Tag Archives: hip-hop

Gangstagrass RappalachiaGangstagrassRappalachia

Great album title or greatest album title? For real on that. If you are a fan of Justified on FX, you’ll have heard one of Gangstagrass’ songs already. If not you’ll want to after you read this. If someone had asked me if I thought that bluegrass and rap would be a winning combination I probably would have blinked a few times and said “Uh, man, I never would have thought to put those together.” This is a seriously winning, peanut butter and jelly style combination. If you have been unfortunate enough to have been exposed to such as Cowboy Troy, just forget all that. There’s a shared tradition of  both celebration of outlaw culture and storytelling of tales of economic inequality and hardship in both bluegrass and rap. It just took some sharp heads to put the two together. I generally look at the sheer weight of the guests on the average rap album and roll my eyes, but all of Gangstagrass’ collaborators are top notch, especially MC Nitty Scott whose appearance on two tracks has me stoked for her solo LP later this month. Conceptually this might be a hard sell for a lot of y’all, but if rap had come out of the hill country instead of the inner city, everyone would sound like Gangstagrass and you wouldn’t think anything of it. This is one to take a chance on.


Vagina Panther JudgeVagina PantherJudge

Vagina Panther’s name is Vagina Panther and they know it. Judge is a perfect slab of rock n’ roll, seriously. Their sound reminds me of Veruca Salt and Sahara Hotnights a lot. This is a good thing. Dead June’s vocals are just the right blend of clean and powerful and the guitar tone is overdriven and flirts with sludge riffage. Judge is just pure listening enjoyment. I don’t really want to egghead on VP’s sound. It’s like this, do you want to rock? You do? You should listen to Judge then. Maybe pick up the limited edition with the art book.


Heinali AirHeinali – Air

My ability with words basically fails to describe the complex emotions and sparse sounds of Air. Sparse classical instrumentation (piano, strings, woodwind) and expertly edited field recordings are put together to create the sound of loss and a sense of time that speaks of either reconciliation or resignation. This is what your life sounds like in your most private moments.




– Jayson

Remember netradio? Shortly after ripping your CDs became a thing and dial-up internet was relegated to your grandparents checking their hotmail, netradio was in.  Stations proliferated and they streamed curated, niche playlists for free.  Then legal questions about royalties were posed, hackles were raised, many stations went to paid subscriptions, and people realized that most stations were kind of lame anyway.  Sure, it was better than your eighteen local Clear Channel top40 stations, but it still was one-way thing — not very web2.0.  Pandora,, Grooveshark, and one thousand other smart streaming services were invented, and the world moved on.  Why listen what somebody else thinks you should hear?

But today I tell the hip-hop lovers (and those open to new love) that you should be listening to what Gtronic Radio ( wants you to hear.

The thing that the one-way, old school, curated radio format had going for it was that if you got the right curator, it worked.  Growing up in LA, I remember all these late-night radio shows created and hosted by dudes with opinions about what good music meant.  New releases, old classics, and unknown B-sides, they played the good shit.  You were there for an education;  you liked what you heard and you wanted more.  Today technology has given us myriad ways to listen to our own music and to listen to whatever we want.  We’re basically at Star Trek: The Next Generation level of music access.  But it’s like cooking with every ingredient, utensil, and recipe at hand — great, but without some trusted cookbooks to expand your horizons, you’re going to end up just making the same chicken cacciatore over and over.

That’s what Gtronic is about for hip-hop.  If you’ve ever heard someone say “I listen to hip-hop, but it’s not what you hear on the radio — it’s the good stuff”, Gtronic is the best way to hear what they’re talking about.  If you’re already down, you will not believe the depth of the playlist; I’m one of those nerdy white dudes who collects and talks about hip-hop albums like classic jazz, and I’m constantly hearing stuff for the first time or having tracks I’d forgotten about brought back to mind.

This is the sound that makes the head nod, 24/7.  Listen, enjoy, and then donate because I don’t want this netradio station to vanish like the radio shows I grew up on.

– Matt

Since I nominally do design & commercial art for a job, I also read a lot of design blogs.

Two of the ones I read the most are the ISO50 and Hydro74 blogs.

ISO50 is one of my design heroes, basically everything he does and everything he likes is so solid you could use it to survive in space. He’s carrying the torch of Moderism in this dumb, post-modern age. He’s also a musician himself. He does classic ambient-electronic as Tycho. It reminds me of a more stripped down boards of Canada and is totally worthwhile. He also posts playlists of what he’s currently listening to and posts a lot of downloadable mixes on his main blog.

Hydro74 is more of an illustrator, but he does font design and a lot of design for clothing. He was a big inspiration for me when I was doing the same kind of work. He is the world’s foremost illustrator of skulls in my eyes. His fonts are also hell of good, really great custom typography. Turns out the dude is pretty handy with a mix. He’s just posted one of some of his favorite tracks.

Whether or not you get into these is really going to depend on how down you are with the sounds of electronic, ambient, idm, dubstep, and party remixes. If that is your thing I’d say go immediately and check out some music, if not, I’d say go immediately and check out some art and design.

This is pretty interesting for me, because like a lot of people I’ve thought about making music at points on and off in my life, but am mostly to busy or broke to get into it. As a cultural thing, music and art go hand in hand for me. One of the reasons I still like to buy CDs and records is to check out the art and design that go into the packaging. It’s very cool to see some folks out there making both.

If anyone knows any other good artists or designers who are also taking an active hand in music, send us note.


Totally forgot about Sgt. D from Stuff You Will Hate. A mixtape of scene music up today. He designs for Hella Mass Tight. I seriously cannot recommend listening to this music at all. However the man’s work is totally solid and props must be given.