Entries tagged with: Top Dawg Entertainment
by Andrew Sacher
Top Dawg Entertainment is the label behind Cali rap group Black Hippy, aka Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock, but as mentioned a few times, TDE recently picked up a couple new artists, including R&B/dream pop singer SZA and Tennessee rapper Isaiah Rashad. SZA first caught our ears with some impressive EPs released prior to the signing, and Isaiah Rashad just won us over at CMJ when he made a guest appearance during Schoolboy's set. Now, the two newest members of the TDE family have teamed up for a song together, "Ronnie Drake," and you can certainly hear some of Kendrick Lamar's style coming through in Isaiah Rashad's delivery on this one. Check it out below.
Kendrick and Schoolboy Q were just in NYC over the weekend for Power 105.1 Powerhouse at Barclays Center.
Isaiah Rashad was also recently joined by Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock on the remix of his song "Shot You Down." You can stream that, along with "Ronnie Drake," below...
Joanna Gruesome photos by Dominick Mastrangelo; words by Bill Pearis and Andrew Sacher
Joanna Gruesome at Pianos 10/16/2013
We're in the midst of a crazy-as-usual CMJ -- we're on day 3 (10/17) -- and the headaches and lack-of-sleep are already kicking in. But it's all worth it for the many hours of live music. We already talked a bit about seeing Joanna Gruesome yesterday, and here's some more highlights of our Wednesday (10/16) of CMJ...
Bonzie @ Pianos (photo by Amanda Hatfield for BrooklynVegan Instagram)
After I saw Joanna Gruesome downstairs at Pianos, I headed upstairs to catch young Chicago singer/songwriter Bonzie. I was a little skeptical about her potentially being a bit too on the manufactured-pop side, and there is definitely some of that, but she's also got a great voice and is clearly determined to be a memorable performer as well. Bonzie's got the kind of folky pop songs that are very much in style (and successful), but she and her band add some quirks to them that recall early-mid '00s freak folk more than they do Mumford & Sons.
Other than Joanna Gruesome, the best thing I saw at Pianos had to have been Bleeding Rainbow. They mentioned on stage that they're working on a new record (expected to be out February 2014) and were playing a lot of songs from it, and man were these new songs good. Their last record -- this year's Yeah Right -- is mostly poppy shoegaze (not that there's anything wrong with that), and they've always been heavier live than that album would suggest, but these new songs were sounding like some of their most driving, punkiest stuff. They often worked practically-screamed vocals, Sonic Youth-y string bends, and dirty power chords into their set -- not the typical elements of a band tagged as shoegaze and indie pop. - [AS]
Bill here... like ships passing in the night, Andrew left for Webster Hall and I got to Pianos for the night show that was happening in the upstairs. CMJ is about the only time to see full bands up there where's no stage, giving things more of a DIY feeling. I got there just in time to catch Brooklyn's Gross Relations who bang out '90s-style crunchy, keyboard-friendly indie rock a la The Rentals or The Pulsars. They do it really well and if you've never checked them out, their live show is a lot of fun. Their record's good too.
Next up was the band I came to see -- and whom Andrew had just seen downstairs at Pianos -- Joanna Gruesome. Already a big fan of their terrific debut, Weird Sister, I knew they were not going to be your quiet type cardigan-wearing indiepop band live, but they really threw themselves into their performance, and around the room a bit too. They're a no holds barred band -- a bit wild and wooly but holding it together -- and the packed room was fully into it. In addition to album cuts like the "Sugarcrush," "Secret Surprise" and "Madison" they turned Galaxie 500's dreamy "Tugboat Captain" into a killer noise-jam. I haven't seen Hookworms yet but Joanna Gruesome are my CMJ band to beat.
BV photographer Dominick Mastrangelo happened to be there too and was kind enough to send a few JG pictures which are in this post.
From there I headed back to Williamsburg for the NME showcase at Glasslands. Leeds, UK's Eagulls are a band I've been wanting to see for some time. Coming on stage in a long coat, George Mitchell looks like the singer of a British postpunk band, and has the sneery stage presence -- and Northern England drawl -- to back it up. Kicking things off with excellent new single "Nerve Endings," they blasted through their short, fierce set with nary a nod to the audience. They play our BV day party on Friday (10/18).
Courtney Barnett @ Glasslands (via @soundbitesnyc)
Then came Australian singer Courtney Barnett who is my kind of singer-songwriter: funny, charming, unassuming and un-singer-songwritery. With a rhythm section backing her up, sonically she's more in the garage-psych world (in an almost Kinks kinda way) with her almost stream-of-consciousness story style lyrics driving things. She can rock but you leave remembering lyrical phrases as much as the music. And I left smiling with much of both.
You can catch Courtney a bunch this week, including the BV day party on Saturday. -[BP]
Now back to Andrew...
A$AP Rocky and Ferg @ Webster Hall (via @iboTV)
I spent my entire night portion of CMJ Wednesday at the Mass Appeal/Grooveshark showcase at Webster Hall, where we got sets from promising young Brooklyn rapper Bishop Nehru, punky duo The Bots, A$AP Mob, Casey Veggies and Schoolboy Q. A$AP Mob's set was only billed to feature Twelvy, Ant, and Nast, but A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg came out for the last few songs, including big Ferg songs "Work" and "Shabba" (video below). Ferg and Rocky were pretty much the stars of the night, but before they came out the rest of the Mob proved they could put on a fun show without them too. It wasn't long ago that A$AP Ferg wasn't a well-known solo artist yet, and it doesn't seem out of the question for other A$AP Mob members to start getting recognized for their own careers too.
Schoolboy Q's set included no guest appearances, but he did bring out new TDE signee Isaiah Rashad to do two of his own songs, and it wasn't hard to see what TDE sees in this guy. But back to Q. I don't think the place was sold out but it was pretty packed and Q had the whole crowd going nuts for him. When I saw Schoolboy Q in NYC earlier this year, the penultimate song in his set was his big song "Hands on the Wheel," which he cut off early saying he was tired of that and wanted to move on to new material, so he ended his set with the then-new single "Yay Yay." It was fun (and funny), but almost came off like he was forcing the crowd to be into his new stuff. This time around, he didn't need to do anything of the sort. He played "Hands on the Wheel" in the middle of his set without commenting on it, and ended the set with two of his new singles, "Collard Greens" and "Yay Yay." He not only pulled it off, but the crowd seemed more into those songs than his older stuff. I think we're all ready for that new album, Schoolboy Q. Check out a video from last night below. - [AS]
And back to Bill...
Regal Degal @ Ran Tea House (via @soundbitesnyc)
Yuck headlined the Glasslands show but went on laaaaaate as drummer (and American) Jonny Rogoff announced from the stage that the rest of the band were a bit slow in getting here due to visa issues (they were supposed to be here Tuesday) and airport security and such (but not a blizzard like their first US show).
I didn't stick around -- Yuck (who are all here now) are playing our BV day party on Saturday -- and went a few doors down Kent to Ran Tea House for the Terrible Records show to catch Regal Degal. The trio spent a year in Los Angeles which definitely did them some good, they are much tighter band than before they left. They're still making somewhat obtuse, arty music -- think 154 or The Pop Group with The Fall's repetition repetition repetition -- but it's never indulgently weird. It's naturally weird. And the rhythm section (Jamen Whitelock and Josiah Wolfson) is just killer.
And then I went to bed. - [BP]
CMJ continues today. Check out our list of day shows and night shows. We'll have more pictures from Wednesday's Pianos day parties and more CMJ coverage soon. More pics from Joanna Gruesome's Upstairs Pianos set and the videos from Webster Hall below...
Kendrick Lamar at ACL Fest 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards cypher aired last night (10/15) and featured cyphers from TDE (Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul and new signee Isaiah Rashad), A$AP Mob (Rocky, Ferg, Twelvy, Nast, and Ant), Lil Kim & Action Bronson, Bone Thugs N Harmony, and more. As you may have heard, Kendrick's verse in the TDE cypher included a much-talked-about diss at Drake. You can read his entire verse (via Complex) and watch videos of the above-mentioned cyphers, below.
Meanwhile, Schoolboy Q and A$AP Mob (Ant, Twelvy, and Nast) are teaming up for a NYC show together TONIGHT (10/16) at Webster Hall as part of CMJ. The show also includes TDE's new signee Isaiah Rashad, in addition to former Odd Future associate Casey Veggies, young Brooklyn rapper Bishop Nehru (who has opened for more than one Black Hippy member in NYC), and The Bots. Tickets for tonight's show are still available, and you can also try to get in with your CMJ badge.
Videos and Kendrick lyrics below...
by Andrew Sacher
Schoolboy Q at Prospect Park in 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
There's still no word on when Schoolboy Q's much-anticipated new album, Oxymoron, will be out, but he's just released another track that's expected to make it on the LP, "Banger (MOSHPIT)." It sees Q veering pretty close to gangsta rap, and after the psychedelic Kendrick Lamar collab "Collard Greens" and the party-rap track "Yay Yay," it sounds like Oxymoron is shaping up to be a pretty diverse album. Listen below.
Schoolboy Q also has some shows coming up. Catch him the NYC-area with the whole Black Hippy crew (Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock) at NJ's Rock The Bells on 10/4 (tickets), and again when he and Kendrick team up with Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, and more for 105.1 Powerhouse at Barclays Center on November 2 (tickets). If you're in LA, you can also see him at the Odd Future Festival with Tyler, Earl, Frank Ocean, Flying Lotus, Trash Talk, and more (tickets). All dates are listed below.
Meanwhile, Schoolboy Q will appear on an album that we're (kind of) sure will come out this year, Danny Brown's Old. Its September 30 release date was pushed back to October 8, but it's supposed to stream on Spotify on 9/30. Check out that album's full tracklist (guest appearances and production credits included), along with the list of Q dates and the new track stream, below.
To quote HipHopDX:
With a roster filled with numerous emcees, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) has taken a different route with their newest signee, SZA. Hailing from Maplewood, New Jersey, the songstress was announced as the label's latest addition earlier in the week.Congrats SZA!
Prior to signing with TDE, SZA released a handful of projects including last year's See.SZA.Run and an EP titled, S. The singer is also gearing up for the release of her Z EP, which will feature her recent singles, "Julia" and "Teen Spirit."...
...This latest news from TDE comes shortly after it was rumored that Queens rapper Action Bronson and singer Jhene Aiko would serve as TDE's newest signee's. As of now, neither of the two artists are signed to TDE.
Listen to both of SZA's recent singles below, and of course don't forget to listen to Kendrick Lamar's new battle rap while you're at it too.
photos by Julie Schabel
Kendrick Lamar @ T5, 9/15/2012
Kendrick Lamar greeted the sold-out crowd at New York City's Terminal 5 with a heartfelt "it feels good to be home." Kendrick opened hard with a string of Section.80 bangers that included "HiiiPower," "Fuck Your Ethnicity," "Hol' Up" and "A.D.H.D."Three-quarters of Black Hippy -- AKA Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and the show's headliner Kendrick Lamar -- hit Terminal 5 on Saturday (9/15) as part of a showcase for the Top Dawg Entertainment crew. Pictures from the show adorn this post.
The Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) crew has been on the BET Music Matters tour for a week now, but the rigor of the nightly shows was only evident in Kendrick's hoarse voice. He powered through a long set of old and new tracks, letting the on-point audience finish line after line for him as he bounced back and forth across the stage under a banner advertising his upcoming album, good kid, m.A.A.d city. -[XXL]
For Ab-Soul's set, he brought out talented local rapper Joey Bada$$ and Joey's Pro Era crew. A video of Joey Bada$$ and Pro Era joining Ab-Soul, plus a video of Kendrick playing "Cartoons & Cereal" at the show are below. Stalley played an opening set at the show too (unfortunately we didn't get any pics of him).
Meanwhile, the fourth member of Black Hippy, Schoolboy Q, was not present. Q is currently as part of the ongoing A$AP Rocky/Danny Brown trek that comes to NYC on September 27 at Roseland. Tickets for that show are still available.
In other news, Kendrick Lamar is none-too-happy with Amazon right now. The online retailer has been prepping the release of Good Kid, m.A.A.d city but let one slip past the goalie by releasing the artwork for the record which apparently was a no-no. Lamar tweeted:
When u leak my album cover. Know that it's not a price tag. Its my LIFE. & there's alot of serious ppl that care about lil Kendrick's life.The artwork is still up on Amazon, by the way, and you can check out below too where we've also got video of Kendrick discussing the artwork.
All videos and more pics are below...