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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Big L Rest In Peace

Check out my new article about Big L at The Smoking Section. You can read it by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Let it Wain: A Brief Interview with David Wain

Last night I had an epiphany. I was watching my copy of The State: Skits and Stickers with my roommate Adam, and it hit me. I need to interview every member of The State for Heavy In The Streets. I just have to. It has become a mission of mine and I plan on seeing it through. I sat at my computer last night and thought about which cast member I should contact first. After much debate, I chose David Wain.

To put it bluntly, David Wain is the man. He is very heavy in the streets when it comes to comedy. For those who don’t know, he wrote, produced, and acted for one of the all-time great sketch comedy shows, The State. The State, which ran its course on MTV from 1993 to 1995, is probably my favorite TV show ever. Between the kick ass theme song, unique sketch ideas, and hilarious acting, it always resonated with me.

Since the end of The State’s run in 1995, David has been involved in several other comedy projects, including the 2001 hit movie Wet Hot American Summer. With a new movie titled The Ten opening this August, a recent stint executive producing the film Diggers (2006), and another directorial effort, Seniors, in pre-production, Mr. Wain’s career is looking stronger then ever.

I am honored to welcome David Wain as my first (and hopefully not last) installment in the Heavy In The Streets interview series with The State.

Let it Wain: A Brief Interview with David Wain

1. DJ Sorce-1: Members of the cast from The State still collaborate on many different projects. Do you thinks fans will ever get to see the entire cast work together on one project again?

David Wain: Well in 2007 they have two opportunities: All eleven members of The State appear in both Reno 911! Miami and The Ten, which opens August 3rd. As far as an actual new State project - it is a possibility. We talk about it all the time; it's largely a matter of logistics.

2. DJ Sorce-1: Will the comedy album that The State recorded in 1996 ever be released so that my life can finally be complete?

David Wain: Maybe!

Kerri Kenney, Michael Showalter, David Wain, and Joe Lo Truglio in Austin, TX circa 1997.

3. DJ Sorce-1: Out of all the comedy projects you've been involved in over the years, which one is your favorite?

David Wain: Well there have really been four major ones that are the obvious biggies for me: The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Stella and now The Ten. All four of these are favorites of mine in different ways. But they all share the fact that I worked on them for many years with my close friends, and they are all personal collaborative visions brought to life!

4. DJ Sorce-1: Describe the new movie you wrote and directed, The Ten.

David Wain: It's ten stories, each inspired by one of the Ten Commandments. They're held together by Paul Rudd's character (Jeff Reigert) who tries to narrate but gets sidetracked by problems with his wife (Famke Janssen) and his mistress (Jessica Alba). It's a big fun comedy. We debuted at Sundance Film Festival this past January and it opens in theaters August 3rd. I hope everyone likes it!

5. DJ Sorce-1: Name some things in life that keep you inspired and help you come up with new material.

David Wain: Definitely living life, getting older, having relationships, having problems, not working, working, music, friends, everything!

For more on David Wain, please visit his website or MySpace page.

For more on The State, check out the official website.

Bonus Stuff:

Diggers Trailer

Clips & Quips Sundance: The Ten

Extra Heavy, Extra Bonus: The State's 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pictures Pictures Pretty Pretty Pictures

I took these pictures at an anti war protest in Trafalgar Square in London. The protest took place in the spring of 2005 while I was studying abroad there. I am by no means gifted with photography but I’ve always loved taking pictures and sharing them with people.

I like the two different shots here. Both of them hit me really hard when I had the film developed upon returning to the states. I found the photo of the little boy holding a sign all by himself as people walked by particularly moving. Watching a kid who had no clue about the significance of the war in Iraq lift a protest sign by himself struck me. It was a moment I was fortunate enough to be armed with a camera for.

The other picture is not quite as profound, but still interesting. For me, it was satisfying to see George Bush, labeled as “World’s #1 Terrorist”, get stepped on by hundreds of pissed off people walking by. While his newspaper face getting stepped did nothing to help the real world problems he had caused, it was oddly satisfying to watch.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. I decided to make the first one b & w as well as color. Please leave some feedback if you get a chance.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

So Anxious for Ghetto Love

What happens when you take a fluffy Ginuwine tune and put some bangin' Nottz production behind it? Find out by listening to one of my blends. This was made a few summers ago in my parents basement while experimenting with a bunch of random records for an unfinished love mix tape I started.

So Anxious for Ghetto Love- DJ Sorce-1 Blend

Friday, May 25, 2007

Things Done Changed

Life is funny. Sometimes doing something small leads to something much bigger and better. Like starting this blog. I did it because I was having trouble finding a job and felt like I needed something new in my life. And sure enough, as a result, some great things have happened. I’ve gotten some new interview possibilities, and best of all, a new writing position at The Smoking Section.

Since becoming part of The Smoking Section crew, things have been moving steady clip. I’ve been blessed enough to interview Skillz, Girl Talk, and DJ Neil Armstrong in a mere few weeks.

Check out the interviews I've done for The Smoking Section by clicking the links below.

Skillz Interview

Girl Talk Interview

DJ Neil Armstrong Interview

Enjoy. And please post feedback and leave comments on The Smoking Section website.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DJ Enferno...The Live Remix Project

The first live DJ battle I went to was the 2003 DMC US Finals. Held in Washington, DC, hometown hero DJ Enferno of the Trooperz crew won the battle and advanced to the DMC World Finals. Although he did not win the DMC World title, I was impressed by Enferno and continued to keep tabs on him after the battle.

A little while back he started doing something called The Live Remix Project. Enferno uses 2 Turntables, 1 Rane TTM56 Mixer, 1 Pioneer EFX-500, 1 laptop running Serato Scratch Live, 1 laptop running Ableton Live software, as well soft-synths, 1 MicroKorg analog modeled synth, 2 M-Audio Trigger Finger drum pad controllers, 1 M-Audio 02 keyboard midi controller, 1 FCB1010 Footswitch, and 1 Eurorack Mixer to create “a musical symphony performed entirely in real-time.” The results are very interesting, and he is definitely pushing the envelope with this project.

The project is easier to understand once you see it, and is well worth checking out. This is more than a typical DJ set, it involves sequencing, sampling, and instrumentation all wrapped up in a neat little bundle. I’ve gone through the YouTube vaults and provided some of the key videos of Enferno performing The Live Remix Project. Check them out by playing the videos below. Also make sure to support Enferno by checking out his website, MySpace page, and The Live Remix Project website. DVD’s and CD’s of The Live Remix Project can be purchased from his MySpace page for $12.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cool Video of QBert interviewing DJ Z-Trip

Today I found this interesting video on YouTube of QBert interviewing DJ Z-Trip. I'm suprised this interview hasn't been making more noise on the web. Check out all three parts of the interview, and visit Z's website by clicking here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What Do New Kids on The Block, Hair Metal, and Southern Rap Have In Common?

In addition to my interest in journalism, I’m an aspiring DJ. During my freshmen year of college I became friends with two kids who had started their own record label, Grimeology Records. They also happened to DJ, going by the names DJ Hoodrich and Turkey P. By my junior year the three of us were performing at occasional on campus events together. Before long we were steady gigging up to three times a week under the name The Grimeology DJ’s.

In 2006 during our final semester of college we began a mix tape. Not coincidentally, we were going to name it HITS (Heavy In The Streets). The goal of our CD was to make a non-stop mix of really hype blends and remixes that would make people want to lose it. Anything grimey, intense, or energetic was fair game. To make a long story short, we never finished it. We were lazy sometimes, finals happened, and then we graduated. But despite never putting together a full release, we did record some pretty sick material.

One night while experimenting, we were going through my embarrassingly huge collection of 80’s vinyl. Seeing my Please Don’t Go Girl by New Kids on The Block record, I remembered the intro of the song having some cool 808ish drums. We decided to sample them and slow em down for that southern feel. Next came the task of finding a sample to layer over it. We’d been messing around with a guitar loop by hair metal giants Warrant from their song Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The first minute of this tune represents the peak of Warrant’s musical genius, and is actually really good. Leave it to three DJ’s to dig through piles of terrible music to find two usable samples.

Taking the loop from Warrant and the slowed down New Kids drums, we had created a nice sounding beat. Now all we needed to do was find some insane vocals. Enter Drama. His anthem Left, Right, Left was the perfect fit. High energy chanting that didn’t really make any sense. And so was born Drama Please Don’t Go Left at Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Download, share, and enjoy it compliments of The Grimeology DJ’s Hoodrich, Turkey P, and Sorce-1. Also check out the amusing videos to Please Don't Go Girl and Uncle Tom's Cabin. Sadly the only online video I found for Left, Right, Left has some weird auto play function so I'm not including it.

Download it by clicking here.

New Kids on the Block- Please Don't Go Girl

Warrant- Uncle Tom's Cabin

Subway Music

Living in NYC can be tough. No doubt it is an amazing city, and I'm proud to be a part of it, but sometimes it gets to you. All the people, noise, and hectic pace of life can be a bit much.

When I first moved to the city I had a lot of trouble finding steady work. One day on my way to a job interview where I saw my interviewer almost come to blows with his male receptionist, these women were singing in the subway station. My spirits were kind of low, and something about catching this gave me a boost. Posted on YouTube, for your viewing pleasure, is one of the best subway performances I've ever seen.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

TSS Presents Smoking Sessions With J Wells & Kurupt

Head on over to The Smoking Section to check out the new interview with J Wells and Kurupt where they discuss their new collaborative effort, Digital Smoke. As usual, it is well worth the read. Click here to check it out.

Prince Paul Changed My Life

I’ve been noticing something lately that is beginning to bother me. Whenever a bunch of know-it-all rap fans get together and come to blows over who the Greatest Producer of All Time is, you get the same key names.


Ok, no doubt.

Pete Rock.

Fair enough.

Dilla. (R.I.P.)


Dr. Dre.

Well, personally I’m not as big a fan of his most recent stuff, but his Death Row production is unreal.

Some dudes drop Large Professor and Marley Marl, other cats talk about The Neptunes and Timberland, and so on and so forth. Obviously I am not naming all of the greats here, and cases can be made for lots of other producers, but how many people throw out the name Prince Paul?

The answer is not very many. To me, Prince Paul is one of the greatest of all time, and without being overly dramatic, his music changed my life. I wanted to pay tribute to the man whose sound helped me get through my awkward adolescent years and was a constant source of inspiration. So I dug deep into the dark corners of my magazine collection to unearth a classic Prince Paul interview from the April 1999 issue of The Source. This is one of the best interviews I’ve ever read. It features a wide spectrum of artists Paul worked with over the years, and the photos that accompany it are perfect. It is so good it needs to be posted for the people who missed it the first time around. Click on the images to enlarge and read the article.

Shout outs to Ethan Brown for penning it, and Jill Greenberg for handling photography. If you are not familiar with Mr. Brown's work, you are not very heavy in the streets. Please support him by checking out his website. To stop by and read some great writing, click here. Also make sure to check out Jill Greenberg’s amazing photography by clicking here.

Long live the Dew Doo Man!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Smoking Section

For those who don't know, The Smoking Section is the best rap music blog out right now. With free downloads, album reviews, an extensive interview list, and great writing, The Smoking Section is damn near perfect. Please support them by clicking the link above.

Also be sure to check out their review of Amy Winehouse's performance at the Highline Ballroom last night by clicking here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

DJ Neil Armstrong Interview

Return to D Day Album Cover

According to DJ Neil Armstrong, his Certified Majestic mix tape series answers the question, “I wonder what’s in Neil’s CD player.” Certified Majestic is made up of stand out mixes that are hand picked by Neil. The goal is to shed light on great work that may fall under the average mix tape fan’s radar. For the second and most recent installment of Certified Majestic, Neil is featuring a classic tape from his own crew, the 5th Platoon.

The tape selected by Neil, D-Day, is a classic from crewmates Daddy Dog and DoBoy. The tape is from a forgotten era when names like Missin’ Linx, J-Treds, and Medina Green meant something to rap music fans. Rawkus records were starting to blow up, and it looked like rap music was starting to recover from the deaths of two fallen icons. Neil calls the era, depending on your perspective, either “the last “real” era of hip-hop, or the first stage of hip-hops death.”

For Neil, the re-release of D-Day is a symbolic one. It marks the 10-year anniversary of his crew, the 5th Platoon. Things have changed in those ten years. The crew no longer doing battles. Mix tapes are now mix CD’s. Some members have given up DJing all together to pursue other careers. With all of the changes that have taken place, Return to D-Day can be seen as a return to form for him and the 5th Platoon. It serves as a history lesson for recent fans of Neil, and a reminder to those who have forgotten his hip-hop roots. Heavy In The Streets is pleased to introduce the man behind the Certified Majestic series, DJ Neil Armstrong.

5th Platoon, circa 1998

DJ Sorce-1: Check 1,2. DJ Neil Armstrong in the house.

DJ Neil Armstrong: Sup sup.

DJ Sorce-1: The new Certified Majestic release Return to D Day is a reissue of an old 5th Platoon collaboration between Daddy Dog and DoBoy called D-Day. What made you decide to edit, re-master, and re-release that tape, and why is it important of today’s hip-hop and mix tape crowd?

DJ Neil Armstrong:
I think a lot of it has to do with it being the 5th Platoon 10-year anniversary as a crew, and I wanted to remind people of my "roots". I’m a hip-hop DJ through and through, and the height of the 5th Platoon occurred in 97, 98, and 99, which is the time that the tape was originally dropped. It seems like these days people are always searching for something "different" as far as music - like the mash up stuff, the Baltimore club, etc. And a lot of the DJ's from that Turntable Lab hipster crowd, a lot of them cats were hip hop DJ's. But they will get more of a reaction from a crowd or for dropping a CD with Journey on it, than they would if they dropped a hip-hop joint.

I just wanted to show that even though I'll do some "off the wall" stuff, I know where I came from, and I'll never deny that time, even if it’s unpopular to admit. It’s also important because a lot of music from that era will be lost, or has been lost. In the spectrum of what is going to go down on VH1 Hip Hop Awards, Biggie will be there, Grandmaster Flash will be there, Jay-z will be there, and Wu-Tang will be there. But a lot of that music that was very important in the 97-98 era will be lost to the masses and it’s not going to get mentioned in the history books.

DJ Sorce-1: And most of the tracks on D-Day were not released on CD. A lot of it was only put out on 12" vinyl. So its audience was more select.

DJ Neil Armstrong: I also did a section on the CD with music that has come out in the last 5 years that has that "feel" from an earlier time period. If you didn't know better, you would think that its from 97, 98 ... basically raw hip hop. I did that section for those who have "outgrown" hip-hop and for those who say that its "dead". Donell Rollins (Ashy Larry) put it best: hip-hop ain't dead…it just needs a hug. There is some good music still out there; you just have to search through all the muck (the bad stuff -your skater rap, your jam band rap, etc) to find the good stuff.

DJ Sorce-1: Can you define for me who you consider skater and jam band rap? I’m curious to hear this.

DJ Neil Armstrong: Well you know, it’s just the stigma that goes along now with the non-commercial rap world. The underground has been fractioned off into these subcultures. Like you have your Aesop Rock and the Def Jux guys, you got your Atmosphere and Rhymesayers camps, you got your conscious rap in the form of Common and anyone with dreadlocks talkin’ about the government, and you got your West Coast LA rap. Lots and lots of labels, and I guess its become necessary, but at the same time it’s really sad.

DJ Sorce-1: Yeah, it makes you wonder why we need so much inner genre categorizing.

DJ Neil Armstrong: Well, there is a need now. I guess it comes out with necessity. It’s a different time; the music has evolved into different things.

DJ Sorce-1: Has music become completely over saturated?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Yeah I guess you could say something like that. You have to suspend your innate prejudice to get to it. For example, some "purists" won’t listen to Saigon cause he’s a "Kay Slay" rapper. And people who listen to Kay Slay shit; they won't listen to Little Brother. And people who listen to Dilla don't want to hear about Juggaknots or Masta Ace because that’s some old NY shit, and so on and so forth. Give everything a chance before you write it off entirely.

Bob James, Rob Swift, Daddy Dog, and Neil Armstrong

DJ Sorce-1: With all this division, do you think Return to D-Day will be well received? Or are mix tape consumers going to miss the point?

DJ Neil Armstrong: I don't know, but I've never put out a mix that was following what everyone else was trying to do. I put out stuff that I like, and I hope and pray to god that people will want to give it a listen.

DJ Sorce-1: I love that attitude. I’m sick of trends and the follow the leader mentality in mix tape culture.

DJ Neil Armstrong: I've put the Smiths on a CD, put The Cranberries next to The Jackson 5, and I've put Talib Kweli next to 50 Cent. On paper, that looks like a bad gamble. I've been lucky that oddly enough the over saturation in music right now has forced people to look back to old classics to find something new. And that’s what I've been doing. Even though this CD isn't a lovey dovey one, and there is scratching all over the place, I’m hoping they'll give it a chance.

DJ Sorce-1: Did you ever think of changing it during the re-mastering process and adding a new segment or your own contribution?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Well, it is changed from the original D Day. The original tape was 45 minutes each site, an hour and a half total. I cut it down to make it have more of an impact.

DJ Sorce-1: That’s right. Jesus, I forgot for a minute that it’s 45 minutes a side with cassette tapes.

DJ Neil Armstrong: And like I said, I did a 20 minute section of new music to make sure I covered the fans who are like, “I want to hear Neil mix, I don’t care about the other cats.”

DJ Sorce-1: Speaking of, a lot of people want to know if you have any full-length solo projects on deck.

DJ Neil Armstrong: Yeah, I’m working on a couple right now. I am trying to finish the rest of the AOK (All Out King) series by the end of this year. A 6-month project turned into a 3-year thing…yeesh.

DJ Sorce-1: Which one of your CD’s was the most draining? Was there one that exhausted you and made you want to take a break?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Man, all of them kind of. While making the CDs, it’s a labor of love, with 99% labor and 1% love. Bittersweeet took a lot of time to make because of the planning involved in it. Before I did it, I don’t think there was a mix tape like it where the point of all the songs on it was that it would tell a coherent story.

DJ Sorce-1: Do you keep a notebook for ideas and song lists?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Yeah, I use notes and a white board to put everything down. I’m always doing research. I watch a lot of TV and movies, and I just listen to things.

DJ Sorce-1: If you could collaborate with any DJ on a tape, who would it be? I remember you saying once that you would find it hard to work on a tape with another DJ. Would you even want to do collaborative effort?

DJ Neil Armstrong: A couple of people I can think of would be interesting. I’d like to do a tape with one of the members of the 5th Platoon, Daddy Dog. We were supposed to do his latest mix CD, the New Edition one, together. But he finished enough to drop it on his own. I did give him some ideas too and he ended up using them. I actually wouldn't mind working with the crazy digger cats, like Kon and Amir. They have a crap load of records, knowledge, and resources that I just don’t got.

DJ Sorce-1: Would you ever reach out to someone like Kon and Amir? Do you think they would be receptive to doing a tape with you?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Amir is a good friend of mine. I've mentioned it to him before but nothing has come of it.

DJ Sorce-1: Do you think being a mix tape DJ makes it hard to like other people’s tapes? Every mix tape DJ I talk to likes very few tapes by other DJ's. Even their friends and crewmates often don’t impress them. Has making tapes has had that effect on you?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Probably. You can't help but be critical. If you know what people are doing, and you can gauge the difficulty of what’s being done, it’s a bit harder for you to be impressed by something.

DJ Sorce-1: If you had to name 3 tapes other than ones done by your crewmates that have been a big inspiration for you, what would they be?

DJ Neil Armstrong: Hmm. One of DJ Riz's tapes that came out a long time ago, it's recently been re-released, and it’s called Live from Brooklyn. Some of DJ P's tapes. G Bo the Pro and Double R. And this Goldfinger tape from when I was in high school/college.

DJ Sorce-1: Any final words on the 5th Platoon and the decade since you guys came together as a crew?

DJ Neil Armstrong: The 5th Platoon has been probably the most significant part of my life for the last 10 years. The best times I remember were the "worst times", when we got like 50 bucks among 4 of us for rocking a show, and we had to sleep on the floor of a strange place to be able to do our thing. We were livin it, and I wouldn't trade those times for anything...

Neil Armstrong, Total Eclipse, Roli Rho circa 1996

5th Platoon: Decade Video Trailer

Please support the efforts of Neil and his crew mates. They are heavily endorsed by Heavy In The Streets. For more info on Return to D Day, click here. To learn more about the Neil and the 5th Platoon, click here. And finally, to watch Neil on a recent ABC News special, click here.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

So I typed a text to a girl I used to see...New UGK featuring Outkast

Every now and then, a new rap song comes out that blows me away. It gives me that feeling I got when I first put The Chronic cassette tape in my Sony Walkman. Or when I first listened to De La Soul is Dead while reading the liner notes cover to cover. The feeling is tough to explain, but it’s a high almost nothing in my life can match. It’s the kind of feeling I get less and less every year. But recently while chilling with my cousin who DJ’s at a college bar in Amherst, MA I got put on to what I believe will be one of the biggest rap songs this year. And I got to once again feel that high.

The song is International Players Anthem by UGK feat Outkast. Three 6 Mafia handles the incredible production on this one. You can listen to the track in streaming audio by clicking here.

For those of you wishing Outkast would drop their new sound and return to their Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens, Aquemini ways, check for Andre 3000's verse at the beginning of the song. It's one of those verses that you're going to be rewinding over and over again until you memorize every last word.

"So I typed a text to a girl I used to see
Sayin that I chose this cutie pie with whom I wanna be
And I apologize if this message gets you down
Then I CC'd every girl that I'd see see round town and
I hate to see y'all frown but I'd rather see her smiling
Wetness all around me, true, but I'm no island
Peninsula maybe, makes no sense I know, crazy
Give up all this pussy cat that's in my lap no lookin' back
Spaceships don't come equipped with rearview mirrors..."

You'll have to check the track to get the rest, but this song sounds like a return to form for Andre and Big Boi. I wish they would make a whole album worth of songs like this.

Make sure to support UGK's newest effort, Undergroud Kingz when it drops. The release date as of now is July 17, 2007. These guys are one of the most underappreciated rap groups ever.

As a bonus, do yourself a favor and check out the video of another Three Six Mafia and UGK collabo, Sippin on Some Sizzurp.

And.....A classic Outkast banger from back in the day.