Mixtape.
Two Tiffanys celebrating what they love by giving it a stage and using their voices to spread the word.

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SOUNDCHECK: Answer (앤써)

Southern  hip hop is getting a whole new meaning with Answer, a rap group who hails from the South. South Korea, that is. This rap duo is expanding the sounds of Korean pop, Hip Hop and R&B as they bring a little bit of American laced southern hospitality to their country. Influenced by dirty south hip hop artists such as Lil’ Wayne, the group brings that same charisma and fire to their songs. Impressive and rhyme patterns on top of heavy hitting beats separates this crew from the competition: their flow and style making them easily stand out in the crowd. Their new single is currently creating a huge buzz on the Korean internet, as well as here in the States, with videos of their songs on youtube drawing in more and more views each day.

SOUNDCHECK: Ebony Bones!

I first came across the beauty that is Ebony Bones! in an URB magazine of mine. It was this little article with a picture of her laying on a couch. Her stunning face surrounded by a blonde afro, and the multi-colored foam rings that she wore around her neck and arms, drew me in. She was a vibrant color frenzy that caught my attention quickly. My eyes immediately locked in on her. I was interested in hearing her music right then. Well, a couple months passed and I had totally forgotten to check out some of her tunes… until a couple hours ago. The first track that I heard was “W.A.R.R.I.O.R.” and I loved it. In fact, I had it on repeat for about 20 minutes before I checked out another song. The beat is lead by a loud hand-clap rhythm, with a marching bassline, crashing cymbals, and loud chanting. It’s about anyone who has made it through any kind of adversity and made things happen for themselves. It’s brilliant!

SOUNDCHECK: Koonta & Nuoliunce (쿤타 & 뉴올리언스)

Reggae music, like other genres of music, knows no boundaries and speaks to everyone regardless of mother tongue. So it should come as no shock to you that it is starting to grow a stronghold in the Far East.  Artists and musicians have gravitated towards this soulful sound, and by incorporating elements  of their natural surroundings, have produced many flavors of what was once a purely Jamaican sound. Enter Koonta & Nuoliunce. As a duo, they are one of the very few musical groups in South Korea to have embraced and promoted Reggae…with a Korean twist of course.

[SOUNDCHECK] 보니 (Boni)

Having  just recently debuted no less than a few weeks ago, Boni’s mini album is a soulful collection of dance tracks, smooth R&B, and ballads that gives new meaning to K-Soul.  Singing in both English and Korean, the young chanteuse is bound to win over fans with her powerful voice that’s dripping with emotion. Alhough the 24 year old may be new to the K Pop scene, she was featured on the renowned band 015B’s 2006 track “ìž ì‹œ 길을 잃다” after being discovered by the lead singer Suk-Won Jeong.  While studying at university for the past two years, she also created a large buzz on Korea’s user created content (UCC) sites  similar to Youtube.  She’s been nicknamed the “Female Taeyang” by Korean netizens after Big Bang’s resident crooner, and it’s not a bad or baseless comparison if you ask me. So let’s get on and see what all the fuss is about.

SOUNDCHECK: Nneka

The Nigerian-German hip hop soul singer, Nneka (pronounced NEH-kah), was born and grew up in Nigeria. She used to sing in choir, at both her school and her church. In her late teens, she relocated to Germany. Her first album, “Victim of Truth“, was released in 2005. It was only released in Germany, and other places like England, Nigeria, Japan, Netherlands, and France. Her second album, “No Longer at Ease“, was released in 2008. Touching on political topics and the situations in her homeland.

And finally we, in the United States, are starting to hear about her. Kind of a bummer, considering she’s been releasing music for a few years… but that’s how it happens. This year she released her first US album titled, “Concrete Jungle“, which is like a compilation between her first two albums. I first heard of her a little while back (the end of ’09, I believe), due to her collaboration album with producer J.Period. They presented, “The Madness (Onye-Ala)“. I just listened to her album today, and it’s beautiful as a whole.

[SOUNDCHECK]: OVALL

It’s been a while since we’ve posted up a SOUNDCHECK and I thought that this group would be a perfect remedy for that. I stumbled across them on myspace and with their smooth  jazz inflected hip hop, it ‘s no wonder why just after 10 seconds of landing on their page I immediately became a fan of their musical style and it seems that Ovall has made their mark on both artists and listeners alike based on their track list (both literally and figuratively). Comprised of three solo artists successful in their own right; they have recently released their first album together as a group titled Don’t Care Who Knows That. Having collaborated with international artists as solo acts and as “Ovall”, their music reflects this global vibe and doesn’t feel contrived or forced, but rather chill. Soulful and fresh, the sampler they have up on their myspace is more than enough to convince me to put their album on my ‘Get This’ list. With that being said, I wanna get on with it; and after checking out this post, I hope you guys feel the same way.

[SOUNDCHECK] マボロシ

What’s up everyone! I’m hoping you all had a great time ringing in the New Year!! Hopefully you’ve all recovered from the hang-overs and are ready to start the year. I know I am! Now, with that being said, I want to jump right into our first SOUNDCHECK of the year, and introduce you all to マボロシ(pronounced “Maboroshi” which means illusion, phantom, or dream in Japanese). If you’re a fan of Japanese hip hop, then you probably already know about these guys, and their background. However, I’m gonna assume that they’re new to you, our readers, and hit you with a very brief oveorview of their history, along with a couple of PVs (promotional videos aka music vids) and some links for you to explore.  On with the SOUNDCHECK:

SoundCheck: Siren’s Eye

I know this may seem as if I’m on a Scott Michael Foster bender, but I’ve been meaning to post about him for a while now. Like I mentioned before in my review of Teenage Dirtbag, I’ve been a fan of SMF for a while now, mainly due to ABC Family’s GREEK…something I also highly recommend anyone between the ages of 17-29 watch, it’s super funny. But more on that later. Right now I want to talk about Scott’s band Siren’s Eye. I usually don’t like bands from actors I enjoy watching and visa versa. There’s just something off-putting when singers try to act and actors try to sing (I’m looking at you, Hillary Duff), usually because one of the two don’t pan out as well as you hoped, and it’s really impressive when an actor/singer masters both…at least to me it is. Ok, enough of my haterade sprinkled rambling and onto the SoundCheck.

SOUNDCHECK: The Phenomenal Handclap Band

phenomenalhandclapband I heard a couple tracks by the Phenomenal Handclap Band about a month or so ago, and I thought they were great. PHB is a supergroup of musicians from New York. The group was started by underground club DJs Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand. When they became tired of spinning other people’s music, they decided that they wanted to form their own act. After working with various artists of the indie rock and underground soul scenes, they eventually formed the 8-piece they are now: Daniel Collás, Sean Marquand, Patrick Wood, Pier Pappalardo, Joan Tick, Bing Ji Ling, Joan Tick, and Luke O’Malley. They’re with two labels, Tummy Touch (UK/EU) and Friendly Fire Recordings (US).

SoundCheck: Whale

whale3As Tiffology pointed out, we’ve been seriously slacking on our SoundChecks, and on my part, I think it’s because I haven’t come across any artists that I compulsively feel the need to share. You know how that is, you may hear something cool, but it doesn’t really push you to get on a soapbox and insist for your friends to listen…right? Well, that’s changed because I’ve recently fell in love with female vocalist Whale. Aside from doing her own thing, she’s currently the lead vocal for the collaborative group W&Whale, which consists of her, and the group W (Where the Story Ends).

SOUNDCHECK: N.A.S.A.

nasa Seeing as how Crayon Beats hasn’t had a “Sound Check” update since April, I figured I’d start one for August… featuring N.A.S.A.. I’m not talking about the space program either. North America/South America (N.A.S.A.) is Squeak E. Clean (Sam Spiegel) and DJ Zegon (Ze Gonzales). They have been making music together since 2003, starting when they first met. Five years in the making, they released their “The Spirit of the Apollo” album on February 17th, 2009.

They gathered artists from different music spectrums and put them all on one album. From hip hop, to Brazilian funk, to rock, and to new wave. I mean, they’ve got Tom Waits and Kool Keith on “Spacious Thoughts”; RZA, Barbie Hatch, and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on “Way Down”; Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), ODB, and Fatlip on “Strange Enough”; George Clinton and Chali 2na on “There’s A Party”; David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, and Z-Trip on “Money”; and Sizzla, Amanda Blank, and Lovefoxx (CSS) on the track “A Volta”. A little over 3-dozen guest appearences, tell me you’re not intrigued.

Anyway, I’m months late, but I just got done listening to the entire album today. I’ve got to say… it’s dope! All those eclectic sounds on one album are niiiice, I don’t care what anybody says.

After the jump you’ll find the tracklisting, a documentary trailer, and a few music videos.

SOUNDCHECK: Thunderheist

thunderheist Meet Montreal-based Producer Grahm Zilla and Toronto-based MC Isis, together they are Thunderheist (label: Big Dada). While they are both from Canada, they made music together before they even met. According to Wikipedia, it happened by accident. In 2005, Grahm sent Isis a mp3 track he was working on, by mistake, and she then recorded a rap over it. And now, here we are in 2009, and they put out their first self-titled album on March 31st. Thunderheist is a mixture of electro-rap, with a big splash of pop, crunk, dance, and lots of high energy. It’s not brand new, but who doesn’t like music that puts you in a good, happy mood? :]