After a year and a half in the works Pittsburgh’s super-duo Varsity Squad, consisting of emcees Beedie and Jon Quest, are ready to unleash their debut group-effort to the world entitled New School Boom. They decided to release this first song as a holiday treat to get you ready for the New Year and their February 7th release date. Shade Cobain laces a head-knocking beat and Varsity Squad flex their not just their lyrical skills but also their songwriting ability. The track features cuts from DJ Vex & additional keys and guitar from Beedie.
To go along with the album release they have collaborated with streetwear brand Man Cave Clothing to create an exclusive Crewneck design, complete in 2 different color schemes: classic Black on Heather Grey, and the Pittsburgh edition Yellow on Black. These crewnecks are available now for pre-order and will include a free hardcopy of the album, shipping on the release date of February 7, 2012. You can view them here http://WhoisVS.storenvy.com
Varsity Squad, made up of Pittsburgh emcees Jon Quest & Beedie, have been hard at work crafting their debut album over the last year. With the recent success of Beedie’s solo album The Beat Bully LP as well as receiving nearly 50,000 views on his most recent music video, Beedie & Jon Quest are ready to introduce you to VS with a weekly series of leaks, titled “Varsity Tryouts”, building up to their album release later this year. For the first week they decided to unleash one of the first tracks they ever made as VS, entitled “INTROduction (Welcome To Tryouts)”, produced by Shade Cobain. Follow VS on Twitter @VarsitySquadVS@Beedie412@JonQuest412.
Synopsis: Denial. Patience. Regret. The mere thought of these words can break the average man down. However, the man who has focus and a purpose will not fear these words, nor the power behind them. He will instead learn to respect these terms and ultimately obtain…the prize.
TFW Presents: Tears by Shade Cobain. A collection of hard-hitting bass / drum tracks with eclectic samples and smooth grooves…all which make up the signature Shade Cobain sound.
More than an EP.
YD of Moola Gang has been hard at work promoting his latest mixtape New Luke-O. “Get Out My Face” is the lead single off the mixtape, proudced by Shade Cobain. The track is an upbeat banger that finds YD flossing over a classic Hip-Hop beat. For all things Moola Gang visit www.moolagang.com.
For quite some time now, Beedie has been bubbling in Pittsburgh and over the years has made himself a household name as one of the finest MCs in the city. To further showcase his incredibly advanced and polished skills as a rapper and songwriter, he drops The Beat Bully LP which is a complete project in that it tackles a variety of subjects from trees to rolling dolo to more introspective tracks about his upbringing and his girl. And of course with any well developed MC we get brag-and-boast joints which show off the raw rap skills this cat has. Beedie doesn’t need to prove anything, but this album he offers more evidence of why he’s one of the nicest in the game right now.
After a strong build up with a haunting female voice and a slew of classic hip hop samples, Beedie launches into the intro and effortlessly spits a dope ass verse, letting the listener know that he most definitely got the skills for this. “Beedie Sings The Blues” is exactly what the title says, with an unorthodox beat screaming with guitars but backed by pure hip hop drums as Beedie straight bodies the track spitting them boastful rhymes. On “Mad Science” we get the all-star trio of Beedie, Jon Quest and Shade Cobain delivering a concept joint in which both MCs make various scientific and technical references. Guest Jon Quest comes through with an incredibly strong verse and as always Shade Cobain contributes the perfect backdrop as he is easily the best producer in the Burgh.
Continuing on, “Dolo” finds Beedie going in over a throwback beat dropping more raw raps, while “Hello (It’s Me Again)” got more of a soulful feel. After a brief (and amazing) intermission from Shade Cobain we get not only one of the highlights of the album but easily one of the hypest and best tracks this year as Ghosty joints Beedie for “Cardiac Arrest”. I can’t say enough about this track, Czientist provides a neck breaking beat and both MCs straight up close caskets on their verses, then join up on the third as they go back and forth. The keys, the vocal sample, the drums, the MCs, “Cardiac Arrest” is a fucking anthem! Even the transition into the next joint “Push” is perfect, as Beedie closes out the album with some personal joints, telling his life story on “Story of My Life” and then dedicating a joint to his girl on “My Love Song”.
After “Questions” the album proper ends, and for bonus tracks we get the previously released “93 Til Infinity” freestyle featuring Jon Quest along with another Varsity Squad joint. But the real highlight here is when Beedie channels his inner-Ice Cube and goes “jackin’ 4 beats” on “The Beat Bully” as for 6 minutes he rips into some of the best instrumentals in rap’s history, spitting raw raps over them with ease. Honestly the only joint I wasn’t feeling on this whole album was the first actual song, “Kushed Out” as the weed track just didn’t really fit right at the beginning of the album, you gotta introduce yourself a little bit before launching into weed anthems or else people just gonna assume you a stoner rapper, which Beedie is so much more than that. Other than that one joint though this album plays straight though and is dope for the entire hour.
Beedie delivers a full plate on The Beat Bully LP as he never leaves the listener bored. With an ample amount of conceptual joints mixed in with braggadocious rhymes, Beedie sets the bar incredibly high for all other artists on the come up. This is no longer a rapper looking for a place in the game, this is an artist confident in his craft and improving each and every time he laces a track. A lot of rappers can put a bunch of songs together, but Beedie has a true album here with The Beat Bully LP and with this he truly cements himself as one of the best artists in Pittsburgh. Highly recommend.
YD is part of the epic Pittsburgh group Moola Gang, one of the more talented groups to come out of the city and he blesses us with New Luke-O, an album that continues to prove why Moola Gang needs to be on your radar if they aren’t already. A complete package album, meaning you get every type of hip hop on here, sequenced right with plenty of highlights, New Luke-O finds YD showcasing his diversity and ability to make a solid project.
Wasting no time a hypnotic beat sets off the tape, it draws you in while YD spitting a quick verse and then we get introduced to the album. After that we get “Main Street”, over a slow funky beat YD spits a lazy flow, but the brilliance here is that it’s clear YD knows he has bars so he casually drops greatness while pulling you into the album even further. It’s a slow burn that leads perfectly into the Lex Luger-inspired “$ho Boat” which Moola Gang member Pyrex Pre$$ joins up alongside Young B for a hype ass boastful bottle popping club-ready banger. After a solid joint for the ladies we get “Money” which is some old school type shit, smoothed all the way out with YD absolutely blazing through the beat. Guest A1 the Sauceman also blesses this gem to make it one of the highlights of the tape.
Continuing on, “Few Double” combines the high pitched vocal sample, 808s and YD coming through with a menacing flow, yet another highlight showing how deep the bench goes on this one. The lavish landscape of “Talk That Shit” allows the all-star team of YD, Franchise and Palermo Stone to shine with 3 outstanding verses. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the hottest joint on the album is produced by Shade Cobain, as “Get Out My Face” finds YD running laps over the hard drums and mesmerizing bass that Shade provides. “Same Old Same” is a short but sweet track with YD holding his own over the crazy soulful beat. And of course as usual Jon Quest gives us brilliance on “They Wanna Know”, when you get one of the best spitters in the Burgh on your song you know you doing things right.
The slip-ups are few and far between. While “Boss’d Up” isn’t a bad song on its own, it’s a lesser version of “$ho Boat” and therefore really just adds padding to the album. Also “Light Up” tries a little hard to be a weed anthem/club joint/Lex Luger track. It’s a little slow and ends up being forgettable. Plus YD’s flow just isn’t on par on this song. It matches the beat, but just like the beat it’s too slow to really work, even when he speeds it up by this point you’ve more than likely hit the skip button. But other than those two joints what you get with from YD is a solid release.
New Luke-O is the definition of a diverse rap album. You got club joints, joints for females, old school boom bap tracks and modern day gems. YD has proved himself as part of Moola Gang to be a confident and worthy MC, and this tape only further displays that. Bringing along just the right amount of guests to complement his style, YD gives us a solid album of tracks that is definitely perfect for the warm summer weather. Open the sunroof, roll down the windows and ride out to New Luke-O as YD’s tape is one of the best projects out right now. 4/5
To take a journey through one of Shade Cobain’s theories is to immerse yourself completely in an exploration of musical history. For seasoned vets of the game it’s a time to reminisce on some of your favorite gems from the past with the addition of hard drum lines over the carefully chosen breaks. For younger fans the journey consists of a lesson in how music can be taken apart and put back together in such a way that even better music comes from it. Oh yeah and you’re gonna need some herbals on his journey, as Cobainish Theory is the perfect complement to a blunt session, and an incredible soundscape from the brilliant mind of Shade Cobain.
Much like what you’d expect from Madlib (and I don’t make that comparison lightly), Cobainish Theory includes cut samples, interlude skits, long forgotten breaks and neck breaking drums. The result of all this is a tape full of head nodders, soulful rhythms and a whole lot of hip hop. This is a crate digger’s dream and a rap junkie’s inspiration. It’s a classic beat tape done to perfection by easily one of the best producers in the game right now.
So on to the content, after an intro which incorporates a little Black Moon as well as a very familiar call out chant you will literally break your neck on “September 6 (Genesis)” as Shade shows off his signature drums which make his beats so powerful. People forget how important drums are to a track, you can have all the right samples but you gotta carry it with the right backdrop, and Shade’s drums are chest pounding. “On Point (Inspiration)” is a mish-mash of soul and some almost robot type shit but it harkens back to the flashiness part of the mid-90s, most forget cause that boom bap was front and center but even those groups shined it up every once in a while. “The Typical (Conform)” is like waking up and seeing the sun glowing on concrete stained with alcohol from the night before, it’s beautiful but it’s still raw. That’s part of Shade’s genius, almost every track provides at least 2 different perspectives, two emotions can be felt on every song, that’s the mark of a skilled beat maker.
“Frick Park (Ambition)” is the joint that Black Star needs to reunite on as the pianos are forefront to the changing drums with that 1970s in-the-park sound as the titles on Cobainish Theory are just as relevant as the music itself. “Dewitt (Influence)” belongs on a Tribe Called Quest/Planet Asis collab album made in 1993 as the jazz/west coast sounds blend perfectly. If there had to be one highlight on this tape it would be “The Chase (Drum Snobs)” as not only does the beat drop make you lose all control but sampling the theme from “Get Smart” adds this mystery element to the track which only increases the funkiness. This one is for the straight up boom bap hip hop heads. “Professional (Motivation)” is a smoothed out Pete Rock-esque beat with traditional hip hop drums and a slew of beautiful jazz samples. “S.O.U.L. (Reference)” is a rally anthem which recalls the days when the Panthers were holding signs in the streets and fighting for justice. The next two joints are another example of Shade’s brilliance as he creates two completely different sounding dedications to females, each one describing women in separate but unique ways. The “Words of Wisdom 2 (Muse)” is a fine sendoff where Shade simplifies the track with a beautiful backdrop of keys and drums, the perfect way to end a perfect album.
Cobainish Theory is a classic, much like his previous two “theories” Shade Cobain is a master of his craft, a student of the game who was taken all his lessons and created his own plan to set forth which vividly gives the listener a look into the mind of a genius. No producer out there right now is on this level and I can’t stress enough that Shade Cobain is the next generation Madlib, everything you know and love about the Beat Conductor, that’s what Shade brings in his music: brilliant samples, an obvious knowledge of musical history and some of the hardest drums in hip hop. This is hip hop at its finest as Cobainish Theory is a must-have for any and every fan of the culture of hip hop. 5/5
We all love hip hop. Whether it’s the biggest part of our lives or just a little slice, everyone (assumably) on this site, reading this, is a fan of rap. So we all know that being a fan of hip hop isn’t fun sometimes. With the constant ridicule by the media, certain classes of society, as well as some of our own peers, being a fan of hip hop means constantly defending your choice to listen to music that, according to some, only promotes violence and degradation of women. So why is it that when the entire world is against something we know is about love and knowledge, we still decide to turn against each other to argue about which kind of rap is the right kind of rap?
Recently I purchased (yes, purchased, and you should too) Shade Cobain’s incredible album Cobainish Theory, a masterpiece of Madlib-caliber production. If you are a fan of the classic boom bap sound then Shade’s beats are the best in hip hop right now. After playing through the blunted sounds of Shade next up on my playlist was Waka Flocka’s newest mixtape Benjamin Flocka. Now I’d be willing to bet that 99% of the people who bought Cobainish Theory would have something negative to say about my love of Flocka’s music. By the same token I’d figure most Flocka fans wouldn’t really be into the underground “real hip hop” sounds of Shade Cobain. For a genre of music so heavily critiqued by the outside world you’d think the people inside would have a little more unity.
All of us hip hop fans are given shit by non-rap fans who don’t consider hip hop to be music, call it “retards attempting poetry” or say “it’s just missing the ‘c’ at the beginning” or some other ignorant comments about this art form we love so much. To go even further, the backpackers are always trying to convince some 18 year old mainstream fan that “real” hip hop is that underground dictionary rap with quadruple entendres and multi-syllabic rhymes and metaphors. Those same backpackers are met with “fuck that I just want some shit that bumps in my whip, fuck that lyrical accountant nonsensical rap”. We fighting with each other over shit we all love simply because some of us love different qualities in the same genre of music. I don’t see country fans fighting with each other about whoever they listen to, yeah some rock fans do but rock is accepted in mainstream society, rap is still disapproved of. So to make matters worse when we do convince people to open their minds and accept hip hop, we immediately then hit them with “yeah but fuck THAT rap over THERE, only THIS shit is REAL hip hop”. In the end it’s all part of hip hop, whether it’s from studying music over the years and putting together a project filled with incredible samples and neck breaking drums, or whether it’s recognizing that the hustle of rapping about what you’re living can make you money and get you and your family out of the hood, which I think everyone would agree is the goal of those who have been unfortunate enough to live in such situations.
I’m not saying you have to like Flocka’s music, or that you listening to hip hop has to include taking notes and doing research to understand what you’re hearing, but why hate on someone just because their preference of hip hop is different from yours? Some people like going to clubs while others like to chill out and puff trees, some like to chuck bottles and others like to seduce females, but they all love hip hop, so we should just be happy that we have so many peers who accept this genre of music the way we do, even if their acceptance is through gunz ‘n butta instead of blunts and beats. It’s all hip hop, in its essence, for real.