Friday, October 26, 2007

The Clipse Signs With Columbia

(swiped from Billboard)

This time last year, the Clipse complained to anyone who'd listen how unhappy it was on Jive Records. Now, the act's wish to leave has been granted. Sibling MCs Malice and Pusha T have ended their deal with Jive and the Neptunes' Star Trak Entertainment in favor of a new arrangement with Columbia, Billboard has learned.

The Clipse emerged early this decade on Star Trak, which at the time was distributed by Arista. The duo's 2002 debut, "Lord Willin'," was a critical and commercial smash, and has sold 948,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

When Arista was restructured in 2004, the label's artists were split between J and Jive. But Star Trak joined Interscope, leaving the Clipse behind at Jive. The act lobbied to be allowed to follow Star Trak to its new home, but Jive refused, resulting in a lawsuit that sought to break the Clipse's four-album deal (Jive had no comment at deadline).

Although the suit was settled after Jive agreed to a distribution deal for the Clipse's own Re-Up Gang Records label, the relationship continued to deteriorate, with release dates for the group's sophomore album constantly shifting. That set, "Hell Hath No Fury," emerged last November via Jive, but struggled out of the gate. It has sold just 194,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.By then, the Clipse was in talks with a variety of labels about a new deal, eventually settling on a five-year, 50/50 profit-sharing arrangement with Columbia for Re-Up Gang Records.

The Clipse will own the masters for its Re-Up Gang artists, Ab Liva and Sandman. Next year, the Clipse will issue a Re-Up Gang album as well as a new studio disc, but for the first time, the latter will not be produced solely by the Neptunes. Instead, the brothers are anticipating working with Timbaland, Danjahandz and Dame Grease."I can honestly say that we were all friends before the music and will be friends to the end," Malice says of his relationship with the Neptunes. "Everything is business. If we had our way, we would always be on Star Trak. But it's what's working for you and what's not. We just want good energy, and Columbia has both the urgency and the muscle."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Saul Williams Gives Away New Reznor-Produced LP

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Activist, poet, and musician Saul Williams has laid out the unique circumstances surrounding the release of his latest LP, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!.

The Trent Reznor-produced album will be issued digitally through Williams' website under the aegis of the Fader Label, with an In Rainbows-esque payment mechanism: listeners can opt to fork over a $5 "contribution" via Williams' website and get NiggyTardust! in their choice of DRM-free 192kbps or 320kbps mp3s, or the giant, uncompressed FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format. If you're a bit light at the moment, Saul's got you, though you cheapskates will have to settle for 192kbps mp3s.

Preregistration for the album is open now, and what's more, you'll only have to wait until Halloween (October 31, duh) to get it. As Reznor tells it on the Nine Inch Nails website, "There are obvious similarities in how Radiohead just released their new record and the way we've chosen to. After thinking about this way too much, I feel we've improved upon their idea in a few profound ways that benefit the consumer." Particularly the nerdy customer up in arms about a couple of kilobits per second.

Enough business; let's talk music. NiggyTardust! features guest turns by Reznor, CX Kidtronik, Thavius Beck, and others, and was mixed by Alan Moulder. As Williams tells it in the press release, though, it's really a joint effort between himself and Reznor. "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! is the lovechild of Trent and me," Williams said, and Reznor agreed, adding that this is the "most involved [he's] been with any project outside NIN since [Marilyn Manson's 1996 LP] Antichrist Superstar." Williams believes the album's overarching theme gives him more room to expand on the album's content onstage. "The NiggyTardust! concept sets me free to do more on stage with costume, etc. than one might expect from a regular Saul Williams show. It allows me to put my theater training to use. I've also thought long and hard about all the discussion surrounding racial epithets etc. and chose this title as a means of furthering the dialogue while also showing how creativity will outlive and outshine hatred of any kind." Plus, you can, like, dance to it!

Williams has a number of live appearances on the way. Those dates-- and the NiggyTardust! tracklist-- after the jump.

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!:
01 Black History Month
02 Convict Colony
03 Tr(n)igger
04 Sunday Bloody Sunday
05 Break
06 NiggyTardust
07 DNA
08 WTF!
09 Scared Money
10 Raw
11 Skin of a Drum
12 No One Ever Does
13 Banged and Blown Through
14 Raised to be Lowered
15 The Ritual

11-02 Pullman, WA - Washington State University
11-07 London, England - Bardens Boudoir
11-09 Zurich, Switzerland - Tonhalle
11-12 New York, NY - The Box
11-13 Storrs, CT - University of Connecticut
11-14 Bridgeport, CT - Housatonic Community College
11-17 Chicago, IL - Studio E
01-23 Laramie, WY - University of Wyoming
02-01 Fairfax, VA - George Mason University
02-15 Tacoma, WA - Pacific Lutheran University

Video: Saul Williams: List of Demands (Reparations) [from the Saul Williams LP]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nas Talks Greatest Hits, New Album...

Until he finally made nice with Jay-Z and found himself in the Def Jam fold for Hip Hop Is Dead, Nas was a Columbia man. The ace MC's former label has compiled a dozen of Nas' pre-Dead "greatest hits," tacked on two bonus cuts, named it Greatest Hits, and pressed the collection for release on November 6. Not surprisingly, the set leans heavily on Illmatic, with a few highlights from the rest of Nas' Columbia catalogue thrown in for good measure.

There's a pair of new tracks, too, sort of: the Cee-Lo laced "Less Than an Hour", which first appeared on this summer's Rush Hour 3 soundtrack, and opener "Surviving the Times", which appears here for the first time anywhere.And, as any frequent peruser of the world wide interweb is no doubt aware by now, Nas has stirred up quite some controversy with the title he's chosen for his next LP of new material: Nigger. Nas stood by his choice in a recent interview with, however, concluding "We're taking power from that word." It's well worth reading the whole interview; at the very least, check out the portion excerpted here:

"I'm a street disciple. I'm talking to the streets. Stay out of our business. You ain't got no business worrying about what the word 'nigger' is or acting like you know what my album is about without talking to me. Whether you in the NAACP or you Jesse Jackson. I respect all of them...I just want them to know: Never fall victim to Fox. Never fall victim to the shit they do. What they do is try to hurry up and get you on the phone and try to get you to talk about something you might not know about yet.

"If Cornell West was making an album called Nigger, they would know he's got something intellectual to say. To think I'm gonna say something that's not intellectual is calling me a nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary."I wanna make the word easy on muthafuckas' ears. You see how white boys ain't mad at 'cracker' 'cause it don't have the same [sting] as 'nigger'? I want 'nigger' to have less meaning [than] 'cracker.' With all the bullshit that's going on in the world, racism is at its peak. I wanna do the shit that's not being done. I wanna be the artist who ain't out. I wanna make the music I wanna hear.

"We're taking power from the word. No disrespect to none of them who were part of the civil-rights movement, but some of my niggas in the streets don't know who [civil-rights activist] Medgar Evers was. I love Medgar Evers, but some of the niggas in the streets don't know Medgar Evers, they know who Nas is. And to my older people who don't now who Nas is and who don't know what a street disciple is, stay outta this muthafuckin' conversation. We'll talk to you when we're ready. Right now, we're on a whole new movement. We're taking power from that word."

The LP is due December 11 via Def Jam and is expected to feature production work from Diddy, Jermaine Dupri, DJ Toomp, and long-time Nas associate Salaam Remi, according to

Though Nas' tour itinerary-- like that of most rappers-- is a little tough to pin down, he's got a few Australian shows lined up in the weeks to come. Hip-hop may be dead, but those frequent flyer miles don't expire until the new year.

Greatest Hits:
01 Surviving the Times
02 Less Than an Hour [ft. Cee-Lo]
03 It Ain't Hard to Tell
04 Life's a Bitch [ft. AZ]
05 NY State of Mind
06 One Love
07 If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) [ft. Lauryn Hill]
08 Street Dreams (Remix) [ft. R. Kelly]
09 Hate Me Now [ft. Puff Daddy]
10 One Mic
11 Got Ur Self a...
12 Made You Look
13 I Can
14 Bridging the Gap [ft. Olu Dara]

11-24 St Kilda, Australia - Palais Theatre
11-25 Perth, Australia - Metro City
11-26 Adelaide, Australia - Thebarton Theatre
11-30 Sydney, Australia - Luna Park
12-01 Brisbane, Australia - The Arena

Video: Nas: Can't Forget About You [from the Hip Hop Is Dead LP]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Author Mailer has lung operation

(Swiped from BBC)

Author Norman Mailer is recovering in hospital following surgery to remove scar tissue from around his lung.

Mailer, 84, had an operation about a week ago, said his editorial assistant Dwayne Prickett.

"He had some breathing problems," he said, adding that Mailer was improving every day.

The writer has won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize twice, for The Armies of the Night in 1968 and The Executioner's Song in 1979.

Mr Prickett said everyone "was cautious" because of Mailer's age.

Biting prose

Mailer's daughter Salina said her father was "getting better every time I see him".

Mailer's latest work, The Castle in the Forest, was published earlier this year.

Born in 1923 in New Jersey, Mailer has written dozens of books as well as plays, poems, screenplays and essays. He was co-founder of The Village Voice alternative newspaper in New York.

He is known for his biting prose and as an antagonist of the feminist movement.

His first major success, the novel The Naked and the Dead, was a fictionalised account based on his experiences in the Army in World War II.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Movement 4:6" out 10/31!

The countdown begins.
Phingaz + Phaust + Phorest + Vividend = Sinthesis.

Sinthesis + T.Q.D. + Carnage + Ecid + Eyedea + Many more = Movement 4:6.

Movement 4:6 is out on 10/31/07 via iTunes and various other outlets you can find them at.

They'll be doing an in-store at Uprok Records in Salt Lake City the day of it's release, with a show to follow at good ol' Liquid Joe's that same night. Special guests? Giveaways? Ballin' costume parties? You never know.

Egypto highly suggests you support the homies from SL.UT and get your copy! CHEA!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thousands Start Day With Radiohead's 'In Rainbows'

(Swiped from Billboard)

Radiohead's new "In Rainbows" album is finally available online from today (Oct. 10), with thousands of fans downloading the 10 new tracks early this morning.Billboard's unique download activation code arrived at 7:38 a.m. British Summer Time and -- in contrast to ordering, which was slowed by Web site failures and a clunky interface -- the downloading process was swift and glitch-free.

Within two minutes, the first track, "15 Step," was flickering into life, a minimalist-yet-funky throwback to Thom Yorke's recent solo record, "The Eraser."

Forty-two-and-a-half minutes later, it's clear that while the business model may have shocked the music industry, the album represents solid progression, rather than radical departure, from previous Radiohead albums.The trademarks of Radiohead's post-"OK Computer" sound -- electronic effects, intricate guitar work and Yorke's eerie falsetto -- are all present on songs like "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" and "Nude."

Yorke's vocals and lyrics are more prominent than on the likes of "Kid A," and there is a more accessible edge to songs like "Faust ARP," "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" and "House of Cards," which features the unusually direct Yorke lyric "I don't wanna be your friend, I just wanna be your lover."No figures are yet available for how many downloads have been sold, or the average amount paid under the band's "honesty box" pricing policy. However, unofficial sources suggest most customers have chosen to pay around £5 ($10.17) for the download edition. The album will not be U.K. chart eligible, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In anticipation of the new Radiohead...

After placing my order to get Radiohead's new album, "In Rainbows," I just get an email today stating that they will begin emailing the faithful who are in anticipation of recieving their download this evening not to fret, that e-mails with unique authorization codes for each person who bought one will come tomorrow morning, UK Time of course. I'm so geeked!

However, a part of me wants to splurge the $82 and get the limited edition giftpak with the 2LP album, the CD and also another CD with some never heard before tracks on it. I probably will, but I'm psyched all the same. More on this story as it develops.

I'm psyched!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Reznor Puts Another Nail in the Industry's Coffin

(Swiped from Pitchfork Media)

For the second time in a little over a week, a major player on the alt-rock scene has announced their departure from the mainstream music industry, as Trent Reznor announced today via the Nine Inch Nails website that he is no longer signed to longtime label Interscope, and may perhaps be choosing to go it alone:

"Hello everyone. I've waited a LONG time to be able to make the following announcement: as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label. I have been under recording contracts for 18 years and have watched the business radically mutate from one thing to something inherently very different and it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.

Look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008.

Exciting times, indeed."

Reznor very publicly clashed with Interscope over the release of the last NIN record, Year Zero, leaking pieces of the album himself and encouraging fans to download it for free. So it would be unlikely that he would sign with another major, or even any label at all-- given Reznor's large and rabid cult following, he could very easily pull a Radiohead and take matters into his own hands. (Perhaps that is what is alluded to by that "direct relationship with the audience.") Regardless, we sure hope that remix album comes out soon.

Thanks to for the heads up.

Ghostface/Rakim/Brother Ali Tour Features Live Band

(Swiped from Pitchfork Media)

It's not quite the animated mayhem Ghostface is currently enjoying on his Adult Swim tour, but with Brother Ali and legendary old-schooler Rakim in tow, the first annual Hip Hop Live! Tour is hardly sneeze-worthy.While we've already reported most of the tour's dates, the new dirt is that 10-piece band Rhythm Roots Allstars will provide the live licks for all three MCs. Those who attended Rakim and Ghost's set at SXSW in March got an early taste of the tour, as the Allstars played with both gentlemen there. They have also performed and recorded with a few other notable names: Outkast, Justin Timberlake, and Christina Aguilera, among others. So if the R busts out a tongue-twisting freestyle over "Beautiful", don't say you weren't warned.

Rakim's place on the tour is in support of two forthcoming releases, the Live DVD and new album The Seventh Seal.

Brother Ali is also touring his ass off this fall; he's in Canada right now, and hits NYC for CMJ. He's touring in support of his new album The Undisputed Truth.

Ghostface also has some other stuff going on.

Hip Hop Live! Tour:
10-29 Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues Sunset Strip
10-30 San Diego, CA - 4th & B
10-31 Long Beach, CA - The Vault
11-01 Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst
11-02 San Francisco, CA - The Mezzanine
11-03 Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
11-04 Seattle, WA - Showbox
11-07 Park City, UT - Harry O's
11-08 Denver, CO - Ogden Theater
11-09 Aspen, CO - Belly Up
11-10 Kansas City, MO - The Beaumont Theatre
11-11 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
11-12 Chicago, IL - House of Blues
11-13 Bloomington, IN - Bluebird Theater
11-15 New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
11-16 New York, NY - Nokia Theater
11-17 Baltimore, MD - Sonar
11-18 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
11-21 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero

10-09 Washington, DC - American University *
10-10 Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech *
10-11 Orlando, FL - University of Central Florida *
10-14 Norman, OK - University of Oklahoma *
10-16 Los Angeles, CA - UCLA *
10-17 Tempe, AZ - Arizona State University *
10-19 Albuquerque, NM - University of New Mexico *
10-28 Las Vegas, NV - Vegoose Festival
11-05 Bellingham, WA - Nightlight %

* with Witchdoctor
% with Little Brother

Brother Ali:
10-08 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Odeon Events Centre
10-09 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Pyramid Cabaret
10-11 Kingston, Ontario - The Elixir Nightclub
10-12 Ottawa, Ontario - Babylon
10-13 Toronto, Ontario - El Mocambo Club
10-14 Montreal, Quebec - Coda
10-17 Halifax, Nova Scotia - The Attic
10-20 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom

Ja Rule To Release First Album In 3 Years

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Ja Rule is back on the promotional trail, three years after he released his last album to disappointing sales.

The Queens, N.Y.-bred rapper's new album "The Mirror," due November 13, is the follow-up to 2004's "R.U.L.E.," which has sold 658,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. At his peak, Ja Rule sold 3.6 million copies of 2001's "Pain Is Love," his third album.

He describes "The Mirror" as a reflection of a professionally and personally turbulent period that included a public feud with rapper 50 Cent and an FBI money-laundering case against the two principals of his label The Inc. (Irv and Chris Gotti were both exonerated in 2005.)

"When you've been in this business a long time, things sometimes spiral into something bigger than you expected," he says. "Coming through that has made me wiser and more open-minded. Such situations not only build character, but show other people's character."
The album is "very grown-up ... expressing a lot of true feelings. But it's a fun album as well -- a dramedy."

Tracks include the self-explanatory "Judas," which samples the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" ("We got the clearance -- that's a win in itself") and "Damn," a song Rule says he wrote with Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez and Christina Milian in mind. "I did it in a way that's real subjective but clever," he says.

Playing now on the video circuit is a clip for "Body," the album's formal first single featuring R&B newcomer Ashley Joi. The sex-sizzled track ("There are a lot of women in the video so I'll probably take some more heat," Rule says with a laugh) follows on the heels of "Uh-Ohhh!!" featuring Lil Wayne, which stalled at No. 69 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

"I leaked it to get people used to hearing my voice again and hearing good music," Ja Rule explains. "People loved 'Uh-Ohhh!!,' but because of budgets you can't push records the way you want to sometimes. So you choose your fights."

Frank yet jovial, Ja Rule waxed philosophical on other subjects:

- The feud with 50 Cent (addressed on Rule's 2003 album, "Blood in My Eye"): "It wasn't really a beef, just something he was doing on record. It didn't phase me except when the public reacted. Then it was like, 'I've got to talk back.' But I never felt threatened; it was just words. People didn't understand that."

- On still using the b- and h-words: "We have freedom of speech and expression. I don't think those words are hurting people as much as the media makes them out to be. There are bigger issues -- the war, Jena 6, the election -- than rap lyrics."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Brother Ali - Take Me Home

Heat. Support it and buy "The Undsiputed Truth" available at retailers everywhere.

Jay-Z Reveals American Gangster Tracklist

(Swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Kingdom came and went, and most of us are pretty unaffected by it at this point, either psyched at the time to have new Jay-Z jams no matter the quality or bummed that the comeback was closer to Michael Jordan's minor league baseball career than his return to the Bulls for a second three-peat.
Thus, the prospect of hearing a gritty, hungry-again Jay-Z on his forthcoming new album, American Gangster (inspired by but not the official soundtrack to the Ridley Scott film of the same name), is an exciting one.
While not quite at Radiohead levels of spontaneity, the album nonetheless comes out soon, November 6 via Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam. What's more, it even has a tracklist, thanks to the wonders of iTunes. As previously reported, it includes "Blue Magic" produced by Pharrell, "The Return" featuring Nas, "American Gangster" featuring American Gangster movie actor T.I., and "Vietnam War" featuring Kanye West. And that great "I Get Money" remix!
Also, Jay-Z is trying to rename the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey after Rocawear, his clothing label. Now THAT's gangster.
Check it out after the jump.

American Gangster:

01 Amen
02 Blue Magic
03 Untitled
04 Alright, Alright
05 You Don't Know
06 And the Winner Is
07 American Gangster
08 Welcome
09 Ignorant Shit
10 The Demise
11 I Get Money (Remix)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Radiohead tells fans to pay what they want for album

LONDON (Reuters) - Radiohead, one of the world's most influential rock bands, plans to sell its new album from its Web site as a digital download and let fans choose what they want to pay.

With music sales in decline globally for seven successive years, the industry is engaged in a debate over how best to reverse the trend.

Radiohead said its seventh studio album "In Rainbows" would be available from from October 10 in MP3 format, meaning it can be played on all digital devices. In the latest twist in the move to digital music, fans can choose how much to pay, or can pay nothing if they prefer.

The band will also offer a special edition boxed set for 40 pounds ($82) which will be available later and will include two vinyl albums, a CD version of the new album and a second CD with additional new songs, artwork and photographs of the band.

Music observers said the British five-piece, which is no longer signed to a record label, is able to sell directly to its fans because it has such an established support base.

"They are the first band to put their money where their mouth is," Gareth Grundy, deputy editor of Q music magazine, told Reuters. "I think other bands that have been similarly successful will look and, if it is deemed to have worked, will do the same."

The traditional music business model has been under pressure as piracy and the move to digital sales has cut into album revenues. A strong area of growth, however, is live music and any subsequent tour by Radiohead would be boosted by the interest generated by the album.

"The traditional business model had been ruined by the Internet," said Grundy. "The industry is still trying to work out what on earth the new model or models should be and this is just one option."

Radiohead's digital or boxed set versions could be pre-ordered from the group's Web site from Monday and a spokesman said the box set had so far proved the more popular.

The group is planning a traditional CD release of the album in early 2008.

A decision by U.S. music star artist Prince to give his latest album away free with a British newspaper was met with fury by retailers and the industry who said it undermined the value of recorded music.

Prepare for Movement...

Movement 4:6

Words by Ali Elabbady aka Egypto Knuckles

Phaust, Phorest, Vivid and Phingaz from the heart of Mormon central wanted to make some music. Understand the focus of that last sentence. They wanted to make music. They didn’t set out to make hip-hop, nor use an interesting palette of genres that seems to intertwine with their overall setting for the music they’ve created. So we heard Product and Phree Cognition, which were their first two efforts, and they were really all over the place to begin with. Phree Cognition alone was 27 tracks chalked full of interludes Prince Paul himself would be proud of. And all over it a different style was presented using previous genres that the crew was inspired by. And now we’ve come to their third full length, aptly titled “Movement 4:6.”

Let’s get a few things straight. Movement 4:6 doesn’t match any of their previous efforts. This effort was strictly begun as every effort was, improving upon what they as a crew have released. But it’s not a Hip-Hop record in the traditional sense. Nor is it Hip-Hop in the experimental sense. What this record represents is simply that, a journey. Sinthesis’s musical journey if you will. But the record is an amalgam of sounds, thoughts, experiences, and experiments. They are well documented, well executed, and very fluid in the listening. Sure, Phree Cognition came in at 27 tracks and was about 80 minutes long, but this is much more subdued and focused. And when it’s subdued and focused, there’s several points made within it.

The main credit to making it a much more focused and tighter effort goes to Phingaz. The soundscapes and palettes are eerily quiet and dark, stark and to the point, encompassing and surprisingly quaint. Phaust on the other hand, raps as if there’s a fire in his belly, as if he’s coming out the gate firing scud missiles of rhymes to his audience, such a passion about him that is whimsical to even fathom. He’s hungry, and you can tell it in the way he spits. Movement 4:6 does take its title from a good reference. In addition to that, if you listen closely to the record, every few minutes there’s a sprinkled in sample stating, “For every action, there’s an equal but opposite reaction.”

If there’s a lesson to be learned in Movement 4:6, it’s the lesson that you should expect the unexpected. No, no wait, that’s wrong. The point taken away is that you should formulate your own experience based on the experience within the music. But even that wouldn’t be as broad a point that Sinthesis wants to make. The point is that interpretation is what it is, and does what it can to paint a picture for the listener. What type of picture could you define it as? Dali’s dripping clocks? The Mona Lisa? Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel? Who knows? But the bottom line is that Movement 4:6 is just that. It’s a movement. A movement that Phingaz, Phaust, Phorest and Vividend want you to get in tune with.

Wanna hear clips of the album? Click here.

"Movement 4:6" is out on 10/31, with a release party to be held at Liquid Joe's that evening. Can't make it out? Then go to Uprok Records in Salt Lake City for their album signing.