Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I've loved hip hop ever since I can remember having enough money to buy my own music. I think my first CD was Hootie and the Blowfish... but my second CD was definitely Blackstreet - Another Level. That album is crazy cheesy and I'm still blown away by the fact that an unedited version of No Diggity actually does not exist. Still, I may have all of the lyrics memorized to all of those songs and I will always keep that album on my ipod.

During the late 90's, I went through middle school and high school with a pretty solid routine. My first major life purchase was a big Sony stereo system that had about 3 foot high speakers and a gangsta five disc changer. I had a bedroom in the basement and I ended almost every night laying in bed listening to the local college radio station, 91.9 FM. Starting at 9pm, they played solely hip hop and, amazingly, starting at 11pm it was uncensored. Growing up in small-town Kansas doesn't afford much exposure, so I owe most of my early hip hop education to that station. Along with the mainstream, there was a huge amount of underground and local playtime. Minus the seriously painful airing of Tech Nine, I was hooked.

A couple of songs that I specifically recall are by Canibus and Big Pun. I remember not being able to get the "It's been a long time..." line out of my head from the 2000-BC song. I also went digging through my old CDs tonight looking for Big Pun's - Capital Punishment but came up empty. Such a hard album. On the Superlyrical track is Black Thought of the Roots, which reminded me of Slum Village: Probably one of the early groups that introduced me to a heavy jazz-infused hip hop sound that I now give preference to. At the time, I had no idea that the J Dilla sound would so heavily influence me towards groups such as A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, The Pharcyde and De La Soul.

Warning: Explicit Lyrics
Canibus - 2000 BC

Big Punisher - Super Lyrical (ft. Black Thought)

Slum Village - Fall In Love

Monday, March 29, 2010

Phantom Kicks Remix

I've played around with basic remixing in the past. Nothing too invasive or serious, mostly pairing an instrumental of a popular song with the vocals of another. Usually open up my mixes with track like this (RJD2 + Outkast, DJ Mujava + Amanda Blank, Kanye West + Nas).

This past weekend, I took a track from a friend's new band Phantom Kicks and played with it a bit. I enjoy the original, but thought it would be a good challenge to introduce some new elements to shift the tone a bit. Check out these photos I took of the band this last year and don't miss them at Hotel Utah on April 22.

Phantom Kicks - Cut From A Different Clay

Phantom Kicks - Cut From A Different Clay (DJBN Remix)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Went to a show last night with Tanner and Phil of Phantom Kicks and had a great time. Tanner was looking to guest contribute to a local concert blog and asked that I attempt some concert photos for him. It was a new challenge and stretched the limits of my entry level dSLR and lenses but I'm happy with a handful of the photos that I got.

The headliner, Phantogram, is a duo out of Saratoga Springs, New York and has a great blend of a dreamy pop/electronic/dance. It was a lot of fun and they were sharp in their instrumentation and producing a full sound with various looping, synthesizing, sampling techniques. Sarah was also a visual arts major, so they've incorporated some artsy video backdrops which help to accentuate the "dreamy" aspects of their rhythmic pulse. They just released a new album and I took a quick listen today. Although it was enjoyable, I think I'm still a bit in the concert hangover, because I think the energy of the live show took the music to a significantly different level than the album did for me. Have a listen for yourself though