heroine lounge psychedelic rock. The track "Beg" is both heavy and deep. I'm sure The Slit's brand of rock is not for everyone, but for many rockers out there The Slit is sure to resonate. Listen for yourself in the embed below. To hear more of The Slit, click over their Soundcloud page at or on Facebook at

Friday, November 28, 2014

Xavier Scott - "Freaks Like Us"

Xavier Scott presents the latest single, "Freaks Like Us" from his album My Perfect Imperfections

Long time saxophone player, Xavier Scott first picked up the saxophone at age 11 and has now been playing for 30 years. His technical prowess and creative agility are both apparent in his track "Freak Like Us." For the most part, he informed me that he likes to improvise, or in his own words, "I usually just record in one take and see what happens." This is an impressive and dangerous method of recording. It can surely go both ways between amazing improvisations that are captured in the moment or the treacherous pitfalls of aimless meandering. Xavier Scott does a great job of keeping things fresh and funky throughout his entire improvisations. On top of that, he takes the time to layer up his own horn arrangements as backing parts throughout the track. Large saxophone sections carry the progression through a turnaround and help to keep his improvisations moving forward. The execution of this track is fairly minimal consisting of a drum machine and layers of saxophone. I can appreciate the 808 beat that is the backbone of the track. It is reminiscent of a Marvin Gaye sound and keeps the overall feel of the track soulful and danceable while still being relatively down-tempo.

"Freaks Like Us" and My Perfect Imperfections are available online at most digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby. Find out more about Xavier Scott on his facebook page at:

Friday, November 21, 2014

The High Cell - The Devil on a Tricycle EP

Michael Heisel aka The High Cell presents his latest release, The Devil on a Tricycle EP.

The High Cell is a very interesting project, mainly because it is the brainchild of one man, Michael Heisel, and for the most part, his new EP is entirely a product of his own execution. The Devil on a Tricycle EP also features a couple of guest musicians, Davy Knowles on guitar and Adam Berzowski on keys. The overall sound of the album is a blend of blues, rock, funk that sounds like it could have been born in an imaginary town halfway between Cleveland, Ohio and New Orleans, Lousiana. (That wouldn't put you too far from Memphis, Tennessee, which fits the bill pretty well, too.) The production value is so good that it speaks volumes about Heisel's multi-hat wearing prowess as he also was behind the recording of the EP.

The first song on the album, "Another Fine Mess," is one of the more "straight rock" songs on the EP. By that I mean the rest of the album has a lot of influences from blues and funk layered on solid rock foundations. This track fits pretty well into the classic rock genre. The main guitar lick is very reminiscent of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" but the rest of the song sounds a bit more like modern southern rock from the likes of Gov't Mule. Heisel's vocal timbre is an excellent fit for this gritty, riff-dominant style of rock. There is a fantastic solo from Davy Knowles that really slants the song in the blues direction, but it still comes back home at the end. The main chorus is simple and effective and serves very well as a hook that will keep this song in your head for a while to come.

The title track, "Devil on a Tricycle," really got my head nodding. A laid back, in-the-cut beat worthy of The Meters kicks the song off into a classic blues progression. The bass line is thick and funky, driving the beat forward. The guitar is plucky and twangy at the same time making me feel like I'm in New Orleans. The imagery of the lyrics is pretty hilarious and plays into a great metaphor. The bell on the tricycle is the bane of the singer's existence. It's that one little thing that just drives you crazy and this track puts a name on it. 

"Tread" is another track that brings in a guest musician with Adam Berzowski on organ duties. Berzowski rips up a lively solo early in the track which really raises the energy of the composition. The song is a slow, blues romp that sounds like it could have been written and/or performed by a psychedelic rock outfit of the seventies. We also get to hear Heisel's harmonica skills on "Tread" followed directly by a wailing guitar solo. The execution on this track is flawless, but it's not my favorite track on the EP just because it's a bit slow and starts to drag some with a play time of 4:29.

Moving into a more North Mississippi brand of the blues, "Small Town Bird" picks up the pace. The song sounds like something Luther Dickinson might write with a stomp worthy blues backbeat and heavy blues riffs driving the progression. The large layers of vocals create an excellent lead part for one of the most well composed songs on the album. The lyrics on "Small Town Bird" bring a very strong and catchy chorus. Heisel does a great job of taking a simple metaphor and turning it into a multi-layered narrative. He does this most effectively on "Small Town Bird" while perfectly pairing this narrative with roadhouse style of blues.

"Rise," the final track on the EP, takes us back toward riff rock, but this track is much funkier than the likes of "Another Fine Mess." Putting the pentatonic scale to one it's best uses, "Rise" plays back and forth between a funky riff and vibing through a blues progression for dynamic play on a very familiar song structure. The short bridge with layers of harmonies singing "riiiiiiiise" is a nice breakdown to the composition, giving some breathing room to the overall flow of the song. 

Overall, The Devil on a Tricycle EP is an excellent exploration of the different genres it champions. Michael Heisel gets numerous kudos for his ability to wear many hats for this "band," but it's even more impressive that he has delivered such a focused vision for The High Cell. Check out the album for yourself at Heisel's website for the project at

The Devil on a Tricycle EP is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon, and most major digital music retailers. 

Sanghera - "Hold On"

Sanghera presents the latest single "Hold On" from his album Story of Staying Home.

"Hold On" is a hip-hop track from California based artist Sanghera with a classic sound created by using soulful samples over a gangsta rap style beat. The sultry vocals of a female singer start the track out right, drawing the listener in over rhythm chords of a Rhodes keyboard. The instrumentation of keys, subtle electric guitar licks, and quiet yet large horn arrangements creates a beat that can't be denied. Sanghera's flows tell us the story of taking metaphorical holding pattern in the midst of a developing romance. The cadence of Sanghera's flows are solid and familiar, but his particular enunciations and accent are very unique which makes his vocal timbre sound very original. The beat breaks down at the end, giving a bit more breathing room for a second. It's a welcome contrast to the rest of the beat. I really enjoyed the musical and lyrical elements of "Hold On" giving us a taste of classic sound while also presenting a progressive and conscious style of lyricism.

You can check out "Hold On" and the rest of Sanghera's album The Story of Staying Home on his SoundCloud page at or in the embed below.