Check out what's new from The Brown Bag AllStars...
Koncept, an emcee from the talented Brown Bag AllStars drops his debut album, "awaken". The project features some of the finest production from group members, J57, & The Audible Doctor as well as marink, and DJ Goo. The lead single for "awaken" was produced by Marco Polo, and features Shady Records/ Slaughterhouse MC, Royce da 5'9. Also featured on the album are guest vocals from Soul Khan, and Sene. Deejay Element, and Canadian DMC Champion/ Juno Award Winning, DJ Brace handle all the cuts on the project.
Purchase "awaken" on iTunes HERE
"awaken" is available now on iTunes exclusively
1.10.12 | Official Release / CD (Soulspazm/ Fatbeats)
*Vinyl dropping through Nostomania Records [Date TBA]
Koncept "Getting Home" Feat. Sene (Prod. by J57) Official Video
In celebration of the release of Koncept's debut album, he released a brand new video for the track "Getting Home" which features Sene.
Watch "Getting Home" HERE
Koncept "Aspirations" Feat. Soul Khan (Prod. by J57) Official Video
Also if you missed the first video from Koncept's debut album, check it out below!
Watch "Aspirations" HERE
"Aspirations" will be on MTVu very soon!
Also, check out Cluster Magazine & 2DopeBoyz Present: The Produce Section with J57
Cluster Mag and 2DopeBoyz present ‘The Produce Section,’ a new monthly video series featuring in-studio sessions, interviews, and general mischief-making with the unsung heroes of hip-hop, the men and women behind the machines- the producers.
If I had dynamite for each time I heard the phrase, “Let’s build,” I’d have enough explosives to take out the Brooklyn Bridge. In hip-hop, the notion of “building” applies not only to your crew, but to your individual style. Collaboration is the lifeblood: one of the many reasons hip-hop expands beyond the confines of ‘musical genre’ to encompass a community—a culture.
Building connections is essential. Building self-discipline is, too. And in seeking both of these things, artists must look outwards for inspiration, and inwards to understand themselves. It’s not surprising, then, that the genre’s greats are often compared to masters of martial arts. They are expected to build techniques and skill-sets that allow them to create and perform in a battle of constant progression, with the end goal being to one-up their competition. With that metaphor in mind, J57’s sword has been sharpened, and his record bag is packed full of throwing stars.
“I’m lucky to learn from the people I know,” J57 tells me as he cues up a sample and pats his dog, Suri (co-producer). “A true student doesn’t emulate what they hear, they take what they are taught and apply it with their own flair,” J explains as he lists specific tricks he’s learned from masters. He cites Marco Polo as the “illest with bass lines,” an affinity that Marco personally passed down to him. DJ Premier is another mentor. Premier is the king of chopping samples, taking source material and re-deploying it in altered forms to unleash its hidden potential, an expertise J has not taken for granted. But J, too, has a fair share to offer his teachers and peers alike. He recently worked alongside Premier arranging Nas’ new single, “Regeneration,” which he recorded alongside the Berklee Symphony Orchestra. In this network of crews, hip-hop gods, and students, J57 cites the constant exchange between other artists as what keeps him advancing.
When J hit his teens out in Long Island, the mid-90’s ‘golden era’ boomed through New York and the soundtrack for parties in the ‘burbs reflected just that. It was around the customary keg one night that J57’s friends took to freestyling—spilling loose words and beer on the linoleum floor. But with no beat, a freestyle’s potential remains half-built, so J57 began beat boxing. Before long, he was the official beat boxer for the ciphers that had begun to crop up in the hallways as the hip hop virus made its way across the island. Cracking his tongue to make snares and working the lows of his throat for bass, 2003 found J57 moving on to a more technologically-enriched production practice. Then, while enrolled in a classical music course, he got a disc of baroque standards from his teacher, which ultimately became his first set of samples—his white belt.
J57 linked up with a few other aspiring heads and formed his first crew. He was going to Manhattan regularly for hip-hop events, and as his Long Island crew would rarely join him on trips to the city,he began to focus on writing rhymes to his own beats to establish himself as a solo artist. The other members of what would soon become “Brown Bag AllStars,” his current clique, were all in similar spots. They were young hustlers from different crews ditching their friends to hit up hip-hop shows by themselves in the city.
On the turntables in the legendary Lower East Side Fat Beats store, J57 and fellow BBAS member, Audible Doctor, would often hold producer battles judged by the legendary DJ Eclipse. It was these competitions that molded J into the professional he is today. The battles were fierce, while friendly; Audible and J labored over finding the perfect sound for that perfect beat.
J57 assigns variations of one sample to different pads of his MPD before he begins jamming out an emotional melody line with the lush, orchestral sounds that surge and crest like waves. Then, he starts on the drums, surfing through hundreds of different hi-hat, clicks, and crashes. Finding the right drum sound for the beat is like making sure your tie matches your suit, though few listeners would have much to say about the palpable difference between ‘rimshot01.wav’ and ‘rimshot_vintage08.wav’. Now that he has all the sounds cued up, I catch a glimpse of his training as he begins to quietly beat box a pattern to himself. He translates the pattern to his fingers and the bass line rolls over and gets to walking, filling out the frequencies from the bottom up.
The two-word mantra “Let’s build” might be a bit of an over-worked catchphrase in the rap game, but with good reason. It emphasizes the importance of making connections- both with teachers and peers and within oneself. J57 advances and grows taller in the mammoth skyline that is Brown Bag AllStars, patiently climbing towards his black belt.
Written feature by William Kowall.
Film directed by Nicolas Heller. Edited by Greg Matesich.