Saul Williams as Hip Hop’s Poet Laureate…

Posted in culture, music on September 6th, 2012 by urbanguy

“We have to continue to question our democracy, our leadership, our capitalism. If hip-hop isn’t addressing these issues, then (perhaps) it’s time to create a new kind of music.”

Had a deep chat with hip-hop artist, poet, actor, writer and singer Saul Williams for CBC Music. Fascinating brother. He’s in town later this week for his Chorus: A Spoken Word Tour.


Yeah so this happened today.

Posted in music on September 5th, 2012 by urbanguy

Excited to be officially announced to the Grand Jury for this year’s Polaris Music Prize. Now myself and 10 other Canadian music writers/critics get to select the best Canadian album of the year (regardless of genre). No pressure.

Seriously though, I’m pretty excited about it, especially being this is my first year on the actual jury (and the fact that there are 200+ Canadian journalists to choose from). Selecting the top album from this years’ shortlist – Cadence Weapon, Cold Specks, Kathleen Edwards, Feist, Fucked Up, Grimes, YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN, Handsome Furs, Japandroids, and the always controversial Drake — won’t be easy. But I’ll manage.

The Polaris Music Prize Gala goes down September 24 at the Concert Hall Studios at Masonic Temple.


Canada’s own Tamia reveals a Beautiful Surprise

Posted in culture, music on September 5th, 2012 by urbanguy

Connected with R&B’s Tamia (remember her?) for CBC Music recently, discussing her comeback album “Beautiful Surprise” and what she’s been up to in the past few years….

“She’s married to an American – pro basketball star Grant Hill– and has been living in the U.S. for years, but R&B songstress Tamia is still a Canadian gal at heart. “I still claim it,” the talented singer says over the phone from New York City. “I do come up a lot. My family and roots are all still there.”

Read the rest here.

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Madchild of Swollen Members talks DopeSick

Posted in music on August 28th, 2012 by urbanguy

With his solo debut album Dope Sick (out today), Madchild is taking the term “keeping it real” to heart. When it came time for the front man of Swollen Members, the seminal West Coast–based hip-hop group, to create the new album, “it was about being honest with myself and being honest with the listeners,” the MC says. “I’m not going to hide anything. It’s all truthful. That always works the best, I think – just being true to your art.” Love or hate Swollen Members, you have to concede that Shane Bunting is a talented lyricist/performer. Check the full piece over at CBC Music.

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Rochelle Jordan — “Pressure” (Review)

Posted in music on August 22nd, 2012 by urbanguy

Aaliyah influences abound throughout Rochelle Jordan’s new mixtape Pressure ― and to say the Toronto R&B/soul artist has growing buzz would be a severe understatement. Building off the warmly received and critically heralded 2011 mixtape effortROJO, the newly dropped Pressure continues along an artistic through-line that filters elements of ’90s R&B ― think Kelis, Amel Larrieux, and the aforementioned Aaliyah ― into a concentrated, postmodern soul dose of multilayered beats and breathy vocals. Indeed, Jordan and producer KLSH refine what made ROJO such an enjoyable listen ― a highly atmospheric vibe, snare-driven beats ― and pack the 12-track Pressure with a now-trademark progressive production that simultaneously reaches for flashy and minimalist. Tracks like “Losing,” “Somebody” and “Pressure” wistfully put modern day relationships on blast (“Why you walk away when I just wanna talk/Babe, if you stay we can turn the lights off,” the singer-songwriter coos on the title track) and travel along an evidently deeply personal wavelength. “Couldve Been” is perhaps the standout track on the project, a mid-tempo number that confidently invokes late ’90s Janet Jackson. More than a throwback, Pressure represents an unapologetic, understated sound that frankly sounds like nothing in R&B right now. - Originally published at Exclaim! Magazine. 

Jordan is definitely one to watch. If you missed yet, catch the talented Toronto artist answering my UrbanGuy “Four Questions with…” feature a few months back. And if you haven’t already, be sure to download the Pressure mixtape pronto.

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Four Questions with…The Airplane Boys

Posted in music on August 3rd, 2012 by urbanguy

Since making a buzz with the 2011 mixtape Where’ve You Been, Toronto’s The Airplane Boys have been on the rise. From there it’s been constant North American touring (including hanging around with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole) and the release of sophomore effort with 2012′s Alignment.

The duo (Beck Motley and Bon Voyage) bring to the game a post-modernist style of rap, featuring elements of synthpop, house, R&B and dubstep  with a laid back vibe.

Definitely dudes to watch. As The Airplane Boys prepare to play Osheaga this long weekend, peep the email responses they gave for our Four Questions…

Q: How would you guys best describe the Airplane Boys style?

A: We love high end fashion, vintage, meets Japanese streetwear, meets avant garde.
Q: Who is the target fan/demographic?
A: The creative class.

Q: What do you guys love best about the Toronto music scene?

We love the culture and diversity that Toronto has to offer.  You literally have access to every culture in the world in one city.

Q: What can people expect from you guys for the rest of 2012 (and beyond)?

A: We’re currently working on new music, so stay tuned for that. We’re also performing in a few summer festivals including Catalpa in New York, Osheaga in Montreal and Sunset Festival in Los Angeles.

You can find the duo on Twitter (@theairplaneboys) or on Facebook.

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D-Sisive – Asian Elvis (Mixtape)

Posted in music on July 31st, 2012 by urbanguy

Derek Christoff (aka D-Sisive) is a machine, steadily working overtime and pushing out music on a regular basis. On deck: Asian Elvis, a 16-track sample-heavy mixtape that delivers his trademark underground vibe from the rap specialist.  Out today.

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Kardinal Offishall featuring Shi Wisdom – “Mr. Parker” (Video)

Posted in funky snob, music on July 27th, 2012 by urbanguy
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The always reliable Kardinal drops some summer heat with the up and coming “one to watch” Shi Wisdom. Guest spots by Toronto peeps abound in this one. Enjoy.

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Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange

Posted in music on July 25th, 2012 by urbanguy

Try as one might, one can’t help but flash a furtive eyebrow or two at the curious timetabling between Frank Ocean effectively outing himself and the album release date of Channel Orange. Engineered or not, the ensuing publicity would have been hollow if the album was a dud ― it is not. Make no mistake, though: Channel Orange isn’t a masterpiece. What it is, frankly speaking, is one of the brightest R&B-flavoured projects to touch the mainstream in a long time. While lacking the immediacy of much-heralded mixtape Nostalgia, ULTRA, Channel Orange is strategically loose and genuinely artistic in its construction. In melding accessible melodies with conveniently obtuse lyrics (see: the sublime, Stevie Wonder-sounding “Sweet Life”), the reserved 24-year-old singer/songwriter speaks to the black experience rarely expressed upon such a vulnerable platform. Gifted? It’s too early to say. Talented? An emphatic, “hells yeah.” Just bear witness to Ocean killing it with his falsetto on the dreamily seductive “Thinking Bout You,” mark out as he evokes vintage Prince with “Lost” and vibe as Ocean and Odd Future standout Earl Sweatshirt examine the vapidity of young money (“Super Rich Kids”) over urgent-sounding piano keys. Whether it’s discussing the political (“Crack Rock”), entrancing with electro rhythms (“Pyramids”) or ruminating about a lost lover on an overvalued track (“Bad Religion”), Channel Orange wears its progressive R&B heart on its sleeve. In the grand scheme of things, Ocean’s fluid sexuality is both immaterial and momentous. But those getting caught up over this element are missing the point:Channel Orange is simply good shit.

- Originally featured in

PHONTE ft. MEDIAN – Eternally (Video)

Posted in music on July 23rd, 2012 by urbanguy
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New Tigallo!


in aj lee online