Friday, December 31, 2010


Mally & The Sundance Kid have released their latest installment of the free on the 15th series entitled "Cloud Culture." Download it for free below.

"Cloud Culture is a track that we believed would be an excellent way to exit the year 2010. It is a state of mind we find ourselves in when something good has happened and a celebration takes place.  So with this song it would only be appropriate to celebrate the accomplishments we have had over that past year... That's the whole reason we should have a toast!  With that said, enjoy the December installment of the Free On The 15th series and have a Happy New Year!!!"

Mally & The Sundance Kid - Cloud Culture Share

Tuesday, December 28, 2010






David Guetta ft/Kid Cudi - Memories

This is NOT the official video. wouldn't let me embed.

Monday, December 27, 2010



Sunday, December 26, 2010



Wednesday, December 22, 2010




Doomtree resident Sims has a new solo record coming out February 5th, 2011 entitled "Bad Time Zoo" produced entirely by Lazerbeak...and it's going to be worth spending your cigarette money doubt!
Sims "Burn It Down by doomtree
Head over to Doomtree's Web Store to pre-order NOW! Share

Friday, December 17, 2010







Thursday, December 16, 2010



Monday, December 6, 2010



Sunday, December 5, 2010


RAP CAT$- We're all wearing baggy pants feat. Optimus & Belgrave from Ivan Ikic on Vimeo. Share


Get Adobe Flash player Share




Jaimie Fanatic 'This Beat Is Ill' EP (Boemklatsch Records) by Jaimie Fanatic aka Suelo Share


"Graham's debut solo effort, Live Drums lies somewhere near the boundaries of the Instrumental Hip Hop genre.  As the title suggests, each song on the album is shaped by Graham’s drum set performances - which are inventive and creatively recorded. The dark, contrasting layers of synthetic and sampled sounds make the record an engaging listen. Compositionally, this album is influenced by DJ Shadow, Portishead and The Gaslamp Killer, among others."

DOWNLOAD - Graham O'Brien - Live Drums
BUY "Live Drums"

01. You Were Outraged
02. GodKing
03. CFCs Feat. Alicia Wiley & Eric Blair
04. White Toys _ Car Show
05. RecycleMaker Feat. Kristoff Krane
06. Northeast In
07. Foxhole
08. First Rule Feat. DVS Jackson
09. Guthrie
10. Gun Williams
11. Pie Tins _ a million a thousand
12. Query Feat. Kristoff Krane
13. I'm Speeding Up and You're Slowing Down Feat. Big Bruce
14. Lockbond
15. Wolves in Milwaukee Remix Feat. Adam Svec & No Bird Sing



City of Music: Lazerbeak from MPLS.TV on Vimeo. Share



Friday, December 3, 2010


School of Seven Bells - I L U - Official Video from Vagrant Records on Vimeo. Share

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


1. MEAT CHIPS by Ladies Big & Tall (Cool Calm Pete & Snafu)

2. THE GOLDEN MEAN by StarPower & Scott Thorough
3. CHILL WITH YA SELF by Tone Tank & Scott Thorough
4. 16 TONZ by Instant Cities
6. TINY DRILL by Baje One & J. Howells Werthman

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This dudes dope!

MATT EPP music video for THEY WON'T FIND THE BODIES from Matt Epp on Vimeo. Share

Friday, November 26, 2010


indigo tree - hardlakes

Indigo Tree

Myspace Music Videos Share


Kedron by Sam Amidon from Bedroom Community on Vimeo. Share

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Yes, it's old...but it's just beautiful.

City And Colour - Waiting...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Status Reign is not your typical rapper, he’s not arrogant, flashy or melodramatic nor is he afraid of telling you the truth. His full length debut Brutally Honest is due April 5th, 2011 and is shaping up to be some of the finest work heard from the state of Minnesota NOT Atmosphere or Doomtree. He’s been getting a ton of positive press recently due to his well received lead single “Tonight” for which two different remixes were done by Ganzobean of Rhymesayers/Project Blowed fame.


"There's probably a moment in all of our lives where everybody wants to be someone.... else. I believe all people are gifted in some way. Embrace your own gift, whatever it may be and use it for good. We all already are someone.... all of our lives are relevant. Ok, now listen and enjoy."


Saturday, November 20, 2010


Free Download Share

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Chicago native Pugs Atomz has been paving his own way in the underground scene forever now and it's about time you start taking notice. His new record "The Decade" is released in a little over a week (Oct. 26th) via BBE Records. "The Decade" is a collection of material written between 2000-2010.

The lead single “Now Baby” is out now and features a bevy of talent including one of the illest female emcees and Rhymesayers artist Psalm One, veteran Mc Adad from All Natural fame and Senor Kaos. The striking rhythm will keep you tuned in and is lead by a memorable sample and 808 claps. Pugs flow is addictively smooth and Psalm is similarly in line keeping the tempo of the song moving in a disarmingly clever way.

This will be the second record released by Pugs Atomz this year, the first being the wildly successful “Kinda Like A Rapper” that saw him teaming up with producer Grant Parks. The success of “Kinda Like A Rapper” helped them support a National and European tour and plenty of accolades to boot. The lead single “Rocket Love” received a ton of praise, which was all well earned. Needless to say we’re all excited and extremely hopeful for any and all future releases from Mr. Consistent Pugs Atomz.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was introduced to this young singer/songwriter through the best resource...the artist himself. Mixing electronica, pop, fuzz and fun to create an amalgam of digital bliss. Casa Castile is on his own breaking new ground and appreciates your ears.
 Shrapnel by Casa Castile
 Lights, Flashes by Casa Castile
 Cone Melt by Casa Castile
 Time Machine by Casa Castile Share

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This is a very somber and sad post from me. Micheal Larsen BKA Eyedea, world renown rapper, singer, poet, musician and overall renaissance man passed away Saturday the 16th at the age of 28.
Having spent nearly two decades impressing listeners his life was cut short, great thing is, is the fact that he’s not gone, in the spiritual sense. His music and words will and have transcended time and carry as much weight after his passing as they did when he was still able to perform them. His catalog reads as a best-of to some and if you look at his body of work the impression he left is deeply rooted in something organic. Always willing and wanting to grow, he taught himself how to play the guitar and piano and engineered almost everyone of his releases. A true do-it-all.
In 1994 Micheal and I were in Jr. High together at Highland Park in St. Paul, MN and that’s where I saw first hand his talents of being an emcee, fan and just an opinionated kid. I remember the way he would break down what made Jimi Hendrix great and why Soul Coughing were going to be the next big thing nobody would get. I remember taking the bus to his house to listen to the new Latyrx record and having him explain why they were so ahead of their time. There was something special about Mikey and he knew that, so he proved it by trying to hip anyone and everyone to things that were in turn equal as special. At one point in ninth grade, 1996 mind you, he was explaining the idea behind the book he was writing and to this day I’m convinced it would have been a best seller purely on the strength of his determination and creativity.
The news struck me very hard on Saturday when I received a text from a close friend about what happened and was very saddened, not only personally in a state of discord but mentally as well. I was imagining all these people that grew up with Mikey’s music and realizing their hero, idol, friend, family member, inspiration etc. was no longer here, and it was surreal. Lucky for us he left behind a legacy. You never really have to think about experiences you’ve had with someone until they’re no longer around to have more experiences with. Life’s short, but music lives on so let’s not reminisce on who Mikey was but who he still is, which is someone so special his legacy will live on forever and others with be measured to his greatness.
Rest in Peace Mikey, you’re already missed man.
Your friend David Jones.

R.I.P. MIKEY! You're already missed. Share

Saturday, October 16, 2010



Saturday, October 9, 2010



Saturday, October 2, 2010


<a href="">Thank You(Fuck You) by FUTURAX</a> Share

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

900 BATS

Aesop Rock has used his creativity in a completely different way this time, creating an art website? Well kind of. What is, is basically a blog with awesome pictures and videos, most of which have been crafted by Aesop Rock himself. What it really is, is a creative outlet for one of the most creative minds in music today.

The pictures are unique, the videos funny and cool and the exclusive music, awesome. Bookmark like a mufuckah! Share

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


(Cover Art for Uno)

Saint Paul, MN -- Orikal Uno was up until 3AM last night, awoke by 7AM this morning, and by the time you had your morning coffee today he was probably in the booth recording a new free single for the internet, penning his next verse for a hot collaboration with one of the many crews he works with and/or represents. By the time you hit rush hour traffic Orikal may have been working on a new graffiti, or web design project or was just making a new beat for the likes of underground veterans like Sab the Artist and Abstract Rude for whom he recently made the hit "The Awful Truth."
<a href="">The Awful Truth F/ Abstract Rude by Sab The Artist</a>
Having just celebrated his 21st birthday, Orikal Uno has already established himself as a fixture on the celebrated Twin Cities music scene, He is probably well liked by your own favorite hip-hop artist, even if you've never heard of him. By 2011 that will probably change as Antonio Rosario a.k.a. Orikal Uno releases his debut LP simply titled "Uno."

The artist previously known simply as Orikal, has been a workaholic since first entering the game at the ripe age of 13. The native of the West Side of Saint Paul, self released numerous albums and mixtapes and shared stages with some local heroes from the Rhymesayers and Doomtree crews as well as many other Twin Cities hip-hop legends. Three years ago he tapped longtime collaborator Anonimust to produce a full length debut LP for him that would set the stage for this next chapter in his career.

Anonimust, who was previously known as "Jayechs" has been a long time fixture of the Twin Cities music scene and songwriter for artists locally and nationally. He gained his first exposure as a member of the groundbreaking hip-hop group S.U.S.P.E.C.T.S. and went on to continue a successful career producing songs for artists and music for TV and movies. As a father of two young children, the former Jayechs changed his stage name to Anonimust in 2007 to reflect the change in his musical style when he founded the group Hour to Hope, to personally work on positive music and no longer wrote songs that included profanity or the "n-word." As a producer, he still allows a "no-holds barred" experience for the artists he works with, and for Orikal Uno he provided a soundtrack unlike anything ever attempted for a hip-hop artist.

Together the collaboration of Orikal Uno and Anonimust two artists at the top of their game, and in a crossroads of life made for an LP worthy of cover-to-cover listening, even in this world of song-by-song downloads in iTunes. Capturing three years of risk-taking and progressive songwriting, the album presents a fully-fledged introduction to one of the most innovative artists to emerge from the Twin Cities. This album ranges from the synth-pop influenced lead single, “Party like it's 2012” which, to the blues-infused heartbreaker “You're Sure Not Ready” all the way to the salsa-driven “Bacardi Island” featuring Maria Isa. Orikal Uno re-defines the creative limits of underground hip-hop.
<a href="">Party Like It's 2012 by Orikal Uno</a>
Orikal Uno will be performing shows to promote "Uno" along with Anonimust and Hour to Hope,  and others this fall. "Uno" is slated for digital-release via and iTunes, on November 2nd, 2010 with a full-scale release through Best-Buy, Fifth Element and other local music stores on November, 9th 2010.
In addition to his solo debut you’ll can hear Orikal Uno on a number of other collaborations and leaks via his page on


DOWNLOAD MaLLy & The Sundance Kid - Lights Off Share

Monday, September 13, 2010

NEW SHADOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

01 Def Surrounds Us by Island Records UK
02 I've Been Trying by Island Records UK Share

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The free project Capaciti hinted at in my EXCLUSIVE interview with him you can read here.

<a href="">not quite there... by earlybirds</a> Share


There's no box you can put Jason Brown AKA Phingaz into. There's no way to pigeonhole him, he's not a bird. He digs the dope shit and happens to work with a bunch of talented individuals known for making moves. I had a great time reading his response and I'm sure you will too. Enjoy.

NT-Who are you? Where are you from and where do you call home?
PH-My name is Phingaz - But my parents and friends call me Jay.  I'm born and raised in Utah - its pretty.  I live in south Minneapolis - that is home.

NT-Why the name Phingaz?
PH-I was part of a rock/funk band all through high school.  I played Bass.  I had really big hands and everyone made fun of me.  Especially the drummer in the band - we called him Sloth Dubbs (He plays in like 3 bands now: Feel Good Patrol, Shades of Gray, and Samuel Smith Band) one day he dubbed me fingers - and it stuck.  When Phaust and I formed Sinthesis we were really feeling the PH thing - so I ran with it.

NT-How long have you been making music?
PH-Roughly since the 7th grade. So 12 years now? That's weird...

NT-What's one of your fondest memories of music as a kid?
PH-I had this giant trunk that I could fit in when I was young.  I would sit in the trunk with my parents really crappy beat up boom box and make mix-tapes off the radio.  I wish I could find some of those tapes...

NT-Are you picky when it comes to producing for an artist?
PH-I think I am - but I think the question holds more weight the other way.  I like a certain sound/style and I really want the artist I'm working with to hold the music in the same light.  When its working - its working.  When its not - its not.  I really like to work with people who have a vision - I create a lot of beats on a 'project' basis.  Meaning I don't have this huge vault of beats that are un-used.  I like to paint a song for an artist with a particular feeling or emotion or something that they want to convey.  So if your a picky rapper - I'm your guy.

NT-Who are you working with at the moment?
PH-I've given a slew of beats to Status Reign for his Solo Album. I JUST finished mixing and mastering ToneKrusher Smith's newest album "Big Bombs Of Love."  I made all the beats on it - except 2.  Egypto handled those.  We are dropping it FREE REALLY SOON!! I'm currently wrapping up the final Capaciti disk - "8 1/2 Months."  I made a few beats - but I mostly sat behind the sounds mixing and sang on a bunch of the songs.  He is gonna give that away for free too in the next few months. Sinthesis is super hard at work on a new disk.  Its a completely new sound and we are damn excited about it.  I just spent a week in Utah with Phaust recording and working on songs. We also have 4-5 songs on an EP that we plan to give out for FREE before the new year! So Free is the name of the game here. Lastly - I'm making a bunch of beats for TQD's next album.  I won't get into details cause that's his Dilla-yo!

NT-How did you meet?
PH-The BNC guys?  The short story is through Egypto Knuckles.  The long story involves DU Nation, a crazy Mix-Tape (The Mixed Up Tape SHOUT OUT!), a bunch of booze, music, and somebody that Frugalis doesn't allow me to talk about anymore.

NT-What groups or bands are you really digging right now local or national?
PH-Locally Cecil Otter is one of my favorite musicians.  I'm all about his production and his flow has this awesome story-telling feel, Rebel Yellow is one of my all time favorite local disks.  Kristoff Krane has been a favorite since the day I didn't realize I was running sound for Abzorbr when I had just finished telling them I like the local group Abzorbr.  The National is a crazy grab bag of craziness.  Trombone Shorty's new album is AMAZING!  The Black Keys and anything Jack White touches.  I'm a huge Tool fan and I still bang Primus on a daily basis.  I've been listening to a lot of Big L and Outkast - I'm really really, really, really hoping 3 stacks drops a new disk soon.  Please?!

NT-Where do you do your digging? Do you have a secret crack spot you get your vinyl from?
PH-I used to live right in Uptown and I would hit the Cheapo a lot - They just have a staggering amount of vinyl.  I really like Hymies Basement.  The crack spot?  Egypto hipped me to a place - but I'm not gonna share it cause EVERYONE is a producer now-a-days and I don't want them to go snag all the good shit first!!

NT-What's your record collection like?
PH-Lots of obscure sound records - I like the crazy stuff.  Improv recordings - weird sounds.  Solo instruments.  But I also by records to just listen to them, non-sample related.  I think the last thing I listened to was Jethro Tull "Thick As A Brick"  I go through phases of records, sometimes all funk/soul stuff.  Sometimes Jazz - Sometimes weird improv doesn't-really-make sense music.  Or I get attached to certain instruments and buy a shit-ton of records around it.  My last obsession was the Flute - I'm still in that phase.  Herbbie Mann say whhhhhat?!? 

NT-Who were some of your inspirations in your early years? Who, after listening to it really made you decide to make music?
PH-Primus and The Red Hot Chili Peppers were the two groups I listened to growing up.  I really feel like those guys are masters at their crafts.  I could listen to them for the rest of my life and be completely happy.  There catalogues are deep - lots of experiments - lots of new ideas.  They constantly move in a forward motion.  I try to do that - I don't like to stand in one musical spot for too long.  Gotta keep it moving.

NT-Who do you think is the one producer or Producers changing the game like he or they see fit? The way they want it? Like a Danger Mouse or Dan The Automator?
PH-I don't think its one specific producer.  I think hip-hop and music is going through a hyper change right now.  Hip-hop acts are taking main stages at massive outdoor festivals!!  That's HUGE!  I think Kanye has always done his own thing - I didn't listen to 808's - but I think he's a giant force behind a lot of changes.  I think guys like P.O.S are doing amazing things too.  P.O.S is super cross genre - and he makes his own beats - and he taps into an entire other circuit of fans.  That's massive.

NT-In your mind is there any one or two records that is absolutely perfect or damn near close?
PH-Anyone in Background Noise will tell you this: Red Hot Chili Peppers "Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik" I own WAY to many copies of this album. Its my favorite album ever - it's got everything you need; Funk. Hip-Hop. Rock. Humor. Pain. Blues. Sex. Soul. Its a monument of an album - I could recite this thing forwards and back - WITH animated guitar, drum and bass solos. I've said it before and I will say it yet again - This album is Perfect to me.  I find new little subtle things to pay attention to with every listen. (I've listened a lot)   

NT-Is there anything about those album(s) that you know they just "got it right"?
PH-Its the little things.  Like on "Suck My Kiss" - The chorus is played 3 times in the song. Each time after "Is she talking dirty" there is a few hits the whole band does.  Each time they do a different amount of hits, depending on which time through the chorus it is.  3 hits for the first time, 2 for the second, 1 for the last time.  Its so subtle but it makes such a huge deal to have that patience like that! I'm gonna stop - I could type PAGES about this album.

NT-Do you have any "desert island" records to share?
PH-See above.
Led Zepplin 4Atmosphere - God Loves UglyParliament - Mothership ConnectionDredg - El CieloPrimus - Sailing The Seas of CheeseOutkast - AqueminiSoul Coughing - Irresistible BlissAesop Rock - Bazooka Tooth and....Jethro Tull - Thick As a Brick.

NT-Could you describe your music-making process?
PH-Its sort of like a tornado.  It sometimes strikes without warning - it can be huge and devastating, or it can be calm and minuscule.  I'll drop a record and just listen, over and over.  Listening for some little line or moment.  When I catch it, I'm off and running.  Sometimes I'll just get lost in a record and just end up listening to it.  I'll pick up the guitar a lot and just mess around.  I'll keep playing a riff over and over again for weeks until I've composed the whole song in my head.  Then I'll attempt to put it on track.  It always comes out totally different but I think the brewing time is really important.  I've made beat skeletons that have sat for months - then I re-visit it and change the whole thing up.  Some tracks come super fast - Like "Put Em' Up" on Analyrical's album First Date.  I made that beat between 9 - 11 AM.  I mean the whole thing - Put guitar and organ to it, dropped the drums.  Did some cool pattern changes and bam - I was really digging on the beat.  I couldn't wait to show the BNC guys!  Then Analyrical came through for his session and I showed him and he said "I NEED that beat!" So he wrote that song on the spot and we recorded it then and there. Inside of 6 hours.  Other times shit grows on me forever.  "It Came To Pass" on Movement 4:6 took me forever to finally piece together and say "This is it, this is the song."  Even when I thought we were done with that song - I made Phaust record me doing another guitar line months after we said its done.

NT-How have people responded to the music you've have been making?
PH-I get a lot of questions about my music.  A few haters here and there.  But the overall response has been positive.  My production leaves some people confused on what exactly to call it.  But I like that - It makes me feel like I'm creating something new. 

NT-Is there any surprises or a record in the works right now?
PH-If I told you... I wouldn't be a surprises now would it?!?!

NT-What's the perfect crowd to you?
PH-Drunk - they always get down no matter what! 

NT-What's your take on the Internet, has it helped or hurt you in terms of reaching an audience or making your money?
PH-The Internet has changed the whole world - more than once.  Without it I'm not sure I would really have an audience.

NT-Where can people go to hear and buy your music?
PH-iTunes and

NT-last question...when you hit the venue, what drink is getting ordered first?
PH-Whiskey Coke - It used to be Rum and Coke but it makes me black out a bit and that's not cool!

NT-Anything else to add for the readers? Any shout outs?
PH-Thanks for reading Readers!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Hopefully you've heard of Nasa, not the Space Agency, but the extremely talented emcee, producer, mareketer, engineer etc. Nasa has owned and operated his own record label, Uncommon Records in 2003 to much success. You may also be surprised to find out he interned for EL-P did did pretty much all engineering, mixing and mastering on almost all Def Jux releases. The blog on his label's site has a great article written by Nasa about the state of music and his feelings about Fat Beats. Check it out here.

"So there you have it, without getting that check, we wouldn't have Rob Swift as we know him today.  He said it.

So what's my point? 
My point is that we MUST have some level of commerce in hip-hop and in music as a whole.  His story reminded me about the first time I ever got paid for my music, and to the feeling I get every time I get paid for something to this day.  Whether it's to do a show, selling CDs or getting a check from digital sales, it's one of the best feelings you can get as an aritst.  I think this is lost on a lot of listeners these days.  This is the true barometer of your success.  Nothing says your doing something right then money in your hand, nothing says "I respect what your doing" then handing me some dough.
I know what your thinking, "Oh, so it's all about the money then?". 
You can think that if you'd like, but I could turn it around on you too.  You, you the young cat that doesn't pay for music.  So it's all about the money then? 
I'm not here to debate whether illegal downloading or Serato or anything else is the reason why Fat Beats is closing their stores.  I've been pretty out in front on the digital end of things.  We've pandered to the digital retail end of things at Uncommon since about 2006 and frankly it has amazing advantages.  I'm not trying to say there weren't horrible pitfalls about the way things were and that we haven't come a long way in the way we can promote ourselves today.  I think these days the best thing about what's happening is that artists are far more willing to work with each other for the strength of collaboration then ever before.  Believe me, this was NOT the case often in the 90's.  Maybe there was an excess of the "Fuck you, Pay me" mind set then in the indie scene and this is all a backlash.  But that doesn't make it right.
Bottom line, without commerce, culture can't grow.  Paying for something is the only way you can have a real opinion on it.  It's just like voting, in my opinion.  If you didn't vote in the election, why are you talking about politics?  If you didn't buy a record (that's for sale) why are you trying to talk about it?  Investing in an album, or any form of culture, gives you a vested interest in it's results. 
We now live in a culture where every thing is "aighht".  The reason for that is because if you see a movie on your couch for free instead of paying loot to go to a theater, you don't dislike things that are badly done the way you should.  You don't have that deep seeded anger about watching or listening to something that sucked and losing money for it.  Everyone my age can remember buying that disapointing album.  That experience is HEALTHY.  If you never feel that disapointment, you'll never really feel enjoyment either.
This is a threat to real hip-hop, just the way you see institutions like Fat Beats close, you'll see the music disapear soon too.  It can and will happen.  If it weren't for all the indie artists in the 90s, there would be no real rap today.  That's a fact.  And if no one was willing to purchase what they were selling in the 90s they wouldn't be here today.  That's also a fact.
Hip-Hop is in danger of disapearing.  Go to a show, buy a CD, buy a download, tell someone about something you heard.  Experience hip-hop to the fullest extent you can and support the artists that support you with what they do every day.  Or else don't complain when it's ALL gone."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


"This is Mally (The MC from Minneapolis, Mn) sending out a mini promotional email in regard to a new track I will be releasing September 15th, 2010 titled:Lights Off (Prod. By The Sundance Kid).  The song invokes a feeling of high energy and a dedication to your/our craft as artists, fans and supporters of hip-hop.  We (Sundance and I) wanted this musical experience to serve as an ode to the "real" or as an anthem for those who appreciate and create good music and will represent the culture for years to come.  In addition, this will serve as the first of several single releases before The Sundance Kid and I drop our EP (title TBD) in the spring of 2011. We plan to drop one teaser track on the 15th of each month (Sept-April) up until 4/2011 and then BOOM! - the EP will be releasing as yours to have and enjoy."

<a href="">Wisdom (Prod. By Mydus) by Mally</a>
<a href="">Better Days (Prod. By Marcus Banks) by Mally</a>


Thursday, September 2, 2010


This shit is nuts!

<a href="">Tonight(The Ganzobean Vegas Remix) by Ganzobean</a> Share

Sunday, August 29, 2010


This is a great read and a very in depth look into the thought process and workmanship of Deej Storer AKA Status Reign!
NT-Who are you? Where are you from and where do you call home?

SR-The name Is Status Reign and I originally hail from Tampa Bay, Florida. After only a year and change my folks made their way across the country and I spent some of my formative years in San Diego, California. Moving on my parents followed Opportunity to Minnesota and here I stay... Its hard to say exactly where I'm "from" having lived in so many places, but I would say I call Minnesota "home". I've been here the longest, done the most good here, and when I go on the road for shows... Minnesota is the place I miss.

NT-How long have you been making music?
SR-I've been making music since I was in Jr. High. It started more as something to do in class, and just kept going that way until some people told me that the stuff I was writing was good. From there it just kept getting more involved, more serious, and took up more and more time until I decided to do something specific with it.

NT-You also play the guitar I've heard, are you using that in your songs or plan to?
SR-I've actually been playing the guitar for a long time now. However, being self taught I'm about the skill level of an apt 12 year old. I have plucked a few lines for some beats, and would really love to be more active with using the guitar for music in general, but without really spending the time to improve my technical skill I'm limited what I can do... which isn't a ton. A huge draw back is that I've been spoiled in getting guitar... without playing guitar, and I throw that largely at Phingaz's feet. For anyone that doesn't know Phingaz, he is a master wiz at anything music related. If it has strings, a horn, or a key he will find a way to make it sound good, so working with him has truly been a blessing, while at the same time keeping me too lazy to really learn how to play.
NT-What's one of your fondest memories of music as a kid?
SR-Back when B96 first started... All they did was play dope music with no commercials. Whats better than that? Maybe the fact that one of my favorite Cd's growing up was the soundtrack to the street fighter movie. Perhaps not. In all seriousness, some of my favorite moments are hearing a song that I still like today for the first time, or having a song be the theme song for a whole summer. I was just fortunate to grow up with all kinds of different music. My life has been filled with it.  I have too many good music memories to list them in their entirety here, but I'm sure a majority of them are common to many people.

NT-Are you picky when it comes to working with an(other) artist(s)?
SR-That kind of depends on what the project will be for. For example I'm always down to work with artists for mix tapes, EPs, side projects... whatever, but I'm extremely picky on artists that I will work with on something that is specifically for me. There's a lot that goes into picking people to work with for an album that most people don't think about. If I have an amazing singer do a chorus for me on the album, will I be able to find someone as good (or at least close) to perform that song with me on the tour? If I have another rapper on a song, is that person going to know what I'm after? Are they going to be on my same wave length? Also I think its important to stand on your own two legs. A lot of artists will have 18 tracks on an album, and 20 verses on the album will be from "featured" artists. There's nothing wrong with that... but I think an album should have something important to say, it should mean something, and its hard to find 15 some-odd people that understand your direction.

NT-Who are you working with at the moment?
SR-If I've had nothing else I've had people to work with! Being a member of Background Noise Crew I've spent a lot of time working with Analyrical. Me and him have a side project called "C.A.S.E." that people still seem to have a vested interest in, and one day I PROMISE were going to finish it. Phingaz is LITERALLY my go to guy with any idea that's weird, wild, or in general hard to pull off, and he has been a great help in throwing all kinds of dope stuff together. I've also done plenty of work with Tone Krusher Smith, TQD, and I've gotten hella loose on some Egypto Knuckles beats in my time. Other than people in "the crew" I've worked really close with a lot of talented musicians for this project and I plan to add several more people to the list before the album is completely finished. I'm doing all of my recording right now with J.L. Magee, who has been an invaluable extra set of hands, ears, and as a consultant on how the album is shaping up. I'm certain the album wouldn't sound as good as it does without him helping as much as he has. Legend Has It has also been instrumental with helping me shape the album, finding a definitive sound, and making sure that everything comes together down the home stretch, and pretty soon I'm hoping to add the lovely and talented Kalliah Jackson into the mix. An amazing singer, talented musician, and the most bad ass chick you'd ever be hesitant to bring home to momma (Congrats to Kalliah as well for landing a recording deal recently. Her album is going to be recorded shortly and I urge anyone with ears to keep an eye out for it).

NT-How did you meet?
SR-Meeting the BNC guys was a long and fabled journey that takes up the better part of two years to tell in real time. We were all around the same places around the same time, and long story short we finally started coming together to pool resources, and move towards a common destination. We've officially been a organized collective for over three years, and things seem to keep getting better. I originally met J.L. Magee and Legend Has It when we were all together in the group Azrael's Youth, a group that has since disbanded, morphed, and then come back together as something completely different. The new group "super Incredible" is gearing up for an album that is still in its infancy, but is certainly coming along nicely. Kalliah I guess you could say I "found"... Through a friend of a friend, who's sister used to date this one guy, who's cousin went to school with etc... Basically I heard her sing... and that was pretty much that. I wasn't sure how at the time, but I knew I wanted to get her involved, and me and her have been talking to get her a spot on my album for some months now.

NT-How did Background Noise Crew form and when?
SR-I suppose you could say BNC owes its current label of "a collective" to Egypto Knuckles. We as individuals had been grinding and working independently for a long time, and it wasn't until Egypto Knuckles organized what were called "building sessions" at the time that we all came together. The goal in mind was to move the same direction we all had been going separately and focus our collective energy into each individual person as needed, hopefully resulting in increased exposure, and opportunities while putting in the same amount of work. We've been together 3 years (officially) and things have come a long way from where they started. I care deeply for all those guys and I'm super excited to see where everything goes.

NT-What groups or bands are you really digging right now?
SR-Its really strange to think about what I've been listening to lately compared to what I was listening to just a few years ago. I used to think everything on the radio was the devil, and only stuff I discovered for myself was worth listening to. As it turns out... that was wrong. I've really been digging on B.O.B. lately. His album has a really awesome range and its good to listen to all the way through. Quite a few jazz musicians have also made their way into my regular rotation. To me jazz is really good cruising music because its easy to drift into your own thoughts on such passionate music. For anyone interested in getting into jazz but they're not sure where to start, check out Gregory Porter, or the New Jazz Composers Octet.

NT-Who were some of your inspirations in your early years? Who, after listening to it really made you decide to make music?
SR-Honestly I didn't really listen to a lot of hip hop growing up, or even much in my teens for that matter. I suppose I was more into classic rock (primarily my mom's influence) and the occasional rap song here and there. I think the whole hip hop thing sorta clicked for me when I started listening to Outkast. ATLiens was probably what I would call my FIRST hip hop album, and to this day perhaps one of my most influential. Since I was staying up too late before school my mom took my t.v. out of my room before going into Jr. high which left me with nothing but the CD player, and since I can't sleep without some kind of ambient noise in the background I would always listen to music (which kept me up just as late usually). Someone at school put me up on Outkast and BAM! hip hop was my new favorite. In the years to follow I developed something of an obsession with Andre3000. The way he rapped, the awkward, yet still perfectly deliberate delivery... I would say if I could be as good as any rapper of my choosing it would have to be him, and ultimately I think his unique abilities are what pushed me into making music the way I wanted.

NT-In your mind is there any one or two records that is absolutely perfect or damn near close?
SR-I've found that perfect, is more a matter of perception than a word you can use to describe something. I guess the cop out is NO album is perfect but two that are REALLY close in my opinion are "The Love Below" by Andre3000, and "Reflection Eternal" by Talib Kweli. Both of those albums have what I like to refer to as "the mix" factor. Meaning if you were to make your own CD for a road trip, what would you put on it? some highs, some lows, some hype, some chill... and in what order? these two albums stand out specifically to me because they both come with a pre-packaged all-in-one stance of "this whole album is all you're going to need". That's an extremely rare quality for an album to have, making these two near the top on my list of all time favorites

NT-Is there anything about those album(s) that you know they just "got it right"?
SR-Literally from beginning to end you don't have to do anything... You don't have to work to listen to them, you don't have to come back to something to try and "get it", you don't even need to hit skip or fast forward. Its not just good music, its good lyrics, beats, order, timing, etc. even the songs that aren't my favorite are still worth listening to and both of them have a concept that can be followed. Maybe not in content or topics, but in structure and quality these albums should be the model for anyone aiming to make a good album.
P.S. I know love below was part of a double disc...but...  fun fact... Speakerboxx was just ... O.K.

NT-Do you have any "desert island" records to share? (the only records you could listen to for the rest of your life?)
SR-Love Below would absolutely be on there. I come back to that one occasionally whenever my current interest fades and I need a refresher on the dopeness. Other than that, I would probably try and hold on tight to a lot of old music that I don't listen to much anymore. early Jay-z, Linken park, U2, its just too hard to say for sure, but I would hope to have access to music forever, so I'll just not answer specifically and hope that such a dark day never dawns on me.

NT-Where do you tend to write your lyrics? Bathroom, living room...on your lunch break?
SR-Usually I will work in my living room late at night. The quiet allows for concentration and lets be honest... Who isn't comfortable in their living room? It just has all the X-factors you need to come up with quality material.

NT-What equipment are you working with in the studio?
SR-I have been recording the album at J.L. Magee's studio, using some pretty top end stuff, doing our recording in Pro Tools and mixing with Waves Mercury. Its a home studio set up, but with a dedicated booth section, some of the dopest speaker monitors, computer equipment, and mics available. The equipment doesn't make the sound, but it does help, and I'm only encouraged by the tools I have the chance to work with.

NT-Could you describe your music-making process? 
SR-The writing process for me is really drawn out, and actually quite disjointed when compared to a lot of my peers. Most people I know will simply sit down when they feel like it and start writing... I do this too of course, but its not how I usually get started. I prefer to set aside and dedicate time to working on tunes. I think as a writer forcing yourself to write doesn't always yield good results, but when you're accustomed to sitting down and writing on a regular basis you get more relaxed, and more at ease... In  general the creative juices flow a lot better if I'm thinking "nothing different than last time... just let it happen". A calm of sorts hits me and I can look at emotional topics objectively. My current album "Brutally Honest" dives really deep into a lot of touchy subjects, and if I sat down looking at it as a big picture I'd probably get upset and wouldn't be able to write anything EVER!

NT-How have people responded to the music you've have been making?
SR-I'm extremely fortunate to be getting the feedback I have. Most people are really positive, and excited to hear the rest of the album, but even more so a lot of people have been really supportive. When I spread music out to try and get a gage of what people think of it, I've been getting a lot of people asking if there is anything they can do to help, or if there are any places they can talk to for me. it makes the whole process a lot easier knowing that there are so many people that are hoping right along with me. Some people however are nervous the album is coming out. As I've said before, there are a lot of personal issues and situations being brought up on the album, and while the people close to me are still being supportive, putting all my dirty laundry out for everyone to see affects them as well.

NT-Is there any surprises or a record in the works right now?
SR-Surprises are just ideas once you give them away... but the short answer is yes. I have something that I'm trying to organize with Phingaz, as a side project. Its fun, its simple, ultimately it will be free, and the best part is I can guarantee people are going to like it. without giving too much away its a secret for now, and once all the details get worked out and some things get under way it will probably be public info shortly there after. Other than the dungeon-esq secrets Super Incredible will be recording an album as soon as mine is finished, and at the same time I'm hoping to finally get the CASE album finished with my guy Analyrical. I just love making music and between now and the time this gets posted I'll have already come up with and discarded a dozen more ideas for projects, so its safe to say I'll try to always have something going on.

NT-Have you been getting good press recently?
SR-I've had a real influx of positive press lately... Some blogs, a few interviews, and some features on websites and radio stations. I've been making music for a long time, but this is the first time that I've tried to really get momentum for a serious project, so I'm not sure if I'm way ahead, way behind or somewhere in between. There are always bigger things to go after and bigger moves to make but things feel like they're headed the right direction and most if not all of my commercial feedback has been good thus far, so I'm optimistic, and hopeful for the future.

NT-What's the perfect crowd to you?
SR-Honestly, anyone interested in having a good time. when I get on stage I give all of myself to the crowd, and I just want people to let themselves get involved, let themselves have a good time, and let themselves feel good. A good crowd doesn't even have to listen to the words... if they do... awesome, but any fellas that come out to chill instead of mean mug, and any broads that will kick their heels to the side of the dance floor and get loose are OK by me.

NT-Do you have any shows coming up or tour dates?
SR-At the moment I'm focusing diligently on finishing the album, and tightening screws. So I'm purposefully abstaining from shows until the scheduled tour set to commence sometime in early April. Its going to be 12 cities in 14 days, and aside from being a grueling two weeks its going to be the beginning of a long stretch of shows promoting Brutally Honest, showcasing Super Incredible, and getting busy with my BNC boys. Stay tuned for things to come, and if you get the opportunity don't miss a chance to come party/hang out at whatever show hits near you.
NT-What's your take on the Internet, has it helped or hurt you in terms of reaching an audience or making your money?
SR-The Internet certainly is a fascinating monster. Its never been so easy to get discovered, but its also never been so easy to be shuffled into the masses and fade into obscurity. I'd say all and all, the interwebs are the most revolutionary change music has seen or ever will see, short of someone coming up with a way to beam music directly into people's heads, but its largely for good. Its hard to say exactly what role it will play, but the old days of buying your favorite artist's CD at (insert retail store name here) are winding to a close. The future for music, both in distribution and marketing are all going online, and I just think its important to tackle it as a priority front. If I can make a living selling music over iTunes or or whatever, that would be great... But I would certainly enjoy the occasional illegal download of my music too.

NT-Where can people go to hear and buy your music?
SR-Just like every musician halfway serious about their music I have a Myspace, Facebook, Bandcamp, and so on... some tunes are available on and my personal under construction site will be a main hub for all things "Status Reign" related. I love to give music away for free... but I have to get the money for my cigarettes and video games from somewhere... so for anyone who feels inclined my debut album will be available for sale anywhere humanly possible as soon as it is released in late March/ early April.

NT-last question...when you hit the venue, what drink is getting ordered first?
SR-My first drink is actually some-what ceremonial. Whether its covered by drink tickets, on the house, or out of pocket I always order a "bud in the bottle" to start. Take a few sips, and then judiciously remove all labels... all the while I like to stand up on the stage of whatever venue I'm about to perform at. I think of it as getting comfortable in my temporary home. After the first drink Its case by case, maybe a mix drink, maybe tap... but more likely whatever I can afford.

NT-Anything else to add for the readers? Any shout outs?
SR-I would just have everyone know that I love talking to people. I used to be really conservative, and shy, and when I turned 3... I said "efff that"! I'm basically a really simple laid-back kinda guy, that's down to have fun where possible. If you are like minded... Please, hit me up. I would love to talk with you. Having said that, huge shout out and love, to my friends and family, Kira, Dino and Jones, I couldn't do any of this without you... don't leave me... Or I will fall apart. My BNC family, thank you so much for the support and hopefully we have many more years of success, and fun to come. Congrats again to Kalliah, good look on the effort and support to my good friends DJ Ganzobean, and B Mc-C. For anyone I didn't mention personally its because you are too special to name... I just couldn't expose the awesomeness to the public yet.


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