Yesterday, a track was passed to me by a rapper friend of mine by 17 year old Minnesota producer DJ SIDEREAL. "All I Need Is Sunshine" is a mellow, dope hip hop track that could easily be mistaken for a Rhymesayers release. Featured rappers Finding Novyon and D.Glove are noticeably influenced by Rhymesayers legends such as Slug (Atmosphere), dropping lines such as "you can catch Slugs if you're acting like my enemy/In my Atmosphere, dog this rap severe". As a newcomer, Sidereal has a good feel for his production style, using a sample from Timber Timbre's "Black Water" to provide vocals & highlight the need for summer heat after three ice cold seasons in Minnesota. I am certainly interested to hear more from Sidereal. Check out "All I Need Is Sunshine" below, and stay posted for his upcoming project S.I.D.E which will feature One Be Lo, XP, and more.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
I know...it's been a long time; I shouldn't have left you. Music has kept me quite busy, so I hope you all will forgive my lack of posting, but I had to change my schedule and wake up early in the morning to write this piece. This is something that has been on my mind for some time now, and in many ways; pains me to have to write. I feel like this is the appropriate time to point out something that most band-wagoners, coattail-riders and LeBron-jockers can't seem to wrap their minds around. Maybe they can and just don't out of fear that they won't get an e-vite to LeBron's super cool parties. Well spoiler alert, that e-vite isn't coming, ever. The fact is that LeBron, despite some dips in his public image, is a massive popular icon. Most will look at the bright side of his behavior and neglect the dark side. He will get the benefit of the doubt most times than not. This usually happens when one is dominant or unquestionably the best in his or her field, but does he deserve this treatment? Is he really as good as people want him to be? Without a doubt, LeBron James could be the most talented basketball player in NBA history, but does his on and off court behavior warrant his title of "Best Player On The Planet"? Let's look at some of the things that diminish "The King's" dominion over the NBA history books:
Crying/Complaining To Refs
Constantly. I mean damn near after every play. Not just offensive plays. EVERY PLAY. 90 percent of the time, you can see LeBron going up to a ref to conference with them about a call they made. And if he isn't actually talking to a ref, he's making a puzzled face or grimace because he felt he should have gotten a call. That in itself is a poor look for an MVP, but what's worse is that it puts so much pressure and influence over these awful (and many consider corrupt) referees. He winds up getting so many calls on the basis that he will talk your ear off and cry about it if he doesn't get what he wants. And what's even worse is that he already gets star treatment! He has been since a rookie, and that's still not good enough. One would think a 260 lb. MVP wouldn't be as sensitive about getting calls, especially since a 185 lb. MVP rarely gets any calls he deserves. *Cough, cough* Derrick Rose.
This is probably the worse one on this list. Flopping has become an epidemic in the NBA and while still trying to pin down "patient zero", the league has tried to inject a vaccine of some sort this season. The 2012 - 2013 season marked the first institution of a fine system where after game replay would determine that players trying to deceive the referees would be penalized on an increasing scale. At this season's conclusion, the system has been weakly enforced, when really it should have been enforced weekly. We accept it with players of European decent, because it is a bit of a cultural thing. But now American players are doing it, and even further - superstars are doing it. At the helm is "lord of the flops", Sir LeBron James. Usually flopping is an action that is hard to capture in a still photo, but his flopping is so damn animated and over the top it really jumps out at you. It's impressive, in a way. Many make the point that, flopping is a "smart", "clever" and/or "veteran" move. Those who do, defend the move by saying, "Hey, if you can get away with it, why not do whatever you can to help your team win?". Those are the same people who would probably steal a blind man's wallet if there was no chance of prosecution. Flopping shows weakness. Acting, exaggerating or creating the illusion of a foul because one cannot earn it through legitimate offense or defense. And LeBron is the only superstar to come out publicly to defend flopping, saying there is nothing wrong with it. If that's true, why would the league establish an "anti-flopping" system, condemning chronic floppers in the league? The very presence of the rule, contradicts LeBron's comments...but don't let logic get in the way of a good flop.
Lack Of (Self) Awareness
How many times have you heard LeBron, and the entire Miami Heat team, use the term "We understand that..."? Many times it is in reference to the Miami Heat having a mindset of "us against the world". This just seems ridiculous, seeing as how the Heat having three all stars brought together on one team catapulted them into the leagues favor. You can see it in the media coverage and the beneficial treatment they receive on the court. True, many fans root against the Heat, understandably. And "I understand" that players will grasp on to any small thing they can to use as motivation, but nothing is as annoying as hearing LeBron James refer to himself as anything less than highly favored. Any unkind attention he receives (i.e. some ignorant fans snatching his headband, throwing items at him), he created himself by some uninformed and immature decisions and is in no way about the league being against him. He should really trash that attitude, it's not a good look; and speaking of decisions...
What makes this "superteam" phenomenon so bad is that now every team has to do it. No one feels like they can compete with the Heat, so now Carmelo has to act like a baby to go to the Knicks. Now Dwight Howard has to act like a baby to go to the Lakers (and then continue to act like a baby). The Atlanta Hawks now have to violate the anti-tampering law by alluding to their signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to attract fans to buy season tickets. The balance of talent is more and more shifted to a smaller number of teams, which to me is not fun. This does, however, makes me respect teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs that much more. Never active with big name free agents, yet always remain at the top of the game. LeBron James had this at one time, but his decision to join a mega-team cheapened his place in the league in my book.
On Court Performance
When you like someone, everything they do is great...that's the saying. But let's look at Lebron James's play on the court objectionably. Again, there is no doubt that James is the most physically gifted player in the league right now...maybe in history. But what does he do with those tools? Yes his jumper has improved, but after 10 years in the game, smart defenders are still stepping back from him; allowing him to shoot. He's not consistent. He is a rhythm shooter and he's streaky, but not by definition a "good jump shooter". That being said, he is a monster when he decides to go to the rim. He is nearly unstoppable. One would ask, "why doesn't he go to the basket all the time?" So let's ask it...WHY?!! It's something that always perplexed me about him. It's like, he thinks he can't be the greatest unless his does what MJ did. His strength is not his jump shot on offense, and Lebron's major flaw is not exploiting his strengths more. He is 250 plus lbs. and he complains about getting hit when he drives to the lane. After the Chicago Bulls snapped the Miami Heat's 27 game win streak, LeBron complained that he was being fouled too hard. Really, LeBron? He goes to the hole, leading with his elbow, puts his head down and rams his Easter Island head into opponents and he thinks he's getting hit too hard? C'mon son, that's weak! Get down on the block and do work...there's no reason why he can't average over 30 points a game while having his usual 8 and 8 rebounds and assists.
Defensively, he is called great, but is he really? He is a good help defender, yes. And he does play the passing lanes well. I think what many describe as great defense, is really great athleticism. When was the last time LeBron James kept an offensive player in front of him and created a one on one turnover or blocked shot? If you look closely, you'll see he's quite lazy with his on-ball defense. I mean, Kawhi Leonard abused him one on one in the Finals, constantly blowing past him. While a budding star in the making, he should not be able to bypass a truly great defender in his first Finals appearance. LeBron's mental weakness keeps him from being as great as people label him to be. Maybe if the media told him he's not yet the best or as good as he could be, he would try harder...but for now he seems confortable being the self proclaimed "King"
Now, I will inevitably be called a hater for writing this piece, which i'm no stranger to. You're a hater when you don't just accept what every one else does, when you think about things critically, when you stray away from popular belief. Remember, this piece was written by a fan, student, and player of the game. More importantly, a former fan of LeBron James. I used to love watching James play, and thinking that with a bit more work he was on his way to being the best ever. Then he had to go and ruin it all. I guess you could say i'm salty. He took away my ability to root for an exciting player and a great talent of the league. But now, I can't in all honesty can't enjoy watching him. Not when there are players like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, whose classy personalities are only bested by their superior talent on the court. Derrick Rose, aside from injury, to me has become what LeBron was...taking a team of not that much, putting them on his back and succeeding at a high level. Vastly improving every facet of his game rapidly and becoming an MVP. If I had to choose a player to build a franchise around...I choose Rose. Who wants a player who you know may leave you if things don't go his way? Loyalty, honor and respect mean a lot, and LeBron lacks in those departments. Being physically superior can only take you so far. I mean, what good are all those muscles, if you don't have the mind to move them with?
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I know it's been a little while since my post, and I haven't been posting much lately - but i'll assure you it's with good reason. I've been hard at work on my upcoming single since i've been back from tour. I'm dropping a single this summer called "Very First Time", and i'm mega excited about it! It's a great exhibition of my skills as not only an emcee and vocalist, but as a songwriter. The song was written by myself with help from Curtis Marolt, who also produced the track. I truly believe this song has a chance to become a hit, and my goal is to get this single into radio rotation. To do this, we need a LOT of push and promotion. In order to get the proper push, we will need a good amount of funding, which is why i've just started the "Very First Time" Single Launch Kickstarter Campaign!
"Very First Time" features Sarah Leichtenberg, who you may have heard on a song we did before called "I Can't Go Now" that was used on the NBC prime-time comedy The New Normal. My new single is scheduled to drop in time for summer - which is perfect for a song like this because it's light, clubby and a lot of fun. Before it's ready for release, there is still a lot that needs to be done, and this is where I need YOUR help. I need to raise funds in order to help cover the costs for recording, remixes, shooting the music video and the PR & Radio push. On my own, i've been able to write, record and release songs that has hit number 1 on the Hype Machine Twitter Charts, been featured on iTunes along with major artists like Usher, Ne-Yo, Boys Noize, Deadmau5 & Fake Blood, been used on major television networks like ESPN, NBC, Fox Sports, the NFL Network, been played at NBA stadiums around the country and also used as the team song for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury professional basketball team. I've even appeared on an episode of HBO's Entourage! And that's only a bit of what i've done so far...I mean, I'm really not one to brag. Just imagine what I could do with your help!
As a thank you for your kind donation, I've included some really cool, fun gifts for you all so take some time to check out all the options - there's a lot of them. Also, if you have a suggestion for something you'd like added as a gift, let me know. As long as it's not TOO outrageous, i'm glad to try to add it. I wanna thank my sponsors C4 Belts and Modify Watches for supplying some of the fresh swag for the campaign. I also want to thank Supergoodmusic for being behind me and helping to make my journey so amazing over the past few years. Be sure to follow me on Twitter & Soundcloud and become a fan on my Facebook Fan Page so you all can stay in tune with updates on the campaign
Everyone who backs the project will get the "Very First Time" single emailed to them before it's out for sale! 100% of all donations go towards the "Very First Time" campaign so PLEASE donate what you can and spread the word to friends and family. Getting the word out to others is every bit as important as the donations themselves. To donate, please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keithmasters/the-keith-masters-very-first-time-single-launch Thanks guys...let's make it happen!!!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
My homeboys from across the pond, Futurecop!, dropped a very fresh video for their new single "Atlantis 1997" yesterday. The video is just as dreamy and colorful every one of their cover artworks, but this one offers something a little different than previous vids. "Atlantis 1997" features a real live actor and video direction through what seems to be the streets of London. Futurecop! has been known for their videos that serve more as a retro-homage to the band's favorite movies, TV shows and video games of the 80's. The track is exactly what you'd expect from these two kids from the UK; light, airy, fun and proper for dancing the night away in a club on a far away planet. The single dropped this week, and certainly does not contain a lack of remixes. The "Atlantis 1997" release is 7 tracks with 6 remixes from producers Lifelike, Uppermost, P.A.F.F. and Stellar Dreams. Check out the entire release below, and be sure to cop the single. Keep an eye out for more remixes from this track...I even hear they're doing a version with a pretty dope rapper...
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Earlier this month, Random or Mega Ran, as he's also known by, teamed up with Philly affiliates Lefty and Freeway of Rocafella fame to drop "The Industry" single. I was surprised to see Random and Freeway together, as their styles are starkly different. Freeway doesn't go in as hard as he normally does on this one. This track is definitely more in the vein of a typical Random track - which by all accounts is not a bad thing, but doesn't really mesh that well with this tamer, less aggressive version of Freeway. That aside, the beat is pretty good but the message is probably the real focus of this track and is stressed in the chorus:
"Things ain't what it seems to be, when dealing in The Industry"
Indeed...an observation that most within the business would recognize as truth. We entertainers all have to accept a certain amount of flakiness and falsehoods in our dealings...but we've come to a point where the ingenuity is out of control. The need to "feed the machine" and promote music that is not only establishing a dangerous model for the youth, but is just flat out not good - is running rampant. The Philly trio hits on an point that I think is always good to be reminded of: "The Industry shady, it need to be taken over". I just wonder who has the balls, as well as the power, to do it.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
I was pleased to see some brand new heat in my email this week from my brother, AKIR, as it's been a long time since I've heard from him. In case you're not familiar, AKIR (acronym for Always Keep It Real) made his mark as the touring partner of the revolution advocate emcee, Immortal Technique. Once signed to Viper Records and eventually to Babygrande, he released his debut LP Legacy in 2007 which featured Hasan Salaam, Immortal Technique and Jean Grae. My familiarity with AKIR runs deep back to our time as members of the underground "supergroup" The Reavers. Recruiting artists from many major New York City hip hop crews such as Wu-Tang, Monsta Island Czars (MF Doom), Immortal Technique, and Def Jux - The Reavers dropped Terror Firma and was highly praised amongst critics and fans alike. After the LP and a few mixtapes, the crew was not heard from again. Much was the same for the Buffalo native and Howard University. After Legacy and some mixtapes, AKIR had been silent. Until now.
The video for "Soul" was shot entirely in the Netherlands, but does not lose any of the the street imagery of life in NYC that runs constant throughout the lyrics. AKIR handles the production of this track as well as bringing his lyrical style that combines the timbre of Nas, and the political discontentment of Immortal Technique with the delivery of Lupe Fiasco. The track is dark, but not overbearing - primarily serving as the backdrop to feature the vocals in the forefront. The strength of AKIR's music has always been in the message, and the message here is clear: He refuses to compromise his standards or sell out. The fact that AKIR is not more widely known to this day is a true testament to how much music business has shifted. Being written up in The Source Unsigned Hype section as well as XXL clearly doesn't mean what it used to. I've always felt that AKIR was one of the more talented emcees the New York underground scene had to offer, and I'm happy to see that my brother is still going hard. Stay posted for news of AKIR's upcoming EP, Focus, by following his twitter page here.
Friday, March 8, 2013
You can read all about the tour and my time in L.A. in greater detail at the newly formed Supergood Music website. Having recently joined forces with the mobile video recording phenomenon, Jam In The Van, the website has gotten a total makeover and is now the prettiest girl at the prom. They're updating their content daily, providing exclusive music and videos and still giving you the low down on EVERYTHING that's popping in the Los Angeles area from concerts to parties. It really is a great website that has only gotten immensely better; I highly recommend after subscribing to This Majical World, checking out the Supergood Music/Jam In The Van merger on a regular basis. Check out my journal here, written by me and posted by the original wearer of many hats, Brandon Dorsky.