Author Archives: Eric Tullis

King Mez releases self-produced single “Reign”

If you look in the bottom right-hand corner of this infographic from SPIN’s recent “The Changing Face of Hip-Hop” issue, you’ll notice that the magazine places burgeoning, Raleigh rapper, King Mez in the “Working Class Rappers” branch of hip-hop’s “The New Underground.”

There’s no reason to believe that Mez would disagree with this categorization, and toward the end of the subcutaneous “Nightmares” track from his The King’s Khrysis EP—which was released earlier this year—he even makes it clear that he’s content with the toils of an aspiring hip-hop artist.

King Mez | Reign

The labor theme gets an update with “Reign”—a brand new, self-produced track, which may appear on Mez’s upcoming project, My Everlasting Zeal. Here, he addresses the work ethic, “Nothin’ that you’re distraught about would even phase me/ These instrumentals I chalk out/ You niggas lazy/ and I work like there’s no tomorrow/ If you think I’m leaving now, then you crazy.”

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Weekend Shots!

It’s hard to say what’s king around here—college hoops or music. But, when the two are simultaneously in full-bloom the Triangle couldn’t be more magical. This is one of those weekends and it starts tonight with the three major college b-ball teams (Duke, NC State, UNC) kicking-off their seasons, with great music acts playing in their respective cities.

This past year has found Durham’s tastemakers extending their dreams of turning the city’s nightlife into a dance haven, so there’s no better way to tear the club up and round-out 2011 than with Big Freedia’s booty-poppin’, New Orleans bounce tonight at Casbah.

On Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, The North Carolina Brewer’s Guild brings beer galore to the Lincoln Theatre along with several amazing bands, but go heavy on the music and light on the beers because you’ll still have plenty of time to make it to Chapel Hill to help comeback kids, Bombadil, celebrate their new LP, All That the Rain Promises. Play ball!

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The Foreign Exchange’s Nicolay and The Hot at Nights team up for EP

While the Grammy-nominated soul unit, The Foreign Exchange finishes the last leg of their Authenticity Tour, Foreign Exchange Music has just released the Shibuya Session EP—a collaborative project between The Foreign Exchange producer, Nicolay and the Raleigh, jazz virtuoso outfit, The Hot at Nights, whose guitarist, Chris Boerner, also plays with TFE.  

In 2006, TFE producer, Nicolay visited Tokyo and three years later he released the evenly sheened, City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya as a testament to some of the sights and experiences from that life-altering trip to Japan.

Nicolay and The Hot at Nights – Meiji Shrine

Here we find Nicolay essentially updating and remixing his own project with The Hot at Night musicians, Nick Baglio (drums), Matt Douglas (saxophone), and Chris Boerner (guitars and piano).  Earlier this year, the group released their debut LP, Nice Talk, which music critic, Brandon Soderberg described as a “lithe, sophisticated approach to a stalwart genre past its “cool” expiration date…”

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Download Kooley High’s new single “Yeah Yeah” feat. Median

Here in the Triangle, family values are dictated by which ACC basketball team—Duke, UNC, or NC State—you’d die for in a bar fight. This means that at this very moment (and for eternity), somewhere in this 30-mile radius people are arguing about who was the best ACC basketball player of all time, Duke’s Christian Laettner, UNC’s Michael Jordan, or NC State’s David Thompson.  

Now, the symbiotic nature between hip-hop and basketball is the force behind Raleigh’s long-time, hip-hop sextet, Kooley High, naming their new album after David Thompson.

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Jazz in Durham:
Boney James and The
Art of Cool Project

I really wish I could say that my days as a record store employee were the kind of mom-and-pop store experience that every music connoisseur dreams of.  Unfortunately, it was not.  In the early 2000s, my experience at the retail chain, Willie’s Records Tapes and CDs, was more like a North Durham version of Next Friday.   

Willie’s was located in a run-down strip-mall across the street from a Church’s Chicken and sat among an illegitimate African hair-braiding operation, a pawn shop and the filthiest Wal-Mart in America.  Outside of it’s regular patrons—drug dealers and deejays—a majority of the store’s consumer base were middle-aged black folks checking for mainstream gospel music or the latest “smooth jazz.”

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TVD Live (Interview): Danny Brown at Lincoln Theatre, 10/4

Danny Brown is hoping to score some weed. Dressed in a turqouise button-up and stonewashed, black denim pants, he’s just stepped off stage and is lounging on a sectional sofa, backstage at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.

Meanwhile, the hip-hop trio, Das Racist, is on stage, rapping amok, stomping through tracks of their satirized, gosh-rap act.  Between songs, they make it a point to introduce themselves as Scrillex. One of their hypemen announces that he’s Kreayshawn. This is the kind of humor that’s brought them the huge wave of recent attention.

These days, pop irony is king. They’ve provoked everyone to reach in their wallets and throw their driver’s licenses on the stage. After someone tosses a Food Lion discount card on-stage, Das Racist member, Dapwell, picks it up, shows it to the crowd and somehow turns this gesture into a shining highlight. Above the stage, a screen displays the word, “RELAX.” Oddly enough, that’s also the name of this tour.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: SIGNALFEST, 10/1

TVD has teamed up with the organizers of the the Southeast Electronic Music Festival (SIGNAL) and we’re giving away a pair of tickets to attend both Saturday night (10/1) shows in Chapel Hill, NC and neighboring Carrboro, NC.

As we mentioned before, SIGNAL is in its sixth year and has expanded its reach to Raleigh where one of our favorite female deejays, Jubilee, will be headlining on Friday night at Mosaic Wine Lounge. But to make things a little easier on you, these tickets will get you and a guest in both Saturday night’s back-to-back shows at Local 506 and Cat’s Cradle—both within walking distance of each other.    Read More »

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New releases from
J. Cole, 9th Wonder, and Phonte declare Tuesday, 9/27 “North Carolina Hip-Hop Day”

North Carolina has always been a wellspring of musical activity, and today three of the state’s top hip-hop acts are all releasing heavily-anticipated solo projects taking the state’s music heritage a step further. The September 27 release-date triumvirate of J. Cole’s Cole World: The Sideline Story, 9th Wonder’s The Wonder Years and Phonte’s Charity Starts at Home has recently been commonly referred to as “NC Hip-Hop Day” and while it’s unlikely that these guys initially planned to drop their albums on the same day, we welcome the happenstance, united front.

J. Cole drops his debut LP Cole World: The Sideline Story a couple of years after becoming the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label.  In this Complex magazine, online cover story, music journalist, Damien Scott tells how J. Cole followed his dreams of becoming a Jay-Z-endorsed, successful hip-hop artist from Fayetteville, NC.

Cole World—which is almost, entirely self-produced—should retain all of the scrappy and assertive mojo from his last two mixtapes (The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights) as well as some added, commercial sparkle from having Shawn Carter as a mentor and benefactor.

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SIGNAL 2011 returns
to Chapel Hill, expands
to Raleigh

Here in North Carolina’s Triangle-area (Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill) the post-summer-music-festival woes were eased by Raleigh’s 2nd annual Hopscotch Music Festival headlined by rock veterans The Flaming Lips—whose headlining show included the infamous crowd-surfing space bubble, balloons the size of exercise balls, and a shower of Post-It Note-sized confetti.  

It had all of the pilings of a block-party rave even if the music wasn’t as fitting.

However, from September 29th – October 1st, the Southeastern Electronic Music Festival, otherwise known as Signal, rolls back into town three-weeks later, for its sixth year of an electronic music spree, this time expanding it’s traditional list of Chapel Hill and Carrboro venues to also include locations in Raleigh. This year’s lineup welcomes renowned electro-jockeys such as Jubilee, Tunnidge, and Atlanta’s eclectic, dance-fusion specialist, Distal.  NC-based, dance-floor controllers such as DJ FM, OneDuran and Steve Feinberg also contribute their own home-grown groove sessions during this busy weekend.

Earlier this month Distal collaborated with FACT magazine for FACT mix 279.  After the jump, acquaint yourself with Distal’s arsenal of footwork magic and pounding basslines.

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