ROUNDUP: Way Too Many Updates, Again

Photo by Shane Kaseta

Photo by Shane Kaseta

What can I say? It’s too beautiful outside. It’s also been an insanely busy two weeks for Vermont Hip Hop itself since the last post here, so my guilt has finally overcome my lust for life. What follows is a quick rundown of the 10,000 details that have been popping off since August got started.

The Big Story, of course, has been 99 Neighbors. This talented, motivated young crew got signed to Nice Work, a new imprint on Warner Records run by Chance the Rapper’s manager, Pat Corcoran. That’s a lot of names to drop, and they deserve every bit of it, including the Billboard article. They also played Lollapalooza last weekend — twice. They also dropped a brand new single/video to celebrate all this momentous achievement, “Fake Pods.” It’s really damn good, and funny, too.

Expect more music — and news — from 99 Neighbors soon. Meanwhile, you can catch them at Made in America, August 31st in Philly, and the Otis Mountain Get Down, September 6th in Elizabethtown, NY. Real place, I swear, and a great festival in a great location, too.

The team at Equal Eyes Records has stayed busy as hell. They’re a few days out from releasing one of their most anticipated projects so far, Thought Instruments, a collaboration LP between producer’s producer Es-K and emcee’s emcee Learic. I got to hear an advance copy and it exceeded my high expectations; this is one of the best 802 albums of 2019 so far. Drops August 9th, you can pre-order that puppy now.

There will be a proper album release party for Thought Instruments on Wednesday, August 21st at Orlando’s Bar and Lounge — located downtown at the former Magnolia Bistro, the restaurant that got 86’d for online mistakes last year. Konflik and Jarv will also be in the building so expect a wild-ass show. 9 pm show. $5 cover, $10 cover + album on CD. That’s a bargain, bud.

Equal Eyes also dropped a surprise single from rapper / producer / crooner / dapper golfer & tastemaker Teece Luvv. Check out “Breakdown,” a collaboration with Teeba of Harsh Armadillo. I have it on good authority there might be a new Teece project on the way, too.

Out in the hinterlands of the New England touring circuit, the latest VMB Productions crusade is going strong, night after night. The It’s All Fun And Games Tour features Mister Burns, Jarv, Dillon and Eyenine and while they’re in Brooklyn tonight, they’ll be making some more appearances here in the Green Mountains soon. First up, they’ll be rocking The Showshoe up in Montgomery, VT (great, great venue) on Saturday, August 10th, then hitting up legendary Montpelier dive bar Charlie O’s World Famous on Friday, August 16th.

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ArtsRiot landed a hell of a show: West Coast underground legends Hieroglyphics are on a reunion tour and they’ll be stopping through Burlington on Wednesday, August 28th. Tickets, understandably, are $25, but the show is All Ages. (There will also be local support from Mister Burns and Es-K.) Expect a memorable set and expect that to sell out soon.

In related underground legends news, New Jersey emcee and Outsidaz founding member Pacewon will be packing ‘em in at The Cellar. He’s got an unusually strong lineup of local openers, too: Mavstar, D.FRENCH, the Savvy Row crew and even St. Albans mic crushers Joint Manipulation. Pacewon is coming through as the headliner for the Fullblast Summer Tour 6, which has been ripping around the country with some 802 talent, like Fourth Degree and Fresh & Bangs paying dues on the road. Props to ‘em.

The party starts in about 48 hours, too: doors open this Thursday night at 9 pm. 18+, $10 adv, $15 door.

Up next: a short, on-point new video from Yung Breeze. Director Vego Harris never stops moving and neither does Breeze, so naturally this combination works every time. Breeze just dropped the (dope) Cognac Cousins mixtape with NH phenom Raw Deff, and he’s putting the final polish on his solo LP, Sophia Grace.

The Cognac Cousins duo have a big gig coming up next month: 656 Fest, a hip hop festival going down up in Maine from Sept. 14-16th. Headliners include Havoc of Mobb Deep & Big Noyd, Slaine, Termanology, and Millyz — which is a lot more than you’d expect from “a festival in Maine,” right? To top it all off, Juggalo favorites Twiztid will be doing a special drums-free stop on their summer. (For those somehow unfamiliar, they are the Phish heir apparent to the Grateful Dead sized subculture that the Insane Clown Posse has given mankind. In other words, a big deal.)

There will also be a lot of 802 talent representing that weekend: Jibba “The Gent,” D.FRENCH, Ciurleo, Modest and SIRCHOBANGZ. Props to the crew; there will probably be a whole Vermont compound at the campsite.

BTV beatsmith Flip Physics has been running an ongoing “Sample Challenge” style producer battle at the Vermont Hip Hop Artists Collective group. He keeps it going because he understands the value of competition, having honed his own chops in larger sample competitions.

Flip Physics took first place this week in the latest Vinyl Frontier Beat Battle, beating out fifty other entries with this carefully chopped, constantly moving wall of boom bap funk. Props to a master at work, and expect to hear a lot of singles with his name in the credits, both in VT and far beyond, as 2019 marches on.

Finally, an unexpected development: some dope, catchy country rap, outta nowhere. Highh Def (no typo) has a versatile flow, a surprisingly solid sanging voice, and love for his stepmom. This is an artist with a great deal of potential. The video itself is another Vego Harris guerrilla art production that really sells the material. He’s always looking to work and worth getting in touch with.

Justin Boland