Monday, December 21, 2015

Living Artifacts By: Vinny Sciascia


When looking back at some of the best years in United States history, very few people would ever dare to rank 1930 among the top. The Great Depression was in full swing, a horrific drought leading to the dust bowl years had begun, and worst of all, the people of this year could not even drink their sorrows away because Prohibition enforcement was stronger than ever. In spite of all this, there was one silver lining that came in the form of a 12” flexible plastic disk. This was the very first commercially available vinyl record created by RCA, and little did the world know that those discs would stick around another eighty-five years as the people of today are turning to vinyl records hoping to find the true authenticities of life, which just may be lying in the flaps of that old dusty record.

People nowadays may be familiar with records because their parents or grandparents kept them lying around the house. However, these were not always a huge hit. Initially, records were a flop, and it was not until 1945 that the industry standard record (33½ rpm) was produced (Palermino 1). From that point on, the vinyl record would go on to face a plethora of obstacles and challenges ranging from reel-to-reel tapes, 8-tracks, CDs, and more recently mp3 files and online music streaming. Yet, the year is now 2015 and vinyl record sales are the highest they have been in twenty-five years! Why do these plastic discs keep hanging around, and what makes them so appealing to the mass public? People in today’s fast paced society are quietly searching for the authenticity of life, thus correlating with the recent surge in record sales. Vinyl records provide nostalgia by offering a glimpse into history, their sound quality is imperfectly-wonderful yet unparalleled, and the act of listening to a record is a drawn-out process that forces one to slow down and take the time to appreciate the music as well as the experience.

Widely debated, is the sound quality of vinyl records. Does music really sound better on vinyl, and if so, how? Though there have been bundles of bloggers and journalists alike taking a stab at this mind-bending question, there is no definitive answer or proof stating that the sound quality is indeed better or worse, because the quality of a certain thing is an aesthetic judgement that cannot genuinely be defined objectively. With that said, it should be noted that there is indeed a distinct difference in digital music files versus the vinyl record. The digital file is likely to be more polished and clean although the sound is not as full and pure, while vinyls have a crackling noise during rotation and are very susceptible to scratches which will cause skipping in the record, although the vinyl’s sound is a lot more full and authentic. Ah, there’s that word again, “authentic.”

Today, everything technological seems to be striving for complete perfection by its curators, which is an almost unattainable goal, and is quite possibly where the digital music market went wrong. People turn to vinyl for its flaws and imperfections because everything is so diluted in digital recording’s cookie cutter sound, equating to a minimalistic amount of authenticity. Old records are pure, aboriginal, and full of flaws, which just might be the thing making them almost perfect.

 In his book, Six Names of Beauty, philosopher Crispin Sartwell explains a phenomenon very similar to the one stated above. Throughout the book he is describing forms of beauty that may not be clear or present in everyday culture. These beauties are not widely publicized or even commonly known, and in Chapter 5, entitled Wabi-Sabi the Japanese aesthetic concept based on Humility and Imperfection he starts off by recalling the first time he heard the blues, more specifically the first blues disk he heard, and in this he states, “The damage on its surface-its crackles and skips- traces my intense relation to it, and gives it a kind of old-time sounding authenticity. But even with all that displacement the blues seemed to me like an absolutely inevitable syntax, as though I was hearing my own voice the way I wanted it to be” (Sartwell 110). This quote is almost identical to the flawed perfection vinyl records seem to carry with them. By a judge’s decision, the sound quality in Sartwell’s example would be ruled a disgrace-much like that of old vinyl records- but by Sartwell’s ruling, there is much more to it than sound. There is this unimaginable feeling that floods his brainwaves allowing Sartwell to hear the true beauty behind the cracks and skips that lie on the exoskeleton of the blues he’s listening to. That is authentic. That is what it means to be true to the roots. That is without question the very thing a vast majority of humans crave, yet that is exactly what is absent from the majority of modern society’s newest products. Collectively, people love music, and there is a branch of music that is still tangible and simple and those who know about this branch are flocking to it in droves.

Shortly after this recollection, Sartwell defines what exactly that feeling is. It’s called wabi-sabi and it is a Japanese world view or aesthetic that focuses on the acceptance of imperfections. In this section, Sartwell goes on to break down the word’s meaning as he writes, “Wabi is most directly translated as “poverty” and initially in its history had all the negative connotations of that state. The life of the peasant- hard, humble, and bare-is wabi.”( 113). Sartwell makes it plainly clear that the first word of the term is anything but lavish, and in regards to the second, Sabi, he states that, “Sabi means “loneliness” again originating in a word that is largely negative” (114). This view fits the vinyl record and its surge in popularity so perfectly, because the glamourous world of “see it-want it-have it” is no place for a large hunk of plastic, but the loneliness and simplicity of the vinyl record is everything people wanting to escape the norm are looking for.

While those feelings previously expressed with examples from Sartwell in regards to sound, the following feelings take a deeper look into the emotions a singular vinyl record can provide, rather than why people feel the dubbed “perfectly-imperfect” sound is better than digital music. Now, as stated previously, vinyl records have been available for the public for just under a century. They have kept current with new artists, styles, and sounds, and there does not seem to be a true end to the commercial growth of this product anywhere in sight. Having this sort of longevity offers listeners the rare and almost exclusive ability to experience what people from up to eighty years ago felt, and to sincerely be put in their shoes. Music is said to be timeless, and attesting to that statement is the fact that the biggest and best selling vinyl records today are of albums that were made in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (Mathieu 1).

Having said that, I want you try to picture this scenario as a reader: a twelve year old boy stumbles upon his father’s old records in the family basement, when he sees one record with four men on the front walking across the street. His interest has been sparked and as he takes out the LP and puts it on the turntable, dropping the needle, he begins reading the back cover to discover what exactly it is that he is listening to. The boy is hearing The Beatles’ Abbey Road for the first time today, and he may be experiencing an unexplainable feeling that his father got years before  the first time he listened to that very album. The universality of music has been the driving force behind the revival of records, but feelings so pure, nostalgic and euphoric such as the ones illuminated in the previous example are what keep people coming back for more. Music, as a whole, is not something that can be validated by lists of data and statistics on songs and albums, it is simply something that may or may not resonate with a particular individual. That alone has kept vinyl records relevant, because there are no figures or numbers to convolute the organic feelings and emotions that become present the second the needle drops into the grooves of a record.

To further accentuate the previous scenario, imagine that boy’s affinity for music continued to grow. In fact, imagine it grew to the point where he began wanting to make his very own music, so his father goes out and buys his son a guitar. As the boy ages, he is exposed to more and more musical influences and begins to develop his own unique sound, while at the same time mimicking his musical role models in their technique and style. For the sake of this example, let us say that the boy became an exceptional musician and he began making a career out of it. Let us say that the boy now had earned enough money to make his very own studio album, and make it available for the mass public, so he goes and records his music, and now he has his first personal album. He wants a wide variety of people to hear his music, so he makes the logical decision of making it available on the Internet and all popular music streaming sites. Enough people buy the album online to where he begins to make his money back, and in the midst of his recent income, he thinks back to that old dusty copy of Abbey Road that began his life journey, so what do you as a reader think he will do next? If your guess was that he would go get his very own album pressed and released in the vinyl format, then you just may be right. This is a way to validate himself with the influences he grew up listening to. While this scenario is fictional, it is based on very real and not-so uncommon events. In the short film Turnaround: A Vinyl Records Documentary, musical artist Daniel Baulch says in regards to vinyl records and his music that, “We’ve had a lot of amazing moments sitting down and listening to certain vinyls and stuff, so it’s a dream of ours to maybe give someone else that sort of experience”(Turnaround 2:36).  For this particular artist, much like our fictitious boy, vinyl records have played a significant role in his life, and he can only hope that his music will do the same that his role model’s music did for him, in the same format that is a vinyl record.

This nostalgic and authentic experience that has been previously talked about in great excess comes from the actual process of listening to a record, which in fact, is much more extensive than just pressing “play.” Before zooming in on the process of listening to a vinyl record, the most popular method of listening to music must first be examined, and that method is none other than online streaming. This process is quite simple: people pull up a selected music station with the genre of music they like, then the streaming site will generate a playlist of similar sounding songs so that the listener has minimal work to do, and they can go on about their day with music in the palm of their hands. Online streaming is simple and work free, and while some people love this ease of accessibility, others prefer the longer and more laborious route.

To attain a record, one has to go to a record store, yard sale, flea market etc. From there, they will probably find a couple dozen milk crates completely filled with records. The consumer will have to dig through these crates and look at every single cover until they find the one they want. This can take hours depending on the amount of crates and piles the consumer is going through. Following this, the person will have to return to their record player, put their latest purchase on the turntable, drop the needle, and listen. There is no changing the artist after one song, but after four or five songs it will be necessary to flip the record over to the B-side. This is a strenuous and lengthy process that some people just cannot get enough of. It forces the individual to be present while listening to the record and some have stated that a sense of pride is felt whenever they discover a new artist on their own this way. It is that sense of accomplishment after hard manual labor that must entice a selective crowd, and it can be assumed that the record-listening forefathers had similar feelings when they completed the very same action. Everything with records is full circle if it is not apparent just yet.

Those in opposition to vinyl records may claim that they are not portable, making them obsolete in our current and highly mobile society. While it is true that vinyl records are anything but portable, the reason they are so popular is because it forces one to be still-to not move about but rather to sit there, and truly listen to the music being played, not just hearing it. Additionally, people may not enjoy being locked into a contractual agreement to only listen to one artist and one album for hours at a time. This is completely rational and understandable, but to reiterate, vinyl records may not be for all people. In 1958 vinyl records were the online streaming of the day, but times have changed and vinyl records are for people that do not mind the challenges or even annoyances.

All in all, this is an imperfect system that has garnered its winnings from its very own flaws. The vinyl record is an anomaly really, because the very things that should have weeded out this artifact decades ago are the only things keeping vinyl records afloat almost ninety years later. The wabi-sabi that Sartwell speaks of and the ability to see the beauty in imperfections play perfectly into the very thing that vinyls are. Not only that, but the nostalgic feelings and emotions that come jam-packed within the flaps of those records keep the cycle going full circle whether it be with big-time music fans, or even the artists of newer generations. Lastly, there is a process to listening to a record, a very time consuming yet rewarding process that has engulfed millions, and based on the surge in sales, is continuing to expand its listenership. Vinyl records were a thing of the past, are clearly a thing of the present, and all roads point to them being a thing of the future. All things considered, the year 1930 may have been a tad “depressing” but the historical significance with the country’s economy, weather patterns, and enforced laws are still talked about today. In fact, people still make songs about those occurrences. Then those artists slap the songs on an album, get it pressed on a vinyl record and… well you get the point.

Works Cited

Baron, Lee. "Why Vinyl Has Made a Comeback." Newsweek, 18 Apr. 2015.           Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Gibson, Meghan. "Here's Why Music Lovers Are Turning to Vinyl and Dropping Digital." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

Huet, E. Resurgence In Vinyl Records Means Booming Business -- And Growing

Pains For Factories.” Forbes.Com, DATE OF ARTICLE Web. DATE ACCESSED

Hughes, Matthew. "4 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better Than Digital."MakeUseOf. N.p., 18 Apr.

            2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Morris, Christopher. "Album Sales Continue Decline, Music Streaming Rises in 2014." Variety.    

N.p., 06 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Palermino, Chris Leo. "Vinyl Sales Are Still on the Rise in 2015, Fueling a Revival That Keeps    
                  Pointing up." Digital Trends. N.p., 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
II. Defense of the source:

"LPs Turn 65: Top-selling Vinyl Records of All Time." Times Union. Ed. Jarron Mathieu.

            N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Sartwell, Crispin. "Wabi-Sabi Japanese, Humility, Imperfection." Six Names of Beauty. New

York: Routledge, 2004. 109-31. Print.

Turnaround - A Vinyl Records Documentary. Dir. Chris Axiaq, Blake Hennequin, James Thomson,
Thanh Loc Do, and Robert Milner. Perf. Andrew Hayden, Jackson Clarke, Daniel Baulch and Jackson Kay. Blake Hennequin Films, 2012. Documentary.

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Daylight Savings Time by Jered Sanders

     In 2004 Kanye West released his mega-single "Jesus Walks" and man did this track take the music world by storm. The reason being, is that no mainstream hip-hop artist had ever confessed their faith so publicly or in such a hard-hitting and triumphant way, that the song actually left many people unsure of how to react. What really makes "Jesus Walks" so great, is the how vulnerable Kanye made himself by truly digging deep within to say something that he felt strongly about. Unfortunately, however, this spiritual outburst from West seemed to have been left in 2004, as his "Yeezus" image is his apparent focus these days.

     Though, there is one rapper who brought the same spiritual passion and fire that Kanye did on a singular track, to a fourteen song album; his name is Jered Sanders.

     Now, before fully diving into the review of Sanders' most recent album, Daylight Savings Time, do yourself a favor and listen to the first four tracks of his last project Sorry for the Delay, it's okay, I'll wait. Done? Perfect. 

     Why did I just ask you to listen to an older album when we're talking about a brand new one? Simple, to let you know how dope this guy is, if you're not familiar with him already, and also to make a point. In those four incredibly solid songs, Sanders displays his natural talent as he effortlessly floats over the beat, delivering entertaining one liners that will put the stankface on just about all listeners. Thankfully, these qualities and traits transferred over to this current album, but what there is something that is evident in DST that can't be found on Sorry for the Delay, and that's the thematic and focused in subject matter. 

     All throughout this album, Sanders consciously rhymes about his Christian faith in the unashamed manner Kanye once displayed. Even on his past work, Sanders wouldn't mind speaking about his God, but he also wouldn't hesitate to curse or veer off on different topics, but not on DST. The lyrics are clean, powerful, and substantial in meaning. This doesn't make the album a Christian Hip-Hop project, rather, Sanders is a Christian making Hip-Hop, which makes the project a lot more relatable and universal.

     Not only that, but one of Sanders' best characteristics, is his delivery. Anyone can write the gut wrenching lines listeners adore, but the rappers that stand out, are the ones that can enunciate, manipulate, and stress certain syllables of words to give those compelling bars value. Take the track titled "Collection Plate Freestyle" for example, Sanders drops hard line after hard line, but his fluency is what keeps the track flowing and allows listeners the ability to kick back, relax, and admire his craft.

      In terms of the production and beats, Daylight Savings Time hits that one out of the park as well. The one responsible for that is producer Analogic, the extremely talented artist who has worked heavily with Sanders in the past, proved that this duo is deserving of every one's ears.

     It should be noted that this project is a lengthy listen, but listening to it in its entirety makes the listening experience that much better. That being said, this album puts me in a very sticky spot. After repeated listens, I've been struggling to find any meaningful flaws, making me sound like a "yes man" towards Sanders, but this album really is something special. It is a huge progression from previous works, and the content of DST is an entire album of "Jesus Walks." That's huge. Hopefully, people take notice of this, as it's a bonafide nine out of ten hip-hop album. Jered Sanders is something special, and all it will take is one listen of DST and that will be clear to everyone else.

Itunes Link:
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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Only One by Rohan Da Great feat. Stoney

The talented North Carolina based emcee, Rohan Da Great is back with his latest single "Only One" which features the artist known as Stoney. This track shows the softer side of Rohan, as this is a quality love song with a good hip-hop sound. Not only that, but "Only One" has a bit of a commercial sound, which should help its appeal to a much broader audience. Give this eloquent track a listen and be sure to comment below!

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Bounce by Wendall Scott feat. Tim Nihan

In the hundreds of posts you can find on this site, there is a singular word that appears on a vast majority of them; and that word is smooth. Maybe its because I'm not that creative of a writer and can't think of another word to use, or maybe it's because I listen and post a lot of SMOOTH hip-hop. Having said that, the latest single "Bounce" by site newcomer Wendall Scott featuring Tim Nihan is out, and you bet your bottom dollar I'm using the word "smooth" to let the world know the exact vibe this track emits!  This song is mellow, simple, and good from the production to the vocal work. Give "Bounce" a listen and be sure to comment your thoughts!

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Monday, August 24, 2015

It's Nothing by Gatsby The Great

If you're a relatively unknown rapper looking to make a splash with one song, then take notes from the Jersey born rhymer Gatsby The Great. His latest track titled "It's Nothing" and believe me; it's something. This song features a great boom bap beat with a funky and soulful horn line. As if that weren't enough, Gatsby's lyrical delivery is above par, and his lyrics are full of energy and passion. That being said, there is no hook on this song, so it's just two minutes and fifty seconds of really solid hip-hop! Give "It's Nothing" a listen and be sure to comment your thoughts!

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Ghost Dilla (Video) by Styles P feat. Fortes

If you're looking for some up-tempo hip-hop to get your Monday started off right, then look no further than the latest visual by rapper Styles P "Ghost Dilla" which includes a feature from Fortes. This track is a quick burst of boom-bap rap with smooth lyrical delivery from both artists. Although the track is a bit short, it still is a pretty freaking good hip-hop song. Not only that, but the video itself features some nifty camera work and isn't a bad watch by any means. Give "Ghost Dilla" a play and be sure to comment your thoughts below!

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Streets of Gold (Video) by SkyBlew

No stranger to The Under-Cover Album Review is the North Carolina based rhymer, SkyBlew. His  latest visual is for his track  "Streets of Gold" and his consistently soft yet swift delivery is evident once more all throughout this song. Blew's style and sound is unchanging, which is by no means a bad thing, for one listen to the featured track and it should be quite clear to all listeners that he's found a winning formula, and is sticking with it. In regards to the video itself, there are a neat set of animations that go along with the lyrics, which is always better than the cliche' "rapper in the city" music video. Give it a play and be sure to comment your thoughts below.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

System Overload by Dynamic Equilibrium

Dynamic Equilibrium; some of you have heard of them, some of you haven't. If you find yourself on the side unfamiliar with the New York based hip-hop duo, then know this, they are something special. They've been making music for a while, and their consistency in making quality music is unreal. Not only that, but rapper Alpha Memphis is always sure to say more than just cliche rhymes.  He makes listeners think with his universal lyrics that always have substance and meaning. Going along with Alpha's vocals, are the wonderfully produced beats by Machia that always set the mood and theme of the song in great fashion.

The latest track from DE is titled "System Overload" and this single fits perfectly in their already strong catalog. The beat, the lyrics, the hook, it's all great. Memphis raps about real life issues, and that's very evident in this song. You don't want to miss out on this duo, because they're going places, take my word for it. Give this single a listen and be sure to comment your thoughts.

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Word (Video) by Noveliss

Miking his site debut is the ever talented rhymer, Noveliss. Many listeners may be familiar with his work with the dynamic hip-hop group Clear Soul Forces, however, the featured visual is for his single "Word" off his solo EP titled Toonami Tsunamis. This song is smooth and simple as Noveliss drops some eloquent rhymes to a mellow beat. Nothing too out of the ordinary, other than some good hip-hop with quick snippet of Dragon Ball Z. Give the video a play and be sure to comment your thoughts below!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Essence of Hip-Hop Vol. 2: The Writing Process

As a listener of music, haven't you ever wondered what went into the writing of your favorite songs? What in the world inspires artists to write what they write? Or even the random places they have written music? Well, below is an interview with four very talented hip-hp artists (Allen Poe, Tino, Joey Aich, and Kwab aka Y.e.S) who all have different versions of the writing process. They were all asked the exact same questions, yet in their answers you may note some large differences. Compare and contrast all of the answers, and see what these guys go through in order to pen your possible next favorite song! The artists will be color coated to make reading this article a bit easier, so give it a glance, and be sure to comment any thoughts below!

Tino-T     Allen Poe-AP     Joey Aich-JA     Kwab-K

1.) Introduce yourself (name, where your from and how long you've been making music)
T-  I'm Tino.  I'm from Cleveland Ohio, but now live and operate out of Dayton Ohio. I've been writing music for five years now and I've been a serious musician for three and a half years.
AP- I'm Allen Poe, MC from Frankfort, Kentucky.  I've been rhyming since '95 and dropped my first record in 2011.
JA-  I'm Joey Aich, a starving artist from Cleveland trying to get free chipotle. I'm been recording music since I was 15 years old. 
K- My name is Kwab aka Y.e.S! and I am originally from Ghana, Africa but I currently reside in New Jersey. I have been making music for about 8 or so years.

2.) What made you want to begin making music?
T-  I started writing while on vacation for a friends destination wedding. I wasn't a fan of the Florida's climate so I'd stay inside most days and have the whole condo to myself. It was during this time I could play my music as loud as I wanted. While listening I just started writing one afternoon and haven't stopped since.
AP-  I used to like to write poetry in school when I was young.  Once I dug into hip hop and started getting my hands on instrumentals the writing naturally combined. 
JA- I always wanted to make music because music and performing have always been a big part of my life from church choir to school plays and what not, but it wasn't until my grandmother passed away in my senior year of high school and I finished a verse to a song (Exhibit J) in dedication to her that I knew I wanted to continue to pursue music. I wanted to actually get into a studio and publicly release songs and embrace the biggest critic in the world today, the internet. 
K- Always had a passion for it and enjoyed the culture. I was always writing bits of poetry and lyrics when I was younger because it was always good outlet to get my ideas out. It eventually evolved from that to house party rap battles to putting together tracks for different projects. 

3.) Where do you get ideas for songs, lyrics, and hooks?
T- May seem generic, but life inspires what I do. It can be my life which fueled the creation of songs like Time Clock Blues which is about hating my old 9 to 5, and Bonus Stage which is about my love of video games or it could be life as a collective which has been the base for my more socially conscious subject matter.
AP- I get them from everything I see and think and feel.  The beat will give direction too.
JA-  I get most of my inspiration for songs through living life. My music is a strong reflection of what I'm going through or thinking about.
K- I always incorporate my life into my music so my ideas usually come from a personal perspective even if its just a braggadocios track. I always try to listen to different genres of music to see if I can incorporate it my music and style. I also try to be in the company of talented (not just music) people around me in order to get different types of ideas, perspectives and inspiration.

4.) Do you have a certain routine when writing new music?
T- I used to write really late at night. There is something special about that state of thought just between sleep and awake. Now my writing is much more free form.
AP- A few songs might not be wrote to the music, but mostly I listen to the beat and try not to think about anything else.  Once I get a feel for it the writing begins. 
JA- I try my best not to force it. I feel like when I sit down and say "I'm gonna write this verse today," I fall short and end up forcing lyrics and concepts. I usually jot down all my thoughts in the note section of my phone to keep ideas while I'm mobile or just not in a writing mood and revisit them later. Also, since I'm still in college finishing my senior year at Denison University, I keep a notebook and during class I'll flip to the end of book and just write what ever comes to mind. If you look inside of a notebook of mine you'll find drawings, lyrics, ideas, anything music related. 
Joey Aich
K- I usually get a concept or direction in mind and listen to the beat a bunch of times to get a feel for it. Then I usually go about putting together my verses and hook. Sometimes its a free flowing process and at times very methodical depending on the track. Some tracks just come easy and I am able to complete it in a short amount of time without any changes. Very personal and introspective records usually take a while to write because I tend to rewrite things if it becomes too much or "regrettable".

5.) Where do you normally write your music at? (Weirdest place you've ever written at?)
T- I normally write most of my music from my couch. I'll also write where ever a line comes to me, that could be the car, a concert, a wedding, in the line at Chipotle . Almost anyplace where there's music is a place a song can be birthed.
AP- I write at night at home most nights.  I try to write in different spots when I can.  Different settings can add different color to the track.
JA-  Usually just in my notes on my phone or in notebooks. The weirdest place I've written at isn't really that weird but I was at dinner and just wrote on a napkin. As far as places I write. In bed at night is probably the best place I get thoughts. 
K- I usually write anywhere I am able to zone in and focus. I have written songs in different places such as during recording sessions to crowded train rides. I don't really have any weird places that I have written music in my opinion. Whenever I am able to just lock in and focus regardless of the outside distractions is when I am at my best writing music. 

6.) When writing down verses, what materials do you use? (phone, pen, computer, etc.)
T-  I was a laptop writer, but when it died I switched to my phone and have written on it exclusively. It's nice to be able to capture whatever thought, line, song title, or melody immediately.
AP-  I always use my phone.  I just started working on something and I'm going to write with pad and pen only for it.  The phone is convenient but I think something might be getting lost without actual 'writing'.  
Allen Poe
JA- Just phone and pen.
K- I usually write on my phone because it is easier to jot down ideas, lyrics and concepts right in the palm of my hand. It makes it an easy process compared to writing on paper and I have the lyrics saved right on my phone in case I need to make improvements or reference from it at a later time. 

7.) You're a rapper, but could you write for other genres or artists?
T- I write melodies for hooks to be sung by other artists for my projects and a few of my songs could easily be sung so I believe I could do some R&B writing if my heart was in it.
AP- If it were a homie and we were collaborating or there was a hook written for somebody else, I've done that a lot.  If another rapper felt like their money was worth my rhymes I'd  be interested.
JA-  Could I write for someone else? I doubt it, but could I write for my self in a different genre? I believe so. I'm actually trying to get into country music. I think I would get a greater attendance at my shows I don't know just a thought haha.
K- Yeah I believe so. I listen to other genres such as R&B or soul music in order to draw inspiration to my own work so if need be I could put together something for another genre. 

8.) Do you write verses before or after you find an instrumental to work with?
T- On occasion I'll write a few lines without music, but I believe instrumentals and verses should compliment one another and even a dope verse may never find a home without the write production to accompany it.
AP- It can be before but usually it's after for me.  The instrumental gives so much energy and influence to the overall song it seems it should be part of my creation process.
JA-  Depends. Sometimes I find inspiration through the beat. I'll hear a beat and I'll say "I know exactly what I want to say on this," or I'll write something just in down time and when I hear a beat I'll find a way to get them to work together. 
K- A bit of both. Sometimes I have verses written that my producer is able to craft a beat that fits the idea and concepts. Other times I draw inspiration from the beat and go from there. 

9.) Where was your best song/verse written?
T-  Back in 86, one of my best songs was written at my girlfriends townhouse.
AP- Probably at home just by volume of where songs have been created.
JA- The best song I've written? Damn that's actually tough. There are some that I just feel very passionate about like Exhibit J, Smooth Hardcore and Acknowledgement. and there are others where I just have a lot of fun with like Early Bird, Loading, Greyhound, or 40oz. To me one of my favorite verses is my verse on The Pleasures off the Knock 5 Compilation album. I just feel like that verse screams Joey Aich. Its me, its my dreams, its my goals, its just a Joey Aich ass verse haha. 
K- Probably at my dinner table at like 3 or 4 am. I was going through some things and spent the better part of the night and morning just writing songs for a previous project. I was able put together a couple of my favorite songs that night. 

10.) Any advice for up and coming rhymers that may struggle with the writing process?
T- I think the biggest mistake any artist can make is lusting for results. When you want to write hits and focus on getting plays is when you taint your process and impede your ability to do so. I would also suggest doing something outside of your comfort zone when you experience writers block. Doing something you're not familiar with can help you develop a new approach to your traditional style or help you incorporate a new style altogether.
AP- Be alone some to read and think.  Write a little bit everyday, consistency is king.
JA- My biggest advise is write write write, but don't force it. Let it come to you. Let the ideas come organically. Like I said before some of my worse verses come when I sit down and say I am going to write this verse. Another bit of advise is to be creative and push envelopes as much as possible. 
K- Practice and patience. Its okay to struggle but just keep at it till you are satisfied and even then keep going. Writing can at times be easy but there are times you will hit a block. Just keep at it and keep the same passion you have mentally regardless if you are struggling. 

11.) Do you think other artists will have similar or the same answers? Why or why not?
T-  I think there will be some similarities, but nobodies process is the same. I know emcees who don't write, ones who only write in notebooks, and some that write in a phone like me. It's all about what's comfortable and works best for you which isn't a one size fits all type of thing.
AP- I think creation is unique to the creator so I would expect some variation, but at the end of the day it's putting thoughts into written form so it all comes out the same.
JA- For some yes, for other no. I think everyone has their own unique regimens yah know. Like every batter in baseball has a different batting stance or routine as they approach the plate, but the goal is still to get on base, score runs, and win games. 
K- Yes  and no. I think all artists are similar at times when it comes to the writing process. They usually have to write ideas and lyrics or at least make mental notes when they get inspired but everyone has an overall different routine and process.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

How It All Started by Datin

Making his debut to The Under-Cover Album Review is the newest God Over Money Records signee, Datin. This veteran rhymer's latest single is titled "How It All Started" which is nothing more than four and a half minutes of smoothly delivered, storytelling rhymes to a hard knocking beat that is sure to captivate any and all listeners. This is good music, simple as that. Give it a listen and be sure to comment your thoughts below.

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Who Am I by Jered Sanders

The conscious and exceptionally talented rhymer Jered Sanders is back with his latest single "Who Am I" which features production from Analogic and is the second single released off his forthcoming project titled Daylight Savings Time. This track features very powerful lyrics that touch on the difficulties of being both an active Christian, as well as a hip-hop artist in today's somewhat diluted industry. Sanders delivers these thought provoking rhymes to a head-nod inducing beat, making this an instant hit. If the rest of DST sounds anything as good as this, then get ready for an amazing album!

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Created in 2013, The Under-Cover Album Review strives to bring the world quality music, by quality artists. This motto will continue to be our foundation as we move forward in time.

-Vinny Sciascia, Creator & Operator