Archive for September, 2012

RAP BATTLE OF THE WEEK: BRAND NEW LOCATION!

The Hip-Hop Culture Center and Freestyle Mondays present the RAP BATTLE OF THE WEEK!

Once a week, the Hip-Hop Culture Center will be bringing you the best in freestyle rap competitions from Freestyle Mondays’ Off-The-Head Gameshow Battle at its NEW LOCATION at Ella Lounge!

But this isn’t your average rap battle. With a spinning wheel AND a plinko (Plink, Yo!) board determining what the topic is, MCs will have to stay on-topic as they come of the top!

In honor of the new location, we’re giving you a special TRIPLE SHOT of battles this week!

First, we kick things off with a first-round battle in the first battle at the new location with the 47% taking on the 53% as Rabbi Darkside takes on PremRock!

That same night things heated up in the C-Block round as Chaz Kangas and B.S. attempted to cockblock each other in rhyme form over the love of a female!

As as another special BONUS BATTLE we have the LAST BATTLE AT OUR OLD LOCATION EVER as LEX RUSH took on the mysterious EL GATO in the No-Rules No-Writtens Round in the FINALS of the August 2012 Championship!

Stay tuned to H2C2 for more battles and be sure to check out the Freestyle Mondays Off-the-Head Gameshow Battle the FIRST MONDAY of EVERY MONTH at our NEW LOCATION at ELLA LOUNGE at 9 Avenue A!

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Chances are, if you have even a passing interest in hip-hop, you have an appreciation for both Staten Island’s favorite sons, the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as the intricacies and/or influence of jazz music. Finally, two visionaries had the foresight and abilities to combine them. Shaolin Jazz – The 37th Chamber was an idea conceived by Gerald Watson and executed to perfection by DJ 2-Tone Jones, effectively bringing the world of Wu-Tang and Jazz together. We had the opportunity to speak to both 2-Tone Jones and Gerald Watson on how this project came together.

What was your first exposure to hip-hop?

2TJ: (laughs) Mine is pretty specific. When I was younger, I remember a few songs here in there. But the first time I remember walking through the door and really experiencing hip-hop was ninth grade when I had a good friend named Cody in Geometry class. Before the teacher came in the room, he started freestyling. This was the first time I ever experienced a freestyle, and it was mind-blowing. The teacher walked in the room and he started rapping about his socks and bottle cap glasses. I was blown away. I’m looking around like “Does anyone else think this is as amazing as I do now?”

GW: My first intro was right when Run-DMC’s first album came out. They had the white jackets and the hats on the cover. It was that tape and De La’s first joint. I was at a festival that my parents were vending jewelery at. It was the first time I was given a bootleg of anything. I had no idea what bootlegs were. I kinda knew who Run-DMC were and I didn’t know at all who De La was, but I thought these cats looked ill. The cassette looked faded because the dude had clearly Xeroxed it, but I listened to it and I was clearly opened.

2-Tone, I read an interview where you said you feel, when attempting projects like this, people get caught up on the lyrics of a record and not really the “essence.” What best exemplifies the “essence” of a record?

2TJ: I like that cat J.Period because of the way he crafts stuff together and they fit [how] the lyricist raps his verse over that track. That’s the goal, but it also sounds like something they would have rapped over as well as how the project is arranged with the different sound effects. I pay attention a lot to small details, and whole albums that are cohesive. You get a sense of Wu-Tang by hearing things click with the interludes and skits between albums.

Gerald, as a big Wu-fan, what made you think Wu-Tang would lend itself to jazz so well?

GW: Um, I didn’t. (laughs) Honestly, I had no idea. It was just kind of a thought that “you know, I haven’t seen this before” I asked 2-Tone about it because this project, which was created for an art exhibition I had done, was just supposed to be a jazz mixtape. Instead of that, my thought turned to doing a jazz-Wu-Tang mix, and even at that point I didn’t think what that would have sounded like. He took it and he ran with it well.

What’s the response been like from Wu-fans?

GW: It’s hard to decipher, but they’re happy though. When we first dropped it, it was tweeted everywhere. A lot of Wu-Tang fans referenced different artists they heard on the projects and songs they like. We struck a nerve with them and Wu-Tang in general. We know the management company has retweeted the project and given us props, which says a lot.

Do you have any plans for the next project?

2TJ: We had some ideas in the mix, but at this point we want to take more time to really execute things. I’m eager but, at the same time, a little nervous. Shaolin Jazz set our bar, so whatever we do next has to be on its level or better. But, I have no doubt we can do it.

DOWNLOAD Shaolin Jazz: The 37th Chamber HERE

Interview conducted by H2C2’s Chief Media Liaison Chaz Kangas

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RAP BATTLE OF THE WEEK: AJ vs. Albert Rhymestein!

The Hip-Hop Culture Center and Freestyle Mondays present the RAP BATTLE OF THE WEEK!

Once a week, the Hip-Hop Culture Center will be bringing you the best in freestyle rap competitions from Freestyle Mondays’ Off-The-Head Gameshow Battle at it’s NEW LOCATION at Ella Lounge!

But this isn’t your average rap battle. With a spinning wheel AND a plinko (Plink, Yo!) board determining what the topic is, MCs will have to stay on-topic as they come of the top!

This week, we come down to the final round of May’s Off-the-Head Gameshow Battle Championship! After a grueling one night tournament of some of the most challenging freestyle themes, it comes down to Albert Rhymestein and AJ in the finals! Each MC gets two 30 second rounds, so you can expect lots of freestyle responses and white-knuckle MC action to crown the second holder of the official Freestyle Mondays Championship Belt!

Stay tuned to H2C2 for more battles and be sure to check out the Freestyle Mondays Off-the-Head Gameshow Battle the FIRST MONDAY of EVERY MONTH and STARTING THIS MONDAY we move to our NEW LOCATION at ELLA LOUNGE at 9 Avenue A!

Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!

Just think, after almost four decade of people calling hip-hop a fad, not only is it a multi-billion dollar industry and cultural force, but it’s extending firmly into the world of academics. While there has been a recent phenomenon of colleges teacher hip-hop courses, the biggest gesture of hip-hop entering the world of education occurred just a few short weeks ago with the announcement that Afrika Bambaataa would be a visiting professor this year at Cornell.

We asked some of our favorite H2C2 MCs to drop some bars with their reaction to this great news, and we encourage our readers to respond back with some rhymes of their own.

Check the rhymes HERE – http://h2c2harlem.com/news/

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RAP BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Benny Els vs. Baba!

The Hip-Hop Culture Center and Freestyle Mondays present the RAP BATTLE OF THE WEEK!

Once a week, the Hip-Hop Culture Center will be bringing you the best in freestyle rap competitions from Freestyle Mondays’ Off-The-Head Gameshow Battle at 116 Macdougal!

But this isn’t your average rap battle. With a spinning wheel AND a plinko (Plink, Yo!) board determining what the topic is, MCs will have to stay on-topic as they come of the top!

This week, we come down to the final round of April’s Off-the-Head Gameshow Battle Championship! After a grueling one night tournament of some of the most challenging freestyle themes, it comes down to Benny Els and Baba in the finals! Each MC gets two 30 second rounds, so you can expect lots of freestyle responses and white-knuckle MC action to crown the first holder of the official Freestyle Mondays Championship Belt!

…and as an added BONUS this week (since our battle last week was preempted due to our EXCLUSIVE interview with MALCOLM SMITH – the NEW YORK SENATOR who DEMANDED LIL WAYNE APOLOGIZE for DISSING NEW YORK) here’s a BONUS BATTLE from last August that pit BENNY ELS against SARAH TONIN as GABBY DOUGLAS vs. MICHAEL PHELPS!

Benny Els’ Music can be heard at http://soundcloud.com/bennyels

Stay tuned to H2C2 for more battles and be sure to check out the Freestyle Mondays Off-the-Head Gameshow Battle the FIRST MONDAY of EVERY MONTH and coming to a new location soon!

Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook!