This week, three artists who are all buzzing in the blogosphere right now caught our eye. All of these acts are in Hip Hop’s purist state – performing as often as possible, long before they risk it all on a commercial release. The staff at HipHopDX took notice this week, as two Bay Area emcees and a New Yorker stole our ears and caught repeat rewinds in an effort to try to avoid Ray J vs. Fabolous drama.
Nitty Scott, MC – “Auntie Maria’s Crib”
I’d like to publicly apologize to Nitty Scott, MC for not giving her music a chance. The landscape of female emcees in Hip Hop’s recent climate used to remind me of the early ’90s when it was all or nothing on the femininity front. You had Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown rubbing their chesticles on the faces of their listeners, while Lady of Rage and Boss scared the shit out of the rest. It took Lauryn Hill to split the difference by the mid-’90s, combining slick talk with estrogen to craft a tom-boy chic image where she could wear some cargo pants and not look like she was hiding a penis. I didn’t believe that was possible these days. My bad. Can’t blame me though, because remember Nicki Minaj was wearing rubber pants and barbie supersuits and then started dressing like Marie Antoinette. She jumped the Hip Hop shark in the Pop ocean the moment the checks started rolling in (I still love Nicki though). Anyway, this is about Nitty.
I’ve been shamefully eye-rolly about “real” female emcees ever since Lauryn Hill cut her hair off. Then I stumbled upon this “Auntie Maria’s Crib” produced by my longtime homie The Good Reverend Dr (can I get an Okayplayer?). Seeing HIS name made me check it out, but hearing HER voice kept me listening. My gut reaction was that Nitty was channeling Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets (another female rapper who struck a great balance of beauty and bars). Rev’s beat is so laid back and soulful that the whole cut sounds so mid-90s yet still somehow pushing Hip Hop forward. Needless to say, I’ll be front and center on the digital line when Nitty‘s “Doobies x Popsicle Sticks” drops. – Kathy Iandoli
Listen to “Auntie Maria’s Crib” by Nitty Scott, MC
Davinci featuring Young Gully – “Where My Dough At?”
If you know Fillmore emcee Davinci‘s story and have taken the time to sit with the rhymes on his excellent digital debut The Day The Turf Stood Still and this month’s Feast or Famine EP, you’ll know right away that a track like “Where My Dough At,” is an atypical street narrative. Instead it is more of a cautionary tale told through the eyes of someone who has let friendship corrupt the smooth flow business.
What makes Davinci unique and worthy of your time is that he takes everything down to street level where things are never cut and dry and before head-to-head conflict there will always be – and more importantly should always be – indecisiveness . “Where My Dough At ” illustrates this; It’s all about the practical. You can’t get your money or even make real-time threats when someone’s phone goes straight to voice-mail. The verses stay clear of the cartoonish hell-bent-on-war facade that so many of today’s pop rappers flirt with. Basically ‘Where My Dough At” says, “I’m not up in your house yet, but you’re making me think I’ll have to be.” It says, who in there right mind would want to go to someone’s house and demand money.
And in midst of all this there is a break and we’re lifted out of Fillmore to look at the epic scope of the problem. “We ain’t never gotten our 40 acres and a mule, but instead they gave ni**gas 40 kilos and a tool.”
Just like on The Day The Turf‘s…”All I Have”, “Where My Dough At” delivers a beat heavier on the ’70s Soul and Funk than the synthetic Hyphy sound of the Bay Area. In short, the most logical emcee for a remix is Ghostface Killah, and Davinci, slept-on or not, could more than hold his own. – Michael Sheehan
Listen to “Where My Dough At?” by Davinci featuring Young Gully
Locksmith – “Breaking Point”
I heard an interesting story recently from Murs. Murray told me that Locksmith – who appears on his Love & Rockets, Volume 1 album, specifically sought out Ski Beatz for production. What’s ill to me about that is Lock is already a musical protege of E-A-Ski, a legendary Bay Area producer of Spice 1 and Master P fame. Two Skis, with two completely different sounds – and one pupil. Needless to say, Locksmith flew out to New York City to get down with the DD172/BluRoc camp, which led to appearances on 24 Hour Karate School, Pt. 2, and a whole bunch of music yet-to-be-heard.
One such Locksmith x Ski Beatz collaboration, “Breaking Point” is a great record, that speaks to anybody’s frustrations in difficult times. The single, complete with video, works with the Recession, struggling artists in the music industry, and even the news events of the last 10 days. Like Davinci, Locksmith is coming from a difficult region in breaking new artists, but he has the perspective it takes – and the right people in his corner giving him feature looks to make a lasting impression. Locksmith is not going to break, he’s going to bust – his way into the game.