Here are some photos from the Ackee & Saltfish screening at EMP Collective in Baltimore on 1/23. The weather may have been a bit crazy but we had a full house! Shout out to sisster-press thecoalitionmag truelaurels​ + 3dotzine​ for coming thru with some amazing zines. And thanks most of all to cecileemeke​ for making such an amazing film and allowing us to show it stateside. And be on the lookout for the Ackee + Saltfish webseries!

Check out the trailer here and get more info on the series here

The second issue of my good friend (and very good writer) Lawrence Burney’s zine True Laurels is now available for just 5 bucks. Buy it! I contributed a long-ass essay on Cam'ron’s Killa Season movie about why it is essentially a mumblecore movie and much more in the spirit of the hip-hop canon that pretty much begins with Wild Style than “respectable” rap movies like 8 Mile. I also reviewed a couple of records. Also featured: B L A C K I E, DDm, Asaad, big homie Kenny Evans, a few incredible photos by Baltimore bon vivant scene photographer Rusty Burke, and more. BUY TRUE LAURELS #2 HERE. Thanks for the support!

Rikki Blu: On His XXXIII Project, Texas Trill Music & Emotional Rap (2/5/13)

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To say that you’re trill in the current A$AP Rocky-flooded rap world is one of the most vague and undervalued things to say.  That kinda sucks though, because there are upcoming rappers who are actually from Texas’ trill culture. But to Rikki Blu —a 21-year-old Dallas native—trill is more of a lifestyle than it is sippin’ lean and rockin’ fronts. His debut project XXXIII, which dropped this past Friday, is more in the mold of J Cole than it is of Pimp C when it comes to Southern Rap. Still, he gives a good range of experimentation on the project; “Jordan” is a slow melody track with speedy drums where Rikki’s flow follows the latter, “My Jail Song” is a reflective song about him being arrested for weed possession and “No Weekends” samples the intro of The Weeknd’s “The Host”. All of his rhymes are from real life experiences and in his case, there’s enough fuel there to keep him from going the rap fantasy life route. When I spoke to him on the eve of his tape dropping, we talked about emotional rappers, being trill and the death of his mom. Here’s our convo:

To someone who has never heard your music, how would you best describe it?

Rikki Blu:  My music is honest, emotional and pure. I try to remain as human as possible when I’m creating a record.  We lose ourselves far too often trying to maintain this superficial facade.

Your Soundcloud bio reads: “I’ve been through it all”. That’s not an unfamiliar line for an online bio, but pain and passion do bleed through your music. Any specific experiences responsible for that?

RB:  I watched my mom die before my very eyes and was being abused ever since I can remember. Those things on top of  just simply going through life were tough. Especially with no one else to depend on.

In recent memory, rappers are getting back to being a bit more vulnerable in their rhymes. Is that a characteristic of the new generation or is it just a direct result of rap moving back into the underground where things are less superficial? RB: I think it’s more about the individual artist and the path they choose to take. For me, I have nothing to hide; I’m an open book, so being honest and keeping it trill comes second nature to me. I don’t see “honest raps” being a trend, though. There’s just different types of niggas out here.

Being that “Trill” and screw music have been widely popularized over the past year in hip-hop, does being from Texas—where it originated—turn into a disadvantage at all? Has that taken away an edge that rappers from your region had before?

RB: Niggas been biting the South ever since I can remember. We’ve always been setting trends and standards in hip-hop. So, disadvantage? Nah. I’m true to this and it doesn’t have to be explained. I don’t think trill being popularized has taken away an edge, but I do think that the original culture is at risk of being lost. But shoutout to the OG’s such as Bun B for keeping it proper.

Any major influences that may not come out in your music?

RB: I love Portishead, Sade, and Sting. Weird right? (laughs). But mainly, I’m a huge fan of good music. So if it knocks, I can relate.

Your project, XXXIII, comes out on your birthday. What’s the significance of that number? Is it sports-related?

RB: Yeah, it is sports-related actually. Man, that was my mom’s jersey number for basketball. She was a blue chip All-American, all that. And I’m also the youngest of three.

For people who have listened to your music, what on XXXIII may take them by surprise and what is the project’s overall theme?

RB: The ratchet shit I have on here may take them by surprise! (laughs).Just joking, but I think my versatility may be hard to digest at first, or at least I’d like to think so. But the project’s overall theme is, The Fall And Rise of Rikki Blu; it’s a journey.




fattonyrap, truelaurels, mussymayhem everybodysnamedhannah

Got a super sweet shout out from Max Guy in his interview with True Laurels earlier this week. Nowhere Zone 4 is being carried at the shop he and friends Chloe and Flannery run, Rock512Devil.

“…I’m most interested in books that introduce new perspectives on literacy. Nowhere Zone by Nick Vyssotsky, Woman In Trouble by the Kingsboro Press (Anything by Kingsboro really) and Ma Vie en Bleu by Milano Chow are some favorites in this regard. I enjoy the way these books make me "read” an image or consider text as an image.“

You can read the whole interview here.

Photos: True Laurels + Abdu Ali

A couple weeks back, I interviewed my friend Abdu Ali for Frank 151, which went live last week (check it here). In the process of completing the story, we got together to take some shots, which, like everything with Abdu, turned into an entertaining situation. A big S/O goes to DUOX (from True Laurels Volume 1) for tossing us their studio and putting up with us for a couple hours. Check out the photos below and share them with your friends. Oh, and follow Abdu on Twitter: @AbduAli.  

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TRUE LAURELS: 'Directed By Cameron Giles, On Killa Season's Hot Mess Auteurism'

Forgot to post this. So, last Friday was the eighth anniversary of Cam'ron’s Killa Season which means nothing but does give everybody an excuse to talk about Cam'ron’s amazing movie and so, Lawrence Burney, editor of True Laurels posted my essay on Killa Season, previously only available in the second issue of his zine, which you can still buy here.

The third issue of Lawrence Burney’s excellent zine True Laurels is out now. I reviewed ISSUE’S Liquid Wisdom and Ricky Eat Acid’s Three Love Songs for it. Also features my little brother David Turner, the brilliant Kasai Rex, cool illustrations from Mike Hinson, and more. You can buy issue three here, pick it up at Printed Matter in New York, or come to The Crown in Baltimore tomorrow night (Junglepussy and Abdu Ali are performing) and get one IRL.